real life

"Not for you, you're a FAGGOT!"

Homophobia is gay

by MATT NORTON

Over dinner a few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with some friends about homophobia. My stance was, that personally, I’ve never really experienced it. I’m English. I grew up in Scotland. The extent of ‘discrimination’ I experienced came from the locals who were still a bit sore that the English beat them in some war a long time ago. Or something.

I did have a can of beer chucked at me on holiday once. Terrible waste. I assumed it was some statement about my taste in shoes, which I quickly discounted due to the fact the dude was making it from the back window of a 1990 Honda Accord. Those in glass houses, boys…

So, what happened on a Saturday in January was a surprise. My friends and I went on a booze cruise which, I know is asking for trouble especially when a key selling point is the free t-shirts on which you’re expected to draw penises. Or when the the aim of the game is to avoid a lap-dance from an Elvis impersonator. In my defense, I thought it was a corporate do, I was invited by a digital marketing agency… lordy! I turned up with business cards.

But, reticent to scrap a Saturday plan, three girls, two boys and two gays (myself and flat mate, Tom), set off, suited and booted with the promise of some chicken salad on the high seas. Well, Sydney Harbour.

All in all, we got off quite lightly with ‘Elvis’. The girls from other parties flashing their boobs at passing boats kept themselves to themselves…. kinda.  But, while the boat pumped out “D-I-S-C-O” and other such club classics, little were we to know that there was a storm-a-brewin’. (Like that? It’s a little boat joke!).

Disembarking (FIVE hours later) Tom turned to one of the guys who was on the boat with us and asked if he had a lighter he could use. The response? “Not for you, you’re a FAGGOT”.

“Erm, excuse me?”…

Therein followed a long stream of colloquialisms for “gay” during which it became obvious we were about to get beaten up.

Then, all hell broke loose. My mate who went in to defend us was punched in the face, whilst the girls from the other party squared up to the girls in our group, taking on the time honored hitch-up-your-dress-lunge-scratch-pull-hair-and-scream-abuse tactic. (“Let GO!… “NOT until YOU let go, BITCH!” etc).

Strangely, Tom and I – not involved – stood at the side, helpless looks on faces and Tom, being too nice, holding the clutch bag of a girl from the other group – that was promptly and unceremoniously removed from his hand in a shower of dollar coins and condoms. Ever so classy, but safe!

Net result: friend in hospital with 4 stitches in his lip for being a decent bloke defending his friends against something that DOES STILL EXIST.

And it’s NOT RIGHT.

So. To the dude who started it all, on the booze cruise on Saturday 14th January, with the ring through your nose, uneducated or simply intolerant. Here I am, on a media outlet with half a million people on it every month, telling you your behavior is intolerable. And your girlfriend probably reads this.

Do you think homophobia still exists in Australia?