We have recruited a fantastically positive, enthusiastic and knowledgeable bunch of community researchers, who have started to talk to LGBT* people about their experiences of rough sleeping/staying out.
We are still looking for people to speak with and will be until the end of September.
We’ve also developed an online survey:
The online survey is great if someone doesn’t want to come along to an interview as it means they can still input into Finding Safe Spaces. If they leave their contact details at the end of the survey they can be entered into a prize draw for a £50 voucher of their choice.
Also, follow Finding Safe Spaces on Twitter - @lgbtrs - we’ll be actively promoting the research and the project.
The next roundtable is going to be on Wednesday 1st October at Hyelm. Hyelm is at 43-51 New North Road, N1 6JB.
It will run from 2.00 - 4.00pm and we will be looking at the initial findings from the research and what we can do next.
Email Robin@stonewallhousing.org by Monday 1st September to confirm your space.
Over the project they’ll:
· Learn valuable skills from BBH’s creative teams over six evening sessions.
· Work together creatively and innovatively to respond to a real life brief set by the Roundhouse.
· Spend a week at the BBH Soho offices on a placement, getting a taste of how a world- renowned ad-agency operates.
· Get advice and guidance on careers in the creative industries.
It’s a fantastic opportunity and we’re keen to ensure that it reaches as many young people as possible. Therefore, it would be great if you could get the message out to them – whether that’s sharing over email/in a newsletter, tweeting, posting on Facebook or passing on to any young people you work with that you think would benefit from this experience.
Booking is now open and places are limited so the sooner it can be shared the better!
The Roundhouse is a place for everyone, and we don’t want money to hold anyone back from getting involved.
Therefore, as always, bursaries will be available to cover project fees, travel, child care or anything else participants may need.
We are delighted to announce that Gendered Intelligence has been awarded £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund’s latest round of Awards for All grants. The money will fund a series of workshops for young trans and non-binary people called “Knowledge is Power" that encourage them to take pride in their identity, become less isolated and tackle all forms of prejudice.
The first workshop will be held on Saturday the 27th of September - look out for more news soon.
You can read more about the award here. GI is one of ten (among hundreds) of Awards for All beneficiaries to be featured in the Big Lottery Fund’s official press release.
[Flyer Reads: Interested in Queer Culture? Come and join a group which will explore Queer Culture at Leeds Art Gallery. This is a collaborative project for people who are interested in queer culture, everyone is welcome - whether you are new to this subject or if you are already involved in queer cultural projects. Participants will explore visual arts, gallery performance and the collection with a queer eye.
This autumn our focus will be on queer creative people from BME communities to celebrate Black History Month. Come and explore the artworks of Lubaina Himid, the writings of bell hooks, the activism of Storme DeLarverie and the part she played in the Stonewall story.
Leeds Art Gallery. Free. Everyone Welcome. The weekly sessions will stat in Mid October. To find out more contact: Jude Woods. firstname.lastname@example.org. 0113 2477021.]
Flyer Reads: Trans* Family and Friends Support. Saturday 6th September. Leeds Art Gallery. Free. 12 to 4. Drop In. This event is for anyone who wants to learn more about trans* isues. It will be in the style of the ‘human library’ - people will offer their personal stories of trans* and gender variance or they will speak as an organisation about what support they can offer trans people, their families and friends. Visitors can move around the room encountering various ‘human books’ as an easy and informal way to learn. If you, or your organisation, is interested in being a ‘book’ contact Nina to find out more: email@example.com.
Trans people: invite your family and friends to come and learn more and also come to get involved. If you want to contribute contact Jude.Woods@leeds.gov.uk. The event is for people who want to support the trans community so is not suitable for those who have negative attitudes toward trans and gender variant people.
When: Saturday 30th August 2-5pm (meet 1.30pm at CSSD)
Where: Entrance from Elseworthy Terrace (Map)
ALL ARE WELCOME.
Check out our GI volunteer Karen Field talking about her career teaching chemistry in secondary schools.
Karen Field transitioned to a female gender expression 28 years ago, at the start of her teaching career. Now she is Head of Science at a London secondary school.
‘I originally wanted to be a vet but I was not very good at chemistry back then – I was made to do CSE Chemistry (below GCSE level) but achieved a grade 1 pass. It was very practically orientated: I had to complete twenty experiments plus exams in order to pass. Most of those practicals (such as making three different allotropes of sulphur) are banned now! I studied Biology and started Chemistry for A-level but failed in the first term to come to terms with the Gas laws and was subsequently asked to give it up.
I then picked chemistry up at teacher training college (I had decided that if I couldn’t be a vet then I would work with other animals) and then went on to an Open University degree that encompassed all three science disciplines…. Read more
At GI, we’re often talking about how trans people are portrayed in the media. In fact, we receive several requests per month from journalists and filmmakers who want to write about or film young trans and non-binary people for a range of newspapers, magazines and production companies.
We thought it might be a good idea to bring together young trans people, GI volunteers and trans professionals interested in the media to think about how we deal with these requests.
The group will set up some loose guidelines for how GI deals with media enquiries that concern us, as well as think about the sort of media content we want to see about trans people, and young people in particular. There might even be the opportunity to create our own!
Occasionally, the group might put a call out for those who want to be involved in media coverage. Even if it’s not something you’re interested in, you still have the chance to learn about how journalists put together stories and gain a better understanding of how the media works.
Discussions will mainly be online, so don’t worry if you’re not London-based.
If you would like to be involved or would like to know more, please fill in this form:
Families Picnic at Primrose Hill
When: Saturday 30th August 2-5pm (meet 1.30pm at CSSD)
Where: Entrance from Elseworthy Terrace (Map)
ALL ARE WELCOME.
Keep Up To Date
[Image Reads: Human Right Here and Now. Young People’s Project 2014.]
Manchester 5 August / London 13 August 10.30-3.30
What are we doing at the events?
We have an action packed agenda including a session on human rights history, a crash course in human rights law, a real life look at how our human rights law protectsyoung people’s rights, and a debate about how young people can get involved and get their voice heard on the issues that matter to them.
Young people will get a chance to try out a new set of resources about young people’s human rights and tell us what they would like them to say. There will also be the opportunity to tell us what other info and support young people need to help them find out more about their rights and have their voice heard.
Don’t worry it won’t be boring! We’ve got games, prizes, discussions and debates, video and some creative elements and a brilliant graphic facilitator who will draw the event as it happens!
Who should attend?
The events are open to 11-18 year olds from across England and Wales. Young people can come along individually, with friends, or book on as part of a group. To book a place please on the Manchester event please visit http://manchesterhumanrights.eventbrite.co.uk or to book on to the London even please visithttps://londonhumanrights.eventbrite.co.uk
Please contact Sophie on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 882 5853 if you would like to book a group of places for young people. Please also contact Sophie to discuss participation costs we can cover.
We are committed to making the event accessible and inclusive. Please get in touch if the young people you work with need any additional support to attend this event.
So why does the EHRC agree to exemptions?
London, UK - Huffington Post - READ & COMMENT: http://huff.to/1uhLSUh
Guest blogger Chris Moos writes:
Seven months after the controversy surrounding the publication of Universities UK’s guidelines legitimising gender segregation, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has now ruled that gender segregation is - generally - unlawful. The verdict of the commission could not be clearer:
"Gender segregation is not permitted in any academic meetings or at events, lectures or meetings provided for students, or at events attended by members of the public or employees of the university or the students’ union."
Overall, this is a great victory for the broad coalition of campaigners against gender segregation, which includes renowned women’s rights activists like Maryam Namazie, Pragna Patel, Sara Khan, and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and has found broad support across the political spectrum. More than anything, the EHRC’s decision is not only a slap in the face of the vocal Islamist supporters of segregation such as the Federation of Islamic Student Societies (FOSIS), the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) and Hizb-ut Tahrir, but also of social and Christian conservatives as well as some parts of the Left who are happy to relativise discrimination whenever it serves their agenda.
The EHRC has nevertheless thrown out of the window all the usual arguments of those detractors, including that segregation is a ‘religious right’ whose denial amounts to discrimination, that ‘voluntary’ segregation can be reasonably practised in an educational setting, that the provision of a ‘mixed’ seating area makes segregation somehow less discriminatory, and of course the ‘toilet argument’.
However, as usual, the catch is in the fine print. Reading further into the document, one can find several worrying exemptions that rather than discourage discrimination, will give those who want to undermine equality principles a helping hand in maintaining segregation.
The first is that “equality law does not apply to religious worship”. Thus, “a religious student society or association may organise a gender segregated event, for the duration of any religious service.” Although the EHRC recommends that universities “prohibit gender segregation at all meetings which go beyond acts of religious worship or practice”, this puts universities in the role of arbiters of theological doctrine and will hence be impossible to control. Already now, Islamic Student Societies are claiming that ‘Muslim meetings’ (whatever the actual topic) are essentially religious worship, allowing them to segregate. Given the range of exemptions that follows, there are indeed many ways the EHRC’s ruling can be interpreted. For example, the EHRC considers that associations can
"restrict their membership to those who share a protected characteristic, including gender or religion or belief. A female-only association may restrict access to a benefit, facility or service to female associates and may restrict guest invitations to women. (This exception also applies to religious associations as described below.) Thus universities and students’ unions can lawfully permit associations which are established for a single sex or for a particular religious community to use university facilities and advertise their events through university channels."
It is an established characteristic of equality law that associations are able to restrict their memberships to those who share protected characteristics. However, in this case, this opens an avenue for subverting the principle of equality through gender segregation in the guise of having ‘female-only’ or ‘male-only’ facilities, services or memberships. This has already been a common practice on some campuses, where different societies (e.g. ‘brothers society’ or ‘sisters society’) offer services and events to males or females only, thereby effectively maintaining gender segregation and further cementing the gender divisions within faith groups.
This will work whenever segregationists can claim that they are delivering “services relating to religion in premises used for religious purposes”. Admittedly, depending on the scope of the exemption, this might not have much practical relevance. But any exemption, if not clearly and narrowly defined, risks undermining the principle at stake. Unsurprisingly, this is also the case here, where ‘religious purposes’ are defined as
"practising or advancing the religion, teaching religious practice or principles; enabling followers to receive benefits or engage in activities within the framework of that religion; or fostering or maintaining good relations between those of different religions. For the exception to apply, it must be necessary to provide such services separately or only to persons of one sex, in order to comply with religious doctrines, or to avoid conflicting with the convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers."
This implies that only by defining a meeting or event as religious in character, even if only taking place in ‘temporarily occupied premises’, for example a lecture theatre, the organiser is relieved of the equality duty. As it stands, anything from merely talking about ‘religious practice or principles’ or ‘engaging with the framework of the religion’, or even a simple interfaith gathering falls in that category.
Thus, what is nothing but effective gender segregation is not unlawful, as long as the organiser can argue that it is “necessary to avoid conflicting with the convictions of a significant number of the religion’s followers”, thereby opening the door for small groups of ultra-conservatives to define what is permissible for the majority. Evidence for what happens when so-called ‘conflicts of convictions’ break loose within a religious community is plentiful, with the most extreme and aggressive voices dominating the tone of the debate, thereby sidelining those who work hard to reconcile their religious convictions with equality principles, especially women and LGBTQs.
Most concerningly, religious organisations can also restrict membership on the basis of religion, belief or even sexual orientation:
"Non-commercial religious organisations when undertaking defined religious activities are also permitted to restrict their membership and the use of their premises on the basis of religion or belief or sexual orientation, subject to satisfying certain conditions. […] They can also restrict both participation in their activities (whether on or off their premises) and also access to the goods, facilities and services that they supply to individuals of the same religion and belief subject to the same conditions."
Interpreted narrowly, as it undoubtedly will be, this would mean that a religious student society is able to set the premise that they are, for example, for ‘true Christians’ or ‘true Muslims’ only, and then define what “Christians” or “Muslims” really are, restricting access, services and membership to only those they consider to be of ‘genuine’ belief.
This is not a theoretical point. Of course, what is ‘Christian’ or ‘Muslim’ really is up for debate, with many Protestants not accepting Catholics as Christians (or vice versa), and some Sunni Muslims not accepting Shias, Ahmadiyyas or Alevites as 'true' Muslims, as it is reportedly also customary in some British universities like Queen Mary or Imperial.
Most worryingly, this includes exemptions on the basis of sexual orientation, leading to a situation where religious student societies could potentially deny gay students for instance access to prayer rooms based on their sexual orientation.
The ideology of ‘multi-faithism’
The EHRC - although undoubtedly restricted by the legal framework - has thus produced an inconsistent and contradictory document that gives leeway for interpretation that the proponents of gender, sexual and religious segregation will readily be able to exploit. Of course, the legal situation in the UK is not the responsibility of the EHRC, but the outcome of a political process that, according to Pragna Patel, has culminated in the “use of religion as the main basis for social identity and mobilisation”. Welcome to the world of “multi-faithism”.
Few commentators seem to see the deep irony of a prime minister who publicly condemns religious gender segregation, yet explicitly rejects state neutrality in faith matters and prides himself in running the ‘most pro-faith government in the West’. Unsurprisingly, the numerous hardline religious organisations that have everything on their minds but equality are deeply grateful for so much assistance with their sectarian agenda.
With this inherently incongruous ruling of the EHRC, we are likely to see not less, but more gender segregation at universities. As has become apparent in recent months, this issue is also far from restricted to higher education. Those who suffer most will be - mainly religious - students who are already struggling to defend their need for equality in the face of increasingly vociferous demands from self-appointed or government courted ‘community leaders’.
Rather than extending a helping hand to further legitimise religious exemptions from equality legislation through interpreting the law, the Equality and Human Rights Commission should have remained true to its founding principles and denounced a legislation that propagates equality in principle, but all but equality once the term ‘religion’ is thrown in. Equality is a human right that cannot be ‘exempted away’ - especially when this means providing cover for the multi-faithist ideology of a political class that is so much about faith and so little about basic human rights, including the right to practice one’s religion without being subject to gender discrimination.
MORF Members and others, would your friends/family like to meet other SOFFAs? Let them know about Me & T!
Me & T is a group open for any SOFFAs (significant others, friends, family, allies) who feel they need or can give support on experiences with transition/gender dysphoria.
Caroline and Rebecca will be on hand to facilitate the first meetings and see what members would like to cover in the future.
The groups is free to attend and there will be tea & coffee (and possibly cake).
Any questions please email: email@example.com
2nd September 2014: 19:30-21:00: Lesbian and Gay foundation: The
Meeting Room (second floor)
7th October 2014: 19:30-21:00: Lesbian and Gay foundation: The
Meeting Room (second floor)
4th November 2014: 19:30-21:00: Lesbian and Gay foundation: The
Meeting Room (second floor)
Look forward to seeing you there!
Caroline and Rebecca,