Politics is Gay – Why Being Gay Makes Voting Impossible

As I have gotten older and educated myself, my politics has changed dramatically. When I was 19, I wrote an article arguing that gay marriages should not be allowed in churches because it wasn’t fair to the religious beliefs of others. I was, quite rightly, schooled by my peers on how ridiculous that was. I also received an email from a gay couple who, as Catholics, always felt marginalised by their faith and that they hoped to get married in a Church one day. So my viewpoint evolved.

The recent US Election has led to pro-Trump people arguing that Trump is better for LGBT people because he’s always been pro-marriage and correctly pointed out that President Obama and Secretary Clinton were against gay marriage for some time. That got me thinking about how my politics has changed and how it’s difficult to always get it right. I wondered then, is politics lose-lose for gay people?

I would describe my politics as ‘warped’. I don’t believe that immigration should be uncapped, I don’t believe in free movement of people and I believe the welfare state should be reformed. However, I also don’t believe in allowing people to suffer, I do believe in skilled workers emigrating to the UK and I also don’t believe that those in need should be left below the poverty line. A friend of mine annoyed at my viewpoint, told me that ‘liberalism isn’t pick and mix. You must pick a side’.

Many would agree with him, argue that I’m wishy-washy but it’s hard for me.

I wrote recently about my Diabetes diagnosis in March 2016. I was sick for six weeks prior to diagnosis and struggled to get a doctor’s appointment. I had a meeting with the lead GP who told me that the surgery was struggling due to an influx of Eastern European patients moving in the area. It was argued to me by some friends that the result of this influx should be more money into the NHS rather than blaming those who come here. However, I come from a small Cheshire town which is equal distance to Liverpool and Manchester that, due to a housing crisis in cities, has had most of its green belt land sold for housing to be build. There has been zero infrastructural investment in assisting with the influx of people to the town so now there are issues with traffic and public transport. For me, something has to give.

But then there’s the gay problem. LGBT people tend to be liberal and progressive. We have fought for years for equality, fairness and respect. We tend to align ourselves with other marginalised groups that are also currently facing prejudice, hate and violence. It is, therefore, for me, a strong consideration in my politics. I am not middle class yet I am not working class. According to the BBC Great British Class Calculator, I am part of the ‘Emergent Services Workers’ class. I do, however, do better financially under a Conservative Government’s policy than a Labour Government’s policy. I live from wage to wage with little savings, little hope of owning my own house and a high rent bill. Yet, I also know that the Conservative Party has a sketchy history with LGBT rights. They are known as the party that brought in Marriage Equality but, actually, it was the work of the Lib Dems that helped usher that in.

Interestingly, 126 Conservatives voted for marriage equality yet a total 134 voted against it.

There were 35 Conservatives including current Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond who didn’t vote at all. However, it was recently revealed Justine Greening, Education Secretary, may be considering teaching inclusive sex and relationship education in schools which would, of course, be a major step after the dark days of Section 28.

The Brexit vote was also difficult. As a gay man who was concerned about the economic implications of our future in the EU as well as the UK Sovereignty issue, I was also well aware of the EU’s role (especially in regards to Human Rights) in enshrining gay rights in the UK. So the real question here is how far do you let your gayness eschew your political view?

Should it be the leading factor in making your mind up?

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I am not affiliated with any political party but, as I get older, I become increasingly political. The election of Donald Trump worries me less than the ascension of Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Pence is staunchly anti-Gay and believes in gay conversion therapy. He also thinks LGBT people should be allowed to be discriminated against based on people’s religions. So, you can imagine my horror when Boris Johnson recently doubled down on how much he’s looking forward to working with him.

The future of LGBT rights in the UK is also something little discussed as we head further to the March deadline for triggering Article 50. Whilst it’s comforting having an LGBT person as Equality Minister (Justine Greening, who is also Education Secretary as noted above) it is vitally important that the UK continues to ensure LGBT rights are protected and make a commitment to that prior to us leaving the EU.

I am a man divided. I am conservative (with a small ‘c’) when it comes to many things (I am even for the Buckingham Palace refurb!) but I’m also widely liberal. I am concerned by levels of immigration but even more concerned for those who are persecuted in their own countries to the point of violence.

I stare in abject horror of images of gay men being thrown from buildings. My heart breaks to hear of disabled people dying due to poverty caused by welfare cuts. I feel unrepresented by modern politics and every election seems to offer me a rock and a hard place.

Do I vote as a citizen or do I vote as a gay man? Either way, to me, it’s always lose-lose.

 

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Opinions expressed in this article may not reflect those of THEGAYUK, its management or editorial teams. If you'd like to comment or write a comment, opinion or blog piece, please click here.