Issue 2 | Dec-Jan
Sunderland Pride Newsletter
Peter Tatchell Christmas Pride Pride of Wearside Awards vInspired Awards
Chairman’s Message Message on behalf of Sunderland Pride’s Board of Trustees from the past twelve months
Words: Ryan Houston – Meena Kalia (vInspired) – Northern FrontRunners Communications Director 226a Chester Road Sunderland SR4 7HR Ryan@sunderlandpride.co.uk
There are numerous ways to get involved with Sunderland Pride. We’re currently looking at expanding our team of volunteers by the end of the year. From fundraising volunteers, to those that experience of marketing and graphics, as well as webdesigner… There’s room for a whole host of talent. To get involved with volunteering at Sunderland Pride, you’ll need to complete a short application form – This can be collected at the Sunderland Pride office or alternatively you can email Ryan@sunderlandpride.co.uk to be sent a copy.
Last month, Sunderland Pride’s Ryan Houston joined the UK’s greatest ever Paralympian, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, to call for nominations for the vInspired National Awards. The awards are the country’s largest celebration of young volunteers. Ryan was named as regional winner for the North East in the ‘Bringing Communities Together’ award category at the 2012 awards, for his volunteer work with Sunderland Pride, and various other lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered causes across the country. Ryan said “it’s been brilliant to see how proud the country is of the Olympic volunteers. It’s opened people’s eyes to how much volunteers can achieve, and it’s important to make sure that volunteers are appreciated all year round.” Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson will be one of the judges for this year’s vInspired National Awards. After seeing the amazing gratitude the games volunteers received from the country, she is keen that young volunteers like Ryan are celebrated in the same way.
vInspired Awards 2012: The 2012 awards were held at the BFI IMAX, and were attended by Sunderland Pride Chairman Arnie Tylor and Ryan Houston.
“The past year has really shown us what amazing stuff volunteers can achieve. Our Olympic and Paralympic Gamesmakers helped to make a once-in- a-life-time event happen for our country. But there are thousands more un-sung young heroes working hard everyday making equally amazing things happen for their communities every day. This year more than ever we need to recognise our country’s young volunteers – we’ve never had a better opportunity to inspire a new generation of community heroes.” The vInspired National Awards are an amazing celebration of young volunteers. The starstudded awards ceremony will take place at the world-famous Roundhouse, London in March 2013.
It was announced this week that Ryan has once again been nominated for the award for his contributions to Sunderland Pride and the voluntary sector in the North East. He’ll find out if he’s a regional winner for the North East over the Chrismtas period!
For the second year running, the Sunderland Pride team have continued their support to the national HIV charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust.
On Tuesday 4th of December, the fundraising volunteers will team up with staff at Chase Bar Sunderland for Sunderland’s Red Ribbon Ball, with funds raised going directly to supporting the THT in their work. Entertainment on the evening will include Jackie Daniels and Dragaoke, along with the sale of red ribbons. Fundraising Director, Nicky McCourt-Lait said “it’s incredibly important that Sunderland Pride continues to work closely with organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust, a charity that does amazing work for those affected by HIV in the UK.
Check out the Pride Radio North East ‘App’ now! It’s currently available through the iTunes Store, just search ‘Pride Radio’, an Andriod ‘App’ is also under construction. Pride Radio North East plays a massive part in LGB&T life throughout the region, it’s the only fulltime LGB&T station and has been a massive supporter of North East Pride events since it was created a number of years ago. You can also listen online via www.prideradio.co.uk and find then on Facebook by searching ‘Pride Radio North East.’
The battle for LGBT equality isn’t over yet In less than decade, the UK government has legislated astonishing, huge improvements in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights. These improvements include equalising the age of consent, introducing civil partnerships, repealing Section 28, outlawing homophobic discrimination, allowing same-sex couples to adopt children and official recognition for transgender people. These stunning reforms have been won in an amazingly short period of time. Centuries of homophobic laws have been wiped from the statute books since 1999. This would have never happened if the Tories had remained in power. The Labour government – and pro-LGBT MPs from all parties – deserve our praise and gratitude, as do our many heterosexual friends and allies. But these progressive changes are no excuse for the government’s on-going endorsement of, or collusion with, the remaining pockets of homophobic discrimination. The battle for equal rights is not yet won, as these six examples illustrate: The Equality Act 2010 protects against harassment, except on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. Why this exemption? Why did both Labour and the Conservatives agree to exempt LGBT people from the anti-harassment provisions of this legislation? Why did the gay rights charity Stonewall go along with this exemption? The government and the National Blood Service have a ban on blood donations from any man who has had oral or anal sex with another man within the preceding 12 months – even if they used a condom and now test HIV-negative. Meanwhile, they allow blood donations from promiscuous heterosexuals who have unsafe sex. This smacks of double standards.
Despite the government’s pledge of reform, right now same-sex civil marriage is still illegal. Civil partnerships are not equality. Separate laws are not equal laws. Even if, like me, you are critical of the institution of marriage, to ban same-sex couples from getting married is an act of bare-faced homophobic discrimination. It is a system of sexual apartheid, with separate laws for gay and straight. We now have a situation where lesbian and gay couples are banned from civil marriages (homophobia) and straight couples are banned from civil partnerships (heterophobia). This exclusionist two-tiered system of partnership law is not equality. It perpetuates and extends discrimination. Marriage is the gold standard. Civil partnerships are second best. Both civil marriages and civil partnerships should be open to everyone, without discrimination, which is what the Equal Love campaign is demanding: www.equallove.org.uk. In nearly 100% of cases, the Home Office refuses the initial application for asylum by LGBT refugees, many of whom have been arrested, threatened, jailed, tortured or raped in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Nigeria, Jamaica, Iran, Algeria, Zimbabwe and Uganda. Because of stereotyped prejudices, the homosexuality of macho gay men is often disbelieved. The same disbelief is often shown towards feminine lesbian women. Many LGBT refugees are locked up in asylum detention centres, held like common criminals. Some are ordered to be deported, despite the danger they could be imprisoned or killed on return to their home countries.
The police and the Crown Prosecution Service ignore record stores and radio stations that promote CDs by homophobic reggae singers who openly advocate the murder of queers. Incitement to murder is a serious criminal offence. Yet successive Home Secretaries have given these singers visa and work permits. Government ministers would never tolerate similar 'murder music' against Jewish or black people. Why aren't LGBT people entitled to the same legal protection?
Section 28 may have been repealed, but many schools are failing to challenge homophobic and transphobic bullying. This bullying affects both LGBT pupils and LGBT staff. For many of them, school is not a safe space. Verbal or physical abuse is experienced by around two-thirds of LGBT school kids. LGBT teachers are also often subjected to taunts, ridicule and threats by homophobic pupils. They do not always get support and back-up from other teaching staff. Unlike racism, homophobia is still frequently tolerated in the classroom and playground. “Gay” has become a commonplace taunt. Most schools don’t bother to discipline offenders. Half of all schools have no anti-bullying programme that specifically addresses homophobic bullying.
These are six issues where the government could have overturned homophobia, but has instead chosen to maintain discrimination. The government says it is committed to LGBT equality but it has failed to deliver in six key policy areas. The LGBT community deserves better. Over to you, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. What are you waiting for?
By Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation & Sunderland Pride Patron
To its credit, the government has said that the education system should challenge all forms of prejudice, to ensure that schools are inclusive, safe environments for youngsters and teachers from all backgrounds. But then it contradicted this commitment by exempting faith schools from its curriculum guidelines; allowing them to continue to teach sex and relationship education in accordance with their religious values, which often state that homosexuality is sinful, immoral, abnormal, unnatural and inferior. This sends a terrible negative message to young LGBT kids. No wonder many of them feel depressed and resort to self-harm. The reality is that even today too few schools of impart an understanding of LGBT people and issues. The needs and welfare of LGBT pupils are rarely addressed in sex education and HIV prevention lessons. Safer sex information often ignores the specific risks faced by LGBT young people. It invariably focuses on heterosexual relationships, to the neglect of same-sex ones. As well as campaigning throughout the world for LGB&T rights, you can find also find Peter along with Sunderland Pride’s Head of Marketing Ryan Houston making regular posts on the Huffington Post UK site! You can also find more information from Peter via his website http://www.petertatchell.net/
Having been one of the only full-time lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered watering holes through the late 1980’s and 90’s in Sunderland, The City Tavern has gone through numerous re-branding since it first opened it’s doors. Last month, under a new name and a few layers of paint, doors to the LGB&T venue reopened, as The New Central.
The venue, at 32 Bridge Street, is also Sunderland Pride’s Boxing Day Dip sponsor, which will see members of the Board of Trustees, including Project Manager, Lynne Roxburgh, Chairman, Arnie Tylor, Head of Marketing, Ryan Houston and many other volunteers take their dip on December 26th at Seaburn, all in an effort to raise money for Sunderland Pride 2013.
The venue is open daily from 11AM, with theme nights throughout the week, including Hi-NRG Saturdays and more.
Head of Fundraising, Nicky McCourt said ‘The Boxing Day Dip is a fantastic event to be
Involved in, it’s something that’s very light-hearted and sure to be a great laugh.’ If you’re interested in taking part, or know someone that might, you can enter to take part, simply email Chris@sunderlandpride.co.uk, call us on 0191 447 2131, or pop in and see us at our Chester Road based office at 226A Chester Road.
The search to find the unsung heroes and heroines of Sunderland took place last month for the Pride of Wearside awards. Following last yearâ€™s hugely successful event, Sunderland Pride was incredibly proud to be nominated by John Lawson of Mesmac in Newcastle. Members of the Pride Board of Trustees were pleased to attend the glittering ceremony on Wednesday November 21st at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. Sadly this year the team did not meet the incredibly high standards for the awards in which they were nominated, Community Group, but the nomination shows the achievement of the organisation and the event in just three short years of forming. A massive well done to the winners of the awards, and to all the award nominees!
2012 has been an incredible year, my first as Chairman an and a second year for Sunderland Pride, celebrating equality and diversity in Sunderland and the surrounding areas. It has now come to that time where as a whole, the Board of Trustees and I take the time to thank all of those people that have supported us throughout the year, the sponsors, individuals, donators, supporters and the volunteers, and to the people that took part in our event on Sunday 23 rd of September, whom without, it simply wouldn’t be possible. It never ceases to amaze me the amount of people that believe our event simply ‘happens’, I’ve heard it from many people… They don’t believe the amount of effort that goes in, the amount of sheer determination from our Trustees and volunteers.
More importantly, it’s the volunteers that we must thank. Our organisation as a whole, just wouldn’t be as much of a success as it is without these people. On behalf of the Board of Trustees and myself, we say a massive thank you for the continued support, and look forward to receiving it again in 2013! We hope you have a wonderful Christmas, and a prosperous New Year! Arnie D Tylor Chairman of the Board of Trustees
You can report Homophobia, Transphobia, and any form of Hate Crime at the Sunderland Pride office, 226A Chester Road, Sunderland.
For more details on this, and many of the other services that we provide, please contact â€“ Ryan Houston via Ryan@sunderlandpride.co.uk, or call 0191 447 2131.
The December Newsletter from the Sunderland Pride Team