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Socialist Review, May 1994

Tom Delargy


Closet bigots


From Socialist Review, No. 175, May 1994.
Copyright © Socialist Review.
Copied with thanks from the Socialist Review Archive.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Stack on the Back has always been one of the highlights of Socialist Review. April’s issue was no exception. Because Pat made so many excellent points, and did so wittily, it seems churlish to criticise. Yet the conclusion of Pat’s article was, for once, a bit of an anti-climax.

Pat approaches, but then draws back from, the most important point. Contrasting the ‘bludgeoning’ David Blunkett is complaining about (pickets of his surgery, ‘nasty’ letters!) with the bludgeoning of gays which he voted for was the right thing to do. But imprisonment of some men whose ‘crime’ is to have sex with other men is only part of this bludgeoning – and not the most important part.

This threat has been a cause of anxiety for many gays and one consequence of Blunkett’s vote is that it will continue. And, although large numbers have had this threat lifted, due to the lowering of the age of consent from 21 to 18, Tory backbenchers are demanding the law be enforced more vigorously.

Blunkett and the other closet bigots in the parliamentary Labour Party have thrown away an invaluable opportunity for millions of gays to gain the confidence to proclaim their sexuality.

So long as the law discriminates against gays people will stay in the closet – not just until they are 21 (or now 18), but for the whole of their lives.

If Blunkett and the rest of his cronies had shown an ounce of principle, they could have created the conditions for gays of all ages to take a stand against a tide of hostile public opinion.

Blunkett and co. have not ‘just’ voted to make the lives of millions of gay people a misery; they have also thrown a lifeline to the Tory Party.


Tom Delargy

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