Tory councillor accused of homophobia for criticising gay actor’s school visits

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A Conservative councillor in Bristol has been accused of homophobia after he voiced concern about gay actor Ian McKellen visiting schools.

The star visited two Bristol schools to talk to children about homosexuality as part of a programme organised by Stonewall.

Speaking at a city council meeting on Tuesday, councillor Chris Windows said he was “disturbed” that Stonewall and McKellen had been visiting schools.

According to the Bristol Evening Post, Mr Windows said: “I am unhappy and a little disturbed at the involvement of Stonewall in our local schools and particularly the use of a certain leading actor as a potential role model for our impressionable young people.”

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors cried out “shame” at his remarks.

Labour leader Helen Holland said: “A comment like that shows how much the cohesion strategy is needed.”

Liberal Democrat councillor Alex Woodman added: “I wholeheartedly, unequivocally condemn the outrageous homophobic remarks by Chris Windows. He should be ashamed.”

Mr Windows, who represents Henbury, said: “I’m not homophobic, I never have been. I just don’t like undue pressure put onto young people, particularly when it’s a famous character. I do believe we should be able to express our views without receiving abuse.”

He added that the tactic could backfire, leaving “possibly confused” pupils open to “potential bullying”.