Equality Act (2010) Comes Into Force Today

Today marks the long-awaited launch of the Equality Act (2010).

The vast majority of the Equality Act’s provisions will come into force today. This landmark legislation strengthens, harmonises and streamlines 40 years of equality legislation, providing protection from discrimination across all the ‘protected characteristics’:  age, disability, sex (including gender reassignment), race, religion and belief, and sexual orientation.  The Equality Act affects employers and service providers and applies whatever the size of the organisation or sector you work in.

Most of the Employment, Services and Education parts of the Act come into force on 1 October and the Public Sector Equality Duty provisions are planned to come into force in April 2011.

The Equality And Human Rights Commission is providing wide-ranging support to the private, voluntary and public sectors to ensure they are fully aware of all the legal requirements. Please click here to see a video introduction to the Act from Trevor Philips and Stephen Alambritis.

The EHRC has also produced in-depth guidance for employers, employees, schools and higher and further education providers, and those providing or using services, including clubs, associations and political parties.  The Commission will also be producing guidance for students and parents, guides on housing and transport, and guidance around the Public Sector Equality Duties. To view the EHRC’s current guidance documents, please click here.

To complement the guidance, the Commission are also producing a Starter Kit giving a short, accessible summary to the Act to help you understand the essentials of the law.  It will offer simple downloadable learning modules taking you through different scenarios as an employer or service provider.

The EHRC will be laying the following draft Codes of Practice before Parliament on 11 October:  Equal Pay, Employment, and Services and Public Functions.

Two statutory consultations are also planned this autumn; first on the  Code of Practice for Further and Higher Education, which launches today, and in November they will be consulting on the Public Sector Equality Duty Codes.  The consultation on the Schools Codes is scheduled for February/March 2011.

To find out more and keep up-to-date with all information, events and guidance about the Act please visit the Equality Act area of the EHRC’s website.

U.S. Gay College Student Jumps To His Death

A New Jersey college student has leapt to his death a day after authorities said two students secretly filmed him having sex with a man and broadcast it over the internet.

Tyler Clementi’s wallet was found on the George Washington Bridge on 22 September after two witnesses saw someone jump from the structure, authorities told the AP news agency. Mr Clementi’s body was later found.

Two students have been charged with illegally filming the 18-year-old.

“Tyler was a fine young man, and a distinguished musician. The family is heartbroken beyond words,” Paul Mainardi, a lawyer for Mr Clementi’s family, said in a statement confirming the suicide.

The teenage violinist’s body was identified on Thursday after his body was found in the Hudson River a day earlier.

The footage was allegedly taken using a web camera in Mr Clementi’s dorm room at Rutgers University and broadcast live over the internet.

The two charged with filming and broadcasting the images are Mr Clementi’s room-mate, Dharun Ravi, and Molly Wei.

If convicted, the two students face up to five years in prison.

An account belonging to Mr Ravi on the microblogging website Twitter has recently been deleted. But in a recovered snapshot of the account obtained from Google, Mr Ravi wrote about an experience involving his room-mate.

“Room-mate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay,” Mr Ravi wrote on Twitter on 19 September.

Two days later Mr Ravi wrote: “Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 and 12. Yes it’s happening again.”

Gay rights organisations say Mr Clementi’s suicide is an example of a nationwide problem – young people killing themselves after being bullied over their sexuality.

Reconciling Religion, Gender & Sexuality – Case Studies Needed

Eileen Fry from the University of Derby’s Multi-Faith Centre has been involved in a European Project on Religious Diversity and Anti-Discrimination Training for the last five years and is currently helping to develop a module on “Reconciling Religion, Gender and Sexuality” (To date, this is just a working title.)

Eileen is currently trying to gather case studies which would help her to facilitate activities on reconciliation (or not as the case maybe) and exploring personal spirituality.

If you are happy to be interviewed, all anonymous of course, please get in touch with her on eileenfry@yahoo.co.uk

1.5% Figure Is Wrong, Says Gay Dating Website With 2.2 Million Members

Article below is sourced from PinkNews.co.uk. To be redirected to the original article, please click here.

Gay networking websites Gaydar and GaydarGirls say that estimates of 1.5 per cent of the population being gay or bisexual cannot be true as they have 2.2 million members in the UK.

Yesterday, the Office of National Statistics published a survey of 450,000 people – the second largest after the census – which suggested that only one per cent of British people are gay or lesbian and 0.5 per cent are bisexual.

However, the websites say their membership figures account for 6.7 per cent of the population – just above the government estimate of six per cent.

Yesterday’s figures suggested that there are approximately 480,000 gay men and lesbians and 245,000 bisexual people in Britain – 725,000 LGB people in total.

But the websites, which offer members the chance to meet for dating and sex, say 2,185,072 British men and women have registered with them.

Trevor Martin, managing director at Gaydar said; “The Office for National Statistics figures don’t add up. With 2.2 million Gaydar profiles in the UK either there are a lot of straight guys playing away from girlfriends or every single gay and lesbian in the country tunes into GaydarRadio – or the ONS have got it terribly wrong.”

The 1.5 per cent figure has already been used by some figures to question government efforts to tackle homophobia.

Mike Judge, of the Christian Institute, said: “A large amount of public money has been spent on the basis of higher figures, which have turned out to be a lie.”

Conservative MP Philip Davies added: “An awful lot of focus in diversity issues is given to people’s sexual preference and this difference is not as widespread as believed.”

Yesterday, gay lobby group Stonewall said the figures were likely to be an underestimation because many gay people may be unwilling to identify themselves as gay in a survey.

Spokeswoman Ruth Hunt said she would expect to see the figures rise as asking about sexual orientation becomes more commonplace.

In the national survey, 95 per cent of respondents said they were heterosexual.

Nearly four per cent of those asked refused to answer, said they did not know or described themselves as “other”.

Of the five per cent who did not say they were heterosexual, one per cent said they were gay or lesbian, 0.5 per cent said they were bisexual and 3.5 per cent refused to answer the question, described themselves as “other” or said they did not know.

Stonewall and the government both use a figure of six per cent of the population being lesbian, gay or bisexual, which works out at 3.6 million people.

This figure comes from 2005 research by the Department for Trade and Industry.

Other studies on sexual orientation have found that the figure varies between six and ten per cent.

Miliband’s Appointment As Labour Leader Means Two Major Parties Are Led By Gay Marriage Advocates

Article below sourced from PinkNews.co.uk – To be redirected to the original and full article, please click here.

Members of the the Labour party and affiliated trade unions together with MPs and MEPs have elected Ed Miliband as their new leader. Mr Miliband topped a poll for PinkNews.co.uk of Labour party and affiliated union members earlier this month.

The result means that both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour party have leaders who are in favour of full LGBT marriage equality. Both the Liberal Democrats and the Green party have marriage equality as offical party policy.

Ed Miliband beat his brother by 50.65 per cent to 49.35 per cent after the votes in favour of Ed Balls, Diane Abbott and Andy Burnham were redistributed. In the first round, Diane Abbott scored 7.42 per cent, Ed Balls 11.79 per cent, Andy Burnham 8.68 per cent, David Miliband 37.78 per cent and Ed Miliband with 34.33 per cent.

Earlier this month, PinkNews.co.uk published a then surprising poll result, showing that Ed Miliband was the overwhelming choice of LGBT members of the Labour party (or affiliated union) for leader of the party with 42 per cent support. Despite the support from four leading lesbian and gay MPs in an open letter to PinkNews.co.uk during the polling period, David Miliband secured the support of just 31 per cent of LGBT party members. Diane Abbott was ranked third with the support of 16 per cent, Andy Burnham seven per cent and Ed Balls last with four per cent.

Gay rights record
Ed Miliband was only elected to the House of Commons in 2005, after the equalisation of the age of consent, the abolition of Section 28 and the Civil Partnerhips Act. But he was able to vote in favour of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation Regulations) in 2007 and against two amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which sought to limit the rights of lesbians to access IVF treatment.

Pledges to the LGBT community
Writing for PinkNews.co.uk last month, Mr Miliband argued that civil partnerships were ‘not good enough’. He added: “I know that civil partnerships were a major step forward, but I also hear those who want the genuine equality of gay marriage.”

“‘Separate but equal’ is not good enough and PinkNews.co.uk’s own recent poll demonstrated the huge support in the LGBT community for a right to marry. The cruel consequence of the current compromise is trans people forced to divorce their partners before they could be legally recognised in their new gender. I want to see heterosexual and same-sex partnerships put on an equal basis and a Labour Party that I lead will campaign to make gay marriage happen.”

Mr Miliband also used the editorial to call for an end to the ban on gay men donating blood, an end to LGBT asylum seekers being sent back to countries that persecute LGBT people and for stronger laws against inciting homophobic hatred.