Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ted Heath was gay ...shock horror!!

Apparently :

A senior gay Conservative claimed yesterday that Sir Edward Heath propositioned men for sex in the 1950s.
Brian Coleman, chairman of the London Assembly, claimed that the former Prime Minister curbed his behaviour after he was warned that it would harm his career.

"It was certainly not a secret that he was an old queen. I have been told that he was warned about his behaviour and then stopped.”

Many rumours have circulated over the years about bachelor boy Ted.
It seemed likely he was, whether he cottaged or not.

The old school Tories have spluttered into their G&Ts as though the New Cameronism did not exist.

Interestingly they do not get their story straight, so to speak:

One senior Tory and friend of his described the claim as “extraordinary”. Robert Key, MP for Salisbury and Sir Edward’s Parliamentary private secretary between 1984 and 1986, said that far from being gay he had close relationships with unnamed women.
“I was aware that he had very close friendships and relationships with a number of women,” he said. “I never thought that he had a predalic-tion for men. To say that someone who was that politically astute would risk it all is quite an extraordinary claim.”
Lord Carrington, who served as Sir Edward’s Defence Secretary, said simply: “What a load of nonsense.”
Lord Rees-Mogg, a former editor of The Times who regarded Sir Edward as a friendly political acquaintance, said he believed that Sir Edward was celibate. “I knew Ted in the Fifties and I ran into him all of the time. He always left on me the impression that he had no active sexual life at all,” he said.
“He had no coterie of young men. I knew several Conservative homosexuals at the time and they gossiped about anyone who was gay or might be gay. They never said that Ted was gay but did say that he was not interested at all.”

So he had women friends, he was celibate , he just wasn't interested ...but h,e was certainly not gay!
Though interestingly Key almost agrees, saying he was politically astute and would not have risked his career.

Back in the 50's sex between two men was still illegal, in the 70's no serious politician would come out as gay . Pre legalisation many gay men would cottage or go to secret clubs, there were very few options. Many would be celibate , others went for controversial 'treatment' (still offered by some religious groups).

Heath may have been gay , he may have cottaged or been celibate to avoid any risk.
Interestingly though the Tories still see this as something to deny .

The situation is better today, but even so I'm sure having an out lesbian or gay politician is some way off. The family friendly image is still sold, whether that's via WebCameron or Brown trying to be a bit more cuddly. We still have an Equalities Minister who is part of a sect that believes being gay, that is 'practising' , is wrong and sinful. We have religious groups that want to discriminate on the basis of who someone loves.

If Heath was gay , it highlights the sadness and discrimination that meant many had to live their lives as a secret. Some still do.

Update: Now in the comments box someone has nit picked that the Church does not think being gay is sinful, only the sexual act. Ok, I stand corrected, I did the post in a hurry .
So presumably someone can be gay but not have relationships which are sexual, not 'practice', suppress their sexuality and emotions, not be able to form short or long terms relationships. There are still people brought up in religious homes feeling bad about their sexuality, that it is wrong . They are disowned if they live as a lesbian or gay person. They feel guilt and hate themselves.
So the distinction about whether being gay or the sexual act is the sin to me is a nicety that involves people living a lie or suppressing their supposed 'sinful' acts. But hey I'm just an atheist that believes people should love or have sex with whoever they want (as long as its consenting and between adults).

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