After learning of the Tropfest Sydney film-festival winner, a short film in which a man is ridiculed for sleeping with another man, I like many others find myself extremely disappointed in the filmmaker, and in the Tropfest judges. As an LGBT person who has worked with young LGBT people, I can’t see how this film can do anything but hurt their self-acceptance and self-esteem.
People fail to realise how prevalent depression is in the LGBT community, largely as a result of hurtful media such as this. The impact a discriminatory work can have on the mindset of a self-critical LGBT person is huge, contributing to addiction, self-harm and even suicide.
Further, some of those who see this pale ‘Black Mirror’ imitation will only view the ‘joke’ as validation of their own homophobic behaviour. You can even see it in the comments on social media. “Take a joke, wear it on the chin.” If the film was meant to satirise homophobia, it obviously didn’t work — but even that defence of its so-called merits, on its face, is quite questionable.
It’s far more likely the film was meant to be little more than the puerile, adolescent jibe it is, a push-back against advances in LGBT rights, such as the ongoing march towards same-sex marriage in Australia. This resistance is understandable — people don’t like change, and negative sentiment toward LGBT people is ingrained in the Australian culture.
But it’s still sad whenever such anti-LGBT propaganda is given such a wide audience, never mind accolades. All we can do is hope that this is an unfortunate aberration, a ‘last gasp’ of a dying paradigm, and that the deserved shame felt by all those involved keeps them from making such a repugnant ‘mistake’ again.