Why are there so few lesbians in Parliament? Here’s why there are no simple answers

Diversity, or the lack of it is a huge issue in our politics.

As the graph above shows, we have 650 MPs in the House of Commons, but just 27 of those MPs are from an ethnic minority, only 142 are women.

Out of those women, only 2 identify as lesbians.
2 MPs to represent millions of British women.

They are Labour’s Angela Eagle…

 

…and Conservative MP Margot James.

 

James was the first out woman to be elected to Parliament for the Conservatives, and her speech in favour of equal marriage, in the face of heckling colleagues, was one of the most powerful contributions to the debate.

Well said Margot!

Why are there so few gay women in Parliament though? When I asked Margot James about this, she said:

Parliament in general is not terribly representative, and gay women is no exception.”

She also pointed out that this lack of diversity is “true of most professions bar the army and police.”

Why, in 2014, is this still the case though?

Back in 2009 LGB organisation Stonewall conducted some polling with YouGov, and found that”despite modest efforts by some political parties, the majority of lesbian and gay people expect to experience discrimination if they seek selection by a political party to stand for Parliament”

Given that there was only one more lesbian elected in the 2010 elections, it doesn’t look like things are changing very much at all. It becomes a vicious cycle of lesbians, (and gay men,) not standing for parliament, and so the community thinks politics is not for them.

The message is clear then lady lovers – the only way to change this is to put your name on a ballot paper!