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I know this was meant to be the “Brexit election,” but there have been more politicians talking about gay sex over the past two weeks than on Westminster Grindr.

This election is quickly shaping up to be the gayest election in living memory – the Big Gay Election if you will. My goal over the coming weeks is, to sum up, the electoral week in gay, highlighting stories and candidates pertinent to the LGBT community with insight, clarity, and hopefully a little humour.

Jumping right in, the major story of the week was, of course, Tim Farron – the inexplicable Leader of the Liberal Democrats – refusing to answer unequivocally that gay sex isn’t a sin. Whilst this may seem odd for someone who was in a failed 1980s version of Steps, Farron is a committed evangelical Christian whose nuanced views on faith and sexuality have widely (though many would argue unfairly) raised eyebrows about his commitment to equality. Appearing on ITV’s Peston on Sunday on 23 April, Farron doubled-down on his whole “we’re all sinners” spiel – which, while from a Christian perspective, is technically true, didn’t really answer the question. 

No worries, though. Sensing the political storm wasn’t about to abate anytime soon – and, I imagine, that he’d never again be able to attend “Kylie: A Celebration” at the Strangers’ Bar – last Tuesday he finally cleared the air. In an interview with the BBC’s Eleanor Garnier, Farron stated unequivocally “I don’t believe gay sex is a sin.” It took him, like, some two weeks to figure out how to string those words into a cohesive sentence, but he got there in the end. It took Prime Minister Theresa May, another committed Christian, decidedly less time. She was asked by Andrew Marr on Sunday whether she thought gay sex is a sin. “No,” she simply responded. Simple and concise, unlike her Brexit plan.

But hey, you there, the bloke reading from LGBT Tory – wipe that smug smile off your face. It wasn’t exactly a banner week for your party either. Isle of Wight Conservative MP Andrew Turner resigned – according to PinkNews “before he was pushed” – after allegedly telling a group of teenage LGBT activists that he wouldn’t be going to Pride because he thinks homosexuality is “wrong” and “dangerous to society,” apparently missing the irony that as a Tory those are the exact words Momentum would use about him. The teens posted on Facebook, the story went viral, and by the end of the week, Turner was gone. 

I don’t know if he was about to be asked to sashay away, though I imagine he was. Theresa May runs a ship tighter than Sam Callahan’s… abs. But this shines a light on something the Conservative Party would rather you forget – that their backbenchers are, by and large, no allies of ours. Never forget that the majority of Tory backbenchers voted against equal marriage and that the Prime Minister herself, back when she was Home Secretary, wanted to repeal the Human Rights Act. The extreme Eurosceptic wing of the Conservatives would take Britain out of the European Convention on Human Rights, which has underpinned much of the equality victories British gays have won over the past 25 years.

As for Labour, well, they’ve been largely silent on gay issues this week (unless lambasting Tim Farron for his no-gay-sex scandal). Jeremy Corbyn did read a letter from a gay couple at the last Prime Minister’s Questions of this Parliament on Wednesday, though. Christopher, Corbyn says, wrote that “for the last five years, my husband has had only a one percent increase in his wages. The cost of living has risen each year. We now have at least 15 percent less buying power than then.” 

The thing about Corbyn’s letters from constituents (a hallmark of his at PMQs) is that they’re impossible to corroborate, so I don’t know any specifics about Christopher’s and his Mister’s circumstances. However, it does raise one thing that we should keep in mind: gay and bisexual men are more likely to experience poverty than straight men, and lesbians are at least as likely to experience poverty as women. Economic inequality is linked to LGBT inequality, so as you cast your ballots next month, bear in mind who is going to do the best to raise the community out of poverty. After all, being fabulous ain’t cheap.

There’s one more issue we should all remember throughout the election cycle, and which deserves no snark: Chechnya. Gay men are being rounded up, tortured, and killed throughout the Russian province. Whoever the next Prime Minister is, we owe it to our Chechen brothers (and indeed, our LGBT siblings throughout the world) to make sure the government is doing everything they can to advocate for and protect the human rights of LGBT people the world over.

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We’ve got five weeks left before the vote, so undoubtedly there’s going to be quite a bit more to roll our eyes, scoff, and groan at. In the meantime, watch this space. THEGAYUK has some great election coverage coming up.
Until next week – happy campaigning!

 

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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.