A few weeks back I posted the following question on my Facebook page just to see what my friends thought about it, as it was a question that came to me and I couldn’t work the answer out myself;


Do we have more openly gay and bisexual MP’s now because times have changed and it’s ok to be gay/bisexual? Or do we have more because if they weren’t out the media would out them?

 

Now of those that answered the question they all felt it was a little from A and a little from B.  Which got me thinking why is there this desire for people to know if someone is gay or not.  Now obviously there are situations where you would want to know, if you wanted to ask someone out or wanted to chat them up in a pub.  Then it helps to know or have an idea if that person’s sexuality is compatible with your own. 

But when it comes to just about every other situation I can’t see a need to know if your banker, butcher, bar tender or grounds keeper is gay or not.  Someone’s sexuality has very little bearing on their ability to do a job.  Even if the job is working with LGBT people you don’t have to be gay to be good at the job, all you need is an understanding of that. 

Now some people will argue that you can only properly understand that by having experienced it.  But there are lots of jobs that people do where they can’t have experienced something, like historians they don’t know what it is like to have lived in fiftieth centaury North-west France.    

Now in the vast majority of cases we do live in a society where being gay is fine and there are laws to protect gay people from discrimination which is good.  However I think there are certain jobs, and politics is one, that if the person is not open about their sexuality the press sees fit to try and make it a story.  A prime example of this was what happened to Simon Hughes and him being bisexual, where he was given the option by the press of coming out or be outed. 

 Now I don’t know about you but does it really make a lot of difference if an MP is open about their sexuality or not? We don’t tend to see this with other people in public life, there have been no Footballers outed or other Sports starts.  Yet politicians seem fair game. 

Personally I don’t think that anyone should have to be open to the world about their sexuality be that homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual.  It is a very personal thing that I believe that people should be able to keep private if they want to. 

Of course there will be people who will want to shout it off the roof tops that they are gay, and I am fully supportive of them doing that.  But I do not think that just because someone is LGBT and takes up a position in public life that they should be put in a position where they have to share that with the world because otherwise it will become subject to gossip and media speculation.  We don’t have the media questioning if someone is heterosexual so why should the LGBT community have to put up with it?

Yet what I find even more abhorrent than the media doing it is other LGBT people who decide to out LGBT people because they think they have a moral duty to do such a thing.  People deserve to decide themselves if they want to be totally open about it or not.   

 


Emma Warman
31/03/2012 11:21am

Interesting post. I agree that there should be no obligation on people to be 'out' even if they are in public life. However, I do think that role models can be important and we shouldn't underestimate how important it can be for gay people to be visible in all walks of life. For example, people with more traditional views may not see further than stereotypes but it is good to challenge that by politicians, sportspeople and others in public life being open about their sexuality and showing that it really doesn't define them or make them very much different from anyone else. Not to mention it being good for young people to be able to see positive role models.

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