Tuesday, 27 February 2007

The gay threat?

Yes, I love Belfast madly, and I could sing its praises for some time, but of course everywhere has its seamy side and one thing in particular has just slid into my view. A bit late in the day I know but I've just caught up with the University of Ulster/University of Queensland study that found the Northern Irish to be the most bigoted people in the west, if not the world.

What they hate most it seems is homosexuals, with an astonishing 36% not wanting a homosexual as a neighbour. Good grief, what is it about people fancying their own sex that gets other folk in such a sweat? Are they thieves, hijackers, mercenaries, grave-robbers? Er no, their love and affection just tends to flow towards people who look more like them. But just imagine if they lived next door, you say. Anything could happen. They might nip over the garden fence and cavort erotically on your lawn. They might seduce your pet rabbit. But phew, we've kept them out - civilisation is saved! Halleluyah!

Am I missing something here? Or is hysterical fantasy getting the upper hand?

A tangible example of what gays are up against was reported by the BBC back in December. An Ulster Unionist guest house owner, Antrim councillor Adrian Watson, declared he would feel "uncomfortable" about having gay couples in his B&B. He argued that the business was based in the family home where there were three children and his wife, a Christian, could be upset. Ken Wilkinson of the Progressive Unionist Party in Antrim reportedly told Mr Watson "You are an embarrassment as the deputy mayor".

Well, all I can say is, perhaps these folk who find gays so alarming should get out a bit and actually befriend a few of these scary characters. They might even find that in most respects they're just like you and me - sensitive human beings who only want an enjoyable life, a few good friends and a decent job. Sounds harmless enough to me....

Personally, I've known many gay men and lesbians over the years, and they've all enriched my life and opened my eyes in all sorts of ways. The very fact that they're a minority always having to negotiate with a more acceptable majority itself creates interesting perspectives and insights. As I've said before, everybody has something to teach us. And that Julian Clary - isn't he just divine??


  1. Absolutely right and it needs to be said


  2. More shocking yet was when Seamus Close, councillor for the supposedly progressive, liberal Alliance Party, successfully proposed a motion that Lisburn City Council's wedding room should not be used for same sex civil partnership ceremonies. Fortunately the ban was overturned, and the party's chairman, who also supported the ban, was rightly hounded out of office by members of the party.

    At the time I emailed the Alliance about the issue, who confirmed that Close was "totally out of
    line with the party values and policy." But that the issue should have arisen in the first place is appalling.

  3. Yes I remember the disgraceful Seamus Close episode. With such blinkered attitudes, the man shouldn't be in the Alliance party at all. In a bizarre Freudian slip, I read Lisburn City Council as Lesbian City Council. Now there's a thought....