Connect with us

United Kingdom

London Pride celebrates 50th anniversary

“Heartstopper” cast members troll anti-LGBTQ protesters

Published

on

"Heartstopper" actors troll anti-LGBTQ protestors at Pride in London 2022 (Screenshot/Twitter)

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of Pride in London, the first was led by the Gay Liberation Front in 1972. According to the BBC more than a million people thronged the streets of the British capital, ranking it as one of the largest LGBTQ events in Europe.

In a Sunday interview with BBC Radio, Chris Joell-Deshields, director of London Pride, said it was important as it provided a great level of visibility for LGBTQ rights. 

“We’re able to provide that form of visibility, unity, quality, that the world can see and it sends a message of solidarity to those persons who may be thinking ‘I can’t be open’, ‘I can’t be visible or I’ll be prosecuted in my country,” he said.

“The battles have not all been won. Yes we’ve had some magnificent achievements, whether or not that’s equal marriage, the repeal of Section 28, the lifting of the ban of homosexuals and lesbians in the military, but we’ve still got a journey to go,” he told BBC Radio.

“Every day we’re continuing to have to fight for our trans people and making it a fair life for them. We’re still having to fight for those around the world who live in countries where they can’t be themselves,” Joell-Deshields added.

Reflecting on the masses gathered at Traflagar Square Joell-Deshields noted:

“Yesterday when we were in Trafalgar Square, and we were chanting ‘trans rights are human rights,’ we were pushing that so that volume of noise was heard at Downing Street and beyond, to the millions or people on the footprint and thousands on the parade.

“That sends a powerful message to politicians and others that we’re here, we’re proud and loud, and we’re going to continue to fight.

“And there’s the next generation coming along that we need to pass the mantel to. We want them to understand that the fight is not won, we have to continue and the pride platform is a great platform to do that.”

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

Echoing Joell-Deshields, the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who was in attendance Saturday told PinkNewsUK the LGBTQ community and allies “can’t be complacent” in the fight for equality.

The Mayor stressed that it was important to celebrate the hard won rights that the UK’s LGBTQ+ community has fought for over the last 50 years including the “end of Section 28”, the introduction of same sex marriage and the approval of “laws to protect this community.”

He then pivoted and warned there is still a “lot of campaigning” to be done in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at an LGBTQ venue in Oslo, Norway, as well as attacks against the trans community in the U.K. 

“People in this community have been able to be open and successful, thriving — but also recognize that we can’t be complacent,” Khan said. “There is still a lot of campaigning to be done.”

He continued: “This time last week we saw in Oslo members of this community being attacked — two being killed, many others being injured. 

“We’ve seen trans people in this country being used as pawns by politicians and others in a culture war. 

“So of course, we’ve got to continue protesting, continue campaigning, continue trying to make progress but also celebrate the progress we’ve made,” the mayor said.

Screenshot/YouTube Pride in London live-stream

Joining in to march in parade were cast members of the Netflix hit LGBTQ drama series “Heartstopper” including lead actors Kit Connor and Joe Locke, and castmates Jenny Walser, Sebastian Croft, Tobie Donovan, Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell.

Alice Oseman the author, illustrator, screenwriter and executive producer of Heartstopper tweeted:

At one point in the parade the cast stopped and trolled some anti-LGBTQ street pastors spouting inflammatory hate speech. Actors Joe Locke, who plays Charlie Spring and Sebastian Croft who plays Ben, can be seen jumping up and down dancing as they displayed their non-verbal disapproval of the protestors bullhorn-delivered messaging. Kit Connor who plays Nick Nelson noted in a Twitter post:

 

A video, shared on Twitter by Sky News journalist Scott Beasley, showed the actors waving the middle finger and loudly singing along to Whitney Houston’s hit “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” in front of the street preachers.

PinkNewsUK reported that elsewhere in the parade, Connor carried Locke on his back as they walked along the parade route behind a giant Pride flag. The scene was very reminiscent of a Heartstopper doodle that Alice Oseman created for Pride in 2019 that depicted Nick carrying Charlie, who was wearing a colorful flag, on his back.

Locke told the BBC that this was his first Pride ever and said it was “such an honor” to be celebrating “being queer when the world might not be so accepting”. 

“It’s very, very surreal for me,” he said.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth II laid to rest

Longest serving British monarch died on Sept. 8

Published

on

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin draped in the Royal Standard during her funeral services at Westminster Abbey (Screenshot from live feed/press pool)

World leaders joined the British royal family and 2,000 other dignitaries for the hourlong state funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey Monday.

King Charles III, accompanied by Queen Consort Camilla, the Prince William with his wife Kate and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the king’s siblings, Princess Anne, Princes Andrew and Edward, the king’s younger son, Harry, their wives and the extended royal family escorted the coffin into the services and later attended the private interment at the royal vault at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle where the deceased monarch will rest alongside her husband, Prince Philip.

The king accompanied by Queen Consort Camilla is seen here with his sister Princess Anne during state funeral services for their mother Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey Sept. 19, 2022.
(Screenshot live feed/Press Pool)

The state funeral was attended by numerous heads of state including the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss, U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Leaders of most Commonwealth countries attended, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese making the nearly 24-hour journey from the other side of the globe.

In addition to political and other dignitaries including other European royals attended along with Japanese Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako. Japanese news outlet Asahi Shimbun reported, citing Imperial Household Agency officials, that a Japanese emperor has only attended the funeral of a foreign head of state or royal family member on one previous occasion, when then-Emperor Akihito attended the funeral of Belgian King Baudouin in 1993.

Spain’s King Felipe VI and his wife Queen Letizia were among the European royals who attended. Former Spanish King Juan Carlos I and former Queen Sofia were be present. The former king is the great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria and a distant cousin of Elizabeth.

Reuters reported that Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who remembered the queen as an “iconic leader” and “beacon of wisdom and principled leadership,” also attended.

The Nave of Westminster Abbey during state funeral services for Queen Elizabeth II
(Screenshot live feed/Press Pool)

Elizabeth oversaw a significant change in the role of the monarch and the U.K.’s place on the world stage in the 70 years she was on the throne. Reuters noted that the 40th sovereign in a line that traces its lineage back to 1066, Elizabeth came to the throne in 1952 and became Britain’s first post-imperial monarch.

She oversaw her nation trying to carve out a new place in the world, and she was instrumental in the emergence of the Commonwealth of Nations, now a grouping comprising 56 countries.

She guided her government over the administrations of 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill and ending with her asking Truss to form a government as prime minister only a couple of days before her death at Balmoral Castle, her summer home in the Scottish highlands.

Queen’s legacy on LGBTQ issues was complicated

In 1952, when she took the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, same-sex sexual relations were criminalized in U.K. The same laws were also brought to the Commonwealth countries that it colonized.

By the time she died, the landscape for LGBTQ rights looked dramatically different — at least in the U.K. — in part because she approved of many pro-LGBTQ measures, such as same-sex marriage. That support has led some to argue that she was a “quiet” supporter of LGBTQ rights, but to others she was just doing her job.

Elizabeth, among other things, pardoned Alan Turing, an acclaimed World War II codebreaker and computer scientist who died by suicide two years after his 1952 conviction for “gross indecency.” 

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, which decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations among men in England and Wales who are at least 21.

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the marriage equality law that took effect in England and Wales in 2014. Elizabeth has also urged the U.K. to ban so-called conversion therapy.

Additional reporting by Michael K. Lavers, Reuters and AFP

Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral at London’s Westminster Abbey – LIVE (previously recorded):

Continue Reading

United Kingdom

Queen Elizabeth II dies at 96

British monarch passed away in Scotland

Published

on

Queen Elizabeth II (public domain photo)

Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the age of 96.

Elizabeth assumed the British throne in 1952 after her father, King George VI, died.

Elizabeth, among other things, pardoned Alan Turing, an acclaimed World War II codebreaker and computer scientist who died by suicide two years after his 1952 conviction for “gross indecency.” 

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the Sexual Offenses Act of 1967, which decriminalized consensual same-sex sexual relations among men in England and Wales who are at least 21.

Elizabeth gave royal assent to the marriage equality law that took effect in England and Wales in 2014. Elizabeth has also urged the U.K. to ban so-called conversion therapy.

New British Prime Minister Liz Truss took office on Tuesday.

“We’re all devastated,” she said outside 10 Downing St. “Queen Elizabeth II was the rock on which modern Britain was built.”

British Ambassador to the U.S. Karen Pierce, who has hosted a number of Pride Month receptions in D.C., in a statement said Elizabeth “devoted a lifetime of dedicated service to her country and was an inspiring role model for everyone across the globe.”

“Her legacy is one of charity and compassion,” said Pierce.

Former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2018 said she “deeply” regrets colonial-era laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations the U.K. introduced in Commonwealth countries.

Court rulings in Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis in recent months struck down colonial-era sodomy laws. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last month said his country would decriminalize consensual same-sex consensual relations.

Jamaica and Uganda are among the Commonwealth countries in which homosexuality remains criminalized. The Privy Council, a British appellate court, in recent years ruled against marriage rights for same-sex couples in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

The two British territories fall under the Privy Council’s jurisdiction.

“We send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” said Stonewall, a British LGBTQ and intersex rights group, in a statement after Buckingham Palace announced Elizabeth’s death. “At this sad time we reflect on the the end of a very significant era for the U.K.”

Mermaids, a group that advocates on behalf of transgender and other gender non-conforming young people, echoed Stonewall.

We’re very sad to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” tweeted Mermaids. “Our thoughts are with King Charles III and all of the Royal Family at this deeply difficult time.”

“While its unfortunate to hear the family has lost a mother, as an LGBT citizen of the commonwealth, she represented institutions like the Privy Council that have reversed LGBT rights protections for Caribbean Countries and territories that still have the Privy Council,” Caleb Orozco, an LGBTQ and intersex activist from Belize, told the Washington Blade after Elizabeth died. “The death of a queen does not absolve its institutions from its responsibility to show its substantive commitment to LGBT rights in the Caribbean.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is among the myriad world leaders who also mourned Elizabeth’s passing.

“It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” tweeted Trudeau. “She was a constant presence in our lives — and her service to Canadians will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”

“As we look back at her life and her reign that spanned so many decades, Canadians will always remember and cherish Her Majesty’s wisdom, compassion and warmth,” added Trudeau. “Our thoughts are with the members of the Royal Family during this most difficult time.”

Elizabeth is survived by her four children, eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. 

Her eldest son King Charles III, 73, is her heir. Elizabeth’s grandson Prince William is now second in line to the throne.

Continue Reading

United Kingdom

New British prime minister urged to mend fences with LGBTQ community

Liz Truss to succeed Boris Johnson

Published

on

Liz Truss speaking to Parliament (Screenshot from YouTube/CBS Miami)

Conservative Party leadership announced Monday that Liz Truss was elected head of the party and will become the U.K”s new prime minister, replacing her fellow Tory, Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation this past July following a slew of scandals and resignations from his government.

In her acceptance speech the Tory leader pledged to “govern as a Conservative” by delivering a “bold plan to cut taxes and grow our economy.” Truss will occupy 10 Downing St. as the U.K. grapples with looming cost-of-living crisis, rising inflation and soaring energy bills. 

Britain’s LGBTQ advocacy groups greeted the news with mixed reactions ranging from Nancy Kelley, the chair of Stonewall saying “this is a time for leadership, and we hope that our new prime minister will stand up for a world in which all LGBTQ+ people can live our lives to the full.” 

However, the Stonewall chair also urged the incoming prime minster to “build bridges with the LGBTQ+ community” by delivering on her promises to ban conversion therapy in the U.K.

Other groups including Gendered Intelligence were alarmed by Truss being elevated to the post. Pink News UK reported that Truss takes office after a leadership race “marred by transphobia,” according to Cleo Madeleine, communications officer for Gendered Intelligence. 

Madeleine told Pink News UK that Truss as minister for women and equalities oversaw an office “that often worked to support trans people and she vocally committed to banning conversion therapy.”

Pink News also noted that Truss was reportedly blindsided by Johnson’s decision to press ahead with a transgender-exclusionary ban.

Madeleine said it’s time for Truss to “show that she can keep her promises by pressing ahead with the ban,” to put an end to “political point-scoring” and to address issues that matter, including the cost-of-living crisis, fuel poverty and climate change. 

“The government has an opportunity to stop the campaign of discrimination and hatred towards trans people that has led to international condemnation and skyrocketing hate crime. Let’s not waste it,” she added.

Trans Britons have been under siege for the past three years with transphobic attacks launched by various anti-trans special interest groups as well as court actions that has made trans healthcare difficult to receive in the U.K.

This past June transphobic policies were endorsed by Johnson.

During a break in-between sessions during the first summit meeting of the Commonwealth nations since the coronavirus pandemic in the Rwandan capital in June, Johnson was asked by a reporter about the FINA ban on trans women athletes.

The prime minster’s response was that there were “particular problems” around “issues of gender.”

Johnson told reporters, “Look it’s very, very important that as a society we should be as understanding of everybody else as possible. I’ve always stood for that. When it comes to, when you start to move from issues of sexuality to issues of gender, you start to raise particular problems,” he said.

In a follow-up question the prime minster was also asked whether women can be born with a penis, he replied: “Not without being a man.”

Additionally there has been a sharp uptick in violence against the U.K.’s LGBTQ community.

This past January, a report released by Galop found that that 1 in 4 LGBTQ respondents to a sexual violence survey experienced sexual assault intended to convert or punish them for their identity.

Galop asked 935 LGBTQ survivors of sexual assault: “At any age, have you experienced sexual violence that you believed was intended to convert you to heterosexuality or your assigned gender at birth, or to punish you for your gender or sexual identity?,” and almost 1 in 4 (24 percent) reported back that they had.

While serving as the U.K. minister for women and equalities Truss did away with reforms to the Gender Recognition Act which critics charge has severely limited trans youth to be able to receive proper healthcare.

A spokesperson for trans youth group Mermaids told Pink News that the Tory government must urgently “reframe trans healthcare as a public health issue,” with the system in “dire need of funding, specialist resources and expertise.” 

It added the government cannot “pick and choose” which members of the LGBTQ community are protected by legislation banning conversion practices. 

“Trans people deserve the freedom to be ourselves as much as the next person,” the charity said. 

Other high priorities for the LGBTQ advocacy groups are ending new cases of HIV by the end of the decade and addressing the monkeypox outbreak of which there were as of Aug. 26, 3,389 confirmed and highly probable cases of monkeypox in the U.K. 3,239 of those are in England itself.

Ceri Smith, the head of policy for the Terrence Higgins Trust, called on Truss to appoint a “monkeypox tsar” to oversee the “response and finally show the leadership in tackling the outbreak that the government response to date has been desperately lacking.”

Truss will travel to the Queen Elizabeth’s summer residence in Balmoral, Scotland, on Tuesday to be officially appointed prime minster by Her Majesty and asked to form a government.

Liz Truss selected as new U.K. prime minister:

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Advertisement

Follow Us @washblade

Advertisement

Popular