National Media Museum
We travelled by train from Manchester Victoria arriving at Bradford Interchange just in time for lunch. The “City Vaults” pub was recommended, and it was a good choice as we all enjoyed our meals.
It was then a short walk to the National Media Museum, which is linked to the Museum of Science & Industry in Manchester. The museum has five floors of exhibits and is free to enter. The exhibits featured many items which reminded us of our youth – Humpty, Jemima, Big Ted and Little Ted from Playschool, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men and Muffin the Mule.
We had a lot of fun in the interactive section, and we particularly enjoyed the mirrored maze and the light and sound features.
There was an Out and Proud section which confirmed that attitudes towards LGBT+ people on television have shifted dramatically since the 1940s, from no mentions at all to a celebration of uniqueness. When positive storylines first appeared on soaps they had a powerful impact on viewers by opening conversations, deepening understanding and even leading to changes in law.
We ended our tour with refreshments in the museum cafe.
Lots of photos can be seen here.
Lower house of Russian Parliament passes anti-LGBTQ propaganda law
A new law which expands Russia’s “gay propaganda” law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June 2013 passed the lower house of the State Duma on 24 November 2022.
The legislation, which still needs the approval of the upper house of the Duma and Putin, introduces an expanded “all ages” ban on “propaganda of non-traditional relations,” paedophilia, as well as a ban on the dissemination of information about LGBTQ people in the media, the Internet, advertising, literature and cinema.
The language of the bill, according to the official Russian state news agency TASS, also introduces a ban on issuing a rental certificate to a film if it contains materials that promote non-traditional sexual relations and preferences is established. The document also provides for the introduction of a mechanism that restricts children’s access to listening to or viewing LGBTQ information on paid services.
The newly expanded law provides for the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, abbreviated as Roskomnadzor, to be vested with the right to determine the procedure for conducting monitoring on the Internet to identify information, access to which should be restricted in accordance with the federal law on information.
A requirement is also set on paid services to enter codes or perform other actions to confirm the age of the user. At the same time, access to LGBTQ information is prohibited for citizens under 18 years of age.
Also, the law “on the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development” is supplemented by an article on the promotion of non-traditional sexual relations, paedophilia and information that can make children want to change their sex.
The latter language pointedly inserted as transgender people have been a frequent target of attacks by the Russian president in speeches recently blaming the West for a global decay in moral values that run counter to what Putin describes as “Russia’s strong morals.”
In an October speech announcing the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian territories, Putin attacked Western nations on the issue of gay and transgender rights.
“Do we want children from elementary school to be imposed with things that lead to degradation and extinction?” he asked. “Do we want them to be taught that instead of men and women, there are supposedly some other genders and to be offered sex-change surgeries?”
It’s not just the Russian leader. Patriarch Kirill, head of the powerful and influential Russian Orthodox Church, portrayed the war with Ukraine as a struggle seeking to reject Western values and LGBTQ Pride parades.
A spokesperson for Human Rights Watch said that this expansion of the 2013 “gay propaganda” law“ is a classic example of political homophobia. It targets vulnerable sexual and gender minorities for political gain.
Human Rights Watch noted that given the already deeply hostile climate for LGBTQ people in Russia, the organisation warned there will be an increase in often-gruesome vigilante violence against LGBTQ people in Russia — frequently carried out in the name of protecting Russian values and Russia’s children. Legal scholars say the vagueness of the bill’s language gives room for government enforcers to interpret the language as broadly as they desire, leaving members of the Russian LGBTQ community and their allies in a state of even greater fear and stress filled uncertainty.
Lesbian Chronicles: Coming Out Later in Life
Do relationships — gay or straight — truly have longevity? Melisa and Alli talk about the hardships couples face and how hard it is to commit to forever — especially later in life.
Listen to the podcast here.