I was checking out Syd Parkers new website, wandering over there to read up on some of her other novels (Only read one so far and it was amazing, more on that later). Anyways, as I was looking around I saw she had a link to her blog. *Click* of course. The most recent post was headed with I don’t want to grow up.
It got me thinking, I wouldn’t want to have to grow up again. Whilst there is a slight age gap between myself and Syd and a geographical distance, I don’t remember my childhood ever being carefree. Although at a young age I also had no idea or knowledge of the word ‘lesbian’ or ‘gay’ I knew instinctively that I was somehow different to all of my friends. The innocence of it all didn’t last for long as I was teased, taunted and bullied from a pre-teen right up to adulthood for being a lesbian. To start with even before I had connected the dots in my own mind about who I was. I went through a lot and I don’t honestly think I could put myself through it again in this day and age. There is so much more to contend with now. Back when I was growing up there was no facebook or twitter – imagine that! Now it’s even easier for bullies to attack through cyber space and social networking sites. Whereas before you would have to have known my email address or MSN name now you can poke and tweet me whilst staying anonymous. You can create many different profiles and send me abuse from each one. You can send messages of hate instantly not just to me but to the whole school if you wanted. Or you could even set up a fake profile pretending to be me or an online group targeted at how much you hate me and send invites out for people to click ‘like’. I don’t know personally how that feels but having that added pressure put on to what I experienced as a child, it’s no wonder that people are finding life tough.
Many people are under the assumption that it’s great to be gay right now. Many people can be a lot more open, same sex marriage is already legal in some parts of the world and it should hopefully be ready for us Brits wanting to take the plunge from early next spring. But are we looking at all that through rose tinted glasses? People are still getting discriminated against, people are still living in fear and children are still bullying whilst others are taking their own lives. I mean, look at Russia right now ….
Syd writes that she hopes her kid nieces and nephews aren’t gay. Looking at that written by anyone you may be shocked but even more so coming from an out lesbian herself. You know what though, I get it. She doesn’t want them to have to deal with the hate, the discrimination, the awkwardness that even in a society where things are getting more on an equal footing, it’s still not the same as being straight. Ever. It’s hard to understand if you haven’t gone through it yourself and it’s hard to explain to other people because through no fault of their own they don’t understand. It’s not just major things in life like getting married it’s the little things that get just taken for granted. I can’t hold my partners hand when we go out, I can’t kiss her in public. I know there will be people angrily saying in their heads that yes I can. Okay, well yes I could but I (and I know my partner feels the same) would feel very uncomfortable. I’m not saying we would be lynched or people would hurl abuse at us but people would stare, men would feel the need to make dirty comments, people would go home and around the dinner table be like “You’ll never guess what I saw today”.
Regardless of how much things have moved on it’s not easy being gay. Attitudes are continually changing and don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to change who I am but more needs to be done. We are all people at the end of the day.
I hope Syd doesn’t mind that I blogged about her blog but one thing I know for sure – regardless of if her nieces and nephews are gay, straight or anything else, they have an awsome role model.
- Homophobia still rife in UK, survey claims (theguardian.com)