Good week to be gay…

THE Government intends to close a loophole that still allows some discrimination against gay people, and plans more funding for gay support groups. Meanwhile, a new survery suggests we’re becoming more accepting of the gay community in Northern Ireland. Something to celebrate at the Gay Pride Parade next Saturday?

  • about time to, although in general i found gays s to be accepted in belfast, much more than other cities.. Belfast has the third most vibant gay scene in the uk outside of bristol and brighton..

  • declan

    More good news. The number of attacks on gays in Derry has fallen in recent months. Let us hope this is a permanent change.

    Number of attacks on Gays falls in Derry

  • circles

    Not so sure about that expat.
    Of the gay people I knew from Belfast not one of them felt comfortable enough to stay there, with most heading for London and anonymity, where there sexuality was not subject to knowing nods, twitching curtains, and whispers on doorsteps.
    The fact that the gay “accusation” is still used to batter Casement about the head shows clearly how homosexuality is seen as “bad”, “dirty” and even “treacherous” in the north.

    Not to mention Carson and Wilde.

  • gg

    A benefit of direct rule that devolution would not have brought?

  • Keith M

    circles “The fact that the gay “accusation” is still used to batter Casement about the head shows clearly how homosexuality is seen as “bad”, “dirty” and even “treacherous” in the north.”

    No, what is being used to judge Casement is HIS OWN admission of sex with underage boys and picking up rent boys. In an era where homosexuality was illegal, this kind of behaviour was not only morally reprehensible but showed perchant for reckless behaviour, self gratification and bad judgement, something which also end his life.

  • circles

    “HIS OWN admission” – would that be the “diaries” Keith? Oh they must be real eh, cos the government would never forge anything would they? Especially not when dealing with a “traitor”.
    Or do you have another source for this “confession”?

    And would I be right in assuming that you personally do not find homosexuality per se to be “morally reprehensible” nor evidence of a “penchant for reckless behaviour, self gratification and bad judgement”.

  • Garibaldy

    Keith,

    Haven’t really engaged the censorship part of the brain today.

    Perhaps Casement indulged in such practices – and the scientific tests done on the diaries around 2001 prove as far as I can see that they are real – because he was a victim of prejudice in that homosexuality was illegal. Usage of prostitutes was much more common in Victorian times than it is today. So my opinion on Casemont is that he was clearly a product of his times. He wasn’t the only Victorian senior civil servant to be a secret homosexual. None of which should be held against him. Although the underage thing should.

  • Peking

    “…sex with underage boys”

    Whether he was gay or not is irrelevant, Casement like Pearce was a paedophile. They both stand condemned on this regardless of what age they lived in. Unless, that is, Circles has no problem with that.

  • na

    A good start but does an Action Plan to deal with issues affecting our LGBT community really need to take 3 years to implement? And in the event of devolution being restored would any parties veto action on these issues?

  • Keith M

    circles ; The Black Diaries were scientifically proven to be real a number of years ago.

    Garribaldy; even if you wish to excuse prositution as forgivasble because of the era (would you also say the same about slavery a century earlier?) it does not excuse sex with underage boys.

    Furthermore to engage in such activities while in the high profile career which Casement had, showed such a lack a judgement as to cast a shadow over the man’s character.

    As a matter of interest, I said the same thing abour Labour’s Emmett Stagg under similar circumstances, back in the 1990s. Employing male positutes and having sex in a public place may not be sackable offences, but the clear lack of good judgement demonstrated by such activity should have been enough for Stagg to be sacked.

  • Garibaldy

    Keith,

    Questionable judgment certainly, although much more difficult to have a proper homosexual relationship in those days due to discrimination, so more understandable that gay men in public life sought to hide their sexuality. A different case by the 1990s, or indeed for Mark Oaten and his ilk. Casement et al had no option but to hide. I did condemn the underage thing.

    Prostitution is to be condemned. But the point I was making was that society looked at prostitution differently than we do, so it was less of an indiscretion than it is today.

  • .circles.
    Maybe your comments have a point.

    yet the connection between homosexuality and peadophilia yet again show a gross misunderstanding of the situation.
    one of the biggest problems seems to be , from the above comments is that people still see gay s as child abusers.. would such a discussion about casements sexuality and lack of ‘moral fibre’ be going on if he had abused girls and young woman… i think not..

    incidentaly i had many gay frinds in belfast and found them to be happy and secure, probably more so than most in northern ireland.. though i will admit i cannot speak for other towns..

  • Fanny

    “Garribaldy; even if you wish to excuse prositution as forgivasble because of the era (would you also say the same about slavery a century earlier?”

    Pardon me for intruding, but since the record is being set straight (bad pun) on Casement, let’s do the same on slavery.

    Slavery only ended in these islands with the closure of the last of the Magdalene Laundries, way back in — 1996.

    Is this another record for Ireland? Funny how one seldom hears about that when people like Mary Robinson are bleating on about third-world slavery.

  • Concerned Patient

    Shouldn’t we bear in mind that King William of Orange swung both ways? Didn’t he have male favourites whose talents seem to have been more than political?

    Perhaps an Orange Banner should be at the head of Saturday’s Gay Pride March?

  • doctor who

    “Shouldn’t we bear in mind that King William of Orange swung both ways? Didn’t he have male favourites whose talents seem to have been more than political”

    No this is not true. Not that it really matters, but historians have said that there is not a single shread of evidence to suggest that William III indulged in homosexuel acts. This was nothing more than propaganda by the small minds of his detractors. Of course it still exists in the small minds of today´s republicans.

  • Peking

    No one is linking paedophilia with homosexuality quite the opposite in fact. That Casement and Pearce abused male children is not the issue, that it was children of whatever gender is.

  • no

    censorship, will never silence God.
    Shame on you.

    [God, you’re not – edited moderator]

  • I reiterate,
    the very fact that we jumped from a discussion on what should have been on the treatment of gays in northern ireland society to “was Casement a child abuser” in exactly 3 postings shows thathe connection is still prevelant in NI .

    We should not have been discussing Casement at ..and get back to the topic at hand and stop point scoring with “who had the biggest queen”

  • James

    Could someone please tell me what form this discrimination takes or has taken in Northern Ireland? How exactly is it possible to discriminate against or even know a person’s “sexuality” through job recruitment forms, housing allocation, or (free) health care?

    Please tell me, without reference to televisual hype or hyperbole, I really do what to actually hear an argument on here for once…

    And what of these statistics? Presumably, they weren’t taken up the Shankill, outside St peter’s, or, to play an agent provocateur, the Islamic Centre/Mosque in Wellington Park?

    Answers Answers!

  • bertie

    “Not to mention Carson and Wilde”

    What has Carson got to do with it? He was defending Queensbury against a charge of libel. Wilde was a fool to bring the charge. Carson was offerned the job of prosecuting Wilde after the libel case but turned it down. It think that there is still a perception in people’s minds that Carson was the procesuction. Not so.

    Whatever Queensbury may be quilty of, libel wasn’t part of it.

    These days Wilde would most likely be out and the libel thing would not be relevant and of course neither would the subsequent trial, with him as the defendant this time.

  • Keith M

    James “Presumably, they weren’t taken up the Shankill…”

    Is this some N.I. euphamism of whuich I’m unaware?

  • Concerned Patient

    Doctoe Who, most objective historians do agree that William III was bisexual and liked boys.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/learning/william/marriage2.shtml

    For instance.

    We also have the promotion of gentlemen of his bedchamber to high office.

    Why is it small minded to say so? Is there something a little suspicious about all this denial?

    Just because something may be used by detractors or as propaganda does not mean it isn’t true. Casaement’s “Black Diaries” are a case in point. Oscar Wilde is another, he sued after his sexuality was used by his detractors to mock him. However he lost and is now a gay icon.

  • bertie

    If he was homosexual or he liked boys does not alter what Dr Who said. Homosexual inclination and activity are two different things.

  • Concerned Patient

    Really Bertie, how many people never act on their sexual inclinations? And how would anyone know what their inclinations were if they didn’t?

    Do you reckon that rich and powerful men who are away from home for years on end make up a very high percentage of the sexually self denying?

    How about rich and powerful widowers?

  • bertie

    Concerned patient

    I don’t know how many people never act on their sexual inclination and neither do you. I particularly don’t know how many people in William’s time did.

    I think we get a lot of our view of the sexuality of his wife and of his siter-inlaw from their letters, which reading with 21st centuary eyes seem pretty convincing. However in an age when people, were rather flowery in their language, this may account for it. (If we were starting letter writing ettiquette from scratch now, how many hetrosexual men would start with “Dear John”. Even if they were so inclined I have no knowledge of them acting on it.

    I never got much of an impression of William as beeing greatly sexually driven.

    So how much we can tell about the sexuality of historical figures without some evidence as to activity, I am unsure.

    Regardless my comment still stands, inclination and activity are not necessarily the same thing. Self disgust could be an inhibitor.

  • gg

    Any topic can be brought back to 1690, it seems.

  • Garibaldy

    Or, in fact, ’69

  • James, you asked what discrimination takes place. Plenty of examples exist e.g. arrival at B&B with your same gender partner and denied a double bed. Once work colleagues discover you are gay you are denied promotion, harassed etc. If you feel that you shouldn’t be open about your sexual orientation and thus no discrimination would exist then just think how that would feel for hetros, forced to keep quiet about being straight, telling your mates that you have a girl friend then made a social taboo.

    The proposed regulations are good for business and good for society. It makes logical sense
    that businesses seek to service the widest market possible to maximise the provision of
    their goods and services.

    So also gays and lesbians pay taxes and rates and are therefore
    entitled to expect no discrimination in the services they receive from public authorities.

    Whilst it has been illegal for businesses, such as bed and breakfasts, to turn away black and Irish customers for many years, it is heartening to know that society is moving on to ensure gay people no longer have to endure the discrimination of being denied the opportunity to receive these services, simply due to their sexual orientation.

  • bertie

    Can a B&B refuse to let unmarried couples share a room?

  • If a hotel or B&B decided that they wish to implement a policy that, on moral grounds, only those who are married or in a civil partnership, are allowed double beds then, under the current proposals, that would be acceptable as the policy applies to all, regardless of sexual orientation.

    If it was just applicable to married / unmarried couples and gays were banned regardless as to whether in a civil partnership or not, then that would be illegal.

    As the law stands at present, a hotel or B&B could flatly refuse to provide any sort of room or service on the basis of the person or couple being straight or gay.

  • bertie

    Thanks Andrew but could they diferentiate beteen civil partnerships and marriage on moral grounds and thus not allow any couples but married ones to share a room?

    Can straight couples have a civil partnership?

  • Bertie: ref “could they diferentiate beteen civil partnerships and marriage on moral grounds and thus not allow any couples but married ones to share a room? ” Answer is no. The legislation is designed to stop such discrimination against LGB people.

    Ref “Can straight couples have a civil partnership?” Answer is yes, straight people can have a civil partnership. It’s called marriage.

  • bertie

    Thanks

    but can straights have a civil parnership that isn’t marriage?

    I don’t know a lot about this so excuse my ignorane but I thought that civil partnership didn’t have the same “conditions” for want of a better word and so a gay couple with one and a married couple would have different rights. If this is true (and correct me if I’m wrong), couldn’t a straight couple opt for this?

  • If you examime the law in detail the differences between Civil Partnerships and Marriage are minute.

  • eastbelfastloyalist

    Andrew Muir

    Excellent post at 5:19.

    It really is beyond my comprehension that anyone should give a toss what other consenting adults get up to never mind discriminate against them on the grounds of one tiny element of the totality of what makes them human beings.

  • TAFKABO

    I know of one restaurant on Botanic avenue that asked a gay couple to leave after a family group at a nearby table complained about them holding hands during a romantic meal.

    I also recall taking a taxi in Belfast only to have the driver, with bible sitting on the dashboard, launch ito a tirade against gays. He had no way of knowing whether I was gay or straight, though he soon discovered I wasn’t passive when it came to confronting homophobia. His rationale was that since becoming a christian he had found the strentgth not to physically attack homosexuals on sight, because Y’know, one of them might try to fruit you up or something….

  • bertie

    TAFKABO

    He might just have been fishing 😉

    He found the strenght not to attack homosexuals on sight through becoming a christian. Well it is progress, of a sort, I suppose.

    “because Y’know, one of them might try to fruit you up or something….”

    How rich and expressive a language we have! Make me so proud!

  • Doctor Who

    Doctoe Who, most objective historians do agree that William III was bisexual and liked boys.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/learning/william/marriage2.shtml

    I´m sorry but this link would suggest nothing of the sort. There is evidence that William liked the company of men, there is more evidence he was unfaithful to his wife with other women. There is even more historical record to suggest that William was devastated and saddened by the loss of his wife. But anyway there is a line of thought that suggests we are all bi-sexual anyway. (well apart from me)

  • harpo

    ‘The fact that the gay “accusation” is still used to batter Casement about the head shows clearly how homosexuality is seen as “bad”, “dirty” and even “treacherous” in the north.’

    circles:

    Donegal is indeed a strange place!

  • P A MagLOCHLAINN

    Dear Group,

    I am sick and tired of the lie that Casement had sex with under-age boys. I have read the Diaries in detail, especially with the help of Jeff Dudgeon’s definitive book.

    If you examine the photos in this book, you will notice (if you are a gay man) that they are all male, and all clearly well endowed. This is because Casement enjoyed being screwed, and the bigger his partner’s member the better. To put it at its most crude, under-age boys were unable to supply Casement’s needs – and therefore of absolutely no interest to him.

    Let us hear no more of this libel on Casement.

    P A MagLOCHLAINN
    President NIGRA (NI Gay Rights Association)