Whether you like it or not, some lesbians vote Conservative.
That might fly in the face of what some people expect queer
politics to be, but it happens. And it's happening more and more.
In fact, just last month the Conservative party scored their very
first lesbian Member of the Scottish Parliament with Ruth Davidson,
a former BBC journalist and broadcaster.
Now, she joins the likes of Margot James MP who've shattered the
illusion that lesbians are - or should be - the property of the
left. However, that feeling is alive and well. And, at times, it
can be forceful.
When we invited DIVA and PinkPaper.com readers to express their
views on gay Conservative voters, the response was surprising. One
labelled them "perverts" while another said they should "stay in
the closet where they belong".
Likewise, when our DIVA poll asked if readers would rule out
dating a girl if they discovered she voted Conservative, almost
two-to-one said they would. Had we asked for them to base their
decision on other belief systems - such as religion - would we have
got, or tolerated, a similar response? Probably not. So what's the
For Emma Warman, deputy chair of the party's LGBTory group, other
lesbians vehemently opposing her view is nothing new.
"I've definitely experienced people's hatred.. .especially a few
years ago," she says. "People would come up to me at Pride events
and be quite abusive. Interestingly, it usually happened when there
were quite a few of us - almost like they felt affronted by the
fact that we'd been so successful in the party.
"They never wanted to look at what we actually stand for - things
like liberty and keeping the state out of people's lives. I
hesitate to use the word prejudice, but sometimes there really is
so much prejudice [about us]."
Instead, she says, people are still offended by Section 28 -
controversial legislation implemented in 1988 which prohibited
local authorities from 'intentionally promoting homosexuality'. A
huge insult to gay and lesbian people across the country, it
remained in place for 12 years before being repealed by the Labour
government in 2000.
A decade later, David Cameron made a public apology for it. A
gesture which, Warman insists, is reason enough why it should now
be forgiven, if not forgotten.
"People have said we're evil for supporting them because of
Section 28, but once they get over it, they realise that a lot of
Conservative policies are liberal and work very well with the gay
rights agenda. I was in school at the time [of Section 28] and I
never experienced any kind of adverse reaction," she adds. "In
fact, I think its impact may be slightly exaggerated. Regardless,
it was quite a long time ago and the people moving the party
forward now were not responsible. People should judge us for who we
Read the rest of this news feature in the July issue of
PHOTO of Anastasia Beaumont-Bott by Christa Holka