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Comment: Are titles a gay rights (or feminist) issue?

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  1. So, in the proposed legislation, the spouse of a heterosexual ‘Sir’ becomes ‘Lady’ but the spouse of a gay knight would become ‘The Honorable’? They should just scrap the whole silly nonsense and, if someone is deserving of an honour, do like the Americans … give ’em the gong to wear round their neck – but no divisive, class-differentiator title.

  2. Excellent article, Mr. Monk. As a republican I wish for all titles to be abolished, but if they are to remain then, yes, there must be absolute equality. I love the idea of having two barons living next door, or two duchesses!

    But we have SUCH a journey ahead of us. Three days ago I was requesting details regarding a property and the estate agent wished to take my name. As I had used the pronoun “we” several times, she said, “So it’s Mr. and Mrs. X, is it?” I indicated it wasn’t and she became rather frosty.

    Today our wonderful postman appeared at our door laughing. He bore a large envelope, containing property details from a different estate agent, addressed to Mr. and Mrs. X. It’s SO tiresome! And insulting. I have just rung the estate agent’s office to make a viewing arrangement and at the end of the call advised our correct titles: “Mr X and Mr Y”. The young man taking the call didn’t flinch at all. It didn’t seem to cause him any problem. However, he’s just a junior.

  3. P.S. Forget the fcuking lords and duchesses: can the government please put out a public service announcement on all television channels, radio stations, and newspapers advising the heterosexual population of the UK that it must not be assumed that the title of the partner of every Mr. is a Mrs., and that the title of the partner of every Mrs. has to be a Mr.!

    This is a simple matter of public education that really needs to be implemented across the board, so that businesses of all kinds, whether they be B&Bs, electricians, restaurants, supermarket delivery departments, or estate agents, speak and act with awareness THAT WE MAY EXIST!

    Every time we are subjected to the assumption that we are Mr. and Mrs. we are INSULTED!

    So let’s start with some education re. basic titles first! The titles of Lords and Ladies and their spouses can damn well wait! Lords and Ladies to the BACK of the queue.

    1. Indeed Eddy. Making the link with Mr, Mrs Ms Miss etc is a good one. Titles are all around us . . not just those peculiar grand ones!

    2. That There Other David 13 Dec 2013, 3:37pm

      LOL. Yeah, we all get that. Maybe we just need to get a bit more matter of fact about how we respond.

      “Is Mrs at home?”

      “You’re speaking to him”.

      (Amend as appropriate for lesbians)

  4. My only concern is that any change to the honours system to accommodate same-sex partners, will be touted as “progress” and “equality”, just as the change to the monarchy succession rule was. Otherwise I am in the “who cares?” camp.

  5. Abolish titles, abolish hereditary positions, abolish honours, abolish the house of lords, abolish the monarchy, and no more headaches about this sort of claptrap.

  6. James Campbell 13 Dec 2013, 4:54pm

    I am not a republican, but I favour a slimming down of privilege and part of this is the honours system which is still firmly tethered to titles which have no relevance today. The twice annual parade of ‘celebrities’ and those who have been lauded after winning a medal in their chosen sport usually favours those whose face has been seen frequently on television or who have risen to the top of the Civil Servants list. Those less publicised people who work to hold the fabric of society together, or win medals in the Paralympics, if they are recognised at all, are given the lower BE orders. The rest are ignored. My preference would be to abolish the current honours system and institute a National award (for an individual or a team) with no hierarchy and no mirror award to a spouse (of either the opposite or same sex). My own mother (a doctor) was listed in one year’s honours list and she turned it down on the basis that she worked as part of a team and they were not included.

    1. Your mum’s (quite correct) response is the crux of the problem I have with having any honours system – it doesn’t recognise all the people who helped the recipient to achieve what they did. I believe in celebrating achievements rather than celebrating any achiever. So to me even a more reflective honours system (i.e. no zeitgeisty sportspeople) to me is still inherently flawed.

  7. Robert in S. Kensington 13 Dec 2013, 5:56pm

    Why even have titles if we want a more equal society? Just another exercise in prolonging class structure and exactly what does it accomplish? Does it benefit society? Absolutely not! An useless anachronism, just like the monarchy.

  8. I don’t mind titles for the honoured but it is much easier just to do away with titles for spouses than extend them.

  9. Courtesy titles are just that – a courtesy. No need to change the law: just start using the gender-rank appropriate title (so Elton’s hubby becomes a Sir), and dare the Lord Chancellor – or whoever it is who cares – to sue. If he does, then its an obvious breach of equality.

  10. de Villiers 14 Dec 2013, 5:27pm

    In answer, to the question – are titles a gay rights issue ?- I would think not.

    1. they are a rights issue. otherwise what the hell was the point of equal marriage.

  11. Worrying about whether the partners of gay Lords should get a title makes me feel queasy. This feels like the politics of total assimilation.

    Apart from not caring, I would also ask, are the John-Furnish family full British tax payers?

    1. Total assimilation sio what we want. I am LGBT rights lead for my employer and I often remark that my job is get us to the stage where my role can be abolished,.

  12. Of course titles should be abolished but of course so long as they persist then they should treat genders and orientation equally.

    The catch is that, in logic this also means making the Duke of Edinburgh King – given that the female consort of a male monarch would be a queen.

  13. As long as the majority of married women in this country take on the title ‘Mrs’ and change their surname to that of their husbands, there can be no prospect of “equality” among those with titles; the honours system is no more or less skewed in favour of heterosexual men (in that they’re the only ones who can “raise” their female spouse to a female-equivalent status) than the regular conventions that affect most people – almost all of us will have surnames inherited from our fathers, after all, not our mothers.

  14. New Zealand tried to abolish knight and damehoods under the Labour-led Clark administration, but the centre-right Key administration restored them and is adamantly anti-republican. Sorry, but this isn’t one of my priorities. Why can’t we just have civic honours and dispense with these elitist and classist ennoblement idiocies?

  15. Now I’m an “(or feminist)”?

  16. Lucifer (Black Sabbath Joke) 8 Jan 2014, 3:06pm

    “…for if the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s child had been a girl she would have taken precedence over any subsequent sons…” Just thought i’d point out that George (as zie is currently called) might still turn out to be a girl you know it can be anywhere between 6-60 years before we can get a definitive answer. I’d support a Transgender monarch, Long Live The Queen.

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