In the past month or so I have been surprised twice by someone's sexuality. The first was when I realised that David Coburn MEP, the UKIP's Scottish "Leader" was gay. The second time was when, just this week, I reaslised that Mairi Black MP, the UK's "youngest ever MP"/the candidate that beat Douglas Alexander, was also gay. It was fascinating because of how much of a non-event these "reveals" were (the were only reveals to me, not to the persons in question - Mairi Black MP even said that she's "never be 'in'"). They weren't hidden, obsfucated, or pretending otherwise. There was no scandal. There is no scandal. They are just LGBT and that's that.
In fact, during the Scottish leader's debate I pointed out to Connie that out of the six leaders on the stage (Nicola Sturgeon, Patrick Harvie, Willie Rennie, Ruth Davidson, David Coburn and Jim Murphy) three of them were LGBT. The fact that this was not only the truth, but that it wasn't even a thing, was quite amazing.
I read an article recently which refered to these politicians as "politicians who happen to be gay rather than gay politicians" which was an interesting way of pointing out the subtle but monumental difference and shift that has occurred in my life as a voting adult. There was a short plot on The Good Wife a few seasons back (which, by the way, is one of the best procedural dramas there is on TV right now) where Eli Gould is vetting a candidate who isn't married. Naturally, they start to wonder if he is gay before it is (spoiler alert) in fact his love of his already in power brother's wife that has caused his batchelor-hood. They even vet him new wives in a funny but absurd plot.
This isn't exclusive to TV or the US - Chuka Umunna had speculation as to why he wasn't married yet just last week, for fuck's sake.
This is probably still a reality in the US government. In fact, as of 2015, only two State Governors have been openly LGBT - one came out as he resigned, whilst the other was out when she ascended into office. In the UK, there have only been two out Leaders of political parties, and both are currently in office in Scotland. Patrick Harvie of the Scottish Greens and Ruth Davidson of the Scottish Conservatives.
In the UK, following the election, there are 32 openly LGBT MPs in Westminster. That's 5% of the 650 commons seats, which doesn't sound like a lot but it's actually close to the proportion of UK citizens that identify themselves to be LGBT, so that's pretty impressive progress. However, when you consider that each of those MPs needed a majority in their constiuency to be elected it shows that there is a vast population across the UK who just don't care that their MP is LGBT (or maybe "don't care" is too strong, but it's not a deciding factor anymore is maybe a better way of putting it).
A few weeks ago Connie and I watched the interview with Bruce Jenner, the head of the Kardashian family, who has came out as a transwoman and is currently transitioning from a male identified life to a female identified life. Despite a few fucking stupid questions the interview was pretty impressive and probably made him the most famous transperson in the world. It also was very likely the first time mainstream America was shown a person discussing it so frankly. I can only hope that in the life that Joni has the same strides are made towards transpersons and intersex persons being given the equality they need and deserve in the same way LGB people have in the past ten to thirty years, and continue to gain in the coming years. In fact, in doing research for this post, I found that Nikki Sinclaire was elected in 2009 as a UKIP MEP for the West Midlands region, becoming the first ever transgendered parliamentarian in UK history.
The important thing is - it's not a thing. It really isn't. I can't wait for it to finally officially not be.