By Harry Dobson
"Homophobia is becoming harder to identify amongst predominantly heterosexual social circles because what it means to be homophobic gets tangled into banter and lad culture."
I came out as bisexual at a fairly young age. I remember using my school’s internal emails to message my friend during a lesson to declare my new-found sexuality to her. From that point on, I endured years of hell, instigated by the majority of young men that I shared a learning environment with. It was verbal abuse one day, torment and rumour the next; growing up LGBTQ+ in school was one of the hardest things I have ever done, however, the grotesque abuse and homophobia that I experienced has shaped me to be who I am today.
Whilst it is in no way justifiable that I was subject to this, you have to look for the silver linings in these dark experiences. Growing up experiencing such blatant homophobia armed me with the knowledge to identify homophobia when I saw it or experienced it, and also gave me the resilience and iron will to confront it. With this in mind though, I could spend this article talking about all the verbal and physical abuse I received in school but I don’t want to, because that is easily identifiable with the naked eye and a slight bit of human decency; what I do want to talk about, however, is how I feel homophobia has evolved to be more sinister and covert.
Upon enrolling at the University of Reading, I really got a taste of adult homophobia in action. You see, as I had gone to an extremely liberal college in Brighton & Hove, a notoriously socially free area of England and the gay capital of the UK, I had not really experienced any sort of discrimination for the two years I was enrolled there, so I when I got to university, I was almost shocked at the level of casual and micro-aggressive homophobia I experienced.