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Is there a disproportionately higher number of gay MPs? If so, why?

(36 Posts)
Whippet Wed 26-Oct-11 11:52:48

Sorry, badly worded title, and please, this is a general question I've always wondered - not any kind of veiled homophobia.

It just seems to me that there are more gay MPs as a % of the total compared to the average % in the population?

I just wondered why, really? I find myself thinking that the role is so unconducive to life with family/children maybe that it's only people with fewer commitments who can cope with it?

Or is it a public school bias? confused

Or is it not greater than average, but just seems like it because of the media obsession with these things?

Solopower1 Sat 13-Apr-13 10:48:22

Agree, lljkk, and in all walks of life. And transgender. It's interesting (to me, at least) that I am increasingly coming across young people who are not clearly either male or female, and you have to find out who they identify with. Luckily the two people I have met recently understand that it is difficult for other people to know which pronoun to use, and tolerate mistakes - but it can't be very pleasant for them. I wonder if we shouldn't have an alternative to he or she, her, him, etc - like we did with Mrs and Miss (Ms).

A bit off the subject - sorry.

boxershorts Sat 13-Apr-13 11:27:38

the greatest ememrgence of gays is in acting and entertaining.

WilsonFrickett Sat 13-Apr-13 13:35:15

Evidence for that claim please boxershorts?

I don't dispute that it's easier to be out in the acting/entertainment industries, but don't make the assumption that there are more gay people involved. Just that it's one of the very few industries where bring gay won't harm your career at all.

Similarly with MP's, the almost opposite is true. Being gay could potentially hurt your career and send the Fail into a lashing frenzy so people make a choice - get in front of the story by coming out, or keep your head down and hope it stays hidden.

Talkinpeace Sat 13-Apr-13 17:50:15

LOVE that list!!!!

Mike Hancock .... Gay !!!

poshme Sun 09-Jun-13 18:51:12

Well I know of at least 1 more MP who's gay not on the list but I'm not naming, as I'm not sure if he's openly out...

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 12-Jun-13 07:25:51

I don't know if MPs are disproportionately gay but there must be some side-effect of belonging to a persecuted minority that potentially politicises an individual. Unlike other more 'visible' minorities that suffer multiple problems, not only of prejudice but also social, educational or financial disadvantage that might bar them from selection to office, a gay man who is discreet about his sex life does not attract the same knee-jerk discrimination.

lljkk Thu 27-Jun-13 20:31:34

Well... if I was someone who had to wrestle with something integral to me but hotly debated about by society, about the very morality of it, I would have had to think long and hard about morality, about rights & wrongs. More than the average person, probably. And then I might have wanted to change the world to a better place so that it would be more tolerant about people like me and less tolerant about things that actually matter. So I could see why oddball people are more likely than Jo Nothing Unusual Bloggs to enter politics.

lljkk Thu 27-Jun-13 20:32:02

(Snap, Cognito!)

Solopower1 Sat 20-Jul-13 15:25:32

IF the proportion of gay MPs is higher, could it also be because more men now take on a higher share of family commitments? So there are now proportionately fewer straight men MPs but more women and gay people in Parliament?

Does anyone know if MPs have fewer children than the general population? (--Might account for some very dodgy childcare policies, past and present--). Do MPs have more or fewer responsibilities for aged parents? If these differences exist, it might not be that there are more gay MPs but it could be that more gay people become MPs, iyswim.

We know MPs are mostly wealthier and better educated than the rest of us, so, again IF there are more gay MPs, does that mean that the richer and better educated you are, the more likely you are to be gay?

I suppose if MPs are not representative of the general population in any other way, there is no reason to expect there to be the same proportion of gay, black or female members.

CogitoErgoSometimes Sat 20-Jul-13 16:36:17

MPs traditionally made a big thing about being 'family men' with wives & kids. Very respectable image and look how quick Milliband tied the knot after assuming office. But the MP role is not family friendly with irregular hours & lots of travelling (if constituency is outside London). Plenty of MPs' spouses/partners have to make big sacrifices to enable the one in public office to devote 24/7 to it. It's the ideal job for a single person or for a couple with no dependants.

I don't think gay men are generally wealthier or better educated than the rest of us but being gay (unlike being a member of another minority group) is not a handicap either. The gay couple I'm closest to are from humble beginnings and normal state education but pretty successful in their respective careers. If they've had an advantage it's that they've never had to take time out, reduce their hours or incur big costs raising kids.

Solopower1 Sat 20-Jul-13 18:06:27

I sort of agreed with what you and lljkk said earlier about people who face discrimination possibly becoming politicised, but while it might make some people determined to change things, others just become ground down and lose hope. Otherwise we'd have a lot more MPs from disadvantaged sections of society. Sadly some problems are just too hard for individuals to solve, but luckily, as you say, being gay doesn't seem to be a barrier to political success.

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