John M. Becker

Straight Radio Hosts Hold Hands, Learn About Homophobia

Filed By John M. Becker | January 13, 2015 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: England, everyday life, holding hands, homophobia, radio spot

straight-radio-hosts-hold-hands.jpgFor the second time in three days, a video has come along that has people talking about holding hands and homophobia.

The first was a TEDx talk by Irish drag queen (and viral video sensation) Panti Bliss about the complexities of navigating the world as an LGBT person -- a world where even holding hands in public can carry significant risk. (Bil posted that video on Saturday -- click here for his original post, or watch after the break.)

The second one, which circulated on Facebook before being uploaded to YouTube, features BBC Three Counties Radio DJ Iain Lee, who spoke with Nick, a 23-year-old gay man who recounted how a woman followed him off a train while hurling homophobic epithets at him.

"What really shocked Iain," a posting on the station's Facebook page read, "was when Nick went on to say he's used to being insulted by strangers offended by him holding hands with his boyfriend in public... not kissing, smooching or cuddling... just holding hands."

So Lee decided to conduct an experiment in order to better understand what gay people go through: he grabbed a friend and walked with him around the streets of the English town of Luton, holding hands. They were surprised by what they found, especially when they asked some of the homophobes to explain themselves.

Watch:

Here's Panti Bliss's video:

I still vividly remember the conversation Michael and I had nearly ten years ago, when we first started dating, about how we were going to handle displaying affection in public. We decided that we would do so in the same way any (tactful) straight couple would (holding hands/arms, putting arms around each other, a peck on the cheek/lips, etc.).

We knew that even though they shouldn't have been, they absolutely were -- and still are -- acts of both love and defiance, and we've experienced our share of double takes, disapproving looks, stares, sneers, jeers, taunts, and even threats of violence over the years as a result. And all for something that no opposite-sex couple would even think twice about.

That's why these videos resonate with me: they provide a stark window into what it's like to walk down the street while LGBT. And that's why same-gender couples must continue to be affectionate in public: because these displays of homophobia won't stop until we show the bigots that we won't be intimidated any longer.

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