Don't try to kid us that if you're discreet
You're perfectly safe as you walk down the street...
Make sure your boyfriend's at least 21
And if you're a lesbian, don't be a mum.
Gay Lib's ridiculous, join in their laughter
'The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?'
You know someone's rolled up the map when one of the most prominent right-wing voices in the nation is out of the closet, proudly civilly partnered to another man and, today, challenging the Daily Mail over its nasty, patronisingly homophobic comments about his campaign for election in Bracknell in today's edition of the paper. I never thought I'd say this, but Iain Dale's principled stance is actually pretty damn impressive:
"I really thought that we had got away from this sort of thing and it's very sad that we haven't...If by standing up to the Daily Mail, and drawing attention to this issue, it hijacks me in Bracknell, then that will be a bitter blow to have to take, but if I sat back and just accepted this sort of thing, what sort of person would that make me? And worst of all, if I did say nothing, it would just encourage them to do it again to someone else in the future. I simply cannot do that...PCC here I come."
Even more heartening are the hundreds of comments from Tory sympathisers expressing support for Dale's brave stance. There have always been gay Tories, but time was they were expected to shut the hell up about it. They certainly couldn't run for candidacy whilst going to the Press Complaints Commission about homophobic attacks on their lifestyle. The Tories were the party of the closet, the party of don't-ask-don't-tell, the party of Section 28, the party that stood against civil partnership laws and lowering the age of consent, the party of hate and self-hate. That old guard is still bumbling evilly around Whitehall (o hai, Ian Duncan Smith), but for the moment they no longer hold the majority consensus. In fact, at the Tory conference this week, the first ever Conservative Pride rally will take place. Maggie must be spinning in her wheelchair.
I'm not saying that there are no bigots in the Tory party. I'm not saying that they have anything but an appalling record on LGBTQ rights, feminism, anti-racism or any other aspect of equality-driven policymaking. But it might, just might be the case that twelve years of a Labour administration has changed the terms of the debate forever. The world has changed. There can be no going back to the days when queer-bashers escaped prosecution and gay men and women were called perverts on the front pages of every tabloid. And if the mood continues in this way, with millions of LGBTQ people and their allies of every political tribe standing up to defend equal rights, then there will be no going back - not even under a right-wing government.