Dear Nigel Farage
Dear Mr Farage
I want to write to you about the comments of one of your council candidates. I'm sure you know who he is. He's called John Lyndon Sullivan and he made this comment on Facebook:
By the way, I love the similey face at the end of that comment. It makes it so much more acceptable don't you think? No? No. Nor do I.
I'm one of those poofters (or 'whatevers').
I'm one who's married. And who, with my husband, has adopted two children. You might therefore understand why I'm just a little offended by your Council Candidate's remarks.
You see, I'm gay for the same reason I like the colour blue, love the smell of woodsmoke and hate beetroot. It's part of me. I believe God made me that way.
Certainly, no one persuaded me to like blue, I wasn't 'educated' to like the smell of woodsmoke, I wasn't indoctrinated by beetroot hating adults during my formative years.
The fact is I tried having girlfriends. I tried to conform to the 'norm'. Really, I did. But at the end of the day I just preferred men. And then I had the epiphany of meeting J, my partner.
At that moment my heart leapt. My head spun. My world suddenly seemed so much better, brighter, happier. It really was love at first sight and that love had grown, deepening and widening every day since then. J's two years younger than me, two inches shorter, just slightly wider and a big hairy man!
We 'married'. We then adopted our first child. A little boy, whose previous abuse had been such that he had lost much of the trust he had in women. We, a male couple, were a perfect match for him. Helping our son understand his past. Correcting. Reframing. Reinterpreting the horrors he had seen.
Our daughter, coming from a similar background, has enhanced and enriched our family to all our benefits, most particularly our son's.
Perhaps you can see why my offence is so profound at your Candidate's statement. He condemns my love for my husband. He belittles the love for my family. He makes everything that little bit worse.
And if Mr Lyndon Sullivan would like to shoot a 'poofter' I'd be very happy to offer myself as his target. (I'm hoping his aim isn't great) It would be worth the flesh wound to see how 99 of my gay friends would react to this being played out in front of them.
But then I came across this. Your interview with James O'Brien on LBC Radio yesterday morning. It offended me far more than the original comment.
Mr O'Brien put the comments made by Mr Lyndon Sullivan to you and your refused to condemn them.
Mr Farage, you refused to apply the same opprobrium you reserved for other of your candidates and members who have made similarly outrageous comments about women and people of colour.
Godfrey Bloom makes misogynistic comments and is expelled from UKIP. William Henwood makes racist comments about Lenny Henry and is forced to resign from the party. Andre Lampitt, used in your election broadcasts, is suspended for making racist comments on twitter.
And yet you refuse to apply the same sanction to a homophobe. A homophobe who advocates shooting people because they are different to him.
I went to a UKIP meeting once. It was a fringe meeting you held at the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth in 2004. I went along because I was curious.
There you spoke very eloquently and passionately about the threat of mass immigration posed by Turkey, a country you presumed would be joining the EU in the very near future. There were 100 million Turks you said. They would be bringing their different culture, their different religion to our shores. They had to be stopped.
The room, largely comprising white men of my father's age, lapped it up. The fear writ large. The desire to return to a halcyon past 50 years distant etched on their faces.
Time's moved on and your more recent bete noir has been Bulgarians and Romanians. Similar fears. Same rhetoric.
So, you'll forgive me Mr Farage, if I elucidate my own fear. You fail to condemn Mr Lyndon Sullivan. You fail to discipline him. Does that mean that the gay community are somewhere on your list to condemn next?
Does it mean that under a UKIP government we will have to submit ourselves one day for some form of re-education? Of reversion therapy?
Does that mean that one day J and I will, as a consequence of our adoration for one another, end up looking like these men on the right?
Honestly, I doubt it.
I think you choose not to condemn Mr Lyndon Sullivan because you know most people in the gay community don't support you anyway. It's therefore politically expedient of you to suggest you have sympathy with those who do agree with Mr Lyndon Sullivan's homophobic views. You bolster your core support that way.
The political cost amongst the gay community is negligible. So it doesn't matter to you.
But it does matter Mr Farage. It matters very much. Your tacit support for a homophobe suggests that it's OK to be homophobic. It's OK to be prejudiced. It's acceptable to despise my lifestyle. It's allowed to discriminate against my family.
And when you don't condemn Mr Lyndon Sullivan's behaviour it tells people much less pleasant than you that it's OK to continue dreaming of a world in which the picture above is repeated.
Our children have been through so much. They are growing and blossoming in a tolerant, accepting, inclusive community.
Mr Lyndon Sullivan's comments, and your failure to condemn them, make our children's journey just that little bit harder. That little bit more dangerous. That little bit more like the world from which they were rescued.
Shame on you.