12 noon on Saturday, 25th November 2000
Junction of Highbury Corner and Highbury Place, London N1
Invited guests include the Culture Secretary Chris Smith MP, local MP Jeremy Corbyn, the Mayor of Islington, and veterans from the Gay Liberation Front (GLF).
The solid bronze, triangular-shaped plaque commemorates the 30th anniversary of the first-ever gay rights demonstration in Britain, which took place in Highbury Fields on the 27th November, 1970.
The original demonstration was a torchlight rally by about 150 members of the newly-founded Gay Liberation Front in protest against police harassment and intimidation.
It had been provoked by the arrest of a prominent Young Liberal, Louis Eakes, during a police entrapment operation. Officers alleged that Eakes had cruised several men. He claimed he merely asked them for a light.
The erection of the commemorative plaque has been organised by OutRage! and made possible by a generous donation from GLF veteran Andrew Lumsden, who will unveil it on the day.
The plaque reads: “The first gay rights demonstration in Britain took place here, in Highbury Fields, on 27th November 1970, when 150 members of the Gay Liberation Front held a torchlight rally against police harassment”.
It is being mounted on the public toilet in Highbury Fields, near where Louis Eakes was arrested and where GLF staged its torchlight rally in 1970.
The erection of the plaque will take place with the help and permission of Councillors and Officers of the London Borough of Islington.
“The GLF protest in November 1970 was a milestone in gay history”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who was himself a prominent campaigner in the GLF in the early 1970s.
“For the first time in Britain, gay people demonstrated to demand human rights. Before this protest, the police harassed the gay community with impunity. The 27th November 1970 was the moment that lesbians and gay men got up off their knees. It ended forever the era of queers as passive victims of injustice. From that date onwards, the fear that had cowed gay people into submission was gone. Instead of fear, we felt pride and defiance.”
FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell 020-7403 1790
“The Home Office Sex Offences reform proposals do not go far enough”, according to Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
“All consenting, victimless sexual offences –homosexual and heterosexual– should be abolished, including the criminalisation of consensual adult pornography and sadomasochism.
“The law on the age of consent should take into account the fact that over 50 percent of young people have their first sexual experience before they are 16. Consenting sex involving partners under 16 should not be prosecuted, providing they are of similar ages and there is no evidence of pressure, manipulation or exploitation.”
While the proposed repeal of Victorian-era laws that discriminate against homosexuals is long overdue and most welcome, the Home Office recommendations ignore two aspects of homophobic discrimination. —
Under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, most consensual gay offences are defined as ‘serious’ sex crimes on a par with rape, indecent assault and child abuse. These victimless gay offences should be deleted from the 1991 Act.
The Sex Offenders Act 1997 classifies consenting gay relationships involving men in their late teens as child sex abuse, but the equivalent heterosexual behaviour is not even a crime.
A 20 year old man who has consenting gay sex with a man aged 17 is categorised as a pædophile and forced to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register. In contrast, a 19 year old heterosexual man who has unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl aged 13 does not have to sign the register. The Sex Offenders Act needs urgent amendment to end its anti-gay bias.
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Following threats by Leicester’s small but vocal branch of the National Front and other neonazis (including Clive Potter of the British National Party) of violent disruptions at Leicester’s first Pride March, Leicester City Council posted discrete warnings at the entrance to Abbey Park where the march terminated: though they did not advertise the event (which attracted marchers from Nottingham, London, and elsewhere) in the “Out and About” section of their web site.
Undeterred by the threats of violence and of heavy showers, Leicester’s L/G/B/T community turned out to put on a loud, colourful, proud, defiant, and jubilant display for the local townspeople.
The high-profile march route went along the high street and through the pedestrianised precinct, where Saturday shoppers and shop staff all stopped to watch the procession. Curiously, the entrance to one indoor shopping mall was closed: so that shoppers and police inside had to peer out through the grille.
The march was led by the Unity Against Prejudice banner, which was followed by the Soft Bang Bando samba band: three local groups who had combined for the day, and who stalwartly kept up marchers’ spirits and a stirring rhythm throughout the march.
In contrast to Pride marches in recent years in London, the Leicester march was very much a political event: as was underlined by several skirmishes with neonazi trouble-makers. Police arrested a couple of these before the march reached the town centre: though after a search released them without charge.
The local group Leicester Lesbian & Gay Action handed out leaflets on the subject of Monday’s House of Lords vote against repealing Section 28, including contact details for local MP’s.
Clive Potter, a union official employed at Leicester Royal Infirmary, has been suspended by Unison from his role as shop steward, pending an investigation by the union’s National Executive Committee into his “alleged involvement in far-right politics”. The BNP describe Potter as “an unassuming and caring person”.
BBC Radio London Live (formerly GLR) is the main sponsor of Buju Banton’s performance at the Festival of Peace and Love in London today, Sunday, 23rd July, 2000.
The festival at Three Mills Island in east London, being held to celebrate Jamaican culture and the life of reggae legend Bob Marley, includes a set by Banton.
Banton is notorious for, in 1992, writing and performing Boom Bye Bye glorifies the shooting of gay men, urging people to get a gun and blow out the brains of a “batty boy”, (pejorative Jamaican slang for homosexual). Subsequently he has said that gays should be treated like discarded tyres and burned.
The furore that arose in both this country and in the USA forced him to apologise on the Channel 4 programme The Word on 4th December, 1992: but not before massive cancellations of TV and other appearances on both sides of the Atlantic hit hard.
An interview published on the 29th May, 2000 in New Nation, a newspaper serving members of the black community, includes a reiteration by Banton of his homophobic views and a denial that he had ever recanted or changed these views.
In consequence of the intervention of OutRage!, of Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia, of Eurogay internet magazine, and of our approach to Jenny Abramsky (Director, BBC Radio), the Editor of London Live immediately stopped promotion of the festival on his station and obtained assurances from the Festival’s PR people that ‘Boom Bye Bye’ would not be part of Banton’s set. Banton’s own PR people, however, were not so forthcoming and give rise to concern that he may be planning to use the his mantra of hate at other venues, in the UK or elsewhere.
OutRage! and Black Gays and Lesbians Against Media Homophobia are working with Gay and Lesbian Alliance against Defamation, (GLAAD), in the USA where Banton is planning a tour to promote his recent album Unchained Spirit. .
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Pictures of this year’s L/G/B/T Pride March in London.
The latest edition of Outcast, a small but well-respected gay magazine, has had to be cancelled because the company that usually prints it say their staff have been intimidated and fear reprisal attacks if they go ahead with the printing.
The February edition of Outcast contained an editorial and a half-page article detailing irregularities in the registration at Companies House of Mardi Gras 2000 Ltd.: a commercial enterprise owned in part by gay press barons Kelvin Sollis, David Bridle, and Tony Claffey.
Following the appearance of this article, solicitors Mischon de Reya acting for Chronos Publishing Limited, publishers of the Pink Paper and Boyz, wrote to Outcast’s Internet Service Provider, NetBenefit PLC, fearing that Outcast might publish something defamatory in a future article that might be published on their website.
On the 29th March at 4 p.m., Outcast received a letter from NetBenefit, warning that: “we advise you that we will suspend your website with effect from 6 p.m. today unless we receive from your solicitors written assurance that the entire content of your website does not contain any defamatory material”. After such impossibly short notice, NetBenefit then shut Outcast’s website down at 7 p.m..
Outcast has now been forced to move the content onto a server in America, (operating via the original URL of www.outcastmagazine.co.uk).
Outcast has traditionally printed provocative articles that challenge the ‘gay scene’ and the ‘pink pound’ economy. It has published controversial articles by writers including Ken Livingstone MP, Peter Tatchell, Mark Simpson, Emma Butcher, and Paul Burston. This originality and independence have led to it being attacked by mainstream gay titles, most of which print only a narrow, highly commercial and ‘London-centric’ view of gay life.
OutRage! condemns the bullying tactics that have been used to gag Outcast and censor free speech. It would be serious enough if these tactics were being used by homophobes to silence a gay magazine: but for a powerful gay company like Chronos to be resorting to these depths indicates very strongly that they have something to hide.
We don’t believe that Outcast has done anything wrong. Their articles are checked by David Price (a leading libel lawyer who defended Scallywag magazine against John Major): and they have never been taken to court over any issue in the past. If they are guilty of anything, it is of knowing too much about how the gay establishment works ‘behind the scenes’, and daring to tell their readers the truth about it.
Statement by NetBenefit, 6-April-2000
Outcast, a customer of NetBenefit’s web hosting services, recently claimed that NetBenefit had attempted to censor Outcast. NetBenefit rejects this.
NetBenefit does not censor any web site it hosts. NetBenefit is happy to host a web site such as Outcast – Outcast was accepted as a NetBenefit customer without question. NetBenefit will continue to support customers who seek to use the web to publish their views, whatever views they espouse, provided they keep within the law and do not expose NetBenefit to unacceptable risks which are clearly spelled out in NetBenefit’s terms of business.
NetBenefit has been advised, following the case involving Demon and Laurence Godfrey, that we are obliged to review the content of a web site once we have received a warning that potential defamatory material is expected to appear on it and to act very quickly if potentially defamatory material is found. This applies to all Internet hosting companies operating under English law. We received advice that Outcast actually had on their web site material that was potentially defamatory. NetBenefit had no choice but to take action to avoid an unacceptable risk of being drawn into one or more costly legal disputes which were not of its own making but in which NetBenefit, merely a provider of web space, could be held liable to the same extent as someone who uses that web space to publish a defamatory statement. The Demon case has shown this to be a real risk for providers of web space and ISPs in the UK.
NetBenefit was entitled under the terms of business Outcast accepted, to suspend Outcast’s web site without notice, but instead NetBenefit gave notice before suspending Outcast’s web site and sought strong assurances from Outcast: specifically an assurance from a lawyer about the then current content of the site and Outcast’s assurances about its arrangements for future content. Outcast responded to NetBenefit, acknowledging NetBenefit may be liable for any defamatory content Outcast publishes. Outcast failed to confirm its existing content was not defamatory, and indicated Outcast is not in a position financially to have its content checked by a lawyer but gave no assurance that future content would not be defamatory. Outcast alleged the suspension of their web site was censorship and gave an ultimatum demanding the lifting of the suspension. Outcast’s response therefore contained no assurances whatever and NetBenefit declined to reinstate access to the web space, which Outcast since decided to relocate.
We recognise Outcast is in the business of publishing and so understands these issues. We would invite Outcast to campaign on the real issue: the need for a change in the law to allow Internet hosting companies, like NetBenefit, to provide the service Outcast and others are seeking.
Terry Connell, 57, died from a heart attack on Saturday, 25th March: just hours after being discharged from hospital after having suffered another heart attack a week earlier.
Terry was the driving member of the Bolton Seven, who championed the cause of gay equality when they were prosecuted under the U.K.’s discriminatory sex laws. His courage and unwavering tenacity in fighting the case through the courts were a living example of Gay Pride at its simplest and noblest.
His hearing at the Court of Appeal, (heard separately from that of the other six, owing to the untimely illness of the defending barrister), was rejected in a mockery of justice on the 5th March, 1999. It was characteristic of Terry that his unhesitating response on hearing the verdict was: “Well, now we go on to Europe”.
Terry Connell – A tribute
by Ray Gosling
Terry was a quite extraordinary good man in life, in gay life — he was a living antidote to the stereotype straights often have. He was neither a limp-wristed Julian-Sandy, nor some overbutch leather queen. He was normal — a fan, fanatic loyal, true and regular supporter of Bolton Wanderers because he liked football. He believed in it. Football. As he liked his flat cap. He liked company and pubs, but Terry didn’t drink alcohol. He was T.T. by choice. He didn’t mind you smoking, but he didn’t. He didn’t swear, but didn’t mind if you did. At first I thought because of his name he must be Roman Catholic and of Irish ethnicity but he wasn’t. He was Lancashire English, and wasn’t a Christian believer — and yet in the practice of life Terry Connell was a great New Testament man — loyal: never let a pal down: selfless and forgiving — though he would always speak his mind. It was his opinion and you were entitled to differ. And he’d respect you. Respected all men. But he expected you to respect him. That’s what so incensed Terry at the prosecution of himself and the lads –particularly the lads on the Bolton Seven video– it was gross indecency –the prosecution was– an invasion by The State into the privacy of the messy intimate embarrassing bits of lads’ lives at an age when you do go a bit giddy because you don’t know what you are exactly. As the trial judge Michael Lever expressed it quite correctly: “It was young men tipsily experimenting with sex”.
Terry was adamant. No harm. No force. The harm, the force was with the prosecution of what should have been left in privacy.
Terry was well known in Bolton gay ciircles and well respected. He was a frequenter of The Church, the town’s main gay pub. And he ran disco sometimes. He didn’t go cottaging, though he understood those who did and saw no harm in it. He wasn’t a chicken chaser, though he had a good eye to a pretty youth, he wasn’t at all predatory. He liked young people –a lot– and like the best of male gays have so often been, he was generous, genuine, kind, affectionate and a good ear: enormously supportive and long suffering and never pushy to teenagers he befriended. He well understood, instinctively, the terrifying pressures young poor white boys face today — from the power of girls: the lack of proper jobs of craft and pride and good wages; the loss of esteem; the pervasiveness of drugs. He’d help in the best possible ways, weaning lads off drugs and into work — and of course football. He was a very proper Bolton guy. He worked himself –night shifts in the bakery– and gave his all to the lads he befriended: for next to no sexual favours in return — because he enjoyed their company free of favours, to help them grow through their difficulties — and he did. He was quite lovely: caring — and fun — and then he got hauled in by police and through the courts at vast expense to the public purse and all that video had on it was some afternoon very mild malarky, not an orgy of the depraved. Not at all.
He was appalled at the prosecution. He could never admit any wrong had happened because it hadn’t. All the lads were over age –well, Craig was seventeen and a half– and they freely took part. And were they in an heterosexual group, or lesbian, they could not have been brought to court. No charge. A law just to prosecute male gay behaviour. What had been videoed was right mild, gentle, innocent, silly –embarrassingly so– a joke as much as anything, just fooling around. Why on earth the prosecution was let go ahead — Common Sense was not in it. Just because the party had amateurly videoed themselves and one in the party had copied it and kept the copy — silly boy. Not that Terry had kept his — that tape long ago had been reused by him to record more precious soccer. Oh, he had his proportions, Terry Connell.
But many of us if charged with such open-and-shut evidence on camera of clearly legally definable ‘indecent acts’ would have in embarrassment said ‘guilty’ and skulked off and hid. But not Terry. He was outraged. “Why,” he said to me when I first met him, “is Prince Charles not being prosecuted for his adultery?” There’s Bolton logic there — aye: fair do’s.
And it takes guts to go not guilty.
“It’s what I am — GUILTY of being human: not guilty of any crime.” So he carried on working — and walking the streets and held up his head. A very courageous man and when he spoke at public meetings of his indignation at this unjust happening — to gay groups as he did eventually all over the country, they just loved him. He was a great speaker on the stump — of a kind as’d make any Bolton man proud. He was from the heart and blunt. Terry Connell –and sometimes he wouldn’t take his flat cap off– he was a natural performer with his strong ‘Fred Dibnah’ Bolton accent: his clear voice: his determinations: his indignation and his chuckles of laughter. In London particularly he was quite a hero.
He’s died sudden — before his time. It’s a real tragedy — he had a lot more to contribute in showing older people a role model in how to treat the young — open and honest, kind and giving of your time and being supportive. Particularly showing how the older gay man should behave towards the young. He had much to give — and to football: to social life: to the politics of sex, the law – and ageism.
There will be many circles in Bolton that will be very sad. He will be greatly missed: not least by Craig. But his example of courage and patience, and laughter: the example of his life should inspire us. I’m sure it will and into the next generation and into history. A great man has gone.
Thank you Terry. Terry Connell: thank you.
The Government’s new guidelines on teaching sex education are being criticised by OutRage! as “weak and insufficiently inclusive”.
The guidance to teachers is set out in an amendment to the Learning and Skills Bill. It gives prominence to teaching about “marriage and permanent relationships”.
“The guidelines are not inclusive enough. They do not oblige schools to provide pupils with gay sex education and safer sex advice. To safeguard their well-being, gay students need specific, affirmative information about homosexuality and HIV prevention. The guidelines do not require schools to provide this information. That is a weakness”, said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
“Instead of the reference to marriage, we would prefer neutral guidance stating that teaching about sex and relationships should emphasize the importance of mutual consent, respect, fulfilment and commitment.
“This formulation would cover everyone — married and unmarried, gay and straight, and those inside and outside traditional family relationships.
“OutRage! supports the principle of legally-binding guidelines to compel schools to provide open, honest, nonjudgemental information about homosexuality and gay safer sex. Without this legal requirement, most schools will continue to evade their responsibility to safeguard the emotional and physical health of lesbian and gay students. Because gay issues are viewed as a political hot potato, teachers will err on the side of caution and neglect the needs of gay pupils.
“Some teachers are themselves homophobic, whilst many others feel uncomfortable or ill-equipped to talk about homosexuality.
“To ensure impartial, effective education on gay issues, teachers need to receive specialist training on how to discuss homosexuality and gay safer sex in the classroom”, said Mr. Tatchell.
Excerpt from the Draft Guidelines
1.30 It is up to schools to make sure that the needs of all pupils are met in their programmes. Young people, whatever their developing sexuality, need to feel that it is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. The Secretary of State for Education and Employment is clear that teachers should be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation, answer appropriate questions and offer support. There should be no direct promotion of sexual orientation.
1.31 Sexual orientation and what is taught in schools is an area of concern for some parents. Schools that liaise closely with parents when developing their sex and relationship education policy and programme should be able to reassure parents of the content of the programme and the context in which it will be presented.
1.32 Guidance issued by the Department (Social Inclusion: Pupil Support Circular 10/99) dealt with the unacceptability of and emotional distress and harm caused by bullying in whatever form – be it racial, as a result of a pupil’s appearance, related to sexual orientation or for any other reason.
Alan Milburn (Health Secretary) and Baroness Jay (Minister for Women and a former health minister) have formally complained to Mr. Blunkett about the requirement for teachers to promote marriage in schools; and Chris Smith (Culture Secretary) has also contacted Mr. Blunkett to raise concerns that the Government is replacing Section 28 with a clause putting a legally-binding duty on teachers to promote heterosexuality.
In Scotland Donald Gorrie MSP, Local Government Spokesman for the Scottish Liberal Democrats, has rejected calls that the Scottish Executive should follow the example of Westminster. — “It is wrong for a few bishops to be involved in drafting the actual wording of a Bill with Ministers. Who have the bishops consulted? … When it comes to Section 28 it is the views of young people that we should be listening to. They are more relevant to the issue than a small group of bishops.”
Gay campaigners protesting against Section 28 interrupted a lecture by Cardinal Winning in Croydon, south London, on the evening of Tuesday, 7th March.
The brief peaceful protest took place in St. Mary’s Catholic Church Hall, where the Cardinal was giving the 12th annual Cobb Memorial Lecture, in honour of the First World War conscientious objector, Charles Cobb.
The Cardinal’s lecture was on the themes of social justice, respect and solidarity.
Twenty minutes into his lecture, when Cardinal Winning was extolling the importance of respecting other people, Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who was sitting in the audience, shouted out: “Why don’t you respect gay people? Why do you oppose gay human rights?”
Ignoring the interjection, the Cardinal continued his lecture.
Six members of the gay rights group OutRage! then walked onto the platform and surrounded Cardinal Winning, holding up placards emblazoned with the words “Stop Crucifying Queers” and “Apologise for Church Homophobia”.
Mr. Tatchell took the microphone and criticised the Cardinal’s support for laws that discriminate against lesbians and gay men. Another OutRage! member, Huw Williams, shouted at Cardinal Winning: “It’s about time you stopped supporting discrimination”.
Church officials ripped down the placards and tried unsucessfully to hustle the protesters off the platform.
The police were called and eventually the protesters left peacefully. One member of OutRage! was arrested but was later released without charge outside the meeting.
“It is hypocritical for Cardinal Winning to talk about justice, respect and solidarity, when he denies these things to lesbians and gay men”, said Peter Tatchell.
“Inviting the Cardinal to give this lecture is an insult to the memory of Charles Cobb. Whereas Cobb took a stand against injustice, Cardinal Winning endorses the injustice of antigay discrimination.
“Cardinal Winning opposes gay equality on Section 28, the age of consent, marriage, employment, military service and the fostering and adoption of children.
“He has condemned love between people of the same sex as a ‘disorder’ and ‘perversion’, and he endorses the Catholic catechism’s denunciation of homosexuality as a ‘grave depravity'”, said Mr. Tatchell.
PHOTOS: ISF news agency – 01628-54.25.54
PHOTOS: Piers Allerdyce – 0976-72.43.90
FURTHER INFORMATION: Peter Tatchell – 020-74.03.17.90
Keith Goddard of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) says last October’s OutRage! protest against President Mugabe has had huge positive benefits.
When we first heard about OutRage!’s attempt to arrest President Mugabe of Zimbabwe during his annual shopping expedition to London late last year, none of us realised the massive impact it would have back here in Zimbabwe. Four months later, the incident is still being referred to with amazement and admiration by the media, opposition politicians and, of course, by gays and lesbians.
What is really heartening is the way the OutRage! protest has raised the credibility of GALZ within the general human rights movement in Zimbabwe. Because OutRage! highlighted the torture of Zimbabwean journalists and the genocide in Matabeleland – as well as abuses against the gay community – the media and mainstream human rights groups in this country took the protest very seriously. They began to realise the links between Mugabe’s attacks on gays and his other human rights violations. As a result, GALZ’s voice has been heard loud and clear, and with greater respect than ever before.
Far from damaging the lesbian and gay community or setting back the struggle for gay equality, OutRage!’s attempted citizen’s arrest of President Mugabe has produced many benefits.
It is true that two gay men and one lesbian were assaulted by off-duty policemen who accused them of ordering the attack on Mugabe. OutRage! cannot, however, be blamed for these attacks: the responsibility lies squarely with the perpetrators of this violence and the anti-gay rhetoric of the President, which has had a devastating effect on our community. In 1995, Mugabe referred to lesbians and gays as “worse than dogs and pigs” and undeserving of “any rights at all”. He has called for the arrest of anyone parading publicly as a homosexual.
Far outweighing any negative consequences of OutRage!’s actions, we have witnessed over 300 press articles, news items, letters, radio phone-in programmes and cartoons relating to the OutRage! “arrest” of Mugabe. Many of these have also included mention of gay human rights issues. Most notably, GALZ was, for the first time, invited to appear on national television. Never before has the State allowed GALZ to speak uncensored.
Another breakthrough was a Sunday Mail feature about Herbert Mondhlani, a professional black Zimbabwean gay man. This was the first occasion that the state-controlled newspaper admitted that black lesbian and gay people exist independently of the white gay community.
Although GALZ did not order the OutRage! protest and had no prior knowledge of it, we were deluged with letters of congratulations. Members of the public phoned GALZ to add their voice of approval. Many ordinary Zimbabweans who contacted us –gay and straight– expressed great disappointment that OutRage! did not succeed in getting Mugabe arrested and put on trial.
Comments on the OutRage action by the Zimbabwean public indicate the declining popularity of Mugabe. They see their President and his wife enjoying a rich lifestyle on the backs of impoverished Zimbabweans. Peter Tatchell caught the general mood here perfectly when he said: “It is sickening the way he [Mugabe] comes to London to buy luxuries at Harrods while millions of Zimbabweans are living in poverty”.
Mugabe’s bizarre reaction to the OutRage! protest has only served to further damage his public standing. His claim that the protest was a plot hatched by Tony Blair’s “gay gangster” Government, MI5 and OutRage! has highlighted the deteriorating state of our national leadership. Even hardline supporters of Mugabe have been hard put to swallow such an extraordinary suggestion. Thanks to OutRage!, Mugabe is more discredited than ever and GALZ has won new respect and allies in the human rights movement in Zimbabwe.