I feel a little compelled to write this blog after reading a tweet posted by Ian “H from Steps” Watkins today.
In case you didn’t know, Steps were a pop group in the late 90’s- early 00’s who stormed the charts with their camp covers, dance moves and general annoyance.
For me, being 17/18 at the height of their career, Step and watermelon Bacardi Breezers were a perfect combination – life was good – I was out, I was proud and when people were just starting to digest Graham Norton, I was wearing roll on glitter and doing 5, 6, 7, 8 on a piece of MDF which had turned a pool table into a stage at my local gay bar; in a time where attitude were only beginning to change, but people still feared the unknown. Homophobia was something that gay men still feared and being “out” professionally was generally taboo.
For me though – I didn’t give a shit. “It’s time to begin, now count me in…”
In the last 15 years, it’s astonishing how the world has changed. It’s great, and I certainly think as a society we’ve moved leaps and bounds, obviously we’ve still got a long way to go, people are still beaten and persecuted within their sub-cultures because of their sexual orientation, people in some religions are still trying to cure us and if you live is Scandinavia, why not try a little castration.
Thank god for celebrities who are risking everything, their reputation, their income, their perception and their popularity to come out as gay and tell the world that they like to take it up the bum – or fanny (actually, I don’t really know what lesbians do – but that’s not the point)…
…obviously I’m being sarcastic. And to illustrate my point, I want to talk about gay celebrity who has recently come out.
One thing, before I go on, I want to add, that I think it’s great when people feel ready to come out of the closet – I really do – however, I don’t think that gay sportsmen should become the poster boys for coming out in sport when then don’t have the balls to do it until after they’re retired. I’m talking about you; Gareth Thomas.
Gareth Thomas was a rugby player, until he retired in 2011. He played for Cardiff and the Welsh national team and is an all round good egg.
Gareth stopped playing international rugby in 2007, 2 years before he came out at gay in 2009. He publicly made the move after his divorce to his wife of 8 years was finalised.
So for 2 years, Gareth Thomas was a gay rugby player; out and proud and… hangon..
He waited until the end of his sporting career? See, this is my problem, if he wanted to be out and proud he would of came out when the risk of damaging his career was there – but their was no risk, he knew that his career was over, and I wouldn’t of even been surprised that his marriage was a ruse, which makes me really angry. Of course this is speculation, but after the way Justin Fashanu was treated, not only by the fans but his brother, who can blame him? My point is that Gareth Thomas is no ambassador for being gay in sport, because he wasn’t out when it really mattered – which takes me back to H for Steps.
He sent this tweet today:
“I wanted a male dance partner on tour without sensationalizing the issue. Sometimes you can make a big noise very quietly…
One of the reason Steps split back in the day was because H was having it off with their manager (I think it was the manager, pls correct me if I’m wrong) But if H was really gay and proud he would of have a male dancer partnering him back in 1999 when it would have made a real statement; I don’t think it would have mattered what so ever. The truth is that the sort of people who buy Steps’ records are gay men and teenage girls who grow up to be fag-hags – But what H would have done, by dancing with another male would be to make a statement. A statement that says, I know this is a risk, but I am who I am and I’m proud – so scrrreeeewwww you, Daily Mail readers.
But he didn’t, in fact.
Steps are SO GAY it’s ridiculous. Camp just doesn’t even begin to describe it- and I LOVE that about them, but they should have called a spade a spade and when someone waits for the norms of society to change so they can be Proud “within the parameters of what is acceptable” Then they’re not making a statement, in fact they’re actually saying “I’m gay and proud now, 10 years ago, when it really mattered; I wasn’t”
So what I want from Ian “H” Watkins, is an apology for letting every gay who stood on a pool table covered in glitter dancing to 5,6,7,8 while living is fear that the moment they leave the bar, they might get their head kicked in.