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april / may

Cover Story

Heather Peace speaks to Seen about her upcoming visit to Liverpool.

It’s all relative What is family friendly?

issue nine free


5 easy steps to strip the winter fat

Gay Marriage

What’s the difference from a Civil Partnership?

Seen Media, Second Floor Unity Building, 20 Chapel Street Liverpool, L3 9AG 0151 515 0613

april / may issue nine



Director & Editor

In this issue of Seen Magazine we’ve explored families. Gone are the days when the perception of a family was made up of a mother, father and twins.

Rebecca Keegan


These days they come in all shapes, sizes... and sexualities. That’s what we have looked at in our special feature in the latest edition. We have succeeded again in breaking down some barriers that are unfortunately still present in modern society.

Director & Sales Tony Burns

Since our last edition, we have created a real buzz in the city with the new layout and design of Seen Magazine. We opened our cover artwork to submissions from the Liverpool community and would like to thank those that took advantage of such a good opportunity. We chose the cover art submitted by fantastic Liverpool creative Joe Murtagh. With summertime just around the corner, we’ve spoken with personal trainer Kane Warren who has given readers some top tips to banish the lumps and bumps we’ve acquired over the winter months and we also have some great information from Liverpool Dental Spa about the new craze with braces and how going back to natural smiles is becoming more popular than cosmetic dentistry.

Columnists & Contributors Andy Green Paul St German James Davies Chris Danks Joan Burnett Chris & Mark Johnson White John McGuire Paul Culshaw Kane Warren

Writer & Web Editor Natasha Starr

We were pleasantly surprised to meet a young man at the LGBT entrepreneur congress in Liverpool who has been publicly backed financially by Richard Branson to start his own business. As a young gay man we are excited to hear about this plans for the future and his bid to share his ambition with the world. So enjoy the latest edition of Seen Magazine. Let’s hope you’re reading it in the sunshine! We would like to say a special thank you to Robbie LancasterFrankland who provided the stunning photography for the Ultimate Fashion spread in our last issue.

Rebecca Keegan & Tony Burns Directors

Design Jonathan Holden

Account manager Robert Mogsa


seen magazine


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style shopping 32Sunshine New season fashion


april / may issue nine

Cover Artwork by Joe Murtagh

news Ball 6Vogue 2012 theme revealed

10LGBT news form around the globe World News

it, Want it 34Seen Our objects of desire Metal 39Heavy The new look of dental braces

work fire 42Quick With BBH Solicitors


Gay Marriage Morecrofts explain the debate

is compensation? 47What With Vantage Law Sweet 49Something Young entrepreneur gets Branson backing

life adoption 18LGBT We’ve come a long way all relative 22It’s LGBT sibling interview

view one 55Take Joan Burnett’s film reviews dating 56Speed New concept of at Lantern Theatre Cheese 60Say Photograph’s of Liverpool’s nightlife

Kiss Him 26Don’t A father’s story

news We check out what’s in the news nationally and locally to bring you the latest in LGBT goings on.



Events season is just around the corner for the LGBT

calendar and we have all the exclusive news on what to expect this year, and it’s time to start planning your diary. This month we exclusively reveal the theme to this October’s Vogue Ball, it’s going to be fantasy-tastic. As well as this Chris Danks a young LGBT entrepreneur


has tried and tested the latest gadget from Apple, and our favourite writer Andy Green gives his thoughts on the latest gay marriage debate. We have also spoken with family legal eagle Julie Ann Waring who explains the debate to us. As usual we have also taken a look at the LGBT news going on around the globe in our World News pages.




Sports News Sport enthusiast Paul McMullen has been involved in different activities all his life. With a Paul McMullen

passion for football and outdoor pursuits, he keeps up to date on all the news and goings on.

In football’s fight against homophobia, Twitter has been the buzz word this past month with three players being charged and fined by the F.A. for homophobic tweets. Four players including Manchester United striker, Federico Macheda have felt the hard stance that the F.A. have taken against homophobia with Macheda being fined £15,000. The F.A. has made it clear that homophobia is not acceptable and has also urged clubs to sign up to their anti homophobia charter. Sixteen premiership clubs including Liverpool FC have signed the done so, with Liverpool going the extra mile by arranging a tournament with Mersey Marauders Gay Football Club and having an LGBT representative on the fans committee.


At long last, Mersey Marauders have been accepted into the GFSN league. In a year that sees the club make real strides forward both in achievement and organisation the league committee accepting both Mersey Marauders’ and Wolverhampton Harts’ application to the league. Off the field talisman John O’Neill who has worked to move the club forward was ecstatic on hearing the news. Mersey will play in the GFSN league division 3 and will play home and away games against Wolverhampton Harts, Cardiff Dragons, Leftfooters FC London, Devon Lions and Birmingham Blaze. This regular league action should bring more players to the team. For those who wish to join Mersey Marauders, training from April will be on a Tuesday night at 8pm. Training will be outdoors for an hour at Everton Park Sports Centre. To keep in touch add ‘Mersey Marauders’ as a friend on Facebook or look on our official website

We are finally out of Winter, the weather is getting nice and it’s time to embrace the outdoors. It’s also a quarter of the way into the year and the New Year’s resolution you had about exercise has probably fallen by the wayside. If this sounds like you then join the Outdoor Lads. The Outdoor Lads is a group designed for gay/bi men, but anyone can join. The group partakes in a great range of outdoor activities. In the North West, April’s calendar includes several climbing events, some walking/hiking, windsurfing and an event camping in a barn. It’s also a chance to meet like minded and LGBT people in a fun environment. To join Outdoor Lads, register at www. For unlimited access to the events and other bonuses membership is less than £50 per year - much less than the price of a gym membership.

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VOGUE BALL is back

Vogue Ball director Darren Suarez has revealed to Seen Magazine that the theme for the next event will be Twisted Fairytales. House of Suarez House of Suarez Dance Theatre Company was set up in 2006 by Artistic Director, Darren Suarez. Darren attained a BA at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and has had an extensive commercial, contemporary performance and choreographic background. House of Suarez is an authentic Vogue House, bringing the forgotten styles of Liverpool’s vogue dance scene back, the fabric of a Vogue House is the participation in a Vogue ball and the House of Suarez was ecstatic when Homotopia agreed to support the idea of a Vogue ball and became the executive producer. Artistic Director, Darren Suarez, emerged in the Vogue scene during the late eighties and he has developed his own language of movement, using Vogue as a back bone to support his works. The company has an innovative approach to dance theatre and movement are at core of the company’s focus, allowing the company to have its own unique movement style, working with contemporary dance and underground vogue dance styles. House of Suarez has created a new form: Vogueography. The company has had a huge response nationally and internationally, with performances all over the UK.



With the catch line ‘From Disney to Diva’ the Vogue Ball held in October is expected to be more popular than ever. “It’s a very exciting time,” Darren tells Seen. “The last Vogue Ball which was themed ‘Death By Glitter’ surpassed expectations and really raised the profile of the event. Since then the ball was voted the Event of The Year in the Seen Awards which was a public vote so it was amazing. “I’ve also been to ITV1’s Dancing On Ice where I was a guest tutor teaching Jen Ellison how to Vogue for her performance and performed for the new spin off of Gypsy Weddings at an event.” Darren also performed at Move It in Liverpool, where he taught a master class in Vogue Dancing. Move It is the UKs biggest dance trade fair. All of this on top of his usual teaching at some of the country’s most high profile dance colleges including LIPA and the Northern Ballet School. “Now that I’ve made my mind up on the next theme I’m ready to get to work. At the next ball I’m looking at a complete fantasy theme, evil witches, diva queens, even naughty Little Red Riding Hoods – I want people to get involved and completely turn the fairytale perspective on its head. “The ideas are endless on what people can do in the categories on the runway this year and I can’t wait until October when the night is upon us.” We will reveal more details about the evening soon, in the meantime get thinking about you fairytale wonderland ideas and if you’re interested in walking the catwalk in the Vogue Ball 2012 email

At the next ball I’m looking at a complete fantasy theme, evil witches, diva queens, even naughty Little Red Riding Hoods.

Homotopia News As official Media Partners to the festival, Seen Magazine catches up with Homotopia’s Gary Everett to find out the latest news.

Toukko Laaksonen (Tom Of Finland)



Finland will now be touring to Stockholm for the first time.

50 Merseyside companies & organisations will mark the day by flying a rainbow flag, or create a visual statement with an artist.

Festival awarded funding to create three major international projects in Russia, Sweden and Finland. Homotopia Liverpool continues its hugely successful international programme with 3 major projects in Sweden, Finland and Russia. The funding has been awarded from the Turku Foundation based in Finland and will support exhibitions, a new archive project documenting the early life of Toukko Laaksonen (Tom Of Finland). The year-long exhibition of legendary gay artist Tom of Finland which attracted a record audience of 90,000 in Turku, Finland will now be touring to Stockholm for the first time. The exhibition was a key part of Turku European Capital of Culture 2011 and presented Homotopia in partnership with Turku 2011 Foundation and the Tom of Finland Foundation Los Angeles. Homotopia has also been instrumental in securing funding to begin work on the personal archive of Tom Of Finland and will form part of a major partnership with The Wäinö Aaltonen Museum of Art & Åbo Akademi Library, City Of Turku who want to gather permanent collections of works & private ephemera by Tom of Finland (Touko Laaksonen) and material related to the artist in Turku. The project starts later this month and will develop into a large scale archive and heritage programme documenting Tom’s early life in Finland including the Winter War.

The festival will also be developing a new human rights led project ‘Art As Social Change’ which will open in St Petersburg, Russia later in the year. The exhibition will chronicle the emergence of gay rights movement in the UK and Europe through photographs, testimonies and film. St Petersburg is twinned with Turku and will be led by the Finnish Consulate and Homotopia. Cay Sevon CEO Turku 2011 Foundation says: “The Tom of Finland Retrospective was one of the most valuable parts of the artistic programme of the European Capital of Culture year. The exhibition attracted significant national and international interest. By supporting Homotopia these new projects will leave a permanent heritage in Turku & a great opportunity to showcase the art in Sweden. Gary Everett, Artistic Director of Homotopia adds: “The collaboration with Turku 2011 has been a truly inspiring and fantastic experience for Homotopia. The Tom Of Finland Retrospective project will continue and through this funding Homotopia Liverpool will now be reaching significant international audiences across Scandanavia and Russia The team is very proud that in such a short time the organisation is fast becoming an international brand making a huge impact both at home and abroad”

Support International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia. The inaugural launch of IDAHO 50 on May 17th 2012 will be a high profile and visible display of action against homophobia & transphobia on Merseyside. The first city to create, participate & engage in IDAHO 50. 50 Merseyside companies & organisations will mark the day by flying a rainbow flag, or create a visual statement with an artist. Some of Liverpool’s leading institutions and companies have signed up to support the day including Liverpool John Moores University, University Of Liverpool, Voodou, Liverpool Community College, Wirral Metropolitan College, Barclays Wealth, Jackson Canter Solicitors, Unite Union, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool Law Society, Unity Theatre, DLA Piper and many more. To mark the first IDAHO 50, Homotopia will be working with Merseyside Probation Trust & artist Paul Harfleet & The Pansy Project in a unique and innovative intervention. Artists, community representatives, offenders and Merseyside Probation Trust will engage in planting pansies raising awareness of discrimination around Liverpool as part of the Community Payback Project & Merseyside Probation Trust’s groundbreaking ‘Promoting Human Dignity’ programme.

year long social justice programme helping to create a more cohesive and healthier city. Since 2005 our inter-generational and youth engagement programme has reached over 80,000 people and is growing” Anne Pakula, Head of Operations at Merseyside Probation Trust says: “Merseyside Probation Trust supports Homotopia in its work to eliminate discrimination towards lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Our innovative work with the perpetrators of hate crime leads to a change in attitudes, thinking and behaviour towards minority groups, which in turn results in safer communities for the people of Merseyside. The Trust is committed to reducing re-offending and improving public protection, and tackling hate crime in this form is just one way of achieving this. “We fully support the aims of IDAHO 50, and value our continued partnership with Homotopia in this important area of work.” Sarah Poblete CEO Liverpool Law Society adds: “Liverpool Law Society supports any organisation which is against discrimination and prejudice to minority groups. The inaugural launch of IDAHO 50 Liverpool is yet another landmark event demonstrating that the Liverpool community cares. We are delighted to endorse this event.”

Gary Everett Artistic Director of Homotopia tells Seen: “IDAHO 50 is very much a part of Liverpool’s DNA, and its commitment to social justice and equality. The day will raise awareness of our

news 09


NEWS LGBT news from around the globe



Sweet announcement

Radcliffe ‘gay face’

Ice cream giant Ben and Jerry’s has announced it will be changing the name of one of its ice cream flavours in the UK in support of equal marriage rights for gays. Oh! My! Apple Pie! will become Apple-y Ever After and tubs will feature a gay couple atop a wedding cake decorated with rainbows. The ice cream maker is also teaming up with Stonewall to launch a new Facebook app today that asks users to ‘marry’ each other online.

Daniel Radcliffe has revealed newspapers believed he was gay because he had a ‘gay face’ In an interview carried in the Daily Express, the Harry Potter star said that he became fodder for gossip columns after being catapulted to fame as the boy wizard. He said: “I had to smile when stories emerged questioning whether I was gay. Obviously I knew I wasn’t but people were curiously desperate to suggest I was. “The papers used to say I had a gay face, whatever that is, or a gay voice but it simply wasn’t true… (But) when you know a gay guy has a crush on you, it’s the most flattering thing.”

Gaydar ambitions The parent company for international gay dating site is seeking a ‘significant cash investment’ to fund its ‘ambition for global growth’. Qsoft Consulting owns GaydarRadio and the Gaydar site, which was founded in 1999 According to 2010 figures, said it accounted for 45 percent of UK gay and lesbian internet traffic, with six million registered users across more than 140 countries.

Hollywood actress same-sex relationships. Gillian Anderson has declared that she previously enjoyed same-sex relationships. The 43 year-old performer – who made her name in sci-fi series The X Files – made the comments in an interview with U.S. magazine OUT. In it, she detailed how she started experimenting with girls after relocating to America from London as a teenager.

Gay marriage: Government consultation begins The government has launched a 12-week consultation on allowing gay couples in England and Wales to marry. The proposal is being fiercely opposed by some senior church figures, as well as a number of Conservative MPs. Civil partnerships, introduced in 2005, already give gay couples the same legal rights as married couples. But the government wants to go further by allowing them to make vows and declare they are married before the next general election, due in 2015. The Home Office’s consultation paper proposes that same sex couples already in civil partnerships should be able to convert to a civil marriage status.

Clooney “I don’t give a damn if people think I’m gay!” George Clooney, a prominent campaigner for legalising same-sex marriage in the United States, said people would probably continue to speculate his sexuality even after he is dead, and that he doesn’t care. The Ocean’s Eleven star told gay and lesbian news magazine The Advocate: “I think it’s funny, but the last thing you’ll ever see me do is jump up and down saying ‘These are lies!’ That would be unfair and unkind to my good friends in the gay community. “I’m not going to let anyone make it seem like being gay is a bad thing. My private life is private, and I’m very happy in it. Who does it hurt if someone thinks I’m gay? I’ll be long dead and there will still be people who say I was gay. I don’t give a damn.”

Church of England’s relationship with gays is ‘a disaster’ Openly gay Dr Jeffrey John who has twice lost out on a post as bishop, says his denomination has become the ‘last refuge of prejudice’ and is treating gay relationships as ‘inferior’ to straight ones. Speaking to the Times, he said in both gay and straight relationships it is possible to have “exactly the same love and commitment”. He added: “It is not immediately clear why the Church should regard such a relationship as ethically or spiritually inferior to a heterosexual marriage.”

news 11

Tech Spec It’s 2012, and this year should see some amazing new gadgets coming on sale. Technology is constantly changing and

Chris Danks

some cool new toys will be on sale this year.

THE NEW IPAD. HANDS ON. Hey guys, as I predicated in the last issue of Seen Magazine, the iPad 3 was launched in March, named ‘The New iPad’. On release date Liverpool One was flooded with eager Apple fans just dying to get their hands on the new accessory. I on the other hand didn’t need to stand in line since I was one of the very prepared bunch. Weeks before the release I sold my iPad 2 on ebay hoping for a all new singing and dancing iPad 3. I watched the official launch event and immediately pre-ordered my new device the second the pre-sale went live and I got my iPad on launch date.

The accessory is advertised as 4G/Ultra-fast wireless, however 4G is not supported in the UK so 3G data would be the same as the iPad 1 & iPad 2. Slight oversight by team Jobs here.


A little. I expected something different or to feel like I had a new iPad, if you have an iPad 1 then the new device is amazing, if you have an iPad 2 and thinking of upgrading, personally I’d wait a while! It’s resolutionary – but not quite revolutionary. Rumour has it Samsung (Who develop some of the iPad hardware) are already working on a new smaller device for Christmas 2012 release. Watch this space!

So here is my hands-on Review. To look at the new release from our friends at Apple HQ, it looks identical to the iPad 2, you couldn’t tell just by looking at it if it was The New iPad however using it is far better. The new iPad uses a retina display, this is the perfect quality screen found in the iPhone 4/4s that makes images and text crystal clear, making everything seem so much more clear and colorful, they’ve also finally put a decent camera on the back of the iPad, something I’ve personally been hankering for since early last year.

they’ve also finally put a decent camera on the back, something I’ve personally been hankering for since early last year.

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Green on Seen Andy has been on Liverpool’s gay scene for more years than he can remember and has Andy Green

been writing about it regularly for the last eight years and has seen many gay venues and organisations come and go in that time.

Is change close? The government’s proposals for equal marriage have fallen well short of expectations. Marriage between same-sex couples will remain illegal on religious premises, which makes me think: what’s the point? Civil marriage, whilst welcome, is basically a civil partnership but there are couples out there who want to marry in a church and there are churches who would welcome them.

It seems that the C of E and the Roman Catholic hierarchy have had their way but they are still opposing the move to equal civil marriages nevertheless. The problem seems to be over the word “marriage” and that some churches seem to think they own the concept. I don’t believe God is homophobic but there is clearly more of a hint of it amongst some of his so-called representatives on Earth. They claim that marriage has been a union between one man and one woman throughout history – that is nonsense. Some of the great figures in the Bible such as Solomon had more wives and concubines than you could shake a stick at? And even if it has been – does that make it right? You cannot use tradition as an argument otherwise we’d still be living in caves. Societies evolve and it’s very sad that some religious institutions see that as a threat. What really gets me is that churches and individual clergy have always had the right to refuse to marry people and that would continue. The Quakers, Unitarians and Liberal Jews have all said that they would happily marry same-sex couples and I suspect that more mainstream churches such as the Methodists would too. So who are the government and outdated religious institutions to deny them? This debate has very little to do with religion. We live in a secular society, albeit with an established church as part of the constitution, and the right to equality should override any religious objections. I had high hopes of this legislation leading to true equality but sadly it does not. The fight continues.

On a lighter note...

there was a great LGBT fringe event as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress held in Liverpool last month. Owners of gay businesses gathered together in Mo*Niques for a few hours of very interesting discussion and I left feeling that it really was the start of something. We saw a presentation on the Stanley Street Quarter and talked about how gay businesses can support each other more and planned more informal get-togethers. One idea was for a gay business directory to be included on the Stanley Street Quarter website so that we could put work each others’ way where appropriate. If Liverpool’s gay offering is to grow then we really need to start communicating better and working together. There is outstanding talent out there but it’s not always utilised to the best effect. We have producers, writers, event-organisers, PR professionals - the list goes on and on. A new gay business association is needed to harness all of this talent in a more productive way and then we’ll all benefit.

news 13

GAY MARRIAGE – WHAT’S THE DEAL? Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors Julie Ann Waring is a family law specialist. We asked her to explain the gay marriage debate to us. As you may be aware the Government (not before time) finally launched a consultation on gay marriages. The consultation period will take approximately twelve weeks after which I hope to deliver some good news to you. The consultation is to address a number of issues concerning the introduction of “gay marriages” and how that will effect couples who have already entered into a civil partnership. The Government proposes allowing civil marriages between same sex couples, and enabling transsexual people to change their legal gender without having to end their marriage or civil partnership. I am confident that the consultation period will result in a recommendation to a change in the law giving gay couples the right to “marry”. I anticipate that what will be proposed is that current civil partners will remain in place and you will not have to “marry”. However, I anticipate that once a change of law takes effect civil partnerships will be able to officially refer to themselves as “married”. This won’t mean that those currently in civil partnerships will lose any of their legal rights that they already have. What I find alarming is that the Government have indicated that even if the law changes to allow gay couples to marry it is not proposed that this will be forced upon religious places of worship i.e. a religious place of worship, which can still refuse to marry a gay couple. There have been a number of religious groups who, quite rightly, have lobbied for gay marriage ceremonies in religious places for some time. Sadly, there has been fierce opposition by others, in particular the most senior catholic in Scotland, Cardinal Keith Michael Patrick O’Brien. However, it is my belief and understanding that if gay couples are allowed to marry then it would be blatant discrimination if they are refused a religious ceremony of their choice. I would go as far as to say that it would actually be illegal for a religious provider to refuse to marry a gay couple. So let’s all keep our fingers and toes and whatever else crossed for the next few months and hopefully there will be something to celebrate in twelve weeks time.

“I am confident that the consultation period will result in a recommendation to a change in the law giving gay couples the right to ‘marry’.” Julie Ann Waring, Morecrofts Solicitors

news 15

Health & Fitness Fitness and working with people has always been my calling in life. Working with Elite Fitness Consultants in Liverpool

Kane Warren

has been a fantastic decision for me. Each day is a challenge and every session has the potential to transform an individual both inside and out.

5 EASY STEPS TO STRIP THE WINTER FAT Summer is now entering the back of minds which means the woolly jumpers are being hung back making way for another season of sun, sea and holidays. This means only one thing for most of us who have been hiding under our warm winter clothing.... It is now time to take action against the extra pounds

piled on over winter! This is where the mine field starts with hundreds of diets, training programmes and many more failed attempts it starts to become a head ache often leaving many of us feeling a little disconcerted. This is why I have come up with 5 easy steps to strip of the winter fat.

1 2 3 4 5

You have heard it before but here it is again, cut the processed and starchy carbs! Although carbohydrates are needed in a diet you can source natural forms such as vegetables, fruit and salads. Pasta and bread are the big common culprits when trying to lose weight, cut these and you will feel lighter, less bloated and you will watch the fat melt away.

Sleeping at regular normal times helps balance hormones within the body, this balance is governed by the body through a process called Homeostasis but through our lifestyles it often becomes disrupted, caffeine dependent people are normally the one who suffer the most from this disruption. The hormones are responsible for many roles one of these happens to be fat metabolising, get to bed by 10,30pm at the latest and cut the caffeinated products to get your natural fat burning boost.

Exercise is a great and fun way to lose fat whilst adding muscle tone. Commonly cardio is the normal choice however this has its limitations and is not for everyone, this is why as a trainer I mainly design weighted resistance programmes for my clients, weight training programmes help load the body’s muscles, this load forces the muscles to tear. These tiny tears lead to longer spikes in your metabolism helping burn more fat and also help tone and build muscle. (This applies to men and women)

Frequency and duration are often over looked when taking part in a diet/exercise plan but this can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. A food plan needs to be strict with the junk foods, and needs to be followed for at least a month without deviation unless adverse side effects are experienced. Exercise needs to happen at least 4 times a week lasting roughly a hour, each one of these sessions should be varied to stop the body from be able to plateau from the repetition of the programme. Changes that can be made are; rest breaks, weight variation, speed of the exercise, repetition and sets, and finally the actual exercises.

The final one is often the hardest but also the most important.... ALCOHOL inhibits the body’s ability to burn fat at any desirable rate due to the damaging effect it has on our liver, the liver is what allows fat to be burned. To give your body a fighting chance have a detox month whilst you enter the first stage of the diet. It sadly doesn’t matter on the type of alcohol, all alcohol will damage and reduce the efficiency of the liver.

To seek further advice on any of these topics or to enquire about personal training please contact Kane at or ring on 07593918723. Check out our website twitter @kanewarren1



life Seen focuses on a special subject in the LGBT world as well as gives readers insight into food and drink in Merseyside and celebrity interviews.



Our special feature on LGBT life this issue is families. We break down barriers in what ‘family friendly’ really means. This includes a look at adoption, a gay grandmother and a very special feature written by a father about his experience and thoughts when his son


came out as gay. We were very excited to talk with Heather Peace, a face you will know from mainstream television shows such as Waterloo Road and Lip Service. She has some very exciting news about a concert tour and her excitement to visit Liverpool in June.


life 17

We’ve come a long way… Liverpool City Council are currently running a campaign to encourage LGBT people to consider fostering and adoption. The city has come a long way in recent years when it comes to this subject, writes Vicky Folksman Liverpool has come a long way since 2007 when a MP declared publicly that the City was ‘overwhelmingly’ against the legislation for gay adoption. Joe Benton, the Labour MP for Bootle claimed to have received sack-fulls of letters backing the Catholic Church’s fight against plans put in place under then Prime Minister Tony Blair to allow same-sex/ LGBT couples to adopt. At the time, he said: “The conscience factor must always remain paramount. It would truly reflect the consensus of opinion across the country, not just in Merseyside and the area I represent,” In retaliation, Wallasey MP Angela Eagle argued that the Government must not cave in to any calls to change the legislation on grounds of conscience and gave the example that if she said her conscience said that she didn’t think black people should adopt, there would be outrage. In its defence, the Catholic Church stepped up in the form of Dr John Elford, the former Canon of Liverpool Cathedral, and said that it wasn’t that the Church didn’t want LGBT couples to adopt, merely that Catholic Church organisations are responsible for the organisation of some 250 adoptions per year and they didn’t wish for any of its own resources to be spent assisting same-sex couples. Surely meant in a magnanimous way, but merely came across as a request for the acceptance of bigotry behind closed doors.



In 2010, adoption organisation Catholic Care won a right to appeal, led by Bishop of Leeds Arthur Roche (province: Liverpool), that could potentially allow the group to discriminate against LGBT adoption on the grounds of religious beliefs, citing the Equality Act 2010 as a reference for their cause. On 26th April 2011 the fight was finally over. Despite Roche’s vehement arguments that

Liverpool City Council currently has 941 children registered as being in care. religious belief is protected by the Equality Act 2010, the tribunal ruled that adoption is a public service, funded in part by local authorities, so does not have the same exemptions under the Equality Act 2010 as those which cover private religious worship. This meant that Catholic Care had two choices: Fall in line with the legislation or close. They are still in business. One year later and ironically, it seems that the argument used by Bishop Roche is the same one that finally managed to lay to rest the last remaining stigmas attached to LGBT adoption. The terms that define ‘equality’ won out. Despite same-sex adoption being fully legal for some years now, LGBT couples are in a stronger position than ever to apply to foster and to adopt children to create a loving family unit.

At any one time, there are around 650 children in foster care in the Liverpool area. Councillor Jane Corbett, Liverpool’s Cabinet member for children’s services, recently said: “We need to find happy homes for children of all ages, regardless of whether they are in the same sex or mixed sex relationships.” This stance is a refreshing far cry indeed from the outrage of MP Joe Benton, back in 2007. As a matter of fact, Liverpool City Council has had a dedicated team for LGBT adoption and foster carers running for the past 4 years. Adoption Team Leader/ Advisor Steve Oliver has been instrumental in placing 7 children with families in the last year alone. “I think there has been a significant change in the past 5 years with a far more positive outlook from the majority of society towards ‘unconventional’ parenting along with an increased confidence from the LGBT community to approach agencies like ourselves.” says Steve. “In the past LGBT adopters were not encouraged by a number of agencies, particularly some of the Voluntary Adoption Agencies and as such I think adoption as a whole for the LGBT community was seen as something not easily accessible.” So, it is to LCC’s adoption team’s credit that year on year, numbers of LGBT adoptions in the City are rising. To give you an idea, in the past four years, 20 children have been placed in suitable homes. This includes the 7 from the last 12 months.

The fact that adoption by LGBT adopters is a relatively ‘new’ occurrence means that research on outcomes for children is limited, however, in addition to the LCC team’s hands-on work with adopters and children, Steve has been able to get 14 Liverpool based LGBT adopters involved in a research project currently being conducted by Cambridge University that will assist and encourage future LGBT adoption. Steve Oliver was also at the fore of the first ever campaign aimed soley at recruiting LGBT adoptive parents and foster carers. Held in Sefton Park on the 21st February and under the watchful eye of New Family Social (NFS), of which LCC is a corporate member, 16 potential carers-to-be came to the event to find out more on how to adopt or foster children with the Council’s help. In addition, New Family Social provides a 24/7 helpline and offers specific advice and support. The Council also uses them to ‘family find’ by advertising children in need of families throughout their membership and NFS ensures the Council is constantly up to date by providing information regarding training and current research about LGBT adoption and foster care. With the persistent question of ‘equality’ ringing in the ears of any prospective parent or foster carer, Oliver is careful to point out that no matter what his department’s area of expertise is; he is first and foremost working in the best interests of the children. “The aims of our department are to simply provide all children with the best possible opportunities in life, and providing loving stable families plays an essential part in achieving that aim.” He says. “We are first and foremost a children’s service and therefore it must be stressed that everything we do is with the child’s needs and welfare being given paramount importance.” And it seems that despite an ever growing interest in LGBT couples looking to adopt, for example, a baby, fostering a growing child is on a whole other level when it comes to carer recruitment. Liverpool

City Council currently has 941 children registered as being in care. Oliver states that there is currently a national shortfall of potential carers and his waiting list alone has 45 children’s names on it.

the right carers are matched with the right child. It is not a decision to be taken lightly and it is worth doing plenty of homework before embarking on such a life-altering quest.

“The challenge is added to by the fact that all of these children bring with them some ‘baggage’ from their early life experiences, ranging from abuse within the womb, caused by drug and/or alcohol

“Some challenges we face include trying to keep sibling groups together. Larger sibling groups (more than two) present extra challenges, as do older children (over 4yrs for boys and 5yrs girls) and then of course there are children with physical disabilities who present further challenges.” Steve says.

From my own experience I have seen LGBT adopters take on some exceptional challenges and become successful adopters...” Steve Oliver, Liverpool City Council abuse and often domestic violence, to those children who have been affected emotionally by poor parenting prior to coming into care…” Steve explains. “Therefore we need adopters who are prepared to accept that the children they adopt may have additional needs that will on occasions test their parenting to the limits, but also accept that they will also bring amazing rewards as they settle, become attached and recover from their traumas and begin to blossom as a result of consistent, loving care in a stable family.” Steve is also careful to point out the challenges that foster carers will face. It isn’t as simple as turning up, filling in the forms and taking home your child. Many processes must be followed to ensure that

“Because of their experiences, looked after and adopted children can feel different from other children who have conventional families, and as such difficulties can be exaggerated if they are not dealt with appropriately. Such children often require their parents/carer to be strong advocates for them. They need to build confidence and self-esteem.” Steve says that his LGBT carers/adopters often have such skills in abundance, most as a result of their own life experiences and he finds that more than most they are prepared for a challenge and this is what makes LGBT carers/adopters such a valuable resource. If they do encounter barriers or uncertainties, the team will use education to try and overcome them. It is paramount that understanding and respecting diversity in all its forms are the key attributes of all adopters and foster carers. It seems times have indeed changed and for those of you reading who may be interested, but wary of the difficult task that faces you, Steve ends on a positive note. “From my own experience I have seen LGBT adopters take on some exceptional challenges and become successful adopters and I have every confidence that the future will reveal positive experiences for all concerned.” To get involved or to learn more, please contact an adoption social worker on 07739936466 for a confidential chat or come along to an information evening. The next information evening is 26th April 7pm Sefton Park Community Centre, Croxteth Drive, Liverpool. Alternatively you can contact the City Council’s Careline on 0151-233-3700.

life 19

supergran In celebration of our family issue, Andy Green talks to Lorraine Young, a lesbian mother and grandmother and known for being the most glamorous woman on Liverpool’s gay scene. She talks about her family and how they accept her for who she is – but it has come with some difficulties.



Gay, gorgeous and glamorous gran, Lorraine Young is well known to many as the bubbly barmaid at The Masquerade. She always has a smile and is not shy of getting up on the karaoke on a Tuesday night and she is also nowhere near as dizzy as she sometimes makes out. I started our chat by asking how, at 59, she manages to look so amazing…

tell who’s straight and who’s gay. When I first came out I wanted a relationship with someone but they’d look at me and think that I had a husband at home so it was harder.”

“I’m very vain, I always have been since the age of 12!” she replied in her disarmingly honest way.

“Oh God yeah, they don’t know any different, I was with Tracy when the twins were born. I always went to their school’s open days and one time there was a display of what they’d done over the summer and up on the wall was “I went to my Nanny and Nanny Tracy’s blessing” – everyone else had been to Pontins!”

Lorraine “came out” when she was in her 30s and her family were very supportive. Her son though, proud of his mum, took the brunt of the backlash. “I had to take him out of school twice because he was being bullied - this was in his early teens. He was just defending me, the girls were fine though. When it all came out it was like “Wow, my mum’s a lesbian!” because everyone wanted one in the family in those days. But I think it hits the boys harder, the girls just get on with it.” Lorraine has been with her partner Tracy for over 20 years now and has been out on the scene for longer so I asked her how things had changed over the years… “Well I was what was known as a lipstick lesbian and there weren’t many of us about so I stuck out like a sore thumb. I felt a bit pressured to conform to the other girls looks but I couldn’t because it just wasn’t me. The nearest I got was buying myself a pair of jeans, I‘d never owned a pair of jeans. But it’s all changed now, you can’t

Lorraine is quite the glamorous gran and I asked if her grandchildren were aware of her sexuality…

With gay marriage in the news and high on this particular writer’s agenda at the moment I asked our Lol if she would ever consider it… “Do you know, everyone asks me that but…no. Because when we got blessed, everyone was there, my mum, Tracy’s mum and dad, we did the video, it was in a big hall and it felt like we’d been married and as far as we’re concerned we are married. It’s only a bit of paper at the end of the day and everyone knows we’re a couple.” I’ve known Lorraine for a fair few years now but it’s the first time we’ve sat down and had a proper chat and not just a bit of banter over the bar – a very enjoyable experience. She is also quite possibly the most photogenic person in the world.

“Well I was what was known as a lipstick lesbian and there weren’t many of us about so I stuck out like a sore thumb.”

life 21



Kenny, Pauline and Tracy are siblings and they’re all gay with one straight brother. KENNY


RELATIVE The often quoted statistic is that 1 in 10 people are lesbian, gay or bisexual but how common are gay siblings? Statistically a couple would have to have 20 children for 2 of them to turn out gay but obviously life doesn’t work like that, writes Andy Green. Some research has claimed that the gay gene is passed through the female line and that a significant number of gay men have a gay or bisexual maternal uncle – that’s certainly true in my case. Kenny, Pauline and Tracy are siblings and they’re all gay with one straight brother. I know of quite a few other brothers or sisters who are both gay but I also know of twins where one is gay and the other is straight. So the genetics of it all are not clear cut, however I think the evidence clearly points to sexuality being a result of nature rather than nurture.

and obviously have something in common. But when we were young me and Tracy were typical fighting sisters.” Do you think you were born gay? “I can only speak for me personally but from the age of five I was attracted to other girls. Obviously I wasn’t aware of what that was all about then. But yes, I think I was born gay.” One study involving gay brothers has claimed to have found a DNA marker on the X chromosome that their straight sibling doesn’t have.

With Pauline being the bar manager at The Masquerade I get to chat to her on a regular basis – I’ve known Kenny and Tracy for ages too - but I’ve never asked her before what it’s like to have a gay brother and sister. Like, who came out first?

Other research claims that the more older brothers you have then the more likely you are to turn out gay. The debate over the “gay gene” will go on and on and most of the studies into it have been proved to be flawed.

“Kenny is the eldest and he came out a good few years before me. I was actually “outed” by our Tracy,” Pauline tells me. “She found some letters and told our dad! He took it OK but I think he was a bit disappointed because I was the first girl and had grown up as a daddy’s girl. He’d been fine about Kenny. Tracy came out a while later and at first I thought she was just following suit but soon realised she was serious.”

If it exists then some will say it proves that we’re “natural” and therefore should not be discriminated against but if it is identified then there is a horrible possibility that gay people could be genetically engineered out of society. I’m of the opinion that we should stop trying to find out why we’re gay.”

So do you think being gay siblings makes you closer? “I’d say as we’ve got older it definitely has because we socialise in the same places

In short: we’re queer, we’re here, get over it!

The debate over the ‘gay gene’ will go on and on and most of the studies into it have been proved to be flawed.

life 23


FOOD Something & DRINK Noble... IN THE CITY

Seen Magazine wonders about town and takes a look at The Noble House restaurant in Brunswick Street. Housed in a grade II-listed building, which dates back to 1799 The Noble House was originally a private bank owned by Arthur Heywood who established his banking firm in 1773, which was later sold and became the Bank of Liverpool.

an eclectic international mix of dishes that emphasise on quality steaks, fish and the finest cured meat.

RECOMMENDS Liverpool’s Specialist Cupcake Cafe We are located inside Stocktons, opposite the BBC at 42 Hanover St, Liverpool, L1 3DN Tel: 07505557145 Follow us T - Laurasbakery F – Laura’s Little Bakery

Heywood is thought to have once lived in the apartments above the Brunswick Street building. The venue features a “new deco” interior design concept, with a Barlas Baylar-designed chandelier incorporating 2.5 miles of delicate nickel chainmail suspended above a custom-made 16ft long, solid oak dining table. From the great breakfast offering through to a deli influenced charcuterie and the drama of our exciting new menu with an eclectic international mix of dishes that emphasise on quality steaks, fish and the finest cured meat, there is something for everyone.



THE PERFECT BARBEQUE Summer time is just around the corner and the Barbeque season has already started. We have out together the top ten tips for the perfect BBQ party.


1. Check the weather. 2. Write your guest list so you don’t miss anyone out. 3. Plan the menu (not forgetting any vegetarians). 4. Prepare any side dishes or salads.

The food & drink

5. Have a selection of nibbles. 6. Use fresh meat. 7. Set up a drinks and nibbles table and let everyone help themselves. 8. Make sure you have a variety of alcohol and soft drinks.


9. Have a varied music playlist so the entertainment is to everyone’s taste. 10. Organise some party games.


French Martini 1 1/4 oz Raspberry vodka / 3/4 oz Chambord liqueur / 3/4 oz fresh pineapple juice / 4 Fresh Raspberry Pour each of the above into a tall bar glass. Shake with ice, pour into a cocktail or martini glass, and serve. Simple to make, fruity and a great taste.

life 25


KISS HIM! Alan Matthews tells Seen Readers about his journey as a father whose son came out as gay, and reveals how no matter what the hurdles they are as strong a family as ever. “Dad, can you give me a lift into town?”, “Can you give me a lift into town, please?” I replied. “Can you give me a lift into town… please?” “OK, where are you going?”, “I’m meeting Anthony outside Central station at 4.” At five to four Dan and I are sitting in my car across the road from the station. He was meeting his new boyfriend and they were going to browse the shops, no doubt ending up at Vivienne Westwood. As he got out of the car I gave him my usual, “Have fun, son, and take care.” “I will” he replied, but was gone before I could ask what time we could expect him home. I watched as he crossed the road and walked up to the station entrance. He waited and within a few minutes a strikingly handsome young man came out and they smiled at each other. Suddenly, I heard a voice say, “Don’t kiss him!” Startled, I looked around, but was alone in the car. I realised that was my voice. I’d blurted out a deep, but previously unacknowledged, fear... my son’s gay. I had known this from very early on, of course, but now he was 17 this was the first time I’d really been confronted with the physical reality of my son’s sexuality. All parents remember milestone events in their child’s life. One, in particular, I’ll never forget. Making our way through Lewis’s to buy his first school uniform, Danny suddenly pulled at my hand. “I want one of those”, he said. I looked to where he was pointing and declared, “I’m sorry, we’re here to buy your uniform.” “No” he insisted, “I want one of those”.

He refused to take another step until we’d bought him a bridesmaid’s dress. He was five years old. Now, as a father, I could have reacted in one of two ways. I could have shouted at him, smacked him, and told him that was wrong and never to say anything like that again. But I know how damaging that could have been for the future.



any years ago, when I was a youth worker, I got to know a lad who, at the age of 15, tried to kill himself because he was gay and had been rejected by his father and brothers. Luckily, it was more of a cry for help than a serious attempt at suicide and, with my support, he eventually came to accept himself for who he was. I knew the right thing to do was to let Danny be who he was.

So it was official. My son is gay. Actually, now it was out in the open I did have to re-evaluate what this actually meant for me. One of my first thoughts was, rather selfishly, about grandchildren. Would I ever be a grandfather? I was only in my early forties at that time so I’d never really considered this before. Would my bloodline continue, or was I staring into a cul-de-sac? I‘m still unsure how I feel about this.

As Dan was growing up the fact of his sexual orientation had been little more than an abstract notion. He’d attended nursery from the age of 18 months, so gained valuable social skills at an early age. His primary and junior school days were unexceptional, he was bright, intelligent and mixed well with other children.

But what about sex? With a daughter the father worries about pregnancy, but for me the worry was AIDS. Both Lyn and I had worked in the drugs field since the early days of HIV so were well aware of the risk factors, but was he? The support and education provided by the Armistead Centre’s ‘Young Gay Sefton’ project was invaluable during this period. It is impossible to over-estimate the important role youth workers can play in guiding our children, gay or straight, safely towards adulthood.

It wasn’t until his secondary school that things went awry. Once the other boys found out that he had a collection of Barbie dolls that was it, he was ruthlessly bullied. Effectively, his secondary school education was over. Of course, my wife Lyn and I were down at the school on a regular basis, complaining about the effect this was having on our son. The school had policies, procedures and protocols coming out of their ears, but homophobia wasn’t recognised back then. In fact, because of Clause28, teaching about relationships other than heterosexual was stifled so such issues could not be adequately addressed. So, while we were arguing with the school, Dan took matters into his own hands. He did the sensible thing, got his head below the parapet and blended into the background. Between the ages of 12 and 16 he wore nothing but navy blue Adidas tracksuits, baseball cap and trainers. He looked like every other kid on our estate. I’d take him shopping and offer to buy different styles of clothing but, to my frustration, he’d always plump for the tracksuit. It was only later that I realised when he put on that tracksuit he was actually putting on camouflage – he fitted right in. Leaving school and going to college was a liberation for him. He blossomed into a six-foot drag queen! Even so, his ‘coming out’ was still a bit of a shock for me. Not because it was totally unexpected, but the manner in which I was informed was so blasé. Lyn had gone with Dan and some of his friends on a trip to Southport funfair, while I stayed at home. Lyn rang to let me know how it was going. “We’re having a great time,” she said. “We’ve just been on the big dipper, we’re having something to eat, and Danny’s just come out”. “Come out of where?” I inquired. “The closet” she squealed. Subtlety was never my wife’s strong suit.

But my real fear, and I still live with it every day, was that he would be assaulted and hurt (or worse) by some homophobic yobs. The idea that someone should be attacked because of their sexuality is just plain ludicrous, but it’s a reality. What is it that homophobes are so afraid of? Their feelings of inadequacy, or insecurity about their own sexuality? The legacy of Clause 28 lives on. It’s strange how, as a parent, you don’t give enough credit to your child’s innate common sense. Emotion takes over, I suppose. The love I have for my son, the need to protect him and make sure he is safe, is just so overwhelming. But I needn’t have worried, of course. Over the years he’s had relationships (good and bad) had his heart broken (and broken a few himself, no doubt), and got lost in the dressing-up box for a while. Throughout all of this he gained a myriad of qualifications in his chosen profession and carved out a career for himself. Approaching thirty he is now settled. He has always had the love, acceptance and support of all of his family (I must say, his grandparents have been fantastic) and friends. He now lives with a wonderful man in a stable, long-term relationship. He runs his own business and teaches part-time. He has a wide circle of friends and enjoys a vibrant social life. The boy done good and I am so proud of him.

On his regular, weekly, visits home he still needs that lift into town, though. Some things never change.

life 27

Perfect Peace Once upon a time, Heather Peace was performing to 20 of her friends in the local pub. A year later and she is one of the UK’s most exciting new female talents performing to a rapidly growing Peace-army at sell-out gigs across the UK. Her soaring, dramatic vocals share beautiful, honest stories of crap relationships, losing and finding your way again and fighting for new love against stunning jazz soaked piano melodies and pop guitar riffs. The Oscar-nominated Nigel Wright is behind the production of her much anticipated debut album Fairytales, set for release in late spring. She spoke to Seen Magazine about the album, the tour and of course, her being a gay woman in such a public role.

“My very first girlfriend was a Liverpudlian,” Heather Peace tells us. “I’m actually a really private person, and tend not to date people in the industry so I don’t talk about my relationships very publicly as my partner has the right to keep things private. “I’m very proud of who I am though, and one of the reasons I want my music to do well and break into the mainstream is because as a lesbian I want to break down barriers and misconceptions.” Heather is speaking to us ahead of her tour which will see her perform at Erics in Liverpool on June 1. The Fairytales Tour will showcase the finished songs from the album to fans across the UK for the first time; including debut single Better Than You and the title track Fairytales. Back in 1997 Heather’s professional career started with nearly two years in Rep theatre. She soon progressed to leading lady and went on to push the phallic boundaries in major drama series. In London’s Burning she played Sally Fields, the only female firefighter on the show and stayed for four series. Later she donned a different uniform to play the first ever female member of the SAS, Becca Gallagher, in Ultimate Force alongside Ross Kemp for two series.



Showing her versatility as an actress, her next major role was totally against type as single mum Fiona Jones in two series of Kay Mellor’s The Chase for the BBC, with Gaynor Faye and Nicola Stephenson. Currently, Heather stars as DS Sam Murray in the BBC 3 drama Lip Service. The show was groundbreaking stuff and was recommissioned for a second season due to its huge popularity, both in the UK and internationally. The new series is expected to air on BBC3 in spring 2012. s well as acting, Heather has always had a passion for music. She started learning piano at the age of six and began singing and writing music at an early age. She paid her way through drama school by holding a three year Sunday jazz residency at Velvet, Canal St, Manchester. She was once signed to Simon Cowell’s label BMG, releasing a cover of The Rose, but despite continuing to write and sing in her spare time, the quick success of her acting career meant that her music was kept on the back burner. Until now. 2010 was a massive year for Heather. She made the decision to throw her white Gretsch guitar over her shoulder, dust off her lyric book and embark on an acoustic tour. Throughout November and December, she drove around the country selling out 180 capacity venues within hours of tickets going on sale.

“I love being on tour,” she says. “It’s hard work and very tiring but my dad drives and we have a great time. He is fantastic and keeps me sane.” Heather says her family have been a huge influence in her life; “They are amazing and very close to me.” She was placed in the Top 40 of ‘The Independent on Sunday’s’ annual Pink List and number 12 on US based website,’s readers’ list of “Favourite Out Celebrities”. Her Twitter following shot up, and she was besieged by messages from fans asking for more gig dates and for her to make an album. She will appear at many of this year’s summer festivals and her first studio album will be produced by the Oscar-nominated Nigel Wright (Madonna, Barbara Streisand) and released in spring 2012. “I can’t wait to get to Liverpool. I am hoping to get a night off after the performance and get myself out onto the city’s gay scene for a bit, the people in Liverpool are brilliant.” Heather will appear at Eric’s Liverpool on June 1. For tickets visit www.ticketweb. or call 08444771000

“Heather drove around the country selling out 180 capacity venues within hours of tickets going on sale.”


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style Style is something we Merseysiders pride ourselves on whether it’s good taste in clothes or fantastic favourite bars. Seen Magazine looks at what makes us envied for our taste.


style Sorry for the cliché but – it’s time top spring into style! Yes the sun has officially started shining and not only does that tend to bring out good moods but it makes us want to shop for a new wardrobe and accessories. We have focussed on our favourite high street fashions


as well as some extra special bits and pieces in our Seen It Want It pages. We’ve paid our usual visit to Hotel Indigo but this past few months we’ve fallen in love with a new element to this boutique destination. In the theme of summer smiles, Seen talks to Liverpool Dental Spa’s Kamran Rasul about the comeback of braces, and we were very surprised at how far the


dentistry has come since the days of heavy metal.

style 31

Seen Fashion


Spring bank holidays are looming so it’s time to break out of those work togs and freshen up your wardrobe with some fantastic clothes available on our very own Merseyside high streets.









1. Matalan / Hat, £6 / Shirt and t-shirt set, £16 / Chino shorts, £16 / This outfit is great value for a casual day in Spring. 2. Bank / Striped shirt, £25 / Trousers, £35 / This outfit is a vibrant colourful outfit great for a casual day in Spring. 3. Matalan / Weave Band Hat, £6 / This hat is a cool holiday buy for during the day. 4. Office / Ocean Driver shoes, £54.99 / These bright shoes are a good investment for Spring, they are stylish and will look great with a pair of Jeans or Chinos. 5. House of Fraser / Blue Chinos, £145 / Want to stand out? These chinos (also come in yellow and red) are a great way to do so. 6. Ted Baker / Multistripe Swimshorts, £50 / Stripes and pastel colours are very popular this spring and these swim shorts make a great investment for this year’s summer holiday. 7. Matalan / Berry Espadrille, £6 / Very popular last year and seem to be again for this spring and you can choose from a full range of colours. 8. Next / Cotton Jacket, £99 / Suitable for work all year round a great investment and will work well with most colours. 9. Next / Shirt and tie set, £30 / If you are sick of wearing the same old white shirt for work you could try this shirt and tie set at just £30 for two.


3 2




1. New Look / Cardigan, £19.99 / Colour Block Pleat dress, £29.99 / Nude Lofas, £15.99 / This outfit is great value and can be suitable for casual wear or for work. 2. Next / Polka dot heels, £38.00 / The perfect pair of shoes for work during the Spring and will suit most outfits. 3. Warehouse / Long line jacket, £60 / Satin front tee, £18 / Slim leg Capri, £35 / Great comfy outfit whilst your working. 4. Primark / Candy Stripe Beach dress, £10 / A good holiday buy to wear whilst you’re away and can still be worn at home during the right weather. 5. Matalan / Aztec Scarf, £5 Lace / Jersey top, £12 / Waist coat, £14 / Denim Short, £14 / Fringe bag, £8 / Bangle (Part of a set), £8 / This £61 outfit is very stylish and great value. 6. Dune / Ballerina Pumps, £45 / Feel a little more comfortable in work with these. 7. Primark / Multistripe Bikini set, £8 / Perfect for your summer holiday this year.



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style 35

FIRMLY ON THE MAP... Firmly established as one of the city’s coolest hotels, Hotel Indigo has placed its mark firmly on the map. It’s a regular haunt for Liverpool Glitterati, business people, trendies and of course, us as Seen Magazine. This issue we take a closer look at the Marco Pierre White Bar and Grill, and how the Hotel Indigo brand highly compliments the restaurant’s ‘quality as standard’ feel. Anyone who knows us at Seen Magazine knows we love Hotel Indigo. If you’ve ever had a meeting with us chances are we’ve met at the Cotton Lounge, if you’ve ever had lunch with us chances are it was at the Marco Pierre White Steak House, if you’ve ever seen us out on the town a little bit too late chances are we have arranged to stay over at the hotel, if you’re our Facebook friend you will have no doubt seen us check in there on countless occasions.

Give the Cotton Candy Martini a try if you dare.

Our latest obsession is the cocktail bar. Friday nights after work have started to roll out into a new pattern which we are currently loving. We leave Seen Towers and take the 16 steps straight through the Hotel Indigo Cotton Lounge to the bar where they have one of the best drinks menus in town. Give the Cotton Candy Martini a try if you dare. Team Seen strongly suggest you try this venue – see you there!

10 Chapel Street Liverpool L3 9AG 0151 559 0111


At 23 years old, Tom Lee has a wealth of experience behind him, and a very exciting future ahead. Already Head Waiter at the Marco Pierre White Restaurant based at Hotel Indigo, he tells Seen about his ambitions.

We all get on really well and that’s because we At 23respect years old,each Tom Lee has aand other wealth of experience behind him, above all we respect the of service that’s and aquality very exciting future ahead. expected with such a Already Head Waiter at the Marco well established brand. Pierre White Restaurant based at Hotel Indigo, he tells Seen about his ambitions. Tom Lee, Head Waiter

Formerly a chef for 6 years, Tom Lee has worked at the boutique hotel based restaurant since it opened almost a year ago. “It’s a fantastic company to be a part of,” he says. “What I love about it is that they will help you to develop in the role you desire.” Tom hopes to embark on hotel management one day, and he has been given the support he needs to gain his experience. “I spoke to David the general manager and he has helped to put a training programme in place for me to develop the skills I will need in order to be ready for that type of role one day.” “They really look after us. I also value the fact that the colleagues I am working with are all so good at what they do in their respective fields. It’s inspiring to see so many great talents under one roof and I am very excited to be a part of it.” Tom was promoted recently to the role of Head Waiter after working his way up to the role. “I’m proof that Hotel Indigo develops its own staff and nurtures us to be the best we can be in our own areas. “We all get on really well and that’s because we respect each other and above all we respect the quality of service that’s expected with such a well established brand.”

Exclusive Offer...

Use the below voucher to receive a free half a bottle of wine per person at the Marco Pierre White Steak House. When you dine at the restaurant using the evening menu you will receive your wine. At just £22.50 for 2 courses and £26.00 for 3 courses, Mon – Thurs on the Table D’Hotel, the offer is available until June 2012.


Half bottle of wine per person when dining at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, Hotel Indigo Liverpool. T&Cs / Offer valid Thursday to Monday 6 – 10pm / Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer / Wine selected at the discretion of MPW restaurant management / Voucher may only be redeemed at Hotel Indigo Liverpool MPW restaurant / Voucher expires 04/06/2012

10 Chapel Street Liverpool L3 9AG 0151 559 0111

Treatments Smile Makeovers Porcelin Veneers Gum Countouring and Teeth Reshaping Dental Implants Extractions Sedation Teeth Whitening White Fillings Orthodontics Straight Smiles in upto 6 months Invisalign Dental Hygiene Perio Surgery Dentures General Dentistry Fine Line and Wrinkle Treatments

Love your smile, love the Liverpool Dental Spa


FREE clinical consultation (normally ÂŁ110) Buy one get one FREE on Enlighten Teeth Whitening (guaranteed white teeth)

CONTACT 0151 236 8280 23-25 Brunswick Street Liverpool City Centre, L2 0PJ

Brace yourself. Liverpool Dental Spa’s Kamran Rasul gives Seen readers the facts about braces. Why have braces suddenly become so popular among adults? Crooked teeth can really affect a person’s smile the way they look, their confidence and lifestyle choices. Adult orthodontics have become more popular recently due to the advances in technology that can now make braces invisible and because of celebrities like Tom cruise, Gwen Stefani, Nicholas cage and Justin Bieber who have glamorised braces and removed the “Ugly Betty’’ type stigma and like all things associated with Hollywood it’s a must have.

We see a lot about Invisalign braces at the moment, are these available to anybody? Invisalign is the virtually invisible way to straighten your teeth and achieve the dazzling smile you’ve always dreamed of. Unfortunately not everyone is a suitable patient for this treatment as Invisalign is not always appropriate for more complex problems. However using advanced 3D computerimaging technology, Invisalign depicts your complete treatment plan from the initial position of your teeth to the final desired position so we can determine your suitability before you start treatment.

How often after I’ve had them fitted will I need to visit the dentist? Your visits after having your brace fitted will vary with individuals needs, typically we ask all our patients to return to see us every four weeks.

Yes braces are totally safe and with Invisalign they are fully removable so they don’t even have to interfere with your lifestyle such as active sports.

Are there any foods or drinks that I can’t consume when wearing braces? With Invisalign you remove your clear brace to eat foods so there are no restrictions to the foods you may eat or drink. Precautions need to be taken with a fixed brace. We advise you refrain from hard and sticky foods as these can damage your braces such as apples and toffee. It is essential to maintain a healthy diet as your teeth will become harder to clean with braces so a good oral hygiene routine is essential, your Dental Hygienist can help you maintain a healthy mouth.

FREE consultations are available worth £110 (quote seen magazine)

Do braces hurt? Initially after having your brace fitted it will feel a little bit different and after having your braces tightened or with Invisalign having a new tray fitted, it can feel tight where the teeth are being moved into place and this can make your teeth feel tender but the feeling only lasts a few days.

How long will it take for the effect to be seen? Your teeth start moving straight away and you can sometimes notice a difference in as little as a week. Total treatment times will vary on how crooked your teeth are and this can be from as little as 6 months to 2 years.

Are braces safe?

In the past I’ve been wary of the dentist as it makes me uncomfortable – what can I expect at Liverpool Dental Spa?

The Liverpool Dental Spa is not like a normal dentist, from the moment you walk in your greeted to a warm welcome your seated in very comfy seating area and offered a selection of teas, coffee or soft drinks from the bar, (yes there is a bar). The smell of scented candles helps soothe you the music is tranquil. It has the sense, feel and atmosphere of a spa. Even the dental surgeries are comforting with memory foam dental chairs, TV’s in the ceilings and the latest in dental technologies you can lay back and enjoy your treatment. Your whole journey from start to finish is designed to help relax you and make the whole journey an enjoyable one.

How much will it cost me? The cost of a brace can vary with how crowded your teeth are. A fixed braces using tooth coloured brackets is available from £1500. Invisalign is available from, £1995. FREE consultations are available worth £110 (quote seen magazine). All treatments are available with 0% finance.

style 39


Scousewives Desperate Scousewife stars Chris and Mark Johnson White are

Scouse Proud

living a crazy life. Since the hit Mark & Chris

show series one aired, the boys have been busy being celebs – but insist they are keeping their feet firmly on the ground! They tell Seen readers what they’ve been up to recently.

Hey Guys.

Promoting the LGBT Community

Well it’s been a short while since our last column and WOW! What a couple of months it’s been! We’ve dealt with a rollercoaster of emotions but it’s certainly been an exciting time for your boys the Johnson White’s. So since we last spoke we have been invited to some amazing events and we’ve done our best to withhold the amazing reputation you guys know and love us for, keeping the good old scouse humour spreading around the country!

Our main focus when we worked on Desperate Scousewives was to represent our city’s LGBT community and that’s what we aimed to promote as it is a very personal subject. We have gained a massive gay following which is nice, and we’ve been dubbed role models for younger generations. It’s so flattering. The response from the whole of the city and the nation has been amazing and we are bursting with excitement for Liverpool Pride as rumour has it this year’s is going to be sensational and we will be rocking with our fellow gays! The fact that Liverpool is starting to head in the right direction when it comes to inclusion makes us very proud to be scousers. You’ll be seeing us around Victoria Street and our Gay Quarter very soon – after all the hard work we are due a good night out!

Down to business

Trips down south

We are celebrating the birth of our new baby - our salon that is! We have just opened our bang on trend hair salon Whitehaus. We partnered with Tracy Bell and opened our doors on March 1 and since then we haven’t stopped it’s been so busy! We met Claire Hobson a top semi permanent makeup artist who spoilt us with new eyebrows and guy liner which was amazing made a huge difference so she’s coming to team with us.

We were invited down to dancing on ice by our good mate Jennifer Ellison a few weeks ago and our throats were raw from screaming for her. It was amazing and she did so well to get the quarter finals of the show, what a babe.

We’ve teamed up with the new online brand Mr&Mr too. We are working closely with them to help promote their line of underwear and accessories aimed at gay men. This is the first website of it’s kind that is so high class. Owners Mark and Elaine have been so fantastic with us and we do suggest you get yourself on there and get shopping or for the ladies there’s We’re working with new managers who understand who we are and what we can do to help our community and its rights, were working on new projects so you will be seeing more of your boys! If you want to pop into the salon please make you appointments soon as we are booking up fast. Follow @whitehaushair on Twitter or call us on 01517097604. Also please follow our shenanigans and show your support @markscousewife @chrisscousewife not forgetting our little pooch @sydneyDSW



Until next time Seen Queens,

chris mark x


work We speak to business people in and around Liverpool about their special fields.


work With the recent LGBT entrepreneurial congress in Liverpool, more focus than ever is on the LGBT business community. National and International brands have made it a must to promote their attentions to diversity both internally and externally. With this in mind we speak to Plus Dane Group,


a housing association which has been publicly recognised for it’s attention to detail. We also introduce our regular column from BBH solicitors, who we have worked with in their LGBT friendly strategy. Vantage Law tell us all we need to know about Personal Injury claims and why false stigmas should be ignored. Finally we hear form Lees Solicitors, who are now going through one of their busiest periods with sharp increases in


both the number of same sex partnerships breaking down, and we were shocked by some statistics they share.

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Taking the stress out of buying your

New Build Home

At BBH we have a specialist New Build Residential Conveyancing Team who has vast experience in dealing with new developments for residential purposes. For further information or to instruct us please contact Nicola Vaughan on 0151 326 2388. Quote ‘Seen’ for a ‘free will’ when you instruct us to act on your property.

BBH Legal Services Ltd, Eastham Hall, Eastham Village, Wirral, Cheshire, CH62 0AF Telephone: 0151 326 2340 | Fax: 0151 326 2375 | BBH (Legal Services) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Reg. No. 561550

Quick fire


on New Build Homes with BBH...

1 3 5

Why BBH Legal Services?

Having a wealth of experience in dealing with new build transaction we are frequently referred by developers to prospective buyers and have firsthand knowledge of many sites. We will fix our fees with you at the outset of your transaction, we extremely competitive and do not charge for abortive transactions. You will also be given a direct line and email address of the person dealing with your transaction.


How does the New Build Process differ from an ordinary conveyance?

You should instruct solicitors, such as BBH, who are familiar with the New Build Legal Process. We will check all manner of issues for you, planning and building regulation consents, rights afforded for the benefit of the property etc. We ensure that the contract sets out everything the builder has agreed to do.

Who will be responsible for the Estate Roads?

We will ensure a Highways Act Agreement is in place. This agreement is made between the Local Authority and the Developer and a third party providing an insurance guarantee This agreement confirms that the estate roads are the responsibility of the developer until they become publicly maintained (adopted) by the Local Authority.


I have reserved a plot what should I do now?

In order to reduce the risk of losing your new build property, make sure that you instruct solicitors as soon as you decide to reserve a new build. Early appointment with your proposed Lender is recommended to ensure you meet your Reservation Expiry Date.

Will I know what your fees are upfront?

Yes, we offer a free, no obligation quotation at the outset of your transaction. Our fees have proven extremely competitive and we do not charge for abortive transactions.


Are you familiar with schemes such as Shared Equity, FirstBuy?

Yes, BBH have dealt with numerous transactions subject to such schemes. Our aim is to give clear and practical advice to assist and ensure you are informed every step of the way.

BBH Legal Services Ltd, Eastham Hall, Eastham Village, Wirral, Cheshire, CH62 0AF Telephone: 0151 326 2340 | Fax: 0151 326 2375 | BBH (Legal Services) Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority Reg. No. 561550

BREAKING DOWN BARRIERS We speak to Plus Dane Group’s Chris Mather, who came out on Liverpool’s gay scene and believes it could knock spots of Manchester.

itting at his office, flicking through our latest edition, Chris Mather pauses at the story about the Stonewall Top 100 best employers and sighs with pride. “That’s what we do,” he says. “Break down barriers.” Chris is a director at Liverpool housing association Plus Dane Group, steering the organisation’s development programme, a complex, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding job aimed at building houses for people in housing need. However an equally important part of his role with the housing association is as a member of their Something for Everyone diversity group and a champion for the Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. “Being a champion is about working to ensure that people can truly be themselves in the workplace and that the company sticks to its promise to challenge hate and promote understanding in the neighbourhoods they serve,” Chris says. “It’s important that we show a good understanding of the neighbourhoods we work in. Being in the Stonewall top 100 and being the only North West housing provider in the list is an ace achievement, but it makes business sense, too. “I can’t stress how important it is for companies such as ourselves to ensure equality and diversity are held in as high a regard as any other part of the business. It’s the only way to get the best from all your employees; they feel like they can be themselves. “No one should come to work and have to hide who they are. At Plus Dane you can be whoever you are and you will always be treated exactly the same as anyone else no matter what you race, sexuality, age or anything else.”

Born in St Helens, Chris now lives in Manchester with his husband Nathan. They have been together for 18 years and in a civil partnership for four years. On the current same-sex marriage consultation, he is passionate in his support for gay marriage. “I’m not a big activist when it comes to these things, but I strongly believe that we should be treated the same and given the same rights no matter what our sexuality,” he adds. Chris came out in Liverpool in June 1991. “It was the days when Jodie’s was about and a few other clubs that were a great introduction to a gay lifestyle! I do believe it is far easier today for young people to come out than it was back then, we’ve come a long way. Now we have an official ‘gay quarter’ and streets signs which all support inclusion. “The plans for the future of the scene are very exciting and if the steering group and Liverpool City Council can carry through what they want to achieve, this city’s scene will knock spots off Canal Street.” This said, Chris thinks Liverpool has more work to do in coming out of the closet. “I don’t think Liverpool’s as cosmopolitan as it could be. It’s improving hugely, but there’s a lingering feeling of being ‘kept underground’ where as in Manchester the gay community is right there in your face. “This is backed up by the fact that Pride only came back here in 2010 and Manchester have just celebrated their 21st one. “Pride is making a big difference to how the LGBT community is recognised. It’s been a substantial part of the breaking down of barriers and it’s fantastic to see people who aren’t members on the LGBT community getting involved and celebrating with us!”

Being a champion is about working to ensure that people can truly be themselves in the workplace and that the company sticks to its promise to challenge hate and promote understanding in the neighbourhoods they serve

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. W A L E G A VANT Y R U J N I L A PERSON . S T S I L A I SPEC ce. utique practi

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Peddie Call Sammy our to discuss y case further.

0151 229 1840

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Q&A with Vantage Law

As personal injury specialists, Mark Pollard and Sammy Peddie of Vantage Law talk us through their services and how claiming compensation as the victim of an incident doesn’t have to be daunting. Can you explain to us exactly what the term PI is? It means Personal Injury, which is the term for cases where a person has been injured as the result of the actions of someone else.

What exactly is compensation? It is what is given to reimburse people for out of pocket expenses i.e. loss of earnings or medication costs and also recognises the pain someone has suffered as a result of their injury and how it has impacted upon their life.

Who would pay me compensation and how long would it take to receive it? It is usually recovered from the insurers of the person responsible i.e. their car insurance, public liability insurance, employers liability insurance etc. The length of a case depends on the type of accident, extent of the injury and whether there is a dispute over whose fault it might be. Straight forward cases can settle within 10-12 weeks. Others can take years, although these tend to involve the more serious injuries.

How much compensation would I receive? The amount of compensation very much depends on the extent of the injury and financial losses incurred. Someone who suffers from a minor neck injury (commonly known as whiplash) and recovers within a few weeks, up to one year would recover an award of between £875 - £2850.

If I’m involved in an accident that isn’t my fault, what is the first step I should take?

If I am involved in an accident at work, will my employer be able to ‘make my life difficult’ or fire me if I decide to claim compensation?

Ring us! We will give you advice on what needs to be done and, where possible, take care of things for you. This includes arranging for your car to be inspected and/or repaired, arrange a temporary replacement vehicle etc… Our job is to make things as simple and stress free as possible.

Legally employees are prohibited from discriminating, punishing or dismissing a person for making a personal injury claim. If this is not respected then legal action can be taken against them under employment legislation.

What details do I need to obtain from another driver if I’m involved in a road traffic accident that isn’t my fault?

What if I think I’ve been involved in an accident but I’m not quite sure I qualify for compensation? Will you charge me for coming and speaking to you about it?

By law, a person must provide insurance details at the scene of an accident. If people do not have this information to hand take their name, address and contact number. Most importantly ensure you record their registration number and the make and model of their car. We can then carry out a search on the vehicle to obtain these details if necessary. Anyone who refuses to provide this information or leaves the scene without stopping should be reported to the police immediately. Again, if possible, take down the vehicle details and we can carry out searches to identify the vehicle owner and insurers.

Can passengers in the car also claim compensation? Passengers are innocent victims in these accidents because they were not driving and so their claims tend to be straightforward.

Do children under the age of 16 qualify to receive it? Yes. Anyone can make a claim if injured. Those under 18 simply need an adult to act as their representative, which is usually a parent or sibling.

0151 229 1840

We act on a No Win No Fee basis. This means that we will not charge you for our time and expenses if the case fails. This arrangement is covered during the initial consultation and so, even if it transpires that you do not have a claim, there will be no charge for our time in providing initial advice.

I have heard about people being paid money to place a claim with a firm of solicitors, will I receive money for doing this? This is what you would call a referral fee and it is common practice. We offer all sorts of benefits that may be attractive to you including Liverpool One vouchers or an iPad. Give us a ring to learn more.

Call Vantage Law direct on 0151 229 1840 or email

The pleasure is all yours... Let’s face it. The majority of mainstream online adult shops are tacky and intimidating, especially for the LGBT community in a world which can sometimes feel judgemental, and looking online for something special to buy for yourself or your partner can seem like a bit of a battle against seediness. That is until now. Liverpool born Elaine and Mark Reynolds were determined to provide a high-quality service through every aspect of their business and have broken the usual stereotype and opened the “Harrods of online adult websites’. “The type of man or woman who shops on our site is confident, successful and believes in quality over quantity. They know how to work hard, but also have a fun side that likes to come out and play”. With quality and sophistication as standard, and a dollop of fun in between and are two new websites for the LGBT community. Both sites offer a fresh, unique and bespoke service, combining a range of adult products, underwear, outfits and lingerie with events and news as well as advice on health and wellbeing. and offer more than just adult toys though. Mark tells Seen Magazine: “We really wanted to create something that was fresh and different from services that are already on offer. We wanted to be unique and provide our customers with a high-quality service – something they would want to return to time and time again”.

And that’s exactly what both websites do. They have a wide range of products including an “Exclusive and Boutique” range where products are individually hand wrapped with our exclusive Mr&Mr OR Mrs&Mrs Gift Tag and come with free UK delivery. All products are delivered in discreet packaging and you can shop online, with secure trading guaranteed and find that perfect naughty gift for you or your loved one. Elaine adds in the near future we will be introducing a wider product range such as shoes, body jewellery and much more. David Hanlan of Merseyside’s LGBT community says: “This site is safe, fun and very user friendly. It’s great to have access to something that’s not only gay friendly, but the makers behind it clearly understand the meaning of good quality.” Visit the sites now and see for yourself what a fantastic service Mark and Elaine have brought to the LGBT community. “The pleasure is all yours” As an Exclusive offer to Seen Magazine readers please find below your 10% discount e-coupon to claim during your first order.

Hurry, Limited Offer e-coupon Code: SeenMag042012

Sweet Success

The Global Entrepreneur Congress took place in Liverpool last month and a very enterprising young man managed to get a couple of hundred quid out of Virgin boss Richard Branson. He spoke to Seen Magazine about his business and his ambition to promote gay business leaders. The first thing about Aaron that amazed us is that he is only 16 – we thought when we first met him that he was at least in his early 20s. The second is that he puts salt in his coffee but we’ll gloss over that – it takes away the bitterness apparently.

“I asked Richard Branson how can a young person like me get finance to start up a business and he said he’d give me some.”

He’s currently studying for his A levels in physics, chemistry and biology at Liverpool Community College and making cheesecakes on the side. It was through the college that he got his chance to pitch his cheesecake business idea to Branson. “The college arranged for some students to have a Q&A with Richard Branson and I asked how can a young person like me get finance to start up a business and he said he’d give me some. I’ve also received £200 from council leader Joe Anderson.”

Aaron plans to spend the money on a professional mixer and ingredients and he’s got some pretty funky recipe ideas. “I’m thinking about mandarin and curacao with a gingernut base and passion fruit with popping candy. I’d really like to get into some independent cafes and also the Stanley Street markets and I’m keen to market the cakes wherever I can.” Aaron has clearly got a good business head on his young shoulders and he’s already been selling his products in college and has recently got himself a business mentor. This guy is definitely one to watch.

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DISSOLUTIONS THE FACTS Since the law allowing Civil Partnerships was introduced in 2005, there have been 46,622 such Partnerships formed. In 2010, which are the latest figures available, 11% of men and 17% of women who were dissolving Civil Partnerships had been either married or in a Civil Partnership previously. Statistics show that while more men than women enter into Civil Partnerships, it is the women who are more inclined to end the relationship, with females accounting for 60% of all Dissolutions. There is also a trend in the ages of people entering into Civil Partnerships, with the most likely age between 30 and 45. The most likely time of the year for people to make this commitment is between July and September. In 2007 there were 41 Dissolutions; in 2008 these rose to 180; in 2009 there were 353 and in 2010, the latest available statistics, there were 509. Dissolutions, like divorce, can also only take place if you have been in a Civil Partnership for at least 12 months.



Going the Jenniffer Skillen, 33, is Partner and Head of the Family Division at Lees Solicitors in Wirral, tells Seen Magazine how she is going through one of her busiest periods with sharp increases in both the number of same sex partnerships breaking down and the number of marriages going through divorce. he latest statistics show that during a four year period, from 2007, the number of Dissolutions – break down of Civil Partnerships – increased more than ten-fold. In 2007 there were 41 Dissolutions; in 2008 these rose to 180; in 2009 there were 353 and in 2010, the latest available statistics, there were 509. There have been many suggestions made about the potential reasons for this rise with some speculating that the introduction of the law allowing Civil Partnerships in 2005, led to an influx of people making the commitment and making this commitment in a rush. But Miss Skillen refuses, at the present time, to believe this speculation: “It’s far too early to say if as a result of people rushing into Civil Partnerships this has led to their break-down. There is no evidence to suggest this at the present time and we would have to give it far more time before we could correctly come to this conclusion.” Since the law allowing Civil Partnerships was introduced in 2005, there have been 46,622 such Partnerships formed. “Although the number of Dissolutions has increased during the last four years, we must remember that there still remains 45,539 people in Civil Partnerships.” Statistics show that while more men than women enter into Civil Partnerships, it is the women who are more inclined to end the relationship, with females accounting for 60% of all Dissolutions. There is also a trend in the ages of people entering into Civil Partnerships, with the most likely age between 30 and 45. The most likely time of the year for people to make this commitment is between July and September. In 2010, which are the latest figures available, 11% of men and 17% of women who were dissolving Civil Partnerships had been either married or in a Civil Partnership previously. And while Miss Skillen deals with the majority of these Dissolutions herself, she also offers her clients an alternative to being dragged through the courts. She is one of the first people in the region to qualify as a mediator. Miss Skillen added: “Mediation is very often the preferred way forward. If we can get both parties to agree through mediation this is far less painful than going through the whole court process.”





extra mile. n addition to the mediation service, Miss Skillen also runs specialist Saturday morning sessions at the Heswall office when people who are just looking for a listening ear are able to call in for a free half hour session. (booking is essential.)

at first because I knew they would be so annoyed with me. “I saw a job advertised in the local paper for a family law clerk at Lees and I applied for the job and was successful,” Miss Skillen said.

There has also been much speculation over the rules governing Civil Partnerships and their Dissolutions and how these may vary from the rules of divorce. Miss Skillen said: “It is purely the terminology which is different and rather than divorce we call these Civil Partnership Dissolutions. The procedures are exactly the same as divorce and the costs are also the same. “Dissolutions, like divorce, can also only take place if you have been in a Civil Partnership for at least 12 months.” There is, however, only a small number of courts currently dealing with the Dissolution of Civil Partnerships and only two in the North West, in Chester and Manchester. Further afield, courts in Newcastle, Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Exeter and Leeds will deal with Dissolutions. Miss Skillen was born in Birkenhead and went to Park High School and Birkenhead Sixth Form College. The mother of eight year old Patrick, Miss Skillen started out training to be a primary school teacher but after a year of teacher training she decided it was not the job for her. “I hated teacher training so I quit university, much to the horror and disbelief of my parents. I was actually scared to tell them



Jenniffer Skillen, Lees Solicitors

Since the law allowing Civil Partnerships was introduced in 2005, there have been 46,622 such Partnerships formed.

Miss Skillen was just 19 at the time. Immediately after joining Lees, Miss Skillen began studying at night school for her law exams and in 2004 she qualified. Six years later she became head of the family unit at Lees before being appointed partner last year – one of the youngest people in her position in the North West. Being the ambitious person she is, Miss Skillen has continued to take exams ensuring she is a leader in her field and always able to provide her clients with the most up to date and best possible advice. She is a leader dealing with high net worth cases and domestic violence cases. And Miss Skillen, who loves spending time with her son, going running and to her local boxing club when she is away from work, says she eventually hopes to qualify as a District Judge. “I am ambitious and I guess that is the next step for me – but in a few years’ time!” If you need any help or advice contact: 0800 387 927.



work 51

view Culture, film, art and opinions make up our View pages with news on upcoming exhibitions as well as photographs from Liverpool’s LGBT community.



Liverpool’s Lantern Theatre is the first of its kind to hold gay and lesbian speed dating nights. The first one is just a week away and we were keen to hear from our very opinionated writer Paul Culshaw on what he thinks of the concept. Joan Burnett wows us once again with her take on some LGBT film with a special twist on the family friendly feel


of this issue. Film makers at First Take in Liverpool are looking for new interviews for Pink past and Present and we’ve once again been out on the gay scene photographing the party people at their best.




NEWS PRIDE TRUSTEE JAMES DAVIES GIVES SEEN READERS THE LATEST NEWS AND GOINGS ON OF THE 2012 FESTIVAL. This month we’ve launched our theme survey – each year we put four ideas to the public vote based on your own ideas. This year you can pick from:

In the Lap of the Gods As near as we could get without using the ‘O’ word and being sued by Seb Coe – but who fancies a bit of decadence of mythological proportions – did anyone say ‘Toga Party’?

Pride Superheroes Is it a bird, is it a plane, who cares, do they look good in spandex? Wonderwomen and Supermen, come celebrate your favourite superhero or villain, or find out what powers you have!

Acceptable in the 80’s Whether you remember it, were born in it or were just a twinkle in the eye the glamour of the decade that taste forgot can be your theme. Shoulder pads and neon, but no section 28 please…

Nautical but Nice Appealing to all you mermaids and sailor boys, we want to see all things celebrating the sea. Liverpool’s waterfront and maritime history is the perfect excuse to get a bit moist in anticipation.

Liverpool Pride 365 Football v Homophobia February saw the launch of our first Liverpool Pride 365 event – with our Football v Homophobia tournament held at the LFC Academy in Kirkby. Over 150 people took part from the LGBT and straight communities with the day being won by Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service. The project or ‘Street Sport Crime Reduction’ to give its full name aims to break down barriers between LGBT people and public authorities to encourage the reporting of hate crimes as well as bringing them together young people who are at risk of offending. The day saw over 150 people take part at the LFC Academy in Kirkby with a second event planned at Lifestyles Wavertree on March 25th. If you’d like to take part, or to register for future tournaments then visit We’d like to thank the LFC Academy, Merseyside Police Authority, the Community Foundation for Merseyside and the European Regional Development Fund helped fund the project.

LGBT Cultural Visions We’re delighted to be working with Gyro and their counterparts Silver Social in our project to produce a series of intergenerational work to document the different group’s cultural experiences of being lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender growing up. The groups will work together to produce a series of works of art, photography and a play co-written with the Rotunda’s John Whelan which will be displayed and performed in a number of venues to be confirmed throughout the whole city including Fact and the Rotunda itself. Danny Kilbride, of the OpenLGBT film festival will be helping the group to document the production. For more information on the production, contact

Street Sport Crime Reduction aims to break down barriers between LGBT people and public authorities.

If you are the victim of Hate Crime in Merseyside, then you can call Stop Hate UK in confidence on 0800 138 1625, 24 hours a day or contact Merseyside Police. In an emergency you should always dial 999.

We’ll be out and about around the scene and the wider Merseyside area in the next couple of weeks with the final result to be announced soon. In the meantime – you can also vote at

view 53

Seen Socialite Paul has been on Liverpool’s gay scene for most of his life. Hot to trot, the former face of the city dedicates his spare time to working with committees

Paul St German

to promote the Stanley Street Quarter as well as Liverpool Pride. On top of this he likes nothing more than a good party – and he’s usually invited to them all, when he isn’t throwing them!

Well I’ve been working in The Sir Thomas Hotel since before Christmas and I love it, not only that I love working there, I’ve just had a promotion and I’m now the Restaurant and Function Supervisor. The Sir Thomas is fast becoming the place to be, It’s a great place to sit back and enjoy watching the Liverpool Glitterati. I’ve been out and about a couple of times lately and I must say that I’ve had really good time. I think everyone has finally got over the Christmas Blues and started to party

POSITIVE THINKING I can’t believe it’s this time again, I feel as if I have blinked and the new issue of Seen is here already here! The last couple of months have been amazing so many good things have happened. I’m reading a book at the minute called The Power By Ruonda Byrne, and it’s all about positive thinking and I believe it’s everything to do with all the good things that are happening to me and those around me at the minute. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you go and get it!

again. January and February were quite flat and nothing was happening ( even I didn’t do nothing for my own Birthday in February!) I’ve been up to Jupiters and had Flick harassed on the Karaoke, as well as Martin in the Lisbon. I would like to say a BIG Thank You to Mike Morgan for giving me my Birthday Drink (or 50!) and making sure I was absolutely hammered! Thanks Mike. I’ve seen the FABULOUS Rebecca Ferguson quite a bit lately and had an absolute scream with her.

She had her After Tour Party at The Sir Thomas Hotel which was an amazing night with DJ John Sutton, where guests partied till the early hours of the next morning. I also went to see her at The Echo Arena, and the show was brilliant. The show was mainly all about her album with a few amazing covers of; Kings Of Leon, Rolling Stones and Drake. Her voice was actually better live than her CD, a talent not many Artists can achieve. I also hosted a Fashion Show for the

Fabulous Miss Francesca Couture, which I always love doing as Francesca is an amazing girl. Lastly you can also come and see me every Saturday Night at Newz Bar which play host to Plush Parties were I’m Hosting. I started this week and was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few Faces from the gay scene of Liverpool. Hope to see you all for Easter and the races! Till Next Time, Lots of Love, Paul St German X



Take One Joan Burnett’s passion for queer film started when she saw her first fabulous gay kiss in My Beautiful Film review with Joan Burnett

Laundrette more moons ago than she cares to remember. After eight years at FACT, a stint for

It’s all about the family...

outsiders and a year as Trustee for Liverpool Pride, she believes

Following on from LGBT History Month in February, after reflecting on how far we have come through the decades, we now take a look at LGBT families and how they are perceived, how they live their lives just like anybody else and how acceptance is becoming more common than reluctance – even in the film world.

the importance of LGBT people seeing themselves on screen is as essential as ever. She reviews the best in new and classic DVD’s available now.

The Kids Are All Right

Loose Cannons

From the horrors of 1950’s films like Suddenly Last Summer where family was the ultimate enemy of LGBT well-being, through 70’s and ‘80’s classics La Cage Aux Folles and Torch Song Trilogy when gay people create their own families with style, to today’s breezily optimistic dramas, family is a live topic of debate.

Plenty more happens in this beautiful, funny film. Tommaso’s Grandmother has the pulse of everyone in her family, and she has the wisest lines; as she says “Normal? What a horrible word…”. The story twists and turns through disbelief, heartache, humour and acceptance amidst the enchanted stones of the town, present and past dancing together as joy wins out. Watch the end credits too – pure screen magic.

March will see UK premiere Kathleen Turner’s first major film role in over a decade as the ultra-conservative suburban Mom in The Perfect Family, so it’s a great moment took look at LGBT families on screen. The Tories made jibes about gays and their “pretend families” in the ’80’s, but there’s far more truth and humanity in Armistead Maupin‘s comment that we have our biological families AND our “logical” ones – the people we CHOOSE to have around us.

The Kids Are All Right (2010) caused a stir when it was released; two A List female actors at the top of their game happily playing lesbian mothers convincingly and the depiction of a lesbian family threatened by a hetro relationship. For me, this film is a modern classic, and not just because I find the sight of Julianne Moore’s knobbly knees peeping out from khaki shorts endearing in the extreme. It’s a mature film about mature women, unafraid to look into the darker moments of life as a couple – ennui, impatience and misunderstanding – and analyse them with wisdom. Annette Bening was completely robbed of her Oscar: surely there’s been no cleverer and more touching depiction of a woman on the edge of losing it all?

Puglia in the deep south of Italy corresponds culturally to England’s north west, so Ferzan Ozpetek’s wonderful film Loose Cannons (2010) feels very close to home. Sexy Tommaso returns to his wealthy but socially conservative family in order to tell them that he’s gay, but at a catastrophic dinner party his brother Antonio blasts everyone out of their complacency by stating his own homosexuality before Tommaso gets a chance.

“Normal? What a horrible word…” view 55

Speed dating in How it works – in a nutshell... • At the event you’ll meet around 20-25 people between the ages 20-35. • You spend 4 minutes chatting to each person before moving on to your next date. • If you’d like to meet up with someone again, mark his or her name down on your dating card. • If you both indicate that you’re interested The Lantern provide you with each other’s contact details within 24 hours. *This event is specifically designed for gay and lesbian people Tickets are £15 per person and are available by visiting alternatively to find out more about the event please call Daniel on 07403631280, or Margaret and Siobhan on 0151 703 0000. The Lantern Theatre, 57 Blundell Street, Liverpool, L1 0AJ

Liverpool’s Lantern Theatre is introducing LGBT Speed Dating to its monthly events. With split opinions on the concept, Paul Culshaw asks is it really any more unusual than responding to a photo on a website? We’ve all had them. Dates we’d care to forget. I could write a book. There was the guy who was lovely but then told me at the age of 24 (at the time) - that he liked younger men - since when was 24 prehistoric? Then there was the guy who broke down in San Carlo over his ex within 20 minutes. Not forgetting the musical theatre director from London where the date went really well, but when it came to me throwing the lips on him on my couch, mid-smooch he asked me to put the DVD of ‘Chicago’ on in the background only to continue to try and smooch with one eye ball firmly fixed on Catherine Zeta-Jones. After a few minutes of this nonsense I asked him about it where he went into an endless speech about his deep-rooted love for the actress. I kid you not. Let’s face it, the dating game is difficult. In a world of Grindr, Facebook, Twitter, Gaydar, etc not to mention the lively clubs on our relatively small but vibrant scene, dating for a young (ahem ish) gay man or woman and everything in between can be tough. It can all get a little bit confusing and exhausting when one considers as they flick through a catalogue of men on their smartphone or computer trying to find the one that’s right for them. It’s no wonder gay dating in the 21st century is so tough – so much to consider and so many basic judgments made on a person based on a megapixel picture of them falling out of the G Bar. Well the wonderful people at the Lantern Theatre have got a 2012 twist on the dating game. Speed-dating. Yes, I am aware the mere mention of the term will have some people choking on their hummus and cowering into the corner in fearful submission. ‘As if / The shame / I could never do that’.



have to say, I’m all for it. Once you get over the initial flutters of nerves the set-up has been designed to incorporate everything fun about dating. A modern spin and twist on an age-old tradition. The guys at The Lantern Theatre (seriously even if you don’t go for this event, check the space out, it’s brilliant) have thought this out and are taking a light-hearted well thought approach. So here’s what you need to know for when you get there; you’ll meet up to 25 men (for people who like men) and 25 women (for people who like women) and they will all be aged between 20-35.

single? Is he interested? The speed-dating session takes care of the first two questions and in regards to being interested after you’ve had your mini date, The Lantern take care of that for you. All you need to do is give the person a tick on your dating card and if they do the same you’re provided with their details. Job’s a good’n! Don’t think you have the nerve? Understood - the concept can be daunting- but there will be people running the event there who are solely to make sure you are comfortable and enter a welcoming atmosphere. And what you need to remember in this situation is that EVERYONE is in the same boat.

I am going to be there with bells on – if that isn’t enough to terrify you then come on down! We’re all in it together and we’ll have a good laugh.

Perhaps you might see someone you know to break the dates up in the sense of you can have a pit-stop and a giggle, or someone who you know you won’t be dragging up the aisle within 30 seconds but may turn out to be a really good friend. Another good thing to consider is that these events may be attended by someone who perhaps you wouldn’t meet on your usual Saturday night pub-crawl or slobbering over you asking for your number in the G Bar.

I am noticing more and more when my friends meet someone that social networking sites are often the reason they found each other. People are forward thinking and opening their minds to the ways in which they can potentially find love.

If I could offer one key piece of advice, don’t take it too seriously. It’s supposed to be fun. Laugh about it, don’t make the outcome of the event depend on your everlasting happiness, you might meet your match, you might not. But you are guaranteed to meet some interesting people, maybe a new friend and maybe, just maybe, Mr Right. What do you have to lose? And if you don’t meet anyone there who takes your fancy, you can be the proud envy of your friends that you’ve been on 25 dates lately. I am going to be there with bells on - if that isn’t enough to terrify you then come on down! We’re all in it together and we’ll have a good laugh.

In a bar, there is so much to consider when your eyes meet.... is he gay/straight? Is he

view 57

NRUTER OF THE ART SHOW. Matt Ford is back, this time in collaboration with for another bold exhibition of Art, Music and Performance. With friends like The Sense of Sound singers and DJ collective CantMixWontMixShdntMixDontMix (or MixNot for short) to get the show started, Ford has already got our feet through the door before we’ve even heard about the artwork.

After the success of THE ART SHOW A/W11, which saw Ford sell all the key pieces in the exhibition, it would be safe to continue to work around the exact same theme or indeed repeat some of the signature pieces from The LOVE Collection. Instead, he has chosen to collaborate with Liverpool’s leading art consultant, pulling in three of their finest artists, who have existing work based on Liverpool’s famous cityscape.

The Art Show S/S12 Thursday 3rd May - 7pm. Open Event, Free Admission. Camp and Furnace, 67 Greenland Street, L1 0BG Venue & bar will be open from 6pm. The exhibition and opportunity to purchase the artworks ranging from £80-£1000 continues Friday 4th - Sunday 6th May, 11am-6pm. See: for more info



Ford and the three other artists have gone on to produce new work, inspired by personal notions of contemporary Liverpool culture, exclusively for the forthcoming Art Show S/S12. The New works will be an eclectic range of styles and media, including photography, illustration, silkscreen print and paint. Artist Daniel John, working in abstract paint, whose art has a romantic quality, has worked on the ideal of Liverpool’s mixed blend of new and old buildings. Taking textures from some of Liverpool’s decaying, gone but not forgotten, relics and reworking into aspects of new structures.

Ford himself has looked at a totally different avenue of culture and drawn inspiration from Liverpool’s underground yet thriving fringe theatre scene. His BRUISE collection is a development on the recent gay play by Liverpool writer John Maguire under the same name and it’s taboo subject matter, Domestic Violence. The BRUISE collection (featured on Seen’s Last cover) is in the format of the psychological inkblot tests used to analyze patients. Ford has disguised raw images of cuts, bruises and black eye’s and created intricate, symmetrical and ambiguous patterns. Exploring the idea that receivers of domestic violence and their abusers keep the physical and physiological effects hidden, the work mirrors this by creating a beautiful images that the viewer only needs to look a little deeper to see the truth. Things aren’t always what they seem. The Art Show S/S12 will be one of the first exhibitions to take place during the first Liverpool Art Month. The Gallery room will be right next door to the performance/ bar room in Liverpool’s coolest new venue, Camp & Furnace. The eclectic mix of Artwork, a cappella vocal sounds, followed by hip mixes from Chubuku and Creamfeid familiar DJ’s, MixNot, makes the evening sound like something of an original spectacle. Be sure not to miss it.

First Take

The award winning not for profit company works with diverse communities, young people and on artistic collaborations, producing edgy, authentic, untold and often complex stories. It aims to create films to impact on people’s lives, their understanding and perceptions, and to push the boundaries of filmmaking with its productions and training projects. In 2010, the original Pink Past & Present film by First Take was screened at Fact. The evening was a sell out with people gathering from all over to reminisce and be educated about our gay scene’s past. People told their stories to the camera about the old clubs, party scene, social difficulties and triumphs. The team are now effectively remaking the film with even more inclusion. Rachel Fernandez-Arias of First Take tells Seen Magazine: “First Take is planning to make an online resource and series of films exploring the rich, vibrant and often turbulent history of Liverpool’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community featuring authentic, personal and gripping stories from the 1950s to the present day. A documentary film will be made for global distribution, as well as for schools and the web. “We need ideas and inspiration for the best ways to tell your stories of LGBT Liverpool. We will also need a filmmaking group and a web design group, which does not mean you must have previous skills or knowledge as you will be taught. This is a fantastic project with a great deal of opportunities, so get involved.” Contact Rachel on 0151 7085767 or at

“We need ideas and inspiration for the best ways to tell your stories of LGBT Liverpool.”

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We’ve been out and about with the party people in Liverpool and taken in some great events along the way. Email us your photographs for inclusion in future editions of Seen Magazine to



view 61



view 63

Liverpool’s Dave the Pap shares some of his latest snaps of celebrities he’s found in Liverpool during the past few months.



A real life Erin Brockovich moment. Read all about it...

The Angel Times

January 30th 2012



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Seen Mag 9  

Liverpools only LGBT publication covering news, style, entertainment & business.

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