Signs and symbols: lesbian

By @pridematters1

In this series we look at signs and symbols that are associated with parts of the LGBTQIA+ Community. 

The Labrys 

The Labrys is also known as the double-bladed axe, and is from the Minoan Crete civilisation – a civilisation that is often portrayed as matriarchal. Since then, however, it has been used in more recent times to represent lesbian and feminism.
It has been used as its symbol since the 70s. Some women have it tattooed on their inner wrist, or as a pendant. 


In late Victorian times, when the use of term “Lesbian” was emerging, it was likely that if you were a gay or bisexual woman you may have given violets to the woman you love or have feelings for. This most likely comes from poetry that ancient Greek poet Sappho wrote:

“If you forget me, think of our gifts to Aphrodite and all the loveliness that we shared. 

All the Violet tiaras braided rosebuds, dill and crocus twined around your neck.”

The Greek island of Lebnos gives its name to gay females in honour of Sappho. Further, if you open a dictionary you will find the term Sapphonism which is an alternative to Lesbianism. A word that has now died away, similar to the gift of violets. 

There is a flag designed especially for women who identify as lesbian and feel they are grossly misunderstood because of stereotyping. Although little is known about its origins it is thought to have originated from a blog called This Lesbian Life.

The flag was born out of frustration of people disbelieving that they couldn’t be a lesbian because they were far to effeminate. To many, the flag stands for visibility of diversity, and educates the ignorance many within the LGBTQIA+ Community often feel. 

pictogram or “glyph” has been used to represent male and female genders since the 50s. In the 60s they were often seen on public toilets. As the LGBTQIA+ Community rose symbols were created to represent varying groups. The female pictogram represents Venus and so two adjoining of the same represents female homosexuality.

First kiss!

By @pridematters1

There has been a few misunderstanding on the first kisses of the LGBTQIA community on British TV over the years. 

The first kiss was earlier than most people believe. It was actually in 1974.


Above: It was thought the film was lost forever but in 2016 an enhanced copy was released. BBC’s policy in the 1970’s was to destroy any film after being aired. 

The thirty minute drama was called Girl and was a love story between two female members of the armed forces. The kiss was between a young  Alison Steadman and Myra Francis.

Above: A more recent photo of Alison Steadman. Most will recognise her from the comedy series Gavin and Stacey.

Above: The daughter of Winston Churchill, Baroness Soames.

The radio times (the BBC’s official magazine and a leading magazine at the time) received many letters of complaints at the time, however one letter that stood out was one of ‘reassurance’ from Baroness Soames.

“I can assure any reader that where these cases do exist they are speedily dealt with and the girls concerned are discharged.”

Using the eyes and heads of someone in 2018 where the world is completely different we can easily see the anti lgbt sentiment in these comments. We need to be aware that this was only seven years after homosexual acts between men was decriminalised, although female acts were never illegal the climate was always negative and both sexes would have been dishonorably discharged from all of the British armed forces. Only in 2000 gay men and women could serve in the armed forces.

Almost ninety percent of the population believed homosexuality was a mental illness.

As a side note: In 1986 the first male gay kiss was seen on the BBC Soap Eastenders.

The first lesbian kiss in a Soap is always confused as being the first but it wasn’t. This kiss has a great deal of historic significance and not just in the UK.


Above: Anna Friel and Nicola Stephenson kissed in front of six million viewers in January 1994.
Anna Friel’s, charater, Beth faced many obstacles in the Liverpool based Soap, including domestic abuse. However one scene has found itself in LGBT history in the UK and on a global scale too. The kiss was also the first lesbian kiss pre-watershed* and in a Soap.

Danny Boyle was aware of its significance in British history and decided to include it in a quick montage of screen kisses in the middle of his now famous opening ceremony at the London Olympics in 2012. Despite the speed of the scene it became the first gay kiss in many countries across the world, including many that homosexuality is illegal.

Crafty move of Mr Boyle.

* UK broadcasting laws are designed to prevent any scene to be broadcasted on TV that is seen as harmful towards children. Pre watershed is before 9pm.
Interesting links:

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/jun/16/bbc-stream-1974-show-girl-alison-steadman-first-lesbian-kiss-uk-television-pride

http://www.express.co.uk/showbiz/tv-radio/680336/Television-first-lesbian-kiss-Alison-Steadman-Girl-BBC-Pride-festival

http://80sactual.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/eastenders-colin-and-barry-gays-in.html?m=1

http://www.afterellen.com/tv/102520-the-london-olympics-opening-ceremony-includes-a-lesbian-kiss-seen-around-the-world

Interview with Remington Miller an asexual. 

​Interviewer @pridematters1

Recently I got the opportunity to interview Remington. 

Could you tell me a little about yourself and how you identify yourself?


My name is Remington, and I was born in October 1993. I am from the southern part of the United States, and I am a senior in college, graduating in December 2017. I identify as a queer ‘grey-ace’.

Grey ace! Could you explain exactly what that means?


On a spectrum from non-asexuality to asexuality, I am somewhere in the middle. I am sexually attracted to people, but not very often. I can appreciate someone aesthetically, even attracted and could possibly want a romantic relationship, but it has to be the right moment for me to want to have sex with someone. I’m usually rather disinterested in sex.

Did you identify yourself, as there is very little information out there about asexuality?

I did, but mainly because I didn’t know much about the LGBTQIA+ Community. After a friend of mine told me that ‘grey-ace’ was a thing I did a Google search and found some resources that really made me feel like I wasn’t the only one that felt this way.


Have you told any of your friends and family and how did they react?

I have not told my family. A few friends know because they helped me figure it out. They didn’t really mind at all, and just accepted it.

Do you think there is such a thing as ‘Acephobia’?

I totally do! People tend to fear what they don’t understand. It’s “hard” to comprehend someone not wanting sex. Sex is made out to be something you have to do to be normal, which is completely wrong.


Some aces form relationships and adopt or have children. Is that something you would consider?

I definitely want a partner. I want to share my life with someone. Children though? That’s a maybe. Kids, for me, are so exhausting and time-consuming. 

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?

I see myself in some kind of communications job, maybe a Social Media Director. I might be going back to school to get a degree in Business or Business Administration.


What message would you like to send out there for the people who are questioning their sexuality and feel that they may be asexual?

There is nothing wrong with you or the way you feel. There is nothing wrong at all! I know that it feels like you’re alone and that no one could ever understand. I’m here. There’s a community. Just reach out and we’ll help you.

 

This is an online forum I found where you can talk to others.

The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network:http://www.asexuality.org/en/

Follow Remington Miller on twitter at @remmingtom

Interview with Mr Gay Scotland 2017: Part One.

Interviewer @pridematters1

Recently I got the opportunity to interview this year’s Mr Gay Scotland and contestant in Mr Gay Europe. 

​Hello Steven, Thanks for doing this interview with me. First of all could you tell me a little about yourself?
It’s a pleasure. Thanks so much for asking me.
I always find this question a bit tricky as I don’t like to be defined by my day job but I guess it’s all part of who I am. I’m a 39-year-old “gymming, singing lawyer” (that’s how my boyfriend describes me to his friends) from St Andrews on the east coast of Scotland. I now live and work in the huge melting pot that is London – a city that I adore. 
I like to think of myself as a smiley, friendly and motivating person who likes to help people (whether at work, through fitness or somewhere else in life). I love challenging and pushing myself, trying new things and living life to the max. I’m a weird mix as I can be a total show-off at times (I love performing, presenting, singing and acting) but I’m equally happy plodding away on my own. I’ve always been excited by change and sometimes in life I think you need to press the big red button and just mix everything up. Life’s about grabbing opportunities that come your way and the adventures on which they can take you – like being part of Mr Gay Europe! 
To clarify I don’t normally sing when I’m at work; for my day job, I’m a media and marketing lawyer for a well-known fashion company. For years, I always felt like I had to apologise for being a lawyer and this comes from worrying too much about what other people think. However, now I’m 39, I’m more comfortable in my skin and I’m proud that I’m a successful lawyer and for the skills that being a lawyer gives me.
I have a real passion for fitness and am a qualified personal trainer and nutrition coach. I once tipped the scales at over 120kg so I’ve been on my own crazy fitness journey. If I can help other people improve their lives through fitness and nutrition then that’s a positive thing.
Finally, I also sing and campaign for LGBT+ rights with the London Gay Men’s Chorus, the biggest all male choir in Europe. Joining the LGMC back in 2010 changed my life. Not only do I get the chance to perform at incredibly inspiring venues and events but more importantly I’m part of a wonderful community of hundreds of gay men of all ages, backgrounds and shapes and sizes, each with their own story to tell. So often in parts of the gay community we limit ourselves and friendship circles to people who look and behave like us which I think breeds a level of prejudice which means we don’t always treat each other with kindness. Being part of the LGMC really opens your mind to the different backgrounds, values and opinions of the membership (and boy, there are a lot of opinions).

Tell me about where you grew up and how it was coming out.
St Andrews is a beautiful and historic town on the North Sea with around 17,000 people. It’s a strange but wonderful bubble of a place and not like anywhere else in Scotland as it is incredibly international and cosmopolitan as it has the oldest university in Scotland, is the home of golf and was the ecclesiastical capital of Scotland. It was also next to RAF Leuchars which is now an army base. Saying that, it’s also a small town and everyone knows each other’s business.
I feel incredibly lucky and proud to have grown up there. Mum and dad moved there with my brother from west Fife just before I was born so I’m a true St Andrean. My folks still live there and I love going home to see them and to spend time there.
I went to the local state schools which offered me and my older brother pretty good opportunities (mum taught at my primary school), and I did pretty well academically which has no doubt helped me get to where I am today. It’s funny, I was always determined to get away from the small town to a big city although now I’m getting to age where I’d love to go back.
As for coming out, that’s a bit more complicated. We come out all the time to people and I don’t think we stop. I think this is something some straight people don’t realise or understand.
First, I had to come out to myself. I knew from a very young age that I was different. I had the biggest crush on He-Man and Jason Connery in Robin of Sherwood. I also remember being desperate to be friends with a guy a few years above me in primary school. I must have been just six or seven at the time. I remember vividly wanting to be best friends with all of them or for them to me my brother or cousin – as these were the only male-male relationships I knew to exist at the time. I didn’t know that men could be together or that gay people existed. I was so confused about it all, but once I realised that there were gay people, it all fell into place. However, this was the mid-late 80s and that came with huge dollops of shame, fear and prejudice as it was the peak of the AIDS crisis. I remember people making anti-gay jokes when Freddy Mercury died and I also remember when a neighbour was arrested for cottaging in a local public toilet which was surrounded by whispers and derision. 

I’m not sure how, but I managed (I think) not to be too affected by it and just got on with things – school, my friends and my hobbies – one of which was the local youth theatre groups. A cliché I know, but I loved performing and being cast as Joseph in my Primary 7 school show, sparked that passion. 
By the time I was 13, I was pretty certain I was gay and it was somehow confirmed by the taunts of classroom and playground bullies who would call me “poof” and “gay boy”. Of course, the teachers did nothing (they couldn’t thanks to section 28) but one even asked some of the other kids if I was gay on a bus back from some school trip. Bizarre. 
I ended up falling for a guy in my year at secondary school. I wasn’t out and the thought of that was pretty scary and I thought I’d have to keep it a secret forever. But he was the first person I told. Well, I say told but he actually found out as I had written about it in my diary (I know…) which he opened and read on my 14th birthday of all days. I was petrified about his reaction and worried he might tell my parents who were downstairs at the time. But he was amazing – so emotionally intelligent for a 14-year-old and (I think anyway) he kept it to himself and we remained friends. We drifted apart as friends do but he was always very supportive through school and when we ended up at the same university. So that wasn’t a horrific experience and was pretty positive in hindsight.
That was 1992, and that summer I did a lot of growing up. I was asked by Maggie Kinloch, the Artistic Director of the Byre Theatre in St Andrews to be in On Golden Pond as part of the Byre’s summer rep season – my first professional acting job! It was there that I met the wonderful Steven Wren who played my dad. It was the first time I’d spent any time with gay people – and they were normal (whatever that means), intelligent, lovely, talented, compassionate people – fantastic role models. Steven was reading Tales of the City which I of course then read. We would chat loads in the Green Room (not about me being gay – I was never that explicit) but in those weeks, I just knew that everything would be ok and I would simply need to bide my time. People didn’t/couldn’t really come out at school back then so I would wait until university. Steven reminded me recently that I asked him on our last day how you know if you’re gay. He told me that if I had to ask the question then I already knew the answer. He was so right.
I didn’t come out to the wider world until university – and of course, it had to come with a side serving of drama. I knew I was gay, but as a typical (horny?) teenager and young adult, I found myself experimenting but with girls – so I had a few (short-lived) relationships with girls. I’m not sure why – some part of me probably gave in to the pressures of the hetero-normative society in which we live, but also part of me liked the fact that I was getting attention from these girls and they were more accessible than gay guys at the time. I didn’t really know any gay guys. Shallow I know.
But in my second year of law at Edinburgh University I came out properly to my closest girl friends and I knew things had to change and I ended up joining the “Friends of Dorothy” gay support and friendship group at my Law School which tutors, lecturers and students could attend. To cut a long story short I ended up dating one of the tutors and this triggered me telling my parents and coming out (dramatically) to my friends at university. My university friends and flatmates were brilliant. Just brilliant.
Coming out to my parents was hard though, I’m not going to deny it, although I do remember them telling me that they still loved me and that was all I really needed to hear. I think we all struggled with it for a number of years – it was an unknown for them and they didn’t really know any gay people and they had lived through the AIDS crisis and the fear and disdain pedalled by a homophobic media. I think they were just worried about the kind of future I would have. Would I have to live a secret life? Would my friends reject me? I was determined to show them that I would make a success of my life and that I would be accepted and that times were changing. I could feel it, for example, France had just introduced civil partnerships. 
Bizarrely though we ended up not discussing it for years. I love my parents very much and they are so supportive of everything I do, and I think it was just easier for our relationship to not have to deal with it. I do regret hiding so much from them – so much fear and misunderstanding comes from people keeping secrets and not being open, so it was toxic for my previous relationship as both me and my ex hid our four-year relationship from both our parents.  How could my parents speak to me about it if I was keeping major secrets from them?
Saying that, I now have a fantastic relationship with my parents, they love my boyfriend (I sometimes think they like him more than me!), they come and visit us, we all go on holiday together and we go home to see them at holidays. 
Those were the big coming out moments. But I feel like I have to come out every day. When I’m on the tube with my boyfriend and someone looks at us funny or when I’m in the back of an Uber and the driver is asking me about my girlfriend. I’m quite glad that on my CV it mentions the LGMC as it means I come out to prospective employers from the outset. If they don’t interview me, it could be because they don’t like gay people (or I’m just not right for the job), but quite frankly I need to be able to be me wherever I work. I’m very fortunate that in all my jobs I’ve been openly gay and it’s never been an issue. Some of my friends aren’t so lucky and work in places where they aren’t and can’t be out at all because of macho cultures. And this is in London. In 2017. Being able to be authentically me is so important.

Did you face any prejudices and how did you deal with this?



I did face some prejudice when I was coming out from a few people but on the whole people were great. So much prejudice comes from people not understanding or having had exposure to those who are different to them which breeds division, fear, suspicion, hate and a whole load of negativity. As such, I feel somewhat sorry for these people as they are products of a section 28 society and all we can do is try to change their minds by being the bigger person, being kind, showing that we can be a success and be a good role model and human being to people regardless of sexuality. 
I’ve only felt threatened twice (which is of course two times too many). Once when I was on the tube with my boyfriend and another passenger stared at us with so much hate and disgust for the whole journey and the other when I was at a work do, and another client of the barrister we were using would whisper in my ear how much he hated me and gays and how he wished we’d all die. I didn’t deal with that situation very well as I was a bit drunk and felt vulnerable and scared.
Where I do feel and see prejudice is often within the gay community itself and that’s one of the subjects of my campaign, “Own It”. It’s not prejudice about being gay per se, but around the wrong type of gay, the wrong body size or shape, the wrong age, the wrong skin colour or the wrong ethnicity.
For example, I was out in Newcastle recently with Mr Gay Wales and Mr Gay England and we were all wearing our Mr Gay t-shirts. A young guy of around 20 came up to me and said in a mocking tone “You’re Mr Gay Scotland?  What year was that?” implying that I was too old to use the title.

Recently you were crowned Mr Gay Scotland, what made you enter this year? 

Haha. Ok, first there was no crowning of Mr Gay Scotland. I don’t see it like that at all. I’m definitely not saying I am “King of the Scottish Gays” or the only Scottish person who represents LGBTQ+ people in Scotland. I wasn’t elected by my fellow gays in a nightclub (other competitions used to do that I believe) but was selected after applying and interviewing with the team at Mr Gay Europe (I have a bit of imposter syndrome as I wasn’t even first choice as the guy before me stood down!). 
I think it’s important to understand what Mr Gay Europe competition is.
The goal for the Mr Gay Europe is “to package the fight and work for human and gay rights with a positive, happy and entertaining event.” 

What I love about the competition is that guys from all over Europe come together to share their experiences and challenges, to work together on team projects and it’s an opportunity for us to all learn from each other and act as a support to each other. We are stronger together and can break down barriers and push the buttons that need to be pressed. 
Saying that, although Mr Gay Scotland is a label given to me by the #MrGayEurope competition I believe it still comes with a responsibility to be a voice and a role model. 
There are so many great people doing brilliant things at a local level in Scotland and beyond. If I can lend them my platform and voice, raise awareness or help promote their causes in any way then that’s good and positive and I’ll have made a difference – however small. But I don’t want to think small. We need to think big. 
I’m just one of thousands of Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/MxGayScotlands and we are ALL and live as Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms/MxGayScotland every single day of our lives. We should all stand up for who we are, what we believe in and stand up against all bullying and homophobia. 
That’s why as part of my campaign I’m going to be interviewing LGBTQ+ people from all walks of life and sharing their stories. This is a platform that should be used.

In part two I will talk to Mr Gay Scotland 2017 more about Mr Gay Europe. 

Link to vote for Steven to win Mr Gay Europe is  https://t.co/331xYVWsLx and his new website is https://t.co/80BSzJLUgM

What do Pride events mean to me!

By @pridematters1

Have you ever sat down and thought what Pride events mean to yourself and others? Why do they exist? Where they born out of the want to ‘party’ or the need to live, rather than exist.
Most of us will go to Gay Pride events this summer. If you do, take a look around and see the expressions on everyone’s faces, the carnival atmosphere, the joy and laughter. Even the police on duty are often enjoying the day.
Fifty years ago in the UK Gay Pride events would have seemed alien. Back then homosexuality was illegal, and ninety-three percent of the country believed it was a mental illness. Gay and bisexual men were considered criminals, if not prosecuted in court, many were blackmailed.

In 1967 homosexuality was decriminalised in England and Wales, but far from on equal terms. By 1969 The Stonewall Riots in New York changed the attitudes in the ‘gay community’ of the day into doing something about the fight for equality in both America and Britain, along with other countries globally.

Above: The light filters at London Pride in 2016

The first significant march here was in London, July 1st 1972, the closest Saturday to the anerversary of The Stonewall Riots. Two thousand people turned up. The police were in heavy numbers, some protesters had Banners that showed the mood of the day within the gay community. ‘The Gays are revolting’, messages in regards to public displays of affection, among others. 
Each year the marches increased in size and by the 1980s they became even more focused politically, fighting against Section 28, policies on HIV and AIDS. Even today London Pride, prides itself on sending a political message.
Gay Pride events of today weren’t born, they emerged out of the fight for equality and freedoms we now take for granted. To kiss in the streets or sleep with another man in a hotel room was technically illegal until the early part of the twenty-first century, without the marches we may not have had such progression. Without the marches we wouldn’t have been so visible. In America many groups began through rendezvous at early marches. 

I feel an overwhelming sense of emotion when marching next to someone, feeling like you are a part of something making a difference in a very small way, to be counted and visible in making the difference gives me great joy. For me it’s not about dressing up in high heels and a dress, and expressing myself in this regard, although I don’t condemn anyone who wishes to do so (it adds to the diversity and colour). It is about making change and standing with those equal to you, and changing the world one step at a time, freeing your gender and sexuality from the restraints of society. Being noticed, not as an individual but a collective. 
In the late 1980s I saw the Gay Pride march in London on a news program. As a questioning teen it made me feel less isolated. People like me existed. Imagine the impact these events have on the questioning teens of today. The sense of belonging, even for the ones among us who aren’t ready to venture to such events.
Over the years the community has welcomed other sexualities and genders to join them, making them stronger, not only for Pride but for the fight for better understanding.
Last year America raised a rainbow coloured flag on equal marriage at the start of Pride weekend in many cities around the world, including London. Sending that message of unity to the lgbt family around the world, shouting loudly to the homophobes that we are fighting for equality and helping the homo-unaware to be more aware. Changing attitudes and accepting more diverse views too. 
At one point in America, in the seventies some marches were called freedom parades. Personally that title is still relevant. 
Take a look around and see the freedom, acceptance, and the achievement of our rainbow family, and ask yourself what Pride means to you. Be proud of whatever the next political campaign is, and be proud we all can be a part of that. Note the diversity around us; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, pansexuals and the transgender community (both male and female). Be aware of everyone, including the intersex and asexual part of the family, as well as the sub-groups too; twinks, bears, muscle Marys, all of them. If you look around, even closer you will noticed the allies and the families too. Accept them for who they are, like those LGBT pioneers that marched for equality and acceptance. We can all continue the fight too as that is exactly what Gay Pride means above all for me…. 

Acceptance! 

First published in prowler magazine 2016

Kye Allums. 

@pridematters1

In this series we look at various heroes and advocates of the LGBTQIA family.

In this article we focus on a Transgender male. 

Kye Allums. 

Kye Allums was the first openly transgender to play in NCAA division basketball in America.

Kye Allums was born in 1989 as Kyler Kelican Allums  and was a college basket ball player for George Washington University. In 2010 Allums became the first openly transgender to play NCAA division.

He is quoted in saying something all members of the LGBTQIA community can understand. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“I had to come out because it was too hard not being myself.”

 

Kye has openly spoke about his own attempts of suicide from the pressures of the story breaking about his transition and how much more needs to be done to highlight the dangers of suicide in transgenders.

Kye has written a book about his experiences. The book is called ‘Who am I’.

Kye is an inspiration for any lgbtqia activist, when asked what he wished to do with the rest of his life he replied…

“I’ll just be trying to make some kind of difference in the world and look forward to my life”


Other reading material:

Meet the first openly transgender NCAA athlete http://ti.me/1FShwv2

http://www.advocate.com/news/daily-news/2011/05/19/kye-allums-leaving-basketball

A link to Kye’s book reviewed:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25204403-who-am-i

A follow up interview with Tom Dingley, the creator of The Outcome Project. 

​Interviewer @pridematters1

After the success from the Outcome book and the Exhibition, Tom Dingley has began taking the exhibitions out of our capital. 

I got the chance recently to catch up with him. 

Thanks for doing this second interview with me. I do appreciate how busy you have been. 
What response did you receive from the launch of your book about exhibitions? 
The launch of the book was such a positive evening with so many close friends, family, Outcome participants, press and contributors there! It really propelled the project on it’s tour. Making connections on the evening with other University LGBT groups as well as business organisations. I was told a few times “this needs to be seen by more people” which just encouraged me to follow up with connections and get the exhibition to many different places. At the time, it was national Coming Out Day – and I found myself busy in February for LGBT History Month. Next is IDAHO Day where I’ll be in Harrow, with a pop-up studio should people wish to be photographed for Outcome. It’s nice to have these important days throughout the year, but a project like this can be exhibited at any time, as I think it’s always important to show positive role models in the LGBT Community, and reach out to those who need the support.
Did you have any negative responses, and how have you dealt with it? 
Thankfully, I have not had any negative responses. Which is also a real boost to the project and wanting to take it further afield. It was interesting when I exhibited in Greenwich University, I heard a couple of comments of “What’s this?” “Why is this here?”. When explained, the students appreciated it more and understood a need for such an exhibition. 

Have you learnt anything crucial about yourself and your work since launching the project? 
I’ve learnt that practice really does make things easier, and to do things that scare you. Before embarking on such a big exhibition, book launch and promotion of it, I had not really done any public speaking. Now I’ve done a fair few speeches and been part of panel discussions on LGBT topics. For myself this has been a huge boost – doesn’t mean I still don’t get nervous when it comes to addressing so many people about my work! Having kept an eye on social media surrounding my Outcome project and it’s theme of coming out, I have seen the benefits online. Being in touch with people who are not out, but use the internet to make the right kind of connections for support and help. The internet gets a lot of rap for being too open and a dangerous place – which it can be – but it is also such a powerful and useful tool.


I understand that you took the exhibition outside of London to Sheffield, how did this exhibition go? 

Did you notice any differences between Sheffield and London in regards of the LGBTIQ Community?
Since the launch in London, I have had small exhibitions in different London boroughs, but I have also taken it out to Kent, Sussex, as far as Lancaster and recently Sheffield! All these exhibitions went really well. It was interesting holding shows in places with little or no gay scene. But it is surprising how many LGBT groups and community schemes there are all over the country. I found that if people aren’t in the same city as the exhibition, but close enough, they still feel connected via social groups,  and therefore make the effort to visit. In London we are lucky to have a big LGBT+ scene with a lot going on throughout the week, whether it’s Lola Lasagne hosting a pub quiz, gay cinema at the BFI, concerts, or equality dinners, there is always something happening. In other areas, for the LGBT Community it is fresh to have something new to check out, and it feels special. I have had a a lot of appreciative comments such as “Thank you for wanting to bring your work here.” Which is lovely to hear. Makes the train journeys worth it.
I believe you are taking the exhibition to other cities. I know Cardiff is on the cards. How can people get involved? 
Yes, the exhibitions do not stop here. I want to get the exhibition into some Prides this summer in one way or another. Pride Cymru are hoping to host an exhibition for their Pride weekend, which will be exciting. There could even be the possibilities of digitally exhibiting overseas. When this happens, you’ll be the first to know! People can get involved by keeping tracks on social media – @OutcomeLGBT (Twitter and Instagram) At each exhibition I host a studio day when LGBT locals and visitors can be photographed to take part in Outcome! It’s all very straightforward, and a nice way of adding to the Outcome portfolio, with people from all over the country!

UK Attitude Adjustment: A Simple message to employers.

By @pridematters1

For many years the UK has been one of the leading countries for equal rights. Although there were laws before 2010, one of the biggest game changes was the Equality act 2010 http://www.acas.org.uk/equalityact .
As a nation we are lucky to have such acts. You only have to look at America, where a same sex couple can marry on the Saturday but by Monday be sacked for their sexuality. The Trump administration doesn’t seem to be doing anything to promote equality for anyone different to themselves.

Even if there was a miracle and laws in less diversed accepting countries changed tomorrow then it wouldn’t solve one of the biggest issues regarding to equality, globally… Attitude.

Attitude is still an issue here too!

It is still possible that in the UK lgbtqia people have applied for jobs and secretly not got the position, not because of their qualifications but because of their sexuality or gender.

There is no way you can prove this ethier way.

You only have to look at cases such as the Soho landlord that discriminated against a gay couple who kissed in his pub.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1377152/John-Snow-pub-kiss-protest-gay-couple-thrown-snogging.html

Ask yourself would employers who show discrimination in general towards the LGBTQIA community employ a lgbt person?

By law they should not discriminate in regards of employing, so technically the owners of Ashers bakery in Northern Ireland (the gay cake row) could be in even more hot dough if they don’t employ a lgbtqia person if they applied for a position and are qualified.

Sorry I mean hot water, not dough!

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/oct/24/born-again-christian-ashers-bakery-lose-court-appeal-in-gay-cake-row

This case continues because a same sex couple has now been refused since the original case. It is thought that the bakery are being backed by homophobic Christian organisations.

Of cause there is the argument that it is an infringement on their beliefs, but what about others beliefs too? The law was designed to protect everyone’s rights. What if people discriminate on the grounds of the owners being Christian. Wouldn’t they take action too?

You only have to look at online remarks to understand that there is still anti lgbt sentiment out there. You have to think how much damage this negative attitude secretly has on people who fall in minority groups and not only secretly at times, look at the hate crimes since brexit towards the LGBTQIA community and you can understand.

I’m not one for public displays of affection, however if anything it’s acceptable for heterosexual couples, should it be acceptable for couples who are in a same sex relationship?

It’s easy to understand why some people are not open with the gender or sexuality at times when prejudices still exist.

It is easy to understand why groups that by definition have no choice but to be open, such as the transgender community can feel isolated.

If you feel you don’t agree in kissing in public at all, next time you go out for a night out count how many times you see straight couples kiss

We seem to turn ourselves off to the common kiss because that’s exactly what it is, showing affection to the one you love.
In a similar situation to the Soho incident, there was another in a supermarket where a manager decided to ask a couple to leave because they kissed in an aisle. The supermarket then experienced protests, which must have not look good on a national chain. This incident is down to the ignorance of a staff member and I am sure that the supermarket wouldn’t be so effected financially as the pub in Soho, which goes to show if you only have five employees and a small turnover its even more important to protect your business from a decision of a staff member. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-sussex-29628854
If an employer is found guilty of discrimination in any way, it could cost them dearly.

Going back to the Soho incident when the landlord heard that there would be a protest outside his establishment, he decided to close for the night, claiming victory although his bigotry cost him lost of sales, and a bad reputation in an area where the LGBT community are a high proportion of the population.
Certain quarters would see what the LGBT community do by protesting is self-centered and are not looking at the bigger picture of what is beneficial for all society. That’s only if you look at it from a gay rightsprospective. If you view it as an infringement on equality then you need to ask yourself….

Would you get away with it if another couple from a different minority group walked into the pub and were asked to leave?

Or

How would he have felt if the brewer told him he was too old to run a public house anymore?

Discrimination is discrimination.

Equal rights effects us all, be it if you are the gay man who was asked to leave the pub, or the young married lady who suspects she didn’t get a job because she may want time off shortly for maternity.
An infringement on ‘lgbtqia’ rights can also affect someone who you wouldn’t expect it to.

Unfortunately none of us can see in the others head and know what’s going on in another persons life at that moment in time. On surface you could have a completely straight male workforce and yet it still can affect others if one of the staff is being homophobic/transphobic/biphobic.
Maybe a member of staff is struggling with their own sexuality or even a family member such as a grandson or daughter so badly that anti lgbt sentiment from someone else could actually be upsetting and effect performance in one way or another. There are also many examples in the public eye that demonstrate the diversity of the LGBT+ family, and many more that we may not be aware of. There are many people out there who struggle with not even having sexuality and not interested in ether sex.

As an employer you need to ask yourself how you can help yourself to understand the affects of someone’s sexuality and what you can do to in order to help your employees in the most subtle ways as you can. Can you mention positive things about LGBT when someone mentions a negative? Can you warn someone for using words that are deemed hateful or even the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ can actually be upsetting to someone young, Gay, and vulnerable. Is there anyway you can make your staff more aware of issues and subtly change their attitudes?

It could be as simple as being clued up on misconceptions such as Transgender and bisexual issues as well as homosexual issues too.

It may be as simple as having a simple equality and diversity training session and featuring all parts of the workforce.

Help people understand because changing attitudes could actually change the lives of your employees, sparking a happier workforce.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-13096519

Interview with Ivory Black. 

​Interviewer @pridematters1 

Part two. 


Let’s talk about music! 



How and why did you get into music primarily? 

Music has always been part of my life. I remember going to my dad’s work to stay out of my mom’s “hair” and he had a few tape recorders that I used to record little ideas on for myself so I could listen to them when I got home. I wasn’t allowed many secular choices in music so I listened to a lot of old tapes my mother had lying around while also listening to my own music that I recorded at my dad’s work. That really pushed me to learn more about the craft of songwriting, layering sounds and finding harmony that ultimately created my own sound.

What is your greatest success so far? 

Personally, I think my greatest success so far is that I’m still out there trying my hardest doing what I love most, and that is sharing my music and the message presented in the lyrics with all those that relate. In music there’s enough “friendly competition” that sometimes likes to get out of hand and though it pushes you to be better, it’s easy to forget why you started in the first place. The past two years and since I have a manager now, visibility has increased due to TV and radio appearances, I released my first EP in 2015 “Ready Get Set”, played several big festivals etc, although the love of it is the main reason. It’s pure and people tend to get it more when you’re having fun. I find that It goes hand in hand and I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. It’s literally who I am. But it also becomes overwhelming at times.


Clearly there are very few non binary people within the music industry as much as in public life too. How important is this to change? 

The concept is fairly new. I think people are focused more on trans rights and the LGBTQIA movement that these ideas of “non-binary” just sound like a gimmick to sway the focus. I can assure you that it’s very real and to be honest, trans and gay people alike have inspired each other so much that others have been inspired to be who they are which is AMAZING! 

I think the lack of gender non-conforming people in music definitely needs to change. The more people out there that defy the idea of gender will spark more enlightenment of what it is to be human, and not just an idea of what a human is. So yes. Most definitely get more of us out there in the world. We need each other regardless of how we identify or present ourselves. Let’s inspire each other as much as possible. It’s working so far!

Does your self identity effect your music and how? 

Since discovering my inner identity I have freely adapted myself to expanding on my craft. I’m more into the idea of bending and shaping ideas I have now before accepting who I was and there’s also still that torment of what it is to be yourself in a world that still sees you for their preconceived notions of who you are. So that’s really hard but it comes out in my music VERY transparently, pun intended. 

I always ask at the end if there is a message you would like to put out there. 

Identity is a very fragile thing. Since children we have been conditioned to think and behave a certain way. But there comes a point when you can say STOP. This ISNT the way it is or even should be. There comes a point in your life where you can accept your own morals (harmless hopefully) and spread your ideas so that others can grow from them. Music is an amazing tool to do just that!!! Hopefully my music can speak louder than what I say. And my ACTIONS speak louder than my music, respectfully.

Here are a few social media links and ways to purchase Ivory Black’s music…. 

You can find me on the following Social Media Sites

My Site: http://www.ivoryblackmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ivoryblackmusic

Twitter: @ivoryblackmusic

Instagram: @ivryblack

Purchase music: https://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/IvoryBlack2
Respectfully, 

IVØRY BLACK


Link to part one 

http://wp.me/p78BZ8-1dR

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