Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Now, for the plebiscite on the definition of bullying

Readers of this blog may be aware that I am a gay man, who has long – and consistently, albeit not recently – advocated the case against gay marriage.   A few months ago, however, I changed my mind.  Six weeks ago, I voted yes, with some reservations.  The most interesting part of my journey here, I think, is how the “No” case has so successfully changed my opinion on this issue over recent months – and how, just this morning, a ridiculous op-ed from a “No”-case proponent has convinced me to cast aside my remaining reservations. 

So take a bow, Margaret Court and Professor Patrick Parkinson (among others) – through your hysterical invocation of the “No”-case proponents as being bullied victims of the gay lobby, you have showed up the flimsy foundations of your stance, and so – obviously unintentionally – swung my vote, at least, to a “Yes”.  You have allowed what seems to be some kind of deep-seated personal insecurity (to put it kindly) to morph into a pseudo-objective opinion on something that is (to put it politely) none of your business.  Oh, and also perverted the meaning of the word “bullying”, and its English language cognates.

In today’s op-ed, Professor Parkinson zeroes in on the case of a man apparently sacked from his job in England for expressing in public a very mild opposition to gay marriage. I suspect that there is more to this case than Professor Parkinson grants – but it would be impossible for me to drill down from afar into the objective truth here, so let’s take the case study at face value.  The International Gay Lobby has ruthlessly crushed this poor man, Professor Parkinson seems to imply.  And possibly also countless others?  If so, great swathes of these “bullied victims” are palpably silent.  Perhaps Professor Parkinson’s implication is that they are mostly too afraid to talk.

Gosh, poor dears.  As a gay man, I presumably must have had little lived experience of bullying.  Losing one’s job because of sexuality must be under Professor Parkinson’s logic, a still rarer thing than being bullied for being a “no”-case proponent.  Funnily enough, though, the former has happened to me – as a law lecturer, albeit quite a while ago. (Conversely and more recently, my earlier “no”-case public views, did not attract any criticism that I would call out as unduly harsh).  Perhaps I should be your next international cause celebre/meme, eh Professor Parkinson?

But of course I jest here – my experience of life-changing discrimination here is no different to the lot of many millions of other LGTBI+ people in the first-world.  And outside the first-world, of course, things are far worse.  I count myself lucky for never been in serious fear of my life because of my sexuality, but there have been many unpleasant incidents over three decades, including being spat at in an outdoor café in central Melbourne, in broad daylight, two years ago, by a ~18 y.o. boy/man – whose ethnic appearance placed him as coming from what from today can euphemistically be called the “No” suburbs.  I was apparently guilty of wearing a too-tight T-shirt – hence his spit (in my eye) and his yell of “Faggot!” to go with it.  Again, far too everyday an experience to bother going to the police about; and the café staff just shrugged when I told them what had just happened (in case they hadn’t seen it for themselves).      

In conclusion, go back to your sad lives in your nice (and no-doubt “Yes”-voting) suburbs, Margaret Court and Professor Parkinson (and the rest of you).  Even after the big news today about the “Yes” case winning the plebiscite, you can sleep assured tonight that homophobia is alive and kicking (and spitting) in the non-Anglo (and especially) non-Anglo and poor suburbs. 

As ever, the rich get the poor to do their dirty work for them.  Ruling-class Anglo homophobes who seemingly have conscripted an informal army of non-Anglos, and especially their youth, to be their storm troopers for policing public morality (and T-shirt sizing) is just the latest twist to the tale.

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