Gay politician still receives homophobic hate mail

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Philip Ozouf says he is still subjected to homophobic abuse on a regular basis.

Jersey’s only openly gay politician says he still receives anonymous hate mail because of his sexuality.

Assistant Chief Minister Senator Philip Ozouf celebrated the Channel Islands’ first Pride celebration this weekend.

However, during the event, said that even though the island had made progress regarding equality, there was still more work to be done.

Speaking of those islanders who have still have homophobic ideologies, he said: “It is those people who say, ‘I have a lot of gay friends’, but then attempt to justify why same-sex couples should be treated differently.

“It is the hidden homophobia, like xenophobia and Islamophobia, that needs to be understood,” he told BBC News.

“We are a diverse community and I compliment the organisers for putting on an event in celebration of what modern Jersey is today.”.

Speaking after the parade, organiser Christan May said: “Growing up an openly gay man, I never thought I’d see anything like this in Jersey. I’m amazed at how far the island has come.”

The States of Jersey is due to debate the introduction of equal marriage legislation in two weeks – after it was recently announced that both Jersey and Guernsey could have same-sex marriage by 2017.

As crown dependencies, the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey – which have a population of just 165,000 – retains autonomy from the United Kingdom, and unlike England, Scotland and Wales, continue to ban same-sex marriage.

However, as part of a concerted push on the island to bring its legislation up to date, Jersey and Guernsey’s Chief Ministers filed proposals to bring the island’s laws up to date.

Jersey’s chief minister Ian Gorst said: “It would be unreasonable, and inappropriate, to continue to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to get married.”

In June, Jersey also passed an anti-discrimination law that protects people on the grounds of gender identity and sexual orientation for the first time.