Everything’s a bit fucking shit right now, isn’t it? On this side of the Atlantic, our government has decided it’s a better idea to buy every packet of plasters in Boots than it is to simply not cut our own fucking legs off, and on the other side, the animated turd of someone who has eaten nothing but Cheesy Wotsits for a year is trying to destroy the entire fucking planet as though it was a thing as insignificant as a woman’s life. It’s nice, therefore - necessary, even - to stumble across something a bit more uplifting from time to time so we don’t all go completely shitting mad.
Imagine my relief, then, when the first thing I saw on Twitter this morning was a video of a gay teenager who has been invited to perform his drag act at Brighton Pride next week, after his school had decided it wasn’t ‘appropriate’ for their talent show. Now, obviously, it’s a bit depressing that the narrow-minded fuckers running his school have taken this stance in 2018, but it was gratifying to see him being offered the opportunity to perform on a much bigger stage as a result.
As I watched the video, I shed a few tears. Some were for myself, I won’t lie. I always find myself thinking ‘what if’ when I see something like this, and it always makes me feel a little sad. But a lot of those tears were happy ones that this 14-year-old boy had found the strength to be his most fabulous self, that he refused to hide in the shadows like so many have had to do before him, and that his mother was by his side lifting him up. I felt cheered by the fact that this courageous young man had managed to overcome the short-sightedness of those who are paid to inspire him, and that he would now be looking forward to enjoying what will no doubt be a defining, life-changing moment in a supportive and loving environment.
Then I looked at the replies.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: it was a terribly fucking stupid thing to do. Sadly though, like a turd that’s halfway out, there was no taking it back. The best you can do in such circumstances is to nip it off, and by that stage, it’s probably a futile gesture.
So I read them all.
As you might already have guessed, my positive mood was very suddenly, very abruptly, soured, like a previously convivial party to which Michael Gove has just arrived. I feel pretty confident in saying that those of you who know me will probably agree that I’m not a totally stupid man, and of course I wasn’t naive enough to expect that all the comments would be supportive. There’ll always be a few arseholes, right?
Well, on this occasion, it was like a room in which the floor was carpeted entirely in arseholes, there were numerous, quite unpleasant arseholes covering the walls and every piece of furniture was constructed using only dried out, hardened arseholes, which were no less shitty for all their desiccation.
“The parents want locking up. It’s child abuse.”
“Get up them fucking stairs and don’t come down until you’re normal.”
“Where’s his dad? Probably hanging in the garage after watching that.”
“I’m sure the perverts at Brighton Pride will enjoy having a minor performing at their event.”
That’s just a small selection of the nasty, malicious rhetoric spewed forth by grown adults, who were so enraged by the fact that a young gay boy wanted to sing and dance while wearing a dress that they simply had to take to Twitter to shit out their most pointedly vitriolic abuse. Just imagine the mindset for a second. You have attained the age of legal majority, you have a job, a car, maybe a mortgage, perhaps a wife and children of your own, and yet you choose to spend your Sunday mornings telling a 14-year-old boy, whose only crime is wearing clothes of which you don’t approve, that who he is makes his dad want to kill himself. What sort of desperately fucking worthless piece of shit would do something like that?
This is a drum I bang pretty frequently, so bear with me if you’ve heard it before, but I’m sick to my fucking back teeth of seeing and hearing comments that go something like this:
“Why are you always going on about LGBT equality? We’re fed up of hearing about it. You can get married now, so in what way are you not equal?”
In this way, you unremittingly fucking hateful bastards.
In the way that a gay schoolboy can’t take part in a branch of the performing arts that gay guys have occupied for decades without being told he’s a freak. In the way that a mother supporting her son to be open about who he is is labelled a child abuser and told she should be in prison. In the way that some vicious, cowardly fucking cunt with an obscured avatar thinks it’s acceptable to imply that a father would feel compelled to hang himself rather than see his son feeling happy and fulfilled as a flamboyant, proud gay. And in the way that gay men are labelled paedophiles again and again, day after day, with no regard for the damage it might cause to the young people who are struggling to come to terms with their own sexuality.
All the time unedifying shit like this unfolds in response to a perfectly innocent video highlighting a positive aspect of gay culture, we’re not equal. All the time we have to think twice about whether it’s safe to hold hands in public, we’re not equal. All the time we’re yelled at, or spat at, or beaten up because we happen to be attracted to other guys or other girls, we’re not fucking equal.
But one day we will be. And it’s because of boys like Lewis Bailey and all the other Lewis Baileys who have gone before him and all the other Lewis Baileys who have yet to come. Those brave souls who refuse to be cowed by tragic, impotent little trolls whose existence offers nothing to the world but prejudice and hatred. Those who have the courage to say, “This is me. Either love me as I am or stay the fuck out of my life.” Those who stand up to the haters no matter what, and in doing so, give others the strength to do likewise.
These people are truly the best of us, and it is they who will change the world for the better. And if you’re not on board with that, you can fuck off to the edge of the observable universe and spend the rest of your miserable fucking existence eating a never-ending banquet of dicks.
Not the nice ones, though. We’re keeping those for ourselves.