Monday, 28 February 2011

The Sports: A Cricketer Is A Gay!


Newsflash: Someone who plays the cricket is gay!
Here's Steven Davies's "coming out" interview - on video on The Daily Telegraph online.
Even an old cynic and sportsphobe like Fagburn who has absolutely no idea who he is has to go "Aww..."
"Aww..."


Update: All very positive coverage. As the Telegraph broke the story, they really went to town on it. Most over-used word "brave".
Update: Though the Telegraph are guilty of some appalling class prejudice; "That the England set-up was so supportive and understanding was of little surprise. This current squad is as decent and well-rounded a group of professional sportsmen as you are likely to find...
"It is elsewhere in the game that problems might lie. If there are bigots and homophobes out there, they are hardly likely to announce themselves now. They will bide their time.
"I worry in particular about Twenty20 crowds. They are not exactly your typical cricket gatherings. More like football in fact, a sport in which homophobia is hardly unknown..." Steve James: 'Cricket respects Steven Davies's brave announcement he is gay but Twenty20 crowds could be tricky', Telegraph online.
This is a subtext to much of the coverage of Davies' coming out; nice middle-class cricket folk, aren't like nasty rough football hoi polloi...
See for example The Guardian's take on it; 'Football Urged To Get Onside As Ashes Star Comes Out'

Islamophobia Watch: Johann Hari

Johann Hari has written an article for the latest Attitude, "Can We Talk About Muslim Homophobia Now?", in which he states:
"East London has seen the highest increase in homophobic attacks anywhere in Britain. Everybody knows why, and nobody wants to say it. It is because East London has the highest Muslim population in Britain, and we have allowed a fanatically intolerant attitude towards gay people to incubate there, in the name of 'tolerance'."
Patrick Lilley, the man behind the black gay club night, Queer Nation, has written to Johann Hari pointing out that figures released by the Metropolitan Police do not bear out the inflammatory claim that there has been a huge increase in homophobic violence in "Muslim" areas of East London.
I've made some edits for reasons of space - you can read Lilley's letter in full on Islamophobia Watch.

Hi Johann

Further to my letter yesterday to which I have as yet received no reply.
I care deeply about the gay community of which I am part. I also care deeply about our relationships with the wider community & other minorities which I am either a part or live, work and play amongst. I live in a very Muslim area – Edgware Road – and have NEVER encountered any homophobia here.
I would like to discuss your logic and honesty in your article CAN WE TALK ABOUT MUSLIM HOMOPHOBIA and your claims on your blog and in Attitude magazine.
"East London has seen the highest increase in homophobic attacks anywhere in Britain."
I disagree. North London has [a bigger rise than East London], according to the Metropolitan Police Service. Specifically what do you base this claim on?
"Muslim" East London according to Met Police stats saw a reduction of over 10% in reported Homophobic Crimes and in Hackney, home of the George and Dragon, it was down [7%] year on year...
"Everybody knows why, and nobody wants to say it. It is because East London has the highest Muslim population in Britain, and we have allowed a fanatically intolerant attitude towards gay people to incubate there, in the name of 'tolerance'."
I agree only that most Muslims are concentrated in the east London boroughs of Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. Prejudice may lie behind your claim that "everybody knows why".
Therefore IF your claim is true, we would expect the statistics for the Met Police to reflect and back up your inflammatory claims.
Here are the latest stats on reported Homophobic Crimes in London and the % changes year on year - http://www.met.police.uk/crimefigures/
The figures shows a year on year reduction in the number of reported crimes in the areas with most Muslims i.e. East London and dramatic reductions in some areas of high Muslim populations including Newham and Waltham Forest and only 2 more incidents in the year to Jan 2011 than the year to Jan 2010 in Tower Hamlets.The overall changes in "Muslim" East London are over -10% reported crimes, year on year till Jan 2010 and Jan 2011...
North London and Islington saw a much bigger rise in reported homophobic crimes...
If you have other information that contradicts these year on year statistics from the Metropolitan Police I'd be happy to see them?
There are however huge variations in totals of reported Homophobic Crimes: some Boroughs rise by 60% others decline by the same amount. I don't know what may affect reporting of homophobic crime but on the basis of the information available from the Met your claims that East London has the highest increase in homophobic crime is TOTALLY inaccurate (and inflammatory).
Please justify this with more than anecdotal stories about the George and Dragon. We can guess that most of these crimes are probably not reported for a wide range of reasons.
If you haven't seen these figures before I'd suggest that you and Attitude publish these figures along with comments condemning the homophobic stickers by leading local Muslims.
I fear your article has really fanned the flames of misunderstanding in our community. You are an award winning journalist – let's both probe and find the truth and share it with people, not pander to prejudice.
I again invite you to join the local residents and friends of the "Help Yourself To Love" campaign that is combating hate with love!

Kind regards

Patrick Lilley

• Fagburn has taken issue with Hari's article before, and has also taken issue with Hari's fact-checking.
Search MediaLens for several critiques of Hari's journalism on Iraq, and UK foreign policy etc...
See also the great blogposts; Lenin's Tomb - 'Can We Finally Talk About Johann Hari's Muslim Problem Now?', Howupsetting ''Can We Talk About Liberal Bias Now?', and Aethelreadtheunread 'Can We Talk About Johann Hari's Shoddy Journalism Now?'

UPDATE: Hari has published a (pathetic) correction - posted in Comments below this...

Sunday, 27 February 2011

The BBC: The Homosexual Service

In no way is BBC Radio 4 hopelessly out of touch!

Readers with elephantine memories may recall I sent this email some time ago;

Dear BBC,

Throughout today on BBC Radio 4 News - in the items about civil partnerships and same-sex marriage - you have used the word homosexual or homosexuals.
Why doesn't someone in the BBC newsroom ask some of their colleagues or friends who are lesbian or gay how they feel about being called "homosexual"?
It is at best outdated, at worst highly offensive.
Of the British newspapers only the Daily Telegraph still regularly uses it as the preferred term for lesbians and gay men.
When did you last hear "homosexual" being used by anyone in conversation?

yours

Fagburn*

Well, a mere two weeks later, they've replied...

Dear Fagburn

Reference CAS-603574

Thanks for contacting us regarding BBC Radio 4’s News Bulletins.
I understand that you are unhappy with the use of the term ‘homosexual’ during our broadcasts, as you feel that the term is no longer in regular use.
I apologise that you were upset by this; however we are very mindful of the language we use and give this great consideration. There is no consensus about words that are acceptable, as different terms can cause different degrees of offence to different people. We do not believe however that term ‘homosexual’ causes widespread offense.
That said I appreciate that you feel strongly about this and so with this in mind I’d like to assure you that I’ve registered your comments on our audience log. This is the internal report of audience feedback which we compile daily and make available for all programme makers and commissioning executives within the BBC, and also their senior management. It ensures that your points, and all other comments we receive are circulated and considered across the BBC.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact us with your concerns.

Kind Regards

Robert Regan
BBC Complaints
www.bbc.co.uk/complaints

What crap!
This is basically "File Under: He Sounds Like A Nutter - Not Arsed".
Why doesn't BBC News use the words to describe lesbians and gay men that lesbians and gay men use themselves?
If we haven't moved on in the last fifty years, why doesn't Radio 4 call black people "coloureds" anymore?
Or for that matter, why doesn't Radio 4 call Radio 4 "The Home Service"?
Obviously I'll be sending an angry email back tomorrow.
If you want to complain - if indeed the "offense" [Sic - It's always nice being lectured about correct terminology by someone who can't even spell...] is more widespread and Fagburn isn't just barking at the moon - use the link above.
But please be aware that if you can't state a specific instance you'll just get an email back from BBC Complaints going; "Meh".

* I actually used my real name, but don't want to spoil the magic.

Heterophobia: Some People Are Straight - Get Over It!

There's a brilliantly nuts piece in today's Sunday Times by columnist Brenda Power; 'Heterophobic Bullying Is As Bad As Gay Bashing - It is now obviously not a civil liberty to express an opinion that is widely shared, genuinely held, entirely legal and constitutionally enshrined'
Eh?
Here's the story in a nuts-shell; "Last week Lucinda Creighton, Fine Gael’s spokewoman on equality, was asked on Twitter for her views on gay marriage. She replied that while she was in favour of civil partnership, she did not support gay marriage, believing the primary purpose of traditional marriage is to 'propagate and create an environment for children to grow up'."
Brenda Power says she was "taken aback by the malice and gibbering, incoherent poison on her Facebook page that passed for a response to her comments.
“You are f****** bitch. You should be shame of ur self c*** c***! All the gays hate you already!!!!!!” was one of the more temperate offerings. A male contributor made a sexually suggestive remark about Lucinda Cretin, as these wits renamed her. “Please go and die.” “You lost the gay vote and I hope it bites you in the arse, you should be sacked for gross misconduct.” “You are a homophobic idiot, a disgrace of a woman.”
Stop laughing at the back - this has made Brenda mighty angry.
She wonders aloud if this is because Creighton is a woman - cause all The Gays hate women, right - then Brenda Power has an amazing brain fart; "Perhaps it is just her heterosexuality that gets some people so fired up, and here’s something a council for civil liberties might address. If it is possible to be homophobic — having an irrational and pathological hatred of gays — why does the spellcheck on my painfully liberal laptop insist there’s no such thing as heterophobia when, I’d suggest, at least some of this spite is a prime example of the condition?"
Got that? We, The Gays, hate straight people.
And the ire aimed at Lucinda Cretin Creighton had nothing to do with the fact that a spokeswoman for equality said that she doesn't support equality.
You stupid straight bitch.

Fashion: It's London Fatuous Week

A Boy In A Dress Isn't Evil, But Size Zero Models Are
'Does Andrej Pejic modelling women's clothes truly symbolise "the ultimate rejection of the female body" by "evil" gay fashion designers?
'The image I keep seeing is of Pejic in a Jean Paul Gaultier wedding gown. The same "Crazee" JPG who'd send a unicorn down the runway if he could, who designed Madonna's ultra-femme coned bra, whose perfume bottle is woman-shaped. Is this a gay man who hates women?
'What's so shocking about a boy in a dress anyway? Marilyn did the same in the 1980s and no one had a rad-fem fit. For the true face of catwalk evil, look instead to the girl models, some so emaciated they made Samantha Cameron blench in shock.
'As for the accepted "fact" that "fashion is full of gay men who hate women"… this isn't a fact – it's snide, homophobic hogwash, offensive to the hordes of committed gay professionals in the fashion industry. If fashion has a problem (and, by Zoolander, it does), it's not covert hatred of the female, rather, it's overt worship of youth and the BMI that comes with youth. All this, and worse, could be said of fashion, but let's keep the gay-bashing out of it."

Fagburn's most favourite newspaper columnist, Barbara Ellen, tells it like it TIS in The Observer, as per.
Yay!
As your faithful servant Fagburn has reported, this hackneyed old anti-gay tripe/trope - fashion is dominated by gay men and gay men hate women yada yada yada - was disinterred this week by the dreadful Glenda Slagg Amanda Platell in The Daily Mail ('Fashion's Ultimate Insult to Women'), and by the equally hopeless Richard & Judy (!) in The Daily Express ('Boys Will Be Girls').
Funny - all the gay men Fagburn knows love women; from their best friends to their heroes to their mums.
Which side are you on?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Gays Against Gaga: Ever Get The Feeling You've Been Cheated?

"I hate it already. A gay anthem, whether it’s 'I Will Survive' or 'The Man That Got Away' or 'And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going', BECOMES a gay anthem because we find ourselves empathizing with the singer’s passion or pain or exuberance. It’s the realization that their pain is our pain too, that their joy is our joy etc. It’s that our commonality has brought us together.
“It’s ALMOST NEVER because it was written FOR GAY MEN TO HELP GAY MEN DEAL WITH BEING GAY MEN. That’s just cynical and obvious. It’s like bit like Susan Sontag’s explanation of “pure camp” being something that strives for greatness but fails spectacularly, while “contrived camp” is something that intentionally sets out to be bad and cannot, therefore, be as satisfying.
“Gaga here isn’t allowing us the choice of deciding whether or not this song will be a gay anthem (like 'Bad Romance'), she’s TELLING US that it is, and that makes it somehow less pure and less satisfying. It’s contrived. I haven’t heard the melody yet, and although I’m sure it will be a foot-stomper, I already feel manipulated."

The lovely James St. James, quoted on the great new Tumblr Gays Against Gaga.

• Image from I Hate Gaga by David M. Buisán.

• Many thanks to Buy Kurious for the tip-off.

GT: Or AXM? Same Difference

Some stupid cunt from The X Factor! A Pop star - in his pants! Some other stupid cunts from The X Factor - in their pants! Corrie! Somethings about some boybands! Fashion! Pants! Property! Porn!Fashion! Sex! Pants! Cause we think you're thick! GT - Brought to you by the same people who brought you AXM! In fact we've turned GT into AXM! A magazine that no-one bought and we closed down! Hang on, maybe we're the thick ones!

I've said this before, but I should say it again, GT has some great writers these days - they have employed some illiterate fuckwits in the past - I just have a problem with much of what they make them write about. I mean who gives a flying fuck what Aiden Grimshaw thinks about anything? Great to see Hunx And His Punx are in the new issue - they should get Hunx to be guest editor...

James Franco: Straight Acting Gay For Today

'Unusually for Hollywood, Franco is sanguine over speculation about his sexuality. He has a girlfriend, but has joked, after all the gay roles he has played (including Sean Penn's boyfriend in Milk), "maybe I'm just gay". Watching Howl, which is also a love story, you wonder if playing the gay Ginsberg is something only a demonstrably straight actor could risk.
"It's possible," says Franco. "I remember when Brokeback Mountain was being cast, people saying, 'Gosh, I wouldn't want to do that. A gay cowboy?' And I still get it – that's the bloggers' favourite topic, how many gay roles I've played. So it's territory where people pretend they're OK with it, but based on the amount of coverage that a straight person taking one of those roles gets, it shows that there's still a big bias. It's easier for a straight actor to play a gay role than it is maybe for an out gay person to play it; my sense is that a gay actor still feels he or she, if they came out, would be typecast and couldn't play straight roles after that. I don't know the ins and outs of Rupert Everett's story, but he certainly claims that happened to him."'

James Franco - interviewed in The Guardian - adds his two cents to the eternally gripping Straight Acting Gay/Gay Acting Straight debate.
By happenchance The Advocate has just put up an article online; "And the Gay Razzie Goes To... Forget about The Oscars. From J.Lo to Al Pacino, The Advocate looks at some of the actors who've perpetuated stereotypes and turned in terrible performances by going gay."
I'll put up the link when it fucking works!
Update: There we go...

The photo shows James Franco and Aaron Tveit in the movie Howl echoing a famous photograph of Allen Ginsberg and his lover Peter Orlovsky.

The Sun: Lesbian Sex - We Love It!

It’s Wii Too Rude
"A RAUNCHY game for the Nintendo Wii has outraged parents who say it promotes orgies and lesbian sex to kids as young as 12.
The video trailer promoting We Dare features two couples following on-screen instructions from the console.
"The girls are seen with the Wii remote dangling suggestively between their lips. Players then hide the "Wiimote" inside their clothes before the others spank their bottoms to control a flying cartoon character on screen...
"But parents say the 12+ certificate is a disgrace. Laura Pearson, 52, from Birmingham, said: "I have a 13-year-old daughter. If I knew she was playing a highly-charged sexual game I would be appalled.""

The Sun

Berlusconi ‘Watched Lesbian Sex Show', Says Belly Dancer
"THE teenage belly dancer at the centre of the Silvio Berlusconi sex scandal has told how naked models performed a lesbian routine for the thrilled Italian PM.
"Eighteen-year-old Ruby "Heartstealer" Rubacuori, speaking exclusively to The Sun, said she was sitting inches away from the 74-year-old as they cavorted in front of him..."

Also The Sun today.

Fagburn say "Phwoar!"
But I somehow doubt the copy would be quite so excited if either of these stories was about some hot boy-on-boy action.
Yup, there's fuck-all news today (Apart from that Libyan thing, obviously).

Friday, 25 February 2011

Richard Littlejohn Watch: The Subject Was Faggots

Faggots And Peas, Sir - No Offence!
"The former Mayor of Dudley has been accused of offensive behaviour after referring to ‘faggots’ in an email.
"Councillor Pat Martin was simply discussing his favourite childhood food with a friend.
"For the uninitiated, faggots is a dish of meatballs in gravy, popular in the Midlands and the North.
"But it was flagged up by American software used by the council to screen out ‘offensive’ words. In the U.S., ‘faggots’ is slang for homosexuals.
"I hadn’t realised this kind of software was common, otherwise I’d never have ordered a pouffe from Ikea online."

Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail today.

Ace blogger Angry Mob points out;
"Just a couple of small points Richard, Councillor Pat Martin was not accused of offensive behaviour by anyone, the email simply bounced back because of an automatic word filter – it was a decision made by computer software which is not programmed to be offended or to make accusations. Secondly, ‘councillor Pat Martin’ is also sometimes known by her full name: Patricia Martin.
"Perhaps Richard was thrown by the way that the local press covered the story: ‘Faggots email cooks up IT storm’, but if he had made it past the typically hyperbolic (and plain nonsense) headline he would have realised that the email had generated precisely zero fuss. He also might have noticed the photo of Patricia Martin staring back at him as well.
"I think it should be mandatory to end any blog post about Richard Littlejohn’s serial laziness and incompetence with the fact that he earns nearly one million pounds a year."

Agreed. I think it should be mandatory to end any blog post about Richard Littlejohn with the fact that he's a right-wing cunt.

• Here's the great Gil Scott-Heron's very strange 1970 song 'The Subject Was Faggots'.

Know Your Enemy 4: John Galliano

"The flamboyant designer was briefly arrested after allegedly accosting a couple at La Perle bar, near his home. The couple, a Jewish woman and her Asian boyfriend, told French radio Europe 1 he had said to them: "Dirty Jewish face, you should be dead" and "Fucking Asian bastard, I will kill you". He allegedly repeatedly called the woman "ugly" and a "slag". A police official said that Galliano also exchanged slaps with the couple. The row began at around 9pm at the bar known for its hip fashion clientele..."

From The Guardian - and all papers.
Yup, a gay man called J Galliano in being a total arsehole shock!
The only good thing that may come out of this disgusting - alleged - incident is that Mr Galliano may become a pariah.
But the fa-fa fashion world is so dumb dumb dumb I bet it'll all be forgiven and forgotten by next week.
And further, Fagburn has never understood how a top fashion designer could constantly dress like a total prick.

Update: Dior sacked the cunt on March 1st after footage emerged showing Galliano saying all Jews should be "fucking gassed". It appears this was far from being an isolated episode.
Anyone?

Johann Hari: Can We Talk About Racism On The Gay Scene Now?

'Can we talk about Muslim homophobia now?' asks Johann Hari in his column in the latest issue of Attitude.
You can read the article on Hari's website.
As ever with Hari, it's an interesting piece, striving to be measured, but in this case not quite succeeding.
It's hardly a fucking secret that some Muslims are homophobic, is it love?
Can we talk about homophobia among non-Muslims?
Or about Islamophobia among gay men?
I'm a bit tired of gay journalists saying they're breaking some great taboo when they just vomit up tired and stupid cliches.
It also really frightens Fagburn how any mention of Muslims and homophobia makes some really dodgy gay scumbags come crawling out the woodwork.
Entirely coincidentally GMFA have launched a new campaign today - Switched On - to tackle racism on the gay scene.
Good timing, I think.

Update: Right-wing hack Andrew Gilligan blogs on the right-wing Daily Telegraph on Sunday about how he hates those homophobic Muslims.
He seems to be broadly in agreement with much of what Mr Hari said...

Edit: I can not recall hearing about the attack on The George & Dragon in January 2010, nor can I find any mention of it on the internet - can anyone send Fagburn a news report about it? It is known however that someone closely involved with the George & Dragon is a vocal supporter of the English Defence League...

Transphobia: Just A Bit Of Fun?

Fagburn has noted endlessly before how transphobia now occupies the same place in The Sun's demonology that homophobia used to.
If someone is trans it's a news story in itself.
And being trans is always either funny or frightening.
It continues today with a "fun quiz"; 'Tran Or Woman'
"THIS bevy of beauties are all blessed with good looks, style and figures to die for.
"Well, most of them... but believe it or not some of these lovely ladies are actually LADDIES.
"Yesterday we told how Bosnian male model Andrej Pejic has been causing a stir after hitting the catwalk in DRESSES at London Fashion Week.
"Here are 14 more ambiguous beauties, some who were born male and others who are 100 per cent female.
"Can you guess the genders?"
I thought The Sun had cluelessly coined a new word today in "tran" - as opposed to trans.
I was wrong.
The Sun were using it four years ago - in the same stupid fucking quiz!
'Tran Spotting: Ladyboy Or Lady?'

The Daily Mail's beyond parody columnist Amanda Platell writes today; 'Fashion's ultimate insult to women: The latest way of demeaning real women is a male model dressed as a girl'
And manages to resurrect one of the most tired homophobic cliches in the stupid columnist's quiver; "Size zero turned out to be an apt term as the most feted designers, mostly brilliant gay men, effectively tried to squeeze women out of the fashion equation. And now they have."
Please...

Update: That tired homophobic cliche was resurrected on Saturday in Richard & Judy's column in The Daily Express - but with a twist;
"Some fashion writers suggested this week that many designers are gay men who want their models to resemble teenage boys with absolutely no visible female attributes such as breasts, waists, hips, and buttocks.
"I have no idea if this is true, but this week the ultimate in androgyny was revealed in the papers. A fashion model with long blonde hair, high cheekbones and a softly beautiful mouth, wearing designer women’s clothes."
Steady on, Richard!

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Exciting Newsflash! Hunx And His Punx

You can pre-order Hunx And His Punx debut studio album, Too Young To Be In Love, here - if you're in the UK together with post and packaging it works out at less than a tenner.*
A bona bargain if you haven't got plenty handbag, I'm sure you'll agree.
That link also has an MP3 of the title track - on this basis alone Fagburn is convinced this will be the greatest album of 2011, if not all-time.
Hunx & His Punx were New [sic] Band Of The Day on Guardian Music last Friday.
Unbelievably Fagburn thinks this was Hunx first real coverage in the UK press proper.
It was quite an enthusiastic piece in a "Girl Group Garage band gay Ramones as directed by John Waters blah blah blah" kinda way.
It is a pretty handy shorthand description, admittedly, and hopefully the new album will see Hunx And His Punx getting the coverage they deserve and Fagburn will get sick to his skinny bones of reading variations on it.

* Unfortunately you can only pay by PayPal - who've just frozen the account for Courage To Resist who are raising money for the Bradley Manning Defense Fund...
Update: After much protest, Paypal reversed their decision hours later.

• This is not advertorial. Hell no!
Although if Hunx would like to thank Fagburn for this great kindness with sexual favours involving his "top 10 penis", then so be it.

Update: Hunx And His Punx are interviewed in the new GT - and they get a shout on the front cover. Great stuff!!

Justin Bieber: Haircutgate

As someone who likes to comment on pressing issues of the day, can I just say I think Justin's new haircut looks adorable.
That's my two cents.
Thank you.

Christian Nutter Watch: God Hates Skiing

"The God who onced nuked Sodom has every right to be offended. Is it a surprise that He hit the island with its biggest earthquakes ever - on the morning the perverts began their "Gay Ski Week". The "buglies" (butch uglies) and the poofs, will claim it is just a co-incidence - but, despite their shrieking and bullying, they can't PROVE it was only a co-incidence...
"THE SEPTEMBER QUAKE AND THE AFTERSHOCKS WERE WARNINGS - PIKE RIVER WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE JUDGEMENT -- AND THEN CAME FEB 22ND 2011"

From the website Christchurch Earthquake - A Warning Not A Judgement.
I'm sure you'll agree it's certainly something to think about.
Though Fagburn suspects that Christian fundamentalists now almost knee-jerk blaming great human tragedies and natural disasters on The Gays - from 9/11 to Hurricane Katrina - has more to do with how they know it will garner an incredible amount of incredulous publicity; the political economy of bigotry.
I think any rational human being - never mind any friends or relatives of one of the hundreds of people reported dead or missing - would think they and their genocidal god sound like psychotic nutcases.
You do wonder if websites like this are just a bigot-mocking joke.
[Edit: The more I think about this, the more I think it's a joke...}

• On February 22nd Gaynz.com reported; "Glbt venue owners around the country are expressing sympathy for the owners and staff of Christchurch's devastated venues, which one terms 'the heart of Christchurch's glbt communities.'
"Cruz nightclub has been crushed and is 'closed for good' according to reliable sources quoting co-owner Bruce Williamson."
Gaynz.com later added an Editor's Note; "In an emotional series of emails and postings email Bruce Williamson of Cruz has today strongly refuted the comments sourced to him in the above story and says he is in fact looking to the future and how the venue might be prepared for re-opening."
Oops!

The King's Speech: If These Walls Could Talk They'd Moan

A story that some of the scenes in The King's Speech - sorry, "Oscar front-runner The King's Speech..." - were filmed in the same London building as a gay porn film has gone viral and global.
The story was broken by gay smut site, QueerClick, yesterday.
Today you can read all about it everywhere from Guardian Film to something called CarRentals.co.uk ("The Car Hire Comparisons Search Engine").
Though the journalist for CarRentals.co.uk may have been moonlighting from Psychic News; "When people think of the Academy Award winning movie The King’s Speech, most people do not think of gay porn..."
I guess it must be a delight in the incongruities that's made this such a popular story - posh and porno, king and queens, high versus low, middle-brow meets gutter.
And the fact that few words in English are guaranteed to drive more traffic to your website than "gay" and "porn" is of course a massive boner bonus.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Perry Moore: 1971-2011

"My whole mission was what you got from the X-Men, where anyone could relate — black, white, young, old, gay, straight — if you’re alienated in any way, you could relate to the X-Men. But then they were also empowered by their differences … I wanted to teach people that what makes you unique is actually very special and that very thing that may make you feel alienated, if you’re willing to embrace it, can become the most empowering thing in your life."

Perry Moore, Hero author, film producer.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Westboro Baptist Church: God Loves Anarchists

Crazed anarchist hacktavists Anonymous take on the Westboro Baptist Church - or do they?Fagburn agrees with many US gay activists and campaigners that it's probably best to ignore the attention-seeking Westboro Baptist Church.
So I'm not sure why I've blogged this.

Update: Anonymous activisits hacked into the WBC God Hates Fags website on Thursday 24th and defaced it - WBC have now taken all its sites off-line. Tee hee-hee...

Norman Tebbit: The Last Roar Of The Dinosaur

"I still do not know where, apart from to a Big Society gay wedding in Westminster Abbey, the Prime Minister really wants to go. Surely he does not need a pollster to tell him."

Norman Tebbit, blogging for The Daily Telegraph.
Un/fortunately that's all he says about The Gays.
Fagburn can't make head nor tail of the rest of it but trusts Lord Tebbit of Arsehole had a very good lunch.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Newsflash!: Corrie To Screen Gay Wedding On Day Prince William and Kate Middleton Marry

Corrie to screen gay wedding on day Prince William and Kate Middleton marry
"CORONATION Street will screen its first gay wedding the day Prince William and Kate Middleton marry.
"The Street’s Sean Tully and Marcus Dent are due to tie the knot on April 29 in an hour-long spoiler to rival ­EastEnders’ marriage of Phil Mitchell to Shirley Carte."
Amazing!
I don't watch the tellybox, but I guess this is quite important.

Poll: 18% Of People Still Cunts Shock

"41% of people would support gay marriage, 30% the status quo and 18% oppose both gay marriage and civil partnerships. People are evenly split on whether civil partnerships should be allowed in places of worship."


A new poll in The Times today
.
A much quoted Populous Poll in The Times in 2009 said "61 per cent of the public want gay couples to be able to marry just like the rest of the population, not just have civil partnerships."
Fagburn presumes it all boils down to how you phrase the question.
Damned statistics...

The Sun: "I Was Raoul Moat's Secret Gay Lover"

"CRAZED Raoul Moat was cheating on his girlfriend with a MAN before he shot her and murdered her new lover, The Sun can reveal.
The cop-hating gun maniac - who also blinded PC David Rathband - was terrified his reputation as a hardman would be wrecked if fellow bouncers ever rumbled the fling.
"His secret boyfriend Carl Redford, 34, last night finally broke his silence about their FOUR-YEAR affair, saying: "Raoul had a certain image - and being gay didn't fit with that. He found me attractive and I was flattered. We satisfied each other."

You couldn't make it up.
Fagburn would like to ask Raoul to verify this story in the ever reliable Sun, but unfortunately he is dead - legend!!! etc

SaboTaj: Brighton Pride

As you may be aware, Sainsbury’s have applied to the council for permission to open a new supermarket on the site of the old Taj shop on St James street.
We have seen that there is a widespread opposition to this in the local community.
Another supermarket owned by a big corporation will put even more pressure on the local independent businesses in these already harsh economic times. After all, Taj itself closed down because of the recession.
As our city and our lives become increasingly commercialised in the wake of all of this, the last thing we need is another clone supermarket muscling in on what was once a unique and independent local street.
So we have decided to take direct action to try and stop these plans going ahead by occupying the building to make it available for free to everyone. This was a tactic that successfully managed to prevent a Tesco being built on Lewes Road last year and it can work again with enough support.
By occupying the building, we are reclaiming a private commercial space as a community one. Somewhere where we can find one another, make it our own, use it, and even organise collectively against cuts and corporatisation and for our communities.
By coming down to the building, signing our petition, lending a hand or creative input, and showing your support in other ways, you will be helping to demonstrate in a practical way that economic crisis is not an excuse for corporate takeover of our city.
So please feel very welcome to come down to the old Taj shop, talk to the people there and get involved in creating this as an open community space!

In Solidarity

The Taj Occupiers

That's the official statement from Indymedia.
Obviously Fagburn thinks SaboTaj are wonderful - you make me proud to live in Brighton.
In solidarity etc etc.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Velvet Rage: We Hate Ourselves And We Want To Die

There's an interesting piece in The Observer today by Paul Flynn and Matthew Todd.
A sub at The Observer has done it a disservice by giving it the cliched and inappropriate headline; 'Pride and Prejudice For Gay Men'.
It's about a book by Alan Down called The Velvet Rage: Overcoming the Pain of Growing Up Gay in a Straight Man's World.
Apparently, this book; "...is becoming a touchstone in gay culture just as Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin was in the 30s, Edmund White's A Boy's Own Story in the 60s [Eh? It was published in 1982 - Fagburn] and Larry Kramer's Faggots in the 70s. But The Velvet Rage is not fiction..."
Fagburn thinks that over-hype is a fiction, but go on...
"It addresses the myth of gay pride and, after three decades of post-Aids concentration on gay men's physical health, turns inward to their mental wellbeing."
Which is hardly novel.
"Its snappy title is slipping, sometimes ironically, into the gay lexicon. Man orders fifth pint at the bar: "It's OK, it's just my velvet rage." Boyfriend finds partner trawling through the thousands of profiles on sex-on-demand website Gaydar: "But it's my velvet rage."
Umm, no, now you're just making stuff up.
"Downs coined the phrase to refer to a very specific anger he encountered in his gay patients – whether it was manifested in drug abuse, promiscuity or alcoholism – and whose roots, the book argues, are found in childhood shame and parental rejection. "Velvet rage is the deep and abiding anger that results from growing up in an environment when I learn that who I am as a gay person is unacceptable, perhaps even unlovable," he explains. "This anger pushes me at times to overcompensate and try to earn love and acceptance by being more, better, beautiful, more sexy – in short, to become something I believe will make me more acceptable and loved."
Hmmm...
Fagburn often wishes he was better, more beautiful, more sexy, acceptable and loved - who doesn't?
And I agree I do have a very specific anger that I like to blame on my childhood, and Daddy not loving me and all that.
And I know i'm unlovable.
So what's new?
40 years on, Fagburn thinks these lines from The Boys In The Band still ring painfully true;
"Show me a happy homosexual and I'll show you a gay corpse."
"If only we could just not hate ourselves quite so very much…”
I really don't think we've moved on that much, so I agree with the book's general premise; their point, I guess, is that this has endured.
But again, none of this is new; show me a gay magazine from the last 20 or 40 years that doesn't have an article about gay misery, our unjoy.
It's a lie and a stupid cliche to pretend that the gay press - for all its faults - is "happy-clappy".
Trusting Paul Flynn and Matthew Todd's judgment - I admire them both - I have ordered the book from Amazon.
As it is a self-help book, it will probably end up in a pile with all the other self-help books, near all the ones promising that I can; 'Learn Spanish The Easy Way'.
I still can't count up to five.

Sunday: It's "Bring Your Gay Teen To Church Day"!

Ebie Hussey's first reaction when her son announced that he is gay was to offer unconditional love.
Finding a new church was a close second.
"His first question was, 'Am I going to hell?' " Hussey said of that conversation with her son, Jaxn. "Mainstream Christianity and fundamental Christianity really pushes that homosexuality is a sin, and he had caught on to that."
Jaxn, now 15, knew his parents didn't think that. "But I had always heard people saying that kind of thing," he said.
In an effort to counter the message, almost two dozen Houston-area churches have designated Sunday as Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day.
"We think it's important for families to know there's a safe place to go to worship," said Jim Bankston, senior minister at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. "Families who have gay members want to make sure they feel welcome in church and aren't bashed in any way."
Joanna Crawford, a seminary student at the Houston Graduate School of Theology, said the idea came up after the suicide last fall of Asher Brown, a Cypress-area eighth-grader who killed himself after what his parents said were years of bullying and taunts that he was gay...

'Open Doors Await Them', Jeannie Kever, Houston Chronicle, Texas.
Don't you think your gay teen's fucked up enough by all your superstitious irrational medieval tomfoolery?
Just sayin'.

Edit: It's a nice idea.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

The Sun: Trans Is The New Gay

Fagburn keeps saying this but transphobia now occupies the same place in The Sun and the other tabloids' demonology that homophobia used to.
If someone is trans it's a news story in itself.
And being trans is always either funny or frightening.
Here I guess it's meant to be both.
And that's called sad.

Thought For The Day: Beyond Gay Marriage

Brian Bassinger, executive director of the San Francisco AIDS Housing Coalition, which works with homeless and low-income people with AIDS, claims that "the gay marriage movement took the air out of the AIDS movement, as well as the funding. While we as a community were fighting for gay marriage, the governor decimated the state's Office of AIDS."
When Bassinger heard that $43 million was spent on Proposition 8, which he feels was "such a narrow agenda for such a small part of the population," he was livid because "at the same time, they were cutting $85 million in HIV/AIDS care in the state of California. They eliminated funding for housing, including residential care facilities for the chronically ill." But the response in the LGBT community was negligible.
Bassinger and his partner are both HIV positive and on disability funding. If they were to get married they would lose their SSI and SSDI benefits. And his situation is not uncommon.
"The majority of people with HIV and AIDS in San Francisco are living in extreme poverty," says Bassinger. "There's this mythology that gay men are wealthy. The reality is that gay men living in poverty are twice the national average. We are poor. And poor people see marriage equality as a middle class and upper class issue."

From Beyond Gay Marriage by Lisa Dettmer in Z Magazine via ZNet.
Read the US Williams Institute study 'Poverty In The Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Community' by Randy Albelda, Lee Badgett et al - a PDF is here.

• Image by Homocult.

Friday, 18 February 2011

"Gay Free Zone" Posters In London: Is EDL Behind Them?

Being a thoroughly modern kinda guy I was chatting to people on Facebook last night.
A friend had posted about some anti-gay posters that have appeared in Hoxton, near the gay pub The George & Dragon;
"Loads of these posters have been seen around London. Who is behind them?"
There's been a lot of chatter about these "Gay Free Zone" posters this week.
They were first noted by blogger, Trial By Jeory, Extremists declare Tower Hamlets “gay free zone”, on February 2nd. A friend of his had seen some stickers [both posters and stickers have appeared] in Spitalfields, in East London.
On Thursday, The Daily Star picked up the story.
They're not usually known for getting angry about homophobia - but boy do they love any excuse to demonise Muslims.
FURY AS ISLAM FANATICS DECLARE GAY-FREE ZONE
"MUSLIM extremists have declared a “Gay Free Zone” by launching a hate campaign at homosexuals.
"They have plastered an inner-city area with posters warning gays they will be “severely punished” by Allah.
"Angry locals in Tower Hamlets, east London, say the messages have been placed near schools and are aimed at children.
"One resident, who helped take down 20 posters, said: “They are an incitement to violence, an incitement to kill gay people.
“To put them opposite a school is shocking. There were also kids in a playground in the park where I found one. It’s a campaign of hate.”
Hmmm...
On Monday, the great Charlie Brooker devoted his column in The Guardian to a much praised attack on The Daily Star, and its rampant Islamophobia;
'Q: When does a tabloid become crude propaganda? A: When it starts printing it'
"...the Daily Star is either grossly irresponsible in its sloppy representation of the facts, or engaging in overt anti-Muslim propaganda.
"Who can blame a reader who, after reading such a skewed version of events, is gripped with anti- Muslim fervour?
"On the same page was a phone poll: DO YOU AGREE WITH THE EDL POLICIES? 98% of the respondents did. If I read the Star every day, and believed it, I'd join the EDL too."
Do you know my first thought when I heard about the anti-gay stickers? It's what I posted on Facebook last night;
"I think it's probably the English Defence League doing this, in all seriousness."
My friend replied; "Yeah, i agree that this may not be what it first appears. I made that point a few days ago and think it's really important to establish who's behind it. Quite easily a far-right tactic to create tensions."
Several people commented that they had suspected the same thing.
The EDL is often banging on about homophobia and Islam - and appear keen to attract gay supporters; they even claimed in December to have dis-invited Koran-burning Pastor Terry Jones to adddress a rally, in part because of his homophobia.
Of course, there is a strong homophobic current among Islamists.
Last month five Muslim men were arrested in Derby for distributing a leaflet that called for the execution of gay men.
So we shouldn't be surprised if some hate-filled Islamic fuckwits have been plastering east London with these posters.
But equally I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out the EDL were behind it.
Here's how Charlie Brooker concluded his column on Monday;
"I believe this is a wonderful country. All of it. The people are inherently decent and fair-minded. All of them. We should resist crude attempts at division, wherever they come from. Because we deserve better. All of us."

Justin Bieber: Do What Thou Wilt

Some know-nothing jerks are leaping up and down and waving their knickers in the air because Justin Bieber has said something cute but clumsy when he was asked what he thought about The Gays in his first big interview with Rolling Stone.
“It’s everyone’s own decision to do that. It doesn’t affect me and shouldn’t affect anyone else.”
The kid is 16 and was brought-up by a slightly loopy born-again Christian mum.
That's a pretty good call considering - Justin is just saying; "They should do what they want - it's fine by me".
Fagburn thinks anyone who picks holes in that answer is just a stuck-up asshole.
Leave Justin alone!

• You may have guessed there's fuck all else happening today. Fagburn is thinking about going to see Justin's movie, Never Say Never in 3FUCKINGD! , but I'm worried I'll look like some kind of pervert.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

GT: Talent Shows

This month's AXM GT has got an interview with some gormless straight men who were in the TV talent show, The X Factor, but didn't win.
It's why the gay press was invented!

Pink Polly Filler - ¡Ya Basta!

Two stories in the British broadsheets caught Fagburn's jaundiced eye today.

'Mexican brewery unveils first gay beer' - The Daily Telegraph
"A small Mexican brewery has produced what it claims is the world's first beer specifically targeted at the homosexual community..."

'Latin America's first gay cruise set for December' - The Independent
"Latin America's first official gay cruise will leave the port of Buenos Aires for two cities in Uruguay, one of the organizers said Tuesday..."

Fagburn wonders what on Jupiter was going through the news editors' heads when they decide to run with these non-stories?
A gay beer?
A gay cruise!
On another continent.
In what possible way are either of these news-worthy, or of interest to any of the readers of The Daily Telegraph or The Independent?
Even the ones who are gay and live in Latin America and have whatever the Spanish is for "mug" written across their foreheads?
Is there anyone in the entire world who gives a flying fuck about either of these "stories"?
I'm serious - try and find me one.
FFS!
What were they thinking?
The mind positively boggles!

Update: On Thursday 24th The Independent ran the Mexican gay beer non-story, too. I despair!

Civil Partnerships: Knight-Knight

When religious civil partnership registrations are finally introduced there will still remain one right that married couples have that civil partners are denied.
The civil partners of male peers or knights do not receive a courtesy title to which the wife of a peer or knight is entitled.
One presumes this holds true for monarchs too; and a queen would not be Queen.
But what would the male partner of a knight be called?
Or the "husband" of a big gay Lord?
May Fagburn most humbly suggest... Ladyboy.

Gay Marriage: The Next Step

Here's the Government Equalities Office statement/press release, so you can see what they've actually said.
In fine:

"As part of its commitment to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB and T) people, the government will today announce that religious buildings will be allowed to host civil partnership registrations...
"Ministers have also identified a desire to move towards equal civil marriage and partnerships, and will be consulting further how legislation can develop, working with all those who have an interest in the area."

Fagburn was right, as per, but even an old cynic/sceptic like me has to say the wording is more hopeful than I feared.
I haven't the foggiest what they need to "consult" anyone about though*, if you want to introduce gay marriage then just do it.
And as before, there is far less resistance to same-sex marriage than there is (was?) to allowing religious CP registrations, so the only thing that's really standing in the government's way is the threat of causing a schism in the Conservative Party by alienating the dinosaurs of the Tory hard Right, which would threaten an already very shaky coalition.
I really hope we get marriage equality soon - mainly so I don't have to look at any more articles about gay marriage illustrated with two sodding little groom figurines on top of a wedding cake.
More later...

* In a statement, Stonewall's Ben Summerskill wonders aloud; "If there’s a genuine commitment to making progress in this area, it is painfully slow. Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone has explicitly said she would consult on proposals the government intends to implement in the lifetime of this parliament. If that is to happen by 2015, then consultation should begin now."
Stonewall criticising the government for being "painfully slow" on gay marriage? How painfully ironic!
Update: Peter Tatchell issued a statement on Friday; 'Gay marriage delay "unnecessary and disappointing" - Consultation not needed, public support marriage equality now'. I've posted it in full in the comments section.

** The Daily Mail's spin on this story today; 'Christian backlash after gay couples given right to 'get married' in churches' Snore!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Newsflash! Churches Yes! Gay Marriage No!

The Equalities Office will announce at midnight a lift on the ban on holding civil partnerships in religious buildings, and that the government have no plans to legalise gay marriages, but will look at the case for it.

Just as Fagburn has predicted in

Gay Marriage: Waiting At The Church (Monday February 14th) and

Gay Marriages: Promises Promises
(Sunday, February 13th)

I think this is a WORLD EXCLUSIVE!!! by the way...

UPDATE: It was!!!

ABBA: No, Thank You!

"Now, I have to say something while I am standing here - looking like this.
"In the 80s ABBA were distinctly 'uncool', totally out of fashion.
"And I thought 'Well, that's it! It was fun while it lasted, but now it's over.'
"But for some strange reason we still remained popular on the gay scene.
"And - maybe it sounds like I'm sucking up, but I don't care - when we got a revival in the late 80s, early 90s, I'm sure it's because we had stayed popular on the gay scene - that was the most important factor.
"I will never get a better opportunity to show my gratitude - our gratitude; mine, Benny's, Frida's and Agnetha's.
"Thank you, you kind people."

The wondrous Björn Ulvaeus at last night's QX Gay Gala 2011 Awards in Stockholm, Sweden.
Translation Fagburn's own - tack så mycket.
Björn was presenting the main award - Årets Homo [Best Homo/Gay Person Of The Year] - to photographer Elisabeth Ohlson-Wallin. She did those photos with Jesus in the nip.
Anni-Frid Lyngstad appears in today's BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play, Like An Angel Passing Through My Room, alongside its author, Christopher Green (AKA Tina C), about growing up as a gay boy obsessed with ABBA... [Edit: Listening now, it's lovely].
And finally, I think I invented this: Man walks into a bar. He says; "I'm sorry Björn, Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid, I didn't see you there..."

Ann Widdecombe: Oh Do Shut Up!

'Ministers Cave In To Political Correctness'
"...Homosexual rights already trump those of religious conscience and now apparently prevail even over truthful academic analysis.
"This intolerant minority of homosexuals must be squashed and the people to administer that much-needed lesson – in the absence of a Government with any moral backbone – is the sensible majority who are embarrassed by the antics of their fellow homosexuals."

Ann Widdecombe, former Conservative politician, in her column in The Daily Express today.

"I start with history for three reasons. The first is that while some argue that gay rights has been an onrushing tide, brooking little opposition, insisting that “we” bow to political correctness dictated by “them”, the truth is that progress has been very slow; that decades have passed between the recognition of injustice and its correction.
The second is that the history of the suffering of gay people — of jailing, of police intimidation, of discrimination, of street violence against them — and the story of the long and difficult struggle for gay rights illustrates that this is for us in this country the great civil rights cause of our lifetime.
And finally, I start with history because I fear that it shows that the role of Conservatives in advancing this civil rights cause has not been glorious..."

Daniel Finkelstein, former Conservative politician, in his column in The Times today.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Melanie Phillips: Petty Hate Machine

Melanie Phillips has gone predictably batshit this week; 'Pinch yourself! A Tory Prime Minister is upholding the idea that traditional morality is bigotry'
Eh?
"On countless occasions, David Cameron has declared that he is a tremendous fan of the institution of marriage. So big a fan, it now becomes clear, that he generously intends to bestow its status and privileges far beyond what most people consider marriage actually to be..."
The best bit?
"If still in doubt, try this thought experiment. Imagine the Government was planning to recognise polygamy and polyandry (marriage with more than one woman or man), or marriage between ‘zoophiles’ (people who have ‘loving and committed relationships with mammals’, or bestiality to you and me) and their, er, partners.
"If you think this is merely grotesque satire, you would be sadly out of date. There are now campaigns in North America to recognise the ‘equal rights’ of such people and end ‘discrimination’ against them.
"If ‘marriage’ were extended to such groups, people would rightly conclude the institution was being turned into a meaningless joke. Yet the argument — that people with different sexual lifestyles must be treated identically — is exactly the same. (And no, before the hate mail starts, I’m not suggesting gays are on a moral par with zoophiles.)"
It's strange, I've seen some gay media going predictably batshit over this column - both were by journalists who are about as radical as a wobbly pink blancmange.
Maybe they were excited about finding someone who it's okay to get angry about?
I'm not sure anymore if it's even worth commenting on or critiquing this confused, cliche-ridden and increasingly incoherent attention-seeking petty hate machine.
But please do carry on sending her hate mail.

Update: The Guardian's Michael White writes online; 'Same-sex marriage cannot be the same as heterosexual marriage'
It's a very strange piece - I can't quite figure out what his argument is.
Only straight people should be allowed to marry because marriage is about reproduction?
Eh?
But then I've never been able to figure out if Michael White is gay or not - on TV he comes across as a rather dapper old queen.
The two things may be connected - and the problem may stem from Mr White being rather mealy-mouthed here.

Glee: Straight Acting Gay (Not Bi)

"Blaine is NOT bi. He is gay, and will always be gay. I think it's very important to young kids that they know this character is one of them."

Glee creator Ryan Murphy, in a short statement sent to Perez Hilton.
Murphy was responding to a blind item on Hilton's blog suggesting Blaine would become bisexual - which went viral over the weekend.
Perez Hilton was presumably reading a little too much into a comment made by Ryan Murphy in a profile of actor Darren Criss in the latest issue of Out magazine.

"It’s my job as showrunner to keep them apart as long as possible," says Ryan Murphy. "Blaine will openly question whether bisexuality is real. I think that some people will love that discussion and some will not love it."
He’s even coy about whether they’ll get together at all. "When that moment comes - if it comes, says Murphy, "I want to treat that relationship like we treat all the other relationships on the show. I want it to be as flawed and as exposed as everyone else’s."


The delicious Mr Criss took a well-earned break from looking sultry and sweaty in Out's fashion photoshoot to add to the current debate about gay acting straight and vice versa;
"I think it’s more empowering to everybody, including myself, if I’m articulate about identifying myself as a straight male playing a gay character. Ultimately, that’s more powerful for both communities."

SNP & Brian Souter: Back Of The Bus Politics

“Brian Souter is one of the outstanding entrepreneurs of his generation with a passionate belief in Scotland. This offer to match every small donation the SNP receives up to £500,000 will power our fundraising for this campaign, and double the impact of every penny put toward re-electing an SNP Government.”
Alex Salmond, SNP leader.

“The last time the SNP accepted his [Mr Souter’s] millions, they scrapped plans to help bus passengers at the expense of companies like his. The SNP must now explain why they dropped their bus policy days after getting this donation in 2007, and what they have promised now.”
John Park, Labour MSP.

“The message this sends out is that the SNP is for sale to the highest bidder, and it is no surprise that the same day they unveiled this donation they’re also on the record opposing equal marriage. Last time he gave them this much money, a long-standing commitment to improve bus services mysteriously disappeared from the SNP manifesto. I wonder what he wants this time.”
Patrick Harvie, Green MSP.

All quoted in The Times.

In 2000 Brian Souter, multi-millionaire founder and owner of the Stagecoach bus company, spent £1 million bankrolling Keep The Clause, a campaign to stop the repeal of Section 28 in Scotland.
He lost - there's an interesting retrospective on the Keep The Clause campaign from Scotland On Sunday here.
Last June, Stagecoach announced annual profits had dropped - to £130 million.

Thought For The Day: Richard Littlejohn

"As an early and consistent champion of civil partnerships, I can’t get too excited about the announcement that gay and lesbian couples will soon be able to get hitched in church.
"I would, however, have thought that it was a matter for the church, not the Government.
"Meanwhile, in a reaction to the story about the boarding house which turned away a gay couple, a hotelier in Hampshire has put up a sign reading: ‘Poofters welcome here!
"This was sufficient to stir parish councillors into a fit of righteous indignation, claiming that the sign was offensive.
"To whom, I wonder? [Poofters - Fagburn]
"When I lived in trendy Crouch End, North London (before my name came up on the escape committee), there was a gay bar opposite my local which used to advertise ‘Bona Bevvies’ — in deference to Julian and Sandy from Round The Horne.
"It always raised a smile. No one took offence.
"But Mike Sacqui, of the Penny Farthing, in Lyndhurst, also received a visit from the police over his harmless notice.
"Sometimes words fail even me. There’s no limit, is there?
"Now that civil partnerships are being sanctioned in places of worship, how long before some church puts up a poster advertising: ‘Poofters welcome here!’"

Richard Littlejohn, in The Daily Mail.
You couldn't make it up etc etc.
If only words would fail you, Richard...

• The Lyndhurst hotelier claimed his "Poofters welcome here!" sign was an ironic, Little Britain-inspired, pro-gay comment on the Christian hoteliers who were fined for refusing a double room to a gay couple.
And, yes, that's the actual illustration to Richard Littlejohn's column in today's Mail.

Monday, 14 February 2011

TES: "If You Are Gay You Are Just Bad"

This week's Times Educational Supplement Magazine looks at homophobia in schools.
Timely.
Or do I mean; "About bloody time!"?
"While British society as a whole may have become less prejudiced in its attitude to gay people, schools remain a stronghold of homophobia. Pupils are the perpetrators, but are teachers to blame for turning a blind eye?"
Lead article; 'If You Are Gay You Are Just Bad'
TES Connect online also features links to a Guide For Gay Rights In Schools, Homophobic Bullying Resources, and an archive of a few related articles.

• Thanks to David H for the tip-off.

Gay Marriage: Waiting At The Church

At the risk of Fagburn repeating himself...
So far, this is all the Home Office are on record as saying about the possibility of gay marriage being introduced in the UK;
"The Government is currently considering what the next stage should be for civil partnerships, including how some religious organisations can allow same-sex couples to register their relationship in a religious setting if they wish to do so.
"Ministers have met a range of people and organisations to hear their views on this issue. An announcement will be made in due course."
That announcement is expected this week or next.
However, like yesterday's Sunday Times - who may know something we don't - some have already decided to break out the champagne.
And all on the back of one single quote in The Sunday Times from an anonymous Whitehall source.
Here's that quote again in full;
“This is not just about gay rights but about religious freedom. Quakers and liberal Judaism want to do this. Attitudes have changed to gay marriage. We are going to look at what legislative steps we could begin to make gay marriage possible.”
Fagburn wonders if this quote just shows a more general semantic confusion over this issue; using "marriage" in an informal sense when you technically mean "civil partnerships" - as did many papers yesterday and today.
Was the Whitehall source talking about making registering civil partnerships in churches possible?
It's quite possible - that is what the first two sentences in the quote clearly refer to, sometimes in inverted commas, sometimes not.
Whatever, a leader in today's Independent was already celebrating; A welcome blow against discrimination
"Less than 50 years ago, homosexuality was illegal in Britain. The last half-century has seen a revolution in social attitudes since a pioneering Labour home secretary, Roy Jenkins, pushed through the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the Sexual Offences Act in 1967. This week, the Coalition's equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone, is expected to knock away another pillar in the ancient and unlovely edifice of institutionalised prejudice by announcing legal changes enabling gay men and lesbians to marry."
But have they though?
The Independent notes;
"Much attention around the expected change to the law will concentrate on whether the churches will now have to allow gay marriages to take place in their places of worship. Certainly, it will be interesting to see how the Church of England, which remains bitterly divided over the ordination of gay priests, responds."
This is interesting - and it could prove instructive.
That allowing civil partnerships or gay marriages in places of worship is the controversial issue now - not that of allowing gay marriages.
On BBC TV's The One Show yesterday, Andrew Marr asked Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop Of York, for his thoughts.
"...I, who believes in a liberal democracy and actually want equality with everybody, cannot say the Quakers shouldn't do it. Nor do I want somebody to tell me but the Church of England must do it, but the Roman Catholic Church must do it because actually that's not what equality is about. You mustn't have rights that trump other rights." [Transcript]
Like other papers today, The Daily Telegraph picked up on this; Sentamu: Don't force churches to conduct gay weddings "Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and the second most powerful cleric in the Church of England, has warned against forcing vicars to conduct same-sex civil partnerships as the Coalition prepares to grant full marriage rights to homosexual couples."
We're still none the wiser what this really means - allowing partnership ceremonies to be conducted in religious buildings is the last real "right" straight couples have that's denied to same-sex couples.
It would make civil partnership equivalent to marriage, but allowing gay couples to marry is another thing entirely.
The Daily Telegraph later clarifies;
"As The Daily Telegraph reported in December, the Coalition is also considering extending homosexual rights to allow full “marriage” for same-sex couples." [Emphasis added]
Let's step back in time and look at that then.
Coalition ministers consider gay marriage plans Daily Telegraph, December 24th 2010.
"Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat Equalities Minister, is expected to announce that same-sex civil partnership ceremonies will be allowed in churches and other religious settings for the first time.
"The move, likely to come early next year, could be a prelude to overhauling the law on marriage itself, which currently applies only to the union of a man and a woman."
And if you still need clarrification, later in the same article this is spelt out again;
"A spokesman for the Government Equalities Office said the coalition had no “plans” to change marriage law but a Government source said potential reforms were “being discussed”."
I hate to say this, but that's what Fagburn was arguing yesterday.
There's no evidence of "plans" for gay marriage, only that it will be discussed - and the Tories have been saying as much for months.
I'd be more than happy if they proved me wrong on this one, though.

Headline Of The Week: Jealous Guys

Cannabis And Porn, But No Blow-up Sex Dolls In Case Of Jealousy: The remarkable inside story of the Chilean miners trapped underground for nine fraught weeks

Of the dolls?
From today's Daily Mail.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Know Your Enemy 3: Ann Coulter

"I was GOProud's
first speaker.* I talked them into dropping the gay marriange plank. But it's extremely important - the liberals keep destroying us in groups, destroying the family. They have destroyed the black family. Now it's the gays. It has nothing to do with them [the liberals] liking gays - they like to pal around with their muslim friends - it's all about a cat's paw to destroy the family. Because if you destroy the family, then you have loyalty directly to the state!
"I am as born again, evangelical christian as it comes. And I'm a friend of the gays! Why do people act like they are without sin, like they don't participate in pre-marital sex or don't tithe to churches, but then they attack the gays. But they also don't then go and attend CPAC with a group called 'republicans against tithing' or 'republicans for pre-marital sex'. For now, I'd just like gays to be part of conservatives, just like blacks and women are, without having a special designation.
"There is plenty to being gay that is apart from the sodomy. Gays without the sodomy... There is a lot for us to get along about, music, books, sometimes we like the same men... haha. I can't tell you that I'm without sin, none of us are. The left is trying to co-opt gays and we shouldn't let them. Gays are natural conservatives."

Ann Coulter, US conservative contraversialist polemicist and poster girl of right-wing "free-thinking" fruitloops.
Coulter was speaking during a Q&A at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
I know it's wrong to, but Fagburn has always quite liked the rumour than Ann Coulter is trans.

* GoProud is a group of American gay conservatives. They split from Log Cabin Republicans who they thought had become "too centrist". Be afraid...

No Homo: Dear BBC...

Dear BBC,

Throughout today on BBC Radio 4 News - in the items about civil partnerships and same-sex marriage - you have used the word homosexual or homosexuals.
Why doesn't someone in the BBC newsroom ask some of their colleagues or friends who are lesbian or gay how they feel about being called "homosexual"?
It is at best outdated, at worst highly offensive.
Of the British newspapers only the Daily Telegraph still regularly uses it as the preferred term for lesbians and gay men.
When did you last hear "homosexual" being used by anyone in conversation?

yours

Fagburn

I've complained to the BBC about this before, and got nowhere - I think I may be on some BBC list; "Serial complainer, nutter..."
I'll let you know how I get on this time...