Monday, July 03, 2006

The Pink List

Newspapers love lists. Sunday newspapers particularly love lists that are a factor of a hundred long, and tend to include the words “rich” or “powerful” in the titles.

Browsing through The Independent on Sunday online, I was surprised to see “the pink list”, the 101 most influential gay men and women in the UK. In an age of diversity that increasingly is moving past attaching labels to people (particularly when the labels court controversy and prejudice) I was a bit surprised that The IoS thought is wise and worthy to run such a list.

But in the spirit of trying to look for the positive rather than the usual blog-biting negativity, I wondered some more.

The Anglican Communion’s ongoing struggle with homosexuality and homophobia is captured across in William Crawley’s Will & Testament blog.

But as The Independent on Sunday explains, there is
"... a clear indication that, from business to the arts, gay people are finally being accepted without prejudice.

Each year, to chart the progress of this move to equality, The Independent on Sunday publishes its Pink List, a celebration of the country's most influential gay men and women. A few years ago we ran 20 names, some of whom needed persuading to appear. This year we had to choose from the hundreds of suggestions. And let's make it clear, all the people on this list are leaders in their own fields; nobody is featured here just because of their sexuality.

That doesn't mean that gays and lesbians don't face more battles - equality in schools for a start - but this is a moment to mark the progress made, and we thank all those who appear here."
Amongst the list are many familiar and unsurprising names you’ll recognise from the world of showbiz and politics.

But there are others whose names you will recognise but mightn’t have as readily labelled as they are better known for their jobs and contribution to society than their private lives – surely proof that sexuality isn’t the most important characteristic of a person.

So as you flick down the list this year or next, expect to see the chairman of an international airline based in the UK, the screenwriter who has brought us the revival of Doctor Who, a judge, a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy.

So the pink list may be worth its column inches to provide a signpost to some tender shoots of inclusivity and lack of prejudice.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

why shouldnt there be a list of the top 101 gay people? weve had lists of the top earners, the top women, the top black people, the top disabled people. compiling a list like this is hardly a crime or an insult to those on the list.

Alan in Belfast said...

> why shouldnt there be a list of the top 101 gay people?

That was indeed the conclusion I came to.

> weve had lists of the top earners, the top women, the top black people, the top disabled people.

> compiling a list like this is hardly a crime or an insult to those on the list.

The lists seem to be compiled out of intrigue and public curiosity, rather than for a real purpose. Who do we recognise in the rich list? Which women are making the big bucks? And possibly, who's gay that we didn't already know about.

My instinct is to judge the list-makers as appealing to our Pinochio-sized noses, rather than any grander purpose.

And only a few years ago, such a list would have provoked considerably more negative reactions to the individuals listed than today - bourne out by more people being willing to be included on the published list this year.

Maybe a list of top yellow car drivers will be next year's addition to the lists. Bet I don't merit an appearance!