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Unity and Division on the gay scene


ďI have been privileged to be a part of the behind the scenes local and national politics campaigning for us gay men and women. Most gay rights are human rights. Iíve had a fear over 4 Ė 5 years that as we move forward since the turn of the millennium, the cityís grown so much, and is high flying, and there are government pressures for them to produce the best, I believe weíre being left behind. The strongest thing we had going for us was lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered and our friends all being united, and we got what we wanted in Birmingham and at a national level. Now in Birmingham we are so divided, and Iíve often said publicly, ĎUnited we stand, divided we donítí. The Nightingale is having terrible problems with developers, Gay Pride is going off in different directions and thereís too much money involved, and itís missing its original aim, to make our statement. We have to unite behind the principle of equality for all, which means, us, UK citizens. ď

Corporate influence and division in the gay commercial scene

ďThe Universities exploded in the nineties, Gay Socs expanded and got big, weíve spread and got everywhere. In todayís society, big corporations like Tesco could do more for the gay community than we ever could. Manchester actually advertises as a place for gay people to come to. Because of the volume of money and tourists involved, when you have a large commercial voice you have a voice, and from that can come all the things we need, would like and want. As our commercial voice has been divided, so does our level of being able to shout and get the attention. You need a political party or major institution behind you, irrespective of any individualís private feelings towards each other, or the 20 gay bars, 20 queens in 20 castles, who are entitled to their own opinions and way of organising. But those politics are in-house politics. The politics for the whole wide gay community, there should be no dispute whatsoever; we should be in the same room, shouting from the same place. We should discuss and prioritise, but we should do it together. It doesnít matter if one person gets 10K grant, and another contributes 10K there should be nobody gets a louder say. I donít believe that people who are really involved in the commercial side have the time and right frame of mind to represent us as a community on other things. Take myself, ABplus has always been a favourite charity as a gay man and Iíve always been fortunate, it was obviously Godís will that I didnít get HIV as a young man; but I donít like to contribute the money and then dictate how it should be spent, thatís not my business, my business is to raise a thousand or ten thousand, then the trusted people in ABplus can do what they want with it, itís the same with lesbian or transgender issues, who am I to say what the lesbian community wants. Iíve a couple of lesbian friends whoíve been in a relationship for 20 years, and a younger couple whoíve been in it five years, itís difficult enough to imagine what Christmas gift to get them, never mind whatís right for them or what services they want! Although we have the common denominator of gay, the word gay and lesbian, we are different as chalk and cheese. Many lesbian and gay people have come to my house and said ďWhat a beautiful houseĒ, but heterosexual people will come and say ďMy god, itís just like my motherís house!Ē What did they expect?Ē

Divided Gay Scene

ďI am not one for public shock, or embarrassing or offending anyone, thatís not the way forward, but if people take the piss of me, the gay and lesbian community Ė in the current situation (referring to The Fountain and the Police raid) I went to the meeting and accused the Superintendent. Thatís where the divided scenario is, that would not have been allowed to happen a few years ago because the gay police community meetings were very tight, now we are very divided. We donít have anyone shouting our corner from week to week, year to year. Everything gets in to a mad panic in February or March and we have it in May weather permitting or not, then itís all back to sleep and everyone falls out for the rest of the year. Itís time to take a step back, and get the common denominator, we still need to protect each other, we are a substantial population of the UK and the world. ď

Contributed by: Bill Gavan, 56

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