The political machinations that surround gay rights organizations are often a total mystery to me. US readers will be well familiar with the battles over Proposition 8, ENDA and DADT. The UK has a number of similar issues. While same-sex couples are allowed to enter into civil partnerships, this is regarded as something different from “marriage”. Bizarrely, opposite-sex couples are not allowed to enter into civil partnerships. This causes particular distress to trans people who are married before they transition and are forced to divorce if they want their change of gender legally recognized, and must then go through a civil partnership should they with to remain with their former spouse. It also annoys heterosexual atheists, who would prefer a more secular arrangement.
The Liberal Democrats are trying to persuade their Tory coalition partners to simplify the whole system by allowing all couples to choose which type of partnership they want, and making the legal status of the two arrangements equal. Stonewall, the UK’s leading gay rights organization, is apparently opposed to this because they think it would cost too much.
Yes, that’s right, the UK’s leading gay rights organization is opposed to marriage equality.
But it gets worse. Check through that Pink News article that I linked to and you will see Ben Summerskill, the boss of Stonewall, calmly telling the journalist that his organization has been talking to the government about changes to the Gender Recognition Act.
Say what? You see, Stonewall is avowedly not an LGBT organization. It is an LG organization that will tolerate B people as long as they don’t embarrass anyone by being B in public, and is rampantly transphobic. If you need a reminder about what Stonewall people think of anyone who isn’t respectably L or G (and gender normative), check here.
So goodness only knows what Mr. Summerskill and his pals think they are doing presenting themselves to the government as representatives of trans people but, as one of Roz’s friends remarks here, it can’t be good.
There will, I gather, be a demonstration addressing these issues in London early in November. I’ll be busy putting Salon Futura #3 together at the time, but if you are interested I can point you in the direction of the right people.