February 11 - Michael Socha
In my other job as editor of PinkPaper.com, the gay news website, I’ve been looking at a lot of stories recently which reflect the situation for LGBT people around the world. I can quite understand the complacency some of us in this country feel around gay rights – while there is much still to be done, from tackling homophobic bullying to securing full marriage for all, Britain has become a beacon for gay equality. But then you hear the stories of gay asylum seekers who have fled here after beatings and death threats or read how the UN has voted to accept the execution of gays or see how the head of FIFA thinks that the criminalisation of gays in Qatar is a joke.
Gay sex is still a criminal act in 76 countries around the world and something as small as a kiss can earn you a prison term or a lashing. In at least five countries, plus parts of some others, the death penalty is in place for consensual gay sex. It’s a shocking situation but the burden of fighting it falls largely on the shoulders of lesbian, gay, bi and trans men and women in the countries involved, helped by just a small number of tireless international activists.
In 2011 we plan for GT to take a renewed interest in these issues. But in doing so, we will also celebrate the good news, the welcome stories which can give us all hope – like the new website for gays in Ethiopia or the steadily emerging queer community in India. We hope by doing so to motivate many more of you to support the struggle that gay people around the world are engaged in.
Back to the here and now, there is lots to get the year off to a good start in this issue. Our TV special features some of the hottest talent and best shows around as well as taking a look at how to change gay representations on British telly for the better. We also interview the massively talented choreographer Matthew Bourne, sample weird food in Manilla and general eccentricity at Aynhoe Park in Oxfordshire and take to the skies for the world’s first gay aeroplane wedding. Enjoy!
The next issue of GT is out 29 Dec. You can buy the App over here.