image1Some will have heard already, so for those who haven’t yet heard, it is with the deepest sadness that we have to announce the death of Colin, our resident stalwart here at the Hull and East Riding LGBT Network. Colin is one of the founding members of the movement, alongside Ryan, Dan and Tom, who together used the 2012 Hull pride petition to fight so called gay to straight conversion therapy.

This campaign was a turning point for Colin in many ways, not least because it gave him a real appetite for campaigning, but he was also more and more appalled by the practice every time he read up more about it. Colin always had a real driven passion for doing the right thing, and saw NOTHING that was good about this conversion therapy practice. That campaign really got the Network campaigning, and we ended up getting around 500 signatures on our petition, which Hull North MP Diana Johnson presented to Parliament for us.

Colin was constantly blogging on this very website. Most of the blogs on here were written by Colin, and none of them could be argued with. His steely resolve shone through on each occasion. Whether it be our hate crime campaign, or ensuring that LGBT children are not left behind or isolated at school simply for being LGBT. This is something Colin felt very passionately about, the fact that no child should be left behind in ignorance. He was right too. Plenty have been in the past, something that shouldn’t go on. Colin himself was criminalised by this country just for having the audacity to be attracted to other men, and as such cared deeply that that didn’t continue. This has been evidenced by his admiration for Dan Billany, who Colin has written about on this site.

On a personal level, Colin was a man with a rich education, that he valued deeply, and used keenly. That keen, sharp mind was a treasure to behold, and whenever you saw Colin, you always learnt something. A man who always had a story to tell. A good, kind hearted man, who always wanted what was right. A grafter, who knew how to fight for what was right. The world is a poorer place without you Colin. Rest in peace mate :-(

It may seem odd, but a group of Labour members from varying CLP’s, have started a GoFundMe page calling for some women to be excluded from all women shortlists. The group, which claims to be feminist, state that “Feminists have always been the vanguard of the fight for people to live their lives in a gender non-conforming way and will continue to do so – but never at the expense of women’s rights and representation”. But why have rights for women if gender is to be abolished? The two have to go hand in hand. This whole statement is an oxymoron.

Whilst the idea of living in a gender free world is admirable (and wanted), for varying reasons some women are not cisgender, and deserve the same respect and rights of any other woman. The group claims that “gender is a manmade, toxic set of stereotypes” yet believe that people don’t become women – something which notorious feminist Simone de Beauvoir would be spinning in her grave at the very thought of. It is precisely because people become women, due to the expectations of society, that feminist causes like those undertaken 100 years ago, have been needed in the first place. Nobody is born a woman, even by the standards of the Labour activists concerned, so why do they think that they can exclude other women because of they how they were born?

If that was not bad enough of itself, some of the online support of these activists has been horrendous. Our Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary of State, Dawn Butler, has openly supported the short listing of Dr Heather Peto for the Rushmore constituency. However, Butler’s support has come at a cost, as online abuses have seen her called a rat and calling for her to be deselected. Pink News have reported that tweets from Anti trans campaigners have included: “What on earth is the point of all women shortlists if they include men? Will equality be achieved if there are 650 men in Parliament as long as 325 claim to feel like a woman? This is so regressive.” Another reads, “Transwomen are not women, they are TRANSwomen, ie biological males. Or are you joining the ranks of the ‘bugger science’ brigade & expanding ‘female’ to accommodate ‘male’ too?” Their tactics have not worked however, and Dr Peto has been shortlisted for Ruscliffe against Cheryl Pidgeon and Nadia Whittome, the winning candidate standing against Ken Clarke in the next general election.

This group of Labour members are raising funds to put a legal case forward against the Labour Party for allowing trans women on women only shortlists. The money that will be used to fight this pointless and frankly prejudiced case, will be much better spent getting the Tories out of office and restoring some compassion and common sense to this country. We should not be damaging ourselves, our hard earned fight for equality and fighting amongst ourselves. We are better than this. These ‘activists’ must not be allowed to succeed. DON’T GIVE THEM YOUR MONEY!

trans-logoThis Sunday, November 20th, marks the annual event in which we remember those who’s lives have been taken from them because society could not accept their chosen gender.
Some of these people have been murdered in brutal ways, others took their own lives because they could no longer cope. Either way, it is a human tragedy, and one which is showing no signs of going away.
It can only be a good thing that the Transgender Day of Remembrance is commemorated, however, whilst we all may take a moment out of our day on Sunday, these problems are around us every day, and the souls who have been lost should never, ever be forgotten.

If you would like to attend a vigil locally, please have a look at the poster belowLUCY A4 LEAFLET jan to may

As some of you may be aware, the dedicated LGBT radio show for the local area, Loud and Proud has been running for almost two years now. A review of the current format has been done, and it has been decided that the show will now air an hour earlier from next week (2nd August 2016). You can still tune in wherever you are on, via the TuneIn app, and of course, locally to Hull on 106.9FM, but now between 7 and 9 every Tuesday evening, as opposed to 8-10.

You can also follow the show on Twitter @LoudProudWHFM

L1010835Hull Pride was once again a massive success, with a huge Labour presence there.
The day started with a large parade that started at 1pm from the William Wilberforce monument outside Hull College. The parade went along Guildhall Road, passed the Warren and along Bond Street and Albion Street, to the location of the main festival on Baker Street, where the festivities started at 2.
The day then began with music, food, some drinks, events taking place such as choir signing, activities in the library, and various artists including members from former pop legends S Club 7, who were very well received.
There were also stalls there from various groups, including Victim Support, Humberside Police, MESMAC, Unison, Stonewall and of course the Labour Party. Were there armed with petition papers once again, asking the government to urge the NHS to re think the calamitous decision not to commission PrEP, a potentially life saving drug which could drastically reduce risk to people exposed to HIV, of actually contracting the virus. This petition generated around 500 signatures, and is still live. It will also be uploaded to this website shortly.
Once the stalls had been cleared away, the party got underway, with acts such as Sinitta and Union J performing for appreciative crowds until the small hours.
Pride is still important, especially in light of the horrendous events in Orlando earlier in the year. It is important to celebrate hard won victories, and to inspire us to further victories in the future.
To everyone (and the are too many to mention) who helped out at Hull Pride in 2016. A massive thank you

The cenotaph in Hull was once again the scene of vigil in remembrance of a victim of hate. That’s two in one week. This time the victim was Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley in West Yorkshire. The news came last Thursday that she had been stabbed and shot, and lay in a critical condition in hospital, where she later sadly passed away.
There is so much hate in the world, it has been such a dreadful week. however, characters like Jo show us that amongst all of the hate, there is still humanity. Jo was a volunteer for Oxfam, and had many friends in her constituency where she grew up, and was a fighter for those with no voice, which has recently included Syrian Refugees.
We have little doubt, that given the opportunity, she would have fought our corner in the LGBT community too. Jo, you will be very greatly missed

VigilYou will have heard the tragic news which came from Florida last weekend, that a gunman opened fire in the Pulse nightclub, killing 49 innocent people. Tributes have been made around the world, and Hull has been no different. On Wednesday June 15 2016, at around 6:30pm, the LGBT community came together for a touching vigil next to the cenotaph in the City Centre.
Flags were flown and rested on the ground with the rainbow colours on them, people fell silent and tears were shed in remembrance of all those innocent people who lost their lives that night, for no other reason tan being themselves.
Kingston upon Hull North MP, Diana Johnson, also sent a message of support, saying “This shocking terrorist attack on embers of the LGBT Community in Orlando was motivated by sheer hatred and bigotry. The thoughts of every decent person in Hull will be with the families of those killed and the injured. We stand shoulder to shoulder with the people of the United States in condemning and opposing those capable of such violent and murderous and crimes against our modern, diverse and free society” Hear hear Dana, well said

SharonIt is with enormous sadness that the death of PC Sharon Houfe MBE was announced. Sharon was the Communities Liaison Officer with Humberside Police, a regular attendee of the Hull and East Riding LGBT Forum and of Hull Pride, where she was always on hand for members of our community to chat about their experiences of crime, particularly hate crime towards them. But what is even more important to mention, is just how much friendship she has shown to the LGBT community within her role.
Sharon was a wonderful person, always smiling, and just the sort of person who you felt that you could chat with about whatever was bothering you, whether it was police related or not; she just had that air about her. Totally non-judgmental, very personable.
Whilst she never engaged with our network, nor discussed politics with us, as active members of the community she was always very friendly and accommodating; and along with other LGBT activists and community members locally, we felt like we had a fiend.
Thoughts go out to Sharon’s family and friends at such a sad time. Her life touched many people, and her loss will be felt by all.
RIP Sharon


In a recent court case that was taken all the way to appeals court, a glaring error in equality legislation was highlighted. Far from bringing us equality, it would appear that the bringing about of same sex marriage has left us still with a fight for true equality.
I recently read this article from the Guardian which centres on 62 year old John Walker, who worked for chemicals company Innospec for 25 years, during which time he was paying into a pension with the company. The pension that he was paying in to would mean that should his wife survive his death, she would then be entitled to a benefit of £41,000 per year. However, as Mr Walker has a husband, not a wife, his husband is entitled to only £500 per year, just over 1% of what his wife would receive. Yes, you read that correctly, 1%. How on Erath is this not against the law I hear you ask. It all has to do with a flaw in the 2010 equalities act that allows pension providers to disregard contributions that were made for the benefit of a spouse, for any given length of time that the spouse would not have legally been related to the employee.

Confusing as well as infuriating. In Mr Walker’s case, he was not legally related to his partner until 2006 when the two had a civil partnership. That legislation never became law until December 2005, meaning that any pension contributions that Mr Walker made before that time for the benefit of his spouse, his employers do not have to honor as the partnership would not have been legal at the time of the contributions being made. The employers could, if they so wish, pay them anyway, and it is hoped (by me at least anyway) that most employers would not use this loophole as a means to discriminate. But for Mr Walker, who took his employers to court, won his case, only to find that his employers appealed against that decision, and won their appeal, then Innospec must surely be actively discriminating against Mr Walker, in order to save themselves money. Isn’t capitalism a beautiful social construct?

So, is anyone going to act on this? Well, you’d hope so wouldn’t you, but sadly, and again due to financial cost, it doesn’t look like this is going to happen. According the Guardian article cited above, the conservative estimate of changing the law could be in the region £3.3bn. I was flabbergasted by this sum. Their reasons stem from the idea that changing the law could create other inequalities, therefore there will be legal implications. How? Why on Earth would there be a need for other inequalities to be created?
The TUC has since gotten involved, as this discrimination doesn’t only extend to the LGBT community, but there are inequalities for widowers all round.
We are going to be following this one up. Hull North MP Diana Johnson will be lobbied on this and a resolution will be put to Hull North to the shadow equalities minister Kate Green. The Hull and East Riding LGBT forum will also be on board with its own motion to be put to Nicky Morgan MP, the government equalities minister. It is simply unacceptable in 2015 (or ever for that matter) that people can be discriminated against because of their gender, and any pension providers who take advantage of this legal loophole should hang their head in shame, may their name be in mud.
If you believe that this madness should end, please sign this petition, and tell them how you feel about it