Category Archives: homophobia

New term, same old prejudice

The MLAs are back up on the hill but already the list of motions and proposed amendments makes for horrid reading for the LGBT community.

One of North Down’s DUP MLAs Peter Weir on the 1 September one that reads:

Equal Marriage

That this Assembly notes that numerous Motions have reaffirmed that no support exists for the introduction of equal marriage; and agrees that further consideration would be pointless during the remainder of this Assembly term.

In other words seeking to place an almost 2 year petition of concern on any further discussion on the issue until after the elections in May 2016. This would even therefore no doubt continue the DUP’s contempt of judicial process were a legal challenge be raised in Northern Irish courts about the inequality of equal marriages from the rest of the UK being only recognised a civil partnerships here, or the fact that LGBT people here do not have equal access to marriage as the remainder of the UK.

There is also one that is more innocently worded again from Mr Weir and his West Tyrone colleague Tom Buchanan:

Conscience Clause

That this Assembly notes the increasing number of cases across the UK in which the freedom of religion is afforded a lesser priority than other fundamental freedoms; acknowledges that this gradation of fundamental rights often leads to people of faith leaving their employment or being forced out of business; and calls on the Minister for Employment and Learning to bring forward legislation to introduce a conscience clause for people of faith to allow them to exercise religious freedom in the workplace.

This is the oh my god moment, pardon the pun. For a start freedom of religion is not afforded anything less than other freedoms, they are all treated equally. But the wording of this clause is to make freedom of religion superior to all others. Allowing people of faith the ability of exercise their religious freedom in the workplace means that small business owners could because of the loose wording of this proposal refuse to serve people whose lifestyle they disagree with. We all know that this will not necessarily affect unmarried heterosexuals in the same way that it will affect homosexuals. If two men or women walk in together some of those who cry out about their religious freedom are far more likely to turn them away than two people of opposite sex.

This is further backed up by another DUP motion in the name of Paul Girvan (Lagan valley) and Sammy Wilson (East Antrim) which names a specific high profile case of the above:

Reasonable Accommodation in Equality Legislation

That this Assembly notes with concern the action taken by the Equality Commission against Ashers Bakery; and calls for a review of equality legislation that will provide reasonable accommodation for the religious beliefs of service providers in the provision of goods, services and facilities.

The fact is that of course initially this business took and order then under discussion turned it down. The proximity of a bakery to the city centre must surely mean that they must get all manner of requests for custom cakes for organisations based in the city centre does Ashers have to agree with the aims of every one of them before taking an order? This is company who has claimed that they faith is paramount yet while their shops themselves are closed on a Sunday in respect of their faith their products are available in Garden Centres and shops that do open on a Sunday with their branding on them. But it is another call for a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs again against only one other minority sector as laid out in Section 75.

Of course all of these have merely been laid before the business committee there is no date for when or even if they will come before the committee but there are three direct attacks on the LGBT community one clear it its intention that no matter what progress may be made elsewhere on equal marriage there is no way that the DUP is going to allow legislation to move on before 2016.

The other two are more thinly veiled but a reading between the lines of them shows what their intent is. The conscience clause was mentioned in light of the Ashers case and it was clear that the DUP spokespeople wanted to have religious freedom usurp equality irregardless of sexual orientation.

So there are three motions laid down by members of the DUP that aim to either place religion above the rights of LGBT people to be treated equally, and in one a way to stifle debate for 2 years on an issue that is fast changing across the USA and the world as we speak. The continuation of the DUP to institutionalise their homophobia through the niceties of Assembly procedure and their veiled attempt to bring in animal farm style all freedoms are equal but some are more equal than others is a horrifying read in this the 21st Century.

 

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Filed under Equal Marriage, equality, faith, homophobia, NI Assembly, Stormont

Tom Buchanan’s disgraceful message to young people

The DUP have an attraction to only one of the Old Testement abominations. You never hear them speaking out against (amongst others):

  • Eating things from the river or sea that don’t have fins (i.e. lobster, prawns) Leviticus 11: 12
  • Or Ostrich burgers Leviticus 11: 16
  • Those who are greedy for gain Jeremiah 6: 13-15
  • Women wearing things that pertain to men, or men dressing as women Deuteronomy 22: 5
  • Haughty eyes, lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, hearts that devise wicked plans, feet that run hastily to evil, false witnesses (not looking at you Edwin Poots), those who show discord among brothers (not looking at those leaflets in East Belfast late last year) Proverbs 6: 16-19
  • Those who have committed abomination with their neighbour’s wife Ezekiel 22: 11

Speaking of which we end up talking about the wife of the First Minister.

When Iris Robinson at the time still the MP and MLA for Strangford said on Radio Ulster that homosexuality was an abomination she was quite rightly rebuked from many sectors of the Northern Irish community. However, it appears that DUP elected repesentatives have not learned.

Today we learn that last week Tom Buchanan, DUP MLA for West Tyrone, during a NI Assembly Let’s Talk event aimed at school children, in response to a question on homosexuality and marriage equality. He is reported as saying homosexuality ‘isn’t right’ but then went further to say it was ‘an abomination’. Whilst some of the assembly school children applauded the majority voiced their approval.

This sort of comment aimed at young people shows the need for the long overdue Sexual Orientation Strategy as well as the need for an education policy that recognises LGBTQ young people go to school in Northern Ireland and prevents bullying or casting them aside. Indeed we have done for many years and generation and have often come up against all sorts of barriers to being open about who we are.

Mr Buchanan had no idea if any LGBTQ young people were in that meeting, nor does he have any idea as to the mental state that any of them might be in. Speaking from personal experience at that sort of age I didn’t like myself for my own sexual orientation because of the reinforcing behaviour of politicians, church leaders etc around me at the time. At times the sense that Northern Ireland was rejecting me lead me to contemplate suicide. Therefore this sort of comments still coming from public officials, into a company of young and potentially some questioning teenagers who many not have the support network either in their school, or amongst their peers could be potentially damaging.

One thing that I am glad about is that the majority of Mr Buchanan’s audience vocalised their disgust at what he had said. Which should mean that any LGBTQ young person who was present may have felt support from within the room. But what if one of those young people found themselves sitting amongst friends who were in that group who applauded.

While we respect Mr Buchanan’s right to speak in opposition to marriage equality he and others should think about the language that they use in doing so, the consequences that such language could have, especially in light of the age and potential insecurity of the audience.

LGBTQ young people in Northern Ireland are substantially more prone to self harm, or attempt to commit suicide. This is not because they are more mentally unstable but because they feel like outcasts and often that they are the only one. This is especially true in rural areas such as in Tyrone and Fermanagh where of the young people at this meeting came from.

If any young person was affected by what Mr Buchanan said and wants someone to talk to I would recommend GLYNI you can contact them through their website, or if it is urgent call Cara-Friend on 02890890202

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Filed under Health, homophobia, young people

Worrying insight into prejudice in Northern Ireland

The Equalities Commission Northern Ireland’s report Do You Mean Me? published today has some startling findings of hardening of negative attitudes here in Northern Ireland, whether that be race, disability or sexual orientation over the last 6 years.

Taken from Equality Commission Northern Ireland report   Do You Mean Me? (2012)

The key headline figures for the LGBT community make scarey reading.

The report found that 27% would mind a gay, lesbian or bisexual person living next door, compared to 14% in 2005, while 42% unhappy about them becoming an in-law, a rise of 13 percentage points over the last six years.

Around a third of people (35%) would mind a transgender person as a work colleague, rising to 40% as a neighbour and 53% as an in-law. This is the first time a major survey in Northern Ireland has considered attitudes towards transgender persons.

Comparing the transgender hostility to the traveling community, where the worst racial negativity was directed, which saw 27% mind having someone from that community as a work colleague 54% as a neighbour and 55% as an in-law, means that Trans are one of the most negatively perceived groups in Northern Ireland, while the Lesbian, gay and bisexuals score worse than migrant workers in all areas except the work place.

You can see that the perception of people from different religion once the be all and end all of Northern Ireland prejudice is down at the bottom along with learning or physical disability there is room for a lot more work on creating a safe shared future for other groups. The emphasis on sectarianism based on religion has it seems had a result, but the other equality groups have been left behind.

We need an attitude change from our political leaders, many of whom are scathing about LGBT people. This has rubbed off on the rest of Northern Ireland society it is not good enough for those at the forefront of public life to keep ignoring these feelings of unease. As the commissions chief executive Michael Wardlow says:

“This is a worrying insight into the population’s psyche and proves that much work remains to be done to break down barriers in our mindsets to create a fairer and more equal society for everyone in Northern Ireland.”

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Poots knowledge of blood shown to be lacking

Let me start by giving you a dictionary definition:

haemophilia UShemophilia [ˌhiːməʊˈfɪlɪə ˌhɛm-]

(Medicine / Pathology) an inheritable disease, usually affecting only males but transmitted by women to their male children, characterized by loss or impairment of the normal clotting ability of blood so that a minor wound may result in fatal bleeding.

Straight forward enough you would think. Haemophilia is a hereditary not a communicable disease.
Well not if you are the Northern Ireland health minister Edwin Poots. In Private Eye you will find this:

Somehow Northern Ireland’s health minister has meet people who have become haemophiliacs through blood donations. Maybe this was the secret blood-borne infections that the minister alluded to.

But if he has found a case in which haemophilia is being passed on through donations surely he should be banning all women from giving blood? If that is the case how can he possibly make up the shortfall? Maybe, he will have to come to a swift decision allowing men who have had sex with other men to give blood in the same way that they can in the rest of the UK.

The minister has yet again this evening avoided debate on the issue of the Northern Irish blood ban on the Stephen Nolan TV Show. Stephen empty chaired the minister and asked the chair some very telling questions that the public deserve answers to, as well as a couple of questions from the chair. If he keeps dodging the questions we can only assume that his reasons for not lifting the blood-ban are based on evidence at all.

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Campaign for Marriage ad “too offensive” for WI

The Coalition for Marriage campaign may have been launched with the help of Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Cantebury, however their advert has failed to pass Women’s Institute muster.

Yes, even the WI find the ad by the group who want to keep marriage only between a man and a women too offensive for the Institute’s magazine WI Life.

“We are a national campaigning charity and your campaign doesn’t fit with any of our resolutions first and foremost.

“As WI Life is the national membership magazine, any promotion of your campaign could be seen as an endorsement . . . to members.

“We do also welcome all women to the WI and this campaign could offend many of our members.”

It’s good to have the WI looking out for the effect this may have on some of their members. Especially, when you have word’s like ‘grotesque distortion of a universal human right’ or ‘cultural vandalism‘ being branded about to describe equal marriage, comparisons to ‘slavery‘ or ‘dictatorship‘ being used to describe holding a public consultation on the issue. Those comments coming from the religious leaders who are meant to preach love.

The Coalition for Marriage clearly thought that the WI shouldn’t care for everyone that reads their publication, much as the Catholic Church in England and Wales didn’t when reading out its letter yesterday. Their response:

“It’s a surprising and unnecessary decision. Most ordinary members will see this as an over-reaction.”

Bizarrely the same comment could be put about most people to the coalitions reaction and language to the whole issue of extending equality to civil marriage to those couples of both hetero- and hom0sexual orientation.

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Is Northern Ireland’s adoption policy discriminatory?

Gay fathersThe Belfast Telegraph yesterday decided to revisit the issue of adoption in Northern Ireland. It points out an interesting dichotomy of the Stormont Amendments to Articles 14 and 15 of the Adoption (Northern Ireland) Order 1987 as amended (see red) in 2005 to take account of The Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Adoption by a Married Couple

14.—(1) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of more than one person except in the circumstances specified in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) An adoption order may be made on the application of a married couple where both the husband and the wife have attained the age of 21 years.

(3) An adoption order may be made on the application of a married couple where—

(a)the husband or the wife—

(i)is the father or mother of the child; and

(ii)has attained the age of 18 years;

and

(b)his or her spouse has attained the age of 21 years.

(4) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of a married couple unless at least one of them is domiciled in a part of the United Kingdom, or in any of the Channel Islands or in the Isle of Man.

Adoption by a single person

15.—(1) An adoption order may be made on the application of one person where he has attained the age of 21 years and—

(a)is not married or a civil partner, or

(b)is married and the court is satisfied that—

(i)his spouse cannot be found, or

(ii)the spouses have separated and are living apart, and the separation is likely to be permanent, or

(ii)his spouse is by reason of ill-health, whether physical or mental, incapable of making an application for an adoption order.

2) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of one person unless he is domiciled in a part of the United Kingdom, or in any of the Channel Islands or in the Isle of Man.

(3) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of the mother or father of the child alone unless the court is satisfied that—

(a)the other natural parent is dead or cannot be found or, by virtue of section 28 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (disregarding subsections (5A) to (5I) of that section), there is no other parent, or

(b)there is some other reason justifying the exclusion of the other natural parent,

and where such an order is made the reason justifying the exclusion of the other natural parent shall be recorded by the court.

So lets take the example of two individuals:

Mark aged (35) is a gay man who in 2005 got civil partnered to his lover of the past 5 years Peter (36). They live in Antrim and are a consultant and Antrim Area Hospital and an Air Traffic Controller and Belfast International Airport. Under the articles above they cannot adopt a child despite them both loving the various nephews and nieces that their respective brothers and sisters often leave them in charge of for babysitting duties.

James is a 22 year old gay man from Belfast. He is working for the Civil Service as an Administrative Officer. He too has nephews and a niece but his family disowned him at the age of 16 when he told them he was gay. He has very little contact with children as all of his friends are other gay men that he spends his weekends with down at or near Union Street. Under the above articles there is nothing stopping him adopting as a single person should he so choose, he can adopt if he wants and his status is still single when he does.

Believe it or not for all the talk of family values from politicians in Northern Ireland preventing gay couples adopting there is nothing to stop gay singles from doing so under the law. Bizarrely the Northern Ireland Assembly via myopia, prejudice, intent or accident have allowed lesbian and gay singles to do something that lesbian and gay couples cannot do.

May I suggest the following changes to Section 14:

Adoption by a Married Couple

14.—(1) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of more than one person except in the circumstances specified in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2) An adoption order may be made on the application of

(a) a married couple where both the husband and the wife have attained the age of 21 years.

(b) a civil partnership where both partners have attained the age of 21 years.

(3) An adoption order may be made on the application of a married couple or civil partnership where—

(a)the husband or the wife or one of the civil partners

(i)is the father or mother of the child; and

(ii)has attained the age of 18 years;

and

(b)his or her spouse or civil partner has attained the age of 21 years.

(4) An adoption order shall not be made on the application of a married couple or civil partnership unless at least one of them is domiciled in a part of the United Kingdom, or in any of the Channel Islands or in the Isle of Man.

There that didn’t hurt too much, did it? I look forward to the debate in Stormont.

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How can Ken riddle anything with LGBT people positively?

Ken Livingstone has never been one to mince his words. However, in an interview with the New Statesman he said:

“As soon as Blair got in, if you came out as lesbian or gay you immediately got a job. It was wonderful… you just knew the Tory party was riddled with it like everywhere else is.”

Now what definition of riddled in the London Mayoral candidate using there.

riddled past participle, past tense of rid·dle (Verb)

Verb:

  1. Make many holes in (someone or something), esp. with gunshot.
  2. Fill or permeate (someone or something), esp. with something unpleasant or undesirable.
From the Merriam Webster Dictionary

You see we sometime talk about being riddled with disease, which isn’t very wonderful at all. He also refers to being LGBT presence in another party as being “riddled with it”.

Now, Ken Livingstone is already starting to spin it back trying to say that his comments are not meant to be homophobic.  Yet as Alan Duncan MP points out:

“Many of us have managed to take this issue out of politics. It’s inexcusable for him to try to reintroduce it.”

With all the major parties now working toward LGBT inclusion it is indeed wrong for Ken to dig up battles that he was fighting in the GLC back in the 80s. This is 2012 for crying out loud and taking politics down to that level and using such a derogatory term to talk about the presence of LGBT political activists or elected representatives in another party shows that sometimes Ken voice is still engaged long before his brain is.

Other candidates standing in Alphabetical Order 

Siobhan Benita Independent

Carlos Cortiglia BNP

Boris Johnson Conservative

Jenny Jones  Green Party

Wolfgang Moneypenny Independent

Brian Paddick Liberal Democrat

Femi Solola Independent

Lawrence Webb UKIP

UPDATE The next day the Guardian is jumping to the defense of ken quoting his past record on gay rights. While having a record of standing up for rights is one thing, the words that one uses when sometimes relaxed can be more telling. The use of riddled may seem harmless  to many gay rights supporters but the word to those of us who are LGBT is offensive. As Lib Dem candidate and gay Mayoral Candidate Brian Paddick has added:

 “When the Daily Mail columnist Melanie Philips said similar things about me being promoted when I was a police officer, I sued her and won.

“When he talks about homosexuality in the Conservative party as being “riddled with it like everywhere else” his remarks are clearly homophobic. He is a political opportunist who likes to be controversial in order to draw attention to himself, I think his true feelings towards LGBT people have seeped out.”

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Not a take over, we just want equality in deed and thought

Sunday Independent

There is an article in today’s Irish Independent on Sunday that you just wonder how on earth did it get published. It is almost as if the opinion writer Eamon Delaney was preparing a piece just in case David Norris instead of Michael D. Higgins had been elected President.

The first paragraph tells you enough that this isn’t going to be an LGBT friendly piece:

“As the cliche goes, some of my best friends are gay. I used to live in a very gay area, the West Village in New York. Indeed, enjoying their nightlife and cultural atmosphere, I was even accused of ‘trading’ off the fun, with my copycat denim jacket and tartan shirt, while not actually joining them.”

Eamon Delaney

Wow! Wearing denim jackets and denim shirts marks you out as gay in the USA. Has anyone told the rodeo stars or is Brokeback Mountain the norm rather than the exception? Talk about cliche, it isn’t the first one that is offensive so much as the thought that the writer things he can become gay!

He carries on:

“I’ve recently begun to get impatient with the endless trumpeting of gay ‘identity’, and the growing appetite for more and more rights and privileges.”

The rights we have been looking for are equal rights, the privileges are merely ones that heterosexual people take for granted. We’d love to expand the right of straight men like Eamon to buy cocktails if they want, but they already can. Or to go dancing with people of the same gender, but this is how the Jewish and Muslim community already dance at weddings.

Homosexuality was only decriminalised in the Republic in 1993 and in Northern Ireland in 1982. Anti-discrimination legislation only came into being in 2004 in the Republic, 2003 in the UK. Civil Partnerships only became legal earlier this year in the Republic but since 2004 in Northern Ireland.

Mr Delaney thinks that the LGBT community, actually his word is ‘gays’, “want to increasingly change mainstream culture to suit them”. Now replace his word gay with blacks, or jews, or any other minority in the following paragraph and see how it reads:

“I’m not being reactionary and I’m all for gay rights and an end to prejudice and discrimination, and always have, but at this stage it seems as if the tables have turned and a minority community — the gays — want to increasingly change mainstream culture to suit them.”

See the thing is while people, see a minority as not being part of the mainstream therein lies the problem. The fact that he sees that the LGBT community are not currently considered ‘mainstream’ means that there is still work to be done for equality to be a natural state. The recent reports into homophobic bullying, the recent comments from people in politics both north and south showing a them and us attitude to LGBT rights shows that things are not normal and the LGBT community is not see as those by many. The fact indeed that in his article Delaney uses the word ‘gay’ 25 times but LGBT a total of once and that in a derogatory manner as follows:

“And there are other things about the growing gay rights movement which make outsiders impatient and uneasy. Like, when did the gays and lesbian community become the ‘LGBT’, an acronym that also includes Bisexual and Transgender?

“Sorry, but this is broadening the boundaries in a way that makes many of us understandably sceptical.

“Bisexual? Isn’t that reminiscent of the loose Seventies sexual experimentation? How many bisexuals are there? And will the plain people of Ireland be happy with legalising rights for, and spending money on, all of this?”

Actually no! What it shows by us including the bi-sexuals and transgender shows that we know there is a struggle to be recognised as being in a sexual minority. Those who are bi-sexual face all manner of issues, especially when changing the gender of their current partner, indeed when re-entering a mixed sex relationship it was something at the time I referred to as going back in. While we also recognise that not all transgendered individuals are Lesbian, Gay or Bi, we also realise that we don’t want to leave them behind. They are an even small minority that the LGBs of this world, but if the LGB community lend their voice to the Ts so that their issues are taken seriously they will be more quickly.

There are many debates within the community about why the Ts are included and how some of the LGBs don’t know enough about the issues that Ts face. But there are those who recognise that with the platform of one set the needs of the other can also be heard.

What I am sceptical about is just how LGBT friendly Mr Delaney really is. He clearly doesn’t seem to have moved on from the time he enjoyed their company in ‘the village’ in New York all those years ago. He hasn’t kept up with the issues faced by the LGBT community in the island of Ireland, something that is clear from the language and lack of understanding he shows through what he writes.

Forgive the cliche, but I think he once met someone who was gay and was quite a good laugh and a very supportive individual. But he has never talked to that one gay acquaintance, nor any other gay acquaintance in depth about the issues they face in their family, their workplace, the church, out on the streets of Dublin, Belfast or Ballywhatever in rural Ireland.

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Jeffrey get your facts right about cafés, the bible and LGBT in this country

Cross post from Stephen’s Liberal Journal

Today in PMQs the DUP’s MP for Lagan Valley, Jeffrey Donaldson, asked David Cameron the following question:

Q8. [76635] Mr Jeffrey M. Donaldson (Lagan Valley) (DUP): The Prime Minister has warned African countries that unless they improve gay rights, he will cut their aid, yet in many African countries where we pour in millions of pounds of aid, Christians face great persecution and destruction of churches, lives and property. Here in the UK, anyone who displays a Bible verse on the wall of a café faces prosecution. Was Ann Widdecombe right when she said that in the 21st century hedgehogs have more rights than Christians?

Now me being curious wanted to take a look at just how many cafe owners had faced prosecution for the offence of displaying a bible verse as I know a few of them around Northern Ireland that do so. Though I do know that potentially there are a few that are on permanent display on roadsides in Northern Ireland that could cause offence to certain sections of the community under section 75 (1) of the Belfast Agreement and I have yet to hear of anyone or any LGBT group protesting or prosecuting their existence.

It appears I wasn’t the only one to want to do a fact check, read this piece by full fact check.

The Ann Widdecombe reference comes from this article in her Express column. But she doesn’t mention anything about Cafes.

No that honour goes to the Fail on Sunday (again I have to apologise to readers for the link). After 24 paragraphs of reporting in which it is said that

  • the cafe owner was threatened with arrest
  • that he was told to stop playing his DVDs of the New Testament
  • that he faced and intensive inquisition for over an hour after the police arrived unannounced
  • that he was being bullied by the police
  • that he feared being put into handcuffs
  • that the Christian Institute (yes them again) are preparing a complaint on the cafe owners behalf

We get to this statement from Lancashire Constabulary after it says that they turned up to look into a complaint from a member of the public under the Public Order Act 1986 (which also for the record states that criticism of sexual conduct shall not in itself be deemed threatening or to stir up hatred):

“At no point did the officer ask the cafe owner to remove any materials or arrest the man and we took a commonsense and objective approach in dealing with the complaint. We believe our response and the action we took was completely proportionate and our officers are always available should the cafe owner want to discuss the matter or need any advice in the future.

“The Constabulary is respectful of all religious views. However, we do have a responsibility to make sure that material that communities may find deeply offensive or inflammatory is not being displayed in public.

“No complaint has been received about the conduct of the officer in question and we are satisfied that they performed their duties professionally.”

Yeah it is another non-story in the Fail.

Maybe Jeffrey should look at some of the activity within his own party. Of course there is the former chair of the Health Committee who said that homosexual should see her little Christian psychiatrist friend for a cure. Or the current deputy chair who says that all those who take part in Pride are repugnant. Even those it would seem who offer counselling to suicidal LGBT young and not so young people, those who offer sexual health advise to all whether LGBT or straight, those who are men/women of the cloth, those who sit with them in Stormont or council chambers across Northern Ireland.

In America the so called family group, the American Family Association (AFA), have this week attacked the Trevor Project, a helpline for suicidal prevention among LGBT teens. So clearly they don’t want people to tell these LGBT teens, who are five times more likely to take their own lives that straight teens, not to commit suicide. Sadly that is not so far removed from the actions and words of many in the DUP and indeed the tone with which Mr Donaldson asked his question. The figures for homophobic bullying of teens in Northern Ireland are as bad as in the USA where the AFA operate are just as bad.

Those of us who have been through those feelings in the past want to tell Northern Ireland LGBT teens, young people and not so young that it gets better, but how can we when our leaders fail to get their facts right about issues of homophobia real or alleged.

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Gay man murdered in Ayrshire

In the 21st Century where would you expect to hear about a gay man being beaten, burnt alive and tied to a lamppost to die?

You wouldn’t expect it to be in the UK, you wouldn’t expect it to be Scotland. But this is what happened to Stuart Walker in Cumnock, Ayrshire between the hours of 2:30 – 4:50 am on Saturday morning.

Strathclyde Police are currently not saying that this is a homophobic murder, however they do not believe this was a random attack. However,  the pure fact that it would appear that Stuart was set alight while still alive seems to suggest that this is a case of more than one person being involved in beating him and setting him alight.  The foulness of the method of, and I’m not going to mince words, execution of the man suggests some truly hate filled motive to the murder.

To be set alight in an industrial estate after a night out is not the way anyone should die, the speculation of course is that it may well be a homophobic based motive is horrifying. A number of gay men have in recent months been killed in Edinburgh, but this has happened in Ayrshire, indeed in one of the rural towns, hardly a murder capital of Scotland.

 

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