Official guide to LGBT History Month
Celebrating Young, Black, Gay Talent
The Theme for LGBT History Month
Writers In Residence A New Young LGBT Writing group
Constructing Selves Through Technology Student Pride
Also Inside: The Prime Minister - Pride in london - bona Ballrooms - Living with two Gay LGBTHM Sons 2013 - 1
Published by Talent Media Ltd and distributed with The Sunday Telegraph.
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See More | Success
A Word From Tony Fenwick
Writers In Residence
Out, Proud And Fierce
22 Stonewall 26
Purple Door House Opens
Living With Two Gay Sons.
34 E&Y - Individually Talented,
36 It’s Hard To Say Bi’ 40
Living The Dream
LGBT Networking With Shell
“If It’s Ok To Be Gay,
Then Why Do I Still Feel Sad?”
Santander - Strength Through Difference
For The Love Of The ‘B’ In LGBT
Human Rights In Jamaica
The Ayes Have It. Unlock!
Talent Media would like to thank: Sue Sanders and Tony Fenwick (lgbthistorymonth.org.uk) Dr Keith Kerrigan, Ajamu, Tom Guy, Adam Lowe, Adam Smith, Michael Salter, Andy Wasley, Jay Stewart, Adam Waite, Claire Harvey, Katherine Collins Jide Salami, R Royale and Roy Ward for contributing to this magazine.
© 2013. LGBT History Month is published by Talent Media Ltd. Copyright of all images and articles remains with the publisher.All other rights recognised. No material in this publication may be used without prior permission from the publisher. Disclaimer: We cannot accept responsibility for any unsolicited text, photographs or illustrations. Views expressed and included in LGBTHM Magazine by individual contributors are not necessarily those of the publishers. Published by: Talent Media Ltd, Studio 37, The Riverside Building, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London, E14 0JW Tel: 020 7001 0754. Fax: 020 3070 0017. Email: email@example.com Web: www.lgbthistorymonthmagazine.co.uk Publishing Director: Darren Waite Sub Editor: Robert Ingham Assistant Editorial: Adam Lowe Art Director: Christopher Powell Advertising: Darren Waite / Elaine Matthews
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Produced by Talent Media Ltd and distributed by the Telegraph on Sunday. Cover image supplied by Ajamu Fine Art Photography
History Month magazine, which does an I am pleased to once again contribute to the LGBT nity as well as focusing on areas of equality important job in highlighting the best of the commu where more work needs to be done. all and since I launched our plan for LGBT equality This Government is committed to equal rights for to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual change ng deliveri in s progres real in 2010 we have made people. and transgender enable same-sex couples to get married. The This year we have introduced legislation that will ibility bind our society together and same-sex respons and ment commit m long-ter love, of es principl e in our society and is an important step forward marriag of place the en strength further will e marriag for LGBT equality. x couples to register their civil partnership on We have already changed the law to allow same-se religious premises on a permissive basis. want to get on in life - regardless of gender This Government backs aspiration and people who race and for us to compete and thrive in it identity or sexual orientation. The UK is in a global aces that are more inclusive are also more we have to make use of all the talents available. Workpl e a working environment that supports all its productive. So it’s vital that employers strive to promot on their rights and responsibilities in supporting employees. We’re publishing advice for employers LGBT-friendly workplaces. more create to ination LGBT staff and tackling discrim the last year we have delivered on our commitment Our dedication to equality doesn’t stop there. In gay sex convictions, we now recognise 75 ual consens d disregar to on to bring forward legislati civil partnerships and continue to work hard to UK to nt equivale as ships partner overseas same-sex sport. in obia transph and tackle homophobia that equality is now a mainstream issue that is It is testament to the work of the LGBT community have achieved here at home and by President we what by reflected world, the across ed being address speech. ation inaugur his in nts comme s Obama’ is about attitudes rather than laws. I believe the Clearly there is more we can do, but the fight now knocking down barriers in order to make life UK is leading the way in changing perceptions and fairer and more inclusive for all.
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A word from TONy Fenwick The 9th Annual LGBT History Month Pre-Launch was held at Bletchley Park, home of the code breakers. Tony Fenwick, co-chair, explains how far LGBT History Month has come and how far it still has to go.
GBT History Month is now in its 8th year of celebrating the lives and achievements of LGBT people. During the past two years we focused on sport and we are proud to say we had an impact on sport at elite and street level in every discipline throughout the UK. We thank the myriad of people who make the hundreds of events happen round the country every February and beyond. Your work sustains the month and maintains its success. This year we are focusing on science, technology, engineering and maths (the so-called STEM subjects) to commemorate Alan Turing’s centenary. The legacy of this mathematical and computing genius – who was also a marathon runner – is massive, and what he might have achieved had he not been killed by institutional homophobia is inestimable. Alan’s untimely death at 42 was more than a personal tragedy; it was also a massive loss to us all. He is well known as a computer engineer. His work at Bletchley may have won the allies the war. Yet Turing was also fascinated by the numerical patterns – the
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Fibonacci numbers - found in plant stems, leaves and seeds – a study known as phyllotaxis. This picked up on work that was carried out by Leonardo Da Vinci. After the war, this formed a key element of Turing’s research at the University of Manchester which raised questions – as yet unresolved – about cellular reproduction. Thus Turing’s work delved into the distant past and leaves research possibilities for the future.
resourcing educators to raise confidence in all students, - and particularly LGBT students in all their diversity, – to work in STEM subjects.
Our intention is to build on Alan Turing’s achievements and give them an impact here and now. We want to raise the profile of LGBT people in the STEM subjects for education, business and the enrichment of our community. We want to enable firms to think effectively about making their culture respectful and welcoming to LGBT employees and customers. We want to enable educators to build awareness and knowledge of LGBT participation in the field in the past so as to encourage LGBT people’s potential in the field in the present and the future.
LGBT History Month is a part of Schools OUT - founded in 1974 to work on the visibility and safety of LGBT people in education. In 2010 we launched a new website - the Classroom. We produce resources for teachers, as well as lessons across the curriculum in all key stages that usualise LGBT people and issues through the National Curriculum.
This can be achieved by various organisations like the Science Museum and Bletchley Park
This is a part of our overarching goal of seeing our schools and colleges educating out prejudice and challenging negative stereotypes of LGBT people, so that our society will be a safer place for all.
This is a tough assignment we hope that you will join with us and make 2013 a successful year. But this is just the beginning. For more information and listings and events in your area visit:
Help us build a sustainable future. As one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world, National Grid delivers electricity and gas to millions of people. We care about ensuring our workforce is as diverse as the many people whose homes and businesses we power. After all, our people are our greatest asset – it’s their dedication and innovation that gives us the power to deliver. From sites and offices to our huge range of after-work clubs and social events, the National Grid culture reflects a commitment to inclusion and diversity. Our people are actively encouraged to treat everyone with respect and value every contribution. We only truly succeed together. To ensure the whole community feels welcomed and valued, we’ve created Employee Resource Groups. They’re designed to support our people at work and champion improved understanding. Our LGBT network, Pride, is a great example. It supports our LGBT colleagues, and is open to all employees, acting as a point of contact for anyone interested in or affected by LGBT issues. We are proud to be a member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion programme. We’ll never stop striving to be an open and friendly place to work. And we’ll never stop investing in people – from personal wellbeing to professional development.
To find out more about opportunities within National Grid, visit our website www.nationalgridcareers.com
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Writers in Residence A New Young LGBT Writing group
n late 2012, I was approached by Commonword, a writer development organisation based in Manchester, which already has a strong trackrecord of supporting writers from diverse backgrounds, including Black and Asian writers and young writers. Commonword had some seed money for a new writing group for LGBT young writers and they wanted me to set it up. We named the group Young Enigma, after Alan Turing, and decided our first commission should be something grand. I had the idea to contact LGBT History Month, so the Young Enigma
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By Adam Lowe
writers could do something to celebrate their heritage. It was then that Sue Sanders and I decided we should commission the writers to act as LGBT History Month Writers in Residence, with their
own individual projects they could showcase throughout February. I applied to Arts Council Englandâ€™s Grants for the Arts scheme (funded by
The National Lottery), and the rest is history. Young Enigma and the LGBT History Month Writers in Residence are Andrew McMillan, Barnaby Callaby, Michael Brown, Okey Nzelu and Afshan Lodhi. Between them, they will produce a poetry pride parade through Manchesterâ€™s gay village, an app that leads people on a queer tour of Manchester, a short film, a radio play produced by Gaydio, resources for teachers and schools in connection with The Classroom and Schools OUT, and a comedy show. More details are available at youngenigma.com.
ity of London are marking LGBT History Month by staging the 10th annual LGBT History, Archives and Culture Conference at Guildhall on Saturday 16 February. This opens up a range of historical and cultural ideas from community projects, academic research, new writing and theatre. At the Guildhall Art Gallery from 1 February until 14 April, we have FIERCE by acclaimed London-based photographer Ajamu. This exhibition explores the power of portrait to capture a generation of movers and shakers whose physically visible image may otherwise be lost in the transience of
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the new virtual world. FIERCE is a series of portraits of under-35 black British-born LGBT people including artists, activists, poets and designers.
For information contact: www.cityoflondon.gov. uk/guildhallartgallery On a regular basis, on the first Wednesday of every month, our LGBT History Club meets at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA), 40 Northampton Road, London EC1R 0HB. The Club explores Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans histories. For details contact LMA on 020 7332 3820 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Metropoliton Home ownership At Metropolitan, we want to provide all our customers and staff, regardless of their sexual orientation, with the same high level of services and conditions of employment. We seek to ensure that our policies, procedures and practices on employment and service delivery are not based on the assumption that all employees and service users are heterosexual. We aim to give a sympathetic and effective response to homophobic hate crime, bullying and harassment, and recognise that domestic violence happens in same-sex relationships just as it does in straight ones. As a housing provider, we recognize that young gay people
face particular difficulties and are vulnerable to homelessness, exploitation, abuse, and danger and that our older gay, lesbian and bisexual customers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Whether it is our research on the rights and treatment of LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers, our LGB marketing campaigns or our Single Equality Scheme, we have been singled out for path-breaking work in this area. We continue to work with our LGBT staff group ‘Metro’ to ensure that we address any barriers to an inclusive working environment and are proud to announce that Metropolitan is currently ranked 10th in
the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index 2013. However, we are not complacent and want to do better, so will seek to improve our performance by ensuring that our policies and employment practices not only encourage people to come and work with us, but also that we allow the diversity of our talent to build up our performance as a service provider. We remain committed to the promotion of equality and believe that all of our customers should have access to our services and that all of our staff should have access to training and development. With strong leadership, a dedicated LGBT staff group, LGB friendly policies and customized training, we are well placed to say, at Metropolitan, we improve lives together. LGBTHM 2013 - 11
Celebrating 25 years of service to LGBT community The Food Chain Cases of people with HIV have been recorded in the UK since the early 1980s. The number of men who have sex with men receiving HIV care has increased every year in the last decade. Advances in treatment mean that people are staying well for longer, with people aged over 50 being the fastest growing group in the UK living with the virus. HIV is an unwelcome feature of LGBT history. Treatment, care and support needs have changed greatly and the community response has changed too. Charities that set up in the 1980s are now working to address the new needs of the people they support. The Food Chain recently celebrated the delivery of their first free meal 25 years ago and have just launched their weekly Eating Together communal meals. Designed LGBTHM 2013 2013 12 12 -- LGBTHM
to bring people together who are feeling isolated and lacking the motivation to prepare proper “meals for one” the service is, in part, designed to meet the needs of older gay men in London. “We are aware that many older gay men in London lost partners and friends to the epidemic in the 80s and early 90s and this had a devastating impact on social networks. Isolation can greatly affect a person’s motivation to eat properly and this in turn makes medications less effective, side effects worse and adherence to treatment regimes more difficult. Our Eating Together sessions and specialised Eating Positively cookery classes are designed to tackle these issues” explains Siobhán Lanigan, Chief Executive of The Food Chain.
By Tina Sloane
The Food Chain is soon to run its first cookery classes for those wishing to know more about conditions linked to living long-term with HIV, including osteoporosis, cardio-vascular disease and diabetes, and how to reduce your risk of developing these conditions through dietary changes.
To use Food Chain services you must be referred by a health or social care professional. Visit www. foodchain.org.uk for information on referrals, HIV nutrition and recipes.
Make a difference by contributing to our work Citizens Advice is the UK’s largest advice charity. We help people resolve their problems and are equipped to deal with any issue, from anyone. Last year we helped over two million people. Citizens Advice is committed to supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff in the workplace. We are particularly proud of our LGB staff network which has been very active within Citizens Advice for over 23 years now, helping Citizens Advice to continuously improve the working environment for LGB staff. The diversity of our staff, volunteers and clients help shape who we are and the services we provide. That’s why we welcome applications from everyone. Whether you are looking to develop your professional career, or just starting out – there are opportunities for you.
For job vacancies and volunteering information visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk
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By Jay Stewart
t Gendered Intelligence our work is simple. We want the world to be more intelligent when it comes to gender. It’s not rocket science but there’s a lot of work to do. The trick up our sleeve, though, is to engage young transgender people (age 13-25) who are highly intelligent, resourceful and sophisticated when it comes to thinking about gender. Over the past year Gendered Intelligence has gone from strength to strength delivering even more sessions and projects. In June last year we received a £10,000 grant to carry out an arts based project with the Science Museum, London. The project was called “i:trans – Constructing Selves Through Technology” (http://itransblog.wordpress. com/) and through a series of workshops and after looking at lots of artworks and exhibits at the Science Museum and the Welcome Collection, we developed our thinking around how science and technology impacts on forming our
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transgender identities. After all that pontificating, we got busy making all sorts of art works including films, photography, installations, painting and drawing. This culminated in a wonderful event which showcased the fantastic art works to friends and family. To celebrate LGBT History Month this year, our intern, Dylan, is working with the student union at the University of
Bedfordshire (Luton Campus) to organise exhibiting some of these art works as well as running a film night fundraiser for Gendered Intelligence. Thanks Dylan! The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans community is a noted minority community
and trans youth are a particularly hard to reach group. Following the Alan Turing exhibition at the Science Museum, which fused exhibits of early computer science engineering with the personal narrative of Turing’s sexual orientation and the homophobia he faced, Gendered Intelligence’s new project will form part of the celebration of LGBT History Month in 2013 where the themes will be dedicated to maths, science and engineering. This year we want to celebrate gender diversity in the field of physics, science and engineering. It has often been stated that men’s brains are innately better suited for physics than women’s. Our project aims to explore, debate and challenge the complexity of gender stereotyping and male privileging within these fields of work and study. We will carry out a workshop with 25 young trans people to gather experiences of
Right : Phoenix and eye lash curlers as part of the i:trans arts project
physics in education with regards to gender identity, consider successful trans people working in the industries of physics as well as sharing ideas of gender equality and diversity in the world of physics, science and engineering. Celebrating role models such as Lynn Conway, a pioneer of microelectronics chip design and a trans woman, and Ben Barres, also from the States, who is a professor in neurobiology at Standford, is crucial to raise the visibility of trans people and to raise aspirations of trans youth in excelling in these fields. Lynn Conway is a famed pioneer of microelectronics chip design. Her innovations during the 1970’s at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) have impacted chip design worldwide. Many high-tech companies and computing methods have foundations in her work. Likewise Ben
Barres, who went through most of his medical schooling as Barbara, has written extensively about his personal experiences as being treated differently as a male scientist verses a female scientist. Our celebratory event will take place on 13th March at Central School of Speech & Drama in London, and will feature invited speakers and a panel discussion. Speakers will consist of trans youth who are currently studying or working in the industries of physics, engineering and science, as well as other trans professionals who work in the industry of physics and physicists and scientists who feel passionate about gender equality and gender diversity in these fields. Panel members include PhD students in Theoretical Physics and astro physics, a physics secondary school teacher, all of whom are trans identified, as well as
comedian Rosie Wilby who has brought science into her shows. In addition, graduate student Eval Gills–Buck, who is currently studying history and philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, notes “strong historical and contemporary beliefs that mathematics and science are masculine fields and, unfortunately, in debates about innate gendered aptitude for maths and science, trans people are too often either left out of the discussion” The event will launch an on line media campaign raising awareness of these debates (giphysics.tumblr.com). The project is funded by the Institute of Physics and LGBT Southwark network and supported by Central School of Speech & Drama. genderedintelligence.co.uk LGBTHM LGBTHM 20132013 - 15- 15
Out, proud and FIERCE
City of London art gallery celebrates young black gay talent Acclaimed London-based photographer, Ajamu, presents a series of portraits of under-35 predominantly Black Britishborn LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) people at Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre in February 2013, in celebration of LGBT History Month (UK) and Black History Month (USA). The new exhibition, FIERCE, which runs from 1 February to 14 April, brings together powerful images of young Black artists, activists, poets and cultural producers by Ajamu, who has been involved in the Black and Minority LGBTQ communities for over 20 years. Ajamu’s work challenges dominant ideas on black masculinity, gender, sexuality and representation, and explores issues of diversity, community and difference within a wide range of cultural and social spaces including galleries, museums, archives, and health and social care settings. “There is a paucity of celebratory, distinctive and aspirational images across the UK, which reflect the
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richness and diversity of the Black LGBTQ lived experience. My new body of work seeks to capture a new generation of Black and proudly out young, emerging and established talent from within of the Black LGBTQ community,” says Ajamu. A member of the Black Photographers’ Association since 1990, Ajamu’s work and curatorial projects have been exhibited in a wide range of venues and art galleries, including the Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), Neuberger Museum of Art (New York), Maison Européene de la Photographie (Paris), Streetlevel Photoworks (Glasgow), Pinacoteca Do Estado (São Paulo) and the City of London-run Museum in Docklands (London).
FIERCE runs from Friday 1 February 2013 to Sunday 14 April 2013 at Guildhall Art Gallery and Roman Amphitheatre, Guildhall Yard, EC2. Admission Sat – Thurs £5 (£3 concessions) and is free-of-charge on Fridays and to under-16s.
Simmons & Simmons LLP is a leading international law firm located in major business and financial centres across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. We have a particular focus on the world’s fastest growing sectors, that is: asset management and investment funds, energy and infrastructure; financial institutions; life sciences; and technology, media and communications. As part of the firm’s commitment to diversity there are a number of employee networks, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network. LGBT network members play active roles in the InterLaw Diversity
Forum for LGBT networks, an inter-organisational forum for the LGBT networks in law firms and all personnel (lawyers and non-lawyers) in the legal sector. The firm has been a Stonewall Diversity Champion since 2005 and we are proud to be named the top law firm in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2012. As part of our commitment to corporate social responsibility, Simmons & Simmons offers pro bono legal advice to a number of organisations, and all of our lawyers are encouraged to undertake pro bono work. In particular, since mid-2012 we have been supporting an organisation
called ‘Schools OUT’ with pro bono legal work, and financial assistance from our Charitable Foundation to enable them to rewrite and properly secure their various websites. Among these websites is ‘The Classroom’ which provides a series of free lesson plans and resources to enable teachers to include the LGBT experience in class. We are particularly proud to be working with Schools OUT, as their commitment to diversity and equality for all LGBT people in education is so closely aligned to the aims of our own LGBT network, and to the firm as a whole, which sees education as playing a key role in creating and maintaining an open and inclusive workplace where everyone can meet their full potential. In addition to pro bono legal work, our LGBT network members are frequently involved in volunteer work with Schools OUT. In November we were represented by two network member volunteers at the LGBT History Month PreLaunch event in Bletchley Park. We are looking forward to celebrating LGBT History Month at an event in our London office in February this year, when Sue Sanders of Schools OUT will speak to our partners and employees about the work of her organisation, and how important our firm’s support has been, and will continue to be going forwards.
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MAJOR CELEBRITIES, SPORT AND BUSINESS FIGURES LEND SUPPORT TO LGBT STUDENTS BRIGHTON HOSTS OVER 1500 STUDENTS FOR TWO DAYS OF DEBATING, SOCIALISING, AND PARTYING
he Brighton Dome sees the return of National Student Pride between 1st-3rd March 2013 in what promises to be a memorable event. Last year over 1500 students attended the event, and with a significant increase expected for this year it promises to be a weekend to remember. Elton John and David Furnish have just been announced as ambassadors.
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After the opening party on Friday night, Saturday gives way to the free daytime festival which will kick off with messages of support from David Cameron,Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband. The highlights of the main stage are the Question Time debate in association with Attitude magazine and a Homophobia in Sport debate in association with London Titans FC. It will be an opportunity for students
By Tom Guy
and panellists to discuss important topical issues from an LGBT perspective. Confirmed names on the panels include Evan Davis (R4 Today and Dragons Den presenter), John Amaechi OBE (first NBA gay basketball player), Liz Bingham (Ernst & Young), Matthew Todd (editor of Attitude) and Matthew Cain (Channel 4 news). Activist and former England rugby union national Ben Cohen will be appearing
This year it promises to be a weekend to remember.
on the ‘homophobia in sport’ panel to highlight the importance of eradicating homophobic bullying, as well as the work of his StandUp foundation. Cohen said: “I am very grateful to Student Pride for inviting me to be part of a panel discussion on the issue of homophobia in sport. It is a topic that I am passionate about as I believe the sports field should be a fair place for all.” Alongside Question Time at the free 16+ daytime festival will be live music, a job fair and community stalls. Student Pride 2013 will also see the rolling out of a new feature, the Student Pride Awards in various categories
including Journalist of the Year, Activist of the Year, and Tweeter of the Year. The awards ceremony will take place during Saturday’s daytime festival and will be hosted by The Feeling front man Dan Gillespie Sells. Despite the harsh economic climate, Student Pride has managed to secure sponsorship from major corporate companies. Ernst & Young are platinum sponsors for the third year running with Accenture, Asda, and The
Co-operative Group taking up silver packages. Liz Bingham, Ernst & Young Managing Partner for People UK & Ireland and Student Pride ambassador commented: “We’re very proud to support National Student Pride. At Ernst & Young we are passionate about enabling people to come together in an environment where they feel included and respected. National Student Pride enables LGBT students to do just that.”
national student pride LGBTHM 2013 - 19
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Stonewall making history today Since 1989 Stonewall has helped lead the fight for gay equality. The charityâ€™s Media Manager, Andy Wasley, reflects on the organisationâ€™s role in recent British history. - LGBTHM - LGBTHM 20132013 22 22
f you want a clear example of how life has changed for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain in recent years, a school would be a good place to start. In many classrooms across Britain, bright yellow Stonewall posters celebrating different families make sure children from all kinds of background feel welcome and supported. Strong anti-bullying policies make it clear that homophobia is unacceptable, and openly gay teachers act as role models for lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. You might even be lucky enough to catch Sir Ian McKellen talking to young people about his life as a successful gay man. Only 10 years ago, few teachers would even dare to mention sexual orientation, and gay young people could be bullied almost with impunity. Different families were comparatively much rarer – gay couples couldn’t adopt until 11 years ago, and until 9 years ago they were even denied a chance to have the same rights as married couples. Britain’s come a long way, and Stonewall has been leading the progress at home, at school and at work. A number of anniversaries this year show how effective Stonewall’s campaigns have been in making history in this country. Ten years ago gay people celebrated the end of Section 28, paving the way for schools to support gay young people and tackle homophobic bullying. In 2003 the charity secured a promise from the government to
introduce civil partnerships, and in the same year a ban on anti-gay discrimination in the workplace meant gay people could no longer be sacked just because of their sexual orientation. It was a big year in Wales, too, as Stonewall Cymru was set up to work with the devolved government. A year later Stonewall Scotland was doing the same work north of the Border.
across Britain to make sure older lesbian, gay and bisexual people receive the care they need. And in October 2012 the Protection of Freedoms Act came into effect, containing clauses secured by Stonewall to help thousands of men clear their names of historic convictions for consensual gay sex. There’s now a chance for some of the saddest episodes in Britain’s gay history to be corrected. Even as Stonewall tackles challenges from the past, it has a firm focus on the future. YouGov polling for Stonewall’s Living Together report shows people are more comfortable with gay friends and family than ever before, giving fresh vigour to the charity’s campaign for equal marriage. Stonewall is also using its experience in Britain to help LGB&T groups worldwide tackle discrimination.
Despite Stonewall’s successful campaigns, many gay people still bear the scars of Britain’s difficult gay history. Stonewall’s health research shows older lesbian, gay and bisexual people, who grew up in a country where they were commonly ostracised, often lack family support as they get older, and tend to be worried about care workers’ attitudes. And tens of thousands of men convicted for consensual gay sex still feel deterred from seeking particular jobs or volunteering, despite the laws under which they were convicted having been repealed. Stonewall has worked hard to support people who suffer because of the past. The charity works with NHS organisations
And despite great progress in tackling homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools, more needs to be done. University of Cambridge research for Stonewall’s School Report 2012 shows over half of gay young people are still homophobically bullied. While that happens, and while gay people in Britain and worldwide still suffer from other people’s prejudice and ignorance, Stonewall will continue to campaign for real equality.
Find out more at www. stonewall.org.uk, and follow the charity on Twitter @ StonewallUK and Facebook (facebook.com/stonewalluk).
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Equality in numbers Research by YouGov and the University of Cambridge demonstrates how British attitudes towards LGBT people and their families have changed in the last five years.
lthough Britain’s gay history has been difficult, in recent years Stonewall’s campaigns have helped improve the way the country regards its 3.7 million lesbian, gay and bisexual people. In 2012, Stonewall released two major reports assessing the way Britain has changed in its attitudes. The School Report (www.stonewall.org. uk/schoolreport), based on research by the University of Cambridge, looked specifically at the experiences of gay young people in Britain’s schools. And Living Together (www.stonewall. org.uk/livingtogether), based on YouGov polling, looked at society as a whole. Both contained encouraging findings about progress
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in tackling homophobia – although they also made it clear that Stonewall’s work is far from done. By repeating its research at five-yearly intervals, Stonewall can demonstrate the effectiveness of its campaigns. In schools, for example, in 2012 over half (55 per cent) of gay young people were being homophobically bullied – down from nearly two thirds (65 per cent) in 2007 vindicating Stonewall’s work with thousands of schools across Britain to help them tackle and prevent homophobic bullying. Today, half of teachers intervene when they hear homophobic language – up from a quarter in 2007 –
but homophobic language remains stubbornly prevalent, with 96 per cent of pupils saying they hear it. Stonewall is committed to tackling this ongoing problem. In wider society too there’s a generally positive picture. Different families are better accepted now than in 2007 with 81 per cent of people in Britain now saying they support civil partnerships (up from 68 per cent) and three in five supporting same-sex adoption (58 per cent, up from 42 per cent). British support goes beyond acceptance – seven in ten (71 per cent) want to see the introduction of equal marriage, including over 80 per cent of people under the age of 50 and
three in five (58 per cent) of people of faith. Faith itself yields interesting findings. Today, four in five (79 per cent) of people of faith believe it’s right to tackle prejudice against gay people, and seven in ten (71 per cent) would be comfortable if their local religious representative were lesbian, gay or bisexual – up from two thirds (64 per cent) in 2007. In the last 12 months a small number of faith leaders have compared equal marriage with Nazism and slavery, and compared gay people to child abusers and bestialists. Stonewall’s research show how far out of step they are with most people of faith.
However, Living Together also showed that 2.4 million people of working age have seen homophobic bullying in the workplace over the last five years. Stonewall works with over 600 major employers through its Diversity Champions programme (www.stonewall.org.uk/ DC), helping them support and protect gay workers in Britain and overseas. Major employers like Accenture – Stonewall’s Employer of the Year 2013 – have taken progress in gay equality to heart. Rather than simply ‘tolerating’ gay people, they support them and protect them from discrimination. Even in recent history, Stonewall’s research shows that Britain is demonstrably
more comfortable with lesbian, gay and bisexual people. But with over 4,200 hate crimes directed against gay people in England and Wales in 2011-2012, over half of gay young people being bullied at school and countless gay people worldwide persecuted because of the way they were born, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay and bisexual equality charity has much more left to do.
If you want to help Stonewall tackle these problems and continue to make history, as little as £10 a month can make a difference. Visit www.stonewall.org.uk/ donate to find out more – or donate £10 now by texting STAR28 £10 to 70070. LGBTHM 2013 - 25
Purple Door House
Opens ‘The Albert Kennedy Trust is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans homelessness charity working across Greater Manchester and Greater London to provide support, safe homes, mentoring and training to young people (16-25) who face abuse and rejection, just for being brave enough to come out. In many ways, society has come a long way in terms of LGBT rights, equality and acceptance, but the sad truth is that there continue to be young people in our city and on our streets who are living in fear of who they are. The Albert Kennedy Trust supports over 500 young people
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By Katherine Collins
every year, and we have seen a huge increase in the number of people turning to us for help. There is an urgent need for emergency accommodation to get vulnerable young people off the streets and to safety. In response to this increase in need, we are excited to announce the opening of the Purple Door House this February. This house will be the first LGBT safe house in the UK and will mean we can help even more vulnerable LGBT people get off and stay off the streets. It only takes £15 to provide safe accommodation for a young
person for the night, and as part of our Give15 campaign we are asking if you can be there for a young person in desperate need today by giving just £15 or as much as you are able. Please visit www. give15.org today, or visit our website www.akt.org.uk to find out more about the ways in which you can support us.’
Proud of our history Campaigning for LGBT workers rights. Campaigning for public services that meet our needs. Much won â€“ much still to fight for.
Join us in UNISON, the public service union Join UNISON online today at unison.org.uk/join or call 0845 355 0845. Find out more at: unison.org.uk/out
in association with the:
national student pride
1-3 march 2013 brighton book now at studentpride.co.uk
friday 1 march registration drinks charles street bar 7.30-10.30pm • pre pride party revenge 10.30pm-early • saturday 2 march free festival: brighton dome 12.30-5pm • brighton tour: gay village 7.30-10.30pm • club night: brighton dome 10.30pm-2am • afterparty: revenge 2am-early • sunday 3 march cabaret legends 3.30pm
OUTNEWS your finger ON the gay pulse
Living With Two Gay Sons Hello, my name is Adam. I am 26 years old. I have muscular dystrophy and I am also gay. I have two elder siblings. Like me, my brother Scott is also gay, Because we are so close to our mother I decided to ask her a series of questions When did you first learn about homosexuality?
whenever they came on TV, but I just laughed.
got along with her and just ignored the remarks.
Itâ€™s difficult to say at what age I learnt about homosexuality. I can definitely say I was never aware of it at school, unlike children of today, who seem much more aware of all sexuality much younger.
My mum went to a hairdresser, and I remember her telling me he was gay. She really liked him; he was chatty and friendly and had a warm personality.
What is your views on homosexuality?
I think my first recollection would be people on TV, like Larry Grayson and Kenny Everett, who were very camp and outgoing. My dad would give a grunt of disapproval
My first encounter on a personal level was when I worked evenings so I would have been about 28 and the supervisor was a lesbian. I remember other women talking about her. I always
Everyone has their own opinion on gay people, and itâ€™s sad in this day that there is so much prejudice around still. Even now there are parents who disown their child when they come out. I think we have a long way to go in educating people, and I will always fight their corner, and I am happy to tell people
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and would never tell anyone his son was gay. Their relationship broke down very quickly, and they have not spoken for many years. How did you feel when Scott began seeing male partners?
I have two gay sons, who I am proud of in every way What is the family’s opinion on homosexuality? Many of my family struggle to accept gay people, and I know they are not comfortable talking about this. My dad was funny; he never openly talked about my eldest son being gay, but he would say, ‘Tell Scott he can bring his friend for tea.’ He never said partner. How did you find out Scott was gay? Scott was probably about 19 and I was 39 when I found out he was gay. It came about by pure accident; he had always had girls knocking for him as a
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teenager growing up. He telephoned me because he needed some information, which he told me I would find in a box in his room. Whilst looking for it, I came upon a birthday card, and with a mum’s natural curiosity, I opened it. It was obviously from a young man, and it said lots of love, but it was clearly meant romantically, from the card and sentiments. I was sat on the floor shocked to the core, because the sender was lodging at my house, and sharing a room with my son. How did father react? Your father’s reaction was stupid. He wasn’t happy about it, and accused me of making him gay, and he never discussed it. He was never comfortable with it,
There was never an issue for me when Scott started bringing male partners home, and he was always respectful of not being over familiar in front of me and his dad. His father never accepted it, and once we divorced, I think Scott could relax more. I think I got along well with most of his boyfriends; There may have been a couple I didn’t warm to though. How did you react when you discovered Scott had a role as a background actor in the TV series Queer as Folk? I was delighted and proud when I found out he had a role in Queer as folk, and his partner at the time was also in it. What did you think when you watched Queer as Folk? Did you enjoy it? I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I recorded every episode, so I could play it back to bits where I had missed
him. I think the show did a very good portrayal of gay life in a city. How did you feel when you found out I was gay? I was really shocked. I suppose you just don’t expect to have two sons who are gay, and I remember saying to you (it sounds totally stupid now) “are you just saying that because it’s easier, and because Scott is?” My reasoning behind this thought process was that you had spent a lot of time around Scott’s gay friends and didn’t really mix with girls. I thought you may just not be sure. What was the family’s reaction? I don’t think I told much family at the time, mainly because family didn’t visit often. I told my sister when you were about 19 and in your first proper relationship. I think Scott was the one who struggled with it. He was worried about your health and safety, as you are very vulnerable, being in a wheelchair.
He was always respectful of not being over familiar in front of me and his dad to the house. They were complete strangers, and because it was just me and you alone in the house, I was fearful at times for both of us, and also because you were disabled, I am ashamed to say. I did wonder why they would want to be with someone disabled, and with massive limitations sexually, but I would never have said no because I feel you have as much right to have relationships and sexual experiences as any other person, and I’m glad I was able to allow you those experiences.
boyfriends once they became less one night stands, and you had proper boyfriends, and most of them have been really nice, caring guys. When you first went to a gay bar what was your reaction and opinion since? My first visit to a gay bar was an eye opener, because living so rural it was a shock to see so many gay guys and also transgender folk behind the bar, but I enjoy my nights out with my sons. Interview by Adam Smith
Did you get on with my boyfriends? I did become much more relaxed about your
Were you comfortable with me bringing guys back to our house? I was never comfortable with you bringing boys back LGBTHM 2013 - 31
CRACKING: A CHORUS OF ALGORITHMS
he theme for this year’s LGBT History Month is science, technology, engineering and mathematics (what teachers call the STEM subjects). LGBT Youth North West and Schools OUT challenged us, for their AGM, to present a poem on this theme. This presented a particular challenge for the LGBT History Month Writers in Residence. Most of us realised that when we write poetry, we usually
write about personal, social or cultural matters. Very rarely are we called on to write about science. And we never get asked to write about maths. In the minds of most, creativity and scientific thought seem parallel ways of viewing the world. But actually, that’s not the case. Science is full of revelation and wonder. Engineering is full of beauty and art. Mathematics is full of grace.
An extract from the poem:
ALAN TURING It’s thinking. Great ideas percolate in its arteries like trouble in mind. It’s a great idea. Listen. The knack is a kind of sequestering. Watch: invention tapers in, a glistening pristine, if given clear nights. Listen. It’s alchemy taking place. Inexact and on the wrong side, errors marginally clandestine, as with all things things chemical impurely. He is riddled with love. Or can you hear the clink of coins about to change their masters?
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In this chorus of voices Featuring Barbara Burford, Alan Turing and Joan Roughgarden (written by myself, Adam Lowe; poet and playwright Okey Nzelu; and poet Andrew McMillan), we reflected our own communal sense of queer identity in the diversity of the personas we adopted. If you enjoy the poem, you could do worse than looking up these three scientists and learning a little bit about the place of LGBT people in innovation, medicine and technology
By Adam Lowe How many ways can we formulate grief? Sterling hope? See how the codes shift over the years; the words, evasive gears. Run the algorithm again. If he saw himself today he’d smile, giving as a bed, fresh from sharing, the rustle of sheets a twinkle in the eye. Listen: we can break. The same caught diction now intimates victorious rest. Run the algorithm, run the algorithm: see, the photographs of him insist; archives, diaries, love letters stammer to attest that pure intent a triumph.
He doesn’t struggle anymore, he just gets on, gets on. Chorus: I flesh-shape I form-change I ask-state I touch fate I rule-yield I name-take I see-field I try-date
To find out more about the writers in residence or to read more of the poem and our work visit www. youngenigma.com
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Individually talented, collectively powerful An Inclusive network
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s one of the first employee networks of its kind, Ernst & Young’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Network (EYGLES) was originally founded as a ‘social hub’ and a way of bringing together LGBT employees. However, over the last decade, EYGLES has become a driving force for change, educating and informing staff and leadership both within the business and across the wider business community. And it’s clearly working. EYGLES now boasts over 250 members in the UK and is regularly approached by clients looking for advice on their own diversity strategies, while Ernst & Young is consistently named as a top ten gay-friendly employer by Stonewall and is also the proud headline sponsor of National Student Pride. Ernst & Young’s emphasis on inclusive leadership means that that the firm strives to ensure that everyone is able to achieve their full potential, regardless of their background or sexuality. As such, EYGLES, like all the firm’s employee networks, is open to anyone who wants to join. The growing numbers of straight friends and allies who are now members of the network and championing
the work of the group, are a testament to its UK success.
Connecting across borders However, with over 167,000 people in 140 countries, Ernst & Young’s global network ensures that the firm’s commitment to creating an inclusive work environment extends well beyond UK shores.
Everyone is able to achieve their full potential, regardless of their background or sexuality
The firm has an active online LGBT community across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), which facilitates networking, knowledge-sharing and wider collaboration across a huge geographic area. For members working in countries where being openly gay is still illegal or carries a social stigma, it enables staff to connect with their colleagues around the world openly, and to feel supported as part of the wider LGBT community at Ernst & Young.
A great example of this was World Pride and the Out & Equal Global Workplace Summit, which were held in London last summer. Ernst & Young leveraged these events to bring together people from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Germany, Australia, India, South Africa and Japan, to meet, share their experiences and to explore further ways to connect our LGBT people around the world. Today our EYGLES network is more active than ever and is regularly seen on university campuses and in boardrooms across the UK and beyond. EYGLES has already started the year on a high, being once again named one of Stonewall’s Star Performer Network Groups for 2013 and, with plans for a variety of new events and programmes in the pipeline, there’s clearly still more to come!
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It’s Hard to Say Bi’ Exploring sexuality and not having to choose a preference By R.L.Royle 36 - LGBTHM 2012 36 - LGBTHM 2013
isexual. It’s a problematic term. I’ve always found it awkward telling my straight friends that I’m bi as it’s generally misinterpreted as some sort of trendy way to be. I also feel a bit embarrassed telling my gay friends as I worry they’ll see me as either gay-butin-denial or straight-buttrying-to-fit-in. Either way, I don’t often feel like I’m taken seriously. When the discussion of sexuality comes about I tend to blather on, to somehow try and make up for the fact that what I am is not ‘defined’ enough to be summed up in one word. Some people don’t believe in the term ‘bisexual’ because of this reason, and some simply don’t like it, deeming it indulgent and promiscuous. So you see, we bisexuals don’t fit in anywhere neatly, perhaps not even with ourselves. In the past, when I was with a man I’d be thinking about women and when I was with a woman I’d be thinking about men – can you imagine how confusing and unsatisfying that was?! Growing up, I thought nothing of the fact that I harboured crushes for both male and female icons, and
was quite happy being the girl that all the other girls practiced their snogging on at high school. Unfortunately,
That evening I was called in for a family meeting; the highlighted evidence was slammed on the table in disgrace and both her and my father humiliated me deeply about it. As a result of such angry confrontation, the confidence I had in my sexuality was sent spinning and became suddenly hidden from everybody, including myself.
at thirteen – right about the age where harmless exploring was starting to deserve some serious life-choice thought – my self esteem took a devastating battering when my father kicked my mother out and almost immediately married the obligatory ‘evil step-mother’ character that tends to feature in any good teenage-screw-up story.
As soon as my GCSEs were out of the way, I took the first possible opportunity to pedal away from that house on my bicycle, gazing backwards only for a second to give a quick fork as a parting gift. Although I never looked back, in the years following, I found myself flitting between older friends’ attics, sofas and spare rooms, scratching around for love in such a panic that I never paid attention to my actual feelings or instincts. Due to the troubled relationship with my father, I naively tried to find love and validation in men, and the less I achieved it, the harder I pushed. I threw myself into relationships, flings and one-night-stands with men that weren’t good enough for me, never enjoying the encounters or finding the support that I so desperately sought.
Impossibly controlling and oppressive of my brother and I, growing up under the shadow of our intimidating new mummy led me to a host of complex emotional problems; one of which was establishing and accepting my sexuality. At around the age of fourteen, she found and opened a letter I had written, ready to be posted to my pen-pal, and discovered to her horror that I ‘so would’ Courtney Love. It, like everything else I did, said, thought or tried, did not go down well.
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Still relatively newly ashamed of my same-sex leanings, I also spent my latter teenage years falling in love for the first time with a stunning oddball of a young woman of whom I still wonder about to this day. Had I not been so messed up, I have no doubt official coupledom would have followed our tender hand-holding, bed-sharing, heart-pounding-almostkissing friendship, but the fact was that when she tried to get me to admit to my feelings, I’d clam up or lie, scared of rejection and unable to accept that such a beauty could ever possibly like me back, reckoning I was probably just imagining there was more to it than just plain old friendship on her part. My intense lack of selfesteem snarled that my feelings for her were wrong and unreciprocated, despite all contrary evidence, and so when people told us we’d make a good couple, I’d jump for joy on the inside but remain stoic on the outside. Allowing fear to mean that I was never honest with her is one of my biggest life regrets because when a huge fallout occurred between us, I lost my chance to tell her how I really felt. Thirteen years have passed since then and she still has no idea.
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Actively searching for the ‘I am [insert label here]!’ answer, it was still illusive.
At the age of 21, I began a serious relationship with a musically-inclined man. During our time together, my novel-writing hobby became a shiny official career, we renovated a house, backpacked Asia, Europe and North America, and attended a plethora of wild, quirky parties. The call of the female never quite stopped niggling though and by the time we parted on friendly terms six years later, I was convinced men weren’t for me, that I’d repressed my real self all along and that, no, I wasn’t bi… I was gay. I must be, right? It was women I fantasised about, my first love was (secretly) a woman. If my dad’s ex-wife hadn’t have thrown me off course at such a vulnerable, sensitive age, maybe I’d never have even thought about men as an option? However, suddenly free to be whoever I wanted to be, I still couldn’t figure it out. I spent a night with a gorgeous female friend of mine, expecting that light bulb to ping on like it never had with a man but again, it just didn’t happen.
To anyone looking in, I partied away my 20s as a sexually liberated, modern woman, but in truth I was stifled by my own frustration. It was only upon finding true love that I was able to clearly define my feelings from a settled viewpoint so yes, there is a happy ending and an answer to this confused story of one person’s sexuality: at the grand old age of 30, I am now proudly able to define my sexuality as being ‘non-gender specific’, and Hallelujah, peace and love did come in the end (ironically, when I’d stopped looking for it). Now that I am the beating heart of a happy, stable family, with a ring on my finger and children tucked up in bed, I have come to realise that I could have just as easily settled down with either gender because, as with the colour of someone’s eyes or skin, that’s just not what’s important to me. What matters is that the person one chooses to share one’s life with is of good heart, wonderful personality, similar humour and shining soul. It turns out that’s what I was searching for all along. So, I hear you ponder, which gender did I end up with in the end…? Well, that truly doesn’t matter.
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Help us continue to support the community by DONATING or JOINING OUR TEAM of award winningvolunteers. To find out more visit www.LLGS.org.uk London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard is a registered charity. Charity Reg. No. 296193 Registered in England. LGBTHM 2013 - 39
Dream LGBT speaks to Claire Harvey about being a role model, her life as a gay paralympian and why Fig rolls are her kryptonite So Claire, Tell us a bit about you? Oh that’s a toughie! I am a 38 year old woman, pretty normal run of the mill type gal! I hate labels but I seem to collect them. I am a paralympian, an athlete, a disabled person, a mum (to human varieties and a 3 legged dog!), a lesbian. Like everyone I have a few secrets, but they are staying that way!
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What have you been up to since the paralympics last year? Immediately after the games I spent some much overdue time with the family. They had sacrificed so much to support me toget to the games that I wanted to be able to share that immediate period after with them. I have always juggled being an athlete with a high profile role as head of corporate responsibility for the financial
regulator, who were so supportive of me, so after the games it was very much about getting back to grips with my day job and doing all the things there I had put on ice until I returned. Sport is a part of my DNA so it definitely hasn’t been a time of inactivity. It’s also been a great opportunity to have fun doing different sports and activities without such a big fear of injury. But then quite quickly it was
back to training and focus on preparation for Rio. What is your kryptonite when it comes to training?
Today I am constantly amazed by the people I meet and realise that everyone is a hero in their own way
My team mates would probably describe me as a bit of a sadist as I genuinely love all of the fitness work and the volleyball sessions where you come off the court without an ounce of energy left. My nemisis is the gym: I find it very hard to concentrate and enjoy the 4 times a week sessions. Thankfully the thought of upsetting my very scary strength & conditioning coach helps terrify me into action!
particularly enjoy being in the spotlight but I realised that it was important that people see there are role models out there and that, as I tell young people all the time, you have be authentic in who you are. It was important I didn’t shy away from it.
My other kryptonite would have to be fig rolls. I have always managed to sneak them into my diet; they are a fruit after all.
Life can be really hard sometimes, particularly when you are different in some way. Young people spend their whole youth trying to fit in and its heart-wrenching to see how many people seek solace in self-harm, eating disorders, suicide and other destructive behaviour. It sounds like a cliché but it is true, everybody is beautiful and has a place in life where they will be valued, can shine and thrive. The hard bit is having the patience and resilience to find it. When you are feeling stigmatised, surround yourself with people who love you for who you are and reach out to role models and people who have
What was it like for you being an openly gay Olympian? I guess it was strange. I came out to all of my family and friends a very long time ago so when I was asked about my life in an interview, I mentioned my (now ex) partner without any real thought to the reaction as it was just normal conversation for me. I had no idea of the unique position that put me in. So when it became of media interest I was astounded. I don’t
What would you say to anyone that has experienced stigma towards you being gay and disabled?
been there because they will be there to help you. How do you relax? Being a parent, an athlete, having a full time job and being a keen advocate means life can become a little like a military operation. I am sure from the outside people wonder how on earth I fit everything in without being exhausted. I am extremely lucky in that all of those things bring me great joy and I thrive off of the sense of reward from them all. Occasionally however you will find me taking some time out on the sofa in my PJs with some good TV and a bowl of brussel sprouts. I hear you may be going to Rio 2016 to represent TEAM GB again. What will that entail for you and how excited are you? London 2012 was like a dream come true, 4 years after my accident and a home games with my family and friends that have supported me there to share it with me. It doesn’t get better than that. But I am competitive and want to know how far I LGBTHM 2013 - 41
can get with a further 4 years to develop. I definitely want to be a paralympian with a medal if I can be. So the next 4 years is about training as hard as I can, both physically and psychologically. Every day counts as my opposition will also be doing the same. As for excited… well, I could tell you how many days are left or even what the weather is like in Rio on any given day. When you are not training or being a Paralympian what do you do for a day job? My day job is Head of Corporate Responsibility for the Financial Services Authority, the regulator of the financial sector. This encompasses equality & diversity, environmental sustainability and community
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engagement, both from an internal (FSA as an organisation) perspective and how our role as a regulator supports the sector doing the same. It’s a fascinating job and one where there is never an end to what you can do. Who inspired you when you were younger and who inspires you today? My PE teacher was a massive inspiration to me when I was younger. She taught me the values sport teach you, and made me realise that there was a world of sport outside the school curriculum to find my place in. I got into rugby union and that gave me exposure to many gay women. who really helped me to find my identity and grow. Today I am constantly amazed by the people I meet
and realise that everyone is a hero in their own way. Baroness Sue Campbell has been a massive inspiration to me in the work she has led to put sport for young people firmly on the map, and I am humbled to know many amazing people in the ‘T’ community for whom I think we still have a lot of work to do. My work with the charity Diversity Role Models has probably bought me into contact with the most inspiration; the young people of the future who are keen to be accepting and see diversity as a strength when given the opportunity. What advice to you have for any gay people with a disability who have found you personally inspiring? I am genuinely nothing special, just very lucky to have been given some exceptional support and opportunities. It is very easy to see skills, characteristics and strengths in other people and admire them for it, but actually we all have them, you just have to believe you do. When I was recovering from my accident and having to reconsider my life, a very dear friend of mine sent me a card that simply said “you never know how far you can fly unless you try flapping your wings”. So go on. Flap them and see!
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LGBT Networking with Shell In 2012, the Fortune 500 named Shell as the world’s largest corporation. Robert Ingham talks to Co-Chair of the LGBT Network in Shell, Mark Killien, and discusses how the Network began and what role it continues to play in today’s society. So Mark, tell me about your role here with the Shell LGBT Network? I have been involved with the Shell UK LGBT Employee Network for the better part of the last 10 years and a Co-Chair on and off for a lot of that. When and how did the LGBT Network start? Shell has a wealth of employee support groups, but I am happy to say that the LGBT Network is one of the longest standing, emerging in the mid 90s. It started with a group of LGBT employees who wanted to ensure that Shell’s policies were fair and equal to all employees.
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I imagine things were very different back then, which makes what they did very courageous and a fantastic legacy we enjoy today. What other things do Shell LGBT Networks do? Shell is committed to celebrating the diversity of our community in the context of the workplace and in society as a whole. We need to constantly consider what is going on outside the four walls of our office as well as whether we are asking the right questions within
those four walls. Shell’s UK LGBT Network continues to work with its leaders, support its members and provide a visual reminder of the issues faced by our wider community and cover the issues, concerns and needs of our membership. This is done by regularly engaging with other workbased LGBT employee organizations, both within and outside of the Energy Industry. We attend and host events of interest to our community and our members, be it on “Pink Adoption”, the impacts of being LGBT or how to
better harness the support of our “Straight Allies”. Will Shell be at London Pride this year? How does it participate? We made our Pride debut by entering a float in the EuroPride 2006 parade. (see pic above) I believe we were the first company in our industry to do so in London and one of my proudest moments. We have participated in the parade twice since then, in 2007 and 2008. In recent years we have used Pride Week
to host our own internal events, raising awareness within Shell and our local community. Last year we flew the rainbow flag over Shell Centre for World Pride, which showed Shell’s visual support for the LGBT community to everyone in the Southbank. and London. In terms of what we have in store for this year, you’ll just have to wait and see… What is your highlight of being in the Shell LGBT Network? What were the highlights
of 2012 in general for Shell’s LGBT Network? My personal highlight is easy. It was the moment our pride float turned the corner into Oxford Street in 2006. The reaction from the crowd took my breath away. We saw supporters tapping each other on the shoulder and pointing to us saying, “Look, it’s Shell!” and then look at each other before looking back and with (may I say) gay abandon letting out woops and cheers. It made it all worthwhile. My LGBTHM 2013 - 45
highlight of 2012 was when our former Country Chairman passed my desk and asked enthusiastically, “Is our flag up?” It struck me then how genuinely supportive he was. We both then ran out onto his balcony and stood back with the greatest sense of… well, PRIDE! That is why we love our “Straight Allies”. What are the biggest challenges you face? I think we all face the challenge that we work in an international world and you can’t acknowledge only the parts of diversity which we are most comfortable with. Different people have different views, beliefs and things they hold dear. We all have to work together, even if sometimes we disagree.
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What we need to bear in mind is while we will never all be the same, we can remember to respect each other and our differences. As long as everyone has the same opportunities to enjoy a happy and fruitful life, we will be fine, even if it means we sometimes have to moderate our behaviour to that end. Is there truly a place for an LGBT Network in Shell, and why? Like any organisation, the people who work here reflect the communities in which we operate. As long as respect for people remains highest on our agenda we need to do everything we can to make that happen. If it is by means of employee network
groups, then yes, there is definitely a place for it. What do you foresee for the future of the Shell LGBT Network? I see our network working increasingly with the other diversity groups within Shell, whether they focus on gender, ethnicity, disability or are graduate or experienced hire networks. Ultimately what we have in common is still stronger than what makes us different. Many of the issues we face are transferrable between diversity strands, and we need to work together to make our workplace and respective communities and neighbourhoods happier and more productive places to be!
Remembering our history fighting for our future
GBT history month celebrates the lives and achievements of LGBT people and communities. LGBT members have long been blazing a trail in UNISON, the UK’s biggest public service trade union. We have a history to be proud of: vast improvements in LGBT people’s working lives, strengthened equality laws and inclusive public services which meet the needs of LGBT people. But now public services and public service workers are threatened as never before, with cuts undermining equality gains and with equality protections ridiculed by the government as ‘bureaucratic red tape’. Workplace bullying increases in such times and LGBT
workers fear to complain when their jobs are at risk, unless they have the strength of a union behind them. So there’s never been a more important time to be in UNISON. Our 1.3 million members explode the myth that hard working public sector workers – many of them low paid – are responsible for the economic crisis. We challenge the myth that the solution to the UK economy is to take away from those who have least. Short term savings in funding for LGBT youth workers, HIV services, gender reassignment services, hate crime prevention, LGBT helplines, lead directly to much higher costs, financial and human.
So join UNISON and join our campaign to defend public services. UNISON has members across the UK, working in local authorities, the NHS, the police service, universities, colleges and schools, the electricity, gas and water industries, transport, the voluntary and community sectors.
Advice on LGBT equality, details of regional contacts and sign up for our mailings: www.unison.org.uk/out . Don’t put it off - join UNISON today at www.unison.org.uk/join .
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“BONA BALLROOMs” By Roy Ward
Originally from Merseyside, Roy moved to Leeds for university in 2007 and never left! He completed his Masters in American Literature & Culture in 2011 and has a particular passion for Queer Americana, Stateside pop culture and video games, as well as a mild obsession with Nigella Lawson.
n a sketch from an episode of the classic 1960s BBC Radio comedy Round the Horne, Kenneth Horne wanders into a book shop in Chelsea, ‘Bona Books’, and meets the outrageously camp duo Julian and Sandy, played with aplomb by Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick. Sandy explains that they have recently published their own editions of Shakespeare’s plays, with seemingly outlandish titles like Much Ado About Nanti, All’s Bona That Ends Bona, Two Omis of Verona and As
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They Like It. “Isn’t that As You Like It?” Horne enquires. A small pause follows, and then Williams delivers the
killer punchline; “Not really, but live and let live, I say.” These apparent nonsense words are actually part of the core lexicon of Polari, a form of cant slang composed of a combination of Romany, Italian and Yiddish favoured by, amongst others, the gay subculture in the UK up to the middle of the twentieth century. It’s easy for us to forget that homosexuality was once illegal in this country, but whilst now we can be visible and proud and have a supplement in a national newspaper,
once we had to hide in plain sight, and we had our own language to do so. From Polari we get words we use regularly even today ; ‘naff’ to mean rubbish, ‘mince’, ’zhoosh’ (of Queer Eye for The Straight Guy fame), and most pertinent for this article ‘drag’. A lot of Polari has fallen out of usage nowadays, but as the fabulously named field of ‘lavender linguistics’ tells us, many LGBT communities around the world still have their own unique linguistic
practices – watch but a single episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race and you’d be hardpressed to argue otherwise. What is reading? Does it mean the same as throwing shade? What on earth is realness? Where did these phrases even come from? For answers, you need look no further than Jennie Livingstone’s 1990 documentary Paris is Burning. Set in the somewhat alien world of the New York City ballroom scene, the film gives us a snapshot of life in NYC in the late 1980s for a certain section of the LGBT community, predominantly young African-American and Latino people. The film follows a variety of colourful individuals as they discuss, explain and take part in a ‘Ball’ – an elaborately structured and highly organised affair, somewhere between a high fashion runway and a fancydress costume competition.
They are there to win, by any means necessary, the prizes and trophies of the Ball, as well as the fame and notoriety that they will bring. Many of those who walk at the Balls we see in the film are ‘children’ of ‘houses’ – essentially LGBT street gangs, headed up by a ‘Mother’, who is usually an older, established drag queen or transgender woman. We meet a variety of these house Mothers in the film – the fabulous Pepper LaBeija of the House of LaBeija (referenced, much to my glee, in a recent episode of The New Normal); Angie Xtravaganza, visibly ill from AIDS-related complications; as well as ballroom royalty Dorian Corey, who is essentially a cross between Aretha Franklin and Bea Arthur. The houses become a surrogate family for many of those who have been kicked out of their homes by homophobic and transphobic parents. One member of House Xtravaganza reveals that whilst his own mother no longer sends him a present on his birthday, he always gets one from Angie; “when I got thrown out of my house, Angie let me stay with her until I got myself together and I got working. She always fed me. She can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade her in for any other mother.”
Above: Paris is burning LGBTHM 2013 - 49
The categories at a Ball are fantastically varied, everything from ‘Going to School’ to ‘Town and Country’, through ‘High Fashion Winter Sportswear’, drag categories such as ‘Femme Queen Realness’ for the most ‘perfectly feminine’ drag performers, and the wonderfully blunt ‘Butch Queen First Time in Drags at a Ball’. The contestants take to the floor and are judged by how ‘real’ they are – “To be able to blend, that’s what realness is”, Doran Corey explains. The ‘Executive Realness’ category features young African-American men dressing in three-piece suits and toting briefcases to look as convincing as possible as successful businessmen, an opportunity that clearly did
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not exist for them outside of the ballroom in 1980s America. “In a ballroom, you can be anything you want”, Corey says. “You’re not really an executive, but you’re looking like an executive. And therefore, you’re showing the straight world ‘I can be an executive. If I had the opportunity, I could be one, because I can look like one’”. The ballroom scene birthed the dance style known as Voguing – Madonna may have immortalised it, but
the gay houses had been voguing to win trophies in the ballrooms for many years before she released her single in 1990. In Paris is Burning we meet a true pioneer and icon of the voguing movement Willi Ninja, the mother of the House of Ninja, later immortalised in Malcolm Maclaren’s Deep in Vogue. Words alone can’t hope to do justice to how wonderful it is to see voguing done by the experts, but it’s not mere spectacle – Willi categorises it as “the same thing as taking
two knives and cutting each other up, but through a dance form.” Like all art forms, voguing has evolved and progressed over the last three decades, and is still a thriving tradition today. Manchester’s Queer Contact festival, timed to coincide with the first week of LGBT History Month, is this year featuring a vogue battle via video link-up between the UK-based House of Suarez and The House of Ninja in New York. “Paris is Burning” is as exhilaratingly brilliant and hilarious to watch as it is simultaneously heartbreakingly tragic and sad, and no figure better represents this dichotomy than Venus Xtravangza. Venus was a young transgender woman living in and around the ballroom scene, who became a sex worker to save up the necessary money for her surgery. One
of the best sections in the film (in terms of learning new words, learning new insults and just being plain funny) sees Venus ‘reading’. Reading is summed up by Dorian Corey as “the real art form of insult”, finding a flaw and exaggerating it, and anybody who’s ever been at the receiving end of the razor-sharp tongue of a drag queen in a gay bar will know EXACTLY what this is. And then there’s shade, the “more developed form” of reading “Shade is I don’t tell you you’re ugly, but I don’t have to tell you because you know you’re ugly.” Perhaps the thought of insult as an art form seems anachronistic to a society battling against the impact of bullying and anonymous internet trolling, but it’s a fascinating part of the culture of the ballrooms. Towards the end of the film, Venus’s ‘Mother’ Angie reveals
that Venus’s body was found stuffed under a bed in a New York hotel room in 1988, four days after her death – she had been strangled. “But that’s part of life,” Angie remarks, “as far as being a transsexual in New York City and surviving.” It’s a poignant moment, and you realise no matter how much fun was had in the ballroom, no matter how accepted they were amongst their new families, society as a whole still had a lot of catching up to do. Arguably of course, it still does - over the twelve months leading up to November 2012, 265 transgender people were murdered across the world. LGBT History Month might show us that we’ve come a long way, but statistics like that prove there’s still a long way to go. This article was originally published as a shorter feature by Vada Magazine.
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“IF IT’S OK TO BE GAY, THEN WHY DO I Still FEEL SAD?” Dr Keith Kerrigan, Clinical Psychologist
s we look at UK society today, we may find ourselves thinking that it has never been easier to “come out” as LGBT. There is a greater presence in the media of positive LGBT role models, greater numbers of significant public figures being open about their sexuality, politicians, pop stars, actors and generally people of influence. We watch political battles being fought in parliament for equal rights to marriage and adoption and gladly welcome affirmative official statements from professional and scientific bodies that de-stigmatise and normalise non-heterosexual sexuality and identity. It feels safer, more doable, and achievable and thankfully after many hard fought battles in the individual, political and social domains, the reality is that compared to even 20 years ago, coming out
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THE POWER OF HETEROSEXISM and living as an openly LGBT person is less difficult than, it used to be. However, despite the fact that significant progress has been made, coming out remains a particularly challenging and often potentially psychologically demanding process for many. Although the majority of people typically describe feelings of “difference” from an early age and report becoming aware of definite feelings of same sex attraction as teenagers, for a substantial number of individuals, a deep sense of shame associated with their emerging non-heterosexual sexuality can prevent them from embracing and accepting this aspect of their identity and force them into secrecy and often isolation. So if it is the case that there are more positive nonheterosexual role models in the public domain, and if it is the case that being gay is more
accepted within society than it has ever been, then why do many young people and indeed adults continue to experience such a difficult time in coming to terms with and being open about their sexuality? Why do many people experience deep feelings of shame about this part of their identity? The answer can be found by examining the contexts in which we live and more specifically the largely disempowered and often stigmatised position afforded to non-heterosexual minority groups by what has been termed as a “heterosexist society”. Heterosexism is a term used to refer to a set of ideas, beliefs, biases and attitudes present in society which both assumes and favours heterosexuality as the only normative model of sexual development and expression. It is an unspoken, subtle and often unconscious assumption that is largely
maintained through various social institutions such as the education system and religious structures. Non-heterosexual models of relationships and family are not only absent from our educational curriculums but actively discouraged and prevented from being included by those in powerful positions who adhere to beliefs that heterosexuality is the only “normal” way to be. Of course, human sexuality is much more beautifully diverse and complex than that but since the majority of our socialisation experiences tend to be based on heterosexist ideas and values, we adopt and often adhere to this assumption of normality. We tend not to question the status quo, that is unless we find ourselves unable to “take part” or excluded from the many rituals and life stage markers that are so intrinsically part of heterosexual culture, simply by experiencing ourselves as non-heterosexual. As a result of growing up and living within cultures that adhere to such subtle and often hidden values, LGBT people can face significant social pressures, are often denied typical rites of passage taken for granted by heterosexual people such as
marriage and having children, can often be outwardly prejudiced and discriminated against by much of society including many mainstream social institutions and, as a result, feel considerably excluded and isolated. LGBT people are also at risk of internalising heterosexist ideas of “normality” and negative social messages about their own sexuality which further fuels the pre-existing sense of shame that they may have already experienced from becoming aware of themselves as “different” to their peers. Sometimes this can lead to more significant problems. Studies tell us that psychological difficulty and mental health problems appear to be more prevalent in LGBT communities than in the general population as a result of such social processes. On the not so subtle side of things, outward acts of homophobic discrimination and prejudice including acts of bullying and violence are still a reality for many despite the progress that has been made. So....Is it really easier to be LGBT in UK society today? Society may certainly be more “tolerant” and accepting of sexual minority difference in some parts of the UK which in
turn has indeed made things easier to be open about being LGBT. Thankfully, it would seem that society has made massive progress in this regard and in doing so has created safer contexts in which to be open and true to our sexuality/ sexual identities and to who we experience ourselves to be. However the more subtle assumption of “heterosexuality as normality” behind heterosexism still remains. Society’s next challenge in supporting the needs of LGBT people and creating equal opportunities for everyone may be to become increasingly mindful of the many levels at which heterosexism operates. Heterosexism perpetuates feelings of separateness, difference and of being denied an empowered life experience. In a society where on the surface it may have “become easier” to be LGBT, our next challenge may be to tackle the taken for granted assumptions about heterosexuality as the only viable model of intimate human relationships that continue to lay hidden from view. Looking at the many changes occurring within our social and political systems currently, I do believe we are on our way.
Coming out remains a particularly challenging and often
potentially psychologically demanding process for many. LGBTHM 2013 - 53
By Michael Salter
ondon is a truly global city and Pride in the capital should be a ‘go-to’ event attracting people from across the city, country and world. It should be a celebration of the LGBT+ community, providing a safe space for community groups, charities and businesses to promote themselves, their inclusion & diversity work and campaign for causes they are passionate about. This year many people will take to the streets of London to highlight Equal Marriage. After World Pride in 2012, the Mayor of London launched a competitive tender process to find a new delivery partner for Pride over the next five years. London LGBT+
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Community Pride (LLCP) won the contract. As a group we are passionate that Pride should be for the community, by the community and give back to the community. So we established a Community Interest Company, this means that none of the Directors are paid and any surplus can only be used in one of two ways: to fund the event in future years or be given to LGBT+ groups. LLCP is made up of people from a variety of backgrounds and experience but we share a vision and goal to restore Pride in London. The event this year will take place on the 29th June and will consist of the traditional Parade along Oxford Street
and down Regent Street, events in Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square and street parties in Soho. There will also be a festival of events in the week leading up to Pride. The last minute scaling back of World Pride in 2012 left many community groups angry that they’d spent money on floats they couldn’t use; well the good news is that floats will be back in 2013! Although the Mayor’s office will provide £500,000 over the next five years to run Pride this is only a fraction of what it costs to stage. We need everyone to step forward and participate - we need companies to sponsor the event or buy a stall,
people to contribute even a few pounds to the running costs, the LGBT businesses in London to their part and we need you! Pride needs 600+ volunteers to make it happen, so if you value Pride please step-up and get involved; there are lots of ways we can use your skills, money or time! Given community engagement is central to our plans we’re keen that organisations, no matter how big or small, get involved by having a place in the Parade or using Pride as an opportunity to promote themselves. Please contact us via http://londoncommunitypride. org/ if you’d like to help make Pride a great success.
As a community we should remember that we weren’t always able to march through central London and, in many cities all over the world, such a parade would not be allowed. London is a brilliantly diverse city and the LGBT+ community is the same. A successful Pride should raise money for LGBT+ groups, allow us all to celebrate the progress that’s been made over the past decades and champion causes that will create a better future. So we hope you’ll come to Pride in London this June. www.londoncommunitypride.org LGBTHM 2013 - 55
u have all the nce and help us
Strength through difference
ur people give our business personality. As part of a leading global banking group, Santander UK embraces the individuality that comes from over 22,000 people working together. This diversity enables us to better meet the needs of our customers, because we understand them. We’re delighted to feature in LGBT History Month Magazine again this year and remain proud members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme, as we continue to drive initiatives to support an inclusive culture. Our people-led networks enable individuals to form communities to share experiences, support each other and drive positive change. Network members
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tell us that the networks have given them a ‘voice’ within the company. There has been a significant increase in membership in 2012, showing that the networks are being seen as both useful and beneficial. Rachel Fayers, Diversity and Engagement Manager says: “We want our people to feel they can be open about who they are and what’s important to them. This builds a genuine inclusive culture in which innovation thrives through different ideas.” A high performing team is an inclusive one and Santander has a zero tolerance attitude towards any form of discrimination. We have a comprehensive range of staff benefits which extend to partners, irrespective of who they
are, including gender and sexual orientation. These benefits include private health care, dental insurance, health assessments and a health care cash plan. Partners can also be covered for Life Assurance and Critical Illness Insurance. This year we’ll be celebrating LGBT with an internal awareness drive, challenging perceptions. Part of this initiative is posting discussion topics and articles on our network sites from the UK LGBT community. We strive to build a culture of respect and consideration for all because we want our people to be exactly who they are. We believe seeing the world from another perspective helps us make better decisions. www.santander.co.uk
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For the Love of the ‘B’ in LGBT By Jide Salami
t’s a new dawn in Britain: the bill for equal marriage has been passed by parliament and so now lesbian, gay and transgendered people will be able to get married and have the same rights as their straight and bisexual counterparts under the law. I am thrilled to bits but also find myself quietly slipping into a panic. Yes, I thought I had slain all my closet demons, bolted the door shut and chopped it up into tasty fragments which I had fed to a huge bonfire as I sent it on its merry way to the hell it belongs in. But alas, owing to this long overdue groundbreaking piece of legislation, the ghost of closets past now stare me squarely in the eye and demand immediate attention, and for the first time in decades. I don’t know what to do. I shall explain.
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I am a single 44 year old black gay man who just over a year and a half ago came out to my Mother, for the second time; this time, not as a gay man but as a drag queen. The year was 2011 and I had recently won the prestigious drag idol competition and on the very same day, without missing a heartbeat, given up my job as a City based head-hunter and plunged headlong into the professional world of Cabaret under the name ‘Son of a Tutu’. It was imperative that I break the news to her myself and as quickly as possible as Son of a Tutu’s profile was growing and, as I was working under a name that was autobiographical (Mother’s name is Tutu thereby making me the son of). To not do so would risk the fact being used as dynamite in the hands of one of Mother’s fellow churchgoers who could use it as the
knockout blow in the never ending one-upwoman-ship that is typical of Nigerian church-going ladies. This is a battle waged on many frontiers, ranging from the most elaborate Sunday best outfits, to who gets the pole pew spots and the pièce de résistance, comparative offspring success. It went well, as far as I could tell and turned out to be not as difficult as my first coming out which had happened 15 years prior; back then I was a young, newly qualified accountant, working in a big city firm and managing a team of about 12 other accounting staff. I was saving- up to buy my own flat and as a result, decided to move back into my mother’s flat in East London. I had been travelling about with some entertainer friends of mine over the August bank holiday weekend, and on
This truce scenario may seem odd to many but was very natural to me
my return to mother’s flat three days later, I was greeted by a number of telephone messages (mobile phones had not takenoff back then) and a torrent of questions about where I was and why 99% of the people who called for me were men and not women; Also, when would she meet or hear about a girlfriend? The inquisition was relentless until finally. I capitulated and confirmed her worst suspicion: “Yes Mama, I am Gay.” Who I am has always been a bitter pill to swallow by my family most especially my parents. My mother is a devout Christian and Dad, equally devout if not a little more in his Islamic faith. However, due to my unwavering ‘no compromise’ stand on my sexuality and religion an equally devout atheist, a stalemate had been achieved: I keep myself and my personal business to myself and they equally keep any unwelcome opinions or thoughts about me or ‘my kind’
Right: Son of a Tutu LGBTHM 2013 - 59
Yes Mama, I’m a serial lover of Bi-Sexual Men” or find another corner of the closet to hide in.
to themselves. This truce scenario may seem odd to many but was very natural to me owing to my early formative years. As part of the first generation of Nigerian born Brits of the late 60s’ I was a product of the so called ‘farming system’ of that age: young Nigerian couples would seek out White families to look after their young kids in a voluntary fostering arrangement so they had time to study and work; it was the acceptable form
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being raised by strangers, albeit strangers who were my natural parents, created an invisible but potent emotional Chinese wall which has never been felled.
of child care in those days amongst the first generation of African immigrants. I only to got to know my parents when we were taken out of this system in the late 70s so they could take us to Nigeria where they had decided to return to having secured their desired qualifications. I was a young boy of 8 years old and had started to develop as a person outside of the natural bonds of a parent child relationship and this, coupled with the complete culture shock of
Now we’re back to where we started: equal marriage. The passing of this law made me realise that a part of me had sought refuge in the injustice that it has corrected; .The elephant in the room has always been, ‘ok so he’s gay, will we meet his other half?’ I now can no longer hide behind the walls of inequality for not introducing a potential 4th son-in-law to my parents (I have 3 married sisters), as I now may have to answer the question of why am I still single at 44. The answer lies in the ‘B’ in LGBT: my DNA is such that I am only attracted to the Bisexual of the species and, love them as much as I do, finding one that is willing to settle into a long term relationship with a highly visible drag queen is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So what do I do, go home to Mother and say “Yes Mama, I’m a serial lover of Bi-Sexual Men” or find another corner of the closet to hide in?
Human rights in Jamaica
he Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays was founded on Thursday December 10, 1998 as the first human rights organization in the history of Jamaica to serve the needs of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgendered (LGBT) people. J-FLAG was started by a group of 12 men and women: educators, lawyers, public relations practitioners, advertisers and human rights activists who saw the need to advocate for the protection of LGBT people from statesanctioned and community violence. In this regard, J-FLAG’s call was for the fair and equal treatment of gays
and lesbians under the law and by the ordinary citizen. One of J-FLAG’s first major undertakings was a submission to the Joint Select Committee on the Charter of Rights Bill seeking to amend the non-discrimination clause to include ‘Sexual Orientation’. J-FLAG has expanded its Legal Reform and Advocacy efforts, and expanded its activities to include Public Education and Crisis Intervention and Support Programmes. J-FLAG continues to encourage Jamaicans to have a deeper understanding of their plurality and their democracy; it will continue seeking to raise the level of debate
in the society about the meaning of tolerance and the acceptance of difference. Accordingly, J-FLAG will attempt to forge new relationships with a wider cross-section of organisations committed to strengthening democracy and the promotion of respect for all Jamaicans, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, creed, religion or social status. Over the thirteen years of our existence, J-FLAG has stood as the foremost voice in Jamaica calling for the respect of LGBT people as citizens with the same rights and value as heterosexual Jamaicans.
J-FLAG’s call was for the fair and equal treatment of gays and lesbians under the law and by the ordinary citizen.
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The Ayes Have It. Unlock!
by Robert Ingham
The United Kingdom ushered in a new era on Tuesday 5th February with the words that will go down in the annals of history: “The Ayes Have It. Unlock!” Finally – Gay Marriage was passed through parliament with impressive figures – 400 Ayes to 175 Noes, bringing it in line with other countries who have already welcomed the union such as Spain, Canada, Iceland and South Africa. Even France looks set to pass it through law by May this year. The night, where many held their breath as the announcement was made in the House of Commons, will be remembered for MPs
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making impassioned pleas to their peers, such as Michael Freer who spoke about his gay relationship of 21 years: “I am not asking for special treatment, I am simply asking for equal treatment.” From when homosexuality was decriminalised 1967 and the first Gay Pride in 1970 (exactly one year after the Stonewall Riots), to Gay adoption and Civil Partnerships, the landscape for gay men and women has changed remarkably in a relatively short period of time. We have a lot to thank for those who have fought the cause for gay rights, whether it has been activists, petitions or marches on Parliament and Downing Street.
One thing is for sure – wherever change is needed, change will happen. Equality is a right not an option, as the Bill passed earlier this month proves. Whatever your views on Gay Marriage, the truth is that no matter who you are or who you love, you are as entitled to be on this planet as anyone else, and no-one should feel they can’t live their lives the same as the next person. There may still be a long way to go, but the introduction of Gay Marriage is certainly one step closer to a nation where gay men and women can live without fear of being true to themselves, and where homophobia is entirely eradicated.
Feature Flash/Shutterstock Veteran acting powerhouses Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Derek Jacobi head the formidable cast, with Frances De La Tour always on hand as their feisty and foreveryoung-at-heart best friend, Violet. ‘Vicious’ is written by Gary Janetti, the Emmy
We went to see the first episode being filmed and were not disappointed. With a nod to sitcoms of yore (think ‘Rising Damp’ meets ‘The Odd Couple’ via ‘Are You Being Served’), ‘Vicious’ is a ground-breaking six-part series that will show you three of England’s best loved actors at their best. Expect some surprise cameos in this unashamedly wicked new comedy that will no doubt be commissioned for a second series. Bitchy and teethsuckingly funny, this is what Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone would have been like if they had been gay men.
Sir Ian Mckellen
Vicious, currently in production, tells the story of Freddie and Stuart, two gay men living in Covent Garden and who have been together for 48 years, whose lives are turned upside down when a new neighbour Ash, a handsome 20-something year old man, moves into the flat above.
nominated writer/producer behind hits such as Will & Grace and Family Guy, so you can expect some classic one-liners which are not only memorable but will have your jaw dropping to the floor.
Frances De La Tour
Sir Derek Jacobi
e warned readers. A new sitcom is coming to ITV in the spring of this year, a show that can switch from hilarious to touching in a blink of a cataract eye.
The show will be recorded on Tuesday evenings during February & March at The ITV Studios, London. If you would like to go along and see a recording of this new ITV sitcom, then apply online now via those lovely people at SRO Audiences. Their website is http://www.sroaudiences.com. LGBTHM LGBTHM 2013 2013 -- 63
Probably the world’s greatest and most culturally diverse City….
Why not be part of it? The City of London Corporation is a unique organisation with a long history but modern outlook. This is reflected in our diverse workforce and employment policies which underpin our ethos of inclusiveness. We have a thriving LGBT staff group and stage regular events which explore LGBT histories.
Refer to page 10 for further details. Search online at “City of London jobs” (www.cityoflondon.gov.uk)
LGBT History Month Magazine is one of Talent Media's diversity range of official titles. This year's issue celebrates LGBT people through th...
Published on Feb 7, 2013
LGBT History Month Magazine is one of Talent Media's diversity range of official titles. This year's issue celebrates LGBT people through th...