- Are new year’s resolutions a waste of time? - 31 December, 2015
- The Shallow Reason Why I Watch Strictly Come Dancing - 8 November, 2013
- Segregation Never, Integration Now - 12 October, 2013
Something constantly plays on my mind. It bugs me and is a source of worry. No, I’m not talking about how to have my hair or which pants to wear on a particular day, but something much more serious. Although I do fret about my hair and my pants, I also worry about the baby gays.
Although times are changing and gay people are becoming increasingly accepted by mainstream society, there are still issues that gay youth face. Coming out is still a huge step and it can cause severe mental difficulties in some cases. So I propose four changes that society should make in order to ensure life becomes a bit easier for gay youth.
1. Take away the assumption that everyone is straight. I know that most parents have their children’s whole lives mapped out before they are even born, but this has potential to be damaging. Talking to your son about marrying a woman when he is older can cause mental trauma if he is actually gay. It can cause confused feelings and thoughts that they should marry a woman just to fit in with what is seen as the norm. Society as a whole assumes that everybody is straight and I think that is why it can be so difficult for some people to come out. I know this isn’t going to change any time soon, but it is a necessity for there to be real progress.
2. Introduce teaching about different sexualities and genders into the school curriculum and make every school adhere to it. This is such an important point and is absolutely necessary. There are still schools all over the country that brush GSD (Gender and Sexual Diversities – apparently this term is more inclusive than LGBT. I’ll talk about that another time) issues under the carpet and gay youth still suffer persecution and the isolation that stems from it. Schools should have a social and moral duty to educate pupils on the different sexualities and genders that exist. It needs to begin in primary school when children are young and take everything in. This is the main way that our future generations will grow up to be more open minded and accepting of people’s differences.
3. Be tougher on homophobes. I think that the authorities need to come down harder on people who are guilty of committing homophobic hate crimes. They should be made to attend courses aimed at challenging homophobic attitudes and celebrating diversity. Education is key and it is never too late for someone to learn.
4. More positive representations of gay people on television. This is something that really bugs me. There is not enough realistic representation of gay people on the telly box. We have the likes of Gok, Alan, Graham, those vicious old Queens on ITV, Sean off of Corrie, etc. But the reality is that they represent a small section of gay people, albeit the most visible. There needs to be a bigger representation of people who just happen to be gay on television. The only one I can really think of is John Paul in Hollyoaks and I must say that I absolutely applaud that character as a positive representation of a gay man. Some of us are just average guys and that needs to be reflected. With more of a balanced representation of the gays on television, the public will have it put into their consciousness that we are not all camp or stereotypes and gay youth will be able to have someone on TV that they can relate to. I’ll point out that it is of course ok to be camp, but a significant proportion of gay people are not and that is why I feel this is an important point.
So there we have it. Four simple points that would ensure the next generation of gay people feel more accepted and able to be themselves. I don’t think any of them will happen any time soon, but they are essential really. I have been a damaged gay youth. I currently work with damaged gay youth. I don’t want to see history continuing to repeat itself.