The Evil Imp

Are You Gay, Lesbian or Other?

It would now appear that apart from asking the usual questions about your name, address, and telephone number on their funding application, Arts Council England would very much like to know, if it’s no bother, your sexual orientation!

ACE, when asked, were a little unsure when the questions were added to the form but they assured Article19 that Stonewall (the gay rights advocacy group) we’re consulted and they were all for it.

This is not just a question for the individuals either. If you are an organisation you are asked to list just how many of your employees are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual, there is, sadly, no option for ‘other’. There is of course an option to abstain from answering the question.

Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on the wall of a well to do theatre as the right wing, bible bashing, general manager goes around the admin office asking each member of staff which side they “bat” for?

Somewhat comically the form declares; “We will use this information to report to the Government and to compare success rates of the applications we receive. We will not use this information to assess your application”. Report it to the Government!?

We have this slightly absurd image in our collective mind, here in TheLab™, of a special room at the Department for Culture Media and Sport (the UK government department that deals with the arts) replete with a big electronic board showing varying levels of pink density on a map of the UK as they track gay artists around the country. If a concentration gets too strong they send in a “Reorientation Squad” armed with Family Values DVD’s and giant posters of Margaret Thatcher to restore the balance.

You may laugh now but just you wait. When the right wing basket cases get into power (do we have any right wing basket cases left in the UK? Ed!) they’re going to use this information to haul everybody in for questioning. If they don’t like your answers they’ll ship you off to an holding cell in San Francisco, which will of course be tastefully decorated, and you’ll never see Blighty again.

Simone Clarke, we’re looking in your direction!

Article19 is preparing a news story on this but this is the arts so something that could be taken care of with one phone call takes more than twenty to get done. More news to follow.