Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Future DUP Health Minister calls Pride "totally repugnant"

Diana Rusk in the Irish News today is naming the DUP member who called the people who take part in the Belfast Pride Parade as "totally repugnant". As the Irish Times is like its UK counterpart behind a firewall you can learn about this on The Journal's website.

repugnant [rɪˈpʌgnənt]adj
1. repellent to the senses; causing aversion
2. distasteful; offensive; disgusting
3. contradictory; inconsistent or incompatible
from Collins English Dictionary
The fact that the person named ignores the fact that the people who are parading because they are still needing the devolved assembly to pay attention to a number of inequalities that affect the LGBT community, especially from the DUP spokespeople, is shocking. The fact that he is the future Minister for the Department of Health and Social Services, South Down MLA Jim Wells, is bound to be even more horrifying. It was while she was Chair of the Health Committee that Iris Robinson made her comments about homosexuality being an abomination. There are also some distinct health measures that the LGBT community use more than some others, e.g. the services of the various GUM clinics, so for the future health minister to make such comments is of obvious concern

Apparently though as I am repugant to all the senses Jim Wells is going to have to get rid of me from four out of five of his* having attended a family wedding linking both his and my family. I've been attending Pride and will be there with fellow LGBT Lib Dems on Saturday in the parade.

As there is that connection however I have invited Jim Wells to have a right to reply posted fully on this blog, I await his response.

The full story in the Irish News I have posted below so that people do not have to pay for the pay wall.

Future minister says gay pride event 'repugnant'
 by Diana Rusk, Political Correspondent
The future health minister Jim Well has branded as "totally repugnant" those who take part in Belfast's gay [sic] pride parade. Mr Wells made the comments in a text message to one of the event's oirganisers.

All the main parties bar the DUP took part in the political discussion at Stormont yesterday as part of Gay Pride Week.

The South Down assembly member, who is to take over from Edwin Poots as health minister in 2013, was among colleagues who rejected the invitation. He explained his reasons in a text he sent to Gay Pride secretary Simon Rae on Friday.

"I understand that you contacted my Kilkeel office regarding what is termed a 'Belfast Pride' debate," he wrote.

"As you are probably know I find the behavior of those who take part in this march totally repugnant.

"I do not thereforee wish to be association in any way with this event.

"My position on this matter will not change in the future and I would politely suggest that any further requests of this nature will be a total waste of your time."**

Mr Rea said the message was like a "painful shock" when he recieved it.

"I was personally offended and deeply disappointed," he said.

"I thought Jim Wells would have been the ideal candidate to take part in this debate. he is the chair [sic only deputy] of the health committee and will be the next health minister.

"Some of the issues will be a major part of his brief.

" A lot of the debate will be around health issues like suicide, self-harm, adoption, without even looking at the sexual health stuff.

"Regarding his future as the health minister, it is not a good start.

"He seemed to think I would know he would have an issue with being asked.

"We invite all parties to these political events. The DUP never take part and normally we either get no response of one stating  that they are not available.

"I think politicians need to realise that seven to 10 per cent of their constituencies are lesbian, gay or bisexual."

Sinn Féin lord mayor Niall O Donnghaile, the SDLP's Delores Kelly, UUP Deputy Leader John McCallister, Alliance councillor Michael Bower and Green Party Leader Steven Agnew all attended yesterday afternoon's debate. Mr O Donnghaile described Mr Wells' comments as "offensive" while Ms Kelly said he was guilty of a "demonisation of a sector of the community". Mr McCallister said his comments were unnecessary and unhelpful".

When contacted by The Irish News yesterday, Mr Wells said his comments referred to the activities of the participants of the parade.

"The gay pride people are trying to miscontrue my comments," he said.

"They refer to teh parade. If a heterosexual group were behaving in this way, I would still condemn it.

"The parade is repugnant - the costumes they wear and the way they behave during it."

Asked if he meant that it was the behaviour of the participants that he felt were "repugnant" and not the activities of gay people, he replied: "I have no comment on this."

He refusal to clarify that last comment is not the first time Jim Wells has been unable to comment on gay issues. I guess my clothing for Saturday a kilt with casual daywear is repugnant, though totally in keeping with Scottish use of the kilt way from a formal setting even down to the correct level of sporran. Or maybe it is my activity on the march, walking to the beat as I usually strive to do at these events, that is repugnant. But surely this activity is just like the 4,000 plus other marches across Ulster, including those that Mr Wells takes part in wearing an Orange piece of material around his neck which is so not really his colour. After all he must be busy being a member of 3 loyal orders.

* He didn't taste me.
** There is a photo of the text in question with the time stamp 15:55 on 16/7/11 which also throws out the DUP  excuse for not attending as they were not invited until Thursday of last week i.e. 21 July.

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