Pride Cornwall

Wee (upstart) took an interest in Pride Cornwall partly because it is a new matter. And partly because we have received reports over the past year about misbehaviour on the part fo the po9lice and social services in the County.
Cornish pride festival a huge success (The Packet.co.uk)I went down to Truro, with my new camera, (maybe I should have read the instructions), to see the Pride for myself.
Either our reports are of very isolated events, or the Pride committee decided that a point could be made better with a smile than with a scowl. I had a chat with Andrew Jolly (‘… as in Father Christmas…’ as he put it. Clearly a man who has heard all the ‘jokes’. I think he was slightly puzzled about my making a bit of a big deal about ‘solidarity’. He said that there had been 500 on the Pride ‘march’, and that the big even that evening was sold out. It had been a most successful Pride.
The one fly in the ointment had been a number of people sitting down in the street at the start of the event. They object to a homosexual demonstration in ‘their’ city. (The possessive seem to irritate Andrew, but that is the style of ‘Bible’ Protestants. They handed out a fairly non-specific glossy tract. They are the Truro Evangelical Church. It has connections with a League of Independent Evangelical Churches. As they did not ask their colleagues about the country to help them, they are (probably) not going to be a long-term nuisance for Pride. (But they will need watching. The Christian Institute may feel the need to provide them with lots of money).
I was on the parade, and talked to an took photographs (which may never be accessible) of lots of people. Starting with a large … jolly… man wearing a black kilt. I asked him if it was a Cornish kilt. ‘No, it’s a Gay kilt!’ I photographed Patches a very handsome greyhound (with traces of border collie?). And a very handsome young man called Richard.
Richard was dressed in ‘Elizabethan’ costume. I didn’t ask if it was some particular ‘Elizabethan’ – these adventurous chaps tended to turn into mass-murderers if they put foot on Irish soil. There were a fair number of people in ‘uniform’ including the man who seemed to be Master of Ceremonies. He wore a modern (British) army Lieutenant’s jacket (but no shirt – and very nice it all was too). He should award himself another pip for this year’s work.
I mention this as a simple observation, there were two people in wheel-chairs on the march (I am not entirely sure if the ‘walk’ was described as a ‘march’). As you may gather from other reports I’m not over-fond of the word, in this context anyway. There were probably more women than men, and lots of dogs (not all as fabulously beautiful as Patches). There were also lots of nice young men (not all as… well…).
The Polis were not out in large numbers. ?Before the Christian Institute got the head-bangers out in Belfast, the RUC / PSNI loved Pride. They had to be out in large numbers because ‘marches’ are contentious in NornIrl. But Pride was just a wee Dander with friendly people (and they got paid for it!). a_Cornwall_Pride_1
We had to climb a hill at the end of the parade. ?Proving that the committee is made up of under-forties. There was also a very narrow path into the park which was our destination. It made for a spectacular, near medieval sight as banners had to be carried at odd angles. They were the banners of Pride, Unison, the PCS union, and the Gay Gordons, from London. (A passer-by tried to put on a sour face, and rather succeeded, until he started steppin’ and leppin’). There were other banners.
One major oddity was that the drum band was at the very back of the parade. It was a rather good drum band, made up entirely (I think) of young fellas. They weren’t just at the back. Their sound was hidden behind a float. Live music is invaluable on this sort of demonstration. They should have been at the front. This is not just a bee in my bonnet. Orange Lodges, which know a lot about parades, go to great trouble and expense to procure the services of decent bands.

Nor Ireland Comment

Extract from the Belfast Pride Focus (www.allianceparty.org)

Alliance deputy leader, Naomi Long MLA has demanded that the Office of the First Minster and Deputy First Minister break the logjam on funding for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gendered sector.

Naomi said “Since devolution was restored last year, there has been a ‘complete freeze’ on issues affecting the LGBT sector, looked after by the First and deputy Fist Minister. The goverment’s Sexual Orientation Strategy has been put into deep freeze and funding slashed.

“This is a real blow to voluntary groups carrying out vital work in the gay community, especially in rural areas. Already stretched counselling and support services are facing deepening financial crisis, leaving many very vulnerable people without a safety net.

“The DUP clearly have serious issues to address regarding their attitude to the LGBT community, but Sinn Fein cannot duck their own responsibilities here either. They designed a system which allows the DUP to veto work supported by parties which represent 70% of the people in Northern Ireland.

“Sinn Fein must put their money where their mouth iSeand put this issue near the top of their agenda in their current talks.

Alliance wants to see OFMDFM act to ensure that every member of our community is treated with dignity regardless of their sexual orientation.”

1. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006
2. The Alliance Party

Another Struggle: Sexual Identity Politics in Unsettled Turkey

By Kerem ?¢ktem
Source: Middle East Report

What happens when almost 3,000 men, women and transgender people march down the main street of a major Muslim metropolis, chanting against patriarchy, the military and restrictive public morals, waving the rainbow flag and hoisting banners decrying homophobia and demanding an end to discrimination? Or when a veiled transvestite carries a placard calling for freedom of education for women wearing the headscarf and, for transsexuals, the right to work ….

See the rest of the report here: http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/18843

DUP hit Hurricane

The DUP councillor who caused outrage by claiming that Hurricane Katrina was sent as a punishment from God back in 2005 was last night remaining tight-lipped after New Orleans was hit again.
Ballymena Mayor Maurice Mills refused to elaborate on his views as Hurricane Gustav battered the the US Gulf Coast, just three years after Katrina devastated the southern Louisiana area.
In 2005, Mr Mills said the natural disaster ‘ which killed at least 1,800 people, caused vast flooding and left tens of thousands homeless ‘ waSean act of God against those who practice sodomy.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the veteran DUP man refused to say whether his hard-line stance has changed, or if he thought the inhabitants of the US city were being punished yet again.
The elements are in the hands of God, he said.
I’m leaving it there. I don’t want to say anything else about it.
Back in 2005, Mr Mills pointed out that the huge storm arrived just days before revellers were due to gather in New Orleans to celebrate the annual gay mardi gras’.
The recent Hurricane Katrina descended on New OrleanSeand took many people suddenly into eternity, he said.
However, the media failed to report that the hurricane occurred just two days prior to the annual homosexual event called the Southern Decadence Festival which the previous year had attracted an estimated 125,000 people.
Surely this is a warning to nations where such wickedness is increasingly promoted and practiced.
This abominable and filthy practice of sodomy has resulted in the great continent of Africa being riddled with Aids, all at great cost to the nationSeand innocent children.
At the time, Northern Ireland gay rights campaigners said he should be sacked. But he said: This is me aSean individual taking a stand for God.

Sean Morrin
Youth Support Worker
The Rainbow Project

12A Queen Street, Derry BT48 7EG

Telephone 028 71283030

www.rainbow-project.org

Registered Company Office 2-8 Commercial Court, Belfast.

Cardiff Pride 2008 Washed Out!

A celebration of gay Pride in a Cardiff park has been cancelled as the venue is waterlogged.

Torrential rain has hit the Welsh capital and organisers finally conceded defeat earlier today.Flood Image from Government Environment Agency

“The Cardiff Pride committee has worked hard to ensure the event can go ahead and this decision has not been taken lightly,” the committee said a statement on the event’s website.

Thousands of tickets had been sold for tomorrow’s Pride in Coopers Field, which was to feature live actSeand dance and cabaret tents.

However, not all is lost.

Some of the planned Cardiff Pride entertainment will go ahead as part of the Street Party event.

“The Cabaret Tent acts will perform on stage in PULSE club from 2pm and most of the Main Stage acts will be on the big Street Party stage,” the organisers said this afternoon.

“Some of the funfair will also be used at the Street Party.

“Street Party tickets are now available from PULSE on Churchill Way.”

Pride replaced the annual Cardiff Mardi Gras, which was cancelled this year due to lack of community and financial support.

Mardi Gras is set to return in 2009. See the Pride Cardiff Website

Spotlight: BBC(NI) Needs You

Dear LGCM,

I am a reporter with BBC Northern Ireland’s current affairs television programme, Spotlight.

We intend to broadcast an edition in September which will assess the reality of being gay in Northern Ireland, any societal problems encountered by gay people, and the levels of tolerance and prejudice in existence.

It is our intention to interview a wide range of people, from gay activists to mainstream politicians, from parents of gay people to community groups, from religious leaders to gay Christians, and others.

If you are gay, Christian, and living in Northern Ireland, I would appreciate it if you would contact me to discuss, in the first instance, your possible contribution to the programme in question.

I’d like to chat informally to any members who might consider going on camera to reflect upon their faith and their sexuality. If interested, we could then discuss the actual process of filming for the programme.

All calls will be in confidence. My mobile number is 07779 329634. My producer, Elaine Forrester, is on 07968 904623.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours,

Brian Hollywood
Reporter, BBC Northern Ireland Television Current Affairs

Martin Prendergast on John Henry & Cardinal Newman

” I slightly disagree with the line [Peter Tatchell has] taken on this. The story re-emerged when Jonathan Wynne-Jones at The Daily Telegraph rang me some weeks ago now about an article he was doing for The Sunday Telegraph. Evidently I’d referred to J H Newman age 23Newman and St. John’s burial together a couple of years ago in another interview for the life of me, I couldn’t remember it! After The Sunday Telegraph piece appeared, in which my comments were paraphrased rather than accurately quoted, I got accused by various fundamentalist Catholic blogs of smearing’ Newman see Catholic Action UK ! The story has rumbled on ever since. I, of course, immediately checked that chapter in The Friend [Alan Bray, The Friend, Chicago Press, chapter 7] for the accurate details. There’s been interesting recent coverage in The Tablet both in editorial comment and in its Letters pages.

Interest emerged again a couple of weeks ago. I did interviews with BBC Birmingham and BBC Oxford. The line I’ve been taking is as follows: It’s actually irrelevant to me where Newman is buried and preoccupation with this is a digression. Given that the word ‘homosexual’ had been barely coined when Newman was alive, it’s not entirely appropriate to suggest that he would have had such a consciousness of homosexuality’ or sexual orientation, per se, even though as you suggest, given his profound historical knowledge of the Christian tradition in its broadest sense, he would probably have been aware of the kind of things Alan Bray points to. It’s also inappropriate to read back into the 19th Century our contemporary gay consciousness’.

I’d tend to agree with the Oratory superiors’ hypothesis that given the type of person Newman was, had he known he would be raised to the altars’, he would have been the first to submit his obedience to the demands of the Church. Nevertheless, there is simply no way the intensity and depth of his relationship with Ambrose St. John can be airbrushed out of the equation. I’m not calling for them to be exhumed and re-buried together, but cannot agree that the vocabulary used by Newman about Ambrose St. John is poetic’, as was suggested by an interviewer at BBC Oxford, probably given that lead by someone from Birmingham Archdiocese. This was proposed on the grounds that Newman was a great poet e.g writing The Dream of Gerontius , and various hymns. Even if it was poetic’, it begs the question: what level of human reality prompted such intense poetic language.

Some of those who have commented, like Peter Tatchell, reveal their ignorance of Catholic procedureSeand practice and have been too simplistic in ascribing the reason for exhumation as a desire to bury’ the Newman/St. John story. I had heard a couple of years ago that one of the reasons for the delay in confirming Newman’s path to beatification (Blessed) the interim stage in the total process to canonization (Saint) was the investigation of the nature of his relationship with Ambrose St. JohnAmbrose St John. From what I have heard, Vatican officials were fully aware of its significance, but needed to be assured that such a relationship did not compromise the mutual commitments to priestly celibacy that both Newman and St. John had made as members of the Oratory. This would be perfectly consistent with the current state of Catholic teaching on homosexuality which distinguishes between sexual orientation and sexual activity. In the various interviews I’ve given, I’ve stated very clearly that there is no evidence or suggestion that either of them compromised the demands of celibacy.

The procedures for beatification the first international and public stage in the process to canonization, as opposed to the Venerable’ status which Newman currently enjoys as part of a local (Birmingham/UK) process requires that the body is verified as being whom it is claimed to be, and therefore a requirement for exhumation. Fragments of bone or other verifiable body matter are then taken as 1stClass relics’, one being preserved in the Vatican, and others locally. This is the stage where such bodies are usually re-interred in a suitable place for public veneration. There have been all sorts of problems relating to Rednal Cemetery between the Oratory and the local authority. I’ve never been there, but I gather it’s surrounded by a pretty grotty housing estate, and access is a nightmare. The Birmingham Oratory and the Archdiocese are clearly aware that Newman will attract many pilgrims from all over the world, and the current burial place simply could not cope with this. It is also unprecedented for someone who is not a candidate for canonization to be enshrined with someone who is. This applies to married heterosexual couples as much as to anyone else. Roman Catholic canon law and procedures could not allow formal public veneration of someone whose life has not been investigated in the same way, and to whom so-called miracles have not been ascribed. The only couples I am aware of who have been interred together in this way are those who are BOTH candidates for sainthood, and these are few and far between.

I have no doubt that there are many in the Vatican who might wish to use such exhumation to bury any homo-positive notions about Newman, just as all sorts of religious authorities, and not just Roman Catholic, have done at various periods throughout history with regard to issues around the place and role of women, and even black people and slaves.

I’ve said that many of Newman’s biographers have attested to the times in his life whenNewman near the end of his life - Wikipedia he was a tortured and anguished human being, even quite neurotic. There is also a degree of evidence from other sources about his effeminacy, not that this should, of course be equated with a homosexual orientation. If sainthood is about being the best possible human being you are intended to be, then there can be no doubt that part of Newman’s journey towards such a human betterment must be ascribed to the fulfillment achieved through this relationship with Ambrose St. John. Just as many married clergy would say that their vocation and ministry is enhanced because of their Marriage rather than in spite of it, so I’m sure Newman’s life was enhanced by his intense friendship with St. John. It contributed to him becoming the better human being he became, and hence now being venerated by so many CatholicSeand others as a saintly Doctor of the Church.

Underlying this, as well, is the concern in some Vatican quarters that Newman’s sainthood should not be politicised’, e.g. that he be claimed as a gay patron saint’ for example. Such politicising’ reservations have been made in more recent times about Archbishop Romero of El Salvador [I am very familiar with the progress of is beatification process]. In the current Vatican climate of a return to pre-Vatican II models of Church and understandings of theology and ritual, there could also be concerns about how some of Newman’s key theological insights are promoted in the contemporary Roman Catholic Church: the development of doctrine, issues of authority and reception of teaching by the body of the faithful, the rights of conscience, etc.

Link to Wikipedia: ?John Henry Newman and Ambrose St. John, also extract from ‘Life of Cardinal Newman’ about Ambrose

Protected: The Making of a Community – NIGRA

NIGRA (the NORTHERN IRELAND GAY RIGHTS ASSOCIATION) was formed in 1974. It consisted of the Gay Liberation Front (in origin a student Society of the Students’ Union of Queen’s University, Belfast,) and the Sappho lesbian groups in Coleraine, Craigavon, Derry / Londonderry and other places. Sappho magazine was launched in London at the same time, rather than causing friction, it led to a useful alliance. Other groups were the Northern Ireland Council on Religion and Homosexuality, (NICRH – members knew it as ‘knickers’) run from Portadown, (it later became the Gay Christian Fellowship, and then Outlook), and the 1974 Homosexual Law Reform Committee (of which [Archbishop] Robin [Lord] Eames was a Trustee). There was also a group for TransvestiteSeand Transsexuals (ancestor of the Belfast Butterfly Club) run from Bangor, North Down. ‘Gay Rights’ was taken to mean the rights of anyone oppressed on account of their – actual, or imputed – sexuality.

The main thrust of NIGRA’s campaigning was the demand that those elements of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, decriminalising some male [homo]sexual acts be extended to Northern Ireland. Westminster was forced to do this by the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights): the law was extended in October 1983. Gay men were thereby equally oppressed throughout the UK state. This ECHR judgement laid down a legal norm on the matter of the civil right to privacy of gay men, and by implication of all Gay people, (and of all citizens, irrespective of sexuality, or orientation).The campaign lasted six yearSeand, the actual case before the ECHR (a body attached to the Council of Europe, and not to the European Union) is named after the plaintiff, Jeff Dudgeon. The ‘Dudgeon Judgement’ has been quoted in cases before, for example, the Supreme Courts of Colombia, and of Romania. It has also been the subject of academic investigation in universities as far apart ‘as New England and New South Wales.The spirit in which the UK State fought the case is evidenced by the fact that NIGRA was denied its costs of more than 25,000. This money had been donated by Gay women and men, and their organisations, from Seattle, Washington State, USA, to

Auckland, New Zealand. The UK government’s behaviour in this case was in contradiction, and contempt, of the convention in these matters.

Sixteen, Seventeen, even EighteenIn early 1994, NIGRA spearheaded a campaign to have the relevant provisions of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act extended to Northern Ireland. This reduced the male homosexual age of consent from 21 to 18, the latter being a “compromise” age, stopping short of equality at 16. The age has been further reduced to 16 in England & WaleSeand in Scotland, and to 17 in Northern Ireland.

The latter figure is not a result of some ancient act of the vassal Irish ‘Parliament’. It’s due to an enactment of ‘Stormont’ dating from 1950. It waSean attempt to bring the age of consent into line with that in England [& Wales], and Scotland. This means that for more than 10 years the age of consent in Northern Ireland was lower that of the rest of the UK State. Understand that “age of consent” is ‘journalese’ and not a technical legal term, it does not appear in any laws of the land in any part of the UK State, or any ‘Common Law’ state (the UK, the USA, most of ‘the Commonwealth’; or Eire). The Law CourtsOver the years we have exposed the hostile attitude of the Courts to Gay women and men. The refusal of judges, on numbers of occasions (it is the usual attitude of these men: there are no women on the bench in Ulster) to allow lesbian mothers access to their children iSean injustice. Children have, usually, been handed over to heterosexual male parents who were drunks, drug-takers, religious fanatics, and / or guilty of domestic violence. Gay male parents come before the courts very rarely, and are even less likely to be allowed to look after their children. Such parents usually feel it necessary to prevaricate, about their sexuality and their domestic arrangements.

The Portsmouth Defence

The use of the ‘Portsmouth Defence’ (also known, more recently, as the ‘homosexual panic’ defence), has been exposed by uSeand has been the object of prolonged campaigning work. The ‘Defence’ consists of claiming that the victim (of murder or manslaughter) was making unwanted sexual advances to the killer. These alleged sexual advances (the dead have no defence in our courts), have

been held to justify killings of extraordinary violence. In fact, types of violence: rendering the victim unrecognisable by stamping or jumping on their face and upper body – is a sure sign of this sort of killing.This defence is becoming less widely used, due to the work of Gay Rights campaigners here, and also in England & Wales, and in Scotland (and further afield where English Common Law, or the enactments of Westminster, form the basis of the law of the land). NIGRA has played a most significant part in this, we have, over many years, supplied material to documentary programme makers who have exposed the practice. We have also taken the matter up at many legal levels up to the Office of Lord Chancellor (the chief law officer of the UK state).

The PoliceOur relations with the police (the RUC – Royal Ulster Constabulary / now the PSNI – Police Service of Northern Ireland) has improved over the years. There was a painful series of encounters in 1977, when picketing a large newsagents which refused to stock Gay News (while stocking the publications of groups which had bombed their premises!). The same year saw the series of arrests of officers of a number of Gay groups, (Cara-Friend, NIGRA, the 1974 Homosexual Law Reform Committee), which led to the Dudgeon case at the ECHR.There was a confrontation over the cover-up of the murder of a Gay man, Anthony McCleave. Mr McCleave was killed in 1978. The RUC closed the case within twentyfour hours. It was reopened due to a campaign by NIGRA (backed by Mr McCleave’s family). Anthony McCleave was found, by the longest-sitting Coroner’s Inquiry in Commonwealth [of Nations] history, to have been murdered. (It may be that the police were attempting to “spare” the family the shame of Anthony having been the victim of a Gay-killing. His family were quite aware of his sexuality, and demanded justice.) GLASNOSTSince the turn of the 1990s, with Pride events, especially the Dander, organised for a number of years by a sub-committee of NIGRA, relations with the police have become less confrontational. An element of glasnost has overtaken the RUC, and NIGRA has since 1996, taken part in the training of full-time officers. We have also taken to visiting police stations to try to get the Superintendent in charge to take a graduated approach to the policing of cases involving Gay men (or those engaging


past has been to prosecute first-time offenders, which has led to “exposure” in the tabloid press, and often, to the break-up of marriages, families, careerSeand sometimes, suicide.This work is still in hand and is very necessary, the police tend to mirror, as they see it, the generally accepted opinions of the society around them. They do not, for fairly obvious reasons, like taking an initiative in contentious – ‘moral’ – areas. Public SpaceWe have helped to provide a public space for Gay people, including entertainments like discos, and also social and cultural events. We have published material by Gay women and men and about Gay life, for our own community, at home and away. We have also published such material in general interest magazines, and appeared on, facilitated, or even made, radio and television programmes aimed at the general public. This aspect of our work, as a source of material, and also of advocacy, will probably become more important in the future. We also maintained a library of relevant books, pamphlets, magazineSeand other periodicals, at a time when such material was hard to come by, and was not readily available in public libraries, or commercial outlets. The greater part of our holdings is now with the Linen Hall Library, and includes a full set of the old Gay News – something which the British Library Periodicals department at Colindale, London, does not have.

Section 75Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (the Belfast Agreement) offers great advances to Gay people, in terms of our social rights. It is not equality of citizenship,and that still has to be fought for, (almost certainly at the level of the UK state Westminster, or possibly the European Union) and when we have achieved equal citizenship, it will have to be monitored.

There is still plenty to be done, if you would like to join us come to the meetings on the first Thursday of every month, or contact the following: NIGRA

PO Box 44 Belfast

BT1 1 SH Tel: 02890 665257 /90 664111 e-mail: – ASK BELFAST –I AM TOO PEE’D-OFF TO.

DUPlicity? or, Well Hello Mrs. Robinson

On Friday 6, June (2008) Iris Robinson Iris Robinson MP took part in the Stephen NolanStephen Nolan programme on BBC Radio

Ulster. It was a telephone interview. It started as a celebration of the life on Mary Whitehouse that ‘front-line-fighter’ for civil liberties. Nolan proceeded to put a number of loaded questions to Ms Robinson (an MP, MLA, and chair of the Assembly Committee that oversees Health and Public Safety). The questions were

“Do you think for example that homosexuality is disgusting?” “Absolutely?”. “Do you think homosexuality should be loathed?”. “Absolutely?” . “Do you think it is right for people to have a physical disgust towards homosexuality?””Absolutely!” .

And, “Does it make you nauseous?” to which this responsible (not to mention highly salaried) public representative responded “Yes”. Apart from any other consideration this can’t be accurate. Gay public servants working with Ms. Robinson have not reported her throwing-up when dealing with them. We then got:”Do you think it is something that is shamefully wicked and vile?””Yes, of course it is, it’s an abomination”. Ms Robinson’s responses were spoken in a briskly cheerful tone, as if this mind-bending dialogue were an exchange on the weather. Stephen Nolan wants to be a ‘shock jock’. He has claimed ‘racist feelings’ about the recent influx of non-Europeans into Northern Ireland. It is reasonable to wonder if he has any feelings. Other than ambition. As a broadcaster he has spotted an opening. (For what exactly is up to the reader to decide). He ascended from Radio Ulster to BBC Radio 5 Live, a ‘national’, (meaning all-UK) station. He could be said to have walked Iris Robinson into this scandal. And he must have enjoyed the storm of publicity.

‘( Unpacking Iris IT IS WORTH ‘UNPACKING’ Robinson’s words (and, incidentally, there is Mr & Mrs Robinson no reason to assume that Peter Robinson,

Northern Ireland’s current First

Minister, disagrees with his wife. They are Elim Pentecostalists, not Free Presbyterians. Elims make the Free Ps sound positively liberal on matters [homo]sexual). “Disgusting” means literally throwing-up your food. Iris Robinson has, presumably never disgorged her dinner simply thinking about homosexuality. Which she (presumably) doesn’t do very often (her not being Gay). Does she really think that “homosexuality” should be “loathed”? Can she guarantee when she (and the people who agree with her sentiments) is in the throes of this loathing, that they will distinguish between the thing and the person? Gay women and men come in all shapeSeand forms. Some are erotomaniacs. Some unambiguously Gay people do not feel the need to have sex. Ever. Are they to be ‘loathed’ equally? (Sexuality is as integral to Gay people’s personalities as those of what Ms. Robinson would describe as ‘normal’ people. The (

Oxford Concise) dictionary definition of ‘loathe’ is to cause nausea or disgust. Being around ‘Born-Agains’ like Ms. Robinson could cost a fortune in dry cleaning for the average queer.

Tricky Language “ABOMINATION” HAS SICK-MAKING CONNOTATIONS. But Iris Robinson, like most ‘Born-Agains’ is using the word in a tricky way. They tend to treat the King James 1611 Authorised Version of the Bible as if God actually wrote it. Rather than scholars having translated it from a number of languages. (Greek and Aramaic are not even in the same ‘family’ of languages). The Book of Leviticus Chapter 20, Verse 13, reads;”If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: and they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”That seems pretty conclusive. But there are a number of other ‘abominations’ in this Chapter, mostly to do with sex in the family. Leviticus 20 /10 has to do with adultery. Both parties have to be put to death. By stoning.

NIGRA (the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association) put it to the local ‘Born-Agains’ twenty year’s ago that divorced persons are inherently adulterers. It was remiss of them not to have a permanent picket on the Divorce Courts. They never took up this argument. The Great God Science MS. ROBINSON MENTIONED a “lovely psychiatrist” who worked “in my offices” (doing what?). The ‘lovely’ in question is Dr Paul Miller. Dr Paul Miller on the Tmr hEALTH pAGEHe is a Christian medical practitioner and a Lecturer in QUB (the Queen’s University,

Belfast). He spoke on the Nolan show saying he took to this area because a patient ‘struggling with his sexuality’ committed suicide. His attitude to sexuality is not as cut and dried as Robinson’s.

Or he is more careful in his use of language. His views are not particularly popular in his chosen profession. Long before the professional Associations took homosexuality off their lists of ‘disorders’ most psychiatristSeand psychologists agreed with Freud that it was not an illness. Both Dr. Miller and Ms. Robinson want to ‘turn’ homosexual people heterosexual. It is very odd for a professional psychiatrist to imply that ‘heterosexuality’ is unproblematical. There are as many ways of being hetero as there are of being homo. In an interview with the Belfast News Letter, Dr. Miller implicitly admits this: “…sexuality is complex and involves interaction between geneticSeand the environmental background.” He focussed on homosexuality. But the above applies to all sexualities, and orientations. The divorce courts (despite being undisturbed by ‘Born Agains’) are working overtime. Dr. Miller has become “more focussed” on ‘sexual reorientation cases’ in the “past two years”. He is prepared to accept that if his patients “wanted to be “gay-identified to the world”… he would not seek to stop them”. (He would not have the legal right to do so even if the patient had been ‘sectioned’ (placed in a psychiatric unit by the police or a court)).

A “Very Robust Study…” (?) DR. MILLER QUOTED “a very robust study” by Stanton JoneSeand Mark Yarhouse, but did not say what it consisted of, or even what it was, and certainly not where to find it. Drs JoneSeand Yarhouse have produced books jointly. The most recent one is Homosexuality: The Use of Scientific Research in the Church’s Moral Debate. To give them their due, the title is pretty unambiguous.

They are in the business of using scientific data to further the aims of the fundamentalist churches to which they belong. All of their other published work is in the same vein. They were interviewed about the book by NARTH (the National [i.e. all-US] Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality; http://www.narth.com/docs/jonesyarhouse.html ).They claim that “”scientific evidence”” has been misused in debates in the Churches on the “divisive topic of homosexuality”. This is loaded language. It is not a ‘divisive topic’ for 90+% of their professional colleagues. They imply that the “traditional moral” attitude is that homosexual behaviour is “sinful”. They object to departure, on this subject, from “explicit moral teachings of scripture”. Traditional moral teachings on matters homosexual have not been as explicit as these men claim. See historian John Boswell’s books, particularly Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, (it could be criticised for using ‘homosexuality’ as a supra-historical term. ‘Homosexual’ was coined in 1869. The ‘pro-Gay’ Hungarian medical practitioner Benkert wanted to take the matter out of the realm of superstition. And into the realm of scientific investigation. Boswell’s is a benign and thoroughly researched use.) To the question “How prevalent is homosexuality today?” they denounce the ‘Kinsey figures’, to the effect that “10% or more of the general population” is Gay. (A curious use of language, do they think some people ought to be excluded from ‘the general population’?). “Gay rights advocates have used this statistic…” to push for law reform. They imply bad faith on the part of these ‘advocates’. We, allegedly, want more social power than we are entitled to. This is a strange spin on civil rights. Is not the tiniest minority entitled to full civil rights?

They claim that homosexual individuals make up “1.5% – 3%” of the population. There was a vigorous article in Gay Star No. 198? which claimed much the same thing. The import was that we were disabling our politics. Those hordes of cowardly ‘closets’ were a figment. Drs JoneSeand Yarhouse admit that there is no way of knowing what ’causes’ homosexuality. They were not asked what causes heterosexuality. The latter is the more urgent question especially if 97+% of the human race are heterosexual. The good Doctors must be aware of the fact that the Bible supplied justification for chattel slavery and racism until very recently. Ex-Gays

DR. MILLER MAY have been referring to JoneSeand Yarhouse’s Ex-Gays? A Longitudinal Study of Religiously Motivated Change in Sexual Orientation. In a ‘blurb’ for the book, dressed up aSean interview, IVP (InterVarsity Press), the question is posed “Is the research scientifically rigorous?” This gets a long reply in which the phrases “most scientifically rigorous to date” and “uses the most rigorous methods to date” top and tail the response. (Protesting too much? There is no comparison with a named study.) Find this at: academic.ivpress.com.NARTH’s web site carries the legend: “NARTH upholds the rights of individuals with unwanted homosexual attraction to receive effective psychological care and the right of professionals to offer that care”. Someone (or a very expensive advertising agency) worked very hard on that. Note the emphasis on ‘rights’. On the ‘individual’. On the ‘offer’ of ‘care’. ?And the trivialising of homosexuality to a mere ‘attraction’ and away from an ‘orientation’. The

USA’s health system, in so far as there is one, is a purely commercial matter. Psychologically fragile people are being asked by NARTH, to purchase happiness. Despite suave promises, sexual ‘re orientation’ normally has a disastrous effect on the lives of those who have gone through the experience.

These Men Are Dangerous NARTH has a lavish web site, and appears to be well funded. It will have its Convention in

Denver, Coloradoon 7 – 9 November 2008. (Maybe they’ll invite Iris Robinson to open the proceedings.) Dr. Stanton L. Jones teaches at

Wheaton College, Illinois. It dates from 1870s. It is in quite decent conservative Christian institution (complete with a

Billy

Graham

Center). It nowhere states how many students are enrolled. Or. Jones is Provost, and Professor of Psychology. The College’s only two doctorates are in Theology and in Psychology. It is a theological college that lurched into psychology. (For more on Dr. Jones: http://www.wheaton.edu/president/cabinet3.html ).

Dr. Yarhouse is a Professor at

Regent University, Virginia Beach, Virginia. Pat Robertson set up

Regent

Universityin 1977, after becoming a billionaire by way of tele-evangelism. Its motto is Christian Leadership to Change the World. Pat Robertson was a co-founder of the Moral Majority. He has called

Scotlanda ‘dark place’. (He wanted to cut a lucrative deal with the Bank of Scotland. The Gay movement mobilised a large number of big account holders (the STUC – Scottish Trade Union Council, and the Church of Scotland, among them)’to threaten to withdraw their accounts. The Bank of Scotland decided that account holders in

Scotland were more important than was Robertson. And gave him the brush-off.)

Dr. Mark Yarhouse seems happy in

Regent

University which has seven thousand students, most of them part-time. The relevant work has been discussed above. If you want to know more about the man try;

http://www.regent.edu/acad/schcou/facutystaff/fac_bio/yarhouse.hm

The American Dimension THIS AMERICAN DIMENSION IS VERY IMPORTANT. The Christian Institute, using ‘money from

America’ has been trying to stop the Belfast Pride Dander for years now. These connections will have to be investigated, and alliances will have to be made with friendSeand allies in the

USA. There are many from the days of the

Strasbourg campaign.

The DUP, while it may be using duplicitous language appealing to its fundamentalist following – and the gutter – has affiliations with, the Christian Right in the

US. These connections should be investigated. And exposed. Iris Robinson has been decidedly wrong-footed by the reaction to her original sin. And her follow-up explicitly comparing us with murdererSeand child molesters. That probably means that she is skittish and nervouSeand is letting her tongue run away with her. (Though it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Ms. Robinson was still ‘playing to the gallery’.) From Laramie to

Lithuania

IRIS ROBINSON IS UNDER PRESSURE from several sources on the grounds that she has infringed the law of the land. Mostly the ‘Equality’ legislation in

Northern Ireland brought in after the passage of the Government of Northern Ireland Act 1998 (a. k. a. the Good Friday / Belfast Agreement). That is all to the good. The on-line petition to get the (

UK) Prime Minister to ‘reprimand’ Robinson has over 10,000 names at present. Well and good. But the legal cases may be allowed to take forever to get to court. The DUP has Gordon Brown by the gonads. He will be loath to alienate the Party. We need to keep up the pressure in

Northern Ireland. And extend it to

Great Britain and the Republic. To the

USA. And further out internationally.

Iris Robinson is certainly not alone in wanting to curtail the current freedom of action enjoyed by sexual minorities. If she is seen to suffer politically – our enemies may retreat (if only momentarily). If she is not seen to suffer (even if it is only to resign her current position) then the Ayatollahs, Anglican Archbishops, and the rest will take heart. As will the large numbers of politicians who want to curtail our freedoms, from Laramie (Wyoming) to

Lithuania.

Musings from a Cardiff Immigrant

Last weekend I had been invited to a Honda Roadshow ( http://www.honda.co.uk/ ) to view and drive their new models. A two hour window was provided, and this enabled me to test drive 4 different models (the Accord, Civic, FRV and CRV). I must say I was impressed, even on this short review time, and when I compare them to the cars I have driven over my driving life (now 37 years) I can see the developmentSeand refinements. If pushed, I would love the Honda Accord version I drove, which was the top of the range model and an automatic to boot; but life is never that kind to most of us. I will just have to continue to dream.

When I finished with Honda, I decided to visit Cardiff and pop into one of the Gay bars (The Kings Cross) to have a quiet drink, see if any of my friends were about, collect any free publications in this case no friends, but I was able to pick up the Pink Paper, ”

For a Sunday afternoon the bar was busy, and given that the day was showery, cool and a little bit grey I was surprised.

After an hour, and a quick read, I decided to brave the weather and get to my car quickly, for the short journey home. Having just left, I was surprised to see walking down the road the Cardiff entry for

The Last Choir Standing’ – Only Men Aloud! Only Men Aloud!This was a pleasant surprise, and even though I didn’t take the opportunity to stop and chat to them they seemed to be in a rush to get somewhere it certainly brightened up what was a dreary afternoon following my enjoyable car exploits with Honda.

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