Recently, homophobia has made me particularly cross because as I begin to understand more about the world, I realise that negative attitudes toward those who are gay are still very much prevalent in society. Blatant homophobia, along with sexism, racism and classism, has and always will exist because the ignorant and hideous will always be around.
Casual homophobia, however, can change and this is the type that makes me the most cross of all.
To me, the sexual orientation of another person simply isn’t important. If that person wants to shout and scream about it then that’s their choice. Equally, if a person wants to keep their sexual orientation between a few close friends then that’s also their choice. Sadly, it seems that there is a pass-it-on mentality amongst people whereby gay-gossip has got to be spread so that everyone can have their say on something which frankly isn’t any of their business.
But none of this will change whilst sexuality continues to be broadcast as if it’s news. When Tom Daley released a video about his sexuality, it was talked about on BBC Breakfast, in the same broadcast that featured the weather and terrorism. Why is it that a 19 year old’s sexuality was being presented as news? Had he made a video telling us he had a girlfriend would that have made BBC news too? Of course not, and that’s what has to change.
We can’t expect people to become more accepting when our national news broadcast still talks about gay people as if they’re novelties. For young gay people, ‘Coming Out’ videos can provide huge support. They let people know that it’s ok to be gay, that for some people it takes time to understand who they are, and that it’s ok to tell their friends and family because they have nothing to be ashamed of. But all of that is undermined the moment we broadcast it on the news. The ‘Coming Out’ videos that make the biggest impact are usually made by established YouTubers where the video is merely another update for their fans about their life and unless we start reporting every hair cut or new pet that YouTubers have, we have to stop reporting on their sexualities.
When reporting YouTuber Connor Franta’s sexality last month, BBC Newsbeat even summed it up themselves in their article saying, ‘Connor Franta has revealed to his fans that he is gay. The 22-year-old told his 3.6 million subscribers, as well his followers on Twitter, in a six-minute video called Coming Out’. His fans, the only people for whom this ‘news’ would have been of interest, were provided the video so it was completely unnecessary for Newsbeat to even run a story on it in the first place.
Casual homophobia can change but the reaction from the media as well as the everyday person needs to change too. To me, the only reaction to finding out that somebody is gay to say ‘ok!’ because it’s normal to be gay and whether it’s a little giggle at the situation, a ‘can I tell so-and-so’, or a barrage of abuse, it’s absolutely wrong to treat a person differently because their sexual orientation.
I know that this is a topic that’s very heavily debated and so if anyone has any differing views then please comment below- I’d love to hear what you think.
PS: a big thank you for all of the kind comments about my last post, 2015 – The Year I Become FABULOUS.