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Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Y fronts

I suppose that when an MP e-mails a picture of himself wearing just his underpants to a total stranger then it must be news. Indeed that is what the Mail on Sunday and the Western Mail thought when they were presented with such a self-portrait of Chriis Bryant, the Labour MP for Rhondda, together with some explicit e-mails. But is it any of their business? Chris Bryant may be an MP but his private life is his own affair. It may well have been unwise to send such a message to a stranger but so what? It is not as if he posted it on a website, it was a private e-mail which was published without the consent of the sender.

Actually, I thought the coverage in both papers was very homophobic. The Mail on Sunday concentrated in its headline on the fact that Chris Bryant had helped to scrap a ban on gay sex in public. The Western Mail decided to use a play on words in its headline alleging that the "Gay" MP faces being "outed from Rhondda". They also quoted some antidiluvian Labour Councillor, who actually lives in a different constituency, who expressed his "disgust" at the MP's actions. Clearly, this Councillor realises that Chris Bryant is human, gay, single and has needs. One can only conclude therefore that he disaproves of his sexuality. It was a lot of nonsense about nothing, but disturbing nevertheless that national newspapers feel that they have to play to prejudice in this way.

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