... what about a gay policeman?
XThere are no bars to gay people serving in the police force, and openly gay constables patrol events such as Gay Pride. But when homosexual members like Brian Paddick rise through the ranks to positions of power, being openly gay becomes more sensitive.
Accusations by his ex-boyfriend that Mr Paddick had smoked cannabis and had sex in public places led Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips to describe him as "an icon for our morally inverted, decadent times". Sun columnist Richard Littlejohn wrote: "He's not my kind of cop, nor I suspect is he your kind of cop either."
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell abhors the inherent homophobia. "The campaign against Paddick is primarily motivated by those who want to stop liberalising trends within the force," he says.
You might agree with him. But how would you react if you found that the most senior police officer in your area was also homosexual? Would you:
a Welcome his anti-crime measures
b `Accidentally' avoid him at the next Neighbourhood Watch meeting
c Demand a straight police chief instead
... what about a gay soldier?
XAfter a ban of many years, gays are now in theory able to join the British military. In January 2000 the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced a new Code of Social Conduct for the armed forces which welcomes all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation. Even the most senior posts in the military are now open to gay men or women.
But if you were told that Britain's forces in Afghanistan were being led by a homosexual would you:
a Salute his leadership and bravery
b Feel uneasy that a man who had to face enemy forces might also fancy half of them
c Call for him to be court-martialled
... what about a gay royal?
X"Could [Prince] William have a gay partner as a royal consort?" asked Johann Hari in the New Statesman recently. "You can imagine the Sun headline: `Two Queens at the Palace'."
There is no evidence to suggest that this is true. If it were, however, the are no precedents of previous monarchs leading happy homosexual lives. Edward II, who cavorted publicly with Piers Gaveston in the 14th century, was murdered by having a red hot poker up his backside.
If the King of England paraded his partner at official functions, would you:
a Wave the flag for the happy couple
b Sigh over the old days of Liz and Phil
c Call for his immediate abdication
... what about a gay businessman?
XThere might be hundreds of pink ties in the City, but there are still very few out gay men.
"There are a lot of gay people in senior positions who still feel unable to be open about their sexuality," says Peter Tatchell. The most senior out businessman remains Sir Michael Bishop, the chairman of the airline British Midland.
So how would you feel if your fund manager or a future chairman of the Bank of England came out? Would you:
a Rejoice that your finances were in the hands of somebody so honest
b Moan about the country going to the dogs but leave your money in place
c Change your funds into euros and take them abroad
...what about a gay sportsman?
XThis is a notoriously homophobic field. And one game is more guilty of the offence than any other. "If you are sporty and gay, it's anyone for tennis. Or ice skating. Even rugby. But forget football," wrote Liz Kershaw in The Independent last year. She reported sports minister Tony Banks claiming "there are a number of Premiership footballers who are gay" but who were too afraid of the homophobic football crowds to come out.
The only real example is the late Justin Fashanu, the first black player in Britain to be sold for pounds 1m in 1980. After he came out in 1990, he claimed that he had been suspended from the Nottingham Forest ground by its coach Brian Clough after he found out about his sexuality. In 1998 he hanged himself after he was accused of raping a teenage boy. More recently England's top football player David Beckham paved the way for future gay players to come out by being seen publicly to enjoy the company of homosexuals, and he has said he was happy to be a gay icon.
But how would you feel if your favourite player announced that he `played for the other side'? Would you:
a Support him ever more
b Discover you have a new favourite player
c Hurl abuse at him from the terraces
... what about a gay politician?
XOpenly homosexual ministers were unknown before the election of New Labour in 1997. Chris Smith, the Culture Secretary, was the only out gay man in Tony Blair's first Cabinet. But by November 1998 The Daily Mail was able to run an editorial saying: "Like white rabbits from a conjurer's hat, gay ministers continue to materialise from this New Labour Government before the bemused gaze of the public." Following Welsh Secretary Ron Davies's resignation after an encounter on Clapham Common, Peter Mandelson was outed by Matthew Parris on live TV. Only a few weeks later Agriculture Minister Nick Brown publicly admitted that he was gay.
All this has done nothing to diminish Labour's popularity with the voters as last year's landslide victory proved. (And the gay ministers all retained their seats.) Out gay Labour MPs continue to flourish while the Tories fail miserably to match them.
When a gay candidate finally stands for election as Prime Minister, will you:
a Consider his policies and wonder if they will be right for you and the country
b Tut, tut and take solace in the Daily Telegraph's disapproval
c Move to France, land of womanising presidents
... what about a gay vicar?
XDespite the fact that Jesus Christ was a 33-year-old bachelor with 12 best friends who were men, and the Catholic Church is founded on a mother fixation, the Christian religion is still strangely wary of openly gay men and women - both as worshippers and ministers. So much so that Cardinal Winning, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, has said that discrimination against "the disorder that is homosexuality" was justified in some jobs, including teaching and military posts.
There are signs of improvement, however. After OutRage! outed 10 bishops in 1994, Anglican leaders began to discuss issues of sexuality with gay campaigners and several prominent churchmen came out. And gay minister Richard Kirker campaigns for the right of homosexuals to be ordained as full priests of the Church of England.
But how would you feel if your local vicar talked from the pulpit about his boyfriend and how their relationship could provide a Christian role model? Would you:
a Agree wholeheartedly
b Change churches
c Abandon your faith in God
... what about a gay teacher?
XJP, the new character in Channel 4's comedy-drama Teachers, might be happy to declare his sexuality, but many gay staff still fear harassment by parents and pupils.
How would you feel if your child's class teacher brought his gay partner to the PTA dinner-dance? Would you:
a Join them in the conga
b Discreetly ask the head if your child can be moved to another class
c Picket the school
So how do you feel now? If you answered mostly A then you're clearly a live-and-let-live gay or straight person, unbothered by others' sexuality. If everybody were like you, there would be no more wars. If you answered mostly B you are only pretending to be liberal; you just don't want to appear homophobic. And what about you lot that answered mostly C? At least you don't try to hide your prejudices, and look forward to having them confirmed each day in the Daily Mail.
Can our attitude be improved to allow people of different sexual persuasions to go about their work without fear? Peter Tatchell is optimistic. "The trend towards more people coming out and being accepted won't be halted."…