A mental health lecture at King’s College London has called LGBTQ activists the “Gaystapo” and “sanctimonious petty Napoleons”, in a row over a portrait.
Dr Niall McCrae made the comments in an recent article co-written with Reverend Jules Gomes for Conservative Woman, in which the pair were criticising a recent decision to remove a portrait of Lord Carey from the college’s Gallery of notable alumni at the the Strand Campus.
The removal of the 103rd Archbishop of Canterbury, who graduated in 1962 with a 2:1 in Divinity, comes after several years of concerns following Lord Carey’s opposition to same-sex marriage. He has also voiced support for gay conversion therapy.
However, a spokesperson for the College said the removal of the picture was only to allocate space for a forthcoming digital display presenting “research breakthroughs”, “student and staff successes”, and “our renowned alumni”.
Pictures of various alumni have been removed on the same grounds. Subsequent requests for comment on McCrae’s article have been declined by the College’s press office.
McCrae said: “Carey is not homophobic, but his name has been tarnished by a ‘Gaystapo’ that refuses to acknowledge that a clergyman cares for all, while maintaining a traditional view of marriage.” McCrae also described LGBT student campaigners who accused Carey of homophobia as those who could “carry the baton of tolerance” while participating in “Orwellian ‘double-think’”.
Eleven million people were killed by the Nazis, including tens of thousands of LGBT people who were tortured, sterilised, or killed by the regime. Similarly, Napoleon is believed to be responsible for up to six million deaths.
McCrae was inclined to dispute the university’s ostensible reasons for the removal. In a recent edition of Roar, the King’s College student union publication attributed the removal as a victory.
Last February, Principal Ed Byrne met with the leader KCL LGBT Liberation Association Ben Hunt and agreed there was a need to refresh the windows. In the past, King’s has noted the need for choosing LGBT and BME portraits in their windows, while maintaining it’s “diverse and inclusive community”, one in which Lord Carey should remain on the Strand front.
Responding to the window’s removal, Hunt said: “The digital windows express a community which strives to be accepting of diversity and inclusive.
“It comes after a campaign of several years which was concluded through collaboration and a shared will of the Union and College to do more to represent what all of the King’s community does in service of society.
“It is this message, one of collaboration and inclusion, which I would like to emphasise. For journalists to employ language like ‘gaystapo’ which has very negative connotations for LGBT+ groups, as well as for people of colour and the Jewish community, is hurtful and harmful and creates a tone of division which this project does not represent.”
Dinesh Bhugra, a former president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and professor emeritus of mental health at King’s College, described McCrae’s comments as “totally unacceptable”, adding that the college should issue a response to them. On Wednesday, McCrae stood by his article, qualifying that “Gaystapo” was his co-author’s term, while appearing under his name.
Qualifying his comments further he said: “That doesn’t refer to gay people generally. It refers to an extreme set of activists who are pursuing a radical identity politics line…extreme people who want to erase people from history on spurious grounds like, for example, calling a revered minister of the cloth a homophobe”.