Don’t (gay) panic.

Today, the Queerosphere has been crackling with reports of:

“David Cameron […] alleged support of gay kiss ban before 9pm tv watershed”

Ban this filth!

If this were true, this would be a terrible illustration of how Tory Toffs never change their true nature. Once a bunch of public schoolboy homophobes, always a bunch of public schoolboy homophobes, eh?

Except there is no evidence that it is true, apart from The Daily Hate and The Snu saying its so.

The Fail writes:

“Lesbian kisses could be banned from television screens until late into the night under radical Government plans to stop children being exposed to ‘indecent’ images.


The inquiry is being led by Mothers’ Union chief executive Reg Bailey. It was launched last year after the Prime Minister – himself the father of young children – warned that exposing youngsters to adult themes can ‘take away their innocence’.

Mr Bailey is likely to focus on a toughening-up of the watershed rules. A source close to the inquiry said: ‘It is hard to protect children in the internet and mobile-phone age but we have to do something.

‘For some parents, what has been considered acceptable in the past – such as that Brookside kiss – is not appropriate for children to see early in the evening.’

The Snu’s story confuses this report for the Department of Education, led by Reg Bailey, head of the Mothers’ Union with a Mothers’ Union report out last year that dealt with the serious issues of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood (“Bye Buy Childhood“). They put out a statement today:

“Mothers’ Union explicitly refutes all allegations regarding the banning of lesbian kisses on television before or after the watershed as claimed by the media this week, including in The Sun and the Daily Mail newspapers. The Bailey Review as conducted by the Department of Education is independent of the Mothers’ Union’s Bye Buy Childhood Campaign and therefore, any recourse to statements against Mothers’ Union are unfounded and should be directed to the Department of Education…”

The Mothers’ Union report talks about commercialisation and sexualisation in marketing to children. Along with criticising marketers cynical use of pester power, it talks about:
“Parents are right to be concerned. Sustained exposure to sexualised imagery can reinforce stereotyping of women, men and sex. Longitudinal research into the impact of viewing sexual imagery has shown that watching higher levels of sex on television may accelerate the initiation of sexual activity. A one year study, carried out by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2004, found that ‘adolescents who viewed more sexual content at baseline were more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced noncoital sexual activities during the subsequent year’. Whether the content was actual sexual behaviour or only talk about sex made no difference. The researchers speculated that watching high amounts of sexual content leads to beliefs that sex is more central to daily life than it actually is, which thus hastens participation in sexual or sexualised activity.”
Nowhere does the MU report talk about same sex realtionships, kisses or displays of affection. Their report is about the fact that David Beckham is giving me come to bed eyes in just his Armani budgie smugglers on a billboard – and he’s also giving the come-on to my 8 year old niece.
David Beckham advertising underwear for Calvin Klein

David Beckham making goo-goo eyes at me (and my 8 year old niece)

So, its not the Mothers’ Union who have a problem with the Brookie Lesbo Clinch. If we look at the website for the Department of Education’s Bailey Review, we also find NO MENTION OF SAME SEX ISSUES. The April press release says:

“Specific areas of concern are emerging from parents. These include:

  • Clothes to be clearly age appropriate and not simply scaled down versions of adult fashion.
  • Increasingly sexualised content in music videos and pre-watershed TV with ‘too adult’ themes in some soap operas.
  • Pressure to buy non-essential items for their children so they don’t feel left out.”

Bailey himself comments:

“The increasingly commercialised and sexualised world we live in can be a challenging environment for adults, but even more so for children. So far I have encountered two very different approaches in dealing with this. Either we can try and keep children wholly innocent until they are adults, which I believe is unrealistic and unhealthy. Or we accept the world the way it is and simply give children the tools to navigate their way through it better. Neither approach works in my view.

For us to let children be children, we need to let parents be parents. That means giving parents the support and encouragement they need to help their children understand and resist the harms they face. But it also means putting brakes on ever greater commercialisation and sexualisation facing children in modern society. Only then can we look to create a truly family friendly society that protects children.”

No singling-out of same-sex relationships there either.

So, it would seem that this storm in a tea cup has arisen out of a press person at the Department of Education who inadvertently used a TV furore from 17 years ago (Brookside’s lesbian kiss) to illustrate the perils of sexual imagery on TV before the 9pm watershed.

David Cameron has not made any statements regarding the report as its not yet published. And when it is published, its highly unlikely to make any reference to same-sex because frankly, I’m not sure many people care these days. Apart from the tabloids.


About Graham

Forty-something gay geek living in Kings Cross with my collection of shiny computers and my fish.
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