by David Allison
It seems that we are increasingly being told to ‘ignore’ comments and criticisms about the causes we support. A good friend of mine told me “ignore is close to ignorance for a reason” and I believe she has a point.
I am, as most gay men and women, incredibly supportive of those who fight against homophobia, prejudice and hatred. When I read comments to the detriment of our LGBT friends I cannot help but add to that voice and speak out. I have written my own articles and come under a barrage of negativity from fellow gay men telling me to just ‘ignore’ these bigots. Why? That is a very good question.
How can any self-respecting human being just stand by and ignore homophobia and it’s associated drivel? Is it because people are so busy in their lives that they just don’t have the time to care anymore? Is it because they themselves don’t have the balls (or vagina) to stand up for the rights of themselves and others? Are we so uncomfortable with ourselves that seeing people address them head-on makes us want to bury our heads in the sand and wait until it all goes away? Newsflash: It won’t. We have to have a voice and we have to stand up for what we believe in.
Those of you who read my article on Steve Brookstein and his comments about HIV and gay people in general, will know why I decided to highlight his misgivings on humanity and society as a whole. He didn’t just restrict his ‘thoughts’ to the gay community; they spread across other arenas such as domestic violence.
That article was originally featured on Pink News, a prolific gay website over here in the UK. The comments that ensued from that article alone generated more argument against the piece than for it; with the majority coming online to say that what he said should have not been given any attention. Had he said it to them, as he did to me, I wonder if their reaction may have been a different one? It is easy to stand on the outside and just look in from time to time.
When faced with criticism for showing our community his responses to my comments my friend Ava Vidal (hilarious comedian, avid supporter of gay rights and campaigner for racial equality) solidified my intentions to not remain silent in just one sentence: “I am not going to tell someone how to react”, when challenged what the ‘big deal’ was.
If we see or read something that we believe to be fundamentally wrong why on earth should we stay silent about it? Now I am being a little contradictory here because I just know there are many anti-gay folk out there that would probably agree with that sentence for their own gains. I’m not even going to go down that road and address that here.
For many years as a child I, like many kids, was bullied. For a long time I didn’t say anything, I didn’t even tell my parents; so in a time where we are trying to inspire people to stand up, be counted, find their voice and support what’s right, are we being continually told to be silent? We should be supporting them and not trying to put them down like a naughty school child caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
I have to say, that in my life I have not suffered as much as some at the hands of homophobia, sure I got a lot of stick in my younger days, but not so much now; then just the other day, for the first time ever I was the target of some homophobic abuse on Twitter. Needless to say, being the shy and retiring type I put this ‘person’ in their place very quickly. Following my public dressing down, the ‘ignore it’ rule came into play yet again; another tweeter told me “It’s only a parody account, stop being so defensive.” There are many parody accounts on Twitter, heck, I even follow some of them, but where is the parody in hatred? Where is the parody in linguistic bile? It appears to be a long old uphill battle to convince some of the people of this world what is fundamentally wrong and deficit of decency. That said, I hope it is a battle we are ready for.
It was Martin Luther King Junior who said: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”
Thanks for reading, You can find me on Twitter for much more light hearted tweets about cake and shiny things @dfa73.