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Comment: Why the gay community should not have to say ‘thank you’ for equal marriage

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  1. Well said. I am glad you acknowledge that some people deserve thanks. As much as we deserve this hard won equality, the GLBT community could not have brought it about without help.

    1. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 1:28am

      Absolutely Cal, I agree with you. I understand the sentiments of Benjamin Butterworth but see the issue from a different perspective.

      I see the The Equal Marriage Act not as a patronising granting of the favour of equality, but as a remedying a wrong. We must remember that it was not Cameron who took away or denied us a right, but he sought to change this inequity through conviction and at some cost politically and personally.

      So I thank David Cameron not for granting me a right, but for remedying a wrong. I don’t want to be ungrateful because he is an ally and as a minority we need to keep allies for our future battles against discrimination. It is wrong that we even need to fight against discrimination, but discrimination is a reality whether we like it or not and in order to overcome discrimination we need more allies than enemies.

      I should also like to add that I do not agree with Cameron on many issues, but that does not prevent me from giving credit where it is due.

      1. David Slattery 26 Jul 2013, 1:23am

        ….couldn’t have been anything to do with Nick Clegg and the LibDems piling the pressure on him?
        Do you really think we would have had equal marriage if the Conservatives had an overall majority?…I think not…
        Don’t forget that the Tory MP’s voted overwhelmingly against equal marriage!!!!

  2. 56 years????
    Which public school did you go to, Benjamin?

    1. The Turing Shroud 24 Jul 2013, 6:28pm

      One where they don’t do maths, obviously

      1. I know it’s not what he wrote, but it is 56 since the Wolfenden report!

        1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 6:58am

          the Wolfenden report is NOT the begginning of the gay rights movement in the UK, or globally. It was only one step in a much much longer process.

    2. whether or not he went to a public school is completely irrelevant? if he can’t do maths, he’s more likely to have gone to a state school. of course, only a complete twit would think it contributes to the discussion to bring this sort of thing up

      please switch off your computer (preferably forever)

    3. Faxxy Jones 25 Jul 2013, 12:42pm

      Yep. No possible way it was a typo, i mean four and five arent even next to each other right?

    4. St Trinnians

  3. I don’t feel I need to give thanks for marriage or for any other rights that I’ve been given in the UK. I’ve paid my taxes and I’ve been a good citizen so I deserve as much rights as anyone else in the UK in the same sitution.

    But I am thankful that I live in 2013, that Cameron stuck to his guns, that the lords appeared to have dramatically changed since CPs were introduced and that other countries shamed the UK into introducing equal marriage. I also thank everyone else that made an effort to bring about equal marriage.

    However, I still won’t be able to convert my CP to a marriage until 2015 so until then my thanks for marriage are a lit bit cautious …I’ll start thanking everyone fully when I can actually say I’m married.

    1. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 2:15am

      ‘I don’t feel I need to give thanks for marriage or for any other rights that I’ve been given in the UK.’

      This is absolutely true John, and as you say we can give thanks to those that made an effort to right a wrong without any expectation of personal benefit. As a minority we need allies to help us right wrongs over which the majority (rightly or wrongly) have control.

      1. Before we start turning David Cameron into a saint, please let’s not forget that it was his coalition partners, the LibDems, who piled on the pressure for change.
        The Tory party hasn’t changed and the vast majority of Tory MP’s voted against equal marriage…

  4. You make a very interesting point, and one which I would agree with – particularly on the topic of referendums, why should gay people need to receive permission from the straight masses to marry?!

    Where I would slightly alter my position are your thoughts on everyday people saying ‘I’m fine with you being gay’.

    I come from a highly traditional community, and hope to be openly gay soon.

    I expect, knowing my neighbours and friends, many of them will want to show they they are fine with me being gay, and they will do this by making a particular effort to treat me ultra-normally by stopping me in the lane for a conversation etc. once gossip spreads (We’re ultra British – no one would ever say “I’m fine with you being gay”, but that would be the meaning of an unrelated discussion!). It should be unnecessary to do that, but it’s not in our society. They have best intentions to make me comfortable, and for that I’m grateful.

    1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 7:23pm

      I think that might be something which has changed over time.

      Someone saying they are fine with you, along the path to equality, in the early days, was re-assuring, but now that we are supposed to be at the point of equality, no longer on the journey, it feels a bit obnoxious for someone to let me know that they are “ok” with me being gay. I know it’s flipping ok, and the law states it is ok, I must not be discriminated against, that I can marry, adopt, etc. We struggled for decades to get that, we won’t need to be told by someone that they are “ok” too with it.

      Because I can remember when it was reassuring, and now I agree with Ben that it feels a bit insulting, like being given permission to be gay. I’d rather people not bother to mention it at all to me if they somehow feel like they’re giving me permission each time.

      But, I think like Ben, I would quietly bite my lip and smile if someone said that to me.

      1. It depends on the context really. You’re obviously very confident and “proud” etc. so to say such a thing would be patronising and uncomfortable. However, if it was obvious that someone was not as confident and would benefit from reassurance then it would probably be good to hear. For example, a work colleague who locked himself in your bathroom and cried for half an hour… (True story)

        Quite honestly it gets on my nerves when people say it to me. The list of people has so far included the registrar at our CP and almost every single person in the registry office, our estate agent and a car insurance advisor. I’m sure they meant well but it makes me uncomfortable and at the back of my mind I’m wondering perhaps they “protest too much”.

        1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 9:41pm

          Excellent point. I was thinking how I felt and assuming that most people probably felt that way (slightly arrogant of me), but I can see that some people will find that reassuring even now we have the rights in law. I think you’re absolutely right, that these people meant well, it’s just sometimes people lack the perspective to see how something could be interpreted – we’re all guilty of that at some point. I appreciate it when people point out alternative views it helps me reappraise my views, and others too.

          1. Sacre bleu 25 Jul 2013, 4:42am

            ‘I appreciate it when people point out alternative views it helps me reappraise my views, and others too.’

            True, all knowledge is only ‘the best that we can interpret from the evidence at this point in time’. Certainty is just another word for arrogance and or laziness. Keep at it Gulliver :-)

            It’s why the bible is becoming evermore irrelevant.

      2. You can always respond that you’re ‘ok’ with their hetrosexuality and that you don’t think anything less of them for it.

    2. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 2:30am

      “I’m fine with you being gay”

      This could be taken as being rather patronising. There is however a context in which I believe this could be considered differently. I believe that socially the wider community is going through a period of transition from hostility, to tolerance through to full acceptance. Currently we are well into the tolerance phase and heading towards acceptance and this is what is meant by “I’m fine with you being gay”. If in a five years to a decade we have not reached the full acceptance stage, this would indeed be patronising.

      This is not an issue that confronts straights every day, so they need time to take changes in attitude on board and finally accept them. Indeed it is very similar to our ‘coming out’ process. At first most of us don’t understand our different sexuality, especially as this takes place during our teenage years where we mostly want peer approval. Gradually we come to accept ourselves, then we come out. From the other side…..

      1. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 3:04am

        …. the person you are coming out to doesn’t have the time to consider how it affects them, if at all and whether it will change the relationship etc etc. This is especially true if that person hasn’t dealt with these circumstances before. So we have to give them a little time and space and for the most part they come around. So just as you took time to come to terms with your sexuality, it is a good strategy to allow they other person time to come to terms with their changed perception and understanding of you. Thankfully as more people have come out this task has become easier, both for the gay person and the significant other people in their lives. The more straights have had experiences with gay people in their lives, the more usual the ‘yeah, whatever’ is the usual response. We all have a cross to bear, this is just one peculiar to us. Kindness all round is what is needed, and if they are not kind, you don’t need them in your life.

  5. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 7:01pm

    That’s a brilliant piece, it’s exactly how I feel. I’ll eat my own tongue before I apologise for my sexual orientation, or thank the government for giving me what was my right all along, denied to me for most of my life.

    When I wanted to be married it was denied to me. When I wanted to adopt, it was denied to me – now with more years behind me than ahead both bits of legislation were too late for me, but I’m glad others won’t have to go through that.

    I thank those politicians that supported this, but most of the praise goes to our own community, all the people who never gave up hope. I have a feeling it was more grassroots than fancy organised well-funded PR machines that got our message of love. Peter T with Equal Love was probably the catalyst. C4EM and Equality Network and so many more — all home-grown.

    To the government rather than “Thank You” I want to say “What took you so long?”.

    1. Mihangel apYrs 24 Jul 2013, 8:03pm

      I understand your bitterness, but for your sake, be pleased for our younger friends. And be especially pleased that they were spared a lot of the viciousness we lived through

    2. It’s never to late to get married, Gulliver. Don’t give up hope!

  6. Agreed! I will not say thank you for being treated like a normal human being! People don’t grant me a favour by treating me like a full person. I was owed that behaviour, that treatment, as everyone else is: it was wrongly denied, I will not thank people for belatedly acknowledging that

    Equality and justice are not gifts to grant – they are debts that are owed. I will not thank people for ceasing oppression – because they shouldn’t have been oppressing in the first place.

    I will not pay to be treated like a full person with fawning and bootlicking, nor will I be “grateful” for being given the same rights and regards that straight people expect as automatically due them – for they are due me as well

    1. It’s a bit like pardonning Turing. It’s not a pardon that’s required but an abject apology that the state should have criminalised him and all others like him, indeed like us. We are the community that should be contemplating whether to pardon the state.

  7. I’ve always hated how people who not only don’t know me, but don’t even understand me, are sitting in a room debating wether I should be /allowed/ to live my life according to my nature and what comes natural to me.

    Always hated that idea greatly, but it’s important to not look un-greatful and to thank those who deserve thanks for putting themselves at risk to do the right thing. I will never thank them for my rights because equal rights are never granted, they are taken. Many times in the past they’ve had to be clawed out of cold dead bigoted hands. I will thank those who fought to get me those rights, however. Thank you fighters :)

    Love Conquers Hate,
    Always has, always will.

    Mr. Pink

  8. Given that David Cameron stood up for what was right in spite of massive and deeply unpleasant stick from his own party, the CofE and Catholic hierarchy, I rather think he deserves a thank you.

    1. GulliverUK 24 Jul 2013, 9:17pm

      All good things come to those that wait.

      We’ve got to wait, another 12 months before we can get married.

      He will get his thanks from people like me when delivery is complete, and not before.

      The one thing you never do is to trust a government, especially a Tory one. I acknowledge his personal accomplishments in getting us this far, but we’re not there yet … we won’t be there for another 12 months.

      If also feels disturbing and odd to be thanking someone for giving me back what was mine in the first place, so I will likely thank him for being more enlightened than previous prime ministers.

      1. Check your previous posts Gulliver…you are contradicting yourself…I know…your funny that way :)

        1. I’m trying to find a middle way. If I refuse to congratulate him you lot will call me mean and nasty, if I do it I’ll betray my own principles of payment on delivery. He hasn’t delivered anything so far. And let’s just remember this is the coalition government which ended the Gay blood ban — only they didn’t, at all. Couples in committed relationships cannot vie blood because they will, you would hope, be having regular sex. They would be the lowest risk, yet they are still effectively banned. So that was a sham. We thought we had gotten something, but we got precisely nothing. Unless you haven’t had sex for a whole year you’re still banned, whilst straight Joe Bloggs can have anonymous sex with someone they met in a club and be donating the next day.

          Let me put the onus on you. How should I handle this, maintaining my integrity and principles, but giving some praise to Cameron ?

          1. How about “good one Dave for what you have done so far on this issue”. To do so does not mean you have to betray your principles…but not to do so would undermine your integrity.

      2. Beelzeebub 25 Jul 2013, 2:40am

        Such is the idea of wishful ideals.

        Some of us have waited 40 years for this, and it has only come about by the Western religions self destruction aided by the populous seeing religion for the hateful manipulative self indulgent bull crap that it has been found out to be.

        IE. CofE and RCC child rapists and those lovely blowers up of aircraft and buildings all wrapped up in whichever “god” they purport to be true.

        Whilst I applaud Cameron for this, I yet await our governments removing those religious freaks from the House of Lords, by police escort at gun point if necessary.

        They do not belong their

        They represent know one but themselves and their antiquated cults.

    2. I rather think the thanks should go to Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats for piling the pressure on him!

  9. Wikipedia says Peter Bone is 60,

    1. Acts like 160.

  10. Womandrogyne 24 Jul 2013, 10:34pm

    An interesting article, which I on the whole agree with – I think “equal marriage” is something we’re never going to get while so many people in our culture seem keen to maintain in their minds a hierarchy of acceptability when it comes to relationships – I continue to feel that Equal Marriage would only be worthy of the nameif it meant “Any relationship that illegal should’ve legal to solemnise, non-hierarchically” so there would just be marriage, end of story, and it needn’t be mysteriously limited to”must involve only two people”, either, I really don’t see why some people are so bent out of shape about polyamorous marriage. The pedant in me demands to point out to the author that he means either “should not be under-estimated” or “cannot be over-estimated”, because “cannot be under-estimated” means “however little you think it is, it’s even smaller”, which is the opposite of what he meant.

    1. Womandrogyne 24 Jul 2013, 10:39pm

      Ah, bugger commenting from a phone – that should read: “Any relation ship that is legal should be legal to solemnise…”

      1. Yes, specks and logs!

  11. A well thought out, well written piece echoing what i have been saying all along.
    Why must we fight for that which should be ours by right, we pay taxes, we follow the laws of the land, i don’t say thanks i say what the hell took you so long.

    1. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 3:34am

      ‘Why must we fight for that which should be ours by right’.

      We don’t live in a perfect world and we are not the only ones to suffer injustice.

      ‘i don’t say thanks i say what the hell took you so long’.

      Equal marriage as a legal right never existed before. It has however always been a moral right so I say thanks to those that took the trouble to change the legal right so that it accords with the moral right. As for taking so long, this is true but the problem lies with past generations, not the current generation. After all, can our generation be responsible for the slave trade, are the current generation of Germans responsible for the Jewish genocide, the British for the bad aspects of colonialism…

      This is just one step in the right direction of many future steps that need to be made, so I thank Cameron for his courage to right past wrongs (for which he was not responsible) and hope we can keep him as an ally to make the next changes required.

      1. “We don’t live in a perfect world and we are not the only ones to suffer injustice.”

        Really we don’t? gee i am glad you pointed this out to me. The fact that others also suffer injustice does not change the fact of my statement, equality is not something that should be debated and begged for.

        “After all, can our generation be responsible for the slave trade, are the current generation of Germans responsible for the Jewish genocide, the British for the bad aspects of colonialism…”

        Wow, well done for bringing those subjects into the debate on gay rights, but when you consider that the majority of his party voted against equality and did everything they could to kill the bill one wonders where you were going with that statement.

      2. so I thank Cameron for his courage to right past wrongs (for which he was not responsible) and hope we can keep him as an ally to make the next changes required.

        During the Labour government’s repeal of the Section 28 legislation in 2000, which banned local authorities from promoting the acceptability of homosexuality, Cameron accused Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair of being against family values. Cameron has voted against gay rights his whole political career so i am sorry but i for one will never say thanks to him.

  12. Ben, wrong about Ireland. Marriage is covered by the constitution which can only be changed by referendum. LBGT community is not running cap in hand. The Convention overwhelmingly recommended equal marriage after taking submissions. Public opinion is running strongly towards equal marriage.

    If they can swing that vote, it would be a resounding slap in the face of the homophobes and would resound globally.

    As an Irishman, I will work hard for that vote.

  13. gattagiudecca 24 Jul 2013, 11:15pm

    This is a great article and sums up my thoughts perfectly!

  14. Hywel ap Dafydd 24 Jul 2013, 11:50pm

    Spot On!

  15. Hywel ap Dafydd 25 Jul 2013, 12:15am

    Spot On.

    I’ve never sought anyone’s permission to be who I am: I may have solicited their acceptance but never their approval.

    I am who I am, warts & all! If you don’t like me, well that’s your prerogative but you’ve got no option except to deal it.

  16. There are plenty of people who do and will continue to find the concept of homosexuality as weird and unfamiliar. Many people find it difficult to deal with things that they can’t understand.
    I don’t expect people to understand what it’s like to be gay. After all, I can’t really say that I’m massively fond of the idea of being straight myself.
    With that in mind, there are plenty of people who have made a real effort to change their initial feelings towards gays. To those people I will say thanks.

    Yes, you may find it stupid that some feel they should say things like “I think it’s okay” but they are saying it out of benevolence and support so stop being so bloody critical of people trying to make an effort to be nice.

    1. St Sebastian 25 Jul 2013, 3:09am

      Well put Evan.

  17. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 6:56am

    Hmm, I wouldnt say that euqal marriage was the necessary endpoint to the gay rights struggle. It is a trivial issue in the grand scheme of things, especially when you consider the real battles of the struggle for equality were around laws that criminalised LGBTI people and delivered abject misery in the process.

    Equal marriage is just an upgrade on the civil partnership legislation that had already significantly ended a series of important areas where gay people were discriminated.

    You also have to remember that there are quite a few LGBTI people sho are against equal marriage and do not see the legislation as an advance at all.

    1. I fear you may have missed the point of equal marriage.

      To understand it more fully, it is only necessary to go back and listen to the sly and hateful bilge that spewed from various members of the Lords and Commons. Those attitudes have now been given a full public airing and been roundly voted down into history by their peers. Thay’s the significance.

      1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 8:50am

        go back and look at what was said in 1967 around decriminalisation, in 1988 with Clause 28 and Section 14, in 1994 when the age of consent was first introduced and in each successive reform when Labour was in power. By contrast, the equal marriage debate was a stroll in the park.

        Look, I am not saying that equal marriage isnt a good thing. Of course it is. Just I take issue with people in their teens or twenties imagining it is the most important milestone in gay rights when historically it is anything but.

        1. theycantdothat 25 Jul 2013, 10:50am

          I have to agree with Common Sense. It’s all been over-hyped. The ground work was done by the Civil Partnership Act. It’s all been an argument about what colour label to put on the tin. The Act was a huge leap forward for gay rights, but was soon represented by the anti-Labour left as somehow undermining the rights of gay people. And we must stop criticising what supporters of the Sexual Offences Act 1967 said in the 1960s; they were different times. Today many criticise “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” but the fact is that it was instrumental in drumming up support for the abolitionist cause.

          And what is it we have won? No more than the right to hand to the state the ability to have a say in how relationships are controlled. The right to make commitments that many find they are unable or unwilling to keep. The right to take part in an institution that has not been that great for opposite sex couples.

          Gay and straight may now be “equal” but marriage is still a great divide.

        2. I think it’s very much a generation thing. I’m 22 so obviously don’t care about marraige and not thinking about it, so for ME there are important issues.

          But what’ about the people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s etc. who have been waiting to get married before I was even born? I think that would be a priority for /them/ even though its not even on /my/ mind.

          1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 1:18pm

            What, you mean people like me?

            I am civilly partnered to the man I love and will apply for a marriage license when Scotland brings it in. But I have always seen equal marriage as a rather unimportant reform relative to all the other reforms I have spent my lifetime campaigning for.quite apart from anything equal marriage has been introduced with hardly any opposition at all compared with the vituperative hate that drove back decriminalisation,equalising the age of consent or repealing clause 28 where reform only came after many knock backs and in the teeth of public and political hostility.

            It used to be brave to be out and proud. Now it is just fashionable,

          2. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 1:46pm

            Hmm not sure why my post disappeared. Mr. Pink, I am at the upper end of your age ranges and happily civilly partnered. I will also likely apply for a marriage license when Scotland passes the legislation.

            But I take very great issue with people making it out that equal marriage was some kind of epic struggle. It was anything but, the argument was won before the campaign even began.

            Contrast that with almost all the other gay law reforms, decriminalisation, equalising age of consent, repealing clause 28 etc etc where reform only came after multiple knock backs and in the teeth of passionate and trenchant opposition.

            It used to be brave to be out and proud, now it is only hip . . .

    2. Sorry but you are SO wrong and really don’t seem to appreciate the issue of equality!
      I don’t think gay marriage is a trivial issue at all!
      Maybe it is for you but for someone like myself who has been in a loving relationship with my partner for 38 years, it is a very BIG issue.
      My relationship is as valid as anyone else’s.
      Civil Partnerships were an advance but are not equality! A Civil Partnership is a completely different institution to marriage and not recognised outside of the UK, even in countries where same-sex marriage has been equal for a number of years, like Canada. Marriage is therefore NOT just an ‘upgrade’ to a Civil Partnership!
      Sorry ‘Common Sense’ but I am not a second-rate Citizen and I will not accept second-best.
      I think LGBTI people who are against equal marriage are very much in the minority! I suspect a lot of them are religious people (which is OK) who have been brainwashed by their Churches…. or the right wing extremists of the Tory party..!

    3. I must also say that I was around when homosexuality was a criminal offence.
      For so many years we’ve been fighting for equal rights.
      Equal marriage is a MAJOR issue and I really must take issue with your statement that it’s ‘trivial’.
      It’s nothing less than a vindication of my entire life and everything we’ve struggled for.
      It means that young gay people can now fall in love, commit to their partner and live their lives as equals without the prejudices we had to face.

  18. Really ? Looking at that photo not one Potter joke ?

  19. I think this article gets it pretty much right.

  20. Well said! I know there are worse places in the world – but the fact that those societies are very wrong, not that we are lucky.

  21. It would be wrong to disagree with Harry Potter.

  22. Jason Arthur 25 Jul 2013, 3:02pm

    Good article. I want to highlight, though, that this is “same sex” marriage, not “equal marriage” – as many transpeople are still discriminated against or ignored in the various laws, and we are still prevented from living our identities fully.

  23. Totally agree. The ‘its ok’ comments are partonising!!!

  24. agree besides the ireland point – thats a constituional issue! still spot on tho

  25. I thought this was an interesting piece although I think it has a false nemesis. I simply don’t find that anyone is asking LGBTs to be grateful for marriage rights to the extent that is suggested here. In fact, it seems to be David Cameron who is doing all the thanking (cf. recent LGBT shindig at No. 10). I also googled Mr Butterworth and see that he is a Labour Party activist (an interest that I think should have been declared) which leaves me wondering about his political motives. Is he perhaps really saying that we shouldn’t be thankful to a Conservative PM for, well, anything, or am I being too cynical here? Either way, Mr Butterworth is always readable and clearly has a healthy dose of youthful indignation that life just isn’t ‘laid on’ by parents, government, Queen, God, or anyone else. Despite my whingeing here, it is good to see a new generation of LGBT voices coming through – let’s have a bit more of it Pink News!

  26. theycantdothat 25 Jul 2013, 7:02pm

    I read this article this morning and read it again this evening. I find myself asking what we have come to. I am all for angry young men, but they can get a bit tedious. A few days ago we had an article complaining about the failure of church bells throughout the land to ring out in joy when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act was passed. Now we have one complaining about non-gays expressing their solidarity. The author’s colleague just wanted to let him know that she was not homophobic. Quite nice really. 40 years ago he would have had to listen to gossip about whether Mr Granger in accounts was one of them. “Lives with a man he says is his cousin, but you can’t fool me.” Now people feel able to ask if you’re gay and say it’s fine if you say you are. It’s called progress. One almost gets the feeling that in the absence of hostility the author is looking for something to complain about. If someone is not hostile they must be patronising.

    1. Common sense 25 Jul 2013, 10:00pm

      Well said!

    2. It is also a sign of progress that the new generation will not tolerate, and will ridicule, condescension and patronising comments such as ‘I really want you to know, I personally think your sort are alright’. If we have an ounce of self-respect, we take that for granted. If your so-called friends cannot see that, then they are not worth calling friends. The golden rule: Don’t live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you. Keep up the good work Mr Butterworth.

    3. If a colleague asks ‘are you gay?’…they should expect the response ‘mind your own business’. Asking the question in the first place implies that you’re a bit ‘different’ and is extremely rude. Why should anyone’s sexuality matter?

      1. theycantdothat 26 Jul 2013, 12:33pm

        But if we are to live in a world where someone’s sexuality does not matter (which would be lovely) can we criticise anyone for making an incorrect assumption based on the undeniable fact that statistically any given person is far more likely to be straight than gay. And if sexuality is not important why would the response to an enquiry if you are gay justify a “mind your own business” reply? How could the question be considered to be qualitatively different from “Do you have a driving licence?” which I do not think anyone would respond to by saying “Mind your own business.” We must not make the liberally-minded feel uncomfortable and feel they can never get it right. We cannot at the same time reserve the right to come out with “How dare you assume I’m straight” comments without affording people the opportunity to establish whether such a comment is likely to be forthcoming.

  27. 1. Own your victory – take note of opponents diminishing your victory by claiming ‘ we all won’. 2. Own your victory – take note of opportunists turning our struggle into the means to their own ends. 3. Own your victory – you won in court. Nothing was handed to you from a generous state. You had to fight. YOU won. WE won. They lost. 4. Own your victory – the oppression that should never have been there is starting to be beaten. No gratitude necessary unless to each other and inspirational leaders and allies. Thanks to the womens movement, the civil rights movement and the labour movement. Thank you to those at Stonewall and those who came before, thank you to Mattachine, to San Francisco and gay America for postwar leadership and to the pioneers in Germany decades before. Thank you to those who faced and fought AIDS against a background of ignorance. Thank you to Harvey Milk, thank you to straight allies and PFLAG. Thanks to every one who came out since that’s what did it!

  28. David Slattery 26 Jul 2013, 12:38am

    Absolutely right! I gave up apologising for being the person I am a long time ago. I certainly won’t be ‘thanking’ anyone for ‘allowing’ me my basic human rights!

  29. Completely agree with this article! Well said, Ben!

  30. de Villiers 27 Jul 2013, 1:04pm

    We all want equality – but the sense of entitlement displayed by the writer is pervasive everywhere in society.

    I am more than happy to say thank you and to be thankful for living in a democracy and a liberal country, for the right to have adopted my son, and for my life generally.

    I do not dispute that we should mobilise for equal rights but the general tone of the article is one I see everywhere now: I want, I demand, I deserve, no please, no thanks.

  31. I understand your point. There is no reason that the gay community shouldn’t have already had equal status, in the same way that there is no reason that women were unequal for so long. However, as for your friend’s comments about “feeling lucky to be British”, In completely agree with him. Although I don’t think I should have to simperingly thank all men I meet for my equal status, I do recognise that I am extremely lucky not to be living in Afghanistan right now, and similarly I can imagine much of the LGBT community feel fortunate not to be living in Russia right now.

  32. bloody technicolour taliban! ;-) proof this article worked that is pissed off a nutjob!

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