Tuesday, January 31, 2006

However much I love Lowri Turner, I don't want her writing a newspaper column

Comatose has linked to this poisonous piece of journalistic pap in the Western Mail entitled "However much I love my gay friends, I don't want them running the country" by Lowri Turner. Turner's article is textbook homophobia, complete with the usual glib euphemisms "bat for the other side", "swings both ways" and that worn-out cliche "some of my best friends are gay", which always occurs before someone says "...but I still think they should all be sent to the gas showers..."

Turner's "argument" is based on the two recent "scandals" involving Liberal MPs Mark Oaten and Simon Hughes being revealed to be bisexual/gay. The scandals are not so much about their sexuality, but the fact that the former is married and has a prediliction for rent boys, while the latter conducted a homophobic campaign against Peter Tatchell in the 1980s (when homophobia was de rigeur). Turner uses these cases as a spring-board to get to her main point, which is that gay men shouldn't be running the country because they don't have children and their lifestyles are so different from "normal" people. So, rather than having to sit with their kids in A&E or agonising over whether the kids should have the MMR jab, their biggest worries are whether or not to choose a black or a cream sofa. Way to go with the stereotypes there Lowri.

I guess if we were to take Lowri's argument to its logical conclusion, then we would have to say that anyone who has not had a child should not be given any position of power - because how on earth could they learn proper responsibility? It's a very sanctimonious argument, ignoring the fact that so many people who have children actually end up being very bad parents. For example, 40% of marriages end in divorce (as did Lowri's - she broke up with her husband when pregant with her second child) and of those a very large proportion of fathers lose touch with their children altogether within three years.

Additionally, Turner ignores the fact that gay men DO have to deal with responsibilties of a different kind - for example, looking after elderly parents or partners who may be ill. They also have to take responsibility for their own sexual, physical and mental health in a society which is still shockingly spiteful and blinkered at times. Her construction of gay men as frivolous and silly is just as stereotyping as if I complain about straight men being obsessed with football, booze and cars, or straight women as caring only of celebrity gossip, diets (Lowri was a contestant on Celebrity Fit Club) and lipgloss.

Gay men aren't a homogenous mass. Some of them would be crap leaders. Some of them would be brilliant. Just like any other identity group.

Oh and Lowri, I'm sure you may think you have loads of gay friends - but believe me - behind your back they're laughing at your taste in clothes and badly decorated home, not to mention your quaint 1950s social attitudes.


mike said...

Ian at Blogadoon covered this as well. Well said, both of you.

matty said...

Excellent post!

Lost Boy said...

Ah. I wrote about this too, but I like the way you've covered it better, I think. It really incensed me; especially the 'all my friends are gay' schtick, and her barbs about sofas and treating dogs like children. She obviously watches too much 'Sex and the City' and has got us all down as a herd of Stanford Blatches.

Fuckkit said...

Amen to that :D

WC Mencken said...

I don't get it? Is that what you think gays do? Snigger about the way non-gays dress or decorate?

I was gonna give you tongue in cheek points until I reread the following.

Additionally, Turner ignores the fact that gay men DO have to deal with responsibilties of a different kind - for example, looking after elderly parents or partners who may be ill.

You're really sharp!

Betty said...

Having just read the article, I must say that Lowri Turner has enlightened me and made me see the error of my ways!

I didn't realise that there is no such thing as bisexuality!

I didn't realise that there is a great deal of homophobia in this country, but that Lowri Turner is not homophobic!

I didn't realise that only heterosexual married people with children are selfless and trustworthy enough to serve as MPs! Of course, it was so obvious! Look at those happily married beacons of goodness Harold Shipman and Fred West! If they had stood for office, I'm sure they would have made great Prime Ministers!

Thank you Lowri, you're a terrific, gutsy lady!!