Bare Faced Cheek

The political machinations that surround gay rights organizations are often a total mystery to me. US readers will be well familiar with the battles over Proposition 8, ENDA and DADT. The UK has a number of similar issues. While same-sex couples are allowed to enter into civil partnerships, this is regarded as something different from “marriage”. Bizarrely, opposite-sex couples are not allowed to enter into civil partnerships. This causes particular distress to trans people who are married before they transition and are forced to divorce if they want their change of gender legally recognized, and must then go through a civil partnership should they with to remain with their former spouse. It also annoys heterosexual atheists, who would prefer a more secular arrangement.

The Liberal Democrats are trying to persuade their Tory coalition partners to simplify the whole system by allowing all couples to choose which type of partnership they want, and making the legal status of the two arrangements equal. Stonewall, the UK’s leading gay rights organization, is apparently opposed to this because they think it would cost too much.

Yes, that’s right, the UK’s leading gay rights organization is opposed to marriage equality.

But it gets worse. Check through that Pink News article that I linked to and you will see Ben Summerskill, the boss of Stonewall, calmly telling the journalist that his organization has been talking to the government about changes to the Gender Recognition Act.

Say what? You see, Stonewall is avowedly not an LGBT organization. It is an LG organization that will tolerate B people as long as they don’t embarrass anyone by being B in public, and is rampantly transphobic. If you need a reminder about what Stonewall people think of anyone who isn’t respectably L or G (and gender normative), check here.

So goodness only knows what Mr. Summerskill and his pals think they are doing presenting themselves to the government as representatives of trans people but, as one of Roz’s friends remarks here, it can’t be good.

There will, I gather, be a demonstration addressing these issues in London early in November. I’ll be busy putting Salon Futura #3 together at the time, but if you are interested I can point you in the direction of the right people.

4 thoughts on “Bare Faced Cheek

  1. Wayyyyyy back in 1990 when I was running the Societies Council at my University, we had two major pains to deal with.

    Firstly, the ongoing fight between the Islamic Students Society and the Muslim Students Society (ah, for those simpler days) where we had to step in and tell them to play nice.

    The second was with the Lesbian Society, the Gay and Lesbian Society and the Bi-Sexual Society, the three of whom were locked in a battle to the biter end over whether to accept anybody Bi-Sexual into their numbers. In the end, we, meaning everybody else in the Societies Admin who controlled the budgets, which were limited, told them that they were going to be the Lesbian, Gay and Bi-Sexual Society if they wanted a penny because they were breaking every article in the Student’s Union Constitution on inclusion. I had left by the time they had a similar fight over including Trans, but I think the result was pretty much the same over that as well.

    We also had a similar issue when the Role Players wanted to split from the SF Soc. That lasted as long as it took them to understand that all the games etc… we owned by the Soc who bought them, unless that soc vis-a-vie, the SF one, decided to give them to them and no they didn’t want to, and no, they couldn’t have more money to buy their own.

    It’s simpler to deal with these things at a student level, but it bedevils belief that the same phobic and unrealistic attitudes remain at a national level.

  2. It’s a fight for “civil” marriage ie the non relgious one. Relgious marriage is different but many church organisations eg Quakers have already said they would do them as well. Hetero couples can do either civil or relgious marriage, gay people can do neither. CPs are the equivalent of “civil’ marriage with a few significant differences but the issue is, yes, equality in all things and a gender neutral marriage policy.

    Stonewall stinks, please anyone attend any protests against them!

  3. sorry to hear this.

    (re heterosexual atheists–i am one and don’t get why I should be irritable?)

    1. You don’t have to be irritable, Jeff. 🙂

      But there are some folks here who are upset that teh gays can get hitched in a way that is entirely free of god cooties whereas they can’t.

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