Who’s your gay icon? There are many peo­ple I ad­mire from dif­fer­ent walks of life – politi­cians such as Lord Smith and Mar­got James, jour­nal­ists like Matthew Par­ris, sports stars and cam­paign­ers like Martina Navratilova or Tom Da­ley.

If I had to pick jut one, it’d be Clare Bald­ing, who I think is out­stand­ing for her pas­sion and knowl­edge of the sub­jects she broad­casts on – and she’s also spo­ken out bril­liantly on equal­ity is­sues.

If I was choos­ing some­one from his­tory it’d be Alan Tur­ing, who clearly was an ex­cep­tional man with a bril­liant mind. He de­serves to be re­mem­bered and recog­nised for his fan­tas­tic con­tri­bu­tion to the war ef­fort and his legacy to sci­ence. His par­don from the Queen was a fit­ting trib­ute to an ex­cep­tional man. How should a gay voter feel if their lo­cal Con­ser­va­tive can­di­date didn’t vote in favour of same-sex mar­riage? The key point is that it’s now in place – and no one is propos­ing to re­peal it.

I’m tremen­dously proud that we now have same-sex mar­riage in this coun­try, and I’m par­tic­u­larly proud that it was a Con­ser­va­tive-led gov­ern­ment that in­tro­duced it. In fact, I un­der­stand I’m the only Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter in the world who’s in­tro­duced equal mar­riage.

While there are peo­ple who weren’t con­vinced by the ar­gu­ments, I’m heart­ened by the num­ber of peo­ple who – both dur­ing and af­ter the de­bate – have said that they changed their minds and are now strong ad­vo­cates for equal mar­riage. If elected, what would your party do to help im­prove sex­ual health ed­u­ca­tion in schools for LGBT youths – par­tic­u­larly re­lat­ing to HIV aware­ness? Re­la­tion­ship and sex­ual health ed­u­ca­tion is a mat­ter of great con­cern to par­ents and as so­ci­ety changes, as chil­dren have greater ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion on the in­ter­net, it’s an area to be kept un­der re­view. We’ve al­ready added sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­ease to the Key Stage 4 sci­ence cur­ricu­lum, mean­ing that stu­dents should learn about it as part of their GCSE sci­ence. We’ve also been clear that re­la­tion­ship ed­u­ca­tion in schools should be in­clu­sive of LGBT is­sues and the gov­ern­ment has funded the PSHE as­so­ci­a­tion to pro­duce guid­ance on con­sent, which has a spe­cific fo­cus on same-sex re­la­tion­ships. Do you agree with the Na­tional AIDS Trust and other char­i­ties that PrEP should be made avail­able on the NHS to gay men who need it as soon as pos­si­ble? I think it’s fan­tas­tic that over the course of the last 30 years, AIDS has gone from be­ing a very se­ri­ous and fa­tal dis­ease to one that can be treated – and is now on the cusp of be­ing one that can be pre­vented. Too many peo­ple have lost loved ones and seen friends and fam­i­lies suf­fer from AIDS, so it’s right that we look very care­fully at PrEP. How­ever de­ci­sions on in­di­vid­ual drug avail­abil­ity are made by the in­de­pen­dent Na­tional In­sti­tute for Health and Care Ex­cel­lence (NICE) and not politi­cians – so it’d be in­ap­pro­pri­ate of me to pre­judge their de­ci­sion. When did gay rights be­come an

in­te­gral part of your po­lit­i­cal agenda? Re­spect, dig­nity and fair­ness have al­ways been at the heart of my pol­i­tics, so ad­vanc­ing equal­ity was a nat­u­ral part of what I wanted to achieve. Which LGBT per­son would you say has in­flu­enced you the most? It would be un­fair to sin­gle one out, but I’ve been in­spired by all the can­di­dates, many now MPs, in my own party who fought elec­tions as openly gay can­di­dates. What’s your party’s most im­por­tant mo­ment in the his­tory of gay rights? Bring­ing equal mar­riage into law – a huge mile­stone in the his­tory of gay rights in the UK. Ac­cord­ing to teacher’s union NA­SUWT, one in four LGBT teach­ers feel they have to hide their sex­u­al­ity. How can we change that and cre­ate a more ac­cept­ing en­vi­ron­ment? It’s not ac­cept­able for any teacher to feel they have to hide their sex­u­al­ity, so the Na­tional Col­lege for Teach­ing and Lead­er­ship is work­ing with Stonewall to ad­dress some of the bar­ri­ers faced by LGBT teach­ers and – in par­tic­u­lar – their pro­gres­sion to lead­er­ship po­si­tions. We need schools to be places of re­spect for both teach­ers and pupils, and we’re mak­ing progress – half the num­ber of sec­ondary school teach­ers now say that pupils are ‘of­ten’ or ‘very of­ten’ the vic­tim of ho­mo­pho­bic bul­ly­ing com­pared to 2009, but there’s more to do. So we’re in­vest­ing £2 mil­lion in schools to help them tackle ho­mo­pho­bic bul­ly­ing and will keep this mo­men­tum up in the next Par­lia­ment. At a time when blood sup­plies are dwin­dling and the gay com­mu­nity feels like their blood is deemed to be less wor­thy, do you fore­see the rules chang­ing when it comes to gay and bi­sex­ual men do­nat­ing blood? I’m pleased that we’ve made some progress on this is­sue, but I’m aware that it’s still a con­tentious one. Ul­ti­mately this is a de­ci­sion for clin­i­cians, not politi­cians. The Al­bert Kennedy Trust says there are up to 5,000 LGBT youths liv­ing on the streets – and that this group is at the high­est risk of abuse, vi­o­lence and sex­ual ex­ploita­tion. What would your party do to com­bat this? There’s noth­ing more im­por­tant than giv­ing young peo­ple se­cu­rity and love when they’re grow­ing up. I’m con­cerned about the spe­cific is­sue of home­less­ness among young LGBT peo­ple and that’s why we’ve be­gun fund­ing the Al­bert Kennedy Trust to tackle it. We must also un­der­stand why young peo­ple be­come home­less; one rea­son some end up on the streets is be­cause they leave school early due to bul­ly­ing, so we’re work­ing to erad­i­cate ho­mo­pho­bic bul­ly­ing in schools. Which politi­cian do you think has been the most dam­ag­ing to gay rights – past or present? This is a com­plex is­sue that can’t be an­swered with one name. There are lead­ers and politi­cians in other coun­tries who have sought to stig­ma­tise the LGBT com­mu­nity which is in­cred­i­bly dam­ag­ing. And right now we’re see­ing truly hor­rific sights in Syria with ISIS throw­ing sus­pected gay men off the top of tow­ers to their death; so right now their lead­er­ship is the most dam­ag­ing and tack­ling the threat they present is cru­cial.


Left Cameron with Barack Obama in Wash­ing­ton, Jan­uary 2015.

Above With Nick Clegg at the Gay Pride gar­den party, June 2010.

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