My Kind Of Pride 

By @ChrisQ_1 

I live in a Scottish town, not a small one, but small enough that I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding hands walking down the street. That can be a strange thing to explain to someone, that in certain places, I don’t feel comfortable holding hands with my other half, and that one of those places is my hometown. Don’t get me wrong, I love where I’m from and it’s part of who I am, it’s just not about to hold it’s first Pride parade anytime soon. That being said, the rest of the world is. 

As I write this, Edinburgh is holding its pride celebrations (It’s also the Queen’s birthday, but I don’t think the two are related) and in a few months time London, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle will have theirs. Social media feeds and timelines fill up with colour, rainbow icons are published, big brands adopt the flag on their products, and everything is #LoveIsLove . All of this is amazing and we’re lucky to live in a time where it’s accepted and treasured. 

I have a different relationship with the word Pride. It took me a bit of time to get comfortable in my own skin growing up. Once I felt like I had a handle on things (not that I think we ever really do) I began to feel proud of who I was and my sexuality. (For reference my orientation is fried food and Sci-Fi). While my own self-regard was assured, my relationship with Pride and the wider LGBTQ+ Community was not. 

My first experience of a pride march was going to Glasgow with my mum while I was still in my teens, around 15/16 years old. We were going through it for the ritual Saturday shopping trip when we happened upon the march. We watched and clapped along for a bit then continued with the days’ shopping. During a standard tea and cake break at the John Lewis cafe (to make us look posher than we were), I asked if I could go back and see more of the celebrations and then meet up with her later on. She was fine with it and I went. The march was done by this point so I just walked around the stalls and saw some on-point performances from Queens and Drag Queens alike. My overriding memory was being really nervous, so nervous I don’t think I talked to anyone. I met back up with mum afterwards and she asked; “Did you like it?” “I think so?” I replied. 

However, I didn’t let that nervous experience put me off, I went back the following year and ventured to other pride celebrations around the UK after that. But I still didn’t get it. Why? I understood the history, the origins of Pride, the flag and the politics of equal rights. I just didn’t know why I was there. 

Compared to some, I was lucky. I had a supportive family and a school with a “we’re not taking any crap” policy on bullying so coming out was easier than most, but I never realised that until I started meeting people who hadn’t had it as easy. I was one of the founding members of the Falkirk LGBT youth group, or as my family lovingly called it ‘Glee Club’ and it was the first time I stepped out of my own little bubble. I began to realise who the modern day Pride was for. The boy who was made homeless. The girl who ran away. The boy who was put in the hospital.

I’m happily proud of who I am. But I reserve Pride with a capital P for them and for anyone else like them. The LGBTQ+ Community can be fractured, and I believe healthy discussion is great, but I also think we can unite behind the Idea that everyone’s story is different and the one’s whose stories are tougher than others should be able to look at Pride and see hope. It’s a celebration and a protest, the two are not mutually exclusive. That’s my kind of Pride. 

Follow Chris at 


This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

Why there is no Straight Pride Month. 

By @dtpjustin

Forty seven years ago, the LGBTQ+ Community joined together to form what has now evolved into Pride Month. One year after the 1969 Stonewall Riots in Greenwich Village – which is widely regarded as the start of the modern equality movement – our community took to the streets in New York City to march for equal rights and protections. While the Pride march has gone through many changes over the years, one thing has stayed constant: the ignorance that some people often display. One question that comes up frequently (and that I’ve heard often) is, “If you have LGBTQ+ Pride month, why is there no straight pride month?”

The answer to that question is easy, and I’m going to lay it out as clear as I can. 


Now, don’t take this as ignorance or “straight-hate” because I know many amazing straight people who deserve to be recognized as outstanding friends and allies, but that’s because of who they are, not based on their sexuality. If you encounter this ridiculous question (as I’m sure you will at some point in your life), here are the top reasons that I always use to combat the ignorance:


Generation after generation, the narrative of our society has always been predominantly defined as straight. Whether in movies, television shows, commercials, or print ads, the idea of the ‘nuclear family’ has always been portrayed as being between a man and woman with the white picket fence and 2.5 children. The nuclear family was something that was always celebrated and shown as something to strive to acquire. The idea of a same-sex couple fitting into that image took decades to even enter the realm of possibility, let alone to be normalized.


Above: A typical print advertisement from the 1950’s for Post, depicting the typical nuclear family of the time.

Straight people don’t get fired from their jobs simply for being straight. For many LGBTQ+ people around the world, this is a frightening reality. The fact still remains that people have to hide who they are, how they identify, or the relationship they’re in from their employer to alleviate the risk of losing their job, career, or livelihood. In most countries, the LGBTQ+ Community is not protected under existing employment civil rights laws, taking away our legal right to recourse for being fired for discriminatory reasons.


Above: An anti-marriage equality protester perpetuates the debunked myth that same-sex parents endanger the well-being of their children.

As a straight person, it has never been against the law to be straight. The government has never forced themselves into your life to prevent you from being straight or enabling discrimination against you. The stark reality is that many LGBTQ+ people have felt what it’s like to have rights stripped away from them, or limited, based solely on their sexuality. From anti-sodomy laws, religious freedom laws, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and the Defense of Marriage Act, we know exactly what it’s like for the government to step in and define how our lives need to be lived. Straight people never had to deal with the violation of being told who they could love, or what was legal in the confines of their own bedroom.


Above: President Barack Obama signs the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act on December 22, 2010, no longer requiring armed service members to hide their sexuality.

Lastly, and most importantly, straight people aren’t targeted for harassment, physical assault, or murder simply for loving whoever they love. No matter how many equality laws or hate crime acts are passed by the government, the staunch reality is that these horrific crimes still happen on a daily basis to members of the LGBTQ+ Community.

In 2011, the Southern Poverty Law Center, experts in tracking hate crimes and extremism, did an analysis of 14 years of hate crime data and concluded that LGBTQ+ people are far more likely than other minority groups to be victimized by violent hate crimes. We still live in a world where people are targeted simply for holding hands with their same-sex partner. The brutal, senseless murder of Matthew Shepard in October of 1998, was a wake-up call around the world, but, while progress has been made in the legal realm, the reality is that many members of the LGBTQ+ Community are still faced with these targeted attacks in 2017. Being targeted for hate, solely based on sexuality, is an existence that straight people will luckily, never have to deal with.


Above: Instead of a traditional Pride march, LA Pride hosted a #Resist March on June 11, 2017 to build upon the grassroots marches that have been organized this year. (courtesy of Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times)

While Pride Month has evolved into a celebration of our sexuality and the strides that have been made around the world, it’s important to remember that it began as the declaration for the right to exist without being oppressed or victimized, the demand for equal rights and protections, and for the natural rights that straight people have always enjoyed simply for being who they are – themselves.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

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…. 


First published in prowler magazine 2016

It’s a little bit queer! 

By @pridematters1 

Almost every week we hear people complain about the lgbt acronym.
Recently student bodies have suggested that bi should be bi+ to include persons who are not attracted to ethier male or female. On first glance we need to ask if it appears like asexual eraser!  

That’s just one of many arguments in regards to our collective name. 

 A while back there was a hate campaign to have the T removed, naturally it failed with deep criticism from the entire lgbtqia+ community. 

In the late eighties,  early nineties our communities was seen as separate enterties.

The Gay community:

Clearly The Gay community became progressively inadequate to describe all of the groups making their rightful mark on the world. 

The Transexual community:
Recently transgender has been used as an umbrella term to reflect the devisity of the trans community.

Lgbt is not entirely inclusive too.

How many times are we asked…. 
What does Q,A,I mean? 

Queer, questioning, intersex, asexual and of course allies are missing from the most used lgbt acronym but often and rightfully only included when the subject matter is inclusive to them too. 

The sub groups are often buried too. 

Asexual boasts over seventy sub groups. Naturally at first glance it’s impossible to represent each sub group of each part of the acronym. 

However the fact that we have the opportunity to answer what most of these terms  of the LGBTQIA+ acronym are allows ourselves and others to explore the groups that are often brushed to one side, or would be buried under a universal umbrella term for all. 

A good example is the use of the term Queer as a universal term. At first I had reservations, still do. 

I understand and respect the need to reclaim queer and I personally  advocate it being a part of the acronym for individuals to identify with, to empower themselves against the old school homophobes, biphobes and even transphobes throwing queer back into their face, given half the chance. 

However there are still many that do find it offensive, because of the amount of times it was used against our community before another generation reclaimed it.
A generation that opposes it now is a generation that didn’t and may still not have a privileged life, due to convictions that can not be overturned. 

Back when I was younger  I knew a twenty three year old with a nineteen year old boy friend who was convicted because of the Age of consent was twenty one for homosexual acts, yet 16 for heterosexual. He is still an ex convict and hardly feels privileged.

Calling another group within the LGBTQIA+ community privileged is like calling a six foot two man short because you are six foot nine.

Recently Huffpost decided to change their own lgbt vioces of their site to Queer voices, which demonstrates  that the term is slowly drifting into mainstream media usage.
Queer is alot easier to say than lgbt as Jon Snow, the UK based newsreader (not the GOT charater) found out talking to Owen Jones, Mirhia Black and a few others when Soho had a vigil to Orlando. Even Owen struggled with continously saying lgbt. After a few repeats it becomes a tounge twister.

Above: Jon Snow demonstrated how difficult saying LGBT is, he also pointed out “we are all a little queer!” 

So is it time Queer is used to describe the entire family?

Are we ALL ready for it?

Is Queer the best description to describe us all, representing  the diversity of our family? 

Is it fair to use Queer as a group description when so many still find it offensive or its not accurate to describe so many?
When setting up the cards we use a discussion began, I recall it went on for about a week. Our conclusion was to use the LGBTQIA+ representing all of our community.

The plus represents the duplicates and a nod to the sub groups, Pansexual, Demisexual and so on.

However we spotted flaws in this too. Slowly we came to the conclusion that nothing was perfect, we wanted everyone to be included. Queer is hardly a fair term for some,  yet lgbtqia was too complexed. The conclusion was to use our rainbow family when it wasn’t so clinically required.Softening the blow a little.

Just like individuals, groups should have the right to use the words they feel best represents themselves or their work. As Pride matters aims to represent all of the lgbt community, including allies, including asexuals we use the full acronym lgbtqia+. It suits Pride matters because all our members represent each part of the acronym. Obviously there are times when some groups are not represented in the acronym because they are not relevant to the group that haven’t been included. A good example is not including allies or asexuals when talking about sex, another is removing certain letters when stats are being used and dealing with those stats separately. However the more inclusion the better. 

Do we need to drop anything?
Most definitely!
Drop the inward bitch fighting and inward blaming of other parts of the community. 

We need to replace it with… 
A little more respect to individual groups.
A little more understanding of age groups and their reactions to using certain alternatives.

A little thought of geographical differences, what you may find acceptable in your part of the world someone else may find offensive. 

Probably Queer will eventually filter into media even more, used as a universal description, people will embrace it better than my generation ever could. It will probably have a more diverse meaning in time goes. What it leads to is probably less usage of terms and labels too. Perhaps one day our community will become more amalgamated, perhaps one day the use of labels will decline due to better awareness and perhaps one day the fight for equality will be over and we all will just be seen as human.
Interesting articles in regards to this subject.

This is the view of the author and may or may not be the view of Pride matters or any other authors. 

What simple message would you like to give to someone who is anti lgbt that gives positive thought to them? 

I find the best policy if you engage with someone who is being phobic towards out comuinity is to politely engage with them a little, but be in control. 

I personally use phrases like however I understand that these phrases don’t suit everyone. 

All we are after is equal rights, simply the same as you and you can fault a fellow tax payer for wanting that. 

Sometimes saying

Loving someone doesn’t hurt anyone but ignorance does! 

And others 

It may well be your belief that my sexuality is wrong but it’s my belief it’s my choice to live the way I was born and feel inside. 

It’s always best not to get angry and often not to over engage. 

Over engaging is SOMETHING I SOMETIMES fail with. 

On social media I have a five engagement rule, then I finish the sentence off with……

I am sorry that you don’t understand,  but thank you for making me stronger to fight homophobic hatred!

So I asked what positive message you would give to someone that is anti lgbt and these are some of the replies….. 


We are your friends, family, neighbors, and the people you loved before you were aware of who we love. That hasn’t changed. 

Hate serves no real purpose. We are all still human live & let live. Remember your loved ones could be lgbt. Respect all!

Every person has a right to love sum1 no matter, race, culture, gender or age. What do U fear? We’re on this earth to love. 


Why do you hate me when yesterday before you knew me fully you loved me. This is what you are fighting against, me, and who I am.


 Stop being an eejit



If we reject someone on only 1 aspect of themselves, we are all in danger of rejection. Look for what you have in common.

We are who we are and we will be who we are. We live amongst you and our children school with your children. We are people.

We are all human, we are all equal and deserve to love. Love one love all without prejudice or judgement. 

Always love yourself!

It’s the one thing that i am the worst at.


To one and all the  anti LGBT out there! 

Your hypochondria can be cured, with conversion therapy.

Lgbtqia and the media. 

​By @letatdemoi 

Laverne Cox from Orange is the new black.

It would be wrong to say that the media does not try to incorporate homosexuality, however the way in which this is done is what needs to be discussed and altered. It is rare for there to be an LGBTQIA+ couple that is positively portrayed within the media. Either one person must be a drug addict or suffer from other psychological issues and this presentation sends out a message to the rest of the world that members of the LGBTQIA + community are unstable and problematic, which further alienates them from the rest of society. The fact is anybody is prone to become victims of substance abuse and experience mental health issues and these problems are not exclusive to members of the LGBTQIA + community. Shows such as Orange is the New Black explore homosexuality but this is predominantly based on desperate circumstances such as being incarcerated. These presentations do not help to create the best image of the LGBTQIA+ community and it is becoming frustrating. Characters are not allowed to just be homosexual, there must be a background horror story that ‘caused’ them to be gay, suggesting that had such circumstances not occurred, they would be heterosexual just ‘like everybody else’. The conjunction that is accompanied with LGBTQIA+ needs to be eradicated, there needs to stop being a clause that de-normalises and ostracises the LGBTQIA+ community from the rest of society. People are not ‘gay but’, ‘trans but’, just let them be. The media is a key influencer of society and so it is primordial that the right message is portrayed. Hopefully there will be a day whereby there are characters who are members of the LGBT+ community who just get to be themselves with no complications or drama. That is the representation that is needed.

Paul Coker was murdered in the summer of 2016 by long running London based soap Eastenders. 
The face of LGBTQIA +. 

My opinion like others is the media’s presentation of people who identify as LGBTQIA + is both deplorable and laughable.

The notion that throwing in one white homosexual man to a television show or a series is somehow considered diverse is abhorrent. The stereotypical homosexual person is white, a man and an atheist, yet contemporary society defies this stereotype. It is not a coincidence that the LGBTQIA + flag is a rainbow; this is seen to represent the diversity of the community indicating that various types of people of various ethnicities are members. This is true diversity. There is a Ted Talks video in which Sabah Choudrey discusses being both transgender and Muslim, they share initial fears of belonging to more than one minority group. This is a well understood fear within the LGBTQIA + community, especially amongst ethnic groups.
People should not think that being a part of one minority group stops you from being valid within another minority group. A lot of people belonging to the LGBTQIA+ community also belong to ethnic minority groups such as Samira Wiley and Laverne Cox from the popular Netflix series Orange is The New Black, writer Wander Sykes and beloved Star Trek character George Takei.

This is the 21st century and it is hoped that with the ever-growing representation of minority groups within the LGBTQIA + community, the media will more accurately represent the face of LGBTQIA+ and portray it as the colourful community that it is.
Other platforms such as YouTube have become an excellent means in dispelling myths regarding the LGBTQIA+ community, particularly the YouTube channel Buzzfeed. They uploaded a video whereby people re-created the covers of famous romance movies such as Titanic and The Fault in Our Stars but incorporated LGBTQIA+, which I thought was an incredibly powerful concept. Times are progressing and in the foreseeable future there is hope that there will be more of an accurate representation of the LGBTQIA+ community and the film Danish Girl about a trans-woman released in 2015 will be followed by other predominantly LGBTQIA+ related movies.  

LGBT+ through the ages

There have been discussions regarding the media’s presentation of the LGBTQIA+ community and whether incorporating LGBTQIA+ experiences into platforms designed for younger viewers would result in there being a more favourable perspective regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. Undoubtedly, this would introduce the concept of having an LGBTQIA+ community and would help to eliminate confusion felt by children regarding it. However, people do not want their children to be ‘different’ unless this ‘difference’ is something that is accepted and promoted in society, such as child geniuses. Being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community is stigmatised to the point where being called a lesbian or gay seems to have pejorative implications, making people not want to identify as such. Within society, there is this inherent desire to be considered ‘normal’ and to me it is baffling that people would want to strive for something so tedious and non-existent. It is time for society to start celebrating and embracing everybody, respecting and accepting the beauty of individuality. The idea that people regard the presentation of LGBTQIA+ topics as ‘corrupt’ and ‘immoral’ is saddening, it is also sad that they feel that by demonising homosexuality this acts as a means of prevention regarding their children ‘becoming’ gay. The media, being a tool of education, can help alter such archaic ways of thinking and people will soon start to see people past the label, realising that once you peel off this label a human being is present and that, ultimately is the only thing that matters. People should no longer see people as a ‘gay man’ or a ‘trans-man’ but rather a ‘hu-man’. 

Maybe, rather than mash ups we need a real Disney lgbt love story. 


Interview with creator of ‘more than only’


Hello Michelle, thank you for taking part in this interview. Could you tell me a little about yourself? 

My name is Michelle Leigh

Simply put I am a registered nurse, the single mother of two amazing young women and the founder of children’s theatre in my community to elaborate a bit more, I became a theatre geek at the age of 13 years and continued on that path until I was 26.  I had learned the art of performance, stage management and directing up and down the North West coast of America.

I took a hiatus from theatre after I had my first child and decided it was time to look into a career that didn’t require job to job uncertainty.
I graduated from nursing school in 2000 and have spent the past 16 years in the most amazing career I could have imagined.
Eleven years ago, once my life as a nurse was settled and other interests were able to be pursued again, I started a children’s theatre in my community. initially it was to provide an opportunity for my own child to gain the same confidence and strength theatre had given me. However it very quickly became an outlet for so many that I have kept it going.

We are currently in rehearsals for our 26th production.

Could you explain about the project you are working on? 

“More than Only” became the passion project for me,  a first time screenwriter, film director and producer.

It was a story that evolved,  literally from beginning to end without an outline or plan, once the opening sentence of the film, “my father only wanted two things; straight A’s and a straight son”, came to my mind. 

It is a story far too real for so many in the LGBT community. It evolved into becoming about showing that being told you are “Only” worthy of affection, even from a parent, if you willingly hide an intrinsic part of yourself, to discovering you are so much more when you live your life for yourself and love everything about who you are and know that you are “More”. 
How and why did you come up with this project? 

I became an LGBT advocate about four years ago, I learned two things that changed my perspective and altered my mind set about advocacy 

Firstly the complacency is as detrimental to society as bigotry,  it helps no one. It allows hate to grow and spread and it defeats the purpose we were all placed here for,  to support, help and love one another.
Secondly when asked how I can support LGBT as it goes ‘against what is natural’ I learned this VERY truthful statement “you fall in love with a person: not a gender”

That has catapulted my belief and my stance on love, regardless of the gender of the person, love is love.

It made me think about love from a physiological perspective, once I made the connection again, love is nothing more than a chemical reaction to another human being that you are drawn to, knowing that that chemical draw has NOTHING to do with their gender, again my stance grew and strengthened and I can state loudly with the best of them,  love is not a choice that is made. It is a response to another who feels it as well.

What became the opening senescence of the film, “My father only wanted two things; straight A’s and a straight son,   was one I had penned, as a challenge to myself, in response to an LGBT television character and his relationship to his father.

I wanted to define the relationship in 3 sentences or less.
I saw the name “Justin Johnson” on a door name plaque in a shop almost a year later and thought “that name should be in a movie”.

On my drive home that sentence re-occurred to me,  by the time I was home what is essentially the essence of the opening voice over was written.
From there the story continued to evolve and the characters who surround Justin fell into place. 
As I neared the ending I didn’t know what it was going to be or how to settle Justin’s story, but like the opening sentence – it simply happened when I sat down and allowed it to.
My goal was to provide what I had seen many posts about from the LGBT community, a real romantic comedy and a real LGBT couple that we see laugh, cry, fight,hurt, love and carry on living their lives to the best of their ability, just like every couple that is represented in the media, gay,  straight, black, white, mixed race and so forth. 
LGBT representation has evolved a great deal in the last five years,  but it is still new and just starting to build momentum. 
I would love for my film to be a small contribution to a necessary genre.
Could you tell me about the plot? 

More Than Only
is the story of Justin Johnson, an openly gay young man.

When not under the watchful eye of his father, Justin tries to find his place in this world and someone to share it with.
After meeting Michael Garner, Justin resolves to do whatever it takes to win Michael’s heart. While not impressed with Justin’s antics, Michael is willing to give Justin a chance and a first date, if he can complete three impossible tasks first!

While Justin courts Michael, he must contend with the looming disapproval of his father,  who only wants two things from Justin: 

straight A’s and a straight son.”

So how can people help out? 

We do have a donation button up on our website and it is available.

We are planning to attempt a kick starter again in January/February, so watch out for that. 

I have applied to two different grants at this point – one with Tribeca – the second with frame line – both as a completion grant.

I am hopeful that those will be a huge assist for us moving forward as well.

We are doing the Seed and Spark Campaign through May 31. – I need 500 followers (We have just over 200 already!) for “Project Greenlight” and I have a contribution minimum to raise to assist with the final phases of post production – my link to S&S is:

Please if anyone wish to help out don’t hesitate to contact ourselves,its so important for the comuinity. 

Newspapers and the LGBTQIA community! 

Newspaper readership has been declining steadily amongst all age groups as other forms of media provide more immediate news. In the last week however, social media discussions have been dominated (in Britain anyway) by the actions of newspapers. Those papers that had supported Britain’s exit from the European Union were furious that the process now had to be put to a vote in parliament. The judges who made the decision were lambasted by the Daily Mail, a mid-market, right-wing newspaper, which said:

“The judges who blocked Brexit: One who founded a EUROPEAN law group, another charged the taxpayer millions for advice and the third is an openly gay ex-Olympic fencer”.

Given that the headline was ‘Enemies of the people’, the paper clearly considers these are activities that are Not What Reasonable People Do. However, isn’t a part of a free press, that newspapers report on areas which may be potentially controversial? Yes, but then there is the way in which the story is reported. In 2015, The Sun, another right-wing tabloid, reported on a school catering assistant coming out as a trans woman. The article talked about the school’s support for their employee and the comments from parents criticised the process of notifying them, not the individual. Despite this, the story’s headline left your in no doubt this was something you should react to: ‘Dinner Laddie – School’s ‘Sir’ Shock’.

Although these are extreme examples, there are biases which apply across many papers. In Ireland, a father killed his wife and their three children, then committed suicide. Headlines included: “How could he kill those poor boys?”; “Wonderful children who will be missed by all who knew them”; “Killed in their pyjamas by father in frenzied attack.” Reading these, you might forget that a fourth person was killed: the boy’s mother. The hashtag #everydaysexism has hundreds of similar examples of where women are airbrushed from stories or presented in a stereotypical way.

What does this tell us about perceptions of sexuality and gender in newspapers? It shows that the old dictum of story-writing, first simplify, then exaggerate, is alive and well. This is not a place were nuances will be recognised or explored. There are also powerful agendas behind the scenes. While the political agenda of newspapers is well-known, as readership shrinks, a technique for retaining readers can be to pander to the more extreme views. The majority of newspaper readers are older, white and male, so the tone of articles reflects this.

There is hope in the widespread condemnation of the Mail’s position. Amongst the criticism was a beautiful reaction from JK Rowling who tweeted:

If the worst they can say about you is you’re an OPENLY GAY EX-OLYMPIC FENCER TOP JUDGE, you’ve basically won life.

It was interesting that the Mail removed the words from its website a short period after this. Does that mean its approach will change?

Almost certainly not while it can still provide a solid body of readers which is attractive to advertisers. That is where a new campaign is focusing its efforts, to boycott the advertisers in the Daily Mail for indirectly supporting hate. This approach of follow-the-money comes as firms become ever more sensitive about perception of their brands. Newspapers survive because their brand has built a bond with their readers: they are trusted to report the news but also provide a reassurance that you are not alone in your opinion. On that basis, there will continue to be bigotry and sexism presented in newspapers while there is still bigotry and sexism in society and this will take all our continued efforts to eradicate.
Alex Clare is the author of He’s Gone, featuring a trans woman DI. Chat to Alex on Twitter @_alexandraclare. He’s Gone is available from Amazon … and Hive

Interview with Boaz Stark.

Above: Boaz Stark, Producer and writer. 

Recently I got the chance to chat to Australian writer, Boaz Stark, who has worked on programmes such as Neighbours and Home & Away.  He is also the producer, writer and director of the hugely successful online LGBTQI series The Horizon.

Can you explain to my readers what The Horizon is about and how long as it been running?

The Horizon revolves around a small group of gay characters living in Sydney – a kind of “Gays of our Lives”.  We’ve been in production since 2009, although we started off extremely low budget.  I wrote the first season as a favour for a friend who wanted to produce a gay webseries.  That season was made by film students but went viral.  In 2012, I saw it was still getting impressive viewer figures, despite the low production values, and decided to do morewith it.  I found more sponsors and it has built from there.

As it is Internet based, I guess you have followers globally. Does this affect your storylines? 

It has been affected, yes.  For example, our most popular territory is the USA. That attracted an American sponsor who paid for an American actor to come to Sydney and be a part of theseries – Jai Rodriguez from “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy” fame.  He was a pleasure to work with, by the way; very professional and easy going.

How do you choose your characters and of course finding the right performers to play them?

I like writing characters who represent different members of the LGBTQI community. It’s about balance and making sure no character is doubled up. Despite the series’ success, we’re still low budget, so paying actors is a consideration. We need to keep cast numbers down, so every character must be unique, able to generate story and interact with all the others.  In terms of casting, it’s the tradition route.  We advertise the need for an actor, several come in and we audition them, choose the one who best fits the role.

As it is a LGBTQI Web based enterprise, do you think it as a value in influencing external views from our rainbow family? 

The Aids Council of NSW (ACON) has supported us from the start and The Horizon includes subtle safe sex messages and health information weaved naturally into the drama.  I hope we are influencing viewers to look after their health and each other. Our series fans (#Horizontals) include many straight people, who often write to us via social media to thank us for the insight into LGBTQI life, and the health info too. For example, many people had no idea about the existence of PeP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) until we covered it in a story.  We may have saved a life.  Now we’re doing a big PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) in Seasons 7 & 8.  It’s gratifying to give this information a global platform.

Above: Cast members of the show.
In general do you feel there is a lack of certain LGBTQI roles and performers in media entertainment and how can this be addressed? 

Yes, we’re not very well represented, which is partly the reason why The Horizon is doing so well. I think members of the LGBTQI community want to see images of ourselves on screen, as any community does.  TV networks are generally too conservative to produce any queer content that’s edgy so I guess it’s up to queer film makers like me to do it and put it online. That’s the beauty of modern technology – content can be shot on phones these days and edited on personal computers, then uploaded to platforms like YouTube.  Anyone with passion and commitment can produce something and put it out there. Hopefully they’ll find an audience.  It’s obviously not all about good production values or The Horizon would never have got off the ground. 

Recently there have been calls for Hollywood to address issues of not using transgender performers to play such roles. What are your thoughts on this and how can this be better addressed through the industry?

The industry is first and foremost a business.  Producers will often opt for a known, non transgender actor to play a trans role because it helps with financing and publicity.  That’s why you’ll have people like Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer’s Club) and Felicity Huffman (Transamercia) cast in transgender roles. The bigger the project, the more likely producers will go for a “name”, so as to more easily recoup their investment.  I don’t see this changing in a hurry. The only hope transgender actors have of securing big roles is if they’re cast in smaller productions first and gain a profile – like Laverne Cox (Orange Is The New Black). I’m planning a transgender story for The Horizon at the moment with a preference to casting a trans actor because my series is relatively small and we have nothing to lose!

Above: Wilma Bumhurt, the shows resident Drag Queen. 

Do you think your own personal experiences come out in the script?

It’s funny, my boyfriend is always catching me using stuff that’s happened in our lives on The Horizon – situations, dialogue; the works. I often steal from friend’s lives too, or things I hear about that actually happened.  I find truth far more exciting than fiction. There’s a storyline in season 7 where our drag queen character, Wilma, goes home with a kinky “Daddy”.  He makes her wear a nappy and gives her a baby bottle to drink from, then leaves without having sex with her.  People have said the story is outrageous but it’s based on actual events that happened to a friend in LA – so there!

Thanks for taking part in this interview. Is there anything else you would like to add?

The Horizon series has a unique voice and gives HIV information and general gay men’s issues a platform while it entertains. I’d simply ask everyone to watch the series and share it if they like what they see.  The more viewers we have, the easier it is for us to get funding and keep going.  We all love making  it for you. 

You can watch The Horizon from here……

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