Outspoken UKIP city council candidate Dr Julia Gasper has said today that PinkNews.co.uk readers have made ‘anonymous death threats and hysterical accusations of being a murderer’ against her, and that most should be involuntarily committed for psychiatric treatment.
Dr Gasper said she saw similarities between her situation and that of Salman Rushdie, whose 1988 work The Satanic Verses led the Ayatollah of Iran, a country which executes gays, to put a fatwa out for his own execution.
The UKIP candidate for Oxford City’s Quarry and Risinghurst ward had written that gay people needed to stop “complaining about persecution” and start expressing “gratitude” to straight people, on whom they are reliant to be born.
She also suggested a link between homosexuality and paedophilia should be examined when selecting gay couples to adopt a child.
The majority of the views expressed do not seem to reflect official policy of UKIP, a political party which advocates withdrawal from the European Union, though it does also oppose marriage equality for gay couples. A UKIP spokesman said the party did not not share or support her views, but it did support her right to hold them.
Following our story from last week, Dr Gasper, who has a doctorate in English literature and lectures at the Stanford University Centre in Oxford, wrote this morning: “Thanks to all my friends on Pink News!
“The publicity you have given me has hugely increased the readership of my blog and supporters are pouring in. I am beginning to understand how Salman Rushdie felt when denounced by crazy extremists. Poor guy. The more you make anonymous death threats against me and hysterical accusations of being a murderer, the more deranged you all sound.
“It’s a shame that most of you are completely mad and need to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. Just ring up your GP, tell him your symptoms and ask for help.”
Roweena Russell, a former chair of the International Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Youth and Student Organisation, was advised by Dr Gasper in an email that she needed to be sectioned. She told PinkNews.co.uk she had written Dr Gasper a carefully-worded message following the revelations about her blog.
Ms Russell said: “I’m appalled that somebody would use hard fought-for legislation against the people who’ve had to fight for it.
“As a long-term political activist I’m disgusted she’s used this kind of language, Using mental health as a slur on top of every else she’s doing is just unacceptable. I really can’t believe it.”
Dr Gasper continued on her blog: “About a year ago, somebody I know in Oxford confided that he was being bullied at work. I knew he was gay, as a mutual friend had mentioned it, but I didn’t ask him whether the bullying was related to him being gay. I just regarded it as a case of bullying, which is always unacceptable, and I was horrified.
“I did everything I could to help him. I suggested he go to the management, or to a union if he belonged to one. I sent him links to websites that told him his legal rights and suggested courses of action. I even went further than that, and put him in touch with an old friend of mine who is an occupational health professional. She is experienced in helping and supporting people in cases like this and she has a lot of expertise.
“But he rejected all this help. He chose to do nothing at all about it and just resigned from the job. When he told the local committee he wanted to be a candidate for UKIP, I bent over backwards to help him. I did everything I could to encourage him to stand up for his convictions. Curiously enough, he reacted by making accusations of bullying and injustice against me. He interpreted help and kindness as persecution. At that point, I felt I had to give up. I am not qualified to deal with cases where there may be mental issues, but I think I know what some of the symptoms are.”
Since PinkNews.co.uk wrote of Dr Gasper’s blog posts, the blog’s follower numbers have risen by over thirty percent, from three to four.