Toyboy earns gay following

2010-01-11 22:26

Belfast - Kirk McCambley, the young man whose fling sparked the political scandal engulfing Northern Ireland, is being headhunted by Britain's top gay magazine which wants him to be its cover boy.

Aged 19 at the time but now 21, the cafe proprietor's romance with lawmaker Iris Robinson, the 60-year-old wife of Northern Ireland's First Minister Peter Robinson, is earning him an unlikely fan base in the gay community.

Her alleged role in helping McCambley get the cafe licence has led to her husband stepping aside for six weeks in a bid to clear his name over the affair.

A Christian, Iris Robinson sparked controversy in 2008 when she told BBC radio she considered homosexuality an "abomination" and had met gays who had sought psychiatric counselling, "turned around and become heterosexual".

The editor of Attitude, Britain's best-selling gay magazine, said they had been trying to contact McCambley.

"We would love to see him on the cover of Attitude. We think our readers would go wild for him," Matthew Todd said.

"Most people think that would be fun," he told AFP.

"A lot of gay people are feeling grateful to him for exposing her.

"There's something very satisfying when somebody is being very pious and religious... the fact that he's young and attractive brings it down to earth.

Anger in gay community

But he admitted: "I don't think it's likely that he'd want to be on the cover of Attitude... we tried a few times and the phone rang off."

Todd said there was "a lot of real anger" in the gay community towards Iris Robinson but now that she had been "humiliated" by her affair, the family had suffered enough.

On the internet, more than 5 400 people joined a McCambley appreciation society on a social networking website.

Meanwhile, last week's download sales of the song Mrs Robinson by the legendary folk duo Simon and Garfunkel were up 1 200% in Northern Ireland on the week before, the Official UK Charts Company told AFP.

The song was written for the 1967 film The Graduate, which is about a young university graduate played by Dustin Hoffman being seduced by the much older Mrs. Robinson.

It contains the lyrics: "And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson / Jesus loves you more than you will know" and "It's a little secret, just the Robinsons' affair."