While the pieces are being put together as to why Omar Mateen decided to go to Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida and open fire on innocent people, let’s just take a minute and remind ourselves that although we live in the 21st century, being LBGT is not as tolerated as we all like to think it is. While it might not be against the law anymore to be gay, it doesn’t mean that society likes it, while a lot of people tolerate and even embrace a good night out spinning around to Kylie, the same amount (if not more) will actively voice their concern about “deviant behaviour”. As if.
When my son was born 30 years ago, it didn’t cross my mind for one second that he might be gay, I was just concerned that everything was working ok, all the usual stuff that new mums worry about, but it never ever crosses your mind that your child might be “different”. If they’re going to be different, it will be because they are smarter than all the rest of the class, become a brain surgeon, top class athlete, hell, even Prime Minister, but gay? That was never in the game plan. But mothers always know. Mothers notice little things that make you start to wonder, and then the worry starts, not that you weren’t always worrying about your child getting run over, falling off a cliff, being abducted by aliens, but this is a different worry. Because you know that your child will have a harder journey than most now, and whenever they step out of the door once they’re older, are they going to come home being beaten up after falling foul of a group of ignorant, homophobic bigots who’ve probably grown up in a household of hatred towards anyone different. It sickens me to know that there are people out there willing to give my beautiful boy a “good kicking” or even worse, when they don’t even know him. Not that anyone is flaunting it. Gay men are usually reluctant to be seen showing public displays of affection because of not being sure of people’s reaction, they know that for some people it is seen as a step too far to witness two men holding hands in public, never mind kissing, how sad is that? We haven’t come as far as people like to think we have, any LGBT person will tell you that.
As an older woman who is doing online dating, I’ve found that the main reason I’m single, (apart from the fact I’m too picky) is that a lot of men my age are homophobic. While some might pay lip service and say they don’t actually mind gay men, it’s usually because they don’t know any. That view sometimes changes when I say I live with a gay man, and have lots of gay friends, all of a sudden they decide they’re not really comfortable with that. And that’s fine. I need to know pretty early on what their views are as there is no way I can tolerate anyone who uses the words “queer”, “faggot”, “scum” and any number of derogatory words to describe not only my friends but my flesh and blood. Absolute deal breaker.
So here we are. Fifty men shot dead for being gay and over fifty more injured, every mother’s nightmare as this is what every mother fears for her gay son, some idiot seeking retribution against something they don’t understand, or even want to. My heart goes out to all those mothers who have lost their beautiful boy for being “different”.
Some things won’t change.