Space Blog!


This is the Space Youth Project blog, where you can find our newsletters
and stay up to date on recent information, events, and opportunities!


A fairly short news roundup this week!

Church in Wales to bless same-sex unions Chinese copy of Snapchat bans LGBT+ keywords.

US students walkout after their teacher is reprimanded for coming out as bisexual Lil Nas X honoured for commitment to ending LGBT+ youth suicide

Church in Wales to bless same-sex unions Same-sex couples can now have their marriage blessed by the Church in Wales after a historic vote was held this weekend, however same-sex marriages will remain prohibited.

The change is important because a blessing, in religion, signifies God's approval. The bill to allow the blessings was put forward by the Church’s Bench of Bishops and then went to a vote by the rest of the Church’s governing body on Monday 6th September.

The bill will introduce blessings “experimentally” for five years, and individual members of the church are free to decide whether or not to take part in the blessings. The Church of England is yet to make any similar movements and has delayed their decision on same-sex marriage and LGBT+ rights until 2022.

Chinese copy of Snapchat bans LGBT+ keywords.

QQ, a massively popular messaging app in China, similar to our Snapchat, has banned the words “gay”, “lesbian” and “LGBTQ“ and claimed that they are harmful.

Although being gay is not illegal in China, the country does not recognise same-sex marriage and there are no legal protections in place that protect LGBT+ Chinese people the huge social stigma which they face.

QQ allows over half a billion users to connect with each other in group chats which they can find by searching for keywords. Earlier this month, if users tried to search for groups using the keywords “gay” “lesbian” or “LGBTQ”, they get a message which pops up reminding them to “Use the Internet in a civil manner. Say no to harmful information.” This message has now been removed and replaced with a simple “No results found” message.

Tencent, the company behind QQ, has not yet commented on the changes.

US students walkout after their teacher is reprimanded for coming out as bisexual

Over 100 students at a high-school in Iowa in the USA have walked out after their teacher was punished for telling his class that he was bisexual.

Their English teacher, Lucas Kaufmann, was put on temporary leave last week after he included an LGBT+ flag on a “Things that describe me” slide in his introduction presentation to his class. When the students asked him about it, he came out as bisexual.

The students argued that Mr Kaufmann just wanted LGBT+ students to know that they had an ally at the school and did not deserve his punishment. They created an online petition with over 2,000 signatures and on Tuesday 7th September they staged a walkout

The Winterset school district has yet to make a decision on the outcome of this situation.

Lil Nas X honoured for commitment to ending LGBT+ youth suicide

The Trevor Project have named Lil Nas X as their suicide prevention advocate of the year.

This is the first time the Trevor Project have given out this award and it coincides with Suicide Prevention Month in the USA.

It has also been awarded at the same time as Lil Nas X pulled off a huge publicity campaign with a fake pregnancy which turned out to be raising money and awareness for human rights campaigns including the Trans Inclusive Group, an African-American led organisation based in South Florida that provides safe spaces for trans and gender non-conforming people.

Many people have stepped forward on Twitter to thank Lil Nas X for his work towards supporting and uplifting the LGBT+ community.

Israel ends ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men

Ofcom cut ties with Stonewall over ‘risk of perceived bias’

Scottish government releases new guidance on supporting trans pupils in schools.

Protests as Manchester Pride’s returns

Bourne Free Pride was a huge success!

Jodie's Climbing Snowdon!

Our friends at Weymouth Gay Group are in the news!

Israel ends ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men

On August 19th, Israel’s openly gay health minister Nitzan Horowitz announced via twitter that “Discrimination against gays in blood donation is over”.

As in many other countries, Israel’s current rules state that gay and bisexual men can only donate blood if they have not had sex with another man in over a year. This policy is due to be scrapped and will be replaced with a new rule asking instead anyone who has had “high-risk sexual relations” to wait three months before donating.

Bans on gay men donating blood first came into existence during the height of the AIDs crisis in 1980 when homophobic stigma around the virus was commonplace. When the rules were first introduced, any sex between two men resulted in a life-time ban from donating blood.

In recent years, countries have begun to roll back these restrictions. This includes the UK which changed the rules earlier this year from asking gay and bisexual men to abstain from sex for 3 months to allowing them to donate if…

  • They have had the same sexual partner for the last 3 months

  • If there is no known recent exposure to an STI

  • If they are a recent user of PrEP or PEP

Horowitz called the changes in his country “another historic step for equality for LGBTQ+ people in Israel '' as they show a glimmer of hope for activists fighting to tackle the stigma surrounding HIV positivity and the LGBT+ community.

Ofcom cuts ties with Stonewall over ‘risk of perceived bias’

The Office of Communications, or ‘Ofcom’ for short, is a media ‘watchdog’ service in the UK. Basically, it protects the public from bad broadband providers, slow postal services, and makes sure we’re happy with what we see and hear on TV and the radio by investigating audience complaints. Until recently, they were one of hundreds of organisations involved with Stonewall’s ‘Diversity Champions’ campaign which gives members advice on workplace LGBT+ inclusivity.

Ofcom withdrew from the scheme due to concerns over “ remaining impartial and independent at all times” but said that their “commitment to supporting the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people is as strong as ever” and that their work with Stonewall had “laid the foundations” to support LGBT+ employees and they were confident that they could continue to be inclusive without Stonewall’s support.

The withdrawal from the Diversity Champions scheme also comes after Ofcom’s chief executive suggested that the BBC should not speak to the LGB Alliance (a rival organisation to Stonewall which is in the midst of allegations of trans-exclusionary behaviour).

Ofcom’s decision to distance itself from Stonewall has been widely criticised as some feel that Ofcom is caving to transphobic pressure in the media. Stonewall stated that "It is sad that involvement in a programme that supports an inclusive workplace for LGBTQ+ employees should be in any way regarded as an un-impartial act” but that they are “very proud of the work done with Ofcom and wish them the best in their ongoing efforts to support all of their LGBT+ employees.”

Scottish government releases new guidance on supporting trans pupils in schools.

On August 12th, the Scottish government released new guidance for schools on how they can best support their trans student population. The guidance contains "real-life examples" and advice on a wide range of issues known to affect transgender pupils, including bullying, safety and privacy.

LGBT Youth Scotland’s chief executive said that “Teachers and school leadership often tell us that they lack the knowledge and confidence to effectively support trans young people. This resource will guide school staff on how best to do so, improving the lives of trans young people and enabling them to thrive."

Protests as Manchester Pride returns.

Last weekend, over 1,000 protesters marched to voice their concerns about Manchester Pride’s management.

Manchester Pride returned last weekend after a year away due to the pandemic. As mentioned in previous News Roundups, the return came with several changes, including scrapping the safer sex scheme which has provided free condoms and lube since the 90s. There was also an investigation into Manchester Pride’s finances.

Protesters said that they felt Manchester Pride was too commercial now and had lost touch with what it is supposed to represent, especially as the planned parade had been cancelled amidst covid concerns, while the music festival aspect of Manchester Pride continued.

Manchester Pride responded to the protests by saying they will conduct a review in autumn 2021 to investigate the complaints.

Bourne Free Pride was a huge success!

Although protests were held for Manchester Pride, Bournemouth came together to celebrate Bourne Free!

Bournemouth’s mayor joined NHS staff and key workers at the front of the parade as we headed through the town centre from Meyrick Park to the triangle. Space Youth Project was also out in full force as 40 of us joined the march with whistles, banners and music. We were led by the fantastic Charity and Beth on their microphones as they kept the energy high and got us all singing along to our favourite upbeat anthems.

Participants from Space said:

“It was super fun, I can’t wait to go again next year!”

“There were lots of young people with flags and dressed up which felt really positive. It was good to give out Space flyers and to know that people watching might be hearing about us for the first time.”

“the whole day was just fantastic our side of things. the space ceo had a chat with us before we started the parade and made us feel so safe. all of the communication before during and after was wonderful and I'm so excited for the next one. my younger sister also attended and it was her first pride and as a cishet person she wasn't sure how it would be but she had the time of her life and I think a lot of that is down to the space community!! thank you”

Jodie's Climbing Snowdon! One of our INCREDIBLE youth workers is climbing Snowdon this weekend to fundraise for us

here at Space Youth Project!!!

Jodie started her journey with Space Youth Project as a member, became a Supernova (our incredible peer mentors) and has now grown up to become a volunteer youth worker at our Poole group! She volunteers with us to gain a greater understanding of working and supporting young people around gender identity.

We know she's going to go on to do great things in life and we'll be behind her every step of the way!

To support Jodie click here!

Our friends at Weymouth Gay Group are in the news!

Finally we’re wrapping up our Roundup with a celebration of our friends at Weymouth Gay Group who were featured in the Dorset Echo last week!

The LGBT+ friendly meet-ups for over 18s are finally returning after the pandemic. The informal meetings are held on Thursdays from 8pm until 10pm at The Swan Wetherspoons pub on St Thomas Street and on Monday’s they try out different venues around Weymouth. Keep up the good work WGG Team!

We’re back again with a third week of LGBT+ News for you all!

There’s a lot of heavy, upsetting news in the world at the moment, especially with the crisis in Afghanistan which we’re working on a separate blog post on, but for today we’re going to try and spread a bit of joy by focusing on the happy LGBT+ news from the past week.

With that being said, this week...

BBC Radio 1 Hosting First Ever Drag Day Reclaiming Liverpool Pride

The World’s Oldest Ship is decorated for Pride

Gay Australian Penguins (yes you did read that right!)

BBC Radio 1 Hosting First Ever Drag Day

BBC Radio 1’s first ever ‘Drag Day’ will take place on Saturday August 21st (that’s tomorrow!)

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of Radio 1, said: “Our young audience love drag

culture so it’s right we celebrate and showcase the very best of UK drag.”

Drag Race UK Queens Tayce, Bimini and Lawrence Chaney will join Drag DJ Jodie Harsh to host their own shows throughout the day to highlight the UK Drag scene in a day filled with special remixes and surprise guests.

Let us know if you’ll be listening in while we march in the Bourne Free Pride Walking Parade!

Reclaiming Liverpool Pride

The LGBT+ community in Liverpool will be reclaiming Pride next month in a fight against LGBT+ violence and Rainbow Capitalism (businesses selling rainbow items for Pride month in order to make more money but not actively supporting LGBT+ people year round)

The organisation ‘Reclaim Pride Liverpool’ is a trans-led group of LGBT+ activists who have arranged a protest on September 18th at 1pm. They formed after Liverpool Pride was cancelled for the 2nd year in a row due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The main aims of the protest on September 18th are to demand:

  • Better LGBT+ rights

  • Better Trans healthcare

  • A conversion therapy ban

  • Social, racial and climate justice

  • An end to the commercialisation of Pride.

Reclaim Pride Liverpool complained that “Pride events have become completely divorced from the very real political struggle [...] Pride is meant to be a protest where LGBT+ people can make their voices heard and demand better. You will [never] see that at a London Pride, Brighton Pride, Manchester Pride or Liverpool Pride, because they are now sponsored, funded and in some cases headed by banks and big businesses.”

They stated that say that “Anti-LGBT+ hate crime is out of control across the UK” as we have seen a shocking rise in the number of LGBT+ hate crimes in recent weeks, with more than one physical attack leaving people afraid of leaving their homes.

This rise in hate means that Reclaim Liverpool Pride is just one of many similar movements taking place in the UK at the moment such as the Reclaim Pride march which was held in London last month and the backlash facing Manchester Pride which we mentioned in our past 2 weekly recaps.

The World’s Oldest Training Ship is decorated for Pride

We’re now heading over to Denmark, where the world’s oldest training ship has decked out its sails in bright rainbow colours for Pride month.

Every year the Danish ship, Georg Stage, trains 63 young people as sailors, on a 20-week challenging voyage out into the world. As World Pride is currently taking place in Copenhagen, the ship made special changes to its usual look and swapped out white sails for one in each of the Pride colours to honour the LGBT+ community - and we think it looks great!

Gay Australian Penguins (yes you did read that right!)

Melbourne Zoo, Australia is rolling into mating season where not one, but two sets of gay gentoo penguins have coupled up! (This is way better than Love Island!)

The couples consist of Tiger & Branston and Jones & Klaus and although they can’t lay their own eggs they’re ready for the responsibility of parenthood!

Tanith Davis, lead birdkeeper at Melbourne Zoo, said “As male-male pairs can’t lay their own eggs, we will sometimes foster an egg to them from another pair. Sea Life Melbourne has had many same-sex couples in our breeding history, and they have been doting parents.”

Penguins are also a notoriously gay species and several same-sex penguin couples have been seen in zoos worldwide. This includes Sphen & Magic who hatched their first chick together back in 2018 at Sydney Zoo, Roy and Silo from Central Park Zoo who are the stars of their own children’s book “And Tango Makes 3”, and lesbian couple Marmalade and Chickpea at London’s Sea Life Aquarium.

London Sea Life manager Catherine Pritchard said: “Gentoo penguins are the ultimate romantics, and their dating techniques are truly unique – so much so that as humans, we could certainly learn a thing or two from their passion and commitment to finding a mate”

We wish Tiger, Branston, Jones & Klaus the best of luck on their road to becoming dads!