At the Queer Sphere we’ve talked about gay Republicans a couple of times but let’s have a look a little closer to home as we ask, how can you be gay and Conservative?
Well the literal answer is simple, you have centre-right views and sleep with members of the same sex but my question is more one that Matt Baker might ask at the end of interview – gay conservatives, how do you sleep at night?
The Conservatives by nature (and name) are in support of tradition and upholding traditional values. Whilst I believe in freedom of expression and that sexual preference does not define somebody nor their political values, I think there’s a fundamental and irreconcilable disconnect between these traditional values and the LGBT community. I can’t quite understand why a member of a community which has been persecuted for a long time by people with conservative values would want to affiliate themselves, and indeed support a conservative political group.
A quick glance at the Tory voting record on gay rights reveals to what extent the Tories are at their core against the LGBT community. To give you an idea, here’s a selection:
– One in six, voted in favour of Section 28 in 1988. A sixth voted against its repeal in 2003 including David Cameron and a third of the Shadow Cabinet
– One in three voted to allow only heterosexual, married couples to adopt in 2002
– The Conservative Party opposed The Equality Bill 2008-09
The Conservative official party line is that the party has changed and is now gay friendly but following several recent events I can’t help but find this declaration hollow.
Back in April the then Tory shadow home secretary Chris Grayling caused controversy when he came out in support of the B&B owners who turned away a same-sex couple for no reason other than their sexuality.
And how could we not mention David Cameron stumbling his way through a disastrous interview with the Gay Times last year where he seemingly contradicted himself on gay rights several times and simply didn’t know the facts:
The Conservatives also seems to falling apart from within, during the election race last year the leader of the Tory’s gay campaign, Anastasia Beaumont-Bott defected to Labour accusing the Conservatives of an elaborately executed deception on LGBT policy. She went on to say:
“ I wanted to believe in the ideals David Cameron put forward. A Conservative Party which believes in change… it sounded too good to be true. And it is.”
The Conservatives do however have an active LGBT group – LGBTory (see what they did there?) who list admirable ideals on their website and are active on Twitter if you want to learn more about them – they can be found here (In the interest of plurality here is the Twitter account of LGBTLabour)
Now, whilst my political stance has been made quite clear throughout this article I hope it doesn’t come across as Conservative-bashing, I just don’t get it. If you’re reading this as a gay Conservative, please do counter my argument as I would really like to know your thoughts. So what do you think? Is being a gay Conservative a bit of a contradiction? Is it completely understandable?