Gay Politics Net Culture

On B3ta, homophobia and teen suicide

The post below may be edited through the day. I have written it in a blaze of fury and irritation, and the language, grammar and spelling has suffered as a consequence.

What the fuck is going on with B3ta? Each and every week there’s the same range of crap jokes – the crap jokes that we’ve come to love – but increasingly one of those jokes each week seems to be about stupid funny gay people and how freakish, stereotypical and generally funny they are. I’m not going to deny that sometimes their jokes are really funny, and I wouldn’t comment in the slightest if it was a relatively rare occurrence – no one wants to live in a world where people can’t make any kind of tasteless jokes at all – but this really seems to be becoming some kind of obsession. And the excuse that I’ve heard is that it’s just ‘schoolyard japery’ – stuff that doesn’t really mean gay at all – like the idiots who wander around the place saying, “Marriage is so gay” – is just bullshit. At a certain point you have to look at the kids who grow up in these schoolyards – gay kids – who are surrounded by anti-gay sentiment each and every day. As a child, you don’t even have to know what being gay means to know fairly early on that it’s not something you’re supposed to be – that it’s bad and wrong and shameful. And b3ta is not only sanctioning this culture in schools, it’s fucking promoting it and extending it to adults!

Let’s start with a bit of a survey of the first few ‘gay offerings’ by B3ta I could find. If you know any others, let me know.

And by way of juxtaposition, a couple of years back I wrote an article On Homophobic Bullying in Schools. Let’s just see what kind of effect ‘gay’ jokes can have on kids…

In November, an inquest heard that a 15-year-old choirboy had been found hanged in his bedroom. Darren Steele had been left at home watching Neighbours by his mother when she went out for the evening. When she returned she found him dead. A note by his body explained that he had killed himself because of the bullying that he was suffering at school.

Darren had been bullied because other students thought he was gay. At the inquest, his friends explained that he had been regularly taunted as a ‘gay boy’ and a ‘poof’ because of his interests in drama and cookery. Over the previous five years he had been systematically punched, verbally abused and even burned with cigarettes by other students. He never told a teacher.

His mother’s statement reads: “I saw Darren kneeling on the far side of the bed. His face was blue. I went downstairs screaming ‘my son is dead’.”

There’s more if you can stomach it.