James Faulkner's Post Was Foolish But Not Homophobic
OK, let's all calm down for a minute and consider what actually happened here.
A cricketer was out to dinner with his business partner and mother. He posted a picture of the trio. The cricketer initially used the word "boyfriend" to describe his business partner.
The word "boyfriend" was taken literally, and it was reported that the cricketer was therefore coming out as gay.
This was soon dismissed as inaccurate, thanks to statements from the cricketer himself and his governing body.
So was it offensive or even homophobic to use the term "boyfriend"?
In the opinion of this writer, it was not.
Foolish, more like. Careless with language. Perhaps even insensitive.
But not homophobic. Definitely not that.
This all hinges on the word "joke" -- a word many are using to describe Faulkner's original post.
The point is, this was never even an attempt at a joke which aimed to demean gay people. Calling his business partner a "boyfriend" was not James Faulkner's way of mocking the gay community with a tasteless wink-wink.
It was to describe a close business relationship in a colourful (but not rainbow) way. And if it was mocking anything, it was mocking relationships of all kinds.
As mentioned, Faulkner should have been smart enough to use a less incendiary phrase, not least because he's a public figure. But he didn't. So be it. People make mistakes.
A little confusingly, Cricket Australia originally called the post as "a joke that has been taken out of context".
But the organisation later clarified its earlier statement, saying it "does not consider the social commentary this morning from James Faulkner to be a joke, nor does James."
Because it wasn't. It was just a thing Faulkner said that should have been worded differently.
Some people are now saying things like "false outings should never be worthy of jokes". And they're right. People can be hurt by such actions, not least those struggling with whether to come out themselves.
But in this case, it was certain media outlets who did the "outing", not James Faulkner himself.
All Faulkner did was express his closeness with his trusted business associate, in playful language which was interpreted literally by some.
And then, as he clarified things in a second post, Faulkner sent his best to the LGBTQ community without the faintest hint of homophobia or mocking tone.
And that's that. Hate the misunderstanding. But don't hate the man.