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UK loses top LGBT+ rating

The LGBT+ European Top 20

The LGBT+ European Top 20

But why Scotland now ranked with rest of UK?

The latest rating from International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (IGLA) has shown that the UK, previously rated top in Europe for LGBT+ rights, has now dropped to second place, below Malta.

The Rainbow Europe Ranking, which rates 49 European countries on their level of LGBT+ rights, has found that the tiny Mediterranean island state of Malta now rates 89%, while the UK comes second with a rating of 85.55%.  This has been down to several recent changes in Malta, which include being the first country to outlaw surgery on intersex children, introducing LGBT+ education and starting same-sex civil unions.

The IGLA recognise that Malta does not yet have equal marriage but make the point that the same pertains to Northern Ireland.  While the UK province is notorious for sectarian bigotry and religious strife, opposition to LGBT+ rights is one issue which unites both sides of the Protestant / Roman Catholic divide.

It would be churlish of one not to congratulate Malta on this victory, and indeed, I previously published an article championing them on the very brave step of becoming the first country in the world to outlaw gender assignment surgery on intersex babies.  That is undoubtably what swung it for them.  That apart, for a country which has been the crossroads of religion for millennia, and which remains culturally strongly Christian, makes their stance all the more amazing.

I do however have a problem with the IGLA latest rating, and that is that all the constituent parts of the UK are now included together.  When I previously reported on this (“Scotland best for LGBTI legal equality”, 11 May 2015), Scotland was leading the field of the Rainbow Index with a staggering 92%, compared to 86% for the rest of the UK.

By now counting the UK as a whole, we see that Scotland’s rating is being dragged down by the rest of the UK.  Needless to say, Northern Ireland must be playing no small part in this.  The religious attitudes in the province are an embarrassment to the whole of the UK.  LGBT+ rights apart, there is also no abortion in NI, and a Marie Stopes clinic which opened in Belfast was forced to close within a few weeks, due to protests which often turned violent.  And if you think you can escape those attitudes in the countryside, consider that the World Heritage site of the Giant’s Causeway, volcanic pillars pushed up be pressure millions of years ago, has an information display claiming it was formed by the Noachian flood, around 4000 years ago.  Frankly, I’m all for a united Ireland – if only to offload a province full of embarrassing religious nutters on someone else.

Another factor however must be the piss poor Same Sex Marriages Act which was kicked through Westminster with indecent haste, and which like all kneejerk legislation, was ill thought-out, ill-planned, and has come in for considerable criticism since it’s implementation.  The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act, by comparison took much longer to formulate, but with the result it not only allowed for same-sex marriage, but was the most comprehensive marriage legislation, for all sexualities and genders,  ever to be passed into Scots Law.

There of course may be somewhere that the Scottish Government has shot itself in the foot, and that is on the recent introduction of their consultation of the future of civil partnership, which has come in for considerable criticism from the Scots LGBT+ charity, Equality Network.  The Scottish Government is giving only two options, both of which would see the eventual removal of civil partnerships altogether in favour of marriage.  There are some, myself included, who would argue that there are couples, of whatever gender and sexuality, who wish to be together, do not wish to marry, but wish their partnerships recognised in law, with all the benefits in law that brings.  The Scottish Government is simply not giving the Scottish people the right to say they may actually want that.

These issues apart, however, one cannot help but wonder just how and why the IGLA decided to amalgamate the constituent parts of the UK into one, and I don’t think we have to look any further than the current UK government.  Ever since the previous league table came out in May, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been boasting that the UK is the best place for LGBT+ rights. Only two months ago, the Prime Minister stated “Together we should be proud to live in a country judged to be the best place in Europe if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.”

Cameron, as a typical Tory, barely recognises Scotland as a country with its own system of law (which has always been devolved, even under the auspices of the 1707 Treaty of Union).  It is therefore entirely possible that he has put pressure on the IGLA not to count the UK as constituents, but as a whole.  If so, that is odious, as it may well be his government dragging Scotland down with the rest of the UK.

When the Prime Minister won the General Election in May, he made Nicky Morgan MP his Minister for Equalities, despite the fact that she voted against same-sex marriage.  Of course, since then Ms Morgan has claimed that it was wrong for her to do so and she has changed her mind.  But then, any MP with a cabinet post in the offing can easily have their mind changed.  Nicky Morgan’s appointment to that post alone may very well have skewed the Rainbow Table.

Whatever the truth, one cannot but help but feel disappointed in the IGLA for not counting Scotland as separate, when in fact, even within the UK, we have our own laws, our own marriage system, and our own LGBT+ rights.  And while I know there are those who will disagree with me, for my part Scotland losing top place – which at formerly 92% is effectively what has happened – is just one more symptom of a much wider malaise; that being that as long as Scotland remains in the UK, we shall always suffer and be dragged down by Westminster as a result.


The full Rainbow Index table can be found here:

http://www.rainbow-europe.org/country-ranking

Link to my article when Scotland was leading the field:

https://xandradurward.wordpress.com/category/scotland/

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Italian Lawmaker: Gays should change gender to marry

Paola Binetti - praying away the gay

Paola Binetti – praying away the gay?

Make the strange lady go away Mummy, she’s scaring me!

Paola Binetti, Italian “Union of the Centre” Party member and member of the Italian parliament’s Chamber of Deputies, thinks she has come up with the answer concerning equal marriage in Italy – gays should just change gender.

“Why do we need to pass a law on civil unions for homosexual couples, and to engage in a lengthy semantic debate around what ‘marriage’ means today?’”  Binetti asked in an interview with Huffington Post Italy, “Why must we embark on a bitter parliamentary battle on the value of the family, to decide whether certain reforms will strengthen it or weaken it further?  It would be a complete waste of time: all debate has now been rendered void by the recent verdict of the Supreme Court in the case of the individual who has demanded the right to change sex without surgical intervention.”

Yes dears, you did read that correctly – she did suggest that gay people need only undergo gender reassignment to get married.  Hang on for a bumpy ride, this is a woman with degrees in surgery and psychiatry.

“Sexual difference appears completely irrelevant. It is enough for an individual to claim not that they are a certain way or they look a certain way but merely they desire to be a certain way,” Binetti continued, “Just present your documents, declare how you feel and how you want to be considered and the die is cast.”

To steal a line from the BBC comedy series Blackadder Goes Forth, “I do believe the phrase rhymes with ‘clucking bell’.”

When I first came across this story, which appeared in The New Civil Rights Movement, I thought it had to be satire or a spoof.  Surely no politician could be that stupid? So I went searching the internet.  Sad to say that it is 100% genuine.

Some people really don’t get it, do they dears?  Hello Paola, gay men like men, lesbians like women – they are not interested in the opposite sex, and have absolutely no desire to change gender.  If any of my gay friends saw some muscled Adonis, say in a kilt, I could be  wearing my sexiest outfit – and they would trample over me to get to him.

Oh well, I suppose no-one can every accuse her of transphobia.

Her comments follow the European Court of Human Rights condemning Italy for denying same-sex couples their human rights by not offering them marriages or civil unions.

72-year-old Binetti is a devout Roman Catholic and a Numery member of the ultra-conservative and controversial Roman Catholic organisation Opus Dei (Work of God), which Dan Brown mistakenly called a “secret sect” in his novel and subsequent movie The Da Vinci Code.  As a member, Binetti has voluntarily asserted that she does indeed wear a cilice; a toothed metal belt worn around one of her thighs, to constantly remind her of the suffering of Christ (let me see; crown of thorns, scourged, crucified, spear in the side – nope, nothing there about wearing a toothed belt – they didn’t even break his legs because he was already dead).

This is not the first time Paolo Binetti has made homophobic statements.  In 2007 she stated on Italian TV channel La7 that gays and lesbians needed medical care, maintaining that homosexuality is a disease.

As well as holding a senior position in the Italian government, since 1991 Paolo Binetti has been overseeing the work of the medical facility of the Biomedical Campus of Rome.

Be afraid, dears – be very afraid.

UK Government delays gay pardon among “paedophile” fears

_0000TuringNot content with condmening 49,000 gays, Whitehall now condemns them as paedophiles

Following the postumous pardon for computer genius and World War II hero Alan Turing, who was convicted of Gross Indecency, a petition has been gathered, which the family of Alan Turing are backing, to have similiar convictions against 49,000 gay men pardoned.  The men in question, like Turing, were convicted for homosexual activities, before it was decriminalised in 1967.  Around 15,000 of the men may still be alive.

Now the UK government are dragging their feet over the pardon, attempting to claim without any evidence to back their claims up, that a small number of paedophiles may benefit from the pardon.  A source told the Guardian newspaper, “There is huge frustration that the deal breaker now appears to be a fear that a general pardon might see what are being described as some paedophiles pardoned”

The claims come from the laws which followed decriminalisation of male homosexuality, whereby sexual relations between men were only legal for consenting males of 21 years of age or over.  Therefore, any man over the age of 21 having sex with a man between 16 to 20 years old was commiting an offence of having sex with a minor.  Age of consent in the UK was equalised at 16 years old in 2001.

Campaigners have suggested that objections about benefitting paedophiles could be overcome by introducing amendments may overcome this, by stating that acting under current law, sexual acts involving 16 to 20 year olds would be considered legal between consenting adults, and thereby past convictions of having sex with a minor should be quashed.

Indeed, such amendments would have that effect.  What worries me more about this is the wording used.  The term “paedophile” is being freely banded about in this issue, when even in law, including the post-1967 law, that simply is not the case.  Someone who is sexually attracted to an underage teenager is described as a hebephile.  Paedophilia only applies when the child is younger than 13 years old.

And I fully believe that the government, who know the definitions in law (or should do), are fully aware of this, and are purposely attempting to castigate men already unjustly convicted, of now being no better than kiddy fiddlers.  And worse still, they are doing that without offering one shred of evidence to that effect.

Well seeing it’s an election year, in which the Tory-dominated government will attempt any desparate populist measures to win votes, no matter who they may hurt in the process.

Simon Hughes of the Liberal-Democrats, meanwhile, is to demand any future coalition agreement includes an automatic pardon for the 49,000 men.  Too little, too late, Simon dear.  The Lib-Dems already sold out their principles and their soul to get into power, and if you lay down with dogs, do not be surprised when you wake up with fleas.