After the recent remarks by Colin Murray and Bob Mills about ‘turning’ Clare Balding during a live radio broadcast on BBC Radio 5, writer Barry Heap discusses whether ‘I’ll Have A Go At Turning You’ is an offensive thing to suggest.

At a recent friend’s wedding, an older glamorous cougar type whispered into my ear

“I’d have a go at turning you”

As she slid my tie in a suggestive manner I laughed at Mrs Robinson.

The statement was meant in a flirty good humoured form of banter. We spent the rest of the night drinking whisky and dancing to northern soul. I took the statement as a huge compliment, I’m not offended.

But I’m informed that I should be, apparently I was degraded as a man. My sexuality was disrespected and it was implied that I was free and easy to choose my sexuality as easily as I had chosen the trio of lamb for the wedding breakfast.

The truth is if we are to say that this statement is offensive to gay people, we need to cast an eye closer to home or become hypocrites. After all that is where many of us began back is high school, following the unattainable straight boy at high school. But things progress from there it only takes a quick search on the internet to find thousands of pages of slash fiction written about straight characters on TV series having gay sexual encounters. There’s also the endless speculation on the sexuality of celebrity’s such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta

Taking a further look into the internet, there are many gay porn sites that feature performers who identify as “gay for pay”. This means that off camera they are straight but on camera, they are quite happy to perform with other guys. Yes, it’s exploitive but there is clearly a market for it as many pay sites offer the illicit thrill of seeing a straight jock “turned”.

On the flip side of the coin, many straight friends are happy to discuss celebrities that they would like to “experiment” with. Russell brand, Robert Downey Jr and Eric Bana are all mentioned. I have no doubt that if any of these unlikely scenarios were to present themselves that nothing would happen; it is fantasy because they are straight. I respect their sexuality as much as they have respected and supported mine. What they may be uncomfortable in saying is that they find these men very attractive and appreciate their beauty I can see their point of view, I find Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman absolutely stunning but I would never fantasise about them sexually, the ways I look at them, are Very different to how I think about Hugh Jackman (which are not fit for publication)

So where does this leave us? I think that we can find other people attractive of either gender, sexuality is fluid but maybe sexual orientation is less so. For people identifying as gay or straight, we can be sure who we would sleep with and the line between fantasy and reality.

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When it comes to the attraction we are not interested in the others person’s orientation.

Maybe we should just all relax, it’s easy to judge and be oversensitive over what is meant as a bit of banter. Perhaps Thatcher would not appreciate the irony of the phrase “the lady’s not for turning” being used in this manner,

 

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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.