The openly bisexual Scottish Green Party leader, Mr Patrick Harvie, has described how the country’s parliament may have come a long way in accepting gays but, there is still an undercurrent of homophobia in Holyrood.
The 38 year old is one of only four openly gay, lesbian or bisexual Members of Scottish Parliament (MSPs), describes in the newspaper Scotland On Sunday how he has been the subject of many homophobic remarks.
“I’m aware of homophobic comments being made about me by some politicians, albeit not to my face.” He told the paper, “However, I think we’ve reached a point where people who hold ideas like that know they need to shut up and realise they won’t make any friends by voicing those kinds of opinions.”
Harvie went on to suggest that if similar comments were to be made in a racist fashion, the Members of Scottish Parliament in question would be dismissed. “I would certainly say it’s not something I’ve experienced from most [Members of Scottish Parliament] and it’s probably at the level of what might be regarded as banter, but when it comes to jokes about race, people know that’s unacceptable.”
“It’s certainly on balance a very supportive workplace, but any group of 129 people is going to include a range of views and values," he said, “There have been occasionally been debates about same sex couples adopting and it’s not really possible to argue a ‘no position’ without expressing some kind of attitude, about what lesbian gay and bisexual people are like, and sometimes that’s pretty difficult.”
The Scottish Green Part leader stresses more needs to be done to rid the country of anti-gay prejudice, but believes the parliament is on the right track to an inclusive society.