Tag Archives: LGBT

Couple’s suicide notes reveal stigma they face in India’s queer community

Lesbian couple’s suicide notes reveal stigma they face in India

The suicide of a lesbian couple who jumped into a river and drowned highlights the hidden struggles of gay women in India, who are subjected to ‘corrective rape’ cures and family pressure to marry, activists said this week.

A police officer, who declined to give his name as he was not authorised to speak to the media, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that the women left suicide notes before killing themselves in the western state of Gujarat on Monday.

He refused to confirm whether one woman also threw her toddler into the river, as reported by local media, which quoted the notes as saying,

“We are leaving this world to live with each other. The world did not allow us to stay together”.

It is more common to hear about lesbians committing suicide than other members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, said gay rights campaigner Anjali Gopalan.

“They live a far worse life than gay men, a much tougher life, because there is largely more acceptance of male homosexuality,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Women’s sexuality is not discussed at all in India, making it much more challenging for them to come out.”

There is no official data on India’s LGBT population, but the government estimates some 2.5 million gay people, reflecting those who have declared their sexuality to the health ministry.

Lesbians face a life of double discrimination – first because of their gender in a male-dominated society where sexual violence, child marriage and female infanticide are common – and then because of their sexuality, activists say.

In a surprise ruling in 2013, India’s top court reinstated a ban on gay sex after a four-year period of decriminalisation, but it is set to reconsider the 2013 decision in July after a slew of petitions opposing the ban as unconstitutional.

Although the law is rarely enforced, it is used to intimidate, harass and blackmail gay people, activists say.

Outside cities, lesbians often face violence, brutality and even death, rights groups say.

“In rural areas, corrective rape is very prevalent and it is one of the main reasons why women do not come out,” Maya Urmi Aher, a transgender rights activist, said, pointing to pressure on women to marry and bear children.

Such rapes are seldom reported as they are often carried out by husbands, brothers and fathers in a bid to ‘cure’ women, she said.

“Law and order consider crimes like this a joke,” she said.

Hate Crime Against LGBT People In Britain Up 78% In Just 4 Years, Stonewall Research Shows

The new research by Stonewall (based on YouGov polling of over 5,000 LGBT people) has kicked off the group’s #ComeOutForLGBT campaign to encourage people to report hate crimes and show support.

Currently, 80% of hate crimes against LGBT people are not reported to the police, the research found.

Chief Executive of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt said:

While we have come a long way in the past 25 years, it is clear there is still a huge amount of work we need to do before all LGBT people can feel safe, included and free to be themselves in Britain today.

This report warns against complacency, and stands as a call to action for everyone who supports equality. We now need to work together, to bring forward the day when no individual faces hatred or discrimination simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

At Stonewall, we want everyone across Britain who feels impacted by reading this report to join our campaign and pledge to come out for LGBT people everywhere, as visible allies.

Together we can create a world where LGBT people are accepted without exception.”

Beyond its headline figures, the research also broke down the numbers for hate crimes directed at certain groups within the LGBT community, with some groups at much greater risks of incidents than others.

Trans people were especially at risk of such incidents, with 41% experiencing a hate crime or hate incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.

And 34% of black, Asian and minority ethnic LGBT people have experienced a hate crime based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months, compared with 20% of white LGBT people.

Stonewall has made the following recommendations for LGBT people:

  1. Take a visible stand against LGBT hate crime, join Stonewall’s ‘Come Out for LGBT’ campaign and show your support for LGBT equality in all forms. Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to join the campaign.
  2. Call out online anti-LGBT abuse whenever you see it, so long as it is safe to do so. Support those being targeted by letting them know you are an ally.
  3. Let local business owners know if you witness an anti-LGBT incident from staff or other customers so that they can tackle it. Make clear that they could risk losing you and others as customers if they don’t
  4. Report incidents of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic discrimination you experience when accessing public services like housing or social services to the service provider or local council so they can take action. Contact Stonewall’s Information Service on 08000 50 20 20 for advice and support.

Less Than 1% People In British Advertisements Are LGBT

The world of advertisement (with all its elements that we may appreciate or criticize), is definitely a utopian one. Good or bad, our, your, or your mum’s utopia, it’s still a utopia. We might judge the role-models portrayed in, and goals promoted through advertising as harmful or problematic in terms of consumerist practices, beauty social standards and expectations, as well as lifestyle priorities but, before we go there – and rightfully we should – we need to agree on the purpose of advertising: to portray a perfect world, one we are supposed to want to be parts of. What is deemed to be a perfect world, a utopian goal, is in our society not only influenced, but constructed by the world of advertisement.

Our TV and pop-up windows all say: “This is what you should aim for, and for this reason I’m portraying someone who looks like you – is like you – already aiming for it, to make it clear that you should be already doing the same”.

Again, despite how problematic this mechanism is, I need to focus on the slight glitch I detect: the people in the advertisements aren’t actually like me. Not in the least. Sure, that one person I saw on my parents’ TV the other day did have purple hair – which makes my life slightly more convenient than it used to be when my parents did have the argument that no normal person (which means usual person, person on TV) looked like me and my freaky hair.

But all the chocolate advertisements I see depict romantic interludes only between men and women, address me and my priorities when they want to sell – heaven forfend – razors and fall to far more problematic circles when enforcing the stereotype that women’s destiny is motherhood and housekeeping, that she is the one who prepares the meal for the famished working man who returns home. The people in the advertisements aren’t like my partner either. And what do I mean by all that?

LGBTQ+ people still aren’t represented in the world of advertisement. A research conducted by Lloyds Banking Group has recently showed that less than 0.06 percent of people featured in British adverts are LGBTQ+. This lack of diversity in British TV is apparent not only concerning LGBTQ+ people, but also when it comes to other intersections of the population’s identities, such as disabled people and single parents.

More specifically, only 0.006 percent of advertisements in British TV show disabled people, while almost 18 percent of the British population has some form of disability. Also, less than one percent of advertisements show single parents, while about twenty five percent of adults in the UK are raising their children on their own.

When it came to whether people felt like diversity was missing from advertising, it turns out that 65 percent of the 2,200 people who were included in the Lloyds survey, say that they would “feel more favourable about a brand which reflected diversity in advertising”, while 67 percent of the ones who responded said that they expect diverse aspects of society to be represented in advertisements.

Why aren’t LGBTQ+ people represented in advertisements? It’s probably because we are not Western accomplished utopian material. Most of us aren’t able-bodied, white, cis, conventionally attractive, straight couples with enough income to wonder what to do with it. We don’t belong in a world scattered with stereotypes – and maybe that’s even a good thing. But representation is important in all aspects of human life, and even when we get it, we get it in mostly problematic forms.

We’ve all seen photos of women being together with all kinds of lustful, weird positions and looks. And while normalizing sex, instead of contributing in a society that deems it a taboo is important, white, tall, thin, feminine women being sexy with each other is not what we all look like.

We need representation; we need it to be broader than it is, to be natural, unbiased. We need a kind of representation that gets rid of its tokenistic or objectifying character. We aren’t here as instruments to fill a gap – even though it needs to be filled. We aren’t here to be aesthetically pleasing or occasions to party. We are here, we are queer, and we are different, multi-dimensional people: elders, youth, children, working people, parents and activists. LGBTQ+ people need to be represented and visible, and the industry still has a long way to go.

Two Young Women Face Up To Three Years In Prison For ‘Lesbian Kiss’

Two teenage girls are to go on trial in Morocco on homosexuality charges after they were caught kissing and reported to polic

They now face up to three years in prison under the country’s strict homosexuality laws, with their trial due to start next week.

According to the Moroccan Times, 16-year-old Sanaa invited 17-year-old Hajar into her house in Daoudiate, Marrakesh on October 26.

The two kissed, but were being secretly filmed by Sanaa’s cousin, who quickly alerted her mother.

The girl’s mother is said to have reported the pair to the police, who subsequently arrested them,

If found guilty, the pair face between six months and three years in prison.

Moroccan law penalises acts of “sexual deviancy” between members of the same sex – a term that police reports and court documents use to refer to homosexuality more generally.

Although many men have been arrested and imprisoned under these laws, this is believed to be the first case of female minors being prosecuted for homosexuality in Morocco.

The girls will be defended by a lawyer appointed by the Moroccan Association of Human Rights, and were due to appear in court on Friday.

Both male and female same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Morocco, under article 489 of the penal code which forbids “licentious or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex”.

Homosexuality can be punished with anything from six months to three years imprisonment, alongside a fine of up to 1200 dirhams (£260).

Human Rights Watch have previously urged the government to consider repealing the Penal Code, arguing: “Repealing the ban on same-sex acts among consenting adults would both affirm Moroccans’ right to privacy and help to protect people from hate crimes.”


‘Carmilla’ Season 3 Trailer Is Worth The Watch

Carmilla – the wildly popular Canadian vampire web series – is kind of like a queer-er Buffy, blended with Scooby-Doo, and little bit Veronica Mars style action.

It has attracted millions of fans around the world, and not just because of strong story, but it has a whole lot of queerness too.

And now it’s back for its third and final season this September 15th.

Carmilla (inspired by the infamous novella by J. Sheridan Le Fanu) is all about a girl called Laura (Elise Bauman), who has left her home town for the first time to attend Silas University, which boasts its own Gnostic Mathematics department, many clubs for the students to enjoy like the Alchemy Club, and an extensive library where the books will search for you.

But then things get weird when Laura’s roommate disappears without a trace one night, which no-one seems to notice or care about.

Laura decides to investigate herself, and with help from her dorm managers Perry and LaFontaine, and Danny the friendly TA, uncovers a similar string of disappearances and a seedy underbelly of danger lurking underneath Silas.Meanwhile, her new roommate Carmilla keeps stealing her chocolate! Oh, and she might be a vampire targeting Laura as her next victim.

4 Movies With Young LGBT Characters You Need to See

The last few years have been incredible, as far as queer representation in the media goes. There has been a huge surge in the number of LGBT-themed movies and TV shows lately – and, much to everyone’s delight, they’ve actually been pretty good. One of the greatest things about this surge is that the LGBT youth of today doesn’t have to turn to The L Word and Queer as Folk for all their gay media. (Not that there’s anything wrong with those two shows, of course, but… they’re not exactly great examples of the everyday queer experience.)

Looking to watch something inspiring your next date night? The following movies all have relatable storylines and realistic LGBT characters (including, of course, the ones who never really thought of themselves as LGBT before the events in the film).

Do you have any more we should add? Let us know in the comments and we’ll check them out as soon as we can!

Barash/Blush (2015)

When Michal Vinik started casting for Barash/Blush, she knew she wanted to portray a “certain truth [she] didn’t see other places”. She spent months casting the characters, because she wanted to make sure they were portrayed authentically – which meant using real lesbian actresses. The resulting film was an almost-standard coming-of-age lesbian drama. Yes, I know what you’re thinking, but this one happens to have a strong sociopolitical climate as its backdrop.

In modern Tel Aviv (which happens to be the most gay-friendly city in the world), an angsty, rebellious teen girl from a bickering home life falls in love with the new girl at school. Thankfully, Vinik wanted to rewrite her own history – one in which she was not “out” as a teenager – so these girls happen to live in a playground of queer possibility. Between the front-and-center romance and the back-burner tensions at home, these girls learn to navigate their world around one another, and learn to lean on each other for support when things get rough (or just plain weird).

While most of us don’t actually live in Tel Aviv, we all exist in places where love and acceptance are often intertwined with hate and fear – and this movie delicately dances the lines between the two. However, contrary to most queer movies we see, the hate and fear aren’t based around the characters’ sexuality, per se, but rather Barash’s sister’s love for a Palestinian man – a romance that has been all-but-forbidden for over a century.

Naz & Maalik (2015)

With the increasing tension and pressure faced by the Muslim community in America (and the increasing denial of homophobia, too), it’s inspiring for me to see a film that examines the cross-section of Islamophobia and homophobia so close to my home. (Okay, so Brooklyn isn’t super close to me, but I did spend time in New York when I was a teenager, and that’s what counts, right?)

In Jay Dockendorf’s fiction debut, the characters of Naz and Maalik are closeted Muslims living in Brooklyn, whose secret relationship with one another catches the attention of the FBI. With the heightened state of security since the “War on Terror” started, as well as the secrecy that Naz and Maalik rely on for their survival, it’s not hard to imagine how things can get out of hand pretty fast.

Naz & Maalik has received mixed reviews from IMDb users, but it exists as one of few realistic representations of queer Muslim life in the United States. Whether you’re a Muslim-American yourself or you’re just trying to understand what struggles they face, Naz and Maalik is worth watching at least once.

Girls Lost (2015)

This one is a bit different than any of the movies I’ve personally seen, but in a way that makes it all the more relatable. (Well, if you happen to be a nerd for all things supernatural, like I am.) This film revolves around three friends, who are all relentlessly tormented in school. They often find themselves hanging out in the greenhouse of one of the girls, but then everything changes when they receive that magical seed…

Even though this movie is, at its forefront, about using magic to overcome your obstacles, it also gives a delicate look at gender navigation and sexism as it pertains to teenagers. Sex, drugs, and cruelty take their toll on the girls, and although it’s not exactly the gentlest look at trans male aggression I’ve seen, it does offer up three (six?) characters that are definitely worth fighting for.

Girls Lost is based on a Swedish YA novel (Pojkarna, Jessica Shiefauer), but the way it appears on the screen is magical and poignant. It actually makes me wish I could read Swedish, because the book is almost always better than the movie – and this movie is pretty good already.

Sworn Virgin (2015)

In a mountain village in northern Albania, girls face a cruel fate – being kidnapped and blindfolded as they’re taken to their new husbands for a life of servitude. Desperate to escape that fate, Hana takes the vow of burrnesha, which says that she will live a life of eternal celibacy, in exchange for the ability to live her life as a man. This is a story about being caught between two realities – in this case, Hana’s curiosity toward the sex she swore off, as well as the man that she became.

Elegantly told through two intertwining linear storylines, Sworn Virgin offers a rarely-seen glimpse into the world of detransitioning and the additional struggles that people face when making this type of a transition. These are the stories that are often used by LGBT dissenters to deny rights to transgender men and women – these are the stories we need to get more educated about, in order to be better allies.

In her directorial debut, Laura Bispuri carefully crafted this film based on the book Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones. While the book and the movie have different settings and specifics, it’s important to realize that real-life sworn virgins do exist. Dones has also filmed a documentary about the burrnesha vows in Albania.

Fox’s ‘Empire’ is Casting a Butch Female Rapper for Season 2

According to reports, the Empire’s producers are on the hunt for an actress to play the recurring, potentially breakout role of Betty Barz – a “moody, outspoken” teenage rapper who’ll be introduced in Season 2.

Betty, who’s also known as “Betty Gathers” and “The Queen O’ 16S” is described as African-American, “unapologetically butch,” and something of a hometown hero in her “Brownsville-Never-Ran-Never-Will, Brooklyn” neighbourhood.

Her undeniable talent has led to her winning “more rhyme battles and girls’ hearts than the best male vets on her block.”

We’re guessing “winning girls’ hearts” means the new character is a lesbian, but then again…

The character is set to be introduced in the season opener of the show titled “The Devils Are Here” and despite the fact that she’s “charismatic and witty with a street lean,” the artist’s road to fame with the titular entertainment company won’t be an easy one.

Co-created by out director Lee Daniels, the first season was lauded for shining a spotlight on a range of LGBT issues, among them child abuse, coming out, and homophobia in the world of hip-hop. But there’s always more ground to cover.


The show already features AzMarie’s (America’s Next Top Model star, partner to Raven-Symoné), who plays character is Chicken – a masculine of centre, queer woman of colour.


Chicken is best friends with Hakeem, played by Yazz the Greatest, heir apparent of the Empire throne. Chicken collaborates with Hakeem musically throughout the show and was the DJ for Hakeem’s premiere at the opening of New York’s City hottest nightclub, Leviticus, during the climax of Empire’s second episode. She is also set to be in season two.

Empire‘s Season 2 premiere is being written by executive producers Danny Strong and The L word’s Ilene Chaiken.

Out Writer Jack Monroe Finally Puts Katie Hopkins in her Place

Hurrah to LGBT poverty campaigner Jack Monroe, for finally putting ‘professional provocateur’ Katie Hopkins in her place.

For those of you who may not know Jack Monroe – her blog about living in poverty won her legions of fans, who devoured both her cheap recipes and her candid online diary. In the past year she has won a cookbook deal with Penguin and now writes a column in the Guardian.

Yesterday on Twitter, Hopkins confused Monroe with fellow Guardian columnist Laurie Penny.

Penny made the headlines this month after appearing to defend the vandalism of a Second World War memorial, which was daubed with the words “Fuck tory scum”.

Hopkins tweeted: “Scrawled on any memorials lately? Vandalised the memory of those who fought for your freedom? Grandma got any more medals?”

However, instead of directing her taunt at Penny, she mistakenly sent it to out columnist Monroe.

Monroe took deep offence to comments, and quickly tweeted back: “I have NEVER ‘scrawled on a memorial’. Brother in the RAF. Dad was a Para in the Falklands. You’re a piece of shit.”


asked Hopkins to delete the tweet, alluding to legal action and then subsequent messages requesting a public apology and a £5,000 donation to a migrant rescue mission




Hopkins finally complied with her first request – deleting the tweet, but unable to resist a further dig, asking: “Can someone explain to me – in 10 words or less – the difference between irritant @PennyRed (Laurie Penny) and social anthrax @MsJackMonroe?”


A presumably smarting Hopkins then took the step of blocking Monroe entirely – prompting the chef to remark:




Monroe then commented upon Hopkins’s reference to “social anthrax” by recalling her attendance at the BritLGBT Awards.







We Went To Gay Conversion Therapy Camp

Powerful documentary from Vice that needs to be watched.

Conversion therapy is the practice of “curing” gay people by trying to turn them straight through counselling and lifestyle restrictions. The practice dates back to the early Freudian period, when homosexuality was considered pathological and attempts to treat it were deemed appropriate. Today, however, homosexuality has been removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of mental disorders, and conversion therapy is considered ineffective, harmful, and potentially deadly.

Regardless of a nationwide battle toward the acceptance of same­-sex marriage and equal rights for gay people, conversion therapy is still a problem, and it’s being practiced every single day in the United States and throughout the world.

Also: Did Gay Conversion Therapy Work For This Couple? Meet The McCardles

In this special report, VICE gets exclusive access to one of the hundreds of gay-conversion-therapy organisations, groups, and sessions in the United States. At the Journey into Manhood program, men pay more than $600 to attend a weekend retreat where they participate in exercises and activities the staff members claim will help them battle their same-sex ­orientation. The only qualification to become a staff member is to have successfully completed the program.

The report meets with the founder of reparative therapy, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, who is illegally practicing on minors in the State of California, and investigates the controversial legal battle to fight conversion therapy for individuals under 18 years of age. We also travel to the annual Gay Christian Network Conference, speak with former “ex-gay” leaders including John Smid of Love in Action, who is now married to his gay partner, and hear the grueling stories of the individuals who have survived this brutal practice.

Watch the full documentary here.

Mexico Could Have Nationwide Marriage Equality Soon

In the United Kingdom, it would seem unusual if parliament voted to provide human rights to people in one county but not another. But in countries like Mexico, each of these country’s states have their laws and rulings each determined by local politics and only the Supreme Court is able to make blanket laws that affect the entire country. It’s this hierarchy that is making Mexico’s fight for marriage equality that much more difficult.

It’s also made more difficult by the way the nullification of state law works. For example, in order to nullify a state law about marriage equality, several separate lawsuits have to be filed by several couples against the state. On top of this, unlike in the United States where a successful lawsuit in one state allowed everybody in that area to marry, lawsuit rulings in Mexico only apply to the individuals that filed them meaning that those who also want to marry have to file their own lawsuit and wait for that to successful.


But despite these hurdles, those fighting for marriage equality in Mexico are pushing on. As of 2015, courts in more than two thirds of Mexico’s 31 states have ruled in favour of the same-sex couples, thus granting them the right to marry. In fact, in the states of Coahulla and Quintana Roo and Mexico City (which isn’t a state but it is a district, like Washington D.C) marriage is available for everybody.

What’s also good news is that lawyers like Alex Alí Méndez Díaz (who took up the legal fight when other LGBT protesters didn’t feel as though lawsuits would be successful) have been filing ‘amparos’ and ‘amparo colectivos’.

An amparo is a lawsuit that pertains to human rights, while an amparo colectivos is a human rights lawsuit that involves large groups of people. Méndez has been filing these lawsuits so that couples will win the right to marry and individuals will win that right for the future too, even if they do not currently have a partner. In April, 2014 the Supreme Court ruled in favour of his 39-person strong amparo colectivo while other lawsuits (some involving hundreds of people) have also been successful in other parts of the country.


The change is massively positive and speaking to Buzzfeed, Méndez says that he is astonished at the pace of it. And, their push for marriage equality has seen little to no resistance from LGBT rights opponents and religious leaders (Mexico is mostly Catholic) in the country as unlike the United States, where marriage equality is hugely publicised, that isn’t the case in Mexico and the people aren’t used to using the courts to bring about change like this.

However, this stability may not be forever as Méndez says that “The moment that there is an order from the Supreme Court forcing reform we’ll begin to see all kinds of resistance. We’re going to have serious problems with protests in opposition.”

In January, there was opposition from local officials in the state of Baja California who refused to let same-sex couple marry. One volunteer from the city hall even said that the two men were mad, which caused LGBT activists to organise a protest using the hashtag #MisDerechosNoSonLocura (#MyRightsAreNotMadness). In the end, the couple was allowed to marry.

Despite this opposition, which is sure to grow in the coming weeks and months, Méndez tells Buzzfeed that he still thinks the nationwide marriage equality will become a reality soon regardless.

We’ll keep you posted once we know more.


Joan Lobis Brown Beautiful Photos Challenge Stereotypes About Homeless LGBT Youth

Marriage equality may be the LGBT issue dominating mainstream media headlines, but there’s another pervasive problem affecting these communities that gets significantly less attention: homelessness.

According to a recent study by the Williams Institute, 40% of homeless youth is LGBT identified, and the leading cause of this homelessness is family rejection after coming out.

More: Cyndi Lauper Opens Housing for LGBT Youth in New York

The issue is one that photographer Joan Lobis Brown hopes to address through her beautiful portrait project featuring captivating images of at-risk LGBT youth.

“When I photograph the emotionally ‘isolated,’ it is my goal for viewers to look at my photographs and to find something they can relate to and empathize with — a gesture, a posture, an emotion revealed — or, on perhaps a more profound level, lead the viewer to identify with the outsider that lurks even within the most secure of us.” 

Joan Lobis Brown

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All images © Joan Lobis Brown; www.joanlobisbrown.com

Vandalism At University College London Proves How Necessary LGBT History Month Is

Most people recognise that the the monstrosities of World War 2 should never be repeated. We all know what happened during the Second World War thanks to many history classes on it: the Nazis, as led by Adolf Hitler, tried to achieve world domination and oppressed and murdered millions of people (mostly Jewish people) along the way.

But some of those thrown into concentration camps (prisons where people were forced into hard labour and where some were gassed to death) were put there not because they were Jewish but because they were LGBT. And horrifically, LGBT people who survived the concentration camps were rescued by the allies only to be thrown into prison as homosexuality was still criminalized in many ally countries including England. That’s why it was so unfortunate earlier this month, when some students from the University College London, vandalised an LGBTQ flag with a Swastika.

The banner had been put up as part of national LGBT History Month celebrations that are currently taking place at many colleges in the UK. The banner had only been up for three hours when students drew the deeply offensive graffiti on it.

The UCL Student Union writes in a statement:

“We are sorry to report that within 3 hours of our LGBT+ History Month vinyl banners being put up on the front of the UCL Quad, one of them has been graffitied with an image of a swastika in permanent marker.

The swastika as a symbol is indelibly tainted by its use by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust, an atrocity resulting in the murder of many millions of people, among them tens of thousands of LGBT+ people. Its use as graffiti constitutes a hate crime.

We refuse to be intimidated. We will be continuing to promote LGBT+ History Month widely across campus and celebrating the presence of LGBTQ+ students, staff and visitors at UCL. The incident has been reported to the relevant authorities and will be dealt with seriously.”

While it is good news that UCL is doing it’s bit to stamp this behaviour out – and bring the perpetrators to justice – this incident is just one of many similar occurrences around the UK. UCL student journalist Siobhan Fenton notes on The Telegraph that at Liverpool University one student suffered homophobic abuse only to be told by campus security that “it’s all part of the fun” and that students at Bristol University put up posters warnings their peers that trans* students may rape them.

Given that an estimated 11% of all UK university students identify as LGBTQ, there are over 100,000 students whose lives are being affected by these pockets of ignorance. How universities plan on tackling this serious issue is yet to be seen.

Watch ‘Hustle of A Female DJ’ : The Journey of a Black British Lesbian Looking to Build Her Career in Music

DJ Chillz is the current resident DJ at popular LGBT club nights Bootylicious & LUSH in London. She is also a presenter for Jumpoff TV, presenting TURNT, which is a weekly alternative to clubbing event where you can bowl, play pool & listen to a live DJ.

At the end of the summer, Chillz released the first episode to new online show following her journey as a female DJ. Styled as mini diary-documentary, ‘Hustle of a Female DJ’ gives an honest insight into her life and her development in the music industry.

The aim of Hustle of A Female DJ is to give insight on how it is for a Black, Lesbian Female in the music industry to carve a career as DJ. The UPs and Downs.. So far the first 2 episodes are just introductions with the next few episodes going into more depth. Day to day bookings, promotions, interviews and just trying to balance my career.”

DJ Chillz

Catch the first episode below. The rest of the series will feature on KitschMix.TV.


Boys Wear Skirts to School in Protest After Trans Classmate Is Fined for Doing the Same – #VouDeSaia

Being a young person in school can be difficult at the best of times. There’s the pressure of having high grades, trying to maintain a personal life during exam season and then there’s the realization that adulthood (and the responsibility that goes with it) is soon approaching. Stressful stuff. But, for transgender student Maria Muniz, things got so much more so when her school, Colégio Pedro II in Brazil, decided to fine her for wearing a skirt to school.

However, thanks to some ingenious thinking by her classmates, Colégio Pedro II may be backtracking. The decision to fine Muniz was made due to the school’s harsh dress code. While the original fine was certainly unfortunate, her classmates took it upon themselves to protest the ruling the only way they felt fit…by wearing skirts to school themselves.

Both boys and girls at the school decided to show up in skirts which caused officials to change their minds. Speaking to Brazilian publication Globo, they say that they are considering relaxing the dress code.

Not only that, but following the protest the school posted an image of the students in their skirts to Twitter which became popular on the site and saw users tweet using the hashtag #VouDeSaia in support, which translates as ‘I’ll Get By’.

Muniz also adds that “for me, wearing a skirt was about expressing my freedom over who I am inside and not how society sees me, I am really happy about the way my classmates supported me and hope it serves as an example to others to feel encouraged to do the right thing. I was always taught at school to accept who you are. I am only trying to live that.” So even if the dress code hasn’t been fully repealed (yet), Muniz’ fine has at least been overturned so it sounds like their protest paid off.

Being Trans in Brazil: Prejudice and Murder

Summer brought a glitter ball of worldwide Pride events, and in Brazil they held the biggest Pride going. However looking past the partying, we sometimes forget about the day-to-day bravery of transgender people, and the discrimination they face.

Our world has yet to take those accepting steps towards equality, and finally turn its back on discrimination. In ‘accepting’ LGBT countries, the murder of trans women is still rising, and in Brazil abuse is a daily occurrence.

In Brazil there is no word for transgender people – it is just ‘transvestite’, which is also the word used to discriminate against trans women.

Although Brazil has laws in place to protect the trans community, in practice people say and do otherwise. Trans women are freely ridiculed in the media, and in TV ‘novellas’, the nations favorite viewing, they are stereotyped as a comedy fool or street prostitute.

This prejudice doesn’t stop there, it runs deep. Families often see trans family members as a disgrace, leaving them without support and homes. The educational system and foster homes discriminate as well.

According to Grupo Gay da Bahia, every two days a LGBT person is brutally murdered in Brazil. According to the statistics only 2% of these attackes were aimed at lesbians. Most of them are on trans people.

The problem is that people do not report such crimes. In general Brazil’s police is rather weak in the face of the large scale of crimes and corruption, as well as their own prejudices. In fact, a large amount of hate crimes in Brazil are initiated by the police. This often prevents people from reporting them at all.

The largest crime committed is rape of lesbian women. If the woman comes forward the crime will never be seen as homophobia, but solely as rape by definition.

The truth is, Brazil is far less accepting than people think. The law may seem friendly, but people continue to discriminate and commit hate crimes again the LGBT community.

AzMarie Livingston Gets a Part on Ilene Chaiken’s New Project Empire

AzMarie Livingston is not a novice when it comes to acting. She her first acting role was in DTLA as Melanie Griffith‘s girlfriend.

Now she’s working on her next big acting break role on Fox’s upcoming hip hop drama ‘Empire’.


With Out Academy Award nominee, director Lee Daniels (‘Precious’ and ‘The Butler’), Emmy Award winner Danny Strong leading, along with show-runner Ilene Chaiken behind the project, there is a strong LGBT essence to this project.

And it has been hinted that AzMarie will be playing someone queer. Her character is named ‘Chicken’.

Empire is described as “… a sexy and powerful new drama about the head of a music empire whose three sons and ex-wife all battle for his throne.”

The all-star cast includes Terrence Howard as the king of hip-hop, Taraji P. Henson, Jussie Smollett (playing Howard’s the gay son) and Gabourey Sidibe.


Empire won’t air until 2015, but we’re excited to see what this great team comes up with.

Religions Are Now More Accepting of Gays and Lesbians, Study Shows

Although intolerance definitely still remains (sometimes in a large, unmoving bway) the tide is turning for gay and lesbian acceptance.

For the first time in history we’re now seeing the majority of people in the West be in favour of gay marriage while many more people also believe that LGBTQ folk should be afforded the same rights that the heterosexual and cisgender population have long enjoyed. Where the strongest amount of resilience comes from, though, is in the religious sector. Holding onto anti-gay beliefs like a stroppy baby with a rattle, some religious denominations are against LGBTQ identities but surprisingly, the number of religious groups that think this is decreasing.

The proof comes from Duke University who have recently compiled a study based on data taken between 2006 and 2012. Interviewing representatives from 1,331 American churches, mosques, temples, synagogues (amongst other places of worship), Duke University deemed that although just 37.4% of those they spoke to were accepting of gays and lesbians in 2006, in 2012 that figure rose considerably to 48%. And that’s not just being taken at face value either as the dominations literally became more welcoming, with 17.7% of volunteers being gay or lesbian in 2006 and 26.4% of them being gay or lesbian in 2012.

Also interesting to note is which dominations noted an increase in acceptance. Black Protestant churches, white liberal churches and non-Christian congregations all saw rises while unmoved by the huge leaps and bounds that the LGBT rights movement has made, Catholic acceptance of gays and lesbians actually decreased, which is unfortunate. However that said, the current Catholic pope has said previously that that the church can’t ‘interfere’ with gay people and that civil unions are ‘tolerable’ so as he’s fairly new to the job, there’s hope for that decrease in acceptance to turn its way around.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that Duke’s study only covered those who identify as gay and lesbian. How these denominations might feel about those who identify as bisexual, transgender or non-cisgendered is another question entirely. So there’s definitely a missed opportunity there but at least the statistics that we do have are (mostly) positive.

A ‘Night Of A Thousand Judys’ Benefit For Homeless LGBT Youth

In aid of homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth – the worlds of Broadway, folk-rock, television and cabaret will come together  for ‘Night of a Thousand Judys’. In its fourth year, the night features performances by Broadway’s Rory O’Malley and Sierra Boggess, “Queer as Folk” star Randy Harrison and singer-songwriter Erin McKeown.

In previous years, ‘Night of a Thousand Judys’ has been timed to coincide with LGBT Pride Month and will benefit the Ali Forney Center, a New York advocacy group dedicated to homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

The show has really become an event, something each of us on the team look forward to every year. But more so than any of the specifics, it becomes a celebration of this iconic performer that we all adore. At the core of what makes Judy Garland great is her vulnerability. Every song is a master class in giving.

Justin Sayre

Judy Garland was the stage name of Frances Ethel Gumm, born in the homey state of Minnesota in the U.S.A. to a family of vaudeville performers. With her girl-next-door charm and a craft honed by simply making the performance arts her life from the start, it was no surprise that the talent scouts and casting agents for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studios had her sign on at the age of thirteen. This was an awkward age in the industry, with Judy being too young to be considered a child star, and too young for adult roles. Still, her versatility shone through in her first few roles.

At the age of sixteen, she landed the role of Dorothy Gale in a movie musical version of The Wizard of Oz. Her natural doe-eyed innocence combined with her warmly golden singing voice made Judy Garland a shoe-in for the 1940’s Academy Awards, after which she became MGM’s most valuable member of their roster of talents.

Despite this acclaim, Garland remained deeply insecure. She reportedly felt that her work had stolen her childhood, and grew increasingly anxious about her public image transitioning as she took on more mature roles. Other personal troubles of Judy Garland included divorces, family estrangement, substance abuse and suicide attempts. While Garland would invariably light up the screen with her performances and a seemingly effortless starlet glow, the pressures behind the scenes too quickly wore thin. These may have contributed to her deteriorating heath and eventual death from an accidental overdose of sedatives. She was only forty-seven years of age.

Whether it is her glamour, beauty, and talent that is so memorable, or the admiration for her success despite overwhelming personal struggles, Judy Garland had gained a devoted fan base in gay subculture. In an 1960’s press conference held in San Francisco, a reporter enquired Garland’s opinion on her gay fans.

She simply responded,

I sing to people.”

Sexy Promo for Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival – #TLVFest

The Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival is now in its ninth year and takes place June 16 June at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque during the pride parade week.

LGBT Film Festival will screen over 250 films and host special events for the gay community and friends. Also, visitors to this unique annual LGBT film festival can see films with no Israel distribution and have the opportunity to meet with filmmakers participating in panel discussions.

The special programed events and screenings aim to promote tolerance and pluralism in Israel.

The festival is one of the most important cultural events in the Israeli gay community. The annual event is now in its 9th year and coincides with Gay Pride Week. More than 13,000 people are expected to attend.

The TLVFest opening night will feature the premiere of the new Israeli film GuttmanX5, 52 Tuesdays, Something Must Brake and Eastern Boys.

Over Half of US LGBTs Scared to Be Out in the Workplace

53% of LGBT Americans have not told their work colleagues about their sexual persuasions, a new Human Rights Commission (HRC) poll has discovered. The revelation has made commentators wonder how liberal-minded the US really is despite the legalisation of same-sex marriage in a number of states.

About 25% of respondents said that they regularly heard casually homophobic comments while at work, such as ‘That’s really gay’. One in five had been so put off by the intolerance of their colleagues that they had been compelled to look for a new job. Over a third said that they had lied about their sexuality in case they attracted criticism or prejudice.

The poll, which was conducted during the early part of this year, questioned 806 LGBT and 879 non-LGBT people across the United States. In 2009, similar research showed that 51% of American gay and lesbian workers were in the closet. It would seem that, if things have changed at all, they have changed for the worse.

The results from the non-LGBT participants weren’t very encouraging either. Less than half of them reported feelings of discomfort when their gay and lesbian colleagues talked about their love lives, even though this is a topic that many straight workers discuss a lot of the time.

On the positive side, 81% didn’t think that LGBTs should have to conceal who they are at work. Furthermore, the HRC report found that many employers had instituted LGBT awareness programmes and offered support to their LGBT employees.

However, the director of HRC’s Workplace Equality initiative, Deena Fidas, doesn’t think this goes far enough: ‘It’s not enough to put in place inclusive policies. [We also need] training and accountability, and must be on the lookout for unconscious bias.’

Gay and Green

Gay and Green – a recent Harris Interactive survey showed that LGBTs are more likely to consider themselves eco-friendly than straight people, there’s always room for improvement. From recycling as much of our rubbish as possible to walking and cycling instead of driving, we can always be a little more green.

1. Insulation, insulation, insulation

One of the big contributors to climate change is the energy we use to heat our homes. Instead of turning up the thermostat so often why not install double glazing and other fixtures that will improve your house’s insulation? You’ll also save yourself some cash.

2. Recycle everything

Almost everything can be recycled so don’t stop with the green bins provided by the council. So many people throw perfectly good materials away or store them in an attic for decades. Why not pass them on to someone who can use them?

3. Stay online

Although we do more and more of our communications online, we can always do more to reduce the amount of posting we do. Remember that the more physical objects you send in the post, the more petrol delivery vans will use and the more damage will be done to the environment.

4. Keep it local

If you buy a lot of food grown in faraway lands that means air miles and a big carbon footprint. Try to buy as many locally-sourced ingredients as you can. The other benefit of this will be to your local community – farmers, bakers, craftspeople etc.

5. Only do green business

These days there are whole directories of green businesses – operations that try to limit their carbon footprints and that use and sell locally-sourced products. If the public vote with their feet and spend their hard-earned money in such businesses, environmental awareness will keep growing.

Kristen Henderson, Outspoken Bassist of Antigone Rising

The bassist of openly lesbian alt-rock band Antigone Rising talks to us about hanging out with the Rolling Stones and kissing her wife on the front cover of Time magazine.

Q: You have two new EPs coming out soon: Whiskey and Wine Volume 1 and Whiskey and Wine Volume 2. How would you describe them?

KH: They capture our typical Antigone Rising sound, which is a country rock sound. The thinking behind releasing two separate EPs came from my view that the music industry is in such a state of chaos. The industry just seems to be about releasing this constant stream of content and so much music nowadays seems to get lost because no one listens to it. Most fans are only interested in downloading a single or one track off an album.

We thought it would make sense to put out the CD in two parts over the course of the year so there’s a big splash in the early part of the year and another big splash later on. We’ve made videos for all the songs on the EPs in order to try to make an event out of each and every song. There are artistic reasons for our decision, but it also makes sense from a marketing standpoint because by December people might have forgotten about an album that came out eight months ago, so short are attention spans nowadays. So come October or November when part 2 comes out, it’ll be a brand new CD and will have a new relevance.

This time we wanted to take a different approach to putting out our music. At first we considered digitally releasing one song at a time every month and then at the end of the year putting out a CD containing all those songs. But because it’s been a couple of years since we made a CD, we decided that we needed a physical product to sell while on tour.


Q: Where will you be touring this year? Any plans to come to London?

KH: As of now it’s all in the States, but we’re definitely looking to go to Europe and Canada as well. We don’t have anything on the books for Europe yet, but we’d love to get over there.

Q: What was it like supporting the Rolling Stones? Did you get to meet them?

KH: It was awesome! The Stones are like this huge roaming city unto themselves, setting up new restaurants and shops and facilities in a new city every night. The production that goes into a Rolling Stones tour is mind-boggling.

The crowd’s reaction to us was also great. I remember some years ago seeing U2 in a big arena and the Kings of Leon – before they had broken through – were the support act. The audience wasn’t really paying attention to them. The lights were on and the stadium was relatively empty, well there were maybe 5 or 6000 people as opposed to the 20-30,000 that would later come see U2.

By contrast, when we opened for the Stones in Chicago, there were 30,000 people, the lights were on and it was a full-on show. I couldn’t believe it. I had told myself that in arena shows nobody comes to see the opener, but on this occasion the place was packed!

The Stones themselves are totally gracious and they made a point of meeting us. We spent a lot of time with both Ron Wood and Charlie Watts over the course of the tour. Keith Richards would hang out on the side of the stage while we played. Eventually we did get to meet Mick too, although he was a little less accessible. Given the show he puts on each night he has to lay low and rest. We had a really great time on that tour with the Stones.

Q: Do you prefer playing smaller or bigger venues?

KH: We’ve gotten to a point in our career where we know how to tailor our sound to whatever room we’re playing. I just love the response from an audience, wherever it is. Even if you’re playing a 200-seat venue – if it’s packed then the energy you can get off that is so intense. I can’t really compare or contrast one venue over the other, I just love playing live. When we have played in front of 20,000 people it feels intimate if people are into it, if they’re cheering and enjoying the music.

Antigone-Rising-08Q: Last year a photo of you kissing your wife appeared on the front cover of Time magazine. What sort of effect were you hoping that would have on public attitudes to same-sex marriage?

KH: The whole point of that was to come out, be vocal and hopefully change people’s hearts and minds. It was less controversial than we or Time expected. Time was gearing up for it to be this big scandal and had prepped us for attacks by the conservative media. But instead the most right-wing commentators – people like Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera – said that they didn’t know what the big deal was. So it was sort of a non-event. I guess that, on social issues, these conservatives are not so repressed any more.

Q: Do you think that represents progress? That people across the political spectrum are becoming more open to same-sex marriage?

KH: Absolutely. The landscape has changed pretty fast. In 2009 my wife Sarah and I wrote a book about our experience of being LGBT mothers and before we did press for that we were advised by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), an organisation that Sarah is now the chair of. They prepped us for a hostile reaction and they were right – a lot of the interviewers were opposed to same-sex marriage. They asked us questions like ‘What about the poor kids?’ and ‘Don’t they need a father?’ Then two years later my wife and I are kissing each other on the front of Time magazine and I was pleasantly surprised that the reaction was very different.

Q: 5% of the royalties from both volumes of Whiskey and Wine will be donated to GLAAD. Could you explain what GLAAD do?

KH: They primarily focus on the media’s representation of the LGBT community. In any instance where they feel like there’s been a misrepresentation they try and correct the error or educate people about the truth. I truly believe that the equality movement in the United States has largely been won because of the work GLAAD do and the way they have helped to change public perceptions of LGBTs.

A lot of Americans don’t realise that same-sex marriage is illegal in many parts of their own country or that LGBTs do not have equal rights to straight people in, for example, the workplace. They are not equal when it comes to health benefits or the right to adopt children. But people are at least now seeing positive images on TV of LGBTs on shows like Will and Grace and Modern Family. I feel like we are winning the war by using the media to change people’s minds. I’m not saying it’s won yet – there’s still a lot more to do.

Q: And the Time cover was a big step forward.

KH: Absolutely.

Q: Country music has traditionally been associated with conservative values. Is homophobia a problem in country music today and have you or your band ever been the victim of prejudice?

KH: Antigone Rising started out as a rock band and we’ve shifted slowly towards a Southern Rock sound and now, I guess, we have a country sound. I wouldn’t say that we’re part of the Nashville scene and in a sense, I think we’re flying in the face of Nashville, and I kinda like that. No one in the business has ever said anything negative to me, but I do sometimes wonder what the real reasons are for not getting booked in certain venues or not being asked out on certain tours. We certainly aren’t being embraced by country artists or country labels, but there are plenty of LGBT country fans who appreciate artists like us who they can identify with.

Q: Do you make a conscious effort to put political messages into your music?

KH: Not really, it’s never intentional. There may be moments in a song where we might allude to our lives – being out or not being out or making certain political choices, for example. For the most part, just by showing up and playing and being out and being who we are – this is a statement on behalf of women because we’re an all-female band and it’s a statement on behalf of LGBTs because we are all gay and out.

It can be a little divisive if you try to pound a message into people. I just like to play music. A producer once said to me, ‘Like the music, like the man.’ He told me that he never used to care for Bruce Springsteen’s music and then he worked with Springsteen, got to know him and found him to be so nice and generous that he learned to love his music. So I think by showing up and allowing people to get to know us, we win them over to who we are and what we believe. I think that’s more effective than making some bold statement. I’m not opposed to people doing that, of course, but it’s just not how we roll.

3/2/14 Antigone Rising

It’s called a Gayborhood, an article by Khoa Sinclair

Imagine living within walking distance of the hottest shops and restaurants. Chinese take out is available 24 hours a day, vintage Christian Dior is easy to locate (and thats hard), and there’s something new to do every night. Welp, you may just want to move to a gayborhood!

If you’re unfamiliar with this term let me help you out. A gayborhood is a neighbourhood with a large concentration of gay men and women in one area. San Francisco, New York, and Portland are just a few cities with such neighbourhoods. Gayborhoods are known to consist of the hottest nightlife, diversity in cultures, and beautiful people (apparently I don’t live in one then).   While some may argue that gays drive our neighbourhoods and economic system into the ground, I’m here to tell them they’re dead wrong…I’m talking bout you Michele Bachmann.

In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, Professor Janice Madden (a professor at University of Penn)  found that there is a split between where gay men and lesbian women decide to live. Gay men are drawn to inner city locations just like Chelsea in New York. These parts of town are usually referred to as upscale and trendy. Lesbian women are more likely to live on the outer parts of the city closer to a suburb. This is typically due to fact that lesbians are 4 times more likely to have children, which drastically changes where one wants to live.  Researchers also found that gays have a positive effect on gentrification and the economic aspects of a town. According to a research project conducted by Professor Janice Madden over a decade in which gays will have come to a neighbourhood, the per household income and population will have increased significantly. Looking at a CNN report we can also note that the popular Castro neighbourhood (which consist of 14% same sex couples) is also one of the most expensive places to live in San Francisco. Housing prices seem to increase as well, which is due to new shops and restaurants being opened. Professor Mickey Lauria of the University of New Orleans found that the presence of gay men in the real estate industry of San Francisco were vital to the urban renaissance of the 70s. American academic, Richard Florida, even found that gays lure in investors and new jobs.

Its sounds like time to snatch up a place in new emerging gayborhoods. Nyack in New York is quickly becoming popular among lesbians and is quite affordable at $300 per square feet. An alternative to the popular and expensive West Hollywood would be Eastside, Long Beach. This neighbourhood is half the rent of West Hollywood and expanding rapidly. Get your space quickly before rents start to rise. But if you can’t afford to live in one of these stylish gayborhoods don’t fret! Just remember that the gays are coming.

Khoa Sinclair

Watch: ‘We Thought You’d Accept Us’ – powerful LGBT film from Africa

A new video from Atlantic Philanthropies shows that despite written law; tolerance and acceptance do not come easily to those living in Africa; and in particular South Africa.

It is common for many LGBT Africans to seek asylum and refuge in South Africa, where the constitution (put into effect in 1996 by the late President Nelson Mandela) promises equal rights to all.

However many refuges soon discovered (like many others in the country), that LGBT asylum seekers experience heightened harassment and violence.

This film was made in conjunction with the PASSOP organisation (People Against Suffering Oppression and Poverty) who are a dedicate group that work to provide support for gay refugees in Africa. This organisation works tirelessly to empower LGBT South Africans and advocate for their own rights.

With such barbaric practices against LGBT community continuing in other African countries, PASSOP has seen more LGBT asylum seekers coming to South Africa, with numbers arriving in Cape Town increasing from 20 each day to over 200.

For more background information on Atlantic’s work with LGBT rights, you can look at their case study examining the challenges queer South African youth face.

LGBT History Month @University of East Anglia

This year the university will be presenting a number of events in support of LGBT History Month –  All talks are free and they take place in Arts 2.02 at 7 pm.

Visit www.uea.ac.uk/literature/engagement/lgbt-history-month

Music in Queer Fiction – Dr Clare Connors – 3 February 2014

When music is described in novels it serves all sorts of purposes. It can connote passion for example, or an experience of intimacy, or point to areas of meaning, life and feeling beyond the grasp of words, or impossible for cultural reasons to articulate. This talk explores the specific role played by the representation of music in a number of twentieth-century works of queer fiction, including novels by Alan Hollinghurst and Sylvia Townsend Warner.

“Marriage is so Gay.” The battle for same sex marriage in the US and Britain: A comparative perspective – Dr Emma Long – 6 February 2014

Same-sex marriage has been a controversial political issue in both the US and UK in recent years. Yet despite the fact the issue is the same, the nature of the campaigns in each country has been quite different. This lecture considers the history of the debate and looks at why the issue has been received differently in the two countries.

Southeast Gaysia!: LGBT Heritage and Activism in the ASEAN Region – Yi-Sheng Ng – 10 February 2014

Southeast Asia is a hugely diverse region, where different races, religions and government systems exist side by side. And yet there are common threads in our queer history that bind us together, from traditions of holy transgender shamans to modern-day lesbian weddings and gay rights marches. Singaporean activist Yi-Sheng Ng will share stories from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam; these are tales of liberation and oppression, continuity and change.

Pitching Harmony: Thinking differently about the assimilation and difference debate – Dr Jonathan Mitchell – 13 February 2014

In this lecture I wish to speculate on the concept of harmony and how it offers creative possibilities for ways of thinking about LGBT politics. As LGBT politics becomes increasingly divided between a liberal acceptance and extreme differences – BDSM culture, bug-chasing, bare-backing etc. – I wish to muse on the concept of harmony, especially close harmony as a means to emphasize the ‘queer’ at work with and within the norm without having to lose one’s identity either to assimilation, or to the extremes. My own concepts here are fraught with problems and are highly value laden, and I aim to maintain these tensions as a process of self-critique.

“A Quiet Place”: Gay & Bisexual Classical Composers in 20th Century America – Malcolm Robertson – 17 February 2014

Perhaps due to the population size and the diversity of the cultural backgrounds of its citizens, the USA has produced a large number of diverse ‘classical’ composers in the 20th century of which a considerable proportion were/are gay or bisexual. The sheer variety of individual styles in which these composers expressed themselves is quite staggering and many of these composers have reputations that are of key importance to 20th century ‘classical’ music both nationally and internationally. The talk will look at the life and music of several of these composers, including works that seem to reflect their personal feelings and sexuality.

The Homosexual Steamroller: Queer “Propaganda” through Literature – Dr B.J. Epstein –  20 February 2014

Why are LGBTQ books for young readers considered so threatening? Can you turn people queer simply by featuring LGBTQ characters in literature? LGBTQ books for children and young adults are some of the most banned or censored books in the world. This talk will explore some of these texts and the many challenges they have faced. It will discuss the content of both picture books and young adult novels as well as how these works might influence readers.

Saints, Sinners and Martyrs in Queer Church History: The continuing evolution of religious responses to homoerotic relationships – Terry Weldon – 24 February 2014

History contradicts the common assumption that Christianity and homoerotic relationships are in direct conflict. There have been numerous examples of Christian saints, popes and bishops who have had same-sex relationships themselves, or celebrated them in writing, and blessed same-sex unions in church. There have also been long centuries of active persecution – but recent years have again seen the emergence of important straight allies for LGBT equality, and a notable reassessment of the scriptural verdict.

Trans & Gender Variant History 1800s onwards – Katy J Went – 27 February 2014

The development of modern theories, constructs and realities about gender, intersex, sex and trans. Changing social gender “norms”, sexual psychopathology, shifts in neuro and biological understanding of sex and gender, and modern medical possibility to redefine bodies. From crossdressing mollies to sexual inversion, transgenderism, non-binary gender and 80 shades of intersex. This is the second lecture in a series that began by covering the ancient and medieval history of gender variance until 1800, delivered at UEA in 2012.