Monday, January 17, 2011

Furor Erupts in Britain over Homophobic Tweet: How will the Tories React?

       If any of you missed the news out of Britain yesterday, East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer tweeted the following statement....

"Why is it OK for a surgeon to perform a sex-change operation, but not OK for a psychiatrist to try to 'turn' a consenting homosexual?"
Most likely he was referring to the controversy currently being discussed in Britain about the Christian counselor who is attempting to turn gay people straight (a process also known as reparative therapy). But in this one statement, and ones attempting to explain the tweet, Helmer demonstrates his profound ignorance of LGBT issues and psychology. The Guardian has more about the situation from an interview that they did with him on the subject. 

"Helmer, who insisted last year that he sees himself "as liberal and tolerant on the question of homosexuality", told the Press Association that he had merely been asking "a question" about why psychiatrists were banned from offering therapy for homosexuality.
"I am always surprised by the instant indignation of a strident minority," he said. "I am making a comparison between a lifestyle choice of a homosexual who would prefer not to be a homosexual and a lifestyle choice of a woman who would prefer to be a man ...
"It seems to me that in both cases it is what they call a valid lifestyle choice."
      Interesting choice of words. What Helmer is inferring here - and what many of my readers most likely saw- is that homosexuality and transgenderism are "lifestyle choices".   For someone who is supposedly "tolerant" about this issue, he seems to not understand it at all...and instead shows just how much of a closed mind he has. For someone to still believe in this day and age that being gay or trans-gendered is some sort of choice, there must be some other influence in his life informing his opinion on the issue. Religion maybe? 

     The Tory Government of David Cameron has been trying to show itself as being more tolerant of the LGBT community, and recognizing that they do form a part of the British Community. Yet with statements like these, it will be very hard for LGBT people to believe these political promises. Hopefully for the Conservatives, Cameron will come out and denounce Helmer for this inappropriate and uneducated statement. 

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