“Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family,” “They’re children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it.” Pope Francis.
I remember gay rights campaigner Harry Hay, founder of the first gay liberation movement in the United States, correctly saying that as young gays in the bad old days, acceptance and love from family and society meant accepting to live in self-hate. For many that created a situation within which you had two choices; suicide or leave in the hope of finding an environment within which you felt you fitted as a self-hating, gay teenager. Needless to say that was often places such as London’s Piccadilly Circus with its ‘meat rack’ and the pinball arcade down the road, ‘Playland’, which operated as a organised-crime-controlled market for boy sex slaves.
The long term consequences of ‘too much – too young’, as one Glasgow rent-boy put it, are often devastating affecting all future relationships, can lead to substance abuse and life-long and serious depression. As Roland Gift of the band Fine Young Cannibals put it in his hit song “Johnny Come Home”, “What is wrong in my life that I must get drunk every night?”. Spot on – you often don’t even realise that your problems are caused by experiences you have locked out of conscious recall. Some didn’t make it, such as fourteen-year-old Jason Swift whose body was found dumped in a field outside of London. Heaven got an angel.
Bravo pope Francis; many men today trying to stumble through life after surviving places such as ‘Playland’ in the seventies would testify that the simple words, “We, your parents, love you as the beautiful gay boy that God created”, would have been life-changing.