Petition: Equality Act’s Definition of Sex … “Secretly” … Clonezone attacked … Pride in Trafford


Petition: Commit to not amending the Equality Act’s definition of sex

It has been reported that the Government may amend the Equality Act to “make it clear that sex means biological sex rather than gender.” The Government has previously committed to not remove legal protections for trans people, an already marginalised group, but this change would do so.

Currently, the Act protects trans people from discrimination on the basis of both sex and “gender reassignment”, regardless of whether they have undergone medical transition or hold a Gender Recognition Certificate. It can allow trans people to access single-sex spaces such as Domestic Violence shelters, bathrooms and hospital wards.

The proposed change would remove a legal protection for trans people and encourage discrimination. A petition asking the Government to refuse this change to the Equality Act 2010 was signed by more than 138,500 people as at 1 May 2023.

The petition closes on 15 May 2023 but as more than 100,000 have signed the petition, Parliament is going to debate the issue. The debate is scheduled for 12 June 2023.

Previously, on 25 January 2023, the Government responded to the petition:

“This Government believes in individual liberty. There are processes with appropriate checks to allow for those who wish to legally change their gender. Changes to the Equality Act are not necessary.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation across a number of grounds, including sex. We are committed to upholding Britain’s long-standing record of protecting the rights of individuals against unlawful discrimination.

The Government is also committed to maintaining the safeguards that allow organisations to provide single-sex services. It is important that the principle of being able to operate spaces reserved for women and girls is maintained, in line with the Equality Act. Government is committed to tackling harassment and abusive behaviours by all individuals, and ensuring single-sex spaces are safe for those using them.

The Act makes it clear that providers have the right to restrict use of spaces on the basis of sex and gender reassignment where this is justified.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have published guidance on the existing legislation which provides much needed clarity to those offering single-sex spaces.

Finally, this Government believes in the principle of individual liberty and in the humanity and dignity of every person. There are processes in place, with the right checks and balances, to allow for those who wish to legally change their gender to do so. We have listened to the responses in the Gender Recognition Act consultation and have taken steps to modernise the way that individuals can apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate as a result, reducing the cost and moving the process online. Everyone that decides to transition, deserves our respect, support and compassion.”

This hit love song from the ‘50s is chock-full of very gay subtext

The straight-laced 1950s weren’t known for their flourishing gay culture. The Lavender Scare was forcing LGBT+ people out of their jobs in droves, homosexuality was still considered a mental illness, and the Stonewall Riots were still a decade away. But one song still managed to be a breakthrough hit, even with lyrics that could easily be a rallying cry for gay rights when viewed through a modern lens.

“Secretly” is a pop song by Jimmie Rodgers, released in May 1958. It tells a story of forbidden love: “Why must I meet you in a secret rendezvous? / Why must we steal away to steal a kiss or two? / Why must we wait to do the things we want to do?” he laments.

Through the first half of the chorus, the song might be taken as your classic Romeo and Juliet situation: two lovers, forced apart by unknown circumstances. “Wish we didn’t have to meet secretly / Wish we didn’t have to kiss secretly / Wish we didn’t have to be afraid / To show the world that we’re in love.”

Then, though, the song takes on a political slant: “Till we have the right to meet openly / Till we have the right to kiss openly / We’ll just have to be content to be in love secretly.” 

Hmmmm. We don’t know about you, but asking for “the right to kiss openly”? Sounds pretty gay to us!

Also, the song uses no gendered pronouns or other gendered identifiers for Rodgers’ love interest, which was unusual for love songs of the era. Regardless of Rodgers’ specific intention for the song, it certainly speaks to the idea of fighting the status quo, a contrast to the conservatism of the ‘50s. Nonetheless, the song was a hit, peaking at number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Some folks have interpreted the song as being about an interracial relationship, given that interracial marriage wasn’t legal in all US states until 1967. That’s the beauty of “Secretly”: it speaks to all the hidden relationships of the ‘50s that deserved to see the light of day. Whatever interpretation speaks to you is fair game.

For LGBT+ listeners, of course, a gay interpretation comes naturally. In 2012, On You Tube there is a montage of vintage photos of men together set to “Secretly.” Though not all the pictures are explicitly romantic, just like the song, they paint a clear picture of gay love for anyone reading between the lines.

“Although the years have gone by, whether it was secretly or out in the open, we loved then and we still love today,” reads the video’s caption.

Rodgers himself was never confirmed to be gay. In fact, he had three wives throughout his life, with whom he had five children in total. He died from kidney disease in 2021 at age 87, so his own interpretation of “Secretly” is anyone’s guess — but we’re sure he wouldn’t mind if we claimed this one for the gays!

Clonezone failed by police over attacks, owners say

The shop shared an image of the latest attack, which showed a GMP car on the street nearby

At a glance

  • Clonezone Manchester has been attacked three times in six weeks in what its owners called a “targeted hate crime”.
  • They said Greater Manchester Police had “failed” in its response to the attacks.
  • The force said the attacks were thought to be “hate motivated”, but it was still investigating so could not confirm that for certain.

The police response to a series of attacks has been a failure, its owners have said.

Clonezone Manchester said it had been targeted three times in six weeks, with the latest attack seeing its windows smashed by two men on a motorbike.

Its owners said they were the “victims of a premeditated, targeted hate crime” and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) had “failed us and allowed these attacks to continue”.

The force said the attacks were believed to be “hate motivated” but officers were still investigating.

The shop, which stands on Sackville Street in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village, describes itself as a “gay superstore”.

In a statement on Twitter, its owners said it had been targeted because it was a “queer business” and it believed the attacks were symptomatic of wider issues.

They said the area, which centres around Canal Street, had “always been a safe space and that now sadly is becoming less and less of a reality”.

They added that they had been touched by the “outpouring of love and support” which had followed the latest attack.

Two people fled on a motorbike in the latest attack

Jeremy Hoad from local group Friends of Manchester’s Gay Village said he was shocked by the attacks, the latest of which happened two hours after GMP officers met with community leaders to discuss the incidents.

“It is really disconcerting [and] it’s frustrating,” he said.

“It worries people, whatever the motivation for the attack, and the police say they can’t attribute it to a hate incident.

“It concerns people in the LGBT+ community – it makes us angry that something like this is still happening.”

GMP said two people were seen on CCTV on Sackville Street on a “distinctive-looking red motorcycle”, before one jumped off to repeatedly smash the shop’s windows.

“After a minute or so, they jumped back on to the motorcycle and left in the direction of London Road,” it added.

Ch Insp Adam Wignall said GMP would not “tolerate these kinds of mindless acts of vandalism”.

“As such, we are providing ongoing support to the owners of the shop, whilst we thoroughly investigate these incidents,” he said. A force representative added that GMP’s theory was that it was “hate motivated at the moment, but we cannot confirm this as we are still investigating”.

Pride in Trafford ’23

Pride in Trafford is an exploration and celebration of identity and LGBT+ life in Trafford from Wednesday 17 May to Saturday 20 May.

Celebrate LGBT+ arts at Sale Waterside as they present another fabulous line up from comedy and cabaret, to theatre, dance and circus, plus a celebratory family day on the Plaza and an exciting closing party hosted by neighbours Mano a Bocca pizzeria. There is plenty for everyone to enjoy!

The programme kicks off on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia where they will raise the progress flag and enjoy speeches from the Leader and Chief Executive of Trafford Council. 

Throughout the four days there will be theatre from emerging artist Sam Danson exploring an authentic bisexual experience in BI-TOPIA and a dark-humoured coming-of-age story Jesus, Jane, Mother & Me; a unique performance on Chinese poles exploring love, drugs and Islam in The Chosen Haram; as well as brilliant comedy from the acclaimed Stephen Bailey in the Laugh Riot stand up night, joined by Rosie Wilby, Marie Goulbourne and MC Jonathan Mayor. 

There’ll be lots of entertainment for the whole family on the Saturday in Pride on the Plaza – with free activities throughout the afternoon as well as contemporary circus performances from High Tea (with a Twist) and a Closing Party at partner venue Mano a Bocca including comedy, cabaret, pizza, raffle and disco hosted by the infamous Belinda Scandal.

One thought on “Petition: Equality Act’s Definition of Sex … “Secretly” … Clonezone attacked … Pride in Trafford

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