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.

14th June 2011

He’s awfully aggressive for someone named Tracy
Posted by at 6.11pm | Gay, In the News | No responses

Tracy Morgan is one of the stars of the hit US sitcom 30 Rock and a stand-up comedian. At a recent performance in Tennessee he reportedly broke off from his routine to engage in a joke-free rant against gay people:

He said that there is no way a woman could love and have sexual desire for another woman, that’s just a woman pretending because she hates a f***king man. He took time to visit the b**ls**t of this bullying stuff and informed us that the gays needed to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying. He mentioned that gay was something kids learn from the media and programming, and that bullied kids should just bust some ass and beat those other little f**kers that bully them, not whine about it. He said if his son that was gay he better come home and talk to him like a man and not [he mimicked a gay, high pitched voice] or he would pull out a knife and stab that little N (one word I refuse to use) to death.

Unfortunately for Morgan one member of the audience repeated the comments in a Facebook post, which rapidly went viral and was eventually picked up by blogs and the mainstream media.

Morgan later issued a grovelling apology, stating: “I’m not a hateful person and don’t condone any kind of violence against others.” – his remarks on stage would seem to imply otherwise.

Tina Fey, the star and executive producer of 30 Rock, comes out of this with a lot of credit, issuing a classy statement on the whole sorry affair: “I hope for his sake that Tracy’s apology will be accepted as sincere by his gay and lesbian co-workers at 30 Rock, without whom Tracy would not have lines to say, clothes to wear, sets to stand on, scene partners to act with or a printed-out paycheck from accounting to put in his pocket.”

One of Morgan’s costars on 30 Rock is gay actor Cheyenne Jackson. This might lead to some awkward on-set conversations when filming for the next season begins.

3rd May 2011

Hate Kills
Posted by at 7.07pm | Gay | No responses

I pre-scheduled this post before I left for Tallinn on 3rd May!

Homophobic attacks are on the rise, a development which the Guardian describes as “shocking”. Personally I’m not that shocked – as gay visibility continues to increase, a backlash was sure to happen. That backlash can manifest itself in many ways, and sheer senseless violence is at one end of that spectrum.

According to the report linked above, the statistics for London show that – although anti-gay crime has dropped by 3% in the capital as a whole – in the West End it has increased by 20%. This is worrying, as the area continues to be the home of most of London’s gay bars and clubs. If gay people are not safe there, where are we safe?

I’d be interested to see the statistics for homophobic crime in the rest of the UK. Liverpool is often cited as a homophobic city on the basis of some high-profile attacks on gay people which took place over the past few years. I’d like to see what the facts and figures say.

17th October 2009

Jan Ravings
Posted by at 10.29am | In the News | No responses

My parents take the Daily Mail as their main newspaper, and I’m too cheap to buy an alternative, so I usually get to at least glance at the paper every day (sample headline from last week: “Why do so many marriages end in murder trials?”)

Even a casual glance would tell that the paper is generally anti-gay. Usually, it’s just silly, as with their star columnist Richard Littlejohn, whose interest in homosexuality borders on the obsessive. Occasionally it becomes more nasty: in 1993, they carried a report on research into genetic causes for homosexuality, with the headline, “Abortion hope after ‘gay genes’ findings”.

Now of course it’s all about Jan Moir, whose column about Stephen Gately has attracted a certain amount of attention. I don’t want to link to the Mail and give them any more advertising pennies, so I’ll link to Charlie Brooker’s excoriation of Moir’s column instead.

She has ignored the postmortem and all known facts about the case. She is exploiting Gately’s death to make dubious insinuations about gay people. To do that, especially when that person’s funeral hasn’t even taken place, is just plain wicked.

What is reassuring is the outpouring of anger, fuelled by Brooker’s column and Tweets from Stephen Fry and others, which has forced the Mail onto the back foot.

So far Moir has issued a non-apology for her comments (blaming an “orchestrated campaign” by “the gay community”), but hopefully the pressure will be kept up. Maybe, just maybe, we’ve reached the point as a society where this sort of thing is no longer acceptable.

The Press Complaints Commission has received over 1000 complaints, although complaining to that body is largely pointless since they can only deal with complaints from people directly involved.