Reading time: 6min.

by Michael Lee

Bane of the battyman

In the multicultural outskirts of London set among the red double decker buses spewing with boisterous teenagers and towering council flats is where you will find the Secondary School I attended. Like a factory conveyor belt it has unintentionally produced its fair share of gays, lesbians and transsexuals (and that’s just the ones I know of). Homophobia, though not overly an issue at my school did exist and was used more often than not as a way to degrade and insult someone. I myself often used homophobia to my advantage in social situations, managing to sneak past the gay detector without sudden alarm bells ringing and without accusations or finger points, managing to disappear off the gaydar completely. It was more of a case of ‘Battyman’ then ‘Batman’ as I hid in the shadows away from peering eyes, my secret identity hidden from society.

At my secondary school there existed a lingering and almost cult like macho/boyish culture, if you were not ‘one of the lads’ you were doomed to have a football kicked at your head. It truly was survival of the fittest in the playground; don’t make eye contact, don’t push into someone accidently and don’t dare look or act any different to the other Nike wearing, haired gelled and Puffa jacket wearing adolescent teenage boys, dripping with more testosterone than a muscled Mary (a homosexual man who has prominent, well-developed muscles) on steroids.

I often find that homophobia stems from one’s own subconscious feelings, with the homophobe in question trying oh so desperately to hide and suppress their own sexual desires. With a lack of education and scientific facts the homophobe is forced to pretend and to conform to a role, often a role that is primitive and basic in fitting with their peers and social class around them. It’s more ‘’Yo fam’’ than ‘’excuse me sir’’ as they huddle together like a group of primates idly perched around the local ‘Chicken Cottage’ chewing on processed halal chicken, using vocabulary that would certainly not register as ‘Queens English’.

Munching on fat and grease coated meat like a pack of cavemen huddled together over a lit fire, the homophobes engage in intelligent and poetic conversation that rivals even William Shakespeare’s greatest monologues: ‘’Nahhhh blud, allow dat batty man shit’’, simply compelling. The ironic thing is while sipping on their corner shop can of unbranded fizzy drink the homophobe probably knows or is even related to a, how they would say; ‘’batty man’’. In his 1948 book, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male, Alfred Kinsey shocked the world by announcing that 10% of the male population is gay. So that surely would make one of the homophobes ‘bredrins’ a flaming homosexual? Just itching to escape the confines of the ‘council estate’ that limits their mentality and imagination. After all there is more to life than hanging outside Chicken shops at 11pm right?

But of course homophobes aren’t just the stereotypical bike riding, council estate lingering and weed smoking ‘rude boys’ you’ll find hanging around on street corners. Homophobes can appear suddenly out of nowhere, just like a wild Pokémon bouncing out of tall green grass hedges. Elegantly dressed businessmen working in Canary Wharf, tight jeaned hipsters working in Topshop or even coffee shop baristas topping up your Babyccino with double a severing of Marshmallows. Homophobes come in different shapes, colours and classes, which makes the denying of their own homosexuality even more diverse and interesting, ‘’Would you like extra cream on your Mocha sir?’’ they ask, all the while wanting a piece of your ass, yet denying your anus in favour of anger and aggressive denial.

Sex education in my secondary school consisted of placing a condom on to a banana, and that folks was my sex education. Though I couldn’t tell the difference between an orgasm or menopause I did share my first kiss, though not with a stubbed man with huge muscled arms as I would have liked, it was with an equally as butch girl at school who ironically would in later years come out as a rugby playing lesbian. She would have most differently worn the trousers in our relationship that’s for sure.

The kids of this generation are a lot wiser and aware of their social surroundings, thanks in large part to television and social media. Gays are now seen and accessible everywhere, music, reality TV, films, celebrities and though not entirely void of homophobia, the days of being discriminated against due to sexual orientation is classified as a crime, at least in a civilised western society. Gays are almost seen as ‘cool’, like a designer handbag swaying off the arms of a ‘fag hag’.

Yes, homophobes will still be seen kicking a football around until 11pm under the flicking lamp posts on the council estate or even in a cooperate office sipping on a Frappuccino, but there is now a strong possibility as soon as they venture indoors in their bedroom and away from their friends and social restrictions, they’ll be up until the early hours scouting the local gay boys of Grindr. It’s more of a case of ‘’are you top or bottom’’ than ‘’allow dat batty man’’ when nobody is looking.