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One of the issues arising from the lockdown is that I need my hair cutting badly … or do I mean, I badly need my hair cutting?

It’s Norman G’s birthday on 20 May. I wonder how old he is? Here’s a clue:

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Talking About My Generation

I was interviewed by Talking About My Generation and this is the article they have produced:

Campaigners celebrate 30-year anniversary of homosexuality being declassified as a mental disease

It has been three decades since the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the classification of diseases and related health problems.

And while this now seems an absurd reality in 2020, it is a time that was lived through by many people across Greater Manchester – and 68 countries still criminalise same-sex relations.

Sunday (May 17) marked the start of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHO) celebrations, which aims to raise awareness of LGBT rights and discriminations.

This year the theme is Breaking the Silence, so to help with that we caught up with Tony Openshaw, who runs Out in the City – a social group for over 50s in the LGBT community to get his thoughts on how far we have come in society to be inclusive, what more needs to be campaigned for and the lasting effects discrimination has on people’s mental health.

Tony said: “For LGBT people, IDAHO serves as an interesting retrospective on our history and how much has changed and how much we need to continue pushing for change.

“It is also a rallying cry for the eradication of the continued discrimination, prejudice, and violence LGBT people face at home, in public, and in written law every day.

“We have come so far, there have been many positive changes in my lifetime. But I am of the generation that it was very difficult for. My parents sent me to a psychiatrist because I told them I was gay, I was evicted from a house I was living in for being gay at one point in time, and I know two people who have been given electric shock therapy to ‘help’ them to not be gay, and a women offered a lobotomy.

“If you ask many young people today, they would be shocked that up until 1990, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder – but this is not something people from my generation in the LGBT community easily forgets.

“I am glad that it is better for this generation – that is what we fought for. But it can still be a big stigma for older LGBT people

“Discrimination and violence against LGBT people continues to occur at unacceptable rates, and we all have a responsibility to use our voices to speak up, in relation to our own challenges and the struggles of others. A culture of inclusivity and freedom can only extend to everyone if we fight for it.

 

“The anniversary of this pivotal day also falls in Mental Health Awareness Week, and it is important to remember that while Manchester is leading the way when it comes to acceptance and inclusivity for the LGBT community, there are still many people struggling with how to cope with coming out from every walk of life.

“But one area of society that I feel passionate about is supporting LGBT asylum seekers, who have had so much discrimination in their own countries and need support to start a new and better life here in the UK.”

As well as his campaigning work, Tony runs Out in the City, a project (supported by Age UK Manchester) to support members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities who are over 50 years of age.

For more information go to https://outinthecity.org/

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King Lear Prizes:

The new national creative arts competition for the over 70s stuck at home because of Coronavirus

Many people in the UK are still staying at home due to Coronavirus, and older people have been particularly restricted in what they can do and who they can see.

Our greatest writer, William Shakespeare, was faced with a similar situation, with outbreaks of the plague throughout his career, and in particular in 1605 – 06, when he wrote his King Lear.

The King Lear Prize Committee have launched the King Lear Prizes to encourage amateurs and beginners to have a project to get stuck into, and to create new works of literature, poetry, music, drama and art during the time they are quarantined.

There are various categories with a chance to win £1,000. See the following link for rules and how to enter:

https://www.kinglearprizes.org.uk/

Pauline has already made a start:

Light the Torch ~~~~ Pride in Ageing

50 thousand of us

Old and bold

Old and not so bold

We are the older LGBT people

In Our Place

In all ten boroughs across Manchester.

 

Last June we lit the torch

to fight yet again for what we believe

Dignity, compassion, self worth

In our place

We are everywhere

Your neighbour…your gran, your grandad.

 

Pride in Ageing is about

Our self worth…our inner being

We are 50 plussers

50 thousand strong

Determined and feisty.

 

Do we want to be taken into care?

Not now

Covid 19 is not the real issue for us

Discrimination is

Can we be who are are,

And want to be in our twilight?

 

Last year something new

As oldies we lit the torch

With Barclays and the LGBT Foundation

Pride in Ageing its called

For a reason…..

 

As young people we fought

Just to be us…with Pride

Against Section 28 and other rules

We survived Aids

We have lit the torch again

 

And the flame burns brightly

We will pass on the torch

To those who come after us

All of us LGBT people

“Who take a walk on the wild side”

 

Yes …we do care

About dignity, self worth and compassion

In our older years

For all of us

And all those who come after.

Pauline Smith May 2020

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The LGBT Foundation is launching a new national campaign #MyPrideIs which will debut in the new issue of a major LGBT publication. Does anybody have any photos from Pride events which could be used in the campaign? Please let us know.

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