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Simon Napier-Bell Headshot

LGBT? Not for me!

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Last week there was a report from America - a college in Elmhurst, Illinois, has added a question to its application form. 'Are you gay?'

Of course they don't ask it quite like that, they phrase it in the boorish modern manner. 'Would you consider yourself to be a member of the LGBT community? ' (i.e. 'Are you lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered?')

If I were to answer at all, it certainly wouldn't be with a simple yes or no, it would be angrily. 'What my knob chooses to point at is none of your damned business.'

More likely though, I'd just scrawl 'Bollocks!' right across the application form and start looking for another college.

Yet, despite the monstrously retro nature of Elmhurst college's new application form, Mr Shane Windmeyer, executive director of the gay advocacy group Campus Pride, praised the decision. 'In the next 10 years, we'll look back and ask why colleges didn't make this change much sooner.'

Extraordinary! Difficult to know what he's thinking. We know most Americans are totally out of touch with the rest of the sane world. Even so, when you read rubbish like that you have to raise a bit of an eyebrow.

Especially as, in the same week, we get news of a murder trial in Los Angeles where a fourteen-year-old boy took a gun to school and shot the boy who sat in front of him in the back of the head - because he was gay.

Well wouldn't you just love to fill in that form! 'Yes, I'm gay. Elmhurst College here I come. Psychos get your guns out.'

Personally I hate the whole concept of an LGBT community. For years now, by admitting I'm a bit the other way I've found myself lumped together with every other gay man on the planet. Now it gets worse. Apparently I'm in in a club sandwich with all those BLT people too. Just because of an errant willie.

But why should any of us be identified by just one small part of our personality?

Stuck on a desert island with a gang of people I wish I wasn't stuck with, would I automatically make an alliance with someone just because they were lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgendered?

Look at all the characteristics muddled up inside me - middle-class, English, bought up in a capital city, public school educated, well-travelled, bilingual, anarchic (a bit), conservative (a bit), socialist (a bit), wine-loving, food-loving, workaholic (but also ridiculously lazy), and oh yes... gay too.

Let's suppose one of the other people on the island is Johnny Goodchap - ex-Oxford cricketer, failed restauranteur, occasional travel writer, and now the international marketing director of a Brazilian condom company. We take an instant shine to each other and talk nonstop. He knows I'm gay and I know he has a wife back home and four children. And what happens? We find we have so much in common it feels like were long lost brothers.

Another castaway on the island is a Ukranian ostrich farmer's Russian-speaking daughter who's had testosterone injections and grown a beard and has giant biceps which she uses for chopping wood for the camp fire. Do you really think I'm going to ditch good conversation with Johnny Goodchap in order to start an LGBT community with Muscles Buchilova?

Only one thing will ever bring equality to gays (and all those BLT people too), and that is complete and utter indifference to other people's sexuality. Not well-meaning liberalism, or reasonableness, but indifference. And especially, not tolerance.

Tolerance is the most miserable of qualities. It means putting up with something you don't much like - probably something that's annoying you a great deal - like an unpleasant child banging on the back of your seat in an aeroplane. Don't even think about being tolerant. If you do, sooner or later you'll snap, and blow up. It's just not worth it.

Only indifference will overcome prejudice. Beautiful indifference. And thankfully in Britain these days it's on the increase.

More and more often, when someone learns that someone else is gay, they say, 'So what? It's none of my business. I couldn't care less.'

Those are lovely words to hear.