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For fair treatment and equal rights at work, join a union!
To answer your questions about your rights at work visit www.workSMART.org.uk For advice on which union to join you can visit the site or call the TUC Join a Union line 0870 600 4882.
Our fashion partners www.philosophyfootball.com (tel 020 8802 3499) are offering the unique TUC Pride T-shirt for just ÂŁ12.99 each, with discounts for bulk. Wear it with Pride! WWW.PRIDELONDON.ORG
DANIELLE CARTER FOREWORD
CHAIR OF PRIDE PAUL BIRRELL
MAYOR OF LONDON
40 years of the Gay Liberation Front, founder
From MySpace to owning her own Hollywood space.
member Andrew Lumsden shares his emories
The star that capitalised on the YouTube generation
The gay debate
A look back at changing trends, fads and
mags over the last 40 years
THE L WORD
The end of an era, but what impact did
The L Word have on lesbian identity
Find out what Pride London is doing for you
A guide for all prospective LGBT parents
An Iranian Asylum seeker tells his story of
how he avoided deportation and execution
All the details of this year's top line-up
The BB5 winner talks about being Portugal’s most
JULIAN BENNETT Talks Kristian Digby, cancer and finding his birth
PARADE ROUTE MAP LOVE WITHOUT BOARDERS
ADAM LAMBERT From the USA to G-A-Y, Adam talks cultural
CAMPAIGNS FOSTERING AND ADOPTION
Pride London are hosting World Pride 2012
THE BEST OF PINKWIRE.CO.UK
JOHN AMAECHI Discusses being gay in the NBA STEPHEN K AMOS
Black and Proud, Stephen tells us what being BME
and gay means to him
DR CHRISTIAN JESSEN Has a consultation with Pride Mag
Hot, young new sound from Ireland
Chair of youth shares his experiences
The Pineapple Dance Studio star gets fruity
FESTIVAL LISTINGS Pride London's two week guide
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NO HANG UPS
We don’t stereotype. We don’t prejudge. We don’t discriminate. WWW.PRIDELONDON.ORG We just hire the best person for the job. nikebiz.com/careers
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Welcome to Pride London.This year is a landmark year for Pride, marking the 40th Anniversary, the ruby anniversary of the Gay Liberation Front - one of the earliest LGBT rights organisations in the United Kingdom, whose campaigning was a fore-runner of Pride in London. Pride London is commemorating this anniversary with a series of events throughout the Festival, on the Parade and of course on our stages.
ride London’s theme this year is ‘Painting the Town Ruby Red: 40 years of the Gay Liberation Front’. We hope that this both inspires people’s participation at this year’s Pride and also reminds people of what Pride exists for.
Pride also allows us all, for one day of the year, to take over the centre of one of the largest capital cities in the World and to have fun in doing so – and one million of us did so last year. It’s a statement like no other, and one that we should enjoy making.
In the run up to Pride London hosting WorldPride in 2012, this will become particularly poignant as our eyes turn to our LGBT cousins abroad. Following on from the shockingly regressive and immoral stances that countries such as Malawi and Uganda have taken towards LGBT rights, Pride London will be drawing attention to the struggle that many LGBT people still have. That many of these countries are Commonwealth countries and cite British colonial legislation in support of their stances is a shameful relic of the past, and one that Britain and other countries can do much to correct.
Pride will therefore be hosting the usual entertainments this year, from music to comedy, and this year is proud to launch its own party, immediately after the event: Liberation at Koko in Camden. This is the first time that Pride London has run and managed its own club night, and we hope that you love it as much as we think you will!
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So come along this year and enjoy the Parade, enjoy the Party and, most of all, enjoy Pride. It’s your event, and it’s your Pride. One million people can’t be wrong. Come and join them.
But Pride isn’t just here to remind people of the problems that we can face.
Paul Birrell, Chair Laurie Powell, Finance Director and Company Secretary Colm Howard-Lloyd, Vice Chair, Communications Patrick Williams, Vice Chair, Communities Stuart Small, Commercial Director Marko Kyronlahti, Associate Director, Procurement Steve Erskine, Associate Director, Sponsorship Dave Siddons, Associate Director, Finance Darren Waite, Associate Director, Entertainment Tom Barber, Associate Director, Media Danielle Carter, Associate Director, Equality & Diversity Pete Manley, Associate Director, Communications Trevor Edwards, Associate Director,Operations and Chief Steward Jon Pewtner, Associate Director Operations PRIDE LONDON PATRONS Sir Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen, Lord Waheed Alli, Rhona Cameron, Michael Cashman
The trustees would also like to recognize the work of the following people who stood down
MEP, Naechanè Romeo , Stephen Fry, Zoe Lyons, Wayne Sleep , Lord Chris Smith, Clare
from the board over the course of the year: David Coles, Emma Hands, Pete Heyes, Ben Judge,
Summerskill, Peter Tatchell, Stephen K. Amos
Shaun Newport, Carl Smith
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Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) The Agency is committed to providing equal access to its services to all customers and employees and to provide services in a fair and equal manner that respects their diverse backgrounds. Diversity for the Agency means understanding and valuing the visible and non-visible differences (such as sexual orientation, age, sex, race and disability) of the population that it serves, building customer and employee loyalty and providing services that recognise and meet their needs. We know what our customers want, because our staff are our customers. As an equal opportunities employer and server, we are proud to be part of London Pride 2010 and wish it every success.
LGBT DVLA staff network
The Agency is committed to maintaining the health and well-being of its workforce and has developed a strategy to help improve and maintain their physical and mental health and well-being. Staff have access to occupational health service, an employee assistance programme, a physiotherapy service and Swansea based staff are lucky enough to have access to a purpose built gym. The focus is on the promotion of a healthy lifestyle and on sustaining a healthy working environment through a number of ways such as the introduction of a health events calendar to support identified health issues, health fairs and regular health promotion events. Staff are kept informed about health and well-being information through Health Matters, our newly developed electronic newsletter.
“Supporting London Pride 2010”
Staff Network Objectives It is very important that the Agency has an LGBT staff network with its very own Diversity Champion at Executive Board level, not only because it is a recognised strand Ian Clark (left), Co-Chair LGBT Staff Network Group with his partner John of Diversity, but also because employees should feel and know the Agency is prepared to ensure they are treated fairly in the workplace and equality is recognised.
• Increase membership by 5% during the year
I am very proud to be an employee of DVLA as it has my welfare in mind and recognises the rights and freedom of individuals, irrespective of their sexual orientation.
• Work towards Stonewall Equality Index
• Attend meetings of the Civil Service Rainbow Alliance and promote CSRA amongst DVLA network membership • Arrange annual and quarterly membership meetings • Visit members throughout the Agency network to establish face to face contact and discuss any issues in confidence • Arrange attendance at Stonewall, PCS Proud and relevant diversity training events • Participate in UK Pride events • Take opportunities to promote DVLA as equal opportunities and best practice employer in appropriate LGBT media (Pink Paper, Pride, and Stonewall publications etc)
Greetings to everyone taking part in this year’s Pride London celebrations. From poet laureates to politicians and pop stars to rugby players, there’s an increasing confidence to be open about your sexuality. Nowhere is this more evident than in London, which is home to one of the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities in the world. Everybody has the right to live their life as they wish, free from persecution and abuse, and my office will continue to work with the community, the police and other partners to ensure that irrespective of your sexuality all Londoners are able to participate fully in the life of the capital. I am pleased to support Pride London again this year. One of the biggest events of the year, it is a vibrant celebration of the individuals and communities that make an important contribution to this city’s cultural, economic and political life, and make it such an exciting place to live and visit. As large crowds hit the street, have a wonderful Pride.
Boris Johnson Mayor of London
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It takes 20,000 individuals to make us EDF Energy. At EDF Energy, diversity is more than a good intention. After all, everybody has a role to play in tackling the energy challenge. Here, we look for talent from everywhere and encourage ideas from everyone. This is why we’re building more employee networks that don’t just connect people, but actually give them a greater voice in the business. We’re by no means perfect yet. But by harnessing the individual talents of our 20,000 people, together we can enjoy a tomorrow full of potential. Find out more at www.edfenergy.com/pride
EDF ENERGY CELEBRATING PRIDE LONDON
Dignity and Respect at work Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans workers – Unite Working for your Rights
OUR UNION • Provides Representation on LGBT issues at Work • Promotes LGBT rights at Work • National and Regional LGBT Groups and Networks in the Union alongside committees and conferences
• Provides 24 hour Legal Helpline for all members • Ensures LGBT Rights are included in Equal Opportunities Agreements • Negotiates Equal Rights, conditions and benefits for all members
To join Unite email:
firstname.lastname@example.org London & Eastern 020 8800 4281
South West 0117 923 0555
Midlands West 0121 553 6051
North East 0113 236 4830
Wales 02920 394521
South East 0845 605 2193
Midlands East 0133 2548 400
North West 0161 848 0909
Scotland 08456 044 384
Ireland 02890 232 381
www.unitetheunion.org National Office : 128 Theobalds Road, London WC1X 8TN Tel: 0207 611 2500
Pride London has this year launched three campaigns. To support us visit our website www.pridelondon.org and donate
A new and innovative campaign that looks at the rights and plight of LGBT within the Commonwealth. Pride London launched this campaign on 25th November 2009 at the Quebec Bar, 12 Old Quebec Street London, fronted by one of Pride London’s patrons Naechanè Romeo who was originally born in Guyana, a Commonwealth country, where being LGBT is still a criminal offence. Peter Tatchell and Stephen K Amos are supporters of this campaign. The focus of the campaign will be in five stages: Stage One: Forge links with various LGBT organisations in the following countriesUganda, Jamaica, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, etc., finding out how we can as a charity support them. Stage Two: Bring the information about the organizations and the plight of LGBT people from within these countries to international focus. Stage Three: Develop a strategic plan with assistance from key personnel to be taken up by political supporters and placed before the UK government. Stage Four: Raise funds for this work, with special emphasis in ensuring that the campaign is resourced and active. Stage Five: To continue to develop this campaign right up to 2012. Several parts of the stages will overlap at times and some of them may develop faster than others due to the communication that needs to be established on an ongoing basis. All funds go towards: 1. Accurate and up to-date information. 2. Resourcing of the campaigns 3. Publicity for the campaigns 4. Support for the various organisations that are within the Countries outlined One of the smaller sub-campaigns that will be supported and a spin-off from “Love without Borders” will be : LGBT Asylum Needs Analysis This is a complementary campaign, that supports those who are fleeing persecution from regimes that are oppressive and discriminatory, and will focus on placement needs within the UK; for example, housing within LGBT friendly environments, availability of LGBT networks and structures that can feed into their needs. This is hoped to be presented to the Home Office when
This campaign seeks to eliminate hate crimes against LGBT people and calls for better policing of our community. We want to see stronger laws to deter those who advocate transphobia and homophobia and proper punishment for those who carry out attacks. LGBT people deserve protection. The focus of the campaign will be in four stages: Stage One: Raise funds for this work, with special emphasis in ensuring that the campaign is resourced and active. Stage Two: Work in partnership with the Met Police to help develop policing strategies for the protection of the LGBT community in London. Stage Three: Forge links with other agencies to monitor and support the work of the police and act as an assessor of the policing strategy for LGBT people in London Stage Four: Work with the Mayor to develop best-practice guidelines for the Met Police and the Metropolitan Police Authority for the policing of hate crime and the support of LGBT communities.
Pride London believes that the general health and well-being of LGBT Londoners is an important, but often overlooked issue. This campaign is about more than just sexual health and will focus on healthy living, healthy attitudes and proper access to services and information. Of particular concern is the provision of services and information catering to the needs of older LGBT people. This campaign will have a number of stages in its passage towards full implementation, with the initial first three stages outlined below: Stage one: Develop and promote an anonymous survey to track the specific health needs of LGBT people, and what provision is currently made (or not made) for them. Stage two: Identify the trends in the survey data and promote this data to NHS Primary Care Trusts to assist in their planning of services. Stage Three: Continue to highlight health issues for LGBT people in London and work with service providers to ensure these are met. In particular, Pride London expects to focus on areas such a longevity of care. To donate to Pride London and support these and other campaigns please take a look at the website www.pridelondon.org. You can also find details of volunteering for Pride London to make a difference to the lives of LGBT Londoners by visiting the Volunteering section.
Fostering in Brent
Sacha and Josh have always been close. They have needed to be. They have only had each other for a long time. They are worried theyâ€™ll be separated and have to stay with different families. We need someone to make sure that doesnâ€™t happen. Are you that person? Why not give us a call and find out.
020 8937 4538 www.brent.gov.uk/fostering
Sacha and Josh are fictional. However in Brent we have lots of sibling groups just like them in need of foster carers. Call us today to find out more.
PRIDE_2010.indd 14 Pride guide 1
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PRIDE IS CELEBRATING FORTY YEARS OF THE GAY LIBERATION FRONT. PRIDE MAGAZINE CAUGHT UP WITH ONE OF THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE GLF ANDREW LUMSDEN TO FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENED AND WHAT HAS CHANGED.
Words: Danielle Carter
he GLF here began because two students met up almost by chance in New York when the Gay Liberation Front were getting together after the Stonewall riots. They met up in the early 1970’s, they traveled around America together and were so excited by what they saw they thought that they must get a branch going over here.
without her husband, that is how primitive it was. In the gay clubs for men it was still the ground rule that you couldn’t touch if you were dancing, so the people that ran the gay clubs would come over and break you up if there wasn’t daylight between you. It was the fear of the law not because they were homophobic.
They booked a room at the London School of Economics and put the word out, ten people were there in the September, and within about two months, (I first went in November) there were a hundred or more people coming. Eventually in the New Year LSE asked us to leave because the crowds were so large.
Words: Danielle Carter
So we went for a while to a very famous pioneering rock basement club called Middle Earth in Covent Garden because a very wealthy gay man arranged access for us. It was like being an early Christian because they were catacombs and underground cellars, one after the other. The crowds became enormous, so we went to All Saints Hall in Notting Hill Gate and by 1972 it was getting unmanageable so it was decided to make the meetings localised.
The one thing that I find is that people still don’t understand the importance of public lavatories because many of them have been closed. Still at the time of the GLF there were Victorian public conveniences all over London. Many of them were very ornate, you went down steps and they had wonderful tile work with amazing Victorian plumbing. Men met each other there because there were no other facilities for meeting and I find that some young people are now outraged by the process, they think that it is a disgusting way to meet people but the answer is in primitive conditions it was the best way to do it. The police knew what they were used for.
There were lesbians who began to say it was intolerable, that the agenda was being set by male voices, so in a way the break up of the GLF started then, by the creation of smaller pockets of meetings. So I have always said that the GLF has been dead since 1972-73 in terms of a rallying group but the consequences of it have been extraordinary in terms of the London Lesbian and Gay Switchboard, and other such services born out of the movement. In terms of the GLF it never had a membership so you can’t say ‘I was a member of the GLF’ because it isn’t true, it wasn’t like a coffee club. I went along to the GLF and took part in its activities.
The situation at the time of GLF for women was chronically bad, in all their working lives they kept on encountering glass ceilings much lower than they are now. Several of the women who came to the meetings were married women, it was a vastly different time. A woman couldn’t take out a mortgage
We had the 1967 act but we didn’t have the word ‘gay’ we had to introduce it. Newspapers refused to print it and people from Tunbridge Wells kept on writing in saying ‘My wife and I have spent years saying we have had such a gay evening and now we can’t’. The word gay was subversive.
There were lots of phrases used at the time of the GLF that are no longer around they came from an era of oppression. One of them was the BMW, which, I have not heard in a long time, it means the ‘Bloody Manly Walk’. A way in which we all had to walk so we didn’t get ‘spotted’. It was only after the GLF started that I saw a man with shoulder length hair, I was on Oxford Street and people stopped and stared. That is how socially conformist we were.
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Most of my friends think that political activism amongst the young gay community is at a very low level. I went to a protest about Uganda’s conduct and there were only about 50 people there, that is shocking and scandalous but the numbers of gay people enjoying themselves has increased. We do feel that if the government tried to remove their freedoms then the community would come out of the bars and react.
YOUTH & HISTORY Some of the youth must have knowledge of their past. There are probably about as many as there ever were, most people only want to know enough history in order to cope. There are some very promising books that are being published that name and praise people involved in the forwarding of gay rights. This is where we need formal, higher education to teach people what went on and what happened.
I never wanted it to get this far but I have seen with delight what civil partnerships have meant to very elderly gay couples that have been together for 50 years, 20 of those illegal. For that I am very glad. I have also seen the delight of heterosexual family members where a kind of guilt is lifted from them. All of that is the great side and probably that is enough, but I do always dislike that avenue. What we were fighting for at GLF was the freedom of personal conduct, a change in all the relationships in the world. Sharing a tax privilege is not what we were fighting for and not what people died for.
I do get concerned that the word ‘gay’ that we used as a quasirevolutionary term has now descended into a playground insult. That is distressing to anyone of my generation, it is appalling.
It has created a two-tier system in our society now where it can create a feeling of non-achievement, whereby if you don’t have a civil partnership you can feel that you have failed.
I have thought long and hard about this. Surely a religious outfit can employ people who agree with their religious ideals and adhere to their ethics? If you think about a women’s club, men are not allowed. A legislation that would force men to be entitled to go, would feel uncomfortable surely? It is the same thing for a religion being compelled to employ gay people when their whole purpose is to teach a sexual morality that doesn’t include gays.
Marriage- I would have never campaigned for, I hated it when the American’s brought it in and if I had my way it would be reserved for those who are rearing children, whether they are straight or gay. It would be a tribute to the work that they do.
THE POPE I don’t think that we should have to tolerate the pope intervening into British public affairs. My gut reaction to the Catholic Church’s record is one of horror and my instant reaction was to say ‘get that man out of our faces’.
However, there is no point in passing anti-discrimination laws if you make an exception for the people that discriminate. Also why would you want to defend somebody who wants to go and work for one of these churches?
For a long time when the GLF was in full flight I would have believed that people have an absolute duty to come out and no excuses. I would long to still say that but I amend it a little now and say that I think we have an absolute duty to ourselves. For as long as we don’t come out for whatever reason, however enormously powerful we damage ourselves.”
hen she launched her career, she launched big. Pixie Lott dived into the land of stardom headfirst. She traded in the Home Counties for the rolling Hollywood Hills to later become a household name.
friends as much as I’d like to. I’ve been doing lots of traveling and things. It’s been amazing and lots of fun though. How did you feel after you won your first MTV Europe Music Award?
Pixie made her way up the ladder on her own. This young girl was a force of nature that used the new realms of technology to create a
That was amazing yeah. I wasn’t expecting any awards. I was really
bidding war between music producers with the aid of YouTube and
surprised. Obviously it’s great to get recognised for all the hard
work you put in.
With her peroxide blonde hair she could have easily been typecast
You were once billed as Britains answer to Lady Gaga,
as the young dumb blonde, but no, this Stage Coach scholarship
how did that make you feel?
awarded student has an eclectic array of talents under her belt.
Yeah I have been compared to everyone out there from Lady Gaga, to Britney. So I take each one as a compliment.
With the ability to write a catchy tune she has connected with the younger audience.
It must have been a great feeling when you first heard your song on the radio. How important do you
Pride London Magazine chatted with Pixie to find out what makes
think it is for young people to follow their dreams?
her tick. Is still grounded to her London roots after the whirlwind
It was great. I think it’s really important. I mean you have to really
year that has picked her up and dropped her off in the realms
work hard to do what you want to do. It’s possible for everyone.
If your passionate and dedicated enough about what you want to do then you can just go out there and make it happen. It takes
Currently supporting Rhianna, she had just finished performing at
a lot patience and hard work but if you keep persevering then it
London’s 02 Arena and it was easy to tell that the excitement from
Words: Sam Bristowe
performing is still very much within her.
So you have had a brilliant year, what’s been the highlight? Well the last year has been pretty crazy for me. Obviously everything has changed. Just in the way that everything has got so
// I HAVE BEEN COMPARED TO EVERYONE OUT THERE FROM LADY GAGA, TO BRITNEY. //
busy. I’m scheduled out all the time so I can’t hang out with my
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You obviously have a knack of writing and producing catchy tunes, if you had to lose one talent, would you choose your voice or music writing ability? I definitely wouldn’t be able to lose my singing because being on stage is my favourite thing ever. I have just come of stage now and it was amazing. I would hate not to have that feeling. You do a lot for gay issues. Last year you performed at Birmingham’s Gay Pride, How was that? I loved it. It’s always a great crowd at events like that. I have performed at G-A-Y which is one of my favourite gigs because the crowd is just so enthusiastic. It’s always good fun. Do you feel a gay audience is much different to a straight audience? Umm I guess they are just more enthusiastic. I grew up with lots of gay people. I went to Stage school and a lot of my classmates were gay so I just enjoy that crowd. Like you just said you grew up with a lot gay guys within your school and I read before that a boyfriend you once dated has actually turned out to be gay now, how did that leave you feeling? (Laughs) There was this guy that I dated for about a month and I think now he is gay. I think it’s just the school I went to.You know, it can kind or attract that way of life (Laughs) I know I have had the same conversation with girls calling me and saying “Oh what? Your gay” (Laughs) Yeah, I know what you mean. Anyway, enough of the heavy stuff. What lies ahead for Pixie Lott this year? Well this year I am finishing off my tour and then I’m spending a lot of time over in America as I’m launching my music over there. So that’s fun. I am also doing a bit more acting, which is good, as I really enjoy that. Obviously I am doing events like V Festival, T4 on the Beach and Radio1’s Big Weekend. I think I am basically just going to be flipping back and forth from America really. What are you acting in? Not a lot that I can really say right now. Cause I have to wait till it’s all done and dusted but there are a few little things in the pipeline. Is that something you are quite keen to get into? Yeah obviously I studied it at school but music is my passion. I always thought that I would be doing acting in four years or something and its just come up really quick but I guess, I’m not going to turn it down. No you can’t turn anything down. Grab every opportunity. Yes exactly. That’s what I think. You grew up in Essex just outside of London, where do you love to head to when in town? We love to head out to the West End, Camden or Brick Lane is where we would usually head to. What makes London for you? I love London. I have been to loads of places but London is still my favourite. I think because all of my friends live here and all my favourite places are here. I love Covent Garden, I love Carnaby Street and Brick Lane when it’s all sunny on a Sunday. I love all that kind of stuff about London. We are celebrating 40 years of the GLF (Gay Liberation Front) at this year’s event, where do you see yourself in 40 years time? Four-years time? No forty, I know it’s ages away. Oh wow! Forty…I would like to have a family and be happy, still singing and writing songs. Still in the industry somehow but you know basically with a family, in a nice house, with a swimming pool. Pixie Lott’s new single Turn It Up is out now.
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Visit: www.mho.co.uk - for more information about attractive and available affordable homes. www.housingoptions.co.uk - HousingOptions is London's free one-stop service to help you find government funded affordable homes to rent or buy. To be considered you must apply to HousingOptions. Or call 020 8920 7777 and quote â€˜Pride Londonâ€™.
H H A O P M P E Y
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he usual American Idol search for a pop star began its tour around the US as Simon and Co. started their quest for the newest sensation to dominate the Billboard charts. Little did they know they would meet the likes of Adam Lambert in the Hollywood auditions, a man with no performance boundaries, comfortable in his own skin, unique voice and sassy make up to boot. This glistening gem was a new find in the pop star fields of America. Gripping the nation and the world with his captivating crotchgrabbing performances, it was clear to see that this musically trained San Diego boy was a force to be reckoned with. Powering his way through the shows seventh season he was left competing with Kris Allen, who won and who no one has really heard of since. Adam Lambert spoke to Pride Magazine just after a whistle stop tour of the UK which was cut short due to volcanic ash. With a night in the East End, a G-A-Y performance and countless TV appearances, he was getting stuck into the land of Blighty and it seems that we were more than happy to welcome him here. Hi Adam, Thank you for taking the time to talk to me I know you’ve been really busy. Hello, no not at all it’s a pleasure. So you’ve been on a whirlwind trip of Europe and the UK to promote your debut single and album. How was it? I loved it. I mean of course if I had designed the trip myself I would have had a few more days off so I could go check everything out. Everybody was so great and I had a great time over there You were affected by that Volcano weren’t you? Yeah I was, so it turned out being a quite a rushed job
Words : Sam Bristowe
How did you like London? What sort of trouble do you get up to whilst here then? Mostly work but I got to go out to a couple of places and eat dinner out and things. One of the places I think was the Shoreditch House, which was really, really lovely. I mean I thought it was all great. I love your wit [Laughs]
If you had to put yourself in one of the typical gay stereotypes where would you place yourself? I think that’s what’s interesting about me, I don’t think I fit into any stereotype [Laughs] I’m kind of in between. It’s funny because I have a lot of the American fans being like ‘Oh ok, the make up thing, I don’t really get that? That must because he’s gay’ which is funny cause I don’t really see a lot of guys in make up unless they are in full drag. Guys who I know that wear eyeliner and nail polish are straight musicians. So it’s kind of like whose to say what the stereotype is at this point. You’re just yourself at the end of the day? I think that’s one of the things about the gay community, is that it is changing and we are progressing out of stereotypes and roles. I think it’s kind of time to move forward. The title track and debut single. ‘For Your Entertainment’ caused quite a stir back home when you performed it at the American Music Awards. Were you expecting that sort of response? Thanks. I didn’t expect it to be at the level it was. I thought there would probably be a little bit of an eyebrow raise but I didn’t expect so many people to be so upset. I mean I took myself by surprise in the performance [laughs] I just realised I was getting real funky up there and I just thought ‘Ok, I’m just gonna go with it” Do you think those sorts of attitudes are likely to change in the US? I think only time will tell. Sometimes it takes just a little staying power to help change people’s minds and show that you deserve to be where you are and who you are. Maybe if I get few more songs out on the radio, people will begin to appreciate it more. Saying that, I definitely feel the love, it’s a really warm reception and ‘Whatya Want From Me’ just did really well and still is. In the US you are releasing your third single’ If I Had You’, How’s that going? Yeah, we recently performed it on the Ellen show, which was really good. The Ellen show is always heaps of fun with the set, the crew and everybody. It is always a positive environment.
Not many people get the British humor. I love a dry sense of humor so I definitely appreciated it.
Do you get on with Ellen? Yeah, we get on really well.
I saw you doing your thing at Heaven when you first arrived in the UK and it was great, did you enjoy it? I really enjoyed it. It was really fun and we had a good time. Both my band and my dancers were just thrilled to be there. I mean we are like a big family so it was good to experience it together.
She is a massive gay icon and her coming out for a time ended her career. Was she a big inspiration for you in how you dealt with it?
Do you think we are a different kind of audience on this side of the pond? It is different. I think you guys embrace male pop a little bit more readily whereas some of America are a bit like’…Ok…Pop… Men…Ok. [Laughs] Just a second we’ll warm up to it.’ [Laughs] I think the UK just really appreciates things that are out of the box and different. Do you see London as the sort of city you can be comfortable in? Yeah I think so. I think the camp factor is definitely something that’s more understood here and I felt really comfortable in London.
It really wasn’t an option for me to not be upfront about it. That’s just not who I am. I’m a open person and pretty much an open book. So I kind of felt once the opportunity came up to talk about it, I’ll talk about it. I think denying it would have just been BS and people would have known. I have been out and proud living in LA for the last eight years so pictures and what not would have surfaced. Plus, like I said I’m completely comfortable with it so hopefully that inspires others to be the same You seem very focused and hardworking. Do you think that has helped you in American Idol? I don’t know really. I think it may be because I am an artist that involves a lot more visual campness in my performance. So
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INTERVIEW obviously that is part of the shtick and it grabs peoples attention and causes them to talk. There is a new realm of pop star now, no longer is it just standing on stage. With you and Gaga you put on a real show. How do you feel about that? I think it’s from my musical theatre background coming in to play and I have also had a lot of contact with the underground LA club scene, which, provided me with a number of artists that inspired me. So I think the two of those things together really sum up why I approach my performances the way I do. Did you find anything remotely sexy about judge Simon Cowell? [Laughs] Not my type, so no, not at all.
Where did your style come from? I don’t really know how to attribute it to anything. I remember being in high school and there was a make-up line on TV that was talking about their nail polish being unisex and I saw rockers wearing make-up so I was just like ‘Oooh that is so cool, I want to wear make-up.’ So I started wearing make up. How important do you think events such as Pride are and would mind sending a message to this years Pride London goers? Yeah sure. Hey guys. I think being proud is the first step to moving forward and making progress. I think you are all beautiful and you should all live it up!
Just me then. So what is your type? I’m kind of getting to an age and level of perception where it’s more about the energy and the connection, I know it sounds a bit cliché but it’s true. If I had to pick something visually that I am drawn to then I would say guys that are a little bit smaller and pretty. Obviously with Pride the main aim is to celebrate and support LGBT people, including people who are just coming into the community. You came out at 18, what would be your advice to others? I think that if your on the brink of wanting to be honest with your friends and family you just need to remember that there are so many other people out there like you. Even if your not near where the other people are, go to where they are and find them. Did you ever experience homophobia? Do you now? Yeah of course I do now. It’s very much at a low level and doesn’t get too dramatic but there is an undercurrent of it everywhere. I think that’s the key of being a gay mainstream artist is that your going to deal with that. I just kind of ignore it cause its not going to do much for me if I just battle it head on. I think it’s good to just be like ‘Well, so?’ and leave it. That’s my attitude and I think that’s the attitude the youths should take and be like ‘this is who I am and if you like it you like it, and if you don’t, you don’t’ Is that story about Lady Gaga sticking up for both of you in a bar after homophobic true?That was a wonderful rumour I don’t know where that came from. We have never been out in a social public place before. Oh, everyone assumes that you guys are best friends hitting the town and living it up. Is that not the case? No [laughs] I’ve only spent one day with her in the studio after I requested that I definitely wanted to work with her on my album and I was so fortunate that she had a slot of time, so it was really cool. Pink’s song on the album was something she had written that was floating around and didn’t have a home. She is a wonderful artist. I have only met her twice but I hope for future opportunities to get together and maybe write something. Everybody is busy though you know. For instance Gaga, I would love to kick it up with in a bar but we are just both so busy working our arses off.
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IT SEEMS THAT THE BUBBLE HAS BURST AND THE EMBARGO THAT ONCE KEPT GAY CHARACTERS BEHIND THE BAR AT THEIR LOCAL HAS ENDED AND KEPT THE NATION GRIPPED. Soap operas this year could not be accused of
Have either of you had any flack about
as many sides of gay life within the role as I can.
avoiding the issue of sexuality. Soaps have always
the way it was dealt with?
It’s very difficult to accurately portray aspects of
walked a tightrope of reflecting society whilst not
I haven’t experienced any flack at all and it’s all
gay life at certain times of the evening on screen.
offending the audience. Historically there have
been really positive. Marc Elliot (Syed Masood)
The message of the story is more important than
always been gay characters on our screens but they
and I have both had letters from mothers, sons
anything else and I hope that viewers feel we have
were often A-sexual, seemingly going through their
and grandmothers who have been moved by
lives without any kind of romantic interest.
the storyline as they have been through similar situations in their own lives with members of their
How important do you feel it is that gay
Fast-forward to 2010 and all three of the country’s
families. I think it has given people a chance to talk
people are represented in soaps?
favourite after work staples: Eastenders, Emmerdale
about things that maybe they were previously too
It’s so important especially for the licence fee payer
and Coronation Street have tackled sexuality head
scared to confront.
and we all have the right for different communities to be reflected on our TV screens. EastEnders
on to make gripping television. It has brought sexuality into the living
is a soap that reflects real life and I think
But what do the actors involved think about these
they do an amazing job.
It has, but I think the way it has been produced
No one should underestimate the
and directed it has been done in a very subtle and
Overall, do think that the story line has
done more harm or good? The storyline has had a really positive response and
importance of soap. Proportionally more people watch soaps than turn out to
Is a gay Muslim storyline the last bastian
vote. They are hugely influential and
of dealing with homosexuality on TV?
often inform and influence the opinions
No I don’t think so... of course not...there will be
of the nation.
stories before this and after this. I personally focus
that’s the main thing. From the feedback I have had
on this as a love story and of course you have Pride Magazine caught up with Johnny Partridge,
religion tied into the mix but for me it is the story
Brooke Vincent and Danny Miller who are the lead
between Syed and Christian and their journey.
actors at the centre of these whirlwind storylines. What has your reaction been from the
JOHNNY PARTRIDGE PLAYS CHRISTIAN CLARKE IN EASTENDERS, HIS CHARACTER BECAME INVOLVED WITH THE MARRIED, SEXUALLY CONFUSED MUSLIM SYED MASOOD.
gay and straight communities? It’s been really positive. People see beyond this as simply a gay storyline and at look it as a love story. Christian and Syed are two people who have fallen in love and struggled to find their own paths. I think both communities have really wished both
Thanks for doing this interview, it has
been a bit of a rollercoaster in your on screen life but did you enjoy the ride?
How did your first kiss go on screen?
I have absolutely loved it.
Were you nervous? Not too nervous. It was more about the
How did you feel that EastEnders dealt
choreography and thinking about the best way
with the storyline?
to punctuate the story and working within the
I think they have been brilliant. From the direction
parameters of the water-shed.
to the writing it has all been carefully considered. The storylines had a huge impact and
Do you feel that your character is an
not tried to shock for shocking
accurate portrayal of the gay man
sake. I think people thought the storyline was simply
headline grabbing but as it has developed, viewers
Of course. I am a gay man of today. Whether that
have seen a really beautiful love story unfold.
is to your taste is a different matter. There are so many different types of gay man, I try to show
from the audience I understand that the storyline
out, but I think it’s something which happens all over
What did you think about playing a gay
has opened doors for some people in their own
I’m happy to be playing a gay character. I’m straight How did you research this story?
and I’m comfortable with my sexuality, it’s been a
storyline, but which other actors have
I have a lot of gay friends so I spoke to them about
really good challenge.
you particularly enjoyed working with?
how they came out and how they felt at that time.
“Everybody...this is the storyline that keeps giving!
They made me realise what it was like to feel as
What has been the biggest eye opener for
At the moment I am filming scenes where my
though you can’t tell anyone about your sexuality or
you since playing gay?
character is developing a storyline with Tamour
be honest about who you are.
I think playing the scenes where Aaron attempted
You are obviously at the centre of the
(Himesh Patel) which is really interesting to explore.
suicide. I had to put myself in the mind frame of
Nina Wadia is an amazing actress we have had
Has it changed your perception of gay
someone who is about to end their own life, It
some fantastic scenes. From Nitin Gantara (Masood
was quite daunting to imagine and play out those
Ahmed), Preeya Kalidas (gone but never forgotten!)
I think it has, it’s made me realise what a lot of gay
to the Beales...you get to see everyone...all who are
people have to go through and how hard it is for
amazing to work with.”
people to be themselves and come out. Also how
What kind of reaction have you had from
hard it can be to be surrounded by judgemental
If you could choose to hook your
people who feel the need to make unnecessary
I’ve had nothing but good feedback and positive
character up with someone else who
comments – it’s opened my eyes and made
reaction from the public. I’ve had the odd nasty
me feel quite angry about homophobia.
comment, but I just ignore it. Mostly it’s been
amazing feedback which is great.
Without a doubt Jack Branning, everyone
Do you think that Emmerdale dealt with
else has in Walford!
this story sensitively?
What did your family think of the
And finally Johnny...Do you ever go to
Yes I do, there have been some emotional scenes
and they’ve been handled very well. The way the
They think it’s amazing.
“I have been to many a Pride...”
story has been written and the care the writers
DANNY MILLER PLAYS AARON LIVESY IN EMMERDALE. THE SOAP CHRONICALISED AARON COMING TO TERMS WITH HIS SEXUALITY. IT PORTRAYED THE VIOLENCE AND DESTRUCTION THAT CAN SO OFTEN BE A PART OF ACUTE MENTAL ANGUISH.
have taken over the scenes has been absolutely
Do you feel that the LGBT community
has reacted positively to this? Yes I do, I’ve had a lot of messages on Twitter and fan mail from people saying it’s a brilliant and moving storyline and that they’ve really enjoyed watching it. What is coming up for you now? Aaron is still trying to accept who he is and it’s only really the start of his journey towards selfacceptance, which, I think will be going on for a
Thank you so much for doing this
interview, can I ask, are you fed up with doing gay press?
Has this made you more interested in gay
No I’m never fed up of doing press! Playing a gay
role, I expect to get attention and it’s nice to be able
Yes it has actually, I don’t understand why
to speak to the community.
people have to be homophobic and single
When you were first told about the story
it has made me think more about gay rights.
people out just because they’re gay. So yes did you realise that it was going to be as big as it was?
Is there anything else you would like to
No, I didn’t think it would be as big as it has been, I
say to the readers of Pride Mag?
was excited when I realised how big it was going to
The road Aaron has gone down to come out is not
be and was keen to get stuck into the story.
the right way and there are help groups and people you can talk to for support.
Emmerdale has been particularly boundary bashing with this story as it is set in such a rural place, it is expected for other soaps that are set in cities to cover this ground. Have you had any feedback from gay people that feel isolated because of where they live? Yes I have. I’ve had people writing letters to
// PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY FEEL MORE ISOLATED IN RURAL AREAS AND DON’T FEEL THEY’VE BEEN ABLE TO COME OUT, BUT I THINK IT’S SOMETHING WHICH HAPPENS ALL OVER THE COUNTRY. //
me saying they’ve seen a lot of similarities between this storyline and their own lives and the way they came out. People have said they feel more isolated in rural areas and don’t feel they’ve been able to come
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BROOKE VINCENT PLAYS SOPHIE WEBSTER, A SCHOOL GIRL THAT IS STRUGGLING WITH HER SEXUALITY IN CORONATION STREET. THE SOAP HAS BEEN DARING IN EXPLORING HOMOSEXUALITY UNDER THE AGE OF 18 AND HAS PUT A LESBIAN CHARACTER BACK ON TV, SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN LACKING FROM THE SCHEDULES.
my mum was reading the paper the other day and
In fact the last significant lesbian character in a
Have you had any negative feedback from
soap was Beth Jordache in Brookside, ok you can
attempt to include Zoë Tate in Emmerdale but it had
No none at all. Why should I be expecting some?
it said they were enjoying the Sophie storyline. The response seems to be positive which is great, it’s an easy storyline to slate so I’m pleased we’re not getting negative feedback. Also my little cousin rang me the other day and said it’s all over You Tube and loads of people have been commenting. I’ve not had a chance to look yet but I think it’s nice that people take their time out to put videos on the site and talk about them.
all the impact of her declaring ‘I’m vegetarian’ and never seeing her in a compromising situation with a
Well your character is religious, Did this
feel like a daring role to take on?
We are at the start of the Coronation Street
Yes it’s daring but it also makes it more real, in
storyline and it looks like we may be in danger of
the sense that people from all walks of life are
seeing something pretty good.
gay. Sophie was a Christian before she
At the moment I’m just really enjoying playing this
discovered she was a lesbian and that
storyline and all the twists and turns that will come
When you first read that you were going
won’t change. Sophie’s the same person
with it. It’s a love story like any other, just between
to be involved in a lesbian storyline how
as she’s always been, it ju st so happens
two girls. At some point though I would like to see
did you feel about it?
that she is lesbian.
Sophie go completely off the rails, that would be cool to film.
When they first told me at Corrie that I was going to be playing this storyline I was so excited but
Why is it still shocking to have gay people
most of all privileged that they thought I could do
The actress that you played opposite, any
this part justice. I’m very honoured that they have
I don’t really know to be honest because there are
actually gone through with it and I’m happy with my
a lot of gay people in society today. The way we
No not at all we are really good friends and were
time in work playing the part of Sophie.
are trying to play the story is to show people that
even before we worked together, we went to
there is nothing wrong with being gay. I hope it will
drama classes together from a young age, so it’s not
Did you feel that your character was the
help people realise that they are not alone, I think
a problem at all. We enjoy working together and
right character to be exploring such a
there’s a time in a lot of people’s lives when they
it probably helped being friends as there was no
are confused about their sexuality, it’s just people
awkwardness at all when we filmed the kiss. When
At first no, I felt we were taking a stab in the dark
choose not to talk about it .
we were waiting for our taxis home after filming Sacha (the other actress) turned round and said to
but the more we found out about it and how they were going to play it I realised that my character
Do you think that it is an important
me ‘You’ve got really soft lips Brooke’ and I was just
was the right one. I feel as she is young there’s a lot
about to say the same thing, we just laughed.
of scope to see her struggling with her sexuality and
To me it is very important; as an actress it’s either
exploring relationships rather than just bringing a
make or break for me. It’s also important to get it
Do you think that television has a
new character in and saying ‘oh yeah they’re gay’.
right, so yes, I’m taking it seriously and trying my
responsibility to portray such storylines
best to portray it honestly.
even if it upsets some people?
What did your on-screen family feel
Coronation Street aims to reflect real life and there
In your opinion has it been done well?
are lots of teenagers out there going through what
My on screen family thought it was an amazing
I hope it’s done well because a lot of planning and
Sophie’s going through so yes.
storyline and I felt so proud that they actually
hard work has gone into it. We’ve been building the
thought that I could do it justice. For me that is all
Sophie and Sian storyline for a year now and figuring
Are you happy with your portrayal of a
out their relationship so I hope it pays off and we
can do it justice.
I’m very happy because it makes my character more
What research did you do for the part? Is Sophie a lesbian or is it just a ‘phase’?
wasn’t expecting it either. I’ve spoken to
Oh no she’s a lesbian forever now and I
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT, THREE DIFFERENT
people that are gay but everybody has a different
think that’s a good thing because a lot of soaps just
SOAPS, REFLECTING THREE VERY DIFFERENT
story to tell so I decided to approach it from
make it a phase. To me that kind of takes the mick
WAYS OF LIFE. IT SEEMS THAT THE WORLD OF
Sophie’s angle. It wasn’t something she had any
and it’s not really looked on as serious as it actually
TV HAS RECOGNISED THAT WHETHER YOU
experience of and I wanted that to come across.
LIVE ON A FARM OR ABOVE A LAUNDERETTE
Have you had any feedback about it yet?
What would you like to see happen to
I’ve had feedback from family and friends yes, and
THE ISSUE OF SEXUALITY CAN STILL BE A RELEVANT ONE.
Walk this way! PRIDE_2010.indd 27
Words: Danielle Carter
interesting and gives me much more drama to play.
I didn’t do any research as my character
AS WE SPEAK THE FINAL EVER BIG BROTHER, HOUSEMATES ARE LYING IN THE HOUSE HOPING THAT THEY WILL BE THE LAST ONES TO HEAR DAVINA SHOUT ‘SAY YOUR GOODBYES, I’M COMING TO GET YOU’.
but that was already a sign of wanting to relate to my physical body. Transition? Don’t think I would
How has your private life been since
call it that it was more of a natural progress – body
then? Anyone special ? ;)
and soul as one.
No one special in my life, just good friends and
How did people around you cope with it?
lots of nephews and nieces. I love pretending to be
It was very straight forward actually looking back.
mummy. I want Wisteria Lane... it’s tough out there
I’ve been very blessed in having the family and
for any single woman these days.
friends that really supported me along the way and ride Magazine had a verbal spar with the
a few guardian angels.
How would you advise anyone that thinks they may be trans?
feistiest housemate to have ever graced the diary room chair - BB5 winner Nadia
How was the Big Brother experience for
Recently I had a Facebook message (and often I
you? Are you glad that you did it?
do) asking about that and in my experience I always
I am the Ultimate BB Housemate of all time, so
advise to speak out, talk to someone, go and see
You went from an unknown to a world-
yeah! I’m so lucky with all the love and kind words
your General Practitioner and just be honest about
wide household name in Big Brother,
I’m given every day from young people to people
it.You are not alone.
How did that feel?
I assume don’t even know the show, it’s crazy. I’m
I had and still do have the best GP ever and the
It was very overwhelming, and confusing to say the
glad I did BB.
system treated me always with kindness and respect. The less you make it an issue the less it
least... but I suppose I’ve always seeked that type of recognition. I even made it onto the front pages in
Would you do it again?
becomes one. It’s a medical condition, why would
Portugal and was recently recognized in Vietnam,
I have Yes days and No days. It depends if I’m
you not seek help?
can you believe it?
hormonal, I have a love and hate relationship with BB.
Did people around you think that it was a
What have you been doing since you
good idea for you to go in?
I only told my one and only best friend, and I made
I’ve been blessed by the opportunities
her swear holding a Virgin Mary statue and on her
that have been presented to me but
sons life. I was pretty dramatic, looking back.
right now I am launching a jewellery
P i f
and accessories brand called YA Why did you decide not to tell anybody
MUTO. I am very excited! Again it is a
that you were trans in the house?
new chapter in my life.
I prefer to call myself a Non-Biological Female. I decided not to tell anyone because I just felt it was
Do you still see anyone that
no one’s business, and also I wanted to feel normal
you were in the house with?
for the first time in my life with no labels.
I see Marco and recently worked with
Michelle. Becky is a good friend and Can you tell us a little bit about your life
Vanessa say’s ‘hi’ too. I suppose
when you were younger? Where were
five years on geographically it’s
you born? What was your childhood like?
impossible to have us all together
I was born in Madeira, a little island in Portugal. It’s
Words: Danielle Carter
the same island where Cristiano Ronaldo is from. We are the two biggest international exports!
Do you think that
(Laughs) And growing up was tough. I grew up with
exposing yourself as
very little and in a very volatile family, a big family
trans has stopped
and thy were catholic! I have five brothers and I’m
people identifying you
as a woman?
I think about that sometimes, How old were you when you decided to
it’s hard having to explain
myself but I’m all woman!
From a very young age I did used to joke about it,
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11/06/2010 09:16 30/4/10 14:06:34
YOU WILL PROBABLY KNOW JULIAN BENNETT FROM QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY. HE IS RETURNING TO THE PRIDE LONDON STAGE THIS YEAR TO COMPARE THE BIGGEST AND BEST PRIDE CONCERT IN THE COUNTRY. Julian spoke with Pride Mag and chatted about what has happened since he graced the stage last year at Trafalgar Square. Julian, you were at Pride last year, can you tell us what this year has been like for you? Any highs or lows? Well after hosting the main stage last year - in front of thousands of people - my best memory will be of Kristian Digby and myself working on the stage together. As you may not know, Kristian and I were really good friends of many years and since his death life has been quite empty. He really was the kindest and friendliest of friends anyone could have had. This year I have dealt not only with the loss of Kristian but also with cancer. It has been hard on both accounts but getting the all clear makes you realise that life really is short and you should live every day as it comes. People stress too much about silly little things and life goes by and before you know it you get old and miserable. I wake every day now with a smile on my face and look forward to whatever comes my way - be it work, holidays, parties and new friends and lovers. I have met a wonderful man now called Christopher James who lives with me and I couldn’t be happier. Chris will be performing on the main stage this year so look out! When you were a child, what did you want to be? When I was a child I always wanted to be a fighter pilot - I was small enough to fit in the cockpit but too dumb to actually fly a plane. (Laughs) I realised that was not meant to be but when I moved back to the UK I went to boarding school and discovered acting, dancing and singing. I then wanted to be an actor. So I guess knowing what I wanted to be from the age of 14 and actually succeeding in that profession means that if you put your mind to something, you never know - it could all plan out the way you want it to be. You are famed for being a stylist on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Gay men always seem to get fashion so right and lesbians are stereotyped for getting it so wrong, what’s that all about? Well not all gay men get it right - trust me.You only have to walk down Compton Street to see that, but each to their own. I realised working on the show that sometimes looking fabulous is not the be all of life. As long as you feel comfortable within yourself then it doesn’t really matter what you look like. But at the same time it really is important to have a good image. I think lesbians are branded by society as there is this stigma about butch dykes - but you can say the same about camp queens! Sometimes we are lead by other people to dress
the way everyone thinks we should look, but we all grow out of that when we find ourselves. I think it is pretty even with gay and lesbians when it comes to looking good or a stereotype. I guess lipstick lesbians are like butch gays - they do exist out there! What fashion trends are coming in this year? For men this year we are seeing a lot of summer colours, linen and loafer shoes. As the temperatures rise so do the length of shorts. I have already seen what can be only described as manly hot pants walking around the streets of London. For girls, the Maxi dress is still a big seller and gorgeous beaded sandals. We need to dress light and comfortable as there is nothing worse than getting all hot and sticky for the wrong reasons! What has been your career highlight? I think the best career highlight has to be all the charity work I do. I get to meet some wonderful people who are completely selfless and think of everyone else but themselves. It really does make you realise that there are so many people in a worse place than yourself. Knowing that you are doing something so great for other people is a feeling I think a lot of people should experience. What would be your dream job? I think my dream job now would be to get married and raise children. I am adopted and have recently found my biological mother and three brothers I never knew I had. Closing that door has made me realise that family is really important. Adoption is something I want to do as I want to give a child or children the same chance in life that I had. I just hope that my partner feels the same way as I am not getting any younger and my parents would be so proud for me to carry on the family name! What have you got coming up this year? Well this year I am working on several things - PR and marketing for a great new men’s lifestyle store called Brief Encounters, aimed at the gay market. I am also planning on doing another TV show so watch this space. I took a year out last year and moved out of London to get some rest and relaxation, which really helped after being diagnosed with cancer. It’s very difficult for me to sit still in London as there is so much going on at all times. I am also planning on helping my partner live his dream as a recording artist and writer. I was once given the chance to live my dream, which I have and I want the same for Chris. I have also been given the role of Ambassador within Pride London and will be tackling homophobia within the LGBT community.
Have you found it difficult being an openly gay celebrity and TV presenter? I will never hide from who I am but still get the occasional idiot who throws abuse across the street. My reply is ‘Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! ‘ But people still have narrow minds and only believe what their parents have brought them up to believe. Things have changed in the 18 years I have been in London and I know it will keep getting better and easier for everyone. Has it limited the work that you have had? Does it bother you at all? Not at all as I think there was a time when being openly gay on TV was not allowed but when Queer eye came along it was a big turning point for openly gay men to be seen as acceptable on TV. It used to bother me many years ago but as I have got older I have realised that there is no point stressing as time will always be on your side and things always change. So tell us a bit more about your boyfriend? Christopher James - he is amazing and has put a smile back on my face after a very long time. I am a relationship guy and love waking up and falling asleep next to him every day. If this all works out you never know, you may have to buy a hat! Mind you I will blag one for you for the wedding of the year. (Laughs) – Ed: I am holding you to that Julian. What advice would you give to anyone struggling with his or her sexuality? I think it is really important to come out when you are good and ready - people rush others too much and this can be disastrous. It is good to be able to talk to someone as having questions answered really does help. In my day this wasn’t available but now life really is easier for gay people. If you are out there and feel alone, you really are not. There are so many charities there to help. Don’t be afraid, just pick up the phone, as everything is always confidential. Who would you say is your all time best dressed celeb? Well it has to be Audrey Hepburn,Victoria Beckham and David of course. Oh and the man in black - aka - Tom Ford. And the worst? Me every morning when I don’t know what to wear, but luckily I only get to see myself! I think most politicians are badly dressed but it’s because they only wear suits - I should do a Queer Eye makeover on them!
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Words: Daniel Charcharos
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NBA LEGEND JOHN AMAECHI SPEAKS TO DANIEL CHARCHAROS ABOUT BEING THE ONLY GAY IN THE LOCKER ROOM
icture John Amaechi at 17, what do you see? A tall, shy, uncoordinated, fat (and a future gay) boy living in England – hardly the perfect start for a future NBA basketball player, especially as he had only just started playing. But he made a plan and stuck to it, eventually becoming so successful that he even turned down a $17 Million contract to play alongside the superstars of the LA Lakers. Despite his rise to prominence for a hard fought career playing basketball, there was much more to him than met the eye – he mentored kids, read poetry and listened to Marc Almond. And he was gay. I recently spoke to John about his career and life experiences. Here is what he had to say. You famously came out in public with the publication of your book Man in the Middle. How did you feel the night before the news was going to break? It was a difficult night for sure. I knew it was going to be ok in the UK and with the kids and parents from my basketball camps, but I was scared of the reaction in the US. Things there are so unpredictable, especially with the religious right in the country. I called a friend who was a reporter and tried to get some reassurance and that helped. You must remember, I was 95% out – just not open in the media. For most people coming out is a constant process, this was just part of mine, albeit a scary one. How was public reaction to the news? There were both positive and negative responses. Within the NBA world I received some nice words of support from people I had played with such as Grant Hill and Pat Garrity. And, publically, people like Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal spoke positively to the press on the topic, which was very encouraging.
Words: Daniel Charcharos
However, a former player, Tim Hardaway was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Haradaway said: “First of all I wouldn’t want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don’t think that’s right and I don’t think he should be in the locker room when we’re in the locker room. Something has to give. If you have 12 other ballplayers in your locker room who are upset and can’t concentrate and always worried about him in the locker room or on the court or whatever, it’s going to be hard for your teammates to win and accept him as a teammate.” I also got quite a few nasty emails from the public. One that sticks out was from a young man who was attending a Christian College - he was especially vitriolic and, in my opinion, not very Christian. However, lots were very positive and from people with a wide variety of backgrounds such as the military. Lots of families contacted me saying things like; ‘This has helped give us the tools to speak to our kids on the topic.” Those kinds of responses were fantastic.
You have worked extensively with kids - mentoring and being a role model has been a big part of your life, from College onwards. Are you still in contact with any of them? Yes, quite a few of them. I even see some of them, especially if I am in the US or they travel here on business. Being a mentor to kids is, and has been, very important to me. Things like Facebook make it much easier to stay in touch now. I hear from quite a lot of them, some going back almost 15 years, and it is great to hear of them achieving and being happy. In order to get to the NBA you and your Mum put together ‘The Plan’ – tell me about it and do you still follow it? Yes, and I have the original document - it is my guiding influence. When it was first done it was specific to my goal of making it to the NBA. I was a 17-year-old uncoordinated fat kid from England – hardly the perfect background for my goal. At that time it was very specific, i.e. get to only 7% body fat, get my academics up to a certain level to be accepted into the right US college etc. However, it was, and is, more important than that. It is a plan to gain perspective on making life decisions and to ensure I was not one dimensional. The premise was to be able to recognise my soul in the dark, and be happy with what I saw. I try to make my mother proud by following The Plan. I thank her for it, however, I am not beholden to her memory because of it.
// I ALSO GOT QUITE A FEW NASTY EMAILS FROM THE PUBLIC. ONE THAT STICKS OUT WAS FROM A YOUNG MAN WHO WAS ATTENDING A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE - HE WAS ESPECIALLY VITRIOLIC, AND IN MY OPINION NOT VERY CHRISTIAN. // You made it to the NBA and had a successful professional career including leading the English Basketball squad to Bronze in the 2006 Commonwealth Games. I want to know as a Gay man about your experience of the locker room environment? You have to remember that the locker room was like my workplace. I just wanted to get in and showered before the media came in (usually about 10 minutes after the game). This is the end of eight hours work – mostly I was just tired and wanted to get home like most people after work. However, it must be said that in an NBA locker room there was a lot of preening going on - trying on each other clothes and rings on, that kind of thing. It is a very intimate environment and it seems very homoerotic from the outside, but for me it was never like that – it was just my workplace. Why do you think there are so few out
sportsmen – especially in Football where there are no out players? Simply put, it is dangerous, both psychologically and financially. To become a professional sports person is not an accident. Most of the time it comes down to hard work and making good decisions. All that hard work and good decisions can be undone by the one thing that is not a decision – your sexuality. I was with Gordon Taylor recently (the PFA chief executive) and he admitted to me that he had advised a 17-year-old apprentice not to come out – which is what I would advise too. It is a shame, and it is not ideal, but it is in the interest, especially in the short term, for the player. However, to keep something like this covered up takes up a lot of energy, and that is energy that you are not able to use in your career. The FA needs to do a lot more regarding homophobia – they have only spent £23K on the topic, for an advert that has hardly been seen. However, they spent £2.4M on the ‘Respect to Referees’ campaign, which I totally support, but it screams of injustice. How did being out affect your sporting career? I was 95% out, especially later in my career, and it directly affected me. I had a coach (Jerry Sloan at the Utah Jazz in the NBA) who admitted that he didn’t like me and didn’t play me much because of it [my sexuality]. What are you doing now? I run some basketball camps, but mainly Psychology – especially organisational therapy. For example, I go into schools and teach staff how to build a successful culture. Or I go to companies and in the most simple terms help them keep their staff happy without throwing money at them by building a good culture. This is especially important in this day and age of pay rise freezes. I am also working with the 2012 Olympics as a director of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) Diversity Board. The Diversity Board sets strategies for procurement, recruitment and standards for every employee, supplier and volunteer for the 2012 Olympic games effort. Encouraging diversity in all walks of life is very important to me. What does Pride mean to you? Before I came out, I was a Pride cynic. It seemed to be an example of what the world wanted us to be. However, now I love Pride and I see it for what it is - a celebration of diversity. The LGBT community is so diverse and Pride is a fantastic example of this – the weird and wonderful, mixed with the 40 something normal bloke.
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eah, yeah… let’s get all the ‘put the willies up me’ jokes
Our other ghost is a Victorian lady. A Lady in what sense we’re unsure,
out the way now. But our little pub in London’s gay
being in Soho, but she’s thankfully considerably friendlier than Clive. It
district really is haunted. Molly Moggs was built around
was Charlie who first picked up the name Matilda. Soho has a history
1732 and stands on the corner of Old Compton Street
of French settlers, here in the mid nineteenth century to escape
and Charing Cross Road, one of Soho’s famous Grade Two Listed
the suppression of the Paris commune, so it’s likely to be Mathilde.
Buildings. She’s a crooked little thing… my bathroom floor at the top
Complete with corset, bustle and bonnet, she loves to wear both the
has a nine inch slope, which can be a bugger on the lino getting out the
colour and scent of lavender. She adores the joie-de-vivre of Molly
bath with wet feet. On more than one occasion I’ve slid clean across
Moggs with its glitter and glamour and never-ending procession of
the floor and landed in the sink. But despite all of this, Molly Moggs is
weekly drag queens on stage. A Clairvoyant told us that aside from
a gem and it’s quite easy to understand why someone would not want
living here, she used to run the place and that she loves what we
to leave when their time had come. I may even consider haunting it
have done to keep it alive. And it’s clear she has some business savvy.
Knowing her opinion of us, I have on more than one occasion sat at my desk and asked for her help or advice. Usually within ten minutes
As far as we’re aware there are two ghosts. The scarier resides
an answer arrives in the form of a letter, phone call or coincidence
mostly in the cellars. It’s believed that this part of the building is
beyond what I’d consider to be the norm. It’s easy to be sceptical, but
considerably older. Charing Cross Road has only been so called since
in business it’s often wise to trust what works. And for me, Mathilde
1880. An earlier name was Hog Lane. This is not a reference to Soho’s
inhabitants I’m pleased to say, but to the pig market that used to reside close to where Centre Point now towers. Most of Soho would
The other thing I admire about Mathilde is her attitude. She’s a tough
have been quite newly built upon what had been farmland, so you can
old bird and she’s quite happy to make her opinion known. This is
begin to see the sort of people that used to hang around. It’s believed
particular when it comes to the business of defending Molly Moggs. It’s
there was an alley from our cellars out to Little Compton Street, now
probably the smallest pub in Soho, and for this reason we have a strict
a service tunnel but still visible down through the cattle grid in the
customer policy which reads,:‘Be Nice or Leave’. To an offending party,
middle of Charing Cross Road outside Molly’s entrance (worth a look
one or two of the staff’s stern words are occasionally followed by a
before it’s covered over next year, but wear flat shoes… if you get a
smack from Mathilde, usually by way of a beer glass flying from the shelf
stiletto stuck in the grid you could be there for days!).
and hitting them. It never breaks, but it’s always heeded. But perhaps
Words by Jeff Kirstian
the best example of this diva’s repertoire was a warning. We had sadly One can only imagine what kind of skulduggery this secret entrance
had to let a member of staff go for pilfering. Last thing one night after
was used for, but the man in our cellar appears to be from this period.
the bar had closed and all the cleaning up had been finished, a few of
He likes jumping out on people, which is not good for the nerves of
our more loyal remaining team members were standing at the end of
our more delicate staff or clientele! He introduced himself to me and
our counter discussing the whole issue. They watched aghast as the
Charlie at 4am one night as we slept, by jumping on the bed. “What
staff tip jar, their bastion of freedom within Molly Moggs, rose from
the bugger was that?” I shouted, to which he replied quite loudly in a
the back of the shelf, floated sideways across the room and dropped,
gruff voice, “Clive!!” Thankfully, he hasn’t had much to say since.
smashing into a hundred pieces on the floor in front of the till. Follow Jeff’s weekly column ‘Life’s a Drag’ at Pinkwire.co.uk
LADY GAGA HAS SET OUT HER STALL AS A GAY RIGHTS ADVOCATE, BISEXUAL ROLE MODEL AND REVOLUTIONARY PERFORMER BUT IS THIS GENUINE OR JUST CLEVER MARKETING?
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LADY GAGA - PERFORMER
are pretty short lived. She has a clever marketing and promotion team who know how to capture the imagination of young people. She is just doing what The Sex Pistols did years ago; create a false
The music world was hit right in the face last year by a woman
sense of anarchy and revolution that doesn’t really exist. It is all the
who looked a bit like Marilyn Manson singing catchy pop tunes.
same and has been done before but the younger generation hasn’t
She employed shock tactics and created visual performances that
been around long enough to know this. New market, new money.”
left her audience agog. Lady Gaga seemed to a new generation of clubbers and gig goers nothing short of revolutionary.
Troy Antunes has worked with Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears and The Backstreet Boys as a Musical Director and touring
The whole world began to go Goo Goo for Ga Ga. This woman knew what she wanted, a self proclaimed ‘freak’ she went against the grain. Her multi-platinum album ‘The Fame’ could not have been any more aptly titled.
// FLIRTATION WITH BISEXUALITY IS NOT SOMETHING THAT HAS PASSED THE HOUSE OF GAGA BY, OR THEIR CASH REGISTER //
Gaga became a satire of fame and infamy, keeping herself
musician He has a slightly different take on it: “I think she is
covered up, distorting her face to add mystery to the now very
pushing boundaries. For those of us who were around when
marketable enigma. She often made no sense in interviews; she is a
Prince first broke or remember Madonna’s stage humping
personification of the Andy Warhol fame generation and has now
performance of Material Girl on the MTV Awards show in the 80’s,
become a living piece of art.
Lady Gaga can easily look like a repeat of day’s gone by. What I think is cool about Lady Gaga is that she is borrowing from all the
Naturally, appealing to a young generation that want to shock
past great performers who dared to push the envelope. She is now
and break down boundaries, Lady Gaga has pitched herself as the
taking it to places that they couldn’t really get to.”
alternative to ‘mainstream’ calling her flock her ‘little monsters’. But with a multi-million pound empire, and being one of this
We all know she is a brand that we are being spoon fed, and her
decades highest-grossing artists, Is this just a clever marketing ploy
individuality and originality have been carefully thought through,
or has the House of Gaga tapped into something special?
prepared and delivered by a team of faceless executives. Her theatrical costumes that range from grieving ‘Catholic wife’ to ‘lady
Nick Carter is the brains behind CarterSaidWhat.com, a music
of the night’ are all devices used to enhance her image of someone
based blog with a massive cult following. Being a website that
who is slightly disengaged from reality. Despite all this you can’t
passionately supports music that is live, raw and personal,
deny that Lady Gaga has sucked us in and become a force to
CarterSaidWhat’s taste in popular culture is a far cry from Lady
be reckoned with.
Gaga. I spoke to him about whether the phenomenon that is Lady Gaga is really new or a rehash of a marketing strategy that has
“She has the whole package” says Antunes. “It’s not
just clever marketing that sells Lady Gaga. It always takes the whole package to do the things she’s
“I don’t think she is breaking boundaries that the world hasn’t
doing. If she were to have one, maybe two hits
seen before” said Carter, “She isn’t the first musician to wear too
then you could chalk it up to a clever marketing
much make-up and parade around in flamboyant outfits while
plan, but she’s more than that. By the whole
generating a big gay following. The likes of Boy George, Madonna
package, I mean - strong personality, strong music,
and Prince have all done this. However, I do believe she is breaking
strong marketing team and of course she has one of the
boundaries for the younger generation of today. The kids at school
greatest labels in modern music history backing her, Interscope.
are unaware of The Blitz Kids and Ziggy Stardust. To see someone
They seem to never get it wrong.”
dress and act in the way that Lady Gaga does is totally new to them.”
Her songs are full of catchy riffs, but it is still her performance not her songs that she is legendary for.
We spoke to an industry insider who lays her success solely at
Carter at cartersaidwhat reckons that she has got her
the feet of the team who have created the Lady Gaga product:
costume design right: “The image of Lady Gaga turning up
“History repeats itself, the drama repeats itself. These artists
to a press conference while wearing a gimp mask is one that
appeal to the revolutionary personality and normally their careers
will be tattooed on the inside of my eye lids until the day I die.
She has provided more head turning moments than your average executioner. Although, as memorable as her Bubble Wrap or Little Red Riding Hood outfits were, I couldn’t sing you a single line from
friends joke that I’m dead until I get onstage.”
LADY GAGA-BISEXUAL ROLE MODEL?
any of her songs.” Gaga was recently reported as saying to Kanye West before a joint She definitely seems to fall into the category of ‘entertainer’
tour together: “I just want to be clear before we decide to do this
rather than ‘singer’. The stage is where she comes alive, she is
together. I’m gay. My music is gay. My show is gay. And I love that
constantly trying to shock. While people in the industry and the
it’s gay. And I love my gay fans and they’re all going to be coming to
older generation may see it as a bit saccharin compared to Ozzy
our show. And it’s going to remain gay.”
Osbourne biting the head off a dove or Alice Cooper throwing a chicken into the audience to let the crowd tear it apart, it is
But is her affiliation with the gay community genuine or a cynical
still headline grabbing. What the younger generation seem to
marketing ploy? Most of the gay population would have described
believe is expressive, impromptu emotional anarchy is of course a
themselves at some point in their lives as on the fringes of society
choreographed and well-rehearsed stage show.
and identified with her ‘freak’ slogan. Is she just playing on a wellestablished stereotype?
// SHE BECAME A PERSONIFICATION OF THE ANDY WARHOL FAME GENERATION AND BECOMING A LIVING PIECE OF ART //
Gaga claims that she is bisexual saying that she has fantasised about having sex with another woman whilst she was with her boyfriend. Bisexuality has been used time and time again by PR
The singer caused a stir as she took to the stage at last year’s MTV
companies to gain column inches. Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera
Video Music Awards to perform her hit Paparazzi. She imitated
and Megan Fox to name but a few. The evidence of any of these
a fake stabbing with blood pouring down her sequined costume
women living bisexual lifestyles has yet to be offered.
as she hung from a noose in the packed arena. The public and celebrity audience were left bewildered at the sight of her hanging
But the sexiness and naughtiness of bisexuality is age old who
from the rafters. She had done what any artist needed to do in
hasn’t seen one of their female straight friends snogging a mate to
America to get media attention, push the boundaries of taste and
get the attention of a man?
decency. Carter says: “I believe that if your music is good enough it will Lady Gaga is a perfect summation of the role that the Performing
reach all people no matter what your race or sexuality is. I’m a
Arts School has had in the music industry. No longer do you see
25-year- old white male that loves black music from the 60’s and
as many raw talents up on stage simply singing with a guitar, you
70’s. That music wasn’t specifically made for me, yet it found its way
now have someone trained in theatre giving you an all round
into my iTunes because it’s good quality. This is just my personal
performance of dance, drama and music.
opinion and I know that some people do think otherwise. Lady Gaga is one of those people. It is obvious that she is purposefully
So could other performers learn anything from her? Carter
trying to capitalise on her gay following - and she is doing a pretty
believes they can: “I think that new performers can learn how
to be individual. There are too many people in the music scene jumping on bandwagons. It always has happened and it always
But what do bisexuals think of her proffering herself as the leader
will. However, Gaga does things on her own terms and that is
of a ‘freak’ gang?
inspirational to others. She has certainly helped to raise the bar when it comes to performing to the mass market.”
Katie Wildig is a 23-year-old bisexual living in Brighton: “The use of bisexuality is definitely an easy way to get on the front page.
He does however think that if he was to review Lady Gaga for his
However, I think that the attention Lady Gaga draws to herself
website his fans would think he was mad. “She goes totally against
detracts from the fact that she’s bisexual. If you were to ask a
the grain of what my audience want to hear. CarterSaidWhat
person in the street to describe Lady Gaga in three words, I bet
pushes forward thinking live music. And whilst you can’t argue that
bisexual wouldn’t be one of them. Whereas Ian McKellen would
Lady Gaga’s outfits aren’t on the next level; the jury is very much
almost certainly be described as gay, as it’s one of his most well-
out with regards to her music.”
Gaga last year spoke to Cosmopolitan about how she is perceived,
“I ate sh** for so long, being told I didn’t fit the mould and that
Jen Yockney is the editor of Bicommunity News, she says: “I’m not
I was ‘too pop’ or ‘too theatre’. I’ve always been delusionally
sure she’s a role model for many, but more people openly owning
ambitious to the point where people don’t understand me. My
the word bisexual is almost always welcome.”
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defend and discuss the issues that some of her ‘little monsters’ may Jen also has a very clear opinion when it comes to the devaluation
have been experiencing she chose to sensationalise it.
of the bisexual image that pop stars such as Katy Perry have created with her song ‘I kissed a girl’:
Two years after the film was taken, House of Gaga was still cashing in. Her latest music video with Beyonce ‘Telephone’ referenced the
“It’s not really about bisexuality at all but about a certain kind of soft-
recent drama. The prison officer in the sexy video proclaims “See I
core titillation for straight men, and you can’t imagine a similar video
told you she didn’t have a d**k.” She also shares a girl-on-girl kiss,
of a man dreaming about making out with other men getting the kind
taking her video right to the top of the viewing charts. Flirtation with
of heavy rotation on music TV channels.”
bisexuality is not something that has passed the House of Gaga by, or their cash register.
Gaga’s ‘coming out’ however seemed fuzzy to say the least. In an interview with Barbara Walters in 2009 Gaga said that her song ‘Poker
LADY GAGA - LGBT ADVOCATE
Face’ was a narration of her bisexual identity: “That’s what ‘Poker Face’ was all about... Why, when I was with my boyfriend, was I fantasising
So is this self-proclaimed ‘freak’ a good role model for the bisexual
about women? Um, uh... well I... my goodness! I have certainly had
community? Gaga has yet to do anything particularly political for gay
sexual relationships with women, yes. I do like women. I’ve only been
rights beyond thanking ‘God and the Gays’ in one of her many awards
in love with men - I’ve never been in love with a woman.”
acceptance speeches. It is also clear that her magic formula is one that has been well-trodden time and time again. There is of course nothing
Katie Wildig believes that she really is irrelevant to the bisexual
wrong with this, who wouldn’t want to make money out of old rope?
identity: “There aren’t enough role models to represent any sector of the LGBT community. Celebrities just aren’t representative of
Playing on the mysticism of bisexuality is always something that is
society across the board. I think she’s proved herself to be a staunch
going to divide the gay community. Many people believe that in order
gay rights advocate, but I don’t find her particularly representative of
to ‘normalise’ sexualities alternative to that of heterosexuality it
bisexuals as a whole.”
is important that our public representatives include themselves in society. However, there is clearly a large part of the gay community
LADY GAGA - LADY BOY?
that has embraced the label of ‘freak’, love to shock and stand outside the realms of society, while looking in and thinking ‘thank god I am not in there.’
// WHAT THE YOUNGER GENERATION SEEM TO BELIEVE IS EXPRESSIVE, IMPROMPTU EMOTIONAL ANARCHY IS OF COURSE A CHOREOGRAPHED AND WELL-REHEARSED STAGE SHOW // Then the two came together, her performance and her sexuality.
Whatever your take on Lady Gaga and her brand you can’t deny that she is successful at what she does. Whether she is truly bisexual or has just found a faithful market for her music, it has always got to be a blessing that someone is positively talking about ‘gay’ even if you don’t agree with the freakery that comes with it.
Rumours were rife after a clip of the singer performing at V Festival were plastered all over the internet appearing to show that the singer
We will leave with a final thought from CarterSaidWhat’s Nick
was housing male genitalia. A catalyst for the question was Lady Gaga
Carter: “Lady Gaga has been put on this planet to entertain people.
actually a Lady Boy?
What she does on stage has absolutely no connection to how she lives her normal life. I very much doubt she nips to the shop to pick
The claims that had convinced many came as a joke to Gaga as she
up some eggs dressed as a Caveman.”
played up to it with a photo-shoot for Q Magazine. The front cover shot saw her pose with a large dildo strapped to her inner thigh. She
Is this a case of do as I say, rather than do as I do?
said about the rumours: “We all know that one of the biggest talking points of the year was that I have a d**k, so why not give them what
With thanks to Nick Carter at www.cartersaidwhat.com,Troy Andules at
they want? I want to wear a d**k strapped to my vag**a. I also carry
www.funkyvivaproductions.com, Jen Yockney at
myself onstage in a masculine way and sing in a low register. This is
www.bicommunitynews.co.uk and Katie Wildig.
artistic way. How I wanna show it. And I want to call this piece Lady Gaga Dies Hard.” Gaga clearly revelled in the controversy around her gender but it did little to provoke debate. Instead of her using this as a platform to
Words: Danielle Carter
not out of nowhere, right? I want to comment on that in a beautiful,
THIS LAST YEAR HAS SEEN THE DEMISE OF THREE HOUSE-HOLD NAMES. HIGH-PROFILE GAY MEN THAT ALL DIED IN TRAGIC CIRCUMSTANCES.
irst came Stephen Gately, news that shocked the
about same-sex relationships, arguing that they are just the
world over, especially those who had grown up with
same as heterosexual marriages. Not everyone, they say, is like
the Boyzone hype. The cheeky Irish crooner came out
in 1999 on the front page of the Sun to pre-empt a
The country went mad, Ofcom stopped taking complaints
story outing him.
as the system bowed under the pressure of angry men and
Stephen seemed from the outside to lead a clean living gay
women up and down the country registering their distain and
lifestyle. He married his partner Andrew Cowles in 2006 in a
Cowles himself made a formal complaint.
civil service in Las Vegas. Stephen then proceeded to disappear
from the lime light and continued to live his life in the wings.
She then released a poor excuse, no real apology and a
Following his death last year an article written by columnist Jan
poisonous retort when she said: “Indeed, I would stress that
Moir and published by The Daily Mail turned his death into a
there was nothing in my article that could not be applied to a
media frenzy, all corners of the media globe were arguing over
heterosexual couple as well as to a homosexual one.’ This was
freedom of speech and appropriate opinions.
clearly untrue as she referenced homosexuality explicitly all the
Jan Moir wrote in her Femail column: “Another real sadness
way through her article.
about Gately’s death is that it strikes another blow to the
There was no climb-down from her sentiment that gays live
happy-ever-after myth of civil partnerships.”
hedonistic life-styles that attract this kind of tragedy.
Gay activists are always calling for tolerance and understanding
Daily Mail readers were heard up and down the country plump
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with pomposity spitting the rhetorical question “Well what do you expect from someone like THAT?” And so one man’s tragic death (that transpired to be of natural cause and not fuelled by a drink and drug orgy) turned into a circus and a debate about whether peddlers of homophobia should be allowed to dissect a man’s last few hours based solely on the information that he is gay. It proved that the stereotype was still larger than life and now on the front page.
hen came Alexander McQueen, A man famed for not really looking like a designer, being a bit East-end and designing the hoof shoe. He was best friends with Kate
Moss, but despite an A-list contact book his later life was dogged with loneliness and tragedy. Alexander in the summer of 2000 unofficially married his partner, documentary film-maker George Forsyth, they then split a year later. Seemingly not being able to hold down a relationship a constant in his life Isabella Blow, supermodel and muse committed suicide after drinking a litre of weed killer in 2007. A period in his life that friends since his death
a section of Pride London together last year and it will be a day I
have described as seminal. His mother died only nine days before
will never forget.
Alexander after a long battle with cancer. Alexander took his own life on the eve of his mothers funeral in the run-up to his much
What kind of man was he?
awaited show at Paris fashion week. The paper’s mourned the
A kind and generous man, honest with a soft personality. He
loss of a British genius. It seemed his discernable talent
always thought of others first and would never hesitate to help
and the solitude nature of his death by-passed any
out if you were in need of help.
reference to his sexuality. In contrast to Gately it would seem that the media was more respectful and treaded carefully.
It was very unusual for a gay man to break day-time
Even Jan Moir would have found it difficult to pin depression
TV. How did he manage to do it?
and suicide uniquely on homosexuals. Upon seeing the furore
He managed to do it by not only having the talent but also by
that was created after Gately-gate it seemed that journalists
being so down to earth and easy going. He worked very hard as
were realising that when it comes to homosexuality
a director and producer before he went in front of the camera.
hamming up the stereotype as a hook was no longer
The had already gained so much respect from the industry and
the general public. He made being gay acceptable to the middle
classes, which, no one had done before and also showed that gay n March of this year Kristian Digby a daytime TV presenter
didn’t mean camp.
died of auto-erotic asphyxiation. In his career he brought ‘gay’ to a different audience, he was the gay man that your mum,
Did you find the coverage of his death homophobic?
gran and aunt loved and even your grandad thought he was a
Well the first thing that was reported was that a daytime ‘Gay TV
thoroughly nice chap. He made his name fronting the day time
Presenter’ was found dead in his home, after a self-asphyxiation
shows ’To buy or not to buy’, ’Living in the sun’ and ’House Swap.’
act had gone wrong. This made me so angry as not only was I
trying to believe he was dead, but didn’t want the rest of the
His death was certainly unexpected and I am sure that Jan Moir
world to know that he died like this. What happens in the privacy
was desperate to write her favourite word ’sleazy’ all over the
of ones home has nothing to do with anyone else and I feel that
Mail but when I was researching for this feature there was a
Kristian being gay and in the public eye was an opportunity for
distinct lack of criticism from the mainstream press. This death
the papers to tarnish his name. But what would you expect from
fitted every stereotype that Jan Moir had proffered in her now
infamous Gately article but it seemed that the world had gone silent even when they were handed a situation as salubrious as this one.
This year we also lost Alexander McQueen and
Julian Bennett TV presenter, was one of Krisitan Digby’s best
Stephen Gately, two other very creative men.
friends, he also knew Alexander and Stephen, I spoke to him about
Do you think that their deaths and coverage has
Kristian, the media coverage and what he thinks this means for
affected people’s view of gay people?
Words: Danielle Carter
Well, I think that all three died in very different circumstances and
How did you know Krisitan?
not in the most pleasant way either - it’s all too easy to target gay
I met Kristian over eight years ago and became really close
people through the press and make us more of the stereotype
friends - from taking him to parties and getting him drunk on two
than we actually are. With this in mind I do realise why people are
vodkas to supporting the same charities. Kristian and I presented
still very homophobic.
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FROM STONEWALL TO SAME-SEX FAMILIES
First UK Gay Pride 1st July 1972 saw approximately 2000 gay men and women descend on London to rally against homophobia and give a voice to the gay community. Jump nearly 30 years later and Pride 2009 saw numbers leap to 1,000,000. We do like a party but these numbers are surely a testament to the unwavering spirit of our community. London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard The LLGS was founded in March 1974, providing help and information to London’s gay community for five hours every evening through their helpline. Proving so popular for its impartial advice it quickly became a 24 hour service. In 2008 LLGS won The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and now takes over 30,000 calls a year. Bravo for a helpline that started in a small room above a bookshop in Kings Cross. First Test Tube Baby Opening the doors to many debates, 1978 announced the birth of the first ever test tube baby, Louise Brown, in Manchester. This heralded a new age in Science and gave hope to millions of couples unable to conceive naturally. Since then, over 3 million babies have been born through in vitro fertilization. IVF for Same-Sex Couples Last year, new rules came into force that gave the same rights to same-sex partners as heterosexual couples when undergoing fertility treatment.
EuroPride 1992 saw the first ever EuroPride, hosted by London, with around 100,000 people attending. It returned to London in 2006 with 1.2 million people attending, showing the world we know how to put on a party. 2012 will prove the biggest one ever as we host WorldPride. The countdown begins now. Age of Consent In 1994, the age of consent was lowered to 18 and it took another six years for it to be lowered to 16, bringing it in-line with heterosexuals in the UK. This brought us a long way from 1967 when homosexuality was decriminalised but remained illegal for gay men under 21. New Labour “Things Can Only Get Better” became the motto of 1997 and, for a while, things did. Britain was in dire need of big changes when Smiley Blair became Prime Minister. The country was disillusioned and we all fell for the charm and promises of New Labour. They set us on the road to marriage but somehow got stuck in the Civil Partnerships lay-by. Civil Partnership The Civil Partnership Act was introduced in 2004, giving us the same legal rights as married couples. Thousands of gay men and lesbians have taken the pledge since and it has brought us even closer to the equality every man and woman in the world is entitled to.
Smash Hits Magazine Before celebrity became all about “the circle of shame” and who’s falling out of Chinawhite, the A-C List had a more ethereal quality to them. Smash Hits was the definitive pop magazine running from 1978 to 2006 aimed at teenagers, telling them what was cool. 80s Fashion We look back on it now and say “what were we thinking?!”, but DMs, shoulder pads, puffball skirts and headbands were all the rage and, oddly enough, still influence today’s fashion. Everything was in excess, Adam Ant was a case in point and here we are again with his namesake Lambert. Gameboy In the early 90s computer games became, like the walkman/iPod, personal. Children stopped playing outside and retreated to their bedrooms, fixated on Tetris and Super Mario Brothers. This new gaming generation forgot their social skills and probably had their first big “O” over an avatar. iPods In 2001, music became personal and fashionable. Not only would it fit into your pocket but it also became the must have item for fitness buffs around the world. As the years have passed, they’ve become even more compact becoming the perfect accessory to a pair of skinny jeans – another slimline trend of the noughties. Shame people can’t always keep the volume down on packed tubes.
Adoption for Same-Sex Couples When adoption laws changed in 2005, it signalled a huge leap forward for gay couples hoping to adopt. Since then the number of children going to samesex couples has doubled year-on-year in many parts of the British Isles.
Words by Robert Ingham
Stonewall Riots Okay, not strictly allowed in the list as the riots took place in 1969, but this led to the very first ever Gay Pride exactly one year to the day later in Los Angeles. If it wasn’t for the brave few, the Gay timeline may have looked very different today.
FROM DM’S TO DI GITAL DOWNLOADS
MUSICAL MOVEMENT Disco No matter what is said about it; Disco is the definitive feel good factor music and a staple fixture at practically every wedding party. At the height of its popularity in the 70s and 80s, Disco was sheer energy and high camp rolled into one. Who reading this hasn’t bust a groove to the YMCA?
Love Muscle & Fridge Cafe Love Muscle was one of the clubs of the 90s. Opening in 1992, it was internationally renowned for its uplifting commercial house music (a sound unique to Love Muscle), its incredible party atmosphere and hot guys. It closed in 2004 but holds special themed nights throughout the year. One of the best Saturday nights ever was to be had there.
Madonna The Queen of Reinvention. Madonna’s styles and looks have fascinated us over the years, from writing the controversial “Sex” book to running a local London boozer and becoming Michigan’s answer to Mother Theresa as her brood expands like dots on an atlas.
Spice Girls Zig-a-zig-aah would have been frowned upon anywhere apart from the Eurovision Song Contest until five sassy, bolshie and quite frankly mad girls descended upon us in 1996. Their fresh attitude created an army of Spice-ettes and filled the dancefloor with teenyboppers intent on making sure we all knew the meaning of Girl Power. And who hasn’t seen a someone dressed as Ginger?
Stock Aiken Waterman Regardless what anyone says about this trio of songwriters, they brought innocent pop into the charts and appealed to practically every gay person around the country, even if we weren’t aware of why we enjoyed it so much. Their first number 1, “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” was pure gold and was recently performed by Pete Burns to George Galloway in a leotard in the Big Brother House.
Dana International Dana International became the first (and only) transsexual to win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998. Taking the prize for Israel, she said winning was a “gift” to her country on its 50th anniversary of independence. “Diva” became a dancefloor classic and was remixed time and time again until every club was playing it.
Take That Boy Bands were sexy once again, once this group’s management started trusting in Gary Barlow’s song-writing abilities. Take That, eventually, had the girls (and the boys) screaming to their gyrations. Even a split couldn’t wane their popularity and they came back in force in 2005, all grown-up with a better sound and a new legion of fans were born. Kylie Our Kylie. Princess of Pop. From her tomboy Charlene days in Neighbours, through the sassy ‘Better The Devil You Know’ to the utterly catchy ‘All The Lovers’, Kylie has captured our hearts. Fans were shocked when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 in the middle of her Showgirl Tour. In true Kylie style “the show must go on” and she came back feistier than ever. An inspiration to millions.
Kelly Rowland – When Love Takes Over We all thought that Beyonce would be the only one who’d have a hit record, then along came David Guetta with a stunning tune that was perhaps the gay anthem of summer 2009. We haven’t heard anything else from Kelly since but this was enough to send us all into a tizzy on the dancefloor to this day. Lady Gaga Just when you thought the pop scene was getting boring again, along pops one Lady Gaga with her incredible outfits and no-nonsense attitude. Outrageous, brassy and inimitable, this was the Lady we were waiting for; openly bisexual , she stands up for LGBT rights everywhere.
FROM THE WIZARD TO THE WEST END Wizard of Oz Although originally released in 1939, the Wizard of Oz has been re-released time and time again. The cherished and magical story of a country girl, a lion, a tin man and scarecrow on their journey to find courage, heart and a brain has spawned countless references in today’s gay community. A Pride parade would not be the same without at least one Dorothy. Star Wars Cinemas ground to a halt in 1977 when a galaxy far-far away landed in the UK, sending us all into a Wookie Frenzy and catapulting Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford into A-List status. Amazing marketing and a script with a satisfying twist helped make this become one of the biggest cult franchises in the world, even if Lucas did make those dire prequels. God bless C3PO, the campest robot since Robot from “Lost In Space”. Wonder Woman Ah we do love strong women and in 1975 Wonder Woman leapt from comic book to TV. Linda Carter, armed with her indestructible bracelets, fought and battled with numerous baddies without ever getting one hair out of place. An immediate icon, it led to thousands of kids spinning into lounge furniture and breaking the family’s ornaments. MTV The people from MTV saw the marketing potential of videos accompanying songs and so did we. From camp videos such as ‘Do What You Like’ watching Take That being covered in jelly and ice-cream to Christina Aguilera debuting her video ‘Dirty’. We all thank MTV for bringing us what can only be described as pant pleasure and for many an insight into our sexuality. First Gay Kiss on UK TV In 1987, Eastenders was the first UK soap to screen a kiss between two gay men which labelled the show ‘EastBenders’, but it was that kiss, which, opened the door to all the other soaps writing in gay characters and powerful coming-out
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story lines. For example Brookside, screening the first Lesbian kiss in the UK, Hollyoaks and, most recently, Emmerdale. These days it seems Soapland just wouldn’t be soapy enough without a gay character. Tombstone Advert In 1987 an advert that screened on TV in the early evening stopped everyone in their tracks. A Tombstone fell reading “AIDS - don’t die of ignorance”. Powerfully made us all think about sex in a very different light. Absolutely Fabulous I’m chanting as we speak, ‘Sweetie Darling’. 1992 had Edwina and Patsy drunk, stoned and off their heads on a weekly basis, much to the disgust of daughter Saffy. Full of quotes and classic oneliners, Ab Fab took the world by storm but could never be replicated. Even Rosanne Barr wanted, and failed, to transfer it to the US. A special episode ‘GAY’ was filmed in New York revealing that her absent son Serg was, in fact gay. Eddy and Patsy ended up in a Civil Partnership being officiated by real-life question mark Whoopi Goldberg. Buffy, The Vampire Slayer The film bombed at the box office, but Joss Whedon knew he was onto a winner by transferring it from LA to Sunnydale, conveniently sitting on top of a Hellmouth. From 1997, rarely has girl kicking butt seemed so enjoyable and it left us thirsty for more, especially as resident red-head Willow turned out to be a lesbian witch. Whilst the standard declined considerably after season five, Buffy’s loyal fanbase stood fast and the seven seasons are a firm gay favourite. Queer As Folk We were glued to our TV screens in 1999 when this show blasted into our living rooms. We’d never seen anything quite like it and it cemented Russell Davies as a writing force to be reckoned with. Our weekly dose of Manchester mayhem and sexual shenanigans had us reaching for the Kleenex on more than one occasion in its two season run.
Will & Grace 2001 saw this hugely popular show hit our shores on Living TV. Despite falling ratings, this was the first show where 2 of its 4 principal characters were gay and screned the first gay kiss on NBC Television. Times were a-changing and Will & Grace became a cult classic, with everyone wanting to be Jack and/or Karen. Pop Idol Talent Shows were back with a vengeance when Pop Idol landed on our screens in 2002. It turned a tired format into must-see TV, and the nation had something new to gossip about at work – Will or Gareth? House-parties up and down the country were divided on the final night but, after the votes were counted and verified, Will Young was crowned winner and soon became a new gay idol. The L-Word TV’s first Lesbian drama serial came to our shores in 2004, bringing with it Tibette, Sharmen and The Planet. The meeting place where everybody knows your lesbian name. A romping success, The L Word like every good ensemble gave every woman on this Sapphic globe someone to lust after. It ended this year after writer Rose Troche chose to kill off main character Jennifer Schecter in a whodunit that was never resolved.
Big Brother Love it or hate it, Big Brother turned us into a nation of voyeurs, stealing our summer nights away from us for 11 years. Truly a unique social experiment, and guilty of creating an army of Z-list “celebrities”, we will always remember BB1’s Craig running around naked, BB7’s Pete getting his bits out and transsexual Nadia winning BB5. It ends this year for good and life will return to normal once more. X Factor Another fixture of Saturday nights, this was an updated, pumped up version of Pop Idol. With more contestants, more judges and wonderful put-downs from Simon Cowell, X Factor introduced us to Leona and Alexandra. This talent show went from tone deaf to pitch perfect in an instant, and hit the headlines last year when Danni “outed” Danyl live on air. The Little Dog Laughed This wonderful biting satire on Hollywood hit theatreland earlier this year, and whilst its run is now over, it had rave reviews, confirming a few things – Tamsin Grieg is one fine comic actress, Harry Lloyd has a glittering west-end career ahead of him and Keira Knightley’s boyfriend looks hot in a tight pair of Armani.
HOLD THE FRONT PAGE Gay News The first ever gay newspaper was published in 1972, released fortnightly it brought gay news to the LGBT population in response to their call for news about the Gay Liberation movement. Unfortunately it stopped publishing in 1983 but Gay News opened the doors to the numerous publications we have today. Gay Times, edited by Tris Reid-Smith, launched in 1984, the first male monthly glossy which has carried iconic covers including Justin Fashanu and most recently Lily Allen. Pink Paper was launched in 1987 and in 2009 went online as a daily news site. DIVA is GTs lesbian sister launched in 1994 and is still the thinking lesbians’ mag of choice. Still at the helm is Jane Czyzsleska who headed up the redesign in 2009. G3, edited by Charlotte Dingle, was launched in 2001, a free magazine distributed to lesbian venues up and down the country. Out in the City, edited by David Hudson, was born in 2006 and is distributed freely for gay men all over the country. PinkNews.co.uk, edited by Jessica Green, launched in 2005 with its daily update of LGBT news around the world. Pinkwire.co.uk, edited by Danielle Carter, launched in 2009, with the latest LGBT news, reviews and gossip. It also boasts some of the wittiest columnists including resident drag queen Jeff Kristian. To read more of Rob’s Reviews check him out at www.pinkwire.co.uk WWW.PRIDELONDON.ORG
ou’re out and you’re proud. But are you looking for ways to fill your time? Do you want to give something back to the LGBT community?
London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (LLGS) may be able to help you to help others. We caught up with two volunteers to discuss their experience of volunteering at LLGS: Paul Prentice is on the helpline, while Caroline Hibberd talks about opportunities away from the phones. Hanging (out) on the telephone: Become a helpline volunteer What made you decide to become a volunteer at LLGS? Paul: It was about giving something back. I’d been a volunteer for Nightline at university, so I’d always been interested in using my listening skills, but particularly wanted to volunteer for a LGBT charity. What was the training like? The core training was really thorough. It was great to discuss volunteers’ diverse experience in a group learning environment. The role-plays challenged the way I think about other LGBT people, and the way I look at lots of issues, especially sexual health. I started on the phones with a mentor, who provided ten hours of phone training. I then did another 20 or so supervised hours, before being able to take calls on my own.
What’s it like being a helpline volunteer? The atmosphere in the phone room is always friendly. There’s often someone new to meet, as LLGS has about 160 phone volunteers, who structure their three- to four-hour shifts flexibly around work and other commitments. Helpline volunteers commit to covering the phones for a minimum 18 hours in a calendar quarter. Some of the calls you take must be difficult, what support is there for volunteers? There’s usually someone else in the phone room, who can provide initial support and a cup of tea. Talking over a difficult call, without compromising the caller’s confidentiality, helps to resolve issues raised in the call and to focus on the next one. There’s also more structured confidential phone-based peer support for volunteers – a Switchboard for LLGS volunteers. Is there a ‘typical’ LLGS volunteer? LLGS looks for people who will listen to callers without judging, will limit their own experiences when taking calls, and won’t tell callers what to do. Helpline volunteers must self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans – but otherwise, volunteers are as diverse a group as our callers. What we share is an interest in helping people out, and a genuine sense of community. And is there a ‘typical’ call? No, and in fact I always have a sense of anticipation when the phone rings, as I’m never sure what the next caller will want to talk about. Some callers have a lot of issues to discuss –
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from going out to coming out, from falling into (and out of) love to making new friends, from sexual health to mental health, from discrimination and homophobia to domestic violence. Whatever the call, we provide our callers with calm words of support. We have to confront some callers over inappropriate language, but it’s equally important to recognise that different people are comfortable talking in different ways (especially when it’s about sexual health!) But for some callers, it will be the first time that they have ever been able to say the words ‘I am gay’ out loud to anyone else – that’s always an incredibly powerful statement to hear.
people as a group, but it’s not necessarily something you get from bars or clubs. LLGS is very social, as lots of our volunteers are interested in meeting new people. I’ve also been involved in a group for female volunteers at LLGS, specifically aiming to recruit and retain women volunteers. What fundraising events are coming up? I’m helping to organise a sponsored London-to-Amsterdam bike ride in late August, and we’ll be hosting a fundraiser at a London venue around Halloween. We also have a programme of bucket rattles to raise money and awareness of the LLGS service, so look out for us in some of London’s bars and clubs in the meantime!
Off the phones but on the case Why did you volunteer? Caroline: I’d just joined a new company and signed up to a ‘give-as-you-earn’ scheme. But I was looking for a volunteering opportunity to help a charity in a more practical way, and to use skills that I’d developed in the work arena but wasn’t using on a daily basis. What roles are available for volunteers off the phones? I’m a fundraising and events volunteer – LLGS is always looking for people to help out with fundraising (even getting your local bar to hold events in aid of LLGS or host a LLGS collection tin). We’re also on the look-out for people to update our database and other information systems, provide support in the office, or help develop our website and design content for it. What support is available for non-phone volunteers? Like Paul, I appreciate the fact that there’s a real sense of community – it’s a word that is often used to describe LGBT
Find out more at www.llgs.org.uk Prospective volunteers can also get in touch with the LLGS Volunteer Coordinator, Jan McKenzie, on 020 7689 8511 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Portland Street Baker Street
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Oxford Marble Arch
Get up early and get yourself to Paddington
up on the day is easy.
WOMA STAG Romiley
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Bay d Roa teryet steward and been in touch, signing s Wanot Bayhave
r Road a volunteer If you are interested Marble Arch tebecoming s Wain
Street Gardens (location on the PRIDE map) from
9:00am on the morning of the 4th July.
Parade The Parade starts at 1pm on Baker Street (next turning right onto Regent Street then down Pall
Hyde Park Hyde Park
Mall, ending at Trafalgar Square at
ne La rk Pa
to Selfridges) and will travel down Oxford Street,
Join thearad P e
ll M Pa
Hey if you’ve been standing or dancing in the same spot on route watching the parade partying on by. COME AND JOIN US, let’s make this parade passes you join at the back, (only when instructed by the official stewards) keep the line going and dance your way down to Trafalgar
a parade to remember. When the end of the
Hyde Park Corner
Square for what will be a rally to remember.
SO MUCH TO DO, SO MANY CHOICES. ridge K
PRIDE 2010 THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE PRIDE 2010 THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
b Wo ur
n Pla ce Russell Square
s Ru se
ll S e
ten Tot ad Ro urt Co
Holborn Chancery Lane
a message from Trevor Edwards, chief steward at Pride London
Tottenham Court Road
Most do five thousand, steps that is. If you walk from line
up on Baker Street through to the parade dispersal points in Whitehallyou’ll take approximately five thousand steps.
Av en u
WOMANS STAGE Romiley Street
LGBT issues visible to London and the wider world.
However, many hundreds of volunteers have stepped that
Five thousand of your proudest steps I hope, keeping Leicester Square
bit further. nd
They’ll have walked the parade scores of times; assessing
everything from safe crossing points, road access, trip hazards and scaffolding.
MAIN STAGE Trafalgar Square
They’ll have paraded up to Pride’s lock-up and unfurled flags, tested loudhailers and radios and made more laminates and lanyards than you
thought possible. They’ll have handled the press, chaired meetings and compiled accounts. They’ll have negotiated contracts and made production plans. They will have
a ll M Pa
worked hard, played and partied hard too, making friends
along the way. We are proud of all the steps that they take along the
way to make sure that Pride London happens. And we are
really proud they made that first step, many some years ago to become a Pride London volunteer.
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DANIELLE CARTER INVESTIGATES THE IMPACT THE L WORD HAS HAD ON THE LESBIAN IDENTITY.
he Sapphic Island of the UK holds its breath as it waits for the final series of The L Word. For those of you who have never heard of The L Word you must be straight, still living in
the land of VHS or male.
The L Word is a show that has romped through six seasons following a group of LA lesbians living, loving and generally messing up their lives. It ticks all of the usual homosexual boxes – marriage, children, coming out, religion and other more obscure stuff such as lesbian vampires, transsexual pregnancy and male- identified dykes. This show has it all and with a line-up of the hottest women on the box there is someone for everyone. Lesbians had been scarce on TV up until TLW. most lesbian TV lists still included Beth Jordache from Brookside and Sandi Toksvig on Call my Bluff. The only sexy lesbians were on Television X and they weren’t even real. So why is it so important that we have lesbians on TV? I asked Jane Czyzselska editor of DIVA why it is so important: “I came out when there were virtually no out lesbians in the media, no internet and no role models (apart from Martina and I was rubbish at tennis) so there was a frightening sense of being alone and invisible. Thankfully that’s not the case for most of us today in the UK. I think it’s crucially important to see that your existence is being acknowledged in the public domain. The job now is to show a better
diversity of lesbians - BME, differently abled, different ages.”
having their diaries turned into films, and gossips were being given talk shows. Even the once poor jobbing hairdresser was
Amanda Falkson a Psychotherapist from Psychotherapy City
now seemingly wealthy with no explanation of how she achieved
agrees: “There’s probably more positive portrayals of younger
this lifestyle. Characters were disappearing and storylines were
lesbians than in the past, I’m thinking Emily and Naomi in Skins
remaining incomplete. The series was now revolving around
in particular, I would say that there’s more work to be done with
Jenny who was unravelling. It became a journey through one
older TV viewers to positively reinforce lesbianism. My mother’s
woman’s breakdown rather than the light-hearted ensemble that
generation for example would have watched those ghastly
it once was.
portrayals of the mad, bad, sad lesbians that were the stuff of dramas from the 1960s through the 80s, ‘Sister George’ and
Season Three saw the death of Dana from breast cancer, a well-
‘The Children’s Hour’ for example. Some will not have had those
written, well- acted tragedy that raised so many debates. It made
notions disabused. Clearly there’s still more work to be done.”
us all more breast aware and highlighted some of the issues around lesbian partners not being recognised by the health
So was TLW anything more than feel good TV? It definitely made
system. When they killed Dana off, a move that even upset some
every lesbian in the land want to swim across the pond and
of the cast. Katherine Moennig was reported as saying that she
set up home in West Hollywood but did it serve any kind of
was deeply upset about the decision to kill off a main character.
purpose beyond aspirational ‘I want to be them/sleep with them’
This started a trend and characters began to flow in and out, the
anchored storylines that had once kept us gripped had become confusing.
“Well, it ran for many more seasons than anyone, even its creator Ilene Chaiken, first expected it would” says Jane, ”And it
Characters were introduced, enter Papi and Molly to name but
paved the way for more lesbian-friendly TV programming in the
two, and then for no reason left. The relationship that the viewer
US, for example, ‘The Real L Word’ which launches on HBO at
had with the show was being dismantled and many lesbians
the end of June. It’s spawned a dozen or more online TV soaps
were left befuddled. The transgender storyline that had been
and has given rise to spoof covers that parody lesbian culture,
sensitively portrayed by Daniella Sea depicting a man who was
which, is a sign that some sections of the lesbian community
discriminated against at work because of his gender. It showed
feel confident and comfortable enough to send themselves up.
us how his relationship with his girlfriend broke down and how
It raised a whole range of issues and characteristics, (sometimes
he found himself detached from his group of gay friends had also
clumsily) - transgender, drag kings, butch and femme, lesbian
lost its way. It went from a story echoing the all too frequent
parenting, lesbians and disability, lesbian players - that rarely, if
experiences of the trans community to finding him two seasons
ever get explored in other TV dramas.”
later living with a man and pregnant. Chaiken had seemed to have gone too far. The L Word became more about shock factor,
COME ON ILENE
pushing the taboo so far over the line that it lost its audience. They were no longer women like us and we found it difficult to
And this was the crux of TLW, not only was it simply perfect to
watch, the sun was always shining, the women beautiful. It lacked reality. Jenny the tortured writer who is the device that brings
all of these characters and storylines together seemed to go through long periods of unemployment, writing endlessly in the
You only had to go into your local gay village to see the impact
her studio in West Hollywood, still managing to wear Prada and
TLW had on our sense of style.You couldn’t flick a dog end
forever purchasing coffee at The Planet. The first three seasons
without hitting a Shane look-alike, like the Rachel haircut for the
had tackled infidelity, homophobia and breast cancer.
straight world we all dyed our hair black, feathered our bangs and liberated the skinny jeans from the wardrobe for maybe
We all laughed and cried along with them but then series four
longer than necessary.
came and creator Eileen Chaiken started shaking it up. Plot lines became disjointed, characters that were once identifiable were
Jane thinks that TLW has definitely influenced lesbian identity:
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‘Has it made a difference? What, you mean apart from the world wide generation of Shane-a-likes that it spawned?!
DIVA magazine is published monthly and can be found online at
Yes, I think it has although it’s hard to say what came first.
The L word fed aspects of Los Angeles lesbian culture to viewers worldwide. In the first season lots of people in the UK complained that it didn’t reflect our reality but by Season Three, young lesbians were becoming a lot more attuned to the glamorous styling and began adopting a more feminine default gender expression. I’m not saying the L word caused it but I think it definitely contributed to it. I don’t think this is a good or a bad thing, it’s just an observation. It has also, I believe, coincided with a more confident generation of lesbians in the UK who have a greater sense of entitlement in regards of equality and openness.” So what happens now? Well we obviously all wear out our DVDs and obsessively watch all of the tributes on Youtube to Tibette and Sharman. But despair not because even though TLW has ended HBO has realised that there is still a pink buck or two to be made out of us Hollywood hungry lesbians. They are launching a fly on the wall documentary called ‘The Real L Word’ following a group of hot Hollywood dykes. However, the really good news is that the UK has finally caught up with its own Sapphic series. ‘Lip Service’ kicks off this autumn on the BBC. Writer Harriet Braun says “I loved The L Word but it’s high time we saw some contemporary British lesbians, with all the bad weather, trips to the pub and repressed emotions that go with that. It will be as funny as it is pathos filled, because in my experience that’s how life is.” So it seems that TLW has been a seminal series, not only did it give us fashion and a media presence, it paved the way for lesbian ensemble shows to be aired here in the UK. Life of course will never be the same without Bette, Tina and the gang but they haven’t ruled out a comeback and if Sex and The City can do it who is to say in a few years time your local Odean won’t be under siege by lesbians on ‘Orange Wednesday’ getting ready to see our favourites take to the big screen for a reunion. Watch this space. Amanda Falkson is a Psychotherapist and Counsellor based in the City of London. She works with clients on all human issues and is passionate about sexuality being embraced, celebrated and viewed with warmth and compassion, whatever form it takes for further information contact her at www.psychotherapycity.co.uk
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This year’s Summer stages are going to be packed with a cacophony of acts that will charge you with energy and celebration. Ride the melodic wave of summer beats with 2010 being Pride London’s most eclectic stages to date. Featuring performances from the past, present & future
MAIN STAGE - TRAFALGAR SQUARE
WOMEN’S STAGE LONDON PRIDE
DANCE STAGE – SOHO SQUARE
opens at 2:45pm
Stage opens at 2pm
opens at 3pm
3pm – 5pm
14:00-14:20 - DJ
Programmed by FIRE
The Scarlettz, Marc Massive, Greymatter, Kelly
14:20-14:40 - Emily Capell
Check out www.pridelondon.org for more
Pepper, Wicked the Musical,
14:40-15:00 - Rachael Sage
Waterloo, Mairéad, Mc ENV, Tight Fit. Naechane.
15:00-15:20 - Comedian Sarah Campbell 15:20-15:40 - DJ
5pm – 7pm
15:40-16:00 - We Rock Like Girls Dont
Christopher James, BIG DANCE, Dirty Flag, the
16:00-16:20 - DJ
Freemasons Feat Amanda Wilson,
16:20-16:40 - Black Nazarene
Kym Mazelle, The London Gay Mens Chorus,
16:40-17:00 - Genniva
Same Difference, HAIR the musical, The Pink
17:00-17:20 - MC Angel
Singers and Paleday.
17:20-17:40 - DJ Lala 17:40-18:00 -Laura Steel
7pm – 8pm
18:00-18:20 - DJ Lil Jo
Back by popular demand LIVIN JOY, Tameka, The
18:20-18:40 - Viktoria Modesta
Fabba Girls, Sonique and The DE Experience.
18:40-19:00 - DJ Sandra D
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STEPHEN K AMOS CAUGHT UP WITH PRIDE MAG ANDHE DISCUSSED WHY THERE ARE SO FEW BLACK PEOPLE THAT ARE OUT,WHERE HE THINKS HE WILL BE IN FORTY YEARS TIME AND WHAT HIS FAVOURITE GAG IS.
I was very honoured to be asked to speak at the event as it is important to reflect the diversity of the people that should be represented under that umbrella. Pride remains a constant reminder to us all that we should not take things for granted as progress is made. There are still far too many people who are marginalised, bullied and even attacked simply because of their sexual orientation. There are young people who feel isolated and alone and we all have a duty to show them that they too should be proud and celebrate the fact that there are people out there who do embrace them. The event also attracts a great many supporters from all walks of life, all
//I FEEL THAT I DON’T OWE A DEFENCE OF MY BEING, TO ANYONE. // spectrums of the social scale and all sexualities. It is a high profile event that cannot and must not be hidden away. It is also a platform to educate, inform and be politically active. You are open about your sexuality, How Do you think that it has affected your career? For me, being open and honest about myself is about not feeling I am living a lie. Constantly looking over your shoulder, wondering who will find out, what will they say are all burdens that i am quite frankly not prepared to bear. I feel that I don’t owe a defence of my being to anyone. I cannot say how it has affected my career, that is not my motivation. What people think of me, I hope, is based on my character alone. Decisions may well have happened without my knowledge, there may be a bar that I can’t see. This is a price I am prepared to pay for my own honesty, truth and peace of mind. Let’s not forget, as a black man, I have seen and experienced prejudice first hand. Also I am fortunate to work in an industry where creativity, individuality and artistry are encouraged in all its forms Why are there so few people out black people? I really don’t have the answer. You must consider
the fact that if you have spent all your life being the subject of racism, feeling that you don’t belong, do you really want to have to go through that again? There are also many cultural issues involved that for some it is simply easier to say nothing and hide. I used to be of the opinion that it was each to their own yet I dread to think of a world where we all thought like that. It is forty years since the GLF. Do you think that gay people are aware of their history and their roots in the same way that they are aware of their ethnic history? Some gay people are very aware of their history and continue to fight for rights in the same way others before them did, others are just happy living in the moment. Each story is so different and complex, that it is hard to say what people should be thinking or indeed what they know. Remember there are still negative attitudes within the gay community from rascism to outright xenophobia.
// I ONCE SAW A BIT OF GRAFFITI, IT SAID “ALL GAYS ARE GAY”, OSCAR WILDE MUST BE TURNING IN HIS GRAVE! // in outing people, unless of course they are hypocrites, but I do believe in doing everything in your power, despite the odds, to make yourself be heard. What do you think about the situation in Jamaica and Malawi? Should British people get involved in these international situations?
I would like to think that we will be living in a world like Martin Luther King envisaged. That may well be wishful thinking and yes it will be hard, there will always be resistance, but we must all believe. There are so many more important issues in the world that we should all be focusing on. From child poverty, the nuclear threat to global warming - to name but three. We must also be aware of those people who are so quick and ready to judge others and see where that gets them. Iris Robinson springs to mind.
It is a travesty that there are situations like this going on around the world. I was under the impression that was what the United Nations, the human rights laws and the International law was set up for. However, realistically, change does take a long time. Just look how revered Nelson Mandela is as an elder statesman, yet the situation in his country was allowed to go on for a very long time, with some countries even refusing to impose sanctions. Is it a case of priority? I simply dont know. As human beings on the most basic of terms we have a duty to intervene, speak out and critisise. I know it’s not easy because we have problems at home too, empathy and compassion costs nothing. Just because it doesn’t happen on our doorstep, is no reason to turn a blind eye. I am a firm believer in the phrase ‘There but for the grace of God go I.’
If you could bring in any law what would it be?
What are you working on at the moment?
The amnesty international doctrine on human rights says it all for me.
I am working on my TV series for the BBC and also a sitcom project, while also trying to write a new show that will tour next year, so my hands are pretty full.
Where do you think you will be in forty years time?
Who has been the one person in history that you think has made the greatest difference to LGBT rights? I have to say there have been many who have walked the walk and talked the talk, the heroes who have made a valid contribution for the benefit of others. Those people, far too many to mention who have encouraged, listened, supported and made a difference. Some people may not like his actions, many disapprove of his tactics but Peter Tatchell for me is a man who has consistantly put himself on the frontline. Now I don’t believe
What is your favourite joke of the moment? I once saw a bit of graffiti, it said “all gays are gay”, Oscar Wilde must be turning in his grave! THE STEPHEN K AMOS SHOW is out on BBC2 this Autumn, he’ll be at the Edinburgh Festival in August with STEPHEN K AMOS: THE BEST MEDICINE and the DVD of his last tour - THE FEELGOOD FACTOR is released in November.
Words: Danielle Carter
ou spoke last year at Pride, why did you attend Pride? Do you still think that it is important and relevant?
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for WorldPride 2006’s march was the Israel-Lebanon Conflict; with
to go, we are as excited about this as we
not enough soldiers to protect the event there was no choice but
are the other important (but less fabulous!)
to cancel. A parade of sorts did take place in November 2006.
events in 2012.
So what of the future? As pride organizers, in a relatively equal
This won’t be the first WorldPride, but it is going to be radically
part of Europe, a common question we get asked is – why do
different from those previously; WorldPride is changing.
you still need pride? This is something we’ve long pondered and
Traditionally the event has been awarded to a city with a pretty
beyond the usual answers that we still don’t have full equality (an
significant reason to play host. The successful bid from London,
awkward answer to elucidate as the differences become more
to host WorldPride in 2012, has demonstrated a new purpose.
and more technical), or that it is a celebration; even our own
While London did indeed meet the criteria, with the 2012
‘community’ can struggle to find a Purpose To Party.
Olympic and Paralympic Games and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond
Jubilee surrounding the event it was definitely a significant year
The United Kingdom has always had a rather outward looking
for the city. But what London’s bid showed the InterPride
aspect; we are a small island, and we get bored easily (more
(the international conference of pride organizers that awards
Empire anyone?). And it was to the rest of the world we looked
WorldPride) conference was how WorldPride can really be a
when we first decided, in 2007, to bid for WorldPride.
force for good. The main focus in 2012 will not just be on the city
itself; its journey to equality, and the party it can be put on; it will
There are 78 countries where male-male love is still illegal and
be about the global stage for LGBT-issues that hosting the world’s
44 where our sisters, traditionally ignored in legislation as an
media can bring.
improbability, can’t get together. Like most people, I assumed as a
There have been two previous WorldPrides. Whilst both a
radical young activist those years ago, that we’d have this nonsense
success, they each suffered massive resistance from inside their
sorted way before 2010. But we haven’t and whilst we have some
own country and all of the effort was focussed on just putting
of the biggest events (let alone pride celebrations) in cities such as
the event on. 2000 and the dawning of a new millennium saw the
Rio, New York, Berlin, San Francisco and many more, LGBT people
Catholic church’s home-base Rome play host. The city of Rome
are still being put to death no more than a few hours plane ride
and its Mayor were initially supportive, providing funding and use
away. This is how Pride London began our journey to bidding to
of the city’s logo for the event. However over the coming months
host WorldPride 2012; we wanted to be a platform for the world.
a heated battle saw the funding and permits removed, then finally
restored on the condition the logo remained out of the event
As we stood on stage, at InterPride conference in Toronto in 2008,
we told the assembled delegates about our vision; that we wanted
Inevitably the event was staunchly opposed by Pope John Paul II
to use an opportunity where almost three-quarters of the world’s
who saw WorldPride as an infringement on the numerous pilgrims
population would be focussing on one city for good. We showed
visiting Rome for the 2000th birthday of their deity. The Pope
our short video that highlighted some of the successes we’d had
addressed crowds in St. Peter’s Square during WorldPride 2000
in Riga and parts of the Commonwealth in using our event to put
telling them is was an “offense to the Christian values of a city
pressure on other cities to allow pride there.
that is so dear to the hearts of Catholics across the world.” Nice
one JP! The event was, though, a huge success and saw 250,000
Fantastically we won, and we’ve already started the planning.
people join the march to the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus,
Meetings with everyone from the London Organizing Committee
two of Rome’s most famous ancient sites. It was one of the biggest
of the Olympic Games, through city authorities and the Mayor, to
crowds to gather in Rome for decades, and so WorldPride was
our tourist board have given us the confidence that the whole city
is as excited for WorldPride 2012 as we are.
WorldPride 2005 was a little less successful, but certainly
generated headlines. Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip
Toronto will be host for WorldPride 2014 and I know they are
meant that Jerusalem wasn’t a safe enough place for a major
ready to continue the trend. This is very much Pride 2.0, and with
international event and so it was cancelled.
EuroPride also shifting away from the “usual suspects” to cities
2006 saw them try again, and to a certain degree the event took
such as Warsaw in 2010, we may just yet become a truly world
place. A week of events including numerous conferences, art
exhibitions, political events and a film festival were staged. The
The other good news recently released is that London will also
parade was less successful however. The religious bodies all
play host to EuroPride in 2012; as our bid video said “the eyes of
opposed the march (do you see a theme here?), but given Israel is
the world, really will be on London”. Let’s make this the year we
a secular nation that wasn’t enough to prevent it. What finally did
show them what equality really means for the world!
Words: Colm Howard-Lloyd
orldPride is coming! With just two years
At Haringey Adoption Service we recognise that adoption is a life long commitment and we aim to support new and existing families before, during and after adoption. ALASTAIR CROW, 18, CHAIR OF YOUTH AT PRIDE LONDON SHARES HIS VIEW ON HOW THE OLDER GENERATION CHANGED THE FACE OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION “As youth, we are always being told we are the future and obviously we are, but where would we be without all of the effort that the older generation put into equalising rights for the LGBT population? We certainly wouldn’t be able to be as free and open about our sexuality as we are able to, and for that we are grateful. Many of our LGBT youth often focus on what still needs to be done and they forget about what the older generation has done
If you would like to find out more, come along to our information evening on Thursday 22 July or Thursday 16th September at Wood Green Central Library, High Road, Wood Green N22 6XD.
for us. It would do all of us good to take a step back and look at how they struggled and fought against the law so that we can all be ourselves. I don’t think that many people, even my own age and older, really understand how different it was
// BULLYING CAN HAVE A LASTING EFFECT AND WHAT MIGHT BE SEEN AS A SMALL COMMENT CAN DO DAMAGE THAT LASTS YEARS. //
Haringey Adoption Service
020 8489 4610
for LGBT people forty years ago and how they struggled to live as themselves. I think that more needs to be done to remind LGBT youth of how far we have come since then, and to celebrate the older generations courageous efforts to change society for the better. As a young gay man today, much more is open to me than ever before. Being gay isn’t seen as a bad thing by the large majority of the population and I am able to walk down the road with a partner without much trouble. However, there is a worrying trend in LGBT youth and that is the increase in STDs, in particular HIV in 18-25 year olds. We need more education in schools geared toward LGBT people. As youth, we simply don’t remember the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and the warnings that it spawned. Some of us weren’t even born, so that message has been lost. Education in schools may also help to stop the homophobic bullying that fills many young LGBT people’s years. Bullying can have a lasting effect and what might be seen as a small comment can do damage that lasts years. As youth it is problems like these that we need to be campaigning against, getting politicians and people in power to take notice of them and change the system. I originally got involved with Youth@Pride because I didn’t know many other LGBT people, I attended an event that one of the youth groups was holding and it caught my attention. Through that I got the support I needed in order to build my self confidence and to meet lots of other young LGBT people that were in the same situation as me. Sometimes it is hard to get young LGBT people involved in something like youth@pride but that’s because largely they believe that they can’t do anything to change the way things are.
The Government Equalities Office is proud to support Pride London “The Government is committed to making Britain a fairer and more equal place for everyone. That’s why we’re committed to equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people, and that’s why we’re proud to support Pride.”
I think we only need to look back at what the older generation did all those years ago to see that as a community we can be very strong and we can make the comparitively small changes to solve the problems in front of us.”
Rt Hon Theresa May MP, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Lynne Featherstone MP, Minister for Equalities
If you want to get involved with Youth@PrideLondon just email Alaistair at firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE 14299 GEO Pride ad 2nd.indd 1
PRIDE MAGAZINE CHECKS IN FOR A CONSULTATION WITH DR CHRISTIAN JESSEN AND ASKS ‘WILL THERE EVER BE AN EMBARRASSING GAY BODIES?’
Pride Mag: Are you still enjoying Embarrassing Bodies? Dr: I still enjoy EB, it is not formulaic like other shows. For example, ‘Come Dine with Me’ you know exactly what you are going to get. Pride Mag: How many have you done now? Dr: We have done four series of EB and two specials we have another series coming up where there are two trans people, one FTM and one MTF. We are following their stories to see how they get on. I am also doing another series of ‘Super Size Vs Super Skinny.’ I have also just done a show called ‘The Ugly Side of Beauty’ where we followed women who have had botched jobs it has been really interesting. Pride Mag: On that note what do you think about transitions being available on the NHS? I have spoken to some trans people who are finding getting
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// I AM NOT SURE HOW A 50-YEAR-OLD MUSLIM DOCTOR WOULD DEAL WITH IT. I AM A GAY MAN AND I THEREFORE FIND IT EASY TO TALK TO OTHER GAY PEOPLE // the funding very difficult to say the least.
Dr: I experienced a lot of homophobia when I was a student. Medicine is quite a traditional men’s club and I would see lots
Dr: I think that the NHS is a well of want, everyone wants
of homophobia towards gay patients that they would be very
something and you can’t serve everyone. Unfortunately someone
uncomfortable dealing with.
has to make the decision of what service they will supply and what
Fundamentally I am a Doctor, you have to be honest about things.
they won’t. It is not a job that I would like to do. But feeling that
Sexuality does always come up of course. If you lie and hide
you are born in the wrong gender is a serious thing and can be very
things the papers will dig around into your sexuality
distressing. There are some changes that need to be made, I think
and print a damaging story on you but my sexuality has
that this two-year plan of having to live as the sex you want to be is
absolutely no bearing on me being a Doctor.
very difficult. If you are a man and don’t look very feminine and you have to go through all of the abuse that comes with it, it puts a lot
Pride: You must have had lots of offers, have you
of people off. I don’t think that I could do that.
ever thought about hanging up the stethoscope and moving into TV full-time?
Pride: What about doing an Embarrassing Gay Bodies? Dr: I have offers coming from all over the place but you have to (Dr: Laughs) I am not sure that there is enough material for that.
remember why you are on TV and stay quite grounded. I am on TV because I am a Doctor and I practice medicine. I have been very
Pride:Obviously there is HIV and AIDs?
clear that to be a Doctor and to stay up-to-date with what I do that I need to see patients. It is difficult managing things but that comes
Dr: Well actually I think one of the biggest issues for gay men in
down to having a good manager that fits things in for me.
particular that is not being spoken about is mental health issues. Depression is common when gay men are under quite a lot of stress especially when coming out; but another illness that is not
Pride: You have just written a book called ‘Can I just
so spoken about is body dysmorphia. Gay men are under huge
ask?’, Can I just ask, what is it about?
pressure to conform to a certain stereotype and look a certain way. Dr: This is a book about all the weird and wonderful questions Pride: Do you think that a Doctor can have a role in
that Doctors get asked in practice and I have answered them. For
the coming-out process for someone who is finding it
example, Is there really a truth serum? Can chewing
very hard and doesn’t have anyone else to talk to?
gum stay in the body for up to seven years? I have really loved it and it is a huge honour to do, it is not a TV tie in so it has
Dr: I would like to say yes but to be completely candid (and to get
been great to just write it. myself. It comes out in November, it is all
you lots of readers’ complaints) I don’t think many will be good at it.
written, there are still a few things to edit etc but I am really excited
For example I am not sure how a 50-year-old Muslim doctor would
deal with it. I am a gay man and I therefore find it easy to talk to other gay people about what they are going through. This is where
Pride: Do you get involved in a lot of LGBT campaigns?
the NHS lets its patients down. Dr: I do a lot of work with THT, The Elton John AIDS foundation and Pride: As a Doctor can you give any advice about
Pride, I think it is really important that these charities exist they do
some great work and raise awareness.
Dr: I think it is hard to answer such a generic question but what I
Pride: We are celebrating forty years of the Gay
would say is that you need to understand that coming out, although
Liberation Front, where do you think you will be in
it may be a big thing for you, it may also be a big thing for the
forty years time?
person you are telling.You need to treat them as sensitively as you would like to be treated. It is all about timing. Start by telling a few
Dr: In forty years time, god I will be (counts) 72, what a depressing
close friends and gauge their reaction, if you do it in an aggressive
thought. I hope I am retired, still living in London with a place
way with fanfare you may not get the result that you want.
abroad enjoying my life.
Pride: Has your sexuality ever impacted upon your
Christian’s book ‘Can I just ask?’ is released in November and published
by Hay House.
PAUL BURSTON HAS BEEN COMPARED TO EVERYONE FROM JACQUELINE SUSANN TO JANE AUSTEN. PRIDE MAGAZINE HAD A CHAT WITH THE AWARD WINNING WRITER AND FOUND OUT WHAT MAKES THE LITERARY CHAMELEON TICK.
Let’s start at the beginning. When and
It’s a mask that tells the truth.
even with an agent, it’s harder now than it used to be. Gay work is seen as very niche, so publishers
how did you realise that you could write? I’ve always written stories for as long as I can
Obviously your most recent book has
don’t really invest in it. And it’s hard when you have
remember. I was a very introverted child. I used to
been your biggest success but out of your
no advertising behind you, and no real marketing,
spend hours on my own, making-up stories. Now
four books, which one is your personal
and then you’re up against all these books being
I’m less introverted but still like making-up stories.
sold for £3 in Tesco’s. That’s how they measure
My personal favourite is always whatever I’m
success now - by what sells in the supermarkets.
Do you remember the first thing that you
working on, but I do have a lot of affection for ‘The
Gay Divorcee’. It has a lot more heart than my
What advice would you give to young gay
In junior school I wrote a series of adventure
earlier novels. I’m also fond of ‘Lovers and Losers’,
writers wanting to write their first novel?
stories about a boy called Jim. The head teacher
for the same reason, and because it earned me a
First, write it. Then, get it published. There are some
used to get me to read them out in morning
Stonewall Award nomination.
smaller publishers who are more open to gay work. Or there is self-publishing, which has come a long
assembly, and then I’d get beaten up in the
// I’M GAY AND I’M A WRITER. AND I WRITE ABOUT GAY CHARACTERS. I DON’T ONLY WRITE ABOUT GAY CHARACTERS, BUT THEY’RE CERTAINLY A BIG PART OF WHAT I DO //
playground. But the important thing is that they didn’t beat it out of me! I think if you’re a writer then it’s somehow in your blood. Nothing will stop you. All the obstacles in the way just make you more determined. I never dreamt that I could write for a living. It was just something I did. I went to university, studied English and Drama, and graduated
way recently. Then be prepared to promote it any way you can, because nobody else will do it for you. Get yourself a website, join social networking sites, go and read wherever they’ll have you. And accept that you probably won’t make huge amounts of money from it and will need to support yourself with other jobs. It’s a tough slog sometimes. But if you love it enough, you’ll stick with it. I still
with no real idea of what I wanted to do. I became a gay activist, and I fell into journalism through that.
What have you got coming up next?
get a thrill whenever I see one of my books in a
This was in the days when you could just “fall into”
I’m working on a new novel, but I don’t know when
bookshop. I hope that never goes away.
journalism. It’s a lot harder now.
it will appear yet. Sometime next year, I expect. This year I have a short story collection, an anthology
Have you been stereotyped as a gay
How did you make the transition from
that I’m editing which I’m very excited about. It’s
journalist to author, two very different
out in July. It’s called ‘Boys and Girls’ and I’m excited
Of course. It’s the first thing people say when
about it for three reasons. Firstly, because it has
they’re asked to describe my work.
One of the things I’ve learnt is that they really
some wonderful new voices who’ve never been
aren’t all that different. I’d already published a few
published before. Secondly, because it’s lesbian and
Does this bother you?
non-fiction books and I turned to fiction at the
gay - half the stories are written by women and
Not really. I’m gay and I’m a writer. And I write
suggestion of my editor. At the time I thought it
half are by men. And thirdly, because it feels like
about gay characters. I don’t only write about gay
would be a totally different discipline. I had quite a
an extension of my literary salon, Polari. I started
characters, but they’re certainly a big part of what I
romantic idea of what it meant to be a novelist. I
Polari in 2007 because I was frustrated at the
do. That’s how I see the world. What does annoy me
thought you reclined on the sofa and waited for the
lack of opportunities for lesbian and gay authors
is this mentality which says that any book with gay
muse to strike. It’s not remotely like that - at least
to promote their work. I’m very committed to
characters can only be of interest to gay readers.
not for me. I treat it in much the same way that I
promoting lesbian and gay writing, and these are
I know for a fact that a large proportion of my
treat my job as a journalist. I get up, I sit at my desk
very difficult times for lesbian and gay authors. So to
readers are heterosexual women. People don’t only
and I write. I work office hours, sometimes longer,
get a book like this off the ground is tremendously
read books about people like themselves. What
and I always aim to write a certain number of
a small world it would be if they did. I remember reading ‘The Colour Purple’ when it first came out.
words per day. What is different, and what surprised me, is just how revealing fiction is. I’ve written a lot
How did you go about getting a book
The fact that it’s about a black woman didn’t make
of personal, quite confessional journalism over the
it any less interesting to me - quite the opposite in
years, but nothing prepared me for how revealing
I was lucky. I’d had a couple of non-fiction books
my first novel, ‘Shameless’, would be. I always think
published, which made it easier for me to get a
of that Oscar Wilde quote - ‘Give a man a mask
literary agent. Without an agent it’s very hard to get
Who is your role model when it comes to
and he’ll show you the truth.’ That’s what fiction is.
a book deal, certainly with a major publisher. But
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There are so many. I am a huge fan of Marian Keyes. I think she’s a wonderful writer who handles some pretty heavy subjects with a very light touch. And I love Armistead Maupin. He’s the first author I ever read who writes about gay characters in a wider context, and his books are very funny and very heart warming. When Jonathan Harvey compared me to him, I was extremely flattered. Also, it was nice to be compared to a gay male writer for once. Usually reviewers compare me to women everyone from Jacqueline Susann to Jane Austen!
You are a good looking man, can you see yourself moving over into TV? I’ve done a fair anount of TV. I’ve written and presented a number of documentaries for Channel 4. And I pop up on those “100 Best / Worst / Most Memorable / 80s / 90s Celebrity Moments” shows a lot. There’s been a lot of interest from TV companies in my novels, a lot of talk about possible TV adaptations, especially with regards to ‘The Gay Divorcee’. Watch this space! After being a smash hit author do you have any ambitions left? Just to keep on writing and seeing my work published. And a TV deal would be nice! You can find out more about Paul at: www.paulburston.com www.facebook.com/paulburston
NAECHANÈ V ROMEO IS A PATRON FOR PRIDE LONDON.WE SPOKE TO HIM LAST YEAR AFTER COMING OUT AS TRANS.WE CAUGHT UP WITH HIM TO FIND OUT HOW HE IS DOING,WHERE HE IS GOING AND WHERE HE HAS BEEN.
ou spoke to us a year ago?
opportunity to re-launch my career.
How the year has flown by. It’s true what they say; “time waits for no one.”
What is different from where you were last year to where you are now? It has been hard not doing any new music; I miss being on stage. I have written a few new songs which are completely different to what people would have heard from Mz Fontaine, but because I am not being treated I can’t re-launch as a new artist. I have only been doing some special appearances but my focus is working with the young people I’m mentoring.
Overall, would you say that this year has been a good one? Well this year has been interesting so far. The start of the year was a bit challenging, I had so much going on with work and my personal life has been a bit of a rollercoaster. What advice would you give to anyone about to come out as trans? For anyone coming out trans, I would say, Believe in yourself, find strength within you. There will be some trying times emotionally but what is most important is your happiness. Trust in yourself, and stay positive.You may lose friends, family, even love, but don’t give up, it will get better. How has the medical system treated you? Well things have been a bit difficult recently with my treatment. There is a hold up with my prescription. Camden Primary Care Trust has to re-assess their procedures because I’m being refused treatment. My GP was informed that it’s unclear if there are any approved shared care guidelines for GPs prescribing Sustanon in gender treatment. Prescribing Sustanon in gender treatment is unlicensed, so the GP can refuse treatment. The medical centre or GP is not willing to take on full medical or legal responsibilities for my treatment and monitoring. I have spoken to the local patient support team and they are having a meeting to discuss and assess these guidelines. The Gender Identity Clinic has been so supportive, the staff there are on the case. I was told by the clinic manager to request a written explanation from my GP and they will work something out. I feel like I have been waiting forever to start treatment. You had a strong lesbian fanbase as Mz Fontaine, what has their reaction been? Some people still see me as Mz Fontaine because, although the name has changed, the face is still the same so at first glance people automatically mouth Mz Fontaine. I don’t think many people know that I’m going through a gender change. I haven’t announced it to fans at all; I’m just off the radar now until the time is right. The Mz Fontaine website has been cancelled along with the blogs and other social networking sites. I am hoping the Mz Fontaine phase will fade out giving me the
Can you tell us about your transition? What has your experience been so far and how far along are you? The transition to the man within has been a ride; some of my family members are finding it difficult to come to terms with my decision. I love them to the core and sooner or later I hope they will understand. In general public I pass very well. I have lost a lot of weight and with the aid of the binders I purchased from “Underworks” concealing my chest is a breeze. I do get a second look sometimes where I see people questioning my gender. All of my documents have been changed and one
// I KNOW THE MAN THAT I AM AND HE WILL BE AN INSPIRATION TO THE TRANSITIONING FAMILY. // day a sexy bank cashier was mightily confused by my gender. I showed her my ID to prove I was Mr. Naechané Valentino and she was shocked but interested. I should have got the digits but I was running late! Recently I went to “Salt & Pepper”, a LGBT nightclub in Vauxhall, and the male bouncer refused to search me. After a minute of convincing him he comes out and says”you are one pretty boy. That made my night! I’m settling into life as a man with confidence. At work all the young people are aware of my transition. This February, I did a presentation for LGBT history month exploring gender identities and the young people who were unaware of trans issues were very intrigued. The session was a success and the young people were as excited as I was. I’ve been meeting other Trans guys around
London and we meet up regularly for pool parties and games nights. They are not having any trouble with their treatment and I’ve been seeing small changes as the testosterone does its work. I’m so excited to start treatment. I know the man that I am and he will be an inspiration to the transitioning family. Tell us about the work that you do My mentoring work is most rewarding; I love it. I’m still doing music while taking a career ‘timeout’. All my young people are fascinated and when I show them the artist I once was they all say “Romeo why are you here?” In short I’m moulding them to be successful artists, helping them grow in confidence, and achieve greater things in life. Some of the young people I work with are looking for a new direction, many are excluded from school, and some are young offenders. I help them write lyrics, produce beats, record, and mix their EPs, mix-tapes and albums. I direct them in promoting their work as they build a fanbase. I watch them grow as artists and learn the laws of the industry. The young people I work with are from all walks of life and mainly range from age 13 upwards. Some of their work has been featured in the official Home Office anti-knife campaign entitled “No More Knives.” Some have launched their own mix-tapes and have been featured on many of the well-known UK artist websites. Sample the greatness on MySpace, Facebook and YouTube. I live by my moto “Mentor young minds, create future stars” ©™ If anyone wanted to catch up with you and see you perform where would they go? Well I’m only doing a very small amount of appearances. All the other performances are more like workshop sessions that I facilitate with a final showcase. I am feeling a bit helpless, not being on the usual Pride tour but everything will work out for the best. Connect with me via Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Youtube. I am open to questions and discussions so feel free to get in touch. Would you like to write a synopsis of your year, professionally and personally... That’s difficult to document. I’m in limbo at the moment. Emotionally, I’m exhausted. It’s all about getting treated because I feel like I’m stuck, not getting anywhere. I feel like I’m not reaching my full potential. But I’m going to be working
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//THE TRANSITION TO THE MAN WITHIN HAS BEEN A RIDE //
with the Gender Intelligence team, mentoring transgendered young people. That will keep me going. It’s my second birthday the coming June and I’m really looking forward to brighter days. What is it that makes your heart sing? Music keeps me young and alive, well so do women of course (Smiles). I’m looking forward to meeting new people as I grow, creating new friendships, relationships, and partnerships, reaching targeted goals and finding happiness. What have you learnt from this last year? “Life doesn’t get any easier.” I mean I should already know that at my age! Legends say that the Goddesses only give us challenges that you can overcome. “One-day at a time!” What do you think is going to be coming up in the next year for you? Well I am looking to get more involved with mentoring as I go through my changes. I do miss music so I am hoping to have something out soon. What this is we’ll have to wait and see. What are you working on now? Right now I’m looking for a band I want to focus more on that live feeling. I feel lonely without my music. I want to work with live musicians who will not have any issues with my gender transition. I’m looking to focus on recording soon. Having to re-invent oneself is not easy at all when you’re a public figure. Have you got a message for the readers of this magazine? I want to wish everyone a happy Pride with this quote: “Life is joy, truth and love. Without them we’ll have no experiences, and without experiences we have no existence”. I also want to thank Pride Magazine and the committee for all their love and support.
PETER TATCHELL RECALLS THE FORMATION OF THE LONDON GAY LIBERATION FRONT IN 1970.
ride London 2010 is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the London Gay Liberation Front. and with good reason. GLF was a watershed moment in queer history; the beginning of the modern ‘out and proud’ movement for LGBT freedom and human rights.
I was part of GLF. I remember those early days, four decades ago. For the first time in history LGBT people stopped hiding their sexuality and suffering in silence. Inspired by GLF, thousands came out and marched with pride for gay liberation. Spurning the often defensive, apologetic pleas for tolerance voiced by some of the earlier homosexual law reformers, GLF demanded an LGBT-positive and sex-affirmative society, where everyone could love whoever they wanted without guilt, prejudice or discrimination. Given the recent strides made by the LGBT community, it is easy to forget how bad things were in 1970. I witnessed the painful intolerance of that era. LGBT people could be sacked from their jobs, arrested for kissing in the street, denied custody of their children, evicted by landlords and refused service in pubs. Popular culture stereotyped queers as limp-wristed figures of ridicule, and LGBT people were only mentioned in the news if they were mass murderers, spies or child abusers. There was virtually no recognition that gay rights are human rights. Queer bashing was rife, but ignored by the police. There were no openly gay public figures or sympathetic gay characters on television. We had no LGBT switchboards or help-lines for people in need. Little wonder that there was, in those days, so much self-loathing, depression, alcoholism and suicide within the LGBT community. Internalising the homophobia foisted upon them, many LGBT people were ashamed and wished they were straight. Some went to doctors to get ‘cured’; others were sentenced by the courts to undergo ‘treatment’. In those days, the medical profession still classified homosexuality as an ‘illness’. Leading psychologists, such as Professor Hans Eysenck, justified electric-shock ‘aversion therapy’ to turn gay people straight. The
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consequences were tragic: most LGBTs who underwent this medical abuse ended up sexually dysfunctional and emotionally disturbed. It was these cruelties that motivated me to join GLF. The bigotry of centuries had always insisted that gay was mad, sad and very, very bad. I wanted to help change that. GLF declared: “Gay Is Good!”. Back then, it was deemed outrageous to suggest there was anything good about being LGBT. Even liberal-minded heterosexuals mostly supported us out of sympathy and pity. Many were aghast when GLF proclaimed: “2-4-6-8! Gay is just as good as straight!” These affirmative, assertive demands were empowering to LGBTs everywhere, but they frightened the life out of smug, arrogant heterosexuals who had always assumed they were superior. While politicians, priests and police viewed homosexuality as a social problem, we argued that the real problem was society’s homophobia. Instead of LGBTs having to justify their existence, GLF demanded that gay-haters justify their bigotry. In the 40 years since GLF, there have been many notable advances. LGBT people are more visible than ever before and two-thirds of the public are now fairly comfortable with LGBTs. Nearly all homophobic laws have been repealed. Positive LGBT images and characters abound on television. Politicians and entertainers are openly gay. Most police are serious, at last, about tackling homophobic and transphobic hate crimes. Gayness is no longer classified as a sickness.
//AT THIS PACE OF PROGRESS, IN THE LONG TERM, HOMOPHOBIC PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION ARE DOOMED. IT IS THEN THAT THE LGBT COMMUNITY WILL FACE AN UNEXPECTED CHALLENGE. // LGBT identity is largely a defence against homophobia. Faced with victimisation, we had to defend our right to be LGBT and create our own
Fed up with being called a pervert by bible-bashers? Does god get up your gay nose?
community institutions to fill the void created by an uncaring, bigoted society. But when legal equality and social acceptance have been won, will there be any need for a separate LGBT identity and community? If one sexuality is
You're not alone …
not deemed superior or more valid than the other, the raison d’être for distinguishing between gay and straight disappears.
The Pink Triangle Trust has been fighting religious anti-gay bigotry for 18 years.
This is the ultimate paradox. GLF spawned a movement that created the conditions for its own dissolution. The more we secure the acceptance and human rights of LGBT people, the less we need a separate gay identity, community and movement. In a queer-friendly society, the differences between
We stand for reason, compassion and free thought. But thought isn't the only thing that's free at the PTT: take a look at our critically acclaimed magazine
homo and hetero lose their significance. When no one cares who is gay and who is straight, there is little need to maintain a distinction between the two sexualities. Labelling people and behaviour becomes irrelevant. The LGBT movement becomes redundant. Forty years after GLF pioneered a new queer agenda, I am still celebrating LGBT Pride. But my eye is firmly fixed on the real prize: a world beyond gay and straight. For more information about Peter Tatchell’s human rights campaigns:
gay & lesbian humanist It's FREE! www.gayandlesbianhumanist.org/pride
PRIDE MAGAZINE TAKES US THROUGH THE LIFE COACHING LESSONS FROM GLEE’S MULTI-COLOURED TRACKSUIT WEARING SUE SYLVESTER
top the search for a life coach my fellow Pridegoers. I have found the one who will continue to help us on this road to accomplishment and approval, and where will you find it… In Sue’s Corner cause that’s how she ‘C’s’ it.
Below is some of the comic genius’ best comments, put downs, one liners, whatever you want to call them, you cannot beat the viper tongue that is the multi-faceted Sue Sylvester. Our friends from McKinley High, and especially in the Glee club, have boarded the Sue Sylvester train. Now it’s our time here in London to board the train as we look to review some of the classic moments from Coach Sylvester. The whole premise behind the smash hit programme is the Cheerios’ captain, furious on her budget being refused due to the Glee club, is now hell-bent in destroying the modern choir so her full budget can be restored and her cheerleaders can continue to receive their fake tans. So what are we left with? Sue Vs Glee Club leader - Will Schuester.
SUE Vs WILL Sue Sylvester: It’s Will Schuester. What is it about him, Journal? Is it the arrogant smirk? Is it the storebought home perm? You know, Journal, I noticed something yesterday. Of course. It’s coming clear to me now. If I can’t destroy the club, I will have to destroy the man! Sue: Get ready for the ride of your life, Will Shuester; you are about to board the Sue Sylvester express. Destination: HORROR! Sue: I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat; and then on some dark cold night, I will steal away into your home, and punch you in the face. Sue: I don’t trust a man with curly hair. I can’t help, but picturing birds laying sulfurous eggs in there and
I find it disgusting. Sue: “I have reasonable confidence that you will be adding revenge to the list of things you’re no good at -- right next to having a marriage; running a glee club; and finding a hairstyle that doesn’t make you look like a lesbian. Filled with anger, Sue clearly has some serious issues within her protein shake coursed veins as she lashes out on all members of the Ohio High School, wading her way through the High School corridor pushing any kid in her midst. Prime victims are those that are closest to her - her regional winning Cheerios team; originally forcing three of her girls, Quinn, Santana and Brittany, to spy on the Glee Club and help with the destroying of the ‘New Directions’ group.
SUE Vs CHEERIOS
Sue: You know Q, when I first laid eyes on you, I was reminded of a young Sue Sylvester, though you don’t have my bone structure. Sue: This is what we call a total disaster ladies. I’m going to have to ask you to smell your armpits…. That’s the smell of failure, and it’s stinking up my office. I’m revoking your tanning privileges for the rest of the semester. During practice on the field, Sue would always manage to find the right encouraging words for her team but always ensure that they knew she has had it much harder, as she bellowed insults through her megaphone.
SUE Vs TRAINING Sue “You think this is hard? I’m living with hepatitis, that’s hard!”
SUE Vs GLEE CLUB
Although Sue directs most of her hatred towards Shuester she has no hesitation in poking fun at the group of misfits that make up the Glee club. Sue: [Picking out the minority glee kids] Santana! Wheels! Gay kid! Asian! Other Asian! Aretha! Shaft! Sue: We’re dealing with children. They need to be terrified, it’s like mother’s milk to them - without it their bones won’t grow properly. Sue: Bringing down this club may be easier than I thought. I am engorged with venom and triumph. Will Schuester: McKinley needs ramps. Sue: No way.Those are what I call lazy-makers.They discourage our able-bodied students from getting their proper exercise by using the stairs! Sue: “I took the liberty of highlighting some Special Ed classes for you. Maybe you can find some recruits there because I don’t think anybody else is going to want to swim over to your... island of misfit toys.” Rachel Berry: I don’t mean to be rude, but I think she’s over-reacting Sue:You watch your tongue young lady. Gay parents encourage rebellion. There’s studies on this. The dumbbell queen does also have a soft-side to her, as we got to see on the road to Sectionals, with a love interest and an insight into Sue’s home life as she embraced her sister living with Down’s Syndrome and gave a place on the squad to a young student named Becky, who also suffered from the condition.
Sue “You think this was hard? Try auditioning for Baywatch and being told they’re going in another direction. That was hard.”
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Another way to thaw the heart of the Ohio Ice Queens is to find her a man for a whirlwind love interest and when she met Rod, as whirlwind romance goes this was definitely one of them. Sue began her stint on the local news station where she delivered her Sue’s Corner segment and met Rod, the smooth talking Anchor who she fell head over pom-poms for. However, it didn’t work in her favour and student pushing Sue returned with vengeance.
SUE Vs SUE AND EVERYONE ELSE Sue: You sunk my battleship, Rod. And you sunk it hard. Sue: Are these your droopy white granny panties, Jacob? Are you an Eve who was born a Steve? Because if you are, I think there’s a special school that would better address your needs. And I think that school is in Thailand. Sue: Without a championship, I’ll lose my endorsements and without those endorsements, I won’t be able to buy my hovercraft.
May – October 2010 Films on tour And Then Came Lola, Plan B, The Fish Child, Give Me Your Hand, Children of God + Shorts programmes
For information on venues and films visit
bfi.org.uk/llgff AT A CINEMA NEAR YOU
Sue: I’ve never wanted kids... Don’t have the time, don’t have the uterus Sue: You know, you just woke a sleeping giant. Prepare to be crushed!
LLGFF 10_ On Tour Ad_Pride Mag_FINAL.indd 1
As mentioned before Sue took to the screen and became a local celebrity in the North East of America as she expressed her controversial views. We couldn’t end on Sue’s most famous segment to date – Sneaky Gays. This was a YouTube phenomenon and had people talking all over the world and even created a new catchphrase when struggling to tell who is gay and who is not – Sneaky Gays! Sue:“Jagger, Bowie, you knew they were women..But nowadays, this internationally ranked cheerleading coach just can’t figure it out.”. So much sneaky gay deception…Adam Lambert, you’re on the right track but still too subtle, swish it up a bit… Black nail polish? Swish it up a bit. I want to see enormous fuchsias rhinestone-studded gay claws so cumbersome you can’t even perform the most basic acts of personal hygiene.” “Swish it up, gays. Because if I can’t tell who’s gay, how will I know who to judge?”
Words : Sam Bristowe
So come on gays of London and around the Nation, lets take note of quick talking Cheerios’ Captain on the other side of the pond and swish it up a bit at this years Pride London festival!
Have you thought about adoption? There are lots of children in the UK waiting for loving homes, and last year over 130 found â€œforever familiesâ€? with LGBT parents.
new family social New Family Social is a network run by, and for, LGBT adopters and foster carers across the UK. If you are considering adoption and are unsure where to start, you are welcome to join us for advice and encouragement. In our group you will find support and friendships that last throughout your adoption journey, for you and your future family. To find out more please visit www.newfamilysocial.co.uk or call us on 0843 2899 457
With thanks to some of our supporting agencies for sponsoring this advertisement:
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T: 01494 586443 www.buckscc.gov.uk
MAIRÉAD IS THE NEW HOT SINGER FROM NORTHERN IRELAND, BORN PARTIALLY DEAF SHE HAS ASTOUNDED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND HER PARENTS BY FOLLOWING HER DREAM. SHE IS THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK AND IS PERFORMING THIS YEAR THE PRIDE CONCERT IN TRAFALGAR SQUARE. How do you feel about performing at Pride?
Where can we catch up with you if we want to see you perform?
I can’t wait for pride it will be my biggest audience to date so I am super excited
I’ve got some really exciting gigs coming up, including performing at Talent Expo
and really honored to be asked to do it. We have made a couple of changes to
on the 27th June and Mardi Gras in Cardiff on the 4th September. I’m constantly
the show just to make it extra special and unique just for Pride.
on the go so for all my updated info on forth coming shows it’s best to log onto www.myspace.com/maireadrocks.
So tell us, are you a lady lover? Nope just men for me I’m afraid, the rocker type in skinny fit jeans!
It is 40 years since the start of the Gay Liberation Front. Where will you be in 40 years time?
Do the gays like you? I’m in the very early stages of my career but so far I have had a great response
Congratulations! In 40 years I will probably be full of botox still trying to
from the gay community. When I’m on stage this strong confident woman takes
desperately cling onto my youth! I’ll no doubt still be rocking it out just like
over me and there’s nothing I can do to stop her, I think gay men especially
Dillon or McCartney and hopefully still selling out arenas. The Futures bright the
respond to that.
Do you think that sexual orientation matters? A person’s sexual orientation is of no difference to me, in my opinion love is love so when it comes to my music all I care about is that people are enjoying it. I hope that in the near future I’ll be playing concerts to a multi-coloured , multi-
// IF I COULD WORK WITH ANYONE IT WOULD HAVE TO BE ALANIS MORISSETTE, SHE IS AN AMAZING WRITER AND A FANTASTIC PERFORMER. //
sexual, multi-everything audience. It wont matter as they’ll all have one thing in common, Me! Tell us about your hearing problems… I was born deaf, I was lucky that my parents noticed there was a problem and got me the medical attention I needed. It took 15 operations but thanks to all the amazing doctors that treated me a lot of my hearing was saved, now I just have selective hearing, well so my mum saysI Having always lived with hearing problems I’ve never known what its like to have perfect hearing so it’s not something that I miss it’s just how things are. When did you decide to become a musician? I don’t think there was a distinct point in my life when I decided I was going to be a musician, I mean I didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘right I’m going to be a be a rocker,’I think it’s something that’s just part of who you are. Obviously with all the hearing problems I had, my parents never thought in a million years this is what I’d end up doing, but they have been so supportive from an early age, putting me into classes and enrolling me into a stage school. The more I performed the more I wanted to perform and when I eventually started writing my own music I realised that this is definitely what I am meant to be doing and the only thing that makes me happy, even when I’m pulling long hours in the studio or traveling for long hours in a smelly tour bus with my band.
If you could work with anyone who would it be? If I could work with anyone it would have to be Alanis Morissette, she is an Words: Danielle Carter
amazing writer and a fantastic performer. I would love to collaborate with her or just sit in on a session, observe and learn. Jagged little Pill is still to date one of my all time favorite albums.
// A PERSON’S SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS OF NO DIFFERENCE TO ME, IN MY OPINION LOVE IS LOVE // WWW.PRIDELONDON.ORG
ostering and Adoption for gay couples used to seem like a nightmare that was not worth entering. We repeatedly heard stories of institutional homophobia, lack of support and information and often the very disturbing scepticism over why gay people would want to adopt, especially two gay men.
Whether you believe the homophobia experienced by couples in the system has vanished is a matter of personal opinion and experience, however the wealth of information and support has grown. From not enough information to information overload Stonewall has taken the task of wading through the information to point you and your partner in the best direction when it comes to expanding your brood.
joint adoption. Any unmarried couple, including a same-sex couple, wishing to adopt would
A number of local authorities employ lesbian and gay foster parents and it is
need to be able to demonstrate that their partnership is an ‘enduring family
often easier for a lesbian or gay man to be approved as a foster parent than as a
The Adoption and Children Act came into effect on 30 December 2005.
WHO CAN FOSTER A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE ADOPTION PROCESS In 1991 there was a debate about whether lesbians and gay men could apply to be foster parents. Stonewall made representations to the Minister of Health and
Applications for adoption must be made to an adoption agency, the local
the guidance issued on family placements, while not very welcoming, makes it
authority or an approved adoption agency. It is not necessary to live in the area
clear that lesbians and gay men can be considered:
of the local authority to which the adoption application is made. The adoption assessment is lengthy and very thorough. If you are a couple
“It would be wrong to arbitrarily exclude any particular group of people from
applying to adopt you will both be assessed and will need to demonstrate the
consideration, but the chosen way of life of some adults may mean that they
stable and enduring nature of your relationship. If you are applying to adopt as a
would not be able to provide a suitable environment for the care and nurture
single parent, but you are in a relationship, your partner will also be included in
of a child. No one has the ‘right’ to be a foster parent. Fostering decisions must
the assessment process.
centre exclusively on the interests of the child.”
If the initial assessment is favourable the application is referred to the Adoption
(The Children Act 1989, Guidance and regulations,Vol. 3, Family Placements,
Panel. If you are approved by the Adoption Panel, a child or young person may be
placed with you and, depending on the success of the placement, an application can be made to the court for an adoption order, where further reports will be
The same guidance went on to state that the needs of young lesbians and gay
placed before the court.
men being fostered should also be acknowledged.
We are not aware of any local authorities who refuse to consider applications
“The needs and concerns of gay young men and women must also be recognised
from lesbians and gay men although adoption agencies are able to do so (for
and approached sympathetically” - The Children Act 1989, Guidance and
example, if they are a religious agency which may have a policy of only placing
regulations,Vol. 3, Family Placements, 1991.
children with married couples). It remains to be seen whether local authorities and other adoption agencies will actively welcome lesbian and gay couples as
WHAT HAPPENS IN PRACTICE
In practice some authorities welcome application form lesbians & gay men
In practice the majority of children placed with lesbian and gay couples are ‘hard
and others do not, but gradually the picture is changing. Overall there is still
to place’ children.
a great shortage of foster parents so many local authorities have come to the conclusion that prejudice should not restrict the pool of potential foster parents.
There are of course other ways to have a family and Stonewall provide great resources on this too:
ADOPTION SURROGACY Adoption in England and Wales Surrogacy is the process by which an arrangement is made with a carrying In November 2002, the Adoption and Children Act passed into law and for the
mother where she will hand over the child she gives birth to immediately after
first time allowed unmarried couples, including same-sex couples, to apply for
the birth and relinquish her parental status. This is an option for gay couples
THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
who wish to have a child together without sharing responsibility with the child’s
The new rules are specifically retrospective for the first six months, which means
that gay couples who are already caring for a child conceived through surrogacy before the new law came into effect (however long ago their child was born)
Surrogacy arrangements (involving heterosexual couples, single men and gay
will have until 5 October 2010 to apply for a parental order giving them full and
couples) are legal in the UK, although the law bars arrangements being brokered
equal parental status and a birth certificate naming them as their child’s parents.
on a commercial basis and makes it an offence to advertise for a surrogate mother. The close regulation of surrogacy in the UK can make travelling
abroad seem attractive, since surrogate mothers and donor eggs may be more widely available in certain foreign jurisdictions. However, it is important for gay
The law was changed on 6 April 2009. The new rules on parenthood for lesbian
couples to be aware that, whether they conceive at home or abroad, English
couples apply only to children conceived on or after that date. They allow both
law on parenthood applies. International surrogacy arrangements can be legally
lesbian partners to be treated as parents of a child they conceive together in
complex and should not be entered into without careful legal advice.
Under English law, the surrogate mother is always treated as the legal mother of a child at birth. If the surrogate is married or in a civil partnership, her
Lesbian couples who are civil partners at the time of conception and conceive
husband/civil partner is treated as the child’s second parent, and this excludes
a child through artificial insemination will both automatically be treated as their
the intended father from having any legal status at birth. If the surrogate is not
child’s legal parents.
married or in a civil partnership (at the time of conception), the biological father
This applies both where civil partners conceive through fertility treatment at a
will usually be treated as the child’s legal father.
licensed clinic and where civil partners conceive through artificial insemination by private arrangement at home (for example using sperm donated by a friend
Couples who enter into a surrogacy arrangement may apply to the court
acting as a known donor).
within six months of their child’s birth for a ‘parental order’ in order to acquire parenthood. Parental orders are designed specifically for surrogacy situations
LESBIAN COUPLES WHO ARE NOT CIVIL PARTNERS
and have the effect of extinguishing the status of the surrogate mother (and her husband/civil partner) and conferring full parental status instead on the
Couples who are not civil partners at the time of conception but who conceive
applicants. Following the grant of a parental order, the child will be issued with a
together through a fertility clinic in the UK licensed by the Human Fertilisation
new birth certificate naming the applicants as the child’s parents.
and Embryology Authority may also both be treated as legal parents. The nonbirth mother will be treated as the child’s other legal parent if both partners sign
Under the current law, only heterosexual married couples are eligible to apply
consent forms electing for the non-birth mother to be treated as a parent.
for a parental order. However, as from 6 April 2010, gay couples are now also eligible to apply. Gay couples are able to apply whether or not they are civil
For more information on any of these areas visit www.stonewall.org.uk
partners, but they must be in a relationship; single men remain ineligible.
New Family Social is the organisation run by, and for, LGBT adopters and foster
You need to be prepared for a long, sometimes frustrating journey, but the
carers in the UK. Founder Andy Leary-May talks about the positivity within the
rewards at the end are so, so worth it.
group. “Three years ago, my partner and I started on a journey that was to be an emotional roller-coaster - and the best thing we ever did. When we took our first tentative steps in the adoption process, what we really wanted to do was meet other lesbian and gay people who were at the same stage, or had already adopted. Strangely, even in London, we couldn’t find a support group for LGBT adopters. That’s why I started New Family Social, which quickly became a very large, active group, with hundreds of adopters, prospective adopters, and now foster carers, all over the UK. Members of New Family Social share advice, support and news on a private message board, as well as getting together with others in their area. Perhaps the most important aspect of this is how much it benefits the children, who gain the confidence and resilience of knowing other adopted children of LGBT parents. What stands out to me is the sense of community and positivity in the group. It’s probably true to say that for most of the parents in New Family Social, adoption was their first choice for forming a family. Adoption agencies are often struck by the energy and enthusiasm we have for adoption, and by our openness to all the special demands of being adoptive parents.
SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!
tonewall campaigns for the equality of lesbian, gay and bisexual people – at home, at school and at work.
Stonewall’s Education for All campaign tackles homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. Here, we tell you how widespread the problem is, how urgently it needs to be tackled and what you can do to help. THE BACK STORY
By Gary Nunn
Section 28, the law which criminalised the ’promotion of homosexuality’ in schools, gave licence to fifteen years of legalised homophobia in Britain. Stonewall successfully lobbied for its repeal, which finally happened in 2003.
Although that was seven years ago, the ghost of Section 28 still very much haunts Britain’s education system. Take a look at the stats (right). They speak for themselves.
Section 28 has left a festering hangover of homophobic hate in schools. Teachers who taught both before and after the law changed have been left confused, unconfident, under-resourced and under-trained on how to tackle gay issues in the classroom.
This has allowed homophobic bullying to thrive, largely unchallenged. Homophobia is so deeply ingrained in the school system that the word ‘gay’ itself has become a substitute for anything rubbish or inadequate.
All YouGov research for Stonewall:
What pupils say about homophobic bullying: Almost two thirds of young lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced direct bullying; This rises to 75 % in faith schools;
97 % of pupils hear insulting homophobic remarks such as ‘poof’, ‘dyke’ and ‘queer’ at school.
This is hugely concerning for Stonewall – especially because we try to foster a sense of pride and
// LEADING THE BATTLE
Stonewall’s Education for All campaign AGAINST aims to tackle homophobia and HOMOPHOBIC IN SCHOOLS // homophobic bullying in BULLYING Britain’s schools. www.stonewall.org.uk
ambition in all the lesbian, gay and bisexual young people we work with.
WHAT TEACHERS SAY ABOUT HOMOPHOBIC BULLYING:
9 in 10 teachers say their pupils, regardless of their sexual orientation, currently experience homophobic bullying 9 in 10 teachers have never received any training on how to tackle the problem
THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
ARE GA ARE IT! GAY. GET GET OVER OVERIT! Stonewall’s Education for All campaign aims to tackle homophobia and homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. www.stonewall.org.uk
Stonewall’s Education for All campaign aims to tackle homophobia and homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. www.stonewall.org.uk
Stonewall’s Education for All campaign aims to tackle homophobia and homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. www.stonewall.org.uk
95 % of teachers report hearing the phrases ‘you’re so gay’ or ‘that’s so gay’ in their schools.
SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT!’
THE SOLUTION - STONEWALL
This is the slogan to Stonewall’s Education for All campaign. It was devised by school pupils, for school pupils. We send the message out far and wide – on posters for schools, on national billboard advertising campaigns, and as a backdrop in popular TV programmes such as Hollyoaks.
Stonewall’s Education for All programme provides resources to offer the support teachers are desperately lacking. Here’s a selection of the ways Stonewall is helping schools to tackle the epidemic of homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools:
Stonewall’s Youth Volunteering Programme encourages young people aged 16 – 21 to run their own campaigns to tackle homophobic bullying.
FIT is Stonewall’s anti-homophobia film. It tackles homophobia head-on through hip hop dance and lively writing which has been compared to ‘a gritty version of E4’s Glee’ by The Times. Stonewall sent FIT to every single secondary school in Britain in February this year and we continue to promote it as an invaluable tool for teachers to tackle homophobic bullying and the offensive abuse of the word ‘gay.’
We run youth training weekends, where we provide young people with the skills and resources to run their own anti-homophobia campaigns in their local communities and schools. The first ever Stonewall Youth Awards recently recognised the positive contribution and impact Stonewall’s youth volunteers are having up and down the country.
If you’re 16 - 21 and want to get involved visit www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school
STONEWALL’S EDUCATION CHAMPIONS PROGRAMME Stonewall now works with over a quarter of local authorities through the education Champions Programme, where local authorities work with Stonewall and each other to tackle homophobic bullying in their schools. By the next general election, Stonewall aims to have every local authority in the country engaged as a member of this groundbreaking programme. Further support for schools To find out more about the full programme of support Stonewall offers to schools – including Stonewall’s Education Guides for youth and education staff - visit: www.stonewall.org.uk/ at_school
THE SOLUTION – YOU! WWW.PRIDELONDON.ORG
ride London aims to be a fully accessible
of the nearest accessible toilets to the Parade route,
event. Many of the accessibility requirements
On the Parade, Pride London provides an accessible
and will be carrying Radar keys to unlock these as
for putting on an event in a public space are
safe space at the front of the Parade. This area is
easily overlooked by the general public – and indeed
open to everyone with access needs who wishes to
should not stand out as being ‘special’ arrangements
use it, along with their partners, family and friends
rather than being an integral part of the production
(although non-disabled Parade-goers may be asked to
Performances and speeches on the main stage
– but these will make a critical difference in removing
leave by stewards if they are acting inappropriately).
will be interpreted by specialist BSL interpreters.
barriers to participation.
Pride London’s access stewards ensure the integrity
Interpretation is filmed and projected on to a large
of the space by ensuring that it is kept separate from
screen next to the main stage, ensuring that BSL
crowds and other Parade-goers. This enables Parade-
users who are further back from the stage (including
Pride London recruits both disabled and non-disabled
goers to participate who may otherwise be excluded
Deaf people on the viewing platform) are able to
access stewards specifically to assist with enabling
by concerns about jostling or being overwhelmed by
see the interpreter easily. BSL interpreters will
accessibility. Although Access stewards receive the
numbers. By placing the safe space at the very front of
also be available at the viewing platform to provide
same core training as other stewards (along with
the Parade immediately behind the Rainbow Flag, Pride
information and facilitate conversations between Deaf
additional specialist training), they are not assigned
also ensures that the pace of the Parade is regulated
Parade-goers and others.
to general stewarding duties. Access stewards are
by the progress of the Parade-goers in the safe space.
Pride London also provides a ramped viewing
currently being recruited via the Pride website.
This enables Parade-goers to participate who would
platform on the North Terrace of Trafalgar Square (the
otherwise be excluded by concerns about not being
geography of the Square dictates its position here).
able to keep up.
The platform is next to a lift down to an accessible
Pride London endeavours to provide dedicated
The Parade safe space has a meeting point to
toilet and additional accessible Portaloo provision. The
Blue Badge parking bays near to Trafalgar Square, as
ensure safe transit onto the Parade route; this will
viewing platform is reserved for people with access
Westminster Council does not recognise the Blue
be clearly signed posted. There will be two British
needs who wish to use it, along with their partners,
Badge scheme and those few spaces that do exist
Sign Language (BSL) interpreters present to assist
PAs, families and friends. The viewing platform enables
are time-limited and therefore inappropriate. Parking
those within the safe space and to provide an easily-
people to participate in the Trafalgar Square events
provision enables Blue Badge users to park close
identifiable point where interpretation is available for
who may otherwise be excluded by concerns over
to the end of the March and to the main event in
general information on the Parade. The presence of
jostling, or who may be unable to see over standing
Trafalgar Square. Parking bays will normally be at
interpreters also facilitates communication between
spectators. The platform is stewarded by Pride
Waterloo Place, but this is currently subject to
Deaf Parade-goers and others, thus combating
London access stewards, who are also available to
confirmation. Access stewards will be available at the
escort disabled Parade-goers through the crowds to
parking spaces to assist with unloading wheelchairs
The accessible buses also join the Parade, being
the toilets, stalls etc.
located midway and at the end of the Parade. These
Power will be provided to the viewing platform to
Pride London then arranges accessible buses to take
are there for people who are unable to walk the
allow wheelchair recharging to take place as needed.
Blue Badge users from a pick-up point at the National
distance and prefer this option to wheelchair provision
An area will also be provided for assistance dogs to
Gallery on Trafalgar Square to the Parade’s starting
(below), as well to assist those who have embarked
be able to have a drink and relieve themselves. Further
point on Baker Street. In 2010 Pride is also hoping to
on the Parade but who feel unable to complete it
information about the location etc will be posted on
reinstate our previous practice of routing accessible
for whatever reason. This ensures that Parade-goers
the website etc shortly.
buses via the main stations, in order that wheelchair
who have been overcome by fatigue, have a puncture
users and other Parade-goers with mobility needs can
etc are not simply asked to leave the Parade, possibly
make their way safely and easily to the starting point.
some distance from any pre-arranged parking and
Pride London provides BSL interpreters at all live-
Access stewards will travel on the buses and will be
act stages – although does not do so where such
available to assist as necessary.
In addition to having access stewards available to push
stages are wholly or mainly recorded music stages.
A bus timetable and route and details of the parking
wheelchairs on request – most manual wheelchair
Similarly, a front-of-stage safe space is provided at
provision will be published shortly and posted on the
users are unable to self-propel the whole distance
all such live-act stages, again, excluding those which
Pride website, as well as being emailed directly to
– Pride provides additional manual wheelchairs
are wholly or mainly recorded music stages. (With
those who have registered on the access database.
for people who need to borrow these, along with
the lower staging used on these stages, there is not
Full details of the access provision as a whole are also
access stewards to push them. This enables people
the same problem of line-of-sight that is present in
available on the website and will be provided to the
to participate who may not have their own chairs,
Trafalgar Square.) These safe spaces and interpreters
media, included in the Pride magazine etc.
or who cannot transport them, or who need to
are present at the Leicester Square, Dean Street and
use chairs for safety reasons (eg some people with
Carlisle Street stages. All such safe spaces have suitable
visual impairments prefer to use a wheelchair on the
flooring. Access stewards will be available, and will have
information about the nearest accessible toilets etc.
All access stewards will be briefed on the location
THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
FOUR LEADING ORGANISATIONS HAVE SET UP LGBT NETWORKING GROUPS TO PROTECT AND PROMOTE THE WELL-BEING OF THEIR LGBT STAFF.
SANTANDER LGBT NETWORK
EDF ENERGY LGBT NETWORK
Champion of diversity in the workplace: Barbara Hobday outlines Santander’s
The network within EDF Energy is very new – we set up in March 2010. The
An individual’s characteristics, lifestyle or background
network is open to all staff and provides a forum for dialogue on issues affecting
should not dictate their ability to play an effective role within an organisation.
lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the workplace across EDF Energy, including
We believe a commitment to diversity makes good business sense through the
coming out at work, career progression and fairness and respect at work.
retention and development of skilled employees that buy into the workplace culture and work actively to champion it.
The network creates a feeling of togetherness for LGB staff, and enables us to share our perspective of how we want to be treated at work. It also means we
During 2009, we established a Diversity Steering Group comprising of Senior
can contribute to EDF Energy’s commitments in a different way from the day
Managers, representing Employees and Talent Management, as well as Customers
and Communities. The Group meets quarterly to ensure the inclusion message remains at the top of the agenda across Santander and the wider UK banking
When LGB staff feel valued and able to be open about who they are, they
industry. We see our approach to diversity as one in which everyone, from
become more motivated and productive. It’s an opportunity for the company
employees to customers, can benefit. 2010 is set to be a standout year for
to really harness the drive and enthusiasm of its LGB employees. We are very
Santander. With the full integration of Alliance & Leicester to the Santander UK
proud to playing an active role in Pride London 2010.
retail sales network we have a real opportunity to create a bank that genuinely embraces diversity. Our commitment to employee wellbeing and benefits will
For more information contact email@example.com or go to www.
ensure that Santander continues to be a place where people want to work and
ultimately help us achieve our aim to be the best commercial bank in the UK.
LGBT DVLA staff network UNISON LGBT NETWORK.
DVLA LGBT NETWORK
Numbers of LGBT staff networks are growing. A few years ago, they were a
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency LGBT Staff Network was established in 2006 and has membership located in its main office complex in Swansea and throughout its UK local office network. The Chairpersons organise and manage business so that members and associates have access to appropriate training, LGBT information, and various lifestyle cultural events e.g. regional Gay Prides, LGBT Conferences, Stonewall Seminars and the ‘Civil Service Rainbow Alliance’ meetings and conference events. This in turn is intended to promote personal confidence and wellbeing for staff. The benefits to the Agency of a happy and content LGBT workforce go without saying and access to these lifestyle opportunities on a working and social level allow them to be best placed to take advantage of the equality that exists within the organisation.
rarity. But LGBT UNISON members have been organising workers groups for about four decades. It started when one man realised he couldn’t be the only gay in the union. He wrote to the union newspaper, asking if there was anyone else out there. UNISON now has a lively network of LGBT groups in workplaces across the UK. So what’s the difference between a UNISON LGBT group and a staff LGBT group? They discuss many of the same issues – indeed, they consist of many of the same people. The difference is that the UNISON group is a part of the wider trade union, with the expertise, resources and negotiating rights of the union behind it. The UNISON LGBT group feeds into the recognised bargaining that takes place between employer and union. It is independent of the employer and represents all LGBT members in the workforce – part-timers at the bottom of the pay scale can have their voice heard alongside LGBT senior managers, who are sometimes the dominant voice in staff networks. And when UNISON speaks, it speaks with the strength and authority of its 1.3 million members. UNISON LGBT groups are part of a UK network. Our 12 regional LGBT groups
The network promotes via advertisements in gay lifestyle publications, Pride magazines and internal communication networks. Chair Persons: Ian Clark and John Jenkins
meet regularly and there is an annual UNISON LGBT conference of over 400 members. This year’s conference is in Bristol on 19-21 November. Find out about this and all our work for LGBT equality at unison.org.uk/out.
ONE OF PRIDE LONDON’S MAJOR CAMPAIGNS THIS YEAR IS ‘LOVE WITHOUT BORDERS’. DANIELLE CARTER SPOKE TO A 23 YEAR-OLD LGBT IRANIAN ASYLUM SEEKER WHO WAS TO BE SENT HOME TO HIS DEATH.
is details have been changed to protect his anonymity. This is his story: At school we were always taught that if a gay man was found in bed with another gay man that they would be hanged. I knew that I was gay from a young age so I just had to pretend I was straight. I came here to study at University in 2008 and everything was going ok. I went home in August back to Iran and I went on a date. The dating website in Iran is like Gaydar but it moves around a lot as the government keeps on trying to shut it down. One night I was walking to where I was going to meet my date. I saw it was a different car to what other people have in Iran; I thought that it was a bit dodgy. The man I was meeting asked me my name I didn’t tell him and I left.
the UK’. They took him to the Police station, when I heard I was shocked. They said if you ask him to come back we will give him a big reward, he said nothing. I was worried as he has heart problems. I called him and he couldn’t stop crying. I didn’t know what to do and my friends told me that I should seek Asylum which I did and in the first instance the Home Office rejected me. There is a risk in seeking asylum and the risk is that you have to have an interpreter and a lot of them are deeply homophobic, which, happened in my case. They acknowledged that I was gay but told me that I wasn’t at risk and to go home and keep my head down. In other words act straight. The information is always leaked back to Iran, The Home Office have to give the Iranian authorities a reason as to why I was being sent back and because I was already under the radar. They would have known that I tried to claim asylum under my LGBT status.
I went to a protest at the Iranian Embassy and I found out afterwards that there was a camera and we were all being filmed and they were matching our faces to our names to find out who we were; it is called video profiling. In Iran we have ID cards and it is easy to identify us.
My family know that I am gay, the penalties for being gay in Iran is hanging. For a lesbian they dig a pit, put you in it up to your arms naked, cover your head and then they remove the cover when you are in there, they give stones to the villagers and they are told they can secure their place in heaven by stoning the lesbian to death.
I think there are about ten or 15 people every year that are executed for being gay but there are people being executed all the time.
In October I got a call saying that my father had been arrested. They went to my house in Iran and searched my room, they said to him ‘Your son has done a homosexual activity and has been a spy for
I don’t know if I will ever be able to see my family again, I don’t want to put my family in further danger so at the moment we are just chatting on Skype. My father has always been in trouble because he is Jewish, my parents have always been accepting and supportive of me being gay but this is a rare thing in Iran and I think that I am very lucky. I have no idea when I will be able to see them again. The bad thing about asylum is that they take all of your family’s details. My friend told me that if they wanted to come over here and see me on holiday they may check their details and say no because they will think that they will want asylum too.
// THEY GIVE STONES TO THE VILLAGERS AND THEY ARE TOLD THEY CAN SECURE THEIR PLACE IN HEAVEN BY STONING THE LESBIAN TO DEATH. //
There is a gay scene in Iran but it is really dangerous. Police use these sites to arrange dates with gays and then arrest them. My best friend went on a date with a man that turned out to be a policeman; he drove him outside of Tehran and beat him to death.
My experience of the Home Office was that they are very homophobic. The only thing that I am really sad about is that I am going to miss my family, especially my father; he is 62-years-old and my best friend.
The reason that I contacted Pride London was because my friends said that I needed help, I wasn’t coping. I got in touch with Dr Patrick Williams (Trustee and Head of Communities) at Pride London. I went to a Pride meeting and they all wrote letters of support that I took to the Home Office, it meant a lot to me and made me feel safe that people cared. I think it definitely helped my appeal. Dr Patrick Williams – ‘Love without Borders is about the Commonwealth but it also needs to be about LGBT people seeking a safe haven within the UK. This is a community that is actually here, we can’t ignore it. We have to support it. The Middle East is incredibly volatile when it comes to LGBT people we can’t just divorce ourselves from responsibility. ‘
It has been awful, Uni have given me a gap term. My mother passed away when I was ten and this has been worse than that. I go to bed every night thinking why should I die?
Since this interview he has been granted asylum in the UK.
My appeal was eventually upheld and when it was my interpreter smashed his pen against the wall and left the room; that is how homophobic he was.
Words: Danielle Carter
And get those tails wagging…again! Waggy Walks
Reg. Charity Numbers: 227523 and SC037843
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Family Mosaic is proud to support Pride London www.familymosaic.co.uk
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TOM BARBER SHARES HIS EXPERIENCE OF RETRACING LGBT HISTORY AND MEETING THE GLF
om Barber is a documentary film maker and Director
such a short space of time was incredible and their legacy still lives
of Pride London. He has spent the last few years
on today through organisations like the London Lesbian and Gay
reconnecting with his LGBT history and discovering a
world of forgotten stories and forgotten people. Many of them have told me that the greatest aspect of GLF was I first heard about the Gay Liberation Front through Lisa Power’s
just being around other queer people and for the first time in their
book ‘No Bath but Plenty of Bubbles’. I can remember feeling
lives having the freedom and security to be themselves. Some
inspired and ever so slightly jealous of these incredible characters
men and women who turned up to the first GLF
and their queer adventures. I felt like I’d missed out on the golden
meetings never even knew that other people like
age of queer activism and that never again would queer politics be
them existed, they became brothers and sisters and through
as radical, creative and revolutionary.
that love for themselves and each other they kick started the gay rights movement in this country.
Before meeting original members of the GLF I used to wish that I had lived in a commune in the early 70s, wearing a frock by day,
It is now 40 years since the birth of GLF and Pride London wants
then dancing, singing and laughing the night away whilst tripping
to introduce the politics and ideals to a new generation. GLF
on acid. But looking at black and white pictures and reading about
organised the very first Pride March in London in 1972 and we’re
their adventures I hadn’t realised the extreme violence
thrilled that some original members will be leading the parade this
and homophobia that LGBT people faced from
society and from the establishment at that time. On Saturday 26th June Pride London and Queer Question Time Over the past three years I’ve got to know a tiny handful of the
are hosting an afternoon of film and debate at the Electric Cinema
many hundreds of people that attended the GLF meetings at
on Portobello Road. We’ll be showing some rare unseen footage
Middle Earth, the nightclub that hosted the early meetings.
of life in GLF communes and the debate will centre around the eight GLF demands made in 1971. Go to our website to see the
Each and every one of them has surprised me with their warmth,
demands in full and see for yourself which ones have been achieved
humour, intelligence and immense pride for being part of what was
and which ones still have a long way to go.You’ll also find articles
a turning point in Queer History. They had their disagreements and
from GLF members and some great photos in our GLF gallery of
some grievances still rumble on, but this is no wonder when so
early Pride marches, protests and radical drag.
many passionate people come together to fight for something they truly believe in. I’ve been lucky to hear their stories over dinner
So please show your support for the Gay Liberation Front at Pride
and see the sparkle in their eyes as they remember the havoc they
this year. If this is the first you’ve heard of GLF I urge you to find
used to cause.
out more. We have a rich and vibrant queer community in London with an incredible history. When I look at
The nuns, mice, slow clapping and ‘Cliff for Queen’ banner at the
countries like Uganda and Malawi and countless more I know how
Festival of Light protest has gone down in gay folklore. GLF was
lucky I am to live in a country where 40 years ago people stood up
about love and demanding change. It was a moment in time where
and demanded change for our community. GLF – I salute you, have
people of all ages and backgrounds came together to radicalise
a great Pride London 2010, this one’s for you.
queer politics and examine queer identity. What they achieved in
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plugged into the LGBT community
Rob’s Reviews – Film : BREAKFAST WITH SCOT
comic timing quickly wins you over, and some of the lines he comes out with are placed beautifully. For example, when he goes to the shopping mall with Eric
Breakfast with Scot is a pitch-perfect comedy about
he yells out, bags over each arm, “I’m going to look
gay couple Eric and Sam who, after Sam’s sister Julie is
for shoes!” It sounds clichéd but it is effective because
found dead, end up looking after her son Scot as they
this is a boy who has been brought up to be himself
wait for her boyfriend Billie to return from Brazil and
and not be ashamed of who he is.
be Scot’s legal guardian. Unfortunately Billie has gone AWOL and doesn’t seem too keen to rush back and
This is a warm, funny and likeable movie and I defy
carry out Julie’s wishes. Eric is a former hockey player
you to not be left with a lump in your throat by the
turned sports broadcaster whilst Sam is a sport’s
end. Having said that, it is never over-sentimental,
lawyer, and they happily live together until their world
which so many Hollywood comedies have a habit of
is flipped upside down by the arrival of the eleven
becoming, and it is all the better for it. The writer has
year-old boy, who prefers to sing Christmas carols (in
done a great job of translating Michael Downing’s
October) and cook pancakes than watch sport. After
novel for the screen, putting a mirror up to our own
looking inside his duffel bag, instead of boy’s toys they
personal insecurities and showing us that we all have
find a musical hairbrush and a sparkly wand, leading
prejudices, even if we don’t realise it.
Eric to suspect that Scot might be a little more out of the closet than he realises.
The moral is apparent – sometimes seeing life
However, Scot is extremely comfortable is his own
through the eyes of a child is clearer than if we try
skin, and the comedy mounts as he unintentionally
to use the knowledge and wisdom of our years to be
causes embarrassment to Eric, who is out to
who we want to be. If we were a little more like Scot
everyone apart from those at work.
we’d all be in a better place. And probably, from time to time, covered in make-up.
What makes this film work in particular is the wonderful turn from Noah Bernett who plays Scot. This is a TLA Releasing film.
After a rather clunky start, Noah’s natural acting and
POLITICAL WATCH - IS THE PINK POUND DEAD? ER, NO! There is an article in today’s Observer which
Women can, of course (we at Pink Wire are
proclaims that the “glow” has gone from the
nothing if not educational), have babies of their
So too do the increasing number of lesbian and
Pink Pound. Apparently we are all now in Civil
own; but given that 55% of Civil Partnerships are
gay parented families lead to a new market. All
Partnerships and have children, and therefore our
between male couples there still isn’t likely to be
families have similar basic needs, but we make more
aspirations have moved from Clarins to Citroëns,
the sweeping conversion to breeding The Observer
discerning parents I’m sure. Having watched good
and Center Parcs has become the new Gran
might have us believe. Not least a lot of the excesses
friends of mine refuse to buy a people carrier partly
Canaria. The last one is arguably an improvement
of the Pink Pound are ascribable to gay men.
because of the dreadful attitude of the car dealer and partly because “it’s just hideous and boxy”, I can
but the spelling of Center Parcs, Gold Chalet with Hottub (their capitals and contraction of words) or
We now have near equality and a legal recognition
confidently predict that the sooner Mothercare and
not, would ruin my week there. It’s a lovely concept
for our relationships, so for the first time we are
other family staples find a way to tap-into the Pink
I guess; we’ve all gown-up and got sensible. But it is
seeing older gay and lesbian couples and out older
Pound the better.
lesbian and gay people. This is still a relatively new concept for all involved, and a scary one for a
So it looks unlikely that the Pink Pound will die any
The assertion that we’ve all had children isn’t
culture still obsessed with the cult of youth. So far
time soon. What cannot be doubted is that the Pink
really born out by fact. Although 35,000 ish Civil
from reducing, the power of the Pink Pound will
Pound is certainly evolving. Whilst we still spend
Partnerships have taken place, in the same period
surely expand into these new markets. We will
massively more on leisure, beauty and technology
less than 200 children have been adopted by same-
surely now see gay and lesbian targeted stair-lifts,
there is truth in the fact that we are growing older.
retirement homes and pensions.
Just not necessarily growing-up.
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CASA CARTER HOUSE OF RANT ACTIVELY PROTESTING AGAINST THE LESBIAN URGE TO MERGE It somehow seems more pressing for same sex couples than our straight counterparts to blur the
The argument always stemmed from her desire to
boundaries of individuality and morph into one
wear my t-shirts but I refused to budge, obsessed
identity. Words that were previously a staple in our
with the thought that people would mistake us for
discourse ‘I’ and ‘me’ are now replaced by ‘we’ and ‘us’
close relatives and think our parents were cousins.
and the lingo is just a start. What I saw in a club last
I could not bare the thought of our knicker drawer
week scared the bejesus out of me.
turning into a pic ‘n’ mix or meeting her one day in the pub to find she had salvaged my jeans out of the
To cut a long story short I saw a couple wearing
laundry bin because they had ‘one more day in them.’
exactly the same outfit; a t-shirt that said ‘I love my wife’, skinny jeans and byker boots but the worst
So this is just a friendly warning, the next time you
part was that they had the same Shane haircut which
like your girlfriends choice of boob-tube or boxer
was styled perfectly and as none of us can reach
shorts put them down and check yourself because
the back of our heads this must mean that they had
before you know it your friends call and they don’t
preened each other to be their mirror image. This is
know which of you has answered the phone (Yes,
the ultimate in narcissism – being able to make love
your voices morph) and you are wandering around
gay clubs dressed like your duffle ganger with fellow queer patrons pointing in horror. (Nobody ever
It was at that moment I wished my ex-girlfriend was
looked good in shoulder pads, twice.)
there because these two women epitomised every argument that I had ever had with Amiee. They were
So if looking at your partner is like looking into
the bottom of a slope that my former had tried to
a dodgy fairground mirror call in sick to work
push me down many a time. They were the reason
tomorrow and get yourself to Ikea. Buy yourself a
we never shared an underwear drawer, this laissez
new wardrobe and vow never to share your look
faire lesbian attitude results in you and your beloved
again. This is one lesbian trend that should definitely
dressing like dodgy twins, like the ones you see in
stay in the closet
the street when you turn to your girlfriend and utter ‘What are their parents thinking? – so cruel.’
In June 2010 Sedos brings peace, love and
“Bangled, Tangled, Spangled and Spaghettied”
Seats will be available at £10.You WILL be part of
understanding to the Bridewell with a new
With war and political unrest rampant a revival
production of Hair. From 1967 to today, Hair has
of Hair couldn’t be more apt. Hair is a reaction to
brought joy to theatres across the world with songs
youth wanting answers to hidden secrets in power.
Hair Vlog - The Drop City Tribe will be vlogging
including ‘Aquarius’, ‘I Got Life’, ‘Hair’, ‘Frank Mills’,
Given the revelations over the past year regarding
from rehearsals as they journey from page to stage.
‘Good Morning Starshine’ and ‘Let The Sun Shine In’.
MP’s expenses, lies and the lack of answers regarding
Each week you’ll meet the cast and be given unique
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - it is the time to
access to the rehearsal process - giving everyone
“Knotted, Polka-dotted, Twisted, Beaded, Braided”
make an artistic response.
the opportunity to ‘Let the Sunshine In’
Hair broke the mould in the 60s – the rock-musical
“Gleaming, Steaming, Flaxen, Waxen!”
phenomenon had arrived. Rejecting the conventions
Turn up, tune in and drop out with the Drop City
Tickets are available for performances between
of traditional musicals, Hair gave a theatrical voice
Tribe. Recharge your cosmic battery and join the
16-26 June 2010 at 7.30pm and Saturday matinees
to important issues of the time – racism, sexuality,
Be-In at the Bridewell.
at 2.30pm. Ticket Costs: £10-£20 and are available at:
drugs and Vietnam. Hair became a beacon of hope to a disaffected generation and has continued to
HAIR - the new musical experience from Sedos
inspire audiences ever since.
nb: At each performance a small number of Sofa
plugged into the LGBT community
ADVENTURES OF A DRAG QUEEN - MRS CRABTREE’S PEACH TREE
I diligently weighed up the odds with a cabbage in one
wouldn’t believe she used to be an Ambulance driver
hand and a cauliflower in the other. I just couldn’t for
in the war, would you?” I thought for a moment of
the life of me remember which of the two my dinner
our gracious Monarch The Queen and her wartime
guest had said she couldn’t eat. An allergy to one of
driving adventures. “Are you her daughter?” I asked.
them apparently makes her fall to the floor grasping
“Oh God, no. She didn’t have kids. She said children
her throat and gasping for air. The thought did cross
would cramp her style. Cause too much grief and
my mind to buy both just so as to have something
trouble”. I thought of our poor gracious Monarch
entertaining on standby in case conversation got
again. “Though she’s been married four times. In four
boring. But I’d already been in Tesco Express for half
different Continents. Don’t look like she’d have it in
an hour trying to decide. And the look on the face of
her, does she?”
Kevin, the youth wearing the Fruit And Veg Technical Supervisor badge, clearly demonstrated I had already
At this moment Kevin approached with another man
contravened the ‘Express’ part of my understanding
in a black suit and tie. “Excuse me Sir” he said. “I’m
with this particular branch of Tesco.
afraid that if you can’t respect our mushrooms I’m going to have to remove your basket and ask you
I suddenly became aware of movement in my
to vacate our premises.” “It wasn’t me, it was Mrs
Crabtree here”, I said pointing. “Oh that’s it, blame
I looked down to see a big green woollen bobble atop
this poor senile old lady” said the woman. The man
a matching knitted hat. At first I thought it was a child
in the suit nodded in agreement. I looked at Mrs
having a rummage through my shopping. But instead, a
Crabtree. She looked back up at me innocently as
petite wrinkled elderly woman glanced cheekily up at
though butter wouldn’t melt in her slightly gurning
me, holding one of my peaches aloft before plunging
mouth. As her head gently wobbled, her bright
her two or three remaining front teeth into it. It was
green bobble swung about aimlessly on the last little
a bit of a shock, like being accosted by a naughty little
thread keeping it attached. Her eyes blinked several
pixie. “I don’t mind you having a peach love, but I
times, waiting for my response. “Yes, I’m sorry” I
haven’t paid for it yet” I said. She chuckled and turned,
said, “I lost my balance for a moment. I’ll pay for any
took aim and threw the remains of the peach across
damage”. Mrs Crabtree smiled. She stepped back to
the aisle. A broad woman in dungarees spun around
the Fruit section and took a moment to select me a
as it hit her squarely on the back of the head. “I’m not
replacement peach which she then gently placed in
having all this again Mrs Crabtree” she said in a raised
my basket, her crystal blue eyes sparkling up at me.
voice. “Come here”. The woman stepped forward to
“Come on” said the woman. Grabbing her by the
take hold of Mrs Crabtree, but she was having none
arm, she whisked Mrs Crabtree up the aisle and away.
of it. She grabbed onto my basket and swung back,
But then a curious thing happened. Just before she
promptly landing in a big tray of mushrooms pulling
disappeared from view, Mrs Crabtree smiled at me
me and my basket with her. My tin of Mushy Peas
and winked. A very knowledgeable, worldly wise wink.
dropped to the floor and rolled up the aisle, bringing additional stress to an already vexed Kevin.
I don’t believe this shrunken old lady was senile. I think she was an adventurer, making the most of the
“She’s always showing me up like this in public. Sorry
few remaining moments of adventure she had left. I
mate” said the woman. “Don’t worry” I replied, “I was
planted the pip from the tiny Mrs Crabtree’s peach.
more concerned that I’d hurt her”. “Oh don’t worry
And now I have a tiny tree. Mrs Crabtree’s Peach Tree.
about her, she’s got Alzheimer’s. She’ll have forgot
I think of her every time I water it. And I’m grateful
about it in an hour. Get up you stupid woman”. She
she selected me to play a part in the adventure that
hauled Mrs Crabtree from the mushroom tray. “You
was her life.
PRIDE 2010 PRIDE 2010
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Photoâ€™s by Su nniva Molvaer www.sunniva molvaer.co.u k
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11/06/2010 22/05/2010 09:17 20:09
LOUIE SPENCE GOES TOE-TO-TOE WITH DANIELLE CARTER
And the gay community? I suppose there is a worry that they may look and think ‘he is so out there and so camp or whatever and he is going to take us back but that’s who I am. Some people are extrovert like me and some gay
ouis Spence apparently piroeted into our lives from the wings of
people act straight and some like cross-dressing. Who gives a shit? I have been
no where. After years of teaching wannabe dancers the difference
well received by everyone darling.
between good toes and naughty toes, he has been catapulted into our conscience as the new King/Queen of reality TV. With more charisma
What was your coming out experience like?
than Maureen from Driving School and more longevity than the girl that said
I officially spoke to my parents about it when I was 19. It didn’t need speaking
‘Chicken’ in Big Brother a lot, he really is the plat du jour.
about, it was very obvious. No one didn’t know. I think the words ‘I’m gay’ came out when I was 19 but like I say my mum said she knew when she was about five
I had a chat with him at the place that has made him famous, infamous and
and I knew there was something different. Look at the way I am darling,
infinitely fabulous, Pineapple Dance Studios, and he couldn’t have been more
I don’t think there was much questioning and if there was then
people need to question themselves.
How do you feel about doing this interview and becoming an
Did you find it difficult?
It was very easy, I had a very open minded family and we spoke about everything.
I don’t feel any different, I feel the same. It’s fun. I am still six foot
I had great support where I lived everyone liked me, I didn’t find it hard at all.
darling with a lisp. Do you have any advice for anyone coming out that finds it Are you surprised by it?
I am surprised by the attention from the whole nation really, especially for
It is so different for everyone, for me it was very easy. Just be honest with
someone like me who I suppose is pretty full on. I am happy that I have all
yourself and until you can be truly who you are you will never be happy. As long
these builders giving me a wolf whistle and wanting me to give them a high kick.
as you are denying it something is in there that wants to get out. Just let it out
Surprised and happy? Yes.
because you will be so much happier for it.
If it all ended tomorrow how would you feel about it?
my Health. It really, really wouldn’t bother me at all.
//LISTEN BABE, WE ARE A COMMUNITY AND THERE ARE LOADS OF PEOPLE OUT THERE, IF THE PEOPLE THAT LOVE YOU OR ARE SUPPOSED TO LOVE YOU DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE THERE ARE PLENTY OUT THERE WHO WILL SO JUST GET OUT AND FIND SOME.//
Are you still working?
What is next for you? Do you have a big plan?
Yeah I am still here doing what I do. It is something and nothing but I am still
It is day-by-day, There is so much happening and there is so much coming in but
it is show business and it is a pile of old crap and until people say you are doing
I really wouldn’t give a shit, I am just having fun with it. I still look good, I have been doing this all my life, it’s show business. I have got the most important things; My Hyundai, My Husband, My Happiness and
this and you are out there doing it, who knows, who knows love.You know what Do you have any desire to leave?
I mean? I am having fun everyday.
No, I will take opportunities if they come up. If something good comes up I will do it but, like all the people here (Pineapple Dance Studios) we are all actors or
Can you point out a highlight? I saw you on the Jonathan Ross
dancers or singers, and often a member of staff will go off and do a show, that is
show. How was that?
how it works here.
I think it was a real highlight because it gave me so much media attention it was incredible, but a highlight for me is that I can walk down the street and I have
What kind of reception have you had from the gay community?
only had three negative comments out of hundreds of thousands and when I say
I have had a good reception from everyone, to tell you the truth. I don’t really
that I really mean it.
go out that much anymore so I haven’t been to any clubs or anything but when
On Twitter I have 40,000 followers, on Facebook I have got over 80,000 and my
I am walking down the gay strip, you know mincing down Compton Street
website is packed. It is all so complementary as people say that I make them
everyone is really nice. To tell you the truth I don’t really care, I really don’t. I am
smile. It is so great to be a gay person who is out there being who they are. I
very happy and content with who I am and like I said the people who love and
think that is the thing I am most proud of. For someone who is how I am, the
care for me and who I care for love me. I have never been one of these people
whole nation has embraced me and that is great. For every gay person or every
that needs to be friends with everybody, do you know what I mean? I am very
person that is a little bit different, that is the biggest thrill for me.
confident in who I am but yes the response has been good from everyone. Do you feel any kind of pressure to be a role model to the gay
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community? No I don’t. I think we are all responsible for ourselves, I don’t want anyone to look at me and think that I am responsible for who they are. If I inspire people in any way then that is fabulous but I am not taking responsibility for anyone else. I had to take responsibility for myself and my life. I know as a gay person, I had it very easy and there are those that don’t but I had to do it myself. Life isn’t easy. Once you get over the fact you are out, some people are going to like you, some people aren’t, and decisions will be even harder but that is life. We need to be responsible for ourselves and love each other. How are you nearest and dearest dealing with your new found fame? My mum’s loving it. She is getting loads of free facecream, botox, she can’t get enough of it darling. I mean she is loving it. One of my sisters isn’t because we said she wet the bed up until she was 17 on a TV show, she can’t go out anymore because everybody keeps calling her pissy knickers. They are living off the back of it, everyone is absolutely fine and loving it. I have an ebay shop now selling all the freebies. Is there anyone you would like to meet? Darling thisSpence is so typically gay man but I love Barbara Striesand,.You can’t beat a Louise bit of Babs, she is truly amazing so if I had the chance to rub up against her that would be a treat. Simon Cowell said how much he liked you and that he would like you to join the Britain’s Got Talent panel. Is there any truth in that rumour? I mean who knows, yes I think I would be great at it so I agree with Simon, he loves me and I love him. 40 years where will you be? Darling I think I will be on those birthday cards you know with the old woman shimmying up the lamp post. I will be heavily featured as an old person that is incontinent on a birthday card. That is where I will be but I will still be working and pulling it out of the bag somewhere, kicking and spliting. Do you ever go to Pride? I haven’t been to Pride for a couple of years, I used to go there a lot and perform on-stage with some of the artists. I am not very good in crowds and I get a bit panicky. I like being back stage where I had space and you know what I am so lazy. I live in central London and I don’t get on a tube and you can’t drive cos you can’t park, if it is not central then I’m off. Out of all the celebrities who are the nicest, sexiest etc? I always say Emma Bunton. She is an absolute love and a good friend. Kate Moss is very sweet and very nice
Words: Danielle Carter
too. Who do I fancy? Just give me the whole of the England football team babe. Coming up to the world cup I will cheer them up.
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clubmondial.com 94 PRIDE 2010 THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
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The 2010 Kenwood Picnic Concerts features world-class artists performing against the stunning backdrop of one of England’s finest stately homes; Kenwood House, Hampstead. This year’s fantastic line-up features something for everyone, and includes:
SATURDAY 26 JUNE - BLONDIE
SATURDAY 3 JULY - RUFUS WAINWRIGHT
SATURDAY 17 JULY - WILL YOUNG
Blondie have sold an unbelievable 40 million albums during their legendary career; helped by massive #1 singles including Heart of Glass, Sunday Girl, Maria, The Tide is High and the classic Atomic, combined with being fronted by one of rock and roll’s most iconic singers: the inimitable Debbie Harry. Join Debbie and the acclaimed band for a night of platinum hits.
A purveyor of lushly-orchestrated, often theatrical pop music, the superb Rufus Wainwright comes to Kenwood House; a real highlight of the summer and a rare chance to see him as a solo performer. This concert will see him playing a special selection of his most popular songs, material from his new album ‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ plus works from his critically acclaimed Judy Garland tribute ‘Rufus Does Judy’.
After winning ‘Pop Idol’ 8 years ago, Will Young’s first single Evergreen became the fastest selling debut single in chart history. He has sold more than eight million records and his most recent album, featuring his best known tracks, is entitled ‘The Hits’ and features singles Leave Right Now, Light My Fire and Changes.
For full line up information and to book tickets, please visit www.picnicconcerts.com
THINKING OF ESCAPING TO THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST THIS SUMMER? A jaunt to Ibiza for clubbing with burnt-out hippies? Paris? Berlin? Shanghai? Think again.
Haven’t you heard? Vauxhall is the place to be this Summer for the coolest, edgiest, sexiest five-week party in town -- the RVT: HOT AUGUST FRINGE! No need to pack your bags, just throw on your summer glad rags and get down to the RVT any Monday – Friday, 27 July - 27 August for eye-popping performance, music and parties featuring the best alternative acts the world over. (Including one or two from Brighton!) Seriously... after last year’s success, the RVT: HAF is back - bigger and better than ever! Kicking off with Edinburgh previews from the hottest up-and-coming comics in the business, then add in: •
the always inventive DUCKIE with three nights of live art speakeasy entertainment;
a bombastic ‘Bingo-Bus’ knees-up featuring music-hallistas, Underbling & Vow;
trans-fabulous drag with San Francisco’s female dragstar, Fauxnique;
the terrifying / electrifying post-apocalyptic David Hoyle
Plus the best magic acts, music mash-ups, cabaret, fringe theatre anywhere! Up to three different shows a night. All for only £7 a show! And you’d rather lie on the beach? Don’t be a wimp!
THEATRE Confessions Of A Dancewhore Politics and pop culture clash in this foul-mouthed theatrical cabaret. An accomplished and vivid performance for everyone who has ever felt like an ‘other’. Remixed and revisited for Pride 2010,Confessions of A Dancewhore fuses comedy, burlesque, drag and new media performance to explore the contradictions and clichés of queer life. Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, London SW1A 2DY Mon 21 June - Sat 3 July 7.45pm £18, £21
0844 871 7644 Street Scenes Street Scenes is a new happening by Matthew Lee Knowles as part of Pride London. Performers and participants of all kinds will take to Old Compton Street on Saturday 26th June in a glorious network of hectically intriguing journeys and fantastic activity. This happening is all about exaggerated journeys, starting new journeys and ending them. Construct a piece that starts at one end of the street and ends at the other. Could be a sprint, a quick and unnoticed crossing or something rather more like an extravagant expedition. Participants are encouraged to adopt the theme ‘Paint the Town Ruby Red.’ Old Compton Street, London Sat 26 June From 12pm - 6pm Free firstname.lastname@example.org
Theatreofpluck presents BISON by Lachlan Philpott After sell-out seasons at GLBT festivals in Adelaide, Belfast, Melbourne and Sydney, the in your face play Bison will premiere in London from15 June - 4 July. Examining aspects of contemporary queer relationships such as virtual identity, monogamy, bareback sex, and ageism, Bison strips back, sucks out and spits at the herd-like behaviour of the gay male habitat and the rules that govern the ‘scene’. Oval House Theatre Gala Night 18 June 8pm £12/6 www.ovalhousetheatre.org 020 7582 0080
Desire DESIRE” is a song cycle about gay life in America around 1979. Based on “States of Desire” by Edmund White, music by Peter Murphy. www.homopromos.co.uk/shows/ desire.html
Albany Empire, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8 4AG. Wed June 30 - Fri July 2nd 7.45pm £18/£15 Box office: 020 8692 4446
karry-on–up-the-oke Karaoke, DJs, Green Tea and Milk thistle, Love, Booze and goody bags. With special guest DJ Josh Caffé. All true. Is you big enough? Special1970 edition!
ELERGIES for Angels Punks and Raging Queens Through a series of monologues and songs ELERGIES tells the stories of people who have died from contracting HIV and AIDS or who are affected by it today. Whether white or black, straight or gay these stories remind us that none of us can hide from its effects. ELERGIES is both moving and incredibly funny – it’s a celebration of all these people through song performed by a cast of over 30 people 10th to 28th August 2010, only 18 performances Advance Tickets £25.00 (includes and £5.00 donation to the Terrence Higgins Trust) On the door £30.00 www.shaw-theatre.com 0844 209 1663
Electricity Showrooms 39 Hoxton Square, London N1 6NN Wed 30 June 7.00pm £5 donations to charity on the door includes competition entry and goodie bags! 020 7739 3939
MUSIC Rufus Wainwright A purveyor of lushly-orchestrated, often theatrical pop music. The superb Rufus Wainwright comes to Kenwood House; a real highlight of the summer and a rare chance to see him as a solo performer. This special concert will see him playing a special selection of his most popular songs, material from his new album ‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ plus works from his critically acclaimed Judy Garland tribute ‘Rufus Does Judy’. Win a very special package indeed with Pride London Festival Fortnight. Kenwood House Sat 3 July 7.30pm £30 - 45 http://www.picnicconcerts.com/
London Gay Symphony Orchestra Following the success of the Verdi Requiem in 2008, the LGSO is re-forming its chorus for a performance of William Waltons choral spectacular Belshazzars Feast, featuring Baritone soloist Paul Keohone. The programme also includes two new works selected at the annual LGSO Composer Auditions as well as Beethoven’s fantastic 7th Symphony. Tickets available from the Shaw Theatre website or by phone See www. LGSO.org.uk for further details. Shaw Theatre, Euston Road Sunday July 4th 7.00pm 020 7666 9037
ART Fall of the Wall Meets Stonewall An exhibition that documents the findings of British lesbian, Clare Dimyon as she investigated Gay Pride events in a dozen major cities in Central & Eastern Europe. Clare says: “This exhibition is part celebration, part tribute to LGBT people across Central and Eastern Europe. With the support from the European Parliament’s Intergroup on LGBT Rights www.lgbt-ep.eu 12 Star Gallery Fri 4th June 1000-1800 Guys Hanging PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION - The 1st group exhibition Gay Photographers’ Network The weeklong exhibition features a variety of work from both professional photographers and accomplished amateurs, many of whom are exhibiting work for the first time. Among the 20 artists taking part in the exhibition are David Cook, Gaz, Michael Cheetham, John Musson, Chris Parkin, Zach Burns and John Drennan. The Coningsby Gallery, 30 Tottenham Street, London W1T 4RJ (Goodge Street tube) Mon 28 June – Sat 3 July 9am – 6pm Free enquiries@gayphotographersnetwork. co.uk
FILM L word The L Word is joining forces with Pride London 2010! To participate in an exclusive evening of mystery and glamour. Tickets includes a threecourse meal, entry to the private auction, prize draw for concert and theatre tickets, beauty treatments and goody bags. Only 40 places available. A great opportunity to mingle and watch out for murder. Mayfair Mews,W1 Sun 27 June 7pm £45 email@example.com
COME TOGETHER Pride London and Queer Question Time present ‘COME TOGETHER’ an afternoon of film and debate celebrating 40 years of the Gay Liberation Front. Hosted by STEWART WHO? Electric Cinema, Notting Hill,191 PORTOBELLO ROAD , LONDON, W11 2ED 26 June 1pm £7.50 www.ticketweb.co.uk Queer As Film For their official London Pride 2010 event QUEER AS FILM are joining forces with STREET SCENES to bring you the ONE NIGHT STAND FILM CHALLENGE! They provide the locations and the performers, you bring your cameras and your creativity! Street Scenes is a multi-person street performance taking place up and down Old Compton Street on Saturday 26th June.You film as much or as little of it as you like - do what you want with the footage and then deliver a short film to the QUEER AS FILM team the day after on Sunday 27th June. The winning film will then appear on the official PRIDE website. Entry is free. No previous filmmaking experience necessary! This is the perfect opportunity to make your first short film! Open to LGBT and NonLGBT alike! Meet at Soho Square Sat 26 June Midday Donations to register firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: Search ‘Queer As Film’
48 film fest Survivors Screenings This will be a screening of the works completed during the 48 hour film festival. The Crown and Two Chairmen Dean Street, Soho, London W1D 3SB Sun 27 June 7pm Suggested donations on entry email@example.com
DANCE Waltzing with Hilda Waltzing with Hilda is a women only Ballroom and Latin dancing club based in London. This special free class is open to women of all ages. Jacksons Lane Art Centre
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world of ‘fitness and friends’.... La Cantina Sun 27 June 330 – 7pm Free 07774 443 627 FESTIVAL LISTINGS Pink Picnic The Big Dance Bus stops off at the Big Dance RVT for a Chill Out like no other. Join in our mass participation dance Dance the day away, chow down on spectacular. For more news, tutorials, RVT luncheon and check out the check the website performances all afternoon! Trafalgar Square Royal Vauxhall Tavern 3rd July 2- 8pm Free 20th June 12pm Check out our Video on the website! Free firstname.lastname@example.org info@RVT.org.uk Sat 19 June 7pm Free 020 83763581
Cactus Club Gay and Lesbian social dancing. Get your boot and cowboy hats ready to giddy up and get down. The folks are Barcode in Vauxhall are offering free line dancing classes all night! Barcode Vauxhall Tues 22 June 745 – 1130pm Free 07799 858 282 Studio La Danza Come and learn some of the favourite dances from Strictly Come Dancing - Waltz, Tango, Jive and Cha Cha Cha. It’s a free class for complete beginners, no need for a partner, lead or follow it’s your choice regardless of gender. Please ring to book your place as these will be limited and this event is bound to be very popular.You will find yourself ‘hooked’ on dancing and fitter than ever. Led by award winning teachers! Studio La Danza Fri 25 June 730 – 9pm Free 020 7700 3770 Gay Gordons The original Gay Gordons Dance Club for the LGBT community open their doors with free classes to Ceilidh. If you think you like dancing, if you like the swirl of the kilt, if you want to have lots of fun…you really can’t go wrong! Refreshments available. Wear comfortable shoes. Unity Hall, 277a Upper Street, Islington Thurs 1 July 7pm – 10pm Free 07967 444 057 Pink Jukebox A LATIN AMERICAN & BALLROOM DANCE CLUB FOR LESBIANS, GAY MEN & THEIR FRIENDS. A great place to meet new people, learn a few dances, or hang out, have a drink & listen to an original selection of great music covering the last 70 years. Intimate atmospheric fun! You do not need to come with a partner. Have a free dance lesson and open up a new
CABARET Pride Midnight Matinee Laura Kriefman The Midnight Matinees are designed for the late night cultural explorer. Recommended in Time Out’s ‘1,000 Things To Do For Under a Tenner’, our June Special celebrates freedom of expression and spontaneity with acts from some of the UK’s most innovative artists. In June, we’re celebrating with Pride London by asking all our artists to revel in freedom of expression and spontaneity. The infamous Spam and Beans will be hosting the night, which promises to be a spectacle of performance poetry, interactive new media installations, comedy, music and dance. Tristan Bates Theatre 1a Tower Street, Covent Garden,WC2H 9NP Sat 19 June Midnight £5 Box Office www.tristanbatestheatre. co.uk | 020 7240 6283 David Mills A cabaret tirade for the rainbow horde. David Mills signature rants are scathing and hilarious. Backed by the talented Mr. Michael Roulston on piano, Mills delivers a well deserved kick-in-the shins to the Gay Pride mafia. Expect re-invented pop songs, stand-up comedy diatribes and the occasional gospel medley. The Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall SW8 5BP Mon 21 June 7.30pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Scales of the Unexpected Cabaret favourites ‘Scales of the Unexpected’ are a boyband with a difference on a mission to save the world one harmony at a time! Join them to revisit pop music’s greatest ever One Hit Wonders and to learn the secrets of Literal Choreography. They pay harmonic homage to the greatest popular music of all time, from Take That to Coldplay, from Bananarama to Kylie, no one is safe from their melodic makeovers.
‘Scales of the Unexpected’ bring you their patented blend of madcap medleys and deranged dancing. It’s comedy vocal harmony... with a twist! The Battersea Barge, Tues 22nd June 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Lorraine Bowen Lorraine Bowen, is the cult performer and quirky singer/ songwriter of hits such as The Crumble Song and Would you like to be Buried or Cremated?, Lorraine is a new-wave cabaret performer with thousands of hits on her youtube channel and is often heard on the BBC’s Heated Rollers comedy programme and the John Shuttleworth’s Radio show. Her iconic ironing board and Casiotone organ will be heard across the Thames plus nautical numbers worn with fish dresses and the odd sou’wester. Joined by Roger the Cabin Boy, Lorraine’s shows always prove to be funny, surreal and a good night’s entertainment. The Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane, Wed 23 June 7.30pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Adele Anderson Adele Anderson has a bee in her bonnet. Raised in an era where how you said something was as important as what you said, she views, with increasing sadness, the ever increasing decline in spoken and written communication. Punctuation has been forgotten, misspelt signs are in almost every shop window. In a musical show which is a cross between Grumpy Old Women and Lynn Truss’s “Eats Shoots And Leaves”, Adele celebrates the beauty of the English language through songs whose titles contradict themselves. With Matthew Shaw on piano. The Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall SW8 5BP Sun 27 June 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Hilda Eusebio Hilda Eusébio left her native Toronto to pursue a career as a performance artist. After a brief stint in Lisbon, she came to London and met Mapping4D with whom she has been devising and performing since 2002 (Little English,Vertigo, The Pink Bits and Slender). Hilda has dragged it up and queered it out for Duckie’s Gay
Shame, the ICA, the Edinburgh Fringe, Whoopee! Club, Cochrane Confidential, Stranger than Paradise, and more. Hilda’s alter-ego ‘Jack’ was born at Pas de Piaf Cabaret and has performed for Shunt and Duckie, The Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane, Vauxhall SW8 5BP Mon 28 June 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Paul L Martin ‘Paul does Pop!’ in this Greatest Hits version of his hugely popular 2005 SleeveNotes season. Mixing up styles and mashing up chart favourites, Paul and his musical director Michael Roulston will tackle Keane, Abba, Queen, Eurythmics, Alanis Morrisette, Elton John and Cher as well as sneak previews from forthcoming new SleeveNotes shows. The Battersea Barge, Tues 29 June 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Sarah Louise Young Through character comedy and original songs, Cabaret Idol features five desperate divas from around the globe and sees the return of Cabaret Whore’s tortured French chanteuse, La Poule Plombée. With music by Michael Roulston and Richard Link. The Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane,Vauxhall SW8 5BP Wed 30 June 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Holly Penfield Holly Penfield is known in London as the queen of jazz cabaret. Her passionate vocal performances, her glamorous quirky costumes and her wild interactions with the audiences have earned her this title. Her reputation is known far and wide from San Francisco to Tokyo, from Paris to London, singing for Prince Charles, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Boy George, George Michael and Michael Jackson. The Battersea Barge Thurs 1 July 730pm £12 www.ticketweb.co.uk www.lastminute.com Earl Okin Earl Okin is a unique and multitalented performer with supreme audience charm and control. As singer-songwriter, he has recorded at Abbey Road, toured with everyone from Paul McCartney to Van Morrison and has recently just
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completed a full CD of his own songs in various genres, currently seeking release. As Jazz and BossaAcrostics Nova performer, he has performed Words, meanings, poetry will take at clubs and festivals literally around you by surprise all around London the world and alongside such with support from our leading legends as the late Benny Carter LGBT writers, organizations and and Cleo Laine. He gives concerts you. Keep yours eyes peeled for of Bossa Nova in Brazil and holds “words on the street” “the writings a full ‘celebrity status’ ‘01’ US work on the wall”, get involved and be permit where he performs at Jazz inspired. Festivals, Comedy venues, private Various Locations parties and corporate shows.The Fri 18 June – Sat 3 July All day Battersea Barge, Nine Elms Lane, Free Vauxhall SW8 5BP email@example.com Sun 4 Julycastles 730pm and coastlines From to historic houses £12 Sex Trust and beautiful gardens, the Future National www.ticketweb.co.uk Since Donna Haraway’s ‘The www.lastminute.com offers many opportunities to enjoy overscience 300 Cyborg Manifesto’, fiction has been a playground More or Lesque properties. We work with communities to tell for feminist and queer artists; but why More or Lesque! is a Burlesque the stories of or these places and reflected can aren’t its possibilities Troupe with a twist, should fantastic we on the big screen? Academics say twists. From the choreographic host civil partnerships at some of our sites. Rachel Armstrong and Patricia genius that brought you Brokeback MacCormack join Sophie Mayer, and The We Ate IfDisco youBoys would likeBears: to get involved with theof National guest editor queer literary All the Pies comes More or Lesque, journal Chroma’s Utopia issue, Trust or have suggestions about projects a whirlwind of comedy, song, sexy or ideas to discuss queer Future Human dance, acrobatics and a bit of we could get involved in, please let us know! cinesexuality in response to seductive flesh. Chroma readings by Katy Price and Tristan Bates Theatre others, and Tina Keane’s short The Gala Wed 30 June 8pm Making of Dandy Dust. 28 June – 17 July 8pm BFI Southbank £12 / £10 Friday 2 July 2010 18.30 020 7240 6283
Thurs 24 / Fri 25 June 8pm £10 / £8 concs 020 7307 5060
Queer Story Portraits East London NHS Foundation Trust is Drop in and listen to a series of Proud to be PrideForty 09 with you. recorded audio portraits fromcelebrating F**k We’re invited contributors around Pride’s gets a musical on 1st the theme: Life Better to celebrate 40 Years of the TheGets Trust has an activeJuly agenda to promote Through Questioning. ideas, and Gay Liberation Front. Equality, Hear Diversity Human Rights in Sandra all recollections and stories from some Bernhard, Scott Capurro, of its work. Our equality networks, training Polly of London’s key queer figures in Rae, Bourgeouis and Maurice, the and approach to recruitment ensure that we this experimental one off event London Gay Symphony Orchestra, arecurated at thewith forefront of delivering conceived and Tim stars of the innovative stage and many more! mental health acrossSquare EastTheatre, London. Redfern. This event takes placeservices on Leicester London W1 a 30 minute loop in the Ondaatje Thurs 1st July 9.30pm Wing Theatre. eventinformation will be BSL £25 /£20the / £15 ForThe more about Trust, interpreted. employment opportunities 0844 847 and2475 Foundation Trust Ondaatje Wing Theatre, membership contact www.eastlondon.nhs.uk National Portrait Gallery Sun 4 July 13.00-16.00 For full lisitings go to Free www.npg.org http://www.pridelondon.org
COMEDY Rosie Wilby The Science Of Sex Following her Edinburgh Fringe and Leicester Square Theatre runs former ‘Funny Women’ finalist Rosie Wilby presents her Fringe Report award winning show investigating the science of attraction, sexual chemistry and sexual identity as part of Pride Festival Fortnight. The Drill Hall 2, 16 Chenies St, London WC1E 7EX
Launch of the LGBT network, March 2009
“I thought only old people got MS.” “I’m 26. I wouldn’t say that’s old.”
MS is indiscriminate. It can strike at any age. But with the MS Society’s support, I can feel positive about my future. They’ve got a freephone helpline 0808 800 8000 and you can visit www.mssociety.org.uk to find out more or make a donation. MS Society. Putting the pieces together.
Lucy Martin liv ing with MS
The Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a charity registered in England and Wales (207495) and Scotland (SC016433)
CREDITS - The BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Interscope, Fox, Premier PR, BAAF, New Family Social, FunkyViva Productions, Insanity Artists Agency, Ultra DJ Management,Wayne Russell @ Do One Music, RCA Records, Mercury Music Group, Andrew Lumsden,Tom Barber,The GLF, Celia Hammond Animal Trust, Dewynters, Stonewall, LLGS, UMusic.com and everybody else who has contributed to this magazine . A personal thanks to: Chris MSS_PRIDE09_HALF-PAGE.indd 1 and Amanda Powell, Robert Ingham, Kelly Henry, Charles Waite, An extra special thanks to: Jeff Kristian.
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SOME PEOPLE ARE GAY. GET OVER IT! Stonewall’s Education for All campaign aims to tackle homophobia and homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. www.stonewall.org.uk
THE ONLY OFFICIAL GUIDE
Published on Jun 10, 2010
The only Official Guide to Pride London (Published by Talent Media) is out now. Free copies will be available in bars, pubs, and clubs aroun...