RINCE WILLIAM showed remarkable honesty when asked how he would feel if one of his children told him they were gay.
Instead of harrumphing like grandad Philip, or dithering like dad Charles, he spoke directly from the heart as he said it would be absolutely fine — but that he would worry that George, Charlotte or Louis would experience persecution and hate.
The Duke of Cambridge was asked the question while visiting the Albert Kennedy Trust, which helps support young LGBTQ+ homeless people, and I salute him for his frankness and sensitivity.
Most parents who truly love their kids and are not blinded by religion or bigotry would feel exactly the same as William.
We just want our children to be happy and not to have to travel a tough and dangerous road. We want their path to be smooth.
Their sexual identity should be simply a part of what makes them amazing, individual human beings.
Sadly, LGBTQ+ people still have a mountain to climb to enjoy the same respect and rights as everyone else — and that is why William’s comments are so important.
I would love his message to have the same sort of impact as when his mum, the late Princess Diana, shook the hand of a man suffering from HIV/Aids back in 1987.
GROWING SIGNS OF VIOLENT INTOLERANCE
Up until then, far too many people were under the misapprehension that the virus could be spread by a hug or handshake.
With one simple gesture, Diana changed all of that.
William has obviously been influenced by his mum when it comes to treating everyone equally — and always with kindness.
He could also break down barriers the way she did. In fact, his words could not have been more timely.
Despite all the hard-won battles fought by brave LGBTQ+ pioneers, we have recently seen disturbing and growing signs of violent intolerance.
A married gay couple I know, who have been together for more than two decades, no longer walk down the street hand in hand. They are fearful of being heckled, hounded and even physically assaulted.
Their concerns are not unjustified.
Two young lesbians were recently left bruised and bleeding after being attacked on a London bus for no reason whatsoever, other than their sexuality.
Just this week, a young gay couple were subjected to frightening abuse in a pub in Essex.
Marcus Taylor and his partner Nate Harlan were called hideous names, physically attacked and even spat on while they tried to enjoy a drink together in a beer garden.
Most disturbing of all, last Saturday night a 12-year-old boy was arrested after an alleged homophobic knife attack on a gay couple in Liverpool.
Those carrying out such foul attacks and uttering such sick abuse are picking up all of this toxic hatred and intolerance from somewhere.
It does not just manifest out of nothing.
When we have a climate where ghastly politicians such as Ann Widdecombe talk about science “curing” homosexuality, and we witness parents demonstrating against teachers merely trying to educate children about different types of relationships, then I think we are in a whole lot of trouble.
SAFETY AND WELLBEING
I have never bought into the idea of Widdecombe as a post-Strictly Come Dancing national treasure.
She isn’t just a pantomime villain and her words and actions have consequences.
There’s a real danger people, especially those in the public eye with similar views, give bigots the justification to voice and act on their prejudices.
It’s the start of Pride month on Monday and, while it is absolutely wonderful to dress up, pile on the glitter, wave the rainbow flag, dance, celebrate and have fun, we still have a long way to go.
The very fact that the man who will one day be king would have absolutely no problem with having a gay child, but WOULD be worried about their safety and well-being, says it all.
Pure evil of Brady is still so shocking
I NAIVELY thought that when the monster Ian Brady was locked up for his heinous crimes, he would no longer be a danger to vulnerable young people.
It appears I was wrong.
We discovered this week that Brady, who, along with Myra Hindley tortured and killed five children, was accused of raping teenage boys while in prison.
He was locked up for life in 1966, but it now transpires that even behind bars he was apparently still able to commit horrific crimes on vulnerable youngsters.
This is beyond belief.
Brady died in 2017, so we will never really know what he was allowed to get away with while in jail, or the true extent of the physical pain and mental anguish he inflicted on his victims.
I can also never forget that this excuse for a human being gleefully refused to tell the mother of his victim Keith Bennett where he had buried her son’s body.
Keith was 12 when he was abducted and murdered by Brady and accomplice Hindley.
All his mother Winnie wanted was to lay her son to rest, but Brady never revealed the truth.
Instead he played a cat and mouse game – raising the family’s hopes but then refusing to give the information that would have eased their terrible suffering.
Winnie died seven years ago, and she never had the comfort of giving her son a proper funeral.
There was even a scorpion sting in the tail.
Before his death, Brady wrote to Keith’s brother Alan saying he had left the information of where Keith’s remains could be found in “secret files”.
Alan is still battling to have access to these, thought to be under lock and key in Brady’s lawyers’ office.
Even in death this truly evil killer continues to cause unbelievable hurt and misery.
And if such a vile prisoner was allowed to get away with crimes including rape after his conviction, what else is going on in our so-called high-security prisons?
Anneka’s Bond with Clemmie
WOULDN’T we all like to be as ballsy as Anneka Rice, who at the height of her fame invented an alter ego to field unwanted invites.
Two decades ago, Anneka created an agent called Clemmie after excitable TV executives pitched her the idea of a cookery show with Blue Peter’s Mark Curry.
The show would – I kid you not – have been called Curry And Rice.
It’s a concept even Alan Partridge would have been ashamed of – and he once put forward the idea of Monkey Tennis.
Anneka had taken time out from her TV career to bring up her three boys and enjoy learning to become an artist.
But the requests kept on coming and she was finding it hard to turn them down. Cue Clemmie, who had no problem sending firm but polite emails saying Anneka was too busy.
Even film producer Barbara Broccoli was turned down when she requested that Anneka audition for a role as a Bond Girl.
Anneka told me she would have been happy to play Jane Bond – the first female 007 – or a villain, but didn’t fancy just being a bit of totty.
Thankfully Clemmie/Anneka agreed to come on my show this week for a recreation of Treasure Hunt, the Eighties show where she travelled by helicopter to an often remote UK location guided by contestants solving clues in a studio.
Surely that is a formula crying out for a remake? Even Clemmie would agree.
Vampire is bite of all right
I LOVE stumbling upon something quirky, different and utterly absorbing on TV.
There’s so much content available on the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime that just scrolling through what’s on offer takes longer than watching Gone With The Wind – but some things are well worth the effort.
I was looking through BBC iPlayer when I happened upon What We Do In The Shadows, a new series based on the completely bonkers New Zealand movie/mockumentary of the same name released back in 2014, that made me belly laugh.
The original is about four old-school vampires who live together in Wellington and whose bizarre and often hilariously mundane lifestyle is being filmed for a documentary.
This is unlike any other vampire movie you’ve ever seen. It’s funny, sad, touching and utterly ridiculous.
Luckily the telly series – set on Staten Island, US – has kept the same tone.
The show, which features a cameo from Tilda Swinton, is worth checking out if you want something different from the intensely annoying Twilight franchise.
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Boris for PM
EVEN if he runs naked down Oxford Street with a rose between his bum cheeks, it’s looking increasingly likely Boris Johnson will be moving into Number 10, where he will probably spill red wine on the sofas and leave the whole place looking as messy and chaotic as the interior of his car.
Most of us have no say in this leadership “beauty contest” between the two ugly sisters.
If the answer is either Boris Johnson or Jeremy Hunt, I really don’t want to know the question.