Fresh (sort of) from Pride weekend in Belgium comes this post for the Hop Against Homophobia.
I consider myself pretty lucky to live in a country where marriage was opened up to people of the same sex without fuss in 2003. Since 2006 adoption by gay couples was also agreed upon, simply by striking out the few words in the law that stated that both adoptees needed to be of a different sex.
Did it change much? Yes and no.
Most of my gay friends are in long-term relationships, but remain unmarried. Then again, most of my straight friends aren’t married either!
The press have become quite open about same-sex relationships since gay marriage. Just recently, the report on our government-back TV station about mother’s day celebrations featured a look at mother’s day at the house of a family consisting of two mothers with three children. They didn’t make a big deal out of it, simply stating that it was a double party for them, and that for father’s day the children were given the choice to make a father’s day present for the moms or for an uncle or grandfather. I loved the casual way it was portrayed; not as something to gawk at, but simply as a look at a happy family.
Does this mean there is no homophobia? I wish I could say “yes”.
Our Antwerp Police Department may recruit at every gay event in the city (and there are quite a few, since we are widely known to be a gay city) and have more than one openly gay Captain, it isn’t all milk and honey.
We may have an openly gay Prime Minister and an openly gay Minister of Education, we also recently had the first officially recognized gay bashing homicide.
Every other week we hear about (mostly) men being cornered and threatened after leaving a gay bar, some being beaten on the streets. Some of my friends have told me they no longer show affection to each other in the open if it’s just them and their partner. It’s only when they are out with a larger group that they feel safer to do so, but the name calling has increased. The sad part is that the name calling (and I can deduct the violence) often comes from groups of young men hanging out together (looking for trouble?). I would hope the younger generation would be more tolerant, and some of them definitely are, but like with everything, they become more radical with every passing year and this scares me. It also scares me that if I go to a gay party, I’m glad there are bouncers at the door.
What is this world getting to?
What are we teaching our children?
We shouldn’t need things like the It Gets Better Project or The Trevor Project. We should all be able to convey to the next generation that every person is equal. Every person is good regardless of their race, color or creed, regardless of how much money they have, regardless of their religion, upbringing, political affiliation and yes, regardless of who they love.
And for those who’ve read this far down the post: please comment and one lucky person will win their choice of my back catalogue (one novel or short story of their choice deposited in their Dreamspinner Bookshelf)
UPDATE: Since the hop is over, so is the contest. Feel free to comment, but you can’t win anymore.