By SARAH HORGAN
A YOUNG woman who over-came adversity to become this year’s Miss Gay Cork is winning her battle with anorexia and drug addiction.
Róisín Moloney from Youghal was recently crowned winner of the Miss Gay Cork contest, which sees women compete to represent the female gay community at events across Cork.
She will be competing in the Miss Gay Ireland contest in the coming months.
The 21-year-old is currently re-building her life in accommodation, where she lives with other recovering addicts, which serves as a haven for those making the transition back into society.
This follows three months spent in Renewal Women’s Residence on Blarney Road, a centre for women in the early stages of addiction recovery.
After years spent fighting her demons, Róisín said she finally has a reason to be proud of herself.
“I stole from my family and borrowed from my friends, all to feed my addiction which I thought would get the better of me. I don’t think my problems all stemmed from me being gay as I came out at 18 and was comfortable with my sexuality.
“I have got a bit of abuse in the past but none of it really stuck. From the age of about 12 I got involved with the wrong crowd and it all spiralled from there. They weren’t bad people, but just like me, they had their problems.”
She thanked staff at Renewal,who she said helped get her life back.
“Everyone who helped me get clean was worried sick about me taking part in Miss Gay Cork and I myself feared it might set me back, but it has all paid off and now I finally have something to be really proud of,” she said.
“That said, I couldn’t have done it drug addiction to claim back her self-esteem without the support of staff at Renewal. I initially wanted to participate because last year’s Miss Gay Cork, Lynn Geary, had also battled mental health issues and was such an inspiration.”
The young woman described the turning point that prompted her to reach out last November.
“I was out in a bar one night and started vomiting blood. My friends took me to hospital and staff there gave me a lumbar puncture.
“What nobody realised was that I had been starving myself for days, yet still I was in denial about having an eating disorder.”
Róisín warned that eating disorders can often be masked by other addictions.
“I was taking speed, coke and smoking weed. Food wouldn’t be at the top of drug addicts’ priorities, so a lot of people just put it down to that.
“The truth was I avoided eating because I convinced myself I was fat, and over time, that self image became more distorted.”
Her main goal in her year as Miss Gay Cork is to set up a charity to help not only drug addicts, but their families as well.
“I am so happy to have my family’s backing and sometimes feel very guilty about what I put them through.
“If I could help in small ways, such as funding people like my parents’ petrol or paying for accommodation for families visiting loved ones in treatment it would be hugely fulfilling.
“Knowing that from now on I will be able to make a positive contribution to society is a great feeling.”
The part-time singer also said she would like to challenge people’s stereotypes of drug addicts.
“Most people who think of drug addicts recall the people who annoy you on the street, tormenting people for money.
“I want people to know that this could happen to anyone.”
Article from Evening Echo and photo by Tim Caisley Photographics