I live a pretty free life and I have had the privilege to have grown up in, and lived in places that do not (generally) suffer from extreme hatred, sexism, or discrimination. Sure, I have experienced sexism and witnessed it, but on the whole my life experience has been pretty hate-adverse.

So you might wonder why this post is relevant today or in the year 2022 nearly 2023. Well, in the last few weeks I have observed and experienced so much hatred in a place I never expected. I can neither hold it back, nor deny speaking out any longer. Why do I witness homophobia in my country? I am baffled and confused, and have found myself in situations that require me to stop, pull 180s and be dumbfounded.

I live in a country that has been one of the forefront leaders in LGBTQIA+ rights over the last 30 year period. Marriage is legal, laws against discrimination exist and are generally enforced, and it is even possible to adopt. Yet, why do I see and hear so much homophobia, especially from the 15-30 year old generation? Let me explain how and where…

I went to see a film, in fact one of the funniest and most true films I have seen in awhile. I could relate, I could laugh, I could cry, and all in one movie. One of the first mainstream gay films with a predominantly LGBTQIA+ cast, Bros is everything I wanted to see, everything I wanted to criticise, everything I wanted to wish for, and yet I’m left shaking my head not by the film, but by patrons in the cinema and in my community.

As you can see by the advertisement poster, it is obviously two men touching each others behinds. The trailers are not shy about it being a romantic comedy about a gay couple. In fact, the byline of the film is:

Bobby is a neurotic podcast host who’s happy to go on Tinder dates and content not to have a serious relationship. That all changes when he meets Aaron, an equally detached lawyer who likes to play the field. Repeatedly drawn to each other, both men begin to show their vulnerable sides as their undeniable attraction turns into something resembling a commitment.


And yet, when the rather small theatre room in a rather large (probably the largest in my country) cinema starts to fill, my heart warmed a bit and at the same time broke. Here is a run down of what I witnessed:

  1. Firstly a few 14-16 year old boys enter. They seem curious and excited; yay for open minded kids!
  2. Then a couple enters. They are chatting away and I’m left wondering how the man will react. He was giving extreme straight-bro energy.
  3. Then comes in some older men and women – nothing to note and all seem happy and ready.
  4. Then a group of three teenage girls enter, all on their Snapchats, not paying attention to each other, taking each others photos and screaming out stuff like “delete it – fuuuuck” and so on – I wondered and thought, interesting.
  5. Then a family with kids came in – I thought wow cool, neat that the whole family will see the film.

The stage is set, and nothing could prepare me for what I witnessed. I was having a great time with my friend. We were laughing every five minutes, getting all the jokes an innuendos and shade, and literally loving the film. It was after the first ten minutes that I started hearing the comments. The girls next to me said “euwww” and “gross” and kept taking photos of the movie and Snapping, clearly not paying attention or understanding half of what was going on. Important to note at this point that the subtitles were alright, albeit a bit awkward with the slang.

Then the family leaves rather discretely. And it hit me – this is the first time I have ever seen someone leave a cinema film during a screening. Then, seemingly the boys started going to the toilet, then a bunch more boys arrived and watched, came and went, and I thought “what is going on?”. We laughed some more, then the girls next to us had enough and muttered under their breaths as they left – good riddance I thought. And then the boys left a few minutes later, right when we were at the climax of the films plot. Needless to say, I was just confused.

Then I looked over to the couple, and the über straight guy was giggling and looking rather awkward, meanwhile his girlfriend was keeled over laughing her ass off. I was happy to see that us in the corner were not the only ones loving it and making it known. I just couldn’t shake the shock that there were so much homophobic behaviour (especially from the young girls).

It was at this point that I remembered walking through the mall, and seeing two men holding hands. A regular type guy saw it, and as they passed, pulled a 180 with a disgusted look, and just stared at them. I was walking behind, and caught glimpse of it, and then turned to gawk at him for his own behaviour. Meanwhile everyone else is just going about their business, phew, the masses are unbothered. Was it that shocking to see, given the widespread acceptance and seeming tolerance?

It got me all a thinking about gay topics in general, and noticing that in the last few years that I’ve lived here, people do still get a little bit uncomfortable when talking about, or being around LGBTQIA+ people or issues. On the whole, I imagine people are not homophobic, but the behaviour I see, and in particular the behaviour of men, certainly seems to say something different. Why is this still an issue in a modern, civil society? How could this reflect a large minority of my society? Do I truly live in such a loving bubble that I don’t regularly observe this fear or hatred?

Sure I understand that a huge percentage of the population is foreign-born, but I thought still that the attitudes were more gentle, more modern, or more adapted, especially in 2022. I guess being gay in theory is okay to these people, but when they end up seeing it, it becomes much more a problem and causes disgust.

At any rate, go see Bros. It’s freaking hilarious and will either confirm, or poke fun at every truth of the gay man existence.