The graphic image of the two women on the Camden night bus in London on 30th May 2019 was truly shocking. This unprovoked attack was a case of vile homophobic bullying. The bloodied and distraught faces of the two innocent women caused shock and outrage. The UK is largely an inclusive and tolerant nation. However, this vile incident highlights the bigoted view that many still hold in relation to same-sex couples.
When the subject of bullying appears in the media, a common misconception is that it is something that occurs in schools or the workplace. However, stories and reports of homophobic bullying and intolerant behaviour are becoming more widespread. Disrespecting, disagreeing with or being intolerant of the sexual orientation of others is a mindset that many people adhere to. However, thinking something and acting hatefully on those thoughts are two very different matters. Bullying, abuse and hate speech are the types of behaviour that do not belong in an inclusive, progressive society.
The saying ‘If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’ rings true here. It is often the case that those who take part in homophobic abuse do so in a group or gang, as was evident in the Camden incident. The type of bully who finds this behaviour acceptable is often intolerant of minority groups. They are likely to engage in racism and other forms of bigoted behaviour, and they are also likely to encourage others to support them or condone their actions.
It is important that homophobic bullying is swiftly and publicly condemned. Those in authority have a duty to stamp out bullying of all types. This includes introducing new laws that make it a criminal offence to engage in any form of homophobic bullying online or offline. Society must learn that homophobic intolerance is not acceptable in a civilised society.