David Laws’ “outing” raises the question of why liberal bigots fear admitting to being homosexual when they publicly declare at every possible opportunity that being gay is “just as valid” as heterosexuality and “completely normal”. I thought I would test what the public mood is and to hat end I ran up the short questionnaire below to test the proposition in the case of heterosexual men.
I placed the questionnaire on some of the main UK politics newsgroups. (For those who do not use them, newsgroups are a type of global chatroom whereby anyone in the world who subscribes to the newsgroup can post and comment on other people’s posts).
The first thing of note was the rapidity and volume of the traffic it generated. In twelve years of using newsgroups , I have never had such a voluminous and rapid response. After half an hour there were 38 replies. Two days after putting the post up there are 442 replies (For those with newsgroup feeds you will find the thread on uk.politics.misc). This is wholly exceptional for any posts in newsgroups and suggests to an intense public interest in the question.
Amongst the responders there were small minorities of card carrying liberal bigots and outright homophobes. Much more interesting was the response from those in the middle. The general mood was that they were uncomfortable with the idea of homosexual gay acts, many candidly saying they found them disgusting. However, those away from the extremes were also quite content to let homosexuals do whatever they want in private – but not in public – and had no wish to see homosexuality re-criminalised. There was also a fair deal of complaint about homosexuals acting as a public pressure group.
The question which produced the most disquiet was 11. Unsurprisingly, as it went to the heart of being human.
So there you have it, if the response reflects the population at large, and it may well have slanted affairs towards the liberal end of the spectrum because it was computer users only, the population does not share the liberal elite’s view of homosexuality, but neither is it aggressively homophobic. RH
1. Would you be comfortable if you were taken for gay?
2. Would you be comfortable if a gay man made sexual advances to you?
3. If a gay man had expressed sexual feelings for you, would you be comfortable working or socialising with that person?
4. If you live in circumstances where there was communal living, for example in the services, would you be comfortable sleeping in the same room as men you knew were gay?
5. Would you be comfortable appearing naked in front of a gay man, for example, where there are communal showers?
6. Would you be comfortable being in the same place as a gay couple engaged in heavy petting?
7. Would you be comfortable in the company of a gay couple who were holding hands?
8. Would you be concerned that any gay man might be HIV positive or have Aids?
9. You go on a business trip with a gay man. The only accommodation you can get is a room with a double bed. Where do you sleep?
10. A gay man is making persistent sexual advances to you despite you rejection of them. What do you do?
11. You have two children, both sons. They both announce they are gay. Your natural ambition for grandchildren vanishes. How do you respond?
12. Your gay son brings his partner home with him to stay for the night. Do you let the two of them share a bed