Monday, 29 July 2013

The Last Time Puritans Were In The Ascendant, It Didn't Go Too Well For Us Gays

I thought we'd won. The same-sex marriage debates showed the impotency of the old right-wingers, those stalwarts who opposed every happy thought and every freedom. We were free, free at last!

But the forces of conservatism come in many guises and whilst we were defeating the elderly conservative contingent, the right-on feminist contingent snuck in the back door and started agitating with "Down With This Sort Of Thing" placards.

David Cameron, that "liberal conservative" Stonewall were swooning over the other week, has reiterated his support for a "porn filter" which will filter more than just porn and should be better know as the Great Firewall of Cameron. Meanwhile Labour MPs and liberal journalists have spearheaded a campaign to get a "Report Abuse" button added to Twitter (which shall itself become a form of abuse in no time at all). And the Lose The Lad's Mags campaign has convinced the Co-Op to demand lad's mags self-censor or be dumped.

What does this have to do with an adult homosexual who isn't abusive on Twitter? Well I see such moves as preliminary movements in a general anti-sex and anti-freedom campaign. Real problems, such as rape, are being used to frown upon modern sexual freedom in general. Missing from that article were "Girls please don't drink, it leads to sin" and "Girls, stay away from parties and wait until you are married". But they pretty much went without saying.

The Nationwide Festival of Light was organised by known homophobes, such as Mary Whitehouse, as an ultimately unsuccessful campaign against "sexploitation" and violence in the media. Whitehouse later went on to sue the Gay News for publishing The Love That Dares to Speak its Name (she won). Her legacy waned with the poor leadership of Christian organisations but is renewed under new "liberal" leadership.

I'm not the only one to link Mary Whitehouse to modern campaigns.
"And, although the political assumptions underlying their quickness to take offence might be very different (the individual foot soldiers of this latter-day green biro brigade would certainly be alarmed to look in the mirror and see those familiar horn-rimmed glasses staring back at them), are the mobs of angry Tweeters who patrol our cultural landscape in search of a word said or written out of turn really anything other than Whitehouse’s digital inheritors?"
So I look with concern at any moves backwards towards a time when women had to cover up and everyone had to watch what they said. Gay men didn't fair too well under such regimes.

Not only was our poetry found unsuitable, but our book shops were raided and the number of men we had sex with at any one time was policed. Do you think "magazine shields" won't be used against depictions of gay relationships? Don't you remember how past internet filters had a bias against LGBT websites (naughty or nice!)?

It is time to prepare ourselves for the puritan's next steps. We won't be too far down the list, although our old allies like the trans folk and sex workers will probably still get it in the neck well before we do. Then it'll be our turn. Our Tumblr posts, our tweets, our magazines, our sexual habits. They'll be demanding we all wait until marriage for sex (now the same-sex marriage bill has passed), and give us disapproving looks if we lust after hotties. It is already happening, talk of eating disorders caused by representations of muscular men and the like.

Sigh. There I was planning for the rest of the decade and suddenly I'm right back in the 80s. Damn it!


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