Stonewall Cymru supporters 'outraged' at Lowri Turner's comments

A number of our supporters have contacted us to express their outrage of Lowri Turner's article, 'However much I love my gay friends, I don't want them running the country' (Western Mail, 27 January 2006).

To view the article click here

Below is Stonewall Cymru's response and a selection of other letters not published by the Western Mail:


Dear Sir,

How sure Lowri Turner is of herself (So, would I want a Gay Prime Minister? 27/01)!

Amazingly, Ms Turner seems to have the power to read the thoughts and feelings of thousands of gay and bisexual people across Wales.  I wish I had such a power - not least to use upon some of our most verbose newspaper columnists.

She seems to suggest that one can "work out" which gender one fancies.  Her "gay friends" - if indeed they still exist after reading her article - might be quite surprised at her spiteful and damning criticism of them.

Does she think people wake up in the morning and decide to be gay?  With patronising intolerants such as she lazily gossiping throughout our public life, why on earth would anyone choose to be other than heterosexual?

Ms Turner seems to live in a parallel Wales, where all heterosexual men and women are decisive and strong, yet empathetic and caring,   In her world, all homosexuals are clearly blithering ditherers who can't be trusted.  How comforting it must be to live in so simple a mind!

In her extraordinary outburst, she asks, "Do we care if our politicians are gay?"  My answer, Ms Turner is most definitely not, but I do care very much if some of our public commentators are sneering bigots.

Yours faithfully,

Geraint Hopkins


Dear Sir,

I had to check that I hadn't picked up an old copy of the Daily Mail by mistake when I read Lowri Turner's article last Friday.

To say that Ms Turner's views are offensive is an understatement.

The kind of bigotry demonstrated by your columnist towards the lesbian, gay and bisexual community should not have been given light of day by what is supposed to be the National Newspaper of Wales (or do you serve all of Wales apart from the gay population?)

Ms Turner tries to deflect accusations of prejudice by stating that some of her best friends are gay - The phrase 'I'm not racist but..' comes to mind. Indeed if such points of view were targeted at racial minorities the article wouldn't have got as far as the spellchecker!

To suggest that gay people are "too divorced from the norm" that they are unable to comprehend the difficulties faced by parents is to somehow suggest that the gay population is intellectually inferior. Should white politicians be barred from legislating on ethnic race issues? Should atheists be barred from speaking or voting on religious hatred legislation? Should gay and lesbian jurors be exempt from service apart from when the victim or defendant happens to be gay? Of course not!

Lowri goes on to suggest that the gay community does not have "experiences at the sharp end of our public services"! Tell that to many nurses, doctors, police officers, fire fighters, teachers, social workers, carers, volunteers, and the countless other gay professionals who work in the public sector and yes Lowri we also have to use public services from time to time - if only to help us with the stress of having to put up with such prejudice demonstrated by you!

To suggest that one section of our society is less deserving of public office simply on the basis of their sexuality is a view that I never thought I would read in the Western Mail, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

Yours faithfully,

A Stallard



So all Lowri Turner's friends are gay but she wouldn't want one of them running the country? People who have not had to make a decision about whether to give their child an MMR vaccine would be 'completely out of their depth' in administering such public services? I wonder if it has occurred to Lowri that not all gay people are London based media types who's biggest headache is whether to buy a cream sofa or a black one.

Amazingly, gay people come in many varieties. Some of us are women. Some of us know what it's like to be on the receiving end of racism. Some of us use wheel chairs and some of us don't. And incredibly, some of us even have children. Lowri's article simply demonstrated the limits of her own imagination and experience. There is, however, one thing I would agree with Lowri on. I wouldn't want any of her friends running the country either, gay, bisexual or straight.


Denise Rogers


The intention of Lowri Turner's article 'However much I love my gay friends, I don't want them running the country, (WM 27/01/06), is to be sensationalist through use of derogatory stereotypes of bisexual and gay men.

It has achieved its aim in so far as I am now obliged to reply.

Her statements that bisexual people are inherently dishonest because they are 'fence sitters', is an example of the simplistic representation of complex human relationships that the media perpetrates.  These representations create anxiety in those coming to terms with identities that do not fit your boxes.  Perhaps Simon Hughes is a victim of not knowing how to negotiate the media's straightjackets!

Perversely the outcome of her thesis that gay men's lives are so different that they cannot understand or empathise with the lives of others is to suggest that heterosexual men are also unfit to govern.   Following her flawed logic is this an option you now wish us to consider?

Empathy in public life, the ability to put oneself in someone else's shoes and understand the differential impacts of policy, is a skill to be valued.  Sadly, it is often a skill only learnt by overcoming adversity.  This turns Lowri's 'argument' on its head - meaning we should actively seek governance from those who don't fit your 'norms'.

Dr. A. Parken, Director, Stonewall Cymru


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