A broadcaster and Nottingham Trent graduate has opened up about a homophobic incident last weekend and difficulties faced by gay people.
Christian Hewgill graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a Broadcast Journalism degree in 2013 and has since gone on to work for BBC’s Newsbeat and for some of the UK’s biggest media brands such as talkSPORT and Virgin Radio.
The incident happened in London last Saturday when as Christian describes it:
“I was out with my boyfriend on Saturday night, we were meeting some friends, but we were a little bit early so we were having a lovely little stroll around Covent Garden.
“We linked arms and then we heard somebody say something aggressively behind us.”
He continued: “We both sort of looked behind us and then somebody shuffled in front of us in this fairly crowded street and just said quite loudly having looked us up and down and in our faces “f****** disgusting.”
Christian posted about the experience on Twitter and the tweet has received over 1.4 million views in two days while he said 99% of the messages he received about the incident were “very supportive”.
“Homophobia is still out there, racism is still out there, and anybody who thinks prejudice like that is a thing of the past is sadly a bit naive.”
Christian Hewgill, freelance journalist
He described the situation around homophobia as definitely having improved over time and that there’s less of it in today’s society, but that unfortunately homophobia is definitely still out there and the fact that the incident happened on Saturday didn’t surprise him.
He said: “If you’re a black person you’re not surprised by racism, if you’re a gay person you’re not surprised by homophobia – I’m friends with a lot of gay people and I follow a lot of gay people, and you see this sort of thing happening a lot.
“Unfortunately it’s the reality of the world we live in – homophobia is still out there, racism is still out there, and anybody who thinks prejudice like that is a thing of the past is sadly a bit naïve.
“The fact it happened didn’t surprise me.”
Christian specialises in news and sport in his working life and in particular in Formula One which has seen him contribute to programmes such as BBC radio’s 5 Live Formula 1.
He hopes to use his platform to encourage and empower people in the LGBTQ+ community to be more confident and open about themselves and their sexuality.
He said: “I’ve worked in a lot of sports journalism and sports broadcasting and certainly you become aware where you are surrounded by straight people and that it’s very very obvious that there’s no one else like you in an environment – whether that be at a particular media company, at a football club or press conference.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been discriminated against but I have felt quite daunted about my sexuality and have questioned whether I belonged in sport – I think that’s why particularly when it comes to sport I am quite open about my sexuality and talking about LGBTQ+ issues.”
He continued: “When I’ve talked about LGBTQ+ issues on 5 Live F1 I’ve had lots of positive messages and people saying it’s so refreshing to see someone talking openly and being gay in the world of Formula One – that means the world.
“I try to be me as much as I can and be as true to myself as possible.”
Christian did not report the incident to the police.