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Editors Words: July 2011

I was recently asked if I thought there were too many gay people on television; Alan Carr, Graham Norton, Paul O’Grady, Dale Winton ,Stephen Fry…? It seemed like it was a list he’d prepared earlier.

I wondered what his motive was for asking me such a question when all I could see from this list was a bunch of much-loved personalities just being themselves… and in truth, I told him, I thought that is why they were popular and heading up prime time TV. He countered that perhaps it was more to do with them being stereotypes and not that offensive to ‘normal’ society. I bit my lip. I wondered if he’d ever seen any of these acts away from the TV. Certainly Paul O’Grady, in his former life as Lily Savage, could hardly be called inoffensive andI would suspect that Paul has a problem keeping a lid on opinions at the best of times. Alan Carr’s stage act takes no prisoners whether he’s being as bent as a nine-bob note or not, he’ll tear you a new one if he’s feeling that way out. However, TV has its own rules and in many ways it is this ‘A’ list of gays who are breaking the programme format mould and changing the way some members of the public regard homosexuals. They aren’t afraid to say it as they see it. They talk about things with no distinction as to whether it is a straight or a gay topic. It just is. The fact that there are more gay storylines in dramas and soaps is just the fact that we are more visible now. We have problems. We have lives. We have… well we have the same everything as everyone else. It may appear that all there ever seems to be is gay this or gay that but that is simply because we now refuse to be invisible and those that wish that we would slink back into the closet or just disappear… can, in the words of lily Savage, “Go f@*k themselves”. It has hardly seen the end of hetero storylines or happy families in sit-coms… after years of only one view of the world… it is great to see an alternative.

Meanwhile, it’s great/pathetic (you delete as necessary) to see that every mention of the word gay is being picked over by the media. If it’s not Anne Robinson suggesting to a vicar that his multi-coloured shirt was a trifle gay… or one of the TV companies having to defend a gay kiss in some soap or other… the Stonewall slogan of the last few years has never seemed more appropriate – Some People Are Gay…. Get Over It.

On a similar theme? The United Nation’s Human Rights Council has passed a resolution calling for universal rights for gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. It didn’t pass with flying colours, a 23 – 19 split and with three abstentions, as those countries with an appalling record on rights for their citizens rallied against the declaration. I wish the UN well and hope that they will pursue transgressors with a great deal of vigour… no matter what religious, cultural or metaphysical twaddle they come up with.