My partner Alex earlier today mentioned that one of our friends had got into the Pink List 2010 published by The Independent On Sunday newspaper. Not only had our friend ‘newly’ appeared in the top 101, but entered at a stomping number 8. Obviously, we congratulated him.
Anyway, Alex and I then tried to work out the purpose and intention of this list. Who and what was it for? What qualifications did the judges hold to decide who were the best and potentially the worst gay and lesbian people in the public domain in 2010 UK!
At joint number one were Mary Portas of TV’s Mary Queen of Shops and the Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas. Now, I think Mary’s television programme is the business and it often inspires me, but why was she number one with Gareth? Personally, I have a bit of an issue with those who ‘come out’ when they have achieved success or about to retire. Why can’t gay and lesbian people start as they mean to go on, at the beginning of their careers? It might be the fact that they might not have achieved their success had they come out, which in itself is sad and disappointing.
I asked the question what was the purpose and intention of the list and I note the newspaper article states Britain’s most influential gay and lesbian people today. This wrongly or rightly does not sit well with me, with role models being mentioned somewhere along the way. I go back to my previous point, wouldn’t you have more influence if you were ‘out’ during your success not just after it? Equally you can’t be a role model for other gay and lesbian people if you’re not out. This is not personal to Mary and Gareth, just my views on the article. I respect anybody who comes out at ‘their’ choosing, as it’s clearly a matter for them. I just have an issue with the people and positions on the list. Mary and Gareth just happen to be number 1.
Now, I know there are some on the list who are out, but as I have concluded they come below the top two. I’m not naive to think The Independent who I actually believe is a decent newspaper with integrity has not got its own reasons for publishing this list other than what they tell us and that Mary and Gareth for example might not have been in contact with the paper. Again, my views are not personal of the top 2 entrants, just their positioning given all I have said. I didn’t even know Mary was a lesbian until reading the article today and heard about Gareth late last year and I’ve been ‘out’ 11 years! His entry comments by the paper refers to the fact he was ’secretly out’. I’m still getting my head around this too as I write! Secretly out, is that like being ‘openly in’?
So, the purpose of the list? I don’t know, but maybe it is just as the paper’s website states to entertain and celebrate, infuriate and amuse. It has indeed kick-started a debate, which is healthy for any democracy, something which I am fortunate to live in. Oh and before I forget, was the paper having a joke with David Laws, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury of the new UK Coalition Government? I mean, is there such a position as number 101? I know you’re thinking it’s because number one is jointly held.
So, back to my friend Michael at number 8… I only hope he can influence the new coalition government in any way he can to ensure continued and new equality and fairness for all, straight as well as gay and lesbian people. Until I met Michael and a few other friends recently, I didn’t even know of any gay and lesbian people who voted or indeed were conservative. It’s good to know all parties are fully representative and diverse and that my life and circle of friends is that much richer.
On a lighter note, I see myself more of a Liberal Conservative (nothing to do with the Liberal Democrats or Conservative parties), purely that I have liberal views (equality, fairness and justice) but equally believe in respect and the rule of law. Personally, I voted Labour in the last General Election as it was the party most aligned with my upbringing and views on life (domestically anyway). As a party, it has done a huge amount of work for equality, the pudding of which is in the proof (I know it’s the other way around).
Maybe I could start my own party, the UK Coalition Party as this is what people might now think of when hearing Liberal Conservatism or as one of my Labour Party friends recently told me.. Condemed Nation (we’ve all heard the jokes). If someone steals my idea and starts this new party, remember where you heard it first!
This has not been a Party Political Broadcast, just my ‘View from the Bottom’, Max.
As always for transparency, I have provided The Independent with a copy of my blog.
© 2010 Kevin Maxwell Media & Performance – Published by My Mum