Monday, February 28, 2011

England cricketer Steven Davies comes out

England cricketer Steve Davies came out to his teammates at the start of The Ashes tour, according to The Sun (28-02-11). Speaking to a reporter from the paper, Steve explained that he couldn't face a three and a half month tour without explaining to his team that he was gay. He praised Gareth Thomas for setting an example for gay sports professionals and advised young people who know they are gay to go out and talk to someone.

Steve has been out to his close friends and family since he was nineteen, but kept his sexual orientation a secret in public and in his profession.In the interview, he described how hard this was, saying that the moments on the field were great, but the social side of it was very difficult. He praised the team, and particularly captain Andrew Strauss, for their support.

Read the full article in the Sun here. There is also an article in the Telegraph here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prison hosts gay players' football match

Players from the Justin Campaign Allstars team competed against inmates and staff from Winchester Prison last week, in a bid to highlight this year’s Football v Homophobia campaign.

The indoor football tournament took place on 9 February after inmates watched a short documentary about gay football team, the Brighton Bandits and took part in a workshop on the issue of homophobia in both sport and wider society.

Read the full story on Pink Paper here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eleventh hour rescue of Turing collection

Almost nothing tangible remains of genius Bletchley Park codebreaker, Alan Turing; so when an extremely rare collection of offprints relating to his life and work was set to go to auction last year, a campaign was launched to raise funds to purchase them for the Bletchley Park Trust and its Museum.

The Trust is today delighted to announce that the collection has been saved for the nation as the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) has stepped in quickly to provide £213,437, the final piece of funding required.

Read the full press release from Bletchley Park here.

Picture courtesy of Dr Sue Black showing some of the papers at Bletchley Park this morning.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Secret’s out on the hidden life of gay Victorians

The secret history of Manchester’s gay Victorians is being unearthed in a major study.

Historian Jeff Evans, a member of the Schools Out/LGBT History Month team, is looking at attitudes to homosexuality during the last 150 years.

He has now charted Manchester’s origin as Britain’s gay capital after a painstaking trawl through thousands of records.

Read the full article in the Manchester Evening News here.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gay Republican Launches White House Bid

Fred Karger, the first openly gay candidate for the US presidency, has begun his campaign in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to The Observer.

Read the full article on the Observer's website, here.

LGBT Campaigners attack Repentance App

The much-talked about Roman Catholic online confession App has come under attack from an LGBT rights group for asking "Have I been guilty of any homosexual activity?" among its questions. Truth Wins out accuses the app of helping to encourage neurosis and shame.

To see full article on the Guardian's website, click here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

LGBT History Month Issues Cyrillic Logo as Tribute to Belarussian LGBT Activists

Clare Dimyon (MBE) writes: I chuckled at the very early photo of David Cameron and his name rendered into the Cyrillic alphabet before I realised the significance of what I was seeing on the Facebook site of Labrys Belarus. As I decoded the headline with my 30 year old schoolgirl Russian, I understood: British Prime Minister supports LGBT History Month 2011 (and I could understand the whole headline!)

That statement of a Conservative politician who is now (for better or worse) the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has enormous symbolic power to the LGBT in C&E Europe and represents the shape of things to come. This statement is the more powerful for the fact that it has been made by the leader of the party that introduced the hated and damaging Section 28, ally in the European Parliament with the Kaczyński inspired PiS (Law & Justice) party. Such allies can no longer claim homophobia as a universal "value". For LGBT people in C&E Europe it holds out the hope and gives the confidence that with persistence homophobia can and will and is being overcome.

Sue Sanders asked me to complement her presentation at the Lesbian Lives Conference in Brighton last weekend and told delegates of the importance of collecting and celebrating our his- and her- story. I explained how valuable my connections with LGBT HM are as I go round the PRIDEs of C&E Europe watching LGBT and democratic history unfold. I remind LGBT people to have an eye on the future to back up those photos, hang onto those rainbow artefacts, that what they are doing is history in the making, in the emergence of our people. This emergence that is not unlike the emergence of their nations from Soviet occupation and subjugation, a comparison, which may be the key in helping us explain our identity to the populations of central and eastern Europe.

As well as all the benefits of LGBT History Month to LGBT in Britain, ably outlined in Sue's presentation is the amazing fact of the encouragement this represents to even the most beleaguered LGBT in Europe. Belarussian LGBT continue the struggle in what is fundamentally a totalitarian state, the only country in Europe not even signed up to the Council of Europe unlike Russia, Ukraine and Moldova and a number of the other countries of the former Soviet Union. It is a fantastic and unexpected outcome of all the efforts to create LGBT History Month and a great tribute to all involved in making it happen.

And yet even in these oppressive circumstances Belarussian LGBT activists have achieved an astonishing piece of history... on Valentine's Day 2011 when they held their first legally sanctioned demo against homophobia in Minsk. It is the result of the work and persistence of a handful of activists who organised and took part, having the least legal protections in Europe.

LGBT History Month is proud to issue a Cyrillic version of the LGBT History Month 2011 logo as a small gesture of our great admiration of these Belarussian LGBT activists and to LGBT activists across the Russian speaking world (or anywhere the Cyrillic alphabet is used) who are LGBT history in the making. LGBT History Month values and recognises your courage in upholding the dignity of LGBT people and your role in weaving the fabric of our fabulous rainbow nation.

Clare adds: This is also an opportunity for me to mention the dedication of LGBT throughout C&E Europe who as well as everything-else have the often laborious work of translating films and materials from English (source of many LGBT resources) into their own languages so that LGBT who cannot speak English or understand it well can access their LGBT history and culture. As a result of this work by one Belarussian activist, news of the British Prime Minister's support for LGBT people can be proliferated around the whole Russian speaking (Cyrillic reading) territory, that 250 Million+ people!

As a 13 year old Quaker (and yet to emerge lesbian), I learnt Russian for "world peace" in 1978 at the height of the Cold War, as I delight in telling people in my best Russian! (It's one of the only things I can tell them in Russian!) "They" told me I would never use it, "they" laughed at my "perverse" decision, but now I use it most days and use it to connect with other LGBT people .so who's laughing now!

Message of Support for LGBT History Month from Leader of the Opposition

The Labour Party leader Ed Milliband had sent this message of support to LGBT History Month:

I am delighted to be supporting LGBT History Month.

Despite the progress made towards LGBT equality over the last decade, there is still more work to do.

It is hugely important that we recognise and celebrate the role that LGBT people have played throughout our history, and in every aspect of our society and culture. The principles behind LGBT History Month reflect the kind of society we would all like to see: one built on fairness and liberty, equal respect, and a willingness to speak out against injustice where it still pervades.

We can be hugely proud of the progress we have made in the last decade, and six years since LGBT History Month was first held. But there are significant challenges ahead. We still have not eradicated homophobia, as our school playgrounds can too often show and as the horrific murder of Ian Baynham tells us only too painfully. It is right that we are restless to take the next step towards equality.

I am pleased too that the theme of LGBT History Month this year and next is sport. The bravery of Gareth Thomas in coming out proves that attitudes are changing. With London hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012, as well as World Pride, I look forward to working alongside you to raise these important issues and to continue on the journey towards justice.

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, February 2011

CPs can be carried out in religious premises

The Government introduced Section 202 of the Equality Act today, lifting the ban on civil partnerships being carried out in religious places. The Prime Minister announced his intention to implement this change in June last year. Home Office Minister Theresa Clark announced the change as a landmark in equality for LGB and T people, but asserted that there would be no obligation on religious authorities or clerics to carry out civil partnerships.

The Quakers, who have already announced a wish to carry out same sex marriages, welcomed the change. Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone said that moves towards allowing same sex marriage and heterosexual civil partnerships would be considered and that consultation with interested parties would be part of that process.

There has been much speculation in the press during the week over the exact content of the announcement, with The Sunday Times running a headline story announcing that same sex marriages were to be legalised, which led to an article by Melanie Philips in the Daily Mail suggesting they would allow people to marry their animals next.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Scotland: Gay & Lesbian History Trail Planned for Edinburgh Area

A lesbian and gay 'history trail' is being developed in the county by East Lothian Museums Service.The exact format of the trail has still to be decided but a spokeswoman for the local authority said: " In general terms, the museum service will be looking to identify individuals, events or places that have had a positive impact on the development of gay rights and equality within East Lothian."

Suggestions for points of historical and social interest related to LGBT history in East Lothian can be sent to

Meanwhile, East Lothian Diversity Network has arranged an event in Musselburgh next week to mark this year's LGBT History Month.

You can read the full story in the East Lothian Courier, here., or visit the East Lothian Council website here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bishop Derek Rawcliffe Dies

Bishop Derek Rawcliffe

The openly-gay, retired bishop, Derek Rawcliffe has died in Leeds, aged 89. .

The LGCM has published a tribute to Derek, which is available on its website, here. An appreciation by Peter Tatchell and Keith Rogers can viewed on Peter's website here. The Yorkshire Post obituary can be found here.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Prime Minister Letter of Support to LGBT History Month

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has issued a letter of support to LGBT History Month. the text of which can be found below (you can view a pdf version by clicking on the image):

I am pleased to be supporting this year’s LGBT History Month. Since it began in 2005 it has helped to celebrate the LGB and T community and focus on areas where there needs to be more work done on equality.

I am pleased that the theme of History Month, both this year and next, is sport. With London hosting the Olympics and Paralympics in 2012 it is essential that more is done to help people participate equally and without fear.

In June 2010 I launched the Government’s plans for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. One of the commitments was to work with the governing bodies of different sports to tackle discrimination. Work on this is currently being taken forward by the Home Office and Department of Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, with that aim that people participating in or watching sports feel safe and unacceptable behaviour is challenged.

Finally, I would like to pay tribute to all those who give up their time to bring LGBT History Month together. Events like this enrich our society and challenge us to think more about the world around us.

The Prime Minister David Cameron 10th February, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wiltshire Group Launch Campaign Against Homophobia in Sport

Wiltshire and Swindon Men’s Sexual Health has dedicated their own poster campaign to LGBT History Month and the issue of homophobia in Sport, with “Show Homophobia the Red Card.”

This poster will be sent to all gyms, sports centres, and football clubs across Wiltshire and Swindon, to be seen by a wide audience, promoting discussion and hopefully opening a few people’s minds. The group will visit the football clubs during matches and hand out flyers, and have stands and displays where the public can engage with us. They aim to challenge pre-conceptions and help sports fans and participants see, there’s no place for prejudice in sport.

Men's Sexual Health has been working closely with the Trowbridge Tigers, Wiltshire's Gay Friendly football team, who recently took part in the Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, a personal highlight for the team.

When asked why they think there haven't been many public football players to have come out player Nick Pitcher says, "well when you look at what happened to Justin Fashanu, when he was disowned by members of his own family and being dropped into the reserves and all the adverse publicity, he went and committed suicide, so it doesn't set the stall up for other players to come out. And it's obvious that every football team, and every league, there are going to be gay players, but they can't come out because of the repercussions, which is a great shame."

And its for reasons like that, Men's Sexual Health believe this to be a very important campaign so that things start to change, so more players feel safe in the sport they enjoy.

Men's Sexual Health has also made links with The Justin Campaign, which was founded to demonstrate that ten years after Justin Fashanu's tragic suicide in 1998, homophobia is still hugely prevalent in the world of professional football. In 2010 they launched the first International Day Opposing Homophobia in Football and with the second date coming up very soon, Februrary 19th, we ask you to get in touch with your local team and see how you can work together to mark this day, or get in touch with the company to find out more about the work they do.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

David Kato, Murdered

David Kato
1969 - 2011

The Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato has been murdered aged 42.

The BBC News obituary can be found here.

Past2Present Magazine: LGBT History Month 2011 edition

Past2Present, the research magazine by Archus (The National Archives LGBT Group) & The Rainbow Network is out. This special edition tells you everything you need to know about the History Month 2011, why it is important and why it is to be celebrated.

You can download a free copy of this invaluable resource here (pdf - 1.5Mb).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Football fans would accept gay players, new research shows

Staffordshire University will celebrate LGBT History Month by presenting the controversial findings of a survey into gay footballers, this month.

The event will see the authors of the TopFan survey, Professor Ellis Cashmore and Dr Jamie Cleland, speaking about and taking questions on their research.

And former Mayor of Stoke-on-Trent, Mike Wolfe, will be hosting a Q&A session for attendees also.

The TopFan survey, entitled Gay Footballers – Welcome or Unwanted, found that the vast majority of football fans would be supportive of gay players who reveal their sexuality.

Of the 3,500 participants, including fans, players, referees and other officials, most felt that players were unfairly pressured by their clubs and agents into keeping their sexuality secret.

Professor Cashmore said: “It is inconceivable that, out of an estimated 500,000 professional players around the world, not one is gay. The truth is that football culture is prohibitive: gay players have neither the confidence nor the inclination to come out.

“Our conclusion is that this is not a healthy condition for football and our concern is that football is, in this sense, out of tune with the rest of the sporting world.

“The survey reveals a new and surprising image of football culture, which has been characterised as stuck in the dark ages and ‘steeped in homophobia.’”

It is hoped the event will bring more attention to the findings of the survey and encourage football’s governing bodies to take action.

Clare Ridgley, Equality and Diversity Manager at Staffordshire University, said: “This event is part of the University’s Celebrating Diversity Programme and we hope that by providing a platform to discuss this fascinating research we will raise awareness and understanding of some of the issues that members of our LGBT community face.”

The Staffordshire University LGBT History Month event takes place on Wednesday, February 23, between 5:45pm and 7:30pm, at the University’s Stoke Campus.

To book a free place or for further information contact Clare Harp, Equality and Diversity Team, via email or phone 01782 292775.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sheffield Eagles Wear the Message!

Keep March 13 free in your diary and to help us support the mighty Sheffield Eagles Rugby League FC to challenge homophobia in sport!

063 Pride Sports sponsor Sheffield Eagle’s new shirts

What’s it all about?
On March 13 at 3.00 pm, Sheffield Eagles’ first home game of the season, the team will be walking onto the pitch wearing a kit carrying the message‘HOMOPHOBIA – TACKLE IT’ sponsored by LGBT History Month and Pride Sports. The team will also be presented with the Pride Sports Challenge Cup, a trophy that will recognise, annually, Rugby League teams which support LGBT History Month.

We are asking the LGBT community to support this great initiative and come along and watch the match.

For those of you who fancy a more ‘hands on’ experience, there will also be a fun touch rugby event before the game run by Sheffield Eagles coaches, which is free to anyone attending the match in the afternoon. So there’s a chance to give it a go before you watch the professionals at work.

Why should you support the event?
Sheffield Eagles RLFC are the first professional sports club in the UK to make a public stand against homophobia in sport. The team are not just wearing the kit, however, they have supported a number of LGBT History Month events, travelling across the country to show their commitment to dealing with this issue.

The game has already attracted significant media interest and invited guests will include Ministers, representatives of the sports councils and representatives of other national governing bodies of sport.

We want to reward the amazing work of Sheffield Eagles (players, board and staff) and show sport in the UK that it is time they dealt with LGBT discrimination, homophobia and transphobia head-on.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New way for hate crime victims to come forward launched to coincide with LGBT history month

The police service has launched a new way for victims of hate crime to come forward which includes an online reporting form to enable victims to report hate crime online. The website, called True Vision, is supported by all police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and can be accessed at

True Vision provides information for victims and the public about what hate crime is, why it is important to report it when it happens, and sets out the range of ways hate crimes can be reported, including via a new online reporting form. The site also provides links to organisations that can offer support and advice on hate crime related issues.

ACPO lead on hate crime, Assistant Chief Constable Drew Harris, said: “It is timely to launch this site at the start of LGBT History Month. It is right that we celebrate the many and varied achievements of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, but it is also important to recognise that LGBT history is tainted by targeted abuse and hostility which has often been violent. These hate crimes are abhorrent and I hope this facility will encourage those who suffer such hostility to come forward and enable us to combat this unacceptable behaviour.”