I’ve been fortunate. I don’t live in the most gay-friendly community in the world, but I’ve never personally been subject to a homophobic assault in my area. My family is well-known round here, and it’s no secret that I’m gay. I’ve had schoolkids ask me about my partner, and for the most part their reaction has been: “Cool.”
But I am not oblivious to the fact that I live in an area where there is homophobia. I have friends down the road who, although they’ve never been physically attacked, have experienced vandalism borne out of gay-hate. And mine’s a fairly traditional working class neighbourhood, where the laissez-faire attitude of city life towards issues of sexuality has yet to fully take hold. Being gay is the sort of thing you could tell the neighbours, but you would likely be in trouble – or at least get some very interesting glances – if you walked down the street hand-in-hand with your boyfriend.
This week I discovered that homophobic violence has come close to home. Michael Causer, a 19-year-old who lives just a couple streets away from me, was attacked on a busy road at 11am on Friday July 25, in a crime rooted in homophobic hate. He was viciously beaten, and now he lays in critical condition in hospital, having faced emergency brain surgery on the weekend.
I am grateful for never having had to endure the worst homophobia. But stories like this one remind me I’m only ever a few steps away.
A few more details from Pink News here.