Search

First openly gay Havering councillor speaks about ‘coming out’

18:00 17 May 2014

The Recorder covering Mark Flewitt coimg out. Picture: Mark Flewitt

The Recorder covering Mark Flewitt coimg out. Picture: Mark Flewitt

Archant

It may only seem like yesterday, but the Nineties had a far different and less tolerant political climate than today’s.

In 1991, Cllr Mark Flewitt used the Recorder to announce that he was gay, making him Havering’s first openly non-hetrosexual councillor.

He faced some homophobic backlash but his bravery helped shape today’s situation in which people no longer need to even “come out”.

He said: “The gay agenda was more about campaigning then – it was much safer just to come out with it. Now it’s not so necessary to do that.”

Cllr Flewitt, who now sits on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, admitted that, while preparing to make the announcement, he failed to tell some very important people.

“In all my planning, I forgot to tell my family,” he said.

His loved ones were “absolutely fine” with it and said they always knew anyway.

His decision to go public was influenced by gay equality organisation Stonewall and the activism of Peter Tatchell who would “out” public figures who were homophobic in public but gay in private.

“Tatchell’s work may have seemed outrageous at the time, but would seem much less so now,” said Cllr Flewitt.

Stonewall founder Michael Cashman, now a Labour MEP, also played a big part in the councillor’s decision.

Mr Cashman started out as an actor and received the first gay kiss on British television when his EastEnders character , Colin Russell, was kissed on the forehead by his male partner in 1987.

Read more:

Havering is London’s ‘same-sex’ capital - survey

Havering church leaders: ‘Gay marriage would undermine human stability’

Havering MP dropped from church scheme for views on abortion and gay rights

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Romford Recorder visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Romford Recorder staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Romford Recorder account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

15:00
Spirit Factor finalist Courtney Abrahams

A young opera singer was “shocked” to be crowned champion of a talent contest on Saturday.

The Robert Beard Centre in the 1970s.

Memories will be shared by past and present members of a youth centre when it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Colonel Markham Bryant, Havering Deputy Lieutenant, outside Buckingham Palace with his MBE for services to the army cadet force.

Haverying’s Deputy Lieutenant Colonel Markham Bryant received the award from Prince William at Buckingham Palace, on Tuesday.

Yesterday, 17:51
A crowded 8.17am train from Upminster to Fenchurch Street

Furious commuters have taken a stand against proposed train timetable changes that will see their journeys become longer but their chances of getting a seat slashed.

Most read news

WW100

Click on the banner above for full coverage of the centenary commemorations of the outbreak of the First World War.

News from your area

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Romford Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24
Our trusted business finder

The political editor will be taking time off for treatment.

It involves a picture of a hand. You can guess what shape it is making.

About 40 swans have died in the last year and local vet says she has never seen anything like this in her 30 years in practice.