Tag Archives: lgbt

We Are: Proud/Bourne Free/Ready to Party!

13 Jul
we are proud

College Green is the place where we are: proud

The highpoint of the largest Pride event in the South West of England is the annual parade in College Green, right in the heart of Bristol.

“We Are: Proud”  is  the theme of the day on Saturday, July 14 and at the end of the night Pride will take over the O2 Academy.

Organisers of  the event are once again looking forward to welcoming crowds from all over the UK and beyond who will come from across the world to enjoy Pride.

Daryn Carter, one of the organisers of the festival has  said: “As one of the only free Prides in the UK, We Are: Proud promises to be bigger and better than ever.

let's partay

it’s raining men…hallelujah!

“We Are: Proud is a chance for people to stand up and declare that they are proud of who they are, for friends and families to show how proud they are of their loved ones and for the city to not just have a gay Pride but to be truly proud of its LGBT community.

“We are unfunded and will be asking for donations which not only help make Pride happen but will also go to support Freedom Youth, Bristol’s dedicated LGBT Youth Service.”

And guess what? The incoming Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Peter Main is the first openly gay Lord Mayor of Bristol. He’ll be at the parade, no doubt.

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Meanwhile in Bournemouth, they will be having a right royal knees-up in honour of the Jubilee. Their parade leaves West Cliff, Monkey Island at noon tomorrow…and finishes  at the Triangle at 1pm.

During the afternoon there will be a great family entertainment in the Lower Gardens, at the Bandstand, with stalls, live music and comedy hosted by Sally Vate and Lucinda Lashes.

From 1pm-6pm artists appearing include: All About GaGa, Lady James, Benjii, Jazz Blaack, Tammy Twinkle, Nicolette Street, Michael Hinch, Wilma Fingadoo, the winner of Bourne Free’s Got Talent, Cindy Hollingsworth and Sheila and the Monster Boys.

this is wright...jess wright

that’s wright…jessie wright

From 6pm-11pm artists appearing include: Jessica Wright (The Only Way is Essex), Rogue Minogue, Envy, Miss Jason, Butchesque, James Bedford, Sandra and X Factor finalists, 2 Shoes who will bring the evening to a close.

Then…on Sunday, The Triangle Tour features a Metropolitan Community Church Service in the Triangle Arena at noon. Miss Jason does her Bingo at DMYK at 3pm. There is a cabaret tea party at 2930 at 6pm followed by Wilmas Mad House at The Branksome at 8pm. At 11pm Sheilas cabaret show & stripper is at XChange. The Bakers Arms is open all day for Bourne Free After party drinks.

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An extra helping of joy

17 Mar

Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk

A double dose of joy has been given to a lesbian couple from Gloucester. After becoming civil partners in June 2010, both woman have given birth to children within five days of each other.

Anna Jones and Kirsty Cox felt that they would never be able to start a family of their own after being unable to afford the lengthy and expensive process of fertility treatment. After Anna’s sister mentioned their plight to her hairdresser, he decided to help the couple and become their sperm donor. As a gay man, he understood their desire to start a family of their own; when the grateful couple accepted his offer, they expected a lengthy wait. Imagine the surprise when both women fell pregnant immediately!

Kirsty gave birth to their daughter Scarlett-Marie, and Anna had son Alfie. The children are now 11 and 10 weeks old respectively, and are often mistaken for twins. We at CCK want to congratulate Kirsty and Anna on their newest additions to their family.This is a wonderful show of support from LGBT community members; would you ever donate an egg or sperm to your friends in the community if you knew they were unable to conceive without expensive treatment? Kirsty and Anna say that the father will be involved in the children’s lives if that’s what he wishes, and it’s great to see everyone coming together to help each other.

We’d love to know what our readers think. Should LGBT families be started only via anonymous donors, or does this happy story demonstrate that sperm banks are not the only way?

http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/Modern-day-love-story-lesbian-mums-blessed-family/story-15223194-detail/story.html

Not just a pretty face

15 Mar

After a two-year hiatus, the long-standing gay men’s beauty contest Mr Gay UK has crowned its newest winner. Samuel Kneen, a 22-year-old hairdresser, won the competion final on the 10th December at Club Mission in Leeds having beaten some stiff competition.

His prizes include £2000 and a photo shoot in Morocco, but Mr Kneen has used his victory for more than just publicity for his modelling career. The Cardiff-born lad has told the press that he will be giving a portion of his winnings to the Terence Higgins Trust, an HIV & AIDS charity, in support of a friend  who contracted HIV. Speaking to WalesOnline, he said, “I told them when I entered the contest that I know somebody who has got HIV and I want to support him. It is something I feel strongly about.”

Mr Kneen hopes to raise awareness about the disease. After walking around Cardiff on World AIDS Day, he was shocked when shops didn’t carry ribbons and were unaware of the date’s significance.

The THT is a wonderful charity with clinics stationed nationwide. Same-day diagnosis, treatment and legal advice is only the beginning of what the charity offers. There are plenty of services apart from those linked to HIV at these clinics; you can expect the same help for any worries you would have from THT as you would from any other sexual health clinic.

Alternatively, you can visit their website to find a clinic near you.

A more comfortable retirement for Spain’s LGBT elderly

14 Mar

photo courtesy of spainreview.net

Spain’s first LGBT retirement home is all set to open in 2014, now that a plot of land has been secured on the outskirts of the capital city. As the last generation to have been immersed in the culture of Franco’s rule are growing older, homophobia has been a rising problem in retirement homes. Franco declared homosexuals to be ‘socially dangerous’, and as hence a great deal of
hostility can be found by those individuals – generally over forty years-old – who remember his time in power.

The  – named after the date in 1978 when Franco’s law against homosexuality was repealed – have put the plans in motion to open a gay-friendly home in Madrid. Priced at approximately 1000 euros a month, residents will enjoy a great reduction in the usual costs of a place in retirement homes in the area.

The complex will include a gym, library, conference room, launderette, shop and restaurant. Accommodation will include a mixture of studios and apartments and the complex will be able to house two hundred and thirty people, including HIV positive residents who are excluded from some of the other homes in the country. This is a positive and long-overdue progression in Spanish society, and hopefully it will open the doors for similar institutions. With awareness rising, we can only hope the attitude towards homophobia will change, and that other LGBT individuals will receive the care they need in their own later years.

Kylie to Join Mardi Gras Parade

27 Jan
The Mardi Gras parade in Sydney, Australia, will have a special guest atop one of their floats this year. The Australian singer Kylie Minogue will be making her way back home to participate in the event, which is a celebration of the Australian LGBT community.

She said in her YouTube video announcing her return to Mardi Gras, “Your support over the years has just been phenomenal and I can’t wait to come home and share that with you. So see you in March.” This will be her third time attending the event.

Kylie began her career in showbiz on the popular soap ‘Neighbours’, before moving into the music industry in 1987 with the launch of her first single, ‘Locomotion’. She will be celebrating a career milestone – 25 years in the music business – with a community in which she has always had a strong fan base.

You can find out more about the Australian Mardi Gras by visiting their website here; it looks like it is going to be a very exciting, special day!



Community Pillar Closes After 14 Years

24 Jan
It’s a sad time for the Tel Aviv LGBT community; the final bastion of lesbian glory has closed in the city centre. After 14 years, the lesbian bar Minerva has finally shut its doors. Its history had been long and varied, being over the years burnt down, reopened, sold to different owners and frequently finding itself under new management. It spent the last three years of its existence under the name of ‘Beit Hasho’eva’ run by community pillar Adi Keizerman.Minerva wasn’t just a bar, it was a community hotspot, the place to go for lesbians living in and visiting Tel Aviv. After all, Tel Aviv is known as one of the friendliest gay holiday destinations, and Israel the most progressive and LGBT-friendly country in the Middle East.

The closing of the only exclusively lesbian bar in Tel Aviv is a real blow to the community. This city is meant to be a refuge for all those who face prosecution elsewhere in the region, and Israel has the most well developed LGBT rights policies of the Asian countries.

It’s a discouraging development for the future if community strongholds are finally closing their doors, and we can only hope that another venue will pick up the slack and offer the lesbians of Tel Aviv a new space that will not only serve as a hangout, but as an inherent and important part of the LGBT community life.

Miss California

19 Jan
It took two very brave women to make history in California this year: in the sixty years that the Miss USA pageant has been running, Jenelle Hutcherson (26)  and Mollie Thomas (19) were the first openly gay contestants to compete.

Hutcherson, from Long Beach and Thomas, from West Hollywood, both stated that their platform was that of acceptance. Whilst the Miss USA pageant has very conservative roots, organisers insist that the pageant is all about women being role models and promoting individuality – and who wouldn’t admire these women?

Whilst there have been other lesbian contestants in the pageant world, many of them blend in and don’t make it a known thing. This is a world of long hair and high heels, in a general sense. However, the contestants aren’t judged solely on their super-model looks; this pageant is about charisma, self-confidence, poise and knowing oneself. When Hutcherson wore a tux for the Evening Gown phase, there was no questioning her self-confidence and poise; truly, it’s something to admire.

Carrie Prejean could stand to learn a thing or two from these women.

While the media made rather a large fuss about Hutcherson sporting a mohawk, piercings and tattoos, I don’t think that has much to do with her sexuality. Hopefully, this will encourage other ‘alt’ girls to participate in pageants and not feel that they wouldn’t fit in – you don’t need to be gay to wear a ‘hawk, after all! Her girlfriend, a journalist, wrote a wonderful piece on the entire event. The amount of community support that the Long Beach contestant received is heart warming to see.

For Thomas, this was her first pageant. A part-time student at UCLA, she decided to run to promote awareness for the LGBT community and hopes to become a youth advocate and role model. Having volunteered for a school for handicapped children in Mongolia as well as helping to rebuild homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I’d say that she was already a role model before setting a foot on stage.

Whilst Thomas and Hutcherson won’t be wearing a crown this year, we can only wish these exemplary ladies the very best of luck in their future endeavours.

Who’s Mum?

18 Jan
Florida has been the source of contention in the past few weeks thanks to an unprecedented case. It seems that American law regarding the custody of children will have to be re-written, and new attitudes adopted in a great many courtrooms.This over-due change is thanks to a lesbian couple who are in disagreement over their daughter’s custody. The unnamed couple were in a committed relationship for eleven years before seeking counselling and medical advice in preparation for adding a child to their family dynamic.

However, upon discovering that the 39-year-old woman was infertile, her 34-year-old partner donated one of her own eggs, to be implanted into the 39-year-old who then carried the baby to term. For ease of reading, let’s refer to the 39-year-old as the Child-Bearer and the 34 year old as the Egg-Donor. The father was an anonymous donor who waived all rights to the child.

Their child bears both women’s names, though the birth certificate named only the Bearer as the mother. This, then, is the source of all their problems. The couple raised the child in a joint effort until their daughter was two; upon splitting, the Child-Bearer moved to Australia with the child, and the Egg-Donor remained in America. In a bid to gain custody, the Egg-Donor found her former partner in Queensland and both have returned to America for the duration of the custody battle.

However, according to the current legal system, the woman who bore the child is the child’s mother. There is no other case where the woman bearing the child had an egg donated to her by her partner. There are no guidelines; there are no previous rulings. The Child-Bearer claims that she is the mother, due to the fact that she gave birth to the child. The Egg-Donor claims that she is the true mother as she is the girl’s biological parent.

No clear mention has been made as to whether the two women are suing for sole custody. To me, it would make complete sense to treat this as any other divorce between a heterosexual couple who have had children together. While yes, one woman carried the child for nine months and gave birth to her, the other woman gave a part of herself to make this possible. The man does not carry the child for nine months, but he is just as responsible for the child’s creation. How does this differ? They are both parents. They are both mothers in their own rights. The only thing throwing perception is that both parties are women.

Surely, in this situation, due regard should be given to whoever can provide for the child in a more complete fashion. Is the child better cared for by the Child-Bearer? Would the Egg-Donor be in a better position to provide for her? How has the move to Australia changed the situation between the two – would there be arrangements for the child to visit both her Antipodean and her American family? These questions seem to be more pressing than identifying who is the ‘real’ mother; surely the debate centres on intention and the ability to provide for the child? Without a doubt, the question of who deserves the title of ‘true’ motherhood is exceptionally important, though I think a little bit of focus has been lost on some of the large issues here thanks to the unusual circumstance providing a great deal of excitement. Personally, I feel that those viewing this as a purely cerebral argument are conveniently forgetting that this is a real family that’s being discussed.

On Dec. 23, 2011 a Daytona County judge ruled that the Child-Bearer was in fact the ‘true’ mother, as the law states that the person who gave birth to the child is the child’s mother. There was no allowance for the Egg-Donor in the place of her child’s creation. He stated that it ‘broke his heart’ to rule this, but that the law provided no other alternative. I count this rubbish. So did the lawyers in D.C. In the 5th District Court of Appeal, the courts later gave both women custody to the child, stating that Florida law was ‘outdated and violated the Constitution’.

I think it is incredibly important for the law -and those who enforce and represent it- to keep up with the changing technology in reproductive medicine and the evolution of modern-day family structure. Things are not so black and white anymore; as society grows, we find ourselves with new situations. We need our laws to reflect and protect what we hold dear as a society. Whatever shape our families or our relationships take, we need the flexibility shown in everyday social regards to be reflected in our law practitioners’ attitudes, the laws and their interpretation. Thank goodness this case proved a catalyst to make the necessary changes to outdated systems.  A family is not a simple construct, and as such, it should not be restricted by simple ideas.

First Kiss

13 Jan
A lesbian couple made history in Virginia Beach as they shared the first ‘first kiss’ in American military history. The touching scene took place at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek when American Navy troops arrived home from their service on the Oak Hill. The American armed forces lifted their ban on openly gay service in September 2011, so this was the very first time that this couple could display their affection in such a public manner.

For Marissa Gaeta and Citlalic Snell, this was the first time in two years that they could openly display their relationship, as both are fire controlmen in the US Navy, having met while they were roommates in their first training school.A strong American military tradition, the privilege of being the first to disembark and kiss a waiting partner is won via raffle. Gaeta said that she bought 50 tickets at $1 each to heighten her chance of winning; she suspectssome of her division also bought tickets for her.This is certainly the most perfect display of the good that lifting the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy has done; allowing many of the servicemen and women to be open and honest in their relationships. It is wonderful to see such progress being made, and we wish these two lovely ladies the very best!

Butch/Femme

18 Nov

I was reminded the other day of a hilarious YouTube sensation created by Team Gina, Butch/Femme. This is a catchy, humorous song about the butch/femme dynamic and is more than slightly inspired by Sir Mix-A-Lot’s Baby Got Back. Filmed in 2007, Butch/Femme was the duo’s first hit single, and features Cindy Wonderful from Scream Club. Possibly NSFW, you can watch it here.