Archive for June, 2011
"Do you know any gay people?" asks Sir Ian McKellen asks. Silence. Heads shake. "Well, you do now. I’m gay." It’s my turn to speak up. "You know two now. I used to go to this school – and I’m gay," I offer. "You know three now," a sixth-former chips in. The other pupils don’t look too surprised, and he seems admirably comfortable in his sexuality. Silence. Then: "Erm. Well. You know four now." Heads shoot around to see a uniformed boy, leaning close to McKellen. Mouths fall slightly open – including mine – but nobody speaks. Then McKellen says, in that mellifluous voice of his, "Well. How about that? It turns out we all know quite a few more gay people than we thought we did."
This is the third month of McKellen’s nationwide "role model" tour of secondary schools on behalf of Stonewall, the gay equality charity that he co-founded, and which I work for, and the two of us have come to Hundred of Hoo comprehensive in Kent, which I left over a decade ago.
It has become a familiar scene for him. "My school visits are often rewarded by people coming out," he says. "And I don’t just mean pupils – I’ve heard staff coming out to their heads on my visits, too."
McKellen obviously has a powerful effect on the schools he visits; how does this make him feel? "A bit overwhelmed – and privileged," he says.
Gandalf has worked his magic in 54 secondary schools over the last two years. His dream? An education system free of the homophobia that has plagued it for years – and a curriculum that fully includes lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
A very boyish looking girl by Russian photographer Evgeny Mokhorev who is known for his genderqueer ambiguous pictures of kids entering adolescence.
There’s not much going on in the queer news world so have an article from queerty explaining why eating at McDonalds is not only bad for your health and the environment but also for your karma.
Despite having a gay man as a mascot, McDonald’s has a losing record with queers. Most recently there’s the case of Crissy Polis who got a transphobic beatdown for using the restroom of a Baltimore County McDonald’s. This April 21-year-old Anthony Bray got beat up and called a “fucking faggot” by two men outside a NYC Micky D’s. But these aren’t isolated incidents. Let’s look over the entire menu of homo- and trans-phobic hate served up at the golden arches!
In May 2008, an employee at a Louisville restaurant called two gay guys “faggots,” and one a “cocksucker” and a “bitch.” (They settled the matter.) In September 2008, an HIV-positive Micky D’s employee working in Dubuque, Iowa, allegedly got slapped with a piece of cheese, called a “faggot rat,” and told to watch his back because he might get shot. He was then fired (and sued for wrongful termination.
And when it comes to trans people, McDonald’s has an even lousier record. You may remember Christina Sforza, a transwoman beaten with a lead pipe by a McDonald’s manager for shooting insulin in the woman’s bathroom. And then there’s the Orlando McDonald’s manager who left a voicemail for 17-year-old transwoman applicant, Zikerria Bellamy, explaining his refusal to hire her because “we do not hire faggots.”
Two years ago, Patrick Strudwick began challenging therapists who claimed they could change a patient’s sexuality. Now he won his battle against one. They described her as "reckless", "disrespectful", "dogmatic" and "unprofessional". They said she showed "no empathy" towards her client. Why? Psychotherapist Lesley Pilkington had tried to turn a gay person straight.
In a landmark ruling, Pilkington, 60, was found guilty of "treating" a patient for his homosexuality. A hearing of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy – the largest professional body for therapists – concluded that the treatment she gave constituted "professional malpractice".
The unanimous verdict came with heavy sanctions. Pilkington’s accreditation to the organisation was suspended. She was ordered to complete extensive training and professional development. If she does not file a report in six to 12 months, satisfying the board that she has complied, she will have her membership fully revoked: she will be struck off.
The report concluded: "Mrs Pilkington had allowed her personal preconceived views about gay lifestyle and sexual orientation to affect her professional relationship in a way that was prejudicial."