This isn’t going to be a particularly funny blog post, because homophobia isn’t funny, but apparently the most significant thing that has happened in Scotland this week is that some anonymous and childish wee airse has been saying nasty homophobic things to Ruth Davidson on Twitter. I have no time for Ruth’s immature politics, but homophobic abuse is never acceptable.
I’m much older than Ruthie, and can, unlike her, actually remember the damage that Thatcher did to Scottish communities and the gross homophobia which the Conservative party inflicted on LGBT people. As someone who came out as gay when Ruthie was still at primary school, or quite possibly before she was born, the Dug has been on the receiving end of homophobic abuse for many decades. And some of that abuse has been of the variety that left yer actual physical hurt, with bruising and contusions, not just hurt feelings. So I know all about homophobia. The Dug belongs to that generation of LGBT who taught folk like Ruth what homophobia is, how to combat it, and how to challenge it. You learn an awful lot about homophobia when you realise you’re gay in Coatbridge in 1975. But this is 2015, and we live in a different Scotland now – a much better Scotland.
I suspect that Ruthie, like any well adjusted gay or lesbian persion, was not hurt and wounded by the comments on Twitter, she was just righteously angered by them. That’s a good thing. Righteous anger is a healthy response to unhealthy attitudes – but that’s not a lot of comfort when you have to deal with the unhealthy attitudes in the first place. Sometimes you just want to put your feet up and have a nice wee cuppa and laff at photies of LOL kats, because that’s the cutting edge kind of sexual politics thing that your average gay or lesbian person likes to do of an evening. It’s certainly the closest that anyone in the Tory party has ever got to advancing the cause of LGBT equality, but that’s by the by. What you don’t want is to have to cope with eejits whose sexual politics would make a caveman blush at their unevolved nature.
The fact that having homophobic things being said about you on Twitter by an anonymous twankmonkey wi a mooth that runs like diarrhoea and stinks even worse should provoke such a storm of outrage and newspaper headlines is a sign that Scotland has, by and large, grown up in its attitudes to LGBT people. Because it wasn’t very long ago at all that those attitudes were mainstream and perfectly acceptable in polite society. It’s a sign that Scotland now has a healthy response to those unhealthy attitudes – and that means that Scottish civil society is itself healthy and mature. This is a Very Good Thing, with the capital letters and everything. However just because Scotland is healthy and mature, on the whole, that doesn’t mean that there are not occasional individuals who are pus filled plooks on the face of society.
But let’s be honest here. The real reason that these comments received the attention and condemnation that they have done is because they were made by a member of the SNP. There is random homophobia on Twitter all the time, most of which goes unnoticed by everyone except the targets. There are even homophobic LOL kats, but I’ve yet to see them being condemned in the BBC’s Reporting LabourScotland’s regular aww-look-adda-cute-kitten spot. Ruth Davidson herself said that she often has to deal with homophobic comments. But those comments don’t get condemned in headlines in the newspapers or make the lead story on the telly news. The lesson is, clearly, if you happen to be a lesbian or gay person who is subject to abuse, just to make sure that you’re abused by an SNP member and then you’ll have the media queueing up to take photies of you looking sad and oppressed.
The SNP now has around 100,000 members, making it a truly national party in the way that other political parties in Scotland cannot compare, and it’s bound to include amongst that number some individuals whose sexual attitudes are regressive and backward looking. But what is important is not that such persons exist as SNP members, what is important is how the SNP responds when those individuals open their snide wee gobs. Or type their snide wee comments behind the anonymity of a Twitter user name.
Nicola Sturgeon immediately condemned the comments unreservedly and the SNP member in question was suspended from the party. That was the appropriate action, and it’s to the SNP’s credit that they acted so quickly and unequivocally. The SNP member concerned has now made an abject apology. Compare and contrast the refusal of Ukip to accept that their MEP Jibberjabber the Hutt had done anything wrong when he made his racist sub-Jim Davidsonoid “joke” about Humza Yousaf.
So this isn’t really a media story about the evils of homophobia. It’s really just another excuse to bash the SNP, and by association everyone who supports Scottish independence. Those who oppose Scottish self-determination have a vested interest in portraying Scotland as a backward province which is dependent upon the advanced graces of the UK to drag it kicking and screaming out of the 18th century. It’s something we heard with regularity during the independence debate – the constant reminders that the SNP has Brian Souter as a funder, although no reminders that Souter’s homophobic campaign was backed to the hilt by the Labour supporting Vow publishing Daily Record.
In that respect this story is a form scottophobia and is an attempt to insinuate – without saying so directly – that all independence supporters and the entire SNP are homophobes. And that pisses me off as much as the original homophobic comments did.
Donate to the Dug
This blog relies on your support and donations to keep going – I need to make a living, and have bills to pay. Clicking the donate button will allow you to make a payment directly to my Paypal account. You do not need a Paypal account yourself to make a donation. You can donate as little, or as much, as you want. Many thanks.