We’ve made it through mid-January and my resolve to ignore anything by The Sun or Mail is just about holding strong. I’ll find my news to get angry and gleeful about elsewhere, and keep blogging about it here every fortnight instead of weekly while I’m job-hunting (reader, please offer me a job). So here’s the first #LGBTQProgress round up for 2017.
Bills and blocks in Westminster
This week the UK’s Conservative government blocked the introduction of compulsory, inclusive sex and relationship education in all schools. Simon Hoare MP’s comments had dangerous echos of Section 28 which vaguely blocked schools from ‘promoting homosexuality’ throughout the 1990s. The rhetoric again insisted SRE reform was a personal priority for Justine Greening, the Education and Equalities Minister who is in a same-sex relationship. But I’d expect a partisan watering down of any reform, with a continued opt-out for faith schools. Click on Ryan John Butcher’s Twitter thread below for a succinct summary of why we need #SREnow.
Sex and relationship education not being compulsory in school is so fucking moronic, I can’t understand why it’s still being debated.
— Ryan John Butcher (@ryanjohnbutcher) January 12, 2017
See also the Turing Bill, successfully voted through Parliament on Wednesday. The bill will automatically pardon deceased men convicted under historic laws prohibiting homosexuality. It’s a watered down version of the same bill suggested by the SNP’s John Nicholson back in October. His version, which was filibustered by the Justice Secretary Sam Gyimah, would have automatically extended the pardon to those still living with the convictions.
There’s No Way I Can Ever, Ever Go
There were two big stories about American singers in the last fortnight, both of which ended well. Kim Burrell, an American gospel singer gained a new global recognition when her homophobic sermon went viral. She lost both her scheduled performance on Ellen and weekly radio show when refusing to make ‘excuses or apologies’ for her comments.
And this weekend Jennifer Holliday was prematurely confirmed as performing at an inauguration concert for the President-Elect. On Friday night she accepted the gig then 24 hours later apologised for her ‘lapse of judgement’, making it clear she’d heard her LGBT fans’ vocal opposition. Despite recent challenges by Jennifer Hudson and Amber Riley, the original Effie White and Broadway Dreamgirl still owns the definitive version of And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going. I’d glad we can listen to it guilt free.
Fast forward Friday and march on to Saturday
This Friday, the President-Elect of the United States will be inaugurated. He’s already received a letter from 156 LGBT politicians and had the White House LGBT liaison wonder if their crucial role will be made redundant. The fight to protect rights isn’t just in Washington though as state governors and governments, including in Texas are already introducing anti-LGBTQ legislation. On Saturday (the first day of the new Presidency) I’m joining the Women’s March in London, one of nine in the UK and 370 taking place globally.
— PROUDWOMEN (@ProudWomenUK) January 15, 2017
Catch up on Hayden Cross’ interview with Lorraine Kelly, talking about the transphobia that’s targeted him as Britain’s first pregnant man. Don’t catch on Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best? Instead, read this review from Trans Media Watch and play Channel 4’s recent documentary.
New reading for the New Year
I’m consciously trying to broaden the voices that I listen. Eliel Cruz-Lopez’s new column, perfectly titled The Bi Line, looks set to be essential reading. Eliel, John Paul Brammer and Broderick Greer (who I once explained Lorraine Kelly to in G-A-Y) are my favourite queer American tweeters, always intersecting LGBTQ issues with race and religion. Their collective quips and analysis on American domestic politics is bound to guide me throughout 2017.
Pride pens at the ready
My top tip for surviving January: dream of rainbows. This week the UK Pride Organiser’s Network and Gay Times compiled a video listing almost all of the 90-something Pride events for 2017. My friend and UKPON joint-chair Steve Taylor wrote about why everyone needs to go. Watch the video, book your train tickets and I’ll see you in Hull.
Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for more #LGBTQProgress stories throughout the week.