Posted September 30th, 2009 by 1stofficer
Sister Wendy Beckett
In the 1990s a phenomenon hit our television screens: Sister Wendy Beckett, a reclusive Carmelite nun became the unlikely star presenter of a series of art programmes, and the writer of over 20 books on painting and faith.
Like many other gay men at the time, I avidly collected some of these publications, and when I went to see a performance of an inevitable tribute - Sister Wendy, The Musical - in London, following her footsteps as she was feted in America and around the world, it was no surprise that the audience consisted predominantly of gay men. So what was the fascination of this Christian hermit for guys who more often than not expressed atheism and religious indifference? Read the rest of this entry
Posted September 28th, 2009 by 1stofficer
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has been trying to get the government to say why it is excluding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people protection against harassment in the new all-singing, all-dancing Equality Bill.
Tatchell wrote to the Minister for Women & Equalities, Harriet Harman, nearly 2 months ago, but despite his letter and repeated reminders his questions have fallen on deaf ears.
Speaking today, Tatchell said:
“Her stonewalling is disrespectful and disappointing. It is an insult to the whole lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to refuse to explain why we are excluded from this legislation.
These exclusions are not accidental omissions. They are explicitly written into the Equality Bill”.
Here is Tatchell’s letter to Harriet Harman: Read the rest of this entry
Posted September 23rd, 2009 by 1stofficer
Richard Dawkins - 'There's probably no God'
Richard Dawkins, celebrated popular science writer and author of best-selling work, The God Delusion, has argued that not only does God not exist but that religious faith is a delusion too, and sometimes a lethal one, as evidenced by the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Then in January this year Dawkins, in a joint campaign with Guardian journalist and comedy writer Ariane Sherine and inspired by gay outing, whereby prominent figures have been dragged from the closet into the public eye, emblazoned some of London’s red buses with slogans like: “There probably is no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Their aim was to “out” atheists, showing how common such thinking is, and conducive to a happier life. The fact that Dawkins used the word “probably” makes it seem he’s sitting on the fence a bit.
The controversial bus campaign
If Dawkins had taken the time to study some gay dating sites where religious affiliation is included in the profile questions, he might have been encouraged to see that while replies such as Anglican, Catholic, and Buddhist do occur, most register themselves as atheist or agnostic. A few describe themseves as New Age or Spiritual, and I spotted one Jedi. I would answer Spiritual, not as something achieved, but as someting I aspire to. Read the rest of this entry
Posted September 21st, 2009 by 1stofficer
Jonathan Dennis starred in Up Pompeii
When Jonathan died it was some months before I heard, at a theatrical reunion. Jonathan Dennis had been an accomplished actor when we first met, having shared the stage as a youth with great names like Paul Robeson and Laurence Olivier, through plays and tv roles, and into films like Frankie Howerd’s Up Pompeii - the bare bottom you see in the closing shots is his.
Jonathan became my sexual mentor and gay lover, often joking to people in after years that he’d taught me everything I knew about gay sex, which was no great exaggeration. He kept diaries in which he said he recorded our encounters, the fun-filled times, though I’ve no idea if they survived him.
We never lived together, but continued seeing each other as our lives and separate careers allowed, but Jonathan wrote the most wonderful letters, sometimes illustrated with little ink drawings, a number of which I’ve kept. One day I received an excited note proposing we went away to New York for a holiday. Normally it would have been ok, but I’d just found a new boyfriend and we were in the first flush of what turned into a long gay relationship. There was just no way I could go. Read the rest of this entry
Posted September 14th, 2009 by 1stofficer
A Ukrainian official has said that Elton John cannot adopt a 14 month old orphan from the country because at 62 he is ‘too old’ and anyway he isn’t married. Apparently the pop star’s civil partnership to David Furnish doesn’t count as homosexual unions are not recognised as marriage.
The Ukraine’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister Yuriy Pavlenko added that in any event Ukrainian law requires any prospective parent to be no more than 45 years older than the child.
Elton John said the HIV positive boy Lev had “stolen his heart”: Read the rest of this entry