1998 November

Outing of Nick Brown condemned

30 other closeted mps vulnerable to tabloid exposure

The outing of Agriculture Minister Nick Brown by the threat of tabloid kiss-and-tell relevations about his private life has heen condemned by OutRage!.

“There is no public interest justification for Nick Brown being pressured to disclose his sexuality”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“He is not a hypocrite or a homophobe. His public pronouncements on gay issues are consistent with his private behaviour. In the absence of hypocrisy, the outing of Nick Brown is totally indefensible.

“On the three major gay civil rights issues –the age of consent, military service and Section 28– Nick Brown voted in favour of gay equality.

“The Prime Minister is to be applauded for standing by his man. Nick Brown should be judged on his ability to do his job, not on his sexual orientation. Tony Blair has reconfirmed that being gay is no bar to Ministerial office. This will, hopefully, encourage more MPs to come out.

“Nine MPs are now out, but more than 30 are still hiding their homosexuality and could be vulnerable to similar kiss-and-tell exposure.

“These MPs belong to all three main parties. Many are married. Some hold high-level parliamentary and government positions. Because of their secretive double-life and resort to anonymous casual sex, they are easy targets for tabloid exposure and blackmail.

“It would be better for everyone –the MPs, their families and the political process– if closeted MPs came out. Being open about their sexuality would avoid a repeat of the undignified exposure experienced by Ron Davies, Peter Mandelson and Nick Brown.”

Britain now has more out gay mps than any other country

Six MPs have voluntarily came out, and three others have been outed or pressured to come out by media – Nick Brown being the latest.

This brings the total of identified gay MPs to nine. Britain now has more publicly known homosexual MPs than any other country in the world.

OutRage! does not support the outing of MPs unless they are hypocritical or homophobic. Those who merely hide their homosexuality should not be forced out. But if MPs publicly bash the gay community and vote for antigay discrimination, outing is justified.