Comment: Yes, Plaid Cymru’s ‘coming out’ broadcast was offensive

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PinkNews reader Benjamin Rock speaks out against an advert released last week by Plaid Cymru, which featured a man ‘coming out’ as a Plaid Cymru voter.

Earlier today, PinkNews carried a comment piece from Plaid PPC Mike Parker, who described the outrage as a “storm in a teacup” from “political opponents”.

Student Benjamin Rock, one of the first people to take issue with the ad, writes for defending his viewpoint. 

The first thing I feel that I need to say after reading Mike Parker’s comments about the Plaid PPB is that I fully agree that Plaid is not a homophobic party, and that they have always been pro-LGBT rights; which is seen in their voting record within Westminster and the National Assembly for Wales.

Secondly, I feel I need to emphasise my reason for finding offence to the PPB was not because it was from Plaid, nor am I affiliated with any other political party. I was actually considering voting Plaid in the upcoming general election in May.

My offence at the PPB actually stems from two directions.

The first offence I took was that the PPB went down the comedy angle.

I agree that political parties need to engage more with the public but I do not feel that using comedy is the best way to do so, especially considering how serious this year’s general election is in deciding which direction this country goes in.

My second (and main) problem was that it was making fun of a highly emotive issue for many gay people around the world – coming out.

For me, coming out was a huge decision to make as I felt I could be ostracised from friends and more importantly my family, which resulted in me putting it off for many years.

I highly doubt that if a person in Wales decides they wish to vote Plaid, they will be ostracised from their friends and family, kicked out of their home and be forced into sleeping in a ‘Plaid Shelter’ just like some LGBT teenagers have to endure every year.

Mike Parker also stated In his response about the PPB that “voting Labour has been the norm [In many mining areas of South Wales] for so long that deciding to go a different way is akin to coming out”.

The big word that stuck out here to me is “deciding”. Voting is a decision that every person that goes to the ballot box in May makes. For LGBT people it’s not a decision, it’s something you are, and unlike people’s political views, nothing can change that.

If this PPB was aired in 25 years’ time, maybe even less, I wouldn’t have an issue with a joke being made about coming out. Hopefully in 2040, being LGBT won’t be an issue as people will be accepted for who they are, not who they like.

However, in 2015 when some people still have hatred towards LGBT people, even within the UK, I feel that it cannot and must not be stigmatised.

We should be supporting and encouraging people to come out no matter what walk of life they belong to.

As with all opinion, this does not necessarily reflect the views of PinkNews.