There has been some discussion recently in the UK as to whether or not MPs have the right to stay in the closet or if they should all come out as part of an open and honest lifestyle. Although it is true that a politician seen to keep any secrets is looked upon as unfit for office, I think only a fool would think that their representatives are open about everything in their lives.
For me the bottom line is that everyone, regardless of their career path, has a right to privacy and if that involves staying in the closet then I feel for them but that is their right. I admire greatly anyone in public life who comes out, they stand as an inspiration to anyone watching, not just gay people but everyone. However, is there anything worse than seeing someone outed and scurrying around trying to deny it? What does that say to young gay people?
Channel 4 News recently interviewed the chief executive of Stonewalls, Ben Summerskill, on this issue who said
The worst possible service that the government, or indeed any employer can do to someone who is gay, or black or a woman, is to think they are somehow doing them a favour if they exempt them from normal performance management just like everyone else.
I think we are all agreed that when a person is comfortable in themselves and open to their colleagues they work more efficiently. With that in mind I think the general public would want their government officials to be open, however, we can not, and should not, force anyone.
Conservative Crispin Blunt, who is justice minister with responsibility for prisons and criminal justice, has announced that he is coming to terms with his sexuality. I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him the very best. We all hope he finds peace and happiness within himself. I hope many more follow suit but I am totally against the notion of forcing a person to come out, regardless of their career.
It is however, something that gets up our collective noses when a closeted gay politician starts to preach homophobic crap from his/her political pulpit. If you want to stay in the closet that is your own business but I for one would appreciate it if you kept your self loathing pointed at the mirror and not at me.
Should Mr Blunt’s LGBTQ colleagues be forced to follow his lead or is coming out a private matter no matter who you are? Should gay politicians who are publicly homophobic be outed?
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