Archives GLBT Politics and Government

News release from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Advisory Group.

Death of Gay Activism in the U.K.?

To My Friends, Fellow NGL Members, and Concerned Americans:


Vol. I Issue 10 May 5, 2000

News release from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Advisory Group.

The nail bombs of April 1999 highlighted the lack of effective consultation procedures between the Metropolitan Police Service and minority communities across London. Additionally, the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence pointed to a fundamental lack of understanding of minority communities within the Metropolitan Police Service. The ability of the police to respond to minority communities, and to major incidents within them, was firmly in doubt.

In response, the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force of the Metropolitan Police Service established a panel of lay advisers looking at policing issues facing all ethnic minority communities; the Independent Advisory Group (IAG). The need to address policing issues facing the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities remained. One year later and a panel of lay advisers for these communities has been established; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Advisory Group (LGBT CAG). 19 members of this group have been identified through an open recruitment process. At a weekend workshop on 1st and 2nd April, the group elected Linda Bellos and Steve Greenwood as acting co-chairs for the next three months. They also agreed a comprehensive year long working programme which will be implemented by five working sub-groups.

Throughout, the work programme will critically review current policy and practice. This will aid the LGBT CAG and the Metropolitan Police Service to identify and challenge institutionalised homophobia and heterosexism. The LGBT CAG will also regularly consult with all relevant communities to encourage involvement and participation. Steve Greenwood said, "This is the beginning of a new and exciting partnership between the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities and the Metropolitan Police Service. It will enable a useful and long overdue dialogue which will lead to better policing of our communities." Linda Bellos echoed, "Many people in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities have grave concerns about the rising levels and under-reporting of homophobic crime, and the lack of understanding of these issues within the Metropolitan Police Service. This process will result in our communities having a voice as to how they are policed." Linda concluded by stating, "Issues of equality within our communities, and equal representation, are at the heart of all that we aim to achieve. We are seeking further representation on the group from the following areas of our communities; Lesbians, African Caribbean Men, Male to Female and Female to Male Transgendered People, Bisexual Men and Women, Men who sell sex to Men, Young Lesbians and Gay Men, Gay and Bisexual Men with Learning Disabilities and Deaf Gay and Bisexual Men."

Further information about the group, including membership can be obtained via the Racial and Violent Crime Task Force on 020 7230 >4374. All enquiries will be passed to Steve, Linda or another current member of the group for response.

Posted by; Ewan Jenkins Acting Chair Consultation and Liaison Working Sub-group.

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Vol. I Issue 11 June 3, 2000

Death of Gay Activism in the U.K.?

By John Hunt with EAA

Sunday's Section 28 protest march in London, despite advance warning and full-page advertisements in most of the weekly gay press, had a miserable turnout of just a few hundred. The orange balloons carried by some suggested a festive occasion. This it was not.
Twelve years ago, when S.28 was enacted, a protest march in Manchester attracted over twenty thousand demonstrators. Michael Cashman rhetoricised:  "We demand the same rights as other ordinary civilised human beings.  They can round us up, gas us, or shoot us:  but as long as heterosexual men and women continue to procreate we will always exist, and we will never surrender." Banners proclaimed:  "Never going underground".

It seems that most of us have now surrendered and gone underground.  Close the closet door quietly!

The feeling in various quarters that New Labour is delivering the rights for which lesbian and gay activists have fought for decades is sadly misplaced.  Bungled legislative procedure means that S.28 and an unequal age of consent remain on the statute book three years after the General Election.  The ban on "gays in the military" has at long last been lifted:  but was opposed by Government lawyers in the European Court of Human Rights, (at the expense of tax-payers, including lesbians and gays).  Similarly, equality of employment rights (not yet guaranteed by statute) was opposed in Europe by the Government.

Neither is the coming into force this October of the Human Rights Act likely to cure everything (or even anything) overnight. The Act should reduce the complexity and expense of fighting cases in the courts:  but this will still take time, energy, determination, and money. Where are these all to come from?  Is funding to be dependent upon windfalls from the National Lottery?

There have been a number of reports over the past week that the Italian authorities appear to be on the brink of succumbing to pressure from neofascist groups to ban or ghettoise "World Pride 2000" event in Rome this July.

Here in the U.K. politicians have no need to worry about Pride events, which in recent years have been dogged in London and elsewhere by serious accusations of mismanagement and financial irregularities.

When we now add the terminally advanced apathy of lesbians and gays who cannot be arsed to attend even a 90-minute show of strength and solidarity, to proceed with further Pride events until we have overcome the shame of Sunday's nonevent strikes me as rank hypocrisy.  Gay Pride?  My mardi grarse!

NOTE: Unfortunately, apathy is one of the strongest sides to our GLBT community. We have to be involved and care in order to make a better world for ourselves and the future. Codi

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December 13, 2000

To My Friends, Fellow NGL Members, and Concerned Americans:

I am writing to you at this sad moment in our nation's history to explain why George W. Bush will never be my president and shouldn't be yours.
So far during my life, I have been eligible to vote in nine U.S. presidential elections spanning slightly more than three decades. Each time, I took advantage the opportunity afforded me to express my opinion by casting my vote for the candidate who I thought was best able to lead our country at that time. Five times my choice was a Democrat. Four times I voted for a Republican. Regardless of my personal preference, however, on eight occasions when the votes were counted and the winning candidate sworn in, I did my best to think of and support our new president not as a Republican or a Democrat, but as President of the United States of America.

This time I cannot do that.

I cannot and will not recognize or support George W. Bush as the legitimate president of the United States. I will not do so because I suspect that in an effort to ensure a Bush presidency, the candidate, and/or others on his behalf, participated in a successful conspiracy to illegally influence the outcome of the 2000 presidential election by depriving some Americans of their right to vote, or to have their vote counted.

My concerns are based on the following: the position held by George W. Bush's brother, Governor Jeb Bush, as chief executive, chief election officer, and leader of the Republican Party in the State of Florida; proven irregularities in the issuance of absentee ballots to Republican residents of the State of Florida; proven mechanical errors -- in advertent or intentional -- in the operation of voting machinery in Florida counties with a large Democratic Party voter registration; substantiated reports of missing and uncounted ballots; widespread and currently under federal investigation allegations of traditionally Democratic voters (African-American voters) being turned away from polling places in rural Florida panhandle counties; and other widespread and questionable voting practices in the State of Florida during the 2000 presidential election.

As long as these concern remain, any oath by George W. Bush to as president "protect and defend the Constitution" would be, in my opinion, obscene, meaningless and perhaps even traitorous.

There is, however, little doubt but that George W. Bush will be sworn in as president. He will be.

The important issue now is not whether George W. Bush or Al Gore, or a Republican or a Democrat, becomes our next president. For the first time in our nation's history that I am aware of, not only the outcome, the basic honesty of a presidential election is in question. This is the issue upon which our collective attention should be riveted. The important questions now are how will Americans deal with an individual whose right to assume the presidency is shadowed with even a hint of doubt, and what will we do to ensure that such a situation never happens again.

We are beginning to hear a lot from partisan political leaders, particularly Republican leaders, and from political pundits and the national media, that it is time for the nation to put the presidential election behind us, and "come together." Doing so would certainly be the nice thing, the "American" thing to do. I'm afraid, though, that affording an individual whose election is clouded with even a shadow of doubt the respect and dignity due the holder of the highest office in the land would set a very frightening precedent -- one of, go ahead, do whatever you must to get yourself elected; no one really cares, so there will be no price to pay.

Well, I care, and so should you.

State courts may rule on points of state law and the U.S. Supreme Court may hand down decisions on the constitutional validity of laws and court actions, but in the end it is the American people who will decide if George W. Bush is our president. As long as he isn't yours or mine, he will never be ours. And, if we are steadfast in our resolve to deny this pretender all but the outward trappings of the presidency, neither will anyone who in the future, through his or her actions or as a result of actions undertaken on his or her behalf, places the legitimacy of their election in doubt.

Therefore, as far as I'm concerned, at noon on January 20, 2001 and until the lawful election of or the appointment of a constitutionally identified successor to William Jefferson Clinton, the office of President of the United States of America will for the first time in history become vacant.

I urge you to adopt a similar position, and to inform your family, friends, associates and elected representatives of your decision.

Best regards,

Michael Romanello

National Gay Lobby .Org

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