Another little vignette from our rainbow province

It really is amazing what gems you hear on Radio Ulster. From BBCNI:

A gay rights campaigner has rejected a Northern Ireland assembly member’s call for homosexuals to seek psychiatric counselling.

David McCartney from the Rainbow Project was responding to comments from Iris Robinson, who is the chair of the Stormont health committee.

Mrs Robinson said with help, gay people could be “turned around”.

Mr McCartney said there was “no body of evidence” to support this and asked to meet the MP.

Mrs Robinson made her comments on BBC Radio Ulster’s Nolan Show on Friday.

She said she would defend her right to express religious beliefs, while also condemning violence against the gay community.

“I have a very lovely psychiatrist who works with me in my offices and his Christian background is that he tries to help homosexuals – trying to turn away from what they are engaged in,” she said.

“I’m happy to put any homosexual in touch with this gentleman and I have met people who have turned around and become heterosexuals.”

It’s unfortunate for Iris that this follows hot on the heels of yet another horrific gay-bashing incident, this time in Newtownabbey. She has voiced the appropriate condemnation, but maybe not the best time to hold forth on the possibilities of “fixing” gay people. As for the efficacy of Christian teachings turning gays straight, the considerable number of closeted gays in the DUP raises a question mark over that.

Interesting to note that not only is Iris chair of the Stormont health committee, and the wife of our new prime minister, but she’s also a Westminster MP. That is to say, a member of one of the most gay-friendly parliaments in the world. Mind you, the DUP do tend to tone it down when they’re in the metropolis. It’s back here in Norn Iron that we get the uncut version.

More on this from Liam and WorldbyStorm and Stroppy.


  1. harpymarx said,

    June 7, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    “And here’s to you Mrs Robinson, Jesus loves you more than you will know…”
    Sorry…just couldn’t resist.

    But the homophobic bilge she is spewing isn’t new, there are shrinks out there who still believe that being a lesbian or gay man is a “disorder” that can be “cured”.

    A woman who I used to know years ago was sectioned under the MH Act (mid-1990s) in the UK cos her psychiatrist said: “the reason you have mental health problems is because you are bent”… So the fact she was a lesbian was causing the mental distress…therefore needed to be “cured”..

    Thankfully, the shrink in question got kicked out of the profession but that was only after a concerted campaign that put the health authority and Royal College of Psychiatrists under pressure.

    Will Mrs Robinson’s “lovely psychiatrist” mate use good old fashion aversion therapy as a way of tackling this “abomination”..?

    And also homosexuality wasn’t removed from the DSM (diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) unil 1973 and that was only after intense campaigning from lesbian and gay liberation movement. Though there is a category of “sexual disorder not otherwise specified” kicking around in the DSM-IV that includes “persistent and marked distress about one’s sexual orientation”.

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 7, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    As Tom Robinson reminded us.

    Have you ever seen But I’m A Cheerleader? I’m just waiting for one of those Jesus-based straightening-out camps to be set up here…

  3. June 8, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    […] has been widely reported on other blogs, here and here, for instance. But in case you missed it, DUP MP Iris Robinson, made these homophobic […]

  4. Justin said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Somtime in the nineteen eighties peope in and around the DUP Free Presbyterian Church set up a organisation called Save Ulster from Sodomy. I recall reading in Fortnight magazine that in response some gay wag had proposed setting up a group called Save Sodomy from Ulster.

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  5. Justin said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Just googled “Save Ulster from Sodomy” and found a wikipedia entry at

    Here’s a bit from wikipedia:

    “Save Ulster from Sodomy was a political campaign launched in 1977 by the Rev. Ian Paisley, MP, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and head of the Free Presbyterian Church, to prevent the decriminalisation of homosexual acts in Northern Ireland.[1] The campaign was ultimately unsuccessful.”

  6. splinteredsunrise said,

    June 9, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Just noticed, too, that Iris has been supported by Jeffrey Donaldson, our junior minister in charge of equality. Oh dear…

  7. Justin said,

    June 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    And what about Minister of Culture, Edwin Poots, who believes tha the world is 6,000 years old:

    “William Crawley (BBC): “How old is the earth?”

    “Edwin Poots: My view on the earth is that it’s a young earth. My view is 4000 BC.”

    Get me outta here!

  8. Ciarán said,

    June 9, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    And least Poots isn’t the Minister for Education (yet…)

  9. Ciarán said,

    June 9, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    The little smiley face just went and undermined the whole ominous feel I was trying to create with that post.

  10. choronzonix said,

    June 10, 2008 at 5:49 am

    And people vote for these idiots why? Are Northern Irish people actually this stupid or was it an accident?

  11. sonofstan said,

    June 10, 2008 at 6:29 am

    Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    Well isn’t Iris’s point that you can ‘change’ from liking ‘la même chose’?

  12. Justin said,

    June 11, 2008 at 11:01 am

    “And people vote for these idiots why? Are Northern Irish people actually this stupid or was it an accident?”

    Not quite sure what you mean by this but NI people I suppose NI people are as stupid in the abstract as any other group of people. However, stupidity doesn’t exist as an abstract phenomenon (except perhaps to those who believe that the “11+” is an adequate measurement of ingtelligence). It’s the political, educational, cultural and media envrironment here that allows arrant stupidity to flourish.

    I recall reading, that in the 80s a senior DUP fellah came out with the idea that Prods should drive on the wrong side of the road in protest aginst the Anglo irish Agreement.

    Presumably wiser heads within the DUP prevailed against this potentially deadly advice.However, given that they were in the DUP, they couldn’t have been that wise.

  13. romach said,

    June 11, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    I think she is a complete nasty vile piece of work! She looks more like a lesbian more than anyone I have ever known. I hope she is thrown out of her job as quickly as possible. She makes all these claims under ‘Christianity’. She obviously has no morals or no understanding of what love, peace, understanding, acceptance or any of those so called Christian values represents. In this day and age more and more people are completely turned off by this kind of pure hate! She is a complete embarrassment to the people of Northern Ireland. I live in Liverpool in England and I have had so many people ask how the hell did she get a job as an MP in the first place. I am glad she has made these statements and hopefully the people of Northern Ireland will see her for the nasty bigot she is and turf her out as soon as possible!

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