Anti LGBTI education protestors outside Parkfield School (Photo: Twitter) Four more schools in Birmingham have halted LGBTI-inclusive lessons following protests, according to the BBC.
The Leigh Trust, which runs four primary schools in Birmingham, said it was halting lessons until after Ramadan.
Last week, Parkfield Community School announced it will halt its LGBTI-inclusive teaching.
Parents had protested outside the gates of the primary school in Birmingham, UK.
The No Outsiders program was part of the sex and relationship education program. It fostered acceptance among pupils.
Despite support from for the program for the education secretary , the education watchdog Ofsted, and local politicians, Parkfield suspended it. ‘It’s not about being homophobic’
According to a letter seen by the BBC , the Leigh Trust is suspending their No Outsiders programme until an agreement with parents was reached.
The Leigh Trust includes Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School.
Parents at Parkfield and Leigh Trust claimed the classes were inappropriate for young children.
They also said the LGBT message contradicted teachings of Islam.
In February, the government published its first guidance on sex and relationships in schools.
The guidance said it ‘expects’ schools to teach about LGBTI relationships.
Campaigner Amir Ahmed told the BBC the No Outsiders program was changing ‘children’s moral position on family values on sexuality.
He said he was part of a ‘traditional community’.
‘Morally we do not accept homosexuality as a valid sexual relationship to have. It’s not about being homophobic.’
Channing Tatum in White House Down | Photo: Columbia Pictures Hollywood actor Channing Tatum has revealed a new bleached blonde crop, and we have many, many thoughts.
On the one hand, the Foxcatcher actor clearly looks amazing. And is is giving us strong 2003 gay bar vibes.
On the other, it reminds us a little too much of Eminem… Also, Jessie J – Channing’s rumored girlfriend – rocked the same look in 2012 for charity!
Regardless you can have your say: Channing wants you to tell him if you think it’s a bad idea or not on social media … ‘Bad idea?’
The Magic Mike star uploaded a photo of his new hairstyle to Instagram along with the poll ‘Bad idea? Haha’ and the option of ‘yes’ and ‘no.’
His new look follows High School Musical star Zac Efron’s decision to go blonde back in January.
His new look caused a storm online (inspiring the astute observations ‘heteros have discovered platinum blond’ and ‘is nothing gays have sacred?’). See also:
WATCH: Channing Tatum gets bound, hit with riding crop in P!nk’s new S&M-tinged Beautiful Trauma vid
Shane Dawson and Ryland Adams | photo: Instagram/shanedawson So, it’s been quite a week for YouTuber Shane Dawson – and it’s only Wednesday.
Days after an old joke of his prompted ridicule and condemnation online, the vlogger revealed he is engaged to long-term boyfriend Ryland Adams.
Shane got on bended knee at an undisclosed location, sharing a picture of the moment on social media today along with the caption ‘HE SAID YES!!!!!! :,)))))))’. ‘Never been happier’
Ryland, also a prominent social media star, also shared the news to his followers. He did so with the message: ‘we’re engaged!! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.’
‘I’ve never been happier in my whole entire life!!’ he furthermore added.
The guys are reported to have been dating for three years.
Singer Steve Grand was among the stars to like the posts. Meanwhile, make up vlogger James Charles said on Twitter: ‘CONGRATULATIONS OMFG’. ‘I’m sorry for what I said about my cat’
The news of course follows a clarification Shane issued earlier this week that he ‘ didn’t fuck my cat ‘.
This followed a controversial old joke of his resurfacing online. Dawson told the story of how he ‘humped’ his cat on his podcast Shane and Friends in 2015.
Denying the incident happened, Shane said: ‘I’m sorry for what I said about my cat. I’m sorry for what I said about anything or anyone that was offensive.’
He also continued: ‘I’m sorry for being someone who thought being super offensive and shocking all the time was funny. I’m sorry for my past. But I’m [ready] to make it right.’ See also:
Logan Paul will ‘go gay’ for a month as part of a New Year’s Eve resolution
Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has appointed the first ever National Adviser for LGBT Health. Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director of the Terrence Higgins Trust and a sexual health and HIV consultant at King’s College Hospital, will advise the government on how to tackle inequality in the healthcare system including: Improving healthcare professionals’ awareness of LGBT issues
The implementation of sexual orientation monitoring across the NHS
Working with statutory and professional organisations to address LGBT issues in physical and mental health services
Health inequalities: mental health
Various pieces of research have examined LGBT people’s experience of mental health problems and accessing support. The National LGBT Survey which was last published in July 2018, highlighted that mental health support is an area rife with inequalities.
24% of respondents had accessed mental health services in the 12 months preceding the survey, whilst 8% had tried to access them but had been unsuccessful. 72% of those who had accessed or tried to access mental health services reported that it had not been easy.
In research commissioned by the Government Equalities Office, it was found that mental health services are the services most often perceived to be discriminatory.
Stonewall commissioned YouGov to carry out a survey on LGBT health, finding that: Half of LGBT people (52%) experienced depression in the last year
One in eight LGBT people aged 18-24 (13%) said they’ve attempted to take their own life in the last year.
One in seven LGBT people (14%) avoid seeking healthcare for fear of discrimination from staff
An advisory panel, comprised of twelve members, has been set up to support Dr Michael Brady investigate – and try to resolve – health inequalities faced by LGBT people. The members of the LGBT Advisory Panel are: Catherine Meads, Professor of Health at Anglia Ruskin University, specialising in hate crime
S Chelvan, Barrister at No5 chambers, specialising in international human rights and LGBT asylum cases
Ellen Murray, Executive Director of Transgender Northern Ireland
James Morton, Manager at the Scottish Trans Alliance and member of the Parliamentary Forum on Gender Identity
Jayne Ozanne, Director of the Ozanne Foundation and member of the Church of England’s General Synod
Lewis Turner, Chief Executive of Lancashire LGBT with previous experience working on hate crime in local government
Marcel Varney, Assistant Director of Children’s Services at Barnardo’s with experience working on adoption policy
Paul Dillane, Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust
Paul Martin, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation
Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of Consortium
Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive of Stonewall
Stevie-Jade Hardy, Associate Professor of Criminology and expert on equalities and hate crime at the University of Leicester
Paul Martin OBE, Chief Executive of LGBT Foundation, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Dr Michael Brady into his new role as the National Advisor for LGBT health, and look forward to working alongside him as part of the Ministerial LGBT Advisory Panel. Dr Brady brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in the field of LGBT health and is well placed to tackle the stark health inequalities that LGBT people still face.
“We are pleased that the priorities for Dr Brady and the Ministerial Panel will include the implementation of sexual orientation monitoring across the NHS. We know that if we’re not counted, we don’t count, and gathering demographic information about patients’ sexual orientation will go a long way in ensuring the needs of LGB patients are identified and responded to.
“We look forward to supporting, and playing a leading role, in removing the barriers that many LGBT people face when accessing healthcare, through our membership of the Ministerial Advisory Panel, as part of our goal to secure a safe, healthy and equal future for all LGBT people.”
Minister for Women and Equalities Penny Mordaunt said:
“Dr Brady and the experts on our new Panel will give LGBT people and those working on their behalf a direct route to speak to government and shape policy on decisions that affect their daily lives.
“Everyone should be able to love who they wish to and live their life free from fear and discrimination. That’s why we are working at pace with organisations and across government to make sure our Action Plan can bring about real, lasting change for LGBT people in the UK.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:
“Every patient should feel welcomed by the NHS, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or race. Prejudice and discrimination have no place in healthcare and I’m determined to end this injustice.
“Dr Michael Brady will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role and I welcome his appointment. A specific national adviser will help improve the LGBT community’s current experience of the NHS and ensure individuals are always treated with the compassion and consideration they deserve. I hope this will truly give people the opportunity to be involved in shaping their own experiences going forward.”
Dr Michael Brady National Adviser for LGBT Health said:
“I’m delighted to be chosen to advise government and the NHS on the work that needs to be done to improve the health and well-being of LGBT communities. I want to ensure that every LGBT person is treated with dignity and respect and receives the right information, treatment and care.
“I want all healthcare workers to understand the needs of LGBT individuals and for everyone to feel comfortable and confident that they will be treated fairly when they access healthcare.”
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, said:
“The NHS is here for everyone so we’re pleased to be hosting Dr. Brady in this new post as we chart improvements to our nation’s health for the decade ahead.”
Primary schools in Manchester have been contacted by parents unhappy over sex and relationships lessons that teach children about LGBT rights, in the wake of similar classes being withdrawn in Birmingham after protests.
The Guardian understands that parents at seven primary schools have contacted school management to discuss the inclusion of the lessons in the curriculum.
Parkfield community school, in the Saltley area of Birmingham, recently hit the headlines after it became the scene of weekly protests over “No Outsiders” lessons, which parents claimed were “promoting LGBT ways of life”. The programme, which is designed to challenge homophobia, was suspended indefinitely until a resolution can be reached with protesting parents.
An academy trust in Birmingham has also suspended the No Outsiders programme at some of its primary schools. In a letter to parents seen by the Guardian, the Leigh Trust said it would not be continuing the programme at Leigh primaryin Washwood Heath until the completion of a full consultation with parents. It is understood the suspension will affect three other primary schools in the area, which are managed by the trust.
The letter stated the lessons had been suspended until the board of directors were able to have “meaningful and open discussions” with parents. Pupils shouldn’t be denied LGBT lessons – whatever their parents say | Benali Hamdache
Read more The Parkfield Parents Community group spokesman Mohammed Aslam welcomed the move. He said: “This was decided after the trust received strong objections from parents about its aims, content and misleading ‘consultations’ that preceded its introduction. The programme discriminates against the beliefs of Muslim children, parents, family values and undermines parental rights.”
On Tuesday, parents protested against No Outsiders outside Anderton Park primary school in Birmingham, although it does not run the programme.
Meanwhile, in Greater Manchester , parents at several schools, including William Hulme grammar school in Whalley Range and Acacias community primary school in Burnage, contacted the management about sex education lessons.
Although the schools in Greater Manchester do not run the No Outsiders programme, it is understood some parents, of mainly Muslim background, are concerned about the new plans to overhaul sex education lessons in schools.
In 2017, the government announced a radical overhaul of sex and relationship education and announced that children would be taught about healthy adult relationships from the age of four, with sex education made compulsory in all secondary schools. However, faith schools would still be allowed to teach “in accordance with the tenets of their faith”.
One parent, who wanted to remain anonymous and has a primary-age child at William Hulme grammar, said some parents had handed out letters on Friday urging others to sign a petition against the new sex education lessons. A WhatsApp group, which has almost 250 members, has called for protests at primary schools across the region and for parents to withdraw their children.
The parent said: “The WhatsApp group has been quite militant. It has been handled well at William Hulme’s, with the headteacher having meetings with parents, but there are lots of other schools.
“These are just regular sex education lessons – they are not like No Outsiders – but because of Birmingham they have heard that this is in the pipeline and it’s got totally blown out of proportion. Some of them don’t want their children taught about sex at all, but the main thing they are worried about is LGBT. Some people don’t want their kids being taught that it is OK to be gay.”
The parent said the headteacher confiscated the letters and had a meeting with some parents.
Another parent, who is in a same-sex relationship and has a child at William Hulme, said they felt “incredibly uncomfortable” at the prospect of protests, adding: “I am really worried this is going to gather a head of steam and it will get worse. I couldn’t bear to have a situation like you have in Birmingham where there are protests and speakers on soapboxes with microphones outside the school. An LGBT education would have spared me years of misery | Letters
Read more “There are already issues surrounding homophobia, and I am really supportive of how the school deals with this. It worries me because there are lots of LGBT pupils, including Muslim children, and there are certainly lots of LGBT parents … it is horrible that there are parents who don’t want their children to be taught to be LGBT is OK.”
The school pointed out it had only been contacted by five parents about the changes proposed by the government and that those discussions had been straightforward and amicable. It also stressed that there had been no reference to the situation in Birmingham in the meetings, nor protests at the school.
Angela Stansfield, the assistant headteacher at Acacias primary, said there had been no protests but some parents had requested a meeting. She said: “We are planning to do a meeting for parents later this term to explain where we are with the new curriculum … a significant issue with our parents seems to be linked to LGBT, and our approach has always been that we do not promote any particular sexuality.”
The other five primary schools in the Greater Manchester area where parents are understood to have contacted management about the lessons are Birchfields, Gatley, Plymouth Grove and Claremont primary schools and MEA Central. All of the schools have been contacted for a comment.
A Birchfields spokesman said they had held a meeting to address parents’ concerns, adding: “We have been able to reassure them that nothing has changed here and that we will fully inform them if it does.”
Nairobi: On February 22, activists, reporters, and well-wishers from Kenya and all over the world gathered in a courtroom in Nairobi, hoping to witness a historic moment: the decriminalisation of homosexual conduct for the first time in conservative East Africa, a region where anti-LGBT crackdowns are common, sometimes even at the behest of presidents.
A judge ultimately deflated the room with a last-minute postponement of the ruling – fuelling the rumour mill that Kenya’s top politicians were interfering – but the mood wasn’t glum. One activist joked that he’d have time to buy a snappier suit before the new date set for the ruling in late May. A collection of artwork made by Ugandan LGBT refugees at a safe house on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Credit:The Washington Post/Max Bearak But on that same day, 20 LGBT refugees who had come to Kenya hoping to escape repression in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda and Congo were spending their first full day in jail. Their ordeal has now lasted nearly a month and demonstrates the difficulties LGBT people in Kenya face regardless of what happens in the courts.
The refugees were arrested en masse near the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), in an upscale neighbourhood of the Kenyan capital. Police say they were creating a public nuisance, trespassing, and defecating in public. In interviews during visiting hours at Nairobi West prison, five of the refugees said the charges are trumped up and that they have suffered horrible physical abuse at the hands of prison guards and other prisoners.
The interviewees complained that they had lice and that those who were HIV positive among them could not access their antiretroviral treatment.
Lutaya Bennon, one of six of the detainees in the men-only prison who identify as trans women, had tears in her eyes as she recounted how guards had ripped out her earrings. "Everyone in here is horrible to us," she said. "In the night, some other prisoners have come and forced us to let them touch our penises." LGBT activists and supporters attend a Kenyan court ruling on whether to decriminalise same-sex relationships, in Nairobi, Kenya, on February 22.Credit:AP Bennon and others said that all 20 were carrying identification from UNHCR. Edgar Atuhe, 24, who – like Bennon – is Ugandan, said that UNHCR or affiliated organisations had not yet come to check on them in the prison, though a UNHCR spokeswoman said that they had been in contact with the detainees "directly and indirectly" and that a lawyer had been provided for them from a partner organisation.
That lawyer, Atuhe said, told all the refugees to plead guilty, advice which the UNHCR spokeswoman echoed and said was "in the hope of trying to get a reduced or lesser punishment".
"These offenses were committed in public and difficult to deny," said Yvonne Ndege, the UNHCR spokeswoman. Atuhe and others said they would not take the advice as they believe they did nothing wrong.
Prison guards only let five of the 19 detainees at Nairobi West (one person is being held at a women-only prison nearby) speak to the reporter, saying that "you will get from these five what you would get from the rest".
Among them was Sabam Kimbugwe, who opened his mouth to show how many teeth had been knocked out by a prison guard (at least four). He said that similar attacks had happened to others whom the reporter was not able to meet, provoked sometimes by small things such as a refusal to eat the porridge they are served every day. A tentative court date for the refugees has been set for March 26, while the new date for the court ruling is in late May.Credit:EPA Ndege said "were looking into this" in response to the allegations of abuse in the prison, and said they are planning visits with the detainees this week.
A tentative court date for the refugees has been set for March 26.
Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries, many of which inherited anti-sodomy laws from European colonial governments. Prominent politicians in Kenya have described homosexuality as "un-African" and an affront to the values of most Kenyans, 85 per cent of whom identify as Christians, and another 10 per cent who identify as Muslims.
In neighbouring Tanzania, many LGBT people have gone into hiding after authorities in the capital Dar es Salaam called on residents to "help identify homosexuals" so they could be arrested. Uganda, which also borders Kenya, drew international condemnation in 2014 for passing a law that carried a life sentence for "aggravated homosexuality". The law was annulled later that year, but thousands of LGBT Ugandans became refugees, fleeing a spate of murders that accompanied inflamed rhetoric around the law.
Many, like Lubega Musa, came to Nairobi, and hope to be resettled in more accepting countries such as Britain or Canada. Musa, 26, now lives in a suburban safe house with other refugees – and is friends with many of those recently detained. He has been in Kenya for almost three years and cautioned against optimism despite the judicial progressiveness many activists here hope for.
"If homosexuality is decriminalised here, it will actually be worse for us. Our resettlement process will slow down, or even stop. UNHCR will say we are safe now. But actually, we will be less safe," he said. "It would be a good moment for activists, but it is a scary one for the refugee or the trans woman on the street. To the celebrators, I say shorten your high heels, babe! If it happens, this could be a huge milestone, yes, but on the street, it is just one step."
The Washington Post
Gay pride GLASGOW’S new Pride celebration has won the support of its European peers as well as backing from the city council.
Mardi Gla, run by the LGBT Co-operative, will be Glasgow’s first ever Pride event recognised by the influential European Pride Organisers Association, known as Euro Pride.
Meanwhile, Glasgow City Council confirmed its support for the Merchant City-based event.
City Convener for Equalities and Human Rights Councillor Jennifer Layden said the council had been impressed by the team’s approach, following an uncertain period for Pride events in the city.
Ms Layden said: "Mardi Gla can be the successful, open, welcoming and free celebration of LGBT Pride that Glasgow deserves – and I’m very happy to support the event.
"I understand how important this is to the city and I’m confident the team have sustainable, realistic plans to ensure Glasgow has a quality Pride event that everyone in the community can feel a part of."
Euan Mcleod, a former Labour councillor, is executive director of the LGBT Co-operative and said the event will include a march and two-day festival.
Mardi Gla will take place on July 20 to 21, using some of the same footprint and infrastructure as the Merchant City Festival.
Its organiser aims to be one of the most accessible, transparent and democratic LGBT organisations in the UK; with one third of board members elected annually by members of Glasgow’s LGBT community.
Will Labate, chairman of the LGBT Co-operative, said: "We are delighted that our ambitious plans for transforming Pride in Glasgow have been recognised at a European level and we look forward to working closely with Glasgow City Council as we work together to deliver a free and educational Pride in Glasgow this July."
Mardi Gla and its organisers have also been granted membership of Euro Pride, with Glasgow only the second community in Scotland to meet entry conditions.
Euro Pride was formed in 1991 and now has almost 100 members across 30 countries.
It promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Pride across the continent and seeks to empower and support local and national organisations to promote Pride as both a celebration and a vital human rights movement.
The association also aims to facilitate networking and skill-sharing among member cities and is advocate for the Pride movement at a national and international level, including at the European Parliament.
Kristine Garina, President of European Pride Organisers Association, said: "We are delighted to have welcomed Mardi Gla – Glasgow’s Pride to our membership.
"Our Association is growing at an unprecedented rate and it’s great to see another Scottish Pride keen to engage in the international Pride movement.
"We look forward to working with the Mardi Gla team to support their event and ensure Scottish representation on the international stage."
It’s reported four more schools in Birmingham have suspended lessons about diversity and LGBT issues.
The move follows complaints from parents about how age appropriate the ‘No Outsiders’ project is.
Parkfield Community School in Birmingham was the first to halt the lessons earlier this month following protests by parents, who claimed the lessons also went against their beliefs.
The No Outsiders programme, which teaches about the Equality Act, was authored by the primary school’s assistant headteacher, Andrew Moffat.
Pupils are taught about the positive values of diversity, tolerance and acceptance, in a broad curriculum encompassing LGBT rights, same-sex relationships, gender identity, race, religion and colour.
Ofsted inspectors have concluded the lessons are "age-appropriate".
Leigh Trust said it was stopping the programme at Leigh Primary School, Alston Primary School, Marlborough Junior and Infants School and Wyndcliff Primary School until after Ramadan in May, according to reports.
Campaign group the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education have criticised the decision.
Chair, Reverend Stephen Terry, said: "This latest news is extremely worrying.
"Parents are entitled to their views on sexuality and morality, and to set these beliefs before their children.
"A school’s task is to set out different views and approaches in society, with an overall duty to tackle prejudice and foster good relations between people of different characteristics.
"Teachers should be actively supported in this regard, not undermined."
Assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat teaches LGBT-inclusive lessons at Parkfield Community School. (Varkey Foundation/YouTube) Four more Birmingham schools have dropped a programme of LGBT+ inclusive lessons, as it is revealed that parents have complained to seven primary schools in the Manchester area over sex education classes.
The four schools are suspending the No Outsiders programme, which was the subject of protests at the city’s Parkfield Community School , following complaints from parents with children of mostly Muslim background at the schools.
Parkfield Community School has dropped the project “until a resolution has been reached,” amid continued protests from some conservative religious parents with children at the school.
The No Outsiders programme, developed by Parkfield’s assistant headteacher Andrew Moffat, teaches children from nursery up to year six about all elements of the Equality Act 2010, which protects from discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, age, disabilities, and sexual orientation.
The aim of No Outsiders, which is taught using 35 picture books, is to educate children about diversity in Britain. LGBT-inclusive No Outsiders project is dropped by four more schools until “meaningful” discussions are had with parents
In a letter sent to parents on March 15 , the Leigh Trust, which governs four Birmingham primary schools, said that the No Outsiders lessons have been suspended “until we are able to have meaningful and open discussions with the parents of all children in our schools.”
“We would like these meeting to be arranged in small groups to enable all parents to have the opportunity for open dialogue and to ensure a positive way forward with the delivery of the Equality Act,” the letter continues. “[We] have made the decision to suspend the No Outsiders programme until we are able to have meaningful and open discussions with the parents of all children in our schools.”
The schools operated by the Leigh Trust are: Alston Primary School, Wyndcliffe Primary School, Marlborough Infant School and Marlborough Junior School.
The Leigh Trust said in its letter that it is “proposing that these meetings take place after Ramadan,” which ends in June, because “we do not feel that we have enough time to offer meetings with parents of all of our children before the start of Ramadan.” Protests at Parkfield Community School. (Facebook) Alum Rock Community Forum, a group of residents in the Birmingham suburb, which is lobbying against the No Outsiders programme, welcomed the suspension of the classes on Facebook.
“We welcome the decision taken by Leigh Trust which runs 4 schools in East Birmingham, with almost 100% Muslim pupil population, to immediately SUSPEND the NO OUTSIDERS programme in their schools until full meaningful and open discussions take place with parents,” the group said. Earlier in March , an Ofsted report found that there is “no evidence” that the PSHE education and equalities curriculum at Parkfield are “not taught in an age-appropriate manner.” Parents complains to seven primary schools in Manchester over sex education lessons
Meanwhile, in Manchester, the Guardian reports that parents have complained to seven primary schools in Greater Manchester over sex education lessons that include teaching of LGBT+ relationships.
The newspaper reports that, while these seven schools do not teach the No Outsiders programme, the parents, which are mainly from a Muslim background, are concerned about the government’s plans to reform the sex education curriculum in the UK.
The schools listed by the Guardian include William Hulme grammar school in Whalley Range and Acacias community primary school in Burnage.
In March 2017, the government passed the Children and Social Work Act (2017), which pledges to make Relationships Education (RE) and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all schools in England.
As part of this, the government is updating the sex education guidance, which was last reviewed in 2000, when the anti-LGBT+ Section 28 banning the “promotion” of homosexuality was still in place.
While the latest draft guidance specifically mentions LGBT people, Stonewall has said that “there were still areas where it risked failing to meet the needs of LGBT young people.”
In September 2017, a study by sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust found that 95 percent of young people have never learned about LGBT sex and relationships (SRE) in UK schools.
This is despite nearly half (49 percent) of students aged between 18 and 24 identifying as something other than heterosexual.
Photographer Ed Gold interviewed soldiers who served in Afghanistan and asked them about their experiences of adjusting to civilian life.
Soldiers Callum Wright, Scott Meenagh, Geoff Dunn, Dan Eccles and Terry Jones all served in the Parachute Regiment, known as the Paras.
Gold worked with the Paras as a photojournalist in the UK and in Afghanistan, taking thousands of images of army life.
The photos shown here document the Para soldiers between July 2010 and July 2011 and when he caught up with them again in 2018 after they left the Army. Callum Wright
Callum Wright, 29, followed in the footsteps of three generations of his family and joined the Army, when he was 19. Initially, Callum wanted to be a tank transporter like his two older brothers but then decided he would rather be in the "nitty gritty" of combat and to push himself further.
He chose the Parachute Regiment, despite the high failure rate.
Out of 72 people in his intake group, he was one of only 10 that made it through to becoming part of the elite airborne infantry regiment. Callum did one tour of Afghanistan. But after returning to the UK, he felt restless in the Army. "When I got back, I got bored," he says. "It was the same mundane [work] day in, day out.
"For me, when I knew the Afghan [tour] was coming up and when I was out there, I felt that I mattered and I was doing something that mattered.
"But that feeling disappeared when we were back in the barracks."
After being unable to transfer to the unit that his brothers were in, Callum decided to leave the Army and start a new chapter in his life with his wife.
He became a personal trainer and also worked in a whisky distillery. But civilian life didn’t suit Callum for long and, after 14 months, he returned to the Army, as a tank transporter.
"That feeling, ‘I have more to give,’ came back, almost like a regret that I had left," he says. But after another two years in the Army, Callum had a change of heart again.
"I was doing 17 hours a day and was tired all of the time," he says. He became an apprentice at a butcher’s. "I love it – and that’s me." "I love working with my hands, like when you’re taking all the meat off the bone, it [appeals to] the caveman in me." But Callum still remembers his army days fondly. "I miss the blokes," he says, "everyone was going through the same, just close friends. The biggest thing I miss is the sense that you matter.
"When you’re in the Army, you wear a uniform and you are this presence – you are visibly serving. But when you leave, you don’t matter. You are just the same as everyone else on the street."
Now, Callum is making new plans again. He has started training to be a technician with the Scottish Ambulance Service. Scotty Meenagh
Scotty Meenagh, 28, had always wanted to belong to the Paras. "If you are part of the airborne, there is nobody else to look up to. You’re the best soldier," he says.
"They’ve been famous throughout history. I grew up being inspired by the Paras in the Falklands War. It was a unit that could complete impossible tasks that no other unit in the army could do at that time."
Scotty signed up to the military at 15, joining the Army Foundation College in Harrogate.
However, 18 months into his training, he was injured and discharged. He rejoined at the age of 19 and started training at the Para Depot.
After 46 weeks of training, he qualified and did a tour of Afghanistan in 2010.
Scotty was "Vallon man", which means he searched the route ahead of the patrol, including using a metal detector, to make sure it was safe. He was also a medic.
"Your mates are relying on you to protect them," he says. "You’re not focusing so much on the combat role, so my weapon would be slung over my back and I’d be relying on a soldier behind me for my protection."
On 25 January 2011, Scotty was injured by a bomb that also killed one of his comrades. The injury meant that Scotty became a double amputee.
Recalling his rehabilitation, he says: "You go through so many different states, it’s hard to believe you were in that position – it’s a strange start of coping mechanisms.
"When you think back to such tough times, you remove the person from it." Scotty says he now puts all his energy into sport. "After being wounded, you need to try different things to rediscover your purpose. I found that sport enabled me to get out of bed every morning."
In 2014, Scotty turned his attention to cross-country skiing, after seeing it at the Paralympics in Sochi, in Russia.
He went on to race on the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup circuit and, in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, became the first British sit-skier to race at the Paralympics.
He is currently training for the 2022 Beijing Paralympics, and he’s also about to get married and "make a family" for himself.
"My fiancee and I have got a house and are living a nice normal life." Geoff Dunn
Geoff Dunn’s family tradition of serving in the military stretches back as far back as the colonial wars of the 19th Century. Geoff, 48, joined the Paras when he was 17, believing them to be the pinnacle of the infantry. He went on tours in Northern Ireland and Africa.
But after he got married, he felt he needed to choose between the military or his family, having seen a number of friends divorce.
After leaving the Army, he took up a couple of civilian jobs before eventually settling in a role as a response office with the police. Over time, he moved in to firearms policing.
After 15 years in the police force, Geoff felt the call to once again "do his bit" in the Paras, motivated by the 2009 British operation in Afghanistan and the people he knew who had been killed or injured.
"To be totally truthful, [I wanted] to test myself. It really did feel like a call to arms," he says. "It wasn’t a light decision to go, as I had a wife and two teenage sons."
He knew that after being out of the Paras for so long, he would have to start from the bottom again.
Aged 40, Geoff passed the recruitment physical test. This included a 10-mile run carrying approximately 40lb (18kg) of kit, which he finished in less than two hours. He was quickly accepted back in to the Paras. After a tour in Afghanistan, Geoff left the Army and eventually went into private protection, protecting maritime workers in the Indian Ocean. However, he says a family death made him reassess the amount of time he was spending away from home. He went to work for the Civil Nuclear Constabulary as a firearms instructor, among other duties.
But after three years, a former boss asked him if he wanted to return to the police force.
"I’ve always thought you have one life and that it is very limiting if you tie yourself to one thing," he says. "However, if you enjoy it, then get good at it." Dan Eccles
From a young age, Dan Eccles wanted a challenge. "I’ve always known about the Paras," the 26-year-old says. "I had a little recruitment book that inspired me. I was hooked and wanted a slice of it."
At 17, Dan went to the Catterick Para Depot. It was the hardest thing he’s ever done, he says, physically and mentally. After passing his training, he went to Afghanistan. Serving there was the reason he had signed up, he says.
But Dan found that returning to the UK and settling into civilian life outside of the Army was not so straightforward. "When you come back, it’s hard to adjust," he says.
"You spend six or seven months fully switched on and you’re always looking at every single person, [thinking] ‘What are they doing? Are they carrying weapons? Who are they speaking to?
"So when you come back, it’s very confusing. You can’t switch your brain off. I didn’t really get that much help. I struggled for a few years." Dan took a welding course, funding it himself by working in a retail stockroom. But three years in he became depressed. "I missed the excitement [of the Army]. Being in the stock-room was very mundane."
But his perseverance paid off, with his training leading to a welding job, making metal appliances for kitchens in restaurants, cafes and hotels.
Dan’s other passion in civilian life has been powerlifting, a hobby he started before he left the Army.
"I was so short and skinny and tiny," he says. "I wasn’t interested in looking ripped. I just wanted to eat a lot of food and get very strong." Terry Jones Terry Jones, 29, joined the Army to get out of his local Welsh town. He enrolled in the Paras when he was 17. He served for nearly 10 years and completed two Afghan tours, including the tour known as Herrick 8 in 2008.He says of this tour: "It was horrendous. It had the worst death rate since World War Two for the Paras." On his second Afghan tour, in 2011, Terry was hurt trying to help his injured comrade Scott. He sustained a head injury and was put into an induced coma for 10 days. He lost 70% of the vision in his left eye and was medically discharged in 2014."I miss the lads, the banter and how close you are down there," he says. "You look out for each together. Everybody has got each other’s back." After leaving the Paras, Terry worked as a lorry driver and then in a furniture shop. He later became the owner a PVC plastics company that made items such as bouncy castles – but since leaving the business, he has focused on looking after his family."Right now is the happiest I’ve ever been," he says. "I spend a lot of time with my kids, on bike rides and taking them on holiday.".