An open letter to the editor of the Western Mail

posted 29 January 2006

Dear Sir -

I would like to make it clear how incensed I am by the contents of Lowri Turner's column of 27th January. It was both shockingly ignorant and incredibly insulting.

Her ridiculous premise is that you are not qualified to run the country unless you have "sat in accident and emergency with a small child", "had to make the decision over whether to give them MMR" or "gone through the schools' appeals process." Shall we list how many of these Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron have been through?

But apart from her spurious conclusion that gay men are unqualified to run the country because they cannot have children, the tone of the article reveals a very worrying mindset. She writes "Their lifestyles are too divorced from the norm. They are not better or worse, but they are different." Apparently, being different is an enormous problem if one is to run the country. So I suppose being of above-average intelligence would be a problem? And above-average wealth would certainly make you different from the norm, but most of our current leaders currently match both of those criteria. What about a leader who was black, or muslim? They certainly have lifestyles "different from the norm", which Ms. Turner seems to define as anything different from her own white, prosperous, child-laden lifestyle. I suppose she thinks all minorities should be barred from public office for their dangerously abnormal lifestyles?

The remainder of the article is just a wash of insulting stereotypes about gay men, from claiming their "biggest headache is whether to have a black sofa or a cream one" to the shockingly ignorant "if they have a child it is a dog." A great many gay and lesbian parents would be very surprised to hear that their children, shown in studies to be equally well-adjusted and healthy as those raised by heterosexual couples, do not in fact exist.

Before launching into this appalling display of homophobia, Ms. Turner, at least aware that her statements are likely to be controversial, prefaces her comments with the claim that "not only are some of my best friends gay, but probably most of them are." I sincerely hope that this is not true. To think that anyone would be so incredibly rude to her best friends, and in such a public forum, is horrifying. I also hope that the gay men and women who do know Ms. Turner give her their honest opinions of this article the next time they see her.

Yours sincerely,
etc.

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