With only two days before the nation votes, we again stand in the shadows of tragedy. The terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market on Saturday have proven another unexpected development, changing the narrative of an already convoluted election. What Theresa May billed as the Brexit election when she announced it back in April has quickly become the security election. Both the Prime Minister and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have faced criticism over their records on terror and security – Mrs May for cuts to policing and intelligence failures on her watch, and Mr Corbyn for his links to the IRA and other terrorist organisations.
It’s easy to look at what happened over the weekend – and in Manchester last month – and lose sight of other issues as they pale in comparison. But alas, there are stories worth bringing your attention to as we enter the home stretch of election 2017 – which has proven to be gayer than we ever thought possible.
That could be down to something in the water. That is, at least according to Susan King, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Telford. In a web chat with the Shropshire Star last week, Ms King – a former anti-fluoride campaigner – claimed “there are a lot of feminising hormones getting into the environment and that has to be taken into consideration.” As if that weren’t a peculiar enough statement for a parliamentary candidate to make, Ms King continued by adding that “it’s affecting people’s sexuality basically,” whilst insisting that “people are at liberty to interpret how they want to live themselves.”
The notion that British water is making people gay has attracted a lot of criticism, not only because many people think it’s borderline homophobic but because it’s also just quite daft. In a way, though, I kind of wish our water were making people gay. Maybe then I could marry Prince Harry.
Of course, then Caroline Ansell might try to cure us both. Ansell, the incumbent Conservative candidate in Eastbourne, accepted funding for an intern from the homophobic and transphobic Christian Action Research and Education (CARE) charity. According to the Metro, CARE funded a conference on conversion therapy back in 2009. It shouldn’t be so surprising that Ansell would take money from CARE, as she is also a member of the Kings Church Eastbourne, which the Metro reports is a part of anti-LGBT churches that preach gay people can be “cured.”
Another church that allegedly believes gay people can be “exorcised” of the demons of same-sex attractions is Jesus House, a fast growing church in London. Last week, Theresa May stopped by to worship with its controversial and anti-gay marriage pastor, Agu Irukwu. Pink News reports that Pastor Irukwu wrote in 2006 that the Sexual Orientation Regulations was “the latest discrimination against Christians” and that it would “force Christians… to accept and even promote the idea that homosexuality is equal to heterosexuality.” (Spoilers: it didn’t.)
If it seems I’m beating up on the Tories and Liberal Democrats here, it’s because they’ve given me the most fodder over the past several weeks. I’ve been keeping a keen eye out for any interesting gay gaffes, and other than Kezia Dugdale telling people to vote for the Tories (seriously, that’s a really bad electoral strategy, Kezia), Labour has been fairly gaffe-free on issues of equality. The Tories, with their notoriously checkered history on issues of equality, are continuing to experience growing pains as they try to balance their conservative base with their more progressive front bench (and a more enlightened electorate). The Liberal Democrats, meanwhile, literally started and ended this campaign talking about gay sex.
When we wake up on Friday morning we could have the gayest parliament in history. The last parliament already saw a world record number of gay MPs. Yet in a report for Pink News, Professor Andrew Reynolds of The LGBT Representation and Rights Research Initiative at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill predicts that “the gains made by LGBTQ candidates in June 2017 will outweigh any losses.” According to Professor Reynolds, there could be as many as 24 new LGBT MPs elected of the 147 openly LGBT candidates standing this year.
So all and all, not a bad gay election. Of course, I don’t know who is going to win on Friday (the polls show Labour pulling close, but it’s still likely to be a Tory majority), but I do know that this election has been more of a whirlwind than any in my lifetime. I’m kind of glad it’s almost over, and I live for politics, so I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. Just hang in there and know that no matter who emerges as Prime Minister at the end of the week, THEGAYUK Magazine will be there to bring you all the details.
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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.
Skylar Baker-Jordan is THEGAYUK’s political contributing editor and has bylines at HuffPost, The Independent and the Daily Dot.
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.