Apparently Jim Wells MLA told the Belfast Telegraph is the sue the BBC over reporting the story about the Lesbian couple he encountered while out campaigning for the 2015 Assembly elections. He claims that the comments were "doctored" and "misrepresented what he said" He goes on to say that he will "stop at nothing to clear his name".
Well if he is to do that I cannot hold back on some truth that I have promised members of my family that I would not ever disclose. I also am lifting the gentleman's agreement I have with one of the BBC journalists who witnessed one of the events that I am about to unfold.
It is a little know fact that Jim Wells actually invited a leading Northern Irish LGBT+ activist the wedding of one of his daughters. I happen to know this to be true, because it was I who received the invite, you see said daughter's husband is part of my family. I had a quiet conversation with Jim on that occasion he shook my hand, spook to me and looked me in the eye. He was also close enough to smell my cologne and not one of these sensory seemed to be repugnant to Mr Wells.
I can only therefore surmise that later when he said all those who took part in Belfast Pride he found repugnant that the only sense that would cause that reaction would be if he tasted me!
However, this wedding and meeting took part before the first debate on marriage equality at Stormont. On that day I was attending the debate and there was an interlude between the debate and the vote for questions. It was during this time that I encountered Jim Wells as a homophobe for the first time. Homophobia is described as having an irrational fear of homosexuality and/or homosexuals. Which I think describes what actually happened in the the restaurant that day. I was in the queue beside the Rev Chris Hudson and across the way was the BBC journalist. Ahead of me was Jim Wells.
I started with a friendly "Hello Jim" at which he turned around, I was about to ask after the health of Grace his wife and the rest of the family but after a quick look at who I was, I happened to be wearing my rather large I'm Liberal badge with a rainbow Lib Dem bird, he said "Oh you're one of them" and quickly turned heal. Rather an irrational, fearful reaction if you ask me.
Even before that however, I was at a hustings in the Black Box about international development was as I was working in a politically restricted role at the time I couldn't of course at my name to this piece on the Liberal Democrats NI website. Today I feel we have to disclose that this was my first hand account. Jim Wells assistant who at the time was dating a member of family looked straight over at me and mouthed, "You can't possibly blog that".
A number of years later and that assistant actually married that member of my family. His boss was invited to the wedding, as was I. This was a much stranger family gathering Jim was actively seen to be looking in my direction and actively avoiding me at the same time by my mother and others. I even saw this myself from out of the corner of my eyes. I'm not sure what he was expecting if I ever went anywhere near him, but it was yet another example of what I can only describe as the actions of someone who has an irrational fear of something, the fact that that something was me a politically astute campaigner who amongst other things is gay may well indicate that there is homophobia as an undercurrent and not in the glib way which that word is used at times, but a genuine actual fear.
I feel sorry for Jim that he suffers from such fear. But if he wants the truth to come out I am more than happy to help in that happening.