Gay Pride 2013 – Belfast

Belfast Pride 2013

We are a family

Saturday 6th July 2013, and tens of thousands from the LGBT community and their families and supporters turned out to celebrate Pride by parading in Belfast.  The parade was so large, that the route had to be changed to accommodate everyone.

This is the 23 year of the parade, and as stated its biggest; the parade in 1990 consisted of approximately 100 people from the community, but it is now seen as an integral part of Belfast’s many festivals, and has been welcomed and embraced by the current Lord Mayor Martin O Muilleoir, his statement on the 8th July emphasised this:

‘It’s my hope that the sense of joy, community, respect and love surrounding the Belfast Pride parade, which I had the privilege of starting yesterday, will prevail as we enter into a challenging week.

It was uplifting to see a celebration which really put a smile on the face of Belfast and I have no doubt that while I was the first Lord Mayor to start and address the Pride parade and festival, the involvement of the First Citizen will continue in the years ahead.’  (Link to Belfast City Lord Mayors Blog)City Hall gets makeover for Pride 2013

 

Further reading:

 

  1. Gay Community News
  2. Pink News – Belfast City Hall celebrates Pride in the only part of the UK where gays will be banned from marrying
  3. Belfast Telegraph – In Pictures: Belfast Pride 2013 

Letter to Strabane District Council on Pink Dye and Dog Dirt

Pink Dog Dirt

Good afternoon

I have read with interest the article in the Belfast Telegraph dated June 28, on the use of ‘pink’ dye being applied to dog dirt in an effort

 to highlight the problem and make the owners more responsible.

I think the initiative is laudable, however may I ask why a pink due was chosen, especially as we are currently in LGBT Pride Week+ of Events?

 

Regards

 

Secretary

Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association

 

Further reading:

  1. Belfast Telegraph Article

Dealing With Difference – Sexuality

1992 PA talking to President Mary Robinson in IrishA statement by the late P A Mag Lochlainn which is published on the BBC website:

 

I am the president of the Northern Ireland Gay Rights Association, one of the main bodies dealing with the law and gay people in Northern Ireland. And we strongly suspect that because gay teenagers – gay / lesbian / bisexual teenagers – in Northern Ireland are more isolated than any other part of the United Kingdom, that we have probably got a higher suicide rate correspondingly. Lesbian or gay teenagers in Northern Ireland have no gay centre to go to, although recently one has opened in Derry for the North-West which is doing fantastic work. But Belfast has none. And secondly they have very, very few role models – there is only (out of all the teachers in Northern Ireland) there is only one teacher who is ‘out’. There is not a single ‘out’ doctor, lawyer, nurse or any…most other professions, and where is the teenager to find advice? Certainly not from the tabloids who peddle misinformation. And we have fairly good anecdotal and, we reckon, statistical evidence that teenagers are killing themselves because of this lack of information and this tremendous feeling of isolation.

 

LInk: 

Gay Adoption For Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has ruled that an adoption ban on gay couples is unlawful.

Presently a single gay or lesbian person can adopt children in Northern Ireland, but a couple in a civil partnership cannot.

Moves to allow gay couples to adopt had been on hold while the court heard an appeal from Stormont’s health minister, Edwin Poots.

Poots brought a legal challenge after a decision by Belfast High Court, which ruled the current adoption ban on gay and lesbian couples was unlawful.

NIHRC chief commissioner, Professor Michael O’Flaherty, said: “Through this case the commission has protected basic human rights and the best interests of the child.

“For children who are in need of a family in Northern Ireland, the importance of this case in widening the pool of prospective parents cannot be overstated.”

Prof O’Flaherty added that the appeal ruing meant “couples who are not married, those in civil partnerships and same sex couples will now be allowed to apply to be considered as adoptive parents”.

“The court has agreed with the commission that preventing someone from even being considered to adopt because of their relationship status is a discriminatory practice,” he said.

“This is fantastic news for lesbian and gay people and their families in Northern Ireland,” said Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN.

“In the Republic of Ireland the most significant inequality in our law for lesbian and gay headed families is the lack of legal protections, rights and status of children being parented by gay and lesbian couples.

“This carries significant negative consequences for these children who are excluded from the protections and security available to children in other families. This ruling will hopefully provide further momentum to ensure equal treatment for all lesbian and gay families on our island.”

In the Republic of Ireland single lesbian and gay people can apply to adopt but civil partners cannot apply as a couple. Lesbian and gay couples can and do foster children. There are many lesbian and gay families raising children in Ireland.

“Ireland has made huge progress in evolving towards full Constitutional equality for lesbian and gay couples,” said Rose.

“The Constitutional Convention overwhelmingly supported enacting laws to ensure equality of treatment in regard to parentage, guardianship and upbringing of children and the government is currently drafting legislation in this area. Addressing the inequality in our laws now needs to be prioritised.”

 

Gay Adoption Love Makes A Family same_sex_adoption

Clare Student Killed for being 'Gay'

Gay Community News has reported:

The jury at the murder trial of a student killed in Clare two years ago heard how the victim’s sexual orientation was a crucial reason for his murder.

During his closing speech in the trial of farmer Joe Heffernan, prosecutor Bernard Conlon SC told the Central Criminal Court that victim Eoin Ryan’s homosexuality was the apparent motive for his murder.

Heffernan, of Cappagh Beg, Ennis pleaded not guilty to murdering 21-year-old student Eoin Ryan and stuffing his body in a barrel on his farm, on June 7, 2011.

“He made a pass at me and I’m no queer. He’s the devil,” Heffernan reportedly told Gardaí when interviewed.

Patrick Gageby SC, defending, suggested that either a mental disorder or intoxication had caused his client to see the devil, and argued for a manslaughter verdict, reports The Independent.

Mr Justice Patrick McCarthy will charge the jury of seven women and five men on Monday.

 

 

Read article in full:

GCN

Belfast psychiatrist Miller to face cash dealings probe – Headline from 18 April 2013

The headline in the Belfast Telegraph reads :

‘Belfast psychiatrist Miller to face cash dealings Paul W Millerprobe behind closed doors’

however this is somewhat misleading, as on talking with the British Medical Council (BMC) I was informed by Mr Jason Day of the Press Office, that Dr Miller was currently under ongoing investigations, but that Interim Orders Panel IOP) had placed some restrictions on him, which can be seen on their website.

It is the case that IOP do hold their deliberations in camera, but this is normal and not just because of this case.

Dr Miller has reached the headlines because of his links with  ex-Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) MP Iris Robinson; he acted as a former health adviser and is believed to hold controversal views on being able to cure gays!

 

The case is ongoing

 

(Link given here (Dr Paul Miller))

 

Further reading:

 

  1. Belfast Telegraph article 18 April 2013
  2. General Medical Council – Publication and Disclosure of Interim Orders and Warnings
  3. Slugger O’Toole Blog ‘Sanctioned ‘Gay Cure’ Psychiatrist on Board of Organisation Behind ‘Leper’ Conference’

GAYFEST 82

Three NIGRA persons went to the Gay Fest for a jaunt. Our first impression of the People’s Republic of South
Yorkshire was good – incredibly low bus fares. The second was dire, Sheffield (appears) to have the dourest population imaginable. The Gay Fest was held in the Polytechnic, a teacher training college with delusions of grandeur, its architecture based on the labyrinth principle. We had to walk to the opposite end of the campus to get to our billet, a very comfortable two-bed room. This is more than can be said for some of the other beds / rooms we slept in that weekend.

Apart from continually walking into closed meetings of CHE (the Campaign for Homosexual Equality) and into a wrangle between the SWPGG (Socialist Workers Party Gay Group) and a nice young man from the Spartacus League*. (The SL and SWP are among the 57 varieties of Trot groupeens), the young ‘Spart’ compared their ‘line’ on Ireland with that on Iran. The SWP gave undifferentiated support to the anti-Shah opposition, and look at what the Iranians got! In Ireland, Master Spartacus, said they supported anti-Gay and anti-women forces. This led to the epochal event of a member of the SWP admitting that his Party was small and not about to seize power just yet.

The next meeting I attended was a duo between the Liberal Gay Action Group (LibGAG) and the Gay Social Democrats (GSD). The Libs were very lordly and made rather injudiciously nostalgic remarks about the Lib-Lab pact pipe dream of the early ’70s (i. e. a governing alliance of Labour and the Liberals). The GSD took it in good part and asked sharp questions, like will the Liberals’ portmanteau Bill of Rights be feasible?

Others attended the Gay Youth Movement (GYM)’s AGM, where a snide article about them in the Gay Gazette (the Festival’s journal) was attacked and the author ‘Pandora’ asked to apologise and also admit his / her name. [It was Eric Presland / Peter Scott Presland – currently still playwriting and producing a history of CHE]. The youth groups GYM and the Joint Council for Gay Teenagers (JCGT) threaten to boycott next year’s Gay Fest.

Three of us attended the SHRG (Scottish Homosexual Rights Group)’s seminar on S / M (sado-masochism). It had a very good attendance neck and neck with the Labour Campaign for Gay Rights’ meeting which had the ‘bisexual’ MP for Bootle, Allan Roberts as guest speaker. [One of us ought to have gone – but ‘sex’ proved more of an attraction – upstart 2013]

The rest of Saturday was spent boozing and inflicting Gay Star on unsuspecting Brits. Thus we missed the Workshop on Sexism and an explanation of what was the Gay Community Organisation [GCO – CHE split itself into a ‘political / campaigning side – CHE, and a ‘social’ side the GCO. It was disastrous, GCO barely lasted out the year, and CHE was seriously weakened – upstart 2013]. We did get an ear-bashing about how wonderful Friday’s disco had been. It sounded great until we were told the Gay’s are only allowed in once a month!

We did see Eric Presland’s Teatrolley, or a Midsummer Night’s Scream, done by Consenting Adults in Public, in the open air. Drink, damp grass, and an aversion to cod-Shakespeare, somewhat cloud one’s judgement, but generally the parade of Gay ‘types’ was interesting: the two Liberationists offering tea and ideological purity – the clones, the leathermen (played by an actor of great beauty and courage… Anyone who would expose his bum to the inclemencies of an English Autumn, and an audience made up entirely of Gay women and men would have to be). There was also a policeman who turns almost human.

The evening ended on a deliberately sour note when Consenting Adults… handed out leaflets recounting the horrors while befell the Kasir family and their small business.

On Sunday morning after carefully avoiding the Act of Worship, and not being lucky enough to avoid the truly dreadful breakfast, we nipped into the Gay Rights at Work meeting, where we learned that Judith Williams is getting fed up with a dreary round of meeting – and general unpleasantness.

We then went off to the worst-attended, but in many ways the most interesting meeting of the weekend. The Revolutionary Gay men’s Caucus organised Political Activity and Social Life, which was basically a pretty punchy attack on the Gay Liberation movement. According to their outlook the radicals, the lobbyists / civil-righters and the Gay proprietors, were as one in seeing the oppression of Gays as a ‘technical matters of the distribution of resources’. Meanwhile, whole categories of people are excluded from the Gay ‘scene’ – women, the disabled, the elderly, Black Gays, and to an extent, the unemployed. The Gay Liberation Front had married revolutionary rhetoric to feeble reformist demands. Thus they had to defend sexual pluralism under any guise, e. g., pornography, S / M – one of the RGMC defended pædophilia, presumably on the grounds that it wasn’t exploitative.

The arguments of the Caucus were rather like traversing a superbly engineered bridge, which one suddenly realises does not quite reach to opposite shore. They offered no programme – ‘shopping lists of demands were useless without money or power’. And some of the building materials of the bridge were questionable. The ‘working class’ was referred to as if it were a solid entity. Questioning brought the admission that it was difficult to define the working class, and that it is wracked with deep contradictions anyway; racism, sexism and so forth.

Their attitude to ‘Ireland’ was, roughly: the Brits are in Ireland for imperialist reasons, therefore it was a brill idea to chuck ’em out. The people who said this did admit that they were not entirely happy about the results for Gay people.

An overall impression of the Festival: the price of set meals did tend to put a damper on socialising over meals, the restaurants and cafés on Eccleshall Road did a roaring trade. The youth groups and ILIS (International Lesbian Information Service) met in separate venues from the (‘adult’) male, or anyway, male-oriented groups. We only saw them striding purposely about from place to place.

The main corridor, from the bar to the gym-cum-disco area, was crowded with stalls hired by all sorts of Gay groups; revolutionaries, Tories (but no fascists – yet), humanists, Christians (but no Muslims or Hindus), weekend walkers, real ale freaks, pure-as-the-driven-snow bookshops, and bookshops selling porn. There were bisexuals and leather people, but no (overt) pædophiles, young people, and a considerable number of decidedly elderly people. People selling good papers, people selling bad papers, and people selling… um… Gay Star.

A Workshop deriving out of Saturday’s seminar on S / M was very interesting, and would have been more interesting if it had not been decided to split us into two groups. In a small room this caused both sessions to be incomprensible. People admitted to being nervous about some of the accoutrements of S / M sex, and admitted that their fascination with the outer manifestations of dominance was distressing to them. Admittedly, some others did not find such things in the least distressing.

Early in the session someone launched a shrill and rather over-heated attack on S / M, suggesting that people into S / M are also into ‘terminal sex’. The argument is self-evidently foolish. Not everybody is a Mistress / Master, and anyway the economics of sex intervenes. If you constantly bump people off, apart from the fact that it becomes rather noticeable even in the most closeted of scenes, you will find that people will no longer accept your invitations to light torture sessions. Possibly this person was trying to say, in the manner of Freudian psychoanalysis, that S / M is something else. Leather-sex people are ‘really’ repressed corpse-fuckers.

So far as we were concerned, the Festival ended roughly here. We went off to the Stars disco later in the evening. The organisers’ “five minute’s walk” proved to be wildly over-optimistic; it was more like half an hour. The disco (run by Mecca, inventors of ‘Miss World’) was pretty drab. It had a curious, limp, pre-liberation feel – there were lots of black’n’white pics of 1940s Hollywood ‘stars’. There were lots of Muir caps with Anglo-Saxon potato faces under them. The huge bar sold flat beer at inflated prices, and the dance floor was small.

The only Gay elements were the Muir caps and the poppers. The Gays are allowed into Stars once a fortnight.

Editorial report

* This was probably called the Spartacist League – a ‘Spartacus League’ was, or had been, the youth wing of the SWP (in its early IS / International Socialist guise). This may not be entirely accurate – but the niceties of British Trotskyist history are very complex. [upstart 2013].

This was the last Gay Fest – they had been run by CHE – presumably there was some debate about whether or not it was a ‘political’ or a ‘social’ event.

Fortunately CHE decided some year’s ago that the political and the social are no longer incompatible.

IN SEARCH OF THE BRITISH WORKING CLASS

Out-take from Labour & Trade Union Review No. 228 June 2012

The Morning Star, the publication of the mainstream Communist Party of Britain (a Scottish CP was set up in anticipation of self-government) organised a conference People’s Britain or Bankers’ Britain, in Bishopsgate Institute, on Saturday 31/03/12.  The first session / ‘Plenary’ consisted of speechifying by important people.  They didn’t say anything memorable.  The freshest voices were Megan Dobney (SERTUC – South East [England] Region Trade Union Committee) Secretary, and the baby-faced (and Gay, as it happens) Owen Jones, author of Chavs, the Demonisation of the Working Class.  It is debatable if there is a ‘British working class’.  Prime Ministers Thatcher and Major, Blair and Brown dissolved it in their period in office.

No major party wants to re-industrialise in UK.  ‘Working class’ may be history.  Blair seemed happy to create a US-like ‘underclass’ existing on ‘Welfare’ and descending into nihilistic apathy. Last summer’s [2011-upstart 2013] riots may be an indication that that part of his legacy is as toxic as his foreign policy.  Anita Halpin who presided, was brisk and interesting.  Her affiliation was the PPPS (People’s Press Publishing Society, ‘official’ publishers of MS) Management Committee.

This was followed by Workshops, which, as seems to be the case now, did not report-back to a ‘Plenary’ session.  Discussion of the various issues would have been interesting.  I happened across Civil disobedience: innovative action & safety, having inserted myself into an inappropriate Workshop, it was moderated by Daniel Garvin of UK UnCut.  As none of his audience had knowledge of non-violent civil disobedience, he did more than just ‘moderate’.  He was taken by a suggestion, (from NI ‘Civil Rights’ days) about hyper-‘civil obedience’.

Meaning gumming up the bureaucratic works by insisting that every rule and regulation be observed *.  He’d never encountered the notion.  ‘Safety’ in his billing referred to whether or not the police or security personnel at events would be inclined to violence.  The London Metropolitan Police can be, apparently, quite volatile.

The Second (and last) Plenary consisted of more speeches.  The two MPs, Michael Meacher and Kelvin Hopkins made essentially the same speech (this is not a complaint about them.  The organisers must have realised they’d say much the same thing).  Kelvin Hopkins said that the EU was always anti-Socialist in concept.  (It was a Christian Democratic project.  Kelvin Hopkins may be of the opinion that Christian Democrats are ‘right wing’.  The label was generously distributed by British politicians – who appeared not to notice that the CDs created welfare and health services – just as good, if not better that the UK’s.  That the EU is now in the grip of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ economic liberalism is partly the fault of the Labour Left’s national chauvinism.  Germany’s Christian Democrats seem to have rediscovered their faith in themselves, and may put the City of London in its box.

Augusto Praça of Portugal’s CGT spoke.  He may have said something interesting.  But he had trouble with the microphone and had a very strong accent.  Bob Crowe made a fine, fighting speech and said his wee group would be fighting the local elections – (George Galloway’s victory in Bradford haunted the meeting.  Galloway, who writes a monthly MS column, sent a message of solidarity.  He was busy celebrating his victory with an old-fashioned rally in a local (Bradford) public park).

A ‘whip round’ for MS produced £4,000 (well-paid ‘union leaders’ present?).  There was an implication we might not be allowed out…).  A ‘Socialist choir’ gave us the International and The Red Flag (printed on a classy handout, possibly a subtle advert for the PPPS).  The choir, Straw-berry Thieves, consists of eight women and one man.  ‘Socialist choir’ used to mean scores of Welsh miners Strawberry Thieves (title unexplained) was excellent.  Thompsons Solicitors provided (good quality) vino, the ‘photo exhibition’ remained mostly on the floor.  Ian Townson (QuAC – a Queer Against the Cuts, formerly Lancaster GLF (Gay Liberation Front, Brixton Faeries etc.)) also attended.  He said it was just a prolonged ‘plug’ for the Morning Star.  But it had, effectively, been billed as such.

 

Seán McGouran

 

* PA Mag Lochlainn (President of the NI Gay Rights Association 1991 – 2012) in 1968 was part of the NI Civil Rights Association group in Omagh (Co. Tyrone).  They realised that the Ministry of Agriculture was obliged to examine every single animal being raised by the farmers of Ulster.  So, helpfully, they took to driving local farmers’ cattle, sheep, pigs, goats and various poultry up the stairs to the Ministry’s local office  (They were always on the first floor for some reason).  The effect on the Ministry’s carpet-cleaning bills can only be guessed-at.

 

BACK IN THE U. S. S. R.

[Edited] out-take from upstart Vol 3, No. 1., March ’91

 

(Whether this demonstrated arrogance or naivety – or is just journalism of interest to our readership (all three of them) – in a sub-provincial publication is up to the reader…)

Over the years from Gorbachev’s taking office in the USSR the official policy of glasnost or ‘openness’ has led to a situation where Gay people have come out in a quite unprecedented way.  Even in the 1920s and ’30s Gay people were fairly cautious about proclaiming their sexuality in the Soviet Republic.

Today the situation is different, there are open groups in Leningrad [(now St. Petersburg – though the authorities hedged their bets by allowing the surrounding area, (it’s the size of Ireland), to remain ‘Leningrad’).  The citizens of ‘St Petersburg’ want it to return to the name Leningrad.  A demonstration by elders in the early 1990s, objecting to the name change, carried banners pointing out that they had defended ‘Leningrad’ during one of world-history’s greatest sieges.  Citizens of Tsaritsyn, (formerly the drearily named ‘Volgograd’), have taken much the same line – they fought, starved and died defending ‘Stalingrad’. – upstart 2013].  Moscow has a Gay magazine called Tema.  There was conference on homosexuality in Tallin, Estonia during summer 1990.  There are probably other manifestations of “out” behaviour of which we are not aware.

Tema’s editor Roman Kalinin who is also the founder of the Moscow Gay and Lesbian Union, and ten other people were summoned to a police barracks on December 17.  They were accused of engaging in anal sex, which means a five year sentence in a prison camp.  They were also accused of using — gasp — drugs.

The dear old RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary [now PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland) – upstart 2013]) used this excuse to arrest Gay people in 1977.  The police-crater’s mind is a wonderful thing to behold.  These charges have been dropped because Kalinin demanded to know how the police were going to prove them.  Roman Kalinin was interviewed in a big circulation magazine about AIDS and HIV, apparently an “unbelievable” number of letters came in after this.  Ordinary Soviet citizens are very worried about The Plague.  Kalinin is now homeless because his landlord found out he was Gay and an activist – no doubt the KGB noised the latter fact abroad.

In Leningrad things are somewhat worse.  Olga Zhuk founded the Tchaikovsky Foundation for Cultural Initiatives and Defence of Sexual Minorities.  Named after the composer, it thereby, in itself, exposes some myth making by the Russian Soviet Establishment.  The Foundation and Olga have been harassed over the past few months, the KGB have now arrested Olga.

She has been arrested under Article 121.1 of the criminal law Code.  This Article deals only with sexual acts between men.

Olga Zhuk was also accused of “gathering groups of criminals”.  This harass-ment and arrest were the result of a meeting with the City Council, which refused to recognise the Foundation.

 

Murder

A Muscovite activist, Alexander Lukeshev, editor of the independent journal New Life, has been murdered.  Possibly the KGB, but the racist group Pamyat, one of whose intellectuals Valentin Rasputin was seen on C4’s The Media Show last month (February 1991 – upstart 2013) describing Gays as “less that vermin”, would seem to be likely candidates too.  Anyone who has been a guest of Her Majesty, or of The Nation must realise that keeping contacts with the outside world is very important.  Isolated prisoners can be harassed and even killed in large prisons.  So far as Gay women and men are concerned the USSR is a giant prison.  That society appears to be falling apart means that isolated communities like the Gay community, which is only just emerging, are in danger of their liberties and even their lives.

[There followed a number of names and addresses of Soviet nomenclatura, which is no longer relevant.  No doubt most of them found cosy billets in the States – all 16 of them – that seceded from the Union, the largest one being the Russian Federation.  The Federation is the same territory as the RSFSR (the Russian Soviet Federal Socialist Republic).  ‘Federation’ due to the fact that a number of ‘ethnic’ Republics operate within the state.  Some are more ‘independent’ than others, the (uniquely in the USSR) Buddhist Komi Republic, embraced capitalism with eye watering vigour, while Tataristan has not [yet] given up on Soviet values.  Tataristan (the erstwhile Tatar Autonomous Soviet Republic) is Muslim in culture.  Its most famous son is [was – upstart 2013] Rudolf (his Mammy was a fan of Valentino) Nurey[ev].  He was a great ballet performer, whether he was as unambiguously a boon to ballet in ‘the West’, despite excitable (non-dance) journalists’ scribblings, is a matter for debate.

This is not to say that he wasn’t a great performer, who excited audiences – even ones anæsthetised by the effect of television, in telly’s ‘goldfish bowl’ days.]

 

 

 

 

 

HISTORICAL GAY CAMDEN…

Camden LGBT Forum issued early in the year an A5 booklet Camden & Islington LGBT History Month 2013.  Which was just as well as History Month is, effectively a Camden phenomenon. There was an event in deepest Clapham, south London run by QuAC (Queers Against the Cuts) though the date might have been just happenstantial).  And not much elsewhere in what might vaguely be called inner London, though there were events in Croydon and other places.

 

Room 106… Room T 102… [?]

‘My’ first event was in SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), LGBTQ and Religion / Faith.  It was held in Room 106. The organisers, (“… [s]peakers from the Christian and Muslim communities, as well as SOAS lecturer and writer, Ben Murtagh”) did not turn up!)).  A ‘Room T 102’, on the same floor as the room we were on, is mentioned at the back of the booklet in connection with this discussion.  Most of us probably spent the evening wondering if we should be in another Room (even building; UL, and SOAS itself are enormous) we got on with it anyway.  There was one Irish, one Polish and one Italian Catholic, all male, in my case ‘collapsed’, two Jewish persons, one transgender, a ‘lapsed Anglican’, (a young heterosexual man who is doing a MA on religion and sexuality), and ‘Lee’ / ‘Leigh’ who’s background was Pentecostal.  There were two largely quiet young women of Anglo-Caribbean (and Pentecostal) origin.

In the nature of things very few conclusions were come to, we simply discussed our inherited faiths and our environments.  Catholic Irish don’t take a denunciatory attitude to Gay people, they never have; sex, sexuality, and orientation simply were not discussed.  ‘Sex education’ was handled very awkwardly, if at all.  (Currently sex education in the Republic is quite open, and – ‘liberal’ is the word, – probably due to a number of female, Fianna Fáil, Education ministers, Máire Geogeghan Quinn and Mary Burke.  LGBT matters are dealt with, though as ever, the B and T tend to be neglected).  The Pole and the Italian said that homosexuality was not discussed, except in terms of total rejection.  The M-to-F Trans woman was of quite rigidly Orthodox background, and said her own feeling was that anything other than heterosex was frowned upon. Sex variant people were simply perverts – end of story.   Or get lost – you were no longer of the Faith – or the family.  She had had a long and problematical journey out of this mind-set.

A problem with religion in our political context is that all the parties have similar policies.  They’ll do as little as possible to put them into effect, and we can always expect half a dozen Tory closets to do something stupid.  (The fact that there is – in context – a major homophobic party in Northern Ireland is more useful than not.  It means than nearly everyone else feels the need to be pro-LGBT, or at least, consider the matter.  The current leader of the UUP has attended Belfast LGBT Pride for a number of years now.  As have all the other (non-‘Paisleyite’) parties).

The churches can treat LGBT members any way they feel.

Vincent Nichol, immediately on becoming Archbishop of Westminster and RC Primate of England unilaterally closed down the Soho-based LGBT Apostolate and masses for LGBT people.  Quite what this has to do with Christian charity it is difficult to fathom.  And may create a problem of authority.  They’ll probably continue in disguised form.

So far as the ‘Room 106’ discussion was concerned, it is a pity nobody turned up with a notion of how to lead such.   (Michael Brown took the chair at – basically, -my request, but obviously could only facilitate the conversation; not lead it).  We, inevitably, gave our ‘testimonies’ and left, we didn’t even swap e-mail addresses.  Which was a bit of a lost opportunity.  I managed not to get to other events, partly because some were at awkward times, an interesting talk on Magnus Hirschfeld, The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and the First Wave of the Queer Movement in Germany 1897 – 1933, was held in Islington Town Hall at six in the evening.  The time and venue were not problematical for me.  I didn’t remember the event until about 6.15 p. m. on the actual day.

I didn’t, but probably I ought to, have gone to Jonathan Kemp’s readings from his books in Islington Museum.  I felt it was somewhat redundant, and I should just read and review the books in the standard fashion.

 

QuACers

QUAC’s event was held in an architectural wonder – the ?? Centre – it is spheroid.  The rooms and study pods do have corners.  I inserted myself into a corner furthest from the door – nearest the wine – but ought not to have.  I had a very heavy cold and a braying cough, as did a woman near the door.  We both had to leave the room and share Fisherperson’s Friends as the rest of the audience simply could not hear the speaker from Syriza.  I asked him if he could send upstart a version of his talk.  He said that he only had notes, but would try to do something

S McGouran