editor’s letter Hello,
It’s LGBT History Month, and as with many equalities events, I’ve already encountered the odd sceptic asking if such an event is relevant to an increasingly tolerant society. It’s a fair question: certainly for LGB people, ten short years under a refreshingly-progressive government has delivered unprecedented legal equality, helping to engender what we hope will be lasting social change. For the first time in modern history, one can envision a society – perhaps even a world – when equality is a fundamental principle rather than a optional extra. The trouble is that for many people, it is still just that – something bothersome to be tacked on; an afterthought. This apathy toward something so fundamentally human – fired by a lingering misconception that an issue doesn’t matter unless it affects you – feels ever-more prevalent, fostered by a noxious culture of materialism and instantgratification that we have, en-masse, mistaken as important. If we are to promote equality, we must simultaneously dismantle these selfish ideals.
Contents 3 News 4-5 Events 5-6 Burroughs Day 7-8 Blood ban / Blood Groups 9 Clare Summerskill
History Month reminds us that gay people aren’t new. We’ve always been here and we always will be – a fact that makes a mockery of those who would call us “unnatural” when in fact, the phenomenon of same-sex attraction couldn’t be more normal; ubiquitous. At some point, when we have mass social acceptance – when kids aren’t still suffering homophobic bullying at school or killing themselves because they’re scared of the judgement of conservative parents – perhaps we can start to relax. History Month is still relevant, not only to maintain visibility and raise heterosexual awareness about the issues we have grappled with and still face, but to help ourselves better to understand who we are, where we came from, and where we might be going.
NEWS… Council recognised as a good employer for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees For the second year running, Bristol City Council has been applauded in a national index of the top 100 lesbian, gay and bisexual friendly employers. This year the council is ranked 38 and is in the top 10 of local authority Public invited to have their say on Old Market employers. This ranking by Stonewall, the organisation which campaigns for lesbian, gay and bisexual equality, recognises the council's equality policies, practices and training. It acknowledges the authority’s work on creating a safe and equal workplace for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees, and the commitment of officers and councillors. It also recognises the work of the Rainbow Group (an employee group) to further lesbian, gay and bisexual equality.
Members of the public are being invited to have their say on the Old Market Conservation Area.
Council officers are due to commence work on the production of a draft Conservation Area Character Appraisal for the Old Market Conservation Area. Prior to drafting the document we welcome any comments or suggested Also mentioned are activities in schools to inclusions you may have. eliminate homophobic bullying and hate crimes, services provided through Young Please contact them with any particular People and Play Services, and the council's issues you think they should consider. engagement with the wider lesbian, gay and These may include features that make bisexual community. Stonewall states: 'to qualify as one of the 100 best UK employers for gay people in 2008 employers have had to demonstrate significantly higher standards of good practice than ever before. Stonewall applauds those organisations featuring in this year's index.' Councillor Peter Hammond, Bristol City Council's Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Care and Communities, says: “Stonewall's workplace equality index is an important external assessment and validation of this council as an employer of lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It tells us what we are doing well, and how we can improve our performance even further to attract and retain staff. It is encouraging to see that we have increased our ranking from 68 in 2007 to 38 in 2008.”
either a positive or negative contribution the area; how the City Council could better manage the Old Market Conservation Area, or where a review of the current conservation area boundaries should take place.
Your comments need to be submitted by the 21st February 2008. Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Hannah Smith, Conservation Officer, 0117 922 2960, or write to her at: City Centre Projects & Urban Design Team, Brunel House, St George's Road BS1 5UY.
South West Sexuality Fair 2008 Wednesday 20th February
Leading the way in legal services for the lesbian and gay community in Bristol
The University of Bristol Students Union are hosting a fair for the LGBT community of the South West. This will include not only students from our university, but also around ten other institutions, as well as the general public. The entire first floor will be open, with stalls including:
Acting on feedback from clients, Burroughs Day Solicitors identified a need amongst the lesbian and gay community for there to be a safe, friendly place to go for legal advice where all matters would be dealt with sensitively and without fear of prejudice.
− careers − the scene i.e. nightclubs & bars − commercial companies − charity & voluntary groups − sports & leisure − media
So, in 2007, Burroughs Day launched an LGB Law Team. The team is made up of lawyers who specialise in family law, employment law, Wills and tax planning. They cover areas of law specific to the gay community such as civil partnerships and sexual orientation discrimination whilst also offering many other services such as conveyancing for moving home, litigation and injury claims.
Bar open for refreshments. Free admission. 12pm - 8pm Further details available at www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk/ calendar/EventsSouth.php
Legislation enhancing the rights of the gay community has come a long way in recent years. The introduction of the Civil Partnership Act in 2005 radically altered the legal position of same-sex couples who can now register their partnership and enjoy similar rights to those previously enjoyed by married couples only. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services. This means that if a straight person can buy, claim or order something then so can a lesbian, gay or bisexual person. As well as these 2 significant pieces of legislation, MPs have now approved amendments which add a new offence of incitement to homophobic hatred to the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill. The Bill will continue its passage through parliament this year.
and have succeeded in bringing high profile cases against employers who have discriminated against their employees due to their sexuality.” To find out more, please contact Helga Fox-Jones, solicitor in the LGB Team on 0117 929 0333 or email HF@bd4law.com. Alternatively you can visit the LGB section of the Burroughs Day website at www.bd4law.com/lgb
Catch up with Stonewall’s work tackling homophobic bullying, here: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/ education_for_all/
However, despite all this, the reality still remains that it is not always easy to find a law firm which really understands the needs of the gay community. John Baden-Daintree, chief executive of Burroughs Day, says:
Shout about it!
“We regularly review client feedback and the message that we are getting from our gay clients is that the service that we are offering is unique in this area. Law firms are often viewed as very traditional and a little old-fashioned. We are working hard to dispel this myth and want to reassure clients that they can feel confident that they will receive the same high standard of service that all of our clients receive, regardless of their sexuality. Our LGB Law Team has an excellent track record. We acted in the first ‘gay divorce’ in the South West
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women. This man is allowed to donate blood, despite the chances of his having contracted all manner of sexually-transmitted diseases, including HIV, being infinitely-higher than our imaginary gay man.
Naturally, real-world examples will fall across many different points on the spectrum of sexual experience, but I’ve chosen extreme examples here to highlight the utter lack of logic of this ban being allowed to remain in place. It is purely discriminatory, unsupported by current research which, on the contrary, shows rates of HIV and other STD transmission amongst straight people at their highest-ever levels and rising. We’re not living in the ‘80s and HIV is not a gay disease. Being gay does not automatically put you at higher risk of contracting an STD – however, unprotected sex does, regardless of sexual orientation. This is what the NHS needs to get its head around. It should be focusing its attention on those people who are having unprotected sex – not those of any particular orientation.
The UK’s blood stocks are currently very low and consequently, the NHS spends a great deal of taxpayers’ money on advertising and marketing costs to increase donor levels, in order to save lives. However, if the NHS changed just one simple rule, they would instantly have access to several million more potential donors, without any marketing costs. How? Simple. Allow gay people to give blood. The lasting ban on gay people being allowed to give blood is an anachronism – a hangover symptom from an earlier age of different social, legal and technological conditions.
Coupled with advances in blood screening technology, there is no excuse not to review this outdated policy. Until such time as the ban is lifted, it will remain a disparity of increasing Hypothesise, if you will, a gay man who’s only significance. ever had protected sex. Better still, imagine he’s only ever had protected sex with one other person. In fact, imagine that he’s only Sign the petition here: ever had protected sex, with one other person, www.thepetitionsite.com/petition/656253912 just once. Find out more at www.blood.co.uk or www.bloodban.co.uk This man would not be allowed to give blood, despite no sexual history and almost zero possibility of him having contracted an STD. James Whale
Now, imagine a straight man who has had unprotected sex, many times, with dozens of
poetry Blood Groups I have picked This moment Off. A nurse Mosquito-mouthed Speaking into The megaphone Green delta To my palms: An open sea. All the bodies In her words And the words Now in my body. Where am I Where is Pinned down by Choice An irrelevant In these boxes O Negative? These papers My form? O Matron I am not Where is How your sharp point Devotion Refuses Through these tubes To describe me. This plasma Screening? At home In my bed Everything goes I am Just blood Coral red. Salinated speech Fractured face Blood and Thicker water.
the Girls. It includes many of Clare’s funniest characters: Ange the pub Clare Summerskill owner, Lucy a “happening” urban kicks off 13-city tour this spring lesbian, Fennel, who with her girlfriend Camomile, have decided to downsize in a drastic fashion, and Betty from Don’t miss comedienne, singer, actress Barnstaple who is constantly and writer Clare Summerskill performing endeavouring to understand her her totally brand new stage show, In No daughter’s lesbian lifestyle. Particular Order.
Highly acclaimed comedienne
The short stories in Clare’s book cover tales of Wild Women Weekends, holidays in the Sapphic sun and clearlyremembered-but-possibly-best-forgotten crushes on teachers from our schooldays. The song lyrics range from the poignancy of “I’m a We” to the extremely raw “Revenge Song” to the universal cry of “Why Can’t I Find Someone Normal?” The book is fully illustrated by artist Kate Charlesworth.
Packed full of hilarious and thoughtprovoking stand-up, totally original songs and finely drawn comedy characters, Clare’s performances are a one-of-a-kind experience and a perennial favourite on the LGBT theatre circuit. Praise for Clare:
“One of the funniest women in the country!” Praise for We’re the Girls: — What’s On
"Smart, witty, and with an eye for the sometimes poignant detail of everyday life.” — Sarah Waters
“Unorthodox and uninhibited.” — The Independent “Engaging and charming.” — Time Out
Clare’s music is an integral part of her shows and an audience favourite. She has produced three albums of her songs, the latest release being Still Let Me Fly. All three of her albums and her new book will be on sale at her shows and via email at email@example.com
Clare has been touring one-woman shows to theatres around the country for more than 10 years. She has her own keen following in the lesbian community and her universal humour has even been known to make gay men and heterosexual people chuckle quite a bit Clare comes to Bristol’s Tobacco too! Factory on April 20th. Call the box office on 0117 902 0345. Clare has appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and The Richard and For more info on Clare, visit Judy Show. She’s also written for www.claresummerskill.co.uk or email several sketch shows on Radio 4 and firstname.lastname@example.org Radio 2 and she’s just published a book of her all-time best-loved sketches, stories and song lyrics entitled We’re 9
Listings BLAGS - Bristol Lesbian & Gay Switchboard Confidential support and information to gay men, lesbians and to all people with concerns about sexuality. Call us on 8-10pm Monday & Wednesday. 0117 922 1328. Email: email@example.com Web: www.bristolblags.org.uk
lesbian counsellor, and a lesbian and bisexual womenâ€™s support group which runs for 12 sessions once a year. Call 0117 971 6770. 107 Wells Road, Totterdown, BS4 2BS. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Broken Rainbow National helpline for LGBT victims of domestic violence, available Mon-Fri 9am-1pm, 2-5pm. Call 0208 539 9507.
EACH - Educational Action Challenging Homophobia A national charitable organisation set up to address homophobia through training and education. EACH runs a helpline for teachers, young people and parents, and for third-party reporting of homophobic incidents. Freephone Brigstowe Project helpline 0808 1000 143 (10am-5pm Mon-Fri Housing project for people living with HIV, and 10am-12noon Sat). General enquiries 0117 providing support, advice and advocacy. 176 946 7606/7. Office 24, 14 Clifton Down Rd, Easton Rd, Easton, Bristol. Call 0117 941 Bristol BS8 4BF. Email: email@example.com 5188. Web: www.brigstowe.org Web: www.eachaction.org.uk
BLiS - Bath Lesbians into Socialising We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of every month at 8:30 in Mandalyns, 1 Fountain Buildings, Lansdown Rd, Bath. Call 07891 563 127 for event details. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bristol Bisons RFC Bristol's first gay and gay-friendly rugby team is always looking for new members, players and supporters. Everyone welcome regardless of experience or ability. Call 0783 145 4991. Web: www.bisonsrfc.co.uk Bristol Drugs Project Support for users, families and friends. Call LGB rep Sarah Wilson on 0117 987 6010. 11 Brunswick Square, BS2 8PE. Email: HST@bdp.org.uk Bristol Families and Friends BFF is a support group for families and friends of LGB people. We meet on the third Wednesday of every month at 7pm at the Terrence Higgins Trust. Call Sue Allen on 01454 852 418. 14 Brockley Close, Little Stoke Bristol BS34 6EZ. Email: email@example.com Bristol 3Ms Supper group for gay and bisexual men. We hold regular social evenings in Bristol and Weston-super-Mare. Call Russell on 0117 973 9855. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom Youth Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth Project. Friendly social and support group for young people aged 13 - 21, meet every Tuesday from 7pm - 9.30pm. For more information contact Babs or Winston on 0117 377 3677. www.freedomyouth.co.uk Gay Glos Help, advice and social networks for LGBT people living in the rural areas of Gloucestershire. PO Box 171, Gloucester. MonFri 7.30-10pm. Call 01452 306 800. Web: www.gay-glos.org The Harbour Providing free, professional counselling and psychotherapy to people affected by HIV, AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. 30 Frogmore St, Bristol. Ffi: 0117 925 9348 or www.the-harbour.co.uk LGB Young People's Forum LGBT Youth Forum for young people aged 13 21, exploring issues related to LGBT youth. For more information contact Babs or Winston on 0117 377 3677.
Bristol Young Womenâ€™s Centre YWCA Friends on the Hill We provide one-to-one counselling with a Group for people in Redfield, Lawrence Hill,
Barton Hill and the Dings for people who are Rainbow Group LGBT or unsure. Socials, activities, info and Bristol City Council employees group for support. Call Rowan on 0117 955 6971. campaigning, support and socialising. Call Equalities on 0117 922 3786 or email Gay and Lesbian Alcohol Free Friends email@example.com Social and support group for lesbian, gay and bisexual people with an alcohol issue. Call Paul So Out in the South West Green on 0117 378 9439 GLAFF, PO Box 2012, A new social and support group for disabled gay Bristol, BS99 5WN. Email: TMM@glaff.org.uk men living and/or working in the South West. Call Robin on 0117 942 9336 (office) GayWest Email: firstname.lastname@example.org A social and support group for gay people in the South West. Meets Sat mornings in the South West Walking Women Rainbow Cafe in Bath. For details and events For women interested in hiking in the Bath and call 0870 811 1990, Mon â€“ Fri 8pm â€“ 10pm. Bristol area at weekends. Email: email@example.com GayWest, PO Box 586, Bath, BA1 2YQ. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.gaywest.org.uk Terrence Higgins Trust West Information, care and support, and health Lesbian & Children Network promotion for all people affected by HIV and A bi-monthly social group for lesbians and AIDS. Counselling, buddying, complementary bisexual women and their children. Call Rachel therapies, advocacy and advice. Call us on on 0117 942 6884. 0117 955 1000. 8 West Street, Old Market, Email: email@example.com BS2 0BH. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org LGBT Society UWE Weekly meetings, consisting of alternate on scene and off scene events, plus trips. Call Cari on 07812 670 648 or Sean on 07904 382 719. UWE Student Union Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol. BS16 1QY.
University of Bristol LGBT Society We organise regular social events for all LGBT students at Bristol University. LGBT Society, University of Bristol Union, Queens Road, Clifton, Bristol BS8 1LN. Email: email@example.com Web: www.bristol.ac.uk/union/lgbt
Missing Lesbians Website listing events for women in Bristol and USPCG the surrounding areas. A UK-based organisation that finds pen pals for Email: firstname.lastname@example.org gay US prisoners. PO Box 1714, Yate. BS37 4NS. Web: www.missinglesbians.co.uk Web: www.uspcg.com Pink Herrings Social network for lesbians, meets every other Thursday evening at 8:30. Also bowling, cinema, coffee bars, theatre, concerts, discos, cycling, walks, meals out and more. For further info call Dot on 0117 986 1529. Pink Parents UK Information, advice and support on all aspects of lesbian, gay and bisexual parenting. Write to Pink Parents UK, The D'Arcy Lainey Foundation, PO BOX 417, Oldham. OL2 7WT. Email: email@example.com
Victim Support Avonvale We provide emotional and practical support to all people affected by crime, including homophobic hate crime. Call 0117 963 1114, national helpline 0845 30 30 900. 36 Dean Lane, Bedminster, BS3 1BS. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.victimsupportavonvale.org.uk Wild Walking Women A friendly walking group for lesbians, meets the second Sunday of the month with walks at various venues around Bristol, Bath and the south west. Call 07980 418 676.