// 4 July 2008


What to say about the name and logo of the Conservative Party’s group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, but presumably not trans members?

Via Pink News – the story is actually about Boris Johnson preparing for his first ever appearance at Pride tomorrow.

Comments From You

Kirsten Turner // Posted 4 July 2008 at 6:49 pm

The Facebook group has as its description “The LGBT group of the Conservative Party” and the founder says “As a member of the LGBT community …” I think that it’s just the way it’s written that makes it a bit unclear ie: that the ‘T’ is for trans *and* Tory?

Torygirl // Posted 4 July 2008 at 8:45 pm

Yay! Tories! OMG they’re collectively awful.

E-Visible Woman // Posted 4 July 2008 at 10:49 pm

Shockingly, at Pride Scotia in Edinburgh last year, the Tories were the only political party with a stall!

Shea // Posted 5 July 2008 at 1:54 am

Such is their desperation to be relevant.

(But I’m willing to bet my pyjamas that the majority of MPs voting against removing the “need for a father” clause in the HFEA bill were Conservative.)

Helen G // Posted 5 July 2008 at 7:03 am

The ‘T’ is quite clearly not for ‘Trans’. Note that the Pink News article doesn’t use any trans* terminology anywhere. Neither do the Conservative or Labour spokespeople in that piece. Nor does Anastasia Beaumont-Bott (Director and co-founder of LGBTory) in her blog.

And the LGBTory blog itself makes it clear that they don’t even understand the term. Talking about “breaking down the barriers of sexuality” makes that crystal clear. How many times?- sexual orientation is about who you go to bed with – gender identity is about who you go to bed as.

And from LGBT Labour’s site: “Labour legislated to protect LGB people against discrimination in good and services with no exceptions”. That’s ‘LGBT’ spelt ‘LGB’. The ‘T’ is silent. Invisible, in fact. Very apt.

I’m weary of politicians tokenising trans* people merely to gain credibility. If they’re not prepared to engage with us and listen to what we say – and incorporate that in meaningful policies which we can be sure will be implemented, then would they kindly leave us alone. We’re quite capable of surviving without their cynical use of us for publicity with no practical support beyond the headline-grabbing stuff. We are not here to provide material for T-shirt slogans.

At least Stonewall are honest that they don’t represent us – the slogan at the head of their site simply reads “Equality & Justice for Lesbians, Gay Men & Bisexuals”.

Pride? What have any of them got to be proud about? They should be ashamed.

Now I’m really cross.

Steph Jones // Posted 5 July 2008 at 10:19 am

The thing is though Helen, I am transsexual not transgendered – thus for me, I consider my transsexuality as about my sex, thus it for me contributes my sexuality, not gender? Of course, sexual ‘orientation’ is who you go to bed with, so I wouldn’t argue with that.

What has driven me away from the trans-space into living a mundane existence in everyday life (fortunate though I guess I am afforded that I can do so) is the increasingly aggressive trans activism to make everything trans exclusively about gender… to try and group us all into being one single homogenous group – transgender, and forced to ‘tow the line’. Well, sorry, my gender didn’t need reassigning, my sex did. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy this ‘sexuality is purely about who you go to bed with’ concept that has only been reduced to such a narrow definition by the trans space – after all, being asexual is part of the sexuality spectrum, and that’s clearly *not* who you go to bed with!

Back to Jess’ post, I remain very wary of the genuineness of the Tories desire to appeal to the LGBT vote – the Tories have consisently been the one party to discriminate, fail to recognise and legislate against the LGBT spectrum, whether that be Section 28 in the 80’s (I was at school at the time, desperate for someone to talk to about how I felt, yet, no one daring to talk about it openly for fear of ‘promotion’), and we still see half of the Tory party now voting against transsexual recognision, and civil partnership legislation.

For such reasons, I will never bring myself to vote Tory, whatever ‘gestures’ they are now offering.

Steph Jones // Posted 5 July 2008 at 10:45 am

Oh, and forgot to add, I do agree Helen they appear to be rather vague about whether the T stands for Trans representation, or merely Tory :/

Helen G // Posted 5 July 2008 at 11:27 am


The thing is though Helen, I am transsexual not transgendered

I, too, am transsexual. At least, that’s what it said in the diagnosis letter. And as far as I’m concerned, transgendered is an umbrella term. It’s a useful tool in that sense, a collective term, but no more: that’s why it’s widely understood to be what the T in LGBT stands for (as opposed to standing for transsexual).

I consider my transsexuality as about my sex, thus it for me contributes my sexuality, not gender

Definitions. To me, gender is about a sense of being feminine or masculine, or woman or man. I think it’s innate: it’s something we’re born with. Whereas I would say that sex describes biological and physical traits – such as internal and external organs, chromosomes, hormones, genitalia, etc.

From the sense of being gendered come ways of behaving, ways that society generally calls ‘female’ or ‘male’, ‘feminine’ or ‘masculine’. These behaviours are generally what I mean when I refer to gender roles, gender expression and gender presentation.

Separate things, but inextricably linked.

What has driven me away from the trans-space into living a mundane existence in everyday life (fortunate though I guess I am afforded that I can do so) is the increasingly aggressive trans activism to make everything trans exclusively about gender… to try and group us all into being one single homogenous group – transgender, and forced to ‘tow the line’.

If you’re having a pop at me with that remark, well, I wish you wouldn’t. For the record: I do not consider myself a trans activist; I am not making “everything trans exclusively about gender”; neither do I believe that transgenderism is about homogeneity – and I’m certainly not interested in making anybody toe any imaginary line.

I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy this ‘sexuality is purely about who you go to bed with’ concept that has only been reduced to such a narrow definition by the trans space – after all, being asexual is part of the sexuality spectrum, and that’s clearly *not* who you go to bed with!

Interesting. Wikipedia seems to draw a distinction between sexual attraction and sexual orientation, and AVEN adds that it’s unlike celibacy “which is a choice”. Clearly I need to do more work on that subject, but I think that work is best carried out somewhere other than this reply.

Steph Jones // Posted 5 July 2008 at 11:45 am

Sorry, Helen, my fault for derailing the actual post to other discussions. And I certainly wasn’t having a dig whatsoever… I think I was just trying to be wary that because something doesn’t mention ‘gender’, but instead ‘sexuality’, its not neccessarily being exclusionist to trans issues. But, its almost become cliche that the ‘its about gender, not sexuality’ line is used so much its becomes a bit passe?

Anyway, I still remain very dubious about either the Tories, or Mayor Johnson’s pink credentials!

Lizzie // Posted 5 July 2008 at 12:50 pm

Dave the Chameleon is taking on more colours I see.

LGBTory is completely incompatible with conservatism as an ideology, I’m suspicious. And I can’t believe a high proportion of Cons MPs or party members support LGBT aims and policies.

Looks like yet another a badly disguised attempt at converting a few more lefties to me.

Anna // Posted 5 July 2008 at 1:08 pm

Steph; I’m entirely unsure ‘BoJo’ has ANY credentials at all…. :p

Steph Jones // Posted 5 July 2008 at 3:12 pm

In defence of LGBTory… they’ve certainly got their work cut out with some of the fellow Tory supporters…

Torygirl // Posted 5 July 2008 at 7:49 pm

Lizzie – it’s a big assumption that LGBT people are lefties! I know many who are staunch conservatives.

Jess // Posted 5 July 2008 at 11:00 pm

@Torygirl – Indeed, that’s true – but it’s also true that the push for LGBT rights has been almost entirely driven from the left. What progressive legislation was passed that benefitted LGBT voters under the last Conservative governments? What regressive legislation?

Sebastien Lambla // Posted 7 July 2008 at 12:17 pm


The tories were the ones removing section 28 in scotland :) But point taken and understood, and that;s what we’re working on actively.

That said, point taken about trans* issues. We may rework the logo, the T was intended to be understood as being there. As for trans* issues, we’re going to work on making sure tehy’re at the heart of our work, alongside lgb issues.


Tim Roll-Pickering // Posted 7 July 2008 at 1:01 pm

Lizzie how exactly is LGBTory incompatible with the principles of a reduced state, low taxation, efficient public services, freedom of choice for the individual service user, strong law & order, a strong position for the UK in the world, maintenance of the Unions etc…?

Jess, I’m not going to pretend the past record of the Conservatives has been as great as it could have been, although for all the talk of all the legislation coming from the left, the first moves for decriminalisation tabled in parliament in the 1960s were moved by Conservatives – Lord Arran and Humphry Berkeley. Berkeley’s Bill got a second reading and might well have passed but for the interruption of the 1966 election (in which he unexpectedly lost his seat – he attributed this to his bringing the bill). It was the Thatcher government which legalised homosexuality in both Scotland (where LGBTory was founded) and Northern Ireland (at a time when the left wanted to undemocratically force the province into the Republic, where homosexuality wasn’t legalised until 1993). It was Conservative MPs Edwina Currie and Tony Durant who moved the amendments to lower the age of consent in 1994.

And many of the developments since 1997 have been mirrored in numerous other countries and come about because of rapidly changing attitudes in society as a whole.

Jess McCabe // Posted 7 July 2008 at 2:02 pm

Sebastien – Good to hear you’re reconsidering the logo…

(I can’t get too excited about the Conservative party removing the oppressive legislation it introduced itself!)

Tim – Indeed, the Conservative party doesn’t have a 100% poor record on this.

Given your thesis that the changes in legislation have merely reflected changing attitudes, what to make of the voting record of the Conservative party on issues such as whether same sex couples should be able to adopt? As shown by the Public Whip, this was supported by only eight solitary Tory MPs in 2002, while the rest of the party voted unanimously against. Ditto equalising the age of consent. It’s therefore hard to imagine a Conservative government introducing these reforms…

Tim Roll-Pickering // Posted 7 July 2008 at 4:23 pm

Jes – the adoption vote in question was absurdly made a three-line whip by the then party leadership (over the head of the Chief Whip who advised a free vote) which provoked eight defying the whip including several heavyweight names, thirty-five abstentions, a resignation from the Shadow Cabinet (John Bercow) and a very public protest on the Conservative benches in the Commons, whilst others felt that they had no choice but to toe the line rather than risk all out warfare in the party. It was a disastrous move on so many levels and in the long run proved to be one of the main turning points that ended the IDS leadership. Had it been a free vote I believe many more MPs would have voted in favour of the measure.

As for the age of consent that was a free vote. You’re right that many Conservative MPs voted against and this partially a generational thing and partially because of other concerns, some (and only some) of which are well meaning but which are all too often dismissed as homophobia without even addressing the substance of the issue and in turn putting backs up. That is never a good way to win minds and votes when they are needed.

But since 2002 a lot has changed in the party, with a big change in direction from the leadership (in part precisely because of equality issues) and many of the older MPs retiring.

Shea // Posted 7 July 2008 at 6:44 pm

Tim —the principles of a reduced state, low taxation, efficient public services, freedom of choice for the individual service user, strong law & order– these sound wondeful don’t they? What they actually equate to is trickle down economics which favour the rich and privileged.

Low taxation and efficient public services are incompatible as anyone with any experience of the public sector can tell you. You need to put money into essential public services, you need taxation to do this, how else is it that France have one of the best health care systems in the world? Bringing in the private sector won’t work either, look at Railtrack if you needed proof.

strong law & order? Don’t kid me, levels of crime were highest under the Conservatives, peaking in 1995 (look at the British Crime Survey).

A generational thing? Wow! If the left used such intellectual poverty in its arguments, they would be hounded out of existence. Its always the way of those on the right to excuse homophobia, racism, sexism and xenophobia —-well its a different generation. Its insulting to all the great older MPs who have never pedalled such crap- Tony Benn for example.

“But since 2002 a lot has changed in the party, with a big change in direction from the leadership”. Ha ha ha ha

No the party has changed because the zeitgeist of the country has changed and if they are to avoid being in the political doldrums they have to. I haven’t seen any evidence of this massive change in policy though, they are still spouting the same rubbish, but prettying it up, trying to be green, trying to be concerned about child poverty, when they are overwhelming the ones to blame for rising levels of wealth disparity.

One word for you- Thatcher.

The Conservatives are the Conservatives are the Conservatives, same old party, same old rubbish.

Laura // Posted 7 July 2008 at 8:08 pm

Hear, hear Shea!

Lizzie // Posted 7 July 2008 at 8:50 pm

Torygirl- that was badly worded sorry, didn’t mean it as an assumption the LGBT people are lefties at all, I also know many who are Cons. It was only meant as a criticism of the Conservative Party’s tactics. My assumption was that the Conservatives were launching the campaign to attract more voters, who were presumably not on the right previously.

Tim Roll-Pickering – I agree, it’s not incompatible with any of these issues. What I was referring to, by stressing ‘conservatism as an ideology’ was the roots of conservatism as a backwards-looking ideology rooted in tradition and a fiercely patriarchal structure of society stressing the importance of the nuclear family and traditional gender roles, which obviously is incompatible with the LGBT movement. As a reflection of this, look at Thatcher’s ‘Victorian values’ campaign for example. I did not refer to Cameron’s more modern thinking, ‘compassionate conservative’ approach and the current aims of the Conservative party which you listed.

Lizzie // Posted 7 July 2008 at 8:55 pm

Excuse the typo in the first sentence of my last comment. Meant to write ‘assumption *that* LGBT people…’

Must proof read lol

Torygirl // Posted 7 July 2008 at 9:29 pm

The position of a lot of those I know on the right is the same as Faludi describes Beverley LaHaye and Connie Marshner having in Backlash. They see themselves as exceptions and are motivated primarily by their economic interests and preserving their socioeconomic status. Not by good old fashioned Tory paternalism…

Tim Roll-Pickering // Posted 8 July 2008 at 12:24 am

I’m reluctant to drag this out too much further as there are already complaints the comments thread is drifting wildly off the original subject of the way the logo is designed (personally I’d have “LGBT” vertically down the side and “Tory” along the bottom so as to make the dual function of the T clear, and pretend the right angle meant something, but that may not be the best way to create a logo) but to just respond to Shea:

I firmly believe that a strong economy that is free to expand and grow without excessive regulation and taxation is in everyone’s interests. It creates new jobs, it brings the necessary pressure for efficiency and it encourages further growth. Tax cuts don’t have to be at the top end – I think any income tax cuts should be at the bottom end helping take the lowest paid out of tax altogether – although it’s often forgotten that when the Thatcher government cut the top rate of income tax it led to an increase in the tax yield creating more money for the public sector over all. With a current economic downturn the economy needs a stimulus.

As always in politics one has to balance competing demands, particularly when it comes to both tax cuts and spending. Invariably there will be those in the public sector who resist efficiency and reform and who can only see the need for high taxation. But the test of how good public services are isn’t how much money is thrown at them, it’s how well they deliver. And yes rail privatisation wasn’t the best but many others worked and it’s telling critics always use that single example. Telecommunications privatisation worked and delivered better and cheaper services that have made the internet far more accessible and faster than otherwise.

As for law & order, one of the constants of crime statistics through the decades is that every time a major crackdown on crime is launched recorded crime statistics go up. This is because more crimes are reported. You neglected to mention that under the last Conservative Home Secretary there was a significant drop in recorded crime as Howard’s crackdown took effect.

And I have heard Labour people use the “generational thing” when pressed about opponents of LGBT rights on their benches such as the late Lord Longford or the fact that David Blunkett and Anne Taylor had a voting record against lowering the age of consent and went on to be Education Secretary & then Home Secretary and Leader of the Commons respectively. Or (in the vain hope of once again dragging this vaguely back to topic) on the past opposition by organised Labour members to Trans inclusion in what were then an LGB campaign. With the older generation passing through the voting record of retiring MPs like Ann Widdecombe is frankly of limited concern to me because they won’t be in the next Commons. What I want is more Conservative MPs supporting progressive measures, instead of wrangling with others over past voting records wherever they are – e.g. what’s the point in noting that out of the 15 “homosexual equality” votes listed on Public Whip, Gordon Brown was totally absent from the first fourteen and only showed up to the fifteenth after people started noticing that his attitude to LGBT rights appeared similar to his Macavity approach to anything deemed “bad” – he’s never around!

The party has been changing although there are some who will never be convinced, but for evidence look at the way the old right of the party has been rumbling about the direction for some time now and would be squealing if they thought it would do more good for their cause than harm (and did over the ridiculous situation of grammar schools).

Lizzie: For the record LGBTory was set up as an entirely grass roots initiative without initiation by the party leadership. And my recollection is that when Margaret Thatcher first talked of “Victorian values” she was referring to, in the words of the interviewer, “a more self-reliant Britain, a thriftier Britain, a Britain where people are freer to act, where they get less assistance from the State, where they’re less burdened by the State” As with quite a few things Thatcher said, the quote has been spun out of context. But as you said Thatcher is the past.

Amy // Posted 8 July 2008 at 5:13 pm

I know this is off topic somewhat but I just feel I have to say something about so-called ‘freedom’ and ‘a reduced State’… I have never understood why Tories can’t see that the State can have as much influence over a person’s life when it is absent as it does when it’s present. There are examples everywhere… if the State does not help people in need (the homeless, abused women and children, the sick, the poor, minority groups (this includes LGBT) etc) then those people will find their lives negatively impacted through no fault of their own. The only beneficiaries of a reduced State are people who are well off enough to look after themselves, and who want to keep all their wealth. In societies such as Iceland who have a generous welfare state, people are healthier and happier, and the economy functions very well. Over here, thanks to decades of right wing policies (and I include New Labour in this as well as the Tories), it’s a different story. And in terms of LGBT issues, surely it is the State’s responsibility to, for example, educate children to be tolerant and accepting of their own and other people’s sexualities/genders? And shouldn’t it be a country-wide policy and not left up to individual schools to decide (based eg on their religion)? As long as there is ‘choice’, bigoted parents could send their children to bigoted schools in order to become bigoted adults. Protecting one person’s ‘freedom of choice’ must be weighed against another person’s freedom from being beaten up for being gay/trans.

Shea // Posted 9 July 2008 at 11:17 pm

Ah Tim—“I firmly believe that a strong economy that is free to expand and grow without excessive regulation and taxation is in everyone’s interests . With a current economic downturn the economy needs a stimulus.” —–I believe you might want to rethink that particular line of argument and your “privatisation is best” line given the current economic downturn is the result of a massively under regulated financial services industry that have played fast and loose with everyone’s money and left us all up the creek without a paddle. There is a nice irony that you want a minimum of taxation and regulation, but should a company like Northern Rock go into liquidation the govt will always be expected to pick up the pieces ( as the previous Conservative govt did on numerous occasions). But increase business taxation and actually try and prevent these mavericks from wiping out people pension’s & life savings? Never.

Actually we wouldn’t need to cut income tax at the lower end or have working tax credit if British industry would actually pay a decent wage to people (look at the Tube cleaners strike).

FYI I’m no fan of Labour either so I don’t give a monkeys what Gordon has or hasn’t voted on. But I’m guessing that as Prime Minister he hasn’t had a whole lot of time to be around to vote. (Thats what happens when your actually in office- people expect you to do stuff).

When Michael Howards was in office there was a major crackdown?!? Not according to the British Crime Statistics, even when you take account that they changed crime reporting to favour a lower crime rate, making the Howard period one of the least successful of any home secretary. It seems that the Conservatives are still favouring the “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” that proved so disastrous during the Major government.

“The party has been changing although there are some who will never be convinced, but for evidence” — far from it, it was only today that David Cameron (yes he of the underprivileged background!) was reporting that people suffering poverty, obesity, alcohol and drug induced problems had only themselves to blame. As Amy points out the State can do as much if not more damage through omitting to act than when it pursues a course of action. Its alright to talk of the Thatcherite avoidance of state intervention, but the government, especially Conservatives are only too happy to meddle in people’s private lives in other ways, such as through section 28, trying to reduce abortion time limits and enforcing traditional notions of marriage and family.

You can’t run with the hare and hunt with the hounds I’m afraid. (You can’t now anyway thank goodness :-)

sian // Posted 10 July 2008 at 1:24 pm

so historically SOME tories have been pro lgbt rights but it is a bit fatuous for them to pat themselves on the back about it. you only have to look at the appalling opinions on issues such as gay parenting from the likes of baroness o cathain and anne widdecombe; the fact that the tories introduced the despicable section 28 and their record on support for civil partnerships, gay in the military…obviously all parties are diverse so it’s great when some tories are pro lgbt and im sure some of the other parties contain their homophobes, but puh lease, just as the tories are historically non green, so are they historically unpleasantly anti gay.

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