A few days ago Ian McKellen was a guest speaker at a school in Suffolk. The East Anglian Daily Times reports McKellen as talking about homophobic bullying, prejudice and gay stereotypes.
McKellen is reported as saying: I have to confess that I am little disquieted at times by the way that gays are portrayed, particularly on television. Something like Little Britain is not particularly helpful. I know Matt Lucas will say that he is gay and it is not offensive but I don't think it gets the right message across.
The story was also reported by Pink News. One user comment on the story:
Ian is right. While people are being attacked and killed for their sexuality, we are failing to get across the message that it is OK to be gay. The use of "gay" to mean "lame" might appear like a small thing, but small things matter – they contribute towards bigger things. Homophobic attacks work by dehumanising the victim. And one way to dehumanise someone is to consistently make fun of them. Matt Lucas contributes to this – Daffyd is a high-profile ridiculous stereotype, and there aren't enough non-stereotypical representations to counter it. Little Britain is so popular because it's cruel. It's lazy, 1970s humour, dressed up as "postmodern" and multi-layered because one of the leads is fat and gay himself. They had a term for that when black comedians made fun of black stereotypes – Uncle Tomming. Matt Lucas is just another Uncle Tom.
The current homophobia is a drip by drip effect – and all the more insidious and difficult to prevent because there are so many apologists, from within gay ranks, who fall over themselves to prove how strong and thick-skinned they are. Just because they don't take offence, they think there's no problem. Well tell that to Michael Causer. Oh except you can't because he's dead.