Cyber Bullying - The dirty truth

I saw a video clip on You Tube which knocked me out of my cosy middle class world adn reminded me how hateful homophobes can be. I was left shaking...

I generally live a very comfortable life - I work in a mostly gay company
(well, I edit a gay magazine, don'tI?).
I move in accepting (and, yes, pretty middle class) circles, my mother
welcomed my boyfriend and his mother to her home at Christmas with open
arms. If it were not for the tales that cross my desk, I might think the
world we live in was pretty sorted for gay men.

People often contact our magazine with "evidence" of homophobia and I
generally approach it with caution. The word is bandied about too fast and
loose, and careless overuse cheapens it. But what I saw on YouTube the
other day, after a reader drew my attention to it, not only sickened me but
also cheapened us all.

It was a video clip titled "John The Raveing [sic] Gay" which showed a man
- apparently a homeless man - cornered by a bunch of scally boys who
repeatedly and aggressively asked him if he was gay. He was rocking from
side to side, clearly distressed, looking for an escape, and finally
conceded that yes, he was gay.

The boys cried out "Errrrr ... dirty bastard" and went on to grill him
further about what exactly he got up to. Did someone cum in his mouth or
him in someone else's? It went on. The guy was mumbling, close to tears:
"Yes, but please can I go now", and the clip rumbled on in this sordid
fashion for a couple more minutes.

As the clip ended I was shaking. My boyfriend had been in the other room,
and he came through. “What’s that you’ve been watching?” he asked, but I
couldn't bring myself to show him. I felt sullied.

What struck me hardest was that when people feel they have no power, they
pick on the most vulnerable members of society - and here he was: gay,
presumably homeless, possibly a street drinker, probably with mental health
problems, impoverished and, very probably, a frequent victim of abuse. Here
was someone who needed to have our collective arms put around him and be
looked after, and what happened? He gets spat on and everyone is poorer for
it. And this is what we get for the dehumanising influence of allowing
"gay" to remain a term of abuse in schools. This is what we get for
centuries of trying to keep people down. This is what we get when we try
and deny a part of our human-ness – a stripping back of our humanity.
Everybody loses.

I hope that one day the boys who made this video will realise what a
damnably dark thing they have been involved in. I hope that they realise
that they have done something that will be with them for their whole lives.
I hope they will realise that when we attack people in this way we are
somehow attacking ourselves. And then there is a part of me which would
like to see them get a bloody good hiding, have it filmed and put online
for everyone to see - though that desire also makes me feel cheap.

From the comments on YouTube (more than 130) it looked as if the clip had
been up for several months. It looked like it had been flagged as
inappropriate content, but it took someone alerting several members of the
gay press for it to actually be removed. I have reported the clip to the
police, and I only hope that whoever posted it is caught up with and made
face the consequences. I only hope that YouTube never lets another clip
like this stay live for long.

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