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When a supermarket's decision to put a modesty shield over a magazine cover featuring Elton John, his male lover, and their surrogate baby attracted a fierce back

lash from the usual suspects - liberal busybodies, professional gay militants, publicity seekers, and other such rabble - I was personally deüghted. The star writer of my own, Jim Goad, was the first to comment on this brouhaha and took quite a neutral stand. Being older and far less tolerant, I will not.

The funny thing is I know both the "parents" of this unfortunate baby. I was once seated between Elton John and David Furnish at some London gala, and both were extremely poUte and friendly towards me. Sir Elton asked non-stop questions about tennis, I suppose being one of those unfortunates who love the game but can't play it, unlike yours truly who has played it well in the past but hates it. After dinner, as we were about to say our goodbyes, David Furnish, or Lady Furnish as we now caU him in jest, asked me what I had against homosexuals. Absolutely nothing, I said, then laughingly added, "Some of my closest friends are gay." Both men giggled and Furnish then asked: "Then why do you make so much fun of them in print?" "Oh, I joke about everyone," said I, "and I'm probably gay myself." "We knew it!" boomed both men in unison, and left me standing there thinking, my God, what have I done?

Well, actually I threw that last bit in trying to be polite. I've never desired a man and have never been close to a homosexual experience, but I do like to make mischief. The very next day Furnish sent me a bottle of champagne from Harrods, delivered to my Cadogan Square flat by a Harrods horse and buggy, Uveried driver in top hat. Thank God the friendly message did not include any references to a fellow gay and aU that. Still, when the supermarket hid Us Weekly from the praying eyes of mothers and children, I was pleased - unlike that awful woman who claimed on Twitter that she was shocked and horrified because children were shielded from seeing a gay family. What next? Are children to be graphically shown what happens between consenting male and female adults that does not lead to procreation? (Hollywood and television actually do show it, and quite graphicaUy at that.)

I blame all this on the collapse of good manners. Homosexuals have always been around, but did not parade the fact in quite the same way they do now. …


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