Category Archives: Gay

Africa’s Only Gay Radio

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Africa’s only gay radio station broadcasts from Pretoria in South Africa.

GaySAradio produces content for Africa’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and intersex communities and is trying to counter homophobia and break down stereotypes.

Jason McCrossan talked to Hendrik Baird the Station Manager of Africa’s only gay radio station which broadcasts from the South African city of Pretoria.

 

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Peter Tatchell remembers George Michael

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Jason McCrossan’s guest on 106.9 SFM Saturday Breakfast penned an article for his PeterTatchell foundation website and also the Pink Paper in which he states “Anyone who remembers George Michael solely for his music is missing the real importance of him” – he is human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell who shared his memories of George and a chance encounter before he was famous in a gay bar in London.

Orlando: Another Mass Shooting – LGBT targeted

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In the early hours of June 12, 2016, a gunman, who I’m not interesting in naming, walked into the gay night club called Pulse in Orlando, Florida and started shooting at a group of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgendered people – who were doing nothing but being who they were and enjoying themselves.

This was a direct attack on gay people, freedom, humans, love and a different way of life.  As a gay man in love with another man you are always aware that there are people who would hurt, damage or kill people like me – just because of who they love.  Attitudes to gay people have fundamentally changed in the UK since I was born in the late 1970s.  Hostility was very present in the 80s when gay bars started to spring up in cities, albeit usually in discrete and concealed places – until the 90s and 2000s when the gay movement stopped hiding and people like me felt comfortable being open about our sexuality at work and so rather than being some distant object of derision – we become up close and personal with our straight colleagues – who realised – we were just like them.

But we are still not in a world, or country where being gay is still acceptable across the board.  When a bakery can refuse service to customers who wanted a gay themed cake because it is ‘against their belief’ – backed up by Christian groups and media elements.  It demonstrates to gay people that although we have journeyed far – the route back to the dark ages of the 1950s when we were illegal, arrested and in-prisoned – isn’t as far away as we might like to believe.

On my Monday Matters radio show I spoke to gay radio presenter DJ Justice, who presents his show in Orlando and often visited  Pulse and lost people that he knew in the atrocity.

 

 

Police give hate crime the boot

Merseyside Police Commissioner at Mersey Pride event.
Merseyside Police at Pride event.

Officers from throughout the force are replacing the standard black laces for multi-coloured ones to mark the start of Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender History month.

The unique rainbow laces use the same colour scheme as the rainbow flag, which has been flown by the force for the past nine years to mark International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) in May and will be raised again on February 1st.

Officers of all ranks will be allowed to wear the distinctive laces throughout February as a show of support for our LGBT staff and also for our partner agencies who stand alongside Merseyside Police to end discrimination and to eradicate hate crime.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Cooke, said: “As a force we have already pledged to do everything we can to support members of the LGBT community and tackle homophobic and Transphobic hate crime in Merseyside. The flying of rainbow flag of IDAHO is already a well-established tradition in Merseyside and the introduction of rainbow laces as a show of support for LGBT History month is another great initiative.

Screen Shot 2016-02-07 at 21.55.57“We pride ourselves on being a diverse, fair and equal opportunities employer and the networks we have forged with support networks such as Homotopia and our GLSN have helped us improve the service we give to members of the LGBT community.

“Sadly, some people continue to be targeted because they are perceived to be different and it is important that victims feel confident enough in the police to report any hate crime incidents to us.

“We have made significant in-roads into addressing this issue through the establishment of our hate crime investigation ‘Sigma’ units, however there is further work to do to increase hate crime reporting and initiatives like this can only help demonstrate our commitment to this cause.”

Detective Constable Tracy O’Hara, chair of Merseyside Police’s LGBT network, said : “It is important for myself and other LGBT colleagues in Merseyside Police to see visible support from senior managers and those who do not identify as LGBT, wearing the rainbow laces.

merseysidepolice_34042783394.jpg“This is a team game and hopefully this will get people talking.

“LGBT history month is an opportunity to be visible in our stance against homophobia and transphobia. We have an established LGBT network however there are still those who feel unable to be out.

“Rainbow laces enable all staff to show their commitment to eradicating hate and discrimination in all its facets and that is what this is all about.”

During LGBT history month, members of Merseyside Police’s gay lesbian support network (GLSN) and Merseyside Black Police Association will be joining Homotopia and Liverpool’s Unity Theatre in welcoming a contingent of campaigners and academics from Poland.

The group will be looking at how LGBT cultural events such as Pride are organised in the city, how anti-discrimination is discussed in schools and universities, and how the emergency services and local councils work with charities to promote LGBT awareness.

Islamic students disrupt blasphemy & apostasy lecture

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Maryam Namazie – hear the interview 

Well known campaigner Maryam Namazie had been invited to talk at Goldsmiths University on December 3 by the Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society campus group, on speech on blasphemy and apostasy.

However, as she was speaking members of the Goldsmiths University Students Union’s Islamic Society (ISOC), who had already try to ban her from speaking, began to heckle, with one switching off a projector and when looking at the video, it does show hat that Maryam was subjected to intimidation by a group of Islamic men who were set up disruption rather than engagement.

The Islamic students disrupted the speech, entitled ‘Apostasy, blasphemy and free expression in the age of Isis’, because they claimed it “violated their safe space”.

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Most surprisingly, Maryam told me how both Goldsmiths LGBT Society and Goldsmiths Feminist society “sent a solidarity message with the Islamists who disrupted my talk, rather than with me, someone who is a women’s rights campaigner, gay rights campaigner – someone who has campaigned for the free expression that these societies are using”.

I couldn’t quite believe what Maryam was telling me however she went on to say “they have labelled me an Islamophobe.  They’ve shown solidarity with Isamic Society brothers who actually have invited speakers in the past who defend the execution of gay people, who defend the execution of apostates and it’s such an irony that they would support them”.  Maryam said that identity politics had removed politics and choices from being debated and all that was left for some people was their identify as a muslim and “therefore anyone who identifies as a muslim is automatically seen to be the oppressed one in this conversation”.

And in further developments, Zak Thomas from Goldsmiths Students’ Union paper The Leopard wrote that “Members of the Islamic Society (ISOC) and the Atheist and Humanist Society (ASH) could face disciplinary action after a row broke out”.  When asked to comment about the investigation into those members of (ASH) – who had tried to restore order Maryam commented “afraid so” on twitter. The Leopard went on to quote Goldsmiths SU and said that the “SU will arrange a meeting between both societies specifically to identify how the incident should be dealt with”.

Listen: Maryam speaks to Jason

 

Bigotry Reinforced at the BBC

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Local BBC Radio station Three Counties Radio which serves Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire has confirmed that presenter Ian Lee will no longer present the breakfast show on their station.

It follows a recent heated interview  with Libby Powell, a lawyer representing Christian Concern, who believe that certain religious interpretations of the bible are more important than laws and equality.

Libby had consented to speak to Ian about an employment tribunal which is being sponsored by Christian Concern  – in defence of a prison gardener called Barry Trayhorn who got into trouble after lecturing prisoners on sin – including homosexuality.

Barry had acted unofficially as a chaplain to prisoners however, when a prisoner complained about one of his sermon – it was discovered that Barry shouldn’t have been conducting sermons in the first place.  Mr Trayhorn then claimed stress and finally resigned days before the disciplinary hearing in November at the prison. He has now launched an employment tribunal against the prison saying he was forced out – supported by Christian Concern.

It is important to point out that all prisons are places which try and espouse a zero tolerance on bullying and discrimination – including remarks that would imply that a sexual preference for the same sex is wrong.  It doesn’t matter what your religious belief is – if you want to work with prisoners and in a prison environment – you better understand their policies on discrimination in the work place.

And then came the interview.  Ian asked Ms Powell straight out “do you support bigotry?” and then read a passage from the Corinthians 6:9-11 of the bible “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men[a] nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God..”

Ms Powell suggested that the passage wasn’t bigoted because it was gods word and written in the bible.  Ian dug in and said that that both the opinions that Mr Trayhorn expressed and that Ms Powell defended them meant they were both bigoted.

Ian has since apologised for the interview on air saying “Last week I interviewed the Revd Barry Trayhorn and solicitor Barry Powell about their understanding of biblical teaching on homosexuality.  I want to make it clear that I apologise for any offence that may have been caused over the way I conducted the interviews”.

One is left wondering how these spineless wonders in BBC management slide into their suits without their webbed feet getting caught.  I think Ian was strong in his interview style – but why not.  Why should we favour bigots – she is a solicitor for god’s sake. She can’t defend herself? SO why go on a radio show?  Maybe she thought it would be all cuddles and smiles – at her indirect homophobia and bigotry.

Good on you Ian, you done the profession proud. I just wonder how many other presenters would have had his balls?  I’ll let you ponder that one.

 

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The BBC went ahead and sacked him anyway.  He received lots of support from various corners including from chat show host Matthew Wright and broadcaster Emma Kennedy.

@iainlee with you all the way! #notobigotry
Matthew Wright (@Matthew_Wright)

I’m proud of @iainlee for calling out a homophobe and appalled at BBC Three Counties Radio for lacking the balls to support him.
Emma Kennedy (@EmmaKennedy)

Loving the Twitter support for Iain Lee this morning.
Greg Scott (@GregScottTV)

The BBC treatment of @IainLee is a disgrace. If I had said what he did and stood up to bigotry @LBC would have praised me, not sacked me.
Iain Dale (@IainDale)

Sir Nigel Hawthorne Remembered

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Nigel Hawthorne is an actor whom I always adored as the sharp minded, yet petulant & slippery Permanent Secretary  Sir Humphrey Appleby in the Yes Minister/Prime Minister series.

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Very sadly, he died on Boxing Day 2001 at the age of 72. He had just completed his exceptional autobiography about a life which had by no means taken a straight path. His ambitions to be an actor when a young man in South Africa were strongly discouraged by his father. He came to England alone and struggled for many years to make his name – eventually joining the Royal Court, starring in the West End, and finally having his great TV break in Yes, Minister.

He also struggled with his sexuality and it was not until meeting production manager Trevor Bentham in l977 that he finally found his life partner. A naturally private man, his media ‘outing’ in the run-up to the Oscar Ceremony for The Madness of King George was the source of much pain, although ultimately it became a liberation.

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At the peak of his career he was struck by cancer and his battle with illness forms a moving final section of the book. Speaking of his death, his partner Trevor Bentham, still in the raw grip of mourning for the actor said ”The cancer that had plagued his pancreas for 18 months had recently moved to his lungs and finished the job quickly and with the greatest dignity,” Bentham recalls. ”No trace of pain, a quiet end in a shaft of winter sunlight.” At 9.30 on that Boxing Day morning Hawthorne had collapsed in a chair and ”simply ceased to live”.

“Party Games” is the twenty-second and final episode of the BBC comedy series Yes Minister. A one-hour Christmas special that was first broadcast 17 December 1984, its events lead into the sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. The episode was shown again at Christmas 1990, shortly after the fall of Margaret Thatcher. Hacker’s denials of interest in the party leadership were similar to those made by Michael Heseltine some six years later.