Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Iran: Tell Me Lies About Iran

You have almost certainly heard about the young men, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who almost all media said, were hanged "simply for being gay" in Iran in 2005.
Actually they raped a kid, yet to say this became a heresy - hardly coincidentally, this was a time when the US and UK were beating the drums of war against Iran.
No-one who's seriously looked into the case - like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch - still thinks there is any hard evidence they were killed "simply for being gay".
But another day, another email from Peter Tatchell (re-printed below) still appears to cling to the earlier story.
Why not make up your own mind?
This is Scott Long's article 'Debating Iran'.

Unemployment: Irony Is A Cruel Mistress

10,000 staff face axe at JobCentres, The Mirror reveals.
You think that's funny?
Well, 200 journalists face axe from Mirror titles, Press Gazette revealed two weeks ago.
You couldn't make it up etc etc...

Kylie Love Madrid Pride Long Time

If The Independent are going to run wire stories, it might be an idea to find one that's not badly translated back into English.
Or did Kylie Minogue - pictured above, on K - actually say; "I am really very touched. For a long time now I have had a special relationship with the gay public and I am pleased that they are counting on me to celebrate such a special occasion."

"Gayjacking": To Coin a Phrase

"One of the things that is infuriating to trans people is the 'gayjacking' of our lives and our stories in order to serve your agenda.
From the ultimate gayjacking of the Stonewall Rebellion to falsely characterizing relationships that transwomen are involved in as same-gender ones, it is a persistent pattern of GL peeps, the gayosphere and the Gay Media that continues to piss us off.
Hot on the heels of the misgendering and mischaracterization of the Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza relationship in Malawi as a 'same-sex' one by the gay and straight media, now comes the story out of Pakistan that an attempted marriage to a transwoman was broken up by Pakistani police..."

- TransGriot, "A proud African-American transwoman", on her blog. 'Chill With The 'Gayjacking' Of Trans Lives For Your Gay Agenda'

Piss Up In Soho Brewery Also Saved!!!!

Full story here, from their website.
Not that anyone gives a fuck anymore...

Piss Up in Brighton Brewery Saved!!!

Full story here, from GScene.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Stonewall Riots: It Was 41 Years Ago Today

Let us all fetishise remember this very special unique marketing opportunity day.
Gay people have fought power for as long as there have been gay people.
And power.
Every day of every gay man's life has always been an act of anarchy.
Sucking cock is a revolutionary act.
Queer power to you and yours.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Victory Gin

When I was a boy I had no idea
what I wanted to be
if I grew up.
I'm not sure now if it was a dream or a nightmare
but I thought I'd end up like George Orwell.

But my idea of being George Orwell was really being Winston Smith
a quiet rebel trapped in a hell
Secretly bashing away at his typewriter
alone in his room
in Victory Mansions
smoking Victory Cigarettes
crying gin-scented tears
Finding happy endings impossible.
That's me.

Curb Your Enthusiasm: Aunts Are Still Running The World

I don't care about you, but I'm spending the weekend watching the seventh series of Curb Your Enthusiasm on DVD.
I'm about halfway in and it's been a bit too gentle for me, that is until 'Denise Handicapped'.
Larry David's face is all over the place over here right now, in part because he's starring in the new Woody Allen movie, Whatever Works.
Judging from the ads and posters for the film what works is having a big picture of Larry and only mentioning it's a Woody Allen movie in the small print.
Over here Curb is still pretty cult, the last series was shunted away at silly o'clock over on More4.
It's fitting in a way - the whole point of the character "Larry David" is that he's not going to win any popularity contests - but it's also frustrating as The Finest and Funniest Sit Com of the Noughties deserves a much bigger audience.
It's still pretty niche in the US where it's shown on Home Box Office, though I read yesterday that it's soon to air for the first time on a mainstream cable channel.
"Each episode will be followed by a 10-minute panel discussion to contemplate the "issues" raised by the show."
Like Curb is schools' TV and "Larry David" is just a lesson in how not to treat people.
This also means the cast has been busy dubbing over Curb's copious swear words.
"You say 'freak' for 'fuck' and 'shoot' for 'shit' and 'baloney' for 'bullshit', or whatever fits the movement of your lips," David explains.
I can't wait to see the clean version of my favourite episode, 'Beloved Aunt'.

Dianabollocks - World Cup Special

On Wednesday, we were told endlessly afterwards, the country ground to a halt around 3pm as everyone readied themselves to watch England play Slovenia in the World Cup.
The next day the papers were covered with photos of fans massed in pubs, work places, town centres, and even schools watching - all eyes were on this crucial match.
Some editors chose to illustrate how unbelievably popular watching this match was with a neat visual trick; running a photo of England fans celebrating next to, say, a photo of an empty motorway taken at exactly the same time.
Could the picture be any clearer?
Viewing figures show that 12.7 million people in the UK watched the England vs Slovenia match live on TV - that's between 1 in 5 and 1 in 6 people.
Around 70-80% of the population were clearly not that arsed about it.
We truly were a nation united in our disinterest.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Thought For The Day: Wolfgang Tillmans

"I had my first sexual experiences in 1984–85 and my first big Aids panic was in 1985, so the tragedy of a disco song, which others would see as superficial or as just trash music, runs very deep. It's very real, the narrow line between a night danced away and the potential of death around the corner. This sense of what others consider superficial has been a fundamental experience. It is something that anyone growing up gay is aware of from a very early age." - Wolfgang Tillmans

Pastor Tom Brock: It's Always The Ones You Most Expect

A certain American pastor, Tom Brock, has become the latest in a long line of anti-gay - and usually Christian - fruitloops to be outed as A Big Secret Gay!
Fagburn very much enjoyed Kevin Hoffman's handy print-out-and-cut-out-and-keep guide; Top 5 Homophobes Who Turned Out To Be Gay.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Obituary: Carlos Monsiváis - 1938-2010

Carlos Monsiváis - Mexican writer, critic, activist, man of the left, cat lover, queer.

Jamaica: Perhaps You Had To Be There?

You may have heard that the alleged Mr Big of Jamaica's underworld, Christopher "Dudus" Coke", has finally been captured by the Kingston cops.
You must remember Dudus, "Jamaica's most wanted"?
He was the dude who managed to evade arrest last month following a huge shoot-out in Kingston that left over 70 people dead.
According to who you believe he's an evil drugs baron shipping shitloads of crack into the US, a much loved Robin Hood figure, or a businessman who's got the Jamaican government in his roomy pockets.
When he was caught in a police roadblock yesterday, the wonderfully named Mr Coke was escorted by a minister who claimed he was taking Coke to the US Embassy to give himself up.
The Jamaica Observer's account of his arrest prints his police mugshot where he is still wearing a disguise; glasses, a small afro wig and what looks like a hat.
A separate JO item has an unnamed police officer saying a pink wig was among items found in the car.
As you can see above The Jamaica's Observer's cartoon has taken just a little artistic licence conjuring up his impression of a bewigged Dudus being arrested.
As someone has posted on the JO messageboards; "I guess bad man DO WEAR LOTION AND POWDA after all..LMAO!!! Look at Dudus in Drag, who would've thought? LOL.. I guess when trouble tek yuh, pickney shut do affi fit yuh..LOL."
How silly? Well, The Daily Mail and other media also mangled the story into Coke being found in womens' clothes - he wasn't in the police report or the JO account.
LOL indeed.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Israel: A Free Holiday in Other Peoples' Misery

Benjamin Cohen is the founding publisher of Pink News.
He rarely writes for the site now, but this week filed a "travel" piece; "Tel Aviv - Bursting With Pride".
"Four nights in Tel Aviv, for the city’s LGBT pride celebrations has changed me in a way no holiday ever has before," Cohen gushes. "My attitudes and perceptions of Israel have changed dramatically and it’s also changed the way that I reconcile my sexuality with my religion..."
Cohen lovingly describes Tel Aviv's restaurants and gay bars, its nightclubs, a beach party and of course the Pride parade.
The political situation - meaning the tragedy of Palestine - is briefly mentioned, then disregarded as an irrelevance; "For all that you might disagree with that Israel does in regards to the peace process, it has an enviable record on gay rights and it's described by many as an oasis of tolerance and acceptance in a region of virulent homophobia that unfortunately still involves the execution of gays including teenagers" (sic).
Meaning that Israel treats Israeli lesbians and gay men okay, so who cares what it does to the Palestinians.
This process has been dubbed "Pinkwash".
Cohen admits elsewhere he was one of a number of journalists "the Israeli government has invited" - and this is the line and the lie that the Israeli thug state was hoping its guests would spin.
There is no such thing as a free holiday.
Here are some words that didn't feature in Benjamin Cohen's article; arabs, flotilla, Gaza, massacre, occupation, Palestinian, Palestinians, West Bank.
The word "arab" appears twice; describing Jaffa as Tel Aviv's "arab neighbour".
"Palestine" is mentioned once - it "was the first place that the Jewish immigrations to what was then Palestine saw when they began to move to the region from Europe in 19th century." (Emphasis added).
It is acknowledged that Israel is a military state, maintained by a conscription army, but only cause some of those Israeli Defence Force boys are so hot; "I was probably one of just a handful of men at the club who kept their shirt on all night- it’s quite hard to compete with the buffed up bodies of Israeli gays fresh from three years in the army!"
But Benjamin Cohen was enjoying a holiday - why ruin it with mentioning how the Israeli government he was a guest of is responsible for so many other people's misery?
Why indeed?
Apart from a companion piece dated June 11th, 'Tel Aviv Pride Kicks Off', Cohen has written only two other pieces for Pink News in 2010.
The last article he wrote in 2009 was titled; "Culture Secretary Ben Bradshaw criticised for Sri Lankan holiday."
Cohen quotes James Ross from Human Rights Watch who said "the minister should publicly condemn President Mahinda Rajapaksa's clampdown on Tamils."
Ross urged Ben Bradshaw to "travel around, all over the country, and then publicly express his disapproval of the fact that there are still tens of thousands of Sri Lankans who cannot do the same thing because they are being held in detention centres."
Perhaps then Benjamin Cohen should also have travelled all over Israel/Palestine, to the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, and then publicly expressed his disapproval of the fact that there are over 6 million Palestinians currently living as refugees.
Just a thought...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Chris Huhne: You Couldn't Make It Up!

Richard Littlejohn has been working himself into quite a sweat while thinking about lesbians.
Lib Dem MP Chris Huhne has been outed as having an affair... with a lady who likes ladies!.
"When the pictures of Chris Huhne's mistress were published, she looked familiar," muses Littlejohn in today's Daily Mail. "I recognised her from the days we both used to work for Sky News. Funny, I thought to myself, I always had her marked down as a lesbian.
"Turns out I was half-right. Carina Trimingham is bisexual. Even though she's currently sweating up the sheets with Huhne, it's not that long ago since she married her lesbian lover in a civil partnership ceremony.
"Takes all sorts. According to profiles, among the many jobs she's had over the past few years was working as press officer for AC/DC.
"That would explain it. You couldn't make it up."
Though I sometimes wonder if Richard Littlejohn doesn't make it up.
Maybe he has one of those machines Orwell imagined at The Ministry of Truth in 1984 that writes this drivel for him.
He just types in a word like "lesbian" and off it goes, vomiting out copy complete with his trademark catchprases ("You couldn't make it up!") and homophobic cliches.
"If you asked a cartoonist to draw a comedy lesbian from central casting, Carina Trimingham is what you'd get - all spiky haircut and Doc Martens. Chuck in a boiler suit and she's Millie Tant, straight from the pages of Viz magazine.
What Huhne sees in her can only be a matter for speculation."
And there are few thing Littlejohn loves more than idle speculation; "[Huhne's] ability to perform his duties as Minister of Windmills may not be affected, but this affair inevitably raises questions about his judgment.
While love can be blind, did he know when he began the relationship that Miss Trimingham was already 'married' to a lesbian?"
Almost certainly, yes.
Do you have a point, dear?
"Most of us couldn't care less what consenting adults get up to in private, provided it doesn't involve children or animals.
To pretend that prurient disapproval is what is driving this story is dishonest.
What matters here is not the sex, it's the lies, hypocrisy and blatant deception."
No, that's dishonest and blatant hypocrisy, Mr Littlejohn.
No other commentator has made nearly as much of the "lesbian love triangle" angle of this affair as you.
All that's driving your story is a prurient disapproval about a subject you're curiously clearly obsessed with.
You couldn't make it up!

Monday, 21 June 2010

Pride Magazine: Desperately Seeking Talent

It used to be the case that the dubious "honour" of publishing the official magazine for Pride London (AKA London Pride etc etc) was rotated around the various lesbian and gay publishers in the UK.
It used to be sold in shops and gay venues - and even though hardly anyone bought it, it was pretty much a cash cow because advertising space could be sold to well-meaning but naive straight companies and organisations who wanted to show how down with the gays they were.
This year's Pride - "The only official Pride London magazine" - is published by Talent Media.
Talent Media also published last year's Pride magazine.
Talent Media describe themselves as "one of the UKs largest diversity publishers" and "a market-leading online and print media company specialising in promoting diversity, careers, education and skills. Our focus and experience is reaching and engaging core audiences including BME, LGBT, Women and 14-25 year olds, making key education and career decisions. We bring you established, tried-and-trusted, specifically targeted titles backed by a dedicated marketing, editorial and design team."
They also publish The Official Guide to Black History Month, Mela UK, The Official Guide to International Women's Month, Positive Nation, Network News and Your Talent Magazine.
These are all free magazines - either in print or online - targeted at various community groups; or umbrella not-really community groups, such as "LGBTQ" or "BME" (Black and/or minority ethnic), mainly to sell adverts to companies, trade unions and councils and so on who want to conform with their equal opportunity policies ("Was advert placed in LGBT press?" Tick).
And though it may sound all good, community-minded and worthy, it's really not that far removed from running up some flyers for a local takeaway pizza place; potential customers targeted directly and crudely by service providers.
And, like a takeaway pizza menu, the number of people who actually pick these things up and read them is incredibly small.
As well as Pride magazine, Talent Media publish LGBT History Month Magazine, and Polari, an online gay magazine which seems to have petered out this year. There were four items posted in April, one in May, and there have been none so far this month.
What are they like? With a cruel irony, "talent" is not a word that jumps to one's mind when one looks at anything from Talent Media.
Their latest venture appears to be PinkWire, another online gay magazine. It bills itself as a "a melting pot of the most witty and acerbic alternative commentary", but is actually a couple of people who can't write very well commenting on things they haven't really thought about.
Danielle Carter is "Director, Equality and Diversity" at Pride London - the event.
Danielle Carter is one of the two directors of Talent Media.
Danielle Carter is editor of Polari, LGBT History Month Magazine, PinkWire and Pride - "The only official Pride London magazine".
Danielle Carter claims to have "written for every LGBT publication to pretty much have graced the face of the earth".
We must take her at her word on this, as Fagburn cannot recall seeing her name in any other LGBT media, and nothing else comes up with her by-line if you Google her name.
The new Pride magazine features interviews - actually Q and As - with all the usual suspects being asked all the obvious questions.
People that are always in gay magazines, most of whom no-one's actually interested in; Pixie Lott, Johnny Partridge, Danny Miller, Brooke Vincent, Nadia Almada, Steven K Amos, Mariead (Who? - "the new hot new singer from Northern Ireland, born partially deaf..."), and Louie Spence - all are credited to Danielle Carter.
If one was being kind, one would say she obviously had to do them all in a hurry.
There are also interviews with Dr Christian Jessen and Paul Burston that do not credit an author, and one with John Amaechi credited to "Daniel Chacharos" - which sounds suspiciously like Danielle Carter.
I suspect that they would have liked to have had an interview with Kristian Digby, he's just the sort of inoffensive, gay daytime TV presenter you always get in these things.
But Kristian died last year following a tragic wanking accident so there's a tribute to him - written by Danielle Carter.
The multi-talented - and clearly very, very busy - Danielle Carter has also written the cover story; 'Lady GaGa - The Gay Debate'.
No, of course it's not an interview with the gaga one.
It is though, quite possibly the worst feature Fagburn has read in the gay press this year - and that's saying something; "The music world was hit right in the face last year by a woman who looked a bit like Marilyn Monroe singing catchy pop tunes..."
Ladies and gentlemen I give you Pride - "The only official Pride London magazine".
It would be interesting to hear why Pride London thought Talent Media were the best company to be awarded the contract two years in a row.
It's free, but quite frankly I'm amazed they can give something this shoddy away.
Is this the best we can do?

Film: And The Winner Isn't...

"US director Gregg Araki on Saturday scooped the first Queer Palm ever handed out at the Cannes film festival", The Independent reported.
Except they didn't - it's a newswire story from an agency, hence the by-line AFP (Agence France-Press).
And Araki hasn't either, really.
The Queer Palm has nothing to do with the Cannes film festival.
A bloke - Franck Finance-Madureira - has just sent out a press release saying he's chosen a film to give his totally made-up and completely meaningless award to.
This happened at the Venice Film Festival in 2007, where a made-up Queer Lion award was widely reported as if it had some official sanction and status.
It didn't.
If all this shines some light on some good new queer cinema, then good. But take it for what it is - or Fagburn will try announcing the first Gay Academy Awards ® nominees later this year just to see who falls for it.
Fagburn has enjoyed several of Gregg Araki's movies - especially Mysterious Skin (pictured) - and hopes his latest film will get some free coverage out of this.
Might have helped if the item in The Independent had told us something about his new movie, but they didn't even tell us the title; Kaboom.

Sebastian Horsley: Sodomy and Saint Sebastian

An obituary of Sebastian Horsley, one of Soho's last true bohemians and a self-confessed "cunt", reminds Fagburn that he used to write a sex advice column for The Observer Magazine, but this was unceremoniously dropped when Horsley indulged his readers in a little anal sex one Easter Sunday morning.
"This was too much for several readers, including one father who wrote: 'My 11-year old daughter knows where to find the horoscopes in the magazine. Then I find my peaceful Sunday morning reading has to be abandoned for a rather unwelcome series of questions ... and all this appears under a running head of "Love".'"
Reader's editor, Stephen Pritchard, explained; "Several people had written to complain that it had gone too far in discussing anal and oral sex in graphic terms. They felt - and I agreed with them - that it was inappropriate in a magazine that is essentially family-friendly."
As a tribute to Sebastian Horsley, Fagburn reprints his answer for posteriority.
"First, my dear, I wish to make clear that I am an expert on anal sex by virtue of my inexperience. While I have buggered women and been buggered by them; been buggered by men and buggered them - I haven't really experimented.
The anus is quite a delicate subject for both sexes. We all spend our lives denying we have one. Women use the lavatory? For the Byrons among us, this discovery is a fate worse than death. The ultimate horror is that the ethereal, the beautiful and the divine are inextricably linked to basic animal functions. In one of Mr Swift's poems, a young man explains the grotesque contradiction that is tearing him apart:
'Nor wonder how I lost my wits;
Oh! Caelia, Caelia, Caelia shits!'
It is too much. Nature mocks us, and poets live in torture.
That love has pitched his mansion in the place of excrement is not our fault. As you know, human beings respond to almost any erotic stimulus. It was only while people still felt that God was watching them that they directed their impulses exclusively towards certain parts of certain people. In everybody the anus is at least as capable of sexual excitement as the lips.
It is time for you to educate your man. Here's what to do. Arrange a dinner at a restaurant riddled with standards of living. Wear a black dress and paint your lips vermilion. After a few glasses of wine tell him you have a surprise for him. Then get this magazine out. There. Now start reading this column to him. Are you doing that? Good. Give him a wink. Blow him a kiss.
See. Wasn't that easy? Is he smiling or has he legged it? I see him laughing. You are home and dry. To take your man seriously, make him laugh. Have fun both of you."
Thanks for all the fun, Sebastian...

Conservatives: The Party's Over

Looks like David Cameron's latest PR stunt worked a treat.
Apparently, all the Conservative Party had to do to prove their pro-gay credentials beyond all reasonable doubt is host a garden party at 10 Downing Street, or so The Guardian's Julian Glover seems to believe.
Makes one wonder why the British state bothered commissioning The Saville Inquiry, when 40 years of "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland could be erased with a nice, little village fete on the Falls Road.
So let's raise our glasses, for Julian Glover has declared our struggle now is over; "So thanks for the white wine, prime minister, but it's time we were moving on."
Isn't it funny how people who never raised their voices are now telling us it's time to shut up?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

David Sedaris: "Lou Sedaris, who invited her?"

Most nights, before I go to sleep I like to read something by David Sedaris.
Last night I read Road Trips, which is about how Sedaris didn't come out until he was 20.
That was way back in 1977 - and my how things have changed.
A little while back David goes to visit his father, Lou, who takes him round to meet the family that's moved in next door.
There's 'a high-spirited fifteen-year-old, who threw himself onto the sofa with great flourish and referred to my father as a she, as in "Lou Sedaris, who invited her?"
"My son is gay!" the boy's mother announced, as if none of us had figured this out yet. He may have attended one of those magnet schools for the arts, but still it floored me that a ninth grader in Raleigh, North Carolina - on the street where I grew up - could comfortably identify himself as a homosexual. I felt like someone in a ten-pound leg brace meeting a beneficiary of the new polio vaccine. "She just happens to be my father, young man, and I'd appreciate it if you'd show her a little respect."
"Yes, ma'am."'

This afternoon I saw a kid who looked about 16 or so in a charity shop with his mother, trying on a top.
He looked like the kind of boy whose mother wouldn't need to make an announcement, you could see it just shining out of him.
I felt happy for him, living in a world that's so much easier than before, but also - and not for the first time recently - I felt a bit sad and old and out of time.
And then I wondered if it was just me, and if his mother even knew.
Perhaps there's still no vaccine, and there's still no known cure.

Celebrity Blind Date: Desperately Seeking Publicity

Apropos of nothing, Guardian Weekend today hosts 'A Celebrity Blind Date Special', so you, the reader, can find out "what happened when we sent 10 celebrity singletons on blind dates."
Three of the four women are currectly appearing in the West End, so at least have the excuse they have a show to promote.
But what of the men?
Apart from a restauranteur, they don't seem to have anything to promote but themselves. Hence the inclusion of Lembit Opik - who must have celebrated when he was ousted as a Lib Dem MP at the election as it meant he could spend more time with his television career.
This being The Guardian, we but of course get two gay men meeting up.
The two gay "celebrity singletons" (their phrase, not mine) are Richard Fairbrass, who had a few hits with Right Said Fred a mere 18 years ago, and the normally publicity-shy Peter Tatchell.
Why is Tatchell doing this? To slip in a little birrov politics, I guess he'd say.
Peter reveals; "I was dreading being paired up with some awful, snooty, braindead queen..."
Luckily he says Fairbrass and he "shared a critique of [the gay scene and culture's] sometimes shallow, me-first, consumerist, materialistic mentality."
Which - ironically - is exactly the sort of thing some snooty queen would say. Well, it sounds so much better than saying you think they're all so stupid and common and vulgar, doesn't it?
At this rate, Fagburn wouldn't be surprised if Peter Tatchell seriously thought about going on Celebrity Big Brother.
Tatchell eventually turned that gig down.
Or as The Independent rather waspishly put it; "Tatchell reveals there is a limit to his lust for publicity".
Tatchell's a great man, and lives on a pittance so I shouldn't begrudge him a good free meal, but I can't imagine Malcolm X of doing one of these.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Elton John: Walls and Bridges

Never mind Rush Limbaugh, Elton John is a big, fat idiot!
First Elton plays at the wedding of right-wing windbag, Rush.
Then yesterday he played a big gig outside Tel Aviv, where The Jerusalem Post reports, he boasted about not supporting a boycott; "Shalom, we are so happy to be back here! Ain't nothing gonna stop us from coming, baby!"
According to the Post, after his second number, John attacked artists who cancelled Israeli dates after the attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla; "Musicians spread love and peace, and bring people together. That's what we do. We don't cherry-pick our conscience."
Although many are starting to ask if Sir Elton of John still has a conscience.
Is there any gig that he wouldn't play?
And if he's playing these to make a political point then why does he insist on getting paid?
An open letter signed by a number of activists and academics earlier this year had urged him not to play Tel Aviv; "You may say you’re not a political person, but does an army dropping white phosphorus on a school building full of children demand a political response? Does walling a million and a half people up in a ghetto and then pounding that ghetto to rubble require a political response from us, or a human one?
"We think it needs a human response, and we think that by choosing to play in Tel Aviv you’re denying this. You’re behaving as if playing in Israel is morally neutral – but how can it be? How can the cruelties Israel practises against the Palestinians – fundamentally because the Palestinians are there, on Palestinian land, and Israel wants them to go – be morally neutral?"
Good question.
Asked about playing Rush Limbaugh's wedding for a $1 million, John's spokeperson civil partner David Furnish told People magazine; "Elton said, 'Life is about building bridges, not walls.'"
Maybe Elton John could tell Israel to stop building its wall around the West Bank?

Conformity: Letter From A Moron...

A letter in The Independent today.
Let's cross the cliches off one-by-one...

'Peter Tatchell calls on the coalition Government to get up do date with public opinion regarding same-sex civil partnerships. Mr Tatchell might take a leaf out of his own book and drop his liberal use of the dated and now largely derogatory term "queers" when describing, in his article, the people he is supposed to be supporting.
Mr Tatchell comes from a self-defeating school of thought that favours deliberate provocation rather than the vigorous intellectual championing of a cause. The militants like Tatchell have actually stunted their own initial plan to gain total equality for people who are not exclusively heterosexual with thoughtless outbursts in the national press, annual pantomimic parades where it's hard to join in if you're not wearing or at least cheering on the hot pants and angel wings, and the constant labelling and categorising of people solely because of a private sexual act into fully-fledged identities where you can't just say you're a man or a woman without prefacing it with the word "gay".
Civil partnerships should of course be legal and should be held in exactly the same regard as the marriage of two people of opposite sexes. But I ask you, what young person thinking about "coming out" or indeed having a civil partnership would want to end up being breezily referred to as a "queer" by Tatchell's very own "community"?

Eugene O'Hare, London N8'

Who said satire is dead?

In Praise Of... Alexis Petridis

I don't care about you, but I think Alexis Petridis is the most consistently entertaining music writer on the "proper" papers.
He also allows us to continue today's Scissor Sister's theme with a cute interview with Jake and Ana in The Guardian's Film And Music section, where Jake suggests that their new album, Night Music, is an imagining of what gay club music would be like in the late 80s if Aids had never happened.
It would probably have sounded like Italo Disco - which is how late 80s Hi Nrg was rebranded to hipsters a decade or two after it happened.
A few pages on Petridis reviews the four new anthologies in the Disco Discharge anthology series. They get five stars each, natch.
Every reviewer always raves about these compilations. Even if - or maybe it's because - they wouldn't know a great Disco record if it bit them on the bum.
It's the inversion of the little musical hegemony Petridis starts off his review by mentioning; when mainstream America collectively concluded that "Disco Sucks".
These days olde school Disco's cool, and few music journalists dare to differ. Isn't it funny how things turn out?
Petridis always writes well about the influence of yer actual gay culture, and with more knowledge, insight and empathy than many gay journalists.
Though when he writes about the 12" version of Boys Town Gang's Cruisin The Sreets - "in which police officers punish a couple of cottagers by forcing them at gunpoint to take part in an orgy with a passing prostitute..." - he tries to show how down he is with The Gays, but ends up falling flat on his face.
His confusing of "cottaging" with "cruising" is as big a clanger as writing that the movie Top Gun starred Tom Cottage.

Scissor Sisters 2 - "The horror! The horror!"

I remember walking past the Brighton Dome one evening in August 2004.
Scissor Sisters were putting on a special show there, so they could film it for a DVD.
They were riding high with their first album which was everywhere that summer. I loved the way the Sisters still seemed cool, even though they'd gone mass.
You could dance to one of their ATOC tracks at The Cock on a Friday night, then hear them on Radio 2 the morning after.
I saw a group of fans outside the Dome. Everyone had been told to dress up wild for the cameras.
This group looked like an office party. Dressing "wild" meant a few feather boas from Claire's Accesories. They looked like the kind of joyless jokers you'd see trotting off to see Rocky Horror at the Theatre Royal. The "Have fun or bust" brigade.
I realised right there and then that the Scissor Sisters had blown it. They'd finally crossed that cultural Rubicon and become naff.
I wonder if they can get their groove back.

Scissor Sisters: Butt Seriously...

Lovingly cut-and-pasted from Digital Spy...
'Scissor Sisters guitarist Del Marquis has defended the band's suggestive new LP cover, branding it "really classic-looking".
The artwork for the band's upcoming Night Work album features a provocative close-up of a clenched man's bottom - belonging to Broadway dancer Peter Reed and snapped by late American photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in 1980.
I knew that it would invoke different responses from different people," Marquis told Digital Spy. "We're a love/hate band - people seem to either vehemently despise us or love us with all their hearts - and I see that cover provoking a similar response.
The way someone reacts to it will tell you a lot about that person. People could view it with reactionary homophobia, or they could view it as camp, or high art, or something beautiful. It reminds me of the back of Sticky Fingers actually - it's a really classic-looking album cover."
Marquis also admitted that he is enjoying seeing the controversial image enlarged for the album's advertising campaign.
"The cover's been blown up on billboards all over town and it's really exciting for me to be driving through religiously conservative neighbourhoods and seeing this giant gorgeous clenched man's ass!" he said.'

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Ivan Massow: My Struggle

We return to The Evening Standard where yesterday Britain's leading gay foxhunter, Ivan Massow, explains; "How The Conservatives Learned To Love Us Gays"
It looks like we have the self-serving self-made millionaire Mr Massow to thank for the Tories desperately trying to detoxify their brand in the last few years.
"Today I will walk into Number 10 for the first ever lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender garden party thrown by a Conservative government. It marks the end of a 20-year crusade that began for me at age 14 as chairman of my local Young Conservatives in Brighton."
It's clearly been a long and often lonely struggle for Ivan "to try and change the party from within" - Massow appears to have forgotten that he decided to jack in trying to change the Tories from within and joined New Labour in 2000.
By happy coincidence, this was also when Labour were at their most politically bouyant in a generation.
He's a strange one, that Massow - and not just because he's long been that walking, talking incongruity, a gay Tory.
He has penned several attention-seeking articles on the Tories and "the gays".
They got the attention they didn't deserve, because not so long ago having any gay man wibbling on about how he was "proud to be a Tory" seemed as bonkers as hearing a black man explain why he'd joined the BNP.
They were also odd, because if you saw Massow on Question Time, he came across as politically illiterate.
Although only the worst kind of cynic would suggest that those articles had been written not by Ivan Massow, but by Nicholas Boles, long a leading Cameroon, now a gay Tory MP, and once Ivan Massow's flatmate.

Gay Press: Pink Stenographers To Power

It appears that for possibly the first time in history Pink News and The Pink Paper are sharing a world exclusive scoop!!
A headline in the Pink (Paper) tells its reader/s; "Home Secretary Theresa May announces "ambitious" equality programme."
Wow! "An "ambitious" cross-government programme of work to tackle prejudice against lesbian, gay and bisexual people was set out by Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May, today..." announces Peter Lloyd.
Whilst over at Pink News, Jessica Geen, announces; "Home secretary and equality minister Theresa May announced an "ambitious" programme of the coalition government's LGBT policies today..."
Spot the difference? No, me neither.
No other media appear to have picked up this story, perhaps that's because it's a non-story; it's a puff press release sent to the gay press ahead of yesterday's garden party with some house-trained homos at 10 Downing Street.
You can read it in full on the Equalties Office website here.
Bar some mention of trans issues, it adds nothing to the press released Contract For Equalities "pledges" the Tories released (but only as a PDF) before the election - but didn't consider worth putting in the actual Conservative manifesto.
To mix up my metaphors rather clumsily; this is not in any possible way news, it is an echo of a whisper that sounded rather hollow in the first place.
Peter Lloyd reprints Theresa May's new press release pretty much verbatim, seemingly oblivious to its omissions.
At least Jessica Green points out that; " does not mention full marriage equality, which deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said he supported."
Which makes Fagburn wonder what influence - if any - the Lib Dems actually have in this new coalition.
Oh, and; "It also does not mention lifting the blood donation ban on gay and bisexual men, something both party leaders said they believed was unfair. Mr Cameron said before the election he agreed with changing the policy but had to wait for an independent investigation to conclude."
So it's well done to Jessica Geen for doing her job.
And not so well done to Peter Lloyd for proving that journalists don't have to work in a totalitarian state to be mere stenographers to power.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Daily Telegraph: Homosexual Lady Performs Rock Music Concert

If you don't want Fagburn to spoil the magic, then look away now!There is no great mystery to this blog, it basically involves reading newspapers and various websites online, and looking for coverage involving "the gays".
If your correspondent was a bit busy he could just type the word "gay" into their respective search engines.
But this would mean I'd miss a lot of stuff. Only the tabloids and the dumber sections of the gay press still think readers needed to be constantly reminded that someone is a "gay singer", "gay author" or gay whatever.
But also The Daily Telegraph doggedly still prefers to use the word "homosexual" over "gay".
Today, it quotes "a homosexual comedian" - by which they mean Simon Fanshawe.
But they do break with their own tradition today in a live review of Joan Jett, who they claim is a "gay icon".
Usually use of this term is a sign that the journalist doesn't know what they're talking about - very few people have really achieved a genuinely iconic status amongst a significant number of gay men.
Here it's a clumsy way of saying that some lesbians like Joan Jett.
Evidently calling her a "lesbian icon" would have been more appropriate, but I can't figure out the Torygraph's policy on the L-word.
Andrew Perry writes; "During a straight-up reading of the glam classic Do You Wanna Touch Me? (Oh Yeah), Jett winked coquettishly at her female admirers in the front rows, eliciting whoops of pleasure. The singer is a gay icon, and various romantic scenes in the Runaways movie have finally confirmed her own sexuality in that direction."
That last line is an hilariously unwieldy phrase, using nine words when three would do.
One wonders how Joan Jett told her family; "Mum, Dad, I've got something to tell you - I have finally confirmed my own sexuality in a homosexual direction."

Celebrity Blind Gossip Item

After a whirlwind romance at the end of last year these two fellas became one of the best-known gay couples in the world.
But they always looked like an odd couple - some said a brush with the law was pretty much inevitable.
They became the toast of the celebrity world - Madonna and Elton simply adored them - but others had their doubts.
Those who knew them say that one's biggest love affair is with the bottle, and the soak has always been straight.
Whilst the other is as nutty as a box of nut frogs.
And if they could ever have been considered an item, they split up six months ago.
These stories were hushed up so as not to spoil the myth of this as a great gay romance, and people felt sorry for them as they'd got themselves in such a terrible pickle.
And these two reluctant celebrities are what a gossip column would ususally describe as "deeply troubled stars".

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The Independent: Not Separate Nor Equal

A leader in The Independent today on Cameron inviting some house-trained homos to 10 Downing Street ends up reading like a satire on provincial anti-gay cliches.
"We find it regrettable that compartmentalism still rules. Is it not a little patronising in this day and age for gay people to be invited to No 10 as a minority group, rather than as successful individuals in their own right? As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has ended receptions for specific minority groups, preferring events that celebrate community rather than difference. It is an example that, with time, the Prime Minister would do well to follow."
As the shoddy PR exercise groundbreaking event happens during the run-up to London Pride, one wonders why The Independent didn't ask aloud "Why do you people have a Gay Pride? We don't have Straight Prides."
Or better still the Indie could complain that we've stolen what used to be a perfectly nice innocent little word "gay".

Monday, 14 June 2010

Crusaid: Money Problems

Unsurprising news - Crusaid and the THT (Terrence Higgins Trust) are to merge.
Crusaid, a charity that give grants to people living with HIV who have financial problems, have had some of their own - and are blaming the recession.
The organisation says that in 2008/9, it distributed £374,774 to 2,106 individuals through its hardship fund; important work, particularly so during this recession.
But that's just 40% of its total income.
So where does the other 60% go?
You might think that a charitable organisation working with people in poverty would be transparent about this and how much its top bods earn.
But try and find this in their annual report and you'll be lost in a maze of corporate doublespeak.

Alan Bennett: Gordon Bennett!

A trip to that London gives Fagburn a chance to catch up with The Evening Standard.
Much of the paper is given over to business news and sport, though this may be in part because it's a Monday and there's a World Cup on.
One local news item caught my eye; "Alan Bennett robbed of £1,500 by thieves armed with ice cream." (Which appears in a slightly different form on their website.)
It seems "the 76-year-old who lives in Camden with his long-term partner, Rupert Thomas, 43, editor of World of Interiors magazine" was the victim of a "distraction robbery" in his local M&S after withdrawing £1,500 from his bank.
Sadly we do not learn what Mr Bennett needed £1,500 in cash for. The mind boggles...

Gay Churnalism: And Now Some Good News...

It appears that Fagburn has been banned from leaving comments after stories on Pink News - Europe's worst gay news service.
Presumably they've got tired of me pointing out that a good deal of their news "reporting" is right-wing bollocks, factually incorrect, absolute nonsense, or what Nick Davies in his excellent book Flat Earth News calls "churnalism".
If the UK's two leading gay news services, Pink Paper and Pink News, have been reduced to lifting stories from the straight press or reprinting press releases without bothering to check their accuracy or veracity, or adding anything to them, one has to wonder what the point of them is.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Kele Okereke: But I Know It's Ok Ok

Kele Okereke gets the front cover of today's Guardian Guide - a kind of cool.
Interesting interview with Dorian Lynskey concentrating on him coming out, which the (former?) Bloc Party singer did relatively quietly in Butt earlier this year.
He seems so much more relxed now... etc etc etc.
"I'm happier now than I ever have been. I'm getting better at enjoying it while it's happening. I'm taking time out in different cities, I'm seeing friends, I'm dancing, I'm having sex, I'm having fun. It can be fun making music with people."
That's nice, dear.
But compare and contrast it to another quote in The Guide;
"It seems to me that the dominant mode of gay culture is taking drugs and sleeping around. It's just harmful. I think that sort of life doesn't really make anyone happy. It didn't make me happy, even when I was younger. I know my views might seem quite Victorian but I think there's something to be said for discipline."
And wasn't Kele coming out - or being outed - in this interview with Craig McLean for The Observer Magazine in 2007?
But anyway, I bet David McAlmont's relieved he's no longer the go-to guy when the press want a quote from a gay black man/singer on any pressing issue of the day.

Are The Drums Bum Chums?

Articles on Brooklyn's most fuckable new band The Drums are already starting to write themselves; Orange Juice/Postcard guitars, Morrissey-esque miserablism, Shangri-Las doomed romanticism, handsome young men, much hyped band, the sound of the summer, a song about surfing, slightly disappointing eponymous debut album released this week...
It took that Boy George to break ranks and say something that was both original and obvious; "They look like four rent boys."
So well done to Paul Lester on The Times who came right out and asked the boys the question that's on three peoples' lips; "Are The Drums gay?"
Ugly/pretty singer Jonathan Pierce had his well rehearsed line all ready; “I can’t speak for the others in the band, but for me it comes down to whoever you fall in love with is who you fall in love with. To limit yourself is a sad thing.”
Guitarist Adam Kessler quickly clarified: “We drink beer, you know.”
When I first read that quote I thought Adam meant that drinking beer leads to drunken boy-on-boy queer fumblings, and then I thought maybe he meant that drinking beer is a clear signifier of their hetero blokeishness, as opposed to drinking Mojitos say.
Confusing, isn't it?
As ever, to find out what the world is really thinking about this band it's best to check out the brilliantly Beavis and Buttheadish comments on YouTube.
After the supercute video for The Drums' single 'Let's Go Surfing' one wag writes that it looks "as gay as a Real Madrid training session."
Another adds simply; "More like lets go butt surfing."

Friday, 11 June 2010

Disney Gay Day: Things I Learnt Today...

"Disney issues refunds or free next-day tickets to angry moms and dads who don't want their kids exposed to gay couples or gay-themed shirts" at the annual 100% unofficial Gay Days at Disney World in Florida, Time magazine reveals.
God bless America!

Radio 2: 2 Many Gay DJs

More shocking news!
The ever observant Daily Star has noticed that a couple of homosexuals are currently presenting shows on BBC Radio 2.
Under the brilliantly punning headline 'Radio 2 Gay' it reveals that; "Radio 2 was blasted last night for being too camp."
The only person the Star could find to comment was Andrew Harrison ("of trade body The Radio Centre" - actually an umbrella group for commercial radio stations).
And all he said was; 'instead of “camping it up” Radio 2 should return to more “worthy” public service programming.'
Oh, and apparently he added: “It is end-of-the-pier stuff.”
Hardly a blast, is it?
At least The Star dutifully pretended to be aghast at all this gayness; "Its weekend schedule is full of gay TV comedians. Paul O’Grady, 54, Dale Winton, 55, and Alan Carr, 33, all host shows. And now Graham Norton, 47, is replacing Jonathan Ross, 49, on Saturdays."
I don't mind them being gay, but I do wish the Star wouldn't keep ramming their ages down our throats.

You Never See A Wanker In The Daily Express

"BRITAIN has become immune to swear words with broadcasters able to use the terms “poof” and “queer” any time they like, according to one watchdog," The Daily Express squeals today - and clearly so has that newspaper.
The Express says the report commissioned by "media watchdog" Ofcom concludes that 'derogatory words like “nutter”, “lezza” and the blasphemous exclamation “Jesus Christ!” [have] become socially acceptable.'
Thankfully, unlike 'poof' and 'lezza', some words are still most definitely not acceptable in The Express - published incidentally by the (almost) billionaire pornographer Richard "Dirty Des" Desmond - which tells us Ofcom concluded; "that after the 9pm watershed words such as “b****”, “w*****” and “s***” can be used."
Presumably without asterisks.
It gets worse; "The “C-word” and “F-word” were also found to be acceptable after the watershed but it was suggested people were even softening against this."
The Daily Mail were, but of course, similarly outraged and similarly self-censored.
They spelt out 'bum', 'loony', 'nutter', 'poof', 'queer', 'mental', 'lezza' and 'Jesus Christ'.
But thought it best to leave others to our fevered imaginations; 'w***er', 's**t', 'p**s', 'b****cks', 'a***', 'bum', 't***' and 'the F-word'.
A PDF of the 64 page Ofcom report 'Expletive Deleted' is available here.

Conservatives: Coming In Threes

In the space of one week - which, remember, is seven days in politics - our new Prime Minister David Cameron has invited Margaret Thatcher to Downing Street, announced that the St George's Flag will be flying over Number 10 during the World Cup ("at no additional cost to the taxpayer"!), and that he will be hosting a reception at 10 Downing Street for the gay "great and good" - and presumably house-trained.
Who said the age of gesture politics was dead?

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Pink Pound: Hold The Eighth Page Of The Business Section!

IBM are officially the most gay-friendly corporation in the world!
The International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (IGLCC) has announced the results of their second International Business Equality Index.
"The International Index is a measurement of the performance of multinational corporations in relation to Diversity and Inclusion issues in the countries where they have offices, specifically regarding to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) communities."
But who are the IGLCC?
Looking at their website all they seem to do is put together this index - and have an annual general assembly/gala dinner where they give out the index awards.
If corporations want to take part all they have to do is "respond to an online survey composed of 17 questions" about exactly how good they reckon they are to the gays.
So it's basically a self-selecting, self-judging, self-serving box-ticking PR stunt.
They claim participation is free - but the IGLCC sells copies of their index report for €1,500.
Affiliated membership costs €175. It does not say on their website how much it costs to become a corporate member, a sponsor, to access the IGLCC Business Data Base, or to attend the annual general assembly/gala dinner so you can pick up the award you pretty much awarded yourself.
They say; "By participating in the survey your corporation gets many benefits", including "Increased visibility in the LGBT market segment."
Which means, if nothing else, The Pink Paper can always be relied on to cut-and-paste the IGLCC press release and run it as a news story.
And you get "permitted" to use a little logo thing saying your corporation is "recognized as one of the 2010 most gay friendly corporations in the world" - or more specifically it was one of just 25 companies that took part.
These are clearly good, good times for those wonderful people at IBM.
Last month, the home secretary, Theresa May announced that - despite the Conservative government scrapping ID cards -
IBM's £265 million contract to build the central National Biometric Identity Service for storing biometric information for passports (and ID cards) will remain in place, Computing magazine reports.
Of course IBM have a proven track record on collecting private information for states on their citizens.
They famously did their bit to help Hitler and the holocaust;
"IBM technology was used to organize nearly everything in Germany and then Nazi Europe, from the identification of the Jews in censuses, registrations, and ancestral tracing programs to the running of railroads and organizing of concentration camp slave labor."
Perhaps this is what the corporation means by IBM IT Solutions?

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Israel/Palestine: Pride Against Injustice

After Pride Toronto banned the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from taking part last month, comes news that Madrid Pride have told an official delegation from Tel Aviv they are not welcome because authorities in the city have not condemned the raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla.
But whereas Pride Toronto said they didn't want politics to rain on their parade, Madrid Pride made their decision as they still see Pride as a political event.
Antonio Poveda, of Spain's Federation of Lesbians, Gays, Transexuals and Bisexuals, told El Mundo newspaper; "After what has happened, and as human rights campaigners, it seemed barbaric to us to have them taking part. We don't just defend our own little patch."
A report on Guardian Unlimited today does not mention that the delegation was official and organised in conjunction with the Israeli Tourist Board, who were to have a Tel Aviv themed party, and a bus bearing the slogan "TLV Love Embassy".
This makes it seems like a hysterical over reaction by pro-Palestinians against innocent and politically neutral "Tel Aviv residents".
It wasn't.
In an article in The Jewish Chronicle on Monday, Shai Deutsch, the Israel Gay and Lesbian Association's Tourism chief is quoted as saying; “There is no doubt that our presence there, together with the European campaign will contribute to a significant increase in gay tourism in Tel Aviv this coming winter.”
It's part of a broader campaign - both economic and political - to try and improve the image abroad of the Israeli thug-state.
This process has been dubbed "pinkwash".
El Mundo and The Guardian also quote Eytan Schwartz, a spokesperson for Tel Aviv.
In the interests of balance Schwartz got 165 words on GU to Poveda's 26.
Schwartz said; "We invited the organisers of the gay pride event in Madrid to join a march this Friday in Tel Aviv, the only place in the Middle East where you can be gay in public."
In August 2009, a gunman killed two people at the Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Association Centre. The killer has not been found.
In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jew stabbed three participants in the Jerusalem gay pride parade. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that "several bombs [have been] set off to protest Jerusalem Gay Pride parades in previous years."

Gay Churnalism: Spot The Difference

See if you can spot the difference between this story about the Malawian couple splitting up by Reuters yesterday and this one by a Pink News "staff writer" today.
Then see if you can find what The Pink Paper has added to the press release from Peter Tatchell, 'Malawi couple split under homophobic pressure' (Under 'latest news' on Tatchell's website) for their news story.
The journalist credited with writing The Pink's story, James Sanders, has actually added one word.
Tatchell no longer refers to Chimbalanga and Monjeza as a "gay couple", Sanders still does.
Gay journalism - or rather gay "churnalism" - it sure beats working>...

Faux Lesbianism: Sun Kissed

The super soaraway Sun today has a photospecial - 'All-star Girl-on-Girl Kisses', in celebration that two leading ladies locked lips at some showbiz do in Barcelona the other day.
"LESBI honest [Geddit!!!] - most men are partial to a bit of girl-on-girl action. Especially if it involves two extremely famous faces thrown in for good measure."
Not 'arf!
I can't wait for tomorrow's follow=up photospread; 'Famous Fella-On-Fella Fucks'.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

"Elton John is a whore"

Turns out Elton John did play at the wedding of right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh on Saturday.
Village Voice columnist Michael Musto spoke for the queer nation live on American TV when he said; “Elton’s actually a pretty good gay and he’s done a lot for the causes, but this is kind of gross. I was waiting for the transformation where he was going to sprinkle fairy dust on Rush and he would either come out of the closet or be gay positive. That hasn’t happened, so Elton’s just a whore.”
And an extremely rich one - according to the 2010 Sunday Times Celebrity Rich List Elton John has amassed a personal fortune worth £185 million.
Elton's people have refused to comment on whether he will be donating his fee to charity.

Malawi: Second Marriage

Make of this what you will, but Stephen Monjeza - one half of the "Malawi gay couple" that Fagburn has pointed out several times were no longer a couple and probably don't identify as gay - has announced that he has "dumped his homosexual 'wife' Tiwonge Chimbalanga to marry a Blantyre-based woman," according to the Malawi newspaper The Nation.
"I have had enough," Monjeza said. "I was forced into the whole drama and I regret the whole episode. I want to live a normal life... not a life where I would be watched by everyone, booed and teased."
The poor man's been through an appalling ordeal, but he looked equally unhappy and haunted in both partnerships.
Chimbalanga is quoted in The Guardian as saying that Monjeza had found a female lover "to hurt" him.
"But I am not worried. You cannot force love, and nobody forced him when we did our symbolic wedding in December."
He also said he did not resent Monjeza's decision. "I will also marry because there are lots of good men around. I will remain a gay."
It's worth noting the last word.
A blog on The Guardian's Comment Is Free by Natacha Kennedy that first pointed out that Tiwonge probably didn't predominantly identify as gay and had lived "as a woman".
See this interview with him in The Times in January; "I am a woman. I can do what a woman can do."
It's not clear if Tiwonge was answering a question asked by The Guardian, or if he was talking in English.
And on that bombshell...

Israel/Palestine: Pride Against Justice

In their finite wisdom, the board of directors of Pride Toronto has banned the group Queers Against Israeli Apartheid from this year's march.
They claimed the phrase "Israeli Apartheid" "made participants feel unsafe" and "can promote a poisonous atmosphere and detract from the goal of celebrating diversity within our community."
A city councillor had introduced a motion to withdraw $121,000 worth of “funding and support” from the event if Queers Against Israeli Apartheid were allowed to participate, claiming their inclusion violated the city's anti-discrimination policy which “prohibits discrimination and harassment and protects the right to be free of hate activity,”
Organisers estimated that without this official endorsement they could lose a further $500,000 in funding.
23 Pride Toronto honorees have returned their awards in protest at this act of censorship.
Matthew Cutler, winner of last year's Youth Award said; "It is not unprecedented for members of our community to be silenced and censored for our views, beliefs and lifestyles. It was reprehensible when others restricted us; however it is unconscionable, unprincipled and utterly disappointing that members of our own community would impose such restrictions.
"I am returning my Award today in protest of Pride Toronto’s decision to ban the words “Israeli Apartheid” – a decision which departs from our communities’ values and history, and I am returning my Award with the hope that Pride Toronto will reverse its decision.
"I do this with the hope that generations of young people will continue to be offended, that generations of young people will continue to grow, learn and discuss difficult ideas and issues, and that our community and our communities’ Pride festival will continue to play a fundamental role in offending, challenging, celebrating and welcoming everyone who attends."

Kazuo Ohno: Cosmic Dancer

"As a teenager in 1987, I stumbled across an image of Ohno on a peeling poster in the streets of Angers in north-west France. Captivated by this mysterious portrait, I placed the picture above my bed, where it has remained to this day. As I discovered more about the artist and his work, Ohno's dance and philosophy became a source of great inspiration to me. In 2009, I featured a portrait of him on the cover of my album The Crying Light..."

- Antony Hegarty - of & The Johnsons fame - mourns his muse, Kazuo Ohno, in The Guardian.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Daily Mail: From The Message Boards...

Daily Mail readers have been fulminating on their message boards about the members of LGBT Labour who were allegedly refused service in a London pub.
"What is it with all these new fangled phobias, is anyone actually afraid of gays in real life.
"Perhaps the person running the pub just did not want a carnival atmosphere when people were just having a quite drink at their local, who knows?"
"Surely a (supposedly) non discriminatory party would have no need of
a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Society. I would hope there is a Straight club within Liebore, but I very much doubt it."
"Can we call for the banning of gay only pubs and bars and B&Bs as well then?"
"Is not a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual Society prejudiced against people that are not?"
"There is nothing wrong with being gay, bisexual or lesbian but people you don't know shouldn't be able to tell what sexual orientation you are. If you go around parading something like that people should be allowed to kick you out. People don't go into bars and go "Hey, could I have a pint? I'm straight I like to have intercourse with women" Why should it be allowed the other way around? I'm bi myself I don't go round telling random people though."
You couldn't make it up...