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 2013: Jan-March

Melon Farmers: Watching censors watch what we watch
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  Nice to Others...

Nice 'n' Naughty Supports Other Enterprises


Link Here 27th March 2013

other logo Little did magistrate Kathryn Loftus know that when she had a tattoo on her wrist, it would go on to inspire a new business, a social venture, a trademarked brand, support from national adult store Nice ' n' Naughty, and a whole host of other accolades.

On a trip to Milton Keynes, Kathryn and group of University friends decided to have a tattoo which represented their friendship and celebrated the notion of difference. Each of them had the word other tattooed on their wrist.

This was to be the start of a life changing period for Kathryn. Wanting to give something back to the LGBT community of Yorkshire which had supported her in coming out , she set up The Other Guide, a web resource aimed at supporting lesbian, bisexual and trans women in Yorkshire and Other Enterprises, a social enterprise, aimed at enhancing the lifestyles of the LGBT community.

Since then the venture has gone from strength to strength with Kathryn being asked to get involved in a wide variety of activities including organisation of events and fundraising, giving entrepreneurial talks in schools, supporting the Greater Police Authority's same sex domestic violence campaign, taking on the Sheffield Lesbian Network and contributing to national publications. Kathryn is an active member of the Leeds and Bradford LGBT Pride committees, a trustee of the Bradford Equity Partnership, has been promoted in two LGBT magazines and interviewed on her local radio station.

Now somewhat of a local role model in Yorkshire, she has been nominated for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Award in LGBT at The National Diversity Awards.

And all this on top of a full time job!

After much discussion the directors of The Other Guide took the decision to turn their share based company into a social enterprise (Community Interest Company) in order to maximise the potential to support the LGBTQI community at the heart of its work. The community of interest is the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community and those questioning their sexuality. Other Enterprises (UK) C.I.C provides an online resource called The Other Guide which is a one-stop-shop listing businesses, meetings, groups, networking and social events across the Yorkshire region for lesbian, bisexual and trans women. It is unique in that it is the only web resource of its kind serving the entire Yorkshire region. Other Enterprises (UK) C.I.C aims to create a more embracing and accepting society by promoting the message of it's ok to be other ; and in so doing, giving those that identify as other in society the confidence to celebrate difference and diversity. Our range of other merchandise is used to promote the values of Other Enterprises (UK) C.I.C and any profits made are used to develop the online web resource, advocacy and awareness raising services that are provided.

Nice ' n' Naughty MD Simon Prescott says:

I simply cannot believe the amount of work Kathryn has crammed into such a short period. We applaud the decision to change the business form a share based company to a social enterprise, in order to maximise their potential to support the LGBTQI community. Nice 'n' Naughty feel that there is now a real platform for anyone questioning their sexuality and we are proud to be spreading the word via our stores nationwide. Indeed we have always supported diversity and have supplied many of their customers a wide range of products, be it gay, lesbian, cross dressing, transgender or fetishisms. We are a non judgemental business whose aim is simply to help people safely enjoy their sexuality.

Kathryn says:

The foundation of what we do is about breaking free from the constraints of labels and judgements and encouraging all members of society to see that difference is something we should embrace. It's good to be other.

 

 Updated: Banned and Proud...

Boris Johnson set to be challenged in High Court over a ban on bus adverts proclaiming pride in being ex-gay


Link Here 23rd March 2013

Old BaileyLondon mayor Boris Johnson will this week face claims in the High Court that he failed to respect a Christian group's right to free speech by banning their posters from the side of London buses.

Johnson refused to run the advertisements which promoted the Core Issues Trust's view that homosexuals can be reoriented through therapy and prayer. Johnson said the ads were offensive to gays, and said they could even spark retaliation against the wider Christian community. Johnson was acting in his mayoral role of being in charge of Transport for London, which is responsible for approving advertising on buses in the city.

The posters said Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it! and was in response to a previous poster campaign by Stonewall, the gay rights group, which said: Some people are gay. Get over it!

Mike Davidson, the head of the trust, and his supporters will go to the High Court to claim Johnson's ban on their poster campaign should be reversed on the grounds that he unlawfully stifled free speech.

A Transport for London spokesman said:

The advertisement breached TfL's advertising policy as in our view it contained a publicly controversial message and was likely to cause widespread offence to members of the public.

Update: Judge backs ban on anti-gay advert but criticises acceptance of pro-gay advert

23rd March 2013. See  article from  christiantoday.com

The High Court has ruled that Transport for London's decision to refuse a Christian group's bus advertisement was not unlawful.

The advertisement had been booked by the Core Issues Trust, which works with people who have unwanted same-sex attractions. It was to run with the slogan: Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!  The advert was a response to one placed on buses by gay lobby group Stonewall reading, Some people are gay. Get over it!

The Core Issues Trust advert was withdrawn in April last year following an intervention by London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is chairman of Transport for London. TfL justified the decision at the time on the basis that it was likely to cause widespread or serious offence to members of the public and that it included images or messages which relate to matters of public controversy and sensitivity .

Mrs Justice Lang ruled that Johnson did not abuse his position by imposing the ban. However she said that the advert placed by Stonewall was highly offensive and that the TfL had fallen below the standards to be expected of a responsible public body .

 

  Mass Resistance Recommend...

The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, a play by Paul Rudnick


Link Here 16th March 2013

Most Fabulous Story Ever Told A gay-themed play that re-imagines stories from Christianity is drawing the ire of a Massachusetts family advocacy group, as well as condemnation from religious organizations nationwide.

Titled The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told , the production retells Bible stories portraying biblical characters as gay. The self-described satirical comedy by playwright and novelist Paul Rudnick opens its weekend run Friday night at the Academy of Music Theater in downtown Northampton. The actors are students from the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School in nearby South Hadley.

Brian Camenker, founder and director of MassResistance, claims religious organizations nationwide are 'outraged':

[The characters] Adam and Eve are 'Adam and Steve.' In the second act, they have the nativity scene where Mary is a lesbian who says all kinds of gross things. It's just a terrible play.

At one point, the Virgin Mary shouts:

I'm not supposed to be pregnant, I'm a bulldyke!

Camenker believes Christians must openly oppose such 'atrocities':

And the trouble is that this is tomorrow's America that's learning this stuff, and we need to take it a little more seriously than we are

According to Camenker, religious groups around the country have protested vociferously. He says one local newspaper reported the school had received nearly 12,000 emailed petition messages against the production.

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield spouted:

I didn't know it was the responsibility of charter schools to teach religious bigotry. [...That's the responsibility of the church!]

The school says it has no intention of canceling the play or changing its content. PVPA's head of school, Scott Goldman, has stated the play is consistent with the school's philosophy and is, in the school's view, an appropriate theater piece for its students.

 

 Updated: Australian Film Censors Don't Want I Want Your Love...

Gay film banned from film festival screenings


Link Here 6th March 2013  full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love

i want your love I Want Your Love is a 2012 USA drama by Travis Mathews.
With Jesse Metzger, Brontez Purnell, Ben Jasper. YouTube icon IMDb

A feature film that includes explicit scenes of gay male sex has been banned by the Australian Film Censorship Board. I Want Your Love , written and directed by young American filmmaker Travis Mathews, was due to screen at queer film festivals around Australia.

Festival films are generally granted exemptions from the censorship process. Festivals provide synopses of the works they are screening but the board can then ask to see individual films.

Melbourne Queer Film Festival director Lisa Daniel says that in her 15 years at the festival, I Want Your Love is the first film that has been refused an exemption. It has been seen in many festivals around the world, and its distributors have told her this is the first time it has been banned. Mathews is a well-known filmmaker, and the decision is an embarrassment for Australia, she says.

The film focuses on a young gay man who is preparing to leave San Francisco after living there for 10 years. The film shows his last 36 hours in the city, and a party thrown for him by his friends, in which his ambivalent feelings about departure are clarified.

The film was also on the program at Sydney's Queer Screen and the Brisbane Queer Film Festival.

Jain Moralee, director of Queer Screen, said she was very disappointed that she would be unable to show the work. The sex scene, she says, is a six-minute montage of friends, housemates and partygoers that is part of the narrative context of the film. She describes Mathews as a filmmaker who explores the line between narrative and documentary.

Update: Petition to Overturn the refused exemption status of the film I Want Your Love

23rd February 2013. See  petition from  change.org

There is no reason why this film should not be shown to a paying adult audience within the context of curated film festivals. I Want Your Love has screened at every major queer film festival in the world and is getting a DVD release in the United States this month. Why are we the only country in the world to refuse its citizens the right to see it?

To: Ms Lesley O'Brien - director, Australian Classification Board

We the undersigned believe that your decision to refuse exemption to Australian queer film festivals to screen Travis Mathew's film I Want Your Love is wrong.

I Want Your Love shows us the modern gay experience with intimacy and frankness. It has a level of reality that is refreshing and reflects what life is really like for many gay men. Honest, intimate depictions of gay love and sex do not harm us to see.

I Want Your Love shows love and sex between happy, healthy and consenting gay men. While it contains actual sex, it is shown within a non-violent, intelligent and artistic narrative. This element is therefore not gratuitous and should not form a reason why it should be refused exemption.

We believe there is no reason why this film should not be shown to a paying adult audience within the context of curated film festivals. I Want Your Love has screened at every major queer film festival in the world and is getting a DVD release in the United States this month. We ask you to reflect on why we are the only country in the world to refuse its citizens the right to see it?

In light of this, we ask you to overturn the refused exemption status of the film I Want Your Love.

...Sign the petition

Update: Petition Result

6th March 2013. Based on article from  minivannews.com

To everyone who signed the petition

This is to let you know that a hard copy of the petition was sent to the Australian Classification Board yesterday. It contained 2398 signatures and 54 pages of your comments.

Your signatures send a strong message. Your comments are articulate and powerful. More powerful and persuading than the legislation that the censors have been hiding behind.

I thank you for signing the petition and arguing your point so well. Let's hope some sense transfers from us to them. I will let you know.

Yours sincerely,
Grant Scicluna

 

 Update: Australian Film Censors are an Embarrassment...

Actor James Franco comments on the banning of I Want Your Love


Link Here 5th March 2013  full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love

james franco on banned film video The Oscar-nominated star James Franco has weighed into the censorship debate via a Youtube message, in which he speaks directly to the Australian Classification Board.

Franco describes the banning of I Want Your Love as hypocritical and disappointing :

Travis is making this film, including sex, because he wants to explore story and character and the nuances that sex contains.

Because films have been banned because of sex, sex and films hasn't had a chance to grow and become a sophisticated storytelling device. And frankly adults should be able to choose. They're not going in blind. I don't know why in this day and age, something like this --- a film that is using sex not for titillation but to talk about being human --- is being banned. It's just embarrassing.

The Australian Classification Board not just embarrasses by the films it chooses to ban and the inconsistencies in its approach --- it also embarrasses by the films it allows to screen, or simply doesn't bother to review.

 

  The Owl Service...

3 Owlies Awards for Nice 'n' Naughty in Leeds


Link Here 5th March 2013

the owlies logo The Leeds 5th annual LGBT awards, affectionately known as The Owlies took place on 28th February 2013. These awards celebrate and congratulate individuals and groups who have made outstanding contributions to the Leeds LGBT community. Business's such as pubs, clubs and retail, as well as the health services and volunteers are all included.

Nice 'n' Naughty Leeds walked away with two Owlie awards on the night for best venue manager (Jon Bishop) and best venue worker (Craig Roe)

As well as the standard awards, Nice 'n' Naughty Leeds were initiated into the Owlies Hall Of Fame.

Jon Bishop, store manager, said:

This is a great night for Nice 'n' Naughty Leeds and we feel extremely honored and of course very happy. What makes these awards so different is that they are all voted for by the public and that makes them even more special to us. We would like to thank everyone who voted for us and all our customers for their constant support

 

 Offsite Article: Bareback and Condoms in Gay Porn...


Link Here 24th February 2013  full story: Health and Safety in Porn...AIDS and condoms in the US porn industry
aids healthcare foundation logo An Interview with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation President, Michael Weinstein, speaking of the organisation's campaign against California's porn industry

See article from jrlchartsonline.net

 

  Turkey Achieves Equality of Porn Illegality...

A Turkish court has made the landmark ruling that gay sex is not 'unnatural'


Link Here 23rd February 2013

Turkey flag An Istanbul court has shocked repressive Turkey by ruling that consensual sex between two men is natural. The landmark ruling contradicts rulings made in the past by the country's Supreme Court, Gay Star News reports.

The ruling involved a merchant who was caught selling 125 DVDs of gay porn. The man faced up to four years in prison as Turkey's penal code outlaws citizens from owning, selling, distributing and publishing unnatural sex videos.

In a surprise ruling, however, Jude Manmut Erdemli said that sexual orientation cannot be considered unnatural and it should be respected. What is more remarkable, the judge pointed to the legality of gay marriages in the United States and in Europe. He explained in the ruling:

Today, it is possible to have gay marriages in modern countries. International regulations prohibit discrimination regarding peoples' sexual preference, and it is therefore an obligation to respect their sexual orientation. In this respect, most of the European countries see gay relationships as equivalent to marriage. Contemporary societies allow [gay relationships] to achieve this legal status and therefore the contents of the DVDs can not be seen as unnatural.

Although the court ruled that the trader was not guilty of selling unnatural porn, he was found guilty of the unauthorized selling of porn and received eight months in prison.

 

  Democracy and Intimidation...

Fears of intimidation of muslim MPs who supported gay marriage


Link Here 17th February 2013

House of Commons logo Extremist muslim websites are abuzz against Muslim members of the British parliament who voted in favour of gay marriage legislation and there are fears that the Muslim parliamentarians could face serious intimidation after extremist clerics issued fatwas against the MPs declaring them to be apostates .

On February 5, 2013, the House of Commons voted by 400 votes to 175 to legalise gay marriage in Britain. Muslim MPs Sadiq Khan, the Labour high-flyer, Rushanara Ali, Sajid Javid, Shabana Mahmood and Anas Sarwar voted for gay marriage. Rehman Chishti voted against the move while Yasmin Qureshi and Khalid Mahmood MP abstained from voting, fearing opposition from their constituents.

At least three Pakistani clerics have said that these MPs needed to repent and renew their faith, which means that they stand expelled from the Islam for supporting same sex marriages. They have also said that their Islamic marriages stand annulled and they needed to read Kalma again to become Muslims.

The News understands that police forces in Britain have taken notice of the fatwas and the threats against the MPs. Also, the MPs have privately said that they fear for their lives after the delivery of fatwas on them by clerics.

 

 Update: Anti-gay Propaganda...

Russian parliament passes first reading of anti-gay law


Link Here 27th January 2013  full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights

Russian Duma logo Russia's Parliament has backed a bill which outlaws the propaganda of homosexuality among minors in a move that will restrict fundamental human rights and is in breach of the country's international obligations to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people from discrimination, Amnesty International has said.

The State Duma voted almost unanimously in favour of the controversial measure with only one parliamentarian against and another abstaining, during the first reading.

The bill faces two more readings in the State Duma, after which it must be approved by the upper house (Federation Council) and President Vladimir Putin before it can become law.

The law would make the promotion of homosexuality among minors an administrative offence in federal law, with fines of up to 500,000 roubles (US$ 16,200).

 David Diaz-Jogeix, Europe and Central Asia Programme Deputy Director at Amnesty International said:

This law is an attack on the right to freedom of expression. There is no legal definition in the Russian law of what constitutes propaganda of homosexuality and the law could be interpreted very loosely.

It perversely presumes that the moral, spiritual and psychological development of children is best served by denying them access to support and information that can help them make informed, autonomous and responsible decisions.

This is an unjust law.

LGBTI activists organized today a Kissing Day protest in front of the Duma. Kissing couples were pelted with eggs and verbally abused by supporters of the law,. Police reportedly detained 20 LGBTI activists.

 

  Blessed by the Advert Censor...

New Zealand's ASA dismisses whinge re the pope blessing a gay couple getting married


Link Here 10th January 2013

pope at gay wedding advert New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed whinges against an advert depicting the Pope blessing a gay marriage.

Billboards displayed in Auckland and Wellington last month with the slogan Same Power, Different Attitude prompted four complaints.

The advert was created by electricity company Powershop as part of a series that communicated a message about individual choice and control.

ASA Chair Jenny Robson said the advert did not cause widespread offense, neither did it breach the due sense of responsibility to consumers and society , APNZ reports.

 

 Update: The River Runs Free...

Producer prosecuted for staging gay play in Uganda sees the case against him dismissed


Link Here 4th January 2013  full story: Gay censorship in Uganda...Media ensors take action against gay productions

river and mountain Charges against British theatre producer David Cecil were dropped by a Ugandan court on 2nd January. Cecil, who faced trial for producing a play with a gay theme without permission from the country's Media Council, told Index the magistrate had declared the case dismissed as the prosecution had failed to disclose any evidence.

Cecil was arrested in September last year, when his theatre company refused to halt its production of The River and the Mountain pending a content review by the Ugandan Media Council.

Index on Censorship and David Lan, the artistic director of the Young Vic, launched a petition calling for the charges against Cecil to be dropped which was signed by more than 2,500 people, including director Mike Leigh, Stephen Fry, Sandi Toksvig andactor Simon Callow.

Cecil told Index:

Evidently, there is a minority in the government and cultural industry who are willing to sacrifice the constitutional right to freedom of expression to their personal prejudices. However, the unsuccessful prosecution of this case is encouraging, and I pray that those working in the cultural industry are not put off by this oppressive and self-interested minority.

Mike Harris, Head of Advocacy at Index on Censorship said:

We're very pleased for David that the magistrate has dismissed this case --- but concerns remain over the state of free speech in Uganda. Since this prosecution, the Media Council has intervened to censor yet another political play. The government and its agencies need to do more to defend free speech.

Update: Deportation

9th February 2013. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

David Cecil, the British theatre producer arrested in Uganda in 2012 for staging a play with a homosexual protagonist, is being held in police custody after being threatened with deportation.

Immigration officers took Cecil from his home in the outskirts of the capital, Kampala, on Thursday to Jinja Road police station, where he is being held. Fridah Mutesi, a human rights lawyer in Uganda, said the government did not disclose the grounds on which Cecil was being deported, but that it had the power to deport individuals deemed undesirable .

In January Cecil was charged with disobeying lawful orders by the Uganda media council, which said he had staged The River and The Mountain despite being told not to. The case was dismissed owing to a lack of evidence. It is believed that the deportation order is a result of his staging the play, which Cecil has described as a comedy drama about a gay businessman killed by his employees . The producer's lawyer, Godwin Buwa, said the government was unhappy about Cecil's court case last month being dismissed.

 


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