The mask of civility is slipping. Rather a lot.

Labour MP Hugh Gaffney has been disciplined and will be sent on equality training after admitting to “deeply offensive” slurs towards gay people and the Chinese community in a Burns supper speech. He recited a self-penned poem in which he joked that Robert Burns, Scotland’s national poet, was not “bent”.

Labour is now under pressure to go further, by suspending Mr Gaffney, the MP for Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshil, from the party.

Just yesterday we were reading the latest findings of Kick It Out who campaign to clean up behaviour and attitudes in football. The Guardian notes:

Football’s equality campaign Kick It Out has received a marked increase in reports of racist, homophobic and other discriminatory incidents this season compared with the equivalent midway point last year.

In total 282 incidences of abuse were reported in professional and grassroots football and on social media, 59% up on the 177 incidents recorded by the organisation at the 2016-17 midpoint.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/feb/07/kick-it-out-alarm-spike-abuse-football

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/labour-mp-hugh-gaffney-gay-people-chinese-community-burns-night-speech-racist-homophobic-lgbt-a8199471.html

Advertisements

Keep a-knocking but you can’t come in!

Steven Anderson | Getty | r

Pastor Steven Anderson of Arizona, was prevented from boarding a flight to Jamaica after the authorities there decided to deny him entry. He runs the Faithful Word Baptist Church and says that homosexuality is an abomination and should be punishable by death. Anderson has already been barred from South Africa and deported from Botswana.

Jamaican officials said his statements were “not conducive to the current climate”.

Anderson had planned to travel to Jamaica with his 14-year-old son to carry out “missionary work” when he was prevented by airline officials from boarding the plane yesterday.

The LGBT community in Jamaica started a petition asking the Jamaican government to ban Mr Anderson, which was signed by more than 38,000 people.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-42873266

60 years battle comes to an end

18012

Grace James | Legal Aid at Work | 18012

After a 60 year battle, Grace James won her honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force this week, at the age of 90.

She enlisted in the Air Force in 1952, and had a fine service record. She was promoted to Airman 2nd Class but when she was stationed at Roslyn Air Force Base, Airman James came under investigation by the Office of Special Investigation.

One night in the winter of 1955 she sat with a friend in her car to eat sandwiches. An officer discovered them and took her into custody and she was interrogated. Investigators told Helen Grace James that if she didn’t sign a statement they put in front of her, they would tell her family she was homosexual. She signed, and was discharged as “undesirable.”

She received no severance pay or veterans’ health care coverage, and no assistance from the GI bill to go to college. She had worked through channels for decades to try to upgrade her discharge, and finally sued the Air Force this month.

Congratulations Grace.

https://www.npr.org/2018/01/20/579205780/kicked-out-of-air-force-for-being-gay-helen-grace-james-wins-honorable-discharge

Zack is a Leader

18003

Zack Leader | 18003

Gravity bike champion Zack Leader came out as gay on Facebook on New Years Day after being reluctant to air his sexuality within the racing industry.

Mr Leader, 19, from Kirton in Lindsey, Lincolnshire, hopes to teach others not to be afraid to let their sexuality be known.

The teenager is the 2016 and 2017 British Gravity Bike Evo Cup Champion and he hopes to be the first openly gay British Superbike champion.

Your Activist sends congratulations.

https://lincolnshirereporter.co.uk/2018/01/biking-with-pride-local-champion-comes-out-as-gay/

Henry Badenhorst RIP

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the passing of Henry Badenhorst, the co-founder of Gaydar, one of the world’s first gay online dating sites, aged 51. Mr Badenhorst died in his native South Africa on Saturday. He is believed to have killed himself.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/13/founder-henry-badenhorst-online-dating-site-gaydar-dies-aged-51

Goodbye Edie

The BBC reports that Edith “Edie” Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88. She leaves her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor.

Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.
She sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died.

The couple had married in Canada in 2007.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41248327

Goodbye Pierre

17156gh

Pierre Bergé | Agence France Press | 17156gh

The French fashion tycoon Pierre Bergé – the business brains behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire – has died aged 86.

The longtime partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent died in his sleep early Friday at his country home at Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France.

The passionate bibliophile and art collector was a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large part of his fortune to AIDS research.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.