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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 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.

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 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.

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

(Snap, Cognito!)

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.

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.

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...

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

LOVE that list!!!!

Mike Hancock .... Gay !!!

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.

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

the greatest ememrgence of gays is in acting and entertaining.

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.

lljkk Sat 13-Apr-13 10:35:47

I'm rather disappointed at the insinuation that an adult with children cannot commit to being an MP

I think it's self-evidently true for most people. There is no such thing as work-life balance. it's an exceptional person who can adequately juggle both.

We need more openly gay people as MPs, not fewer.

Solopower1 Sat 13-Apr-13 10:30:09

Which doesn't necessarily mean there are more gay people at the top - just more people with fewer family responsibilities.

Solopower1 Sat 13-Apr-13 10:29:13

I think that as long as it is more difficult for people with family responsibilities (including caring for elderly or disabled relatives) to do their jobs, then, inevitably, it will be the men and women who delegate their family responsibilities or don't have any, who will have more time and energy to devote to their jobs and will rise to the top.

somebloke123 Tue 09-Apr-13 16:15:37

I remember reading a piece by Matthew Parris in which he said that if the truth were known about the number of gay MPs it would exceed the wildest dreams of Peter Tatchell's gay lobby group (Outrage ??).

As Parris was an MP himself for many years and is gay himself I would think he's a fairly reliable source.

Why that should be I don't know.

Monica3000 Tue 09-Apr-13 13:56:42

It is not true that 10% of the population is homosexual - it's only about 2%, of which 1.5% are men and 0.5% women.
There are far more gay MPS than your realize, and from time to time the "out" ones hint at this.
2% of 650 would be 11, but I bet we have got far more than that. For example David Laws kept it very quiet so that he could claim more in expenses.

Taghain Fri 11-Nov-11 21:26:18

But those are just the "out" MP's, who have made a point of letting their sexuality be known. I suspect that is a higher % than in the general population.

I'd guess there is some form of overcompensating going on with many MPs, with them having felt outsiders and excluded in youth, and then pushing to make a name for themselves.

It's one aspect of the "anyone who seeks power should automatically be exclued from it" syndrome.

MMMarmite Sun 06-Nov-11 12:38:41

Thanks for the research notcitrus and Katharine

KatharineClifton Sat 05-Nov-11 19:36:15 plus David Laws

That's 16 out of 650 MPs.

2 lesbian women out of 144 women MPs.

OP - your point is disproved.

claig Sat 05-Nov-11 19:23:50

Matthew Parris was a very good Tory MP

notcitrus Sat 05-Nov-11 19:17:05

Trying to find up to date list of out gay MPs, and seems to be impossible, though articles cite 10 out Tory MPs and 6 Labour so I must have missed a couple.
Chris Bryant
Chris Smith
(Matthew Parris, ex MP)
Angela Eagle
Ben Bradshaw

Greg Barker
Alan Duncan
Nick Herbert
Nigel Evans
Crispin Blunt
(Michael Brown, ex MP)
Nick Boles
Iain Stewart
Margot James
Stuart Andrew

Lib Dem:
Steve Gilbert
Mike Hancock
David Laws
(Mark Oaten, ex MP)

Don't think any other parties have any. And there's of course the non-MP Peter Mandelson...
20-odd out of 650 = 1 in 32.5 or 3%, so not exactly high!

MMMarmite Sat 05-Nov-11 15:00:35

I'd really like some statistics on this, because I've always thought that gay politicians were underrepresented. But I don't have stats, that's just my impression. What evidence do you have?

JLK2 Mon 31-Oct-11 08:22:01

It's because of the gay mafia that runs so much of this country.

seeker Wed 26-Oct-11 18:52:48

They also tend to be better off, educated people moving in liberal/intellectual/chattering class circles.with loads of self confidence. Just the sort to find coming-out easier.

strandednomore Wed 26-Oct-11 14:47:00

THere always seemed to be a disproportionally high number of gay men in the FCO as well, I always wondered the same - was it because the life style was less conducive to having a family? (and I can confirm the lifestyle isn't massively conducive to havin a family although of course many do).

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