Month: March 2013

Jasper Pride 2013

April 12, 2013

Alberta, Canada

Jasper Pride Weekend

Friday April 12, 2013

  • 8 PM: Welcome Mixer & Silent Auction  at Mountain Park Lodges / Marmot Lodge
    Mix & Mingle with complimentary appetizers and cash bar, no cover charge
  • 9 PM: “Through the Looking Glass”  Party at Whistle Stop
    Live music from “Unwed Mothers”, complimentary welcome drink and
    prizes for Fairy Tales Themed costumes, no cover charge

Saturday April 13, 2013

  • 8.30 AM: Ski Day and Aloha Cup at Marmot Basin
    Come out for an awesome ski and snowboard race open to all ages, ski down a non-traditional race course set on the Tranquilizer run. Hang out in your sexy beach wear, show off, listen to music, have some BBQ and win lots of prizes. Open to everybody, straights, gays and undecided. $15 including BBQ Lunch
    Alternative Activity Options (Ice Climbing, Ice Canyon Walk, Snowshoeing, Spa at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge)
  • 2:30 PM: Brew Tour & Tasting at the Jasper Brewing Company
    $10 per person for Tour & Souvenir 
  • 2:30 – 7 PM: Après Ski Specials at the  Whistle Stop
    Live Local Entertainment, Happy Hour Drinks and half priced appetizer platters
  • 5 PM: Fairy Tales Après Ski Cocktail Reception at  The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
    Enjoy fancy drinks with the hosts of Calgary’s LGBT Fairy Tales Film Festival, no cover, cash bar
    (complimentary shuttle from Parks Canada Info Center to The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge leaving at 4:30 PM)
  • 6 PM: “Flicks & Treats” Dinner Theatre at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge 
    A fancy Pride-themed Soiree & Dinner with screening of some of the best LGBT-themed films of this year’s annual Fairy Tales Film Festival taking place in Calgary from May 24 to June 1, 2013
    Special Ticket Price for buffet dinner and movie screening: $44 + $5 Fundraising Donation for Fairy Tales Film Festival
    (complimentary shuttle back to town and to the Jasper Activity Center, leaving the lodge at 8:30 PM sponsored by Sundog)
  • 9 PM:  “Fairy Tales & Legends” Jasper Pride Party at Jasper Activity Center
    with “Guys in Disguise” Drag Show and Dance $15 cover charge, cash bars

Sunday, April 14, 2013

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COLUMN: Tell Me Lies

It seems to me that the world is full of false perceptions. I often sit on the bus and see people walking around in skinny jeans who clearly think that their bottom is a lot smaller than it is. They don’t appear to notice that the denim is strained to breaking point and that they look bulbous in all the wrong places. The same goes for the milky blue-white flesh of an unwisely exposed upper arm or the sportswear on a man who’s likely to pass out running for a bus.

By Chris Bridges | 31st March 2013

TGUK

I see people wearing thin canvas shoes in the snow and I think they must have a mistaken belief that it looks amazing. It actually looks foolhardy and like they haven’t got the money for something warm and sturdy. I once worked with a woman who seemed to not know that there was a back to her head. The front of her hair was teased upwards and immaculately coiffed and styled but the back was always a shoddy mess of bed rumpled locks. I see plenty of people who just need a kindly soul to tell them where they’re going wrong. I think this rule also applies to men who call themselves “straight-acting” on gay dating sites or who claim to be XXL in the genital area. That’s my experience anyway.

I have skewed perceptions that are perhaps, even odder. My first is that I often think that people are older than me. I can’t seem to get it into my brain that I’m aging and am no longer under 30. I look at people and think of them as middle aged and mature and then have a start as I realise that they’re probably the same age as me or younger. Luckily, I know my limitations and am not inclined towards the Whitney dressed as Britney school of fashion. I know that I’d look like a fool ramming myself into teenage fashions and I steer clear of jeggings at all costs.

My second belief is that I’m shorter than I actually am. I believe that lots of people are taller than me. It’s fine if they’re standing next to me. I’m not so stupid that I can’t see what’s in front of me. It’s more to do with memory. In spite of being six foot tall I remember events as featuring a much shorter me. It doesn’t take Sigmund Freud to calculate that I maybe have a tiny little inferiority complex.

My final skewed perception is one that I share with my people who put themselves out there on reality television. I believe that I can sing like a young Aretha Franklin. Regardless of the fact that people run screaming if I begin to warble and even I can hear the flat drone coming from my mouth, I know deep down that I have the voice of an angel. Perhaps I just need a lesson. It only needs to be a short lesson. Five minutes of coaching, maybe, and you’d be amazed at what I could do. I’d pack them in at the 02 Arena.

Don’t panic though. I’ll restrict my crooning to the privacy of my own home for now. Your ears are safe.

Column: The Hirsute of Happiness

Book Review: Backing into Light

Book Review: Fanny and Stella

Chris Bridges

Jason’s Truth available on Amazon

Jason’s Truth, by David Krongelb, is now available on Amazon.com as an eBook (Kindle edition)  first choice.

While Jason’s classmates have already discovered their sexuality, his is just beginning to burgeon. Mostly uninterested in girls, he finds fascination with the boys in his gym class.

Jason Marks is a freakishly smart 12-year-old, the youngest in his high school and the oldest at his Hebrew academy.  His adventures through the next four years in the mid-1960s open his eyes, his mind and his young body to unexpected pleasures of the flesh as he navigates two worlds.

He grows from boy to man, excels academically and musically, and endures sweeping changes in his family.  He experiences real friendship and dismal disappointment, true love and inevitable heartbreak. He discovers the fascinating realm of boys and men and attempts to decipher the reasons why this is a forbidden world. Through it all, he gains an insight and indefatigable spirit that will carry him through the “two worlds” that he continues to inhabit.

Warning:  sexual content

David Krongelb spent his youth in Jersey City, NJ and summered at the Jersey shore.  He studied music at Rutgers University and S.U.N.Y./Binghamton.  After testing various careers, including photography, teaching, bartending, and the world of business in New York City, he has owned and operated a computer consulting business in South Florida for 27 years.  David has finally found his muse, both as an internet blogger and now author of his first novel, loosely based on his own adolescence.  Like the hero of his novel, the author now lives a “double life,” as businessman and  novelist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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COLUMN: The HIV Community

‘Community’ is a broad word that can be used in various ways in our society; it carries different definitions depending on the situation.

by HIV Poz Guy | 29th March 2013

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

The main meaning we can all take away from this word is that it’s generally a large group of people that all share common values. Without realising, we must all fit into different communities – as a population, as a society, as a sub-culture, as a gender, race, sexuality...the list goes on. One question I wanted to ask before writing this, was, ‘Is there a HIV community in the UK?’ Having had a Google, I haven’t found a great deal so I thought I would explore the potential reasons why it appears to be lacking.

I was diagnosed back in October 2012 as having HIV and since then, it’s felt like a pretty solitary journey. I’ve felt that I’ve had to make a concerted effort to reach out to others that have this somewhat lonely and yet widespread virus, seeing as there are roughly 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK (to put into a visual context, that’s enough to fill the O2 Arena to full capacity 5 times over). I’ve mentioned in a previous article that stigma is a major issue that needs tackling, and here I find myself thinking that it’s stigma that’s probably the reason why we don’t have that community ‘feel’ when it comes to HIV. People are too scared to disclose their status and so any attempt of an open HIV community is diminished from the outset. I don’t feel part of anything larger, but then I wonder at the same time, do I actually want to be?

I think about the gay community, and to me, it’s something that is quite close knit. It tends to be in concentrated pockets in the UK, in areas that thrive such as popular cities, and everyone tends to be linked to someone through one way or another. Up until a few years ago, you’d find me every weekend out on my local scene, on a stage or podium dancing this derriere of mine off non-stop; shaking loose the stresses of life with friends and loosing calories in the process and maintaining a nice athletic physique with hardly any effort – sounds great right? The scene was my release, where I could fully be ‘me’. In time though, I got really bored. It’s a story we must all be able to relate to, the same places and same faces just weren’t enough for me anymore and so I withdrew myself. Being part of the gay community is something that fortunately we can choose, similarly I guess with any community. It’s a choice in our lives that we are very lucky to have as it has the power to alter us as people so dramatically. Who I am today, is not who I was those years back, when I was out every weekend.

So to choose to become part of a community and go looking for it if it does exist, where does someone with HIV go? Well, the main prevalent community that HIV people have is actually found online. I wonder how people reached out to each other before this though? I can only hazard a guess at support groups perhaps arranged by HIV drop-in centres or local hospitals. The internet is a HIV person’s saviour. We can hide behind anonymous identities if we wish to and say how we feel, reach out and get the support needed and make friends. My saving grace has remarkably been, Twitter. I have two accounts on Twitter, a personal one and my @HIVPozGuy one. I use the latter much more as I’ve developed a network of friends with HIV on there, and we all help each other out and provide a much needed resource of fun and laughter. It’s astounding that groups can be created from nothing, from simple connections made over wireless air-waves and wires, that can then become first-class compadres. My twitter friends live all over the place, but having them in my pocket on hand, makes them feel like they’re with me every day. We’re now in talks of arranging a meet up!

Twitter isn’t the only resource I found in terms of community. Other websites offer great forums, I think the first whistle-stop that every HIV person should stop at post-diagnosis before doing anything else, is to get themselves registered with The Terrence Higgin’s Trust website - ww.tht.org.uk. This is the main HIV charity in the UK with a growing number of members each day with brilliant resources and help. You can delve into the forums and get pretty lost and carried away with other peoples’ stories, and find common ground to rid those feelings of shame, anger, guilt, sadness and so on that many experience from their initial diagnosis. You can even call their helpline and speak with people that have HIV. My Step-Dad did this on the day I revealed my HIV status so he could gather an understanding of it, this he relayed to my mum and it put their anxieties at great ease (if you work/volunteer for THT reading this, massive thank you from me!). So THT isn’t just there for HIV people, it’s there to help out family and friends that have a close one with HIV.

So, to answer my question from the start - Yes, there is a community, and it’s mainly online. It’s not huge but it’s what people choose and make of it, that will allow them to construct their own idea of how to achieve that community ‘feel’, should they need it. I’m extremely content with the people I’ve got to know along the way so far and look forward to someday meeting them too.

Related Stories:

Column: How Aware Are You?

Pilot HIV Home Test Scheme Launched

Column: Does The "Gay Community" Really Exist?

More about the author

HIVPozGuy

INTERVIEW: Olly Neville

Olly Neville, former chairman of the Youth Independent (YI), UKIP’s youth organisation was unceremoniously fired in January for expressing his support for gay marriage on the World at One programme on BBC Radio 4.

Interview by Domenico Sansalone | 29th March 2013

Following his sacking, Mr Neville claimed UKIP was “on the wrong side of history” on gay marriage and proceeded to publicise on Twitter emails that were sent him by party leaders.

The Gay UK chats with Mr Neville about his sacking, UKIP and what it is like to be catapulted into the media spotlight.

Why did you first join UKIP?

I joined UKIP because I am a libertarian, and they are a self-described libertarian party. UKIP’s manifesto had a few decent policies – flat taxes, low regulation, tax cuts for the poorest, mainly economic things whereas most other party’s manifestos were dire at best. When I joined their policy on issues like Equal Marriage was a free vote. I thought UKIP were what they said they were, genuinely libertarian leaning, a party that genuinely wanted to shrink the state, and supported internal debate as Nigel Farage (leader of UKIP) said it did. I never realised I would be quite so wrong.

What was your first formal position within the party?

I first was elected Young Independence Elections officer in around August 2011, I went on to become Social Media Director in March 2012.

When were you first elected to the role of Youth Chair?

I was elected November/December time.

How long did you hold the position?

About a month.

What are your reasons for supporting gay marriage?

Ideally, I would like to see marriage de-nationalised or privatised – so no state involvement at all. However that option is not on the table, if the state is going to be involved at all it should do it equally. I see no legitimate reason why the rights of one group in society should be denied. Simply put I have found no good arguments against equal marriage, whereas there are many very good reasons – equality of opportunity, equality before the law, the state having no right to interfere in agreements between two consenting partners etc. Sexual orientation is no basis to deny people access to marriage. If two people want to get married and a religion or a venue is happy to let them do so then no one has any right to stand in their way.

Why do you think UKIP have adopted an anti-gay marriage stance?

In my eyes their opposition is pure political opportunism. They changed the policy to oppose equal marriage because they thought they could win votes. They wanted to woo angry socially conservative members off the Tories, and get some headlines. Being the only significant party to oppose Equal Marriage beside the BNP was also sure to get UKIP media attention. It’s not a principled stand it’s a short-term grab for votes and attention.

How did you respond to that policy being decided and what stopped you from leaving the party?

At the time I was on the Young Independence Council – the executive of the youth wing. Pretty much everyone on it opposed the policy and disagreed with it. YI is a lot more socially liberal than the main party. I opposed it but being in UKIP you put up with a lot of nonsense policies – the immigration one for example or the idea that we need to double the military budget. Young growing parties have teething stages and bad policies come in. I didn’t realise that UKIP were going to make the policy quite so central, indeed I didn’t realise that until the party chairman angrily emailed me telling me how central the policy was after my interview. That was shocking, I hadn’t expected UKIP to try and win so much political capital out of actively denying rights to minorities. I didn’t leave because the youth wing was still very sensible, the future of the party as I saw it were behind equal marriage, let the angry social cons have their day for now.

Did you anticipate the reaction you had from party leaders after the comments you made on the BBC?

No, the interview with the BBC was about 10-15 minutes long and mainly about the growth of YI. The comments on equal marriage were not a central part of the interview. But even so I didn’t think UKIP would go quite so crazy, after all Nigel Farage talks about legalising drugs, Paul Nuttall talks about bringing back the death penalty etc, Nigel had said that he believed in free speech in the party and indeed the UKIP party rule book states officers are allowed to voice their own opinions. I didn’t think they’d agree but I never expected so much vitriol.

What made you tweet the emails you had from party leaders?

When it got leaked that I had been fired for supporting equal marriage there was quite a reaction. Whenever people criticise or go against UKIP their equivalent of the SNP’s ‘cyber-nats’ come out in force on Twitter to attack those that disagree, usually quite passionately and aggressively. There were all sorts of defences used by UKIP’s online members. The emails from the party Chairman show quite clearly why I was fired. I tweeted them to provide clarity.

Do you regret having done so?

Not at all, I wanted everyone to see why I had been removed, for standing up for something I believe in.

How did it feel when your fellow colleagues’ resigned in protest over your sacking?

It was actually really unexpected. I’d felt pretty isolated when getting bombarded with angry emails from party higher ups so when suddenly a load of people said that they were leaving too it was nice to know that I was supported, that other people who could look at the situation objectively found the parties treatment of me beyond the pale as well. Many of the people who left I already really respected within UKIP and YI and so for so many of the parties young ‘big hitters’ to leave at the same time really made me realise that it was good to take a stand on your principles as people would respect you for it. The fact so many people left from high up in YI that the council has had to shut down until the next elections really spoke volumes about how wide the gap in opinion as between ‘old’ UKIP and the Youth Wing.

Are you still a member of UKIP?

Absolutely not

Do you belong to another political party?

No, I am done with compromising. Being in UKIP was a huge compromise that ultimately blew up. I would rather stick to my principles than toe party lines. The way UKIP changed its view on gay rights just to win over a few angry Tories and get a few more points in opinion polls really hammered home how principles have no place in politics and no party really has any. UKIP are like all the others, willing to sell out for a sniff of power. I don’t want to be in anything like that.

What is your view on the Conservative party’s pledge to leave the European Court of Human Rights?

I’m Eurosceptic but Europe and the EU has never been a high priority of mine, just like it isn’t a high priority of most of the electorate. As an anarchist I’m not a fan of any centralised bodies, be it EU, ECHR, UN etc but there are so many much bigger issues in my opinion. It’s a bit of a sideshow to the real issues but that’s what a lot of politics is.

Has the UKIP sacking had an effect you personally or professionally?

Not hugely, obviously it catapulted my name into the media for a few days, which was a bit weird. Finding my picture in the metro on my way to work was a bit of a double take moment. I had a lot of people – former employers and friends I hadn’t talked to for a while contacted me to congratulate me on taking a stand. I also got a lot of positive feedback on the Internet, apart from the UKIP tribalists obviously. Strangely no one at my work seems to have realised it happened, it was my second day at a new job when it came out and my phone didn’t stop ringing the whole time.

Do you think UKIP’s strong showing in the Eastleigh by-election demonstrates public support for UKIP’s position on same-sex marriage?

With pretty much every poll showing overwhelming public support for Same Sex Marriage I doubt it. People vote on big issues like the economy, welfare, education. UKIP wins votes because it positions itself as an anti politics party. It’s anti establishment, anti that notion of corrupt careerist MP’s. I think UKIP does very well setting itself up as a party for the disillusioned and the angry, not just those angry at politics in general but those from former parties who feel let down – whether its Labour for deserting the working man, the Tories from deserting ‘right wing principles’ or the Lib Dems for deserting civil liberties. UKIP promises all things to all people – its un-costed Manifesto promising £600bn in spending cuts but only outlining about £40bn in spending increases demonstrates that.

Related Stories:

Infamous Reform Section 5

Eddie Izzard To Run For Mayor and 27 Marathons

La Manif Pour Tous Plans Demonstration in UK's Capital

More about the interviewer:

Domenico Sansalone

Leeds Film Festival This Weekend

New queer cinema from across the UK and internationally. With a focus on independent films and films that refuse to play by the rules, Leeds Queer Film Festival presents fiction, documentary, and films that shun binary genre definition.

28th March 2013

Film Highlights: award winning films 'Audre Lorde; The Berlin Years 1984­1992' (Dagmar Schultz), 'Kiss Me' (Jules Nurrish), 'The Regretters' (Marcus Lindeen), as well as 16mm experimental short film 'All That Sheltering Emptiness' (Gina Carducci and Matilda Bernstein Sycamore), plus more new queer shorts than you can shake a glittered fist at!

Amongst the popcorn filled days and nights will be panel discussions, workshops, and big party with queer party mash­ups and booty bass by Cut Loose and other DJ's.

Don't miss out!

Keep up to date with programme listings, news and venues at http://www.leedsqueerfilmfestival.co.uk/

We are excited to be hosted by Temple Works for our opening nights 28th + 29th of March, and Wharf Chambers for the 30th and 31st, including our epic After Party

www.templeworksleeds.com

Temple.Works.Leeds

Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds LS119YJ

15+ only parking

Wharf Chambers

http://www.wharfchambers.org

Wharf Street, LS2 7EQ

COLUMN: 200,000 Say Sack Richard Littlejohn

London, 27 March, I’m pleased to say I was able to join a number of people to officially deliver a Sum of Us petition, which currently stands at over 200,000 signatures and a similar petition from website Change.org, which gathered 40k signatures, to the Daily Mail’s offices following the tragic death of transgender schoolteacher Lucy Meadows.

by The Gay Prime Minister | 28th March 2013

The petition reads; ‘The Daily Mail needs to ensure that this never happens again – by not only yanking Littlejohn’s column and apologizing for the paper’s decision to run the hateful opinion piece, but also instituting an editorial review policy that prevents discriminatory writing from ending up in the paper again.’

Many of the people who attended to show their support had rearranged their lunch hours to allow them the time to come. The petitions were delivered at 1pm as agreed by the newspaper in several boxes.

Richard Littlejohn and the Daily Mail have become focal points of outrage since the death of Lucy, after Mr Littlejohn wrote an opinion piece stating ‘He's not only in the wrong body... he's in the wrong job’

This tragic story has been reported across the media and does ask the question; Do newspapers and journalists believe they are above responsibility for their actions? With extensive coverage in the news about restricting the freedom of the press following the hacking scandal, how can there not be reform when it has potentially attributed to the death of a member of the general public trying to live their life and harming no-one.

Everyone has the right to say what they think, but publications hold ultimate responsibility for what they print and should not support and promote this sort of hate. This type of journalism tarnishes their fellow journalists with the same brush, which in many cases is not true. The clear public support for Lucy will hopefully prevent publications from allowing this type of journalism from reoccurring again. However, I fear that without official action, this will not be the last time we’ll witness ‘gutter press’ reporting like this.

Related Stories:

NEWS: Transgendered Teacher Lucy Meadows Found Dead

NEWS: Lucy Meadows: Vigil Outside Daily Mail Attracts Large Crowd

NEWS: Over 100,000 People Sign Petitions Calling For The Resignation Of Richard Littlejohn

MOVIE REVEW: Fragments

A series of spectacular experimental short films which explore memory and gay culture. Art lovers prepare to be amazed...

by Professor Ball | 28th March 2013

1. Kiss

★★★★

A superb silent composition consisting of a single couple in frame, kissing. The black and white film has an air of romanticism and sexual lust about it. Following on from this, the same clips are played, but this time in colour and with the sound of kissing. This was a less attractive portrayal. An excellent arrangement of film and artistic questioning.

2. Birthplace

★★★

A spoken memory about growing up in a strong family unit which radiated out into the village culture. This is juxtaposed with a grainy Super 8 film full of exaggerated hue. Nostalgic and heartfelt.


3. Things Art Different Now

A film with a kind of painterly image quality. Single face shots are placed into context through a memory of persecution and the painful sadness of friends dying. A ghostly reflection on the AIDs epidemic.

★★★

4. Happy

★★★★★

This short displays a lyrical based approach with strong conceptual integrity. There is a continual flux of beliefs and desires through this duality of religious speech versus popular culture icons, such as Judy Garland. Outstanding and poignant dichotomy. The one to watch!

5. Postface

★★★★

An exploration into the life of Montgomery Cliff, where an accident left him in pieces. The film work replicated this idea through a fragmented pausing and playing of film; a very experimental approach. It is suggestive of the consequences of his accident. Although this type of work probably will not be understood by the majority of people, it certainly comes highly commended for all the experimental art film lovers out there.


6. I'm Leaving on Wednesday

★★★

This looks at love and memory of this love though a footage style of filming. The passion when eyes lock together, the closeness, the feeling, the companionship. A gentle film.

7. Pop!

★★

This short film is like a collaged composition; a mash up between film, words, music and artistic overlay. Slightly confusing and ambiguous.

8. How To Talk To Kids

With a miminal music overlay, reminiscent of Sigur Ros, this film wasn't as well executed as it could have been. Forgettable.


9. Like Rats Leaving A Sinking Ship

Poetic in expression, but incoherent in storyline. However, this incoherence perhaps adds to its beauty.

Related Stories:

BFI LLGFF MOVIE REVIEW: Keep The Lights On

More about the author

Professor Ball

FEATURE: Infamous 5 – Reform Section 5 Debate

The courts confirmed last week that the “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” ad was in fact right to be banned by Transport for London as it would cause ‘grave offense’ to the gay community.

by Peter Richards | 28th March 2013

Offended?

This was welcomed by many in the gay and wider community. But, there are still those who feel that this was a move against free speech. The campaign http://reformsection5.org.uk for example is seeking to remove the potential to criminalise ‘insulting words or behaviour’ and seeks to influence the Home Office to amend Section 5 of the Public Order Act which includes offences of offence.

I am perplexed as to whether this group, a disparate band of crusaders, is keen to promote positive, free speech or simply wish the right to insult whoever they want without consequence. Is Section 5 really so abused by the authorities? Does it actually limit our ability to challenge each other? Or is abolishing the rights of the public to be offended and ‘insulted’ in favour of a right to freedom of speech justified?

The Public Order Act 1986 is an Act of Parliament which was designed to stop actions which can undermine the order and safety of society. It criminalises ‘disorderly behaviour,’ and aims to prevent the use of ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ or the use of signs and displays which are likely to cause ‘harassment, alarm or distress.’ Sections 1-4 of the Act cover several elements including riot, violent disorder, affray (fighting), fear or provocation and causing intentional alarm or distress.

It is Section 5, with a particular focus on ‘insulting’ language and behaviour, which has curiously united several, often warring factions of British society; I struggle to remember a time where The Christian Institute, National Secular Society and indeed Peter Tatchell have agreed to such an extent. Why would any group protest against a piece of legislation which, if removed, would essentially allow their critics the right to undermine and verbally abuse them?

Is it that this law truly undermines freedom of speech as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights? Not necessarily. Are the irregular and carefully selected examples used by the campaign representative of the law’s use? I doubt it. Even the website’s choices are not accurately representative of the situations cited. Let’s look at one which may impact TheGayUk readers. The campaign describes ‘an elderly street preacher [who] was convicted under Section 5 for displaying a sign which said homosexuality was immoral.’ Actually, the sixty-nine year old’s sign said ‘Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism’ which could be a call to action, a threat, an incitement.

Equally, the campaign misrepresents the Vegelenzangs case as simply ‘a conversation with a Muslim guest about Mohammed and Islamic dress for women’ in which they actually undermined the hijab as ‘bondage.’

In fact, of the three thousand convictions between 2001-2003 under Section 5, the site can only name a few where the law was seen to be stretched or maybe misinterpreted. Does that mean the law should be abandoned or elements dropped? Perhaps it should be a case of advising and guiding the public, police and courts on how the law should be used. The Police have been accused of misusing the powers in Section 14, notably during the 2009 G-20 protests in London where journalists were forced to leave the protests – but that still exists!

Another argument of the campaign is that ‘insults’ are not important. Nigel Farage even feels that ‘people must be free to insult and be insulted’ – glad I don’t know/socialise with/work for him! Several other endorsers of the campaign rightly highlight that higher levels of harassment and discrimination are criminalised elsewhere by the Act or the New Equality Act 2010.

Further Sections of the Public Order Act also require any protests to have provided written notice to the police who can still impose conditions or indeed prohibit a procession if it will cause ‘serious disruption to the life of the community.’

Section 16 Part 3A of the Act specifically protects the public from words, signs and actions which may incite harassment based on race, religion and sexual orientation.

So maybe we are all still protected without Section 5 but it has to be of this level. Do you want to be protected from a protest outside your house?

Of course.

But what if your neighbour decides to greet you with an insult each morning and won’t stop if you ask them to? Should we all be able to withstand a few insults? Sure. But how many insults are too many?

Look at the disproportionate rate of LGBT teen suicide – is that one way of telling us that insults hurt? Pretty obvious to me. But does it have to get to that level before the authorities notice or can help?

Let’s get down to what matters here. What is this all about? Do we really care – and will it impact me? I think it will and I’ll tell you how. I am concerned that the broader legislations above do not cover the more creative abusers. If a fellow bus, train or tube user decides that you might like to be reminded that you are in fact ‘gay’ does that mean they should be arrested? They weren’t inciting hatred, just stating the obvious perhaps? Or what if ‘poof’ is their choice today but not accompanied by any further undermining or personal perspective on whether that is a good or bad thing – can we complain?

Could the police do anything?

A street preacher can point at you menacingly as you hold your partners hand. He can’t be arrested for that. But what if that was the first time you did it and it put you off, it was detrimental to your relationship, your confidence. Or what if someone else sees this and suppresses their feelings, or worse it reinforces or activates any latent homophobia?

What if you observed these actions and no one was the target or victim? David Davis wants to know ‘who should decide who’s insulted?’ I say we all have that right. I say insulting behaviour is the grey area that homophobes like to operate in – they think they can get away with it. Is it acceptable to be offended? Of course it is. But, if the law is changed and you complain to a police officer there’s not much they can do about it.

We all have the right to campaign, protest and provoke thought but do we have this right at the expense of others?

I’m curious as to how insulting materials have to be before they are considered a criminal offense or of inciting hatred. Is undeterred or unchallenged hurtful language a sign of more physical and violent aggression to come?

Gordon Allport (1954) argues that ‘anti-locution’ or badmouthing, insulting and stereotyping is the start of discrimination on his scale for the manifestation of prejudice. This then escalates to avoidance, discrimination, physical attack and extermination. How much protection do we need from each other, and at what stage?

Maybe it is more about everyone taking responsibility. We should all challenge disorder which may be in the public, and our own, interest as the first level before it escalates. What if someone decided to mimic you, standing there looking fabulous with your oversized man-bag draped over your arm? People might laugh – everyone is having a good time – who could be insulted?

They are free to insult you, and if you were a reasonable, stable human, you would appreciate it as their right. Or is that what the campaign would like to believe?

Do we need to accept prejudiced leaflets through our letterbox, racist graffiti or homophobia on buses? Legally we still don’t, for now. Maybe the campaign should be challenging why people feel the need to insult each other, rather than trying to facilitate for more of it.

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Column: Bigotry

More about the author

Peter Richards

ENTERTAINMENT: Snow White And The Seven Poofs Hits London Tonight

Following last year’s Christmas sell out run at the Green Carnation, Snow White and her Seven Poofs are back by popular demand for Easter with more rude flirty fun and frolics.

29th March 2013

This pop-powered drag panto is suitable for adults only and stars 2008 Drag Idol winner Tanya Hyde, who is returning to her role of Snow White for the third year, the hilarious Mrs. Moore as the Queen and Simon Gross returning to his role as Horrible Hilda. This bigger, bolder, ruder fairytale is packed with audience participation and feel good party anthems including ‘Get The Party Started’, You’re the One That I Want, ‘YMCA’, ‘It’s a Sin’, ‘Hot Stuff’, and Rhianna’s ‘S&M’.

Expect lots of Bunnies and other topical hilarious Easter entertainment making this the perfect night out over the Easter holiday.

Tanya Hyde, recreating her role of Snow White, has a weekly residency at Trannys and was the winner of Drag Idol 2009. Tanya’s TV credits include Lynda La Plant’s Above Suspicion for ITV1, Louie Spence's Showbusiness (Sky1), The Morganna Show (Channel 4), The Ali G Show (Channel 4), Dream Team (Sky 1) & Ballroom High (Sky 1). This year, she won ‘Best Cabaret Newcomer’ at the 2011 BOYZ Scene Awards.

Mrs Moore, starring as the very Evil Queen, was asked to join The Dolly Mixtures cabaret group in 2001, performing all over London before forming duo M&M with Mille Turner in 2003, highlights of which include performing in Hyde Park as part of Gay Pride. In 2007 Mrs Moore launched her own solo career with MMTV (Mrs Moore Transvision), and more recently MMTV (Mrs Moore the Voice... of a Thousand Fags). In addition, Mrs Moore joined the award winning theatre troupe The Drama Queens, where her roles included Mrs Lovett, Judy Garland and Marlene Dietreich.

Simon Gross has been producer for SG Productions for last ten years. As a producer Simon’s theatre work includes Sinderfella for Above the Stag Theatre Victoria in 2008 and then for the Leicester Square Theatre in 2009, and Snow White and the Seven Poofs, again for the Leicester Square Theatre in 2010. Simon is also director of SG Productions, which prides itself on taking quality theatre into the community. His many television credits include On the Road with Maureen Rees and Noel’s House Party for the BBC, Channel 4’s What the Butler Saw, Louie Spence’s Show Business and Trinny and Susannah Uncovered. Simon was last seen on the Vanessa Show for Channel Five weekdays as a regular Sofa Surfer.

Full Cast List-Simon Gross-John Moore-Anthony Poore-Richard Swann-Scott Gray-Adolfo Espina-Jonathan Lloyd-Stacey Lamb-Katie Elizabeth Jackson-Rob Walsh-Jamie Sheerman

WARNING: Please note this is an ADULTS ONLY pantomime and definitely not suitable for children, the faint-hearted and persons of a prudish nature.

What the critics had to say from 2012 Christmas run:

“Full on enthusiasm and an evening of pure joy!” (QX Magazine)

“Camper than Christmas in Compton Street” (The Stage)

“Clever –Witty-Interactive” (The Audience Club)

“Raucous Hilarious and Brilliant!” (West End Extra)

Listings information:

Venue: Green Carnation Cabaret Venue

Address: 4-5, Greek Street, London. W1D 4DD

Dates: March

Thursday 28th -7.30pm

Friday 29th 6.30pm

Saturday 30th March-2.30pm and 7.30pm

Sunday 31st March -2pm and 6pm

April

Monday 1st April- 7.30pm

Thursday 4th April—7.30pm

Friday 5th April -7.30pm

Saturday 6th April 2.30 and 7.30pm

Sunday 7th April-2 and 6pm

Doors open half an hour before the start of each show. The bar will be open throughout the show.

Run Time: 2 Hours plus 15 minute interval

Price: £18.50

Box Office: Ticket Web: www.ticketweb.co.uk / 0844-4771000

Transport: Tottenham Court Road/Oxford Street

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