Last night the missus and me watched a 1-hour documentary called The Out List. It showcased a series of people – activists, entertainers, athletes and politicians – talking about their sexuality, their identities and their experiences as queer people in a binary-defined heteronormative world. Of the people featured in the film all but two of them were moved to tears talking about life as an LGBTIQ person.
A couple of weeks before seeing the documentary someone told me that things were “so much better now for gay people”. I hate to rain on a supportive hetty’s parade and seem churlish: maybe it was the timing, but only the day before I’d been profoundly upset by the news of two gay men and human rights activists who’d been hacked to death in Bangladesh.
I thought how nice it was that I could get married and live a relatively hassle-free life. Then I remembered what a rotten-to-the core tradition conventional matrimony is, how I still don’t feel comfortable holding hands with my partner in public, how we don’t kiss hello and goodbye on platforms, how we still have to come out again and again and again every time there’s a new job, or meeting or place where people don’t know us.
I was humbled when I thought of those two men, murdered by homophobic thugs and I told the woman with the pink-coloured specs that people all over the world don’t have it so easy. I am not sure how much of it went in. Those two Bangladeshi men died because of who they were, who they loved and where they happened to be born. They could have been me; they could have been you. I count my blessings every day I wake up and I know lots of people who do. And if you get the chance watch the documentary – better still, if you’re LGBTIQ just recommend it to all your hetty friends.