Thursday, June 4

AK Soufflé: Pansy!

- March 27, 2017


Pansy! Pansy! Pansy! It was the taunt of my early teens and even before I had realised what it really meant and certainly before I had accepted that it was a name that branded what I would eventually see as my sexuality, I knew that it was not a good thing. But there it was, thrown at me along with fairy, pooftah, queer, bum boy and a whole raft of equally offensive names. It was pre gay, or at least it was in deepest darkest Lancashire, maybe “softy southerners” had already adopted gay.

And there I go, using words in a defamatory way, “softy southerners” why did we think that, what evidence did we have that southerners were in any way soft? With the amount of news coverage given to the Kray twins back then we should have realised that some southerners were clearly “dead ‘ard!”.

And of course it later became common knowledge that Ronnie was a “wooly wooftah” and that Reggie had been known to “help out” when times were busy. Good for them I say, on that score alone, but then who is going to bully the bullies when they are armed to the hilt and surrounded by psychopaths? It may be a hard pill to swallow but in one sense Ronnie did the gay world and cause just a little good, albeit with a gun in his hand.

There it was, thrown at me along with fairy, pooftah, queer, bum boy and a whole raft of equally offensive names

Name calling is vile. I don’t give tuppence for the whole political correctness angle on this, it’s the unwarranted aggression that I truly despise but even more I hate the tough exterior that so many of us have had to develop to cope with the abuse. Even I had to toughen up, turning a blind eye, walking away from trouble whenever it arose and just occasionally tossing my shoulder length curls and making a rude sign, the one with two fingers that has sort of fallen into disuse.

How I wish that back then I’d had the strength and the eloquence to fight my corner with words, but I did not. I simply avoided the confrontation as much as possible and the violence that often went with it. Some of the fear came from having to explain why I had a black eye or a bruised chest, mum and dad were not stupid and could sniff out a lie at 100 yards.

Sadly so many of those terrible names have entered into the language, often in an ironic way, I for one am guilty of that, but they remain weapons, weapons that we could all so easily disarm.

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