Church Told – Employ LGB&T People!

Churches in Britain could be forced to hire LGB&T people against the tenets of their faith when employing staff under planned Labour equality laws.
The new Equality Bill could require them to take on candidates who do not fit in with their religious doctrine when recruiting key staff such as faith school headteachers or youth workers.

At the moment, organised religions have a special status that lets them turn down applicants whose lifestyles conflict with the churches’ beliefs, even if they are otherwise well qualified for the job. But religious leaders are concerned the proposed law will restrict their ability to employ lay people who share their values.

The Bill – introduced by Equality Minister Harriet Harman in the Commons last year – is being debated in the Lords today.
Churches and mosques are allowed to reject candidates for jobs as ministers or priests if they are actively gay, if they have changed their sex or are women.

US army ban on homosexuals is ruled unconstitutional

The battle for the equal treatment of gays and lesbians in the United States received a boost yesterday after a judge in California struck down as unconstitutional the Clinton-era “don’t-ask, don’t-tell” policy banning homosexuals from serving in the military.

After presiding at a trial in July, Judge Virginia Phillips yesterday concluded that the ban was harmful to gays in the military. “The Act denies them the right to speak about their loved ones while serving their country in uniform,” she wrote.

She granted a nationwide injunction against the policy – although that will not be implemented immediately so as to allow the government to consider and comment on the case.

The action was brought by the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay-rights advocacy group. “We are delighted with the court’s ruling in favour of Log Cabin Republicans in this important case,” said its lawyer, Dan Woods.

And Aubrey Sarvis, the executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that has also lobbied Congress to end the ban, said: “It could well be the catalyst that is needed to drop some of the opposition we’ve seen.”

But supporters of the ban voiced their disgust. “It is hard to believe a district court judge in California knows more about what impacts military readiness than the service chiefs,” said Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

Gay-rights activists were hoping last night that even if implementation of the injunction is delayed, the ruling will reinvigorate efforts to pass the legislation in the Senate.

The court’s decision is the latest in a small series of victories for the gay-rights lobby, which is accustomed to periods of success being quickly followed by bouts of disappointment.

Last month, the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved measure banning same-sex marriage in the state. And earlier in the summer, a Boston judge declared the Defence of Marriage Act illegal. It was passed by Congress during the presidency of George W Bush and it denied federal rights to same-sex couples, even if they lived in a state which allowed them to wed.

Both cases are now expected to go to the US Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama earlier this year asked the US Congress to end the ban, which makes it impossible for members of the military to own up to their sexuality or conduct open relationships.

He received the conditional backing of the Defense Secretary Robert Gates. But while the House of Representatives approved legislation to end the policy, the bill has hit a roadblock in the Senate and any progress was clearly in jeopardy, not least with the prospect that Republicans may regain control of Congress in November.

September 11, 2010, By David Usborne, US Editor, The Independent

New Trans Social Group in Leicester

Tonia Frew – Transexual Community Development Officer for Leicester LGB&T Centre has developed.

The Leicestershire and Rutland Transsexual Support Group which aims to offer advice and guidance to all pre or post operative Transsexual people throughout Leicestershire and Rutland.

The group will hold its first meeting on Sunday 22nd August from 2pm until 6pm at the Leicester LGB&T Centre and will meet on alternate Sundays from then on.

The main focus of the group will be advice, guidance and support for the trans community and will cover topics such as sexuality, gender identity, legislation, the transition process, make-up and styling advice, gender reassignment surgery and feminisation/masculinisation surgery. The LLGB&T Centre also provides a counselling service for those people requiring extra support.

For more information, contact Tonia Frew at Leicester LGB&T Centre by phone on 0116 254 7412 or by e-mail at tonia@llgbc.com

New Hate Crime Reporting Surgery in Derby

Derbyshire Friend is now hosting a regular hate crime reporting surgery in-house at the LGB&T Pavilion Centre. The surgery has been developed by PCSO Elaine Porter of Derby City’s Safer Neighbourhoods Team and is running on the 1st Tuesday and Thursday of every month from 6.30pm until 7.30pm. No appointment is needed.

This surgery was developed in order to both increase awareness around what constitutes a hate crime and therefore increase hate crime reporting figures within LGB&T communities and develop stronger links between the police and these communities. Everybody is welcome to attend these drop-in surgeries to report or discuss a hate crime with PCSO Porter and/or another Derbyshire Constabulary officer who will offer any support possible. Specialist staff from Derbyshire Friend will also be at hand to offer additional support where necessary.

The next surgeries are running on Tues 5th and Thurs 7th October – 6.30pm-7.30pm.

For more information about our hate crime reporting surgeries or to request posters advertising our surgeries, please contact Derbyshire Friend by phone on 01332 207704 or by e-mail at info@gayderbyshire.org.uk

Health & Relationship Survey

One of the ways that members of LGB&T communities can help ensure more appropriate service provision for themselves and others is to take part in research projects to enable statistics and evidence to be gathered about individual experiences. This can then be used to support better and, if appropriate, targeted service provision. If you have time why not take part in the following survey. See the link below

https://helpdesk.glam.ac.uk/UltimateSurvey/takeSurvey.asp?surveyID=83