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Ruth Hunt: People didn’t want a lesbian to represent gay people

  • Brian Martenis

    Perhaps we can’t classify Gay men, Lesbians, Bi/Transgendered people as one big group. Everyone on the planet has their own issues and challenges. I can’t suggest an answer at the moment but, this might be the issue to address.

  • Daniel Spence

    Do LGBT people want Stonewall representing them?

    • Jeremy Wright

      Quite: they are what the militant tendency was to Labour in the 80s, a barrier to any further progress.

  • atalanta

    Angela Mason was a very popular director of Stonewall, who led the organisation through its most influential and effective period. Whatever issues many of us on PN have with Stonewall, I doubt very much that those include Ms Hunt’s gender.

    LGBT women and men fight most effectively when we fight together – look at the response to the AIDS crisis. I am always delighted to have that argument restated. And excessive aggression on social media, especially towards women, is an important issue.

    But Ms Hunt’s comments here seem oddly out of touch with her own organisation’s history and with the many justifiable concerns expressed by the community about Stonewall’s role.

  • Truth

    Ruth Hunt likes the taste of c**t?

  • GulliverUK

    What rot. People would have been quite happy with Ruth but she has made very bad decisions early on, like not understanding why it is wrong to patronise The Dorchester when the King of Bahrain is planning to murder LGBT. It’s little things like that which show she is sadly out-of-touch, just like the idiot who preceded her. Stonewall is quite out-of-touch at the leadership level – I have no idea what the workers and supporters feel. Angela Mason, whom I met long ago to work on starting a GSA at a sixth form, was an excellent leader, and apparently … a lesbian also !

    If Hunt is going to carry on with this pathetic … woe is me, everybody is against me because I’m a lesbain, twaddle, she’d better pack her bags and go now – she hasn’t got what it takes to be a leader of our most precious campaigning group. Good riddance to Ben, he was elitist and lived in cloud-cuckcoo land – if she is no better the appointment needs to be filled by someone else. There is a lot of work to be done, peoples lives are on the line in many cases, we can’t have second-rate leaders in Stonewall. Grow up, buck up, suck it up, and ask yourself if you have what it takes to make a real difference to the lives of millions of people. Perhaps we need a person who is transgender, who understand gender identity in ways which lesbians and gay men can’t possibly to lead it. I don’t give a fig who does it, but they must do it exceptionally well from now on.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      Brunei, Gulliver. Simple slip.
      Agree with you say. Well put, re. both Hunt and Summerskill!

    • Rumbelow

      I assumed Ruth Hunt was a petite trans man after seeing her at Kings Cross dressed basically as a very smart Edwardian man, it just goes to show you cannot make any assumptions and if you do you are going to get into trouble.
      Beyond that I agree with your comments Gulliver.

  • David H

    Personally, I always thought Ruth Hunt was the issue – not the fact that she’s a lesbian.

  • Helen Wilson

    Her fundamental problem is she represent Stonewall an organisation that has lost sight of the people it claims to represent… Before it moves towards trans representation maybe she needs to get back in touch with grass roots LGBs she claims to represent.

  • Bikerman

    Reading Julie Bindel’s comments I too wonder about a lesbian representing my interests. I hope that she better represents mainstream LGBT concerns.

  • Cal

    People say Lesbians have chips on their shoulders. Glad she’s doing all she can to prove them wrong.

  • Homo Demon

    It’s not that she is a female nor that she is a lesbian, it’s just that she doesn’t make decisions that are consistent with the mindset of a gay man.

    A gay man would not have held the Stonewall awards ceremony at The Dorchester. Simple as that.

    Stonewall does not speak for me nor represent me. And I don’t have confidence in Ruth Hunt. She can play the gender / lesbian card all she wants. It’s nothing to do with her demographic but all to do with the fact that she doesn’t appear to convey an appreciation of the issues that matter to gay men.

    • David Greensmith

      “A gay man would not have held the Stonewall awards ceremony at The Dorchester” – really? You think that Summerskill would have behaved differently?

      • pally

        Summerskill did hold the annual Equality Dinner at the Dorchester on numerous occasions.

  • rob

    oh Christ, don’t play this card!!!! no, it not because your a Lesbian, its because since your appointment, everything you have said and done has made a joke of everything stonewall has worked for and become..

  • Jesus_Mohammed

    Delighted to note that almost everyone who has posted to this thread so far (all 11 comments but one) are in agreement that it is most certainly NOT Hunt’s being lesbian that is the problem, it’s Hunt’s ineffectiveness. She needs replacing, and quickly. We need someone of the ilk of Angela Mason.

  • MikeHomfray

    Looks like the usual suspects have come out to play. The arguments about Stonewall have always been the same – elitist etc. But that was the way Stonewall was set up and they achieved all their aims. I think there is a question of where they go from here. I think there is work to be done ensuring that legislation is put into practice. Local authorities and the EHRC ha ent the resources to work in that area do that may fit Stonewall and their approach?

    • David Greensmith

      Stonewall have achieved their aims? What were those aims then? Promotion of Stonewall? That certainly seems to have been their goal and objective where marriage equality was concerned. First openly opposing it, then claiming the victory as the fruits of their own hard work.

    • Stephen

      If Stonewall has achieved all its aims then it needs to disband.
      It is disgraceful that such a compromised group is allowed to pretend it represents the LGBT community.
      Ruth Hunt seems as incompetent as Ben Summerskill was.

  • David Greensmith

    I think that lack of support for, or even hostility towards, Stonewall has nothing to do with the leadership’s gender and everything to do with the appalling decisions that they’ve made over the past year. Their lack of support for marriage equality is only overshadowed by their chutzpah in now claiming the successful campaign as their own. The Dorchester fiasco is another. This isn’t that a gay woman can’t represent gay men, it’s that the leadership team weren’t representing gay men or women’s interests, only their own.

    • Stephen

      Don’t forget its utterly worthless Top 100 Employers list.
      ALL that is needed to get on that list is a cash donation to Stonewall.
      Time for Stonewall to disband.

      • Baz

        That is simply untrue and oft repeated here on PN. I am no fan of Ruth Hunt, I feel stonewall have made some appalling calls but what you’ve said is incorrect. There is a lot of good work done through the index.

      • David Greensmith

        I’m not sure I’m convinced that the Top 100 Employers list is just an indication of how much cash has changed hands. I certainly filled in the survey when I was asked to do so by our LGBT networking group. I find it hard to believe that if it was such a cynical exercise the whistle wouldn’t have been blown by now.

  • rapture

    I don’t want stonewall to misrepresent me and many other LGBT especially with their anti equal marriage stance and more recently , the Dorchester boycott fiasco.
    Hunt blubbing about being a lesbian and those who oppose her, must be somehow sexist seems to be a manipulative, deflective , damage limitation tactic from her incompetence and out of touch , cavalier approach to concerns from LGBT .

  • J

    Maybe the problem is that the relatively conservative, transphobic people who still support Stonewall also tend to be a bit sexist?

  • GulliverUK

    Two people who would be great in that role are Benjamin Cohen or Ben Cohen. Or what about Paris Lee? Do they need to be from the uk? What about Wanda Sykes? If you could get Pam Spaulding that would be fantastic.

    • The group is supposed to be in the lead on human rights at work, in schools, & overseas, as well as lobbying parliament. None of those have any qualification, or obvious sensibility for any of that.

  • Ruth seems, in my dealings with her, & observations of her on Twitter & in the mass media, an outstandingly competent, & pleasant woman. The only problem is that she seems very much habituated to the way S*onewall has usually done things, even when trying something new, like reaching out to trans people. But maybe that is dictated from above.

    • Jesus_Mohammed

      “Above” being who/what? The right leader of Stonewall doesn’t stand being dictated to.

  • MikeHomfray

    Stonewall did the legwork with regard to legal equality. Its unlikely that equal marriage would have got through Parliament at the time – tactically civil partnerships made sense because there was little difference between them and marriage and it dispelled many of the anxieties. British policy reform tends to be incremental. Stonewall’s style and top down organisation can be criticised but they didn’t set themselves up as a membership organisation but a lobby group with a limited agenda which they achieved in total. Frankly a more democratic approach would have seen endless splits between pragmatists and those less willing to compromise. There are questions to be asked about what Stonewall shoukd concentrate on now but I’m certainly glad we had a group who could get the ear of government.

    • “Stonewall did the legwork with regard to legal equality”. If by that, you mean “actively advised the Labour government against it, and lobbied against the Liberal Democrats making it party policy on the grounds of cost”, then yes, they did do that.

    • Stephen

      That’s a barefaced lie.
      That homophobic bigot Ben Summerskill actively campaigned against equality.

      • PaulBrownsey

        Obviously, anyone who disagrees with me on any gay-related matter must be a “homophobic bigot”.

    • David Greensmith

      Mike – the problem with being an apologist for Stonewall by claiming that “British policy reform tends to be incremental” is belied by the fact that our governments have no problem at all in bringing in sweeping and radical changes when the will takes them. France, Canada and even a conservative country like Spain all managed to beat us to the finish line. I would seriously question the contribution that Stonewall made to the implementation of civil partnerships. They certainly have form for claiming credit for advances that at first they opposed.

  • CHBrighton

    I’m confused: ‘people didn’t want a lesbian to represent gay people’ or ‘one person Tweeted a question asking whether it was right for a lesbian to represent gay people’. I really don’t believe the gender of the person at the helm of Stonewall is relevant. We’ve had a man and a woman, each with different qualities and each proving themselves in the role. I would have thought the principal criteria are experience, engagement, credibility and stamina.

    • Stephen

      Ben Summerskill did NOT prove himself in the role.
      HIs homophobic bigotry when he actively campaigned against equality means that he is an utterly worthless bigot who should have been sacked.
      The trouble is that Stonewall shared his bigotry.

      • CHBrighton

        I’m sorry, but I think you’re being too harsh. As I understand it, Stonewall under Ben Summerskill took a long time to decide what it did want to support with regard to the Equal Marriage issue and an announcement was delayed until a wide-ranging consultation process had taken place. During that consultation process, it is true, Ben Summerskill made what many considered to be an ill-judged and anti-equality statement in which he said Stonewall wasn’t supporting the push for equal marriage and said that many gay people didn’t want marriage and were happy with civil partnerships. Personally, for once, I agree with Peter Tatchell in that Stonewall should have been pushing for equality rather than having a philosophical debate about the nature of being gay vis a vis the role of marriage in society. But, be that as it may, Stonewall, and Ben himself, examined the outcome of their research and once ready, put themselves behind the push for equal marriage. It should also be remembered that Stonewall under Ben Summerskill’s leadership pushed for the repeal of Section 28, for civil partnerships, and the raft of measures that have taken place since the beginning of this century. I know his (and Stonewall’s) aberrant initial pronouncement on equal marriage were incomprehensible, but I think it is wrong to trash Ben Summerskill’s reputation on the basis of that one ‘mistake’.

        • Stephen

          Incorrect – at the LibDem Party conference where the LibDems voted to adopt marriage equality as party policy, the homophobic bigot Ben Summerskill (in his capacity as CEO of Stonewall) actively campaigned against the LIbDems supporting equality.
          Summerskill told bare-faced lies to pretend that equality would cost 3 billion.
          Stonewall did not sack Summerskill for his homophobia, because he was doing Stonewall’s bidding.
          Stonewall is a worthless group which does NOT represent the LGBT population.

  • Craig Young

    I wish I could agree with some of the gay male comments, but unfortunately, there are a small coterie of embarrassing, mostly elderly misogynist gay men who are fossilised remnants from the seventies. I would say give Ruth a chance- at least she’s admitted that Stonewall urgently needs to reach out to the transgender communities, which is a start. But only a start.

    • PaulBrownsey

      These so-called misogynist gay men from the seventies may in some cases be men who who were ostracised and criticised by some lesbians in the seventies as being handy local substitutes for the heterosexual men against whom their primary wrath was directed.

  • James!

    Yes let’s not live in peace let’s start a was between gay men and lesbians. She’s possibly a misandrist.

    • Stephen

      no – she simply represents a worthless, homophobic organisation that no LGBT person should support.

      • PaulBrownsey

        Dear, dear, the word “homophobic” is being flung around with abandon these days.

        Obviously, anyone who disagrees with me on any gay-related matter whatsoever must be homophobic.

  • Philip Marks

    “didn’t want a lesbian to represent gay people”
    OMG IS THIS THE SEVENTIES AGAIN?? We solved this decades ago. Lesbians rock, gay men love them, and nothing gets in our way.

    • David Greensmith

      Weird that anyone wouldn’t “want a lesbian to represent gay people”. Aren’t lesbians gay people?

  • Jane

    well if I do remember the stonewall riots it was a group of transgender woman who started the riots it not the gays or the lesbian or the Bi and I see LGB not the T or the Q ? is that a over site?

  • Jane

    and I was old enough to be there in July 1969

  • Paul – Canada

    She should be glad that she can be the stonewall lead. Can a trans person?

    • Stephen

      So long as the trans person can also represent the LGB population.

      • Paul – Canada

        And what if they consider themself a heterosexual person?

  • Avalon666

    Stonewall and Glaad are run by over privileged politicos. We need more real grass root organisations.

  • lee

    Who made Stonewall the voice of the LGBT people anyway in the UK? I don’t care who heads Stonewall so long as they fight for the LGBT community.

  • Jock S.Trap

    Think this is more about having someone at the head of Stonewall that listens to the LGBT community rather than Just it’s members.

    That is what Stonewall are guilty of, picking people who are ignorant to the needs of our community.

    Marriage, the Sultan of Brunei…. two things Stonewall and it’s heads failed on. Instead of standing up they sat, silent then opposed equality and only when picked up the mood wasn’t with them did they decide to support equality.

    Not good enough.

    • Stephen

      Stonewall has lost all legitimacy it once enjoyed thanks to its refusal to support marriage equality until the backlash it faced over Ben Summerskill’s bigotry in only supporting CP Apartheid,
      Stonewall is damaging the fight for LGBT equality.
      Stonewall is past its sell by date and needs to disband.
      Incidentally what is Ruth Hunt’s annual salary?

  • vversatile

    Sorry, but this is b*ll*cks.
    I welcomed her, hoping she would be a breath of fresh air after the dreadful way that Summerskill had first opposed equal marriage and then tried to claim all the credit for it.
    Instead she proved that she was just as out of touch with lgbt community and Stonewall members and was more interested in sucking up to her corporate partners than she was to the people she was supposed to be helping.

  • Jeremy Wright

    Hunt is the LGBT version of the Special Advisor turned politician. She has never held any job down besides LGBT activism and this is her fatal flaw. Stonewall needs to be more of a bridge between our community as part of society as a whole rather than as a militant organisation.

    I have had very unfortunate conversations with Stonewall representatives regarding how to interact with businesses when they had no experiences of working within them themselves. Moreover, Stonewall seem singularly unwilling to tackle other forms of discrimination within the LGBT community where they arise.

    Hunt is ignorant to the core, nobody could care less what gender she came from, it is the fact that she doesn’t represent the community that is the problem. Best that she resigns office ASAP.

  • JD

    WRONG – we didn’t want a self important, greedy, self promoting ‘Hunt’ representing us!

    • PaulBrownsey

      Is she greedy?


      How do you know she is self-important?

      Do you just plck any old smear-word from your grab-bag and stick it on her?

  • Steve Craftman

    I don’t care whether she’s a lesbian a gay man, queer or trans*: Just do the job properly!

    • Stephen

      She’s failing miserably so far.
      Then again this is Stonewall – failure and irrelevance is what it represents.

  • Ellie

    Maybe she’ll start to tackle Stonewall’s biphobia and transphobia.

  • Stephen

    Ruth Hunt is an utter moron.
    Ruth Hunt is the head of Stonewall – Stonewall does NOT represent LGBT people – it represents ONLY its unelected board of management. The refusal by Stonewall to sack the homophobic bigot Ben Summerskill speaks volumes about its utter irrelevance in 2014.
    And Ruth Hunt’s utter stupidity in defending that genocidal maniac the Sultan of Brunei indicates her uselessness as a leader.
    I think Stonewall needs to disband – its reputation is far too compromised to ever be trusted again.

  • Steven Gregory

    From what I’ve read, SHE is the problem, not her sexuality.
    Her actions and statements are plainly wrong-headed. I have no clue what her agenda is, but it appears to involve being out of touch and oblivious.

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