Robert Hampton

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11th January 2013

The Right Attitude
Posted by at 7.41pm | Gay | 3 responses

Matt Jarvis on the cover of AttitudeWest Ham footballer Matt Jarvis has given an in-depth interview to Attitude magazine, talking about the game’s “Last Taboo” (© every cliché-spouting journalist ever).

He’s not the first footballer to appear in Attitude. David Beckham and Freddie Ljungberg both confirmed their gay-friendly credentials by featuring on previous covers, while the openly-gay Anton Hysén has also appeared in the magazine (I wrote about it back in May 2011).

In the interview, Jarvis says that he believes gay footballers should come out, saying, “it’s not something that’s going to be a shock” (not sure I’d agree with that, but he knows a lot more about the world of football than me).

He also repeats another frequently-voiced opinion: it’s not dressing room “banter” or image-conscious sponsors that a gay footballer would have to worry about, but chants and abuse from the fans in the stadium. Personally, I don’t understand why normal rules of decorum and behaviour go out of the window in a football stadium, but then again, I’m someone for whom crown-green bowls is a bit too fast-paced and exciting.

It’s great to see another footballer stand up on this issue. I do have a quibble, however: whose idea was it to put him on the cover with his shirt off? It’s certainly aesthetically pleasing (ahem), and no doubt the magazine will shift a few more copies on the basis of the pictures alone (there are more inside). I wonder, though, if it sends the wrong message: namely, that gay men are only interested in what Jarvis has to say because he’s wearing nothing but a pair of tiny shorts.

The full interview with Jarvis covers everything from his potential international career to what moisturiser he uses. It’s in the February 2013 issue of Attitude, on sale now at all good newsagents, and some really bad ones too. A digital edition is also available.

19th February 2012

Bully for you
Posted by at 12.21pm | Gay | No responses

The March 2012 issue of Attitude magazine has just come out. It’s the publication’s annual Youth Issue, focusing on gay teenagers and the challenges they face.

In many ways the situation now for gay people in the UK is better than it’s ever been. But if I was feeling happy about things, I was brought down to earth with a bump by the article on page 65, “The invisible children”, about the victims of homophobic bullying. The article is not available online, but I strongly recommend you hand over £4.25 at your local WHSmith for it, or buy the digital edition of the magazine.

It begins by telling the story of 15-year-old Dominic Crouch:

Dominic had been on a school trip where, during a game of Spin the Bottle, he kissed another boy. We don’t know if he was gay or not. As Roger says, that was something for him to decide in his own time. But back at school, video from a phone was allegedly passed around and Dominic was bullied with homophobic language. One day, Dominic walked out of school, climbed to the top of a six-storey council building, and after two hours, threw himself off.

The sad story of Dominic is far from an isolated case. In fact, it’s a serious problem, albeit one which is ignored by the mainstream media. A Stonewall survey in 2007 revealed that 65% of LGB pupils experienced bullying and that figure increases to 75% in faith schools.

Why do I mention faith schools? Because of this Guardian article about an anti-gay book which has been used in some British faith schools, which has incensed me.

The booklet, “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be”, discusses a boy dealing with “homosexual attractions” which it suggested may “stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse”.

The booklet, which claims that “scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke”, explains that “the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.”

The final insult: Michael Gove – Education Secretary for a government which seems increasingly determined to send society back to the 1950s – claims that the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits anti-gay discrimination, does not apply to, “any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons,” so the schools can continue pushing this dogma on impressionable children with impunity.

Therefore, any gay school pupils unlucky enough to be at a faith school don’t just have to contend with taunts from their fellow students. They could potentially have teachers standing up and telling him that they are disordered individuals. By allowing this material under the guise of “religious freedom”, the Tories are now actively promoting discrimination and enabling bullies. It’s disgusting.

I’ve decided to start my own religion. It’s called Hampoism, and takes as its central tenet that Michael Gove is an odious tossweasel. Give me my legal protection NOW!