Thursday, 26 January 2006

Simon Hughes Finally Comes Out (updated)

Of course for those in the know (and there were probably quite a few of us), this is hardly news but after denying twice in the past few days that he was gay, Simon Hughes, president of the Liberal Democrat party and contender for leadership of his party finally came out today in the Sun.

I suppose technically, and if he really had both heterosexual and homosexual relationships, that indeed doesn't make him gay but rather bisexual. He could probably also argue that, even if he is attracted by men, he does not identify as gay (which can be seen as refering to a very specific lifestyle). In any case, this business is quite different to what recently emerged about another contender for the leadership of the Lib Dem party. While he indeed kept his private life a secret and some can argue lied about it by denying it or some of it, Hughes is not married and doesn't have children; he did not try either to pass himself as a family man.

I think these stories, take us back to some of the themes explored in Brokeback Mountain. The fact that, because of social pressures some people feel the need to live the lie of a heterosexual life when it is not who they are, wrecking in the process not only their own lives but that of their family too. I think there is however a need for understanding. Yes, it is probably not the right way to proceed but if the right wingers did not insist on imposing their views and ways of life on the rest of society by stigmatising gay relationships, there would be no need for people to hide.

I agree with Simon Hughes that "someone's sexual orientation should not be a barrier to public life in modern Britain" and that "that people should have a right to personal privacy". However, in a world where being is still being represented as something negative, out, positive role models are still needed. Being gay in a way makes us political and gives us a duty to stand out and be visible while trying to retain what privacy we can. This is a difficult balance to strike for the most public figures but one which is essential to build a more open and accepting society.

I extend all my support to Mr Hughes, congratulate him his decision and sincerly hope that today's revelations will have no adverse effect on his career, though the press might think otherwise.

Simon Hughes: “I’m bisexual” -

BBC news website spoof

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  1. It'll be interesting to see the difference between how Simon Hughes is treated to how Mark Oaten is. For my part, Simon Hughes being gay / bi makes no difference to my likelihood to vote for him, whereas Mark Oaten using prostitutes (or either gender) does.

  2. My question regarding Mark Oaten is: how can one have a relationship (as the "affair" was discribed in the media) with a rent boy? Do that mean, although the gay was rent, Oaten did not pay him?

    Or am I being uncharacteristically romantic here?

  3. He has not actually 'come out' as such more been honest enough to say he has had sex with a man once in his past.

    But we do support his honesty. I am wondering what difference this would make to his public perception.

  4. even though he had denied it on several occasions beforehand....

    still, I too commend his honesty and hope that the press don't manipulate this information to suit their own purposes. But that comment is probably completely and utterly naive.

  5. Even though the majority of the party will also share most people's response about this being his personal business, this revelation has effectively ended his campaign.

    Despite the Lib Dems pro liberal views, electing a leader who has admitted to relationships in the past with men won't happen in the future.

    Although the coincidence that both Hughes and Oaten who were running for leader have been exposed in their relationships with men have come from the Murdoch press, which exposes non-tolerance towards Homosexual relationships on a regular basis isn't coincidental.

  6. Hey

    Thanks so much for linking to my blog.

    Much as I like to make fun of things, I fail to see what the big deal is about Hughes (apart from the fact he lies). I don't care who he slides between the sheets with, I just want someone who will object to pointless wars and make sure my council tax doesn't go up!


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