East Devon will fly the flag with pride, but some old fashioned attitudes prevail - Councillor Joe Whibley’s latest column

PUBLISHED: 12:00 09 September 2020

Joseph Whibley, independent candidate for Exmouth Town ward. Picture: Joseph Whibley

Joseph Whibley, independent candidate for Exmouth Town ward. Picture: Joseph Whibley

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In his latest column, district councillor Joe Whibley talks about the council flying the Pride and bisexual flag

I was saddened to learn that as simple an act as flying the pride flag was not already done as a matter of course in East Devon. Society has changed from top to bottom, but especially in rural communities, showing solidarity with groups that fall outside of the accepted ‘norms’ is incredibly important, giving hope to people that they are not alone, isolated or without support.

I grew up gay in such an environment. A small rural Fenland market town where a homosexual was considered as exotic and as rare a beast as a Scottish Tory. But I was lucky enough that my family and friends showed understanding and compassion. My sexuality mattered not one jot, and for that I remain eternally grateful. Not everyone is this lucky. Isolation, ridicule, violent abuse - all still shockingly common. So the motion proposed by Cllr Jeffery and myself was not virtue signalling, not political correctness gone mad but a serious statement of intent - we will not accept homophobic, or any other form of abuse here, and we stand with those struggling to come to terms with their sexuality in the face of this.

Now it is official. East Devon will fly the flag and celebrate both Pride Month and Bisexual Awareness Week. Unbelievably, some supposedly upstanding members chose to either vote against or abstain from the two motions that were passed, proving that old fashioned attitudes to sexuality prevail. We live in the 21st century and I am delighted that the attitudes of the majority of members are progressive enough to see that no matter who you love, you’re welcome here.

Be nice to one another, folks


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