It was from a guy who used to attend the same secondary school as me in Liverpool, so we’re talking some twenty years ago. I know, I only look 21!?
Now, to clarify … during all my years at high school, I suffered no racism or homophobia. In fact without sounding narcissistic, I was a popular pupil. I liked and loved my friends, being the best years of my young life.
So, today’s messages to me were somewhat of a shock … like, delayed homophobia.
The first message was about ‘what did I expect to happen in the police (to do with racism and homophobia), because I did join whilst being both black and gay’.
The second message was about what I do in the bedroom as a gay man, which put the guy who went to school with me off his breakfast milk.
Homophobic? Yes, without a doubt. Have a read for yourself.
The point of this blog is that, having read the messages I realised a couple of things. Well, many in fact.
Firstly, that the work to end homophobia and other forms of hate is not over. There are lots to still be done.
I then realised that guys like this are afraid of their own insecurities, because I’m pretty happy with mine. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t challenge homophobia and other forms of hate, when they raise their ugly head.
Also, that people like him give me the urge to continue to do whatever I can to end all forms of discrimination so that my nieces and nephews can live in a world where they are not judged by their race or sexuality.
Importantly though, it came to me that as a gay man living in London I cannot go to the Metropolitan Police (even, if I wanted to) and report the homophobic abuse experienced today. Like with racism, in the past.
Why, you may ask?
Well for starters, I have been in a very public battle with Scotland Yard to do with homophobia within its own ranks for the past five years which it has continually denied – yet, two courts of law have ruled the opposite.
I continue to challenge the Force, to do with hate.
Can you imagine me at the Police Station front desk … “excuse me, I’d like to report some homophobia”?
They’d probably laugh in my face.
But seriously, that’s the problem when public institutions themselves are racist, sexist and/or homophobic – it affects trust in reporting, which is clearly not a good thing for a modern society.
Where does one go to report such hate, when there is no confidence in the public body who has a lawful duty to record and investigate such incidents/crimes when it can’t get its own house in order?
That’s why I’ve striven to hold to account the Met Police Commissioner for so long and will continue to do so, not because it turns me on (like, it turns the former schooler off) – but, because the system has to work for ‘everyone’.
Those who suffer hate crimes, have to know that the organisation or institution they are going to for help is not going to treat them in the same harmful way.
When the world’s a bit fairer, I’ll stop banging on about equal rights for all. Until then, I won’t.
To finish, why have I made this issue with the messages public?
Well, if he was big enough to send such hate from behind a computer screen without any regard for how it may affect others, he’s big enough to be held to account publicly. Imagine, if a young gay guy reads this sort of vileness and believes what he is doing is wrong? Well, it’s not.
The guy who sent me the message, who I can barely remember from school forgot that Easter is not just about giving – but, receiving too.
Take care, Max.