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Did Theresa May really say you could ‘cure lesbianism’ with male role models?

Did Theresa May really say you could ‘cure lesbianism’ with male role models?

This meme about 'homophobic Theresa May' has gone viral

A meme alleging Theresa May once claimed ‘male role models’ would stop girls turning lesbian appears to be fake.

The picture and caption, which features a picture of the Prime Minister campaigning in the early 90s, is circulating on social media with thousands of shares.

Posted by Twitter user @Gideonomics, who asked: ‘Why does the media keep focusing on what Diane Abbott said in 1983 but not what Theresa May said in 1988?’

Our research revealed the picture is of May canvassing in Durham North West before the 1992 General Election.

An unattributed quote states: ‘Curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton’s schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives.’


This is plausible for several reasons. May began her political career first as councillor and then as Education Committee Chair in Merton and Wimbledon in the 1980s – a time when the Tories had just passed the infamous Section 28 which banned schools from using public money to ‘promote’ homosexuality in 1988.

Gay Star News spent hours in the British Library poring over copies of the Wimbledon Guardian in an attempt to verify the quote. We spoke with Merton Council – and we also reached out to Mitcham and Morden Labour Party, who did not get back to us.

Speaking with @Gideonomics, they told us: ‘The image was sent to me by a councillor I know. The councillor has confirmed he can’t back it up but says she made several homophobic comments in the 1980s and 1990s covered in the local press.’

He appears to be a little stunned by the result, adding: ‘I thought at the time it was fake and did not expect this whirlwind. He admitted it could be ‘fake news’, which is ‘why Trump won’.

He highlighted other tweets, including one that contrasts her stance on terror with her support for the Saudis as an example of true stories that received no coverage.

In her first 12 years in parliament she voted against reducing the age of consent for gay couples, and against allowing gay couples to adopt. While voting for civil partnerships, she made it clear, speaking to the Commons in July 2000 that she was a fan of ‘family values’ and marriage.

She was also famously absent in respect of votes on the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act, at the point when it touched on sexual orientation.

May was also absent for a vote on repealing Section 28.

In 2000, she suggested repealing the law that would protect LGBTI students as ‘contrary to the commonsense views of the mainstream majority of people in this country.’

In 2008, she backed an attempt to force clinics to consider the need for a male role model before allowing women – including lesbian couples – to access IVF treatment.

However, her tune changed in 2010. As Home Secretary, she supported the introduction of equal marriage and on Question Time in 2010 she was questioned about her views on same-sex couples adopting children and trans people being allowed to change their gender.

‘If those votes were today, yes, I have changed my view and I think I would take a different vote.’