The not so secret teacher

The Guardian has a “secret teacher” section. One of their contributors tells the story of coming out.

I told my new head of department that I was thinking about revealing my sexuality at school. Her only concern was that some members of the team might offend me by making jokes – though with the aim of making me feel part of the team. I then broached my intentions with the headteacher. He’s old-school, in a good way, traditionalist but totally living in the real world. He didn’t bat an eyelid and told me to get on with it.

Then the teacher wondered how to manage the event with pupils, and what their reaction was going to be.

An opportunity came when I took on a Y11 tutor group as a maternity cover. In our first session, one of the students asked straight out if I was gay. I answered with an emphatic “Yes”. I waited for the booing or the pretending-to-be-sick noises, but none came. A group of girls wanted to know if I was single (I’d recently broken up with someone) and whether I’d have a civil ceremony (yes, if I met the right guy) but otherwise it was a non-event. I do think my honesty served to make them trust me quickly – vital in a pastoral role – but my sexuality was ultimately quite boring.

Being out at work means you can just get on with things without it following you around. Eventually everybody forgets, because you have been accepted for what you are.

Patient Zero cleared


Gaétan Dugas | Anonymous/Associated Press | 16489gh

The alleged “Patient Zero” of the American AIDS epidemic was a French Canadian flight attendant named Gaétan Dugas, who died of AIDS in 1984. Mr Dugas was exonerated last week. Far from being the instigator of an epidemic, he was merely one of thousands of its victims.

There’s a more detailed article on our sister website, Gay History.

Pride Taipei style


Reuters | 16488ga

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Taiwan’s capital, Taipei, to participate in Asia’s biggest gay pride parade, many carrying placards calling on the government to legalise same sex marriage.

Taiwan is more liberal than much of Asia on LGBT rights but moves toward marriage equality have stalled.

The ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which controls Taiwan’s parliament and took power five months ago, is widely considered sympathetic to the LGBT community.

Jeffrey wants action

Jeffrey Dudgeon, who fought to get homosexuality legalised in Northern Ireland, branded the Northern Ireland government a disgrace over its failure to grant pardons to gay men convicted of obsolete crimes.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden said her ministry would consider the matter.

Get on with it chaps

The majority of football fans in Britain would have no issues with an openly gay player at their club, although 8% have said they would stop going to support their club, according to a survey of 4,000 football fans carried out for BBC Radio 5 Live.

The online poll across England, Wales and Scotland conducted by the research company ComRes found 82% of football fans said they would not have a problem with an openly gay player at their club.

Czech gay parents will be able to adopt soon

The Czech government has approved a proposed amendment to the law which would enable gay and lesbian couples to adopt their partner’s biological child. The proposal was supported by the ruling Social Democrats and ANO, but opposed by the Christian Democrats.

Deputy Minister for Human Rights Martina Štěpánková told Radio Prague, “We do not have an exact number but our estimate is that there are now about one thousand children living in same-sex families.”

Scotland’s gays to be pardoned

The Scottish government is to move to pardon men who were convicted of same-sex offences before laws against homosexuality were scrapped. Private homosexual acts between men aged over 21 were decriminalised in England and Wales in 1967, but the law in Scotland was not changed until 1980.

Scottish Justice Secretary Michael Matheson said it was “shocking” to consider that consensual sex between men was only decriminalised in 1980, and ages of consent not equalised until 2001. He said he was working with Police Scotland to have convictions disregarded, with an “automatic pardon” for those convicted of now-legal activity.

The Great British Bake Off

A Northern Ireland bakery run by Christian owners has lost their appeal over their refusal to make a “gay cake”. An appeal court has upheld the original court’s decision that Ashers discriminated against a gay man, Gareth Lee.

The family-run firm refused to make a cake with the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” two years ago for Mr Lee, a member of the LGBT advocacy group Queer Space, who had ordered a cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie with the phrase “Support Gay Marriage” for a private function marking the International Day Against Homophobia. He paid £36.50 for the cake at Ashers’ Belfast city centre branch but was telephoned two days later and told the company could not make it for him.

Daniel McArthur, the company’s general manager, insisted Mr Lee’s sexuality was never an issue, rather the message he wanted the bakery to create.

Ashers appeal was supported by The Christian Institute.

Bi men paid less, says study

Two Men Enjoying Coffee

Uncredited file photo | 2nd Story | 16486ga

Bisexual men are paid on average a third less than their heterosexual counterparts. The study by Professor Alex Bryson, of UCL’s Institute of Education also shows that gay men and lesbians earn about the same as heterosexuals, as do bisexual women.

In an article in the journal Work, Employment & Society, published by the British Sociological Association, Bryson explains that the average gross hourly earnings for bisexual men were £9.39, compared with £12.30 for heterosexual men, a gap of 31%. Conversely, average hourly earnings for gay men were £13.33, £1.03 more than for heterosexual men.

The study, which used data from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey conducted in 2011 and 2012, also showed that the average hourly earnings for lesbians were £9.87, similar to the £9.97 earned by heterosexual women. The average hourly earnings for bisexual women were £9.58.

The study included 312 gay men and lesbians, 118 bisexuals, 18,635 heterosexuals and 986 people who declined to identify their sexuality.

Some explaining to do, Sam

Justice Minister Sam Gyima on Friday filibustered a bill that would pardon gay men still alive but who were convicted in the past of now-abolished laws against homosexuality in the U.K.— a day after announcing that the government will back a previously proposed alternative.

Gyima stated that the government would not support a private members’ bill that sought to automatically pardon thousands of gay men who were still alive and had past convictions before homosexuality was decriminalized. To cries of “shame” in the House of Commons, Gyimah filibustered the bill on Friday afternoon.

Why a British Bill That Would Pardon Men Convicted of Overturned Gay Sex Law Was Filibustered