The biggest event of last week’s (this year’s, even) social calendar for Birmingham students was of course the annual ‘Homophobia is Gay’ bar crawl; a fantastically organised event full of lovely people – many of whom will probably be staying clear of me for a bit. It is a truly deserving cause; I think we can all agree. Sadly, this fine event couldn’t happen without one minor incident. I don’t wish to blow it out of proportion, but I think it demonstrates just why we need this kind of thing.
To get from Joe’s Bar to Reflex, we took a bus. There is no bus that can rival a gay bus. But we weren’t the only passengers; partway there a small group of youths – commonly referred to as chavs – made to leave. Naturally we were all wearing the lovely event T-shirts, proudly displaying our anti hate-crime credentials. One of the youths felt obliged to shout something along the lines of “Dirty Queers”. Not wishing to fault his powers of observation, I find this sort of behaviour completely unacceptable – as did the rest of our party who made this quite clear. Without wishing to bore you with details, I will say that something of a shouting match took place. Just before leaving, one of the youths stuck his unwelcome head back up to the top deck and spat at one of our number.
Her response was reasonable given the circumstances. I do not know why he felt this was a) necessary, or b) acceptable. Maybe he felt insulted by the fact that she wouldn’t want to sleep with him? (She was heterosexual, as were many of us, but I don’t think that would make any difference, he was an ugly bastard). Now normally I would laugh at irony, but this just left me feeling sick. Resisting the urge to gas the scumbag, even I lean to the right at times; I started to question why this sort of thing should have happened.
What doesn’t help is the fact that society in general still sees this kind of thing as acceptable, maybe not the spitting, but the homophobia behind it. These young people, must have picked up these attitudes somewhere, hate must be planted. Their parents maybe? Their friends? What doesn’t help is the lack of action being taken to stop it at its source. This sort of hate crime should be treated with zero-tolerance from an early age. Schools – all schools, especially ‘faith’ schools – should be the arena for this. Only by informing children that all forms of hate crime are wrong, from an early age, can we prevent them from turning into the hideous creatures I saw last night. Homophobia is as evil as racism or sexism, that is what the campaign is all about, and that is what we need to teach society!
(many thanks to the LGBTQ and Liberal Democrat societies, and others, for organising such a fab event!)