Gay Project Cork research has shown that of 3,000 gay men living and working in Kerry, many are married and leading double lives.

David Roche, development manager for Gay Project Cork said that keeping their homosexuality hidden was a priority for some men: “Many remain married after discovering their true sexuality. “The fear of a negative reaction is the most common reason that gay and bisexual men feel that they can’t live full lives in their own community”.

Gay Project Cork oparate an anonymous help line five nights a week, and soon became aware of the high number of men leading stressful and emotionally draining double lives.

Mr Roche said that he worried that such “stress can lead to excessive drinking, drug use, depression and all that it brings with it, including self-harm and attempted suicide.” He hoped that a new campaign to inform men that the phone line and other counselling services were available, would help to relieve some of this stress. “Our campaign is aimed at the vulnerable,” he said, “it seeks to raise awareness that there is support out there and that they are not alone.”

“Many men have tried to live their lives according to the message from society and often the net result of this is that they find themselves married and forced to come to terms with their sexuality later in life,” he added.