Letter: Gay numbers game misses the mark

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The Independent Online
Sir: Despite ostensible support for a lower age of consent, your article on the Wellcome survey (22 January) reinforces the assumption that lesbian and gay relationships are inferior. Why else is it good that early gay sexual experience does not lead to a greater likelihood of later gay relationships? And why is heterosexual sex 'love', while gay simply an 'experience'?

It seems sad that we still have to convince liberal supporters lesbian and gay relationships are satisfying, rewarding, and often chosen for this reason in preference to heterosexual options available.

To rely on statistical data as evidence of the minority status of gay life not only ignores well known problems with surveys, particularly when strangers ask people to disclose sexual confidences, but also that gay identity and culture can best be seen from the contribution made to social, cultural and political life. Given the supposedly small numbers currently identified as gay and lesbian, this is all the more remarkable.

Yours sincerely,



22 January