Cameron Cole was the youngest ever winner of Big Brother and dubbed ‘The Public’s’ Favorite’ when he triumphed in the last ever series in 2018.
But the 19-year-old Norwich-born winner says he has since received” vile” messages on social media and shouted at in the street. Abuse has ranged from being called a ‘f*****g faggot”, to “kill himself for being gay” and phone calls at all hours of the day and night with abusive comments shouted down the line.
Last week in a central London hotel, a middle-aged businessman shouted to his colleagues “look isn’t that the faggot off the TV?”.
“It just makes me feel worthless when all this happens, and I am undeniably uncomfortable when out and about,” says Cameron. “It’s horrible logging onto social media and going through messages and having to sit and read nasty homophobic comments and abuse. I wouldn’t feel safe walking down the streets holding hands with a guy.
“It’s not just me who receives homophobia almost everyone in the community has received it at some point. This is the reality unfortunately. We’ve come a long way, but the truth is homophobia really isn’t anywhere near as dead as society thinks it is. You can change the laws with regards to marriage and parenting but that doesn’t change people’s mindsets.”
Cameron is now calling for tougher laws and support for people affected by abuse, whether it is physical or verbal.
“We need to work to help young people, like me, who were afraid to come out in first place. They need to know there is a strong support system and they can safely report any abuse they receive without feeling like it is a waste of time.”