THE BLOG

Thanks but No Thanks, Katie Hopkins, We Don't Want You as Our Gay Icon

26/02/2015 08:44 GMT | Updated 27/04/2015 10:59 BST

Look, as much as it distresses me to draw any kind of attention to Katie Hopkins, and her ongoing quest to lodge herself at the forefront of our consciousness, I'm beginning to notice an alarmingly increasing number of people on my Twitter feed, who should really know better, singing her praises, or hailing her as some class of camp icon.

Katie Hopkins has never been shy about her desire to be a 'gay icon' for the new age, she's been harping on about it for over a year now, but at first I found it easier to roll my eyes at and brush off, because she was saying it in the same breath as the questionable comments that were making her a public figure of mutual disdain. The only reason I'm mentioning it now is because, frighteningly, it actually appears to be working.

This wouldn't actually irk me so much if I thought there was any kind of sincerity behind it, but it seems the everyday plight or struggle of LGBT people isn't actually something that bothers Katie Hopkins. In fact, without really intending to, she's proven herself to be a part of the problem on a number of occasions.

This is a woman who said Tom Daley's coming out video, which no doubt provided console and strength to gay teenagers was all over the world, was "lame" because we, in her words, "all knew he was gay already". A woman who in one moment could tweet her "gay army" (gross) her excitement about being interviewed by Boyz magazine, and just a few hours later make a 'lol he's gay' joke about Simon Cowell. A woman who has said in the past she hopes her own son was gay so that he could do her hair for her when she's older. A woman who insisted on calling Kellie Maloney 'Frank' on Twitter while she was in the CBB house last summer.

To me, that doesn't sound like someone actually concerned about LGBT people. It sounds like someone who wants to collect gay men like Pokémon, to follow her round and tell her she's "fierce". It puts me in mind of Caitlin Moran's comments after the Attitude awards a few years ago, when she joked that she now thought of gay men as "pets... like sea monkeys, with amazing hair/shoes", and it makes me feel very uneasy.

And let's not forget how quickly Katie got over Alexander O'Neal calling Perez Hilton a "faggot" in the Celebrity Big Brother house. But who cares about the fact that she relentlessly defended a man who could drop a slur like that as if it was already on the tip of his tongue, even making the victim of it feel like it was his fault, she wore a sparkly dress and raised her eyebrow a few times - pass her the sash and tiara, right?

I'm aware that in the past she's spoken out about atrocities that have affected gay people overseas, and condemned extremist groups with fundamentally homophobic attitudes at their core. But really, am I supposed to be grateful for that? Am I supposed to want to congratulate this woman, and hail her as an actual gay icon, for the simple reason that she isn't homophobic?

Just 'not being homophobic' isn't enough to make me want to slap her on the back and give her a medal, and it certainly doesn't excuse everything she's said in the past, about working class people, or fat people, or ginger people. Can't they all be gay too? And which one trumps the other?

If you're overweight and Glaswegian, does being gay automatically give you a get out of jail free card in Katie Hopkins' eyes? Or is she only interested in 'the beautiful gays' who will crowd around her and tell her how fabulous she is?

As I'm seeing more and more gay people on my Twitter timeline - who are otherwise smart, intelligent and witty - I urge everyone to think hard before they give this woman any kind of praise. I don't mind admitting that I found her slightly endearing when she was in the CBB house, that I actually laughed out loud at some of her comments, even that I found aspects of her character slightly camp. But that's just not enough to excuse everything else.

Please don't be fooled by it all. Katie Hopkins putting herself forward as a gay icon isn't an act of solidarity or bravery, or even sincerity. It's a business strategy from a woman who has realised she's teetering dangerously close to the end of her 15th minute of 'fame'.

And it's up to us to decide what happens once that's up.