Much like war, famine and people who wear socks with sandals, homophobia is unfortunately something that still persists in modern society. Whether it be an offhanded comment about something being “gay”, a nonchalant question from a relative about whether you have a girlfriend, or David Beckham filing a restraining order just because I happen to enjoy sitting in trees with binoculars at night, LGBT people still face daily reminders of the oppression of a segment of society that has been all too accepted until recent times.
But in spite of all this, there are still some times that you hear of a case of homophobia so ridiculous, so over the top and so completely groin-grabbingly insane that they cross the line from being offensive to just being downright hilarious. These are some of those stories.
5. The Time Russia Mistook Their Own Country’s Flag for a Pride Flag And Arrested A Bunch of People
Russia has quite a long list of things that they consider perverse but we never realised loving your country would be one of them. Unfortunately neither did the organisers of a Kaliningrad rally to promote fitness and national pride, who were promptly arrested by the riot police for showing off their toned, proletariat bodies under the multi-coloured Imperial Flag.
Police sheepishly explained afterwards that they had simply assumed that a large gathering of muscled, attractive men would have inevitably been homosexual in nature (paging Dr. Freud), and that they weren’t familiar with the Imperial Russian Flag because, well I’m guessing reading a history-book in Russia is probably a bit of a drag.
4. The Time A Man Failed a Driving Test For Being Gay
There are a lot of things you can’t do as a homosexual, from getting married in CERTAIN COUNTRIES to telling your parents that you knocked up your partner with a straight face, but the inability of gay people to drive was certainly news to us at the Honi office. But indeed it was a well known fact according to the motor registrars of Connecticut, who in 1972 told a Mr David Follett that he was incapable of driving on account of being an “admitted homosexual”. And no, we have no idea how the motor registry came to know that.
Admittedly that was in 1972, a crazy time when people genuinely believed duck dipped in Fanta was a classy meal and that John Travolta was the height of heterosexuality, but that was not the last time this happened. In 2004 the Italian transport of ministry decided gays can’t drive straight, got rebuked by the EU, then pulled the same stunt again in 2011 because the evidence was just overwhelmingly in their favor. And in 2014 Nebraska decided the same thing. And now, in 2015, Russia has declared that trans people are unsafe to have on the road, which, although untrue, was not exactly helped by the fact that Caitlin Jenner crashed her car while transitioning only months later.
3. The time censors banned mentioning Lesbians in a film about Homophobia
When it comes to making a movie out of a true story of homophobia, you’d think the two things you’d definitely want to keep are the homophobia and the story. But that kind of thinking was no impediment to the puritanical film censors of 1930’s Hollywood, who forced the makers of a screen adaptation of popular play “the Childrens Hour” to re-write the central plot, change the film’s title and then deny any association with the original source material in order for the film to be given the green light. All things considered, the whole thing turned out pretty well for a story with more cuts than a Liberal budget, but we can’t help but feel the point of a movie highlighting the dangers of homophobia is somewhat undermined by excluding any mention of gay people from the actual film.
2. President Roosevelt ran a ring of gay teenage prostitutes to hunt down gays in the Navy
No idea why this keeps getting left out of school textbooks. The year was 1919, and the US Navy had a problem. It seemed that a job requiring men to spend months on a secluded ship surrounded exclusively by other men was attracting homosexuals for some reason, and half their boats had now been painted in an overtly camp color scheme known as Razzle Dazzle. Something had to be done.
In a secret meeting of the navy’s head honchos led by none other than future president FDR, it was decided that the best way to expel the growing number of these star-spangled infiltrators from the hallowed ranks of Uncle Sam’s salty seamen was to catch them in the act of sodomy and then court-martial them. But how do you pick the gay sailors from the straight ones? And moreso how do you catch them “in the act”? Simple, thought one of the officers, just assign the new summer interns the job of walking the streets at night pretending to be hookers, and tell them to report back if they happen to ensnare any sailors. Oh, and they also had to get to at least third base for their evidence to stand up in court. Simple.
And of course everyone around the table agreed that was a brilliant idea and not at all insane, so they went ahead and enacted it immediately.
Unfortunately for Roosevelt, the whole scheme ended up working a little too well. The interns took to their task likes swans to a lake, and numerous officers were caught and martialled, but when a local priest was ensnared by the system, shit well and truly hit the fan. As the local parishioner was called to face 11 seperate charges of a most un-godly manner, he promptly put in a call to some friends in Congress, and within days FDR had been hauled up to DC to explain why the Navy had suddenly diversified into pimpery. Needless to say Congress formally rebuked FDR and then shut the whole salacious scheme down on the grounds of it being both completely illegal and also just a touch fucking insane.
In a lucky turn for FDR’s future presidential career, when the story leaked to the media, publishers unanimously decided the whole affair was unprintably perverse, meaning Franklin got off relatively scot-free for a presidential candidate who’d been caught out running a secret ring of gay teenage prostitutes.
1. The time a man took all the worlds lesbians to court to stop them using the word lesbian
Without question the number one case of a homophobe being about a million times more of a threat to themselves than those homosexual boogeymen they fear would have to be the three Greek men who decided to take ALL LESBIANS to court for infringing on the name of their hometown, the Island of Lesbos.
The man spearheading the case, Dimitris Lambrou, claimed that use of the word lesbian around the world to refer to lesbians “violates the human rights of the islanders”, presumably except for the lesbian ones, and he demanded that Lesbians find a new word, like the one he personally came up with – “Tibades” – which he helpfully explained to be derived from a Greek term meaning “people who rub themselves”.
After a protracted case in which Dimitris continually made a public idiot of himself for the world’s media, the court unsurprisingly ruled that absolutely nobody’s rights were being violated, least of all Dimitris, with a ruling that strongly hinting that perhaps he should find himself a hobby. Dimitris went on to claim that while he was upset that the small provincial court had not decided to ban people around the world from using a common word, he was actually not a homophobe in any way, and that he ‘had plenty of gay friends’. ‘Had’ probably being the operative word.