Vigil for the victims of New Zealand attack

Sometimes you feel helpless when bad things happen thousands of miles away. I felt I needed to show solidarity with those who are suffering.

In the days after the Christchurch killings I felt utterly helpless. In the past when I have seen such suffering I have been able to help by sending to money to those who need it. This time is different as how can you let people know that these people are not alone and we won’t sit silently allowing such hate and evil go unnoticed.

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I follow a north east group which protests against racism and those who chose to stir up hatred within the entire country. They felt it was necessary to hold a vigil for the people who have survived the massacre in New Zealand.

It was amazing to see so many gather in St Nicolas’s Cathedral, Newcastle. It isn’t surprising but very sad at the same time that we have witnesses the rise of hate-related incidents in this country and it parts of the world. People’s inability to leave in a harmonious way has led us into some terrible times.

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The rise in social media and people sharing unsavoury views about certain groups has led some in our society to have views which I think are plainly warped. Their views about the Muslim community has been distorted by those who have played a dangerous divisive game for years. Spreading lies and mistruths for their own agenda.

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Thank goodness now the social media companies have started to crack down on those who spread hate. The main ones have put the brakes on those who spread hatred. They have decried their so-called action as attempt to ‘silence’ and ‘censor’ them. This only plays into the hands of the supporters as it gets them angry even though there are thousands of other ways in which hatred can be spread throughout the world.

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The evening was a peaceful reflection where there were members representing a number of faiths, including those from the Jewish and Roma communities, came together as one. As someone with no faith I still strongly believe in standing shoulder to shoulder with those in a minority who had suffered in such a way.

Dipu Ahad is a Labour councillor in Newcastle and was the person who introduced some people to speak about the attack in New Zealand. It was heart-warming to hear of the generosity of those who had reached out to the community on the other side of the world. As I said at the beginning of this post I certainly felt helpless at being unable to share my sympathies with those who were hurting but after this evenings vigil I felt I was able to give my support to the victims of hate and violence.

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I got a pathetic response but hey at least it was a response. 

This week parents of a pupil removed their child from a school because a boy wanted to wear a dress and be known as a girl. In 2017 it might seem laughable and trivial but to a Christian couple it meant disrupting a child’s education.

I remember being hauled into the head’s office at school to help deal with a pupil who had been bullied. He wasn’t getting support or receiving praise for being different but my boss at the time was berating him for bringing in a school back that was different.

“Why can you bring something in that’s like everyone else?” She asked.

“Because I want to be me and this is who I am…” he replied.

There wasn’t a ‘Glee moment’ where the head teacher congratulates the pupil for their individuality and praises them for being who they are but tries to solve the intolerance and bullying by denying one person’s freedom of expression. All in a school bag.

My thoughts are clear on my former boss. She was a morally corrupt and bereft of humanity and empathy. She didn’t give a shit about her charges but was terrified that the  whole system would come down crashing at her feet.

My letter to the Christian Institute asking to speak about why their news feed was unbalanced was finally met with a response.

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Their opinion was that they just wouldn’t engage.

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Despite my years of experience dealing with church matters and education in this area.

The parents action which no doubt will be backed by the Christian Institute to further their growing sense of victimisation. But this is just the very reason why so many people now say that they have no religion. They are turning away from established religions in many parts of the world. The church and their non-sensical illogical beliefs have isolated themselves from the world. They will soon be made of mainly fanatical fringe belief systems. Where once the Church of England was the back bone of English society and culture soon it will become nothing more than Westboro Baptist lite.

 

 

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.

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.