A self-professed gay cowboy has opened up about receiving death threats online while living in Australia.
Joshua Goyne, who set up the LGBT+ support group The Gay Cowboy, posted a video on Facebook talking about the abuse he has received online.
In the video he says he got messages from cowboys on an online rodeo forum who said that they were pleased “AIDS thinned out” gays in the 1980s.
“Today I was asked if I thought it was good that gays died of AIDS, and then the guy said he wished it was 1850 so he could shoot me for being a fag,” Goyne says.
“Rural Australia has a terrible problem with homophobia, and it needs to stop.
“The fact I’m getting death threats just for going to a rodeo is disgusting and these people are the scum of the earth. I have zero respect for them.”
The Gay Cowboy was set up by Goyne in response to statistics he read about the disproportionately high suicide rates among LGBT+ people in rural Australia.
He says he has personally been close to several LGBT+ people who have taken their own lives in remote areas of Australia.
Goyne also says he has been on the receiving end of homophobia, noting a time when a contractor rigged his riding ropes which made him snap his ankles.
“I’m an out and proud cowboy doing what I can for the rural LGBT community,” he adds.
“They think they’re going to silence me, but there’s no chance in hell. I will proudly stand up to any homophobe and say right to their face I’m an openly gay cowboy.
“It’s pretty vital to give visibility because it’s a really hard topic to speak about for a lot of people, because many aren’t willing to admit they’re LGBTI.”
Check out the video via Goyne’s Facebook below: