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Mayor pleads innocent to heterosexism

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  1. ccc lgbt staff group 20 Feb 2007, 6:05pm

    The following letter has been sent to the Daily Telegraph and the Cambridge Evening News in the light of recent media coverage of the City Council LGBT Staff group. It is followed by the original letter from the group to the leader of the LibDem group and leader of the Council regarding Cllr Hipkin’s comments.——————–Dear Editorre: ‘ Ex-mayor called ‘heterosexist’ in housing row’ / ‘Apology call over claim of sex bias’ (sic)Cambridge City Council LGBT Staff group Steering Committee would like to correct the impression created by recent articles in local and national press that we have ‘accused’ Cllr Hipkin of either discriminatory behaviour or homophobia.Our original letter – to the leader of the LibDem Group, and which we have published at cam.misc – described the Councillor’s published remarks as an “example of unintentional bias”.Consequently we will not be offering an apology for the letter however we have offered to meet with Cllr Hipkin to discuss the issues it raises.We support the statement of the Council leader regarding the over reaction to our letter and would take the opportunity to reiterate the excellent progress made by the Council in supporting LGBT people in Cambridge.SincerelyCambridge City Council LGBT Staff group Steering Committeel…—–Dear Cllr Nimmo-Smith,re: Cllr Hipkin’s recent commentsWe were very pleased to see you at our recent meeting and to see some action agreed on dealing with our issues.We would like to draw your attention though to recent comments by one of your Group colleagues.This is how he was quoted in the CEN story: ‘Lack of homes to drive out families’Coun Hipkin, who became a father again aged 70 last year, made his remarks during a Cambridge City Council planning committee meeting.He said: “We keep getting developments of one and two-bedroom houses. I wonder whether this is putting huge pressure of a contraceptive nature on this city.”People presumably start off single or young marrieds and have children, don’t they? Where are they going to go? Is there going to be a sign outside saying ‘if you want children go elsewhere or get a short-term tenancy’?”.This is a very good example of unintentional bias, of the sort we discussed as heterosexism.Quoting Wikipedia: ‘Heterosexism is bias against lesbians, gay males, and bisexuals – or any group that is not exclusively heterosexual. A related term is Sexual Prejudice, a negative attitude toward someone because of her or his sexual orientation. This bias is not the same as Homophobia, but rather is the unintentional discrimination towards or against non-heterosexuals due to cultural bias. Heterosexism suggests that the problem of bias is not an individual problem but rather a cultural failing that results in negative attitudes