Gay and Lesbian Humanist

November 2008 Issue

It’s been a significant time for poetry and politics – and much else of course. And this is reflected in the second online issue of the newly relaunched Gay and Lesbian Humanist magazine, available online at

Politics doesn’t come much bigger or brasher than when it’s USA politics, of course, and President-elect Barack Obama was soon in the sights of Catholic bishops, who warned him that “the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis” would be impossible to achieve, if the administration’s policies increase abortions.

As for poetry, you’ll probably have heard of the row over the UK bookstore chain Waterstone’s, who reneged on a signing-and-reading evening in November for a Welsh poet, because Christian Voice was on the warpath. The irony is that, as usual with these protests, the “offending” material stands to reach a far wider audience than might have been the case.

Both of these stories are to be found in our pages this month. Indeed, the case of the poet – Patrick Jones, brother of the Manic Street Preachers bassist Nicky Wire – is brought to you in a full feature article, complete with the “offending” poem.

As well as some of the stories concerning religion and lack of it that have caught our eyes over the past few weeks – with or without a lesbian/gay theme – we bring you a varied menu of articles – some regulars, some not. This month an ordained Anglican priest, Neil Richardson, gives us his view of the atheist-bus campaign in London (the one that will see a number of bendy-buses with ads on them telling us there’s probably no God, so we may as well get on with life).

In our “Out of Print” feature (articles from the archives of the print editions of G&LH), Cherry Bennet looks at sex workers, and their fight for recognition.

Two noted campaigners, Peter Tatchell and Maryam Namazie, bring us their views this month: on “murder music” and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain respectively.

What has upset Peter Tatchell is that the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, allowed a concert by the noted homophobic rapper Bounty Killer to go ahead in November, in spite of the fact that, if his lyrics concerned racial rather than sexual issues, he most certainly would not be allowed to perform – whether he’d given an undertaking to steer clear of that subject or not.

And Maryam Namazie writes about the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, who held their first international conference in October. Titled “Political Islam, Sharia Law and Civil Society”, it was held at Conway Hall Humanist Centre in London and was hailed a resounding success.

The International Gay Association was formed 30 years ago in Coventry. It’s now called the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA for short) and has had a number of successes since that historic meeting on the fringe of a Campaign for Homosexual Equality conference in 1978. We profile ILGA and speak to one of its joint secretary-generals, Renato Sabbadini.

As readers may know by now, we run a blog as a sister publication to G&LH. In “On the Blog” we sample some of the highlights of recent posts, and of course urge you to get involved in debate by contributing to the comment areas there. You don’t even have to agree with us!

George Broadhead remembers the film legend Paul Newman, who though not gay seems to have been humanist in outlook, while, in “Gossip from Across the Pond”, Warren Allen Smith notes the passing of two prominent non-believers, the author Michael Crichton (1942–2008) and the writer, actor and broadcaster (Louis) Studs Terkel (1912–2008).

With a look on the lighter side with Steven Dean and Stephen Blake, and an examination of why members of a certain religion find it hard to keep their peckers in their pants, we hope we’ve got something to interest all.

Feedback is very welcome!

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Created : Sunday, 2008-12-07 / Last updated : Saturday, 2009-01-10
Brett Humphreys :