Saturday, 5 July 2008

Here, Queer and Conservative

I'm suffering blog withdrawal so I'm back with the occasional blogging post over the Summer. Thanks to all of those of you from all over the world who keep coming back. Thanks to my blog stats counter it seems most of you are after cottaging and pegging stories or details about Mr Gay Newcastle. I fear this story will do little for you so you may want to click away now. A story that really caught my attention today is on Pink News. The story focuses on the launch of LGBTory today during Pride London. Many moons ago when I was an active Conservative I was a member of a group called the Tory Campaign for Homosexual Equality (TORCHE). That group had been knocking about London for the 80s and 90s and regularly met in stylish London bars. At 17/18 I never attended an event as I couldn't pop down to London for a 6pm meeting on a Friday for rather obvious financial reasons. Nonetheless the group worked quietly to change attitudes within and beyond the party. When, speaking to to my local Lancashire paper in 1998 as a branch officer, I stated (in my 18yr old naivety) that the Conservative Party should have more people in it's ranks who are openly gay and the Party should support the repeal of Section 28 and consider gay marriage (I wasn't out at the time). It made the front page that week and the following week the Party came out with the statement "we liked the sentiment but we would have expressed it differently". The person who said that can now be found on Gaydar. Obviously I had resigned within 24 hours and that was more or less the last gasp of my life in politics. How times change. Those TORCHE people are now advising David Cameron and Boris in London. Many of them hold senior positions and are likely to be in future Tory cabinets. BTW all the TORCHE papers are now in the Hall-Carpenter archive in London.

The re-emergence of a new group, LGBTory, this time supported by a party leader is massively significant if we believe that the Tories will make up the next UK government. These voices have the potential to be shaping and influencing opinion in the next ten to twenty years and with it, the law. We should watch and listen to their words very carefully if we want to know how the law on LGBT rights will evolve. Make a start by checking out their blog here.

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