Gay man’s house given rainbow makeover by neighbours after homophobes threatened to kill him

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Homophobic thugs threatened to kill a gay man for planning to paint his house rainbow colours – so his community rallied together to send an important message.

When Mykey O’Halloran moved to Australia’s Phillip Island in February he knew he wanted to give his bungalow a colourful makeover, but certain neighbours had other ideas.

“I had five men aggressively banging the front door,” he told QNews in March. “One threatened to kill me if I paint my house rainbow and [was] calling me homophobic things.

“[One] guy introduced himself as the homeowner from across the road. [He] told me his reason for being at my house was to tell me not to paint my house rainbow.”

He says the man then told him: “See what happens if you do.”

O’Halloran said the encounter left him shaken, and “feeling so invaded, violated [and] threatened in my very own home”.

Police charged a 23-year-old man with unlawful assault and making threats to kill, but the rest of the island community were determined to give the newcomer a better welcome.

Four weeks later more than a hundred people pitched in to help O’Halloran make his rainbow dream come true, with some even travelling from as far as Melbourne to take part.

Dulux Australia donated 40 litres of paint to the endeavour and over a single weekend the team of volunteers painted every inch of his bungalow in bright rainbow colours.

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“After a hurricane, comes a rainbow,” O’Halloran wrote gratefully on Facebook. “So much community support and love from everyone that stopped by to say hello today or picked up a paint brush and helped make my rainbow house a reality.

“I appreciate every positive message I’ve received in the past month, the words of encouragement to be myself, words of love and appreciation of standing up and not allowing bad behaviour.”

Now his home has become an inescapable reminder of the island’s position on homophobic hate – but just in case anyone forgets, one kind neighbour donated a new surveillance system of eight security cameras.

“Today we are taking a stand against bullying and homophobia and that goes for all LGBTIQA+ phobia. It’s not OK, it’s not acceptable, especially in this day and age,” O’Halloran said.

“My house being painted rainbow was never to represent my sexuality… just an assumption that it was so.

“I’m a gay man and I’m open and I’m proud to be, I express colourfully naturally as my job is a rainbow hair artist and I’m creative, but what happened today was people standing by my decision to have a rainbow house regardless of opposing opinions or the minority of homophobic opinions.”

Watch: Celebrating Pride can be a matter of life and death | Reality Check