Alex Wright is former Guild of Students LGBT Officer.
Margot James, an out and proud lesbian, who will be contending for the marginal Stourbridge seat in the next General Election has gone on about Gays having a duty to vote Tory. Why? Well, two things. Firstly becasue we are now assured that the Tories no longer hate us, with frontbench figure such as Nick Herbert and more LGB candidates for the next election she has a valid point about her party’s attitude becoming more modern. About a decade after everyone else, it’s certainly been a long time coming but it does deserve some kudos. Secondly “because gay people are paying in, through their taxes and actually using far less of the NHS because they tend not to have families, less of the education system for the same reason and all the more reason to be angry with this government for the waste of their taxes.”
OK, so lets look at both of these rather surprising ideas. As for voting for Tories simply because they have an increased amount of LGB candidates, I don’t care. Honestly. Not at all. The community has the overwhelming majority of the law it needs to function in society without discrimination. Yes there are still things to achieve but most of these are societal, simply voting for gay Tories, or gay MPs from any party for that matter, won’t make the largest amount of change. For the most part its a cieling that is being cracked and will soon enough be broken. The change needed is in schools, in communities and within faith groups, not Whitehall. Even Margot admits that she has yet to find another openly lesbian Tory but makes reference to an “amazing number of gay men.” Lovely for a night out, but a problem politically. Lesbian issues often in common with gay and bisexual ones but some are different, such as problems in terms of access to appropriate sexual health provisions. One lesbian tory is certainly not a duty on any lesbians to vote conservative due to large numbers of gay men. This isn’t a call to arms for the so-called LGBTory, it’s a stark admission of failure.
And as for tax-payments, what she’s saying is simply not on. The party that lost its head over gay adoption is now saying that we should vote for them becasue we should be paying less tax as we don’t have families. What? Really? C’mon! Making this sort of point just labours over the differences and injustices that do exist. There are an increasing number of gay families and gay parents and that’s fantastic, hopefully one day this can be the norm. The LGBT community deserve to be welcomed into state service provisions, we don’t need to be told ‘this doesn’t apply to you in all likelihood and therefore you don’t need to pay for it.’ Sod that, I want to help fund the NHS. The amount of GUM clinics providign free services catered to the LGBT community is vastly increased and more accessible under the last decade of Labour. Civil partnerships, well they’re not perfect but they’re certainly good. Repeal of Section 28, necessary. Making LGB discrimination and hatred an offence, fantastic, The Gender Recognition Act, brilliant. Labour has done more for LGBT rights than any political party in the UK: Fact.
I loathe the concept of single-issue politics and being told I have a duty to vote Conservative simply because of how many gay candidates they have beggars belief. What’s more is it’s highly duplicitous. As much as I can believe that the current Tory party has changed its stance on some issues and has, to an extent, become more modern and moderate I cannot forget or forgive its utter failings for the LGBTQ community nor will pandering for my vote on the shared experience of a non-mainstream sexuality make me.
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