Ann Fenech’s pastizzi comment may have caused a stir online, but what many may have missed are the thinly veiled jabs at Opposition leader Simon Busuttil’s sexual orientation by blogger (and aide to the Prime Minister) Glenn Bedingfield.
Regardless of how you feel about Dr Fenech and her taste in pastries, your reaction to reading her post should never be a string of sausage innuendos directed at the leader of the Opposition.
“Pastizz jew sausage roll? Kristina tkun taf. Imma jien naħseb li sausage roll iħobb.”
When he’s not squeezing into the back of a car to conduct interviews with Maltese personalities, or giggling to himself as he makes jokes about Wudy, Bedingfield is hired by our government as an aide for the OPM. The same government that proudly leads the global charge for gay rights. The same government that will wave the rainbow flag at every chance it gets.
Despite all the progress this administration has made on LGBT+ issues, the fact that a government employee can write the equivalent of “haha, Simon pufta” without anyone calling it out as unacceptable, is a clear reflection of a deep problem with our society.
“To a person who spent the first 20 years of their life fearing hostility simply for being, portraying homosexuality as a negative quality or something that’s laughable is a big deal.”
“Pastizz jew sausage roll? Kristina tkun taf. (Pastizz or sausage roll? Kristina would know),” he writes, trying to play it off as another funny post about the now-infamous #pastizzigate. But it’s not just another post.
The intention of these ‘jokes’ is clear; undermine Simon Busuttil’s masculinity by implying that he is gay, in the hope that voters suddenly lose their trust in his capabilities as a leader. The idea that this tactic may actually work is probably more worrying than the fact that it’s being done at all.
Bedingfield’s comments also sparked a stream of similar references to David Casa, an MEP who isn’t linked to any of the events mentioned in the blog post, but happens to be gay, ergo he’s fair game.
Some readers may claim that gay jokes aren’t a big deal, and will play this reaction off as a young person suffering from ‘snowflake syndrome’ (or some other fancy phrase they blindly lifted from foreign media). But for a person who spent the first 20 years of their life fearing hostility simply for being, portraying homosexuality as a negative quality or something that’s laughable is a big deal. More so in a country that is supposed to be at the forefront of protecting my rights. More so by a person working intimately with the decision makers.
The issue here is not about a minority which is easily offended. When one person tags a straight friend in an open-call for gay DJs, everyone chuckles to themselves. When swarms of hundreds jump on the bandwagon to laugh and jeer at the idea of being gay, things turn ugly. A man in Bedingfield’s position should lead by example, not be the guy who would tag a friend in the post for banter.