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Tom Elliott MLA Picture Belfast Telegraph

In 2011 it is a pity that the leader of the UUP saying he will meet with a Northern Ireland’s gay community counts as a headline, but as Tom Elliot has said he will this is welcome. Depending how wide the group that he ends up meeting is he may find it interesting how many of the LGBT community leaders he has already met in other capacities rather than merely LGBT advocacy.

There are two interesting things about this, first that Tom did say he wouldn’t attend Gay Pride parades during his leadership contest, but it was his comments about reading of support on gay websites that had sparked the invite. So well done to P A Mag Lochlainn of NIGRA for following through with an invite.

The second is that obviously we are now 12 years on from the Belfast Agreement, in which the LGBT community were established as one of the minority groups within Northern Ireland that the Assembly were meant to look out for an include in the future of Northern Ireland. It would appear that it has been easier for some politicians in Northern Ireland to sit down with former terrorists long before they are prepared to sit down and talk to people who are happy and proud in their sexuality which is non-heterosexual. Not that I’m saying that is the case here, but it could be assumed that some of the supporters that Tom wanted to reach out to win the leadership thought that was the case.

I look forward to the LGBT community being able to share their concerns with the leader of the UUP in open and frank dialogue, as already with other party leaders. I hope soon this headline sort of thing won’t be so newsworthy for any of the party leaders involvement in Northern Ireland.

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