Whilst this may seem like a vox clamantis in deserto, I can’t help but quell my outrage (yes, outrage) at the recent comments made by Coleen Nolan on ITV’s Loose Women.
For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of listening to such BIGOTED comments, Coleen was recently talking about how a bakery in Ireland discriminated against a couple for wanting a wedding cake for a gay marriage. Her view on the matter is as follows:
“What about if somebody walked in and said I want a cake and I want the whole Islamic State on it… Because it’s a business do they have to make it? And if they turn around and say they’re not making it, we’d all applaud it”
Coleen, allow me to explain that there is a fine line between expressing love between two people in the form of flour, eggs and jam and a form of rule that is largely totalitarian and oppressive.
Nothing like spouting homophobia on national television. Well done Coleen, well done. *sigh*
The other week, I was lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s wedding and it was absolutely first class. The wine was flowing, the chat poured forth and the music was decanted effortlessly.
To have a rest from our crazy dancing (we were partying hard), myself and one of the other guests took a seat at the downstairs bar, away from the music upstairs. We ended up chatting to the barman who, on the surface, seemed a very pleasant chap. He was telling us about the local area, the celebrities he had served in the past and humouring our weird sense of humour. (I would like to point out here that I was completely and utterly sober).
We ended up talking about sexuality, as it inevitably comes up in good conversation, and I professed that I was homoromantic – sex doesn’t bother me, but a loving relationship does (and a good snog every now and again never goes amiss).
At this point, said barman says “No dude, that’s not right… I reckon that says something quite dark about your mind.”
The other night I was lucky enough to be invited with a group of friends to see a well-known drag queen at an equally well-known gay club. Having recently got in to RuPaul’s Drag Race (yes, I know I’m a latecomer) I was expecting one heck of a show.
The drag queen came on stage and let out a tumult of jokes that absolutely levelled the floor; everyone was enjoying themselves. After the introductory remarks, the drag queen moved to the main event – a dance off. Calling up members from the audience, each was greeted with their own cutting insult: the “ugly dyke,” the “bottoming faggot” and the “boring, desperate het woman.” Aside from the severe issues that I have with the word ‘faggot’ (no derogatory word for ‘homosexual’ offends me more), the fact it was said by a drag queen seemed to make this moderately acceptable. After all, is it not the purpose of a drag queen to shock and offend?
Well here I think we have found the limit. The next person to be brought up on stage was someone of Asian descent and a whole rafter of jokes spewed forth: were his parents in the beauty industry, how small his cock was etc etc. A lot of the “jokes” uttered were of a deeply racist and stereotypical nature and whilst they were taken in good jest, I still found it difficult to watch. You wouldn’t belittle someone for something they had no choice over now would you? That wouldn’t be funny at all.
In my last post, I spoke about how I don’t share my private life (and thus my sexuality) with my students. My reason being, even as a teacher, I am entitled to privacy and in order to maintain good relationships with my pupils, a line needs to be drawn in the sand of the playground. A line that defines neatly and firmly what students can ask about me and what they can’t. Consequently, whilst I don’t actively state my queer credentials, I ensure that the queer or non-heteronormative is very much propagated (for want of a better word!) positively at my school.
But what about in other areas? Maybe from the other staff? The Senior Leadership Team? The Local Council? Government? It is the last of these that I want to take issue with here. I have to admit that on this front, the government is getting it wrong. Offensively so.
Let’s take a look at the National Teachers’ Standards, specifically to Part II. This section relates to matters which are more tangential, yet still fundamentally involved, with the classroom. One such standard is the following:
“Teachers uphold public trust in the profession and maintain high standards of ethics and behaviour, within and outside school, by… not undermining fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect, and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.”
This particular standard was included after the Trojan Horse scandal and, to a point, I understand its inclusion. What it basically outlines is how the government wishes for teachers to make pupils good citizens. However, the standard enters into a rather complex dialogue here, so allow me to go (briefly) in to a few of them before coming to the main crux of the post.
Last week, my workplace held a session to reflect on what it means to be LGBT and to have faith. To think about God’s unlimited, intimate love for all of us – whoever we are. To give time to pray together and to reflect on what Jesus means to LGBT+ people.
I am privileged to work in such a place.
The prayer we said together, written by one of my colleagues, is here:
As I grew up, and came to know myself, I learnt how I didn’t quite fit into the world. A world built for those not like me – normal people.
In the tangled, layered mess that is our society structured by privilege, I do pretty well. I can’t imagine the experience of those queer folk – queer in the broadest sense of different – whose radical identities are routinely refused; whose heritage is one of the deepest oppression and pain.
Though I can’t speak for everyone outside of the normal, I want to learn – to be ready to listen, to bolster others with the power that society, through privilege, arbitrarily bestowed upon me.
I think that living as queer gives us all a power, however.
One Direction. Five ordinary lads who have achieved international stardom. There’s a part of me which feels sorry for them. I would imagine that Simon Cowell is a cruel and harsh taskmaster who runs the boys through the ringer, extracting every last pound and penny he possibly can. Then there’s another part of me which feels that the boys need a round of applause. Don’t get me wrong, Cowell is doing very well out of them, but then again, they’re doing pretty well for themselves (especially as they have shares in 5SOS – http://www.popjustice.com/briefing/2014-a-z-o-is-for-one-directions-secret-investment/133340/).
They use their talents (vocally and visually) to good effect and have achieved more money than I could ever dream of earning at their age. Then there’s the other part of me which is annoyed by them. They sing mediocre (yet catchy) songs and get shed loads of money for it (and that’s before we take into account all the merchandise and 1D paraphernalia attached – as tempting as that pink tinged box of 1D eau de toilette is, I’ll give it a miss thanks).
Yet there’s something more than just how much is in the old piggy bank here. Now, it should be no secret that there’s a little tinge of “sexual deviancy” amongst the boys. Looking in the darker recesses and abysses of the internet, we may find rumours of Harry Style’s bisexuality (well that’s okay because he still likes girls) or, heaven forbid, homosexuality. The latter conjecture is added to even more when it is rumoured he has had a fling with Radio 1’s morning delight Nick Grimshaw. Hold the press – surely not?!