By Kevin Henry
Iris Robinson’s recent homophobic remarks, in which she described homosexuality as an “abomination” and said gay people could be turned into heterosexuals through counselling, exposed again the bigoted nature of DUP politicians.
Of course this is not the first time highflying DUP members have made homophobic remarks. Last year, Ian Paisley Junior referred to homosexuals as being “repulsive”. Robinson’s comments are even more disturbing in that they were said in connection with a homophobic attack on a gay man who was “left for dead” in Co. Antrim.
According to the PSNI, reported homophobic attacks are increasing sharply. Robinson’s remarks have caused those in the LGBT community to feel more fearful of violent homophobic gangs who will feel encouraged by the MP’s message.
The comments also play on the vulnerability of individuals who for certain reasons, like religious background, feel uncomfortable coming out. Increasingly figures, like Robinson, on the Christian right have been advancing the idea that there is a “cure to being gay”. This takes a particularly brutal form in America where shock therapy is being used.
Also, there is very little provision for proper education in school on issues of sexuality because it does not fit the needs of big business which education is increasingly geared towards. This in particular contributes to homophobic bullying. Homophobia is ultimately rooted in the capitalist system as a means of dividing workers and providing a scapegoat for capitalism’s failures.
The fight against homophobia needs to be part of a broader struggle of workers to fight for decent living standards for all and freedom of consenting adults to have whatever relationship they wish (including marriage) without fear of been considered inferior or isolated. A society which is not based on exploitation and oppression, a socialist society, is the only way which LGBT people can be truly liberated.