Older gays can now have confidence to come out

Why should Angela Rayner be derided for her Stockportian accent? Picture: Lorne Campbell / Guzelian

BLAISE TAPP: We need more Angela Rayners at the top of British politics

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Young people are blamed for many of society’s woes; always have been, always will.

So, what a pleasant change it makes to hear them officially recognised for playing a huge role in lifting one of the last taboos – attitudes towards gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people.

That acknowledgment comes today from the Portsmouth North Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt.

Of course, she is only confirming something which we have all witnessed in the past 25 years or so, a single generation.

Watch or listen to any group of twenty-somethings out enjoying themselves.

By and large they are blind to prejudice, whether that be colour, creed or sexuality.

Which is all very well if you’re 25 and homosexual.

But what if you are older and saddled with all the prejudices – perceived or real – that existed a few short years ago?

Any gay person who is in their fifties or older will have painful memories of the stigma once attached to their sexuality – a stigma which drove them underground and, in many cases, played havoc with their mental health.

Our fascinating Agenda feature on pages 8 and 9 today tackles that issue. It is there that Ms Mordaunt recognises the tectonic shift in society in recent years, a move which means older gays should no longer fear revealing their sexuality.

She says: ‘I think in part it’s the younger generations that have changed that attitude [towards homosexuality].’

Of course, we do not for a minute pretend that everything in the gay garden is rosy. There is still plenty of anti-gay sentiment among older people, whether it is in the workplace, on the street or within the family. But things are moving apace at long last.

And it is thanks to the work of support groups such as Chatterbox LGBT in Gosport, Portsmouth and Fareham that older gay people can finally have the confidence to tell the world their sexual orientation.

Combined with new attitudes among the young, this group is helping alter society. More power to it and its cause.

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