Talk about ~poetic justice~ !
When web developer and digital artist Nick Hurley was verbally assaulted on the streets of Manchester, UK, last weekend, he reacted with speed and an entire tube of glitter.
Hurley was on his way from picking up supplies for last weekend’s pride parade in Brighton when a homophobe screamed obscenities as he drove by him on the street. Rather than get bummed out, Hurley waited for the driver to stop at a red light, and then proceeded to “empty a tube of glitter” through the bigot’s car window.
“Your casual homophobia has supergay consequences,” Hurley tweeted. Clearly, his bad glittery self resonated with Twitter, his tweet racking up over 153,000 likes and 17,000 retweets in under four days’ time.
“People who know me will attest that it’s not unusual for me to travel with glitter,” Hurley wrote of the experience on Medium. He also elaborated on the experience, describing the perfect storm of events that inspired him to react the way that he did:
“It might’ve been the sunshine, it might’ve been the absolute exhaustion from a week of work, or maybe it was just the use of that word in such close proximity to my plans of spending the weekend celebrating the exact opposite of the hate it evoked. I was overcome with white-hot rage. Their car came to a stop at the traffic lights, and I managed to catch up to them as they became gridlocked in Manchester’s congested Friday evening traffic.
Armed with a bag full of glitter, a head spinning with creative rage, and an escaping window of opportunity, I acted. Emptying a tube of glitter through their open window. It was such a gratifying, and visually whimsical response to their prejudice. A punishment which seemed fitting for the crime.”
Unfortunately, as well know all too well, no good deed goes unpunished. Seeing that his tweet had been read by over 4.5 millions people, Hurley wrote that a concerned friend “recommended that I remove the Tweet and refuse to expand on the story any further, else risk opening myself up to an ‘assault charge’ from my glitter activism.”
This may sound ridiculous, but there was no shortage of comments on Twitter complaining that Hurley’s punishment did not fit the homophobic lads’ crime. “Enough people on Twitter have uninvitedly taken the liberty to shout me down for over-reacting to innocent name calling,” wrote Hurley.
Of course there is nothing “innocent” about screaming hateful things to strangers on the street in an attempt to shame them for their sexual orientation. The jump between name-calling and physical assault for these types of individuals is a frighteningly short one.
“Death threats, a glass bottle to the head, being thrown off my bike, and getting a brick through the window of my home are just a handful of the recent prices I’ve had to pay for being out and gay, in a supposedly open-minded, liberal, and welcoming city.”
Though there were the confusing folks who shamed Hurley’s behavior, much of Twitter prided him on standing up for himself. Many shared their own stories of persecution.
And, to those concerned over the environmental impact of Hurley’s glitter activism, HAVE NO FEAR you wretched Tweeters. The glitter was biodegradable.
Hurley said it best:
“So the next time you see someone abusing a gay person on the street, call them out. Just make sure you’ve got a tube of glitter in your pocket, because a little bit of sparkle goes a long way in a world full of hate.”