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Interview: Encouraging gays to take their place in Parliament

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  1. Anne Begg is my local MP up here. Whilst I agree with some of her comments in this interview, I take issue with other points.

    For example, she states that up here in Scotland, that what the priesthood thinks is not what the people think. Sure, there are plenty of open-minded people up here, but in Aberdeen at least, there is a disparity between the “official” statements of a tolerant society we regularly hear from the Scottish government and local council officials, I’ve certainly seen and heard plenty of homophobia. Aberdeen is considered to be relatively conservative even amongst Scottish cities, particularly by those such as myself who did not grow up here, but moved here instead.

    Examples of this backward attitude still persisting, would include the incidents of Aberdeen bus drivers throwing gay couples off their buses for hugging, as reported by pink news, by Stagecoach (owned by the bigot Mr Brian Souter).

    I lived in London for quite some time, and although I do enjoy living up here overall, it was still a bit of a shock moving up from the great gay life I had in London. There’s still a way to go, and I’m not sure if my patience will last the distance, or if I will move back to London.

    At any rate, I’ve been quite happy with Anne as my local MP, when I registered here as a voter, I even got a nice “welcome to the constituency” letter from her (or certainly her office at least). That was a first.

  2. George there are religious fundamentalists everywhere!

    I live in the South West and I could not even join my council without being blocked at every point by them. When I tried to get stories in local newspapers about my campaign they were blocked. When I tried to get co-opted onto the council I was blocked.

    Sure if you live in a city I’m sure it’s easier, but I don’t.

  3. @George

    An MP who sends you a welcome letter and gives an honest enough interview here sure as hell beats mine.

    Malcolm Rifkind (Conservative, Kensington & Chelsea) has a large number of LGBT constituents (around Earl’s Court and Notting Hill) and once replied to a letter from me by saying he was opposed to all forms of homophobia.

    So I checked out his voting record only to find he had never once supported equality legislation.

  4. @Ivan

    You have my sympathies having him as your MP.

  5. Isn’t it great to see a disabled person speaking out for glb inclusion. Hopefully gay MPs will be as vocal in there support of all disabled people(physical, intellectual and psychiatric).It is sad too see Ulster MPs stance and they should take note of the massive advances achieved south of the border in terms of social policy.So west Scotland is conservative and intolerant because it has many Irish immigrants.Like duh!!

  6. The so-called Irish Immigrants in the West of Scotland are nothing of the sort. Their great, great-grandparents were the Irish Immigrants during the late 1800’s. I would think people would consider themselves Scottish after 100 years in the country.

  7. The idea of having representative numbers of each interest in parliament is childishly impossible. MPs should be able to be there without discrimination, but what really matters is that all who need representation can find it amongst parliamentarians, and their concerns get the consideration they deserve.

    How else are the children, the ill, the old, unemployed, the poor to be represented? There are no unemployed or poor MPs and it really shows. Or those fully committed to their profession, their work, or their children?

    One barrier is how some of the press will attempt to destroy MPs, or candidates, from some backgrounds, and maybe only the most brazen risk that. And they don’t necessarily make MPs who listen.

    The press is certainly behind there being only one out lesbian there. And she gets classed as gay and invisibilised.

    From primary school I was highly socially concerned and political. I would have loved to be an MP, and my party strongly encouraged me to stand, but the press would really have had me, and my partner, and our families, crucified. No one would have enough support to handle that.

    I don’t see evidence that background has changed, and I don’t see what Ms Begg and her committee could suggest to do about it, other than what the government claims to be doing already, across society, and is largely failing to do, or doing wrong. Such as reinforcing discrimination by firmly rejecting marriage equality.

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