Tag Archives: sex

The Pope in Britain

I’m a Catholic because I’m half-Irish-half-English and, as my dad isn’t much of a believer, I ended up getting baptised – not that I actually go to church. My attendance record is pretty much based on weddings and funerals.

But, when I was asked if I would be interested in working with the government Cabinet Office to follow Pope Benedict around the UK during his visit, providing live commentary via Twitter and blogs, I jumped at the chance. Though I’m not a follower, the teachings of his church have permeated their way into my consciousness just because I was always surrounded by Catholics when I was growing up – and who wouldn’t want to be embedded with a head of state providing a live Twitter feed of what really happens ‘backstage’?

But it was the former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, who invited the Pope to the UK. And Brown is no longer in office. And the current Prime Minister is either less interested in the Pope visiting, or more attuned to the scandal that will be caused by his visit. Most probably the latter as the child sex scandal furore only seems to be getting worse and the present Pope was previously in charge of handling complaints against the Vatican, and should therefore be acutely aware of the issues – and be handling them rather better.

So the regular media will continue to cover the visit, but all additional nice-to-have coverage (like a live blogger backstage) were all canned.

It’s a shame as I was looking forward to trying to offer some insights. The views of the church often rub directly against my own liberal opinions – I was working in Malta last week and I was surprised to hear that divorce is illegal there because the church won’t allow it. The Catholic church has some way to go to reach the standards considered acceptable in a modern-day society where free expression and respect for Human Rights are considered essential.

But the church has an immense history and tradition and is followed by hundreds of millions of people. I was looking forward to exploring these questions of how faith collides with modernity, but now I won’t get the chance anyway. Another thing I can blame on David Cameron.

What a shame.
Art installation, Central St Martin's

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Ricky Martin is gay

Why the fawning, accepting, media coverage of Ricky Martin? This is a man who is 40 next year. He has been famous for nearly 20 years.

Why did his advisors insist that he never revealed his sexuality until now, and why did he never ignore that advice? Are we still following the line that it’s OK for svengalis like ‘Colonel Parker’ to control their stars to the extent that sexuality is suppressed so female fans are not ‘disappointed’.

The real disappointment is that Ricky Martin doesn’t live in the twenty-first century and his behaviour could be judged by many as extremely negative, reinforcing the perceived shame of being gay. How can he now perform in front of gay fans and not feel the shame of two decades of deception?

How about some of the press being more critical, or do we have to rely on Peter Tatchell and Outrage! to make these comments?

Hate Mail

I was never much of a Boyzone fan. Even so, the recent, and very sudden, death of Boyzone star Stephen Gately came as a shock. I vividly recall the time he came out as being gay 10 years ago. Perhaps he was the first ‘boy band’ or pop star to actually admit he was gay. Admittedly, the newspapers were going to out him anyway, but he chose to fight them by giving his side of the story, rather than desperately trying to cling on to the façade of boy-band normality – toned bodies and screaming teenage girls.

He could have tried going to the courts for a gagging order, but he took the right path and became even more of a hero to his fans – some of them probably struggling with their own sexuality – for doing so.

The nature of his death was certainly unusual. It’s not all that normal for a 33-year-old to just go to bed one evening and die. However, the initial results from the post mortem don’t indicate anything more unusual than a big night out and a joint or two being smoked. He had liquid on the lungs. That could easily have been from vomit during his sleep, possibly as a result of drinking too much, but none of us really know what happened until further information is released. It’s clear that there was no drugs binge or suicide though – it looks like a tragic accident.

Yet, take a look at what Jan Moir has been writing about Gately in the Daily Mail. What a filthy, disgusting, degraded piece of pond life she must be to write such an article in a national newspaper that just spills over with hatred and intolerance. She talks of ‘Robbie, Amy, Kate, Whitney, Britney’ as stars we should expect to go next – what kind of journalism is that?

Why does she make the assumption that people who live a different life to her all end up suffering an early death?

Why does she not accept that even stars can sometimes suffer fatal accidents or mishaps?

Why does she allude to Gately’s homosexuality as a fatal flaw that caused his death?

Why does she openly question the validity of civil unions, just because of Gately’s death and the recent suicide of Kevin McGee?

The Daily Mail is generally known as the Hate Mail where I come from. It’s a nasty paper read by nasty people who despise freedom, liberty, equality, and the values of the majority of people who live in the UK. Jan Moir once again demonstrates how the paper has earned this reputation, but it appears to me that she has gone too far this time. If the financial supporters of the paper – the advertisers like Marks and Spencer – are now asking for their adverts to be moved away from her page then surely it’s time for the editor to do something?

Sack her. Let her enjoy a holiday from hate.