Public service announcement – this is an opinion piece with few photos and a pro equal rights stance, if thats not for you then meet me back here in a week x
This is Bob the Drag Queen………
Bob is the latest winner of Rupauls drag race, as I watched him be crowned following an hour of gorgeous gowns, make up and killer one liners I started to well up, I was remembering a brave gay man who shaped my belief that every body is equal, with absolutely no exceptions. He would have loved the fact that Drag Race has become a surprising hit, loved by gay men and middle aged straight housewives and everybody in between.
Martin Roberts was a colleague and friend of my grandmother, tall, handsome and a devout motorbike rider. Martin enjoyed the finer things in life – Fortnum and Mason’s rose and violet creams and the rose petal jelly I made him once.
I think I was about 15 when Martin was “queer bashed”, kicked and punched to unconsciousness because he was gay. Off we went to visit him with chocolates and he happily showed us his injuries, he had been kicked so hard that a piece of his pelvis was missing. he showed me the imprint of a DM on his side, outraged that he had been kicked with what was at the time, a utilitarian shoe.
He recovered and went back to work, and then moved back to his native Wales. I grew up and was sitting in my flat watching the news and there he was, Martin was on GMTV explaining that his AIDs diagnosis had meant that he had been banned from using public swimming baths in his locality. Society hadn’t finished kicking him while he was down. I understand that he died soon after just missing the start of the retro viral drugs that would have helped him.
So, apart from a heart breaking story, whats this got to do with anything? well, our local news reported on the same day that Queen Bob was crowned that the number of homophobic attacks has risen dramatically, two recent attacks had left one man blinded and one with a jaw so smashed that he couldn’t swallow his own saliva. The shocking added fact is that we are talking about attacks that happened in Brighton, the spiritual home of the gay community.
Why am I telling you this? I’m not sure to be honest, one of the reasons is that I tried to google my friend Martin’s name and the horrible incidents that had happened to him and nothing came up, he had the misfortune of dying before the internet really got going. I suppose I also want us to be as fair to everyone as we can be, you don’t have to approve of their lifestyle but that is no excuse to lay your hands on them.
So this is for you Martin, and as Bob the drag queen would say I hope you entered the afterlife purse first and kicking the door down.