Hey everyone. It’s been a wee while since a lesbian kiss made headlines. The last time was two decades ago in a TV soap and during that period the cause of LGBTI equality has come on leaps and bounds. The Scotland we now live in, is a country which in which we have two openly gay party leaders in the devolved Scottish Parliament. Patrick Harvie co-leader of Scottish Green Party as an out gay man and leader of the Scottish Conservatives is herself a lesbian.
So why as a country and as a member state of the United Kingdom which has embraced not only civil partnerships but has moved on to equal marriage are we still even discussing this topic. I can scarcely believe the subject is still being mentioned but it is and in a country which prided itself on not only tolerance but inclusion and acceptance the Scottish Parliament had the third highest vote in favour of equal marriage anywhere in the world is this even up for debate? To be honest I thought we had passed that stage over a decade ago but thanks to my friend Sophie Bridger I found out that wasn’t true and it maybe the case that the United Kingdom which we voted to remain in just a few short weeks ago isn’t united for everyone and their still the darkness of discrimination at the heart of it.
You see Sophie who works for Stonewall Scotland highlighted an article in the online journal the Huffington Post which told the story of what can only be described as a shocking case of discrimination as two young Brighton based lesbians were banned from their local Sainsbury’s. The reason for the ban was because the couple were having what some people describe as a public display of affection as one of young women gave her girlfriend a kiss on the check.
The ban which has since been lifted was imposed because one woman complained to the store saying that seeing this kiss made her fear for the safety of her child. Honestly, I have never heard such drivel in my life. This is prejudice pure and simple and the women concerned seriously needs to get over herself. This is the 21st century not the 12th century and for someone to hold these attitudes is quite simply scandalous. The sad thing is this woman is not alone. All over Britain there are people who hold similar prejudices against all sections of the LGBT community with no valid reason for doing so and in holding these views they allow discrimination to go unchallenged.
I believe it is time we as a nation made a decision to stop stereotyping people and attempting to put labels on them and fit them in to little boxes. It is time to embrace the fact that people come in all shapes and sizes and that some women are attracted to women. Whilst others such as myself though not born female live as and identify as women and will till the day we die. There are also men who are attracted to men, disabled people and not all their conditions are visible and people of many different linguistic and cultures. First and foremost however we are all members of the human family with all our gifts and flaws and we need to embrace our differences. It is the first step we must make on the journey to accepting ourselves.
With this comment in mind it was great to see that if this discrimination was going to happen anywhere that it happened in Brighton a town in which is often touted as the safest place in the British isles for the LGBT community.
Contrast this if you will with Paisley a town in the West of Scotland just a few weeks west of Glasgow which is often given an unfair and negative press.
Last Thursday whilst attending at Words and Music evening at a bar in the town centre I was privileged to meet and chat to two young lesbians. The girls were openly affectionate and nobody even batted an eyelid. Why? Because that’s exactly how we should be with every loved up couple everywhere on earth. Now there are some countries in which that kiss cuddle or gesture of affection could get LGBT couples the death sentence, hear it gets them banned from supermarkets and a chorus of tutting from those who see fit to judge others. Let me say this loudly, clearly without any room for doubt. It says in the bible ‘judge least ye judged’ and I hope you are spotless before even attempting to judge others. Be we lesbian, gay, or as in my case a trans woman we have every right to be as intimate with our partners as everyone else. So unless you are prepared to do the same tutting to a straight couple as you are to members of the LGBT community then I strongly advise you to keep your opinions to yourself.
It is to me a disgrace such that narrow minded attitudes still continue to exist in the Britain of 2014. A disgrace but unfortunately not a surprise. There are too many even amongst who would call themselves liberal minded who want equality for themselves and not for others, this is an attitude I find not only offensive but very deeply disturbing. These people would be well advised to heed the wise words of Pastor Martin Neimoller in first they came for the communists to see the hidden dangers of this single issue Orwellian style of equality. So I say to the woman who complained about that kiss, I am genuinely sorry if there is no room for romance in your life or at least there doesn’t appear to be but you cannot deny that right to others regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. As I far as I am concerned we all have the right to love and that means we also have express our love and that we have the right to kiss without prejudice and the fear and shame it brings to displaying our affection for the partner of our choice. To me it is as fundamental as that. I’ll never do selective equality.
Love And Best Wishes