In the past few weeks, three men I knew have died - Kevin McGee, Stephen Gately and Robert Key. The only thing they had in common was their homosexuality.
I was a guest at the party when Kevin and Matt Lucas celebrated their civil partnership, and had supper with Matt Lucas a couple of days before Kevin's suicide. Kevin was adorable, but his problems were completely self-inflicted. They were nothing at all to do with his sexuality or Matt's fame.
Kevin was an addict, pure and simple - but that does not diminish the horrible waste of his life, and must be hard for his friends who will wonder if there was anything at all they could have done to prevent him ending his life.
Robert Key, who has died after a long illness, was one of the most charming, modest men you could ever meet - a tireless fundraiser who ran the Elton John Aids Foundation for 16 years, he helped to raise more than $ 150million, setting up more than 500 programmes to help HIV sufferers and their families all over the world. He will be sorely missed.
Which brings us to Stephen Gately, who I spent a week's holiday with a few years ago, and found delightful.
Stephen was almost too innocent for his own good. He didn't drink much and smoked the occasional spliff. You could say he was a bit naive.
So I was astonished to read in Jan Moir's column last Friday that his death 'strikes another blow to the happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships', and 'under the carapace of glittering hedonistic celebrity, the ooze of a very different and more dangerous lifestyle has seeped out for all to see'.
What exactly was bothering Jan? The fact Stephen was gay, the fact he was in a civil partnership, or the fact that he or his partner might have enjoyed sex with someone they had just met?
I don't think that gay men all behave in the same way - there are as many varieties of relationships within the gay community as there are in the straight one.
Civil Partnerships are just that - they are not marriages. And let's not forget, whether Jan likes it or not, they have been enshrined in law by our democratically elected parliament.
If Stephen and his partner went to a nightclub and returned to their flat with another man, is it really any of our business?
Fact - Stephen Gately died of natural causes, not from guilt. It's not as if extra-marital sex is unusual in our society.Plenty of married men and women go out, pick up strangers and have threesomes, and yet we are not claiming that marriage as an institution is on the rocks.
Vanessa George, the paedophile who abused small children and who still refuses to identify them, was married with children.
What people get up to behind their front doors is up to them. I didn't think that Stephen Gately's death was sanitised, as Jan claims.
Far from it. In fact, some of the Press implied the singer had been on a drinking binge, whereas now the barman in the club he visited claims Stephen was sober.
Last week, another homosexual man died, but he didn't get an obituary in the Telegraph like Robert Key or lurid front pages like Stephen and Kevin.
Ian Baynham, a civil servant, who by all accounts was a thoroughly decent man and a good neighbour, died after an alleged attack right in the middle of London, in full view of passers-by in Trafalgar Square.
After shouting homophobic abuse at him, his assailants are accused of punching and kicking him, leaving him with fatal head injuries.
No one went to his aid. Two teenage girls and an 18-year-old boy have been arrested.
Over the past year, the number of attacks against gay men and women in London has risen nearly 20 per cent, and in a recent survey 90 per cent of the gay men and women questioned said they had experienced homophobic insults and abuse.
That concerns me a hell of a lot more than what goes on between consenting adults behind closed doors.Source: You'll never guess. :O
Despite being a Mail columnist I kind of liked JSP already (she reminds me of Marsha from Spaced :3 ), but yeah... newfound respect for the woman after reading this.