Always take your colouring book with you


#LGBTQProgress (Sunday 6th November)


Do they play Bigot Bingo at the Mail? If so, it was a full house this week with prominent headlines spewing transphobia, biphobia and homophobia.

Transphobic Trash

Last weekend’s Mail on Sunday frontpage was outraged that Children’s BBC made Just A Girl, an informative online drama about a trans child. It’s a great resource for parents and children to talk about gender together and is not the first CBBC show to talk trans (my sixty-something Mum really enjoys their documentary series My Life). Earlier today on Sunday Morning Live the transphobia was unmistakeably worse as Kathy Gyngell from instantly compared being transgender to a mental illness or disability. Follow fellow guests from the show Jack Monroe, Stephanie Hirst and India Willoughby, read Paris Lees on why this media attack has to end and put Transgender Awareness Week, 14th-20th November in your diary.

Openly Homophobic Trash

On Thursday, desperate to find an explanation for the Brexit court ruling, and glossing over a deep understanding of Britain’s constitution (also known as the truth), the Mail Online reasoned it was because one judge is an ‘openly gay ex-Olympic fencer’.

This slur is part of a steady stream of homophobia that charities including Diversity Role Models seek to end in schools, making sure ‘gay’ is never used as an insult or explanation for someone’s behaviour. But who can stop the p press playground bullies? Soho Bikes put out a sign, Stop Funding Hate asked advertisers to see who the real #EnemiesOfThePeople are and The Observer (always the best £3 I spend each week) called it out on their front page.

Completing the Mail’s hateful hat-trick this week was Wednesday’s article on bisexual teenagers.

Jacamo says #SorryNotSorry

Jacamo created their own homophobia controversy last Saturday (29th October), with a campaign saying ‘real men have balls, not man bags’. The retailer (who sells man bags, but not footballs) claimed on Monday they were ‘mortified by any offence caused’ by the tweet, but not mortified enough to delete it (it’s still there).

Two more news articles from the week underline the toxic masculinity fuelled by this kind of irresponsible advertising. Cal Strode’s research showed the extent of ‘femmephobia’ in ‘straight acting’ gay men and the Mental Health Foundation reported that men are far less likely to ask for mental health help than women.

Huz-Czar for Amy Lamé

Giving us some much-needed news to celebrate, Amy Lamé was announced as London’s first ‘nightitme Czar’ on Friday. The lesbian comic has run club night Duckie for two decades at Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of London’s many LGBTQ venues with a precarious future as rents and revoked licenses continue to kill clubs and music venues. Lamé was previously in political office as Mayor of Camden back in 2010 and 2011.

LGBTQ Love from America

And finally, here’s two inspiring lists from America. Tuesday’s vote isn’t just for a new President: there’s elections for governors, state congresses and the national Congress. NBCOut showcased 11 LGBTQ candidates, 55 years since the first out LGBTQ person sought public office. For more LGBTQ role models, scroll through the annual Out100 list.

Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for #LGBTQProgress stories throughout the week.

This Week’s #LGBTQProgress (Friday 28th October)


Welcome to a brand new weekly round-up! I’ve just started sharing stories with the hashtag #LGBTQProgress every weekday on Twitter, highlighting progress to make, celebrate and ask questions about. Every weekend, I’ll be blogging about the biggest stories and hopefully making a bit more sense of what it all means. Here’s five stories from this week to get you angry, excited and thinking.

Would you welcome a gay player to your team?
On Wednesday, BBC 5Live released an in-depth sports supporters survey. The overwhelming majority of fans, 82%, have no issue with gay players. Yet an extreme 8% of football fans claim they’d stop watching their team if it included a gay player. Former footballers Chris Sutton and Graham Le Saux are among those making it clear that homophobia is not welcome in the game. Yet with contradictory views on how quickly progress is being made, it sadly seems we’re a long way off having an openly gay footballer play professionally in the UK.

No Safe Refuge
Also on Wednesday, Stonewall and the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group shared harrowing stories of LGBT asylum seekers. The 22 in-depth interviews show the out-right suspicion, discrimination and harassment felt by those detained in the UK. On the same day, Justine Greening, Education and Equalities Minister recognised her public coming out as a lesbian would make her a criminal in many countries. So why does it read like our government continues to criminalise those needing safety in the UK?

Pardon me? The Turing Bill
Homosexuality and criminalisation was already on the UK political agenda, when last Friday John Nicolson MP’s ‘Turing Bill’ was filibusted by Justice Minister Sam Gyimah. The bill would have automatically overturned the out-dated homosexuality convictions of gay men living today. Gyimah defended his action by claiming it would incorrectly pardon those with still-illegal sexual assault convictions. The SNP responded by introducing the bill in Scotland. It’s another example of partisan politics playing with real lives and makes me question this Conservative government’s genuine commitment to the LGBTQ community. For more on that, see the reaction to Pink News naming David Cameron ‘Ally of the Year’ at their annual awards.

Welcome in church?
A YouGov poll commissioned by Church of England Synod member and campaigner Jayne Ozanne this week showed a split in opinion as to whether UK churches are welcoming to LGBTI communities. The 30% who believe they are welcoming were generally older than the 33% who think churches aren’t welcoming. Perhaps the split comes from different understandings of ‘welcoming’ and ‘inclusion’, which my friend Claire has blogged about before. You can find churches that are guaranteed to be welcoming and inclusive in the Inclusive Church directory.

Orlando Magic remember Pulse
And finally, ahead of their first game of the NBA season, basketball team Orlando Magic paid tribute to the 49 victims killed two miles away from their stadium in the Pulse Nightclub massacre.

For more #LGBTQProgress stories throughout the week, follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock