We Are Missing In Action Again

Missing in Action is my terminology. The link at the bottom of this article shows a list of books recommended for everyone to read and understand the troubles!   But, both in terms of what it lists, but also in terms of what it leaves out.

 

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There are books covering aspects of both sides of paramilitaries, of ordinary people and how they were affected, but nothing about the military or the police, which to my mind is a shortfall. But even more glaringly obvious is the lack of any books covering the LGBT community during the trouble, either individually or as groups. For the military I suggest the following:

    • Contact by AFN Clark

  • A Long Long War: Voices from the British Army in Northern Ireland 1969-98


and for our community, possibly

    • When Love Comes to Town by Tom Lennon

    I would ask any of readers to suggest other books to cover all of our community.  But also remember to read the reviews that we have here on our own site, at NIGRA.

And just to add other spice to the mix:



Links:

 

Source: The Troubles: Books about Ireland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom

Queeriosity – An Exhibition for Pride 2017

Queeriosity is one of those little gems that somehow scrape under the radar, which is a pity because it is definitely worth going to see.  The exhibition runs in the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast, from Thursday 3rd August – 2 September 2017.

The exhibition is over three inter-connecting rooms, with the lead in corridor showing both the introduction poster and also one exhibit, which consists of excerpts from what appears to be children’s notebooks – some very poignant writings.

The gallery items range from paintings, through ceramics, installations, photographs and cover a range of topics including:

  • marriage
  •  how we are labelled within society
  • body shape

There is a notice on the door into the exhibit which says:

“Please be aware that this exhibition contains adult content”

however, I would argue that you would see more in the Victoria and Albert, the Tate or the National Portrait Gallery, and they don’t feel that it is necessary to give a warning. But then this is Northern Ireland, and we have to err on the side of caution.

Queeriosity has works from 21 different artists, which are well presented and lit, with a piece written about the artist and the work beside each work. Again I would say that whether this information works for you or not I feel depends on whether or not you are an artist, have a good knowledge of art and (or) possibly a degree in psychology.

Most of the art works are available for sale, ranging in price from £20 for the wire work figures, up to £2300 for Maria Strzelecka’s ‘Oil on Canvas’. However, my favourites pieces were:

  • Marie Smith’s ‘Jean Jacques’, a bronze figure priced at £1250 Queeriosity

 

 

 

 

 

 

and

  • Caolum McCabe’s ‘Gay 100% HUMAN LABELS ARE FOR CLOTHES’ which is not for sale

 

 

 

 

 

Shauna McCann and Linda Smyth as curators have put together a thoughtful and welcomed addition to Pride Festival in Belfast 2017.

Well done the Crescent Arts Centre

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Links:

Forrest Reid – the magician

Forrest Reid - the magicianForrest Reid was born on (Saturday, as it happens) June 24, 1876, at 20 Mount Charles, Belfast it was (still is) a ‘private road’, a volume of Reid’s autobiography is entitled Private Road (the other being Apostate).  Reid’s father died when he was a child.  He had invested in foolish speculation, and his death left the family in dire straits.  His mother, an Englishwoman with exotic, aristocratic ancestors, including Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s last wife, refused to ‘down-size’ and the family survived on a very basic diet – mostly rice pudding

   Reid attended Belfast’s ‘Inst’ (the Royal Belfast Academical Institute) and was a good student – particularly of English, but he went to work in Musgrave’stea firm – the Musgrave family were entrepreneurs – the greater part of their fortune being made in metal industrial and domestic heating devices.
   Reid’s frugality may be a reason why he was able to attend Christ’s Church College in Cambridge in 1905.  He was, at 29, a ‘mature student, of ancient (Greek) and modern languages.  He regarded his sojourn in Cambridge as a “rather blank” period – he had no friends from his sojourn there.
   He did meet EM Forster, who became a life-long friend, and whom Reid visited every year.  He travelled to England as an (apparently ferociously competitive) croquet player and stayed with Forster in his Cambridge rooms.  He must have made the acquaintance of Forster’s circle.  Benjamin Britten was part of that circle until his expulsion (BB had made it clear that the composer had the last word on texts to be set.  He had been given increasing complex texts by WH Auden in the 1930s and early ’40s.  Post Peter Grimes, his first major opera, he felt self confident dealing with authors.  Forster became the Great Old Man of English Letters and tried to brow-beat BB, who turned to more amenable librettists).
   Reid had a great love of Italian opera and a huge record collection – with which he ‘entertained’ his neighbours in Ormiston Avenue off Castlereagh Road (the Castlereagh Hills were not built over until the 1960s) often late in the evening.  Many of Reid’s books are set in the unnamed, but clearly obvious County Down – the county ‘proper’ begins with the Castlereagh Hills.  His other favoured landscape was that of Donegal.
   Reid produced a critical study of WB Yeats in 1915 (he did not note the Great War in progress at the time – WW2 was beneath his notice too), as was the decade of political violence in Ireland.  He produced a book about British book illustrators of the 1870s and a not-very-critical study of Walter de la Mare (now even more thoroughly forgotten than Reid himself).
   Reid’s novels have been reprinted by Valancourt Books of Richmond, Virginia over the past decade.

Valancourt Books

PO Box 17642
Richmond VA [Virginia]
USA
Forrest Reid - one story

Young and Old – time does make a difference!

Young and OldOver the last 40+ years that I have been involved in the LGBTQ community, I have been privileged to witness the acceptance of gay people into the general community – young and old, we now have more freedoms; however this has only come about through the continued pressure from individuals, groups through lobbying and through legal cases.  We have in most parts of the UK an acceptance and understanding that being ‘gay’ is normal, that it does not require “treatment” to correct an illness!  Again I said in most parts, there are however still some groups and individuals who wish us to disappear or receive corrective treatment – in most companies LGBTQ rights are now accepted; but we cannot sit back on our backsides; if we do not keep monitoring and interacting with government (both local and national) then the rights that we have fought so hard to achieve will be taken away again.

What are your thoughts on this article; I would really like to hear what you think.  Comment now or email us.Young and Old

 

 

Source: Old and young see LGBT rights in contrast

 

 

 

 

Items for further reading:

Have you any Gay Images From Northern Ireland

Gay History

northern gay and block mounted paisley ayatollah

 

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

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

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

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

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

  • Information and support for people with HIV and AIDS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Further reading:

 

Consign homophobia to history, urges ex-Irish president Mary McAleese

Homophobia Not AllowedJeff Dudgeon MBE, is part of the history of Northern Ireland, and with his court case made the case for homophobia to be abolished in N Ireland.  Unfortunately until 1982 it was still a crime to be a homosexual in Ulster, indeed people were still persecuted under other laws for being gay, and their lives destroyed by what can only be called vindictive police cases which should never have ended up in court subsequent to this repeal.

Today, liFe has improved, but there are still problems; only within the last two weeks was a gay man attacked for challenging two men passing by who called him’queer’ and other words.

People are regularly still harassed in their homes. and probably more worrying is that fact that being young and gay is still open to abuse in schools, colleges and universities.

This is not acceptable in today’s world, and the more that we stand up against any form of persecution the more we as human beings earn the right to be called ‘human’.

Homophobia Not Allowed

President Barack Obama talks with Irish President Mary McAleese during a courtesy call in the Drawing Room of the President’s residence in Dublin, Ireland, May 23, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Mary McAleese has said homophobia should be consigned to history in Northern Ireland.

Source: Consign homophobia to history, urges ex-Irish president Mary McAleese – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk

LGBT History – Telling All Our Stories before they disappear!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Heritage Initiative – US national park service

LGBT History is Important

40s-friends-Boys-History-213x300-1For a number of years it has become clear that LGBT history is disappearing as our societies members have aged and their stories (which our our stories) disappear with their deaths or the onset of illnesses.

Our History is Disappearing

For Ireland this is compounded by the fact that so many of the LGBT community have had to leave the island to find work, relationships and just to be safe.  Today these things have been reduced, but the economic crisis of the last few years, and the impending impact of Brexit may well see further departures.

The LGBT society in both parts of the island of Ireland need to start thinkingNIGRA History - Pa and Mary Robinson urgently on how we should capture and then make available our history.  This will ensure our past, and also help our future, and will provide a wonderful resource for teachers and other groups/individuals.

A mechanism that might be considered is working with the museums in Ireland who have depositories to see if we can get access combined into a timeline – obviously this will take time and resources, but I believe that a small group could achieve a lot in this regard.

If you feel that you are interested then please get in contact and we can see if we can form that working group.

 

The American National Park Service has produced a wonderful book in two parts about LGBT History in the USA – the publication LGBTQ America: A Theme Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History  is available for download in PDF format – this is just another example of what can be done with the right active group and money.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Telling All Americans’ Stories (U.S. National Park Service)

Roger Casement: Butterflies and Bones review: blood and thunder

Secrets Of The Black Diaries...Picture Shows: Image order No HK6737 Irish Patriot and British Consular Official Sir Roger Casement (1864 - 1916) is escorted to the gallows of Pentonville Prison, London. TX: BBC FOUR Friday, March 15 2002 Getty Images/Hulton Archives Roger Casement, former British Consul to the Congo, was hanged for treason for his role in Ireland's 1916 Easter Rising. His conviction rested on a set of diaries that suggested he had pursued a highly promiscuous homosexual life. Under the social mores of the day, such a revelation deprived him of all hope of clemency. But were the diaries faked? BBC Four investigates the 85-year-old mystery. WARNING: This Getty Image copyright image may be used only to publicise 'Secrets Of The Black Diaries'. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from 'Getty Images' may result in legal action.

Secrets Of The Black Diaries…Picture Shows: Image order No HK6737 Irish Patriot and British Consular Official Sir Roger Casement (1864 – 1916) is escorted to the gallows of Pentonville Prison, London.
TX: BBC FOUR Friday, March 15 2002
Getty Images/Hulton Archives
Roger Casement, former British Consul to the Congo, was hanged for treason for his role in Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rising. His conviction rested on a set of diaries that suggested he had pursued a highly promiscuous homosexual life. Under the social mores of the day, such a revelation deprived him of all hope of clemency. But were the diaries faked? BBC Four investigates the 85-year-old mystery.
WARNING: This Getty Image copyright image may be used only to publicise ‘Secrets Of The Black Diaries’. Any other use whatsoever without specific prior approval from ‘Getty Images’ may result in legal action.

If you’ve never heard of Roger Casement, who was executed by the British for treason 100 years ago today, the reason is as simple as it is sad, he was homosexual. For that reason he was ignored when he was not being written out of our revolutionary history.

Jeffrey Dudgeon, MBE has written two wonderful insightful books into Casement,

and

Aidan Lonergan has written that there are ten things we don’t know about Casement:

  1. His Antrim father fought in Afghanistan
  2. His Anglican mother secretly baptised him as a Catholic
  3. He was looked after by the people of Antrim after his parents died
  4. He exposed one of the bloodiest colonial regimes ever
  5. What he saw changed him
  6. He sought German backing for an Irish rebellion during WWI
  7. Some see him as a gay icon
  8. Arthur Conan Doyle campaigned against his sentence
  9. He converted to Catholicism on the day of his execution
  10. A hundred years on from the Easter Rising, it’s important to remember Casement

However, as with all history, it is open to interpretation, and I know that different camps will have different feelings towards Casement, his impact on Irish history, and on Gay History.

The musical about him was one such attempt, and I hope that if it comes to a theatre near you, you will make an effort to see it and view it through the eyes of someone who is probably far older than he was, and also who has the benefit of a society that is beginning to be accepting of LGBT people.

 

Roger Casement is (again) centre stage, but this time it’s the dance world that’s exploring the many facets of his life

Source: Butterflies and Bones review: blood and thunder

Park service releases LGBT history study

LGBT History

History to everyone is important, but for those who have not been able to have their full identity because of family or societal pressures, or laws which punished their very existence, history can become a poison chalice.  It is extremely comforting to know, that one country, which even though it still has its share of bigots and organisations which seek to continue this persecution, is moving forward and recognising the LGBT community and taking note of its history –  in this case it is the National Park Service of America.LGBT History

Positively, I have just heard that the Scottish Government is seeking to pardon all those LGBT people who have a criminal record due to draconian laws which punished you for being gay!

Unfortunately, due to government filibustering, England and Wales will have to wait for some time for Westminster to bring forward a possible legal instrument for doing the same job.

And for Northern Ireland, the political posturing of both the main parties, means that it is highly unlikely that any law will see the statue books within the next 5 years.

The laws were unjust within the UK, and because of them so much of our history has been lost, as people rightly seeked to protect themselves and their families; I hope that sometime soon we can stat to put together our own history and to have it incorporated into the mainstream history – it is jsut as valid, and when you consider people like Alan Turing and how he and others in other professions helped to win our freedoms, then we must strive to get equal.

 

Breaking news & opinion from the B.A.R.

Source: The Bay Area Reporter Online | Park service releases LGBT history study

Human Rights – The Legal Act in the UK

Human Rights ActI asked a friend who is retired with a wide set of experiences in dealing with Human Rights, to give me his impression on the removal of the Human Rights Act from the UK, and what impact it would have.

He believes that repealing this Act which brings into domestic law the European Convention on Human Rights, will be a difficult job for the UK Government. Attempts here (N Ireland) to have a Bill of Rights expanding on those rights conferred by HRA are doomed in the short to medium term, despite the Good Friday obligations. He is part of the Human Rights Consortium and during the past 10 years or more since he started to attend, virtually no progress has been made.

He believes that Brexit will further complicate matters as various parts of these islands work out relationships between each other and the EU.

On the Consortium, they have encountered a lack of interest in the Bill of Rights, with the UK Government, the Irish Government and the NI Executive playing each other off. The DUP, mean as usual, don’t really have much of an idea about the value of rights, unless they are to their narrow benefit. It’s rather depressing!

He feels that one possibility is that Scotland, opposed to repeal or amendment of the HRA, might have its own Bill of Rights. It has vehemently opposed the “regressive” proposals for a British Bill of Rights.

On a case by case basis, any repeal of the HRA will be aired by the UK courts, ending up in the Supreme Court. The courts will not want to have to do what is essentially the work of Parliament. That relationship between Parliament, Government and Judiciary can be fractious at times, particularly here (N Ireland) where issues such as sexual orientation and abortion grab the attention of a very religious and conservative Attorney General.

hr-actN Ireland is still awaiting the reserved judgements in the two marriage cases and the Ashers appeal. And it looks like the current Attorney General in N Ireland is being very wide in his interpretation of his role, and there have been requests that he stand down or stop pursuing his own agenda which seems to definitely have a very select bias from my own and others  observations.

As with all these things we will have to wait and see how things develop, but of one thing I am certain the removal of the current Human Rights Act will not be to our benefit, and I honestly believe that LGBT rights and other diversity groups will suffer if it is taken away.

Links to further reading