Bishop converts

John Wraw is the bishop of Bradwell in Chelmsford and is living with terminal cancer, and the support he has received from gay people within the church had “made him think really seriously” and changed his views about gay relationships and gay marriage. He supported the introduction of women bishops in 2014, but has not previously expressed a public view on gay marriage.

“It is recognising those qualities of relationship that I meet with so many people – hetereosexual, gay, bi – with people not really wanting to find their identity in gender but in who they are as human beings, for me children of God whom God delights in. This is not new Christian theology but for me I have lived it very intensely and personally this last three years and it has changed me profoundly as a person,” he wrote to his diocese. He hoped same-sex marriages would eventually receive “full acceptance” in the Church.

Gay Activist sends best wishes to the Bishop of Bradwell. We hope his followers will note his words and put them into positive action.


Its time for gay marriage to arrive in Northern Ireland


Andy Allen | Paul McErlane/Guardian | 17048

Andy Allen, who represents Belfast East, a former soldier who lost both his legs and most of his sight in a Taliban bomb attack in Afghanistan, has pledged that if re-elected to the Northern Ireland assembly he will support moves towards same-sex marriage equality.

due to the opposition of the Democratic Unionist party and many of Allen’s party colleagues, Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where LGBT couples cannot get married.

“I was elected to the last assembly only in May and I was the only mainstream unionist to vote for same-sex marriage. Whenever I realised it was coming forward I spent a great deal of time talking to people on both sides of the argument, including the gay community. I reached out to individuals from that community as well as religious organisations and faiths who robustly argued against it. But I found myself coming to a view of ‘live and let live’,” Mr Allen told reporters.

Borders getting tighter

Gay Afghans can be deported to their home country, where homosexuality is illegal and “wholly taboo” and they must pretend to be straight, under new British government guidelines for handling asylum applications which have been denounced by human rights groups.

The guidance puts the Home Office at odds with United Nations guidelines on refugees, which specify that LGBT people should not be required to change or conceal their identity to avoid persecution.

The Home Office declined to comment directly on the new guidelines, saying only that each claim is considered on its individual merits, and in accordance with the UK’s international obligations. “Where someone is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in their country of origin because of their sexuality or gender identity, refuge will be granted,” a spokesperson said.

Gay cure ad removed from Facebook

A US-based evangelical group, Anchored North, has been using Facebook to target gay people who were interested in ‘Gay Pride’ with online ads promoting gay ‘cures.’ The ad quickly amassed more than 200,000 views until it was removed.

A Facebook spokesperson said: “This ad violates our advertising policies, and has been removed.” Facebook’s policies restrict against illegal content and must not contain discriminatory material based on sxual orientation or gender identity.

Facebook users whould watch for this type of content and always report it.

We’re lousy at sport but we’re good at getting jobs!


File photo | Rex | 17047

University researchers have been busy lately.

A University of British Columbia study found that in the last 15 years, lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are half as likely to play sports compared to straight teens. In 1998, five out of 10 gay students played formal or coach sports. By 2013, that proportion had dropped to three in 10.

The level of participation dropped from 62 per cent to 52 per cent for lesbian girls; bisexual girls it dropped from 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and bisexual boys, the participation dropped from 59 per cent to 42 per cent. The study involved 99,373 adolescent students across British Columbia.

Meanwhile, female bosses are more likely to hire gay and lesbian job candidates over heterosexuals, according to a new study of 400 managers by The University of Sussex. This comes as a surprise because past research showed gay and lesbian jobseekers were usually at a disadvantage.

Women favoured homosexual candidates, while males were more likely to choose a straight applicant. “These results show that bias against gay men and lesbians is much more nuanced than previous work suggests. Hiring decisions made by teams of both men and women could lead to less biased decisions,” commented Dr Benjamin Everly of the business, management and economics department at Sussex University.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual teens half as likely to play sports: UBC study

Buttigieg gets attention


Pete Buttigieg | Joshua Roberts/Reuters | 17046

The Guardian profiles Pete Buttigieg, a gay Mayor who is being viewed as a potential leader of the Democrat party.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Harvard- and Oxford-educated, served in Afghanistan as a lieutenant with the Navy Reserves – and is openly gay.

A 2014 Washington Post profile called Buttigieg “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of”. The next year, Buttigieg won his re-election bid with 80% of the vote, a wider margin than the first time around. In June, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni proposed: “The First Gay President?”

Since entering the race for chair of the DNC his crisp public performances have attracted the attention of influential Democratic party officials and donors.

Time will tell.

Naughty Nookie, Italian style


Francesco Spano | ImagoEC | 17045

Francesco Spano, the head of Italy’s anti-discrimination office, has resigned following accusations that government funds meant to promote diversity projects and tackle racism had been earmarked for gay sex clubs masquerading as cultural centres.

An investigative TV programme showed his department had authorised funding of up to 55,000 euros each for at least three businesses which housed male prostitutes and offered their members so-called “dark rooms” for sexual encounters.

Opposition parties called on the government to explain its funding program. Rightist leader Giorgia Meloni said UNAR, the anti-discrimination office, should be shut immediately. “Not one more euro of tax payers’ money should be thrown away on paying their salaries,” she wrote.

The government said in a statement that while UNAR would stay open, Spano had resigned “out of respect” for the work his office was carrying out.