Camden LGBT Forum Update

1st November 2013



Hello Forum Members

The next Forum meeting will take place on Tuesday 5th November, Committee Rm 2, Camden Town Hall, Judd Street from 6.00pm.

If there are any items that Forum members would like raised on the agenda, for example news items featured in the newsletter, ideas, events etc, please email the forum on

Wishing you all the best,

Nigel – Forum Interim Director

Tessa – Forum Administrator

Hannah – Case & Outreach Worker

Lesley – Q-Lab Project Manager

Ashley – Forum Volunteer Coordinator



Local News, Events and Opportunities          

  • LGBT History Month 2014
  • Save the date: Taking a chance on God
  • Incite!
  • Call for information
  • Unspeakable – The Eleventh LGBT History and Archives Conference

National Community News

  • Paris Lees makes history as BBC Question Time’s first trans panellist
    • LGBT campaigner and Holocaust survivor Sharley McLean dies aged 90
    • Debt forces closure of Nottinghamshire Pride
    • Drunk man avoids jail after pleading guilty to calling police officer a ‘lesbian’
    • Northern Ireland DUP politician tells children homosexuality is ‘an abomination’

International Community News and Events

  • Germany: First European state to introduce a third option for gender
  • Vatican launches Catholic survey on gay relationships, equal marriage and other social issues
  • Ghana Education Ministry vows to punish acts of ‘lesbianism’ in schools
  • Former Supreme Court chief judge urges Israel to legalise equal marriage
  • IOC chief refused to meet Russian LGBT activists in Sochi


Local Events and Opportunities


LGBT History Month 2014

Saturday, 2 November 2013, 10:30 – 16:30 Trafalgar Square, London

Planning is well underway for Camden & Islington LGBT History Month 2014. Already we have some great events lined up and dates in the calendar are filling fast!

If you’re planning an event, please get in touch with the Forum to make sure it is listed in the programme booklet. And if you would like to discuss running your own event, please contact the Forum.

The 2014 theme will be centred on music.

For more information on including an event or volunteering, please contact the forum on


Save the date: Taking a chance on God

Saturday, 2 November 2013, 10:30 – 16:30 Trafalgar Square, London

A day-long workshop for LGBT Christians and their allies St.Martin in the Fields –

Connect with fellow believers

Gain new tools for spiritual leadership

UK premier screening of a film by Brendan Fay: the story of John McNeil, pioneer gay priest and theologian

With: Clare Herbert, Sharon Ferguson, Bernárd Lynch & James Alison

For more info, please visit or email:



Wednesday 13th November | 7pm – 9.30pm | Phoenix Artists Club, 1 Phoenix Street WC2H 8BU 

Free monthly LGBT poetry at this iconic theatrical members’ club in the West End. Hosted by poet Trudy Howson. With top guest performers and open mic’ for budding and flowering poets to have a go.

Carol Robson: “Sunshine And Showers, A Journey To Myself.”

Jess Green: Poetry About People, Passion And Politics.

Open mike for budding and flowering poets

For more information please visit:


Call for information 

Call for information leading up to the tragic deaths of Stuart Meads and Gavin Brewer on Netley Street/Hampstead Road on the 18th/19th of October

The police have asked us to assist with gathering information regarding the movements and activities of Stuart Meads and Gavin Brewer seen on their way home from the Black Cap on Friday evening/Saturday morning (18/19 October) please could you get in touch with us at the Forum as soon as possible.

Stuart Meads and Gavin Brewer were spending the night in the Black Cap, a public house on Camden High Street, on the night of Friday the 18th of October and on leaving made their way to Netley Street/Hampstead Road, Camden where they met their untimely deaths.

We are calling for information to assist the local police in building a picture of their final movements either at the Black Cap or on their way to the site of the incident. Any information you have would be greatly appreciated.

The Forum would like to express deep sympathies for the loss of two of our well loved community members.

Please get in touch or call the office on 0207 388 5720. Please note that this information will be treated in the strictest confidence and only be shared with the police – this can of course be anonymous if you require. Thank you.


Unspeakable – The Eleventh LGBT History and Archives Conference

Saturday 7th December | 9:30am  | London Metropolitan Archives, 40 Northampton Rd, EC1R 0HB 

Time Out: “Due to much of LGBT History being shaped around legal and political landmarks relating mainly to the experiences of gay men, other queer voices often go unheard. The eleventh LGBT History and Archives Conference explores the histories and experiences of Trans, Lesbian and Bisexual people. These stories are rarely told and, if presented, often not listened to. Come and make some history. The day is full of presentations, linked workshops and discussion. Contributors, performers and speakers include Dzmitry Suslau, Dr Clare Barlow, Zemirha Moffatt and Surat Knan.”

£10 (£7.50 conc)

To book, please visit: or telephone: 020 7332 3851


National Community News

Paris Lees makes history as BBC Question Time’s first trans panellist

History was made on BBC One last night  when Paris Lees became the first transgender panellist to appear on Question Time. She was on the panel alongside Labour MP Chris Bryant, Conservative MP Matthew Hancock, Liberal Democrat MP Jeremy Browne and the author Harriet Sergeant.

Question Time first began in 1979 and it’s understood the programme has never featured a transgender panellist until now.

In October, Paris Lees topped this year’s Independent on Sunday Pink List. Along with being a columnist for GT and DIVA, she regularly writes articles for the mainstream press. Earlier this year, she presented The Hate Debate, a show about prejudices for BBC Radio 1. She has previously worked with the Gender Trust and Trans Media Watch, and currently works with All About Trans.


LGBT campaigner and Holocaust survivor Sharley McLean dies aged 90

Tributes are being paid to the radical lesbian feminist and campaigner Sharley McLean, who died last weekend.

Born Lotte Reyersbach in Germany in 1923, her socialist father and Jewish mother both died in the Holocaust. Sharley fled to Britain as a teenage refugee from Nazi Germany in 1939, in one of the last transports of children allowed to leave Germany before the Nazis closed the borders. Her gay uncle, Kurt Bach, a left-wing activist, was arrested by the Gestapo in a gay bar in Berlin in 1937, and died in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. During the war Sharley worked as a nurse at Lewisham hospital. She carried on working in the NHS until she retired, and later became involved with the HIV charity the Terrence Higgins Trust in the 1980s.

Sharley was also a long-time activist in the Campaign for Homosexual Equality (CHE). Peter Scott-Presland of CHE said: “Sharley was a wonderfully self-effacing woman who had buckets of courage as well.”


Debt forces closure of Nottinghamshire Pride

The charity that runs Nottingham’s annual Pride festival has been forced to close amid debts of almost £17,000. Acting chairman Ben Holmes said the charity had been in financial trouble for the last three years. July’s event raised a total of £4,279 on the day – but this was a long way off its target of £12,000. Organisers said it costs £30,000 to run the event and had asked for a £1 donation from those who attend. However, only a third of the 14,000 people who attended this year donated money.

Holmes said: “We are losing sponsors and we lost an awful lot of money from companies that are no longer going. We are not generating enough funds. We hope something can happen. The charity could be saved if money comes in but unfortunately that doesn’t look likely.”

A meeting will take place at The Lord Roberts in Broad St, Nottingham on 31 October at 7pm to discuss the future of Nottinghamshire Pride.


Drunk man avoids jail after pleading guilty to calling police officer a ‘lesbian’

A Tyne and Wear man arrested after calling a police officer a “lesbian” has been given a 12-month conditional discharge after pleading guilty to using homophobic language and threatening behaviour.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard Kevin Bain, of Whiteleas, South Shields, was drunk at the time of the incident. Officers had been called to a house in the Whiteleas area of South Shields, following reports Bain had been kicking and banging on a door. The Shields Gazette says the 29-year-old was sitting on the doorstep with a can of lager when officers got there; he was told to leave. But instead of leaving, Bain swore at them and called a female officer a “lesbian” and made other offensive remarks.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “When he was arrested and taken to the police station, Bain apologised and said he shouldn’t have been homophobic.”


Northern Ireland DUP politician tells children homosexuality is ‘an abomination’

A Northern Ireland DUP Assembly Member has told children at a school that homosexuality is “an abomination”. Tom Buchanan, a retired school teacher, made the remarks last month during an Assembly ‘Let’s Talk’ event. The discussion was held at the Westville Hotel in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh.

Mr Buchanan, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party, was asked to outline his views on homosexuality and equal marriage. He responded by saying that homosexuality “isn’t right” and is “an abomination”.

The Ulster Herald reports the majority of students voiced their disapproval at the comments – although some applauded. Reacting to Mr Buchanan’s comments, retired schoolteacher and gay rights activist, Stephen Birkett, from Strabane, said: “People like this live in the dark ages. These sort of remarks to schoolchildren are stupid and annoying and obviously he (Buchanan) has no concept of what people are really like.”


International Community News


Germany: First European state to introduce a third option for gender

From today, birth certificates in Germany will have the option of selecting “blank”, as well as “male” or “female”. Parents who use the “blank” option will allow for their offspring, such as those born with characteristics of both genders, to decide on their gender identity in later life, or to opt out of gender binary altogether.

Dr Philipp Sp?auschus, spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior, told “This regulation accounts for the considerations of the German Ethics Council on the issue of ‘intersexuality’ and makes it clear that a gender is not entered in the birth entry, if it is not absolutely certain”. He continued: “An essential aim of the new regulation in marital status law is to take off the pressure on parents to commit themselves to a gender immediately after the birth of their child and thus to make doctors provide sex reassignment surgery prematurely”.

The new law has raised the profile and awareness of the intersex population, but also it could lead to discrimination. “It is an absolute must that parents, teachers and doctors be educated about the lives of intersex people,” said Lucie Veith, head of an intersex support group in Germany. “The government must take measures to ensure that no children are discriminated against because of this new law.”

Experts estimate the population of intersex people at one in 1,500 to 2,000 births.


Vatican launches Catholic survey on gay relationships, equal marriage and other social issues

The Vatican is conducting a worldwide survey on how Catholics interpret social issues such as same-sex marriage, gay relationships and birth control. Pope Francis wants the Vatican to receive the results ahead of a Vatican synod on the family, planned for October 2014. According to Canon Law, an “extraordinary general session” of the synod is held to “deal with matters which require a speedy solution,” suggesting Pope Francis may be seeking to move the Church forward on social issues.

In September, Pope Francis said, “It is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time”, and that the Church had grown “obsessed” with preaching about abortion, same-sex marriage and contraception. The extraordinary synod will discuss “pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation,” and will be only the third such synod since 1965 when synods were reinstated by Pope Paul VI. The last was held by Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Questions include, “Whether cohabitation, the problem of divorce and remarriage, and same-sex marriages are a ‘pastoral reality’” for churches, and: “What pastoral attention can be given to people who have chosen to live these types of [same-sex] union?” Other issues specifically identified in the document as “requiring the Church’s attention and pastoral care” include: “Mixed or interreligious marriages; single-parent families; polygamy; A culture of non-commitment and a presumption that the marriage bond can be temporary”, and also “Forms of feminism hostile to the Church”.


Ghana Education Ministry vows to punish acts of ‘lesbianism’ in schools

Ghana’s Education Ministry has reportedly vowed to punish severely any student caught engaging in “homosexual or lesbianism activities.” Speaking on Ghanaian radio, Paul Krampah, a public relations officer for the ministry, said: “It is a big problem and it is an issue that nobody is happy about. Those who engage in homosexuality and lesbianism, I mean these are practices that we don’t condone in our parts of the world. We as officials of the Ghana Education Service shun such practices and we would not condone them in our educational institutions.”

Mr Krampah was commenting on claims that a student had been forced to leave her former school because she had faced pressure from her friends “to practice lesbianism.” “So when the culprits are found out we will punish them according to the rules and regulations that guide the schools”, Mr Krampah added, in reference to the allegations.

Same-sex sexual activity between men is illegal in Ghana with those found guilty facing up to 3 years’ in prison. A newspaper in the country made a claim last year that over 82% of the population abhorred homosexuality. It is unclear in Ghanaian law whether same-sex sexual activity among females is illegal.


Former Supreme Court chief judge urges Israel to legalise equal marriage

A former president of the Supreme Court of Israel has announced his support for equal marriage and warns Israel’s marriage laws are a “clear violation of basic human rights”. In his new book entitled ‘Human Dignity: The Constitutional Right and its Derivatives’, Aharon Barak writes that the lack of marriage equality in Israel is a violation of  ”human dignity.” Mr Barak was president of the Supreme Court of Israel from 1995 to 2006. Prior to that, he served as a Justice on the Supreme Court of Israel.

Same-sex marriages are recognised in Israel, but must be conducted overseas as only the religious authorities: Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Druze can perform marriages, and none offer gay couples the chance to marry. Like mixed faith straight couples, gay couples must marry in another country such as France or Canada, but once they do, they are recognised as a married couple in the Jewish state.

In May 2012, the Israeli Parliament voted against introducing civil marriage for gay and straight couples.


IOC chief refused to meet Russian LGBT activists in Sochi

Russian gay activists claim the president of the International Olympic Committee refused to meet with them while visiting the 2014 Winter Games city of Sochi. Thomas Bach, the head of the IOC, was in Moscow on Monday where President Vladimir Putin assured him that Olympic athletes will feel “comfortable regardless of sexual orientation”.

A federal bill banning gay “propaganda” was signed into law by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in June.

After two weeks of asking, the Russian LGBT Network said: ”The refusal by Thomas Bach to meet with LGBT organisations in Sochi is disappointing, but we are glad that this discussion with the IOC will still take place”. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said: “We look forward to welcoming them” at the IOC headquarters in Lausanne. The date for this meeting remains unspecified.


Camden Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Forum is a registered charity no. 1107855