Feb. 3rd, 2013

commonpeople1: (Sea)
Parsons Green station by Ewan-M
Parsons Green station, a photo by Ewan-M on Flickr.
It's been years since anyone's thrown a homophobic remark at me. In fact, I can't remember the last time it happened. So I was really surprised last night when my boyfriend and I, as we'd come out of a corner shop with some wine, had a comment aimed at us by a group of guys.

We were on the same sidewalk as them so I stepped behind my boyfriend to give them way (there were three young guys followed by a couple - all in their early 20s). I got this strong feeling that they "spotted" us - their conversation stopped, they all looked at us. It happened very quickly - one of them said to me in a very effeminate way "oh hi honey, how are you" and made this move to touch me.

We just kept walking. My boyfriend didn't even hear very well what he said. As you can imagine, all sorts of scenarios started playing in my mind: that I said something back, that we got into an argument, that we got into a fight.

All in all, it was a tiny little incident. Nothing compared to what many people put up with everyday. I have a gay friend who is harassed all the time; even had someone punch him in the face once for no reason and then walk away (right in Piccadilly, with tons of people around.) And when I hear of what some guys have said to my girlfriends...

Living in the East End, you'd think I'd get this annoying stuff all the time, what with marauding Muslim gangs supposedly controlling my area, but it's never even crossed my mind. I was starting to forget I was gay! There are more and more gay people living in the East End, and this has made "us" feel more visible and part of a silent community - a group that doesn't need to feel so displaced and alone when in public (though I've also heard that homophobic attacks are on the rise here exactly because of this community's growth.)

We were in Parson's Green last night, a posh bit of West London. The home I would imagine of people with good education, who are past this sort of stuff. But I suppose young and dumb white males will always be themselves?! I felt after this encounter like everyone we walked past was a giant asshole. And very straight. The whole rah rah crowd thing.

I've been thinking since then what it must be like to get this sort of harassment fairly regularly. Either you grow a tough skin or… I don't know. What do you do with that rage and sense of unfairness inside of you?

April 2017


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