Over the past five years or so, it has seemingly become much more acceptable to not be straight. There are now parades for gay people, lesbians, transgenders, transsexuals, pansexuals, etc. (if I left anything out I apologize). However, in the past, there have been some pretty disturbing and downright disgusting views on this idea...that many people seem to enjoy sharing on social media. There have been thousands of tweets on twitter of people sharing their opinion that being anything but heterosexual is bad. But in my research, one of them stuck out the most. This one was from a well-known soccer player by the name of Andre Gray. In 2012, before he was a big league player, he posted this on his twitter account.
The post reads "Is it me or are there gays everywhere? #Burn #Die #MakesMeSick".
Since he was not overly well-known at the time, it was somewhat overlooked. However, in mid-2016, this post, along with a few other racist and homophobic posts, were deleted off his twitter after they began to resurface.
Andre apologized for this post soon after they were deleted, years after it was posted, stating that "I want to offer a sincere and unreserved apology to anybody I may have offended in relation to these tweets. The tweets were posted four years ago when I was a completely different person to the man I am now". This is fine. Except it does bring up an interesting topic...do people's views really change?
I mean, sure people can see a movie and really enjoy it but then go back to it some time later and realize it truly isn't good and dislike it. But what I'm talking about are views on real life issues. If you think that immigrants don't belong in America, is there anything they can do that will change your mind about that? Probably not. So, is it possible that in just over 4 years, Andre Gray has completely changed his viewpoint on the LGBTQ community? Or is he just apologizing to save his own image?
If you are openly homophobic in today's world, chances are you will be ridiculed and told off by thousands of people because of how accepting we have become as a society. As a result, while there are still people that voice their opinions, there is a lot less backlash and thus, more LGBTQ people have been able to make themselves heard.
That being said, there are still thousands of people who voice their disgust with LGBTQ people over social media. For example, when Tom Daley, an Olympic medalist in diving, posted a video on YouTube explaining that he was gay, there were many people that decided to take to Twitter to voice their disapproval. Tweets ranging from "Lol wasn't it obvious Tom Daley is a fag" to "You just lost a fan, go to hell!!! faggot" circulated his account. People who post things like this clearly thing being gay is wrong and if they were to come out and say "I'm sorry for that comment, I'm a different person now." would you believe them? I know I wouldn't.
I would argue that people who have always thought that being gay is wrong still think that way, they just realize that they are becoming a minority in this new generation and thus, they are not being as vocal about it. This leaves room for people who are accepting of it and a part of the LGBTQ community to voice their opinions and views more easily. So when Andre Gray posts something as incredibly dark and blunt as "#Burn #Die", it's pretty clear what his views are. So I don't believe his views have changed, I think he is just trying to save his image and putting his opinions aside so as not to be destroyed by society.
Social media has seemingly become a place where people like to voice their opinions no matter how heinous they are. Then, people think they can just apologize and move forward without any repercussions. Strangely enough, in our technology-fueled society, that is almost true. Sure people get angry but for the most part, it is very quickly forgotten about once someone apologizes. Take a look at Gilbert Gottfried's post about the Japan tsunami. He tweeted just days after it with a series of cruel jokes such as “I just split up with my girlfriend, but like the Japanese say, “They’ll be another one floating by any minute now”. While he did lose his voice over job on a television show for this, he issued an apology and these comments were widely forgotten about. As for Andre Gray, I think he was just trying to save his image from being torn apart because if he had issued a statement that claimed he is entitled to his opinion and he doesn't believe gay is ok, he might as well have kissed his soccer career goodbye.
Andre Gray sorry for homophobic tweet calling for gay people to 'burn and die' (2016, August 20). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/aug/20/andre-gray-apologises-homophobic-tweet-gay
Bennetts, J. (2016, August 20). Andre Gray apologises after offensive Twitter posts surface on day Burnley striker scores first Premier League goal. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/08/20/andre-gray-offensive-twitter-posts-surface-on-day-burnley-strike/
Gilbert Gottfried Fired As Aflac Duck After Japanese Tsunami Tweets. (2011, March 14). Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/14/gilbert-gottfried-fired-aflac_n_835692.html
Nichols, J. (2013, December 02). 20 Disgusting Homophobic Tweets In Response To Tom Daley Coming Out. Retrieved March 26, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/homophobic-tweets-tom-daley_n_4372196.html