Thursday, March 31, 2011

Schoolboy, 15, jumped to his death after rumours he was gay

A Gloucestershire teenager jumped to his death after rumours circulated that he was gay, an inquest has heard.

Dominic Crouch, 15, a pupil at St Edwards School in Cheltenham, threw himself from a six-storey block of flats last May after returning from a school trip.

An inquest in Cheltenham heard that pupils played spin the bottle on the four-day art trip and there were rumours that Dominic had kissed a boy.

His parents said he appeared happy when he returned from the trip but just days later, he left school at lunchtime to go to the block of flats where he got to the roof via a trapdoor.

Notes were found in his pockets apologising to his parents.

According to Metro, Dominic’s father Roger said after the inquest: “Dominic was clearly upset about rumours that he believed were being spread about him. We need to realise that what may be a laugh to some young people are deeply upsetting to another.”

Coroner Tom Osbourn said there was no evidence that the game of spin the bottle had affected Dominic to the extent that he would want to kill himself.

A verdict of suicide was recorded.

Dominic’s family are raising money in his name for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund which supports children in South Africa.

Schoolboy, 15, jumped to his death after rumours he was gay

A Gloucestershire teenager jumped to his death after rumours circulated that he was gay, an inquest has heard.

Dominic Crouch, 15, a pupil at St Edwards School in Cheltenham, threw himself from a six-storey block of flats last May after returning from a school trip.

An inquest in Cheltenham heard that pupils played spin the bottle on the four-day art trip and there were rumours that Dominic had kissed a boy.

His parents said he appeared happy when he returned from the trip but just days later, he left school at lunchtime to go to the block of flats where he got to the roof via a trapdoor.

Notes were found in his pockets apologising to his parents.

According to Metro, Dominic’s father Roger said after the inquest: “Dominic was clearly upset about rumours that he believed were being spread about him. We need to realise that what may be a laugh to some young people are deeply upsetting to another.”

Coroner Tom Osbourn said there was no evidence that the game of spin the bottle had affected Dominic to the extent that he would want to kill himself.

A verdict of suicide was recorded.

Dominic’s family are raising money in his name for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund which supports children in South Africa.

UK civil partnerships consultation opens

A government consultation on the future of UK civil partnerships opens today.

Interested parties are being asked to give their views on ceremonies being permitted in religious buildings, if faiths wish to hold them.

Currently, civil partnerships cannot contain any religious elements. However, faiths such as the Quakers, Unitarian Church and Liberal Judaism have said they want the right to perform the ceremonies.

A provision was included in the Equality Act to allow this and coalition government ministers are now working out how the change can be implemented.

In a written ministerial statement, equality minister Lynne Featherstone said that faith groups would have to agree whether to hold the ceremonies. Individual premises would then have to apply for approval from their local authority.

She said the proposals were “designed to respect the wishes of faith groups whether they wish to host civil partnership registrations or not, and to keep burdens on local authorities to a minimum”.

Churches will not be forced to hold civil partnerships, a clause in the Equality Act stresses. The provision and proposals to widen the definition of marriage apply only to England and Wales. The governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland will consider these issues separately.

Legislative changes are required for religious civil partnerships but it is understood that the law could change by the end of the year. The measure has already been approved by MPs and Lords.

Ministers said last month that a separate consultation will be held on marriage equality.

Gay rights campaigners say the current civil partnerships system is discriminatory and claim that many gay couples would prefer the right to marry.

It is understood that the government’s preferred option is to eventually open civil marriage and civil partnerships to all couples, whether straight or gay.

Last February, the leader of the Liberal Democrats and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg wrote on “I support gay marriage. Love is the same, straight or gay, so the civil institution should be the same, too. All couples should be able to make that commitment to one another.”

Marriage equality was later adopted as official party policy.

Louis Theroux returns to anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church

Four years after his documentary on the notorious Westboro Baptist Church, Louis Theroux revisits the homophobic Kansas cult to see what has changed.

When the presenter first visited the 80-member family church in 2007, viewers were shocked at its beliefs and the use of young children in roadside pickets.

The church, which claims the death of soldiers is a sign of God’s wrath against homosexuality, is best known for picketing troops’ funerals with the chant ‘God Hates Fags’.

It continues to dominate headlines by upsetting mourners and condemning AIDS victims and its antics have resulted in members being barred from entering the UK.

But in a BBC Two programme to be screened on Sunday, Theroux finds the church has been shaken by a series of family defections and a Supreme Court struggle over free speech rights.

He discovers that members’ beliefs have become more extreme, including the assertions that President Obama is the ‘beast’ in the Book Of Revelation and that the second coming of Jesus is imminent.

Theroux, whose first film has been viewed by church members, is now reviled by them as “evil” for apparently mocking true Christianity.

However, they are keen to exploit the publicity he gives them and even present him with his own ‘Louis in Hell’ placard as a gift.

‘Louis Theroux – America’s Most Hated Family In Crisis’ will be shown on Sunday at 9pm on BBC Two.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

REMINDER: Tony Perkins Is A Racist

I mentioned Family Research Council leader Tony Perkins' racist history and affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan a couple of years ago, but this bears repeating for those that missed it.
In 1996, while managing the U.S. Senate campaign of Woody Jenkins against Mary Landrieu, Perkins paid $82,500 to use the mailing list of former Klan chieftain David Duke. The campaign was fined $3,000 (reduced from $82,500) after Perkins and Jenkins filed false disclosure forms in a bid to hide their link to Duke. Five years later, on May 17, 2001, Perkins gave a speech to the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), a white supremacist group that has described black people as a “retrograde species of humanity.” Perkins claimed not to know the group’s ideology at the time, but it had been widely publicized in Louisiana and the nation, because in 1999 — two years before Perkins’ speech to the CCC — Republican House Speaker Trent Lott had been embroiled in a national scandal over his ties to the group. GOP chairman Jim Nicholson then urged Republicans to avoid the CCC because of its “racist views.” The Duke incident surfaced again in local press in 2002, when Perkins ran for the Republican nomination for the Senate, dooming his campaign to a fourth-place finish in the primaries.
This is the same man now regularly invited to make anti-gay testimonies before Congress. This is the same man now regularly invited to spew his bigotry on national news networks. This is the same man who almost every day emails his millions of followers about the evil of homosexuality.

Quote Of The Day - Randy Thomasson

"This shows that you cannot trust the Democrat legislators, the homosexual agenda people at all, and you cannot trust the teachers unions -- the California Teachers Association and the California Federation of Teachers boldly and brashly supported this bill in committee. They want children in the classrooms statewide to be taught that they can be homosexual or bisexual or transsexual -- or they ought to be -- and that they'll enjoy it." - Save California spokesbigot Randy Thomasson, responding to a bill that requires that LGBT people be depicted positively in public school textbooks.

The bill, sponsored by openly gay state Sen. Mark Leno, advanced out of a Senate committee last week.

HomoQuotable - Dan Savage

"I'm against making people feel uncomfortable or unsafe in their own homes. Even bigots. And staging protests outside people's homes is a tactic usually employed by rightwing anti-abortion activists and the KKK back in the day. I don't think this is a tactic that gay rights movement should endorse or adopt.

"To bring this down to a personal level: I say a lot of shit that pisses off the religious right. I don't want rightwing anti-gay haters turning up on the sidewalk outside my house, annoying my neighbors, and, most importantly, making my son feel unsafe in his own home. (Honestly sometimes I'm surprised that they haven't; I'd even go so far to express my gratitude—yes, to the haters—that they haven't.) Protesting outside people's homes? I don't think they should do that to us, any of us, and I don't think we should do that to them, any of them. Not Tony, not Maggie, not these florists." - Dan Savage, responding to the protest outside of the home of an anti-gay Canadian florist.

Shadow health minister Diane Abbott attacks cuts to HIV funding

Shadow health minister Diane Abbott has claimed that changes to funding for London HIV services will “threaten and marginalise” gay and bisexual people.

Last week, reported that HIV charities in the capital had been told that the NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) which help to fund their work would be slashing their budgets by 43 per cent.

This came after new figures which showed that gay and bisexual HIV diagnoses had risen 70 per cent in the last decade.

Groups including GMFA, Terrence Higgins Trust and PACE were told that although 21 PCTs in London wish to continue the work, only six-month contracts with reduced funding can be offered at present because PCTs are “not able to continue to commit at commensurate financial levels going forward”.

The charities use the funds for a range of HIV prevention initiatives, such as support websites and meetings.

Ms Abbott said: “These cuts will turn back the clock on HIV prevention work.

“David Cameron’s Big Society does not seem to include those people at risk from HIV. Whilst HIV is relevant to every member of the public, it does disproportionately affect particular groups in the UK, and it is right that our attention and resources respond appropriately.

“To threaten and marginalise Britain’s gay and bisexual communities with these savage cuts, without any kind of impact assessment, is appalling.”

Ms Abbott told Gaydar Radio that she would raise the issue in parliament.

On Sunday, gay singer Elton John, who has an HIV/AIDS charity, said he was due to meet prime minister David Cameron to discuss how infection rates could be tackled.

Speaking to last week, HIV charity bosses said they feared the funding changes would lead to more HIV infections.

Carl Burnell, the chief executive of GMFA, said: “On the day that we see HIV rates are rising on a local and national scale, this is not the time to be cutting HIV prevention work.

“Ultimately, it doesn’t even save money. It costs £300,000 to treat a person with HIV over their lifetime. This could prove more expensive for the state.”

Tim Franks, the chief executive of PACE, said: “I’m extremely concerned. Cutting prevention work doesn’t save money. Everybody understands that when you’re looking at an incurable illness which requires long-term treatment, it is much, much better to prevent it.”

Mark Creelman, joint director of strategy for the Inner North West London PCTs said: “We have offered six-month fixed term contracts to our HIV prevention providers. These contracts will ensure there is no gap in HIV prevention while a public health needs assessment and programme is redesigned and undertaken. All providers and service users will be part of the design programme, which we anticipate will be in place from October 1st.

Gay footballer Anton Hysen: ‘Players in the closet should give me a call’

Swedish footballer Anton Hysen has urged other players stuck in the closet to “give him a call”.

The Utsiktens BK player came out this month, making him the first Swedish footballer to declare he is gay.

After Justin Fashanu, who killed himself in 1998, Hysen is only the second high-level player in the world to come out.

Speaking to the Guardian, the 20-year-old said he didn’t feel pressure to be a role model but wanted to help other people be honest about their sexuality.

He said: “There’s nothing to be a role model for – you’re gay, it’s not a big thing. People tell me I’m a celebrity now, and I shouldn’t be.

“But as long as it helps [others by speaking openly], I’ll do everything I can. If there’s anyone afraid of coming out they should give me a call.”

Hysen, the son of former Liverpool player Glenn Hysen, came out in an interview with Offside magazine.

He told the publication he was shocked that he was the first player to come out, saying: “It is completely strange, isn’t it? It’s all f**ked up. Where the hell are all the others? No one is coming out.”

The footballer told the Guardian he had enjoyed an overwhelmingly positive reaction to coming out, having received just one offensive letter from a fan.

He said: “Everyone has been very positive. I was on the train last weekend and this girl said: ‘You’ve made the world a better place, thank you for being there for everyone,’ and I haven’t done anything,”

“But when you think about it, you kinda have. Obviously I haven’t been playing in the top league but I’m still going for it, and I’m still the only active player who has come out, so of course it’s huge.”

He said his teammates took the news well and added that he was not offended by locker room jokes.

“Everyone is positive. Everyone. Who cares about a gay joke? I do it too. I joke about myself,” he said.

Study says gays and lesbians are still stereotyped in films

Gays and lesbians are too frequently stereotyped or shown in a negative light in films, a survey suggests.

According to research by the UK Film Council, lesbians are often shown as male fantasies and gay men are depicted too frequently as camp.

Seventy-per cent of the 1,705 people surveyed by Harris Interactive said that films tend to focus on gay people having problems rather than being everyday people.

And 63 per cent said that gay characters are too often defined by their sexual orientation.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual respondents tended to be more critical of their depiction in films, with 80 per cent saying that gay characters seemed to be defined by the fact they are gay.

Sixty-five per cent of LGB respondents said gay characters tended to meet tragic ends and 70 per cent said they often seemed to appear as a token gesture.

Almost four-firths said gay men were shown too frequently as being camp.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of LGB people criticised how lesbians were portrayed, with 64 per cent saying they appeared as male fantasies and 63 per cent saying they were shown as sexually aggressive.

Mary FitzPatrick, head of diversity at the UK Film Council, said: “Film remains one of the most popular pastimes for people in the UK and this research highlights the often overlooked views, opinions and needs of the diverse groups that make up an important part of the film industry’s audience. Film has the ability to change behaviour and shift opinion, so we in the Industry all have a responsibility to ensure that these findings are not ignored.”

Andrew Pierce, a journalist at the Daily Mail and supporter of the research, who is gay, commented: “This research demonstrates just how powerful film can be in changing the views of people in society. And what is just as powerful is how it clearly shows that film roles for gay people are helping to perpetuate stereotypes.

“It is essential these findings are given the attention they deserve and that changes are put in place to ensure we include diverse groups in film, which will help to help overcome outmoded and misguided attitudes towards gay people”.

US schools warned to stop censoring gay websites

American schools have been warned to stop censoring educational lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender websites.

The American Civil Liberties Union has written to school districts in Missouri and Michigan to warn that filtering such sites violates the constitution.

School districts in ten other states have been asked to clarify their internet policies.

The ACLU won a legal case against two Tennessee school districts in 2009 over the issue but says it is still receiving a steady stream of complaints from students in other states who are unable to view LGBT support websites.

Joshua Block, a staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project, said: “Blocking these sites not only discriminates against LGBT viewpoints, but can deny LGBT students in crisis a much-needed lifeline for support.”

The ACLU says that blocking the sites violates First Amendment rights to free speech, as well as the Equal Access Act, which requires equal access to school resources for all extracurricular clubs.

ACLU attorneys say that school policies mean that vulnerable LGBT students may have no way of accessing the support they need, if they are unable to view information at home.

Some schools apparently block support websites like the Gay-Straight Alliance Network and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network but allow students to view websites aimed at attempting to ‘turn’ gay people straight.

Last month, the ACLU began a ‘Don’t Filter Me’ campaign which asked students to report schools which block gay support websites.

Student Nick Rinehart of Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan, said: “I couldn’t believe my school would block access to perfectly legitimate websites just because they were about LGBT issues. It’s not fair for the school to try to keep students in the dark about LGBT resources.”

Molly Mendenhall, of Oak Park High School in Kansas City, Missouri, added: “This is legitimate information that we need to know about. We need access to these sites to run our school clubs, to support each other and to understand current events. Schools shouldn’t be putting limits on our education.”

The ACLU says it has given schools until April 4th to respond to its letters.

US gay and lesbian military group launches magazine

The first magazine for gay and lesbian troops has been launched in the US.

OutServe is currently available online, although publishers say the next issue will be in print.

The magazine is published by the OutServe support network, which began last year to help serving gay and lesbian troops.

OutServe has around 2,900 members in more than 40 chapters.

The first edition of the magazine was put together with just four volunteers but editor J Mills said the next issue would be larger.

Mr Mills, who is serving in the Air Force and asked for his first name to be kept secret, said he hoped the publication would eventually be available in military bases.

He told ABC News: “The magazine really is a grassroots efforts by our own people to reach out and support our own.

“It just helps us get our message out and helps people to see that this is no big deal. Full implementation is right around the corner, and we think it’s a great thing to get this out sooner rather than later.”

Teacher accused of seducing pupils denies being a lesbian

A drama teacher accused of having sexual relationships with two former pupils has said she is not a lesbian.

Caroline French, 38, of Darlington, is said to have groomed a 13-year-old student who was being bullied by giving her cigarettes and alcohol.

She is accused of having a sexual relationship with the Blackpool secondary school pupil between 2002 and 2004.

Ms French is also accused of having a sexual relationship with another female pupil at a different school in Blackpool later in 2004.

The 16-year-old girl moved into Ms French’s home when she was a sixth-form student and changed her surname to French by deed poll.

Preston crown court heard that a relationship lasted three years.

Ms French admits the girl moved in with her but said her mother had consented and that there was no sexual relationship.

She said the teenager was “troubled” and took her name because she felt part of Ms French’s family.

Another former pupil and a teacher have claimed that Ms French told them she was a lesbian.

Ms French claims that they and the two girls are lying and that she is not gay.

She denies three acts of indecent assault and one count of indecency with a child.

Maltese trans man wins right to be recognised as male

A transgender man in Malta has won the right to have his birth certificate changed to ‘male’.

The 26-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was born female but said he had always felt and acted like a man.

He has had gender reassignment surgery abroad. Malta insists that trans men and women must have ‘irreversible’ surgery in order to change gender.

Mr Justice Joseph Azzopardi granted his request to change his birth certificate and his name and ordered the public registry to make the changes.

The case follows a transgender woman’s struggle to be allowed to marry.

Joanne Cassar has won and lost her battle at various levels of the Maltese court system since 2004.

The Director of Public Registry has denied her requests and claims that gender identity laws were created to protect trans people’s privacy, rather than giving them state recognition

Gay rights group wants military gay ban to end immediately

A gay Republican group has filed an appeal to end the US ban on openly gay soldiers immediately.

The Log Cabin Republicans filed their brief in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco yesterday.

They said that keeping the ban in place after President Barack Obama signed an order to repeal it is “absurd”.

The group argues that it is unconstitutional for Congress to allow the military to keep the ban while it trains troops to deal with the change after lawmakers have repealed the policy.

President Obama pledged to repeal the 1993 law in his 2008 election campaign but was criticised by gay groups for being slow to act.

In December, the US Senate finally voted to repeal the 17-year ban, which is known as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ because it requires gay and lesbian troops to keep their sexuality secret.

However, it will not be lifted until the Pentagon certifies that military readiness will not be harmed by the change.

Following this certification, 60 days must pass before repeal officially takes place.

More than 13,500 troops have been fired under the law since 1993.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Red Muscle Tank

Red Muscle Tank

Big Muscles

Big Muscles

The Rock

The Rock

Matthew Paetz

Matthew Paetz

Wet Shirt and speedos

Wet Shirt and speedos

Black Tank

About Black Tank

NEW YORK CITY: Gay Man Brutally Attacked On West Village Street

New York City's month-long rash of gay bashings continued this weekend. JMG reader Warren directs us to this account on the blog Watts Up With This.
26 year old Damian Furtch was on his way home from work at a restaurant late Sat night (Sunday morning), when he stopped off at a McDonalds in NYC’s West Village ( a predominantly gay area) to get some food. It was approx. 4:30 am. While inside the restaurant Damian noticed 2 men staring at him – giving him “looks” – we have all been there, we know what this feels like. It was late, Damian was tired, he felt uncomfortable and he didn’t want any trouble so he left. He was across the street, walking away while on the phone to a friend when the 2 men from McDonalds approached him and asked him “if he had a problem” before he knew it he was punched in the face by one man, then instantly felt another punch by the second perp, and then he heard it – “You Fucking Faggot” , the words as hurtful as the punches.
According to the above-linked blog post, the NYPD is investigating the attack as a hate crime. Surveillance video provided by McDonald's may help. Furtch was treated for his injuries and released after his face was stitched up. He has posted numerous photos of his injuries on his Facebook page.

NETHERLANDS: Ten Years Of Marriage

Ten years ago this week, the Netherlands become the world's first nation to legalize same-sex marriage. Veteran reporter Rex Wockner was in Amsterdam's City Hall that night and today he reposts this excerpt from his report on the proceedings:
Amid an international media frenzy, the weddings took place at City Hall as the law became effective at the stroke of midnight. Mayor Job Cohen officiated. As Cohen finished his opening remarks at 11:58 p.m., the audience in the City Council chambers began syncopated clapping as they waited for the room's clock to click over to 12:00. When it clicked, cheers erupted.
Wocker notes: "In the intervening 10 years, 14,813 of the Netherlands' 55,000 gay couples have gotten married, according to Statistics Netherlands. Of those couples, 7,522 were female and 7,291 were male. There have been 1,078 same-sex divorces, 734 of them by female couples."

RELATED: Canada legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2005 in a ruling that made legal a gay wedding that had taken place in January 2001. Call it "ten years with an asterisk."

Quote Of The Day - Donald Trump

"Hey look, you have no doctors that remember. You have no nurses — this is the president of the United States! — that remember. That ad that was placed in the Houston paper — that was placed in the paper days after he was born. So he could have come into the country. You know what I get a kick out of? The governor of Hawaii says, 'Oh, I remember when Obama was born.' I doubt it! I think this guy should be investigated. He remembers when Obama was born? Give me a break! He’s just trying to do something for his party." - Donald Trump, speaking on Fox & Friends.

The Night Of 1000 Gowns

Last night I attended the Imperial Court of New York's 25th annual Night Of 1000 Gowns, which this year benefited the Ali Forney Center and the Trevor Project. Swirling amidst all of the winking pomp and circumstance were empresses, emperors, duchesses, dukes, viscountesses, dowager empresses, and probably a dozen other royalty titles unknown to me. Also in the room were 100% of all the rhinestones and tiaras to be found in North America.

Among the bold-face names in attendance were the evening's honoree, longtime activist David Mixner, the cast of Logo's A-List, the cast of RuPaul's Drag Race, director Chi Chi LaRue, "JMG addict" Wilson Cruz, and actress Ally Sheedy, who cracked up when I asked her to say "No disassemble!" Miss New York 2010 Claire Buffie spoke eloquently about her LGBT rights platform during the Miss America pageant, gay pop star Ari Gold arrived with two slave boys on leashes, Dan Choi walked in on the arm of a statuesque attendee he "met on the escalator," and My Princess Boy author Cheryl Kilodavis worked the room with a handsome man in one hand and a stack of her books in the other.

This was my first Imperial Court event and I found the entire evening simultaneously spectacular and spectacularly silly. But one got the distinct impression that everybody there was totally in on the joke and folks, this group has raised buckets and buckets of money for LGBT causes over the decades. Check out the slideshow at the bottom of this post for many, many photos of the glamor, plus lots of celebs not mentioned above. Full-screen versions of the photos can be found here. You'll also enjoy Matthew Rettenmund's coverage at Boy Culture, where you'll find many red carpet video interviews.

HomoQuotable - Bruce Bawer

"In 1989, thousands of gay activists, angry at the Vatican for preaching abstinence instead of safe sex, rallied outside a church in New York, some of them actually going inside and disrupting a worship service. In 2011, faced with far worse provocations by a faith that, unlike Roman Catholicism, poses a mortal threat to gays, gay-rights groups in London not only decided to remain silent lest they 'offend' Muslims, but in addition chose to turn on their own, denouncing fellow gays as 'racists' and 'Islamophobes' for feeling obliged to stand up — even if in the meekest of ways — to people who would, without question, murder them if they had the power to do so.

"No, the officers of London’s gay-rights organizations, and the commenters at Pink News, aren’t the only people in West who have responded to Muslim bullying with cowardly toadying. But British gays should damn well understand, at this point, that there’s no place for them in the sharia-run Britain to which millions of British Muslims openly aspire and that the Archbishop of Canterbury has already accepted as inevitable. If they’re so desperate not to offend Muslims, they’d better kill themselves pronto — for, as they still somehow fail to grasp, their very existence is an offense to these people." - Bruce Bawer, writing for the right-wing Pajamas Media about London's "Gay-Free Zone" controversy.

Elton John to meet David Cameron over gay HIV rates

Elton John says he will meet prime minister David Cameron to discuss what can be done to tackle UK HIV rates in gay men.

The pop legend and HIV campaigner said he had a date in the diary to speak to the prime minister.

John, who set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation in 1992, was speaking to Gaydar Radio’s Neil Sexton and Debbie Ryan yesterday.

Sexten said: “We’ve been told that HIV prevention services in London face a funding cut of about 43 per cent, and that’s on the back of the news that in the last ten years we’ve seen a 70 per cent rise in new diagnosis of HIV infections in gay men. If you could both speak to the government and to David Cameron what would you say?”

John replied: “I’m going to see David Cameron when I come back in April, I have a date in my diary to see him. I’m going to be talking with him – with the people who work with my AIDS foundation – to talk about this very thing and to see what the government is going to do about it – and to see how we can work together.

“It is startling that in this day and age [that] the infection rate has gone up so much within gay men. It is something on our agenda and I’m going to be doing that when I come back in May.”

A Downing Street source confirmed to that a private meeting would take place in the next couple of months.

John and his civil partner David Furnish were voted campaigners of the year for 2011 in the Gaydar Heroes Awards.

Furnish, who is the chairman of John’s AIDS Foundation, told the radio station that he was particularly concerned about younger gay men not understanding safe-sex messages.

He said: “The new younger generation of gay men that are out there, they didn’t get the same safe-sex messages that I got when I was growing up – when I was becoming aware of my sexuality.

“There has been a decrease in funding, cutting that funding further is disastrous because there is so much misinformation out there relating to HIV and how it’s transmitted and how it affects people.

“We need to continue – as each new generation comes along and becomes sexually active – we need continue to make them aware and understand the risks of HIV”.

Thousands leave Finnish Lutheran church over anti-gay campaign

Thousands of people have reportedly left the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland after a campaign against homosexuality.

The week-long campaign, which was drawn up by several Christian groups and ended this weekend, was met with anger.

Called “älä alistu” (“don’t acquiesce”), it claimed that gay people can become straight and urged youths not to give in to thoughts of homosexuality.

In one promotional video, a young woman called Anni describes how she stopped being bisexual. She also compares her situation to that of a reformed murderer.

Although the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland did not lead the campaign, it gives money to the organisations which did.

Members of the Lutheran Evangelical Association of Finland, which is Finland’s national church, pay money to support the church and those it subsidises.

By Thursday, 3,000 people had signed an online petition declaring that they were leaving the church, YLE reports.

Kari Mäkinen, Archbishop of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church, criticised the campaign and said it should be stopped.

He emphasised that gay people were not sick and had been created by God the way they were.

Mainstream medical opinion holds that sexual orientation cannot be changed. Gay rights campaigners say so-called ‘ex-gay’ therapy is useless at best and at worst, can cause serious mental harm.

Breast massage woman files charges after learning masseur was not gay

A US woman who had a breast massage from a masseur she thought was gay has filed criminal charges against him after learning that he has a girlfriend.

The 20-year-old woman, of New Jersey city, said she allowed the therapist to remove all of her clothes and massage her breasts and buttocks at a Downtown health club last week.

She said she had consented when he asked if she wanted her “breasts and glutes” massaging.

She said she felt uncomfortable but agreed because she thought he was gay and he had told her the intimate massage was normal practice.

But after being told that he had a girlfriend and that breast massage was not usual, she informed her family and made a complaint to police of sexual criminal contact.

The 30-year-old suspect has not been named. He appeared in court via video-link from Hudson County jail last Thursday. Reports said he appeared “shocked” at the charge.

According to police filings, the club manager said the suspect claimed that the massage was usual practice.

He has now been released and will appear at court again at a later date.

Another massage therapist, Joel Lewis, told the Jersey Journal that while massage of the buttocks or glutes was usual, practitioners must obtain a special certificate to perform breast massage.

Suffolk Pride cancelled

Suffolk Pride has been cancelled because organisers have not been able to raise the funds to hold it.

The event, which began in 2009, was to be held on Saturday June 18th.

Chairman Rod Flory said last year’s festival cost £14,000 to stage but the money could not be found this year.

He told “Most of the funds for last year came from public grants but they’re just not available this year. The money’s not there any more.

“We’re not blaming anyone. It’s just the way things are right now.

“We decided last week to cancel it and concentrate almost immediately on next year’s event.”

He said organisers would be looking towards the private sector for support for 2012′s event, although he conceded that Suffolk has few gay businesses, compared to areas like Brighton and London.

Mr Flory rejected suggestions that Suffolk Pride could charge visitors an entry fee, like Brighton Pride plans to.

“It will stay free,” he said. “There is no way on earth we would charge.”

There will be no event to replace Suffolk Pride, although Norwich Pride is still set to go ahead.

Mr Flory said: “Last year’s event was very successful. We don’t want to do something mediocre this year.

“We want to leave them on a high from last year and come back in 2012 to hit them with a really strong event.”

Australian gay man pleads guilty to erotic asphyxia murder

An Australian gay man has pleaded guilty to the murder of a lover halfway through his trial.

David Richard Fraser, of Adelaide, admits strangling 28-year-old Luke Noonan during a sex act involving erotic asphyxia in September 2009.

Fraser, 36, initially denied murdering Mr Noonan but changed his plea today, The Age reports.

The South Australian Supreme Court heard that he had wrapped a belt around Mr Noonan’s neck during sex.

At the time of the younger man’s death, Fraser was on parole following a conviction for the manslaughter of another man during a sex game.

In 2005, he killed Shaine Moore during a consensual sex act. Fraser had tied a shoelace around Mr Moore’s neck.

Pleading guilty to manslaughter, he claimed that Mr Moore unexpectedly lost consciousness and died.

The Supreme Court was told about the 2005 case after prosecutors argued that it showed Fraser was aware of the risks of erotic asphyxiation.

The jury was dismissed today after Fraser’s guilty plea. He will return to court next month.

Northern Ireland school is first to form gay-straight alliance

A school in Northern Ireland is the first in the country to form a student gay-straight alliance.

Teachers at Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle, County Down, hope the initiative will help tackle anti-gay bullying.

Gay-straight alliances are popular in US high schools and are designed to welcome all students, regardless of sexuality.

Kevin Lambe, principal at Shimna Integrated College, told the BBC that while other bullying had mostly disappeared, homophobic bullying remains common.

He said: “Most bullying, most racism has been publicly gotten rid of. Words that you are called because of your religion, because of your skin colour, most of that has disappeared.

“But homophobic bullying I’m sorry to say is quite common. As the form of bullying which most induces young people to harm themselves or even kill themselves, surely we can’t turn away from that and say ‘oh that’s a delicate type of bullying, we can’t really deal with that’.”

Mr Lambe added that no parents had complained about the alliance.

“I haven’t had a single parent say a negative word about it,” he said. “I’ve had positive words about it, but no negativity at all.”

He said: “Let’s be honest, homophobic bullying happens openly, therefore I really believe you have to react to it and deal with it openly.”

The school has been praised by Northern Ireland LGBT group Rainbow Project.

Education equality officer Gavin Boyd said: “Homophobic bullying is a serious and prevalent problem across schools in Northern Ireland. It is not frequently discussed in schools and many teachers are unsure of how or even if they should intervene when they witness homophobic bullying.”

He added: “There are young people, teachers and principals in schools all over Northern Ireland who want to make sure that their school is a safe and welcoming place for everyone, but perhaps they don’t know how to achieve this or if they will have support in tackling homophobic bullying.”

Gandhi biography claims he was bisexual and racist

A new biography of Mahatma Gandhi claims he was in love with another man and held racist views.

Great Soul, by former New York Times executive editor Joseph Lelyveld, claims the political leader was in love with German-Jewish architect and bodybuilder, Hermann Kallenbach.

The book says: “Gandhi wrote to Kallenbach about ‘how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance’.”

It claimed that Gandhi nicknamed himself “Upper House” and Kallenbach “Lower House.”

Lelyveld wrote: “He made Lower House promise not to ‘look lustfully upon any woman.’ The two then pledged ‘more love, and yet more love . . . such love as they hope the world has not yet seen’.”

Gandhi left his wife Kasturbai Makhanji for Kallenbach, the book said, quoting intimate letters between the two men.

The biography also claimed that Gandhi, who led India to independence, was racist towards South African blacks.

On a visit to South Africa, he was quoted as saying: “We were marched off to a prison intended for Kaffirs. We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized.”

Another claim said he regularly slept with his 17-year-old great niece Manu when he was 70.

UK equality watchdog recommends that children as young as 11 could be quizzed on their sexuality

Children as young as 11 could be asked if they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning according to guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The UK’s equality regulator is advising organisations including schools, health care and youth groups to create pilot schemes to monitor the sexuality of young people. The watchdog is keen to ensure that LGB young people are not told that their sexuality is a “phase” that will pass.

Although the children involved in the study will be informed of the nature of the survey, parental consent for them to take part will not necessarily be required.

The proposals are included in a paper published by the EHRC, ‘Researching and monitoring adolescence and sexual orientation: Asking the right questions, at the right time’, authored by Dr Elizabeth McDermott of the University of York.

The paper argues that “evidence suggests that young people can experience disadvantage due to their sexual orientation, such as homophobic bullying, mental health issues, rejection from family and friends and increased risk of homelessness. The extent and impact of this disadvantage has not been systematically captured to date and constitutes a major evidence gap.” Dr McDermott argues that the Equality Act 2010 requires the public bodies to protect people of all ages from discrimination as a result of their sexuality. But the lack of evidence based research into the sexuality of children and young people hampers the ability for this protection to properly occur.

The paper says: “Evidence suggests that by the age of 12 young people are dealing with emerging sexual feelings and attraction to others. Through the teenage years, some young people do begin to identify their sexual orientation, and others do not, or are just unsure. Young people also begin to identify the actual/perceived sexual orientation of others and this underpins homophobic bullying. Existing studies suggest that it is practically and ethically possible to capture evidence on sexual orientation in adolescence through research and monitoring, in order to better understand disadvantage.”

Young people could be asked if they can define themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, queer, pansexual, genderqueer, a sexual, pan-romantic or trisexual.

The EHRC argues that while it is generally good practice to obtain parental consent for children to be part of research studies, this may not be practical in the case of this piece of research. The body argues that as many young people are unlikely to be out to their parents, it may be problematic to obtain consent.

Graham Stuart, Conservative chairman of the education select committee, told the Sunday Times that the plans for the survey are “invasive, sinister and threatening.” He added: “School should be a place of safety, not a place where they are picked over for the purposes of some quango; and many children won’t understand what they are talking about.”

However, reducing homophobic bullying is a key education policy commitment of the coalition government. The EHRC argues that reducing incidents of homophobic bullying within schools may be hard to achieve without credible research into the sexuality of young people.