Rachel Johnson (sister of Boris – he of whiff-whaff, HIGNFY and mayoral fame) wrote an interesting piece in the Sunday Times yesterday following the revelation of Kelly McGillis that she is a lesbian. This is the week that the Guardian reproduced a piece by Stephen Fry in which he wrote a moving letter to his teenage self. The original is published in the latest issue of Gay Times which is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. Johnson suggests that both celebrities are making a similar assertion this week which is:
‘Despite the Internet, gay chatlines, gay parades, the ubiquity of men-seeking-men personal ads, even though being gay has gone from a matter of deep personal shame to pride over many years via Stonewall rioters and Harvey Milk, it’s still tough out there’.
She quotes Fry who wrote:
‘For millions of teenagers around Britain and everywhere else, it is still 1973. Taunts, beatings and punishment await gay people the world over in playgrounds and execution grounds’.
Beyond the technological and social shifts that Johnson points to, we have also witnessed an amazing change in legal measures affecting he lives of gay men and women over the last ten years and yet, for all of that, there continues to be these continued fears in the UK and beyond. This should also act as a warning for those who believe that further legislative change – such as the Equality Bill – will transform this issue. In truth, there has been two much faith that law alone can transform the lives of gays and lesbians. It has undoubtedly made a significant impact but the fight for rights, respect and perhaps even hope goes beyond law.