My thoughts on ‘that’ tweet.

Yesterday the tweet below appear as a retweet in my timeline.

 

This isn’t a person I follow and having read the tweet, and some of their others, it’s not likely to be someone I’m going to follow. That being said I, of course, had to comment.

I’ve always been a big believer that everyone is entitle to an opinion but I also believe that opinions are open to challenge. Much like this one.

So lets break down this tweet piece by piece.

As a gay man, I have never been to a gay pride march, nor will I go to one. I despise them.

I’ve been to a lot of them. I’ve been on the committee of three different cities Pride celebrations. I don’t like them all. Yes, I despise some of them. I don’t like Pride events that charge for the main parties or for people (companies, groups, whoever) to march in the parade. If you’re charging then you’ve made it commercial and are no longer thinking about the community instead you’re thinking about the money.

You could use the excuse that you need the money to get the big acts there to encourage more people to attend but why do you? Why do you need big acts? Why do you need people from every corner of the world to attend? Why not make it about your community. If people wish to visit and attend then so be it.

Personally I believe you should be using local talent. Those that need the exposure. Those who will work for a lower wage, if not free. I’m not saying all acts should work for free, people need to live after all and exposure won’t pay the bills, but most local acts, if you ask, will work for the cost of travel and refreshments. How do I know? Because I asked and got the answers I needed.

Lets take 2018 Brighton Pride. £37.50 for a ticket. With approximately 55’000 people in attendance they’re looking at raking in over £2million! For what? To pay a popstar who mimes to strut around on the stage.  Think about the LGBT+ groups who get no funded who could be helped with that money!

This entire event is a commercial entity and no longer about the community. Pride started as a political movement and with the fight for genuine equality still ongoing it should remain just that.

Yes, march down the street dressed in your Sunday best, birthday suit or highest drag, it doesn’t matter. It’s about expressing who you are and who you’re comfortable being when you’re in a safe space, but keep the movement a fight for our rights. Celebrate who you are and praise those who came before us that have helped us become who we are, but remember there are still challenges ahead.

 

I lived through Section 28, it did me no harm.

I lived through Section 28. It was horrible. Given the rest of the tweet I’m guessing the reason it did this person no harm is because they lived a secular life without visiting many of the popular gay bars. This is an assumption and I could be wrong, I don’t know this person so it’s all guess work. I don’t want to get to know this person so it’ll remain guess work.

Section 28 made me a second class citizen. Gay bars had to charge people a membership fee to enter because it was against the law to promote homosexuality, which this was considered. At Alton Towers I was asked by staff to stop holding hands with my same-sex partner. When I refused I was asked to leave. Why were all the male/female couples not asked to leave? They were holding hands too, and that was all I was doing. It was because of Section 28. I couldn’t hold my partners hand while walking down the street and if I did I could be stopped by the police and asked to stop. If that cop didn’t ask me to stop he was breaking section 28 by allowing the promotion of homosexuality.

When at college, for part of a general studies assignment, I wrote about the LGBT+ community and the law. I spent weeks with solicitors and in the courts and libraries researching for my assignment. After handing it in I was called to the principals office and met with him and my teacher. It was explained that I could not submit this assignment because it was inappropriate. No further explanation was given but I wasn’t stupid, I knew what it was. I was given an extension and the opportunity to write something else or not handing anything in at all and thus fail the assignment and not get enough points to get a good grade with the exam. Two days the later the teacher gave me my original assignment back, marked with A and Post-It saying “Sorry.”

Section 28 did me harm because I was out and had a social life that involved more than just sitting at home with friends, in seclusion the way the government wanted it.

 

I don’t force what I am on to others, this doesn’t get you support.

I don’t force what I am on to others. I don’t need to. Walking down the street with my bushy beard people can correctly assume I’m a man. I don’t need to tell them. Obviously, the tweeter is talking about him not forcing his homosexuality on others. Good for him because it’s really fucking frowned upon sometimes. So, again, neither do I. Some might disagree because, as I’ve already said, I go to Pride marches and gay bars. I also work as activist. But I don’t force myself on people. Where there is inequality I point it out and try to do something to change it. As the tweet started with mentioning Pride I’d also like to point out Pride is a peaceful prearranged march. The only force used is when bigots try to stop it. And even then, the force goes as far ignoring them and pushing through.

 

Live quietly with dignity, don’t make a scene & people will support you.

I live quietly and with dignity. I don’t make a scene. People do support me. But when needs must I will make a scene and I won’t be quiet, but I still do it with dignity! Attending a Pride march doesn’t stop any of that.

I get to live like this because of the LGBT+ community that came before me. The community that fought for my equality and my rights. The community that ensured that when I apply for a job they can’t turn me down because of my sexuality. A community that fought to give me the right to walk down the street holding hands with my partner. The community that has done so much to help me.

Sitting quietly is all well and good but why should I live my life in the shadows. If those before you had sat quietly you wouldn’t be tweeting “As a gay man…” because it would have been illegal for Twitter to allow it, and if the giants before us hadn’t fought it’d probably be illegal for you to say it let alone Twitter to block it.

So, you sit back and live quietly in your own self-built safe space while the rest of us fight for your rights. Just remember who to thank.  And with respect, go fuck yourself.

 


And here was my comment on Twitter. Sometimes you wish Twitter had more than 240 characters.

 


Just in case either tweet gets deleted here’s the text from them:

@matthewtoomer: As a gay man, I have never been to a gay pride march, nor will I go to one. I despise them. I lived through Section 28, it did me no harm. I don’t force what I am on to others, this doesn’t get you support. Live quietly with dignity, don’t make a scene & people will support you.

@UrsusRob: As a gay man, I lived through section 28, it did me harm. I don’t force what I am on others. I live quietly with dignity and don’t make a scene. I attend and organise Pride celebrations because someone has to fight for equality so section 28 and laws like it can be ended.

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Bear. Heart of lion, pecs like dinner plates, mind of whore.