The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has been drawing attention to gender-based violence and discrimination for many years. The Assembly is now working on a report titled “The fight for a level playing field – ending discrimination against women in the world of sport”, which will result in a resolution to be adopted by the Assembly in 2021.
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The format for submissions is informal, and can include individual testimonies, statistical data, or descriptions of situations and practices affecting these communities.
Inputs are due by 31 January 2021.
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Cianán B. Russell, Ph.D. (EN: they/them, ES: elle/le/*e)
Senior Policy Officer
Mobile/WhatsApp: +32 478 12 0076
Rue du Trône 60, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 609 54 10 • Fax: +32 2 609 54 19 • www.ilga-europe.org
I am writing as a community journalist, who in the past along with Sean McGoruan and others have tried to write and reflect about the LGBTQ community in Northern Ireland. There were times when it felt an uphill struggle, as we fought censorship and bureaucracy, not to mention the establishment.
We wrote about murders, about police sting operations, about AIDS.
Even today we still have to write about homophobia, how the ‘lockdown’ has and is affecting people; but we are lucky now to not have people thrown into prison without trial. Though I must say that the government’s current stance on ‘gay cure’ therapy beggars belief – is the Prime Minister trying to go back to the days of Margaret Thatcher?
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney’s speech is thought-provoking, and also worrying, because only this morning I re-published on the NIGRA website about the film ‘
Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge, review: a heart-stopping account of those fleeing persecution
which was shown on BBC TV this week
Take time to read the articles and watch the film, if you haven’t already. YOu won’t’ be disappointed.
Just short of two years I attended a number of events in Belfast Pride, the 2017 edition. There had been a raft of things to do, and that was by the end of the fourth day since its launch. Like I think most people in the community, I had picked and chosen what I wanted to see; I went along to The ‘Law’ event not realising I needed a ticket (my fault), then I took myself to watch Marquee which was on at the Queen’s Film Theatre (even though I knew it was also being shown on BBC4 on Monday night), and the day before I went along to see the ‘Visage’ exhibition of photographs of six of Belfast’s most formidable ‘Drag’ Queens (Visions of Loveliness), which was being held at the
Artcetera Studio in Rosemary Street, Belfast. This comprised of a series of portrait photographs with each of studies being depicted in both their male and drag identities, which resulted in 6 A1 sized hung photographs and then each photograph has been broken down into stip fitted onto a
Within the Visions of Loveliness exhibition, each photograph was coloured in the 6 primary colours of the ‘rainbow flag’:-
- Red – Matthew / Cherrie Ontop
- Orange – Adam James Renshaw / Rusty Hinges
- Yellow – Marcus Hunter-Neill / Portia Di’ Monte
- Green – Michael Hillman / Misty Falls
- Blue – Joshua Cargill / Blu Hydrangea
- Violet – Robert McCready / Titti Von Tramp
I really enjoyed this exhibition, but what would have possibly made it more interesting is possibly some audio interviews with each of the 6, or even if possible some video interview tapes – possibly generated pre-Pride from questions gathered within the community.
To this also a calendar maybe showing their forthcoming shows for the next 3-6 months would also have been a welcome addition.
This is an area which needs to be documented and explored more, to enable more understanding and acceptance and to move away from the judgemental.
The Independent needs to realise that whilst any community welcomes the free and open debate that this article brings, it is difficult to see that a bias has not been shown by the choice of the photograph chosen to represent the LGBT community.
The Independent needs to realise that the LGBT community is a kaleidoscope of people and as such, it knows that finding a representative picture of the community is not always easy, however, why was it that the only photograph which was chosen to represent the LGBT community was directed to two gay men’s genitals (obviously with the clasping hands in front)?
Politics Not At Work
A continuing discussion has to be happening with both Stormont and Westminster and that is obvious; but the fact that the Conservative government can only continue to hang on with the support of the Unionist votes who have made it plain that marriage equality is not acceptable on ‘their watch’ only further highlights the limited political attitude in Northern Ireland. Politics in Northern Ireland is a sham and the politicians in Stormont cannot be said to be truly representing the population when they are not in Stormont carrying on business.
The Independent Needs to Review
However, in going back to the article I would suggest that the Independent is more selective in its photograph choice for future articles.
Northern Ireland’s largest church votes to deny same-sex couples full membership
Same-sex couples have been denied full access to Northern Ireland’s largest Protestant church. As a result of a new policy formally adopted by the Presbyterian Church at its annual meeting in Belfast, they will no longer be able to have their children baptised.
Over the last 40+ years that I have been involved in the LGBTQ community, I have been privileged to witness the acceptance of gay people into the general community – young and old, we now have more freedoms; however this has only come about through the continued pressure from individuals, groups through lobbying and through legal cases. We have in most parts of the UK an acceptance and understanding that being ‘gay’ is normal, that it does not require “treatment” to correct an illness! Again I said in most parts, there are however still some groups and individuals who wish us to disappear or receive corrective treatment – in most companies LGBTQ rights are now accepted; but we cannot sit back on our backsides; if we do not keep monitoring and interacting with government (both local and national) then the rights that we have fought so hard to achieve will be taken away again.
What are your thoughts on this article; I would really like to hear what you think. Comment now or email us.
Source: Old and young see LGBT rights in contrast
Items for further reading:
Reporting is about being as accurate as you can with the information currently available; unfortunately to often it has been about sensationalism, trying to get readers, and playing to the gallery when the ‘reporting’ has been about the LGBT community.
This article reflects how once again, how we as a community where used as scape goats for waht is now recognised as a national and international problem. People have sex, but unless we educate properly in our schools, and continue to educate about safe sex, no matter what gender, then we will have problems.
Burrying our collectives heads in the sand, saying to people don’t have sex, are not working – we need to show people the right way of doing things, including contraceptives, and then maybe we will get a grip of the various sexual diseases which are plaguing our society
Jeff Dudgeon MBE, is part of the history of Northern Ireland, and with his court case made the case for homophobia to be abolished in N Ireland. Unfortunately until 1982 it was still a crime to be a homosexual in Ulster, indeed people were still persecuted under other laws for being gay, and their lives destroyed by what can only be called vindictive police cases which should never have ended up in court subsequent to this repeal.
Today, liFe has improved, but there are still problems; only within the last two weeks was a gay man attacked for challenging two men passing by who called him’queer’ and other words.
People are regularly still harassed in their homes. and probably more worrying is that fact that being young and gay is still open to abuse in schools, colleges and universities.
This is not acceptable in today’s world, and the more that we stand up against any form of persecution the more we as human beings earn the right to be called ‘human’.
Mary McAleese has said homophobia should be consigned to history in Northern Ireland.
I was deeply shocked to hear of the sheer scale of the casualties at ‘The Pulse’ gay night club in Orlando.
It is hard to comprehend the enormity of the act and the awful nature of the suffering of the members of the LGBT community.
Those who survived will never be the same again, while the lives of so many, mostly young victims out enjoying themselves on a Saturday night have been cruelly and abruptly ended.
Such attacks on gay venues, with high casualty rates, have occurred before – in London, the US and Israel, while there have been single murders in Belfast like that of Darren Bradshaw at the Parliament Bar (and the Rev David Templeton), and more recently three gay men who were killed in London by a bomb at the Admiral Duncan pub.
Northern Ireland is no stranger to mass murder. Our community knows there is a reservoir of hatred out there that can be motivated to action by political organisations and by religious hate speech. In this case it was Islamist.
The people of Belfast will I know express their solidarity with the people of Orlando, a city in Florida many of us know well and have visited. Your pain having to bury so many fine people will be hard to bear.
I have asked that our City Hall officials put arrangements in place to allow citizens to show their sympathy to our American friends and that the City Hall gates be opened for people to gather in the grounds on Tuesday at the planned demonstration of support.
Jeff Dudgeon (Belfast City Councillor and NIGRA Treasurer)
- Orlando shooting: Isil claims responsibility for Pulse nightclub attack in which Omar Mateen gunned down 50 in America’s worst ever mass shooting
- BBC News – Orlando gay nightclub shooting: 50 killed, suspect is Omar Mateen
Posted: January 11, 2016|
Jonathan Fast knows what it’s like to be bullied. As a chubby 8-year-old in summer camp, he was tormented by an athletic boy who broke his arm. Even his father, Spartacus author Howard Fast, was bullied by the House Committee on Un-American Activities for being communist in the 1950s.
In his powerful new book, Beyond Bullying: Breaking the Cycle of Shame, Bullying, and Violence, 67-year-old Dr. Fast takes an unhurried look at the shame underlying violence towards LGBT and straight folks alike. “With this book, I hope readers will be better equipped to deal with bullying of every sort,” he explains, while speaking at his Yeshiva University office. “With time, we’ll be moved, if only by a single degree, closer toward a place where all people are equally valued and respected.” Fast spoke about the danger of “gay-neutral” school policies, fighting back, and whether or not there’s a “cure” for bullying.
Out: Did being harassed as a kid inspire this topic?
Jonathan Fast: In my last book, Ceremonial Violence, about school shootings, a detail was missing about the Columbine killers and other perpetrators. At a conference I heard a talk about shame, and had an epiphany: I realized these vicious guys were carrying huge amounts of that primal emotion. Most likely they were disappointing their parents, not gainfully employed, having trouble socially. Why turn to school shooting? Because they couldn’t express their shame if they wanted to appear mature, powerful, and successful. It’s taboo even to talk about this feeling because it’s associated with little children, weakness, and failure. Ultimately it comes out of their guns.
Gays have been bullied for decades. But during Stonewall, they fought back. Is rioting a useful reaction to feeling oppressed?
It’s a common form of shame management when the feeling is intense, shared by a lot of people, and there seems to be no other peaceful means of managing it. Rioters are usually unaware of their motivations beyond a general sense of rage and frustration. While neighborhoods may be damaged and community members hurt, the events draw attention to grave social problems. Stonewall created a milestone for the gay rights movement and empowered a subculture.
How have LGBT individuals dealt with society’s violence toward them?
Some choose to use their fists, which yields mixed results. Jamie Nabozny invoked the law. In 1988, after coming out in his Wisconsin middle school, he was repeatedly tortured by classmates. The problem persisted into high school. He sued both principals, staff members, and the school district for neglecting to protect him. Lambda Legal came on board, pushing the case into the headlines. A partner at the white shoe law firm Skadden Arps offered his services pro bono. The jury found the school administrators liable for failing to stop antigay violence against Nabozny, who won a 1 million dollar settlement.
In Minnesota, two young women responded with social action. A romantic couple in high school, they’d heard about a series of local gay teenagers killing themselves and wanted to bring visibility to non-traditional gender roles. They got elected to a 12-member Royal Court, and were set to walk in a public ceremony. But days before the procession, a teacher told them their plan was unacceptable because they were two women. They contacted the National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Southern Poverty Law Center and battled against the school leadership. Ultimately they won the right to proceed on the red carpet, to wild cheers and applause.
Regarding that group of suicides, you point to education policies as potential culprits. One high school had written a mandate for faculty and staff to show respect for all students, and to remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation. It led to a spate of teen suicides over two years. What went wrong?
A lot. The 2009 recession hit that suburb hard. Residents bought big houses and got caught with giant mortgages. Middle class folks became homeless, living in their cars. Kids were told not to speak about their depression and lack of cash. So they couldn’t manage their shame. To begin with, adolescents aren’t working with a full biological deck. The frontal lobe—the part of the brain that analyzes consequences—doesn’t mature until age 25. Influenced by their peers, teens often make poor choices.
Add to that mix a poorly worded edict that bans any reference to homosexuality, spearheaded by conservative parents. It silenced the few gay teachers who’d acted as a support network for kids coming out. Trying to be neutral, one school psychologist took down the picture of her partner on her desk. Youngsters stopped hearing “it gets better.” All these things contributed to hidden shame, which you tend to turn inward, resulting in acts like cutting, and in this case, a cluster of suicides.
The ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the U.S. military has been repealed. Marriage equality is the rule of law. But in one study, 95% of gay adolescents reported feeling separated and emotionally isolated from peers because of their sexual orientation. Around 50% of gay adolescents have experienced physical violence by family members. Research has shown that LGBT teens attempt suicide four times more frequently than their heterosexual peers. When will this trend reverse?
It’ll take another generation to change. I grew up in a homophobic home and my father was an intellectual. He’d say a great writer would never be gay, because they couldn’t relate to the basic human experience. Which was absurd. But when you’re a little kid and your father is a celebrated author, you tend to believe him.
In 1963 the New York Times published an article “Growth of Overt Homosexuality in City Provokes Wide Concern.” Its title reflected the opinion of the Times and the times. I see it getting better with my grown kids.
We all carry shame at times. What are healthy ways to deal with it?
Write about it. Express yourself through art. The film The Gift is a good example. It’s about a teenage bully who grows up and doesn’t understand why in high school his target complained about getting beat up. After all, the bully had been abused by his own dad, but believed he’d sucked it up. Of course, instead of sucking it up, the roughneck had displaced his pain and trounced his victim.
Other ways to deal include going to confession, if you’re Catholic. Volunteering. Doing a good deed. The “It Gets Better” campaign is a great example.
Is there a cure for bullying?
No. We have endless examples of maltreatment of people in politics—think Donald Trump—and in media, like certain newscasters. We live in a bullying society. We have the highest homicide and incarceration rate, and the worst income division, which is a big shame factor. Believing that society is a meritocracy can be humiliating to a lot of people. They imagine success yields happiness. But if prosperity is unattainable, people take that personally. They feel ashamed, and unhappy. Sometimes the shame is turned outward, which is how we get bullies