You are not logged in. Signup to contribute or login! Not recieved your activation email? Click here to send it again.

Training the registrar's team 2005


“When they were introducing the (2005) the registration service came to talk to us (the ) about how they should advertise, what sort of leaflets they should prepare and so on. We had a number of meetings with them. The printers had done some design that we thought wasn’t going to be distinctively gay enough and we gave them some advice and they actually came up with some really nice stuff.

Then I got rung up one day at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. They were training the registrars how to do s and the chap who was going to come and talk to them about and the reception of the gay community to the had cried off sick. ‘Would I come tomorrow?’. Well, I did and actually it was really interesting because most of the group, and about half of them were there, were really quite enthusiastic about s and some of them were quite anxious. I talked to them about the reception that civil partnerships had had in the gay community and that some people wanted nothing whatsoever to do with it. They saw marriage as something that was archaic and then other people were absolutely delighted. Some people would be anxious about being identified because they’d been together for many, many years, pre-. There was a concern that words that we used amongst ourselves may not be appropriate for them to use. Then one of them said ‘I was a bit worried that a gay celebration might be a bit err, flamboyant’ and one of the others said ‘Oh, come off it. There can’t be anything more extreme than a Goth wedding.’ And they all burst out laughing. Other anxieties included all the pictures of couples in their wedding suites, and I said, ‘Well, just add some others, you know, as soon as you can, so it’s not all one way. Don’t take them down!’ Because they’d been hearing things like ‘You’re going to have to take down all of these sorts of pictures because it will make it unwelcoming’ and things like that. Nearly all of the wedding venues in Staffordshire had been quite happy to accept gay weddings. And so they should be, because the money’s there. Apparently, they liked what I did and so I got invited to do the next group and they were slightly less welcoming. They were more hesitant, but it still went well. And then the following year, two friends of ours were doing their civil partnership and they’d done a bit of going around to decide where to go and get hitched, and they said they got the best reception in Staffordshire, so they went there. I was quite pleased by that. But that was the kind of thing that came out of the group. We got consulted on things as well as, from time to time, inviting people to come and explain themselves. We invited the county’s occupational health physician to come and talk to us, because we wanted to know how he was going to serve our community and he clearly hadn’t got a clue. People saw us as more powerful in fact than we really were, but we did have quite a lot of influence.”

Contributed by: Gill Coffin, 63

Click here to read the full interview with this contributor