The Pansy Project } Family

"POOF!" Back Hilton Road, Aberdeen, planted by Theone Tait for Stuart O'Neill
On April 22nd 2009 Pink News reported that Stuart O'Neill had received homophobic abuse from his own Mother; “Celia Duncan, from Aberdeen was fined £250 for shouting homophobic abuse at her 16 year old son. Duncan admitted breaching the peace by screaming expletives and allegedly calling Stuart and his boyfriend "poofs" after she caught the pair holding hands. Duncan also admitted to sending abusive text messages. Stuart told the BBC: "I feel really betrayed by my mum. What she said to me was vile and hurtful. "My mum didn't like the fact I was gay. "She told me to stop being gay or get out of Aberdeen. She basically threw me out of the house." Cecilia Dyckhoff, prosecuting told the court: "The complainer was walking with his friend on Back Hilton Road when he saw Miss Duncan's car going past, brake suddenly, turn round and stop. "He knew it was her car and started to run away. He and his friend climbed a wall and ran through a wood and the accused chased him shouting at them, making homophobic remarks." The court was told she left a voice-mail saying: "I will get you, believe me, and you will get your head kicked in." This was followed by a text message that said "I will get you and your poof." the story continues here.
Some of the 3000 pansies planted for David Morley on The South Bank as part of LLGFF
My own mother lives near Aberdeen so I asked if she would plant a pansy at the site, she agreed to and the above photograph is documentation of the planting. This action extends the reading of the gesture that The Pansy Project is and infuses it with notions of family reparation. This particular road side is now not simply a location associated with familial disquiet and confrontation but has become a site for family collaboration and support in this case with my own mother. This perhaps contributes to balancing the still real experience many people live through when coming out as gay. I have personally been fortunate with my own family as they have collaborated with me in different ways. My step-mother is a gardener and helped project manage my contribution to the LLGFF a couple of years ago. We even managed to get a couple of my sisters (Harriet and Chloe) to help with the pansy plantings one cold morning in April 2007. Yet more family attended the 'Pansy Give Away' on the South Bank, My nephew, Charlie (8 at the time) excitedly helped water the pansies ready for distribution to the public.
The recent planting for Michael Causer that continues to reverberate through my consciousness crystallises the position gay people have within families, Michael was loved by his Mother and Father and extended family and so are many other gay people irrespective of their sexuality. Though sadly this is not a universal experience, from the real and terrifying fear of rejection that comes with 'coming out' to ones own family to the reality of governmental criminalisation of homosexuality, globally and locally it is still socially challenging to be openly gay. I hope that The Pansy Project in some small way helps reflect the communal intolerance of homophobia and I am happy that it can demonstrate the potential for familial support. My Research Continues....


  1. Anonymous11:01 AM

    hello.please keep my comment on your site one month.i make a test and maybe this will help me.thank you very much. i love girls and Nice Ass .thank you time ill give you a beer:)

  2. fraser7:33 PM

    just came across an article on Pink News about your project and I just wanted to say how beautiful, how refreshing, how moving, and essentially how relevant the idea is. I also feel I need to add how grateful I am for your work. (The pansies even match the permanently dyed streak in David Morley's hair.)If you ever need a hand in london then just drop me a line. cheers.


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