Category Archives: Community Agenda

A pie, a pint, and a large dose of bigotry

March for EM

So we have finally got a date for the first same-sex weddings – Hogmanay 2014! For me it had been a long time coming and my journey only, but for some of the people involved in the campaign it had been a whole lifetime. Just a week previous on Friday 10th October I woke up to see that whilst I had been sleeping the first UKIP MP elected to parliament (I am never sleeping again).

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Surviving

caitlyn mcfarlane

Content warning: rape & homophobia.

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Shh! Can we tell you a secret?

Silence Helps Homophobia!

This week launched LGBT Youth Scotland’s campaign to raise money for their education work in schools. This work enables LGBT young people to feel happy and confident in their lessons, and to successfully challenge homophobia.

Schools can be a horrible environment, and I’m sure there’s not a single LGBT person who doesn’t know someone who’s work at school suffered as a result of homophobia in or out of the classroom. It is up to every teacher, every parent, every pupil, every single person to make themselves personally responsibility for challenging homophobia, and stamping out bullying!

Watch the film (it’s slow to start, and if you’re having a sad day I would recommend fast-forwarding to 2 minutes 30 and starting from  there) and join the campaign !

Get Involved!

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Manchester Pride: a parade for the privileged?

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It’s easy to see Manchester pride as a massive success: it’s one of the few Prides which is omnipresent throughout the city attracting people from across the UK and wider – amazing! But this year made us question whether Pride in and of itself is intrinsically valuable to the LGBT+ community.

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Out at work?

Are you out at work?

One of our readers is looking for help with her dissertation. Share your experiences (positive or negative) using the twitter hashtag #bemeatwork or on the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/bemeatwork.

If you would like to help, but wish to do so more privately or have any questions please contact aslavinsky@gmail.com.

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Has anything changed since Leveson?!?

Trans Media Representation

Has anything changed since Leveson?

What does trans media representation mean for trans audiences?

Are you a self-defining trans person willing to take part in an online focus group to discuss trans media representation in UK newspapers in the last year?

This research is part of a dissertation to be submitted for an MRes in Equality and Human Rights at the University of Glasgow and a results summary will be shared with LGBTI and trans organisations that have expressed an interest such as Trans Media Watch and Scottish Transgender Alliance.

All you need is internet access and to be willing to share your opinions and give an hour of your time.

The purpose of this research project is to look at the effects media coverage of trans people and trans issues are having on trans audiences to better understand what the issues are and how to improve them.

If you want to get involved please email Rhianna on rhumphrey@hotmail.co.uk for more info and consent documents.

Please feel free share this to anyone that may be interested.

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Sorry, no lesbians allowed here…

So at age twenty, after never having had experienced any personal homophobic attack in my life thus far, I always though ‘phew, I’ve passed the high school stage with no problems, what’s the worst that can happen now?!’… I held that thought until this morning. Never would I have thought that the first person ever to be homophobic towards me was a professional.

I recently reached that beautiful stage that I received a letter from my doctors and had all my male friends giggle and say ‘ahhh I bet it’s for a smear test!!’ So firstly that’s not very reassuring, in fact it’s terrifying. Do I really want a random woman sticking something up my vajayjay on first meeting, before noon on a weekday…not really, is the answer. However, I persevered and made an appointment as it’s my own health that’s in question after all. After days of thinking about how traumatic the experience was going to be (can you tell, I’m a bit of a drama queen), my male best friend said “don’t worry, she will have seen it all before”. Yeah thanks, I feel so much better after that. Really, I do.

As I walked into the room I was hit with so many questions I thought I was in a quick fire round of a game show:

“How old are you?” “Are you sexually active?” “Are you on the pill?!” “Have you had this test before?”

We certainly weren’t off to a good start on the ‘try not to freak out’ front. So after telling her I’m not on the pill, and watching her confused reaction when I told her I haven’t used contraception, I told her I don’t sleep with men. You’d have thought at this point that I’d told her I was sleeping with turtles as she looked so baffled. It could just be me, but it is normal to be a lesbian, yes?

I'm sorry, it's not you, it's me! Photo by: Phil's 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

I’m sorry, it’s not you, it’s me!

Photo by: Phil’s 1st Pix: http://bit.ly/19whbRe

 

Anyway, she let out a slight “ha!” and said that I wouldn’t need a test then as I hadn’t had sex with a man before….however, now comes the interesting part: she said that should the situation change within the next few years, that I should come back and get tested. Hold on a second…so she’s basically just told me that if soon enough I see the light, she’ll be happy to perform. I don’t think so, lady!

How does she think lesbians have sex, by kissing?! Surely she should have started with “Have you ever had penetrative sex before” then things would have been so much simpler.

So I left the surgery absolutely baffled, and also rather upset/frustrated. Why was I singled out as different? Why was I not entitled to this? All that working myself up for nothing. Although I have decided to go back and get a test, but not from that nurse again. I think I’d make a point of asking for a non-homophobic nurse to do the test on me this time, and see how they respond.

So a word of advice, if you’re going for a test, don’t let the nurse tell you you’re not eligible just because of your sexuality. Do try to tell them otherwise, and if that doesn’t work then I suggest putting in a complaint. It’s 2013, should a professional really be judging you on your sexuality?

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I went to Hamburg Pride 2013 and it was awesome!

Hello, rainbow friends!

As part of my summer holidays/travel shenanigans this year I went to Christopher Street Day Hamburg (or Pride for short) and I have lived to tell the tale! And show you lots of pictures, of course.

Let’s start with some stats: Hamburg is a city in Northern Germany and is known for having a big-ass harbour (one of the 20 biggest world-wide). Tourists tend to forget about Hamburg, because Berlin exists, even though it is Germany’s second biggest city as well as the biggest city in the EU that is not a capital. So yes, it does have a respectable gay scene. 😉

Another fun fact: Hamburg had a gay mayor from 2001 until 2010, Ole von Beust. He was outed in 2003 accidentally by his father, but he didn’t mind. And apparently it also didn’t harm his political career, as he was re-elected twice afterwards. He also participated in Hamburg Pride 2009!

But let’s move on to this year’s Pride, shall we?

This was actually the first proper Pride March I had ever been to! I have been to CSD Münster last year, buuut it was rather small affair, so I was pretty excited to see what a “real”, big Pride looks like. And what can I say… It was absolutely amazing! The weather was really nice (eventually), there were fantastic costumes, the music was great and people were dancing in the streets. I really don’t have much else to say, other than that I had a fantastic time and was really happy to see so many diverse, proud and politically active people.

So without further ado, why don’t you have a look at the pictures below to get a better impression? You could just scroll through them, but I also wrote some extra info in the captions and translated all the German signs and banners, so just click on the first photo to start a slideshow and learn a bit more about the event. Enjoy!

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Glasgow Pride: our top picks!

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Pride is always a fabulous day! Here are hots and nots from Glasgow Pride 2013

The top 5 hot topics of this Pride:

1. Equal Marriage: the discussion started almost two years ago now, yet it just hasn’t happened! Hurry up Mr. Salmond….

2. Russia: in light of new laws and various state endorsed (or at least ignored) atrocities Russia is featured on a number of placards to remind us that our queer struggle stretches across the world.

3. Independence: the all-round hot topic in Scotland. Both Yes Scotland and Better Together made their appearance, each presenting brighter futures for queers in Scotland.

4. Religion: whether it’s religions saying that they will accept queer members of the faith, or queers protesting religious intolerance: everyone has something to say about it!

5. Feminism: there were lots more placards displaying feminist messages this year – yay!

The top 5 ‘not for next years’:

1. Charity stalls:  I cannot see you for all the beer! In 2012 the charity stalls were right along the edge of the stage. There were dancing folk literally falling into charitable activities, and this is what I like. Next year, don’t hide them!

2. Parade: Pride is a protest. It’s here to remind everyone what we’re fighting for. Don’t call it a parade, because that makes people think of balloons and carnival queens… And makes others question the point. Which leads me onto another point…

3. Silence: or more accurately the sound of people chatting amongst themselves and I like to imagine wondering why they’re going on a really long, slow walk. The point of Pride is to be big, brave, loud: sending the clear message we’re here, we’re queer and we will not live in fear. Don’t get me wrong I’m all for poignant silences to remember those who have been victims of hate crime. But seriously the majority of the march was chitter chatter. Get your chant on!

4. Pervs: hi there I’m a person, I have thoughts and feelings and everything! You’re gawping. At my ass. No seriously, your mouth is open. Leave me alone. Now, my fellow queers, if you like a woman go up and chat to her, don’t just creep from a distance, it makes everyone really uncomfortable.

5. Queens of Pop in AXM: just gross.

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THE GAY AGENDA IS PROUD: CAITY

This week, in the lead up to Glasgow Pride we decided to interview some of our writers to find out what Pride means to them!

What’s your name, age and where do you come from?

My name is Caity, or Caitlyn if you met me online before in the real world. I’m 22 in 2013 and I was born and raised predominantly in Australia, but am not very good at sitting still.

Why did you get involved in The Gay Agenda?

I got involved as I’m an avid blogger and love communicating with people through this medium. I thought my sexuality would be a new angle for my blogging, as my primary blog is about law and politics over at Stateless Diplomat. Plus, I hope I can add these angles in here.

What do you write about?

Law, politics and bisexuality. All of these are central to me 🙂

What do you do in real life?

I’m studying a joint honours MA in Law and International Relations, drinking f**k loads of tea and travelling.

Why is Pride important to you?

Pride as in the idea, not the event, is important to me because as someone whose sexuality can be easily erased or halved it’s something that keeps me sane, and gives me a feeling of belonging with the whole proud community. My pride keeps me secure in who I am, and is something I can share with my LGBT+ friends in a kind of mutually-refueling sort of way. I also think Pride as a protest is still hugely important to our social development, and a great experience for those who love it.

I’ve never been to a Pride parade, as I’m not one for loud street events. They scare me a little.

If you had a placard for Pride what would it say?

Purple and Proud

What’s your Pride soundtrack?

Spice up your Life – The Spice Girls

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of the little toe I have out of the closet, and all the anxiety and fear I’ve overcome to get the support I have. I’m proud of the UK moving forward on equality, and of Scotland leading the way.

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