I have perhaps kept quiet about BBC Three’s recent series on Queer Britain, because I wanted to see where it went and how it panned out. One thing is for sure, it should not have been advertised to heterosexual people who wanted to understand our community.
My problems with the series lie a fair bit with the setting and the presenter. So let’s start off with the latter. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think someone like me could sit there and present the series and it get decent ratings, so hiring a typically attractive, well-dressed gay male was a good point, but maybe his thirst for attention was more of a distraction. In the first episode, he was more bothered about the tall, bearded guy than he was about anyone else he met. The flirting was obvious, and this seemed a theme with most of the males that paid him a compliment.
You get it girl. I’m not one to stand in your way but when a series like this has the chance of changing things, showing yourself to be a thirsty person is not always best. To start with, if you were trans, or even female then our presenter wasn’t too bothered about you. And shall we not forget that this guy is famous for his YouTube and put on 100 layers of fake tan and trivialised his friend’s race for the comedic value?
Then there was the problem with the setting. For the most part, the series was set around London, Birmingham and southern areas of the country. When a northerner was involved, it was because they’d left the North for London because up here in the North (I am a Yorkshire boy let’s not forget) because of how backwards we all are and how homophobic it really is up here…
This just added to this North/South divide, and made it seem like if you were gay and wanted a good life, London or Birmingham is where you should be heading. Hold up, wait a minute, no. I live up North, I have encountered very few occasions of homophobia and it really isn’t that backwards at all. You can have a happy life no matter where you are, but if you have to move then so be it.
Next up was the generic topics and faux conclusions. We went from religion to body image, to homelessness to race, to porn stars to understanding the term ‘queer’, and throughout it all, it didn’t draw many conclusions. It in fact pretty much just ratified ignorant behaviour.
You can’t change religion, but it’s taught not inherent in your DNA. Your body can be changed but change it for you, not someone else. Homelessness is an issue, let’s find a better way to deal with it. Racial preference is racism if you are discounting someone based purely on their skin colour and not other qualities they have that they can bring to your life. Porn isn’t the only solution to being gay and jobless, although there is nothing wrong with being in porn or being sex positive. Queer is a term that to some people is difficult to grasp, address it from a less radical viewpoint and people may be able to understand it better but don’t force people to use it.
They’re not hard conclusion to come up with or even say, but much of the programme focussed on lacklustre commentary where the presenter felt he was getting an education experiencing these things…that’s great, but why aren’t you drawing your conclusion for people to understand.
The end of the series came where it was another lacklustre response of “it takes all sorts” and that’s great. Yeah, our community really does take all sorts of people, but what about me, what about Jujubee?
The series should have really been called “Queer London” because I feel like perhaps the series better represented those that lived and thrived in London, and perhaps Birmingham but the further North you go, I think the less you could identify.
I didn’t feel particularly represented, and when one of the people on the show said that my local scene was harsh and no one liked him, yet he was a recluse and was never really on the scene anyway because he was judgemental and cruel to people…you sort of have to ask the question why he felt more comfortable elsewhere, when his ego could be stroked and no one else wanted to do it.
Ultimately, in my opinion, the series could potentially do more damage than good. It was very closed off and gave one example of things, it showed one region where things are different, and that is just the point. No matter where you go in the United Kingdom, or even the world, the gay scenes are different. Everyone is going to have good and bad experiences, but it’s how we deal with it together. The series could potentially divide people, rather than bring them together, because really there was no message of unity other than “it takes all sorts of people to make up our community…”