Not seen and not heard

I set out to do a meme, then got stuck (sorry Hannah, I'll do it soon!). Then I went to a lunchtime meeting (yep, missed my lunch and all) organised by a group of students to discuss homophobia and homosexuality. This meeting was held because a few weeks ago two gay students were attacked at a party held by the University Radio station on two gay students.

There weren't many people at the meeting. Not many students, and not many teachers. That is sad. But for those students who were there, I just wanted say that they were brave. I won't say what I thought of people who could have turned up, but didn't.

People talked about what homophobia meant, about where it came from. But I got the impression that for some of the students there, just being out in front of others, being recognised, addressed and listened to was quite a big deal. Again, that's sad. And it's made me wonder how many of our students, how many students anywhere, just don't get seen, or listened to, for one reason or another.

There's a lot of activism on behalf of gay people in Europe and America. Things are different in Turkey. It's not easy to speak out, not easy to be out. I'm not saying it's easy anywhere. Coming out to the world and admitting you're different in any way is always an act of courage, and there's always the risk that you'll be made to pay for it. But in some places, if you're mistreated, there'll be people who back you up, who'll turn up at meetings, make noise on your behalf.

So next time you go to a gay pride event, please spare a thought for gay people living in parts of the world where people like them have to hide their sexuality from their family, their friends and their colleagues.

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