Sunday, 22 April 2012

What's Happening, Hot Stuff!? 22nd April 2012

Welcome to this week’s WHHS – for us, this week has been a mix of extremely early mornings, April showers and random house guests but elsewhere in the world there has been plenty going on.

We mentioned last week that Stonewall was using London buses to promote their Equal Marriage campaign with adverts saying ‘some people are gay, get over it!’ and as the campaign is coming to an end, religious groups decided to launch their version, a ‘Not gay! Ex-gay, post-gay and proud. Get over it!’ banner around London for two weeks starting on Monday. A press notice from Anglican Mainstream and the Core Issues Trust said Stonewall’s bus campaign “implies the false idea that there is indisputable scientific evidence that people are ‘born gay’, and that they have no choice but to affirm their homosexual feelings”. Hmm – what’s the polite way of saying ‘WTF’? That is the case: people are born gay- get over it! Thankfully the ads have been banned.

Current London Mayor – Boris Johnson said: “London is one of the most tolerant cities in the world and intolerant of intolerance. It is clearly offensive to suggest that being gay is an illness that someone recovers from and I am not prepared to have that suggestion driven around London on our buses.” Yay Boris.

Elsewhere in the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has reportedly banned gays and tomboys from its schools citing efforts to tackle the two ‘phenomena’s’. A report on Emirates 24/7 this morning says the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has been called on to ensure implementation of new orders on homosexuality and girls who adopt masculine appearances. The newspaper quotes the ‘Sharq’ Arabic language paper on the announcement: “Instructions have been issued to all public schools and universities to ban the entry of gays and tom boys and to intensify their efforts to fight this phenomenon, which has been promoted by some websites.” Neither paper states who issued the instruction but Emirates 24/7 said the students would be able to attend school only if they “stopped such practices”. Saudi Arabia operates a system of Shari’ah law and punishes homosexuality with sentences of corporal and capital punishment. It’s not a country on our to-do list, that’s for sure! It’s amazing how the UK can be working to tackle homophobia in schools while Saudi Arabia is doing its best to incite it.

In Pink News this week they reported that ‘American LGBT activists have reacted angrily to President Obama’s decision not to sign an executive order that would have outlawed workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexuality and gender identity. Tico Almeida, president of the group Freedom to Work, thought that many felt betrayed by this decision. “I believe this is a political calculation,” he said, having learned about the decision during a meeting with White House officials on Wednesday. “It’s not about the substance,” he added.’

Jay Carney, White House spokesperson, said that political motives were “absolutely not” the reason behind the president’s moves. ”We’re deeply committed to working hand-in-hand with partners in the LGBT community on a number of fronts to build the case for employment non-discrimination policies,” Mr Carney said.

Gay and transgender rights activists have also said that the bill has popular support, pointing to a poll by the thinktank, Center for American Progress, which showed that three in four voters supported protections against discrimination for LGBT people. Besides, they add, both the Department of Labour and of Justice had given the green signal for the White House to act.

 “He has not been able to provide a single valid reason for why he is now refusing to sign the executive order protecting LGBT workers,” Mr Lewis said in a statement. “It has become increasingly clear that this decision is based on cowardice rather than principled leadership.”

Mr Almeida, however, did add that Mr Obama “has done more for LGBT equality than any other president in United States history and more than the prior presidents combined.” Although the order may not be signed now, the administration has left sufficient room for the decision to be reversed, he said.
Following this President Barack Obama has used Twitter to point to his gay and lesbian record. Yesterday, 20 April, his team created a list called 'Progress for the LGBT Community.' 'Together, we've fought for equal rights for LGBT Americans--and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is just one example of the progress we've achieved since President Obama took office,' the page announces. After that brief introduction, a rainbow coloured timeline notes gay and lesbian specific milestones. The first is from June 2009, when Obama ordered that the same-sex partners of federal employees be eligible for benefits. The last highlight is from last month; the Veterans Health Administration started to pay attention to transgendered veterans. This guide was published immediately after LGBT advocacy groups voiced disappointment that Obama did not sign an executive order banning LGBT workplace discrimination. Well we guess that means Obama doesn’t mind showing his support!
Obama’s reaction makes sense; in current polls, Obama will need as many LGBT voters as possible because the upcoming November election will be extremely close. The Pew Research Center recently noted the incumbent 'holds a slim 49% to 45% advantage' over assumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney after Rick Santorum conceded! – yay!

In other USA news, a number of large-city mayors in the US have formed a coalition with the hope to achieve same-sex marriage equality. The group have come together with a view to increasing the pressure on President Barack Obama and to achieve full support of equal marriage rights nationwide. Organised by Freedom to Marry, a group campaigning for country-wide acceptance of gay marriage, their aim is simple - to end to ‘federal marriage discrimination.’

The group released a statement: “By joining the group, mayors hope to expand public and political support for ending the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage.”

Staying stateside, a recent USA survey has shown that Equal marriage is not top among the concerns of voters for the 2012 presidential elections. The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, which carried out the survey on the 4th and the 5th of April, said that only 28 per cent of those polled considered marriage equality as “very important” in determining their vote. Rather, what concerned them was the economy, and relatedly, jobs, which topped the list at 86% and 84% respectively. Health-care followed closely at 74%.

We think it’s fair to say that the other issues highlighted should and understandably are a priority. Commenting on these findings, the president of Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese, thought the news was good for LGBT equality. He noted in a statement: ”Fair-minded people are increasingly aware that extending rights, benefits, and protections to their LGBT neighbours strengthens the communities they live and work in. It’s important to remember that so much of what we’re fighting for — marriage equality, workplace protections, fair treatment when our loved ones are hospitalised — contributes to a strengthening of the issues voters care about the most… This latest data reinforces the fact that supporting LGBT equality is not a divisive wedge issue.”

In contrast, after the Australian House of Representatives' inquiry into same-sex marriage, the results show that over 120,000 people voted in favour of legalising gay and lesbian marriage. From the 218,048 people that took part in the online survey, 58% of people were in support of full legalisation, 79% of people said that religious ministers should not have to marry same-sex couples and 58% wanted overseas same-sex marriages to be recognised in Australia. Woohoo – looks like once again Australia is tempting us to make it our permanent home!
Give us the option!
The last piece of news that came to our attention is related to Glee, if you have read our About Us page you may have noticed we are both fans, and so the press surrounding the latest episode is not something we want to see! The episode we are referring to is called ‘Saturday Night Glee-ver’ and other than having a great Santana moment(s) (see below) it saw Mercedes getting the chance to ‘do her thing’, the appearance of Unique (the shows first transgender character) and addressed the issue of what a few of the characters were planning to do after they graduate. But Bill O’Reilly Fox News personality thinks this might lead some of the kids watching to experiment with their gender identity or sexuality. 'If you make the behavior of these people ... if children hear it, unsupervised children, okay who don’t have parents watching -- they might go out and experiment with this stuff,' O'Reilly said on Thursday's (19 April) episode of The O'Reilly Factor! You know because kids that aren’t gay really just want to be gay! Seriously Bill – we can’t say we know ANYBODY who would want to ‘become gay’ just because people on tv are.

Bill’s guest Gretchen Carlson, a current host of Fox News and a winner of Miss America way back in ‘89, joined in by saying she didn't think watching Glee would 'suddenly make kids transgender,' but she believes the shows gay characters could lead to 'experimentation. I wholeheartedly believe, in today’s society, that kids are experimenting with homosexuality. We see it in celebrities who maybe just do it on the side, and it may be drug-fuelled...I totally agree with Bill that this causes kids to experiment. And if we didn’t– why do we have any rules in society then if we don’t try and set some parameters for our children to live their lives? I just think that this is way over the top.' Wow, now drugs cause you to trial being gay – hasn’t this been a week full of educational quotes – NOT!!!

Checkout the article and video clip here:

From our knowledge, Fox News is a Republican slanted news station that is not known for their un-biased reporting! Plus Gretchen’s nanny was former Republican presidential hopeful, and all round crazy person, Michelle Bachman- who we know hates gays and everyone that not ‘just like her’- so really Gretchen had no hope!

Following the popularity and widespread reporting of the ‘It Gets Better’ video made by Mormon students at Brigham Young University (check it out here), several parents and friends of gay mormons have joined forces to add another video to the project. The video will be formally released during a national conference for LGBT Mormons in Washington DC today, and aims to confront the homophobic image associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

And congratulations to Adele who has just unveiled as a new 'gay icon' in a survey by Gaydar Radio and replaces Kylie! Yay!

Have a great week, we hope you've enjoyed the updates! 

Love Always
Sarah & Laura


  1. I'm so glad to hear they banned those awful "ex-gay" bus ads!

  2. The misguided and narrow - minded comments from the like of Bill O'Reilly really REALLY make me angry. Why can't these old fools see that maybe, if a kid watches something like Glee, a programme that whole heartedly embraces all walks of life (black, gay, Asian, disabled, trans and even just overweight!) then maybe, just maybe, they will grow up with the attitude that prejudice has no place in their world. Because perhaps their favourite character on the show might be a bit different, might not quite be the marginalised idea of popular, but they still are really cool / funny / attractive.

    Or maybe it might just send out a message to a young, confused kid that actually, it's ok to wonder if you're gay, and it's even ok to wonder if you might have been born the wrong gender. Because you will be loved and supported for who you are, just like on their favourite show.

    It drives me potty that it's still so acceptable to complain in national media about images of acceptance, and of love, and of tolerance. And they complain about it whilst also hiding behind the argument that it is to PROTECT our children. Wtf? By bringing them up to be afraid of who they are, and of who others are around them?!

    Argh. Rant over. Sorry. Just grates on my patience!! Always love your weekly round ups, L xx


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