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REFLECTIONS ON A YEAR IN EQUALITY By Sara Ann Hope 2012 has been an amazing year for Great Britain! We’ve had the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics . On a global scale we’ve had Obama return for four more years in the White House, and Felix Baumgartner breaking the sound barrier by falling from space. But as another year draws to a close, I can’t help but reflect that this year has been rather a mixed bag of news in terms of lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender (LGBT) equality. After the devastating events of Hurricane Sandy, one Rabbi remarked that it came about as a result of New York’s legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2011. Across the pond in Russia, a Moscow court upheld an order banning gay pride marches for the next hundred years and St. Petersburg maintain their ban on the distribution of “homosexual propaganda.” If the world’s most powerful and influential nations still blindside us with homophobic bile like this, is it a wonder some countries still carry the death penalty for homosexuals? As the supposed “developed” ones in this situation, should we not lead by example? The quest for legalising gay marriage in the UK for

example - it’s not an attempt on our parts to “devalue” the institution of marriage, we just want to be allowed one of our basic human rights. You’ll be pleased to hear it’s not all doom and gloom this year. The aforementioned Presidential Election brought hope to America that Obama would continue his positive work for LGBT rights. Likewise the American election saw the historic vote of four more states in favour of same-sex marriage, pushing the total to nine states overall. The public voted for the US’ first gay senator (Tammy Baldwin) and Australia’s first openly gay Big Brother winner (Benjamin Norris). Two “gay” king penguins in Denmark successfully fostered an abandoned egg and became the third in a line of samesex penguin parents. In the UK the first prosecution under homosexual hate crime laws took place in Derby and TFL banned adverts suggesting gay people can be “cured” by therapy. Overall it has been a year of ups and downs for the LGBT

community and it seems like we’re always taking one step forward, and half a dozen back. Things are changing though, however slowly, and I am confident that we will one day have equality, if not for us then for our children.

(Above: members of the LGBT society with VP Student Life)

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STUDENTS CELEBRATE BLACK HISTORY By Alex Lott

Black History Month is celebrated internationally and marked each October in the UK with events and festivals to honour the many achievements and contributions of black people around the world. Last month, for the first time ever, KU students created a comprehensive programme of official events for their own Black History Week. The week saw at least one activity on every day, all run by various KUSU societies and student groups. Events ranged from discussions to debates to music, film screenings to external speakers. Megan Smith, President of the feminist society and KUSU’S women’s officer said: “Our event, ‘Feminism on the Margins’, brought new members to our weekly feminist society meetings and really influenced our own understanding of race and feminism. “On top of that, the speakers from ‘Black Feminists’ were welcoming and enthusiastic about doing further work with Kingston University.” Cinema appreciation society (CAS) president, Lloyd Evans, whose society hosted a film screening of Malcolm X said: “I think our event went well, the film was extremely interesting and gave an insight into the life of a key civil rights leader and the struggles that black

minority and ethnic people faced.” All of the events held were developed and run solely by students who gave their spare time and energy to make sure the week ran smoothly. Vice President Student Life, Lucy Williams said: “It’s the societies who have really put the work in to making such a great programme of events – like with everything at KUSU, it’s the students who make our achievements.” She added: “Being a part of something like this is a great way to build on your employability skills, make friends, have fun, and most importantly make a positive difference to the lives of others. I’d encourage every single student at KU to get involved with something similar during their time here – and there are loads of opportunities!”

UPCOMING EVENTS: GLOBAL FESTIVAL LGBT HISTORY WEEK

DISABILITY AWARENESS WEEK WOMEN’S HISTORY WEEK

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