Current Affairs

Gay Tory group’s anger over ‘Shame’ nightclub

Jessica Geen October 6, 2009
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LGBTory, a gay Conservative Party-affiliated group, has attacked a nightclub for hosting a ‘Tory Shame’ night on the same evening as the party holds a Pride night.

Conference Pride is to be held at Spirit Bar in Manchester tonight and is the first time such an event has been held at the Conservative Party Conference.

Attendees will include shadow equality minister Theresa May, Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill, blogger Iain Dale and MP Nick Herbert.

However, Poptastic is holding a night called Tory Shame, which LGBTory says is “overtly political and anti-Conservative”.

The night is to be hosted by presenter Amy Lame and has the strapline: “They may have taken our milk but they’ll never take our cheeky Vimto.”

It will also feature a drag queen dressed up as Margaret Thatcher.

Matthew Sephton, chairman of LGBTory commented: “It is a shame that Poptastic has chosen to hold this event which appears to aim only to stir up negativity and political division in the LGBT movement, at a time when we need to be as united as possible.”

He went on: “Conference Pride is an official part of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester and has attracted lots of interest from those both within and outside the party. It is the first time an official event has been organised on this scale and it is a clear signal to the LGBT community that we are valued and have a valid part to play in the future of our country and the Conservative Party.

“Currently we have more LGBT councillors and prospective MPs than ever before and that is something to be celebrated. The fact that some people and organisations, as in the case of Poptastic, choose to latch onto negativity and seem to wish to create division in the LGBT community, is very sad indeed.”

Poptastic promoter John Hamilton insisted the night was not political and was not a Labour or Liberal Democrat event, despite it being organised by Labour-affiliated gay group LGBT Labour.

He told “It’s an awareness night. We work with various people from the community and being an activist myself, I didn’t think we should let the history die.

“It’s making people aware, in a fun way, what they did for LGBT people. A leopard doesn’t change its spots.”

Citing issues such as Section 28, Hamilton continued: “It’s about what happened while they were in power, what happened since Labour came to power. Lesbian and gay politics have changed but some issues are still there, such as the stigma of HIV.”

He added: “I heard that Spirit Bar was the only place that would have them.”

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