Monday, 1 August 2011

Jim Well's response watch Day 7

Me with QUBSU VP Welfare Adam McGibbon
As we know last week Jim Wells said:

"I understand that you [Belfast Pride] contacted my Kilkeel office regarding what is termed a 'Belfast Pride' debate.

"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."

As one of the Northern Irish LGBT community, and the LGBT people of faith community who has also been to a Wells' family event I thought I'd give him to the right to clarify just what he meant in that statement and his subsequent comments to Diana Rusk at the Irish news.

It is now 7 days on from the Pride on the Hill event and Mr Wells has yet to answer the following questions that I posed to him on 26 July.

1) You turned down an invite to a debate as part of the festival not to the parade itself by saying that you found the behavior of those at the parade totally repugnant. As the areas covered included the higher level of LGBT teens who commit suicide, adoption by L&G couples, heteronormative views and traditions within schools etc some of this is within a Health remit. Does your statement that your "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" mean that you are never likely to meet with LGBT groups to discuss such issues?

2) You said you found the costumes and behaviour of those who take part in such parades repugnant. I'll be wearing my kilt with daywear sporran and casual shirt, my activities will be to march in beat to the music and represent my party. How is this anymore repugnant than many other parades that take place in this wee country of ours?

3) Diana Rusk reposted that you were asked if it was the behaviour of the participants that he felt were "repugnant" and not the activities of gay people, to which you said you had no comment. That is a political evasion that the LGBT community see as avoiding giving an awkward answer. As John McCallister said yesterday "The DUP don't condemn same sex cohabitees, or everyone who has sex outside marriage, bacause there are too many of them." The implication being that your party's refusal to meet and answer questions of the LGBT sector under part 1 of Section 75 is to do with electoral maths rather than a matter of principle. How do you respond to that and do you want to answer Diana's original question?

4) There is anger in the LGBT community at the DUP's continued marginalisation and apparent demonisation of the community. While the party talks about being newly progressive, how can continued non-attendance or no comment on issues raised about the LGBT members of our shared society be seen as condusive from the party with the largest level of support?

Still no response. I don't think there is anything in these questions that could be construed in anyway repugnant. We wonder if we will ever get answers.

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