Pride marches have been going on since 1972 in the UK, and homosexuality has been decriminalised since 1967, so why does homophobia still linger today?

In society nowadays, we pride ourselves in thinking that we are open and ready to embody all types of people. And yet as we look around, people still seem to be cowering behind closed doors and shutting down blinds, too afraid to enter these ‘controversial’ conversations. Too afraid that they themselves will be seen as queer or sympathising with ‘them’. It almost as if we are treating this like segregation now and at this point would not be surprised if they introduced ‘gays only’ toilets.

Homophobia is a very serious issue needed to be tackled with soon. With the LGBTQ+ community at its peak right now, it seems paradoxical with the very little representation of queer people. In local communities such as Chigwell, pride month rolls by with perhaps a meagre poster and an awkward tea party. The lack of representation and effort going into making people aware is absolutely shocking. It seems the very public is afraid to speak out, silently urged on by local councils wanting to keep things quiet. This is the very reason for people being too afraid to open up and people coming out very late as they are unsure of the consequences – how society will judge them.

Misconceptions are a big part of homophobia as many people believe that anything they do not understand is immediately wrong. What is a bit different - a bit unique - is a sin? After all these years, people still seem to be irrationally clinging onto hopes of being ‘normal’. What is normal nowadays days anyway? Diabetes and obesity have somehow become normal in the last few years and yet homosexuality, having existed for hundreds of years, is still not considered ‘normal’. Even worse that, as we move into a more technological age, people exploit the media as a way to hurl their derogative abuse, safely hidden behind the mask of anonymity. An unnamed Bancroft’s School student, commented on the homophobia: “People are in general very scared and have little understanding of this increasingly wide community. A little more presentation could help them to understand how unique this cause is.”

Homophobia could easily be tackled if local councils worked with communities and schools to have more representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Simple discussions or meetings and introducing children to this community earlier on, will help stop the spread of homophobia. People do not need to be patronized into thinking they are stupid, no: they need to understand that there is no ‘normal’. We should not only need pride month for us to bring out our coloured flags, and then shut them up in the closet for the rest of the year.