Bucket list 3 (Day 1)

My journey again starts at Newcastle airport. Last time the place was packed. Now it’s a different story.

Airports are strange places. Such transient spaces where you glance at people, who are dispersed over the world and you probably will never see again.

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The first time I travelled to Prague was on the stag do plane. You can read about that venture here. This time I plan to fulfill the reason I wanted to go to Prague in the first place. I want to meet a porn star.

(If you are of an erotic disposition please don’t continue. I don’t want to offend those who find ‘adult entertainment’ wrong.)

It’s odd really, that we live in a world where a lot of people have access to a platform that has a huge amount of information and where millions to get their jollies.

Some see porn as a thin end of the wedge; depending if you prefer wedges or hinges. And believe me, there are a lot of each on the net.

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I’ve always wanted to meet a porn star. Can’t imagine what it must be like to have to share something, which is so intimate a thing, to the rest of the world. But what is it you’re actually selling? It’s not a snapshot or even a sometimes a ‘snapchat’ of your relationship or marriage. Unless you decide that’s the sort of thing you want to give away.

It must be a lonely profession. With all that ‘interaction’ and ‘contact’, you think the novelty would wear off pretty quickly unless you are diagnosed nymphomanic with a huge sex drive.

Anyway, I’m on my first flight of the day as I’ve ditched the stag do flight and gone a slower and cheaper route. My first stop is Düsseldorf and I fly with an airline that sounds like a European pantyliner (thanks to Gregory for that joke).

Eurowings (tee-hee) is a German-based airline (at least I think it is) as they asked in German what I would like to drink. I replied with my order but didn’t receive what I asked for. Practice makes perfect Philip.

There is a bit of turbulence and I’m clinging to that armrest again. As I mentioned last time I’m not a confident flyer. At least I am not swearing and praying loudly like my father did once when he was flying back from France with my mother. She told me she was so ashamed of him when they were just about to land. That was a fun journey home.

There’s a baby crying. Its mother starts to nurse him with an aim to subdue. There’s something quite surreal when you’re near to suckled breasts at thirty-five thousand feet. A spoilt teenage girl in the seat in front of who can’t sit still. She was huffing and puffing when told she couldn’t have her bag with her on take off but had to store it in an overhead locker. I can’t understand why people cannot behave for one hour of their entire life.

The complimentary sandwich had bread that had passed a couple of days sell by date and rigor mortis had set in. A steward tried to use a defibrillator on it but for the wheat based snack, the game was up.

I arrive late and tired. I don’t want to go out. The hotel bar is more than enough for me tonight. The waiter is twenty-four and is easy on the eye and somehow we talk about shaving and he inadvertently lets slip that’s he buys razors to shave but not his face. I stumble in embarrassment and sickening delight as he laughs it off. That’s the new generation shrugging off the old. Shave the pubic hair and have done with it.

Bed. On my own.

Is it safe to be gay in the UK?

A programme title and a question that is asked by some people, others probably don’t care or respond with hate. 

I watched the BBC programme “Is it safe to be gay in the UK?“. I always thought the UK was an enlightened place to live. The UK as a beacon of LGBT rights and champion of minorities. It was my opinion until I heard the heartbreaking stories of people who had been attacked, beaten and in some cases lost their lives to homophobia and hate.

I thought I was listening to something from a hundred years ago, whereas it wasn’t, it was here and now, in the country, I once thought was safe. Gay people can get married and go to bed with the person equally as their straight counterparts. So what is it that makes others feel it’s acceptable to assault others, whether it be physical or verbal?

Having a phobia usually means you are scared of something. I can’t imagine that it’s fright that’s going through someone’s mind, when assaulting another, because of their sexuality.

Being aware of your own emotions and how to handle them is a marker of someone who is stable and mature. Nothing wrong with not understanding others but to attack isn’t acceptable.

The solution is education. Actually being allowed to talk to others about being LGBT. Having others talk about their experiences and teaching others about what is acceptable.

50 Years ago (Chika Amadi update)

My previous post was to get the Christian Institute to talk to me. In the mean time, even more hatred appears. 

What is it about Christians that believe in the literal translation of the Bible? I know loads of people, who I’m happy to call good friends, who are committed Christians. I happy to tell people that have friends who work within in the Church England or have done. Nothing wrong with that. As openly gay man I am happy to tell others of my experience of the Christian church and how it has had a profound affect on me.

Enter in Chika Amadi, who appeared on my twitter timeline this afternoon, and I am reminded again why we have Pride festivals in the UK. You can read all about her and her distasteful views. She is a person who is also a labour councillor for Harrow Borough. She is supposed to be a public servant. Someone who is there for everyone.

Not only does she express her abhorrent and vile views but she also gives warning to those who dare to cross her opinions and religious beliefs.

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If you are prepared to take her on, then you are prepared to provoke God’s wrath. This is a pretty huge claim to make so I look forward to my house being visited upon by locusts, boils, gnats and whatever her god can throw at me, when I call her an ignorant, selfish, naive, cretinous twat.

As she claims on her twitter bio she is ‘a legal advisor’ and ‘TV personality’. She must then be aware of the legal implications of making public accusations that are without wholly any basis or truth.

I am sure that it will be the ‘horrible liberals’ and their wicked ways that would have caused her to be suspended from her role as a councillor. Let’s see if justice will prevail.

50 years ago

My best friend was born. Sgt Peppers was released. Homosexuality was no longer considered as a crime. A lot has changed in 50 years. 

I watched a programme about Princess Diana last night and was reminded of the amazing work she did with those who were diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in the 1980s. It was a difficult time for gay men, as they were branded vile and all other sorts of horrendous names in the press.

In the back of my mind was always thought that I couldn’t come out as gay then as people would automatically assume I had AIDS. I did mention to someone in 1987 that I was gay and I swore her to secrecy. I was just miserable at the thought of being gay as it was in direct conflict with my faith as a Christian at the time.

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I know now that there would have been a tremendous support network in my friendship circle as I came out a few years later, in the early 90s, to some wonderful friends. Being out for 25 years has caused me to readdress those early feelings of being terrified. I didn’t come out to my mother until I was 36, as I knew she didn’t approve, but we became closer as I knew that she loved me just as much as she did before.

The closet is a lonely place. It must have been awful for those living with the fear of being outed before 1967. A time when you could have been dismissed from your work if they found out about your true identity.

I still believe despite the progress that this country as made we have a long way to go to be accepted in society. I did a short survey of the Christian Institute’s YouTube channel and tallied up the number of videos they had posted in 2017 to their site. It’s a total of 170 videos and out of that 69 videos mentioned LGBT issues; that’s nearly 41%. Even in their own videos, they quote that LGBT people only make up 1.7% of society; they devote nearly half of their content to LGBT issues. There is no mentioned of homelessness or poverty in the UK and no mention of the plight of children in Syria.

As I said in my previous post, Evangelical Christians are obsessed with sex. Particularly the LGBT community. I really cannot understand how a supposed Christian Organisation such as the Christian Institute can justify levels of LGBT articles on their site. I will write to them and as to why they highlight such issues, I am sure they won’t reply.

Dear sirs,

I am a writer and blogger and campaigner for LGBT rights as well as mental health issues. 
I undertook Theological training for three years and I have a degree in Religion and Sociology. I also hold a PGCE in Education in Religion from Westminster College Oxford. 
In a short survey I looked at your content on the Youtube part of your social networking and was interested to note that nearly half of your posts mention LGBT issues; despite only 1.7% as you claim of people in the UK identifying as LGBTI. I was intrigued to know why this was as it seems a rather unbalanced view of the ‘news’ as you report it.
I would love to hear your response and even a chance to talk with a spokesperson from your organisation. 
Thanks 
Yours sincerely 
Philip Evans

Never been on a Pride march

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It should be on my bucket list, shouldn’t it? I never have been a march in celebration of my sexuality. In the 80s I joined the church and marched for Jesus. It was an interesting time to walk in celebration of something. But for your sexuality? I mentioned in the previous post about people who wanted a march for straight people.

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The above explains it better than I ever could. Straight people have never fought for human rights regarding their sexuality, to be acknowledged that they aren’t freaks or some medical curiosity. Beaten up or abused because of loving someone of the same sex. I acknowledge that not everyone is going to be happy or overjoyed at same-sex relationships but others don’t have the right to impose on people’s human rights.

I was called names when I was growing up, bullied by other pupils when I was a kid at school. They called me ‘poof’ and ‘bent’ it wasn’t regularly or intense, just by one or two lads you thought it was hilarious. Others probably had no idea, that I was gay, but it did leave a lasting mark. I know I was different and there certainly wasn’t a support network that is provided for young people in schools that there is now.

It seems that some people are deliberately provoking the LGBTI community or have a general lack of understanding and empathy for those us in minorities groups.  I just hope it’s ignorance rather than hate that is fuelling it.

Tim Farron – God before politics

Tim Farron (the leader of the Liberal Democrats) resigned today stating that he couldn’t reconcile his faith with his party’s politics, which begs to differ why he entered into the party in the first place, know their views on abortion and gay rights.

He became a committed Christian in 1988 and has held evangelical views for a number of years. But after all this time, why does he feel the need to ditch politics? Does he feel now he has reached a tipping point? Or was it really the fact that the LDs need a leader who represents the whole of society, rather than restrictive views which aren’t reflective of 21st century Britain.

Regardless of what you believe in a religious context the great good has to precede your idea of what should be happening in society. This is more apparent with the DUPs belief that all abortion should be made illegal. It comes from religion rather than a rational viewpoint which takes into consideration the life and the circumstances of the mother. Black and white thinking and relative morality has its past in 18th-century beliefs the majority has moved on.

 

 

Ricky Dillon

I had to write this post basically because the minute I started to type anything that resembled words on someone else’s site I am immediately accused of things I am not.

I make it my policy not to argue with people on the internet as it’s entirely pointless. You’re shouted down before you can type the full stop on the keyboard

Yes the missing . is intentional. I have had to explain statements or jokes. You can’t leave a little quip without being questioned or having to explain what something is funny.

I come to my subject of a YouTuber who hasn’t a clue who he wants to be or what he had done or how he actually wants to live his life. This guy isn’t 12 or even 18 he is a man of 24 years which means he’s allowed to shape the political sphere with his vote or mortgage a house and get married. He’s a grown up.

That’s where reality seems to end and fantasy seems to begin. He recently “came out” (good for him!) “as an asexual” (oh okay). Not something that I have had too much experience. So I will dig around a bit and see what comes up.

Asexuality according to some definitions seems to be the lack of attraction to either sex. There is neither desire or want of physical need. A person will not seek out intimacy from another person. Nothing wrong with that I thought. There are millions of people around the world who are like this.

Then we come to Ricky Dillon. To me he is anathema. Someone who I think gives a bad name to the LGBT community. What he says in his videos is riddled with contradictions and sometimes outright lies. I find honesty, stability and articulation an attractive quality. Ricky doesn’t bring this to the table. His confusing ramblings seem to suggest a man who is unable to determine his life.

Someone’s sexuality is usually determined by the end of their teenage years. I know it can take some time to truly understand your sexual identity and people do have a lifelong struggle even to come to terms with it. Some don’t even fully accept who they are choosing instead to live a life trying to change who they are.

In my opinion, he is confusing not only himself and giving out the wrong message that gender identity is somehow fluid and come and goes like the tide. It doesn’t. You know if you are a puff or not if you then accept it.

LGBT rights 

Sad that even in 2017 we are fighting for the rights to be accepted as human beings. If the past week has taught us anything we still have a long way to go. 

Take away the Religion

I was watching a clip on YouTube last night of Pat Robinson who, if you aren’t sure who he is, is a transphobic, homophobic and downright ridiculous man who spouts crazy bile in the name of Christianity.

Thoughts then turned to the people who had been killed by the gunman in Orlando and his crazed ideology that killing a group of LGBT people would be pleasing to his god.

As you know I am a humanist. I don’t believe in god, I used to be a church-goer but the belief and faith I had died a long time ago.

I thought if you take away the religion and look at how people act it proves a lot about who the person is in the beginning.  How is the person with their friends and family? What are they doing for the good of everyone?

Someone that causes harm and distress to others under the name of their religion should be ridiculed for what they are. If it’s some old irrelevant man who has no idea what true life is like and doesn’t realise the damage he causes isn’t a true follower of faith.

People assume that those who don’t have a religion to follow are bereft of morality and principles. This couldn’t be further from the case. Humanism is about treating everyone fairly as they are all beings that share the same planet.

Blame

There is always someone who will want to proportion blame other than the person who pulled the trigger on the guns. So far I have heard that the police at the nightclub were to blame, the lack of guns in the club and even the gay people who murdered should share the responsibility for their own deaths.

The appalling politicians and right-wing groups that latch on to what has happened and use if for their own gain. They proportion the blame to an entire religion which is wrong. Within most belief systems that there are the radical parts that will use this as an excuse to create mayhem and murder innocent victims. Many political parties have murdered in the name of their cause and under-pinned it with the belief that what they are doing is from god. It’s not. True religion does not kill.

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The key to getting to grips with this sort of violence has to be education and understanding. The Islamic faith does and has to condemn these sorts of atrocities that are undertaken in its name. The Muslim Advocates which speaks on behalf of Muslims in American has rightly condemned the killings of innocent LGBT victims. Something that does not get reported in the wider press and beyond.

There has to be a working together of ordinary people who will speak for all sides to condemn this violence. ISIS and its ideology are evil and that message should be broadcast throughout the world. Allowing the lunatics of the far-right and the homophobic part of the Christian church to use it for their gain should be stopped right at the beginning.

the barefoot tree

Still grumpy

Gari Wellingham

UK-based musical theatre geek previously living with a brain tumour!