Monday, August 11, 2008

Entrenched Attitudes

I make no apology for returning to the killing of Michael Causer last month in a homophobic attack.
Today's Guardian takes the case further on ( ), looking at the level of homophobia in Liverpool & the attacks which have occured as a consequence. There are some hard-hitting points made which the Culture Company would rather play down, & which the Liverpool Echo is loath to highlight:
"Whether or not the attack on Michael was a hate crime, the case has heightened concerns about homophobia in Merseyside. 'There is an appalling level of endemic homophobia in Liverpool,' said Steve Radford, a city councillor of 29 years standing, who is gay."
If that isn't incendiary enough, the report goes on to throw in a theory held by Gary Everett, artistic director of the Homotopia gay theatre festival, which would surely light the blue touch paper if the local media had the guts to address it: Liverpool is "shackled" by Catholicism.
"A disproportionate number (55%) of children in Merseyside attend faith schools. Some of these, Everett said, were reluctant to improve their teaching on LGBT [Lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender] issues despite Section 28, the controversial law which stopped schools 'promoting' homosexuality, having been repealed in 2000 in Scotland and 2003 in England."
Is that correct? Yes & no.
Homophobia is to be found everywhere, alas, & among people who could be described as irreligious. There are also equally medieval attitudes to lesbians & gays in other Christian religions, Judaism & Islam.
However, rightly or wrongly, Liverpool has been depicted as a Catholic city since the influx of Irish refugees from the Famine in the 1840s. The truth is, of course, more nuanced, but the perception has taken hold.
Given that a Vatican official recently described homosexuality as "an abomination", it shouldn't be surprising that the city's Catholic pupils leave school regarding lesbians & gays with at best, suspicion, & at worst, open hostility. There's a word for this phenomenon: brainwashing. And it's repugnant.

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