Robert Hampton

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30th October 2012

Don’t Bank on It
Posted by at 7.54pm | Gay, In the News | 1 response

A little controversy has been stirred up around the 2012 Stonewall Awards, which are due to be held on Thursday evening. Two of the event’s sponsors – Barclays and Coutts – are threatening to pull out.

The banks are unhappy about the inclusion of a Bigot of the Year award category. This year’s nominees include Cardinal O’Brien, who called same sex marriage a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”, and former councillor Alan Craig, who likened gay rights campaigners to Nazis.

Given the above, it seems a bit odd that Barclays’ diversity chief Mark McLane is upset at Stonewall for labelling people “subjectively and pejoratively”.

One commenter on the above Pink News article puts it very well:-

Corporations want to get in bed with gay rights organisations for the street cred it gives them with a certain demographic, but their PR guys get jittery when they discover that the fight for equal rights isn’t all about shaking hands and cozying up to people.

This is a timely reminder that, far from being settled, gay rights is still a very active issue in the political arena, and sometimes it’s necessary to make a stand and take a side.

If Coutts cave in and drop their support, I’ll have no choice but to cancel my account with them.

19th February 2012

Bully for you
Posted by at 12.21pm | Gay | No responses

The March 2012 issue of Attitude magazine has just come out. It’s the publication’s annual Youth Issue, focusing on gay teenagers and the challenges they face.

In many ways the situation now for gay people in the UK is better than it’s ever been. But if I was feeling happy about things, I was brought down to earth with a bump by the article on page 65, “The invisible children”, about the victims of homophobic bullying. The article is not available online, but I strongly recommend you hand over £4.25 at your local WHSmith for it, or buy the digital edition of the magazine.

It begins by telling the story of 15-year-old Dominic Crouch:

Dominic had been on a school trip where, during a game of Spin the Bottle, he kissed another boy. We don’t know if he was gay or not. As Roger says, that was something for him to decide in his own time. But back at school, video from a phone was allegedly passed around and Dominic was bullied with homophobic language. One day, Dominic walked out of school, climbed to the top of a six-storey council building, and after two hours, threw himself off.

The sad story of Dominic is far from an isolated case. In fact, it’s a serious problem, albeit one which is ignored by the mainstream media. A Stonewall survey in 2007 revealed that 65% of LGB pupils experienced bullying and that figure increases to 75% in faith schools.

Why do I mention faith schools? Because of this Guardian article about an anti-gay book which has been used in some British faith schools, which has incensed me.

The booklet, “Pure Manhood: How to become the man God wants you to be”, discusses a boy dealing with “homosexual attractions” which it suggested may “stem from an unhealthy relationship with his father, an inability to relate to other guys, or even sexual abuse”.

The booklet, which claims that “scientifically speaking, safe sex is a joke”, explains that “the homosexual act is disordered, much like contraceptive sex between heterosexuals. Both acts are directed against God’s natural purpose for sex – babies and bonding.”

The final insult: Michael Gove – Education Secretary for a government which seems increasingly determined to send society back to the 1950s – claims that the Equality Act 2010, which prohibits anti-gay discrimination, does not apply to, “any materials used in sex and relationship education lessons,” so the schools can continue pushing this dogma on impressionable children with impunity.

Therefore, any gay school pupils unlucky enough to be at a faith school don’t just have to contend with taunts from their fellow students. They could potentially have teachers standing up and telling him that they are disordered individuals. By allowing this material under the guise of “religious freedom”, the Tories are now actively promoting discrimination and enabling bullies. It’s disgusting.

I’ve decided to start my own religion. It’s called Hampoism, and takes as its central tenet that Michael Gove is an odious tossweasel. Give me my legal protection NOW!

13th June 2011

Be prepared
Posted by at 11.21pm | Gay, In the News | No responses

Reports in the press suggest that the Scouts are encouraging gay members. Yes, really – the Scouts!

According to spokesman Simon Carter, “we are keen to make it clear that we accept people of any particular orientation.” And they seem to be serious about it – members and leaders have marched in Pride parades, the chief commissioner has filmed an anti-bullying video for Stonewall, and the Scouts’ web site has a whole section for LGBT issues. So if you’re a boy who really does enjoy Scouting for Boys, you will have no problem here.

At first glance, it seems odd that an organisation with a Christian heritage (atheists are still officially banned) are embracing such a policy, but it’s nice to see hard evidence that “religion” does not have to equal “hates the gays”. Sadly, Scout movements elsewhere are less enlightened – the Boy Scouts of America organisation bans “Known or avowed homosexuals”.

Meanwhile, I am really resisting the urge to do an unsavoury woggle reference.