I’m OK with a gay Leader of the Opposition

Georgina Beyer thinks it may be “a step too far” having the prospect of New Zealand’s first openly gay Prime Minister.

Georgina Beyer, the world’s first transsexual mayor and MP, warns New Zealand is not ready for a gay prime minister and may be seeing a social conservative backlash.

With the Labour leadership up for grabs, it raises the question of whether Grant Robertson, the gay deputy leader, could be elevated to head the party, making him a strong possibility for prime minister.

But Beyer, who was an MP for eight years until 2007, said Labour needed to be realistic.

“I don’t think we’re ready yet,” Beyer said. “It’s not because Grant isn’t capable, I think he’s very capable . . . but the stigma that rests over those of us who are out, proud and gay who get into public office becomes untenable because you never shake it off and you get pigeon-holed.” ?

Grant will get more pilloried amongst members of the party for being lazy rather than for being a poof.

Beyer said it was possible the debate over gay marriage, which became legal this month, had invigorated social conservatives, meaning New Zealand was less ready for a gay prime minister now than it was a year ago.

“I get the feeling out there that there’s a little bit of a backlash to what is being labelled social engineering that is being constructed, and I just fear that Grant would be laboured with a lot of that baggage.”

However, gay media personality Steven Oates said the marriage debate proved just the opposite – that we are ready.

“The Marriage Equality Bill has restored my faith in New Zealand as a whole,” Oates said. “I think we are bigger than that now.”

Beyer is wrong…I think the Marriage Equality bill will have helped Grant.

While sexuality should have no bearing on the leadership contest it unfortunately will.

Personally it matters not a bit to me, but it will to others, therefore I can see a happy compromise…while Georgina Beyer and others might have a problem with an openly gay PM, perhaps they could see their way to having an openly gay Leader of the Opposition…I certainly don’t have a problem with that all.