Sex attack on man after robbery in south Belfast

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A man has been sexually assaulted and robbed in south Belfast.

It happened at Dudley Street, off University Street, early on Friday, 25th September 2015.

A detective said: “It is though that a sum of cash was stolen from a man by two other men. Immediately after the robbery, he was sexually assaulted.”

The officer added: “The man is clearly distressed and we would ask for public support in our efforts to identify the two involved.”

 

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In an emergency dial 999

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An emergency is where serious injury has been caused or a crime is in progress and the suspects are at or near the scene.

Non-emergency and general enquiries telephone number

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Callers from outside the UK or within the Republic of Ireland should ring + 44 28 9065 0222

Pride History

Editorial:  I am reposting this article from the QUB website, as it provides back ground to Belfast Pride which we have been remiss in writing up ourselves:

 

Pride History
Gay Pride’s origins can be traced to riots at the Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City on June 27th 1969. Homosexual clientele and people of colour who frequented the bar, resisted assaults and corruption of police, resulting in three nights of rioting which is regarded as the conception of the modern gay rights movement. The Gay Liberation Front commemorated the first anniversary of the riots with a march from Greenwich Village to Central Park, while gay activists held a march in Los Angeles. Other cities and towns followed suit and the trend spread worldwide, with marches being held annually as a means to inspire a growing gay activist movement.  Various titles for the marches such as gay freedom day and gay liberation day were abandoned in the 1980’s, due to a shift by less radical members of the gay movement and the parades are now commonly known as Gay Pride.

P. A. Mag Lochlainn, the President of Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, explained how dander, a Northern Ireland euphemism for walk was “deliberately chosen for the Belfast parade as a break from the monotonous marches hitherto seen in this city.” The dander marks the finale of Belfast Pride Festival which comprises a week of social events, exhibitions, talks and cinema. It would be a different experience for me this year by acting as a participant observer, filming the parade, taking photographs and conducting interviews for this website. It was my fourth attendance at Belfast Pride and I had already been present at Dublin and London Pride that summer. So what is it about Pride that has me and hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, parading through city and town centres, many in costume, waving rainbow flags to the sound of pop music?  As I stood in Writers Square waiting to interview P.A I remembered what he had stated in a prior interview. “Visibility is life, invisibility is death.”

P. A. Mag Lochlainn has sat on the Belfast Pride committee since its formation in 1991 and explained how a delegation from the Belfast gay community had attended London Pride for several years before deciding to host the first Belfast Pride festival.  He told me, “the motivation to stage Belfast Pride has always been to increase the visibility of our local LGBT community in order to claim our rightful place in the life of this city and community.  Just as “Silence equals Death”, we felt that freedom requires Visibility.   Our enemies used to be able to maximise homophobia, i.e. Baroness O Cathain alleging in the House of Lords that “every political party” in Northern Ireland was against LGBT rights, when in point of fact the DUP was the only political party doing so.   Pride proved these bigots were lying, and encouraged our local LGBT groups to trust in the good sense of the wider community.”

He remembered the first event was hard to organise and had little if any funding, but with the help of the Socialist Workers Party at Queen’s, a week of community and educational events took place. The first parade saw just fifty or so marchers leaving from the University of Ulster in the Cathedral Quarter of Belfast city centre. They carried a low budget banner and wore t-shirts and lapel buttons saying Gay Pride Belfast 1991. The ‘A’ in gay was represented by a pink triangle, a symbol of homosexuality. Not many spectators watched the parade as people on the streets did not understand what it was, or what is was about. P.A. explains how he has always encouraged non-threatening or provocative engagement with onlookers in order to win hearts and minds. “If you get a smile back from the crowd,” he informs me “then you’ve won.”

They marched to Botanic Gardens amid opposition from churches and paramilitary threats of ambush at Sandy Row, due to a Junior Orange Order March scheduled at the same time.  In an amusing twist to the tale P.A. recollects how the police had asked for the parade to be postponed but could not give the reason why. It turned out that the marchers would not be the only queens in town that day as HM Queen Elizabeth II would also be in Belfast, ”she was not specially invited,” jokes P.A. The heightened security helped alleviate fears of violence and held church demonstrators in check. On its completion “the marchers felt wonderful and there was a sense of disbelief we had done it,” says P.A. That first small march seemed a far cry from the 2008 parade which I now filmed making its noisy and colourful way towards me from Royal Avenue. A mass of spectators converged at city hall cheering and clapping while Christians demonstrated with banners calling for homosexuals to repent their sins. Then Tina Legs Tantrum, the local celebrity drag queen drew up, atop a float dressed in silver sequence frock and white wig, waving a rainbow flag to the jubilation of the crowd.  For a moment my anthropological research ceased as I became swept away in the atmosphere. “At streets parades, those instances that result in feelings of belonging rely upon moments were actions, performances, emotions come together in a particular rhythm to create a sense of being special, or social camaraderie (Duffy Watt & Gibson, 2007: 7). Hence, I argue that this as a fundamental reason for the success and continuance of Pride.

Research from Thomas Fegan – BELFAST GAY PRIDE PARADE 2008

School Is In: The Q in LGBTQ

 

schooling

By Elizabeth Gartley

Often, when I’m speaking with educators about LGBTQ topics, one of the first questions I’m asked is “What does the Q stand for?” The primary definition that I provide is that “Q” stands for “questioning.” By acknowledging those who are questioning, we acknowledge those people, particularly young people, who for one reason or another, have not adopted an identity label, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and yet may still experience same-sex attraction or may not identify wholly with the gender identity they have been assigned.* This “Q” is easy to overlook, and yet particularly important to remember, especially for those who work with young people and in light of recent research.

A recent study by YouGov found that a third of young Americans (18 to 29 year-olds) don’t consider themselves “exclusively heterosexual.” Participants were asked to place themselves on the Kinsey Scale, a scale from 0 (exclusively heterosexual) to 6 (exclusively homosexual). A third of adults 18 to 29 placed themselves somewhere other than exclusively heterosexual, indicating some level of same-sex attraction. Interestingly, the survey data shows that while 10 percent of young adults identified themselves as bisexual, 29 percent placed themselves somewhere on the Kinsey scale other than “exclusively hetersexual” or “exclusively homosexual.” Overall, the study also concluded that younger adults were much more likely to acknowledge some level of fluid sexual attractions compared to older age brackets.

The biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Massachusetts has consistently found that more students in grades nine to 12 identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and/or report same-sex sexual contact than those who only identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. For example, in 2013, 5 percent of all students identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, but 8 percent identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual and/orreported same-sex sexual contact. And a 2013 study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research concluded that conventional survey methods lead to “substantial under-reporting of LGBT identity and behaviors” due to “social desirability bias,” that is, the tendency for people to not give responses they feel may be outside the mainstream.

As an educator, I find these kinds of studies interesting because I often find that many of my straight colleagues, teachers and school librarians, are somewhat naive in their assumptions about the LGBTQ students they serve. One of the messages I try to impart to my colleagues is that LGBTQ students are in their classrooms, whether they, as educators, are aware of them or not. Many times, teachers seem surprised by the suggestion that there are usually at least one or two LGBTQ students in every class they teach. There seems to be an implicit assumption among many educators that they will know when they have LGBTQ students in their classroom, as though to be LGBTQ, students must be publicly out to all in the school community.

“But no one in this class is gay,” is the kind of assumption that gets made without even the awareness that an assumption has been made, and this is what I try to challenge. Fortunately, in my experience, this isn’t a difficult bias to tackle; even a little bit of reflection will have people rethinking their assumptions.

In a recent Knowledge Quest article, Wendy Rickman surveyed Arkansas school library professionals and found that most responded that there were no self-identified LGBTQ students in their school, but a majority of respondents felt that there were LGBTQ students who had not yet self-identified. However, the survey also found that a majority of respondents were reluctant to purchase LGBTQ items for the library collection.

Educators, especially school librarians, have a responsibility to help students explore the world beyond their experience and to help students find themselves. School librarian’s strive to create a safe environment where students can learn more about who they are, to explore their interests and identities. We can’t wait for our LGBTQ students to be out, leading the GSA and advocating for themselves before we provide the resources they need. For those students who are LGBTQ but not out, or who are questioning, or who maybe aren’t ready to take LGBTQ-themed books out of the library yet, just seeing the resources are available will help them feel like they belong.

School librarians have a great opportunity to help normalize LGBTQ lives and experiences and portray sexual and gender diversity has part of the human experience. By creating a more inclusive collection and integrating LGBTQ titles into book talks, library displays, and reader’s advisory, all students will benefit: out LGBTQ students will see themselves reflected in their school library, straight students will see a more accurate representation of the diversity in the world, and “Q” students will see that they are not alone in their experiences.
*The Q in LGBTQ is often intended to simultaneously stand for “questioning” as well as “queer,” a loaded word which was once considered a slur, but has in recent decades been reclaimed by LGBT activists as an umbrella term or in some cases, a label an individual may adopt when more recognizable identity labels don’t seem to fit.

USA Rugby and International Gay Rugby sign Memorandum of Understanding to eliminate homophobia in Rugby

Rugby

 

 

Via press release

USA Rugby signed a memorandum of understanding with International Gay Rugby (IGR) Thursday, September 10, setting forth a partnership that will see the national governing body for the sport of rugby union in the United States promote a diverse and inclusive environment in all levels of Rugby, working to end homophobia in all areas of the game.

In March 2015, IGR recently signed an agreement with World Rugby to collaborate on the promotion of equality and inclusivity in rugby around the world, actively seeking to globally remove homophobia from the game. The agreement with USA Rugby focuses mainly on the domestic side of the game in the United States to ensure registered members of USA Rugby are provided with the tools and education necessary to combat discrimination, be it based on sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation, or identification.

USA Rugby recognizes the right of any player, official, coach, and spectator to be involved in rugby without bullying, discrimination, or exclusion of any kind, and celebrates the differences that make its members unique.

Nigel Melville, CEO of USA Rugby said “USA Rugby is thrilled to be joining IGR in the advancement of diversity and inclusion throughout the sport of rugby, as well to eliminate homophobia from the game. Following in World Rugby’s footsteps, we are steadfast in ensuring that rugby remains and continues to grow as a sport for individuals from all walks of life.”

USA Rugby will work with its own member associations, clubs, and unions to improve acceptance of LGBT members, provide educational tools to support in the elimination of perceived and institutionalized homophobia in the game, and help support IGR events.

“IGR is very proud of the leadership that USA Rugby continues to show around equality, diversity and inclusion in Rugby. The signing of this agreement is a great example of the commitment of USA Rugby to eliminating homophobia from the sport at all levels. We look forward to our continued partnership in creating a safe and homophobia free environment for all players, proving that rugby is the most inclusive sport in the United States and in the World.” Jeff Wilson, Chairman of International Gay Rugby (IGR) said.

IGR provides its 56 member clubs in fifteen countries developmental support and resources in several aspects of club organization through leadership and community engagement . Also, IGR member clubs host global, continental and regional tournaments and events celebrating the diversity and inclusion rugby community. The Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament is the flagship global event for IGR Member Clubs. Named after a gay American rugby player who died on United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001, the Bingham Cup is IGR’s World Cup of gay and inclusive rugby.

The Nashville Grizzlies RFC will host the 2016 Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament in the “Music City” of Nashville, Tennessee from Monday, May 22 through Sunday, May 29. This will be the first since 2010 that the tournament has been held in the USA and is the first time it has ever been held in the mid-south.

“The Organizing Committee is excited to partner with USA Rugby” said Jon Glassmeyer, the president of the Mark Kendall Bingham Cup 2016 Organizing Committee. “This agreement demonstrates USA Rugby’s commitment to inclusiveness and sets an example for other national unions around the world.”

Unsung Northern Ireland LGBT Heroes

In the USA the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame — this year being rechristened the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame — is the only municipally supported institution of its kind in the nation.

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Who are our LGBT Heroes in Northern Ireland?  why submit your nominations and then we put them up on our site for you!

Snap 2015-09-24 at 12.26.23

 

Adam Lambert

Adam Lambert is an openly gay singer, who came from the American Idol stable; however, according to the Daily Express Adam  2009 run on American Idol his clearly extraordinary vocals led to controversy when it was discovered that he had appeared professionally on stage in several musicals.

Most notably, he played Joshua opposite Val Kilmer in the short-lived L.A. production of The Ten Commandments: The Musical.

This led to further roles, including playing Fiyero in the American national touring production of Wicked.

Currently acting as the front man with Queen on their tour, and a video of his performing “Ghost Town” has been given air time.

Here is Adam with Queen with Ghost Town

Further reading:

Express: Who Is Adam Lambert?

http://bcove.me/plt34uga

LGBT History

LGBT HistoryHistory for the LGBT community has largely remained hidden, due to the persecution and homophobia enacted by society in the main, and in particular by those in power, whether it be government, police, the judiciary etc.

As the LGBT community has slowly fought and achieved its rights, so the need for its history to be written down and incorporated into mainstream history has become a necessity.  There is still a resistance within corridors of power, and indeed the history books still do not reflect LGBT characters and their contribution to the development of society, or the fight against tyranny,

Stonewall in the USA, has recognised the lack of visibility and acceptance of LGBT history, and that is why a  broad coalition of elected officials, community members, advocates and Stonewall witnesses are urging President Obama to designate a national monument at the Stonewall site before the end of his term.

The article can be read here: Stonewall Site to Honor LGBT History, America’s Struggle for Equality.

I also believe that our history should be written down now, before those who have been involved in the past leave us and take their memories and knowledge with them.

I urge the LGBT community in Northern Ireland, and indeed in Ireland to consider forming an online repository for our history.

Why not let us know what you think about this idea?

 

¿Qué tal? LGBT community, Latino "Magayzine" offers news in Spanish

The United States now has the next biggest number of Spanish speaking population after Mexico. There are an estimated 1.4 million (4.3 percent), LGBT Latinos living in America.

Photo credit: Magayzine

Photo credit: Magayzine, which offers LGBT news in Spanish

 

A new Spanish gay and lesbian news source called “Magayzine” launches in September and it focuses on the LGBT Spanish speaking population. Non-Spanish speakers can hit the “Google translate” button and enjoy the site in English.

However, most of the videos are broadcast in Spanish.

The media source has its roots in Spain, but will cover international news and entertainment.

In September they will begin to stream near-daily exclusive programs, and hope to make these a regular offering in the future. Here are some examples of what the channel produces:

Tuesdays: “A Pie de Calle”. Programs recorded at the street, getting responses from the public about current topics.

Wednesdays: “Ambigú”. Recorded on a set, it focuses on scenarios: theater, cinema and cabaret.

Thursdays: “Café”. Recorded on a set, it focuses on interviews with culture and politics protagonists.

As the channel becomes more established it will begin to deliver more shows such as “Magayzine Hot,” featuring adult movie star interviews. They would also like to create a show focused on lesbian community.

Magayzine also has a sister site called www.universogay.com which also focuses on the LGBT community.

As the Latino LGBT population continues to grow, Magayzine hopes to provide not only timely news and features, but provide an outlet for the community in their own terms.

Timothy Rawles is Community Editor of SDGLN. He can be reached at editor@sdgln.com, @reporter66 on Twitter, or by calling toll-free to 888-442-9639, ext. 713.

– See more at: http://www.sdgln.com/social/2015/08/29/qu-tal-lgbt-community-latino-magayzine-offers-news-spanish#sthash.U145BBSL.dpuf

Gay Photographer Michael Stokes Repeatedly Banned by Facebook Over Photos of Wounded Soldiers

 

 M Stokes Photography

 

Photographer Michael Stokes has found himself in Facebook’s crosshairs multiple times for posting pictures of wounded soldiers. Stokes has had several photos removed from his fan page and earlier this week found himself locked out of his account for posting “things that aren’t allowed.”

As The Advocate reported in January, Stokes is best known for his portraits of soldiers wounded in combat and the graceful way he highlights their beauty. While many of his subjects are amputees and no longer considered perfect by ableist standards, Stokes brings out their humanity and inner beauty in his art. Subjects pose either entirely or nearly naked to show their scars, amputated limbs, and other war wounds.

The photo that got Stokes banned this week shows a nude veteran photographed from the side lighting a cigarette. In the email telling him he wasn’t allowed access to the site for 30 days, Facebook also said he would not be allowed to post further photos to his page because he had “repeatedly posted things that aren’t allowed.”

In July, a photo of a topless female veteran who lost both of her arms in Iraq and was diagnosed with breast cancer after returning home to the United States was the source of Facebook’s ire. The site has an exception to its nudity policy specifically meant to protect breast cancer survivors and transgender men who show breast scarring. The photo was not removed from Stokes’s page, but fans who shared the photo also felt the wrath of Facebook and were banned by the social media site.

Stokes was warned by Facebook after the photo went viral that his page had been reported because “one or more photos” violated the site’s terms of service. He removed the photo as a precaution, knowing how often he had been targeted by the site.

Many users have taken up Stokes’s cause over the past year as the social media giant has repeatedly targeted the photographer. Many of the photos with which the site has taken issue have been gay-themed and did not violate any terms of service rules. Fans allege that Stokes’s photography has been flagged for its gay eroticism and provocative themes.

“I think it opposes a convention where seeing women as objects is acceptable and the assumption is that the viewer is male, and they are in a position of power,” Stokes told The Independent. “I know some men get furious if they see a man posing in a sensual way. It’s threatening to some men, not all men, to have a woman as the voyeur.”

After The Independent contacted Facebook seeking comment on why it has repeatedly targeted Stokes, the photo of the male veteran was reinstated. Stokes received an apology but no explanation as to why it was removed or reinstated. The site has refused to allow Stokes to repost other “offensive” photos even after officials decided they didn’t violate the terms of service.

“This is the third time this has happened to me where a media inquiry caused them to revisit it or change their mind,” Stokes told the U.K. newspaper.

Facebook executives continue to refuse to say why the site has targeted Stokes, but claim someone at Facebook is investigating. “In order to treat people fairly and respond to reports quickly, it is essential that we have policies in place that our global teams can apply uniformly and easily when reviewing content,” the site’s guidelines say. “As a result, our policies can sometimes be more blunt than we would like and restrict content shared for legitimate purposes. We are always working to get better at evaluating this content and enforcing our standards.”

The Advocate reached out to Facebook for comment but at press time has not yet received a response.

You can see examples of Michael Stokes’s work on his Facebook page by clicking here.

'Gay Vegas' reputation has global reach

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Lincoln Tan 5:00 AM Saturday Sep 19, 2015

Same-sex couples fighting laws in own countries flock to Auckland to get married and have or adopt children.

My Kitchen Rules stars Tresne Middleton and Carly Saunders couldn't marry in Australia so had their ceremony on Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied
My Kitchen Rules stars Tresne Middleton and Carly Saunders couldn’t marry in Australia so had their ceremony on Waiheke Island. Photo / Supplied

Auckland is being seen as the “gay Vegas” and homosexual couples from around the world are coming here to get married and have children.

Many come from countries where a same-sex relationship is considered illegal – including Singapore, Malaysia and China – or nations such as Australia, where “commitment ceremonies” are popular but do not satisfy everyone.

Australians top the list of same-sex couples coming here to tie the knot, as their country does not recognise marriage between male or female couples.

Two stars of the television show My Kitchen Rules, Carly Saunders and Tresne Middleton, got married in secret on Waiheke Island last year. They were among the 500 Australians who have married here since August 2013, when the law changed.

Couples from China, the United Kingdom and Singapore have also made the journey.

Over the same period, seven children were registered to foreign male couples through adoption and one, by birth, to a female couple from Singapore.

Gay bartender Stanley Chan, 29, who spoke to the Herald in Singapore, said Auckland was considered the “Las Vegas for gay, lesbians and transgenders”.

Las Vegas is a popular marriage destination because of the ease of registering marriages there.

Like 28 Singaporean couples already, Chan and his British-born partner will be coming to Auckland in December to wed.

“I see New Zealand as a gay paradise and on what I hope will be the happiest day of my life, I want to be able to go to a place where I can celebrate our love in the open,” he said.

“In Singapore, we have to live in a secret underground world because the silly laws make it impossible for me to even openly disclose that I’m gay.”

Under section 377a of the penal code of Singapore, a man who has sex with another man can be imprisoned for up to two years.

Last year, two Singaporeans became the first female couple to have their child born in New Zealand and registered to both of them as parents.

The couple also met the Herald in Singapore but changed their minds about being interviewed because they felt it could hurt their business and land them in trouble with the law.

However, they said the main reason they chose to have their child in New Zealand was so they could have a birth certificate that listed both of them as parents.

“In Singapore, he would have been registered as a son of a single parent and it would not have correctly reflected our situation,” the birth mother of the child said.

Social worker Yangfa Leow, 40, the executive director of Oogachaga, which counsels and supports LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people) in Singapore, said legal adoption there was usually allowed only for married, opposite-sex couples and single women.

This has resulted in same-sex couples finding alternative ways to include children in their lives and commit to each other, such as going to countries such as New Zealand where these are legally recognised.

The ease of exchanging vows in NZ has the LGBT community comparing it to Las Vegas.
The ease of exchanging vows in NZ has the LGBT community comparing it to Las Vegas.

“I understand that New Zealand has legalised marriage for same-sex couples, which of course is the right thing to do in terms of ensuring equality for all,” Leow said.

Last year, Lonely Planet named New Zealand the second most gay-friendly place in the world, behind Copenhagen in Denmark.

Tourism New Zealand said it did not specifically target the gay and lesbian community, but promoted the country as a great destination for weddings and honeymoons for all travellers.

Between 30,000 and 45,000 honeymooners from overseas came to New Zealand each year, spending an estimated $160 million.

After the passing of the Marriage Amendment Act, Tourism NZ ran a campaign to show how easy it is for same-sex couples from Australia to marry in New Zealand.

“There was a very positive response from same-sex couples in Australia,” said Tourism NZ spokeswoman Deborah Gray.

She said visitors were not asked to identify their sexual orientation, so there was “no robust data” to gauge the value of gay tourists.

Brett O’Riley, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development chief executive, said the organisation was supporting several gay-friendly tourism operators who directly target the gay market.

“We understand after the gay marriage legislation passed that a number of couples did see New Zealand as a destination to say ‘I do’ and gain legal marriage status, where their home countries may not allow them similar rights.”

Gay marriages in NZ

(since August 2013)

Female-Female

• From Australia: 264

• From China: 32

• From the UK: 22

• From Singapore: 17

• From the US: 8

• From Malaysia: 8

• From the entire world: 411

Male-Male

• From Australia: 236

• From China: 34

• From the UK: 13

• From the US: 13

• From Singapore: 11

• From Hong Kong: 11

• From Thailand: 10

• From the entire world: 401
(source: Dept of Internal Affairs)

Lincoln Tan travelled to Singapore with the help of the Asia New Zealand Foundation.

NZ Herald