Conservative MP Iain Stewart, the MP for Milton Keynes South, told Parliament how he questioned whether he would be able to pursue his dream of entering politics because he feared a backlash over his sexuality. He worried about being “cast aside”. Homophobic bullying was rife while he was a boy at school in Glasgow, and it took him many years to get over the feeling of being different and isolated.
Then he criticised the Tories’ defeated and discredited section 28 legislation introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government banning schools and councils from promoting homosexuality.
“Just looking at a career you want to pursue, and thinking you can’t, is very damaging. I, for a long time in my teenage years and early 20s when I decided that politics was my passion and this was a career I wanted to pursue, I did think for a time, “actually I can’t do it”. I would live in fear of being revealed for who I was, something that was so innate in me – I can’t change being gay, that’s the way I was born. It’s as natural as being left-handed, right-handed, or the colour of your hair, or whatever. But I felt I can’t pursue a career in politics because I’m so afraid that I’d be cast aside and prevented from doing it, exposed, whatever, because of who I was. And that was in the late 1980s, early 1990s.”
That’s why we fought it.