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Being the out gay Councillor

1997

ďI am the for Ward, there are precious few lesbians and gay men in Longbridge, and my activity with the lesbian and gay community doesnít win votes for me; I guess thereís an argument that it might lose votes, Iím not particularly worried about that. Iíve always been acutely aware that I never wanted to be Ďthe gay councillorí though there are occasions where I have been. The upside is that has achieved me some status within the gay community, and I hope to continue to benefit from well meaning individuals who have been sterling support for my election campaigns because they think I am a useful person to have on the and they have wanted to see me stay thereĒ.

ďBeing a Councillor is a job that I am still learning about, I seek to shape and influence, Iím not one to make rousing speeches; I understand the system and how those discussions behind the scenes shape, influence and support and guide, so Iíve been the kind of person the Committee have called when itís all going pear-shaped two days before the event. Iíve been the person thatís been sought out if thereís a particular issue. Iíve always been quite assertive when Iíve come across things in my day to day council business, Iíve had the portfolio for adults and communities, and for housing, if Iíve seen things where there has been manifest injustice Iíve asked the question, ĎWhat does this mean for lesbians and gay men?í because I think those questions need to be asked. I wish I wasnít the only person asking them but if I set the example, I hope it might be a question that will be emulated by others as well. I canít claim that Iíve changed the world, and I think thereís a long way to go on the City Council, but I think there have been certainly in the last five years, tremendous strides, where Iíve made it known that Iíve been keeping a careful watching brief".

Contributed by: Steve Bedser, 41

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