Wednesday, August 12

Souffle: Sing if you’re glad

- October 10, 2017


After writing about the darker side of the gay world for a few weeks now, and I have to admit wallowing a little in the global state of play, I feel the need to re-dress the balance. It was Tom Robinson who, back in 1978 (yes pre-history), released this iconic anthem that was at the time such a bold move. I was 22 and out, but only just, and we all revelled at how the world of pop and pop fans embraced this single, even the BBC had them play on Top Of The Pops. It was only in 1983 that we saw “Auntie” ban Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s equally ground breaking ‘Relax’.

Tom Robinson was instantly something of a folk hero and I have held him in high regard ever since. His marriage to a woman, with whom he clearly had fallen in love, and his stand that he remained a gay man who had simply fallen in love with a woman re-enforced my belief that as ordinary humans we should at least be allowed to retain the right to change our minds.

I’ve not changed my mind, but there have been moments when I have been deeply affected by the friendship of a female friend.

I was 22 and out, but only just.

It doesn’t make me a bisexual or a heterosexual, far from it, and although I might joke that it makes me a lesbian, it is only in jest.

I once appeared on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio programme in a show about emasculation. The suggestion was that the guests had in some way been emasculated by something that had happened to them. For me that was redundancy, or at least that was the blanket under which my forced departure had been hidden. I am not sure if a part of that had been homophobia, I do know that a great part of it was deceit and lies, but heigh-ho, I survived – and I certainly didn’t feel emasculated by it.

If anything it made me stronger, well not in the first week or two when it still stung, but pretty soon I bounced back, bigger and bolder than ever. Not having to commute played a part, not having to tow a company line that was, at times, pretty silly – all this gave me a new strength. I was at a massive turning point in my life and one that I now have few regrets about. Okay, maybe if I had played the quieter role, kept my head down and cow towed to the “powers” I would still be there, earning lots of money and living a very different life. I didn’t. I chose to be me, well I suppose that choice was forced on me. Anyway, I’m glad to be gay so thank you to those who gave me the strength to choose this colourful, sometimes rocky and usually fun course.

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