Tag Archive | gay

WHOOPS!

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When you are going to attempt to smear a politician, it tends to be a pretty good idea to check your facts and their background first.

It actually astounds me that anyone could make such a daft claim. It is well known that Scottish National Party MP John Nicolson is openly and proudly gay.

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“Turing’s Law” Passed in England and Wales

_0000TuringGood – but not good enough.

Thousands of deceased gay and bisexual men in England and Wales convicted of sexual offences for partaking in gay sex when it was still illegal were pardoned posthumously when the Policing and Crime Bill received Royal Assent on 31 January 2017.

The Act is known as Turing’s Law, recognising the ill-treatment of the gay computer scientist Alan Turing, who committed suicide in 1954 after his conviction for Gross Indecency. Turing was given a posthumous Royal Pardon in 2013, but the new Act pardons 50,000 to 100,000 men convicted of Gross Indecency with Another Man or Buggery before 1967.

Justice minister Sam Gyimah said it was a “truly momentous day… …We can never undo the hurt caused, but we have apologised and taken action to right these wrongs.” This is the same Sam Gyimah who last year infamously ‘filibustered’ a Bill in the Westminster Parliament; speaking out its alloted time and thereby preventing a vote being taken upon it.

There are some however who do not think the Act goes far enough Scottish National Party (SNP) MP John Nicholson, who tabled the Bill filibustered by Sam Gyimah, asked what provision there will be for those men still living. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, replied that men still living could make applications for pardons. In 2016 Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the SNP administration in the devolved Scottish Government is about to introduce their own legislation, under which men still living will be automatically pardoned, along with those deceased, which Mr Nicholson was very quick to point out.

There are very good reasons for doing this. Many of the men convicted are now very elderly and simply physically unable to go and get the forms and fill them out, or indeed fill them out online. A caller to LBC Radio on 1 February 2017 also highlighted another potential problem. He stated he was a gay man who had been convicted, served time in prison, and had subsequently changed his identity. Should he have to apply for a pardon, that would mean having to use his original identity. If the pardon was automatic for living persons, there would be no need for him to run this risk of being exposed.

The Act must be welcomed, as must the upcoming legislation in Scotland, but there is still fault on both sides of the border. Many, myself included, feel that a ‘pardon’ is insufficient, as it still assumes guilt. What is needed is for all convictions completely quashed and a clear apology given, to both the deceased and the living.

There may even be an argument for monetary compensation for those living. After all, many of them faced imprisonment, violence from police officers/prison officers/fellow inmates (including rape in many cases), some fines, most lost their jobs, and were ostracised by family, friends, and society in general.

Those are lost lives, stolen by the state, and those men affected and still alive deserve a HUGE sorry – preferably along with a big, fat cheque.

And while LGBT rights campaigner Peter Tatchell maintains that the Act will pardon men convicted of sexual offences “under discriminatory anti-gay laws between 1885 and 2003”, I question if that is actually the case. I cannot find anything in the Act which mentions men convicted of “underage” gay sex between 1967 and 2001. To explain, the gay age of consent was set at 21 in 1967. It was not until 1994 that it was lowered to 18, and in 2001 it was lowered again to 16, to bring it into line with the age of consent for heterosexuals. This means that there are a great many men still alive today who were convicted of having sex with a “minor”, with all of the attendant stigma that carries. Are they to be pardoned? And if not, why not?

We should never forget the words of Tom Robinson:

Have you heard the story about Peter Wells,
who one day was arrested and dragged to the cells?
For being in love with a man of eighteen;
the vicar found out they’d been having a scene.
The magistrates sent him for trial by the Crown;
he even appealed but they still sent him down.
He was only mistreated a couple of years ~
cos even in prison they “look after” the queers.
(Tom Robinson, “Glad to be Gay”, original version)

All in all, the Act is a step in the right direction, but with all the deaths, the heartache, the loss of liberty, loss of family and friends, ostracisation, violence from the authorities, prison inmates and members of the public alike, loss of livelihoods and much, much more which anti-gay UK laws produced, neither the new Act nor the upcoming legislation in the devolved Scottish Government go nearly far enough to addressing past wrongs.

Get the cheque books out, Theresa and Nicola.

Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes

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John Nicolson MP (SNP)

Or, never trust a Tory.

I have never for the life of me ever understood how any LGBT+ person in the UK can be a member of or support the Conservative Party. It really seems like turkeys voting for Christmas, and this is not personal on my part. Okay, so it is. I make no bones about the fact that I think all Tories are scum who need to meet with an accident down a dark close. But the fact is I could never support the Conservative Party, on the grounds that I am evolved way beyond the primordial soup and qualify as a human being.

But people of all sexualities and gender do exist within the Tories. Even the leader of the Scottish Conservatives (a rare and endangered species, on a par with porcine birds), Ruth Davidson, is openly lesbian and has been in a relationship with her partner for many years.

Therefore, with such diversity, the Tories can be trusted with LGBT+ legislation, right? Wrong. Dead wrong.

On Thursday, 20 October, John Nicolson, openly gay Scottish National Party (SNP) MP for East Dunbartonshire, tried to introduce a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons for legislation which would give wide-ranging pardons to gay and bisexual men still alive who were convicted of having sex with underage men when the gay age of consent was still 21. The Bill had previously received support from Conservative and Labour Party MPs, as well as Mr Nicolson’s own fellow SNP MPs. The Tories even promised not to block the Bill.

The Bill was touted as a “Turing Bill” or “Turing’s Law”, after the gay computer scientist Alan Turing, who was convicted of offences of gay sex with minors, underwent voluntary chemical castration, and subsequently took his own life. He was pardoned in 2012.

When the Bill was introduced in the House of Commons however, Conservative Justice Minister Sam Gyimah spoke on the government’s opposition to the bill. And he spoke on, and spoke on, and spoke on; eventually taking up the full 25 minutes of debate, when the Bill should have gone to the vote. There were cries of “shame” from supporters as it became clear that the government were deliberately setting out to scupper the Bill.

Mr Nicolson’s Sexual Offences (Pardons) Bill proposed a blanket pardon for all dead and living men convicted of sex with minors when gay age of consent was 21. The government opposition quite insidiously concentrated upon men convicted of sex with boys under 16, and victims of rape. This is wholly disingenious, as John Nicolson’s Bill had already taken such men into consideration and they would not be covered by the Bill.

Instead, the day before the Bill was to be read, the Tories did a deal with the Liberal-Democrat Party, accepting an amendment to the 2012 Policing and Crime Bill by (unelected) Lib-Dem Lord Sharkey, whereby those convicted but since deceased would be granted an automatic pardon, and those living could apply to the Home Office for a “disregard process” to clear their names. The all-too-obvious elephant in the room here is that the Sharkey amendment would automatically clear the names of dead men who did prey upon little boys and under-16 teens.  Former Liberal leader Cyril Smith about to have his name cleared, anyone?

Besides which of course, many of the men convicted and still alive are very elderly, some in their 80s and 90s. Their lives already ruined, to ask them to go through the trauma of applying to have their names cleared is despicable and thoughtless beyond belief.

Lyn Brown, Labour MP for West Ham, stated “The living would have to apply for a disregard and only then would they be granted a pardon. The onus would be placed right back on the victims of injustice, which, I worry, rather reduces the quality of the apology being offered.”

I partially agree, except for one point; the planned amendment is not even an apology. It is a pardon, which still presumes guilt. Some Tory wets stand by this. Former Tory MP Harvey Proctor, himself once convicted of having sex with a young man of under 21, stated on LBC Radio that as it was a crime when he was convicted, then there’s no need to apologise to him.

John Nicolson’s Bill would have set aside nearly 50,000 convictions, of which approximately 15,000 apply to men still alive today. It was a brilliant opportunity, which the government pretended to support, and then pulled that support at the last minute, then completely abused the procedures of the Westminster parliament to bury it.

John Nicolson later stated “I’m very disappointed that the Tory government decided to filibuster and talk out the Turing Bill.

“The bill was intended to be kind and bring closure to generations of gay and bisexual men found guilty of homophobic crimes no longer on the statute book.

“Many of these men are now elderly and have lived with unjust convictions for years – my bill would have given them an automatic pardon.

“I was delighted to receive cross party support from Conservative, Labour and SNP MPs so I was sad on their behalf as well as on behalf of the men that would have been pardoned to see the Tory Justice Minister use political manoeuvring to see off a popular bill.

“As MPs of all parties made clear today there was no good reason for the government to block this Bill. The compromise amendment being suggested instead does not go far enough to right the wrongs committed against these men and their families.

“The Tory whips promised that there would be ‘no tricks and no games’ on their side but it is to their shame that they broke their word.”

Really John? And what else do you expect from a heterosexual Tory Prime Minister, Theresa May, who “changed her mind” on equal marriage and stood against adoption of children by gay parents, from heterosexual Sam Gyimah, and from equally heterosexual John Sharkey – whose own party leader, Tim Farron, is a God-botherer who abstained on the equal marriage vote?

Ain’t it amazing how all these straights seem to think they know what is best for us queers? Ever been patronised? You have now.

And of course, we all know what the real opposition to John Nicolson’s Bill was: “SNP BAD!”; to the government’s mind, if it’s an SNP idea, it must be opposed, simple as that.


Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes; “I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts.” (Virgil, Aeneid; alluding to the legend of the wooden horse of Troy)

Holy Smoke! Religious Freedom Bill goes all to Pot

_0NunIndiana’s anti-gay legislation inadvertently opens door to cannabis smokers

You shouldn’t laugh, dears.  No, really, you shouldn’t.  Ohh, but how can you not?

For those of you who have been living in a box and are unaware of it, the state of Indiana in the good ol’ USA recently rushed through the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), a hateful piece of legislation which makes it legal for businesses to refuse service to gays (and one would imagine other LGBTQI people) on grounds of religious belief.  The backlash from this legislated bigotry has been considerable from both LGBTQI and supportive cis/het people alike.  Former Star Trek star George Takei, himself openly gay, is calling on people to boycott the entire state.

Now it seems however, that Indiana’s homophobic legislators may well have shot themselves in the foot.  Indiana attorney and commentator, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, has pointed out that the wording of the kneejerk legislation would may well also protect those who smoke marijuana as part of their religious beliefs.

Shabazz has pointed out that owning and / or smoking marijuana remains illegal in Indiana, if a pot smoker can prove that they are performing a religious sacrament, then under the wording of the RFRA, their rights must be protected.  “I would argue that under RFRA,” says Shabazz, “as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scot-free.”

RFRA supporters state the Bill, “only spells out a test as to whether a government mandate would unduly burden a person’s faith and the government has to articulate a compelling interest for that rule and how it would be carried out in the least restrictive manner,”  Shabazz maintains this merely compounds problems; “So, with that said, what ‘compelling interest’ would the state of Indiana have to prohibit me from using marijuana as part of my religious practice?

Shabazz went on to point out that alcoholic wine is used in Christian sacraments and that marijuana is a far less dangerous drug than alcohol.

So, is this farcical?  Not one bit of it, dears.  On Thursday, 26 March 2014, the same day the Bill was passed, Bill Levin, founder of the First Church of Cannabis Inc, filed paperwork in Indianapolis to register his church as a non-profit, religious organisation.  Referring (should that be reefering?) to followers as “cannataerians” on the group’s Facebook page, Levin stated that they seek “love, understanding and good health.”  Colorado-based Green Faith Ministries, who use marijuana as part of their sacraments, have also reportedly voiced an interest in setting up a branch in Indiana.

And of course, these two are not alone.  There are plenty other established religions which use marijuana as part of their belief systems.  Rastafarianism regards marijuana as a sacred plant, to be used for the purposes of meditation and achieving heightened spiritual awareness (yes dear, been there, done that).  The Hawaii-based THC Ministry, founded by Roger Christie of the Religion of Jesus Christ, considers cannabis sacramental for both spiritual and healing properties.  They state that the “cultivation and enjoyment of cannabis sacrament is a fundamental human right provided by God and protected by the Constitution.”  The California-based Church of Reality, founded on the principles that some of the best ideas come from smoking pot (truth), similarly maintain that smoking cannabis is a constitutional right in the USA.  Should anyone doubt how serious the Church of Reality are, consider that the US Internal Revenue Service recognised them as a non-profit, tax-exempt church as far back as 2005.

Oh dear.  It seems the bigots of Indiana may have bitten off more than they can chew.  Before long the streets of Indianapolis and other cities may be full of dreamy-eyed people walking about in a beautiful haze – and the conservatives who made that possible won’t be able to do a damned thing about it.

Who knows, maybe that could be a good thing?  If the overbearing homophobic bigots of Indiana inhale enough secondary smoke, it may just lead them to chill out a little, get those pokers out of their arses, and actually try being nice to people.  If that happens, I’ll believe the age of miracles has not passed.

Of course, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has pointed out that as the use and ownership of marijuana remains illegal in the state, a test case may well follow, and states “I want a front row seat at the trial that we all know is going to happen when all this goes down.” 

Oh indeed, dears, so do I, and I’ll be watching out for developments.  As any attempt to apply RFRA to the Christian faith alone would be wholly unconstitutional, then any test case under it can have only one of two outcomes; either those who smoke marijuana as a religious sacrament have their rights protected by law, or this odious piece of homophobic legislation will have to be scrapped altogether.

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.

Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

_0Character assassination and trial by media can only ever hurt the innocent

I am somewhat disturbed at a story in Pink News, which concerns a Roman Catholic priest who is defending charges of molesting little boys.  Am I disturbed by the story?  Well, yes naturally, but the abuse of children within the RC Church is now so endemic that one comes to expect it.  What concerns me more is the level of journalism Pink News appears to have sunk to.

“Catholic Priest had huge gay S&M porn collection, court hears”, screams the headline; and my immediate and initial reaction is “So what?”

The story concerns Father Anthony McSweeney (68), who is defending charges that he molested three young boys between 1979 – 1981.  He has admitted buying gay S&M pornography during a visit to Amsterdam’s red light district, which he kept hidden until it was discovered by his housekeeper.

There is no indication of this pornography being of a paedophile nature, and if that is the case, then I completely fail to see what bearing it should have either upon the case, or Father McSweeney’s character for that matter.  I can already hear some of you shouting that he is a priest, he’s supposed to be celibate and an upstanding member of the community.  Yes dears, and first and foremost he is a human being, with the sexual drives and leanings of all human beings.  Oh, and by the way, if he’s tossing off to gay porn, he is still effectively being celibate.

If the prosecution is seeking to convict Father McSweeney, who denies all charges laid against him, then they are using the guilt by character argument.  And as far as the public is concerned, Pink News is merely helping them to do that.

Father McSweeney may be guilty for all I – and you – know, and he may well be innocent.  To attempt to destroy him by his character and by bringing his other sexual pecadilloes into the case however, could very well sway the case against him using an extremely low blow and on a completely false dichotomy.

Consider the case of silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and his part in the death of starlet Virigina Rappe.  On 9 September 1921 Virginia Rappe attended a party at a hotel suite rented by Roscoe Arbuckle.  That Rappe was a “good time girl” was no secret and it wasn’t long before she disappeared from the scene, as did Arbuckle.  She was found in a bedroom, bleeding profusely from her anus.  Her last words to other girls at the party were “Roscoe Arbuckle did this to me.  Don’t let him get away with it.”  She died soon after from a ruptured bladder and secondary peretonitis.  After three mistrials Arbuckle, accused of killing the girl by either vaginally or anally raping her, was acquitted of all charges.  His defence had been to prove that Virginia Rappe had loose morals, had several previous convictions, including extortion, and that veneral disease and, absurdly, cystitis, were the case of death.  The result was that a man guilty of the brutal rape (Arbuckle was hung like a horse, as well as being obese) of a young girl, walked free, purely because of the girl’s past character.

So it is that if Father McSweeney is tried on his character, because he is gay and has a penchant for sado-masochistic sex, then he is being tried on a false dichotomy which has absolutely no bearing on any paedophilic tendences he may or may not have.

That may have serious repercussions over who and what exactly on trial here.  Is it a priest accused of molesting young boys, is it being gay, or is it the BDSM lifestyle?  Most of my readers will already be painfully aware that the LGBT community in general and gay men in particular are often falsely accused of being perverts who prey upon little boys.  In fact, for those of you who are not aware, the opposite is true.  The overwhelming majority of active paedophiles who prey upon little boys are in fact heterosexual men. As case studies and statistics have proven, children are in fact much safer in the company of gay men.

Likewise, one would be hard-pushed to find anyone in the BDSM lifestyle who is sexually attracted to children.  BDSM is built upon trust between two or more consenting adults, who achieve sexual satisfaction through the willing subjection of the body and humiliation of the person.  I am not for one moment saying that there are not gay or sado-masochistic paedophiles; of course they exist, just as there are people with many sexual preferences who are also paedophiles.  No-one however could ever suggest that any child forced into gay or sado-masochistic sex would or could be a willing and / or consensual participant.  Yet by bringing the priest’s pornography collection into the case, it seems to me that the prosecution is immediately trying to make that correlation.

To attempt to make any such connection has the extremely dangerous potential to demonise both the LGBT community and those in the BDSM lifestyle (sometimes the same people) in both the eyes of the jury in the case, and worse still, the eyes of the public as sexual perverts who are a danger to children.

As we live in a culture of paranoia where parents see a paedophile on every corner (they’d do better to watch their own relatives and friends), such reporting can only serve to exacerbate the suspicion both LGBT are viewed with, at the very time children should be being taught all genders and sexualities are normal and something to be proud of.  To say I am disappointed in Pink News therefore would be an understatement.


The Pink News article can be read here:

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/02/23/catholic-priest-had-huge-gay-sm-porn-collection-court-hears/

UK Government rewards Nigeria’s anti-gay law by doing a U-turn and increasing aid.

ImageEvery decent person, regardless of gender and/or sexuality, should be appalled, disgusted and angry about this one dears.  The UK Prime Minister, David “We’re all in this together – call me Dave” Cameron, has done a serious U-turn on financial aid to Nigeria.

In 2011 Mr Cameron stated that he would block aid to Nigeria if it pressed ahead with an anti-homosexuality Bill.  That Bill was duly passed through the Nigerian Parliament when signed by President Goodluck Jonathan on 13 January.  The Bill bans gay marriage, same-sex “amorous relationships” – whether sex is involved or not – and membership of gay rights groups and clubs.  Already hundreds of men have automatically become suspects and could face between five to fourteen years imprisonment – as well as the danger of being beaten to a pulp or even lynched by the corrupt Nigerian police and/or the public.  As I type there are reports coming through of dozens of men being rounded up by the police.  Meanwhile, an Islamic court is to try 11 Nigerian men for homosexuality, whom if found guilty could be stoned to death, whilst a twelfth man – a Christian – has been reported to be tried under the new secular law.

It has since been reported that the UK is to increase aid to Nigeria from £200 million last year to £270 million this year, in a complete reversal of David Cameron’s 2011 promise.  UK aid to Nigeria is spent on clean water, schooling and combating malaria, via UNICEF.  All very laudable one may think.  However, even the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has voiced his disquiet about the new law, stating that it will fuel violence.

Of course, Cameron’s 2011 promise was long before Nigeria was identified as one of four nations posed to become a future financial giant, which may even one day have it’s own space programme.  I therefore do hope that the world is watching the actions of our odious and gutless Prime Minister, who would sell his own grandmother for profit, and who evidently thinks that “Ethics ith a county in the thouth-eath of England.”