Saturday, 11 June 2011

Mixed messages from the Queen

Mixed messages in the Queen's birthday honours list today.

First of all congratulations to John Amaechi.

The former NBA player, who was raised in Greater Manchester, has been one of the most vocal critics of homophobia in sport.

He came out shortly after his retirement - one of the first professional sportsmen to do so - and, while it was welcomed by some, looked down on by others, his actions inspired thousands to stand tall.

The fact he has now been awarded an OBE is testament to his personality and the work he has done for disadvantaged youngsters on both sides of the Atlantic.

And he is a terrific guy too.

On hearing the news, Amaechi said: ""I was once an overweight bookworm who hid in the corner of my school library and wished I was invisible.

"My mother told me that I could do better and I hope to use this platform to convince other young people just how true this can be for them too."

But then there is a little more worrying news about bus entrepreneur Brian Souter receiving a knighthood.

No one is doubting the business credentials of the man who started off as a bus conductor and now heads up Stagecoach, one of the largest transport firms in the country.

However, this same man also was the leader of the Keep the Clause campaign, fighting the lifting of Section 28 which banned teachers and pupils from discussing homosexuality in schools.

To date, he has shown no regret for so actively fighting a ruling which not only was prejudiced but outright bigoted.

If progress is to made in tackling homophobia then schools must be the first place where a positive message is made, not the last.

The Queen's honours list are there to honour a wide section of society. But what sort of message is being put across if a man advocating such a ruling.

It certainly puts a dent in the image of the monarchy after the jubilant scenes a little more than a month ago at the Royal Wedding.

Thank goodness for every Brian Souter there is a John Amaechi.

No comments:

Post a Comment