Douglas Slater

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Douglas Slater
Douglas Slater is a former Clerk of the House of Lords and Cabinet Office civil servant and special adviser. He’s also a writer, critic, playwright and political strategist. In 1988 he co-founded the gay rights’ group Stonewall, along with the actors Michael Cashman and Ian McKellen. Following Clause 28 and the perceived homophobic government of Margaret Thatcher, he was brought in to advise Prime Minister John Major on how to make the Conservative Party more gay-friendly.

Douglas Slater was featured as one of the primary founders in David Mixner’s book “Brave Journeys: Profiles in Gay and Lesbian Courage[1]. He was described as co-founding Stonewall to combat the censorship of Clause 28 that was gaining political support. Slater, being inside of government, was able to feed the founders vital information that kept them one step ahead.

"[Clause 28] was a piece of bad, knee-jerk legislation which came into being when a few Conservative MPs ambushed a local government bill in the House of Commons late one night and added this clause. The MPs had been moved to act by a sensationalised tabloid newspaper story about a book, which one left-wing Labour-controlled council had a single copy of, in a resource library. It was about how a child might deal with living in a household with two gay men as her fathers. This coincided with the Tory Party Conference in 1987, and the story goes that the then prime minister, Mrs Thatcher, was walking past Jill Knight who said "we must do something about loony-left councils promoting homosexuality in schools". Almost without thinking, Mrs Thatcher said: "Yes. Why don't you work it into the local government bill?". The gay community hates it - it is a totem of extreme intolerance, a quite straightforwardly discriminatory act of parliament. It encourages bullying in school playgrounds of children who may be homosexual or who are thought to be lesbian and gay, and it denigrates the value of gay relationships. Even more vitally, it is inhibiting the teaching of safer sex among young gay men who have the highest death rate from AIDS infection - and it's inhibiting the teaching in schools of the value of stable gay relationships."[2]

Douglas Slater was the chair of the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS, a group partly funded by the Government.

"Some of my best and most complicated thinking (thinking with numbers attached) happens late at night when it's quiet and I've had a few drinks. In can also happen in pubs when I'm oblivious to everyone and everything around me." [3]