Tag Archives: Ruth Hunt

100’s Of Leading LGBTQ Activists Sign An Open Letter To Reject ‘Blackface’ Performance At UK Prides

Leading LGBT activists have signed a letter urging pride events to stop booking blackface acts.

It comes after Durham Pride was criticised for booking a woman who darkened her skin to impersonate Beyoncé.

Durham dropped the act from its lineup and apologised for the booking after several groups threatened to boycott the event.

A letter signed by LGBT activists including Jack Monroe, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah, Ruth Hunt and Peter Tatchell expressed concern that similar artists are being promoted at other events.

Blackface is a form of racism that dehumanises Black people turning them into objects that can be “performed”. It is a modern form of minstrelsy and has no place at Pride.”

It said the upcoming Pride season was about “celebrating diversity” and the ongoing issue “continues to be an embarrassing stain” on the LGBT community.

As we are coming into Pride season, a time of year where we should be celebrating our diversity, this ongoing issue continues to be an embarrassing stain on the LGBTQIA+ community.”

The letter also offers recommendations for how pride organisations in the UK can commit to ending racist performances, including a suggestion that they diversify their lineups.

In the last year we have seen homophobia and racism rise dramatically, these struggles are connected, they often stem from the same hatred of difference.

The repercussions of this have been particularly felt by BAME LGBTQs. We must come together as a community and stand up to racism as well as homophobia so that every LGBTQIA+ person in the UK feels welcome at their local Pride to celebrate their love and lives.”

Stonewall also posted in a new blog to their website;

LGBT POC (people of colour) continue daily, within the wider LGBT community, to be fetishized, excluded or subjected to stereotyping. For that reason, we should double down on our efforts to make sure all Black, Asian and other ethnic minority LGBT people feel included at events like Pride.”

The charity added:

We must all learn better how to recognise our privileges and be allies to LGBT people who are marginalised or experience discrimination based on other factors. We must champion their specific rights to equality and inclusion.”

Stonewall called for ethnic diversity within the teams who put together Pride events, so they have “the necessary experiences and knowledge to ensure you get it right”.

Let us be very clear for those who don’t know or understand: blackface is always unacceptable and is a degrading and hurtful form of racism, regardless of the performer’s intent. It will always be insensitive and should never be treated as a part of a performance. The act itself dehumanises and humiliates the ethnicities that it imitates, often as negative stereotypes. It has no place in society, let alone at Pride events, where LGBT people and allies should feel free to be their authentic selves.”

Stonewall Says They’re “Looking Forward” to Working With the Tories

Ruth Hunt, the chief executive of Stonewall, has said she looks forward to working with the newly-elected Conservative government, but that the charity will hold MPs to account when it comes to their manifesto promises.

Ruth Hunt 01

In the wake of last week’s election, she said that Parliament is “richer and stronger for the diversity of voices within in” – but also expressed disappointment for the lack of representation for the trans community.

Also read:

We’re encouraged that people took to the pols and voted – and that more than 25 openly lesbian, gay or bisexual MPs have been elected, making this the largest group of openly LGBT MPs to date.

Looking ahead, our MPs can’t forget the manifesto commitments they made to the LGBT community. We must see those words translated into tangible actions.

The Conservatives, alongside the Liberal Democrats, have had an impressive track record at Westminster over the last five years and we look forward to working closely with the new government towards achieving equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people here and abroad.”


UK’s Equalities Minister Asks Foreign Governments To Clarify Rights Of British Gays and Lesbians Working & Travelling Abroad

The UK’s equalities minister, Jo Swinson, has written to the authorities in more than 70 countries and foreign jurisdictions in an attempt to clarify the rights of gay and lesbian people who are working or travelling abroad.

The main question asked is does their national and regional governments recognise British civil partnerships and marriages between same-sex couples, and what rights gay people can expect when they travel.

Swinson has also urged those countries that need to make legislative changes to reflect recent developments in British law around equal marriage to do so.

“One of the things we committed to do in the coalition agreement is recognising that for gay people who are in a civil partnership or now have got married, and who are travelling, working or studying abroad, for them to know what their rights are in that country and ideally to have their partnership or marriage recognised would make a big difference.”

Jo Swinson

However, she acknowledged that the list of jurisdictions contacted was limited and included many whose marriages and civil partnerships are recognised by the UK.

At present the Government Equalities Office has no plans to contact all countries to urge them to recognise UK gay marriages and partnerships, though Swinson said the Foreign Office had encouraged British diplomats to raise the issue.

“They obviously make a degree of local judgment about when is the right time to raise these issues. Sad to say, there are plenty of countries where LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] rights are in a dreadful state and the people in those countries themselves suffer greatly, and I’m not going to have rose-tinted specs to think that those countries are going to rush to recognise our same-sex marriages.

But there are plenty of countries that do have a much more positive approach, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t recognise our partnerships.”

Jo Swinson

Following the implementation last year of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act and Marriage and Civil Partnership (Scotland) Act, same-sex couples in England, Wales and Scotland can choose to enter into marriages or civil partnerships, which give the same legal rights. Northern Ireland law permits civil partnerships, but does not allow same-sex marriage.

Ruth Hunt, chief executive of the charity Stonewall, said the government move was encouraging

“It’s also important to remember the bigger and more complex picture of international rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. There are still 77 countries where same-sex relations are illegal. Five of these countries impose the death penalty for being gay. There’s still so much left to do to create a safer environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people – both here and abroad.

Stonewall worked with human rights defenders from over 30 countries in 2014, and we hope to continue sharing our knowledge and experience with these groups to ensure they know how to campaign in their countries most effectively for change.”

Ruth Hunt

The UK recognises gay marriages in the 19 countries that allow them, while same-sex partnerships in 54 other countries and territories are recognised as civil partnerships in Britain.


Countries and territories that recognise UK same-sex marriages and civil partnerships

Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Isle of Man, Jersey, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland
(Source: UK government Equalities Office)

Countries and jurisdictions contacted by government to clarify their position on recognising UK same-sex marriages and civil partnerships

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Bermuda, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Falklands, Greenland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay, US (50 states, plus District of Columbia, and five overseas territories = 56 jurisdictions)
(Source: UK government Equalities Office)

Countries in which homosexual acts are illegal

Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, The Gambia, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Burma, India, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen

Latin America & Caribbean
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago.

Kiribati, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu

Cook Islands (New Zealand), Gaza (in the Occupied Palestinian Territory), South Sumatra and Aceh province (Indonesia)

Countries in which the legal status of homosexual acts is unclear or uncertain


LGBT History Month | The Founders of Stonewall Reflect On The Organisations Formation

As a gay women living in the UK, I watch this and release how much this organisation has actually done for me.

In the summer of 2014 the founders of Stonewall came together to reflect on the formation of Stonewall. Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall, was joined by founding members Matthew Parris, Michael Cashman, Fi Cunningham-Reid, Lisa Power, Simon Fanshawe, Duncan Campbell, Olivette Cole-Wilson.

LGBT History Month

So it’s February, which means one thing, its LGBT History Month. This fantastic calendar event is here to celebrate the lives and achievements of the LGBT community; celebrating its diversity and the society as a whole. It is an opportunity to celebrate LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) lives and culture by exploring our own and others’ histories in an LGBT context.

It is also an opportunity for learning, discussion and debate around the continued fight for LGBT liberation.

Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt Says It Is “Naive” to Think That Gay Men Are Less or More Sexist Than Straight Men.

In an interview with the Guardian, Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt said it is “naive” to think that men who are gay are less or more sexist than straight men.

Her comments came as a reaction to ‘Charmed’ actress Rose McGowan, who claimed last month that gay people were “more misogynistic”.

“I think it’s what happens to you as a group when you are starting to get most of what you fought for? What do you do now? What I would hope they would do is extend a hand to women. I see now people who have basically fought for the right to stand on top of a float wearing an orange speedo and take molly [MDMA]. [Gay misogyny] is a huge problem.”

Rose McGowan

Ruth Hunt told the Guardian:

“I think misogyny is far more rampant in society than we give it credit for. Across all sorts of walks of life, both gay men and straight men. It’s naive to think that because a man is gay he is less or more likely to be sexist.”

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO

She also made comment on the boycott of Brunei-owned businesses.

“[We won’t use the Dorchester] because our supporters have made it very clear that they don’t want us to. [I’m fed up with] gesture politics which just make people feel better, but achieve nothing.

The important campaigning issues around Sharia law in Brunei are actually about women. So posh, rich, white western gays saying: ‘What about the gays in Brunei?’ is singularly the most unhelpful thing we could do.”

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall CEO

Stonewall initially refused to cut its ties with the Brunei-owned Dorchester hotel, but later reversed its decision after outcry from supporters.


Stonewall announces new Chief Executive – Ruth Hunt

Its official, Ruth Hunt is to be the new Chief Executive of Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, it was announced today (28 July 2014).

Ruth has been Acting CEO of the charity since February this year and before that, was Deputy Chief Executive. She joined the charity in 2005 as a Senior Policy Officer, having begun her career at the Equality Challenge Unit. Her appointment concludes a comprehensive and transparent search, throwing up a strong set of candidates from which Ruth emerged as the clear winner.

During her time at Stonewall, Ruth has been instrumental in developing Stonewall’s work to change hearts and minds – beyond legislative change – helping to establish a strong evidence base for activity and developing pioneering campaigns including Stonewall’s Education for All campaign. As Acting Chief Executive, Ruth has demonstrated her strong commitment to ensuring all LGBT communities, both here and abroad, are included and involved in Stonewall’s work going forward.

‘I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to lead Stonewall, a highly-respected organisation that is synonymous with achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is full of committed, intelligent and creative people and I am very pleased to be heading up such a talented team. There are so many opportunities ahead, as well – of course – as challenges.

I look forward to working with Stonewall’s many partners to develop what the team and my predecessors have already achieved, to advance equality and challenge discrimination both throughout the UK and abroad. These goals we share with the lesbian, gay and bisexual community and it’s fundamental that we work together to achieve them.’

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Chief Executive

Ruth will take over as Chief Executive immediately and succeeds Ben Summerskill, who stepped down from the post at the end of January 2014.

Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual People Grow Older Fearing Discrimination and Isolation

New research published by Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare reveals that lesbian, gay and bisexual people grow older fearing discrimination and isolation.

A YouGov poll showed that 48% of lesbian, gay and bisexual people fear discrimination when dealing with bereavement while 55% of those over the age of 45 have no financial provision for their funeral.

Shockingly, one in ten say they have experienced discrimination at a funeral or when arranging one.

Those in the London and the North were most concerned about receiving poor treatment because of their sexual orientation. More Londoners than any other area believe they will face barriers when planning a funeral or in arranging end of life care.

According to the study, family members and religious leaders were the most likely to discriminate against gay, lesbian and bisexual people.

In response to these fears, a guide for lesbian, gay and bisexual people on planning for later life has been developed by Stonewall and The Co-operative Funeralcare. It offers helpful advice on the law, making financial provision, such as a will or purchasing a funeral plan, and offers tips on planning and arranging a funeral.

‘Many older lesbian, gay and bisexual people grew up in a time when they were discriminated against and persecuted simply because of who they are. It’s therefore hardly surprising that so many feel reluctant to access services to help them plan for later life.

At Stonewall we know that we stand on the shoulders of a generation whose tireless work helped to change Britain and the world for the better. We now have a responsibility to make sure that they receive the help and support they deserve for themselves and their families. That is why we’re working with community groups and faith organisations to help make this a reality.’

Ruth Hunt, Acting Chief Executive of Stonewall

George Tinning, Managing Director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, said:

‘Despite changes to the law to provide equal rights for people regardless of their sexual orientation and a perceived greater acceptance in society, it is clear from our research that barriers remain even in death. The death of a loved one can be deeply distressing but at a time when people should expect sympathy and understanding, many gay people have faced poor treatment as a result of discrimination and this is simply unacceptable. As well as producing a guide to offer helpful advice to customers, we are also providing guidance to our staff to ensure that we always offer the same care, guidance and support to all our clients.’

George Tinning, Managing Director of The Co-operative Funeralcare

‘People didn’t want a lesbian to represent gay people’ – Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s acting Chief Executive

Ruth Hunt took over as acting chief executive of the charity Stonewall in January 2014, following the resignation of executive Ben Summerskill. Talking at Stonewall’s Education for All conference this week, she spoke about when she was first appointed to the role people were resistant to the idea of a lesbian leading the movement.

“What I was really struck by, was – this is somebody who was on Twitter, highlighting that experience [of women being marginalised in the LGB movement] – was [the criticism] ‘how can a lesbian represent gay people?’ And I was really struck by that, as an idea. Not, ‘how can a lesbian represent gay men?’, but ‘gay people’. And I think that’s certainly something which is still a re-occurring theme.”

Ruth Hunt

Late speaking to Pink News Paper, she went on to discuss her achievement in her new role…

In the last six months? That’s not a big time period, but I guess I’m really proud that Stonewall has continued to deliver everything that we said we were going to deliver. It’s hard when you’ve got a change in regime to do that. But I’m also really proud of the new conversations we’re having with the trans communities, and I think that’s incredibly important.

We’ll be holding a roundtable with fifty of the leading trans activists about what they want from the future of the trans movement, and Stonewall’s role in that. We are also having an open consultation at stonewall.org.uk/trans, where people can tell us whatever they’re thinking about these things; and there will be more conversations going forward.

Ruth Hunt



86% of UK School Teachers say Homophobic Bullying Happens in Their School

Front page imageA new YouGov polling released by Stonewall shows that teachers are still failing to tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. Just one in eight teachers trained to tackle homophobic bullying, and a third of teachers hear homophobic language from other school staff.

The Teachers’ Report 2014 revealed that fewer than one in ten – 8%, primary school teachers and fewer than one in five – 17%, secondary school teachers have received training on tackling homophobic bullying.

This is despite the fact that 66% of secondary school teachers say that homophobic bullying has a detrimental impact on students’ achievement and attainment at school. Shockingly three in ten secondary school teachers and two in five primary school teachers do not know if they are even allowed to teach lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.

The Teachers’ Report 2014 also reveals that an overwhelming majority of teachers across both secondary and primary schools believe school staff have a duty to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying. Encouragingly the report does show that the percentage of teachers who say homophobic bullying happens often in their schools has fallen by half.

Teachers are the most powerful tool that we have in the fight to tackle homophobic bullying. Sadly our new research shows that, despite some progress, the legacy of Section 28 is lives on in Britain’s schools. We’ve seen what happens when schools fail to get to grips with teaching the realities of 21st century Britain. The Government must now make it a priority that every single teacher is trained to tackle all types of bullying and abuse in our schools.’

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall Acting Chief Executive

The Teachers’ Report 2014 was launched at Stonewall’s annual Education for All Conference, which brings together teachers, politicians and students.

The charity is also launching an interactive new website for primary schools to help them tackle homophobia and to talk about different families in an age-appropriate manner: www.stonewallprimary.org.uk

Alongside of the new guidance and research Stonewall has named the top local authorities who are working to tackle homophobic bullying. Brighton & Hove council is named the top local authority for their work to prevent bullying and create inclusive schools. Hertfordshire Country Council and Wiltshire Council round out the top three performing local authorities in 2014.

When local authorities abdicate their leadership on tackling bullying and prejudice it is students across Britain who suffer. The local authorities, and particularly Brighton & Hove Council, have shown that we can build schools that are welcoming for all where students can achieve their full academic potential, regardless of their sexual orientation.’

Luke Tryl, Stonewall’s Head of Education


30,000 Revellers Gather for Pride in London – #freedomto

An amazing 30,000 people took part in the Pride parade yesterday in central London.

The Parade was lead by gay actor Sir Ian McKellen who marched with Stonewall, and together they set off from Baker Street, travelling along Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall and down to Trafalgar Square before ending at Whitehall.

London Pride is a celebration that the whole capital can be proud of. It’s inspirational to see so many thousands of people not just celebrating everything we’ve achieved as a community but also continuing to fight for LGBT equality here in Britain and around the world.”

Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Acting Chief Executive

With the incredible Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst then headlining the celebrations, with Sinitta, Heather Peace and Sam Bailey also joining in at the big stage at Trafagal Square, the event took over the capital.

This year’s theme was “#freedomto“, and participants were encouraged to send in “selfies” which could feature as advertisements on the Tube network, organisers said.

We have had a record number of attendees this year, with over 30 floats and 210 groups. The atmosphere has been amazing. The rain could not dampen the spirit, and people think it has been the best Pride.”

Michael Salter, chair of Pride in London