Boris Johnson's long history of weaponising LGBT people for his own political gain
News that the Prime Minister will break his promise to ban gay conversion therapy is the latest in a long list of examples of him sacrificing others for his own advantage.
Two years ago Boris Johnson promised to ban gay conversion therapy, which he said was an “absolutely abhorrent” practice which has “no place in a civilised society.”
We now learn that he plans to let it to continue.
According to Paul Brand at ITV, Johnson has abandoned his promise.
The document leaked to Brand states that: “The PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation to ban LGBT conversion therapy.”
It recommends using the war in Ukraine as an excuse for breaking his pledge.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances of major pressures on cost of living and the crisis in Ukraine, there is an urgent need to rationalise our legislative programme,” it states.
A spokesperson for Johnson confirmed the government has dropped its pledge.
Weaponising LGBT issues
That the Prime Minister has broken his promise on gay conversion therapy should come as little surprise to anyone who has followed his career.
Although Johnson has spent recent years claiming to back LGBT rights, he previously had a long record of making many bigoted statements about gay people.
Writing in the Spectator in 2000, Johnson attacked what he called "Labour's appalling agenda, encouraging the teaching of homosexuality in schools, and all the rest of it."
In his 2001 book "Friends, Voters, Countrymen," Johnson went to far as to compare gay marriage to bestiality, writing that "If gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog."
There was even more explicit homophobia. In a 1998 Telegraph column about Peter Mandelson's resignation from Tony Blair’s government, Johnson said the announcement would lead to the blubbing of "tank-topped bumboys" in "the Ministry of Sound" nightclub, and "the soft-lit Soho drinking clubs frequented by Mandy and his pals."
He added that Mandelson's departure would cause the "lipstick" to come away from Blair's government.
In a separate Telegraph column Johnson also complained about attempts to increase equality at the BBC for gay people.
"It must be a spoof," he wrote.
"In my hand was a magazine from something called the BBC Resources Equal Opportunities Unit. There were letters from gays asking about their "partner's" right to a BBC pension."
This sort of homophobic rhetoric was obviously no longer tenable once he became Mayor of London and so, as he often does, Johnson performed a complete 180 on the issue.
As Mayor of a modern and tolerant city like London, Johnson sought to overhaul his image and regularly attended LGBT events, and was even photographed wearing a pink stetson at a Pride march.
This was enough to convince some people that he had genuinely changed his spots on the issue.
However, his record as prime minister gives good reason to doubt that.
In 2020 he scrapped plans brought forward by Theresa May to allow trans people to self-identify.
At the time the Times suggested that it was part of his plans to pursue a “culture war” with the Labour party, adding that “the move will be a challenge for Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, whose party is deeply divided on the issue.”
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