Well July was quite a month. We saw the hacking scandal dominate the headlines for nearly a full two weeks, with new revelations emerging all the time – and we’re quite sure we’ve not heard the last of that – and towards the end of the month heard the sad news of Amy Winehouse passing away, to the dismay of huge swathes of people across the world. But there were still some bright spots that brought smiles to our faces at So So Gay.
The things we think were the best of July 2011…
We learned that the California Legislature has now made it a legal requirement, as part of their schools’ education code, to teach students about LGBT figures who have made economic, political and social contributions to the development of the United States and California. We really feel that this kind of progressive legislation is exactly what is required, not just in the US but across the globe, if we are ever going to robustly deal with homophobia. Education is one of the key solutions on the long road to acceptance and we hope that the UK government (especially you, Mr Gove) are taking note of what is happening over in the Golden State.
- Brad Pitt spoke out in favour of gay marriage. The world famous actor was quoted as saying, ‘No state should decide who can marry and who cannot. Thanks to the tireless work of so many, someday soon this discrimination will end and every American will be able to enjoy their equal right to marriage.’ We couldn’t agree more, Brad – if only the rest of the world would come around to your way of thinking!
- Channel 5 announced that Brian Dowling will host the new series of Big Brother. While we know that not everyone will be squealing with delight at the prospect of another summer of some of the most irritating people the country has to offer filling our screens, we are pleased that the delightful Mr Dowling will be back with us because, let’s face it, what’s not to like?
- The Ninth US Circuit Court ruled that the Pentagon must stop enforcing the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that prevents LGBT personnel serving openly in the US armed forces. President Obama had repealed the law earlier this year, but while that repeal was still pending the Pentagon was allowed to continue enforcing it. The ruling now means that US service personnel are officially free to tell whomever they like – and so they should.
- That little geordie love hit back after being dropped by Simon Cowell’s Syco record label earlier in the year! Joe McElderry won the reality TV show Popstar to Opera Star. That’s twice now that McElderry has managed to win a public vote, so maybe Syco are missing a trick? We think so!
…and the things we didn’t like so much:
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s was forced to apologise to a transgender customer after one of its staff told her she had to use the disabled toilet rather than the ladies. Sainsbury’s has been quick to offer an apology, saying, ‘We pride ourselves on our high standards in customer service, something that clearly has not been met in this instance.’ We’re pretty sure this falls under the category of respect and understanding rather than customer service – fingers crossed the company will learn from its mistakes!
- In early July the Bath Chronicle published a letter from a Mrs Trollope (we’re not going to make any cheap shots about her name – don’t worry) claiming that homosexuality could be cured. In her letter, Mrs Trollope churned out the same old stuff that lots of us will be used to hearing from hardline Christians: quotes from Leviticus and the like. The Chronicle defended its decision to publish the letter, stating, ‘We will publish anything within the law and without malice,’ but many in the LGBT community, as well as sensible and accepting people outside it we’re sure, were appalled by such flagrant bigotry being peddled in the press.
- The Italian government rejected a bill that would have brought into force heavier sentences for those found guilty of homophobic crimes. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has already become known for his negative stance on LGBT rights, and things don’t look to be getting any better.
- Latino singer Ricky Martin, who came out as gay in March this year, received death threats on Twitter in July. The tweet in question has been reported as saying, ‘They will cry soon because you’re dead’. Now we know Ricky’s music isn’t to everyone’s taste, but surely killing him off is a bit much?
- Marcus Bachmann, husband to Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachmann, has been accused of advocating ‘conversion therapy’ through his Christian counselling clinic – suggesting (allegedly) that they can ‘pray away the gay’. We’re pretty sure we don’t want anyone who believes this kind of thing works occupying the White House.
As always we’re keen to hear what you think was top and what was not about July, so let us know in the comments section below!