Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Equine Gaydar Alert 

Since TigerHawk was kind enough to invite me to guest-blog, I thought it as well to set out some goals for my brief sojourn here.

Traffic seems to be a big concern for most male bloggers, so I'd like to begin by doing my part to boost his presence on the search engines... and what better way to do that than by making TigerHawk your one-stop-shopping destination for Gay Horse updates?

In case you haven't been following this breaking news story, let me fill you in:

Sam Brown, who graduated last summer, was arrested in May this year after a drunken conversation with a pair of mounted policemen on Cornmarket Street... Brown had just left the Cellar Bar when he allegedly called out to the policemen,

“Mate, you know your horse is gay, I hope you don’t have a problem with that.”

Warned by one officer not to repeat his comment, Brown reassured him that he was not insulting both horses, and said: “No, don’t worry. Your horse is fine, it’s his horse, his horse is gay.” He then proceeded to follow the policemen down the street, repeating his comments.

“Sam was adamant his equine gaydar was accurate,” eyewitness Daniel Cooper told The Oxford Student at the time. However, the officers considered the comments to be a breach of the Public Order Act, and took him into custody, calling on two squad cars and six policemen to make the arrest.

Among those present was ex-Balliol LGB (Lesbian-Gay-Bigender) Officer, Matthew Williams. “Aside from the hilariousness of the event there’s a serious question here,” he commented at the time.

“Isn’t it offensive to assume categorically the word ‘gay’ is insulting? I kept drunkenly shouting at the police that I was offended that they assumed ‘gay’ was being used as an insult.” Brown was released the following morning and issued with an £80 fine for, “causing harassment, alarm or distress.”

Matthew has a point.

As my oldest son is an officer of the law, I am all in favor of promoting a Sensitive, New Age Constabulary but this seems a bit much. To all accounts, the Officer's mount shows no signs of spouting overlong passages from Leaves of Grass or inciting his fellow equines to rousing choruses of Mame during working hours. That being the case, I think enlightened persuns need not concern themselves with what goes on behind paddock doors. Mark Steyn comments:

A spokesperson for Thames Valley Police told the student newspaper Cherwell that the "homophobic comments" were "not only offensive to the policeman and his horse, but any members of the general public in the area."

"Offensive to his horse"? Well, you never know. If any constabulary is keeping a full-time equine psychologist on staff, it's bound to be Thames Valley. Even now, the horse may be on one month's stress leave at home on full pay, with his feet up listening to Judy Garland on his iPod. Whoops, sorry. We don't know whether the horse in question is, in fact, gay. It may be just the way he trots. Whoops, there goes another 80 quid. What I'm getting at is that, even under a generous interpretation of "homophobia", it's hard to see why simply identifying the horse as gay should be a criminal offence.

Mr Brown didn't say: "Tell your gay horse to stop coming on to me" or "I couldn't get near Royal Ascot last year because those gay horses were queening around and backing up traffic." Few of us would appreciate inappropriate speculation about the sexuality of our mounts, yet even in Thames Valley the offence of hippophobia is surely a stretch.

Caligula made his horse a consul but only Thames Valley has made its horses' sexuality a hate crime.


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