This week, British breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain has taken a conscious decision to give airtime to two people with homophobic views.
This was no accident.
Their homophobic beliefs were not a by-product, some side agenda to the main topic of discussion.
On Monday, Good Morning Britain booked a conversion therapist who argued that he could “cure” homosexuality.
Conversion therapy has not only been widely debunked, it’s abuse.
When you open the Pandora’s box of conversion therapy, you open the door to a number of other nasty things too.
You promote the view that homophobia is an “illness” to be cured.
You promote the view that being gay is a “defect.”
You open the door to aborting fetuses if you have reason to suspect they will be gay.
You offer your tacit support to homophobic thugs and bullies.
You throw our transgender friends under the bus at a time when the idea that being trans is a mental illness is still mainstream.
On Tuesday, Good Morning Britain, watched by millions of people in the UK, gave airtime to Jacob Rees-Mogg and his hard line views on abortion and gay marriage.
Rees-Mogg then went on to outline how he opposed abortion in all cases, even rape and incest, and how he thought gay marriage was morally wrong.
Jacob Rees-Mogg’s views are so hard line that even Thatcherite Tories like Guido Fawkes are seeking to distance themselves.
And already, social media is filling with people saying “I may not agree with everything that Rees-Mogg says, but I respect his conviction” (spoken like someone who has nothing to lose from his views becoming mainstream) and accusing ITV of “Catholic bashing.”
It won’t be too long before the same old homophobes, emboldened by seeing their views reflected on TV, come out and say that the “silent majority” has spoken.
ITV’s booking this week was deliberate. It wasn’t debate or discourse. It was a demonstration that ITV will stop at nothing (including trashing LGBT rights) in the pursuit of a shareable YouTube video, a few extra clicks, or money for its advertisers.
The lesson with Farage is that people eventually stop treating “fringe” politicians as a joke when they are repeatedly given TV airtime, as Rees-Mogg is today.
The rights of LGBT people are human rights. They’re as sacrosanct as the right to life, liberty, and a job.
They’re not there for kicking around and debating by talking heads on morning TV.