Another meet up / Manchester United / Polari Prize 2020

News

Happy Birthdays:

1st July – Paul S & Michael

4th July – Don

Another meet up

Following our meeting in June in Sackville Park we had an article on the Talking About My Generation website here

They thought it was a great uplifting piece and they shared it with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Ageing Better team.

The next meeting for Out In The City is on Wednesday, 8 July from 1.00pm to 3.00pm (subject to weather permitting).

The venue is Canal Street (top end between Churchills and Velvet). If you are coming on public transport you need to wear a face covering (scarf or mask). In order to keep social distancing we will meet in groups up to six people. Hopefully, we will be able to sit outside.

It is essential to contact me so we are aware of numbers attending. Please phone or text or send a message here

 

Manchester United

On 23 February 2020, Pauline and Albert were Guests of Honour at Old Trafford for Manchester United’s home game against Watford. Age UK, Cadbury’s and Manchester United decided to have eleven older fans, instead of children, as the mascots to greet the players on the pitch.

As part of a wider campaign to help tackle loneliness amongst older people some lucky Age UK service users and lifelong football fans received some very welcome phone calls from their sporting heroes during lockdown.

Each of the Guests of Honour normally take part in social activities at their local Age UKs, including Age UK Trafford’s men’s cooking class, Age UK Manchester’s Out in The City LGBT group and Age UK Oldham’s volunteering activity.

Pauline and Albert each received a hamper (full of chocolates) with a card signed by United’s manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: “I hope you are keeping well & staying safe. Best wishes from Team Management players and staff at Manchester United & Cadbury”.

 

The Polari Prize 2020

Now in its tenth year, the Polari prize is the UK’s first and largest LGBTQ+ book award. Established to promote writing that explores the LGBTQ+ experience, Polari also focuses on amplifying diverse voices through a series of literary events.

The prize is awarded in two categories Polari Book Prize and Polari First Book Prize – to celebrate emerging and established LGBTQ+ literary talent.

For the list of nominations see here.

 

 

Stonewall – was it a riot, an uprising or a rebellion?

News

28 June is the anniversary of the Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) – a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of 28 June 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City.

Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighbourhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights.

“Who threw the first brick at Stonewall?” has become a rally cry, a cliché and a queer inside joke – never mind the fact that it’s not clear whether bricks were ever thrown during the riots at all.

What we do know is that Marsha and Sylvia gave their lives fighting for LGBT+ rights.

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Four members of Out In The City recorded podcasts “My Story, My Music” which are out now and available to listen to 24/7:

David

Gary

Patrick

Pauline

They will also soon be broadcast weekly on sonderradio.com !

If you would like to contribute your own “My Story, My Music” please feel free to contact us here

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Some research which may be of interest:

Coronavirus and the social impacts on older people

Lockdown could leave next generation of retirees poorer and sicker than the last

Mental health and coronavirus

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Lockdown restrictions mean the traditional Pride celebrations have been cancelled for 2020. But we can celebrate the LGBTQ+ community with the release of a collection of powerful audio works on BBC Sounds, covering a wide range of experiences ranging from 20th Century LGBTQ+ history to explorations of what it’s like to be LGBTQ+ in today’s world. Click here

 

Picnic in the Park

News

Trips & Adventures – 24 June 2020

This was our first meet up since March and it coincided with David’s birthday.

Twenty one people came to Sackville Park in the heart of Manchester’s gay village. The sun came out too as it was 30 degrees and we had to sit in the shade.

Welcome to new members – Christopher, Cliff and Colin. It was a great experience after 12 or more weeks of lockdown.

We decided to have another meet up in a fortnight on Wednesday 8 July from 1.00pm to 3.00pm. This will either be in Sackville Park again or outside a pub on Canal Street.

Watch this space for more info …

There are a few more pictures here

Meet Up / Lockdown Blues / LGBT Community Centre and more!

News

“Happy Birthday” to David R on 24 June and “Happy Birthday” to Martin on 25 June.

 

 

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I am confirming the Out In The City meet up on Wednesday, 24 June from 1.00pm to 3.00pm.

The venue is Sackville Gardens on Sackville Street. If you are coming on public transport you need to wear a face covering (scarf or mask). In order to keep social distancing we will meet in groups up to six people. There are some benches, but it would be helpful if people brought blankets to sit on and each person needs to bring their own sandwich or snack and drink.

25 people have confirmed so far, but if you wish to attend and haven’t already done so, please phone or text or send a message here

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Lockdown Blues

I thought it would be isolation,

Social distancing and separation,

But it turns out my biggest fear

Is cutting my hair and chopping off an ear!

 

My hair is getting longer,

But I’m not getting any stronger.

I just have to accept that everyday

Is going to be a “Bad Hair Day”.

 

I need a hat, and that is that.

I tried a baseball cap, but just got in a flap.

I tried a beret, tres tres francais.

I tried a fedora, but that was out of order.

 

I just have to accept that everyday

Is going to be a “Bad Hair Day”.

No if, or and, or but,

When lockdown is over

I’m getting a haircut!

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Work finally begins on £2.5m LGBT+ community centre

The new centre will provide support and events for thousands of LGBT+ people in Manchester and beyond.

Work on creating a centre for the LGBT+ community in Manchester is to finally start after months of unprecedented delays.

The Proud Trust’s £2.4m rebuild of the Sidney Street community centre was originally due to take place at the start of the year but a number of delays and then the coronavirus pandemic halted plans until now.

The new centre will support LGBT+ people from Manchester and beyond with free, inclusive support services and events, just as the old centre has done for the last 30 years.

In 1988, the Proud Trust’s old purpose-built centre was the first of its kind for the LGBT+ community in the UK, but after three decades of continuous use it is no longer able to meet the needs of the charity.

The original building, which was built with discretion in mind, will now be demolished and replaced with a three-storey community centre featuring a café, community rooms, library, and a city-centre roof garden.

The project was able to happen after years of fundraising, during which £2.5m was raised from members of the public alongside donors including the Big Lottery and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

“This year we are laying down bricks in our city, as we did in 1988, to create a safe haven for all LGBT+ people within our local community,” Dr Ali Hanbury, Manager at the LGBT+ Centre, said.

“We’re so grateful to all of our donors for helping us to raise enough money to rebuild our centre so that we can continue to support people for many years to come. This is another proud moment for Manchester.”

“There will definitely be a significant celebration when we’re done,” Dr Ali added. “Everyone involved has worked tirelessly and showed great patience during the delays, so we really do have something to celebrate next year.”

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We have received an email which may be of interest:

My name is Nathan Moran. I am the care Co-Ordinator for a home care company called Helping Hands. I have seen that you have a over 50’s LGBT Group at Age UK, I am very interested in linking in with your Group and answering any questions that your members may have about care etc. I am very aware of the work Age UK does as I use to work for them in the Northumberland branch and I am especially interested in working with the LGBTQ community as I identify as gay myself.

I understand that within the LGBTQ community it can be very daunting with the prospects of needing care and ensuring that a care company provides the support the people identifying as LGBTQ need.

I hope that we can network and build a connection to help support your group members and look forward to talking to you in the future. If you have any questions or require any information please feel free to contact Nathan at Nathan.Moran@helpinghands.co.uk

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Coming soon … 28 June is the anniversary of the Stonewall riots (also referred to as the Stonewall uprising or the Stonewall rebellion) – a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of 28 June 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village neighbourhood of Manhattan, New York City.

Patrons of the Stonewall, other Village lesbian and gay bars, and neighbourhood street people fought back when the police became violent. The riots are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights.

In the UK the first official UK Gay Pride Rally was held in London on 1 July 1972 (chosen as the nearest Saturday to the anniversary of the Stonewall riots) with approximately 2,000 participants. The first marches took place in November 1970 with 150 men walking through Highbury Fields in North London.

In 1981 the usual Pride march and rally was not held in London, decamping to Huddersfield instead as an act of solidarity with the Yorkshire gay community as the West Yorkshire Police were harassing them by repeatedly raiding the Gemini Club, a leading nightclub in the North of England at the time.

Here are some photos from Pride 1981 in Huddersfield. Thank you to Peter Scott-Presland for the photographs.

 

Urgent and important call to action

News

Urgent and important call to action

As many of you will have seen, the Sunday Times reported that the UK Government Minister for Women and Equalities, Liz Truss, is planning a series of policy changes that could make many LGBT+ people’s lives much harder. We understand that much of this leak holds some truth.

A final decision has not yet been made so now is the time to act. Liz Truss is due to speak in Parliament about equalities today (Wednesday 17 June).

Liz Truss MP, Minister for Women & Equalities

Our Prime Minister is likely being asked to agree to the proposals now. If Boris Johnson doesn’t sign off on them, Liz Truss cannot go forward with them. We need every LGBT+ organisation, local ally organisations, and other supporter to do their part and engage with this call to action.

What might happen?

  • Trans people could have their rights to access single-sex services curtailed, including trying to introduce a ban on trans women using women’s toilets.
  • Gender Recognition Act reform could be dropped.
  • It could become harder for trans young people to access healthcare.

Why does this matter?

We know from looking at similar attempts at “Bathroom Bills” in North Carolina and Texas that exclusion of trans people from toilets is unworkable. Instead when these laws are passed, we all suffer. Who can do something as simple as using the toilet in a shopping centre comes down to whether you fit society’s gender norms. Whether you “look like a woman” or “look like a man”.

Gender non-conforming women, lesbians, trans people – all could be harmed. This will be worse for members of those groups who are Black or who are disabled. Gender norms so often imagine “real women” and “real men” as White, able-bodied, straight and cisgender (not trans).

We cannot let the UK Government make so many people’s lives harder. Anyone and everyone who doesn’t fit rigid gender norms should be safe and free to live their life in peace.

What should I do? Some suggestions:

  1. URGENTLY call on Boris Johnson not to take forward any of Liz Truss’ proposals by tweeting @BorisJohnson @10DowningStreet and emailing via this web-form: https://email.number10.gov.uk/
  2. Write to your MP and call on them to challenge the proposals.
  3. Write to your employer asking for them to write to Boris to challenge these proposals and asserting their commitment to trans inclusion.
  4. If you have children, write to your child’s school asking for them to write to their MP / Boris Johnson to challenge these proposals and asserting their commitment to trans inclusion.
  5. Share and share again (copy and paste into your own post) and encourage your family members to step up too.

Please take 10 minutes to engage with one or all of the above and help make enough noise to ensure these proposals do not materialise.

We’ve not got long to let him know how strongly we all feel. Please act now!

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Homes England Project Launch

The LGBT Foundation are thrilled to be launching their new project to better understand the housing and support needs of older LGBT people in Greater Manchester, including the country’s first LGBT affirmative Extra Care development!

 The LGBT Foundation want to gather the views of as many LGBT people aged 55+ in Greater Manchester to get a better understanding of their housing and support needs. You can respond to the survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/LGBTHomes

 If you are unable to answer this survey in this format, or are aware of people who may wish to answer this survey but will be unable to online, please email bob.green@lgbt.foundation or call 0345 3 30 30 30. They are able to send a copy of the survey in the post or ask the survey questions over the phone.

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OITC radio show for Pride?

A number of us have recorded “My Story, My Music” (our version of “Desert Island Discs”) with Sonder Radio and a few more shows are in the pipeline.

Would you like to be involved in another show to be released in August? It could be people recalling memories of previous Pride events or a group discussion on a particular theme or topic. Or it could be a show where people just pick a song and tell a story about that song and Sonder Radio stick together lots of mini stories with lots of different voices.

Any ideas would be appreciated. Please let me know if you are interested so we can take the idea forward. Contact us here

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Is SpongeBob SquarePants gay?

The character has been depicted in LGBTQ+ colours for Pride month, stoking fresh discussion about his sexuality

Name: SpongeBob SquarePants.

Age: 21.

Appearance: Absorbent, yellow and porous.

Habitat: Lives in a pineapple under the sea.

Unusual features: Everything about life in the underwater city of Bikini Bottom is unusual.

Clearly, most people will know about SpongeBob, but do you think you should give a bit of basic info for the odd reader who has, say, been living in a pineapple under the sea for the past 21 years? Excellent idea. SpongeBob SquarePants is an award-winning cartoon series on the TV channel Nickelodeon. It was created by the late Steve Hillenburg, a marine biologist turned animator. The lovable, wildly optimistic SpongeBob, who works as a cook in the Krusty Krab restaurant, is the central character in a fully realised aquatic world.

Why SquarePants? Because he is square, so are his trousers.

Of course. But why is he in the news? Are marine pollution and the climate crisis affecting Bikini Bottom? Nothing so straightforward. There is intense discussion about SpongeBob’s sexuality after Nickelodeon put out a rainbow-embellished tweet voicing his support for Pride month in the US.

How intense? Well, as intense as any discussion about the sexuality of a cartoon sea sponge can get. Many have taken the tweet, which describes him as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, as confirmation that SpongeBob is gay.

What is the evidence, apart from his support for Pride? He is pictured alongside Korra, from The Legend of Korra series, who is bisexual, and Michael D Cohen, who plays Schwoz Schwartz in the series Henry Danger. Cohen announced last year that he is transgender.

And the evidence against? The campness of the series and SpongeBob’s close relationship with his friend Patrick Star – a pink starfish who favours floral shorts – has led to speculation about his sexuality over the years, but Hillenburg sought to quash it in 2005. “We never intended them to be gay,” he insisted. “I consider them to be almost asexual.”

Deep waters. Too right. Nickelodeon turned off replies to the tweet, suggesting it wanted to dampen speculation, but it is too late.

And if I want to read an academic take on this theory? Jeffery Dennis, in an article entitled Queertoons, argues that the series “frequently portrays same-sex desire as valid and important … SpongeBob and his next-door neighbour Patrick are paired with arguably erotic intensity.”

Have there been any negative reactions to SpongeBob’s alleged sexuality? In Ukraine, he was investigated by the National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality in response to claims by a Catholic “pro-family” group that he was “perverting” Ukrainian children.

Not to be confused with: Bart Simpson.

Do say: “I’m ready.”

Don’t say: “Has President Trump tweeted about SpongeBob yet?”

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Eurodrag celebrates being nominated for a UK national Diversity Award

Eurodrag is delighted to announce that it has been nominated for the Community Organisation (LGBT) accolade at this year’s National Diversity Awards supported by ITV News.

Eurodrag is the only international drag contest open to anybody and everybody and as Europe’s biggest competition of its kind, spans 14 countries with thousands of entrants. The popularity of Eurodrag has grown exponentially through lockdown and the launch of its own TV channel on YouTube.

The National Diversity Awards has attracted a growing list of supporters including Adam Hills, Graham Norton, and Katie Piper. In their ninth year, they honour the rich tapestry of the UK, recognising individuals and groups from grass roots communities who have contributed to creating a more diverse and inclusive society.

Sir Lenny Henry CBE, last year’s winner of the Celebrity of the Year award said, “Diversity to me means involving everybody without any discrimination; its means having integrated groups in society, it means fairness and total inclusion and that’s what the National Diversity Awards are about. Congratulations to everyone who has been nominated, you’re all doing a fantastic job, rock on!”

The National Diversity Awards receives over 60,000 nominations and votes annually. The final will be held on Friday 25th September 2020 at the Liverpool Anglican Cathedral.