So, this blog is a little more serious than some of my previous ones, but certainly not a new subject. It's about internet trolls and homophobic hate crimes and my recent experience with both after I decided to run a Facebook advertisement for one of my books, Echoes of a Boy. Some of the reactions to it took me a little by surprise, naively so perhaps, but I thought I would share the experience.
For those who know, the book cover is a picture of a younger me, naked but over 18! This is not a photograph; it is an artistically filtered silhouette of a boy emerging from some words on the page. It is very reflective of the book, which, I believe, is a unique insight into a fictional murder mystery written by myself in my late teens, intertwined with a biography which explains the source material and how my life subsequently evolved.
At the time of writing, the statistics show that the ad reach is around 2,500 people, with 20% engagement and 85 reactions on Facebook - 42 👍, 22 😆, 17 😡, 2 🤗, and 2 😢. Although a small number of the total, the angry people worry me. Their comments included a biblical diatribe of verses that cast me out as a sinner, a claim it is gay propaganda, another request to remove this 'sick shit' from their feed, a simple 'nobody cares', but by far the worst, an image of a man being set on fire.
I decided to delete/block these comments/people, but I wonder if it would have been better to leave them on display so everyone could see their values. They seemed oblivious that in modern society, homophobia is a hate crime. And I am saddened to say the majority of the hate came from middle-aged American men. And I'd be shocked if any of them read it before passing their comments.
I have thick skin and am old enough and wise enough to let it wash over me. However, it isn't pleasant, and I worry for the younger generation now faced with coming out in a world that seems to be moving backwards regarding gay rights. Whatever happened to the #bekind movement?