My sister sent me a text message from Sydney: “Saw your ‘take the blinkers off’ picture in the SX magazine!”
I was wondering what she meant.
A few months ago, the spokesperson for This Is Oz turned up at RTR FM to be interviewed. Turns out that they were asking people to write messages on pieces of paper, take photographs of them holding these messages and send them in to the This Is Oz site. The messages were supposed to be all about supporting equality between genders, sexual choice, ethnicities and so on.
So suddenly there was a flurry of excitement as cardboard boxes were broken apart and I was handed the job of writing said witty slogans and messages down for all the RTR FM people to take pictures with. The station manager made me pose as well. My message was my usual direct self: “Take the blinkers off!” with a few hearts to tone down the yelling a bit.
Anyway, after collecting enough photos, This Is Oz is running ad campaigns in all sorts of publications. Apparently I am one of the shots chosen. You can see the shot as part of the ad campaign here.
But here I am, dorky as ever but that’s Graeme Watson’s fault:
So to all those who are homophobic and are not very comfortable with me discussing this:
You might be wondering why I don’t care about people’s sexual preferences or at least why I support equal rights. Male homosexuality (but not female homosexuality surprisingly enough) is illegal in Sri Lanka. The law dates from Queen Victoria’s time. We are an independent nation now and we have all sorts of other problems to solve but I don’t see why we can’t add homophobia to the list of issues we have to address. It’s mostly the guys I have come across who freak out about homosexuality because they are afraid that they will be called gay by their friends if they sympathise or that they will get hit on.
The point is this: you may not want to be hit on by a gay or lesbian, fair enough, though the likelihood of the people I know who do fear that actually getting hit on by such people is very very small indeed, mostly because the groups people socialise in are different. But you don’t need to hate them and you don’t need to think that they are awful or that they conform to stereotypes.
Because guess what? What happens in other people’s bedrooms is none of your business and it is none of the state’s business unless something is happening to someone under age, without consent or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Nobody wants to know what’s going on in your bedroom, so leave your nose out of other people’s. You don’t need to know and it doesn’t matter.
People aren’t solely defined by their sexual choice, their gender, their ethnicity or their religious beliefs. If you had to pick one thing to define people by, make it the way that they treat other people. And then turn that onto yourself – if you are willing to ostracize people because you define them as different (and therefore unworthy) because of one characteristic well then, how shallow are you? How badly are you treating people?
Grow a brain, grow a spine and grow up already. People are different in many different ways but that doesn’t give you the right to treat them badly.