Gareth Russell listens as Imogen Dawson casts a cold eye on homophobic bullies
Every now and then, I think about others. Often, that results in a laughter fit at the hideous extravaganza that passes for their ‘lives’. Sometimes, though, it makes me think and, after a few moments of that, I get angry. One particular issue at which I get angry is homophobic bullying, or, as I like to call it, when uneducated oiks prove more annoying than they have at any point since starting the French Revolution.
Let’s get one thing straight: I, like many of the people I know, am a huge bitch. (I refer you to my comment about Charles and Sebastian’s homosexuality in “Brideshead Revisited,” the ‘huge’ part is purely metaphorical; I have a waist that’s better-trimmed than a Harrod’s gift hamper}. However, there is a great difference between bitchiness and bullying. Bitchiness occurs when someone with a catty sense of humour says something mean, but so hilarious that it would have been a crime against laughter not to say it.
But bullying is something entirely different. This is when someone – clever, stupid, hot, not, whatever – turns on someone they don’t like as a concept, rather than an individual. When I hear phrases like ‘my own person’ and ‘individual’, I usually end up scraping vomit off my Loubies because I’ve instantly chundered harder than Vesuvius, circa 79 A.D., but in this case it seems warranted. As an English girl living in Northern Ireland, trust me, when I open my mouth and my impossibly plummy could-and-should-be-related-to-the-ultimate-gin-babe-the-late-Queen-Mother-God-rest-her-soul, I often get mocked, ignored or snarked at.
It doesn’t bother me too much, but I can’t help but ache for how that kind of reaction must affect people who don’t know that they’re better, or even worthy, and who have, their whole lives, been told implicitly or explicitly that they’re less, because of the way they walk, talk or love.
There are so many problems out there that are caused by the unkindness of others, to paraphrase Blanche du B (another fictional babe, like Daisy B – see previous article; I’m not kidding). But it seems to me that there are very few things more pernicious and more deadly than homophobic bullying.
Homophobic bullying revolts me, because it’s reducing all of us to being defined by nothing more than sex; not by our ability to love, laugh, think or, as I see in the top 10 validating criteria, party hard and dress well.
Every clergyman, every pundit, every parent, every sibling, every friend and every schoolteacher who has made glib and derisory comments about homosexuality, has played Russian roulette with the mental health of countless vulnerable teens across the world. So let’s get bitchy on the bullying.
Imogen Dawson can be read in the ‘Popular’ series by Gareth Russell, available from Amazon and in all good book stores.