Right wing Christian groups have stopped doorstepping homosexuals in SE1 on a Saturday morning with bad graphically designed pamphlets, now they using buses to advertise their services aimed at helping gay Christians become 'post-gay', of course every homosexual with twitter has had something to say about it. The adverts read 'Not gay! Post-gay, ex-gay and proud. Get over it!' a pastiche of Stonewalls 'Some People are Gay' adverts, which shows the Core Issue Trust (the agency behind these claims of cure/witchcraft) have a sense of humour but are the adverts homophobic? TfL have pulled the adverts in response to them being 'homophobic' leaving gay activists & hairdressers across the capital happy the pink flag has been shoved up the Core Issues core - but I don't mind going against the grain and saying I don't feel these adverts are homophobic - discuss.
On Thursday I tweeted 'Gays, if faith groups can't advertise their views & bizarre services on buses should we allowed to promote our own?
#devilsadvocate' which as you can imagine got a warm response from my community. The reasoning behind my pedantic tweet was to ask something that's is rarely asked of us in liberal left territory - what about the other foot? Why are we so outraged when groups or agencies public oppose our views but feel we deserve the right to walk down Regent Street in a sarong waving a flag and call it Pride? Just as we have the right to a voice I believe those with opposing views should do too, the Guardian calls this 'freedom of speech' but more political types would call it 'decmocracy'. I think It's important however angry I feel towards anti-gay views that we should live in a society where you have the right to an opinion however miss informed it is.
Alot of feedback from twitter highlighted the fact these adverts were spreading hate and the Stonewall ones were about acceptance, lets not forget that Stonewall have their own prejudices towards members of our community (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/oct/20/stonewall-holding-back-transgender-equality) and equal marriage for LGB people (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/stonewall-is-split-by-row-about-samesex-marriages-2095468.html). Stonewall top banana Ben Summerskill told the Guardian 'the only reason some gay people might want to stop being gay is because of the prejudice of the people who are publishing the ad' - dramatic. Do we really think an advert on the side of the 18 is going to push us over the edge into 'straight'? I think most gays on glace of these ads would 'LOL' and only reaffirm their "choice". Before this turns into an anti-Stonewall post I'm fully aware Stonewall do marvellous work for young people and at an early age these adverts could appear to hinder young people coming out but I think young people in 2012 have more bite, access to information/LGBTQ agencies and are a bit more world wise than we would like to give them (not to mention how many gays are on the telly!).
It was also suggested on twitter that these adverts would encourage youth sucide within our community, It's widely documented that LGBTQ youth suicide is on the rise and work is being done to thankfully stop this occurring but this tragic loss of life was down to peer pressure, bullying and physical attacks not the promotion of a service offered to rich Christians but I understant the possible knock on effects. If we are worried that a piece of text on the side of a bus is going to be so damaging that it should be removed from history as filed 'homophobic' do we feel the same about homophobic scripture? Should we banish holy books from schools that go against our views? Should we delete every facebook account that uses the word gay in a derogatory manner? Should gays wear a pink carnation so our presence is visible in society? Where does this stop? I'm aware I'm being facetious but there is some truth here. Do I think the claims of cure in these adverts are false? Yes and in line with advertising law this is the reason why they should be pulled, to remove them on the ground of 'homophobia' only makes the homophobes more homophobic, shouldnt we be doing the christian thing and attempt to sit down with them, break bread, make our community less scary and share knowledge?
Ironically this year I attempted to make a short film for LLGFF about homophobia in 2012, I approached some high profile victims of homophobia, celebrities who have been homophobically trolled online, some gay journalists and a human rights activist who all declined interviews to discuss their experiences - I was astonished that public faced gays didnt want to talk, I also put a call out on here, facebook and twitter for couples to talk about their experiences and got no replies - does this mean homophobia isnt important or are we afraid of looking weak? Maybe I should have taken the Lady Gaga route in profiting from homophobia with a single release and somehow making it our anthem.
If you don't agree with this post - good, call me homophobic - its the done thing.
P.s this isn't my formed opinion, I'm willing to be swayed or educated but not cured.