I married my husband a week ago and have since received death threats.
It all started a couple of days after our ceremony, as we were walking down a busy East London street.
We generally refrain from public displays of affection, but we were feeling courageous from the shiny new wedding rings wrapped around our fingers.
And then it happened.
A car with four men sped past and one of them leaned out and screamed: ‘Faggots!’
I decided to tweet about it, but was not prepared for the fallout.
A guy just called us faggots while holding hands on the street but lucky I can't hear him over the sound of my new sparkling wedding ring https://t.co/IOesEldtkc
— James Besanvalle (@JamesBesanvalle) August 14, 2017
Overwhelmingly, the reactions were positive but then the negative ones started rolling in.
Negative responses ranged from vomiting gifs, to memes calling us faggots and people flat out calling us liars.
And then the ones telling us to repent (or worse, die) or we’ll go to the ‘fiery pits of hell.’
It’s unnerving to see, especially after feeling so invincible with all of our friends and family coming together to witness our civil partnership ceremony.
I know incidents of everyday homophobia exist. I know anti-gay sentiment lurks through anonymous keyboard warriors. And I know a man can be glassed simply for holding hands with his boyfriend on a major city street.
Just a few months ago, a 23-year-old Londoner had a glass smashed in his face for holding hands with his boyfriend in a Wetherspoons pub.
‘Visibility is an act of defiance’
Even in places LGBTI people might think they’re safe, it’s a risk showing public displays of affection.
Being gay is illegal in 74 countries around the world and punishable by death in 10 of those.
Everyday homophobia exists and it’s awful.
It’s the voice in your head stopping you from kissing your partner goodbye on the train or the weird look you get when you stray from dressing to gender norms.
But this incident on the street won’t get to me.
Incidences of everyday homophobia just make me want to be even more unapologetically gay in public.
For LGBTI people, visibility is an act of defiance. It’s important to stand out to normalize LGBTI people.
In a time when trans rights are being stripped away in America and when gay men are literally dying in Chechnya, we need to fight.
Not with our fists, but with our hands wrapped around our partners, lovers and friends.