I often feel such apathy when it comes to politics and I’m a little ashamed of this. We live in an age of complacency when we often feel that having the latest technology, watching the latest T.V. program or owning the latest item of clothing is of rank importance and it’s hard not to fall into that pattern.
Sitting in the comfort of my home, I feast my eyes on the events of other countries and let myself feel briefly indignant at how homosexuals are treated in Russia and some African countries and then I pour myself another coffee and carry on flicking through a glossy magazine or idly perusing the Internet.
I saw a play yesterday about the 1967 legal changes that paved the way for gay equality in the UK. The laws that were passed led to homosexuality being decriminalised between consenting adults in private, albeit with an unequal age of consent. It’s hard to believe that it was so recent in our history that we were recognised as lawful and not some sinister and grotesque force of evil.
Contrast this with stepping out of the theatre and seeing a right wing group with racist and homophobic ideals marching in protest through central London. It’s a stark reminder that we may have won the majority of the battles over the past 50 years but that the war is far from over. We’re in constant danger of losing ground. Public opinion changes and forces with evil or just ignorant and misguided intent gain ground without us even noticing.
Pre-1967 there was a dark and dangerous climate for us. Blackmail, imprisonment, and psychiatric therapy: these were all far from unusual things for the homosexual male to be faced with as well as venom, hatred and vilification.
Like most of us, I’m a little bit lazy, slightly complacent and frequently preoccupied with own tiny sphere of existence. This isn’t going to change massively. However, I have made a vow and that’s to be more aware. I’m going to read more, notice more and see where that takes me. I’m not going to turn into Peter Tatchell and put myself in the firing line constantly (my nerves are too fragile for that) but at least it’s a step forward. Maybe you could join me in this? Who knows where it’ll take us and what good it might do.
Right, that’s enough politics. The soapbox can go back for storing soap in and I’m off to look around shops. I’ve done my political thinking for today.
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.
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