When you are a party that tends to block, ignore or blank out LGBT voices you have no idea what homophobia looks like on the street. So I decided to correct the DUP who don't see a correlation between their words and actions as the largest party in Northern Ireland and a recent spate of homophobic attacks on a couple of gay men in North Belfast while one was living his last days with cancer and even at his funeral.
Here is the letter published in yesterday's Newsletter:
I am amazed to read in the News Letter (February 21) that the DUP cannot see how their attitude can help create an atmosphere leading to the homophobic attacks on Paul Finlay-Dickson and his late partner.
When they say that it’s a “right” for people with strongly held personal beliefs to “object” to people of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual sexual orientation they cannot control how everyone outworks that objection?
DUP politicians have said that they find Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual , Transgendered (LGBT) people repugnant, can’t even say when challenged that they don’t object to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and some wish that civil partnerships hadn’t happened, all merely piles coals on the fire of homophobia.
Liberal Democrats believe nobody should be enslaved by ignorance, but the way the DUP talks about homosexuality as a threat to Christianity is instilling a dangerous, venomous and intolerant ignorance into some.
Paul Givan by currently going around saying that LGBT rights are greater than those of Christians is not just incorrect but so widely off the mark, thanks mainly to the DUP blocking any steps allowing LGBT rights to advance towards equality.
The DUP talk about competing rights, but sadly they have historically fought to maintain that the rights of LGBT people are not to be anywhere near equal to those the majority of Northern Ireland, and also well behind LGBT people elsewhere in the UK.
Their historical talking down and belittling of LGBT people is exactly what can lead to some going about these homophobic attacks.
The DUP only pay lip service to the equality provisions of the Northern Ireland Act for those of differing sexual orientation and constantly fail in taking action or speaking in a way that reflects that LGBT people are of value. Now they look to dismantle accommodations that have been made to deal with those competing rights, focusing only on the rights as laid out in Human Rights legislation but ignoring the responsibilities to respect the rights of others in the same articles.
Changing Attitudes Ireland are right to point out the way the words and actions of the DUP fuel the environment of homophobia across the province, especially as the DUP fail completely to converse on such issues.