Sunday, May 30, 2010

Whatever Happened to Privacy

Earlier today I was ordering coffee and tea for me and my mum in Bangor when on the screen was scrolling the BBC 24 news about David Laws. One of the things that I picked up from the scrolling was the use of the phrase:

Laws didn't want to disclose his "sexuality"

The inverted commas were what struck most. Ok I will admit there was a story there, but the story of the day has shifted unto one of sexuality and one where private life has been exposed as part of another story because of the link into the original story. Ben Bradshaw the Labour MP said:

why should anyone in Britain today feel ashamed to acknowledge they're gay” y ashamed?

Linda Jack responded with:

More likely fear of losing family - just because it was easy 4 you doesn't mean it is as easy 4 others - maybe you haven't noticed but whether we like it or not homophobia is still alive and well in our enlightened country.

Jonathan Fryer sums it up quite well by saying on Twitter.

Yes, it's tragic that some people have to hide their sexuality, but it's equally tragic when people are forced to parade it

What has happened today is a case of that. If you are in the public eye it is not uncommon for some of your partners not to want to be in that spotlight. Whilst I'm prepared like Ben to wear my sexuality if not on my sleeve at least not hidden away. There are others for whom this has been a reason. I recall what I said about Simon Hughes when he was similarly forcibly exposed.

There may be family reasons with some people, yes even today, that such things are not publicly wanting to be discussed. In David Laws his catholic upbringing may have something to do with that, also the world of the city of London being a "man's world" is not conducive to such openness.

There is also the matter of protecting the privacy of a partner. In my own past there are for a number of reason who would not have been out there standing beside me as part of my very public life. There are all manner of reasons, their own level of coming to terms with their sexuality, their career or job prospects (perceived or real), for some it is the cross political persuasion issue. It's why I usually only refer to partners on this blog by some coded name.

Invasion of privacy of a third party is something that needs to be protected. Yes there was a story to be revealed. Although why now? If the Telegraph had the full un-redacted expenses claims last year the timing of this disclosure as well as the rest of the story that is coming out with it points towards spitefulness to a degree. But I digress, I'm not the one to expose a partner. If they are a public figure and also out then that will be easier for us both to deal with, but that isn't always the case, therefore I do compartmentalise by private life from my public when I have to. In fact isn't that something all of us who aren't Belle de Jour etc do?

The extent of what level of privacy is required depends on the individual concerns and needs of the situation and couple. I wish we live in a world where such things never matter, but look at the Gaily Fail and the Torygraph as examples of MSM who do make an issue of it, or the BBC's use of "sexuality" earlier today, why emphasise it and then expect homosexuals and their partners to expect to be open and treated fairly?

1 comment:

Sophia Pangloss said...

Fully agree with you on the smellyness of the Telegraph's timing here. My worry is that Mr Laws seemed to be aware of the rule change barring leaseholding from a partner, but felt obliged to continue claiming while defining his relationship as non-spousal. Sadly inviting intrusion into the very area of his affairs that he wished kept secret, the 'bedroom'. Had he, at some point in the past 5 years chosen to declare his domestic arrangement, his 'private' life may have been left as such. Instead, by asking us to ignore his relationship as a financially mutual one, nor as a social one, we are led to ask, what 'type' of a relationship is it exactly? and are led where he wishes us not.

Very sad day though, his talent for the job was unquestioned, yet his rise to it so unexpected. If only he had attended to this while he had the chance.


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