Guest post by James Hubbard.
Starting a new job is quite stressful, or at least a little daunting. The average person is likely to question how well they might fit into their new company, how well they might perform in the role, how well they might cope with the challenges that a new job often brings. However, for LGBT people there can be even more complex questions that arise at the start of a new employment contract.
For those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, there may be fears about prejudice within the workplace, or there may be some difficulties in the process of “coming out” to colleagues. This might be particularly true in smaller businesses that have not yet developed their legislation and policies on dealing with minority groups.
As the founder of a brand new employment related business, JobsinBrightonandHove.co.uk, I am looking to investigate the current attitudes and experiences of people who identify as LGBT in the Brighton and Hove area. I would like to know if people who have worked for Brighton and Hove (or East Sussex) based businesses have ever experienced any forms of discrimination or bullying within the workplace because of their sexuality. I’d also like to know how people have found the process of coming out to colleagues. Was it a big deal for you, or did you not make an issue of it? How did you find the response from your colleagues when you did open up about who you are?
The survey is quite brief and will only take about 5 minutes or so of your time. Your answers will be treated in the strictest of confidence and taking part can be done so completely anonymously. If you can spare 5 minutes to take part, please follow the link below:
I plan to use the outcome of this survey to run some local media campaigns in the near future, highlighting any issues that arise from the votes cast and the comments left on my blog post. As someone who has worked for Brighton and Hove based businesses for the last 14 years, I am passionate about equal rights in the workplace and helping to raise awareness of key concerns that people may have when joining a new company. I hope to communicate this to employers that I may deal with as part of running my new jobs board.
I hope readers of Zhoosh can spare the time to take part. As a small gesture of thanks there is a chance to win a £40 gift voucher to spend at Marks & Spencer. Simply leave a comment on my blog for the chance to win.
James is the founder of JobsinBrightonandHove.co.uk, a new comprehensive job listing site for the Brighton and Hove area, offering job alerts and career advice for job seekers and tailored job packs for local employers.
With word of Thatcher’s death, news stories have flooded in about how this woman and her government dismantled the unions, privatised the UK’s utility servicers and sold of the council housing stock, which was great for many first time buyers, but neglected to reinvest in social housing.
Interestingly the mainstream press, so far, have ignored the devastation Thatcher and her government brought to the LGBT community, when in 1988 Thatcher introduced Clause 28; a piece of legislation that banned local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales from, “intentionally promoting homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”
The legacy of this piece of hateful legislation would cause much stress and anxiety to young Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who would be denied the opportunity to explore or speak up about their sexual orientation, and equally teachers and health professionals were wary of discussing these matters for fear of prosecution. Remember, this was the era before the internet, and any LGBT youth support groups were rare outside the bigger cities and became even more scarce with the introduction of this paper.
Around the same time AIDS was at its height of destruction, with the mainstream press and medical circles reporting that AIDS was associated with the sexual activities of gay and bisexual men only. Such misinformation only helped to intensify the negativity and in some cases, hatred and distrust towards the gay community with daily headlines referring to the gay plague.
Thatcher and her government could have done more to curb this hatred and invested in better sexual health campaigns, instead of scaring and confusing the general public with their ludicrous “Don’t Die of Ignorance” campaigns filled with tombstones and icebergs. Sure, those adverts are memorable, but to the general public it only helped to reinforce the idea that gay men were going to bring the world to its knees.
The attack on gay men’s lives, when many were at their most vulnerable, from those in high authority, government and the mainstream press was shocking then and just as shocking now. Many people will remember Sir James Anderton, then chief constable of Greater Manchester Police, with his comments that gay men living with HIV were, “Swirling around in a human cesspool of their own making”. Although these comments caused outrage, Thatcher refused to condemn Anderton’s comments by saying, “It would be outrageous if the Chief Constable were required to seek clearance for all his public speaking engagements.” Thankfully, Anderton’s reign of homophobia came to an abrupt end when his daughter came out as a lesbian.
Thankfully Thatcher was still in rude health to witness on 21 June 2000 in Scotland and on 18 November 2003 in the rest of Great Britain when the much hated Thatcher endorsed, Clause 28 was removed from the statuary law books. David Cameron also made a public apology for the fact that the Conservative Government drafted such a vile piece of legislation in the first place.
No doubt the press will brush over how Thatcher developed a way of getting more air into bread, so shoppers would be paying more for less, stopped children receiving free milk at school or bring up that small matter of ordering the British submarine HMS Conqueror to torpedo the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano 30 miles outside the war zone, killing 400 Argentinean crewmen.
The blue rinse brigade will sing her praises, but her legacy will always be tinged with the death, destruction and misery she infected on thousands of UK citizens. To reword a quote from Bette Davies, “You should never say bad things about the dead; you should only say good . . . Margaret Thatcher is dead. Good.”
Post by Dr Keith Sharpe
Dr Keith Sharpe is Chair of ‘Changing Attitude Sussex’, which is committed to telling the truth about Christian teaching on homosexuality, and works for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in every province of the Anglican Communion and more widely in all Christian churches.
Keith met with Rev’d Steve Chalke last month, the high profile evangelical leader who has changed his mind on homosexuality and is now advocating a pro-gay position.
“This is a landmark moment. The conservative evangelicals have been the most bitter opponents of LGBT equality and inclusion, and what Steve has now done represents a massive breach in their ranks. This is really good news.”
The Rev’d Steve Chalke is a high profile evangelical Christian leader. From his extremely successful and well attended church in central London he manages the Oasis organisation, a multi million pound charitable foundation which amongst other things runs many primary and secondary schools up and down the land. In evangelical circles they do not come much more prominent than Steve Chalke.
At the start of 2013 Steve wrote an article entitled ‘A Matter of Integrity’ saying that he no longer believed the evangelical claim that homosexuality is sinful. In fact he no longer believed that the Bible has anything to say about homosexuality as we know it, except to make clear that inclusion is at the heart of the Christian gospel. And as a consequence he is now fully affirming of gay people and faithful gay relationships. In the article he admitted that he had already conducted a dedication and blessing service following the civil partnership of two gay men in his congregation.
All this of course is complete anathema to conventional conservative evangelicals, many of whom are outraged and appalled by Steve’s actions. For them it is if Himmler had suddenly decided to welcome jews into the Third Reich. Steve has had thousands of letters, emails texts, blogs and publications in response to his courageous stance.
This is truly a watershed development in evangelical Christian attitudes to gay people. I had the good fortune recently to interview Steve and ask him about this astonishing stand against many of his fellow evangelicals. As you will see from his responses below, the humane and moving testimony of this brave man represents a tectonic shift in evangelical thinking about gay people.
More rejoicing in Heaven: An Interview with Rev’d Steve Chalke by Dr Keith Sharpe
Why did you write the article, ‘A Matter of Integrity’?
I felt compelled to write this article. I have come to understand that the principles of justice, reconciliation and inclusion sit at the very heart of Jesus’ message. At Oasis we employ 3000 people and next year we’ll have 20 000 students in our schools and colleges. A percentage of those young people will be struggling with sexuality issues. I do not want any of these youngsters to grow up feeling that they are ‘less than God’s best’. I don’t want anybody to have to feel at the very heart and core of their being, of who they are, there is something ‘wrong’. That is such an important issue.
Many people will say now that you are no longer an evangelical. How do you answer them?
I have continued to grapple with the Bible, as I have done all my life. I’ve reached these views through prayer, study and conversation with other Christians over many years. The Church extends a shield of care to heterosexual young people. My son, who is getting married next year, was automatically given books and resources, invited on pre-marriage counselling, and all sorts of things to support his future marriage.
But if you are gay you are on your own. You have a guilty secret. And often, if you have the courage to go to your Church about it all you are told is ‘don’t take communion any more’, ‘don’t work with children any more’, ‘don’t talk about this because we don’t want to know about it’. Often gay people have been made to feel totally unwelcome in evangelical churches. Most people do not have the gift of celibacy and when it is enforced it leads to terrible isolation and guilt. Some evangelical leaders condemn the promiscuity of gay people and even say that AIDS is a judgement from God. Actually I think it is a judgement on us and the way we and I have been.
The evangelical churches’ rejection of gay people is wrong. As an evangelical I believe that the heart of God is for faithfulness, for stability, for intimacy, for interdependence. We have a Christian responsibility to help nurture those virtues in every person, irrespective of sexual orientation.
But doesn’t the Bible condemn homosexuality?
The Bible has a lot to say about the role of women, none of it very positive. In Oasis churches we have women in a wide variety of roles and leadership positions. But the New Testament is very clear: women should keep silent. St Paul says women should not speak because Adam was created before Eve and Eve deceived him. Paul thought women should be subordinate to men because this is built into the order of creation. How come then that so many evangelical churches have now moved to a different view of women and yet still claim that this is biblical?
Or how about slavery? In the Old Testament we are even told in Leviticus how to trade slaves. In the New Testament St Paul tells slaves to serve their masters well. Even the most conservative Christian is in a different place from the New Testament on slavery and yet we still claim that we are biblical!
Of course we say that in the Bible the teaching on women or slavery, it’s just cultural. But that leads to a terrible slippery slope of relativism. Our ethics shouldn’t be anchored to what’s cultural but to what is Christ-like. Conformity to Him is what should underpin our attitudes relentlessly and unchangingly. The Bible does not claim to be the Word of God; it says Jesus is the Word of God. A Christian should read both the Old and New Testaments through the lens of Jesus. What is a Christ-like response to homosexuality? Jesus includes those who the religious leaders thought were excluded on the basis of their reading of the Old Testament. Jesus was perceived as a heretic because he would insist on including people who in the Old Testament were beyond the pale. It would be inconsistent not to see the issue of homosexuality through the same lens. God’s nature is love, is faithfulness, is other-centredness. It is wrong for the Church to leave gay people in an isolated place and to refuse to admit them to the community place where they can be encouraged to have lifelong faithful loving relationships.
What about the specific biblical passages that evangelicals usually quote?
The question is how do we understand and interpret them properly? Take for example, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Does this mean all sexual unions should be exclusively heterosexual? Or is it simply a normative illustration? Is it like the norm of being right-handed, which never implies any failing in those who are born left-handed? Similarly, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah is now understood to be about God’s judgement on self-indulgence, inhospitality and social injustice, it is not about homosexuality. As for Leviticus, it also condemns physically disabled people and the wearing of mixed fabrics. Are we going to take that seriously? And the New Testament texts refer to wild exploitative extra-marital promiscuity which was common in Roman culture, not to loving and stable same-sex unions.
Can we just ignore these texts then?
The whole Bible matters – both Old and New Testaments – in its entirety. We all know that some minority interpretations of Scripture have struggled for decades before eventually becoming accepted by the majority. For 1500 years the Church believed the earth was flat. When Nicholas Copernicus discovered that the sun, not the earth, was the centre of the solar system Scripture was used to condemn him. Luther quoted Joshua 10:13 and called Copernicus a fool. Other protestants recommended that ‘severe measures be taken to silence’ all those who dared to agree with him. A hundred years later the Catholic Church found Galileo guilty of heresy for ‘following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture’. The Church was wrong for all those years.
In the current day and age with the internet and social media the Church cannot treat the Bible as its private book. It can’t say that these Greek words in Romans or Corinthians mean that God condemns lifelong faithful same-sex relations when everyone knows that scholars have proved they don’t. You’re wrong, you’re just wrong. I am an evangelical, I take the Bible very seriously and I believe rather than focussing on the exegesis of handful of texts we have to wrestle constantly with what it means to recognise our neighbour and to love them as ourselves. The parable of the Good Samaritan was shocking to Jesus’ jewish audience. Jesus’ point is that there is nobody who is not our neighbour. I’m challenged by the thought that today Jesus might have told the story in terms of evangelicals and gay people.
What should the churches now do?
We have created a situation in which if you are lesbian or gay you are much more likely to suffer from mental health issues, much more likely to feel alienated, much more likely to end up lying. Gay people feel they cannot say who they really are. We have stigmatised homosexuality and that is not like Christ. We need to welcome people in and find a role for them serving and leading in the church as they faithfully follow Christ. We need to find ways of acknowledging and endorsing faithful loving commitments.
Are you in favour now of gay marriage?
In the article and in statements I have made I am not talking about gay marriage either in support of it or against it. It’s an important issue and I am pleased that the debate is now happening. I want to be part of the discussion but I don’t want to pre-empt it. It’s complex around such issues as what is consummation, what is adultery, and the constitutional questions.
What I was writing about was something much more important: inclusion. Some people have said my intervention on inclusion was badly timed because of the gay marriage debate. My response is that if only the Church had worked out its attitude towards homosexuality then at this juncture we could say we’re wonderfully inclusive of gay people and we could find ways of their having self-respect and belonging and their relationships celebrated and supported, but we’ve got some questions about gay marriage. It’s only because of our failure to address biblical issues that now this is all jumbled up together and whatever the Church says people will say ‘they are the ones who were always against homosexuals and against civil partnerships’. The pressing challenge for the church now is ‘how can we properly include people who are gay?’
Do you fear negative consequences for yourself now that you have spoken out?
I was scared of saying this to tell you the truth. I don’t want to lose friends or relationships. That’s why I have kept silent. But all church leaders keep silent for the same reason: we’re scared of losing our salaries, scared of losing our house, scared for our families of losing our livelihood. There has been a conspiracy of silence around this. I’m sorry for that. And all I ask is for an honest conversation and debate about this without demonising one another or anybody claiming that we have abandoned the Bible.
Many people have responded to me on blogs and in articles, some agreeing others disagreeing. Steve Holmes, theological advisor to the Evangelical Alliance, says our attitude to gays has been a scandal, and the track record of evangelical churches has been appalling, we have swept it under the carpet and people’s lives have been ruined. A huge number of people have said how pleased they are that we can talk about this openly now.
Why does this issue matter so much to you?
Negative definitions of Scripture have caused a great deal of unnecessary pain and, sometimes, terrible tragedy. Are people gay by nature or by nurture? I don’t know and I don’t trust the advice of other church leaders. But what I do know is that nobody chooses to be gay. When Hitler drove six million jews into the death camps what we too often forget is that he also sent hundreds of thousands of gay people too. Why didn’t any of them put up their hand and say, ‘well it’s only a choice, I could live differently’. They faced death because they were gay in their very being.
We have got to be far more biblical and thoroughly think through what the New Testament says about the acceptance of people who are gay. What being a Christian is about, what the Church is about, what the Bible is about, is life, embracing life, and living life well. We’re for wellbeing, for holistic living. The good News of the Kingdom of God is about life and wholeness right here right now, for every individual, for every single person.
Brighton LGBT Pride which takes place on August 3rd have announced this years theme as ‘gay icons’. On hearing this it immediately made me think of my girlfriend who’s obsessed with David Bowie and will be cheering the loudest for any parade entry with a Ziggy theme. It might even inspire her to dress up with his iconic flash for the occasion too. My face paints are at the ready!
Gay icons is a great theme to get us all excited this year. Synonymous with the LGBT community we’ve all got a love of someone from the glitzy diva’s we like to emulate to the sports personalities we admire.
It’s also a great theme because gay icons are allies or those who are out and proud – those who have stood up publicly for LGBT rights, equality for all and challenged those who have been against us. With the equal marriage Bill currently being debated in the Houses of Parliament and LGBT bullying in schools at the forefront of major campaigns to tackle the issue; celebrating and acknowledging those that publicly stick up for us whether gay or straight is a powerful and important message.
Whilst names like Martina Navratilova, Claire Balding, Jane Lynch and Pink immediately spring to my mind as great lesbian icons, I did a quick Google search to see who else we might see represented in the parade. It will be particularly interesting to see the generational differences for people’s icon choices.
I got distracted by a ‘Which Lesbian Icon Are you?’ quiz on the website AfterEllen. They’d identified the following as key (American) lesbian icons: Gertrude Stein, Wander Sykes, Ellen Degeneres, Rachel Maddow, Peppermint, Patty, Martina Navratiova, Xena, Warrior Princess and Melissa Etheridge. Half of these I’ve no idea who they are!
After 12 questions about my personality, life style and contributions to the LGBT community it announces my result declaring me akin to gay icon Rachel Maddow, an American television host, political commentator, and author.
Which LGBT icon will you be eager to see and who do you think you’re most like?
It wasn’t long ago that I was writing about what it was like to work for an LGBT organisation. Two years on and I’m still in the charity sector but now at a non-LGBT organisation in London where I am the only ‘out’ lesbian (although not the only gay member of staff).
This week I posted the following onto Facebook as a result of a comment made by my manager earlier in the day:
What ensued was a stream of comments from gay friends, straight friends and family with their opinions on why I questioned it as a problem and if it was a problem at all. Whilst my knowledge of how embedded ‘that’s so gay’ has become in the English language could almost excuse the naivety of family and straight friends on the matter who would require ‘educating’, I was shocked at some of the responses of my LGBT friends. One lesbian friend even commented that “I should get a grip” if I felt that offended by its use.
The Brighton Pride theme for this year is gay icons. A common quality of a gay icon is someone who has given support to LGBT rights, advocating equal rights and in many cases speaking out against those in opposition.
So I find it ironic that as an LGBT community we cannot agree on what those rights should be, what equality is for us and what constitutes prejudice and homo/transphobia and in this case what language is not OK in the workplace.
Once upon a time the community was united with the AIDS epidemic and Abolition of Section 28. But as the same sex marriage bill is debated in the House of Commons by the Bill Committee, so too is it debated amongst those who are LGBT with many questioning why we need it – wasn’t the legal rights provided by civil partnerships enough?
For me I’m on the side of those continuing to push for what I believe to be full equality, un-accepting that what we have currently is equal rights. Equally, I will never accept “that’s so gay” as a development of the English language for me to tolerate and will challenge anyone, family member or friend, gay or straight that thinks otherwise. I will be recommending to my employers they do the same, may be with the help of clarification from LGBT advocate Ash Beckham:
I always thought that homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools was at least something we, as an LGBT community were united about. But with some expecting me to ‘get over it’ when gay derogatory language is used in the workplace as an adult; when gay derogatory language is common place within schools and the root of LGBT bullying, it seems even on this subject we are a community divided.
Tomorrow the Brighton Jubilee library has a free film screening of ’Jan’s Coming Out ‘ at 1pm as part of LGBT History Month.
If like me you find lesbian films rather excruciating to sit through and generally unappealing, Jan Walker from the team behind the film, assures me and you that,
“It’s an upbeat celebration of lesbians in contemporary living and is a feel good movie”
So what is the film about Jan?
“I’m the interviewer/presenter. I interview a lot of “celesbians” – celebrity lesbians in the UK and USA. There’s serious questions but also fun dating and flirting tips including how I as a 50 year old “baby dyke” can find romance!”
In 2011 Zhoosh caught up with Jan from ‘Jan’s Coming Out ‘ at Brighton Pride when the film had just launched. She talks to Mel and Lucy from Zhoosh about the project, how she came to do the interviewing for the film and what it’s like to go on a lesbian cruise!”
Still not inspired? Watch the trailor to get enticed.
Find out more about Jan’s Coming Out
on their website: http://www.janscomingout.com.
Post by Steven Adam, Director of upcoming theatre show “Canary” – 50 years of gay history told through the story of one family. Written by Jonathan Harvey – award winning author of ‘Beautiful Thing‘.
“Women and gay people are the litmus test of whether a society is democratic and respecting human rights. We are the canaries in the mine.” – Peter Tatchell
Gay people have it easy now, we have civil partnerships, an equal age of consent and civil liberties. So why put on a “gay” play? This was the question I was asked, and I asked myself, when I put forward to direct this play. Three years ago I directed Beautiful Thing, Jonathan Harvey’s tale of young love and coming out, and at the time some people thought that it was now a period piece and that there were no longer any issues with being gay and coming out.
But I think that gay people still have a way to go until we achieve full equality and have the same respect in society that straight people take for granted. Living in Brighton we become immune to the problems that people face outside our little enlightened bohemia. In many parts of the world gay people are still criminalised, imprisoned, persecuted and even executed just because of their sexuality. Even with the “Arab Spring” gay rights are not being adopted in these newly “liberated” countries.
In Russia and the former Eastern Block countries of Europe gay rights are being suppressed and gay pride protests are declared illegal and cracked down on by the police. Even here and in Western Europe and America we face the struggle for gay marriage to be legalised and our relationships to be seen on an equal par with straight ones.
Gay people still find it hard to be themselves without fear of violence and ridicule within their communities in parts of the UK. Homophobic attacks, including murders, have been on the increase in recent years and the bullying of students considered to be gay has resulted in suicides in both the UK and the US. Just earlier this year two friends of mine were beaten up late at night in ‘safe and accepting’ Brighton, just for holding hands in the street.
It continues to be hard to come out to your families and friends and always will do whilst there is shame and stigma attached to being gay. So yes, we have come a long way but we also have some way to go.
That’s why I thought it was important to stage Canary. It details the struggles that gay people have gone through over the last 50 years and the struggles they encounter today. It is important to remind ourselves of the past and reflect on the achievements that have been made whilst acknowledging the issues we still face. This will be the amateur premiere of the play and I think that if no other amateur group felt able to put it on, then one in Brighton definitely should!
But Canary is far from a dry “issues” play, Jonathan Harvey has written a great character-led piece that veers between high drama and camp comedy. As well as a tragic tale of lives led in secret, gay conversions therapies and the high toll that AIDS inflicted, expect cross dressing teenage boys, policemen caught with their trousers down, high kicking nuns and star turns from Mary Whitehouse and Margaret Thatcher! It’s a deeply moving, funny, uplifting and magical play.
Do not go gently. Do not keep silent. Because one day we’ll all be tulips.
2nd – 9th March 2013 at 7.45pm at Brighton Little Theatre
Book online at www.brightonlittletheatre.com or call 0844 888 0432
Last month saw Peer Action thrusting their collective hips during their outing to the Rocky Horror Show, bringing together all those affected by HIV to meet new mates in a social setting, away from the usual gay scene.
Peer Action’s latest social event for Rocky Horror at the Theatre Royal in Brighton was a successful sell out. The group met at 112 Church Street before moving on to the theatre itself. 20 people in total attended with a mixture of HIV+ and non affected friends and family as well as women and heterosexual couples showing that Peer Action is succeeding in breaking down stigma and isolation.
A great show followed with the whole audience participating in the Time Warp. Afterwards some went home whilst others carried on the evening with drinks and a meal followed by going to the after show party. Comments made were “A great evening, Thanks” and “It was nice to go to the theatre with others in the same situation as me without discussing the topic. Just a fun night out with a great bunch of people” Jimmy: Peer Action.
Peer Action continue to other a wide variety of outings and activities throughout January and February for those living with and affected by HIV.
- Dan’s yoga classes continue to run at St Mary’s Hall, 61 St James Street, on Monday, 14th January and every Monday after. Sessions begin at 6pm and run for one hour. Yoga cost £3.00 per session, No need to book, mats provided.
- 21st January and the 18th Feb see Peer Action at the Gala Bingo Hall for a revisit to their ever popular evening out, a time to make new friends and the chance to win some dosh.
- Peer Action continue to offer a wide range of complimentary therapies by qualified and insured therapist at the extremely low cost of £5.00 on the 26th January and the 23rd February, at THT building, 61 Ship Street, Brighton. Treatments include: No Hands Massage, Energy Healing, Shiatsu, Bowen Therapy and Ear Acupuncture. For more details on times and how to book, please visit the Peer Action website.
- Take some bandages to wrap up your split ribs from all the laughing on you’ll do the Sunday, 3rd February, as Peer Action repeat the popular trip to gay comedy night, Bent Double at the Komedia Brighton with Zoe Lyons on hosting duties and Tom Allen (very funny, Google him) as the headline act. Discounted priced tickets available from Peer Action.
Looking ahead to March, Ian from Peer Action is also organising a trip to Brighton’s annual alternative panto
– ‘Jack and his Big Stalk’ on Sunday 3rd March:
”Join us at the Dome Theatre, Brighton and rekindle the Christmas spirit with an evening of high camp and comedy as we shake Jack’s magic beans and watch his mighty stalk grow. Optional meal beforehand at Donatello’s at 5pm, followed by the performance – those not coming to the meal meet Ian in theatre foyer at 7.15pm. Tickets at the specially reduced price of £16.50 will be available to purchase shortly on the Peer Action website.” Ian, Peer Action.
and finally a message from Jimmi & Mike
Possible new Meditation classes
Peer Action is offering to run a drop in meditation class and we were wondering what you all think. Is it a good idea? How likely would you be to attend? How often should it run? How much should it cost taking into consideration Hall hire and Instructors expenses etc. Please if you are interested in such a class let us know by dropping a quick reply to this email. Your comments and ideas are important to us and help
us provide activities and events you want
For more information on all of Peer Actions activities and how to get involved, please visit www.peeraction.co.uk
The first time I met the Bear Patrol was in the studio of the Brighton LGBT radio show ‘Out In Brighton’. They were to be interviewed about their latest activities and five members arrived like a whirlwind full of laughter, high spirits and energy. You couldn’t help but get sucked in by it and within minutes the whole studio was in a joyful ruckus.
“You guys are so much fun”, I commented as my time to leave came.
Danny Dwyer, creator and co-ordinator of the Bear-Patrol group responded, “That’s what we’re all about. Having fun and enjoying ourselves”, which they seem able to maintain, as a couple of years on from that first contact they still seem to be laughing and having fun.
The Bear Patrol was created in September 2008 in order to ‘bring people together and become part of a community social group, thus enabling them to meet friends and new faces in a happy environment free from attitude and stigma. In the process of socialising, having fun & enjoying life, Bear-Patrol members, friends & followers are utilising their social skills, contacts & enthusiasm to raise funds for ‘The Sussex Beacon‘, a Brighton based clinical care centre for men and women living with HIV/AIDS’
The last time I asked Danny how much the group had raised, it was in excess of £30,000. Prior to Christmas they were holding ‘Bring & Buy’ sales and Saturday arts and crafts activities from painting skulls to making your own Christmas tree decorations. What people may not realise is that the Bear-Patrol is not just for ‘Bears’. ‘Beavers’ (girls who hang out with Bears) are welcome as are ‘Otters’ (non-Bear men) – all are welcome.
This year the Bear Patrol already has events in planning. February 17th will see 22 ‘Bear-Patrol’ runners taking part in the Brighton Half Marathon, including me (front row – 3rd from the right).
Team Runners are: Danny Dwyer, Adam Betteridge, Jonathan Terry, Ian Chaplin, Mark Flood, Shaun Roe, Paul Brown, Robert Taylor, Jason Bramwell, Nicolas Collins, Susan Luxford, Colin Bentley, Martin Still, Margot Uden, Robert Sz, Antonio DaVinci, Lawrence Simpson, PJ Hopper, Ant Pay, Deborah Wolf, David Wilkes & Fiona Coad-Window.
… and for those not running, they are providing volunteer time to help out on the day of the half-marathon
The Bear-Patrol are also putting a team together for the annual LGBT community BLAGSS Bowling Extravaganza on the 26th February and they are inviting people to take part in their annual Bear-Patrol Sky Dive which will take place on 6th July.
Full details about the Bear-Patrol group can be found on Zhoosh with contact details and social media pages: http://directory.zhooshbrighton.co.uk/entry/bear-patrol-community-social-fundraising-group/
If you would like to make a donation to the Bear Patrol Brighton Half Marathon Runners with your donation going to the Sussex Beacon you can do so at:
All pennies and pounds appreciated by runners, Bear-Patrol and Sussex Beacon alike
and of course Come and cheer us on on February 17th!
Christmas is the giving season and so whilst doing your last minute shopping gifts for friends and family, think about sparing a few moments of time on-line and donating something to charity this Christmas. I’ve compiled a list of LGBT charities in Brighton & Hove for you to consider where you can donate directly via their sites.
The Mayor’s Charities
The Mayor currently supports three Brighton charities: LGBT youth project Allsorts Youth Project, The Martlets Hospice and the Brighton Women’s Centre. There are two events in 2013 that will raise funds for these charities , a quiz night and a variety show– so why not purchase a ticket to one of these and help three local charities at once!
Many of Brighton’s LGBT charities are still reliant on grants to remain sustainable. With grants becoming decreasingly available and increasingly competitive, The Rainbow Fund (initially set up to provide for the AIDS memorial) now supports ‘Pride Brighton & Hove’ and raises funds from the local LGBT community to provide grants to local LGBT and HIV/AIDS organisations. So why not donate and know your money is helping keep Pride as an annual event in the city and is helping support directly local charities from the LGBT community. http://www.sussexgiving.org.uk/how-to-give/donorview.php?id=57
Last year the Sussex Beacon launched an appeal to raise £150,000 to keep its HIV Inpatient Unit open. How about supporting local LGBT group ‘Bear Patrol’ who are entering 22 runners in the Brighton Half Marathon on 17th February.
Team Runners are:
Danny Dwyer, Adam Betteridge, Jonathan Terry, Ian Chaplin, Mark Flood, Shaun Roe, Paul Brown, Robert Taylor, Jason Bramwell, Nicolas Collins, Susan Luxford, Colin Bentley, Martin Still, Margot Uden, Robert Sz, Antonio DaVinci, Lawrence Simpson, PJ Hopper, Ant Pay, Deborah Wolf, David Wilkes & Fiona Coad-Window.
As well as a helpline for those in distress or just wanting up to date information, Switchboard provides face to face counselling service with professionally trained LGBT counsellors.
Rise is a charity which supports women, children, young people and families affected by domestic abuse in Brighton & Hove and across West Sussex including specialist services for those who are LGBT and experiencing domestic abuse.
MindOut is a mental health service run by and for lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people. Based in Brighton and Hove, we provide local services such as advice, information, advocacy, peer support group programmes, and a food & allotment project.
http://www.mindout.org.uk/ (scroll to bottom of their home page to donate)
Lunch Positive a community space for everyone with HIV providing enjoyable and quality food that’s well balanced and incorporates a persons ’5 a day’ portions of fruit and vegetables. They also provide information, advice and support with healthy eating and nutrition, as well as information on other local groups and services and run healthy eating and cookery events.
The Carer’s Centre
Through their ReachingOUT initiative the Carers Centre for Brighton and Hove provides information and support to carers from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities supporting those caring for a partner, relative or friend who needs help because of illness, disability, substance misuse or old age.
The Men’s Network
The Men’s Network in Brighton & Hove is a charity committed to creating a city that works for everyone – men and boys included – committed to helping every man and boy in our city to fulfil his greatest potential by taking action to improve men’s health, support dads, help boys do better in school and give children more access to male mentors and role models.
Terrence Higgins Trust
THT provides free condom and lube across the The Scene for the LGBT community. They provide fast HIV testing and offer support, information and peer support groups to those diagnosed as well as campaign the safe sex message.
Ten months ago The L Project released the chart topping charity song “It Does Get Better” with contributions by local lesbian singers. All the proceeds and royalties collected are being donated to Stonewall and Diversity Role Models, both charities who help prevent LGBT bullying in schools. You can help the cause by sharing the Official Music Video from Youtube and download it from iTunes or Amazon now:
****MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ZHOOSH****