Letter: Throw open the closet, then take it apart

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The Independent Online
From Mr David Burlinson

Sir: "Revealed: the 40 most influential gay men in Britain" (Section Two, 27 November) was neither revealing nor can the selection be taken seriously. Nearly all of the men concerned were already well known to be gay, so what has been revealed? Some 85 per cent of them are closely connected with the arts or media, and while one would accept that people writing in the media are likely to be influential because of the nature of their jobs, it is absurd to suggest that their influence is overwhelming.

The obvious conclusion to be drawn from the selection made is that there are only a handful of gay men in the upper echelons of business, politics, the legal and medical professions, and the Civil Service, but is there any real evidence that gays are under-represented in these fields compared to the proportion of gay men in the population at large? Just because a gay man is not "out"does not mean that he cannot be influential.

The majority of the millions of gay men in Britain are not instantly recognisable as such; for whatever reason, they choose not to express specifically their sexuality in their lifestyle, but they are still gay. The bias in your selection serves only to perpetuate the absurd myth that if you're gay, the chances are that you work in some field associated with the arts and media.

Yours faithfully,

David Burlinson

London, SE24

29 November

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