Comment: Right of Reply
PHILIP HENSHER is wrong to claim "a measure of equality" has been granted to lesbian and gay people by the Labour government, and that other equal rights "will surely follow". Despite its pre-election pledge of queer equality, Labour refuses to state when or how it will lift the ban on gays in the military, repeal Section 28, recognise same-sex partnerships, outlaw anti-gay discrimination, and get tough on homophobic crimes.
Equality is not just around the corner. Pinocchio Blair promised the 1997 Gay Pride Festival that Labour would "build a new Britain free from discrimination". Twelve times since then his government has blocked proposals for queer human rights.
Labour's backing for the system of "sexual apartheid" that keeps gay people second class citizens does not, however, mean that nothing has changed over the last 32 years. Life has got better for most homosexuals. But these improvements have little to do with straight politicians. They are largely due to the gay community's own initiatives.
When straight society has ignored our needs, we have responded by creating a supportive network of gay community institutions, including helplines, social centres, legal advice agencies, housing associations, and victim support schemes.
These efforts have enhanced millions of lives. It is now much easier to access information about homosexuality, feel a sense of self-worth, come out, meet a partner, and get help.
Our initiatives have created a confident, supportive lesbian and gay community. Few changes have been due to straight politicians. We queers have uplifted ourselves. Malcolm X was right. Self-reliance is the key to the empowerment of marginalised minorities.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 2 Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
- 3 Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
- 4 Fifa corruption: Europe plots to stage an 'alternative World Cup' in place of Russia 2018
- 5 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
The 1975 leave social-media after cryptic comic strip tweet hinting at possible break up
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Jules and Matisse used secret dog double for winning tightrope act
Top Gear to follow Have I Got News For You format with 'different host for each episode'
Britain's Got Talent 2015 final: Vote reveals Jules O'Dwyer beat Jamie Raven by just 2% despite using 'stunt dog double'
Britain's Got Talent final 2015: 90 viewers complain to Ofcom about Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden's 'revealing' dresses
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history