Sunday Reads: LGBTQ rights as a fault line in shaky U.K. government

I figured the headline was misleading when I saw it in my google news queue: “A record number of LGBTQ people were just elected to the British Parliament.”

It’s over a Washington Post article published today at 6 a.m., and one of its sources is an article on the Pink News site with a similarly misleading headline: “The UK just elected a record number of LGBTQ people to Parliament.”

But at least the Pink News article pointed out that none of the people in that “record number” are transgender and that “The 45 MPs do not reflect the diversity of the UK LGBTQ community.”

Translate: The 36 men and nine women — “all white” — are all out gay people.

There may be many more gay and lesbian people who have been elected but who have chosen not to publicly out themselves. As for bisexual people, well, we have never seemed to be a genuine part of the LGBTQ crowd, even though I strongly suspect that everyone is latently bisexual given the circumstances (think two straight guys or two straight gals stranded indefinitely on an otherwise uninhabited desert island, or a gay man and a gay women stranded on said island). We certainly don’t count when it comes to numbers, and I imagine that people who identify as the Q part of LGBTQ are only ever mentioned for the sake of appearing to be inclusive as well.

LGBTQ is a politically correct term that most often is referring to gay and lesbian people, or simply “gay” people, as that term is often used for both men and women.

The Pink News article doesn’t go into much depth, other than to name the MPs. But the Washington Post report, as expected, points to a bigger and more foreboding picture: The minority Tory government is relying on the support of an anti-LGBTQ party to survive. “Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Partyhas long been opposed to LGBTQ rights.”

And this: “While the 10 DUP MPs are essential to (Theresa May’s) survival, so are the 19 LGB members of her own party, and they have been steadfast in their commitment to gay rights in both Britain and overseas.”

And, finally, this: “… perhaps the most important gay Tory does not even sit in the House of Commons. Ruth Davidson is a lesbian and Protestant unionist who is about to marry her Irish Catholic partner. Moreover, she is the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, a member of the Scottish Parliament, and the woman credited for the dramatic reversal of Tory fortunes in Scotland. Her party’s 12-seat gain in the election saved the Conservative government. Davidson is talked of as a future leader of the Tories.”

And while Davidson has since received assurances from May that “gay rights” will be protected in the new coalition government,”reassurances may mean little as the DUP flexes its muscles,” the Washington Post says.

The paper sums it all up with the LGBTQ term that in this instance is no doubt more inclusive if not all inclusive: “It seems likely that the British government will fall over a battle for the soul of the British right — and one fault line will involve LGBTQ rights.”

Indeed. Everyone who falls under that umbrella in the United Kingdom has reason to be concerned.

— Jillian

Photo credit: mattbuck4950 via / CC BY-SA

One thought on “Sunday Reads: LGBTQ rights as a fault line in shaky U.K. government

  1. If I was gay, I wouldn’t worry about the loathsome DUP. In fact, in historic terms you should worry more if you are Catholic, whether gay or straight. But even that policy is beyond their ability to deliver these days. What the DUP want for their support is money, a lot of money, in fact, billions. They want money to support them and the local devolved government in N Ireland that proportionally will not be made available to Scotland, Wales or England. If there is anything to complain about it will be that.
    However, I wouldn’t even worry about that. The DUP know they won’t get that, so what they are likely to ask for is long-term fiscal breaks that Theresa May cannot give a guarantee over the long term, as her days in power are numbered in days or weeks. George Osbourne who she sacked as the Chancellor of the Exchequer when she succeeded as Prime Minister, labelled her as a “dead woman walking” and predicted she would be ousted by next week. She may last a bit longer than that, but not much longer. The writing is on the wall and the DUP thing is really only a silly side-show and the DUP probably know it too.

    Liked by 1 person

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