Clare Balding, the BBC sports reporter who complained to the Press Complaints Commission over being called 'a fat dyke on a bike' and Conservative blogger Iain Dale, prove that the gay equalities agenda has done its work without resorting to outdated or overboard screaming from rooftops. Balding does not feel the need to introduce a report with the words, "Before today's Challenge Cup Final, remember everyone that I'm a massive lesbian". Iain Dale did not ask for his recent appearance on Any Questions to be preceded with a Kylie Minogue medley just to ensure everyone realised his homosexuality. They just get on with things, happening to be good in their fields whilst being gay.
It's not very easy being of liberal mind while also being realistic about the world outside. I struggled to balance similar concerns around the time of Raoul Moat's rampage. Prejudice based on skin colour or religion is ignorance to the nth degree, moreover the continued existence of such hatred reflects far more on those who spout such rubbish. That's not to say that a "victim disorder" exists to a degree, nor do local authorities come across very right-on by banning the word "Christmas" 'just in case' of offence. Such silliness is in itself ignorant, pushing a racist agenda rather than defeating it.
I don't find homophobia particularly appealing either, but how easily offended the gay rights lobby seem to become over the slightest hint of prejudice. The word "gay" is changing its meaning again, used to describe incidents or people without a hint of malice ("iPlayer is being well gay" "Lost out on that CD on Ebay, that's well gay"). I have seen the commetariat rally against this use of the word as though, context or ney, what really is being said is "iPlayer is being well gay, by which I mean, iPlayer is raping goats and urinating in the eyes of toddlers". Until the gay rights lobby calms down, they'll never get the equality they crave. Is this illiberal of me? Or realistic? What good comes from continuing whinging about outdated attitudes and language while acting like a petulant teenager?
I understand that homophobia in schools and workplaces needs to be tackled. What causes this prejudice in the first place? A deeply held genetic mistrust? The idea that all gay men are leather-chap wearing permatanned drama queens? Where could people possibly get the idea for this image, I wonder?
The fact of "gay" entering everyday discourse to become as meaningless a word as "damn" should be celebrated. But no, the Pride lobby now feel offended by it, getting what they wished for being somehow not acceptable.
Maybe that's the point. Pride needs to keep up the pretence that the 1960s legalisation never happened, because the desire to play the victim means attention and spotlights and funding from on high. It's patronising to the highest order, forever highlighting the differences between gay and straight while simultaneously demanding equality. The two don't balance. Until enough people realise this, prejudice will flourish. That doesn't sound like 'pride' to me. It sounds like attention seeking. Councils who fund gay equality events may want to look into their budgets to decide if such defeatist self-promotion is really worth council tax payers money.