Why we will be supporting Chester Pride again in 2014
Why we will be supporting Chester Pride again in 2014
I've felt the need to write a blog on an incident from our end of work Christmas drinks last night in Chester.
After hitting the beers early, it ended up being three lads on a session starting at the lovely (but chocker!) Harkers Arms then wombling along City Road trying out more pubs on the way. One particular bar (which I wont name as it's irrelevant and could needlessly harm their reputation) took our fancy due to it's cracking range of Belgian ales and we were soon perched on stools around a antique wine barrel converted into a table, drenched in flickering candle light. Such a refined arena somewhat blemished by our crass piss-taking of each other as drunk male friends feel such need to do!
One of our cohort finally opened up his moth-bitten wallet and went to get the next round in, leaving myself and another team member (who happens to be gay) to talk about the World War I project he had been working on that day for us. Our chat was interrupted by an obviously inebriated but perfectly coherent individual who flopped a loose-wrist gesture at us both and asked us whether we were having a lovely romantic time - an off the cuff gesture seemingly inspired by two blokes sitting on a table that had a candle on it. Genius.
My pal rolled his eyes, and I decided to reply "yes, thanks" which seemed to trigger some deep unseated response from the very depths of this bloke's cortex which may have been influenced by the fact that he was wearing an overly tight and thin t-shirt in the middle of December (come on mate, it doesn't take a gay person to work out fatties should lay off tightey whities) or more likely ten pints of what my mates at the match affectionately refer to as 'council lager' - anything that's around 4%, fizzy and largely shit.
So, with my comment the red rag to this anthropomorphic bovinae (boom, you can have that insult) - we were now joined at our table to face questions such as "how often do you do it?" or "which one goes on top?" or perhaps my personal favourite "Do you take it up the shitter?". I continued to carry on the pretence that we were both gay, and so became an object of both ridicule and interest. Clearly this person's fascinations in arseholes had turned him into one.
Being a straight, white male who now could be deemed as on his way to middle-class (my ragged-trousered father would be spinning in his grave, if he was dead) I find myself in the enviable position of having absolutely zero reason to be discriminated against in the UK. My somewhat broad Birkenhead patter can provoke the odd 'robbing scouser' joke, but I've never in my life been at the receiving end of blatant ignorant abuse. So here I am, having a drink and minding my own business at a bar finally understanding just how rife homophobia still is in Britain.
"Don't take offence mate, I'm only joking....I'm from Buckley, we love talking about sex and Landrovers" quipped our moral executioner. "Or perhaps sex with Landrovers?" I replied, a comment that fell on deaf cauliflower ears, despite me cursing inside that no-one else had heard what I thought was a great comeback (admittedly not so funny now I'm sober).
"Why don't you ask those two couples over there about their sex life then mate?" - I was starting to get really riled and felt myself ready to follow my first instinct to launch this bell-end through the glass window. Then I realised my table-mate was laughing at the situation, and my vain attempt to stand up for his honour against a plank. Had I got myself into the trap of the white councillor who bans the phrase 'blackboard' in schools in case it offends black people who in reality couldn't care less? Was it really just 'one of those things' that gay people had to put up with?
I'm clearly not qualified to be a social commentator on homophobia in Britain, but when the third person in our party brought back the beers and calmed me down, he reminded me why I was so taken aback by the situation. As a person who's been fortunate enough to receive a decent education and had parents who understood the value of a book, I have chosen my friends and work colleagues based largely around the person I am. That is to say, liberal and understanding that all 'minorities' are just the same as myself - descended from apes and clinging to a rock in space for a brief moment in time. That's why I was so shocked by the confrontation because I don't share my life with people that have the same values as the amoeba in the bar (bit harsh on amoebas actually, they're actually rather intelligent).
It's this reason that I feel Big Heritage have developed a social mission of bringing educational opportunities to those that need it. Reaching out to young people (perhaps our assailant had reproduced?!) to help the understand the huge time-frame of our human existence which makes a mockery of our petty differences and really should inspire us to live by one commandment "Thou shalt be nice".
And that's why we as a company will once again be supporting Chester Pride in 2014 - something actually I hope we don't need to do much longer. The event is fab, but hopefully in the next few decades being gay is something that is just as normal, dull and run of the mill as being blonde or quite liking cheddar. Nothing to be 'proud' about, as it's just something you happen to be.
But until that time, Big Heritage will do all in can within it's educational programs to destroy ignorance, celebrate difference and 'be nice'.
Dean Paton 21/12/13