Once again, I was at a lost to what to write about and then, on Thursday morning, I came across the hashtag #PrideAndPrejudice and thought I’d check to see why that was trending before I came into work. This led to an article by Matt Bagwell on HuffPost UK, with the title “Pride + Prejudice: Think We’re Living In A Post-Homophobic Society? You’re Wrong“, and I’m not at all surprised it went viral as it is a polished article that speaks to a whole range of people covering homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia.
Matt Bagwell talks about his story from 20 years ago and includes a tonne of research that really hits home. Members of the LGBT+ community can identify with most of what is being said, and there’s a lot to take away from this article.
Many things made me tear up whilst reading it, although the one that hit my heart was the paragraph about holding hands with a loved one: “Even the seemingly small act of holding your partner’s hand in public is never, ever an unconscious move. Internally, a whole process of evaluation is carried out before deciding if it’s safe to do so – a risk assessment just to show affection in public.” This relates to Panti’s 2014 TEDxDublin talk which can be found below.
As explained in the above video, it is the small things that people look back on as happy memories, and they are moments that people in the LGBT+ community aren’t able to experience nonchalantly; and, one of the most important ones, as the article and this video above explains, is being able to hold hands with a loved one in public. Sure, we sometimes see gay couples holding hands but they’ve gone through a whole thought process in doing so.
The only times I’ve ever casually and comfortably held hands with my lover in public is at pride festivals and in cities’ gay villages, and that is because the atmosphere is full of the LGBT+ community, and so I don’t have to go through the risk assessment. There are times where I’ve not even thought about it and just done it, but then a few seconds later I catch myself because people notice. This isn’t just during random times walking along the street, this is in cafés and restaurants, we sometimes hold hands under the table, or touch occasionally but always pull away if we see someone staring or a member of staff comes to serve us. It’s just natural to us, just like Panti explains in the TED Talk.
There’s plenty of other small things the video above leaps into and plenty of interviews and interesting insights to be found in the HuffPost article, so I highly suggest you find the time to read it.
This isn’t the only article that has really affected me recently. We’ve all heard of the hate crimes going on, and my partner and I could’ve been on that train after Brighton Pride 2018 where a man threatened to stab people because they were gay instead we waited hours for a bus; and then there’s Gareth Thomas who posted a video on Twitter after being a victim of a homophobic attack – to which the teenager has now apologised for; yet, the recent one that touched my heart is John Bishop’s speech on The Jonathan Ross Show on ITV, who directed this to parents on how to support their child if they come out, “Just love them for who they are and allow them to feel safe, and then those little digs and the little knocks and the little abuse that they subtly get that we don’t know about, perhaps won’t penetrate as deep.” He also won Celebrity Ally Of The Year at the NatWest British LGBT Awards.
Besides all that, my time with my partner has been amazing, and it’s coming up to a year since we first met. We’ve had plenty of memories and unforgettable times, and just thinking of them brings a smile to my face. Long distance is never easy because we miss each other so much, but we’re getting through it and it’s not like it will last forever. I just love him so much. He brightens up every single day of my life so much so that there are times I forget to risk assess while out in public, I forget about the subtle looks or the things that are being said – if people say them at all, and I forget about the homophobic world we live in, because he makes my life complete and I’m at my happiest just by being with him.
View this post on Instagram
I've always wanted a photo of this sign in @thenightingaleclub but never actually had one, and now I do, with my awesome boyfriend @echo.bremner who brightens every minute of my day even if we are 125 miles from each other. I just love him so much and can't wait for us to get the future we deserve! ❤ ❤ I'll never forget this night as we saw @cascada_official and something good came our way for the first time during those days ☺ #JonniDean for forever and ever and ever and a day ❤ ❤ I also wore my @gogemio that night, I fully love this product and I wear it every time I'm clubbing or at a gig!