Equal Rights

Batten Down the Hatches…

…the backlash is coming.

I’m talking about the battle for LGBT equality, which has picked up dramatically in recent years. Throughout the UK, Europe, and America, it seems there’s legislation and lawsuits being debated all over, and we’ve made incredible leaps and bounds. But sometimes it’s ‘two steps forward, one step back’.  There are only the barest handful of US states who haven’t already legislated LGBT equality (same-sex marriage; anti-discrimination laws) or who haven’t got such legislation being tabled right now. There are many reasons for us to celebrate, but it isn’t all plain sailing.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Another Point About Gay Marriage

So, just before Christmas a federal judge in Utah ruled the state’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. It was a bit of a shocker to most people, but couples from all over rushed to take advantage, resulting in startling scenes of queues dozens deep lining up to get married; clerk offices staying open around the clock to deal with the sudden influx of people desperate to get married; and even the Boy Scouts delivering pizza so nobody had to leave their desk while the madness unfurled.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Don’t Boycott Russian Vodka!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the increasingly hostile situation faced by gay men and women in Russia at the moment. It’s never been a good time to be an LGBT Russian, but since the recent passing of an anti-gay propaganda law things have only got worse. Stories of foreign nationals being arrested have already surfaced; and entrapment, torture and even murder are becoming commonplace. Those who do attempt to fight back are attacked in the street and the Russian police does nothing to intercede – often arresting the protesters, rather than their attackers.

Yet Russia is due to host the 2014 Winter Olympics, and corporate sponsors are meeting public outrage with a wall of stony silence. Reading such stories, I think we all feel helpless. We can’t even donate money to Russian LGBT organisations, because they’ll get fined for receiving it. So what can we do?

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Response: A Civil Discussion About Gay Marriage

One of my facebook friends shared a link on her feed today from the website United Church of God, offering a ‘respectful discussion’ (read: rejection) of the gay marriage debate, written by their contributor Heather Disher.

Heather, allow me to respectfully disagree with every single word you wrote.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

SCOTUS Hearing Prop 8 and DOMA Cases

Yes, it’s finally here. The US Supreme Court is hearing two major cases this week – first on California’s Proposition 8 (that particularly nasty piece of legislation which took marriage equality away from people to whom it had already been granted) and tomorrow DOMA itself.

marriage equality HRC

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

The Real Point of Marriage Equality

I’ve banged on rather a lot about equal marriage. About the importance of having the right to use that word, of having the right to stand up before your friends and family – and God, if you believe – and affirm your love to Mr or Mrs Right, whoever you are. But it’s about more than that. This is the real story of why equal marriage matters.

wedding rings

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

An Open Letter to Derek Twigg, MP

Last week I wrote about the speeches given by various MPs during the equal marriage debate. I said I had never felt as proud of UK MPs as I did that day, and I meant that. Genuinely. But there’s one MP I am not proud of – my own MP, Derek Twigg; one of only 22 Labour MPs to vote against equal marriage.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Random

UK Passes Marriage Equality

Yesterday was a bit of a write-off for me. The UK House of Commons was discussing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill from 12.30pm right up to the vote at 7pm. I followed the entire thing as it happened.

Now this was already a done deal. Enough MPs had said in advance they were voting for the bill that we knew we’d won. It was simply a case of seeing how big our majority was going to be. But before that, for six and a half hours, over seventy MPs from all parties and levels and of all ages and backgrounds were given four minutes each to present their own reactions to the bill. It was the content of those four-minute speeches that really struck a chord as I was following this debate; the number of out gay and bisexual MPs who spoke movingly of what this bill means to them in particular. I have never been as proud of UK politicians as I was yesterday listening to some of them speak.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

Gay Men and Women

I was out in Manchester on Saturday, for the first time since Pride. God, I love the Village. It reminds me of my godforsaken youth, of three magic years when I lived there and going out was essentially my life. I’m a scene queen, I admit it. And despite so, so much of it that has changed – since I lived there, since I was last there – so much of it is the same. I met old friends and new, I went to some of my favourite haunts from the bad ole days and I went to bars and clubs that have been rebranded, reopened a dozen times or more since I called that place home.

But some things never change. The attitude of some of the men there to women, for a start.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff, Random

Why Equal Marriage Matters

Hands up who’s bored of the equal marriage debates rumbling through virtually every country in the west at the moment? It seems every other US state is currently having a referendum on the matter – with some voting for, and some against – the UK bill just hit parliament, and Paris was invaded by hoards marching both for and against. SCOTUS briefs are currently being filed in advance of the hearing on DOMA.

Whatever your political position – for, against, ambivalent – you can’t escape it. I’ve heard arguments every which way recently, opinions and surveys and outright lies in some instances spread across the media. The most common complaint I’m hearing is that – in most places – us gays already have civil partnerships, so why are we banging on about marriage? Continue reading →

Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff

The God Complex

The leader of an ‘ex-gay’ Kansas City prayer group, has just been named as a suspect in the alleged murder of his wife. According to ex-members of the group – part of the virulently anti-gay International House of Prayer “charismatic movement” – he feared that his wife was about to report the systematic abuse that she had been subject to under the guise of ‘spiritual experience’. One of the claims was that she was drugged with anti-psychotics while he engaged in sexual activity with the male members of the group.

A week ago a Minnesotan pastor was charged with eight felony counts of sexual assault on men during ‘ex-gay’ therapy sessions. It seems like every other month some anti-gay pastor is caught in flagrante delicto in a men’s room.

What on earth is going on?

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Random

Perpetuating the Myths

I’m talking gay stereotypes. The bulldyke, the screaming queen. You know them, I know them. Heaven forbid anyone should write about them. Because, y’know, they’re stereotypical. Most gay people aren’t like that. Most gay people hate to be associated with people like that. Most gay people are ordinary men and women just like you and me who feel no particular urge to fill their lives with glitter and sparkles.

How dull for them.

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Posted by Kate Aaron in Queer Stuff