What you can do

Two Scoops of Homophobia

Last night 47 year old TV 'personality' Richard Hammond, claimed that he doesn't eat ice cream because he's a straight man.

Fragile masculinity is both odd and terrifying at the same time.

It can be responsible for fathers not telling their sons they love them, it can stop men with depression talking about their feelings and can define the clothes men wear, the friends they keep and the way they live their everyday lives.

When 'masculinity' is challenged in relationships, it can often result in violence and abuse. Fragile masculinity is toxic masculinity.

Fragile masculinity is toxic masculinity.

For LGBT people, the concept of masculinity can be even more challenging, and is ever-present. It's in the gendering of toys ('pink for girls and blue for boys'), sports we're told to play at school, the uniforms we wear, growing up, deviance from this norm leads to being teased, isolated, or being bullied on the playground and online.

I'll always remember starting a new term at school with a black and white shoulder bag, and being called a poof and a faggot throughout the day. Even my P.E teacher chipped in.

Face burning and blinking back tears, I went home that day, upset and confused. I was still struggling to understand my sexuality but I told myself whatever I was, I wasn't 'manly'. I wasn't a 'real man'.

By the following year, everyone had similar bags and I felt vindicated. What I didn't realise then was that when I wore it, other boys at school were still trying blindly to identify what ‘being a man’ was, anything that fell out of this narrow remit was perceived as ‘gay’.

This is one of the reasons that 99 per cent of teachers hear the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ in the classroom, be it referring to pencil cases, homework or display work in the corridor.

Often this can lead to internalised homophobia, which is a huge problem both within and outside of the LGBT community that we must address.

Hammond's words are commonplace for young people in the playground or classroom, despite the fact that he chose them very purposefully and is, apparently, a 'grown man'.

So thanks, Richard. Thanks for mocking and belittling our community.

Thanks for setting a bad example for young people, and making them think this sort of 'banter is acceptable', and that bullying a group of people because of who they are is not wrong.

Discrimination comes in all shapes, sizes and flavours. And, until we live in a world where no one is interested in serving it up, our work continues.