Thursday, 3 June 2010

The People Respect Privacy So How Do We Support the Private?

According to a YouGov poll 73% of the population believe that politicians should not have to be open about their sexuality, providing they do not lie or 'behave hypocritically'.

This finding does of course come in the week after it was revealed and since been surmised that if David Laws had changed his accommodation claims at the time of the rule change he would have been 'outing' his relationship. Caron ran through the various options he was facing on Saturday, which outline the difficult choices he had if he were to remain in a private relationship.

Only one in twenty 5% think it is a bad thing that the cabinet contains gay minister, whereas 13% consider it a good thing. However, while 3% say they would be more likely to vote for their constituency MP if they were gay 9% say they would be less likely to do so. Although I guess we can just take that to mean the the liberal minded will merely be voting for the best candidate irrespective of sexuality while the homophobes are set in their ways. Indeed a staggering 86% said that if the party that they normally supported fielded a gay candidate it would make absolutely no difference to their voting intention.

The one issue is not the sexuality but the lying and hypocrisy of some. If a gay MP has voted against gay rights legislation consistently that would be seen by many as an issue. The bigger issue comes with defining lying.

If they don't care if someone is out of not, don't each of those non-corrections of pronouns in conversation count as a lie, admittedly not a big lie just a little white one. Of course sometimes it is difficult to keep correcting for those, everyone misses the odd one or two and sometimes the circumstances do not allow for the full truth even a partial revealing of the truth.

There has been discussion amongst the out Lib Dem candidates since the weekend about what we can do to support our closeted or out candidates. The consensus is that that our sexuality by in large is not something that we wear on our sleeves it is just part of who we are. It is also something that so far many of us have no issue with being open about. On the other hand you have the stories like David, Simon Hughes and Mark Oaten through the years of those who seek to lead the party, contest our winnable seats etc who are seem less willing to be open.

The party of course is supportive of all minority groups. We have programmes in place to support women candidates, ethnic candidates but how can do the same for LGBT candidates? The other issue is that unlike gender or ethnicity this is not a minority group that is visibly recognisable as distinct. So is there a need to provide LGBT support to all candidates to ensure we capture the closeted as well as the out? To do otherwise would mean that the people who may most need such support are the ones who are missing out as they wish to retain their privacy.

In this day and age it appears the people, the voters don't care one way or another. Of course that doesn't take away the fear of some to be honest with those closest to them. Until they are able to do that they are less likely to be open with those that may impinge on that world.

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