Sunday, 28 June 2015

Too gay?

On Friday same sex marriage was legalised across the United States. This was good timing for this weekend's Pride in London, which coincided with several other Pride festivals across the world. Pride in London was chaotic because there were so many people, many of whom were certainly energetic in showing their support for the US! Some people have said they want a straight pride, but I think they are missing the point. Gay pride exists not because we need to celebrate being gay, but because we have the right to be gay without persecution. Therefore, as far as I'm aware, a straight pride is not needed.

At the front were the flags of the UK, together with the
flags of Ireland, Mozambique and the United States,
 in recognition of their recent advances in
LGBT+ equality

Amnesty International

I was pleased to see religious representation

I attend events and share things related to gay rights on social media fairly often. I have been told that this can be overpowering and I appreciate the honesty. I've decided to respond with yet another gay rights post! I understand that this can be annoying, maybe almost as annoying as my News Feed being full of photos of the same babies and animals from different angles or daily updates about what everyone is eating for dinner. The difference is that contrary to apparent popular belief concerning this blog, I do not share things for egocentric purposes. I do not share them because I want attention. I do not feel the need to let the world know that I am gay. I'm sure anybody who takes the time to get to know me realises that. Being gay is my business and it is certainly not the first thing I want someone to know about me because it does not fully define who I am.

However, I choose to be relatively open about my sexuality and share things about gay rights because whilst homophobia may be decreasing, it still exists. Society needs to know and changes need to happen. Being able to say I am gay is underrated. If I lived in one of over 70 countries where my sexuality is illegal, I may be imprisoned, beaten up or even killed. Being gay is illegal in at least 36% of the world! It is still so easy not to see the problems outside of the bubble formed by our societies. It is not fair that some of us are now able live relatively happily and marry who we like, when this can be a matter of life and death for people in other parts of the world. I do not only care about the issue because it affects me, but also millions of people worldwide. I also care about various issues that do not directly affect me.

Even within my own society being gay is not fully acceptable and some (not all) religious communities have outrageous attitudes towards gays. Many people assume someone is straight or interpret sexuality by appearance. This is because heterosexuality is the default and society is heteronormative. It makes gays feel like we aren't 'normal' which forces us to reflect upon our sexuality daily. What if I said that people's heterosexuality is overpowering when I struggle to find TV programmes, films or magazines with gay representation? Society also has certain defaults for race, gender, religion and size etc. It's not surprising that so many people feel isolated because they are made to think they are different! On the other hand demographics must be considered and of course minorities cannot expect to have equal representation to majority. However, under-representation makes it easier for people to avoid the topic of gay rights altogether and behave as if as if gays do not even exist.

I am lucky enough to live in a country where free speech is acceptable and there is little censorship. I can write about whatever I want whenever I want and nobody has the authority to tell me otherwise. Awareness raising and discussion are the first steps towards ending inequality. Ultimately, if anybody grows tired of my posts they are as welcome to remove me from social media as I am to remove anybody who posts incessant pictures of the same person/animal/food.

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