365 Without 377 – Movie Review

365 without 377Name of movie: 365 Without 377

Date: 2011

Length (hrs): 53 mins

Film genre: Documentary

Characters: Beena, Pallav and Abhenna.

Director: Adele Tulli, who graduated in South Asian Studies and has worked on several activist projects in India and Europe

Setting: India

 

Plot information: A documentary following the decriminalizing of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalized any sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex.

When does the movie take place? July 2009

What happens in the movie? Imposed under the British colonial rule in 1860, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalize any sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex, stigmatizing them as ‘against the order of nature’. On 2ND July 2009 the Delhi High Court passed a landmark judgement scrapping this clause, thus fulfilling the most basic demand of the Indian LGBTQ community, which had been fighting this law for the past 10 years. Three characters, Beena, Pallav and Abheena travel through the city of Bombay heading to the celebrations for the first anniversary of the historic verdict. ‘365 without 377’ is the story of their journey towards freedom. (IMDB)

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What makes the movie interesting? The chance to see a different culture handling a British imposed culture, and how they developed as people and overcame the challenges of being ‘gay’ in India, where even though the law as been annulled by the Delhi High Court, for many they still believe it will take much more than this to change the mindset of the Indian community as a whole

What is the best part? The best parts for me was looking at the three main characters lives, and how just like ourselves they are ordinary, but have developed as people and are willing to stand up for their beliefs and rights.

How do you feel when the movie ended? Neither sad or happy, but I did feel that I wanted to learn more, and hope that another documentary will do a follow-up say in 5 years time.

Who will like this move? People with an interest in LGBT activism, people with an interest in humanity, people who like India

On a scale of 1 (don’t like) – 5 (like), how do you rate this movie? For me definitely a 4

Are you ready for the New Year – 2017?

How we should get ready for 2017!

Happy New Year - 2017In America we have seen Donald Trump’s election win, and in the UK we have seen Brexit win out. Whilst we don’t know what the courts will say in terms of the Prime Minister’s rights, it is clear that the referendum has been taken and won and that the New Year will bring many changes, and that the far right seems to have gained ascendancy in terms of leaving Europe and also in terms of how we are supposed to ‘handle’ immigrants and other minorities.

President Elect ‘Trump’ has through his cabinet choices shown that he and his cronies are completely anti-LGBTQ, as all of them have either voted for some bill that denied the LGBTQ community one or all of the following:

  • job protections
  • right to marry
  • health services

In the UK we have seen the backlashes and phobias starting with people being beaten up because ‘they are not British’. Taunts like ‘ go back from where you came from’, ‘go back into the closet’, ‘your are not normal’.

It is obvious that things will get worse, especially if the Prime Minister, Theresa May, decides to push the removal of the Human Rights Act and replace with a Britsh Bill of Rights, which in all probability will be of no use at all, and probably only protect the rich and business.

LGBTQ Community

So what can we do about it?

Firstly, we need to make certain that our LGBTQ organisations are actually working for our community, and not just fund raising to ensure there existence. But also, we as a community need to be involved with these organisations – they cannot exist in a vacuum. And it is pretty obvious that funding is drying up from government and other sources.

Secondly, we need to remember that back in the 60s and 70s, whilst we did have some problems regarding personalities, we all realised that we needed to work together to achieve the common goal. This is even more relevant in the light of the attacks that are being made on our community from so many directions. We need to work together in the New Year to achieve our common goals.

LGBTQ Voting Power

Thirdly, we need to channel our voting power in the New Year. No longer should politicians of any ilk or cloth assume because they say they support they support the LGBTQ that they will automatically get our vote – they must prove they are more than fair-weather friends.

PA at Belfast Pride Snow Ball ‏ 2011

Lastly, we need to work with other groups who have experience and knowledge; they can help us develop our policies and mechanisms, the same as they can learn from us. There is strength in numbers, as well as that feeling of not being alone.

We need only look back in our history to discover how we in the past have come together and fought and won. Don’t stand alone, find friends, gather together in groups and support and learn to fight within the bounds of the law to get our rights and those of the future community

 

Further reading:

Ofsted downgrades some schools due to curriculum problems

Let us be clear about this headline ‘Christian schools downgraded by Ofsted over homophobic teachings’,  it is ill conceived and really sensationalism at its worse; the report clearly states that the downgrade is about the curriculum, and it is illustrated in the following paragraph:

Concerns have been repeatedly flagged about the use of ACE in British schools in the past, with an investigation in 2014 raising concerns about ACE textbooks teaching that homosexuality is a choice, evolution is a lie, abortion is wrong, and AIDS can be avoided by following the Bible.

not just about homophobic teachings.  This is a long running problem between Ofsted and schools which are following the ACE curriculum, an import from the USA, and very obviously very right wing in its beliefs and teachings.

A Balanced Curriculum

I have no objections to any curriculum as long as it is balanced and fair, and importantly accurate and factual.  Our country has a long history of adjusting its curriculum as things have been found out that change our concepts and thoughts – we must not allow bigots to control the educational system and the lives of our childrenCurriculum, Ofsted, ACE and schools

A number of private Christian schools have threatened legal action after having their status downgraded by education watchdog Ofsted, partly for failing to “promote respect” for LGBT people and British values.

Source: Christian schools downgraded by Ofsted over homophobic teachings · PinkNews

Traditonal Values – is there such a thing?

Now I know that quoting Wikipedia is so blase, however in this case I feel the definition is worth looking at:  Wikipedia defines “Traditional Values” as “those beliefs, moral codes, and mores that are passed down from generation to generation within a culture, subculture or community.”

However on investigation, Wikipedia cannot define where those beliefs, moral codes etc come from.  There is no defining text, and what is also interesting is that this cultural phenomena is wildly held as fact, when even within family to family said ideas can be wildly different.

A colleague of mine, put his thoughts as:

Clearly this moron hasn’t heard of New Orleans – though as it is French / Irish / Italian Catholic maybe he is going to allow it to secede from the secession.
I will always respect another’s opinion, however for it to be acceptable it must be rational, and have at least a modicum of intelligent thought behind it.  Mr MacKinnon has obviously not given this a deep enough thought process,  as indeed we could say the same about his previous boss President Reagan with some of his actions and speeches.  For Mr MacKinnon to say that ‘marriage equality’ is such a threat to personal liberty that states should risk a second civil war to preserve the right to discriminate against people, only goes to show how bigoted he is and how he has failed to research and understand  that society has never stood still, it has always moved forward, and always will
Further reading:

 

Whose Values?

A right-wing author has a plan for people who aren’t happy about shifting attitudes about LGBT rights.

Source: Conservative author wants states to secede over gay rights | MSNBC

Have you any Gay Images From Northern Ireland

Gay History

northern gay and block mounted paisley ayatollah

 

Northern Ireland’s gay history is slowly coming to light in our national institutions.  Recently we spotted the Northern Gay and block mounted Paisley ayatollah  on display at the Ulster Museum.

This is only part of some of our history, but the museums and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) have more, and indeed are always looking for more material to add to their archives and develop their ability to reflect everyone’s history and in particular those of the minority groups which are often under represented.

A quick search on the PRONI websites brought up 15 distinct areas:

  • Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advocate
  • Sexuality
    …If you think you’re gay or a lesbian, you may be worried about how people will react if you tell them…
  • Sexual orientation discrimination

…It’s against the law for an employer to discriminate against you because of your sexual orientation. You’re also protected against harassment or bullying at work…

  • Information and support for people with HIV and AIDS

…There are support services, information and advice available across Northern Ireland for people newly diagnosed or living with HIV…

  • Support services for victims
    …If you have been a victim of crime or abuse in Northern Ireland, there are organisation and groups who can give you free advice, support and practical help to help you deal with the impact of…
  • QueerSpace
  • Hate crime
    …Hate crime is a crime against a person usually because of their race, religious belief, sexual orientation, political opinion, gender identity or disability. Hate crime can take many forms…
  • Pushing the boundaries: Society & law
    …A Series of talks exploring society and the law which consider broad areas relating to the changing perception of what constitutes acceptable behaviour within society…
  • Rainbow Project
  • Human rights in the workplace

…Your human rights are protected by the law. If your employer is a public authority, they must follow the principles of the Human Rights Act…

  • Equal State Pension rights for transsexual people
    …Transsexual people can apply for equal treatment rights for social security purposes. This could mean getting the State Pension paid early, or having some National Insurance contributions…
  • Easter Rising: ‘Irish volunteers centenary project’

…PRONI was pleased to host ‘Irish Volunteers Centenary Project’, a talk by Donal McAnallen about experiences in the Easter Rising…

  • Talking to your child about sex and teenage pregnancy
    …Young people who can talk about sex with their parents tend to delay having sex and are more likely to use contraception when they do. However, you may find the idea slightly awkward, or you…
  • Religion or belief discrimination

…It is against the law for an employer to discriminate against you because of your religion or certain beliefs. Find out about your rights and what you can do if you’re worried about religion…

An important thing for all of us in the LGBT community of Northern Ireland is our history, but unfortunately a lot of it has been forgotten, or not written down, or in some cases is still hidden away in individuals homes.  We would like to develop further our access to our history, by asking everyone to dig our their history and by contacting us we will work with the museums and PRONI to develop a central resource.

Please do contact us with details of what you have and we will then arrange with the correct repository.  All information will remain confidential regarding your personal details, unless yu expressly give us permission to disclose them when lodging the items on your behalf.

Further reading:

 

Church Oppression of Minorities! When does it Stop?

The ‘Church’ professes to be accepting of all, but it is becoming obvious that this is normally paid lip service to rather than in reality.  Being narrow minded is almost a perquisite for being conservative these days, and with Marcelo Crivella, as the mayor of Rio de Janeiro it may well be that that wonderful place for fun and frolics is slowly going to die, and obviously if the fun stops so will the money coming into the country from visitors.  Surprisngly enough, this has occurred occur in other locations eg. the states of South Dakota, Georgia,Michigan, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia, Illinois, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississipi in the USA.

The Revel & Riot website’s article on LGBTQ PEOPLE AND RELIGION, states that…

Worldwide, fundamentalists of every major religion promote discrimination, hatred and often violence towards LGBTQ people. Because of religion, families are torn apart when misguided teachings conflict with the biologically determined sexual orientation and/or gender identity of a child or parent. Countless LGBTQ people are raised in religious families and experience a great deal of internal conflict and pain as they try to reconcile their own learned beliefs with the reality of who they are.

Religion is supposed to be a refuge from oppression, not to implement it or to condone it because some tennet written by a person in the past said that that kind of person was bad, or evil, or indeed sub-human – wasn’t that what occurred in relation to slaves (and does still today in some countries)!

I would be the first to fight and stand up for everyone to have the right to voice their opinion, but I will not stand by and allow any minority to be oppressed because they don’t fit into the perscribed norm!

Further reading:

Church and State Sin city elects a preacher as mayor

Source: A Pentecostal’s progress | The Economist

Tory peer in Lords attempt to secure Northern Ireland gay pardons – Belfast Newsletter

Jeff-Dudgeon-MBE-gay pardons legislation

Jeff Dudgeon’s MBE comments re challenges to gay pardons legislation

A response from Jeff Dudgeon, in respect of the claim that Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 makes this problematic.

‘This, in my view, is an absolute  ridiculous argument. I wrote the amendments in such a way that they do not relate to the “sexual orientation” of a person convicted or cautioned. Both the pardons and the disregard scheme will be available to any “person” who has been convicted or cautioned. In respect of the main offences involved, that means: any person who has been convicted or cautioned for the offence of buggery (involving either opposite-sex or same-sex sexual acts); any person convicted or cautioned for the offence of gross indecency (this can only be same-sex acts because the offence only related to men). The term “gay pardons” is therefore misleading because the pardons will extend to any “person” (man or woman) falling within the ambit of the old law. There is no “discrimination” here!’

As you can see this proposed amendment is ‘fair to all’, and we believe that it should be passed…

The Lords and Gay Pardons LegisltionAn attempt to pardon men convicted in Northern Ireland before homosexuality was decriminalised has been launched in the House of Lords – but a QC has said that the proposal could be unlawful under equality law.

Source: Tory peer in Lords attempt to secure Northern Ireland gay pardons – Belfast Newsletter

The Law is Equal for All

Law equality and the Gay Cake Case

Missing a slice of cake

This article is a concise and accurate report on the law surrounding the case known as the ‘Gay Cake’ case.  It wasn’t prosecutorial zeal which led to the court case, it was a company which failed understand the basic tenets of law and in particular contract law.

The court case was not brought by Gareth Lee, all he wanted was a cake, the case was taken up by the Equality Commission as it believed that the baker had broken the law. Subsequently, this has been proved correct by the original judgement and the Appeal Court.

No one is above the law, if we are to be a fair and equitable society we must ‘ALL’ comply with and live by the law.  If we don’t like a law, then we have legal remedies, and in the final resort, we can challenge the government.

 

Less prosecutorial zeal may be the easiest way to address such issues

Source: The great Belfast bake-off: Asher’s ‘gay cake’ decision

The Myth Of “Patient Zero” Is Finally Laid To Rest

safe sexReporting is about being as accurate as you can with the information currently available; unfortunately to often it has been about sensationalism, trying to get readers, and playing to the gallery when the ‘reporting’ has been about the LGBT community.

This article reflects how once again, how we as a community where used as scape goats for waht is now recognised as a national and international problem.  People have sex, but unless we educate properly in our schools, and continue to educate about safe sex, no matter what gender, then we will have problems.

Burrying our collectives heads in the sand, saying to people don’t have sex, are not working – we need to show people the right way of doing things, including contraceptives, and then maybe we will get a grip of the various sexual diseases which are plaguing our society

Myth of patient zero and gay sexThirty-two years after his death in 1984, Gaétan Dugas remains a legendary figure …

Source: The Myth Of “Patient Zero” Is Finally Laid To Rest / Queerty

Equality, not when you have a Petition of Concern

Marriage EqualityI have written previously on First Minister Foster’s inability to move with what the voters have clearly indicated on; it would seem that the DUP remain blinkered to where we are as a society in regards to marriage equality, and if they are so inclined with this minority how are they with others?

I call yet again on the First Minister to stop using the petition of concern to hide behind.  This instrument is long overdue to be removed from civilised politics on both sides, to allow proper politics to move forward along with the country.

I refer the Fist Minister to a report by the BBC in July 2013 which would seem to suggest that Petitions of Concern were being abused by both main political parties, and that the 1998 Act section governing their use was not clear enough and that Petitions of Concern need to review.

The SDLP leader, Mr Durkan,  at that time said:-“I have made the point several times before and do so again that the standing orders need to be corrected in accordance with the agreement and the 1998 Act.

“The argument can also be made, and I made it at the time, that the 1998 Act could have been more explicit in providing for the procedure intended.”

Petitions of concern: Is Stormont’s safeguard system being abused?

Equality

These figures outline the number of times each party has had members sign a petition of concern. As some documents were signed by more than one party, there will be some overlap which is why the total number of petitions in this table amount to more than the total number tabled during the last mandate.

Stormont’s petition of concern used 115 times in five years

Call her Kim Jong Foster, she prefers dictatorship to democracy.

Source: Anti-gay crusade of Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s First Minister