I Love My Prejudiced Friends, I Just Don’t Want Them Having Newspaper Columns

BCN Cover

This originally appeared in BCN issue 78, April 2006

Diary of a ‘crap lesbian’ part seven…

Usually, I’m all for journalistic impartiality. In this case I must however say this : Lowri Turner – what a bitch.

Since it’s not entirely possible to rip its author apart piece by piece, I shall instead do the same to her recently published piece, ‘However Much I Love My Gay Friends, I Don’t Want Them Running The Country’ (Western Mail, 27 January 2005).

‘First Mark Oaten […] was outed for decidedly dodgy goings-on with a 23-year-old rent boy, sometimes joined by his mate.’ How dare he. An candidate for the Lib Dem. leadership enjoys his sexuality? Well, let’s take him out and shoot him.

Simon Hughes was asked if he was gay. He said no. I can understand why Lowri is confused. It threw me a bit too. Why? Well, what we have here is a rare case of a politician telling the truth. When pressed, what did he actually say? “I am perfectly willing to say that I have had both homosexual and heterosexual relationships in the past.” That would be bi, Lowri, not gay. I have lost interest in your opinion, and we’re not into the fourth paragraph yet.

‘If they think they are old enough to run the country then surely they are old enough to work out which gender they fancy?’ Um, yes. Quite. Only it appears to me that they have. Messrs. Oaten and Hughes are attracted to both men and women. Again, call in the firing squad.

We live in a diverse country. Ms Turner doesn’t want a gay man running the country because ‘I don’t think many of them are capable of representing the interests of the vast majority of people […] their lifestyles are too divorced from the norm.’ Well, I’d love to get a job, pay a mortgage, raise children, but it would get in the way of my drug taking and cottaging, and when would I find the time to stock up on slide’n’glide?

‘My gay friends’, says Lowri, ‘have not sat in accident and emergency with a small child. They have not had to make the decision over whether to give them MMR. They have not struggled to get their child statemented or gone through the schools’ appeals process.’ Odd, that. Mine have. On the other hand, I have straight friends that haven’t done any of those things, and moreover, do not want children. Does that disqualify them from leading the Lib Dems?

My particular favourite statement in this amazing article is this: ‘Before I am accused of prejudice, I should say that not only are some of my best friends gay, but probably most of them are.’ Just how many times as that immortal line been uttered by someone about to wax political on why being queer is Just Plain Wrong? It’s the socially acceptable equivalent to ‘I’m not racist, some of my best friends are yids’. Call me crazy, but I’m going to go right ahead and accuse you of bigotry and prejudice anyway.

Bi- and Homosexual persons don’t just have opinions relation to their own issues. I actually have wondered whether my children will get the MMR jab, when (and I will) I have them. I’ve got an opinion on most things. ID cards – nay, fox hunting ban – yay, George Dubya – naaaaay. Look at that, three of them without a seconds thought.

Before anyone gets the wrong idea let me say that I’m not
heterophobic. Not only are some of my friends straight, but most of them are – I work in banking, for goodness sake.

Ms Turner’s attitude angers me and upsets me. I am certain that in my previous incarnation as a lesbian, 100& proof , I would have felt the same way. Outrage, who were only to eager to proclaiming from the rooftops that Hughes and Oaten are gay, in blissful ignorance of the fact that neither has admitted so. Even when BCN contacted them to point out the trifling issue of semantics, Outrage carried on regardless. I am ashamed by the reaction of this supposedly LGBT community, and in no doubt that biphobia is not just a heterosexual practice. Stonewall Cmyru, perhaps because this issue for them is a little closer to home, have been more balanced in their response. Dr. A. Parken, the director of Stonewall Cymru had this to say. ‘Her statements that bisexual people are inherently dishonest because they are ‘fence sitters’, is an example of the simplistic representation of complex human relationships that the media perpetrates’. Well said, Dr. Parken. Let’s do lunch. In comparison, Stonewall (England) have has nothing to say at all. Poor show.

Ms. Turner piped up again in a Woman’s Hour discussion on bisexuality where she states that she doesn’t trust bisexuals. Her reasoning? It’s obvious really; bisexuals in monogamous relationships are forced to ‘shut down one part of their sexuality’. A bi male in a relationship with another man becomes gay and with a woman becomes straight – only when he is single is he truly bisexual. Call me stupid, but I don’t understand. If a man is in a heterosexual relationship it is just that. He does not turn off his attraction towards men.

Lowri, Lowri Lowri, you are entitled to your opinion, but did you really have to share i? If she had written a piece as scathing towards women (who can’t become MP’s because they’re so emotional) or Asians (who will never understand British culture) it would not have been published. The fact that it was highlights the acceptability of biphobia in our culture. It’s not just Lowri’s views that make me angry, but that she was allowed to air them so publicly.

I would have dearly loved this particular ‘…Crap Lesbian’ piece to have been much more well written, and better argued, but unfortunately my emotions got the better of me. There’s another reason why queers shouldn’t run the country. We’re so bloody touchy.

Find Lowri Tuner’s vitriolic piece in full at http://icwales.icnetwork.co.uk/, if you can stomach it.

Libby