Pride for All Panel on Safe Spaces

Jeremy Hoad, Levenshulme Pride Organiser and Chair of Friends of Manchester’s Gay Village is a panellist on one of the Pink News Pride for All videochats at 13.00 today.

01:00 pm BST Safe Spaces after COVID-19

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we think about safe spaces? Joining PinkNews on this panel to discuss this are Asifa Lahore, Switchboard’s Natasha Walker, and Levenshulme Pride organiser Jeremy Hoad.

Follow this link to see what else is happening and view the videochat:

https://www.pinknews.co.uk/pride-for-all/

 

Manchester Parents’ Group receives Queen’s Award

We are thrilled and delighted that Manchester Parents Group has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. MPG has been a Levenshulme Pride partner and participant since our first year and will be familiar to many people from their work across Manchester, the North West and beyond over many years.

Founded in 1986, the group is one of the longest established parent support groups in the UK. Offering advice and support to parents, carers, family and friends of children (of all ages) who have come out as LGBT+ to enable them to accept and move forward together. The group also support the LGBT+ community in continuing the fight for equality, both in the UK and across Europe, and provide a safe haven for youngsters who are struggling to come out to family and friends or have been rejected by them. You can find out more about Manchester Parents Group HERE

Manchester Parents Group’s Chair, Barbara Spence says:

“We are delighted that this culmination of many years’ work has been recognised, we would particularly like to pay tribute to Catherine Johnson, the late Joyce Leyland and the late Brenda Oakes all of who led Manchester Parents Group from its inception. We would also like to thank the group of volunteers for their commitment, over the years, in supporting the work of the group.”

Manchester Parents Group is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them. 

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service aims to recognise outstanding work by volunteer groups to benefit their local communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Recipients are announced each year on 2nd June, the anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. 

Representatives of Manchester Parents Group will receive the award from Sir Warren Smith, the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from Manchester Parents Group will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award.

This year there were 230 recipients of The Queen’s Award Voluntary Service from across the UK. More information on the recipients and the Award can be found HERE

Marriage is now legal in Northern Ireland

We are delighted that the bigotry and hatred that prevented same sex couples being able to get married is now gone.

As of now (midnight on 21 October 2019) same sex couples can legally get married in Northern Ireland.

We can now finally say that same sex couples can get married in the UK.

The first marriages are expected to be able to take place in February 2020.

Same sex couples are still discriminated against regarding pension rights but this is a huge step forward for justice, equality and human rights.

Here’s a photo of Belfast City Hall in rainbow colours to celebrate.

Afzal Khan MP Votes For Equal Marriage Rights In Northern Ireland

Thank you to Afzal Khan MP for voting in favour of equal marriage rights for same sex couples in Northern Ireland today.

Although this would only take effect if a new administration is not formed in Northern Ireland before 21st October and it would still require secondary legislation it is great to know our MP supports equal rights across all areas of the UK.

The amendment to extend equal marriage rights to Northern Ireland passed by 383 to 73.

Another amendment to extend abortion rights to Northern Ireland passed by 332 to 99.

Stonewall Riots 50 Years On

The Stonewall riots were 50 years ago today.

The fight for equal rights continues. We must never be complacent and must always be ready to defend the rights that have been won and continue to make the case for equal rights for all.

Stonewall UK (founded 30 years ago this year) have a review of the fight for LGBT+ equality HERE

Let Children Be Children

New guidance for Relationships Education (Primary Schools) and Sex and Relationships Education (Secondary Schools) has been passed by Parliament.

The guidance requires schools to inform and educate children about different relationships including same sex relationships. This is important to reflect reality, the society we live in and principles of equality and inclusion.

It should be remembered that some children are LGBT. They deserve equal recognition, support, understanding and visibility in schools.

Let children be children. All of them.

Lesbian Day of Visibility

Happy Lesbian Day of Visibility 2019.

Levenshulme Pride celebrates all our lesbian friends today and reminds everyone of the amazing people who are lesbian.

If you have an idea for a lesbian themed activity or event during Levenshulme Pride then do get in touch.

LGBT Teaching In Schools Event 3rd April 2019

This is a public meeting. Everyone is welcome. An opportunity to ask questions, seek clarification and find out what is really happening with LGBT teaching in schools (primary or secondary).

The event is hosted by Jeremy Hoad, Levenshulme Pride.

FORMAT

The format is an open conversation with contributions from various people and representatives to enable an informed and inclusive discussion.

PARTICIPANTS

Everyone is welcome to attend. Contributors to the discussion include:

  • Carl Austin-Behan (LGBT Adviser to the Mayor of Greater Manchester)
  • Paul Martin (CEO, LGBT Foundation)
  • Chloe Cousins (The Proud Trust)
  • Jay Lanyon (National Education Union Teachers’ Union)
  • NASUWT Teachers’ Union
  • Paul Fairweather (LGBT Historian, campaigner & former Councillor)
  • Manchester Parents Group
  • Councillor Bev Craig (Burnage Ward, LGBT Women Lead)
  • Councillor Julie Reid (Gorton and Abbey Hey Ward)
  • Peter Cookson (Former Councillor, Gorton South and LGBT Men Lead)
  • EVENT DETAILS

    DATE & TIME

    Wednesday 3rd April, 19.00 start

    VENUE

    Levenshulme Old Library

    Cromwell Gove

    Levenshulme

    Manchester

    M19 3QE

    Organised by Levenshulme Pride

    Meeting Against Hate: New Zealand Terrorist Attack

    We woke this morning to hear the shocking news of a terrorist attack in New Zealand that targeted two Mosques and killed 49 people.

    Levenshulme always stands against hatred. Our diverse community comes together to express its revulsion against and utter rejection of violence and hatred. Levenshulme Pride started in response to an act of hatred. We offer our sympathy and support for those dealing with an act of aggression and violence against another minority group.

    Let’s stand together against islamophobia and the murder of Muslims. Let’s come together in a community gathering against hate and to mark an horrific act of terror.

    We are all equal. We must all support each other when any of us is targeted with hatred.

    Jeremy Hoad, Levenshulme Pride

    Meet on the Village Green by The Bee With No Name on Stockport Road (opposite the station car park), 14.00, Sunday 17th March

    The BBC report on the New Zealand attack is available HERE

    Stop “No Outsiders”!

    We are grateful to writer Paul Magrs for letting us share this essay on the importance of LGBT visibility and equality in schools.

    Stop ‘No Outsiders’!
    I had a good education. I went to a Comprehensive School in the 1980s and we were taught to think for ourselves. I grew up with a healthy disrespect for received wisdom, dogma and cant. A lot of the stuff I learned at school was a waste of time, naturally. Too much learning by rote, perhaps, too much stuff about arable farming and crop rotation. I could have done with more time for reading, of course.
    One thing missing from my education was any acknowledgement that LGBTQ people existed anywhere in the world. It was a huge absence in every lesson, every school assembly, every form of communication sent out by this mostly progressive, modern establishment. It was a great big Queer elephant in the room.
    At the time it was illegal, of course, for a school or its teachers to say or present anything that normalized homosexuality or anything that wasn’t hetero. Any utterance suggesting that queers of any stripe were in any way normal was deemed to be ‘promoting’ homosexuality and therefore forbidden in our schools.
    This was a big thing to grow up with in those years and it was all thanks to Mrs Thatcher and her government’s pernicious and weirdly puritanical commands. And it lasted all the way until the early 2000s, this strange state of affairs: thou shalt not speak of Queers in the classroom.
    It meant that, when we were all taught about relationships, sex, bodies, feelings – all that stuff – it was always, only, about what mummies and daddies did to make babies. That was the kind of cursory and rudimentary attention that the breadth and complexity of human sexuality and emotions received. All of that glorious stuff was something that could be taught – clinically, quickly – during one Tuesday afternoon.
    Elsewhere… in discussions of art and literature and history, queers were routinely swerved round, or their kinks were straightened out. Michelangelo daubed muscle men’s bottoms and willies over the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, but you could never really talked about why. Oscar Wilde went to prison but, even in the 1980s, we got to discuss the ins and outs even less than did maiden aunts reading the news back in the day.
    The only time queers got mentioned via horrendous schoolyard bullying and braying. Oh, and of course, our primate PE teachers screaming at us on the playing fields, calling us puffs and nancies. Curious, the unerring gaydar of the PE teacher. While other teachers turned a blind eye to the whole topic, their primitive, lumbering track-suited fellows always seemed to know just who to shout their homophobic abuse at. It might almost make you think that the official silence about Queers encouraged and licensed the abuse and the bullying outside the classroom. Funny that, isn’t it?
    And the Eighties was such a tricky time for queers anyway. The Sunday papers we got at home were horrible tabloid ones, full of salacious stuff about vicars and tarts – and also queers and AIDS. Really vicious, nasty stuff about gay men. I read it all and grew up completely terrified at the thought of growing up gay and the horrors it would entail.
    And the Eighties pop charts were full of queers and what were then called ‘gender benders.’ Some in the closet, some out of the closet. Some hugely brave and successful and lauded. Other sneered at and disparaged. Many of them dying, dead, gone forever.
    A complicated, terrible time in many, many ways.
    I feel I must repeat this: our schools were wonderful. But they did nothing. Absolutely nothing to help us understand. They did absolutely zero about enabling LGBTQ youngsters to orient ourselves and operate in the adult world.
    Nothing about safe sex, even.
    Nothing about asking for help.
    Nothing about fitting into the world, or finding your tribe, or finding someone to talk to, or even that such a thing was possible.
    Nothing. They really did nothing.
    Some of us were lucky enough to go into further education. But only a very small proportion. We got to move away from our little town and go and living in a city or a campus. There, things were a bit different. You could learn at a lot at college. There were GaySocs and Nightlines and all kinds of ways to start learning. But there were a lot of peers who had grown up in the same ignorant set of circumstances that we had. We had a lot of the internalized homophobia to deal with, because of the cockeyed way we’d been brought up and educated.
    Still, there were adventures to be had and mistakes to be made.
    I always felt, as a gay man who came out at twenty that I was years behind my straight friends. It’s a running joke amongst my friends that gay men in their early twenties run around like girls do in their teenage years. They’ve got a lot of catching up to do.
    We can be shouty, brilliant, gorgeous, arrogant, silly, bullish, proud, angry, joyful, depressed, manic, crazy, addled, unwise, confused, messy, destructive, superficial, wild, marvelous.
    Sometimes all in the space of one night.
    But what queers of this particular generation are – the ones who grew up in the shadow of things like Clause 28 and all that weighty, embarrassed silence – is neglected. That’s what I think we are. We grew up and we had to figure out everything for ourselves.
    By the time a LGBTQ person finds their first significant lover and has those big conversations and shares their backstory with each other… there is a lot of backstory to share. They are the product of a culture that has willfully ignored them. A culture predominantly straight, and a culture that saturates all available space with explicit heterosexual imagery everywhere you look. (Strange, all this brainwashing. You’d think the predominance of heterosexual stuff would turn us, wouldn’t you? All that aggressive promotion, eh? Surely it’s going to turn our heads and turn us straight..? Is that how this stuff works, hmm?)
    So I always think: hurray. Good for you. Especially for the LGBTQ adults who grew up in those dark years when their schools didn’t teach them anything and wouldn’t listen to them. Good for you. You dragged yourself up and you got into the world and survived.
    Many didn’t.
    This kind of neglect can destroy lives and foster homophobia.
    And there can be no going back.
    We must never let bigots, homophobes and their dopey, backward ideas creep back into education. They can do terrible damage to people’s lives.
    There’s nothing wrong or shameful or dirty about the L or the G or the B or the T or the Q or any of the other stripes we’ve added to the flag we’re waving. We’re equivalent and we’re equal to everyone else.
    Hearing bigots spouting off about education sends shivers through me. The very thought that the government or local councils or schools might cave in and kowtow to ignorant people’s ideas about what should be taught brings back awful memories of the things we had to put up with.
    I love the fact that there is a course called ‘No Outsiders’ in that Birmingham school, and it places everyone on equal footing, and that pupils will learn that human nature is more complex and wonderful than religious bigots would like them to think. It sounds such a kind and thoughtful course, too.
    I think it’s important to demystify these things. We grew up in such fear of the unknown. As LGBTQ kids of the 1980s we felt we were part of the terrifying unknown ourselves.
    We can’t go backwards into this ignorant stuff. We can’t indulge bigotry. People must be told: no. This is the curriculum now, in any civilized society.
    I had a great education – in terms of thinking for myself, and being trained to question authority, cant, dogma and received wisdom. But there were huge things missing from it. The great big Queer elephant in the room sat there waiting. All that has been addressed and sorted out since, thank goodness and we have courses called things like ‘No Outsiders’.
    No matter how shrill or fervent the bullies are, we really, really can’t go backwards.
    Copyright Paul Magrs 2019

    Read more from Paul Magrs on his blog HERE