Sunday, 19 December 2010

Another Spineless MP Comes Out

I remember the first time I held a man's hand in public. We had stones thrown at us. It was pretty terrifying and certainly made my 18 year old self feel reluctant to try it again!

So I appreciate that coming out and being honest about yourself is not easy. I came out during the late nineties when things were becoming easier for LGBT people to be who they are, but when things were still pretty difficult. So I can only imagine what bravery and guts it took the men and women who came out before me, or whose attitudes were formed in that dark past. I'm sure being from that generation makes it extremely difficult for many.

So now I've got that out of the way, let's talk about the spinelessness of one Nigel Evans, Tory MP for the Ribble Valley.

This is a man who voted more times against LGBT rights than he has voted for. Hell, he's been absent more times than he has voted for.

He was only trying to protect the children of course, bless him, from dirty people like... HIM!

Yes. He came out. Supposedly due to threats of being outed by a former Labour MP

‘I could not afford it to be used as leverage against me. I couldn’t take the risk. I don’t want any other MP to face that kind of nastiness again.

‘I am sure there are other gay MPs who would like to be open about their sexuality but are fearful of the consequences. I hope this new group will help them to do so.’

So 1) he didn't come out because he was now comfortable with his sexuality, instead it was to continue to protect his career. 2) he seems overly concerned with helping others feel secure in their sexuality yet in the past voted to keep an unequal age of consent and Section 28 thereby causing many young LGBT people to suffer continued hurt.

As I've said before: Never trust someone who will vote against their own rights just for political advantage and partisanship.

We should not welcome this announcement as another victory for LGBT people but should instead hang our collective heads in shame that yet another LGBT person has come out as an "ex-homophobe". Here's a song I think is most appropriate for this situation. You do it to yourself, you do, and that's what really hurts.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Oliver said...

Any man or woman who comes out deserves compassion and support at a difficult time. It doesn't matter whether they didn't come out like you did, or whether they've done bad things (I know gay people who were terrible bullies to gay people, just because they were terrified of being outed).

Also, why shouldn't he want to come out because a Labour MP could have outed him? I'd rather be the one to tell people (like my parents and family, etc) than let someone else tell.

I'm sorry for what you went through, and I know he's a Tory, but this post does give the impression, similar to Stonewall's, that gay people who don't come out are somehow lesser people.

I say that whoever comes out, at whatever age, should be warmly welcomed and supported.

Being aggressive makes the gay community look intolerant and unwelcoming.

But very interesting questions to be answered about the voting record. I'd be interested as to what his justification for it is.

Jae said...

I wholeheartedly support people coming out. But those who have voted, publicly, against LGBT rights MUST be held to account.

We cannot forgive homophobia just because someone who is homophobic turns out to be gay.

My other half got married and had four children before he found it within himself to come out. I'm proud that he did, and I'm proud of anyone who comes out. But I simply will not express joy that a man who actively tried to oppress me (as I was a child during his pro-Section 28 and anti-age of consent equality votes) is now feeling able to be honest with us all about his sexuality.

David Bingham said...

I am not gay but I have always been in favour of gay rights.

It seems to me though having lived through this time of growing enlightenment and gradual improvement in the equalisation of laws, is that it may depend upon where you came in on this continuum.

Living a lie may have been the way for people like Evans to deal with his homosexuality as he entered the world of adulthood. Once a lie has been maintained it become harder to admit.

I have an adopted son and daughter. My wife and I have been open with them regarding this. (They were both 1 year old when we adopted them). I have friends who have children they live with who are not the natural parent. They agonise about telling the children about this. One friend told me that she was 18 before her mum told her that the man she called her Dad wasn't the man who was her genetic father. It seems that everybody in her family apart from her knew this and they all lied.

Evans may face criticism for hypocrisy but he has my compassion for behaving imperfectly in an imperfect world

nelly said...

I appreciate that it is difficult to understand the actions of others especially when they make no sense in relation to your beliefs and the similarities that you identify with but i believe that despite seeming contrary to "his rights" maybe the decisions he has made have been formed by his personal experiences and coming to terms with his identity. After all, we all grow differently and only our experiences can form our opinions and actions

Jae said...

It's not the fact that he voted against his own rights that upsets me most. It's the fact he voted against mine and many others.

By your argument we might as well forgive everyone for everything because surely everything is to do with their background?

No, he doesn't deserve forgiveness. This was cold, calculated move in his campaign to be Speaker. Getting the dirty laundry out in the open first. Disgusting.