Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer (LGBTQQI) activism in the UK

After the adventure that was the organising of my first protest, and thinking back on poorly attended protests I have been to in the past, it occured to me that the LGBT community can be fairly disorganised when it comes to coordinating protests. In an attempt to partially remedy this, and in view of the importance that the site has had in the success of "my" protest, I have created a Facebook group that people (that includes straight people) who want to want to hear about opportunities to get involved in a protest in support of LGBT issues can join.

The group is called Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer (LGBTQQI) activism in the UK and can be found here.

I am also mindful of the fact that not everybody is or wants to be on Facebook. They can therefore join our Yahoo! Group here.

Feel free to join either or both and invite your friends.

Thank you.


Sunday, 26 April 2009

'Gay cure' protest - press coverage

Here is what we have so far (I will be added as and when I get more):

- Over 100 Protest Outside ‘Cure Gays’ London Conference, UK Gay News

- 100 protest outside London "gay cure" conference, PinkNews

- Christians protest at Sex and the City, ekklesia

- 100 protest ‘gay cure’ conference, lesbilicious.co.uk

- Londoners protest at 'gay cure' conference, gaynz.com

- 100 Protestors at "Gay Cure" Conference, QX Magazine, view it here (1.5MB jpg).

- Two pictures and a few lines, PinkPaper, issue 977 (pdf file) - see picture above.

- Protesters picket conference on gay ‘cures’, Church of England News (not available online - positive report of the protest)

- Pro-gays hold protests outside London gay cure conference, Uganda People News

- Protest at 'Gay Cure' Conference in London LGBT History Month

- Anglican Mainstream "Sex & the City" Conference, discussion thread on the Queer Youth Network boards (more here)

- Protest at the ex-gay conference in London, debate on the issues raised by the protest and the conference on GaySpeak

- Hundreds Protest 'Sex and the City Conference', Virtue Online (the 'other side''s view)


'Gay cure' protest - A report

A celebrity, three drag queens and about 100 people of mixed background, ages, race, gender, beliefs, ability and sexual orientation. This could sound like the ideal premise for a glamourous party.

Why Jimmy Somerville and the Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence found themselves gathered together on a sunny London pavement on Saturday was however for altogether more serious reasons.

Two religious groups (Anglican Mainstream and CARE) had come together to organise a two-day conference entitled Sex and the City, Redeeming Sex Today.

The key contributors to the event were controversial American 'psychiatrists' Joseph Nicolosi and Jeffrey Satinover, and Doctor (of law) Arthur Goldberg, co-director of JONAH and president of PATH. All three have built a career on the premise that gay people can be turned straight if they want it hard enough.

Talks at the conference included 'Myths we live by: The gay gene, once-gay-always-gay, gay sex is just like straight sex' by Jeffrey Satinover, 'The psychological, cultural & political agenda of LGBT activism: Past, present & future' by Jeffrey Satinover, 'The Scriptures and sex' by Gordon Wenham and 'Mentoring the sexually broken' by Arthur Goldberg. While these were taking place, Joseph Nicolosi was involved in some mysterious "sessions" in a different room throughout the day.

The Friday evening also featured a "Social Time, Guest Panel & Question Box" (people are asked to leave questions in a box for the panel) which was "followed by Special Interest Groups" ("It [was] hoped that Special Interest Groups [would] include those affected by SSA [Same-Sex Attraction], spouses, parents, family members and friends, counsellors, therapists, coaches, etc, those focussed on the political agenda plus any others deemed appropriate").

A few weeks ago, the Welcome Trust published the results of some research showing that a significant minority of psychiatrists and therapists are still attempting to help LGB clients become heterosexual despite a lack of evidence that such treatments are beneficial or even safe.

While the ex-gay movement is quite visible in US, it came as a shock to see that this is happening in the UK. This despite the fact that all major medical associations in the US and the UK, have been clearly stating for at least two decades that homosexuality is not a disease and that it can therefore not be cured.

On hearing of the conference, on the Wednesday before, I decided it should not go unchallenged and I started organising my first protest.

I set up a Facebook group and started to email a few activists I know. I registered the protest with the police who were quite understanding since the as-yet uncertain venue (it had been kept secret by the organisers) was located in the exclusion zone around Parliament.

Soon, the numbers grew and, by the time of the protest, over 500 people had pledged their support to our action on the Facebook event page, which was crucial to the success of the protest.

Established campaigning groups, though alerted of the protest, were disappointingly unresponsive and, it seemed from my end, reluctant to get involved, apart from very few notable exceptions. Perhaps this was due to the number of LGBT conferences that were taking place over the week-end.

Although members of the Queer Youth Alliance and of the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association, Schools OUT and LGBT History Month Co-Chair Tony Fenwick, IDAHO's UK coordinator Derek Lennard, a National Union of Teachers LGBT Working Party member, an Amnesty International representative, and a member of the Green Party were indeed present.

The NUS LGBT Conference that was taking place at the same time in Nottingham also adopted an emergency motion condemning the conference.

The day finally arrived and people slowly started to gather across the street from the entrance to the building which was guarded by a handful of bouncers.

The arrival of three Sisters of the Perpetual Indulgence was feted with cheers from the protesters. There mischievous antics throughout the afternoon greatly added to the good-natured and festive atmosphere of the event.

This was, I think, an important element of the protest. While we were taking a stand against the so-called psychiatrists, I could not forget the fact that there were also gay people inside that building. People like us who were suffering and, I believe, being exploited. Sending them a positive and fun image of the community, contradicting what they no-doubt had been led to believe, was an added and significant benefit of our action.

After a while people started to come out of the building and offering drinks and nibbles started to engage with some of the protesters. Among those people was Arthur Goldberg who, rather illogically, claimed the protest denied him the right to hold the conference. The preferred argument expressed by the members of conference went along the lines of ‘if people want to change, they should have the freedom to do so.’

Later on, a lonely voice silenced all the others. It was that of a Jewish man in his mid-thirties. He told the crowd of his experience with JONAH (Goldberg's ex-gay 'ministry').

Having joined the organisation to seek help, he found himself forced into a marriage which produced three children. When this man's wife found out about his past, she left him, taking the children with her.

Having requested a meeting with Goldberg, which was granted to him, he went to tell him how he had "ruined" his life. The meeting was very short and the man quickly left under the applause of the protesters.

After this sobering episode, the mood slowly regained its festive turn and soon people started chanting and singing.

The protest dispersed without incident at 3pm.

James Hayward, a teacher, later said after the protest: "I really worry about the effect conferences and beliefs like these have on vulnerable LGBT youths. It's absolutely necessary to let these groups know their ridiculous ideas are totally unacceptable."

Personally, I am extremely pleased with how the protest went and, to be honest, still a bit stunned. It is terribly heartening that so many people have taken the time to take part in this and show those people that they can not just say and do what they want. That we are here, happy with who we are and more importantly vigilant and not willing to be mistreated any longer.

That some people are feeling uncomfortable about their sexuality is undeniable (there is a much higher rate of mental health issues within the LGBT community (particularly young makes) than in the wider community).

The reason for this is however clearly to be found in the hateful rhetoric of people like Joseph Nicolosi and those who support them. Rather than trying to push people to pursue the unattainable dream of becoming straight, would it not be better to exert a little Christian charity and be more welcoming and supportive of who they are, helping them accept who they are?

Thankfully, reputable mental health professionals are finally raising to the challenge and on the week-end marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), the first ever UK conference devoted exclusively to the mental health of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and other sexual minorities.

IDAHO's date commemorates the 17 May 1990, the day the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases.

'The Working with Gender and Sexual Minorities' conference, which will take place in London, is jointly presented by the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), the national umbrella organisation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors, and Pink Therapy, the largest specialist organisation working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clients.

Pictures can be found here.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

'Gay cure' protest - the pictures

The pictures of the protest can be viewed on the dedicated flickr photo pool here. Please feel free to add your own if you have any. Thanks.

Below is a selection of some of mine.




Friday, 24 April 2009

'Gay Cure' Conference - Programme and Other Documents

Thanks to an ingenious young lady, I have managed to get my hands on a copy of the the programme for the Sex and the City, Redeeming Sex Today conference, organised by Anglican Mainstream, and with American 'psychiatrists' Joseph Nicolosi and Jeffrey Satinover. I have also got a copy of the letter sent to the delegates confirming details of the event (see below) and thanks to another source, a copy of the promotional material for the conference (click on the image on the top right corner for a better view).

The programme is a delightful little piece which informs us, had we bothered to pay our £50, that would could have been treated to such pieces of anthology as:
- The Sexualisation of Culture by Lisa Nolland
- Myths we live by: The gay gene, once-gay-always-gay, gay sex is just like straight sex by Jeffrey Satinover
- Sexuality, marriage and the family by Arthur Goldberg
- The psychological, cultural & political agenda of LGBT activism: Past, present & future by Jeffrey Satinover
- The Scriptures and sex by Gordon Wenham
- Mentoring the sexually broken by Arthur Goldberg
- Dealing with pornography by Jeffrey Satinover

As I write this, the Emmanuel Center, the venue for the conference, is hosting a Social Time, Guest Panel & Question Box (people are asked to leave questions in a box for the panel) which is 'followed by Special Interest Groups' ("It is hoped that Special Interest Groups will include those affected by SSA [Same-Sex Attraction], spouses, parents, family members and friends, counsellors, therapists, coaches, etc, those focussed on the political agenda plus any others deemed appropriate).

The talks above are all happening in one hall while in another hall you can get 7 sessions of Nicolosi, which I am assuming are group 'aversion therapy' sessions.

Repeat and rinse on Saturday (apart from the social and special interests elements).

Click on the images below to see the documents in full size. First the programme, then the letter to the delegates.


See also:
- Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April).
- 'Gay cure' protest - press release
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3

'Gay cure' protest - press release

RELEASE: IMMEDIATE

A coalition of protesters in support of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) community will gather tomorrow afternoon outside a conference promoting so-called "aversion therapy" for gay people.

The conference, which is taking place over two days in central London has been organised by a religious group called Anglican Mainstream (AM) and will play host to the controversial American psychiatrist Joseph Nicolosi who claims to offer a ‘cure’ for homosexuality. 

The conference will also feature talks by another American psychiatrist, Jeffrey Satinover, on topics including "Myths we Live by: The Gay Gene, Once-Gay-Always-Gay, Gay Sex is just like Straight Sex" and "The Psychological, Cultural & Political Agenda of LGBT Activism: Past, Present & Future".

The protest movement, mostly driven by young activists (gay and straight) through the social networking site Facebook, aims to peacefully challenge the views expressed at the conference. At the time of writing the Facebook event page already boasted 164 "confirmed guests" and 324 people who said they might attend.

This however only represents those who heard about the rally through Facebook. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association and Stonewall have all spoken out against the conference. Schools OUT, the LGBT section of the Green Party, the Queer Youth Network and the Gay Activists Alliance among other have also helped promote the protest, together with hundred of individuals concerned by the divisive message propagated by the conference and its organisers.

While the Church of England does not support such therapies, Anglican Mainstream believes that these controversial ‘treatments,’ normally the preserve of Religious Christians in the United State, require more exposure and are attempting to bring the message to the UK.

Despite the claims laid forth by Joseph Nicolosi, the Royal College of Psychiatrists said there was no supporting evidence that these programs were successful, adding that such treatments could be damaging.

Nicolas Chinardet, who called the protest, said: "That some people are feeling uncomfortable about their sexuality is undeniable - however the reason for this is clearly to be found in the hateful rhetoric of people like Joseph Nicolosi and those who support them.

Rather than trying to push people to pursue the unattainable dream of becoming straight, would it not be better to exert a little Christian charity and be more welcoming and supportive of who they are in helping them accept themselves? 

Notes to the editor:

The protest is taking place outside the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW on 25 April 2009 between 13:00 - 15:00

Rates of Mental Health problems in the LGBT community (particularly in young gay males) are much higher than in the wider community

All major medical associations in the US and the UK have been clearly stating for at least two decades that homosexuality is not a disease and that it can therefore not be cured.

A few weeks ago, the Wellcome Trust published the results of research showing that a significant minority of psychiatrists and therapists are still attempting to help LGB clients become heterosexual despite a total lack of evidence that such treatment is beneficial or even safe. Whilst the ex-gay movement is alarming large in the US, it is shocking to see that this hatred has spread to the UK.

The Facebook event page: http://tinyurl.com/gaycureprotest



Coalition of Gay and Straight People to Protest Outside Anti-Gay Religious Conference

Debunking Joseph Nicolosi

The following links were send to me by someone who had heard about the protest. David believes that they thoroughly debunk Joseph Nicolosi's theories on "aversion therapy":

Nicolosi gets challenged and leaves in a huff:

Young gay man tells of his experience of Joseph Nicolosi's "Reparative Therapy":

Young gay man tells of being sent for "Reparative Therapy":

Nicolosi sitting in his office, explains the aims of his business:

Protest against Nicolosi in Dallas (with some good protest chants!):

Nicolosi's famous "repaired" patient caught picking- up in a gay bar:

"Ex-gay" professionals reject Nicolosi's therapy:

The kind of films approved by "Reparative Therapy" :

Peter Toscano shows analogy between "Joseph/Technicolour/Dreamcoat" and suffering under Nicolosi's "Reparative Therapy":

Read the stories of people who have suffered under Nicolosi's "reparation therapy":


Activists to protest at 'gay cure' conference

PinkNews are covering the protest here: Around 150 demonstrators are expected to protest at a 'gay cure' conference in London tomorrow.

The conference, which has been denounced by gay groups, will feature Joseph Nicolosi, who claims reparative therapy can 'cure' homosexuality.


See also:
- Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April).
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3


'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3

The numbers are still going up. As I write we are about to reach 150 "confirmed guests" on Facebook with another 1600 waiting to confirm what they are going to do.

Against this does not take into account what is going on off Facebook. As mentioned in my previous update, the LGBTQQI section of the Green Party, the Gay and Lesbian Humanist Association are on the case. The Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement is also now involved as well as the Queer Youth Network and the Gay Activists Alliance. Something should also have been posted on the UK Youth Parliament's forum by now. Talk about a rainbow coalition!

My rough estimate is that we have probably reach about 6000 people, probably more. Well done to all.

I heard from Stonewall's information officer last night. Here is what she said: "We are very aware that this conference is taking place, and our stance on supposed gay-cure therapies is that they are wholly discredited. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people need equal treatment by society, not misguided treatment by religious or medical professionals. I will make sure that the information and the link is passed on to the relevant people."

Police
Last night I went to the Charing Cross Police Station and officially registered the protest, something we had to do since the venue of the conference is located in the exclusion zone around Parliament. The officer I spoke to was very official but in no way antagonistic.

We will be located across the road from the venue and police will be on hand to make sure that everything happens quietly and safely for everyone. This is the point where I remind every one that this has to be a peaceful and good natured protest. Remember that there will be LGBT people in that building.

Press
The fact that the protest looks to be so big (for that sort of protest anyway), and that the BBC has now been reporting on the conference means that we need to get in touch with the mainstream media and try and get them to cover the protest.

As mention before, some of the gay news media are already on board. The Guardian has been contacted and I have emailed the think tank Ekklesia. ITV London News are aware of the protest and may turn up if this is a slow news day for them. It would be good to get BBC London to come along but I draw a blank on this. If someone has contacts with any press people, please let them knwo about the event and try and get them to cover it.

On the day
Unless something really important happens, I won't be sendind anything more until after the protest where I'll try and do a round up of the day and provide links to picture.

Please consider creating placards (ideas of slogans can be found in my second update, see below), bring your rainbow flags and generally make yourselves visible. This is particularly important if the press are going to be there. I will be taking pictures and I am sure I won't be the only one.

The weather is still looking uncertain so be ready to be wet and cold. Bring water and nibbles. It's only two hours but be gentle to yourselves.

As mention before, always remain calm and courtuous, no matter what happens. And have fun, make new friends!

I'll see you all on Saturday. Thank you again for all your support. Keeping inviting people.

New Facebook Group
Finally I have created a new Facebook group to try and gather people who want to be involved in future protests. The "Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Queer (LGBTQQI) protests in the UK" (trips nicely off the tongue, doesn't it?) can be found here.
Feel free to join and invite your friends.
I am thinking of some straight forward online presence for those not on Facebook too.

See also
- Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April).
- 'Gay cure' protest - press release
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2

Thursday, 23 April 2009

OMG! I Am in Picture in the Times!

Well, part of me is, anyway. Intrigued? You should be.

Various Voices: sing, if you’re glad to be gay
As 60 gay choirs from around the world arrive in the UK for a special festival, our correspondent discovers what changed their tune from political anger and mourning to celebration and joy

For those who are wondering, there is a hint in the lovely picture of the Tenor 1 Section of the London Gay Men's Chorus (appart from a stray Bass) reproduced below.


Fame will have to wait a little longer, it seems...

Seriously though, if you are in London on the first week-end of May, give Various Voices a go.


'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2

Please, have a look at "Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April)" for some background on what we are doing.
You can also look at 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1

This is now getting slightly scary but also terribly exciting. As I write, we have 90 people on the facebook group who have confirmed they would be coming. 147 say they may be attending and another 1,415 people have yet to learn about the event!

This is not taking into account the people who are not on Facebook but will have heard of the protest anyway. I know that the Gay and Lesbien Humanist Association are publicising the event and so is the Green Party.

Messages have been sent to:
- LGBTcampaigns (60 members)
- LGBTHealthUK (324 members)
- the Roman Catholic Caucus of LGCM and also the Soho Masses Community
- LGBT network at Oracle
- the Shell Centre LGTB Network
- the TGWU LGTB association

I have emailed:
- the Association for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues in Counseling
- the Special Interest Group in Gay and Lesbian Mental Health at the Royal College of Psychiatrists
- the British Youth Council
- the gay friendly churches in London (thanks to someone who sent me a link to an online list of them)
and I have left comments on a few gay-friendly blogs that mentioned the conference.

I still haven't heard back from the Police, so I hope everything will be fine in that department!

I don't know if it is a coincidence by the AMO have chosen a very busy week-end for LGBT activists. The NUS, the LGBT Consortium and the LGCM are all having a conference this week-end, so we are doing very well in mobilising that many people. Thank you to everyone who has helped. keep telling your friends!

Reactions
UK Gay News, who revealed the "secret location" of the conference have been receiving hate mail as a result.
Over night, a supporter of the conference's aims has left a (very courtuous) comment on the Update No1 posted on my blog. Feel free to answer them plus please but courtuous too (comments are moderated).

Otherwise it seem that AMO have not cottoned on yet.

Alternative venue?
GAHLA, the Green Party have so far made the decision to not publicise the event to the wider public for fear that the organisers might change venue at the last minute. I personally find this inlikely (there are too many costs and time pressure involved, I think), however, it might be good to think about an alternative and symbolic venue for the demo in case the conference was moved but I am so far drawing a blank (the AMO don't seem to have offices and certainly nothing in London). What are people's thoughts?

In any case, if would be very helpful if someone could hang around the venue on Friday and report if the conference is indeed happening there. I would do it myself but work is gfetting in the way!

Press
Both UK Gay News and PinkNews editors have told me they would try and be there. Sadly both are in bad health at the moment. I will drop a line to the Pink Paper.

Slogans
For those who are feeling creative and want to make placards, here are a few ideas (not all mine, by far, thanks to those who sent them in).
- Love Wins Out (a cheeky appropriation of a US ex-gay organisation's name: Love won out)
- Jesus loves us all (for the believers among us)
- Glad to be gay (cause we are and they think we shouldn't)
- Love has no cure (or you can't cure love)
- gays need no cure, prejudice does
- 302.0 (the reference number under which the American Psychiatric Association used to classify homosexuality as a mental disorder until Dec 1973)

Weather
It is looking a bit uncertain at the moment. Let's hope the lovely weather holds till 4pm on Saturday!

See also
- Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April).
- 'Gay cure' protest - press release
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1

As I write the numbers on the Facebook group are already looking quite impressive. 35 people have agreed to attend while anoter 47 are "maybe attending". Most amazingly, there are another 810 people who have been invited but haven't replied yet. This is truly great!

We are still trying to confirm that the venue is the one we think it is (the Emmanuel Centre). IF anyone can think of a way to acertain this, then please do so and let me know. The protest is scheduled for Saturday 25 April between 1 and 3pm. The Police has been made aware of this and of the Facebook group. I haven't heard back from them yet.

I would like the protest to peaceful (certainly) and possibly also silent. I welcome people's views on this. In any case, we need to be as visibly LGBT as possible. Please bring your rainbow flags along. I would also encourage people to create placards (the only slogan I could think of so far is "Gay don't need a cure".).

Appart from the Facebook group. I have contacted the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, Changing Attitude, the University and College Union, the LGBT Consortium (who are having conference on Friday 24th in London and will hopefully mention the protest there), several other groups on Facebook and Stonewall. I have also created an event on Thingbox and on the LGBT London forum.

Someone I know has sent an email to a mailing list of 450 people (thanks Rob!) and I am about to post on the blog of Schools Out, the mailing list of the London Gay Men's Chorus and that of the London Gay Reading Group.

If you can think of other organisations you have access to, please contact them and keep the word out there.

Finally I would like to thank everyone for their support and confidence. I hope we can make a real difference and show those people that we are here, happy with who we are and more importantly vigilant and not willing to be mistreated any longer.

See you on Saturday.

See also
- Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April).
- 'Gay cure' protest - press release
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3

Protest against the 'gay cure' conference to be held in London (25 April)

Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. After several of indulging my political fibres in various ways, they have finally taken over and I suddenly, somwhow, find myself the organiser of a protest.

A couple of weeks ago, the Welcome Trust published the results of some research showing that a significant minority of psychiatrists and therapists are still attempting to help LGB clients become heterosexual despite a lack of evidence that such treatment is beneficial or even safe. While the ex-gay movement is quite visible in US, it came a bit as a shock to see that this is happening in the UK (see press release for more info).

Yesterday, I read in PinkNews that a conference organised by the so-called Anglican Mainstream Organsation (AMO) would be taking place this week-end in London having for guests some American supporters of aversion therapy.

Now all major medical associations in the US and the UK, have been clearly stating for at least two decades that homosexuality is not a disease and that it can therefore not be cured.

That some people are feeling uncomfortable about their sexuality is undeniable (there is a much higher rate of mental health issues within the LGBT community than in the wider community). The reason for this is however clearly to be found in the hateful rhetoric of such organisations as AMO (and let's not forget the Catholic Church here too). Rather than trying to push people to pursue the unattainable dream of becoming straight, would it not be better to exert a little Christian charity and be more welcoming and supportive of who they are, helping them accept who they are?

So this is it. The AMO's position can, in my view, not be left unchallenged and therefore I and a growing number of others will be protesting this Saturday between 1 and 3pm outside the venue of the conference. We sitll have to make sure of the venue (it was not published on the AMO's webpage for the event) but it seems that it is going to take place at the Emmanuel Centre, 9-23 Marsham Street, London SW1P 3DW (www.emmanuelcentre.com).

I am thinking of making it a silent, peaceful and dignified protest simply to show these people that they can not just say and do what they want. That we are here, happy with who we are and more importantly vigilant and not willing to be mistreated any longer.

For those who are on Facebook, I have created a group, which can be found here. Please feel free to join and invite your friends. I will be sending updates and information through this.

For those without Facebook, this blog should be your point of call for information.

Finally, if people have idea or comments, please feel free to share them with me.

See you on Saturday.

See also:
- 'Gay cure' protest - press release
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 1
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 2
- 'Gay cure' Protest - Update No 3

Monday, 20 April 2009

"It is justice, not a storm, that is gathering"

A heartening Op Ed in the New York about the "gathering Storm" video, which explains how same-sex marriage is not really an issue any more in the US and how, in the word of Jon Huntsman Jr., the governor of Utah and a Mormon, who in February endorsed civil unions for gay couples, opinion has “shifted quite substantially”.
On the right, the restrained response was striking. Fox barely mentioned the subject; its rising-star demagogue, Glenn Beck, while still dismissing same-sex marriage, went so far as to “celebrate what happened in Vermont” because “instead of the courts making a decision, the people did.” Dr. Laura Schlessinger, the self-help media star once notorious for portraying homosexuality as “a biological error” and a gateway to pedophilia, told CNN’s Larry King that she now views committed gay relationships as “a beautiful thing and a healthy thing.” In The New York Post, the invariably witty and invariably conservative writer Kyle Smith demolished a Maggie Gallagher screed published in National Review and wondered whether her errant arguments against gay equality were “something else in disguise.”
Read the full article here.
(the parody refered to at the beginning of the article can be found here)

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Storms are Gathering

After the disappointment that was the voting of Proposition 8 last November in California, gay marriage has made important progress in the last week. Vermont and Iowa now both allow gay marriage despite legal opposition from religious haters. And Washington DC will recognise the marriages that have taken place in other states.

People who claim to be opposed to gay marriage for religious reasons are getting fearful that they are loosing battle after battle and are more and more looking like they are going to lose the war. On 9 April, the "National Organization for Marriage" (NOM; NOM!?) launched a $1.5m (yes, $1.5m!) campaign with a 60 sec video featuring actors (the audition rushes were shortly made available on Youtube but have now been deleted) making unsubstantiated and irrelevant assertions about what gay people want to do to their lives and liberty by fighting for their own (the clip can be viewed on Youtube here).

Two interesting point about the rhetoric they use in the spot is the reference to a Rainbow Coalition (isn't that our lot, normally?) and the title of the spot, “A Gathering Storm”, which very close to the title of the first volume of Winston Churchill’s chronicle of World War II, thus (more or less sublety) likening gay people to Nazis. Nice.

Already reactions have been strong (including through parodies on YouTube) and the Human Rights Campaign has launched the End the Lies website. Below is one of such responses that debunks the NOM advert thoroughly:



updated on 15 April

Friday, 10 April 2009

Angle

"standing absolutely motionless at a slight angle to the universe"

E M Forster (describing C P Cavafy). "The poetry of C P Cavafy". Pharos and Pharillion. Hogarth Press. 1923

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Liam Messam and Tamati Ellison Swap Jerseys

I am having a bit of a vacuous evening looking at images of pretty rugby players. Addidas, with its latest viral campaign, Jersey Swap, seems to be squarely aiming at the gay market with a selection of five antipodean rugby players, visitor to the website can select and see take their tops off and... well... swap jersey (those interested can create posters too).

My favorites of the bunch are Liam Messam and Tamati Ellison. The pictures of their pretty faces and bulging naked torsos (excuse me while I sit down for a second!) included to this post should tell you why.

A job well done for Addidas. This will go round the Internet for a while, I think.



Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Twitter

fail whale

For those who haven't noticed yet, zefrog is not only rambling (hence my use of the dreaded fail whale to illustrate this), he is now also twittering (odd for a frog, I know). After blogging, we have come to the age of micro-blogging...

I joined Twitter a few days ago and my profile gets updated reasonably regularly.

For those interested (and let's face it, I doubt anybody really is), you can view my tweets on the side menu of the blog or, even better, you can follow me at twitter.com/zefrog.