I could have told Iain Lee about this had he only asked me about it. This article in The Independent by him took me back to some two decades or so. What the reporter found was exactly what I found too.

I was visiting a number of places in the UK and Europe, while my brother Barath normally resident in Edinburgh then was to meet up with me in London for a last night together before I left for India the following morning.

I reached London in the evening and checked into the Grosvenor House where Barath was also to check in later. When he did, the two of us met up with some other friends for a couple of drinks at the bar and then went off to a Thai restaurant in Soho that Barath was fond of. We had great food there and it was about ten in the night when the two of us quite maudlin with a lot of booze inside us walked back to the hotel talking about how we will miss each other from the next morning. I was hugging Barath as we were walking and that is when we experienced homophobia, that must have been fairly common in London then and now this article tells me is so even now.

A group of four young boys, could not have been more than just out of their teens started abusing us and making obscene gestures at us. I did not quite register what was happening because it was a strange English that they were speaking, and thought that it was Paki bashing, which too was quite prevalent those days London. The street fighter in me took over and I was ready to pile into the four and asked Barath if he was game for a bit of a dust up. He was saner and told me to ignore the youngsters and explained that they thought that we were queers hugging each other. So, I turned to them and tried to explain that we were brothers and this for some reason made them even more obnoxious! Barath pointed out that I would miss my flight if I landed up in a police lock up for the night and that we should just ignore them and walk to the hotel. That was what we did with the hooligans accompanying us for quite some time hooting at us.

Another story from the family archives for the family now resident in the UK!

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36 Responses to Homophobia.

  1. Looney says:

    It sounds like they were more attracted to you two than fearful. I will anxiously await Ursula’s perspective as an expert on UK anthropology.
    Looney recently posted..Prediction for 2015: The Jews will ally with the “Far Right” parties against Europe’s Establishment Parties

  2. Unfortunately, that’s the dark side of human nature. I just read an article about how the Sikhs and Hindus are being driven out of Afghanistan because of the harassment. Many of the ones remaining aren’t sending their children to the state schools because of bullying.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..Habemus ….

  3. People can be so quick to judge, without even knowing all the facts. How silly and hurtful. But at least you took the high road and made your flight. 🙂
    Holly Jahangiri recently posted..A New Leaf for Lyle Nominated in Annual Preditors & Editorsâ„¢ Readers’ Poll

  4. Mike says:

    Sounds like they were just thugs with poor prospects for improvement in their future.
    Mike recently posted..Employment Eligibility

  5. Nandu Pillai says:

    It is quite common in our country for boys / men ( for that matter girls/ladies too ) to hold hands and walk or put arms around the others shoulders . Quite often I have observed overseas visitors ( esp from UK ) glance quizzically at such “couples” and I have had to explain that here it does not mean what they think ….necessarily ! And I was left thinking to myself ..even if so, what of it !

  6. shackman says:

    No surprise at all – you easily could have had a similar result here. It ranks with racism as something that is changing at a snail’s pace.
    shackman recently posted..Unmentionable TED topics

    • It cannot happen here because it is not considered improper for people of the same sex holding hands and walking together or hugging each other here. We do live in different cultures.

  7. Dun-Na-Sead says:

    I am terribly sorry for both of you for having this experience. The memories of such experiences last for years, and make us increasingly aware of the fact that there is a certain portion of every society that is hate filled and looking for a target, unfortunately. And not just homophobic. During a conference at the Birla Institute in Hyderabad, my husband, who has bad eyes, and I ended up being chased over two blocks and into a public building by a gang of young men, since, as we were told by a guard, we should not be holding hands (so that I could lead him) But we also have been laughed at and mocked at an airport in San Francisco. It is worldwide. You learn to be strong mentally and emotionally. And the many possible usages of a cane or nordic walking sticks.

    • I am surprised that this happened in Hyderabad. Moral policing is becoming a nuisance here with young people with nothing better to do. Social media is not actively promoting a movement against it here.

  8. Delirious says:

    I have belonged to a Christian page on Facebook. Today I read a post by a man who said that he had posted something about homoerotica on the page, only to have it deleted by the administrator. I commented and offered ny thanks to the admin. The man then began to say that I must br afraid of sexuality, and hinted of homophobia. I told him that I don’t think that sex is an appropriate topic for a Christian page, gay or straight. I suggested that he could make his own “Christian sexuality” page, but hoped the Christian page we be left for actually discussing Jesus Christ. Once again he commented that our sexuality is part of our relationship with God, and I must just not be comfortable expressing mine. My last comment was that I wasn’t sure why I even still followed the page with comments like his. Then I promptly deleted myself from their membership. Just because I don’t enjoy holding homosexuality on a pedastal and exposing it to public view does not mean I’m homophobic. Is nothing sacred anymore??!
    Delirious recently posted..Family Ties

  9. Linda P. says:

    My brother is gay. My husband was accompanying him somewhere a couple of decades ago, and people who knew (and bullied) my brother assumed that he was my brother’s partner. My husband was able to observe the full array of harassing comments and threatening gestures made to my brother. But, as was said by another poster, such treatment is not limited to those in the LGBT community. A granddaughter has some physical challenges, and she comes in for her share, too. She has since infancy, as soon as other children noticed that she moved differently.

    • I have gay family members of both sexes and know what they go through. I also know what physically handicapped people go through because I personally am occasionally yelled at for moving about with a cane.

  10. Mother says:

    Perhaps it is good for all of us to have these experiences so that we comprehend how it feels to be distanced/and or abused for who we are. I agree that this is not limited to the LGBT community. I have many family in this community. My adopted Latino siblings also get their share of poor treatment. I suppose that as long as we as humans see ourselves as truly different of others for any number of reasons, and build up fear around those differences, we will be subjected to those who act out those fears. Sad but true.
    Mother recently posted..It is 2015!

  11. tammy j says:

    how utterly sad.
    and we’ve only had almost 200,000 years to get past this kind of
    horse poop.
    tammy j recently posted..it’s a good thing

  12. Cathy in NZ says:

    It’s called Life!

    It’s everywhere and anywhere AND it’s probably been going on since earth was created…

    Where have you folk been walking…maybe it is time to walk on the other side – I was going to say wild side but I don’t think it matters which “side”
    Cathy in NZ recently posted..WIP: Workroom

  13. Big John says:

    I don’t wish to make light of or to condone violent homophobia, but sometimes ‘the boot is on the other foot’ as when I recall an incident in a West End London pub where I was having lunch with a female work colleague some time around 1980. Sitting at a table in the middle of the bar was a small group of very ‘camp’ gay men, who were loudly passing disgusting comments on many of the pub’s other customers including myself and my companion … “Ooh ! look at that bitch. I bet she likes it .. ” (I’ll leave the rest to you imagination). The vicious verbal abuse became so bad that all the customers left the bar, except for me and my female friend. When our turn came to leave we were subjected to crude suggestions as to how we should spend the afternoon, to which my reply was to pick up a bar stool and drop in on their table which was full of drinks at the time. Apart from the sound of smashing glass, there was complete silence ! I expect that today I would have been arrested and charged with some kind of ‘hate’ crime. … Oh! and by the way, my female companion and very good friend was a very beautiful young LESBIAN !
    Big John recently posted..Cecil B. DeMille it ain’t !

  14. Craig says:

    I didn’t know this story Periappa – interesting! You’ve met Prat so know how muscly he is (and that in real life he’s a complete wuss!) but even with that we don’t hold hands in most parts of London for precisely this reason. I have never had any form of racial abuse in London, but do still – very occasionally – get homophobic abuse and as I say we are careful about where we demonstrate affection. Xx

  15. Mike says:

    Interesting article. I identify more with the author than with “Augustus Caesar.”
    Mike recently posted..Netflix workout plan.

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