We’ve entered a stage where many politicians feel comfortable disclosing their sexual orientation, however, it’s not just a clear-cut case of being straight or gay
The UK is a very diverse place, although, when it comes to politics, there is an argument that there is a minority of women in Parliament. While this may be the case, this does not take into account the other factors that may make our politics more diverse than we think.
The LGBTQ+ movement has gained support in the last few years, especially in politics, with the legalisation of same-sex marriage being a key milestone. While it may have been more evident in the last few years, UK politics has, for a long time, had a link with the LGBTQ+ community. This was highlighted in the Independent recently, when a group of 35 LGBT MPs and MSPs were pictured together to mark LGBT History Month.
Since 1976, there have been a number of MPs and MSPs to come out, however, only one of them has come from the Welsh Assembly. While this may be of no particular significance, it may though point to a lack of support for the LGBT movement, or otherwise, that there are fewer LGBT representatives in Wales.
Of the most powerful current politicians in office to come out has to be Patrick Harvie, who is one of only two Green Party MSPs in Parliament. Aside from this, in this Parliament, the Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, came out as gay under two months ago, making him the most senior member of the Cabinet to be part of the LGBT community.
As much as I welcome any diversity in British politics, there is a distinct lack of celebration or awareness of these issues. The very fact that, only in LGBT History Month, does diversity like this get celebrated is something that needs to be addressed. It is, however, a great achievement to be able to say that, as much as we may complain about British politics and politicians, the UK has the highest number of LGBT politicians in the world. Among these are the Shadow First Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, Angela Eagle but also the Scottish Government Minister for Parliamentary Business, Joe FitzPatrick.
Unfortunately, the same inclusiveness cannot be said of those in the asexual community. Recently, 2015 City of York Council election candidate, George Norman spoke out about how his sexuality or rather asexuality is not officially recognised by Parliament. While he didn’t gain a seat on the council, it raised awareness of asexuality and how, just like the LGBT community, we should be formally recognized. I say we as I, although not completely asexual, fall on the asexuality scale. I’m Demisexual and proud.
The very fact that asexuality is still not recognised suggests that there is a way to go before we can say that Parliament and political parties are diverse enough. On the other hand, I’m hopeful that, over time, this progress will be made. In the meantime, we sit and eat cake (only people within the asexual community will get this reference).
Overall, it is great to see so many in government coming out and raising awareness of sexuality like they have. This is, at least, one positive thing that I can say about Parliament but I have no doubt that there is still progress to be made.
If you would like to read about my story of coming out as a Demisexual, please read my article ‘I’m Demisexual: Meet Me In The Middle’ and otherwise, keep a look out for more articles on sexuality coming soon.