On the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act, which is this Thursday, 27 July, I am asking you to consider making a public apology on behalf of the whole nation to all men who were convicted under discriminatory, anti-gay laws, both before and after 1967, and to announce that those still alive will be given compensation for their terrible suffering.
Looking back over the last five decades, Pride has grown from a march with less than a thousand people to a march, rally and festival attended by hundreds of thousands of revellers. But the battle for equality isn't over yet. Our rights must continue. Let's have a fabulous, fun Pride but let's also send out a political message: We want full freedom, justice and equality!
I turn 65 on Wednesday. This year I celebrate 50 years of human rights activism. Retirement hasn't entered my head. There is still so much to do. The brain and eye damage from bashings by Mugabe's thugs and Moscow neo-Nazis is minor and doesn't stop me. I carry on. My plan is to keep going for another 30 years.
I first met George about 1980 when he was still a teenager and before he was famous. It was a chance meeting in a small gay disco above a pub by Manor House tube station in north London. He was a great dancer and sang along to songs. He had a good voice and said he was going to be a pop star.
Northern Ireland is the most homophobic region of the UK and one of the most homophobic regions of the EU. This intolerance is stirred primarily by the dominant Democratic Unionist Party, the main political wing of Loyalist protestantism. Its policies on gay issues echo the homophobia of the BNP and European fascist groups. Many Northern Irish people are not homophobic. Even within the DUP, there are members who would not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. But senior party figures hold sway and they dictate an anti-gay agenda.
The Equal Love campaign has formally ceased its 2011 application to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which sought to secure equality in UK civil marriage and civil partnership law. This follows the decision of the European Court that the application is "inadmissible" and subsequent fruitless attempts by campaigners to challenge the ruling. This is the end of the road for our application. We can take it no further. Sincere thanks to the eight couples involved and to all our supporters who stood with us for four years.
Speaker after speaker last Saturday warned of an Islamist agenda of stealthy, creeping, subtle Sharification. This involves sustained attempts by Islamists to pressure public institutions, in the name of religious freedom and multiculturalism, to make special allowances for their reactionary sectarian clerical values.
"We must exterminate these people (homosexuals) root and branch... We can't permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be entirely eliminated." With these chilling words, the head of the SS, Heinrich Himmler, set out the Nazi master plan for the sexual cleansing of the Aryan race. From 1933-1945, an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 men were arrested under paragraph 175 for the crime of homosexuality. Some were tried and sentenced in the courts; others were sent direct to concentration camps without any trial or formal sentence. The death rate of gay prisoners in the camps was over 50%, the highest among non-Jewish victims.
70,000 people are languishing in a form of legal limbo in England, Wales and Northern Ireland - neither charged nor free. More than 5,000 of these people have been on police bail for more than six months. Indeed, some entirely innocent people have been left on pre-charge bail for years before their cases have been dropped or thrown out of court.
The current ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood within 12 months of them last having sex is medically unjustified discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is premised on a generalisation about men who have sex with men.The government should cut the basic exclusion period to three months, dependent on the risk factors associated with each individual donor. These risk factors include not only HIV but also other sexually-transmitted infections (STIs).
Protecting the blood supply is the number one priority but ensuring blood safety does not require a rule that no gay or bisexual man can donate blood for a year since his last same-sex experience.
To save lives and protect human rights, the genocidal fundamentalists of ISIS must be stopped. But not by the West and not for the reasons often advanced by David Cameron and Barack Obama... The truth is that if the US and UK are serious about fighting ISIS they should start by aiding the people on the ground who know the region best, have local roots and who are already leading the fight against the jihadist menace - the peshmerga army of the Kurdish regional government in Iraq and guerrillas from the Kurdistan Workers Party and allied movements in Syria.
Whatever people think about Alex Salmond and the push for Scottish independence, his statement and actions are the most forthright and supportive on LGBTI equality by any leader of any host nation during a major international sporting event. Neither David Cameron nor Boris Johnson did anything similar during the London Olympics. This is a unique, unprecedented initiative for which Alex Salmond and the Scottish government deserve full credit and commendation. For LGBTI communities in the 42 Commonwealth countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, the Scottish government's pro-LGBTI stance means a lot. It will comfort them and, I hope, discomfort their homophobic governments. It demonstrates Scotland's commitment to a truly equal and inclusive Games. Bravo!
Legalising same-sex marriage was the recognition that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are of equal worth and have the right to equal treatment in law. The same principle of equality applies in the case of civil partnerships. Heterosexual couples should be able to have a civil partnership.
Voting Green is a vote for something. The Greens are a party that offers an imaginative, alternative positive vision of how our future could look. This is fairly unique, given the broad political consensus between the stale, grey Tories, Labour and Lib Dems.
It is wrong for David Cameron to single out Christians for special praise, to offer them privileged access to Downing Street and to support an expanded role for Christian groups in providing essential public services.
Much animal suffering is not immediately obvious and visible. They are forced to suffer long, arduous journeys and extended periods tied up, chained or caged - with no freedom of movement. Housed in temporary, transportable accommodation, it is simply not possible for circuses to provide an appropriate environment for wild animals.
Rejoice! The ban on same-sex marriage in England and Wales is being finally lifted after a campaign for its repeal that lasted 43 years. The ban was imposed for the first time in 1971. Previously, there was no legal prohibition on lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) couples getting married. The outlawing of same-sex marriage is a recent and historically brief invention by what was a deeply homophobic political and religious establishment. At last, in the first few seconds of 29 March, the ban on same-sex marriage is history. Equal marriage will become a reality. Hurrah!
Former Stonewall chief Ben Summerskill has made astonishing allegations against the Liberal Democrats, claiming they never sincerely supported same-sex marriage. He suggested they acted with "cynical and opportunistic" motives. This is outrageous. I don't support the Lib Dems, but they backed equal marriage at a time when Summerskill and the gay lobby group, Stonewall, refused to do so. The Lib Dems deserve credit for their early embrace of marriage for all. Ben's petty, sectarian smears are unbecoming - and unjustified.
17/03/2014 17:24 GMT
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