As someone once said, the times they are a-changin’. Not in the world of Paul Dacre’s Daily Mail, where things are reverting to the 1930s when the newspaper supported Oswald Mosley and even Adolf Hitler (have a look at today’s front page ‘story’ and tell me otherwise), but in the real world we allow people to live their lives how they like. They are certainly a-changin’ in Scotland where Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has ‘come out’, as they used to say in the 1970s.
I mention the 1970s because that really was another lifetime ago. Much as some of us of a certain age like to imagine the 1970s were a golden age of fun and happiness, and in many ways they were, they represented a time of great intolerance and bigotry.
For instance, one of the top TV shows was called ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, an alleged comedy show where the joke was a black couple moving next door to a white couple and lots of racism occurred, in front of a near hysterical studio audience. And a gay role model would have been the late John Inman when he played the camp as a row of tents character Mr Humphries in ‘Are you being served?’, a sit com about a department store. Blacks and gays were different, that was the gist of it and the jokes were made on the basis of so called differences. Even I was young when these shows dominated the TV screens and I cringed, as did many of my generation, as the older generation laughed out loud. Mine, the two-tone, Anti-Racist Alliance, generation was the first to significantly question, in large numbers, whether this was a sensible way to behave.
Now, Ms Dugdale says she is in love with another woman, the general reaction is twofold: that’s nice dear and so what? I do not know Ms Dugdale but she does seem a decent sort and if she has found love, then that can only be good. If it so happens that the person she loves happens to be of the same sex then, quite apart from the fact that it it none of my business, I am happy for her. End of. Move along, nothing to see here.
So far as I can tell, my views on the subject are not exceptional. I doubt that on the streets of Glasgow today the news of her sexuality has been greeted by general disinterest, other than to say, “Good for her.”
We aren’t all the way there, yet. Some areas of our society have still to change, to accept differences, to embrace everyone for who and what they are. When I was young, some older people equated homosexuality with paedophilia, for goodness sake, so if you think bigotry is bad now, you should have been around in the 1970s. Some areas, like sport, and especially football, coming out as gay is still a no no.
But in politics, like in just about every other part of society, being gay is now regarded as normal, whatever normal is. Happily, for Kezia Dugdale she has been able to come out when most people really don’t care anymore. I just wonder why the hell some people cared in the first place?