University Supports LGBT History Month

The question that this article raises, is will either of our universities in Northern Ireland take up the challenge and support LGBT History Month this year and in the future years.  Queen’s University and the Ulster University talk about doing things, but isn’t it about time that they actually did something that stands out in support of our LGBT community?

Published: 26th January 2015 11:28

 

LGBT History Month takes place every year in February. It celebrates the lives, achievements and promotes awareness of the LGBT community.

As part of the celebrations the University and Portsmouth, supported by the LGBT Staff Forum, is supporting a range of events through the month open to all staff and students:

  • Tuesday 3-Thursday 26 February. In partnership with Portsmouth Film Society, the University will be hosting the ‘Pride LGBT Film Festival’. One of the highlights will the opening night screening on Tuesday 3 February of the recent film release Pride, a historical comedy-drama film about UK gay activists work to help miners during their lengthy strike in the Summer of 1984. Mike Jackson, the original chairperson of ‘Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners’ and one of the main characters portrayed in the film, with be attending and taking a Q&A after the screening. This in one of seven films being shown throughout the month.
  • Wednesday 11 February. A public lecture by Peter Tatchell, political campaigner best known for his work with LGBT social movements – despite great progress on LGBTI rights in the UK, there are still injustices. Same-sex marriage is separate and unequal to marriage. Equality laws have exemptions for religious organisations. Hundreds of thousands of people are victims of homophobic hate crime and bullying in schools. Many geniune LGBTI refugees are detained and refused asylum. HIV and sex and relationship education mostly ignores LGBTI pupils. Much more needs to be done to secure LGBTI acceptance, equality and inclusion.
  • Wednesday 18 February. Hosted by the University  and Portsmouth City Council, an evening panel event at John Pounds Community Centre, on LGBT equality and prize-winning film screening. Chaired by Dr Páraic Finnerty, speakers include: Dr Soozi Mead, ‘Historians on LGBT History’; Dr Sue Bruley , ‘Uppity women: Lesbians in the Women’s Liberation Movement in 1970s Britain’; Dr Paul Flenley, ‘Gay Rights in Russia: the cultural and political context’; Dr Deborah Shaw, ‘A whistle-stop tour of lesbians on screen’. Film: Sweat (15mins, Dir: John Lochland).

Full details of all events and booking arrangements can be found at http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/services/equalityanddiversity/staffforums/lgbtstaffforum/

 

Further Reading:

  1. About LGBT History Month
  2. Unison – LGBT History Month
  3. Northern Ireland – LGBT History Month Magazine

LGBT Victim Support Helpline Opens In UK

By The Gay UK, Jan 26 2015 02:28PM

Stop Hate UK are pleased to announce the launch of a helpline offering advice, support and telephone-based advocacy to victims of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Hate Crime.

The service has been funded until March 2016 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and will operate across England, Scotland and Wales. The national charity, founded in 1995, will work closely with the LGBT Consortium and other third sector organisations, local authorities and police commissioning areas to ensure the helpline is accessible to all who need it including those in rural areas.Rose Simkins, Chief Executive for Stop Hate UK, said,

“Our existing helplines have received increasing numbers of callers over the past few years and we are pleased to have provided support to so many people who have suffered as victims of Hate Crime because of some aspect of their identity. We hope that the launch of this new service for LGB&T people, introducing a varied range of reporting methods, will empower and facilitate more people to step forward to seek support.”

The Gay British Crime Survey (Stonewall/YouGov, 2013) found that 1 in 6 lesbian, gay and bisexual people had suffered from a hate incident or crime within the previous 3 years. However, only one third of these crimes and incidents have been reported. Various reasons for not reporting were given, including concern that they would not be taken seriously and fear of reprisal.
The Stop Hate UK LGB&T helpline offers people an alternative method of reporting with additional support if required.

Alex, from the organisation safeT UK – strength, awareness, freedom and empowerment for Transgender people, said,

“I received a brilliant service from Stop Hate UK when I was subject to repeated transphobic hate crime. It’s very reassuring to see that Stop Hate UK are able to extend their services to include more support for Transgender victims of hate crime across a wider area of the UK ”

People across England, Scotland and Wales who have experienced, witnessed or know someone who is experiencing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Hate Crime can contact the LGB&T Hate Crime helpline on 0808 801 0661, or visit our website www.stophateuk.org, for support and information. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year; calls are free from landlines and most mobiles but we can always call you back if you want.

Calls are confidential and ongoing support will be offered. Referrals to other services, including the police, are made where consent has been given by the victim.

Callers can also report hate crimes and incidents by text, text relay, web chat, online forms, post and email.

Holocaust Memorial Day: The Nazi Bid to Exterminate Gay People

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memorial to honor Ireland's only Holocaust victims, Co Dublin A fench to keep them in sculptures-and-panels at the Holocaust Memorial of Miami Beach berlin-holocaust_1682173i

“We must exterminate these people (homosexuals) root and branch… We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be entirely eliminated.”

With these chilling words, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, set out the Nazi master plan for the sexual cleansing of the Aryan race.

Heinz F was a care-free young German gay man in the early 1930s. He had no idea of what was about to happen. “I didn’t fully understand the situation,” he admitted with pained regret. One morning, out of the blue, the police knocked on his door. “You are suspected of being a homosexual,” they told him. “You are hereby under arrest.”

“What could I do? Off I went to Dachau, without a trial,” he recalls in an interview for the documentary film Holocaust-memorial-usti-nad-labemParagraph 175.

After spending a year and a half in Dachau, Heinz was released but soon rearrested and sent to Buchenwald. He was stunned to discover the grisly fate of gay and bisexual men. “Almost all the homosexuals…nearly all of them…were killed.”

Heinz amazingly survived a total of eight-plus years in concentration camps. Following the war, he never spoke to anyone about his experiences. He was afraid. Gay ex-prisoners were regarded as common criminals – not victims of Nazism. With tears trickling down his cheeks, he lamented: “Nobody wanted to hear about it.”

His life had been very different up until 1933. Berlin was the gay capital of the world, with a huge, buzzing gay scene of bars and clubs. It boasted gay magazines and gay arts and sports associations, as well as organisations campaigning for greater understanding and rights. Life in Berlin was good – and getting better – for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) people.

Although homosexuality was illegal under paragraph 175 of the German criminal code, it was relatively rarely enforced. In the Reichstag, MPs were on the verge of securing its repeal. A new era of freedom seemed to be dawning. Then came the horrors of Nazism.

Within weeks of assuming power in 1933, Hitler outlawed homosexual organisations and publications. Gay bars and clubs were closed down soon afterwards. Storm troopers ransacked the headquarters of the gay rights movement, the Institute of Sexual Science, and publicly burned its vast library of “degenerate” books. Before the end of the year, the first homosexuals were deported to newly established concentration camps.

In 1934, the Nazis stepped up their anti-gay campaign, with the creation of the Reich Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality. According to Himmler: “Those who practice homosexuality deprive Germany of the children they owe her … our nation will fall to pieces because of that plague.” The police were ordered to draw up “pink lists” of known or suspected homosexuals. Mass arrests followed.

The Nazis again intensified the war against what they called “abnormal existence” in 1935, broadening the definition of homosexual behaviour and the grounds for arrest. Gossip and innuendo became evidence. A man could be incarcerated on the basis of a mere touch, gesture or look.

Later, Himmler authorised a ‘scientific’ programme for the eradication of “this vice.” Gay prisoners were subjected to gruesome medical experiments in a bid to “cure” their homosexuality – including hormone implants and castration.

From 1933-1945, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 men were arrested under paragraph 175 for the crime of homosexuality. Some were tried and sentenced in the courts; others were sent direct to concentration camps without any trial or formal sentence. The death rate of gay prisoners in the camps was over 50%, the highest among non-Jewish victims.

Heinz Dormer and Gad Beck were also interviewed for the film Paragraph 175. Dormer spent nearly ten years in prisons and concentration camps. He remembers the haunting, agonised cries from “the singing forest”, a row of tall poles on which condemned men were hung: “Everyone who was sentenced to death would be lifted up onto the hook. The howling and screaming were inhuman… Beyond human comprehension.”

The Nazi ‘homocaust’ sought to completely eliminate gay and bisexual men. It was an integral part of the Holocaust. Contrary to false histories that claim the persecution of Jewish people was entirely distinct and separate from the victimisation of other minorities, the mass murder of Jews was part of Hitler’s grand design for the racial and genetic purification of the German volk. The Nazis set out to eradicate what they deemed to be racial and genetic “inferiors” – not just Jews, but also gay, disabled, Slav, Roma and Sinti people.

Gad Beck carried a double burden. He was gay and Jewish. He recalls his first sexual experience as a teenage schoolboy:

“I ran home to my mother and said: ‘Mother, today I had my first man.'” Luckily, his parents accepted his homosexuality. But they feared for his safety: “They said: ‘Oh my god, he’s Jewish and he’s gay. Either way he’ll be persecuted. This cannot end well.'”

But Beck survived the war, although nearly everyone around him perished. Two of his lovers were seized by the Nazis:

“I met this beautiful blonde Jew. He invited me to spend the night. In the morning the Gestapo came … I showed my ID – not on the list. They took him to Auschwitz. It had a different value then, a night of love.”

Later, Beck tried to free another lover, Manfred Lewin, from a Gestapo transfer camp. He posed as a Hitler Youth member and asked the commandant to release Manfred to help with a construction project. Although this incredibly daring, dangerous deception was successful, as they walked to freedom Manfred told Gad he could not abandon his family in the camp. Beck watched helplessly as his lover returned to be with them. He never saw Manfred again. Lewin and his entire family were murdered in Auschwitz.

During the Third Reich, these heart-breaking personal tragedies were repeated over and over millions of times for both gay and non-gay victims of Nazism. But for gay people the trauma was compounded by the fact that they often suffered alone – rejected by their families, persecuted by the Nazis and vilified by other concentration camp inmates.

No wonder so few survived and why so many were reluctant to speak out in the post-war years. Paragraph 175 remained on the statute books after 1945. Homosexuality continued to be a crime in East Germany until 1968 and in West Germany until 1969.

For more information about Peter Tatchell’s human rights campaigns, to receive his email bulletins or to make a donation: http://www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

Gaybies: True stories of growing up with gay parents

Will this play reach the UK; will it reach Northern Ireland. We can but hope, and failing that hope that it gets broadcast and that we can watch it that way

 Running as part of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, theatrical production Gaybies draws on real interviews with the children of LGBTI parents

Dean Bryant (centre) and the cast of his show, Gaybies

At a time when some territories in Australia continue to deny gay couples the right to adopt and foster children, a new play coming to Sydney next week is set to shine an illuminating light on the issue of LGBTI parenthood.

Gaybies will be coming to the Eternity Playhouse in Sydney as part of the 2015 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.

Written by Helpmann Award-winning director Dean Bryant, the show seeks to tell the stories of children raised in rainbow families. Bryant created the script by drawing upon real-life interviews with people who have grown up with same-sex parents, surrogate moms and donor dads.

Gaybies

‘Gaybies is the perfect answer to anyone who has ever asked, “But what about the children?”,’ says Bryant in press material for the show. ‘It’s sincere, touching, hilarious and heart-breaking.

‘It requires a highly talented bunch of actors to do these characters justice and I’m thrilled to have assembled a dream cast which, in a wonderful twist, includes one of the original interviewees.’

That cast member is Georgia Scott, who spoke to Bryant about her experience of her own father coming out.

‘There is always a lot of hype around what people assume or what people can philosophize is going to be the effects of gay parenting on children,’ said Scott about the show.

‘This is a genuine look at how these people have lived and what their experience has been. And you know, it is not sugar coated and it’s not all great.’

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, fellow cast member Cooper George Amai said: ‘The children interviewed for the play didn’t feel like they had missed out — more that they had an extra mum or dad.

‘Often people raised by single sex parents seem to be more rounded, more balanced, more aware.’

Although he wasn’t raised by gay parents, Amai said that he could relate to some of the thoughts and feelings expressed in the piece as he was raised by his mother and her two sisters, adding, laughing, ‘It sometimes felt like I had three mums.’

Dean Bryant

Speaking to GSN, Bryant [right], who is gay himself, explained what drew him to the subject matter.

‘I went to the 60th birthday party of a friend of mine and his two daughters gave hilarious speeches about growing up with a gay dad – watching Melrose Place as their family show, going on Mardi Gras floats – and I thought there’s some wonderful comic material here.

‘I also was keen to explore the gay marriage debate from the perspective of children of gay parents – to use their actual words to weave together their experience of growing up in this environment.’

Bryant has been with his partner for the past 18 years. Is fatherhood something that he would himself consider?

‘We love our nieces and nephews, but can’t afford to have children via surrogacy, living as we do on arts wages. If I was asked to father a child for a close friend, I’d definitely consider it.’

Gaybies was first staged as a reading at Melbourne’s Midsumma Festival in 2013, but this production marks its Sydney premiere. Catch it running between 6 February and 8 March 2015 at the Eternity Playhouse, 39 Burton Street, Darlinghurst.

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gaybies-true-stories-growing-gay-parents300115#sthash.QRF14xnz.dpuf

YouTube sensation Steve Grand's long awaited debut album to be released in March

Out singer raised $325,000 on Kickstarter to make album his way

Steve_Grand

Photo: Steve Grand via Instagram

 

Plenty of people have been smitten by Steve Grand since that day in July 2013 when his self-made video All-American Boy went viral on YouTube.

The openly gay singer gained such a rabid following that he was able to raise $325,000 via Kickstarter to make his debut album – his way.

Grand announced this week that the album will finally be released on 24 March.

Although his debut hit is about a gay man’s unrequited love for his straight friend, the singer says his music is for everybody – gay or straight.

‘The lines of life are blurring,’ Grand tells Out.com. ‘We are seeing that in music as in sexuality and gender identity…There’s nothing different about my music just because I’m gay. I sing about things that I go through, but they are things that we all go through, regardless of sexual orientation.’

He adds that each song on the album ‘explores some kind of relationship, whether it be a relationship with a romantic partner, a relationship with a friend, a relationship with the past, a relationship with something destructive, a relationship with a community.’

– See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/youtube-sensation-steve-grands-long-awaited-debut-album-be-released-march290115#sthash.eYC2ro1O.dpuf

Irish school 'postpones' anti-gay bullying workshops

Coláiste Eoin The school postponed an anti-homophobic bullying workshop following complaints from parents

A school in Dublin has postponed an anti-homophobic bullying workshop following complaints from parents.

A charity, Shout Out, was due to give the workshop to 120 transition year students (15-16 year olds) on Tuesday.

The workshops were called off after facilitators arrived at Coláiste Eoin and were told about the complaints.

The school, in Stillorgan, said they plan to reschedule the workshops but as of yet have made no contact with the group.

The principal of the all boys school, Finín Máirtín, initially said that the “other side” needed to be represented.

The school later clarified that he meant ‘other view points which have been expressed’.

‘Disappointed’

Shout Out, a lesbian gay bisexual and transgender education charity, deliver workshops about anti homophobic bullying and say they educate pupils about tolerance and respect.

Declan Meehan from Shout Out said they were “disappointed” that the school had cancelled the workshop.

“We’ve been to the school twice before and never had a problem before,” he said.

Jan O'Sullivan

The Irish Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said she is disappointed that the workshop was postponed

The Irish Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has said she is disappointed that the workshop was postponed

“Our priority is to deliver the workshop and we will accept any invitation to return to the school.”

The school declined to be interviewed but did release a statement.

“On this particular occasion the board of management have received written communications from a number of parents outlining their concerns regarding the workshop,” they said.

“In this context it was incumbent on the board to address all issues and to seek the advice available from Catholic management representative bodies available to secondary schools.

Language and tolerance

“It is proposed to invite Shout Out to make their presentation at a future date in the course of the current academic year.

“Coláiste Eoin is a Catholic school and as such endeavours to promote a caring, tolerant and inclusive school community.”

The Irish Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said she was “disappointed” that the workshops had been postponed.

Ms O’Sullivan said she hopes the school will “reschedule these important workshops in the near future”.

The Shout Out workshops are led by volunteers aged 20-25 who have experience of being an LGBT young person going through school.

A heterosexual person also takes part in the workshop and use of appropriate language and tolerance are discussed.

They have delivered workshops to more than 60 schools over the last 18 months.

Good Will Hunting, a gay scene?

Yes, Ben Affleck And Matt Damon Put A Gay Sex Scene In ‘Good Will Hunting’ Script

Posted: Updated:
BEN AFFLECK GOOD WILL HUNTING

There was once a gay sex scene in the script of “Good Will Hunting.”

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were rookie screenwriters when they wrote the 1997 film about a gifted janitor working at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They ultimately decided to go with Miramax Films, then run by Harvey Weinstein, to distribute the movie. Weinstein, whose company was known for independent and foreign flicks, beat out the competition for one reason: he actually read the script, and noticed the scene seemed out of place.

“Every studio wanted the movie, every studio wanted them to be in the movie and make this film,” Weinstein said on “The Graham Norton” show earlier this month. “They were young kids, just really starting out, but they had some good roles behind them. They came to my office, and I read the script [before] the meeting, and we walked in and everything was pleasant, and then about 10 minutes into the meeting I said, ‘Guys, there’s just one thing on the script … I just have one really big note. About page 60, the two professors give each other oral sex and they’re on their knees andthis whole big sex scene. What the hell is that? Because the guys are straight, and there’s no hint of anything like that … I don’t get that scene.'”

Apparently, the inclusion was a purposeful one.

“They go, ‘That’s the scene that we wrote to find out whether guys in your job actually read the script, because every studio executive we went to … no one brought that scene up, or maybe people thought it was a mistake or maybe nobody read it themselves.’ They said, ‘You’re the only guy that brought it up. You get the movie.'”

Affleck and Damon had originally sold the rights to Castle Rock, but they began suspecting no one at the company was actually reading the rewrites the two were instructed to hand in. Or at least not reading them very closely.

“We were so frustrated that Castle Rock wasn’t reading the script, so we felt like we had to develop this test,” Affleck told Boston Magazine in 2013. “We started writing in screen direction like, ‘Sean talks to Will and unloads his conscience.’ And then: ‘Will takes a moment and then gives Sean a soulful look and leans in and starts blowing him’ … We would turn that in, and they wouldn’t ever mention all those scenes where Sean and Will were jerking each other off.”

“Good Will Hunting” went on to gross over $200 million worldwide. The film earned Affleck and Damon the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, as well as the Best Supporting Actor award for Robin Williams.

Brighton Pride – 2015

 

Will you be in Brighton during the last two weeks of July, first week of August 2015 – if so make a determined effort to go to some of the events being orchestrated for Brighton Pride.  there is something for everyone – click the poster shown above, or click this link to go to their website for up to date information:

 

Leo Varadkar goes global after coming out as gay

Republished from Newstalk 106-108 Logo

 

The Health Minister’s admission during a radio interview made headlines all over the world

Leo Varadkar goes global after coming out as gayLeo Varadkar. Image: Photocall Ireland

Author image

James Dempsey

14:41 Monday 19 January 2015

Yesterday morning, while being interviewed by Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One, Health Minister Leo Varadkar revealed he is a gay man.

Deputy Varadkar said: “I’m comfortable to talk about it now, wasn’t always – but I have been for the last couple of years.”

“It’s not a big deal for me anymore, I hope it’s not a big deal for anyone else – it shouldn’t be,” he added.

The Fine Gael politician’s interview generated considerable buzz online, with countless comments made on social media. Headlines and column inches have been dedicated to Mr Varadkar’s decision to come out in today’s newspapers, and the news was featured widely on television and radio bulletins.

The news has also been reported all over the world, with the story picked up on various news wires.

In Australia, News.com said that Mr Varadkar’s decision to reveal his sexuality would be “viewed with hindsight as a landmark of social change in a country that, until 1993, outlawed homosexual acts.”

Across the Irish Sea, the story made a big impact on the British media landscape, and was featured in a news bulletin broadcast by the BBC.

The Independent reported that Mr Varadkar was the first minister to publicly identify as gay, and only the second openly gay member of his party. The article also said that Mr Varadkar is tipped as a potential party leader and prime minister.

The Guardian’s Irish correspondent Henry McDonald described the reaction in the country to the news, addinf that political opponents applauded Varadkar’s decision to come out.

In the US, the NPR radio channel also carried the story, describing the Minister as “a prominent, well-known figure in Ireland’s government.” The article went on to describe Fine Gael as a right-of-centre party.

Pink News, a Europe-wide gay news network, congratulated the Health Minister, and made a point of distinguishing him from his Northern Irish counterpart, who described gay pride as “repugnant.”

Kat Callahan wrote: “But I don’t call him courageous for coming out; I call him courageous for holding himself up as the public figure he is and giving up his privacy. I call him courageous for all that will come after. Although a majority of Ireland, including nearly all political parties, is finally ready for change, that doesn’t mean that the minister won’t be targeted. He knowingly stepped into the firing line.”

Finally, the story was also reported in The Times of India and The Hindu – where the focus of the story shifted to Mr Varadkar’s Indian heritage.

Lord Black, the Telegraph's Boss, renews campaign to ban ‘gay cure’ therapy in the UK

PinkNews Exclusive

Lord Black vowed to have 'gay cure' therapy banned in the UK

Lord Black vowed to have ‘gay cure’ therapy banned in the UK

The Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group Lord Black, has said the NHS agreeing to stop referring patients to ‘gay cure’ therapy is a good first step, but vowed to have the practice banned in the UK.

NHS England has signed a pledge meaning staff have been instructed not to facilitate access to gay “cure” therapy.

Despite the NHS not offering gay conversion therapy directly, some patients seeking to change their sexuality have been connected to organisations which do provide it by NHS staff.

The Executive Director of the Telegraph Media Group, Lord Black, is running a campaign which calls on the Government to ban the widely condemned practice of gay conversion therapy.

Lord Black told PinkNews: “This is a massive step in the right direction and it should be warmly welcomed. But there is more to do. I will continue the campaign to have this insidious ‘treatment’ banned in the UK. “

The World Health Organisation (WHO) declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder back in 1990, and gay “cure” therapies have been widely condemned by health bodies across the world.

The practice of gay “cure”, or “conversion” therapy is widely criticised as harmful to recipients. At least two states in the US have passed legislation banning the practice on minors.

During the debates on same-sex marriage, Lord Black, who helped lead the campaign in the House of Lords in favour of equality said: “I am in a civil partnership with somebody with whom I have been together for nearly a quarter of a century. I love him very much and nothing would give me greater pride than to marry him.”

(http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/01/19/telegraph-boss-renews-campaign-to-ban-gay-cure-therapy-in-the-uk/)

UKIP MEP Roger Helmer  last year claimed the NHS should fund ‘gay cure’ therapy.