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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tories Say the Darndest Things About LGBT People

By Mindy Townsend -

I’ve written here before about my love for all things British. And with such delights as David Tennant, Colin Firth and Jon Ronson calling the United Kingdom home, who could blame me? Sure, it gets ground to a halt for six inches of snow (I’m looking at about a foot of the white stuff from my balcony window, and that’s par for the course), but as long as the Brits keep speaking in such a charming accent, I’m helpless to resist.
Well, almost helpless. Sometimes, no matter what one says, one sounds like a complete bigot. The majority party has lately been saying some rather horrible things about the – wait for it – gay agenda. (Na na na na!)
This latest spate of hate and fear mongering has arisen because of some guidelines proposed by the LGBT charity Schools Out that suggest ways that teachers can integrate more LGBT references in school subjects such as math (or maths, if you will), geography and science. Evidently, the idea is to give school children an accurate view of the demographics of modern Britain.
This, of course, led to a whingeing party within some Tory members of parliament and at least one Daily Mail columnist. I think it’s important to note here that these guidelines would be just that, guides; no teacher must make LGBT-inclusive references.
Melanie Phillips of The Daily Mail called the guidelines “an abuse of childhood,” “the latest attempt to brainwash children with propaganda under the camouflage of education” and “part of the ruthless campaign by the gay rights lobby to destroy the very concept of normal sexual behaviour.”
Jeesh, and I bet she thought the gays were dramatic.
But this type of appalling homophobia is not confined to the opinion pages of infamous British tabloids. Conservative MP Richard Grosvenor Plunkett-Ernle-Erle-Drax (I’m not kidding) posted on his blog that these new guidelines would impose “questionable sexual standards on those too young to understand their equality czars.”
Ooo, equality czar. I like the sound of that.
This is a significant turn-around after about 15 years of a law called Section 28. This law, as I understand it, made it illegal for the government to acknowledge that it is OK to be gay, and resulted in several school LGBT support groups to be shut down. But it looks like not everyone is ready to abandon the antiquated stance of out of sight, out of mind.
And yet, that is not the end.
Another Tory MP, Dominic Raab, has gone on record questioning the mere existence of anti-LGBT discrimination. According to him, since gay men earn more money than straight men and lesbians earn more than straight women, then there cannot be widespread discrimination.
Right. This coming from an MP of a country that still does not allow gay and lesbian couples to marry and where a gay couple had to sue in order to stay in a hotel. Yep, no widespread discrimination there!
This is all quite disturbing (not to mention their new health advisor, who believes gay people can be cured). Gay people all over the world have fought tooth and nail with their straight allies to gain equal rights, and are still falling short in significant ways. What these members of Parliament tell us is that nothing is yet so entrenched that it cannot be undone, and that if we don’t push for progress, we will move nowhere.
Tell the party leaders that enough is enough, and all people deserve equal dignity.

petition text -

Please Support LGBT Equality


I am writing to you today to request that your government come out firmly in support of LGBT equality after anti-gay statements made by some members of Parliament.

On the heels of the appointment of a doctor who believes gay people can be cured (which is not scientifically sound) to the position of health advisor, MP Richard Dax misrepresented new guidelines issued by Schools Out - which in reality only promote a realistic view of British society - as "imposing questionable sexual standards" on young children.

Next, MP Dominic Raab questions the existence of widespread discrimination against the LGBT community because they supposedly earn more than their heterosexual counterparts. This in a country where LGBT people cannot marry and must go to court in order to stay in a hotel.

These statements are inexcusable and only work to entrench current discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals. Please use your power to make sure everyone in the U.K. is a valued member of society by denouncing these remarks and supporting pro-LGBT policies.

[Your name here] 


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