Saturday, 29 March 2014

Coming Out

by Will Wallace

Today, up and down the country, thousands of gay and lesbian couples will be entering into marriage, one of the most valuable institutions that exists in our society.

It should be fitting, therefore, that I have decided, on the same day, to reveal something really rather personal, yet undeniably important. My decision to do so has not been an easy one – that’s an understatement – and had you asked me about this two years ago, I’d have quickly laughed it off. But in recent months, it has become absolutely clear that what I suspected about myself was in fact true, and I finally have the courage of my convictions to do the right thing: to be open and honest.

It was Judy Garland who said we should “always be a first rate version of [ourselves] and not a second rate version of someone else.” Those words ring just as true today as they did in Garland’s time: there is no point in hiding from what and who we are; we should take pride in the people we are, and in the lives we live.

It is this principle that has led me to where I am today – slightly concerned what people will think, but filled with an overwhelming excitement about where tomorrow will take me. It goes without saying that this article could be the start of something very new for me.

Today, I am coming out.

Yes, I am coming out of the Conservative Party! Earlier today, I walked to my local Conservative Association office, in Chichester, and handed in my letter of resignation (read it here). It’s taken me a long time to reach that decision, but now I’ve finally done it.  

Those that know me at all well can attest to the fact that I have spent the last ten years (and I mean that literally!) confronting non-Conservatives and telling them how wonderful David Cameron and his new, modern party are. In fact, when it was reported in March 2010 that Gordon Brown would be calling an election in a matter of days, I joined the Conservative Party and co-founded the local youth branch, 'Chichester Conservative Future', later becoming its Chairman in 2012.  

I think, and in fact am fairly sure, that many will be quite shocked by my decision today.
To be honest, they really shouldn't be. I nearly left the party last year, after over half of Conservative MPs voted against equal marriage but stayed on board because it was Cameron's convictions that had made it possible in the first place.

Sadly, the party has been drifting in the wrong direction: to the right.
The reason for this is to be found in the so-called threat that has arisen in the form of UKIP. I feel that I cannot be a part of something that is responsible for attacking the downtrodden yet helping the wealthy. That, to me, is wrong.

My time at PGS has involved a great deal of life changing moments, from my highest highs to my lowest lows – since joining the school in Year Nine, I have become more aware of the world around me and I fail to accept the view, held by Tories, that the vulnerable should be left without a safety net.

My convictions rest on the idea that our nation will one day determine its strength by the liberty and equality that exists in, and the unity of, our society – as opposed to the Conservative way of judging it to be so by our military might and corporate wealth.

And so, as same-sex couples throughout the UK tie the knot today, we can be assured that we are one step closer to that vision of an egalitarian country.
End of Tory

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