This month, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dancing On Ice's Louie Spence to talk about his life and career... and boy! – can that man talk! With Louie, what you see is what you get: he’s the epitome of ‘upfront’. What struck me most about him was that he seems to be someone who has had few hang-ups about his sexuality. He says he knew that he was gay – or at the very least, different – from the age of five.
Fortunately, although he didn’t openly discuss these feelings with his parents at the time, he says that they were always hugely supportive of him – not even batting an eyelid or making any negative remarks as he started throwing himself around in ballet tights when other boys his age simply wanted to kick a ball around a field.
Louie was indeed fortunate. Parents have a profound influence on their children, and – in turn – the adults they eventually grow up to become. Disparaging words and actions can leave deep scars. Sometimes, just a silence around anything gay-related can leave a deep and lasting impression. It’s rare to find someone who appears to be unburdened by any residue of internalised homophobia – most of us carry some around, or find ourselves checking our behaviour or appearance for signs of being ‘too gay’. I still wince inside when I realise my little finger’s sticking out at an angle when I pick up a cup. Now I just remind myself, “You’re gay David… get over it!”
Despite this, there are some who have knocked Louie on exactly this “too gay” behaviour, suggesting that he and certain others “give gays a bad name”.
Give gays a bad name to whom exactly? Straight people? Do you think straight people tie themselves up in knots over how they are seen by gay people?
As Louie himself concludes, stop denying yourself, or trying to squeeze yourself into a mould that doesn’t quite fit. You’ve only got one life – don’t waste it trying to be something you’re not.
Elsewhere this month we chat with the Ting Tings, visit gay Tokyo, look at the dangers of hepatitis C infection for those who are HIV-positive, and bring you another gym-toned hunk in Body Talk. Enjoy, and keep sending us your feedback.
Posted: 29 February 2012