EDITORS WORDS: DECEMBER 2010

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We’ve had a great response to last month’s issue of Bent where we featured bullying and the release of the Stonewall financed anti-bullying film – Fit. Stephen Hoo, one of the characters in the film and our cover star, sent an email thanking us for highlighting this insidious problem. Meanwhile, Deputy Leader Nick Clegg has waded in with a message to young bullies saying that their behaviour will not be tolerated, that teachers will be given the authority to crack down on bullying, and that schools will be able to deal with bullying even when it occurs away from their premises. His message for Anti-Bullying Week can be viewed at  www.youtube.com/user/deputyprimeminister.

Meanwhile, also in the House of Commons the Minister for Equality modelled the wonderful new shirts that LGBT History Month and Pride Sports have sponsored for the Sheffield Eagles anti-homophobia action during February. The team, who play in the Championship (one below the Super League), are the first club prepared to nail their colours to the slogan ‘Tackle Homophobia’. Thanks to Sarah Williams, RFL Equality and Diversity Manager; rugby league clubs also have comprehensive guidance on exactly how to tackle homophobia.  Lou Englefield of Pride Sports, the LGBT sports development and equity organisation said: “The very fact that a professional sports team is prepared to walk onto a pitch and make a stand against homophobia is ground breaking. Team sports can be an arena where young people are most bullied at school.
LGBT History Month and Pride Sport sponsor new Sheffield Eagle new shirts-1Rugby star Gareth Thomas, who came out as gay last year, is adding his support to the campaign but we still need a supremely high profile sporting god to declare their support and not be afraid to wear the ‘Tackle It’ shirt. www.lgbthistorymonth.org.uk

Meanwhile, over in America the bullying seems to continue as the Armed Forces there waver over whether or not to lift the current ‘Don’t Ask – Don’t Tell’ policy that basically forces gay and lesbian personnel to live a life not of their choosing… and isn’t that bullying on a large scale. You can fight and protect your country but don’t you dare say you’re gay.

Finally, a plea from a young gay prisoner who is currently residing at Her Majesties Pleasure in Armley prison. In an open letter to Bent he pleads for help from members of the public to offer support to gay prisoners all over the country as he himself struggles to set up LGB&T groups within the system. Read what he has to say on his desire for equality in prison on Page 58.
So, with the festive season upon us all I can do is wish each and every one of our readers yuletide felicitations and a sexy Saturnalia.

Hugs

Gordon