Conservative Councillor Keith Parker has refused to back down on comments made at a scrutiny board meeting, despite admitting referring to gay men as the “queen team.”
Last month Pinknews.co.uk reported how at a meeting discussing the possible collaboration of victims of homophobic and domestic violence, the 68 year old Tory Councillor remarked:
“The scream team will be conversing with the queen team.”
The comment prompted accusations of homophobia from Liberal Democrat Cllr Karen Chilvers, who has since made a formal complaint to the council standards committee, Cllr Parker is now under investigation.
The Liberal Democrat councillor of three years told the Daily Telegraph that she had taken particular offence at Cllr Parker’s remark because she has worked with victims of domestic violence in the past. “My view is we’re elected to represent all people and we shouldn’t be ridiculing them,” she said.
But despite accusations of homophobia Cllr Parker, who has served as a Tory councillor for four years, claims that he has been inundated with letters of support from the gay community:
“I seem to have become quite a gay celebrity at the moment and I’ve had lots of emails from the gay fraternity as far away as Cheshire and Derby,” he said.
Cllr Parker also claimed to have had emails congratulating him on “being so clever”.
A spokesman for Stonewall, said:
“All elected representatives are meant to serve and reflect the community as a whole including gay constituents.”
The council code of conduct states that council members ,”should have respect for others and promote equality by not discriminating unlawfully against any person and by treating people with respect regardless of race, age, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”
The there has been much debate on LGBT websites as to whether the comments were offensive. On the Pinknews.co.uk site ‘bearfeile.com’ commented:
“In all honesty I find the remarks quite funny. I think us gay guys are too quick off the mark to criticise people for making remarks like that when we can be just as bitchy. There is more out there in terms of gay bashing, Christian right wingers and homophobes than someone cracking a joke.”
However, many took a different opinion:
“Don’t the Council have a diversity and equality policy that he can be disciplined for being in breach of,” added ‘Abi1975’.
“The fact he finds domestic violence a topic for humour makes me wonder about the safety of Mrs Parker.”
Keith Parker is the councillor for the Brizes and Doddinghurst ward in Brentwood.