Tom Robinson is an English songwriter who came to prominence in the 1970s with the punk/New Wave band, The Tom Robinson Band. His song Glad to be Gay became a ground-breaking anthem for the gay community. The song was originally written for the 1976 London Pride event and the lyrics were intended to have an in-your-face, Sex Pistols style confrontational impact. And they did. “Glad to Be Gay is built around four verses criticizing British society's attitudes towards gay people. In the first verse, it criticizes the British police for raiding gay pubs for no reason at all, once homosexuality had been decriminalized.”
Robinson’s song affected many and he became a poster child of the British gay movement. Many young men and women coming out during that time have said how much he and his song meant to them. So, when Robinson later came out as bisexual, because he happened to fall in love with a woman, he was booed from stage, slated for being a hypocrite and was even accused of being a traitor to the LGBT cause.
As far as the bisexual cause goes, Tom Robinson didn’t initially establish himself as a friend to the bi community, being quoted in the media making dismissive comments such as, "I have much more sympathy with bisexuals now, but I am absolutely not one". In a new programme for Radio 4, produced by MIM (Made in Manchester), Robinson “examines how he came to terms with his sexuality and finds out how bisexual people in different parts of the UK cope with attitudes towards their relationships.” In this 30 min radio programme, he will take us along as he describes his own journey from denying his bi identity to understanding and coping with being bi in Britain today: "Our enemies do not draw the distinction between gay and bisexual,” he has said.
And as regards the public discussion of bisexuality in Britain -- even this far into the 21st century, a sober, non-sensationalist discussion of bisexuality via a major media outlet breaks new ground.
“For some reason bisexuality remains a bit of a taboo in the media and society at large,” commented MIM producer Ashley Byrne. “We’ve been trying to cover the issue on both TV and radio for years. So it’s a real credit to Radio 4 that they’ve had the courage to commission this programme. It’s clear there’s a whole swathe of the population who don’t see their sexual identity in neat pre-defined boxes – and this 30 minute doc begins to challenge some of the basic assumptions many people have about those who identify as bisexual.”
Tune in on the 19th or via iPlayer after and do please come back here to share your thoughts! Thanks.