IBM VP Claudia Brind-Woody

Diversity Policies

Claudia Brind-Woody, vice president and managing director IBM

Diversity Policies: A policy on workplace diversity: Makes a commitment to anti-discriminatory practices and fosters equal opportunity through the removal of systemic barriers. Can reinforce compliance with human rights legislation. Is a statement of an organization’s values

LGBT diversity policies, procedures, advocacy and impact – Business Insider

Claudia Brind-Woody, vice president and managing director, speaks to BI about LGBT and  diversity and how it is shaping the wider tech and business community.

Source: IBM VP Claudia Brind-Woody: LGBT diversity policies, procedures, advocacy and impact – Business Insider

‘Gay cake’ row: born-again Christian bakers lose court appeal | UK news | The Guardian

The Cake and Ashers'Court Case Settled. A lot has been written over the months regarding this court case, and indeed some of it was factually wrong.  The facts were that an order was placed with no intention of setting up any individual, business or organisation up for in-adverse publicity.  A contract was entered into, and money was exchange – a normal business transaction.  Therefore the contract should have been honoured, possibly with a note to the person who placed the order that the business would not be able to fulfil any future orders of this nature.

A judgement from the court has now been made, the decision reach, and it is now time to step back and try to move on amicably.

Judges uphold ruling that Ashers Bakery discriminated against gay man by refusing to make cake with pro-gay marriage slogan

Source: ‘Gay cake’ row: born-again Christian bakers lose court appeal | UK news | The Guardian

FREE IRISH CITIZEN DR. HOMA HOODFAR

 

Free Dr. Homa Hoodfar

Free Dr. Homa Hoodfar

Free Dr. Homa Hoodfar, a 65-year-old professor of anthropology, who holds Irish citizenship was arrested in Iran on 6 June following months of questioning by the Revolutionary Guards. She is being held in the notorious Evin Prison with no access to her family or lawyer, and is likely in solitary confinement. She is a prisoner of conscience. Dr. Homa Hoodfar is a prominent and respected scholar and anthropologist at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, whose decades-long teaching and research activities relate to development, culture, gender, and electoral politics. She holds Canadian, Irish and Iranian citizenship.

Dr. Homa Hoodfar was arrested on 6 June in Tehran after being verbally summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor in Tehran’s Evin Prison. She went to the prison with her lawyer who was not allowed to be present when she was taken away for questioning by officials from the Revolutionary Guards. When her lawyer requested to see Dr. Homa Hoodfar, after several hours had passed, prison officials told him to go home. They told him he was no longer allowed to see her because she was a “security prisoner”. All subsequent attempts by her family and lawyer to see her, including giving her personal items such as clothes and medication, have been denied by officials. Though she has not been heard from since her arrest, Amnesty International believes that she may be held in Section 2-A of Evin Prison, which is under the control of the Revolutionary Guards, as is common practice for such detainees.

Irish citizen, Dr. Homa Hoodfar travelled to Iran on 11 February primarily to visit her family but also to conduct historical research on women’s participation in elections since 1906. On the evening of 9 March, the day before she was due to leave Iran, officers from the Counter Intelligence Unit of the Revolutionary Guards raided her home and confiscated her personal belongings, including three passports, mobile phone and computer. For the next three days,  she was repeatedly summoned for questioning. During these interrogations, in which she was not allowed to have a lawyer present, she was asked about her work and about the emails that the authorities had found in her computer. Her interrogators also asked her questions such as “Are you a feminist?” and “What is feminism?”

Dr. Homa Hoodfar has a neurological condition called myasthenia gravis, which is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease that affects the nerves and muscles, causing certain muscles to become weak. Her family has not been allowed to take her the medication she needs to help control the symptoms. There are serious concerns that while in detention she may not receive the specialized medical care she needs for a neurological condition.
Research is not a crime. No one should be targeted for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association. Amnesty International considers Dr. Hoodfar to be a prisoner of conscience.

Join our call for the immediate and unconditional release of Dr. Homa Hoodfar.

 

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Wednesday June 15th is Irish AIDS Day

World Aids Day 2016

Wednesday June 15 is Irish AIDS Day and Gender Orientation Sexual Health HIV (GOSHH), based on Davis Street in Limerick City, will mark the day by providing free Rapid HIV Tests.

GOSHH, formally known as Red Ribbon Project, has been involved in HIV activismGOSHH since it was first set up in 1989 by a group of gay men in Limerick and is currently promoting community based rapid testing as part of the Know Now campaign. GOSHH have been providing Rapid HIV tests for the last four years and are part of the first scheme to take a national approach to Rapid HIV testing. By making the test free of charge it removes the barrier of cost which was sometimes a factor in people not testing for HIV.

KnowNow, is an exciting and innovative new approach to enabling more people to know their HIV status. If people have HIV then the earlier they become aware of their status the better it will be for their long term health outcomes. In addition, most HIV is transmitted by people who are unaware that they have HIV, so early diagnosis can further reduce onward transmission rates.  The test uses a pin prick of blood from your finger and the results are available within 60 seconds.

Ann Mason, GOSHH Manager stated how important it is for people to know their HIV status: ‘These days HIV is a treatable infection and the sooner someone living with HIV accesses treatment, the sooner the medication will reduce their viral load to undetectable. One of the goals of our testing service will be that everybody living in the Mid-West will get to know their HIV Status and be aware of Sexual Health Services within their locality. It is also important to encourage people to openly discuss their HIV Status with their sexual partner.”

While there has been a significant and welcome improvement in treatment for HIV, concern remains regarding the rising numbers of newly diagnosed cases in Ireland. New HIV diagnoses nationally have increased by 35% since 2011. A total of 498 people were diagnosed with HIV in 2015, compared with 372 in 2014. To date in 2016, there has been a 42% increase in the number of people being diagnosed with HIV – with 214 new diagnoses, compared to 151 in the same period last year. This increase now translates to an average of 10 people per week being diagnosed with HIV.

The latest HIV diagnosis figures also show that HIV remains an issue of critical concern for gay and bisexual men. The figures for 2015 show that gay and bisexual men are the group most likely to acquire HIV in Ireland. There remains a clear need for gay and bisexual men to know their HIV status.

To coincide with Irish AIDS Day, GOSHH will also launch a peer support group for people living with HIV in the Mid-West Region. The group provides a time where members can gather to share experiences, difficulties, thoughts, feelings, emotions, and positive aspects of the process they are going through in a confidential setting.

GOSHH will be providing free rapid HIV Tests on Wednesday June 15th at its centre on 18 Davis Street, Limerick. No appointment is necessary and results are available in 60 seconds.

For more details on Rapid Testing and the Peer Support Group please contact GOSHH on 061 314354 or email support@goshh.ie

 

GOSHH Roadmap

 

‘The Pulse’ gay night club in Orlando

Onlookers

Onlookers

The Pulse

The Pulse

I was deeply shocked to hear of the sheer scale of the casualties at ‘The Pulse’ gay night club in Orlando.
It is hard to comprehend the enormity of the act and the awful nature of the suffering of the members of the LGBT community.
Those who survived will never be the same again, while the lives of so many, mostly young victims out enjoying themselves on a Saturday night have been cruelly and abruptly ended.
Such attacks on gay venues, with high casualty rates, have occurred before – in London, the US and Israel, while there have been single murders in Belfast like that of Darren Bradshaw at the Parliament Bar (and the Rev David Templeton), and more recently three gay men who were killed in London by a bomb at the Admiral Duncan pub.

 

Northern Ireland is no stranger to mass murder.  Our community knows there is a reservoir of hatred out there that can be motivated to action by political organisations and by religious hate speech. In this case it was Islamist.
The people of Belfast will I know express their solidarity with the people of Orlando, a city in Florida many of us know well and have visited.  Your pain having to bury so many fine people will be hard to bear.

I have asked that our City Hall officials put arrangements in place to allow citizens to show their sympathy to our American friends and that the City Hall gates be opened for people to gather in the grounds on Tuesday at the planned demonstration of support.
Jeff Dudgeon (Belfast City Councillor and NIGRA Treasurer)

 

Further reading:

 

 

 

Onlookers

Onlookers

Swat Team

Swat Team

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Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page where we publish more articles and stories of interest for the wider audience.  We aim to republish those stories and articles which you may have missed due to your busy day – play catch-up and read our Facebook page – it is worth the read!

 

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ROCK AGAINST BOWIE

David Bowie (né Jones) died a short time ago, as ever on such occasions, tributes ‘poured in’, and there is no doubt that Bowie was an artist who could produce very interesting material. He could also, it should be said, produce whole albums-worth of dreck. The person who first broke ranks on the adulation was the comedian (and sharp investigative television reporter), Mark Thomas.

He noted Bowie (“the Thin White Duke”)’s Hitlerian salutes and straightforward racism, shouting “Keep Britain White”, and “Get the foreigners out” in the course of early 1970s gigs. Such people don’t ‘do’ irony, the fact that he was using African-American music crudified for honkie consumption never seems to have ‘fizzed’ on him.

He was, admittedly, one of the few people who composed ‘concept albums’ worth listening to – one on the theme of travelling from Vladivostok to Moscow along the Trans-Siberian Railway. That’s the sort of thing ‘Rock Stars’ did in those days, when not molesting under-age girls or chucking televisions out of hotel windows. Bowie was a quite inconsistent artist and some of his stuff is worthless. The guitarist Eric Clapton, of the band Cream, joined in the racist fun at his own gigs.

A result of this dangerous nonsense was the founding of Rock Against Racism, at the instigation of a professional photographer ‘Red’ Saunders, in a letter to the ‘music press’, presumably mainly NME (New Musical Express) a mass-circulation journal at the time. There already was a group called Rock Against Racism an arm of the SWP (still the International Socialists, becoming a ‘party’ in 1976). The SWP was very gratified at a sudden huge extension of its youth base.

It was less enthralled to learn that the great majority of the base thought their particular analysis of society was surplus to requirements. The SWP personnel were voted out of office in RAR, though the IS / SWP were allowed to sell their wares at RAR gigs – some of which were enormous. The racist Right found that “there ain’t no black in the Union Jack” stirred most teenagers to thump them rather than nod in agreement. Ska and reggae bands were ever-present at RAR gigs and rallies. RAR’s magazine Temporary Hoarding was first published on May Day 1977.

Despite that, the racist Right looked as if it was going to make inroads in electoralist politics, it got 10% of the vote in the 1974 London’s local elections. It certainly seemed to be making determined efforts to monopolise the streets. Kevin Gateley was killed in Notting Hill in the Summer of 1976, prior to that Enoch Powell, in April claimed that ‘Britain’ was being “hollowed from within…” a portentous remark, if not a particularly clear one. England, or at least London, experienced a number of long, hot summers. In August 1977 the National Front staged an “anti-mugging” march through Lewisham. It left the south London, largely plebeian borough in a mess, but did very little to wipe out ‘mugging’ (street theft of purses and money off isolated, working class people) mostly women out shopping.

There can be little doubt that the rank and file of the police were sympathetic to the NF. The ‘blacks’ had suddenly become a majority, allegedly, in some London boroughs and parts of other cities and towns. The ‘Asians’ were a slightly more ambiguous matter, they didn’t look all that out of the ordinary, at least when they didn’t wear ‘Asian’ clothes. And they had the proper attitude to women, they should be seen and not heard, and stay in the kitchen. The ‘Blacks’ largely of West Indian origin have now become observably English. Some third, and forth generation ‘Asians’ have reverted to wearing the sort of clothes worn in the Indian subcontinent. Given that even liberals can use phrases like “fourth generation immigrants” possibly this is not too blameworthy.

Rock Against Racism rather fizzled out in the course of the 1980s mainly because groups like the National Front did, there was nothing like an invasion (you’ll recalled Mrs Thatcher used similar language in the 1990s, when she was Prime MInister) or a ‘deluge’. It was for most towns and cities more of a trickle of immigrants. The people coming into the economy proved useful, – most of the Asians were middle class and educated. They were somewhat similar to the Poles of the ‘noughties’, nearly all of whom had skills. Despite which, the Daily Mail attempted to work up grievances against them – then they all went home.

It is worth mentioning that Blair Peach, a New Zealander was killed opposing a National Front celebration of St George’s Day (April 23rd) in Southall. It is in (far) west London, and was heavily populated by Indians – the biggest Hindu temple on the planet is in the area. Peach was part of a crowd of about 3,000 – they were managed by an astonishing number of police, about 2,500. Peach was killed some streets away clearly obviously trying to get away from a baton charge.

He didn’t manage to escape, and died next day of a physical trauma – a huge injury to the back of his head. The London Metropolitan Police took years to admit that they did it. And that they had been very heavy handed dealing with a crowd that was not being physically aggressive and was not much bigger than their own body of men. This was the socio-political ambience that Bowie and Clapton decided to throw their tuppence worth of racist bilge around.

Change.org Petition Launched to Stop the DUP using Petition of Concern to derail Equality in NI

 

thegaysay1

People in Northern Ireland are sick of living in a discriminatory backwater for gay people’ – Patrick Corrigan (Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director)

 

 

 

The Northern Ireland Assembly in Stormont have now voted on the issue of marriage equality 5 times. All 5 of those motions were blocked by the Democratic Unionist Party through their use of a parliamentary veto called the “petition of concern.” 

Under the complex rules of power sharing in Northern Ireland, parties from either the unionist or nationalist community can use this veto if they feel there is not enough backing from Protestants or Catholics for particular legislation. It was designed to ensure no one community dominated the other following the 1998 Belfast agreement.

This mechanism established to ensure the rights of minorities in Northern Ireland is being continually abused to deny a fundamental right to the LGBT community and, because of this, Northern Ireland is lagging behind the rest of Western Europe in adopting a fairer, more equal and more forward thinking approach to human rights. 

Four previous motions failed to reach a majority in favour of Marriage Equality. However, even if any of these motions did achieve a majority in favour , the DUP had already implemented the petition of concern prior to each vote to ensure the result was a foregone conclusion.

This was also the case with vote 5 in November 2015, but on this occasion the mechanism was officially enacted to veto a majority of politicians who voted ‘AYE’ in favour of the legislation.

Four independent unionist assembly members joined nationalists and others with 53 votes in favour of marriage equality – one vote ahead of the remaining unionists and independents opposed to any reform. A narrow majority but a majority all the same.

The party known as the “Democratic” Unionist Party (DUP) thwarted a democratic vote and derailed equality by using the mechanism unfairly on this issue and it seems most people are not happy about this. 

Numerous surveys have shown that a majority of people in NI are now in favour of marriage equality.

  • In November 2015 a poll jointly commissioned by BBC Northern Ireland and Irish broadcaster RTÉ, revealed that 64 percent of people support equal marriage in Northern Ireland while just 23 percent oppose it. Over 2000 people were surveyed for the cross-borders research, carried out by the polling company B&A. Not far off the landslide 62% YES vote in Ireland’s marriage equality referendum last year.
  • In June 2015 an Ipsos MORI survey interviewed a representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 16+ from across Northern Ireland. The interviews were conducted face-to-face between 20th May and 8th June 2015 with data weighted to match the profile of the population. The results showed that 68% of those surveyed supported marriage equality. The figure rises to 82% among 16 to 34-year-olds and 75% support among 35 to 54-year-olds, but falls to 47% among those aged 55 and over. 

In 2005 UK government actuaries suggested 6% (1 in 16.66) of the population, or about 3.6 million citizens, are either gay or lesbian. The Treasury calculated this estimate when analysing the financial implications of the Civil Partnerships Act. The figures were based on the 2000 National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL), which asked respondents about sexual attitudes and behaviours, but not orientation, and on comparable research from Europe and America.

In a study examining the responses of 7,441 individuals, conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute in Ireland, found that 2.7% of men and 1.2% of women self-identified as homosexual or bisexual. A question based on a variant of the Kinsey scale found that 5.3% of men and 5.8% of women reported some same-sex attraction. Of those surveyed, 7.1% of men and 4.7% of women reported a homosexual experience some time in their life so far.

In reality however this has less to do with numbers and more to do with human beings with feelings and without access to an equal definition and commitment to love. Most of us will know someone who is gay. This issue is not just about our friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues and neighbours. It is about standing up for basic human rights. 

The DUP have to stop differentiating peoples’ rights under the law according to their sexuality. It’s simple genetics. It would be absurd to say blonde people couldn’t marry. We’ll give them blond partnerships. Blond people could ruin the sanctity of marriage.

The DUP should step up on this issue and show NI is about equality and unity. The negative narrative has clearly has now so evidently isolated us in Western Europe.

The love between same sex and opposite sex couples is the same. Why can’t their love be recognised in the same way?

Love is love regardless of gender and hair colour.

This shouldn’t be an issue of gay rights, blond rights, transgender rights or Christian rights. This is about human rights and the equal recognition of love under the law.

It has already been established that any marriage equality legislation will grant religious organisations protections so that they will not have to officiate same sex ceremonies. This means there is no threat to the religious interpretation and view that marriage should remain as between a man and a woman. It’s just not right that in a democratic society everyone should be forced to think that way. The only people truly affected by this legislation would be those who wish to marry someone of the same sex.

Sign this petition to voice your opposition to the DUP’s abuse of the petition of concern and to petition OFMDFM to agree not to use such a veto on what is evidently a human rights and equality issue.  
As first minister and leader of the DUP, Arlene Foster has the power to bring Northern Ireland into the 21st century and alter the perception that her party is trapped in the past. The last thing Northern Ireland needs for its image right now is the perception that it is “on the wrong side of history.” Sign your name on the petition HERE and stand up for human rights.

Letter to
Office of the First and Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland (OFMDFMNI)
Stop the DUP using the ‘petition of concern’ to veto Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland

Miners campaigner Gethin Roberts to visit Southmead Hospital to mark LGBT History Month

 

Aaron Sims, Reporter / Friday 12 February 2016 / News

Southmead Hospital

Mr Roberts will be visiting Southmead Hospital next week as part of a series of events marking LGBT History Month

 

A FOUNDING member of a lesbian and gay group that supported striking UK miners in the 1980’s, is visiting Southmead Hospital next week to help mark LGBT History Month.

Gethin Roberts, a founding member of Lesbian & Gays Support the Miners, depicted in the hit 2014 film Pride, will visit the hospital on February 17-18, as part of a series of events organised by North Bristol NHS Trust.
On Wednesday, February 17, Mr Roberts will be present at a special screening of Pride, taking place in the Hospital’s Learning and Research centre at 5pm, and the following day, he will take part in a seminar from 11am to 1pm.
To close the month Cheryl Morgan, a presenter on Bristol’ Ujima radio station, will be hosting a trans-awareness seminar on Wednesday, February 24 from 10.45am.

Both events are free for members of the public.

Unite the Union, Bristol Health Branch chairman, Phil Hedges, said: “We are delighted to support the events for LGBT History Month at North Bristol NHS Trust.

“Everyone is welcome to attend the events to find out more about LGBT people in a social setting and to recognise the struggle for rights at work.

 

Waterstones Children’s Book Prize: LGBT storylines make it onto youth fiction shortlist

Jandy Nelson’s ‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ and ‘The Art of Being Normal’ by Lisa Williamson cover issues of sexuality and gender

Lisa Williamson

Lisa Williamson, author of ‘The Art of Being Normal’ Good Egg Media/Vimeo

 

Novels with LGBT storylines have been shortlisted for a major children’s books prize, as modern teenage issues increasingly replace werewolves and vampires in the plots of youth fiction.

Two of the stand-out novels on the shortlist for the older fiction category of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize focus on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender.

Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun is the story of a brother and sister driven apart by tragedy but brought back together as they both fall for boys at the same time. The San Francisco author’s second novel has been optioned by Warner Bros to be adapted into a film.

Waterstones Prize: The shortlist

Illustrated Books

Have You Seen Elephant? David Barrow 
Cinderella’s Sister and the  Big Bad Wolf  Lorraine Carey and Migy Blanco 
Hector and HummingbirdNicholas John Frith  
The Crow’s Tale Naomi Howarth 
The Bear and the Piano  David Litchfield 
Super Happy Magic ForestMatty Long 

Younger Fiction

Bird Crystal Chan  
Darkmouth Shane Hegarty 
Witch Wars Sibéal Pounder 
The Blackthorn Key Kevin Sands 
My Brother is a SuperheroDavid Solomons 
The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow Katherine Woodfine 

Older Fiction

The Accident Season  Moïra Fowley-Doyle  
Seed Lisa Heathfield  
13 Days of Midnight Leo Hunt 
I’ll Give You the Sun  Jandy Nelson
The Sin Eater’s DaughterMelinda Salisbury 
The Art of Being Normal Lisa Williamson

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson follows two teenagers struggling with their gender identities and finding it hard to keep the secret at school.

Juno Dawson, a children’s author who has herself recently transitioned, hailed the rising profile of LGBT-themed youth fiction. She told The Independent: “The floodgates are open and I don’t think they will close again. I hope we will see diversity as standard in children’s books.

“Ten years ago, authors may have been wary that including diverse characters would affect sales, but I don’t think that’s true anymore.”

She added: “These books are now getting their moment in the spotlight,” but cautioned: “We must be careful that diversity doesn’t become a fad in the way vampires were a fad with publishers getting bored and moving on.”

In total, 18 books have been shortlisted for the 2016 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, split into the categories of older fiction, younger fiction and illustrated books.

The organisers pointed out that although fantasy and adventure books were still present, they did not dominate the list.

Jandy Nelson

‘I’ll Give You the Sun’ author Jandy Nelson (jandynelson.com)

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, said: “It doesn’t surprise me that fiction should reflect the issues and concerns of society as a whole. Great works of fiction reflect those issues that are of primary concern in a society.

“LGBT rights are something teenage children are informed about and can talk about sensitively – that wasn’t the case at the time of my childhood. The whole quality of understanding and debate has moved on dramatically, and we’re the better for that.”

Two books on the older fiction list are coloured by “the dark shadow of abuse”: Lisa Heathfield’s Seed, about being raised in a cult, and Moïra Fowley-Doyle’s The Accident Season.

In the younger fiction category, Crystal Chan’s Bird, the author’s first novel, tells the tale of how grief and guilt threaten to overwhelm a family. The animal kingdom dominates the illustrated books shortlist.

Florentyna Martin, children’s buyer for Waterstones, said: “Today’s children do not just enjoy books for the escapism they offer, but for how they can illuminate life in all its shades of light and dark.”

The winners will be announced on 17 March, with the overall book of the year prize accompanied by a cheque for £5,000.