Devise our Programme of events for 2009 – GLAD

With 133 days left until Christmas GLAD is now focusing on developing another exciting programme of events for 2009.

During 2008 we have held many interesting events, ranging from our First Birthday party on 10 March to Crazy Golf, Community Safety briefing, Photography competition, Health and Wellbeing Fair and many more. More is also to come with Interior Design event on 2 September 2008, Dance Lesson, Pottery, Sam BummerSeand Christmas Dinner.

We aim to emulate such a successful programme of events in 2009 and have therefore arranged a day where lesbian, gay and bisexual people can come along and help devise our Programme of events for 2009.

It will be fun day where everyone will have an opportunity to contribute ideas.

The event will commence at 10am on Saturday 4 October 2008 at Portaferry Hotel, 10 The Strand, Portaferry, BT22 1PE with a full cooked breakfast, or something more healthy for those keeping an eye on their figure!

We will then discusSeand agree our programme of events after breakfast at approximately 11am breaking for a two course lunch at 1pm. We aim to finish at about 4pm with tea and coffee at 3pm.

The event will be independently facilitated.

Some of us then intend to visit Rioja Mediterranean Bistro, High Street, Bangor and then boogie at Betty Blacks later in the evening. If you are interested in this informal add-on please email mail@andrewmuir.net

Anyone wishing to attend the Development Day should book their place before end of September 2008. Whilst the event is part funded by North Down Borough Council a charge of 10 per person should be paid beforehand to cover costs of catering etc.

This can be paid in person to a GLAD Management Committee member, via cheque (made payable to Gay and Lesbian across Down) to PO Box 317, BANGOR, BT20 9BU or online using Credit or Debit card at http://www.andrewmuir.net/glad.htm (fee is 10.50, extra 50p to cover credit / debit card processing charges)

If you want a lift to the hotel please email info@gladni.org or telephone 07791 398 438

Andrew Muir

Vice Chair – Gay and Lesbian across Down www.gladni.org| 07791 398 438 | PO Box 317, BANGOR, BT20 9BU

5 Shaftesbury Road, Bangor, BT20 3GB
Home telephone 028 9146 3404 Mobile 07813 945411 Work telephone 028 9035 5402
Email: mail@andrewmuir.net Web: www.andrewmuir.net

Belfast Pride – Today and our Future

I unfortunately was unable to attend the Belfast Pride this year; but I was there in spirit as I was one of the
organisers who organised the first Prides in Belfast, and well remember our small but die-hard numberSeand the every present religious organisations who presented themselves at the City Hall against our community.

The photos (link here) which have been provided by one of the Pride walkers indicates that Pride has got bigger and better, and that some (but not all) political partieSeand unions have realised that ‘human rights’ is something for everyone.

I am also prividing links to the Belfast Telegraph (One and Two), which this year has carried two video commentaries on the Pride festival – well done to them.

A Royal Reverant on Parade

Owners brought gay TV network from bland to just fabulous

 

Malcolm Parry, Vancouver Sun Newspaper

Published: Thursday, July 03, 2008

OUTWARD AND UPWARD:

James Shavick’s own recent life could add at least three plots to the half-dozen or so $2-million movies his Shavick Entertainment firm produces yearly. First, an office fire destroyed all his current business documents, recordSeand other material. Then he married former NDP firebrand Joy MacPhail. Finally, in 2006, he and MacPhail acquired majority control of a gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender television network that might otherwise have landed in the ash pit itself.

Not so, it turns out. According to Montreal-raised Shavick, OUTtv? — www.outtv.ca — now has 500,000 subscriberSeand, with a claimed growth of two per cent monthly, “is the fastest-growing television network in Canada.” He said there were 185,000 subscribers when he and MacPhail acquired it to be run as a stand-alone operation by their wholly owned Out Broadcasting Inc.Stacks of videos for editing

The change didn’t just happen. “They were putting absolute crap on the network, and hadn’t refreshed it,” Shavick said of pre-2006 OUTtv. “So we bought thousandSeand thousands of hours of new programming from all over the world.”

Shavick promptly rolled strikes with two British series. The still-running Sugar Rush won an International Emmy award in November 2006. Another lesbian-themed show, the women’s-prison soap Bad Girls, “will be on forever,” Shavick said of the 80 episodes OUTtv acquired.

Still, the network’s growth took more than buying other producers’ material. “There was no advertising, no Nielsen ratings [of viewership], no discipline as to what they paid for shows, and no plans for how they’d distribute the shows they had around the world.”

Right off, Shavick set rates of $800 to $3,000 per half hour for series OUTtv would buy. He also cut a two-way deal with Regent Entertainment, an L.A. based firm whose principals, Paul Colichman and Stephen Jarchow, own the gay-oriented U.S. cable network, Here. Having produced six episodes of a detective show called The Donald Strachey Mystery Series for Here, Shavick is on close enough terms to have had his wedding held at Colichman’s Beverly Hills estate. For OUTtv, he acquired Here’s Hawaii-shot Dante’s Cove series. In return, Here took the Canadian gay reality series ChriSeand John, and the male-modelling series Cover Guy, for which OUTtv has commissioned two new seasons.

“More important for our survival and growth,” Shavick said, was to have staffer Samantha Sowassey “call on and become a colleague of affiliated cable carrierSeand BDU [Broadcasting Distribution Undertaking] providers.”

They included the likes of Bell ExpressVu, Rogers, Starchoice, TeluSeand seemingly unenthusiastic carrier Shaw, “who have the direct marketing connection [with subscribers],” said COO Brad Danks. “So it’s important to have good relationship with them.” Cementing those relationships, Danks said, changed OUTtv “from a fixer-upper to a desirable asset.”

Shavick wouldn’t disclose the worth of that asset, nor its business volume, other than to say OUTtv has gone “from bankruptcy to profitability, worth five times what it was.” Regarding that coyness, former-lawyer Danks quickly added: “We’d worry about being seen as a pump-and-dumpster.”

Nielsen survey results, which are based upon a fairly small sample of reporting television viewers, can swing widely for specialist channels. Still, a year’s worth of results show OUTtv with 20,000 to 40,000 viewers in prime-time to late-night. Unlike most television fare, “late” means going strong to 4 a.m. As well, gay audiences seemingly watch more television on weekends than do straight ones.

“The [World Wide] Web is far more consistent,” said Danks, regarding the viewer rating OUTtv gets from transmitting to 80 nations that way. Canada, the U.S, the U.K., Germany, Russia and Turkey provide most Web viewers. “But we have a steady stream from Iran — where they say they have no gay people,” Danks said, grinning.

“It’s important when you’re improving a brand to spend more on programming than overhead,” Danks said. “So we’re producing a lot of our own.” That means 38 half hours shot in Vancouver this year, 40 more commissioned, and 100 hours purchased, plus 75 more from the Here network. Typical reality shows cost $15,000 to $30,000 per half hour to produce, said Danks.

And shows about gays coming out don’t cut it, he said. “We’ve completed the feedback loop, and we know the community wants to be pictured as it really is, in an authentic manner, and not with stereotypes.”

Still, referring to Cover Guy and the similar, Vancouver-shot How Far Will You Go? Shavick said that includes “reality shows about really good buff guys with their shirts off.”

Not that he and MacPhail should lose theirs. France’s Pink TV and Australia’s Select TV networks failed recently. Still, Shavick said OUTtv has not only sold 80 hours of production to the Benelux (Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands) market, but has licensed its name to a Holland-based group. More such deals may follow, he said.

Meanwhile, as a change from such OUTtv series as the Vancouver Film School collaboration Hot Pink Shorts, Shavick Entertainment is making the $2-million Red Torrent, a volcano-themed disaster movie in the same genre as its like-priced tsunami epic, Tidal Justice.

HOT HAIDA: Designer-entrepreneurs Dorothy Grant and Gina Mae Schubert have all the go-ahead drive of Haida women, even though neither hails from the Queen Charlotte Islands, aka Haida Gwai. Grant was born in Hydaburg, Alaska, and Schubert — her name and blue eyes inherited from a German father — in Prince Rupert.

As members of the Raven clan and Two-Fin Killer Whale family, the cousins first met in 1994. That was two years before Grant ceased selling her high-end, aboriginal-inspired garmentSeand accessories from a Hastings-at-Granville Sinclair Centre store, and combined design-retail operations on 75th Avenue beneath the Arthur Laing Bridge.

The seemingly out-of-the-way locale didn’t harm sales, Grant said. Nevertheless, she’s now tripled her rent to relocate in a 2,500-square-foot facility on Sixth Avenue off Columbia Street, with contract-manufacturing operations situated nearby. She expects to register sales of $1 million there in 2008, likely with wholesale shipments rising from 15 to maybe 50 per cent of sales. Much of the gain should be carried by her middle-range Dorothy Grant label, where jackets run $350-$450, compared to $2,500 in her couture Feastwear line. Even so, her best-sellers are $125-$145 men’s shirtSeand weatherproof $250 street jackets. There’s also the possibility of a popular-priced DYG label recognizing Grant’s middle name, Yvonne.

Grant’s new studio-showroom-workshop — www.dorothygrant.com — is already something of a museum for art by the likes Alano Edzerza, Stan Hunt and John Livingston, and even sculpted-glass works by Grant herself. There’ll likely be paintings from Art of The Raven Design Co. principal Schubert, who has plenty on her plate in the meantime.

The New York School of International Design graduate undertakes commissions in that state, notably an 18-month contract for a lakeside Bridgehampton mansion. But the one-time Whistler gallerist — www.ginamaeschubert.com — is busier now with spa interiors in Whistler and Courtenay, a multiple-beachfront-home development on the island of Nevis, and a $9-million, native-inspired fishing lodge to be developed at Maiden Harbour by Haida chief Ken EdgarSeand the Langara Fishing AdventureSeand Westcoast Fishing Adventures firms.

She said she and partner Colin Johnson own Nesters Liquor Store in Whistler, and, with Cam McIvor, are developing the 117-hectare Ravens Crest project in Pemberton. Schubert said the 300-lot scheme — www.ravenscrest.ca — will include an equestrian centre and an independent school, the latter in conjunction with Dubai-based Global Education Management Systems.

As for their confident business manner, Grant said the Haida “have always had an ample supply of food and everything else. We’ve had a sense of abundance about us.”

And on them, to judge by the Richard Adkins, Robert Davidson, Carmen Goertzen, Jim Hart, Clarence MillSeand Jay Simeon native-themed carved-gold pieces the pair wore at Grant’s opening reception. “Haida women do not part with their jewelry,” Grant said. “Ever.”

malcolmparry@shaw.ca — 604-929-8456

Homosexuality: It isn’t natural

PETER TATCHELL says biology is not destiny. One-sided genetic
explanations of homosexuality are crude, simplistic and doomed to
failure.

http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/5375/

A few years ago, Dr James Watson, the Noble Prize winner who
co-discovered DNA, reopened the controversy over the so-called gay
gene when he defended a woman’s right to abortion. He was quoted in
The Sunday Telegraph as saying: “If you could find the gene which
determines sexuality, and a woman decides she doesn’t want a
homosexual child, well, let her (abort the foetus)”.

Much of the reaction to Dr Watson’s statement focused on its
homophobic versus freedom of choice implications. Largely overlooked
was the fact that such an esteemed scientist was giving credibility to
the flawed theories which claim a genetic causation of homosexuality.

These theories have been given a recent boost by research suggesting
differences in the brain structures of gay and straight people.

According to gay gene theory, genetic factors are responsible for
sexual orientation, with our genetic inheritance programming us to
desire one sex rather than the other. This is a very simple,
deterministic thesis: A causes B.

I don’t disagree that genes (and hormonal exposure in the womb)
influence sexual orientation. The scientific evidence for these
biological influences is presented in the book, Born Gay (2005),
written by Glenn Wilson of the Institute of Psychiatry in London and
Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in psychobiology at the University of East
London.

But contrary to what the authors seem to suggest, an influence is not
the same as a cause. GeneSeand hormones may predispose a person to one
sexuality rather than another. But that’s all. Predisposition and
determination are two different things.

There is a major problem with gay gene theory, and with all theories
that posit the biological programming of sexual orientation. If
heterosexuality and homosexuality are, indeed, genetically
predetermined (and therefore mutually exclusive and unchangeable), how
do we explain bisexuality or people who, suddenly in mid-life, switch
from heterosexuality to homosexuality (or vice versa)? We can’t.

The reality is that queer and straight desires are far more ambiguous,
blurred and overlapping than any theory of genetic causality can
allow.

After studying the sexual experiences of thousands of men, Dr Alfred
Kinsey presented evidence, in Sexual Behaviour In The Human Male
(1948), that “many males combine in their single histories, and very
often in exactly the same period of time, or even simultaneously in
the same moment, reactions to both heterosexual and homosexual
stimuli”.

Some years later, the Kinsey researchers famously reported the case of
a happily married young woman who, ten years into her marriage,
unexpectedly fell in love with a female friend. Divorcing her husband,
she set up house with this woman. Many years later, despite a
fulfilling on-going lesbian relationship, she had an equally
satisfying affair with a man. Examples of sexual flexibility, like
that of this woman, don’t square with genetic theories of rigid erotic
predestination.

One of the main original proponents of gay gene theory, Dr Dean Hamer,
now concedes that it is unlikely that something as complex as human
sexuality can be explained solely in terms of genetic inheritance. He
seems to accept that while genetic factors may establish a
predisposition towards homosexuality a predisposition is not the same
as a causation.

Many studies suggest social factors are also important influences in
the formation of sexual orientation. These include the relationship
between a child and its parents, formative childhood experiences,
family expectations, cultural moreSeand peer pressure.

By about the age of five or six, a combination of biological and
social influences seem to lay the basis of an individual’s sexual
orientation. Because our sexuality is fixed at such an early age, many
lesbianSeand gay men feel they have been homosexual all their lives
and therefore mistakenly conclude that it must be genetic and that
they were born queer.

They also see the gay gene explanation as a useful defence against the
arguments of the religious right, which dismisses same-sex
relationships as a lifestyle choice. But no one sits down one day and
chooses to be gay (or straight). Sexual orientation is not a choice
like choosing which biscuits to buy in a supermarket. We don’t have
free will concerning the determination our sexual orientation. Our
only free will is whether we accept or repress our true inner sexual
and emotional desires.

The relative influence of biological versus social factors with regard
to sexual orientation is still uncertain. What is, however, certain is
that if gayness was primarily explainable in genetic terms we would
expect it to appear in the same proportions, and in similar forms, in
all cultureSeand all epochs. As the anthropologists Clellan Ford and
Frank Beach demonstrated in Patterns Of Sexual Behaviour (1965), far
from being cross-culturally uniform and stable, both the incidence and
expressions of same-sex desire vary vastly between different
societies.

They found, for example, that young men in some tribes (the Aranda of
Australia, Siwan of Egypt, Batak of Sumatra, Anga of Melanesia and
others) had relationships with boys or older male warriors, usually
lasting several years, often as part of manhood initiation rituals.
Eventually ceasing homosexual contact, they subsequently assumed
sexual desires for women.

If sexual orientation was genetically prefixed at conception, as the
proponents of the gay gene claim, these young men would never have
been able to switch between heterosexual and homosexual relations with
such apparent ease.

Likewise, a glance at history reveals huge disparities between
configurations of homosexuality in different eras down the ages.
Same-sex behaviour in Ancient Greece was very different, in both its
prevalence and particular manifestations, from homosexuality in
Confucian China, Renaissance Italy, Meiji Japan, Tudor England and
late twentieth century USA. Moral values, social ideologieSeand
cultural expectations – together with family patternSeand parent-child
interaction – seem the only credible explanation for these massive
historical divergences.

Despite obvious theoretical and empirical weaknesses, the claims that
certain genes cause homosexuality have been seized upon and vigorously
promoted by many in the lesbian and gay rights movement (especially in
the US).

The haste with which these unproven, questionable theories have been
embraced suggests a terrible lack of self-confidence and a rather sad,
desperate need to justify queer desire. It’s almost as if those
pushing these theories believe we don’t deserve human rights unless we
can prove that we are born gay and that our homosexuality is beyond
our control: ‘We can’t help being fagSeand dykes, so please don’t
treat us badly’. This seems to be the pleading, defensive sub-text of
much of the pro-gay gene thesis.

Surely we merit human rights because we are human beings? The cause of
our homosexuality is irrelevant to our quest for justice. We are
entitled to dignity and respect, regardless of whether we are born
queer or made queer, and irrespective of whether our homosexuality is
something beyond our control or something freely chosen.

The corollary of the ‘born gay’ idea is the suggestion that no one can
be ‘made gay’. This defensive argument was used by some gay leaders
during the campaigns against Section 28, which banned the “promotion”
of homosexuality by local authorities, and again during the lobbying
of parliament for the equalisation of the age of consent.

Supporters of Section 28 and opponents of an equal age of consent
justified their stance with the claim that people need to be protected
against ‘pressure’ and ‘seduction’ into the homosexual lifestyle.

Some gay spokespeople responded by arguing that it’s impossible to
‘make’ someone gay, and that a same-sex experience at an early age
cannot ‘persuade’ a heterosexual person to become homosexual.

At one level, they are right. Sexual orientation appears to become
fixed in the first few years of life. For most of us, it is impossible
to subsequently change our sexual orientation.

However, what definitely can change as people grow older is their
ability to accept and express formerly repressed queer desires. A
person who is ostensibly heterosexual might, in their mid-30s, become
aware of a previously unrecognised same-sex attraction that had been
dormant and unconscious since childhood. Society’s positive
affirmation of homosexuality might help such a person discover and
explore those latent, hidden, suppressed feelings.

The homophobes are thus, paradoxically, closer to the truth than many
gay activists. Removing the social opprobrium and penalties from queer
relationships, and celebrating gay love and lust, would allow more
people to come to terms with presently inhibited homoerotic desires.
In this sense, it is perfectly feasible to ‘promote’ lesbian and gay
sexuality and ‘make’ someone queer. Individuals who have a homosexual
component in their character, but are inhibited by repression or
guilt, definitely can be encouraged to acknowledge their same-sex
attraction and act upon it.

Were future generations to grow up in a gay-positive, homo-friendly
culture, it’s likely that many more people would have same-sex
relationships, if not for all of their lives at least for significant
periods. With this boom in queer sex, the social basis of homophobia
would be radically undermined.

In this state of greater sexual freedom, where homosexuality becomes
commonplace and ceases to be disparaged or victimised, gayness would
no longer have to be defended and affirmed. Gay identity (and its
straight counterpart) would thus, at last, become redundant. Hurrah!

Jeff Dudgeon

Blasts From The Past

The Myth of Homophobia Revolutionary Gay Men’s Caucus

Kelson Publications 1.50

A radical Marxist analysis of the Gay movement and its development. This publication by the RGMC identifies the real reason for our oppression. Our campaigns have always been regarded as a struggle against our various enemies, which have been defined as ignorance, the law, the family, even ourselves, and these factors have been consolidated into something called homophobia’. The word homophobia itself, as the writer rightly points out, seems to suggest a hang-up in the minds of those responsible for legislation and those who have command of the state, nothing more that a misguided attitude, i. e. that homophobia’ is simply an optional’ form of oppression to racism sexism, etc.

Many people feel content to attack the special characteristics of the capitalist system in the hope that more liberated life-styles can be achieved. This pamphlet argues that we can never harmonise radical ideas with the capitalist system, and our presumption that homophobia’ is the root of our oppression, has blinded us from understanding why we are oppressed at all. Fighting for integration within a capitalist society it is argued, has achieved nothing, as there has been an increase in convictions of Gay men since 1967 when the law against us was reformed! Job discrimination still takes place, and the struggle to protect Gay rights at work has achieved little, as yet.

The main reason why a gay scene’ developed in our society is that the free labour market has permitted a sizeable minority of Gay people to congregate in capital citieSeand large towns. We therefore have formed communities which do not exist in many other countries, as their economies have developed differently.

During the 18th century, huge increases in wealth derived from exploitation of the agricultural system by individual capitalists led to the growth of wage-labour and industrial capitalism. Same-sex relationships were most common among those who were economically independent. To be useful to the capitalist system, workers were encouraged and socially pressurised into, family relationships. Unproductive’ relationships which did not seem in the interest of the economic system were frowned upon by the state.

The Caucus conclude that due to the nature of the development of our society, reformism’ cannot possibly make us more accepted within the system. What is needed are revolutionary ideas which challenge the economic order. The struggle of the working class is inseparable from that of Gay people. The Gay movement’ has acted against the interests of working people by integrating with the Gay bourgeoisie and becoming their clients. The only positive movement is the movement for working class unity against capitalist interests everywhere, and the Stalinist leadership in Eastern Europe.

Tim Clarke

eeeee

ANOTHER VIEW:

In this pamphlet, the RGMC have tried to challenge mainstream Gay politics by placing it in context with the rise of capitalist industrial states. Historically, there is evidence to suggest that homosexuality was largely ignored in rural economies which dominated before the industrial revolution. This was because for a working class individual it was virtually impossible to survive outside the family unit, and so homosexuality never became a threat to that society.

With the industrial revolution came a change in the labour structure, with working class people moving from working for survival to a system of wage labour where they found they could more than just survive. Thus, rural societies declined as their populations moved to the new industrial centres.

It is in the changes of the social structures of this period that the roots of much of our oppression is to be found. Within these changing structures individuals came to an awareness that sexuality was no longer necessarily tied to a need to procreate, thus weakening the family’s hold on each successive generation. But, with the change to an industrially-based economy, the basic structure of the working class family had become vital to the ruling classes, whose new-found profits depended on the continued reproduction of a socially-stable labour force. Thus, such aberrations’ as homosexuality ceased to be merely perversions punished, but became a direct threat to be condemned legally, morally and socially.

Since the industrial revolution, the working classes have become generally better educated and increasingly self-aware, enabling oppressed people to come to re-define themselves in relation to society; witness the Black and Women’s movements, and now the post-Stonewall Gay movement.

After the Stonewall riots, Gays for the first time directly confronted the Trade Union and Labour movements of Europe, including the UK, with the facts of our oppression only to be met with shock and bewilderment. This reinforced the pre-Stonewall line taken by Gay Rights campaigners that our oppression stems from ignorance and that by law-reform and education of the public we would be defeating oppression and prejudice.

It is here the RGMC differ from mainstream Gay politics, in that they argue that law reform and public education are only treatments for the symptoms of our oppression rather than cures for the disease itself, which they see a capitalism, and that while capitalism surviveSeany gains that we make can also be reversed, as witness the Holocaust in Nazi Germany.

To conclude, it must be said that whilst the points raised by RGMC are all valid, the alternative they offer seems a high price to pay for an uncertain result, in that it would require us to submerge our new-found sense of identity virtually completely, to the needs to unite with other oppressed groups against present day society. But they do not state what form society would take after the change, or how a new social revolution would be brought about.

Tom McAlister

Gay Star (No. 9, January 1983)

 

LInks to sites about Homophobia on the Web:Holding Me Together, by Duane Simolke

  1. Menstuff?« has compiled information, bookSeand resources on the issue of homophobia
  2. Teaching about Homophobia in Schools
  3. Homophobia and masculinities among young men (Lessons in becoming a straight man)

Hate Capital of USA

The DVD of The Laramie Project DVD Cover The Laramie Project could be accused of going straight for the tear ducts but it also has a substantial, and in many ways, subtle argument, which is sustained to the end. It’s a fairly simple argument, in essence; Thou shalt not kill’. Not even if you are the State of Wyoming. Or Matthew Shepard’s killers, Aaron James (AJ) McKinney and Russell Arthur Henderson.They were of the same age as Matthew, their very early twenties.

The Project was the gathering by members of the Tectonic Theatre group of viva voce witness from the people of the town of Laramie about the killing of Matthew Shepard. (Laramie is the seat of the University of Wyoming, but is comparatively small, with a population of slightly less that 30,000. It has very few minorities’ some Latin-Americans, and a tiny number of African-Americans this is quite relevant, as this was a prime piece of white-bread’ America having to come to terms with a particularly brutal crime.

Matthew Shepard Head shot of Matthew Shepard at Wikipediawas robbed, ferociously assaulted, and left tied to a wooden fence in the open Wyoming countryside on the night of 6 / 7 October, 1998. Apart from his wounds Mathew suffered the effects of hypothermia; being in the centre of a large continent, Wyoming can get extremely cold for almost half the year. He died in a Fort Collins, Colorado, hospital on the night of 12 / 13 October. One piece of information I had not known before seeing this film is that Matthew was born premature, he was physically fragile and slight. He was born in Casper a similar town to Laramie, in the middle of the State Laramie is close to the border with Colorado one reason why he was brought to Fort Collins. He was a handsome, blue eyed, fair haired young man. The people of Wyoming, and Laramie, could not turn away from the fact that he was blood of their blood and bone of their bone.

Some attempted to do so, one man chaseSean interviewer off his porch, a woman points out that a veteran State Trooper ( one of our own) had been killed, in an accident, on the same night as Matthew, she also implied that he was flaunting’ himself and was a bar fly’. I assume that we are supposed to disapprove of this, and admittedly, it is just a bit cold-blooded. People who lived in Belfast over the past four decades will recognize the state of mind. It is also a way of avoiding the issue of responsibility.

Many interviewees stated that they were shocked that the killers came from Laramie (another trope from the war in Northern Ireland: the outsider’ plea when we knew quite well that the killings, bombings, burnings, and banishings were being carried out by our near neighbours, near relations: and ourselves. This is not to suggest that the emotions felt by the good people of Laramie were not heartfelt (but I did, and do, harbour a suspicion that some might have comforted themselves if the victim had been Black, Latino, or even redneck’, like McKinney and Henderson.)

The latter, or their relations, attempted to float a vague class’ excuse Matthew Shepard was evidently well-off (his mother was a university teacher, and his father worked in oil’). He (Matthew) had travelled in Europe, spoke French and Italian and had attended several universities. They attempted the classic queer-bashers plea, the Gay panic’ defence, as it is described here, (formerly homosexual panic’, or in the UK the Portsmouth Defence’ which NIGRA campaigned against for decades). This consists of the argument that this wicked person made a sexual advance to me, and so being a true red-blooded heterosexual male, I felt the need to beat him to a pulp, and leave him to die’. The victims are invariably smaller than the attackers, are taken by surprise, and are alone. And the attackers, in the course of protecting their manly virtue, almost invariably steal anything they can carry away. In this case, apart from the contents of Matthew’s wallet, it included his shoes, which partially accounts for the hypothermia. A deliberate ploy? It was a quite cold-blooded, thought-out crime.

The details of Matthew’s injuries shocked everyone involved in the investigation of his killing, including the policewoman who was called to help when a Good Samaritan found him. (She is brilliantly played by Amy Madigan, Matthew was HIV+ and she got substantial quantities of his blood on her hands. She had cut them in several places when trying to save Matthew an upbeat moment at the end of the film is her barbecue celebrating her HIV negative status). Matthew was unrecognisable, covered in blood, and tied to the fence so tightly that it took and experienced police operative quite a long time to cut the twine used to tie him up. These are classic Portsmouth Defence’ signs designed to destroy the victim’s humanity it did not succeed in this case. And has, thankfully, become defunct as a ploy in law courts.

Moises Kaufman (played by Nestor Carbonell) directed the stage original of this drama. A number of big names’ play very small parts, like Joshua Jackson and Summer Phoenix, and Peter Fonda and Steve Buscemi, as medical personnel, and Francis Sternhagen (a famous Broadway, or more likely, off-Broadway performer) who plays the policewoman’s mother. Of the Tectonic Theatre team, James Murtaugh had the less than pleasant task of playing the Reverend’ Fred Phelps, who inevitably made an exhibition of himself, (and his children) at Matthew’s funeral. Michael Emerson played the Phelps-like Reverend’, and Tom Bower the sympathetic Catholic priest Fr. Roger Schmit.

I suspect that even the most detached persons, will feel strong emotions while viewing this movie. They will consist of what the ancient Greeks thought was necessary for catharsis terror and pity. All Gay women and men will also feel deep anger that such things can happen at all, much less at this point in our liberation. It is rather cold comfort, but clearly a great many non-Gay people feel the same way.

Se n McGouran ?

42 days and who is counting!

”A strong commitment to civil liberties, once considered a defining British characteristic, has weakened dramatically over the past 20 years, the survey found ”

 

(Telegraph.co.uk 1:44AM GMT 24/01/2007)

As someone who was born into a service family, and who then went onto to serve in the Forces, with time spent in Northern Ireland, Germany and Belize I feel that the current debate and result iSean insult to the British population.

 

The Government and its agents managed, albeit over a twenty year period, to contain and finally achieve a workable result for all of the people of Northern Ireland without resulting in a 42-day detainment. Indeed, all parties did agree that detainment without due process is counterproductive to the well being of the British people.

 

Why then have we now resorted to a further dilution of our civil liberties’ with the amendment to Habeas Corpus?

 

”The Habeas Corpus Act passed by Parliament in 1679 guaranteed that a person detained by the authorities would have to be brought before a court of law so that the legality of the detention may be examined. In times of social unrest, Parliament had the power to suspend Habeas Corpus. William Pitt did this in May 1793 during the war with France. Parliamentary reformers such as Thomas Hardy and John Thelwall were imprisoned as a result of this action ”

 

(http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRgagging.htm)

Loss of Liberty and Rights since 1997 a full list of these losses are contained on the Open Democracy Network and further information is also on the Liberty website.

 

This change in the law cannot be seen in isolation. Various governments have been eroding our rights and because it has been slow, and in a lot of cases, the changes have been slid through on the back of other innocuous legislation most people have not noticed what has been happening.

 

A lot of people will say that if you are doing nothing wrong then it won’t matter’, however a clear identification of the misuse of legislation was highlighted in May this year when it came to light that local councils through middle managers are able to authorise surveillance of people suspected of petty offences using powers designed to prevent crime and terrorism.

 

This to my mind is a clear misuse of the legislation involved, and signals that the government (both central and local) have no moral compass and will use any means to achieve their ends.

 

I regret the fact we as a people have lost sight of our rights and allowed ourselves to be blinded by very poor rhetoric and people prey on fears, which may be slightly justified but not to the extent that we are being told, as indicated by the Head of MI5, Jonathan Evans.

Slivio – A voice from the gods!

I recently came across a new up & coming disco singer because my friend Womble had been raving about him for months. so i checked out his Myspace pages. Given the right promotion he has a chance to make it big. possessing an amazing voice and a stylish look please let me introduce Slivio.

1. Hello Slivio Slvio , please give us some info about yourself

I am a multi talented singer, songwriter and producer who is looking to bring back melody to music. I am more than a one trick pony and I am determined to reach my goals. I am UK based, but would like to be a global phenomenum.

2. How did you discover that you could belt out a tune ?

I discovered that I could belt out a tune when I used to go to family weddings at the age of 5 or 6. I had a knack of getting free ice cream for singing. I usually sang songs such as “I am Just Wild About Harry.” They must have known I was screaming at a very young age…

3. Your music has a classic disco sound with an up to date twist, who are your musical influences? And also your favourite artists?

Without doubt I totally adored Sylvester which shows in my style of music. For a more recent artist I respect Madonna - wallpaper downloads (Oh how gay.)

4. in the golden age of disco and hi-nrg , we had very stylish artists such as Boy George, Sylvester , soft cell , Duran Duran and Spandu ballet. Most recently we have major artists such as the Scissor SisterSeand nightclub darlings like massive ego. Where does your style persona come from?

My style persona comes from my vivid imagination. I am always looking and finding inspiration… from the color of somebody’s curtains to the color of their hair. Inspiration is all around us, and most people draw inspiration from what they see. That style era will never repeat itself (the 80’s) and some people may say that is a good thing… but I just love shoulder pads with a hint of Alexis Colby (meow)

5. You have 2 band names Space Monkey & Culturedub , please tell us more about each band and how they differ from each other ?

Culture Dub iSean 80’s revue. It is a project based on the hits of the 80’Seand is a covers band. It is a tribute to the artists of that era. Some people may say it is selling out, but I just say it is having fun. Space Monkey is a name I dreamed up for the studio projects I perform with Phil Pickett. It is my alter ego. It is where I can express myself without being judged.

6. I know that there is a Culturedub cd out 1st May, is there any space monkey materiel due out soon ?

Yes. Of course there is… I hope you will all be buying a copy. It isn’t cheap to keep a girl in diamonds these days. My CD “Plastic Fantastic” will be available through my official Silvio site (coming soon) and through the Culture Dub website at www.officialculturedub.com

7. Your fans will be familiar with the tracks posted on Myspace and your official Culturedub pages, is there a full track list available yet

I have too many songs to list. All songs that you hear are MySpace are for test purposes. I listen to the opinions of the fans because they mean a lot to me. If they don’t like it, I change the song. I am always up for critisizm as long as it is constructive….

8. Any plans for a single or remixes of any tracks yet ?

We have lots of potential record labels interested. The problem is finding a record label that will find the balls to take a chance on an artist who will stand up and be counted.

9. Any chance of any duets with disco hi-nrg stars such as marc almond , Jimmy Sommerville or the one and only Boy GeorgeI

I won’t collaborate with Boy George because I sound like him on certain projects, so it would be like singing with him already. I do respect all those artists mentioned. I totally think they have added so much glamour to the pop world. I hope to achieve as much success as they previously have.

10. What download sites will your fans be able to download from? And will stores such as HMV be selling physical copies of it ?

Right now, our CD’s will be available through our official websites. I like to keep control of my destiny…

11. You work with Phil Pickett on Culturedub who wrote some very successful tracks for Boy George and Culture Club and is also a member of 70’s legends Sailor. How did that come about ?

Who’s Phil Pickett? Only joking! Phil is indeed a very multi talented individual who I totally respect and have started to call father as I feel I am his secret love child. I met Phil at an audition for the new and now defunct Culture Club, which dissolved due to lack of interest the band. A strong friendship was made and struck between me and Phil during that time. We have always encouraged each other to follow our dreams.. I thank Phil for this, without him, I would probably be selling ice cream on Blackpool Pier right now.

12. Have you ever entered a TV talent show such as X Factor? And what is your opinion of such shows ?

Sadly I entered X Factor against my better judgment. This is not a television show for talent. It is a television show for controlled talent. I feel deep sorrow that such shows have destroyed the music industry and made it what it is today. Hence stopping artists who work the old fashioned way to reach their goals. Long live expression.

13. Do you have any forthcoming shows that you fans can go to see you

I just got back from a successful trip to Egypt to promote my music. I have a trip to New York scheduled in April and September. We have multiple bookings which will be listed on my MySpaceSeand official website. Right now, I am concentrating on interviews to promote my upcoming CD release.

14. You are an openly gay artist, the music industry is notorious for keeping artists in the closet because they don’t want to lose record sales, please give your thoughts on this.

The closet has been open for so many years that if you look deep inside you’ll see so many people stuck in Narnia. The word gay artist is not something that I would like to be labeled. I do not want to put obstructions before me. I am a universal artist who loves everybody and can relate to anybody despite their sexuality, gender, race and creed. Saying all that, I love my sexuality and have no problems with who I am.

15. And finally Slivio please leave a message for your fans

I love you all. I thank you for all the hard work you are doing by clicking on my MySpaceSeand listening to my music. Your support means more than you can ever mention. Let me be your voice for the new world that is about to arrive. God bless… love your loyal subject…. Silvio xxoo

Here are links to Silvio’s site. Please check out this very talented artist.

The Official Culture Dub Site

www.officialculturedub.com

MySpaces

www.myspace.com/culturehub

www.myspace.com/subbstar

www.myspace.com/iamsilviogigante

www.myspace.com/officialsilviostreetteam

www.myspace.com/theoriginalsilvio

Very special thanks to Slivio and Barbara for this interview. And to Womble for his invaluable help.

Pride responds to DUP criticisms

Belfast Pride have responded to DUP criticisms of a placard which appeared in this years Pride parade.

Jesus

A spokesman said Whilst we recognise that the DUP may have legitimately found the Jesus is a fag’ placard offensive we are concerned that Cllr Campbell and others have used the incident for their own political gain.

No member of the DUP, or general public, drew parade officials attention to the placard on the day, instead waiting until after the event to complain to the media. This smacks of political grandstanding in order to achieve their ultimate goal of having the pride parade banned.

Belfast Pride would like to state that this particular placard was not sanctioned by the parade organiserSeand take the matter seriously”

However, given the provocative comments of Ian Paisley Jr about gay and lesbian people being repulsive and harming society we hardly find it surprising that people within the LGBT community would wish to react in such a way.

UK Pride Events 2008

Blackpool

17-18 May 2008

www.prideblackpool.com

Birmingham

23-25 May 2008 www.birminghampride.com

Plymouth

7 June 2008 www.plymouthprideevent.co.uk

South Yorkshire Pride, Sheffield

7 June 2008 www.southyorkshirepride.co.uk

Rainbow Fest, Aberdeen

5 July 2008

www.rainbowfest.co.uk

Northern Pride, Newcastle

July 2008 (date to be confirmed)

www.myspace.com/northernprideorguk

London

5 July 2008

www.pridelondon.org

Bourne Free, Bournemouth

11-13 July 2008

www.bournefree.co.uk

Oxford

12 July 2008

www.oxfordpride.org.uk

Lincoln

19-20 July 2008

www.lincolnshirepride.com

Thanet, Kent

26 July 2008

www.thanetpride.org.uk

Belfast

26 July-2 Aug 2008

www.belfastpride.com

Brighton & Hove

26 July 3 Aug 2008

www.brightonpride.org

Leeds

3 Aug 2008

www.leedspride.com

Gloucestershire

9 Aug 2008

www.gloucestershirepride.org.uk

Hull

9 Aug 2008

www.hullpride.org.uk

Manchester

15-25 Aug 2008

www.manchesterpride.com

Swindon

16 Aug 2008

www.swindonpride.kk5.org

Doncaster

17 Aug 2008

www.doncasterpride.co.uk

Cornwall Pride, Truro

23 Aug 2008

www.gaycornwall.com

Nottingham

26 Aug 2008

www.nottinghampride.co.uk

Reading

30 Aug 2008

www.readingpride.co.uk

Swansea

6 Sep 2008

www.gayswansea.com

Middlesborough

11-14 Sep 2008