My mum always says that being gay is a little bit like being left handed. She's left handed so she has understood what it means to muddle along in a world orientated towards
the opposite. The point she's always tried to make to people who have questioned what it's like to have a gay daughter is that it CAN be that simple. Being gay is harder than being straight but if the right accommodations are made then it doesn't have to be a disadvantage.
In reality a left handed person is unlikely to receive abuse in the street, unlikely to be belittled or stared at and I do experience that in 2017.
My girlfriend is gorgeous (unbiased opinion) and often attracts a lot of attention on her own so when she's spotted holding my hand I imagine the onlookers' inner emotions to be something like The Scream painting. We were once in TopShop, holding hands and a group of teenage girls were nudging each other and pointing at us. My response was instinctive, born out of frustration, I shouted 'O-M-G' in their faces and they scuttled off, embarrassed for being called out. You could see they knew it was wrong but the damage had already been done.
Once we were holding hands in a shopping centre and a teenager walked up to us with his hands down his pants, holding onto what I can only assume were his shrivelled testicles and leeringly said 'lesbians'. Again, I shouted back in his face, 'LESBIANS'. Everyone in the shopping centre stopped and turned around. He slowly removed his hands and slunk away.
I can't tell you how many times someone has said to me, 'you don't look like a lesbian', which to me is like saying to someone in plain clothes, 'you don't look like a police officer'. If only there was a uniform we could all decide on so you'd be able to see us coming, we tried dungarees but then they came back in fashion, same with chinos and camouflage. Then Fifth Harmony took the Timberlands from us too. Perhaps we could fix a purple siren screaming 'YAAAAASS' on top of our cars, walk around with rainbow capes. Just to clarify, if you could see us coming, how would you prepare yourself differently?
I'll tell you about one more example of homophobia that I have experienced. It was the only time I've felt fear over anger. I was stood on a train platform with my girlfriend. We lived long distance at that point and we were taking a short ride together to say our goodbyes for another week. It was a sunny day, warm and we were sad so we were hugging. A woman was watching us and I tried to stare her out but she continued. Then she approached us and asked 'how close are you two?' Like it was any of her fucking business I replied, 'we're good friends' and we walked away. She followed us and asked again. I gave her the same answer but of course she wasn't content. She got on the train with us and proceeded to tell us how terrible Hell was and that God would never forgive us for living in sin. We kept quiet but ignoring her was aggravating the situation so I thanked her for her for trying to save us but we did not want her help. The train was full. Nobody stood up and intervened, nobody asked if we were okay and yet I bet they all thought what was happening was wrong.
If Pride is too loud for you, if you want it to be more normal or you think that we should be grateful for how easy it is to be gay in this country, then there's something you must understand. It is still difficult to be gay in this country. From the big deals to the small. There are places that I drop my girlfriend's hand to avoid being confronted and therefore I am intimidated into invisibility and I still have to correct my broadband provider when I say that my partner is the one who looks after the account and they ask if 'he' will be in later.
If we don't stand up for ourselves sadly no one does. I have never known anything moral to come out of avoiding eye contact and silence. So we will be loud, we will be proud and I invite you to join in.