It is now 2015, and it is a sorry state of affairs that homophobia is still a major problem. Ask anyone who has come out, or is in the process of coming out in high school. Faggot. Batty Boy. Poofter. All just sticks and stones right? Sure. Names will never hurt me. Names will never destroy a young person’s confidence. Names will never make someone feel ostracised for being themselves. Just words, brush it off, ignore it. It just comes with the territory and you have to develop a thick skin right? I mean, kids these days can’t help it if they make fun of you for being LGBT+. It isn’t like they choose to do that like I clearly choose to be gay. They can’t just turn it off. It’s quite a shame really.
Thank goodness then, that you get people who are so kind and decide to be tolerant to us LGBT+ people. “I don’t mind if people are gay, just as long as they don’t shove it in my face.” Sure, friend I’ll leave my glitter cannon and leather chaps at home. I can only relate to how horrifying it is when I “force” my homosexuality on you. I mean, I don’t mind straight people, as long as they don’t shove it in my face either. Get this: I was on a bus the other day and some guy was kissing his girlfriend. IN PUBLIC. IN FRONT OF CHILDREN. How unbelievably disgusting. Who do they actually think they are? I mean if you grow up and choose to be attracted to your opposite gender, that’s okay. Your life is your life. But keep it at home guys, it’s poisoning the minds of our children, all that disgusting love stuff.
Of course, in case someone really hasn’t realised yet and I get a treasure trove of angry emails I am being totally facetious. I am openly gay and have absolutely no issues with insert-prefix-here-sexual PDA. The point I’m trying to make is however, that outside this Bubble of St Andrews, probably in my eyes the safest place to be openly gay in the world, there is a whole world out there. We finally got equal marriage just not too long ago. “Hooray!” I hear you say? The gay rights movement has won? Perhaps on a legal level but unfortunately I am a bit more cynical.
I heard some news recently that makes my stomach physically turn. There is talk of a political party in Northern Ireland trying to bring in legislation to allow people to refuse anyone (gay people and otherwise) service on grounds of their religious beliefs. Now before anyone starts, I love religion. I think it is a powerful tool to support people on a personal level. Religion aside though, in N. Ireland, people will once again be allowed a legal loophole to discriminate gay people. Prejudice still exists. I was in McDonalds just today, before writing this tangent, to find people staring at my friend, whose biological sex is male. They identify as agender, and they were wearing make-up.
The group were also staring at me who was, as anyone who is attracted to males tends to do, talking about boys and doing what most people do in McDonalds – eating my righteously delicious BigMac and not considering the consequences. These young people stared at us, but we ignored them. Then they gossiped, laughed, pointed and made gestures. Now, as people who generally don’t care for other people’s opinions, my friend and I were unscathed. But this happens. And we are lucky to be confident enough to brush that off. In some places however we may not be so lucky. Homophobic hate crime is actually on the rise.
This just goes to show, the legal battle is won but the war on homophobia is certainly not over. We need to stick together. Campaign for others who do not have the same civil liberties as us, be they LGBT+, straight or otherwise. Support our friends when they go through strife. Work together to build a society that one day we can walk freely, no matter who we are, where we come from or where we are going and be happy to be ourselves.