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LGBT+ News Roundup 4!

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!


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