Kevin Cummins, a London-based photographer, recently tweeted this image:

Picure of Theresa May with alleged quote

The concern with the image is the text

Curbing the promotion of lesbianism in Merton's schools starts with girls having male role models in their lives.

No citation is given. Are there any trustworthy sources for this?

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    On the other hand, I've heard people say that an all-female upbringing can bring on male homosexuality. By your logic, shouldn't that produce more heterosexual males? Of course, your question is about whether May said it, not whether it is a justifiable statement.
    – hdhondt
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 10:09
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    Quite so, I want to know if May really said this, not how, if at all, male role models impact upon female sexuality. Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 10:24
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    I'm not sure if it's notable (in that it may be very recent). For example a reply to twitter.com/KCMANC/status/871316320368959489 from 18 hours ago says, "Fake quote. No source and only google result is a Reddit post from today asking if it's a fake."
    – ChrisW
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 10:26
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    Hmmm ... it is just days before the election, prime time for fake news in social media.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 20:36
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    She didn't say "Curbing lesbianism", she said "Curbing the promotion of lesbianism in [] schools" which would have been a completely mainstream Tory view at the time. See my answer for details. Commented Jun 9, 2017 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


Very difficult to prove a negative, but Buzzfeed tried.

This picture of Theresa May allegedly talking about the need to curb "the promotion of lesbianism in Merton's schools" went incredibly viral over the weekend despite little evidence she actually said it.

Actually, "little" is an exaggeration. The only evidence they found was that actual tweet.

Without any substantial evidence that she did say it, it seems only fair to assume she didn't say it.

Also, it seems implausible that in 1992 a politician would make such a mock-worthy statement and there would be no record of it.

Finally, given that there is no record of it, how would the person who made the meme know about it?

Edit: a commenter emphasizes that "there is no online record of it". In response to that, see here for how a slander from 30 years earlier could be exposed by information that was supposedly not available online.

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    It wouldn't have been considered "mock worthy" back in 1992 though. The Conservatives had a law since 1988 ("Section 28") banning "the promotion of ... or acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship" in certain publications and schools, and Theresa May voted against the repeal of this law in 2000. Also, small correction: "given that there is no online record of it" Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 22:54
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    @user568458 -- I think phrase "the promotion of lesbianism" would have raised some smirks, even in the Dark Ages of the early 90s. It's not just that there is no online records -- Buzzfeed contacted the newspapers that might have covered it and they couldn't find anything in their archives. Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 22:59
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    Why, when the law literally says "the promotion of homosexuality" amongst other things? Do you not remember the controversy while Tony Blair was pushing to overturn Section 28 in the early 2000s - people like conservative newspaper columnist Richard Littlejohn accusing Blair of being "obsessed with poovery"? Even in 2004 people like Littlejohn were still casually using offensive words like "poofs" and "dykery" (and also "lesbianism") in national newspaper articles. It's not long ago, but the language and climate were totally different to today Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 23:19
  • @user568458 -- because "promotion of lesbianism" sounds much funnier! I think I should start using "dykery" in everyday conversation. Do you think it means the practice of dykeism or all dykes considered collectively? Perhaps the latter is the "dykeoisie"... Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 23:52

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