Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Mincing The Beat

It has just been announced that Hampshire Police has been jointly honoured with the dubious distinction of being the most gay- friendly police force in the country. This isn't referring to the way that they deal with gay people, but as an employer. Indeed they are now, according to the Stonewall Index the third best public and private sector employer of lesbian, gay and bisexual workers in the country.

I really can't understand announcements such as this. Presumably, the whole premise is to highlight diversity and understanding (and by their absence/low position highlighting those that fail), but in my eyes only go to emphasise that, to some people, there is a difference. Basically they are saying "we believe that it doesn't matter whether you are gay or not, so just to prove how we don't discriminate we are going to bracket you into groups to prove our point" To even make such a statement can only emphasise discrimination, not lessen it. I have a similar problem with a lot of so called "racial issues" - often on matters where no issue even exists until some well meaning liberal nut-case decides to highlight it, thus creating the situation they claim to be trying to avoid

To me a policeman is a policeman, it makes no difference whether he is straight, gay, celibate or the biggest pervert on earth as long as it has no bearing on the way he or she carries out his or her duties. So why should the Police (or any employer) differentiate? How do they know who is what? Surely it isn't a question that is asked in a job application or performance review so how can they come with any meaningful statistics regarding sexual preference?. Is there a secret signal like a mason's handshake, maybe a limp wristed salute?

I have a friend who is a gay policeman working in Hampshire. As far as I know he keeps his private life to himself at work, as I'm sure do many others, so the accuracy of any such figures are immediately suspect. Maybe it would be in their interest to "come out" officially, after all if this is something that their employer is proud to be associated with then one could assume that positive discrimination can only help them up the promotion ladder.

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