Tory activist claims it’s harder to come out as a conservative than as gay
A Tory activist has claimed it’s harder to come out as a conservative than it is to come out as gay.
The young Tory, a student at the University of Kent, made the claim in a panel discussion broadcast on Radio 4’s Today programme.
Discussing the lack of support for the Conservative Party among young people, he said: “When you come out as a Conservative, you’re almost vilified to an extent.”
The student claimed that “a third of all of our association are gay, and most of them have said it’s harder to come out to their parents as a conservative than as being gay”.
He added: “It’s almost as if it’s held as being more acceptable. Is that just buzz, or the stigma around it, and the stigma of being the nasty party?”
Julian Brazier, the former MP for Canterbury, insisted the comparison was “a fair point”.
He added: “It’s [an issue] we’ve discussed frequently. At the last election we didn’t tell people what it was we were offering young people.
“Some elements of that need fixing, but a lot of it was not telling a good story.”
Brazier, a vocal opponent of LGBT rights, lost his seat in Canterbury during the 2017 general election, in part due to high turnout among university students.
Ironically, the politician’s poor record on equality was a factor in the campaign. His history was highlighted by Labour’s Rosie Duffield, who took the seat from the Conservatives for the first time in more than a century.
Brazier previously called for the censorship of a CBBC programme about transgender people, has compared gay marriage to polygamy, attacked same-sex adoption, and claimed LGBT rights would have “unforeseen consequences.”
He also opposed an equal age of consent for gay sex.
The comments about gay people during the debate were branded “stupid and outrageous” online.
One Twitter user said: “I mean I could show you rates of self-harm, depression, anxiety and suicide among LGBTQ kids, or you could just stop being so eye-wateringly ignorant.”
Another added: “41% of LGBT youth where I’m from have contemplated suicide, please give this sad, tired line a rest”.
Left-wing activist Owen Jones branded it “a load of offensive bollocks’”.
It’s not the first time the comparison has been made.
Prominent gay conservative Ivan Massow previously said it was harder for him to come out as a Tory than to come out as gay.
He said: “It’s always been a real problem for me because of the stigma it’s carried.
“It’s true! At the beginning of speeches I effectively have to apologise for being Conservative. Harder than coming out as gay was coming out as a Conservative.”
He previously claimed gay men were often conservative without realising it, saying: “Gay males don’t realise it, but when you start to dissemble, and ask them the questions that are multiple choice, they’re Tory.”
Mr Massow is now a Liberal Democrat.
And an Christian campaigner previously claimed it is harder to be a conservative evangelical Christian in the US than it is to come out as gay.
Ryan T Anderson claimed: “What I see here is that if you are a conservative Evangelical at a major law firm or at an Ivy League university, you have a much harder time coming out of the closet as a conservative Evangelical than you do coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.”