I have a leaflet from the LGF (Lesbian and Gay Foundation) in front of me that I picked up at Piccadilly Station in Manchester yesterday. They were being distributed by British Transport Police because it’s Manchester Pride weekend. It is entitled “Homo Heroes” and asks people to vote for their erm… homo hero. It briefly profiles the current “top pollers” and lists the rest of the nominees. They are to quote Huck Finn “all too various” (I thought of calling them a “rum collection of buggers” but that’s a cheap shot even for me). Any list that allows you to choose between voting for Alexander the Great or Christopher Biggins is truly bizarre.
Anyway, of the current front-runners these three caught my attention…
1. Alan Turing. Both Cats and I have recently posted on science and gender or racial identity recently. I suppose sexual orientation can be chucked into the mix as far as the game of “Great Scientists Identity Politics Poker” is concerned. Turing was treated abysmally because of his sexual desires but I think he’d be surprised to now be seen almost more as a gay icon than a towering figure in mathematics, cryptanalysis and computation. Turing was no crusader or martyr – just very unlucky and rather naive. If he had returned to Cambridge after the war rather than take-up a readership at Manchester his homosexuality would have gone completely unnoticed. Manchester of course was building a computer (arguably the first complete one) – how could Turing say no to that? I guess this spells out one of the dangers of identity politics – it can become very easy to see the identity and not the achievement. In the case of Turing, “A great man being hounded to suicide for his sexual orientation” is an easier meme to metabolize than sitting down and reading his stuff on the Entscheidungsproblem.
2. Lindsay Lohan. From the sublime to the ridiculous. Apparently Ms Lohan has a girlfriend. Yeah. Right. Whatever. She’s also famous for something or other.
3. Tony Blair. Yes, Dear reader, you read that right. Apparently Blair is sitting pretty in this poll (more votes than Peter Tatchell!) Ye Gods upon Olympus! Yes, that Tony Blair. OK, his government equalised the age of consent but, but, but… Any conceivable government would have done the same thing at the time (correct me if I’m wrong here) this was because the differing ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex were in contravention of various Euro “thingies”. Blair getting credit for what was essentially a fait accompli is very Tony. Moreover that was just one thing his government did over all those years. Has the gay “community” completely lost it’s senses? He did other things too you know – things that have had a negative impact on everyone in this country whether gay, straight or whatever. One swallow does not make a spring and all that. At least Lord Mandelson isn’t on the list. I suppose because to qualify to as a potential “Homo Hero” you at least have to be “Homo” in the sense of belonging to the same genus as the rest of us and that can hardly be said of Mandy. I never fussed too much over Mandelson liking boys as much as him eating flies that he caught with his prehensile tongue when no one else was looking.