Gay Gooners/Islington Gazette | 17074
The Islington Gazette profiles the Gay Gooners, gay supporters of Arsenal football club. They are the biggest LGBT football fans group in the world. There are 500 members, with 40 per cent women. Dave Raval is chairman, and was one of the founding members in 2013.
The Gooners aim to stamp out homophobia in football, provide a safe forum for LGBT people to enjoy Arsenal, and act as a social group.
“The recent question has always been: ‘When is a male player going to come out?’ [Players have come out in women’s football.] But when we started Gay Gooners, our question was: ‘When are the fans going to come out?’
“It’s just as important for LGBT fans to be visible in the game. There are hundreds of us. We don’t accept what some people would call ‘banter.’ We don’t accept a football culture where a male player has yet to come out.”
Gay Gooners was the first LGBT fans group to be recognised by a professional club, as Arsenal did. There are now 30 groups in the UK.
Ben Howlett the Tory MP who was accused of groping a gay couple at a Eurovision Song Contest party last May will not be charged. It was alleged he put his hands in a man’s pants and tried to kiss him at a bar in his Bath constituency.
The party was held in a private residence at one of the city’s poshest addresses.
Howlett was accused of putting his hands inside a gay man’s pants and trying to kiss him; he is also alleged to have said “let me f*** you” to another man and grabbed his crotch. Prosecution chiefs said there was not enough evidence to proceed.
The “Turing Law”, or to give it its correct name the Police and Crime Act 2017, which grants automatic pardons to gay men who were convicted of obsolete sexual crimes under the old Sexual Offences Acts and who have since died, and allows living convictees to apply for a pardon, has received the Royal Assent.
Gay Activist understands that pardons have been automatically granted to 59,000 men who have died.
16,000 men who are still alive will be asked to fill out a form to have the conviction removed from criminal records.
Press Association | 17069
Hundreds of Britons held a protest outside the Russian Embassy against the reported torture and murder of gay men in Chechnya, where up to 100 men are said to be held in concentration-style camps and at least three men have died.
Michael Salter-Church, co-chair of Pride in London, said: “It sends a shudder down the spine to hear about concentration camps in 2017. Russia’s abuses cannot be ignored.”
Demonstrators draped in rainbows shouted “close the camps” and laid pink flowers while passing traffic beeped their horns in support.
Craig and Leon | Kent Online | 17068
The Queen Anne in Maidstone, Kent, has been a gay pub for many years but the new proprietors are a gay couple who have renovated the pub into a pub for the whole wider community, hopefully to enable the pub to survive.
Craig Burns remembers the Sittingbourne Road venue as the beating heart of Maidstone’s lesbian, gay community when he and his husband Leon used to drink there a few years ago. He said: “This is quite a nice challenge for us. A number of people have come and gone over the past few years and the pub and community need some stability. We used to drink here quite a lot when Ricky and Darren were in charge. It was thriving then and we want to make it the heart of the gay community in Maidstone again but are opening the doors for everyone.”
Writing for Third Sector, Kevin Curley notes that
It is 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act 1967 decriminalised male homosexuality in England and Wales. The extent to which our society has changed since then is illustrated by the fact that the Westminster parliament, with 35 out gay MPs, is the most diverse of any in the world in terms of sexual orientation. But many challenges remain for those from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and others community.
Giving young people support and safe places is a constant theme in my conversations with local activists. So too is the need to challenge prejudice. Proud2Be’s Price says it’s a misconception that “the battle for LGBTQ+ rights has been won”. He says there have been great advancements in terms of securing equality under the law, but “we are by no means there yet”.
Brooke shows me the videos produced with her young members and says: “We are a long way from achieving equality in practice.”
The Critics | Henry Scott Tuke | Warwick District Council
London’s Tate Britain is preparing its first show dedicated to “queer art” -“Queer British Art 1861-1967”. It is almost 50 years since the decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales.
“We have works which demonstrate lots of different attitudes, from anxiety to celebration,” Curator Clare Barlow told the Observer, adding that other items came to acquire notoriety by accident. Walter Crane’s languorous 1877 painting, The Renaissance of Venus, is a good example. “Crane’s wife did not want him viewing or drawing nude women, so instead he used a well-known young male model, Alessandro di Marco, to stand in for the goddess of love.”
The exhibition includes a full-length portrait of Oscar Wilde by Robert Goodloe Harper Pennington, given to the writer as a wedding present by the artist and now being shown publicly in Britain for the first time. Next to it is Oscar’s prison cell door.
Queer British Art 1861-1967 is at Tate Britain, London SW1P, from 5 April to 1 October 2017.
“As we came into the wide open field, an elderly man of about 70 or 80 years of age with a very thick beard emerged from the bushes. He was wearing a huge white wedding dress. Much to our shock, he reprimanded us for being in a gay area, telling us ‘did we know this area was reserved for the gay community and we should not be there. He told us he was there, seeking sexual encounters in the woodlands.”
Colchester police are looking for an elderly man in a large white wedding dress…
Jeffrey John | Press Association | 17070
Here we go again. The Church in Wales has been urged to reconsider its decision to exclude Jeffrey John from its appointments process for the next bishop of Llandaff amid accusations of homophobia.
The chapter of St Albans Cathedral, where Jeffrey John is dean, said on Monday that “the fact that it appears Jeffrey’s sexuality and civil partnership have been used against him in the selection process is wholly wrong, and it is only right that the bishops in Wales review the process before making an appointment”.
Jeremy Pemberton of OneBodyOneFaith called for an inquiry into the Church in Wales’s process before an appointment and for a public apology to be issued to John “for homophobic remarks and attitudes”. The church’s behaviour had been “unjust and discriminatory”, and bishops must abide by their own guidelines regarding candidates who are gay and in civil partnerships.
In 2003, John was appointed as bishop of Reading but the then archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, asked him to stand aside after some traditionalists threatened to leave the Church of England if his consecration went ahead.
John has a long-term relationship with Grant Holmes, another C of E clergyman, and the couple entered a civil partnership in 2006.
Abbey Kyeyune | 17056
Abbey Kyeyune, a gay Ugandan-born asylum seeker currently living in Manchester, is facing deportation to his place of birth, where homosexuality is punishable by life imprisonment.
Mr Kyeyune says Home Office officials decided he had failed to sufficiently “prove” his sexuality.
He fled Uganda after his family members discovered that he was having a relationship with another man, and became physically violent towards him. Ugandan authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest. He also discovered that his boyfriend had been arrested and detained because of his sexuality.
Updated guidance on LGBT asylum claims was recently published by the Home Office, which forbids “detailed questioning in regard to sexual practices” and requests for “sexually explicit evidence”.
However, Mr Kyeyune’s Home Office interview occurred before this new guidance was in place.