For all that he's ever done to help and abide by me, I respect my father - but I still think he's wrong. You see, he takes the point of view that anything that is different is automatically wrong. He grew up in early 1960's Birmingham, a city at a time rife with racism and prejudice. Guess it informed the man he grew up to be - somebody who quite willingly shouts slur like "Paki" or "terrorist" at any passing Asian man or woman just because... well, they aren't like him.
He's also got a lot of venom for homosexuals. Everytime he's 'sure' that a gay man or lesbian woman is near, without exception, he'll make a comment - usually jokey in tone - to try and intimidate them, or unsettle them, or cause upset. Just because they're different, and he can.
It's unsettling watching him do it; and until recently, I never dared to have the courage to tell him to stop doing it, because "stop" invokes a lot of power - and my Dad intimidates me so much, because he's my Dad and that's a very Dad thing to do, that I never dared realise that inside me I had that power, to say one little word. "Stop".
He won't change, my Dad. As long as he lives, he'll still have those thoughts inside of him - even if, after recent outbursts on my behalf, he never airs them infront of me again. People like that don't change; they can't - because it's in their nature.
It's one of the reasons why a show like Torchwood connects with me so greatly. Sure, I think it's dramatically flawed, and the characters sometimes don't connect or resinate with the audience as much as they could do, but I respect that the show has balls. And not just teeny-weeny things; we're talking mega sized testes. What other primetime show, now cut down for a family audience, would dare show sexuality so freely, and with immense fun?
Sure, we have "Queer as Folk" and "Six Feet Under" and "The L Word", but don't quite click with a mainstream audience, especially a British one, now do they?
I respect Torchwood for simply putting two fingers up at the established idea of popular homophobia and having a general sexually liberated philosphy. We need more shows like that if people like my Dad are to understand that they're wrong - and more importantly, why they're wrong.
It's a reason why I'm not too sure about "The Making of Me" (BBC One, July 24th, 9pm) which shows John Barrowman exploring the reasons behind homosexuality - more specifically, what makes people gay. To be honest, the programme makes me a little uneasy, because it's another of those shows that seperates straight from gay - it's main agenda being to show audiences that gay means different than you or I.
Shows like Torchwood are needed to demonstrate to the world that that's simply not true - to be gay or lesbian is a mere sexual orientation. To take away human rights based upon that (or any other prejudice) is simply wrong.
You may/may not be the biggest Torchwood fan around, or might be a casual viewer who's stumbled across this site by mistake, but learn something from this wonderful cheeky and irrelevant show of our's - different = good. Next time somebody tells you differently, shut them up. In the nicest possible way, they deserve it.
So, here goes...
Dad, you're wrong - just like so many others.
Look at Torchwood for example. It's flawed as Hell and a little directionless much of the time; but it got one thing right. This is the 21st century, and it's time that things changed.
UPDATE: There's a lovely JB snippet here.