Sunday, 27 January 2013

Don't let the bastards get to you

Brace yourself everyone. If you think we’ve had to put up with quite a lot of abuse over the last few months, then it’s no doubt going to get worse over the next week. Parliament is to debate the same sex marriage bill on February 5th, and our opponents’ attacks are about to get nastier and ever more virulent, in their attempt to have their minority view heard and to stop progress.

This is probably the most important piece of LGBT regulation since 1967, when it finally became legal for two consenting men to have sex in private (it had never been illegal for women), and, though the personnel may have changed, our opponents are the same as the ones who objected then. What worries me most though is the effect all this negative campaigning (by certain conservative Christian groups and certain churches) is having on the rest of us. One of my friends, out, happy and proud, has actually deleted the PinkNews app from his phone, unable to cope any longer with the barrage of news stories in which this bishop or that MP spews out their bigotry. Of course PinkNews, thegayUk and all other sites need to keep us informed about what our enemies are up to, but it can become a bit wearing; and if it’s having such a negative effect on someone who is out and happy, what do you think it might be doing to a teenager, still struggling with his or her sexuality?

This was brought home to me a couple of days ago, when reading a blog post by Queerily in response to Anthony Ozimic’s appearance on Breakfast TV. Anthony Ozimic is the Communiucations Manager of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, and is worried about children being taught that homosexuality is a “valid” lifestyle. As Queerily points out, Mr Ozimic professes to want to protect children, when what he is actually doing is making life harder for them. It’s hard enough coming to terms with one’s homosexuality in a heterosexual world already, without the likes of Anthony Ozimic telling young people that their feelings are wrong and sinful, without him reinforcing the attitudes that get children bullied, bullying which sometimes leads to young, vulnerable people, both gay and straight, taking their own lives. It astounds me that these idiots never seem to make the connection. People don’t commit suicide because they are gay; they do it because they feel outcast and rejected. Higher levels of drug abuse and alcoholism in gay men are not a direct result of being gay, but they are a direct result of society’s negative attitude to homosexuality.

Marriage equality is not going to change people’s attitudes overnight of course, but it is a hugely important step on the road to equality. So don’t let the bastards get you down. However much hate and bigotry we have to deal with in the next few weeks, remember that the louder our opponents get, the closer we get to success. They are dinosaurs, still living in a pre-1967 world, and we cannot let them win. Keep up the pressure. If you do nothing else, write to your MP. He or she is voting on your future. It’s easy enough to do. Just follow this link.

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