Month: April 2013

Revealed: Gay Vices Survey Results

This month we’ve been discussing Vices on TheGayUK and at the beginning of the month we invited readers to take a survey to reveal what the gay community vices were.

By Newsdesk | 30th April 2013

In our snapshot survey, porn topped the list of vices of gay men of the United Kingdom, with 42.4% of those polled owning up to viewing porn at least a few times a week (30%), watching it on a daily basis (28%), and over a quarter admitting to watching the bad boy stuff a few times a day.

Other vices topping the list were Drinking 34% Sex 32% and Smoking 19%.

Only 1.7% of people revealed that gambling was their vice.

In order (respondents could choose more than 1 vice):

Porn 42.4%

Drinking 33.9%

Sex 32.2%

Smoking 18.6%

Chocolate 16.9%

Working 15.3%

Drugs 11.9%

Shopping 11.9%

Fast Food 10.2%

Cruising 5.1%

Adultery 3.4%

Gambling 1.7%

Just over half said that they would consider giving up their vice, with 50% of all respondents saying that their addiction wasn’t a problem for them.

Is the gay community actively looking for help or booking into the Priory any day soon – don’t bet on it, only 13.6% said that they had sought any kind of professional help in dealing with their vice or addiction.

59.3% of those questioned said that they had been addicted for over 10 years – and openly discussed their issues with their peers (66.1%).

If you need to talk to someone with anything that concerns you call the London Lesbian And Gay Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 or visit http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Addictions/Pages/Introduction.aspx for more details.

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Boston Pride 2013

May 31, 2013toJune 9, 2013

Boston, MA

Boston Pride

This year’s theme is “Moving Forward…Proud, Strong, United.” The theme represents the hardships that the LGBT community has persevered through and the drive to move forward together, and what better way to celebrate worldwide inclusivity, equality and awareness than with special events, parties, and Boston’s biggest and most popular parade and festival.Starting with the annual Pride Flag Raising Ceremony on May 31st, the week also includes:• Pride Day at Faneuil Hall• Royal Pageant

Human Rights Event

Pride Parade and Festival

The official organizers of Boston Pride, Latin@ Pride and Youth Pride in Boston. Bringing our community together since 1970! Boston Pride is a proud founding member of InterPride.

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Gay Pride Sao Paulo 2013

May 30, 2013toJune 3, 2013

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Gay Pride Sao Paulo

The Sao Paulo Gay Pride or Parada do Orgulho Gay GLBT de Sao Paulo, in Portuguese, has grown from 2,000 participants in 1997 to almost 4 million people in its last edition. They made to the Guinness Book in 2006 for the world’s biggest Gay Pride celebration and haven’t lost its #1 position ever since.

The 2013 Sao Paulo Gay Pride Parade was under the theme Back to the closet, never again! Union and awareness in the fight against homophobia. The political message is the center of an entire month of celebrations which culminated with the Pride Parade on Sunday June 2, 2013. Before the awaited parade stravaganza, the Cultural Fair, the Cycle of Debates and the Gay Day back at the Hopi Hari are the big highlights.

2013 is the year of the Gay Pride Celebration in Sao Paulo. For an entire month, both the official and the parallel programs offered a rich mix of events to those who attended: from debates, plays, music concerts, dance performances, cultural fairs, street markets and more. The Gay Pride Sao Paulo main Event is and will always be the Gay Pride parade, attracting 4 million gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals and their friends who will be partying like there is no tomorrow. Colorful and exuberant floats and thousands of people and their fabulous costumes will meet at the famous MASP – Museum of Art of Sao Paulo at around noon on Sunday June 2. Last year it all started with thousands dancing the Blue Danube Valse and ended with a float celebrating Peace. The goals is to always give visibility to the LGBT community, demanding the recognition of their citizenship, fighting against discrimination and prejudice and to build awareness on the society sexual diversity.

 

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VICES: Mr Perfect

Can someone ever have no vices? Be so flawless that they seem perfect? And if so, is perfection what we seek? In this article, I’ll share an experience I had a few years ago; along with a realisation I had about aspiring to be perfect.

by Antony Simpson | 30th April 2013

I met this devilishly hansom guy online. We exchanged a few messages and decided to meet up. I took all the usual precautions when meeting up with someone from the online world: I arranged to meet him in a public place (a well known coffee shop), let a friend know who I was meeting and what time I’d call in safe.

He was one of those people that look even more stunning in real life than in their profile pictures. He had short-cropped hair, deep hazel eyes, a five o’clock shadow and his fitted tee a showed off a taut body. Our first coffee date went well and I established that he wasn’t an axe-wielding murderer.

We shared a few dinner dates, a cinema date and even a countryside walk with a picnic date. I discovered that he didn’t smoke and rarely drank. When he did have an alcoholic beverage, he’d only have one or two. He told me that he liked to go to the gym three to four times a week and easily got his five-a-day in one meal.

When my friends asked how it was going between us, I referred to him as Mr Perfect. I explained that I couldn’t find a single vice or flaw that he had. Comparing Mr Perfect with myself gave me a twinge of inadequacy. I had plenty of vices; I smoked and liked the occasional alcohol-fuelled night out. On top of these I was a chocoholic; lazy at times and could only manage to eat three of my five-a-day.

Mr Perfect had noticed my vices and flaws. He was too polite to point them out, but did suggest that I try to cut down on the amount I smoked and offered to sign me in as a guest at his gym.

Then one day I had an eureka moment; I realised that Mr Perfect’s vice was aspiring to be perfect. That he spent all of his time trying to be flawless. Mr Perfect wanted every aspect of his life to be perfect including his potential boyfriend: me.

I grew up with Disney films that showed me that the ideal man, Prince Charming is handsome and flawless. And I thought that’s what I wanted; until I had Mr Perfect sat opposite me. We had a conversation and decided not to date anymore.

I realised that as much as Mr Perfect aspired to be perfect, whatever his definition of that was, that he’d never achieve it. As every time he gets close, he’ll move the goal posts further away. Perfection is an unachievable goal, like trying to live for eternity.

Through my experience with Mr Perfect I discovered what I want in a man. I want a man that has vices and flaws; as these are part of what makes us unique, diverse and multi-faced individuals. Remember - those who truly love us, accept us for our whole selves, flaws and all.

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BOOK REVIEW: Strange Bedfellows by Rob Byrnes

Strange Bedfellows by Rob Byrnes is a crime caper story that is an addictive read. Grant Lambert and Chase LaMarca are introduced on a job to rob a store.

by Antony Simpson | 30th April 2013

As the scene unfolds they have to pretend to be mannequins in the shop window as the Police have turned up, which is an hilarious scene and just the start of this fantastically funny book.

Grant & Chase are partners in life as well as crime, and when the offer of a well paid job comes along they can’t turn it down; even if it is from hustler Jamie Brock.

Austin Peebles is an adorable democratic congressional candidate who has sexted a rude photo of himself that has found it’s way into the hands of June Forteene a rightwing blogger.

Grant & Chase’s job is simple: steal the photo (as well as any copies) off June before she exposes it on her blog and ruins Austin’s political prospects. They complete the job; but enraged June soon posts a cropped version of the rude photo along with an ultimatum: the unnamed political candidate must withdraw himself as a candidate and provide her with compensation. Austin’s campaign manager Kevin Wunder refuses to pay Grant & Chase as they haven’t have completed their job correctly.

Grant & Chase are convinced that they completed their job and that there’s something more going on. So they hatch a plan, recruit a team and set about making everything right. Along the way we get to know grumpy Grant and likeable Chase. Both characters were multifaceted like real people and the use of description by Byrnes gave a strong sense of the different characters.

Byrnes used a number of close calls and twists to weave a fascinating plot that is perfectly paced. He used his unique writing style to engage the reader and packed the story full of funny, believable and entertaining scenes. Byrnes got the balance between showing and telling the story spot on for the reader. Strange Bedfellows had a satisfying conclusion that will leave the reader wistful for another of Byrnes‘ stories.

What let’s Strange Bedfellows down was it’s cover. The topless man gives a misleading impression, as does the image of the Whitehouse. The topless man is like none of the characters described in the book; and implies some sexual scenes of which there were none. The Whitehouse gives the impression of a political story; but even non-Americans will fully understand the story as Byrnes explained what the reader needs to know and besides the story isn’t really about politics.

Please don’t be put off by the cover, Strange Bedfellows by Rob Byrnes is a captivating read that will have you craving more of Rob Byrnes stories.

Available from Amazon

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OPINION: Ages of Ignorance

Although the ‘yoots’ of today are feared by much of the majority culture, it is often believed that it is the older generations who hold ‘outdated’ homophobic views.

by Peter Richards | 30th April 2013

Paris Brown | Twitter

But are the young really more liberal? Do Generations Y and Z hold more enlightened beliefs when it comes to sexual orientation and (trans)gender diversity?

With the announcement this week that Paris Brown, Youth Crime Commissioner for Kent Police, will escape criminal prosecution I can’t help but question whether she is simply a misguided, isolated individual or worryingly representative of her demographic. Were violent, racist, homophobic and drug endorsing rants on Twitter really just “showing off”? Using homophobic language such as “fags,” the17-year-old also tweeted that she wanted to “cut” someone.

Despite a welcomed apology and publicly denying she is homophobic, it is her excuse which leaves me concerned.

Brown insists she “can’t imagine that [she is] the only teenager to have done this.” Even Kent Police’s local Crime Commissioner Ann Barnes defended her, going so far as to suggest “many young people go through a phase during which they make silly, often offensive comments and show off on Facebook and Twitter.”

Really? So we should expect and excuse this? If that is the expectation of a police commissioner then what hope do we have for other ‘average’ young people? Do we really think it is common and acceptable to make offensive and aggressive comments on social media or indeed in schools, the street – at work? Especially as she wasn’t simply teenager in their room on a computer or smartphone; she was paid to support and represent the diverse communities that Kent, and other forces, serve. She was in a position of responsibility.

Was this behaviour just typical of the young as dismissed by her lawyers and employer? I really hope not as it means we have an even harder task on our hands. Indeed Stonewall’s annual Equality Walk taking place again in Brighton this year will need to raise even more money if Brown is your average teenager.

The walk aims to raise awareness and funds to help tackle homophobic bullying in schools, an institution that produces many average teenagers, many just like Brown. It is truly timely and necessary work they are doing. But to reach this group is it not pertinent to represent them, much like Kent police attempted to do with Brown in the first place? How many school-aged, young people are actually designing the ways which Stonewall and teachers engage with them? To catch a monkey you need to think like one (and it’s not always slowly).

At the Stonewall Equality Dinner last week Deputy Chief Executive for Stonewall Laura Doughty highlighted that “[h]omophobia remains a huge problem in Britain’s schools... We know we face a huge challenge in making homophobia thing of the past.”

The event was supported by several key figures in the LGBT and wider community – but how many were from this target, younger generation? Although integral to the fight for equality there needs to be more resilience amongst the fundraising elite.

Where is the next generation of campaigners at these events? Sir Elton John, Graham Norton, Gok Wan and Clare Balding but no sign of anyone actually part of the young communities they are also seeking to support. I should imagine that Ian McKellen doesn’t need protecting from homophobic bullying in school anymore.

Active support from straight allies such as MPs John Bercow, Nick Herbert and Diane Abbott is not mirrored by heterosexual supporters amongst the next generation. Although I appreciate this event is a fundraiser - and perhaps prices out the younger audience - its press coverage sends a message that can appear disproportionate and unrepresentative.

Looking forward it is important not to dismiss the young as naive and ignorant. They are the next leaders and agents of socio-political change. We cannot afford to ignore the misdemeanours of those in power but we also cannot forget who is next into those positions of responsibility and influence. So as Paris goes back to her average life who is the next Youth Commissioner? Will we have higher expectations of this one? But also, who is next on the invite to the Stonewall awards or popping up in schools to talk to people of their own age?

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West Palm Beach Leads the Nation on Domestic Partnership Benefits

(GayWebSource.com – West Palm Beach, Florida) —  On Monday night, the West Palm Beach City Commission unanimously voted to provide a reimbusrement to eligible municipal employees whose domestic partners are covered by the city’s health insurance plans. The purpose of the reimbursement is to offset the unequal tax burden imposed by federal law.

Under current IRS regulations, gay and lesbian employees are taxed on the value of the health insurance benefits provided to their domestic partners.  Opposite-sex married couples are not subject to such taxes.

With this new domestic partner benefit, the city will reimburse employees for these additional taxes by “grossing up” their salaries to account for the taxes owed on the value of the health insurance provided to their domestic partners.  (“Grossing up” is the practice by which employers make employees whole for additional taxed owed, thereby ensuring that employees receive the true dollar amount promised to them as compensation.)

“Its not a gay issue,” said Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.  “It’s a pay issue.”

“Tonight’s unanimous vote demonstrates that the pro-family policies of the City of West Palm Beach extend to all, including the families of lesbian and gay employees,” said Hoch.  “This places the City of West Palm Beach at the forefront of public and private employers offering tax equalization.”

The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council is a non-profit organization, which for the last 25 years has been dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Across the nation, only two cities, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Hallandale Beach, Florida, increase employees salaries to help offset the additional federal tax burden. Three other public employers in the country – the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser and the Constitutional Tax Collectors in Palm Beach County and Orange County (Florida) – provide $500 annual stipends to help offset the federal tax inequity.

As the result of this action, more local measures recognizing gay and lesbian families have been implemented by the City of West Palm Beach than by any other municipality in America, according to Hoch.

Since 1992, the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council has been the prime mover for domestic partnership benefits in Palm Beach County. That year, the Council persuaded the West Palm Beach City Commission to become the first public employer in Florida to extend the same sick leave and bereavement leave benefits to the city’s partnered gay and lesbian employees as had been long enjoyed by married employees.

Over the years, West Palm Beach expanded the city’s equal benefits program to provide employees with domestic partners the full range of health insurance benefits, a Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) equivalent and a Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) equivalent. In addition, the city has extended lifetime health insurance benefits to the surviving domestic partner of any city employee killed in the line of duty.

“Aside from municipalities in states which have enacted statewide laws recognizing gay and lesbian relationships, no city in America has taken as many steps as West Palm Beach to ensure equal rights and benefits to its partnered gay and lesbian employees,” said Hoch.

“Having checked with the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal, the two leading national LGBT organizations addressing LGBT workplace issues, I was unable to find any other public employer in America that both grosses up employees’ salaries to offset the tax inequity on domestic partner health insurance and offers an in-line-of-duty survivorship benefit to domestic partners,” said Hoch.

Hoch credits Mayor Jeri Muoio for taking the steps necessary to address the inequities partnered gay and lesbian employees face in the workplace.

“By the time I entered public service as a city commissioner in 2006, West Palm Beach had already implemented the standard domestic partnership benefits such as health insurance, sick leave and bereavement leave,” said Muoio. “When the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council informed me that federal law was prohibiting our lesbian and gay employees from being treated equally, I was determined to find a solution.”

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted in 1996, prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex relationships for all federal purposes. Therefore, domestic partners and same-sex spouses are not considered “spouses” and are not included in the protections and benefits provided by various other federal benefits laws such as COBRA and FMLA.

COBRA provides temporary continuation of health insurance coverage to former employees and their eligible family members.

The FMLA entitles employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms and conditions as if the employee had not taken leave.

Since the federal government’s definition of “family” excludes same-sex partners, West Palm Beach municipal employees with domestic partners were not receiving the same family benefits as opposite-sex married employees.

In 2006, at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Muoio convinced her colleagues on the city commission to have the city implement a policy to offer the domestic partners of city employees identical benefits offered to spouses under COBRA.

Muoio was elected Mayor in 2011.

Presiding over her first meeting as West Palm Beach mayor, Muoio‘s proposal to revise the city’s family medical leave policy to provide the same benefits to families based on domestic partnerships as were being provided to families based on legally recognized marriages was adopted unanimously by the city commission.

Once the action taking this evening is ratified by the City Commission on May 13, the City of West Palm Beach will be increasing the salaries of eligible employees to reimburse them for the additional federal taxes they pay for insuring their domestic partners on the city’s health insurance plans.

Eligible employees will receive a tax reimbursement based on a formula developed by the finance director and will be paid to the employee as part of their compensation throughout the year.

Since West Palm Beach currently insures the domestic partners of 16 employees, staff has estimated the annual cost for the program based on current insurance rates to be $17,691.92.

“Put simply, it comes down to a matter of equal pay for equal work,” said Muoio.

Hoch approached city leaders last fall to address the tax inequity, both Mayor Muoio and City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell conceded that something needed to be done.

Mayor Muoio called on City Attorney Claudia McKenna, Finance Director Jeff Green and Benefits Manager Patricia Brosamer to study the issue in a comprehensive manner and draft the ordinance.

Since 2009, only approximately fifty private employers nationwide have implemented tax equity programs. These include American Express, Apple, Bank of America Corp., Cisco Systems, Corning, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Google, Kimpton Hotels, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley and Yahoo!

“Once again, the city of West Palm Breach is on the cutting edge of domestic partnership issues,” said Muoio. “By grossing up the salaries of employees insuring their domestic partners, we are putting their families on even footing with those of married employees insuring their opposite-sex spouses.”

Federal legislation to amend the Internal Revenue Code to end the taxation of health insurance benefits provided to domestic partners was first introduced by then-U.S. Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) in 2003.

“It makes no sense for some of our employees to pay higher taxes than others for the same health insurance coverage,” said Mitchell. “Since Congress has yet to eliminate this inequity, the City of West Palm Beach is considering taking steps to see if we can equalize the tax burden on our employees.”

For several years, city Broadcast Coordinator Robert Telford has included his partner, Jim Schramm, on the city’s health insurance plan. The main reason Telford applied for the position in West Palm Beach was the city’s progressive policies concerning domestic partnership benefits.

Like other gay men and lesbians insuring their domestic partners, Telford personally pays taxes on the same health insurance benefits that other employees receive tax-free.

When Telford learned that Palm Beach County Property Appraiser Gary Nikolits was grossing up the salaries of his employees who were insuring their domestic partners, he asked Muoio to look into it.

“I told him, ‘That just isn’t fair,'” said Muoio, “So I assured him I would have staff address the problem.”

For 2012, the city imputed $8,478 to Telford relating to the value of Schramm’s insurance coverage.  Since Telford is in the 25% tax bracket, he paid an additional $2,119.50 in federal taxes this year.

“Once again, Mayor Muoio has taken a huge step forward for workplace equality,” said Telford.  “City employees have not had a raise since 2008; we had furlough days until last year, so this stipend to alleviate the unfair tax burden on my family is greatly appreciated.”

Schramm believes the city commission’s actions is not just about the money they will save on taxes.

“Tonight the West Palm Beach City Commission has again validated the long-term relationship Robert and I have shared for 17 years,” said Schramm.  “Our city repeatedly affirms our relationship, while the federal government does not.”

Earlier this month, U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act to end the unfair taxation of employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners. However, no companion bill has yet been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Last week, the City of Miami Beach Finance Committee sent a unanimous recommendation to the city commission urging them to enact a comprehensive tax equity program for their employees with domestic partners. The Miami Beach city commission is expected to consider the matter later this spring.

Media provided by GayWebSource.com – Gay Media and Press Network.

 

 

GLBT History Museum Celebrates Harvey Milk Day

Honoring Harvey Milk at The GLBT History Museum:
Free Admission, Tours and Activities Set for May 22

San Francisco – California marks Harvey Milk’s birthday, May 22, as an annual statewide day of significance. The GLBT History Museum will honor the occasion this year by giving free admission to all visitors and providing special Milk-related displays and tours. In addition, the museum is extending a welcome to Bay Area schools, many of which plan GLBT history activities in conjunction with Harvey Milk Day.

  • Brief docent tours of the museum highlighting Harvey Milk and his times will be offered every hour on the hour from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Teachers, professors and student groups can schedule other times for student tours by contacting the museum at info@glbthistory.org.
  • Periodically throughout the day, the screen in the Main Gallery will show rare video clips of Milk from the Daniel A. Smith/Queer Blue Light Collection in the GLBT Historical Society archives.
  • On an exceptional basis throughout the week of May 20, the exhibit of Milk’s belongings in the Front Gallery will feature a vintage tape recorder playing Milk’s political will.

The GLBT History Museum includes photographs, video, ephemera and artifacts that document Milk and his life in 1970s San Francisco not only in the Front Gallery display, but also in both “Our Vast Queer Past” in the Main Gallery and “Legendary” in the Corner Gallery. A new gallery guide set for release on Harvey Milk Day will make it easy for visitors to discover this content.

ABOUT THE GLBT HISTORY MUSEUM

The GLBT History Museum is located at 4127 18th St. in San Francisco’s Castro District. Open since January 2011, it is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States. Currently featured in the Main Gallery is a long-term exhibition: “Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating San Francisco’s GLBT History.” The Front Gallery and Corner Gallery spaces present changing exhibitions.
The museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society, a research center and archives that collects, preserves and interprets the history of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and the communities that support them. Founded in 1985, the society maintains one of the world’s largest collections of GLBT historical materials.

For more information, visit www.glbthistory.org.

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NEWS: Gay Movie Looking For Crowd Funding

In order to raise money to film the ‘Vignettes’ they are crowd funding - using a company called ‘Indiegogo’.

by Newsdesk | 29th April 2013

It’s a relatively new way of raising money to produce independent work and you can donate at the following link:

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/four-play-movie-the-vignettes.

There are a series of perks available upon donation. It’s not simply giving over money.

A target has been set at £2000 - but this is the bare minimum the ‘Vignettes’ can be produced with.

The aim is to overshoot this target.

The best way for these campaigns to work is by having continual activity in the funding. Whilst massive donations are greatly appreciated – they definitely are – having a constant amount of smaller donations raises awareness of the campaign.

The campaign ends on the 17th of May and then the ‘Vignettes’ shoot the weekend of the 18th and 19th of May.

You can also follow on Twitter @FourPlayMovie

And like the official Facebook page: Facebook.com/FourPlayMovie

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NEWS: Stolen Soho Bombing Victims’ Plaque Replaced

The missing original plaque dedicated to the three victims of the Soho nail bomb attack in April 1999 has been replaced ahead of memorial event tomorrow evening.

By Newsdesk | 29th April 2013

Replacement plaque has been paid for by Westminster Council and 17-24-30

We reported yesterday that the plaque dedicated to the memory of Andrea Dykes, John Little and Nick Moore had gone missing from St. Anne’s Gardens in Soho, London ahead of the memorial event planned for the 30th April – which will be the 14th anniversary of the attack.

The nail bomb, which went off on the 30th April 1999 in the Admiral Duncan was aimed at the gay community in Soho. It was the 3rd of three attacks planned and orchestrated by David Copeland who is currently serving six concurrent life sentences and in 2007 the High Court ruled that he must serve 50 years.

A replacement plaque has been ordered and will be on display at tomorrow’s memorial event held in Soho.

Cllr Ed Argar, Westminster City Council cabinet member for city management, said:

“I find it appalling that anyone would steal the memorial plaque remembering those who died and were injured in the horrific Soho bombing of 1999.

“We have moved swiftly to get a replacement memorial delivered and installed ahead of the 14th anniversary of the Soho bombings tomorrow (Tuesday 30th April), having been alerted to its removal, and we hope it will be in place later today."

The new plaque has cost £260, with half being paid by Westminster City Council and 17-24-30.org paying the other.

The replacement plaque will be installed this afternoon and reads:

Andrea Dykes D.O.B 30-11-1971

John Light D.O.B 27-04-1967

Nick Moore D.O.B 24-05-1967

Deceased 30-04-1999 in the Admiral Duncan Bombing

Goodness Is Stronger Than Evil

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