UK Gay humanists call for legal marriage recognition

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and transgender humanists are calling on British Members of Parliament to support an amendment to the Marriage Bill currently being discussed in the British House of Commons, that would give legal recognition to humanist marriages in England and Wales.

Straight humanist marriages are already legal in Scotland and when equal marriage is introduced in Scotland, humanist marriages will also be made legal for same-sex couples.
Adam Knowles, Chair of Galha LGBT Humanists, said, ‘Humanists have always been in the vanguard of LGBT rights and humanist celebrants in England and Wales have been conducting same sex weddings for many years. We’re really pleased that LGB religious people will soon have the choice of a legal marriage reflecting their deepest beliefs and we think that we should have the same choice and the same right. LGB non-religious people in Scotland are to be given that right by their Parliament; we are looking forward to our Parliament doing the same for us in England and Wales.’

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Gay Couple Faced Death Threats During Anti-Gay Attack

A gay male couple were walking through a South London park during the early hours of Sunday 19th May when they were viciously assaulted by a gang of men, one of the attackers saying “stay down faggot.”

Christopher Bryant, 42, along with his partner Damon Truluck, 38, were walking home across Betts Park in Penge, in the London Borough of Bromley, when six men approached them. “We saw them too late to get away. We ran, and I was getting away, but they caught Damon, my partner, and so I doubled back. I tried to get them off him, and that’s when they thumped me to the ground.“ Mr Bryant told local media.

“When I looked up to see if he was ok one of them kicked me in the face, and said ‘stay down faggot’. Every time I looked up to see what was happening to Damon they either thumped or kicked me, and said ‘don’t try anything’. They went through my pockets and took my wallet and phone. But they kept hitting. Before they ran off they pushed us together and told us to stay still for 5 minutes or they’d kill us.”

The vicious assault took place not long after midnight, just hours after Mr Bryant had celebrated his 42nd birthday. The attack has left both men bruised and battered with Truluck also having injuries to his back and hip, finding it difficult to walk.

In a cruel ironic twist, before this anti-gay attack both men were raising awareness of Friday’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia through online magazine

London’s Metropolitan police are investigating the incident but so far no arrests have been made.

Gay Teen Tortured to Death

Raymond Buys looked a picture of health and vitality before being sent by his parents to The Echo Wild Game Rangers training course, to  “Make him a better man, to give him a better future”  on 12th January 2011.  Less than ten weeks later the 15 year old was in hospital,  severely malnourished, dehydrated, his arm was broken in two places and there were cigarette burns and wounds all over his body. 

He was put on life support in intensive care just two months into the three-month course at the bush camp an hour away from Johannesburg, South Africa.  He was so badly injured his mother was told by the doctors the chances of his survival were ‘Virtually Zero’.   Raymond Buys lay for four weeks in intensive care before he died.

‘I sent my son on this course to make him a better man, to give him a better future,’ Raymond’s mother, Wilma told The Daily Telegraph. ‘I trusted Alex de Koker with his life.’   Mrs Buys explained how her son had been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and was struggling at school and that the course run by Alex de Koker, had been recommended to her by a friend.  Mr de Koker, promised her he could help, that he could find her son a job in the wildlife trade.  

During the first two months of her son’s placement at the camp, she says she spoke to Raymond just three times – and was told by Mr de Koker that he was self-harming.   “Raymond was only allowed to speak to me on speakerphone,” she said. “When I asked him why he was hurting himself, he told me ‘Mum, I’m not doing it to myself’.”  

Mr de Koker called Mrs Buys on 23rd March and informed her that Raymond had been admitted to hospital for tests. When she arrived at the hospital, she found that he was dying.

Alex de Koker, 49, The Echo Wild Game Rangers ‘General’ and employee Michael Erasmus, 20, are on trial for charges of murder, child abuse and neglect, along with two cases of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm in relation to Raymond  Buys’ death.

Last week, the Vereeniging District Court heard the harrowing testimony of a boy who had shared a tent with Raymond Buys.  Gerhard Oostuizen, 19, claims Buys was chained to his bed every night, was refused permission to visit the toilet and on one occasion was forced to eat his own faeces.  On another occasion Oosthuizen said, that after Mr Buys tipped over a container of washing powder, he was forced to eat what he had spilled and vomited foam.

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One Year Lived – Adam Shepard Interview

Jason Shaw caught up with author, motivational speaker and the world’s slowest bartender to learn more about his new book – One Year Lived, which documents his adventures on an amazing journey of discovery…..

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to feel the wind in your hair, be free and  take off for a year to travel the world?  No fixed itinerary set in stone, no restrictions on the time you could spend in one particular place before moving on to the next destination, or the things that you do there?   Imagine that freedom and that excitement, wouldn’t that be one awfully big adventure.

From late 2011 to late 2012 that is exactly what author, motivational speaker and the Worlds slowest bar-tender, Adam Shepard did.  Yes, he packed up a backpack with the bare basic essentials and after saving up for a while he set off on one of life’s massive adventures,  during which he visited seventeen countries on four continents and remarkably he spent less that it would have cost him to stay at home.


In Australia he hugged a koala, in Slovakia, he bungee jumped off a bridge, in the Philippines  e went wake-boarding   but it wasn’t all relaxation and pleasure. Shepard also dug wells in Nicaragua to install pumps for clean water and in Honduras he served with an organisation that helps to improved the lives of poor children.



Shepard is no stranger to adventure,  even before this epic journey around the world, just three years earlier he made national headlines for taking a year to test the viability of the American Dream.  With just $25 in his pocket, he boarded a train and headed to Charleston, SC.  Where he lived in a homeless shelter for seventy days. He took odd jobs until he managed to find a full-time job, eventually earning enough money to buy a pick-up truck and a furnished apartment. He wrote about his experiences in the book Scratch Beginnings, which garnered a lot of publicity and interesting in the media, being featured on the Today Show, CNN, FOX along with many other publications.”


This time the handsome man from North Carolina has written with a passion and a refreshing view on his travels in the book One Year Lived,  published on 18th April.  Shepard hopes his story of an epic adventure will spur on young American’s to really become global citizens and travel beyond America’s shores.   “In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Europe, it’s normal for people to pack a bag, buy a plane ticket, and get ‘Out There.” Shepard says, “But in the U.S., though, we live with this very stiff paradigm—graduate college, work, find a spouse, make babies, work some more, retire—which can be a great existence, but we leave little room to load up a backpack and dip into various cultures, to see places, to really develop our own identity.


I recently caught up with Adam to find learn more his book One Year Lived and his epic adventure,  I started by asking him if the prospect of spending a year away from home comforts, family and friends was at all scary or daunting? 


“The prospect of being away was not daunting or scary, because I knew that home was waiting on the back end. I didn’t think twice about what I was giving up (career, etc.) by leaving, because I knew that this experience would supersede what I was skipping out on.”


“The toughest parts of this journey were leaving places where I had spent a month or more, where I had developed friendships with people. I likely won’t ever see any of them again in my life, and I knew that as I left the place. “


“My mom? Dad? Matt? Korey? I knew I would see them again. Beatríz (my home stay mom) in Antigua, Guatemala? Likely not.”


During this journey of discovery, you’ve visited so many places,  experienced so many different things,  are there any that really surprised you?


“Many things opened my eyes. The three biggest things that surprised me were:

How far an American dollar goes abroad. I took this trip when we were still “in a recession” but in many countries I went to (Central America and Asia especially), I was still able to do a lot on a little.

How unrestricted many countries are. A lot of things you see abroad would never fly in the States. High alcohol-content liquors (absinthe, for example) are normal in Europe. In the Philippines, cockfighting is a staple. In Thailand, you can just go to the firing range and rent an AK-47 while drinking your beverage of choice.

That it took me four months to get robbed. “


That sounds nasty and could have been a real disaster?


“Getting robbed in Nicaragua could have been a lot worse. They got me for a couple hundred cash and my ATM card, but if I would have lost my emergency credit card, too, and my passport, my journey would have been devastatingly stalled for a good amount of time.”

How far out of your comfort zone did you go?


“The trip itself was not far out of my comfort zone. I always knew I wanted to take a trip like this; it was just a matter of timing and affordability.”


“But the challenge I laid for myself was to make sure I didn’t leave any experience undone. I knew that I had the opportunity to live a pretty unique year, and I made sure I was front and center whenever there was a volcano to climb or corral to explore.”


“The best example is with the volunteering I did. I believe in giving back, but I’ve done this with a few hours at a time or writing a check to my college. But for my trip around the world, one-third of the year was dedicated to service, namely on two projects: working with a vacation activities program for children in Honduras and digging for clean water pumps for the native Miskito people of Nicaragua.”


“The most wonderful experiences of my year involved volunteering in Honduras and Nicaragua, and as such, one can say that the best times for me came when I stepped outside of the box of what my life had previously been.”


Where there any scary moments during the trip?


There are many different ways you can save up for a Nissan. I’ve been saving $50 out of every paycheck in order to afford a used one in shorter time. I think that the Car Dealership In Palm Springs is one of the best Nissan models available on the market today. I first discovered the Rogue when I realized that I would be needing a much bigger car than I had (which was a two door coup). I had recently had children and so of course, a bigger car seemed like it would be appropriate. I had seen an awesome ad on Nissan Dealer Riverside for the Rogue, as well as a beautiful 2011 Xterra In Redlands. The Rogue is both stylish and completely efficient, and to top it off it really wasn’t all that expensive either. I recently bought a new home in California and had to do a bit of research on dealerships available after visiting most of them in person, two that stood out included Puente Hills and Nissan Los Angeles. I have heard about both of these before from friends I made after moving, and both came strongly recommended. Although I have heard a lot more great things about Puente Hills, I suppose that either of them could have done the job right. I did end up purchasing my car from the Los Angeles dealership, but appreciated the inventory and specials that were offered at the Puente Hills dealership. At the dealership in Los Angeles, the staff was extremely friendly and welcoming and made sure that I was completely comfortable with my purchase before going forward. Of course I strongly appreciated this approach rather than the rush to get your signature and your money policy some dealerships operated on. The sales-people really seemed interested in learning what exactly I was looking for and always kept my price range in mind. This was also important considering how often I have had to deal with dealership people pushing higher priced cars on me and trying to negotiate for half an hour just to get the same answer everytime. I decided to purchase the car that looked right for me, and that was a brand new 2012 Nissan Rogue. I think that in the long run it will be a very smart choice. The Nissan Rogue is for sure one of the best cars you can drive on the market today. Go with whatever your heart tells you is right – and as long as it is a Nissan, you can’t go wrong.


Queen and gay rights…..

Queen Elizabeth of England

The Queen’s signing of Commonwealth anti-discrimination charter ‘is not a fight for gay rights, it’s a vague whisper’. Photograph: Pool/Reuters
Queen fights for gay rights, declared the Mail on Sunday‘s front page yesterday – a headline so jarring and implausible as to provoke a number of grave questions for middle England. Chiefly: whatever next? Queen stands as Labour councillor? Queen does the Harlem Shake?
My heart quickened somewhat, enlivened by the prospect of a glorious future for human rights. We extremists, who believe gay people should not be tortured or persecuted, shall be granted a new comrade: the supreme governor of the Church of England, the head of the Commonwealth, the Queen of more than a dozen countries. And then I read the detail.
Her “historic pledge to promote gay rights” as the paper put it (or “historic step forward” as Stonewall’s Ben Summerskill had it), will comprise her signing a new Commonwealth charter, which states:

“We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”

Fighting for gay rights? The Queen won’t even mention them. She dare not speak our name – that is, if you believe she is even referring to gay people; if you buy the newspaper’s inference that “other grounds” denotes an “implicit support of gay rights”.
Let us assume it does mean that, and that Stonewall’s assumption is correct. How does keeping ma’am about a minority help? Jesus never mentioned homosexuality – has that dissuaded many of his followers that “love thy neighbour” does not in fact mean: “as long as his partner’s not called Steve”?
No, to refrain from specification is to collude with silence, the Grand Pause that keeps lesbians and gay men invisible, suffocating in marriages of inconvenience or trapped in police cells. The hush of polite conversation is the rusty mattock of a millennium’s oppression. By contrast, in the west, the one tool that started prising open the chamber of horrors in which LGBT people lived, was the simple self-expression of coming out, of specifying, of stating our innate being aloud.
And according to a Palace spokesman, the charter’s words are not even the monarch’s: “In this charter, the Queen is endorsing a decision taken by the Commonwealth… The Queen does not take a personal view on these issues. The Queen’s position is apolitical.”
This article continues on The Guardian.

Carly Rae Jepson Cancels Boy Scout Gig

“As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer”

Carly Rae Jepsen


Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen has pulled out of a concert organised by the Boy Scouts Of America, citing the organisation’s stance on gay rights.

The Canadian star was due to play at the Jamboree event in July.

Carly Rae Jepson Cancels Boy Scout Gig

“As an artist who believes in equality for all people, I will not be participating in the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree this summer”

Carly Rae Jepsen


Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen has pulled out of a concert organised by the Boy Scouts Of America, citing the organisation’s stance on gay rights.

The Canadian star was due to play at the Jamboree event in July.

Sydney Police Under Investigation For Anti-Gay Brutality

The police in Australia’s most famous city and favourite destination for hundreds of thousands of gay holiday makers are under investigation for vicious and violent treatment of a gay man at this years famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.  The incident,  one of many reported at this years celebration was captured on video by shocked onlookers and shared on social media. 

The video, filmed at the weekend shows Jamie Jackson, 18, being forced down heavily by a police officer who then presses his foot down on Jackson’s back. It shows Jackson, who appears to have previously sustained a head injury, sobbing on the pavement. It isn’t yet known if the police caused the head injury or if this was sustained prior to police contact. However,  a female voice on the on the amateur video describes what happened before the footage began: “This [officer] here grabbed his throat and smashed his skull on the pavement.” Another woman says: “They just slammed his head. There’s blood all over the ground.”
It’s not clear from the footage what prompted Jackson’s arrest but police will allege in court that he used offensive language, assaulted a police officer and resisted arrest. The video clearly shows that no resistance from Jackson was evident.  
Jackson’s father told News Limited media that he was “shaken” by the footage which showed his son being “thrown around like a rag doll”. “I had no idea about it until this morning when I got a text at 7am saying ‘Oh my god, Jamie is on TV,” he said. “He’s not a big boy … and seeing him being thrown around like a rag doll and [police] stepping on him too … I’m still a bit shaken up by it.” 
“Whatever happened before [the footage started] he shouldn’t have been thrown like that, it’s just dangerous.”
The video prompted calls on social media for an independent investigation into the conduct of police at the Mardi Gras event, which attracts tens of thousands of spectators and participants each year. 
The New South Wales assistant police commissioner, Mark Murdoch, said the video only captured a few minutes and more would be revealed by an internal investigation. “What we have see is but one small part of what is clearly a much larger incident,” he said. 
“This is a matter that the New South Wales police is taking very seriously. We are not a third world organisation. We are in the biz of policing by consent with the support of that [gay and lesbian] community.”
The co-chair of the Mardi Gras, Peter Urmson, said the footage was “disgusting” and welcomed the investigation. “Mardi Gras was born out of police brutality 35 years ago and it’s ironic that that night was celebration how far we’ve come as a community working together with other parts of the community. I now kind of wonder, how far have we really come?” he said.  “Certainly the gay and lesbian community is up in arms about it.”

Recently there have been many comments surrounding over zealous, officious, rude and aggressive policing at Mardi Gras and gay venues around the city.      

Police said a second incident happened an hour and a half after the first in which they allege a man assaulted police. He was also charged.

This year’s Mardi Gras marked 35 years since the event’s inception, when a group of 2,000 protesters clashed with police. The parade is now the centrepiece of one of the largest gay and lesbian festivals in the world as well as one of the biggest income generating events for the state of New South Wales. Despite this wonderful accolade and crucial cash injection to the country’s finances, the Australian premier, Ms Gillard, is known to want an end to Mardi Gras and has asked political allies to investigate the possibility.

Two London Uni’s Face Student Backlash

Students at one of London’s premier universities ‘King’s College London’ are actively campaigning to have the photo of the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey removed from a display of famous alumni, due to his deeply homophobic attitudes and statements.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury studied at the college and graduated in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) 2:1 degree after which he was ordained.

According to various local media reports, the King’s College Student Union have described Lord Carey’s recent comments against equal marriage as “outdated, hurtful and offensive”.

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