Actor Sylvester Stallone (right) and boxer Deontay Wilder (left) were present for the pardon signing US President Donald Trump has pardoned boxing’s first black heavyweight champ, convicted in 1913 of taking his white girlfriend across state lines.
Joined in the Oval Office by actor Sylvester Stallone and boxer Lennox Lewis, Mr Trump said the move corrected a historic US wrong to Jack Johnson.
Johnson was arrested in 1912 with Lucille Cameron, a white woman who would later become his wife.
He was world heavyweight title holder from 1908 until 1915.
Mr Trump shook hands with current and former heavyweight champions at the White House during the announcement of the full pardon on Thursday. Johnson’s story was dramatised in Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Great White Hope Linda Bell Haywood, the maternal great-great niece of Jack Johnson, was also present, as was current heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. What did Trump say?
"I’ve issued an executive grant of clemency, a full pardon posthumously to Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world," Mr Trump said.
"He served 10 months for what many view as a racially motivated injustice." "Keep punching, Jack," Mr Stallone said at the Oval Office announcement Mr Trump had said he was considering pardoning Johnson back in April, after Mr Stallone brought the case to his attention.
"Sylvester Stallone called me with the story of heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson," Mr Trump said last month on Twitter.
"His trials and tribulations were great, his life complex and controversial." Jack Johnson (R) lost his title in 1915 to Jess Willard in a 26th round knockout During the announcement, Stallone – who famously depicted a boxer in the 1977 film Rocky – lifted his head upwards and said: "Keep punching, Jack."
"Thank you all! Justice has been done!" he tweeted after the announcement.
Mr Trump also jabbed former president Barack Obama, saying that many people "thought it was going to be signed in the last administration, and that did not happen, so it was disappointing for a lot of people".
Mr Obama had declined to pardon Johnson, in part due to allegations of domestic abuse, according to the New York Times. Who was Jack Johnson?
Born in Galveston, Texas, to former slaves, he became the first African American to win the world heavyweight crown in 1908, defeating Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.
He held on to that title until 1915 when Jess Willard, a white cowboy from Kansas, took the title with a knockout in the 26th round in Havana, Cuba.
In 1910, when Johnson defeated "great white hope" Jim Jeffries in the so-called Fight of the Century in Reno, Nevada, race riots erupted across the nation, claiming more than 20 lives.
Johnson’s story was dramatised in Pulitzer Prize-winning play The Great White Hope, starring James Earl Jones in 1969. Johnson and his wife, photographed in 1924 Why was he arrested?
He was charged with violating the 1910 Mann Act, a so-called moral purity law that made it illegal to transport women across state lines for "immoral" purposes.
US prosecutors argued that Johnson’s relationship with Lucille Cameron was a "crime against nature", and an all-white jury took less than two hours to convict him.
His career in ruins, Johnson skipped bail and fled to Europe to live in exile.
He spent years fighting overseas before surrendering to US authorities in 1920. He served 10 months in prison.
In 1946, he died in a car crash. Jack Johnson world heavyweight title holder from 1908 until 1919 The best way to get news on the go
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Would you have appreciated LGBTI accommodation at university? (Photo: © Syda Productions | Dreamstime.com) The University of Sheffield in the north of England has announced it is to launch LGBT+ student accommodation. The accommodation will be open to students from September 2018.
A statement from Women’s Officer, Celeste Jones, said ‘This development has only come about as a result of the extremely hard and commendable work of the LGBT+ Committee at the Students’ Union, along with the continuous support of the Residence Life Team and University Accommodation and Commercial Services.’ The University of Sheffield (Photo: The University of Sheffield) She said the initiative had been driven by the university’s LGBT+ Committee.
‘It is vital that every student always feels safe within the Students’ Union, at University and especially in their own home. We strive to ensure that all University accommodation is LGBT+ inclusive; bullying and harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
‘However, LGBT+ students have felt that their experience in university accommodation would be improved by having the option to live in LGBT+ specific accommodation.
‘By no means is this accommodation compulsory, nor do we wish to encourage segregation, but we feel it is extremely important that our students have the choice of living in LGBT+ only accommodation if they so desire.
‘Even if just a tiny fraction of LGBT+ students feel this will benefit their University experience then we feel it is all entirely worthwhile.’
Sheffield is not the first British university to launch LGBTI accommodation. Birmingham University in the Midlands gained press attention with a similar scheme in 2016 for first-year undergraduates. A rainbow flag flies outside The University of Sheffield’s Firth Court for the UK’s LGBT History Month in February (Photo: The University of Sheffield | Facebook) ‘Genuinely positive impacts on the student experience’
Martin Bailey, a former Sheffield Students’ Union Sabbatical Officer, praised the initiative to Gay Star News.
‘I think this is a really progressive move and demonstrates that student-led campaigns, like this by the LGBT+ committee of Sheffield Students’ Union, can make genuinely positive impacts on the student experience.
‘For the vast majority of young LGBT students off to University in September, they probably won’t choose this option. I know I probably wouldn’t have either, but for a few, the choice to live in an environment, where they won’t have to worry about coming out to their brand new flatmates who they’ll be living with for the next nine months, or exploring their gender identity hidden away alone in their room, is a really great thing.’
GSN has contacted the University of Sheffield for further comment. See also
How do they fare with these new terms? | Photo: YouTube/intomore As time goes on, many things change, including language. The slang of one generation is vastly different than that of another generation.
Into recently tried that out with gay slang and the results are utterly charming.
They gathered three older gay men for a video — Bill, Robert, and Mick — and tested them on the slang of younger gay men.
Adorably, most of the words are unknown to them. One of them even comments, ‘It’s like a foreign language!’ The first word on the agenda is ‘bussy’.
Naturally, all their minds go to another word first.
For a lot of words, like ‘extra’, though they’re not intimately familiar with it, they have some pretty good educated guesses. ‘Will my gay card get revoked?’
The best thing about the video is how adorable and funny all three men are. Their commentary and responses to the slang are genuinely great.
Many of the words and phrases stem from RuPaul and drag culture, prompting one of the men to ask if their gay card will get revoked because they don’t watch Drag Race.
Another fun element is when the men explain what their generation says for these terms. Instead of ‘gayby’, or baby gay, they used the term ‘chicken’.
When they learn the word ‘kiki’, a term for a private gossip session stemming from black and Latinx LGBTQ culture, they respond: ‘We call that a bitch fest!’
Downing Street was quick to dismiss as "speculation" the suggestion that the proposal for a highly streamlined customs arrangement with the EU after Brexit could cost businesses up to £20bn per year.
Speculation? It’s a little more than that.
It is certainly an estimate rather than a precise figure – but it was made publicly by the most senior civil servant at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Jon Thompson.
HMRC has already hired more than 1,000 civil servants to work on Brexit and is planning to hire several thousand more. It seems safe to presume that they have been crunching a few numbers.
So what do we know of how Mr Thompson reached his estimate?
First of all let’s remember that he was talking about one of the two proposals for a future customs relationship with the EU that are being debated within government. MPs say UK might have to extend customs union membership
Technology-based customs system ‘could cost £20bn’
Reality Check: The government’s customs options
Reality Check: Why is the customs union so important?
The highly streamlined customs arrangement, also known as maximum facilitation or max fac, is broadly favoured by supporters of Brexit and would rely on technology and trusted trader schemes to make trade as frictionless as possible.
According to Mr Thompson, by far the largest new cost under such a scheme would come from the requirement to fill in customs declarations.
As long as the UK is in the EU customs union, no declarations are needed for trade between the UK and the rest of the EU. But under the max fac proposal – however frictionless borders might be – customs declarations would have to be made. Working figure
Quantifying the cost is really difficult because there are a huge number of variables, but there have been some studies done recently on the average cost of an individual declaration.
Mr Thompson mentioned independent studies from University of Nottingham and from the consultancy firm KPMG, and said HMRC had been working on an estimate itself.
Taking account of numerous caveats, he cited a range between £20 and £55 per declaration and said HMRC had come up with a working figure for ministers of £32.50 for each one.
It is based on what officials know of the costs businesses actually face today, but HMRC has not revealed its precise methodology.
Andrew Grainger, a trade facilitation expert and the author of the University of Nottingham study, suggested HMRC’s estimate was not unreasonable:
"The estimated £32.50 figure per declaration does not look out of place when one considers the current charges by logistics companies to assist traders with customs and other border formalities," he said.
"In instances where goods are held for inspection, the costs will be many times higher. In instances where procedural demands are minimal, such as for goods sent by post, the costs could be lower".
So how many additional customs declarations might be required once the UK has left the EU and its customs union? The National Audit Office, using HMRC figures from 2016, says there are roughly 200 million intra-EU transactions that currently fall under customs union rules .
After Brexit, under the max fac proposal, HMRC is assuming that customs declarations would have to be made for every one of those transactions. Rules of origin in trade deals usually require about 55% of the components of cars to be considered local. Businesses need to make declarations twice (at either end of their supply chain) – one for exporting goods from one country and one for importing them into another.
So a back-of-the-envelope style calculation is that there would be 400 million declarations costing roughly £32.50 each.
That’s an estimated total cost of £13bn. ‘Doesn’t come cheap’
Mr Thompson then set out – briefly – the potential for further costs generated by rules of origin requirements.
In 2013 the government’s Balance of Competence Review suggested UK firms would be faced with costs linked to rules of origin ranging from 4% to perhaps 15% of the value of the goods sold. Other estimates are slightly lower – from 2% to 6%.
According to the Office for National Statistics, UK goods exports to the EU in 2016 were worth £145bn, so a 4% cost (£5.8bn) would be consistent with Mr Thompson’s estimated figures.
Again, a lot depends on exactly what you include in your calculation. A rules of origin certificate can be obtained for about £30 from a chamber of commerce, but it’s a lot more complicated than that.
"Beyond the price of the certificate itself you also need to be absolutely certain the product you are exporting actually meets the criteria set out in any given trade agreement," says Sam Lowe, a trade expert at the Centre for European Reform.
"Sometimes proving origin is easy, but sometimes it is not and doing so requires paying for specialist help, which doesn’t come cheap."
So, for example, if you want to export cars to South Korea under the EU-South Korea free trade agreement, you need to be able to demonstrate that 55% of the value of the car is created in the EU – so you might have to pay for expertise in free trade agreements, agents, administration, an audit of your supply chain, legal advice and so on.
Mr Thompson told the Treasury Select Committee that it is a difficult overall cost to estimate but suggested that it was reasonable to assume an additional cost to cover rules of origin of several billion pounds per year for business.
Producing a total estimated cost under the max fac proposal, he concluded, of "somewhere between £17bn and £20bn." Read more from Reality Check Send us your questions
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Morgan Freeman has been removed as the voice of Vancouver’s TransLink transport system, following allegations of sexual harassment made against him. Morgan Freeman has been accused of sexual harassment Freeman had been lending his voice to Vancouver’s TransLink system In CNN’s exclusive report, they spoke to 16 women – eight whom claimed to have been victims of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour, with the other eight alleging to be witnesses.
A production assistant who worked on ‘Going In Style’ in 2015 alleged Freeman touched her inappropriately and claimed he also tried to lift up her skirt.
Another woman alleged Freeman sexually harassed her on multiple occasions while working on 2012 film ‘Now You See Me’.
The actor has since responded to the allegations with a public apology, saying in a statement: “Anyone who knows me or has worked with me knows I am not someone who would intentionally offend or knowingly make anyone feel uneasy.
“I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — that was never my intent.”
Irland is once again, going #HomeToVote – but this time they could repeal laws that make abortion illegal | Photo: Instagram/Twitter People from all over the world are traveling from their home countries to Ireland – to vote in a landmark referendum on the Eighth Amendment tomorrow.
The amendment to the Irish constitution brought in over 40 years ago makes abortion illegal. It protects the rights of the unborn child and the mother.
It is only legal to have an abortion in Ireland if the mother’s health is at risk. This leads many pregnant women to buy illegal pills online or to travel abroad for abortions.
The country will vote on whether to appeal the amendment to the constitution tomorrow and some in the islands around the country have already cast their ballot.
The last time the majority Catholic country had a national referendum and went ‘#HomeToVote,’ the viral hashtag trending once again today. The referendum was a worldwide first, and Ireland voted to introduce same-sex marriage.
Irish voting laws allow expats to vote in the referendum, as long as they are in the country on the day of the vote.
Hundreds of people around the world are going to great lengths, traveling to Ireland just to cast their vote.
Once again they are using the hashtag #HomeToVote to express their support. Tweets show people traveling from as far as Ireland, Australia, Japan, Costa Rica, Thailand and beyond.
Irish drag queen Panti Bliss says she is having ‘Oprah levels’ of emotions reading the tweets: I don’t normally believe in having feelings. No good comes from them! And I don’t endorse them in others either.
But, about ten tweets into #HometoVote and I’m having an Oprah level event pic.twitter.com/PayqqyHvMn — Dr Panti Bliss (@PantiBliss) May 23, 2018 The gay Irish Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar is supporting the repeal.
He has begun his final campaigning with ‘guarded optimism’ that voters will support his stance, voting ‘Yes on Friday’ for all the women in his life.
Posting on Twitter that his vote is for his mum, sisters and my female friends, he says : ‘I think they all deserve safe & compassionate care here at home.’
Pride in Dublin is also supporting the repeal, telling Gay Star News:
‘Like in 2015 with the marriage referendum the #hometovote movement is proof of the enduring compassion of Irish people. No sea can keep us from supporting the people who need us.
‘May everyone who can find themselves pregnant have the same moment of relief on Saturday as we did in 2015.’ What is the Eighth Amendment?
The Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution in 1983 added a section recognizing the equal right to life of both the mother and the unborn child.
Abortion was already a criminal penalty in Ireland since 1861.
But the amendment also opened up the restrictions on abortion. Allowing, for the first time, legal abortion in circumstances where the life of a pregnant woman was at risk.
That change in the constitution was approved by referendum on 7 September 1983, coming into law one month later on 7 October 1983. The referendum is about abortion ‘choice’
That’s also the title of LBQ YouTuber Melanie Murphy’s award-winning mini-documentary about the 8th Amendment.
Posting to Twitter, Melanie who fully supports the ‘repeal the 8th’ movement yesterday she says:
‘Over 18s voting in the Irish referendum on Friday, remember: You’re voting on behalf of all the teens as young as 12.
‘They are unable to vote. But they can fall pregnant through rape, poverty/lack of access to contraception and/or poor education – to make the right decision.’
Her moving short film explores the impact of unplanned pregnancy on an Irish family. It brings together a clash of pro-life and pro-choice views.
It film won the YouTube ‘Buffer’ award for Excellence in Cultural Experience in 2017, reports Ten Eighty UK : Read more on Gay Star News:
Gay rapper F.D. Bordeaux. | Photo: Kenny Wooten (@kny.wtn) / Instagram F.D. Bordeaux (real name Alexander Xavier Harris) isn’t ashamed to call himself a gay rapper. In fact, he believes living out and proud is an ‘essential’ act of defiance in his industry.
The 20-year-old rapper was born in Texas, then moved to New Jersey when he was seven. He now attends college in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He describes his music as glitch-hop. ‘It’s very crass, it’s very vulgar, it’s very aggressive,’ he explains. ‘But I feel like there’s such a light – all of my music is danceable.
‘It’s trap, digital, galaxy and game-inspired,’ he said.
His name has an interesting back story to it. The ‘F’ stands for Fashion – an industry he’s always been in awe of. But the ‘D’ stands for Demon.
The gay rapper explains: ‘The “Demon” comes from my growing up. There was so much hate towards my sexuality and I just felt like I was being demonized for not meeting the conventional heteronormative idea of a masculine American black man.
‘So as a type of fuck you, I decided to be a Fashion Demon,’ he said. Gay rapper F.D. Bordeaux. | Photo: Kenny Wooten (@kny.wtn) / Instagram Bordeaux revealed his childhood wasn’t easy as he was bullied all throughout school for being different.
‘As a black man especially, it was really tough,’ he said. ‘I just wanted to be me and just because I wasn’t walking around and acting and being like the rest of the guys, they all sensed that something was strange about me.
‘They attacked it.
‘They called me “gay”, “fag” and “pussy” – just all the things you could possibly imagine,’ he said.
One day in fourth grade, a group of boys tried to beat him up, but thanks to some previous martial arts training, he ‘beat their ass.’ Gay rapper: ‘I never really had to come out’
F.D. Bordeaux said he first started publicly identifying as gay after a particularly eventful first day at university.
‘I had my first sexual experience in my very first year of college on the very first day of school,’ he said. ‘That was when I was kind of like “You know what, I think I’m down with this”.’ F.D. Bordeaux and producer Ant Parker. | Photo: Kenny Wooten (@kny.wtn) / Instagram The gay rapper had a girlfriend for three years throughout high school. He sees himself settling down with a man in the future, but says he’s open to ‘whatever you’ve got going on down there’.
He said: ‘I’m definitely open to anyone – I’m not someone where you have to be with he or her. As long as I vibe with who you are as a person.’
But reiterates he identifies as gay.
The only person he said he had to come out to was his mother, who has ‘always kind of known’ he was gay.
He says he surrounds himself with open-minded people so ‘never really had to shout out that I’m gay.’
The gay rapper said: ‘I don’t want to live my life where I’m surrounded by people who think it’s not okay to be gay, or anybody being gay.
‘If you’re not okay with someone being gay, then don’t talk to me,’ he added. ‘He told me he’s in love with Jesus’
F.D. Bordeaux’s debut song is a collaboration with his producer Ant Parker entitled Amphibious.
In it, he sings about a boy he develops feelings for, but the boy can’t love him back due to religious convictions.
‘I told him I’m in love with him,’ he sings. ‘He told me he’s in love with Jesus. He don’t want to offend Jesus – so in the future, he don’t really see us.’
On this tumultuous relationship, F.D. said: ‘That’s actually very real and super recent.’
The gay rapper continued: ‘There is a guy that I really fell for but he was going through struggles with his religion. He came from a devout Christian family and he was convinced that being gay was an atrocity and that he’d been trying for years to get rid of it.
‘He just hated himself. It was really hard for me to watch. I tried to help him as much as I could and that’s when I began writing that song,’ he said.
The two are still ‘really good friends’ and F.D. says he’s in a much better place with his sexuality now. He said: ‘He’s liberated now and he loves the song.’ On his musical influences, F.D. says his sound is a mixture between Frank Ocean’s album Blonde and Azealia Banks’ Broke with Expensive Taste.
But on Azealia’s previous outbursts calling Zayn Malik a ‘faggot’ , F.D. said ‘it’s very clear that she’s not homophobic.’
He continued: ‘Azealia Banks has made it known she has some issues. I like that I see effort in that she’s trying to better herself.’
F.D. said he’s also inspired by New Zealand singer Kimbra, sexually fluid singer St Vincent and Tyler The Creator for his ‘boldness’ and ‘how he expresses himself as a black man.’ Does rap and hip-hop have a problem with homophobia?
F.D. stresses the importance of appreciating queer people of color in rap and hip-hop.
He said it was tough growing up and not seeing much LGBTI representation in the industry he loves.
Although he praised artists like Frank Ocean , Mykki Blanco and Big Freedia for their queer contributions to the industry, he says there’s still ‘humongous erasure’.
F.D. said: ‘People, for the longest time, in rap music, were still pushing forward the words like “faggot” and things like that in a derogatory context.
‘It’s only recently that that has finally eased up.
‘We’re getting to a place where it’s like we’re willing to accept LGBTI people, but no one’s really talking about them. For some reason, we really have to dig deep and search for these LGBTI rappers – why?’
F.D. said he was recently talking to a promoter about booking a show to be the opening act for a prominent straight rapper.
But then the conversation shifted to whether or not the artist would want a gay rapper opening for him. A post shared by Fashion Demon Bordeaux (@f.d.bordeaux) on May 15, 2018 at 5:47pm PDT F.D. said: ‘It’s essential to live out and proud as a gay rapper. Not just for the gay community, but for the whole LGBTI community.’
He then added: ‘I think it’s essential that someone is representing the LGBTI community in hip hop. Specifically, people of color in urban settings.’
‘People of color in urban settings, who identify as LGBTI are in danger.
‘I think that my presence is hopefully liberating and freeing for those who feel trapped and imprisoned under the conventions of heterosociety,’ he said.
F.D. Bordeaux is currently working on his debut album.
This year’s Gay Star News Pride bag design is unicorn inspired (Photo: Dan Beeson) Gay Star News today unveils the designs for its annual Pride bags.
Launched in 2012, the media outlet’s annual Pride tote bags are given away at Pride festivals around the UK each summer. They have become a much sought-after collectors item, and each year feature a different design.
The bags initially featured designs from LGBTI celebrities and allies, including Sir Ian McKellen and Sharon Osbourne.
In 2017, the bag design was by an LGBT illustrator, Daniel Arzola who had escaped persecution in his home country of Venezuela. Sadi Guran designs Pride bags
This year, Gay Star News has decided to again showcase the work of an LGBTI artist. Sadi Guran is a gay artist and illustrator based in Istanbul, Turkey. (Illustration: Sadi Guran for Gay Star News) His exclusive unicorn-based design will feature on 20,000 bags to be given out at Manchester Pride, Pride in London, Glasgow Pride, Leeds Pride, Birmingham Pride and Bristol Pride.
‘We asked Sadi to create a design that showed the unity of LGBTI people around the world. And his final artwork exceeded all our expectations. It’s beautiful,’ says Tris Reid-Smith, co-founder and editor of Gay Star News.
‘We are delighted that a Turkish LGBTI artist’s work will now be seen by hundreds of thousands of people at Pride events around the UK.
‘It’s a small but important part of our ongoing efforts to show solidarity with LGBTI people in countries where it’s tough to be yourself. And we think that’s a great message for this Pride season.’ Creating magic
Sadi Guran says, ‘The current situation and oppression here pushes me even more to create homoerotic art to raise visibility. When I was asked to make art for Pride, it meant the world to me. The idea behind my design comes from my belief in that the core beauty of human kind is in its diversity. And when we get together despite all our differences, we create magic.’
The bags are sponsored by Skittles, Staples Solutions, Age UK, Manchester United, Clarins, Pink Lady, Hoseasons, Cottages.com, npower and Jet2Holidays.
This year’s Pride bags will make their debut at Birmingham Pride on Saturday 26 May 2018, followed by Pride in London , Bristol Pride , Glasgow Pride , Leeds Pride and Manchester Pride . Follow Gay Star News on Facebook and Twitter to find out where the bags are being distributed at each Pride. Look out for the exclusive tote bags at several UK Pride festivals this summer (Photo: Dan Beeson) See also
Could you design a float as fabulous as this? | Photo: Instagram @kumblalawe An LGBT+ organization is offering UK LGBTI students the chance to have their own Pride float design – made into a reality.
This week the London Festival of Architecture (LFA) and Architecture LGBT+ are announcing a design competition for their float in this year’s Pride in London parade.
They are hoping it can represent architecture industry and LGBT+ architects in it at the London festival on July 7, 2018.
The design competition is aiming to get architecture students, recent graduates, and emerging practices entering. However, you can also enter if you represent are more established practice too.
There is a £8,000 budget for design and delivery up for grabs. Furthermore, the competition is part of the London Festival of Architecture’s 2018 programme exploring ‘identity’.
An annual report by the Architects Journal shows the number of openly LGBTI architects are falling . Architects are also less likely to be out if they work outside of London.
As well as this, four in ten of those surveyed say they have experienced or seen homophobia or transphobia at work.
You can submit a design proposal for a float to represent LGBT+ architects and their contribution to architecture past and present now. The group at last year’s London Pride parade | Photo: Supplied – Architecture LGBT+ What do the pride competition judges want you to consider?
Tom Guy, also the founder of National Student Pride, tells Gay Star News:
‘We can’t wait to see the designs for our first ever parade float. Moreover, we are looking forward to sharing our Pride with LGBT+ architects on 7 July as we celebrate them and their contribution to London.’
‘The competition is a fantastic platform and opportunity for students graduates and emerging practices. Additionally, this float will be seen by so many. Not only at pride itself but there will be lots of publicity in the architectural press. So this competition has so much to offer, particularly to those who want to grow their portfolio.’
Tamsie Thomson, director of the London Festival of Architecture, says:
‘Pride in London is a highlight of the capital’s calendar. Equally, it is a fabulous day promoting equality and celebrating diversity in London. LGBT+ architects make a huge contribution to their profession and architecture in London and around the world. Therefore, I’m delighted that this competition will showcase them as we celebrate “identity” in 2018.’ Jayne Bird (partner, Nicholas Hare Architects)
Anne Consentino (equality, diversity and inclusion manager, RIBA)
Evan Davis (broadcaster and presenter)
Tom Guy (founder, Architecture LGBT+)
Danni Kerr (architect and RIBA diversity role model)
Vinesh Pomal (architect, Tata Hindle)
Tamsie Thomson (director, London Festival of Architecture)
Rob Wilson (architecture editor, Architects’ Journal)
Read more from Gay Star Students:
This is what you should look for when searching for a LGBTI friendly apprenticeship
Meanwhile 7% of trans students have been physically attacked by another student or member of university staff
Under political pressure, the president of the University of Verona has suspended a day-long workshop on “themes that are politically and ethically controversial such as migration and sexual orientation”… Sigillo dell’Università di Verona (marzo 2016). GiovanniCerutti/Wikicommons. Some rights reserved. In Italy too, academic freedom is under threat, and democracy along with it. Barely has the extreme right assumed power that its effects are already being felt.
On Friday, May 18, pressured by the extreme right, which recently came to power in Italy, the president of the University of Verona, economist Nicola Sartor, “suspended” a research and training workshop scheduled for Friday, May 25 titled “Asylum Seekers, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.”
This workshop was organized as part of a National Interest Research Project (PRIN) on vulnerability by the departments of the Human and Juridical Sciences as well as the Hannah Arendt and the PoliTeSse Centers from the same university, in collaboration with the Association of Juridical Studies on Immigration (ASGI) and the “LGBT migrants” section of the organization Arcigay, and with the participation, among others, of a representative of UNHCR. It was meant to bring together scholars, lawyers, and activists.
As the Italian press reported, worried by the anticipated success of this event evidenced by the number of registrations, the extreme right (Lega, Forza Nuova) mobilized to ban the event with leaflets (“No gay refugees, stop the dictatorship of gender!”) and explicit threats (Forza Nuova announced a demonstration in front of the university on May 25 with the words: “Someone has to ban this conference; if nobody does it, we will, by force.”
In adjourning the workshop sine die under the pretext of “strengthening its scientific contents,” the president of the University of Verona caved in to the far right, laying claim in his public statement to the importance of scientific autonomy while sacrificing academic freedom: “The university cannot be instrumentalized by actors outside of the academic world who fight over subjects that are both politically and ethically controversial, such as migration and sexual orientation.”
We are outraged that the extreme right feels authorized to dictate what can be done or said in Italian universities, and we worry that a university president who yields to such pressures will only encourage them to grow stronger. We ask the president of the University of Verona, despite the difficulties of the Italian political context, to reconsider his decision in order to preserve the international reputation of his institution in the academic field. Today, it is Gender Studies and research on immigration that are under threat, and the University of Verona is the target of these attacks. But tomorrow, who in academia will be able to feel safe? We express our solidarity with our colleagues in Italy for we know that, in their country as in our own, we must defend academic liberties with vigilance lest they be diminished, and democracy along with them.
Among the signatories ( the complete list can be seen here ):
Association française de sociologie
Étienne Balibar, philosopher, Université Paris-Nanterre / Columbia University
Laura Bazzicalupo, philosopher, Université de Salerno
Esther Benbassa, Senator of Paris, historian, EPHE
Daniel Borrillo, attorney, Université Paris-Nanterre / LEGS
Judith Butler, philosopher, University of California, Berkeley
Line Chamberland, Chair of research on homophobia, UQAM (Canada)
George Chauncey, historian, Columbia University
Christine Delphy, sociologist, CNRS
Didier Eribon, sociologist and philosopher, Dartmouth College
Éric Fassin, sociologist, Université Paris-8 / LEGS
Alvaro Gil Robles, attorney, First Commissioner of the Human Righst of the Counsel of Europe, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
Nacira Guénif, sociologist, Université Paris 8
Virginie Guiraudon, political scientist, head of research at CNRS, Sciences Po Center for European and Comparative Studies
David M. Halperin, Chair of History and Theory of Sexuality, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (EUA)
François Héran, sociologist and and demographer, chair of Migrations and Society, Collège de France
Jean-Claude Marcourt, Vice-President of the Government of the Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation, Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Media
Nonna Mayer, political scientist, CNRS / Sciences Po
Angela McRobbie, Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths University of London
David Paternotte, sociologist, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Paul B. Preciado, philosopher
Joan W. Scott, historian, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
Patrick Simon, socio-demographer, INED
Isabelle Simonis, Minister of the Rights of Women and Equal Opportunity of the Wallonie-Bruxelles Federation
Serge Slama, attorney, Université de Grenoble
Ann L. Stoler, historian and anthropologist, New School for Social Research (EUA)
Anna Uziel, psychologist, UERJ, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
Françoise Vergès, Chair of Global South(s), FMSH
Catherine Wihtol de Wenden, political scientist, CNRS
Raul Eugenio Zaffaroni, Judge at the Interamerican Court of Human Rights, former judge of the Federal Supreme Court of Argentina.
Donatella Di Cesare, philosophe, Université La Sapienza, Rome
Simona Forti, philosophe, Université du Piémont Oriental
Franca Roncarolo, politiste, Université de Turin
Chiara Saraceno, sociologue, Université de Turin