The first gay marriages happened today from midnight. In Brighton that meant that at 12.01 the first marriage of its kind in the UK happened and I had an interesting experience on the way home last night.
There was a real party atmosphere in town and we spent the night celebrating it being Friday and on my way home I was waiting at the bus stop when I overheard a group of young guys talking.
These were a group of language students studying in the UK and what struck me was the overwhelming feeling that something special was happening and what appeared, at first glance, to be acceptance.
One person in particular was vocal about how impressed he was that full equality had happened and that Brighton was playing an important part. I began to get a warm feeling inside and genuinely felt that maybe the next generation would get it right, where my generation sometimes got it wrong.
Then the same person shocked the hell out of me. He began to explain, very passionately and eloquently, that he felt that being Gay was a disease. He went on to state that in most instances, just like some people are born with “abnormalities” like having no foot or diabetes, gay people were born with our own particular abnormality.
He went on to qualify this by saying he didn’t feel that you chose to be gay, except in “maybe some places like Hollywood”. Indeed he stressed this several times, I can only presume he feels that there is something about the water there!! The scary thing is, I’ve heard these arguments before, but they are usually out of the mouths of uber conservative religious groups.
I found this conversation confusing as hell. I went from wanting to shake this guys hand, to wanting to punch his lights out in the space of two minutes. It’s depressing that today’s youth, with access to all this information, still perpetuate the same outdated rhetoric that they have obviously learnt from the parents.
The worst thing about the conversation was that in quite a large group, no one challenged his view of the world. I’d love to say this group were drunk and in high spirits but they all appeared sober and were having an in depth conversation, not drunken ramblings.
So whilst today marks a tremendous leap forward in our countries attitude to equality, we have a long way to go to change some peoples attitudes.