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Douglas Carswell, UKIP MP who defected from the Tories seems to be finding his new home somewhat… uncomfortable. He’d quite like it if his new party could just stop spouting ridiculous racist, homophobic and misogynist bullshit; you can understand his plea since barely a week passes without yet another UKIP candidate spouting some really extreme, disgusting bullshit. And every single time it happens a huge screed of their membership – AND leadership (including the vile troll, Farage) stomps out to defend it.

He wants UKIP to instead have “an optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda for the whole country.”

To which I ask – Mr Carswell, can you possibly be this clueless as to the nature of your own party?

It quite simply cannot have an “optimistic, internationalist and inclusive agenda” because the foundation nature of this party is the very opposite of that. UKIP was created without any kind of exclusive agenda – UKIP was created as a REJECTION. Rejection of Europe. Rejection of Immigrants. Rejection of POC, Rejection of LGBT people. The backbone of this party is one of rejection – it is one of scapegoating

It cannot be optimistic, internationalist or inclusive because it’s defined by what it hates, by what it rejects by what (and who) it blames for everything. Someone tell me what UKIP’s manifesto is BEYOND hating minorities, immigrants and Europe? Because UKIP certainly don’t talk about it (and if you go digging for it you find some truly terrifying things). They don’t talk about it because it’s not relevant to the party and not what the party about – the party is all about who they hate.

And, yes, that is its appeal

Let’s not pretend this doesn’t work and hasn’t happened before. Look at the US Republican’s “southern strategy” and “guns gods and gays”. Look at the rise of fascism. You can look around the world and see a gazillion examples – one of the easiest ways to rise to power without any kind of positive message is to pick a scapegoat and hammer it with hatred. Minorities are good targets, as are foreign powers, or nebulous, ill-defined threats. Fear and anger, hatred and blame have always been the keys to power, especially in hard times: it is far EASIER to pretend that all our problems are the fault of immigrants or gays or women or POC than it is to admit that the system has some major flaws. Especially among a cis, straight, white male population that finds it easier to revel in prejudice rather than confront their actual privilege.

Let’s face it, there’s a hugely significant chunk of the population who are ragingly pissed that they can’t “bash queers, or slag off the darkies, or tell them uppity tarts to get back in the kitchen” and an equally huge number who loathe those “frogs/krauts/dagos/whatever”. That is what UKIP appeals to – a world where such language is ok, where such attitudes are excused and whether the minorities are just being “sensitive” or “PC” when we object to such dehumanisation. And that is why their candidates continue to spout the same vile trash and why the leadership cannot sweepingly condemn it or stop it.

Mr. Carswell, UKIP cannot change – because those very things you want it to change are the very reasons why it is doing as well as it is. Better get used to it, because this is the bandwagon you’ve leaped on.

I also say the Tories aren’t blameless in this. They’ve always played to prejudice, xenophobia, scapegoating et al. If appealing to fear, hate and prejudice is a common tactic to power, it’s more so for the right wing because it’s damn HARD to convince anyone earning less than £100,000 a year to vote for a party of more tax cuts, more slashed services and more wealth inequality. That’s a hard sell. So the right wing has always played to the worst kind of prejudices to fill the numbers – that’s why whenever Cameron tries to throw in anything remotely progressive (rare indeed), he has to do it in the face of his own party. That’s why the Lib Dems were well and truly screwed when they formed a coalition with the Tories. That’s why every Equality Minister inevitably has a record of bigotry.

UKIP is the Tory teaparty – all of that frothing, hateful extremism the right wing loves to use to whip up votes has grown up into an actual thing beyond your control. You’ve fed it, it grew; you encouraged it, it grew; you resisted any attempt to educated it, to change it, to diffuse it – and it grew and grew and grew. Dr. Tory Frankenstein, UKIP is your monster and it’s no longer under your control. And you're certainly not going to do it by continuing to play the same hateful rhetoric
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UKIP councillor  David Silvester has decided that all the flooding around the UK this year has been caused by… marriage equality. Yes, us gay folk be causing natural disasters again. (UKIP again comes forth with the excuse that though they don’t support equality and their elected members are rabid bigots who they happily embrace that totally doesn’t mean the party is homophobic, honest)


We’ve heard it before haven’t we? Earthquakes – gay people did that. Floods? Gay folks. Hurricane? Yep, that’s the gay people. Fukushima, Katrina, the Boxing Day Tsunami, the death of bees and birds and endangered species and serial killers and gun massacres – gays gay gays, gays have done all of that! We’re the ultimate scourge of humanity - like the 7 plagues, all the signs of the apocalypse and the Kardashians’ continued career all in one.

And no, even though we make a joke about it, it’s not harmless – this kind of demonization does dehumanise and does encourage persecution. It is the extreme end of a constant meme –we’re sinners, we’re wicked, we’re evil and we have to be stopped. It also shows a lot about our media and culture that hate speech this extreme is not really considered all that outrageous.


But I’ve said all that before and likely will again. Today I’ve been thinking about just what this says about the god David Silvester and his ilk worship and praise. Because this is a god who, apparently, has looked at history – looked at slavery, torture, murder, massacres, genocide, abuse, cruelty and all kinds of evil that lurk there – and decided to not do a damn thing.


But the minute gay people’s rights are recognise then your god is shifting his arse off that cloud and getting in some smiting? Really? This is his priorities? Because I kind of think if gay marriage is worth some bad flooding then the slave trade had to be worth wiping out a substantial portion of the map.



This is something I just cannot understand with these bigoted Christians. Why would anyone worship their god? Even if you believed in this capricious, cruel, sadistic monster, why would you ever worship it? Why would you support something so patently evil?

I cannot understand loving such a being, supporting such a being and praising such a being. In fact, I'm deeply disturbed that someone would believe in a deity so lacking in priorities and so capable of evil - and then praise it. 

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 Michael Gove, stuff your patriotism, honour and courage.


Michael Gove, our ignorant and generally nasty education secretary has a long list of bullshit he likes to pull on a regular basis. His latest gem is to lash out at Blackadder – and schools showing it – for spreading “left wing myths” about World War 1. See, they should be teaching about Patriotism and Honour and Courage – not incompetent generals, grim conditions and horrendous loss of life.


World War 1 was one of the stupidest conflicts in the history of mankind. It was fought because all the great powers of Europe rather laughably though their rather shaky domino-alliances would stop them all going to war – instead those alliances ensured that a relatively small regional conflict escalated beyond all measure. It didn’t have to have been the death of the Archduke, not long before there were severe tensions between Britain and Russia which almost set the whole ball rolling anyway. It was inevitable because, ultimately, you had a lot of power mad fools, playing the whole world as if it were some kind of chess board with zero inclination to talk to each other just dying to slaughter a whole bunch of people for the sake of those 3 demons: Patriotism, Honour and Courage (with Glory also raising its ugly head).


Not only was it fought for stupid reasons, but it was fought in a mind numbingly stupid way – a way that was guaranteed to massacre lives over and over again.


This isn’t “Blackadder” or “Oh What a Lovely War” that created the whole “lions lead by donkeys” meme – HISTORY created it. We had a deadly modern battlefield complete with fortified trenches, artillery, machine guns and poison gas and generals who were still using tactics that were 50-100 years out of date. Maybe that could have been excused, but they were so insulated from the suffering on the ground (and had a pretty callous view of the troops anyway – just look at the fate of those men who were shattered by shellshock, so many of them shot as “deserters”) that they stuck to those tactics over and over again, no matter how many times they failed.


This isn’t “revisionism” Gove, this is history. This is the history of conflict that killed over 15 million people for no damn good reason at all and ended after a good part of the continent was absolutely shattered with a treaty that settled very little except sow seeds of simmering resentment that would grow into World War 2.


And as for “patriotism”, “honour” and “courage” (and of course, “glory”)? Manipulative buzz words used by the elite to send a generation of men to their death – and it’s the same lie they try to peddle today. If teachers and TV shows are exposing this then more power to them! Let them expose the rampant foolish pride of nationalism that you want to hang the flag of patriotism on. Let them see how little “honour” there is in innumerable rows of graves – let them find no honour in filling those graves (with their own bodies or another) and instead look for true honour in peace. And the courage to die needlessly for arrogance, for pride, for pigheaded refusal to talk and think and learn – that isn’t courage, that is a foolish obscenity, a waste of insufferable proportions.


There is only one possible good that could have come out of World War 1 and that is showing us the utter horrors of war so starkly as to expose the lies of those who sit peacefully in the halls of power while sending another generation off to die.


If teachers and Blackadder can firmly bury Patriotism, honour and courage as the murderous deceivers they are in the minds of school children then I will celebrate them for having achieved something amazing for our future.



And Gove, from his lofty perch on high, again shows how unfit he is for the role he fills.

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 Alan Turing has been posthumously pardoned for being convicted of being gay, the barbaric and vicious persecution for which eventually drove him to take his own life.

 I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this one.

Firstly, for anyone asking “why Turing?” I have to say you don’t understand the iconic nature of Turing to British GBLT people because he symbolised so much.

 He was a prime example of a gay man, in history standing up and performing an incredible service for his county – and in one of the most iconic conflicts of our history. He is an example of a gay man who achieved incredible thing with a lasting legacy that has benefitted not only the country, but the entire world. This is what we are capable of. These are the people you condemn with your homophobic.

Because of this incredible thing, he is also iconic of the toxicity of homophobia. A homophobia that not only persecuted him to death despite of the vast debt owed to this man, but also despite of the great things he never had the chance to achieve. That is the waste of homophobia. That is how overwhelming it is

And this toxicity of homophobia went further, because he was erased. History didn’t remember him. He was removed from it, not just in our schools but in our media (there are television shows and film adaptations and even documentaries out there about the work of Bletchley Park and early computing. Guess who is missing from them/made straight?). The reason why he is so well known now is because British GBLT people fought passionately to make it so – because it was so outrageous that this great man was being removed from history because he was one of us. How dare they? How dare they pretend he never existed?! How dare they make him straight? We fought and we fought hard to make sure he was remembered again. You’ll notice how many monuments to him appear in traditionally gay neighbourhood. You’ll notice how FEW monuments there are to him that predate 2000 (especially outside of Manchester).

He is symbolic of the untold masses of GBLT heroes and ancestors who we have lost, who have been removed from the pages of history and who we will never be able to reclaim.

Alan Turing wasn’t just a great man who was evilly persecuted – but he is also a great symbol.

So where do my conflicting feelings come in?

My conflict comes in not just because it’s a gesture that doesn’t change the past so much as try to play the “we’re so much better now” card (I would actually rather have more comprehensive history of GBLT people, our achievements and the persecution of us entered into the school curriculum to mark his horrendously unjust death more than anything else) and is therefore a pretty easy bandwagon for even the most homophobic of politician to jump on (notably, however, a rather huge amount of them didn’t) while at the same time we’ve seen political reticence (to say the least) on dealing with banning reparative therapy, doing something substantive about homophobic bullying, extreme homophobic discrimination in the asylum and immigration system, our woefully poor and homophobic sex education laws, the problems of homophobia in religious schools, homophobia in sports and a series of cuts that are, as with most cuts, hitting GBLT people and other marginalised people far harder than most (for some examples among many –organisations like the Association of GBLT police officers have had their funding cut. Legal aid has been gutted, homeless services butchered etc etc).

 My discomfort comes from the idea that what happened to Turing was wrong BECAUSE HE WAS A HERO. And yes, his being a national hero is an extra slap in the face – but what was done to him and the gazillion of other men throughout history. I don’t want “incredible service to the country” to be the benchmark we have to meet where this kind of evil treatment. What was done to him was evil and equally evil when done to GBLT people who didn’t achieve the amazing things he did. Of course, on the flip side, Turing’s pardon is supposed to be indicative of a collective regret of all those injustices – but it’s weak.

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 Bigot Baroness Warsi, who published pamphlets warning people of the terrible dangers of gay people preying on school children, has let us know she's on a "journey" when it comes to the equality of gay people.


Homophobic journalist Mehdi Hasan (he who thinks gay people worried about the World Cup being held in Qatar where gay people are flogged are "qatarphobic") has written a long piece on how much he STRUGGLES with homophobia and he was totally even more homophobic in the past!


The Salvation Army - a deeply homophobic organisation (you should really donate to other charities if you think GBLT people are human beings) - has assured us they've removed their ex-gay therapy links - and they totally won't let the guy who thinks the penalty for being gay is death to speak again. Of course, they're not changing policy


The Pope makes some pretty speeches while maintaining the bigotry of his church - continuing to fight tooth and nail against equality measures in Italy, Ireland, the US, India (yes, the Catholic church was one of those that pushed to bring back the anti-gay genocide in that country) and many more places. But his apologists cry "baby steps".

And we can scarcely go a week without some wanna-be ally describing the convoluted steps he's taken to discover that LO! GBLT PEOPLE MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PEOPLE!




I don't give a fuck what "journey" you're on or how much "better" you've got. I don't care that you have backtracked on SOME of your bigotry. I don't care about the "baby steps" you take when you're still miles from seeing me as an actual person


You're still a bigot


You're still a homophobe.


I don't care if you feel really guilty about going to see Ender's Game. I don't care if every time you eat your Chick-fil-a, you make a mea-culpa blog post and feel really bad. I don't care how much you have "struggled" with the idea that I am a human being as worthy as you.


You're still a bigot


You're still a homophobe


Do you not see how INSULTING it is that you are having an epic struggle to see me as a person? Do you not see how offensive it is for you to declare that looking at me as an equal is some kind of massive hardship to you? Don't you see what a slap in the face it is to say you have to "evolve" or "grow" to finally realise that I'm an actual person worthy of respect?


It's about being a decent human being. Do you actually expect me to be impressed by you having so much trouble reaching bare minimums of decency?


I don't care about your struggle, your evolution, your guilt and if you're on a "journey" please let it to be somewhere far away from me. All your struggles say is just how little you think of us. All your guilt is worthless when you support bigotry anyway. Having to battle to see us as people just shows how low your regard for us is.



I am not giving out any praise for people working their way towards basic decency. You treat me as a full human being, due the respect, rights and regard that any human being is due, or you're a bigot and a homophobe and I will treat you with the contempt you deserve. 


I don't give people medals for realising I'm human, since it's the bare minimum required for basic decency and I don't rewards the bare minimum. I'm not going to give an iota of praise to people who don't even reach that minimum! Or those who have met that minimum but want me to know just how HARD it is to see me as an actual person! Or who are desperately trying to stretch for that minimum but JUST COULDN'T DO IT! ZOMG SO HAAAAARD!


You're a bigot or you're not. It's that simple. This isn't even about "allydom" here, or doing anything (y'know, stuff that may actually be praiseworthy). It's about being a decent human being - and it's really not that hard.

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 So the parliament has, to everyone’s shock, voted against military adventures in Syria.


That’s a relief.


As to “intelligence reports” that they keep waving us saying that they prove whatever? I don’t care.

I don’t care because I am unable to believe them. They could be true. They could be false. They could be created from sheer ineptitude. They could be deliberately falsified to deceive us. The “intelligence services” have no credibility


We went to war in Iraq – an utter debacle – because of the peddled words of the “intelligence services.” In the aftermath, no-one has faced any public consequences for the lying or (if I’m giving them vast benefit of the doubt) extreme incompetence. Without that, I cannot assume any significant change has taken place – so the words of the intelligence services become meaningless. There is no point in listening to a liar – and it is an act of utter foolishness to trust one.


But surely I cannot doubt chemical weapons have been used?


True, I don’t. But nor do I think that the US & UK swooping in dropping bombs on people is actually going to make that better. I desperately want chemical weapons not to exist, I desperately want the war to end and I do wish we could intervene – but I do not trust us to do so!


Through ineptitude, malice, selfishness or a complete inability to examine the world through any other lenses than our own, our “intervention” is hardly the benevolent force we seem to think. I do not think we are CAPABLE of making things better. I also doubt very much whether our leaders WANT to make things better – at least for the people of Syria. We use words like “democracy”, “freedom” and “human rights” a lot and leave bodies, dictators and torture in our wake.


As to this somehow doing terribad damage to Britain’s “reputation” or making us look “weak”.




On reputation – our military adventurism (both on our own and, in latter decades, in the US shadow) has left nations in ruins, slaughtered more people than I can imagine and left untold destruction as we continually think in the short term and see all sides in highly monochrome good vs evil (where “good” means “is willing to do what we want”). When we leave – if we leave – it’s usually with a pro-us puppet with precious little claim to legitimacy leading the country which will, inevitably, then become unstable, cause a backlash rise in extremism or lead said puppet to become more and more repressive  Or, BONUS! – ALL OF THE ABOVE!


The idea that our reputation is damaged by us deciding not to do this YET AGAIN, is laughable.


As to this being a sign of weakness – are you kidding me?

How much “strength” does it take to carpet bomb a country already ravaged by civil war?


If you want to talk “weakness”, let’s talk about the weakness of our democracy that can so easily be trampled by jingoistic talk of war that opposition parties nearly always feel the need to support any conflict, no matter how dubious.  Let us talk about how our democracy has been amazingly strengthened with this no vote – that for once the war drums didn’t drown out any opposition.

Let’s talk about the “weakness” caused by the “special relationship” which means virtually every time the US blows their dog whistle, we come yapping to whatever military disaster they’re trying to drag us into. Let us talk how, before this vote, the American government and officials were talking as if Britain had already agreed to join them in military action. Now tell me this vote hasn’t strengthened our democracy.



And this is before we go into issues that are being very glossed over – like the disparate rebel factions and the decent possibility that we may be looking at a Soviets vs Afghanistan “why yes Bin Laden, of course we’ll give you big guns and money to fight the evil USSR, this could never come back to bite us on the arse” situation.

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 No doubt you have come across the great gay Russian vodka boycott (which means you’ve actually only got a tenth of the story because it’s actually the Russian boycott, but the vodka gets the most attention for the booze and for reasons I will go into). And there has been much mocking and deflecting. Oh boy has there been deflecting.


“The company’s Latvian!” they cry


Well, firstly, that’s not true – not with all its products coming from Russia and its roots still heavily in Russia and – the main point – the brand making a point of emphasising its Russianness. In fact, before the latest brouhaha, Stoli was downplaying its Latvian-ness and trying to double down on being Russian. Why?

The same reason Audi isn’t just made in Germany, it’s “Vorsprung dursch Technik” (likely spelled wrong).


The same reason Boursin isn’t just made in France but its adverts show me quaint French villages and has the phrase “du pain, du vin, du bosin.”


The same reason Alpen tells me about its creamy rolled oats (and how are rolled oats “creamy” anyway? Oats have the consistency of birds nest and sawdust. Creamy is a grossly inappropriate adjective) with a backdrop of rolling Alpine mountains.


Because sometimes country of origin is a selling point – so much so that even products that don’t have it will fake it (look at Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante Italiano rage). And Stoli uses its Russianness the same way. It’s not vodka that happens to be Russian, it is vodka that is superior because it is Russian. This is why a boycott focuses more on Vodka than, say, natural gas. No-one lights up the stove and says “hah, you are using inferior gas from the North Sea! We use only high quality Russian gas!”


This is why Russian vodka is more prominent than the rest of the boycotts – same as the Olympics. Because they’re not just products from a country, they’re products that make that country their brand and a selling point. This is why we have a boycott - to make it clear associating with the brutal persecution of gay people is NOT a selling point


Also, boycotts are a fascinating insight into how little we matter to straight people: so far, fried chicken, a movie, playing winter sports, playing football and vodka are all more important than gay people's lives. It's a powerful reminder of what we mean to straight people



“It’s pathetic! Do you really think not drinking vodka will change the laws? Can’t you do something else!”


Y’know, no matter what we do activism wise there’s always people crawling out of the woodwork to tell us we’re doing it wrong, which more than hacks me off. Firstly – can we do something else? Yes we can. And we are. Shockingly, this isn’t an either/or choice. We can boycott vodka AND boycott other Russian products AND boycott the Olympics AND target Olympic sponsors, AND raise awareness in the blogosphere AND write petitions AND contact the IOC AND contact the Russian embassy AND contact our local politicians AND have demonstrations in front of embassies AND raise funds for Russia and international GBLT groups AND both organise and prepare for demonstrations at the Olympics while simultaneously boycotting them.


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 Among the waves of homophobic bullshit that have been bombarding us during the fight for marriage equality, another the group made of concerned Christians and assorted dusty Tories and church people (usual suspects for hatred) have taken out a full page advert in the Times (which will, apparently, take money from anyone) on 10 reasons why treating gay people and gay relationships equally with straight folks is naughtybadwrong and why we should continue to be treated as lesser than the precious straighties and their eternal privilege.

 As can be imagined, these 10 points are complete and utter bullshit. Let’s take them one by one.

 Intact biological families provide the gold standard for the wellbeing of children

 Says who? Families with loving parents are the gold standard for the wellbeing of children. Intact biological families made of two abusive arseholes who hate each other are not the gold standard. One person having eggs and the other having sperm and them completing the not-so-difficult task of bringing that sperm and egg together does not a gold standard parent make.


 Children have a human right to be nurtured by both their biological parents.

 Nope – adopted children have no right to anything from their biological parents. Biological parents of divorced families can have limited – or no – access to their kids. Your parent(s) could be dead. In fact, at no time and in no place does a child ever get a RIGHT to their biological parents if those biological parents have said “screw this, I don’t want kids”. Or if those parents have been deemed unfit to raise kids. The closest you get is an adoptive “child” having the right to see their birth certificate at 18 – which is stretching the definition of “nurtured”.


 Gay parenting by definition denies the child from having one or both biological parents.

 You’re assuming that both (or either) biological parent of these kids are alive. Or want to know the kids. In fact, this whole argument is based on the idea of gay parents swooping on happy dappy perfect straight nuclear families and stealing the kids which happens NEVER. Gay parenting happens through sperm donation, surrogacy, adoption, fostering, children from past relationships – or various other ways that are all linked by the fact those children/foetus/sperm/eggs don’t have 2 biological parents setting up a healthy happy dappy family.

 But that’s aside from the fact that 1-3 here are all IRRELEVENT because child rearing is NOT linked to marriage. If a straight couple is infertile? They can get married. If a straight couple is utterly unfit to raise a child? They can get married. If a straight couple is avowedly child free? They can get married. We do not have a requirement of parenthood in our marriage laws. Marriage exists completely without babies.

 Marriage and parenthood Are. Not. Linked. And that’s aside from the fact all of this bullshit applies equally to straight adoptive parents, step parents and anything other than these bigots oh-so-precious biological nuclear families.


 Popular support for the bill is based on the unfounded theory that people are ‘born gay’.

 Every reputable psychiatric organisation in the world recognises that being gay is an inerrant part of a person that cannot be changed – and should not be tried. “Unfounded” is a stretch to say the least. And popular support for the bill is based on a strong sense that treating people like shit for who they love is wrong. We call it basic compassion.

All school children will be taught that as adults they can have marriage relationships with either men or women.

 And this is a problem? They CAN have marriage relationships with either men or women. Why is teaching children the truth a bad thing? Would you prefer we lied to them? Hah, course you would.


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It has been a long time since I last did a Bad News Round Up. They’re draining. Aside from the work of compiling, the litany is just damn depressing and I’m not always in the headspace to handle them

 But, with today being the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, I am venturing back to them because I do think they’re important, for all the reasons I’ve said before. It’s important to link the hatred to the violence. It is important to realise these aren’t isolated incidents or that the bigotry is in the past.

 In short, it is important to remember why we have to keep fighting.


Read More (with obvious trigger warnings)

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There are increasing movements forwards with legislative battles with our rights – a new trans bill in Canada, marriage equality in Britain, France and various parts of the US, municipal anti-discrimination laws in various cities and even a battle in the Ukraine which was rather surprising. Of course, it’s not all going forwards everywhere, far from it, but there’s a lot of excitement.

 There’s also a sense that “zomg we’ve nearly won” primarily from straight allies, coupled with a sense of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly!”

 I have to burst the bubble on both. Starting, perversely with the second one.

 The whole idea of “the GBLT rights movement has moved so quickly” is based on that pervasive myth that we only appeared in 1960 and that the first piece of GBLT activism was Stonewall. Both of which are wrong. GBLT people have existed as long as people have existed – and we have been fighting for centuries. The first attempted same-sex marriage in the UK happened in 1680 and Molly houses were a fixture of the 19th century. France decriminalised “sodomy” after the revolution, Germany had, in the 1920s had a vast amount of pro-GBLT activism

 And this is from a frankly extremely amateur view of history since I make no claims of being a historian. But even the most cursory search finds not only our existence the earliest times but a centuries old battle against persecution. To call the GBLT rights movement a young or a new movement is to spit in the face of these people who fought – and who died – and who straight history has long forgotten. We have not moved quickly, it has been a long slow fight that has been denied so long that it’s only recent victories for basic LEGAL PROTECTIONS that have finally accelerated.

 Now addressing the first point. Winning these battles means we win the SIMPLE part – and not close to being done. The COMPLICATED is, in many ways, only just beginning.

 Firstly, let’s be clear that SIMPLE doesn’t mean EASY, nor does it mean UNIMPORTANT. It makes we know pretty much exactly what to do and, in many ways, how. I know how to walk to London. One foot in front of the other isn’t complex. Walking that distance in this weather would be arduous, painful and an incredible feat – Simple but difficult.

And achieving equality under law: Hate crimes protection, anti-discrimination protection, marriage equality – are extremely difficult, powerful achievements – and they’re simple. Simple because we know exactly what has to be done – the law has to change and we know how that is done. Difficult to do, but simple in terms of process

And important because these form not only essential tools, but also a foundation. It’s an impossibly powerful message of inequality when the laws treat us as lesser citizens; it’s a loud message. It’s hard to get people to listen to you demanding acceptance, respect and challenging hate when the law of the land is roaring “ACTUALLY! HATE THESE FOLKS! HATRED IS FINE! TOTALLY LESS THAN YOU! LESS CITIZENS! ACCEPTABLE TARGETS, GET THEM HERE!” It’s a foundation and without it, building anything is going to be shaky


But a house isn’t finished when a foundation is built and nor will our battle for equality be finished because we have full equality in law. Law and practice, society and culture are often very separate. If you need any greater proof just consider the fact that these legal rights we’re fighting for? Other marginalised groups already have them – and they’re still marginalised.

 On this foundation we need to fight institutional oppression. We need to change professions that are deemed to homophobic to tolerate us (or more than a few token members). We need to tackle bullying – adult as well as child. We need to tackle family acceptance and positive messages so more kids aren’t raised in self hate and familial rejection. We need to remove every single temptation to be closeted – not the closet, forcing us all to be Out is never right – but remove the motivation to being closeted in the first place. Conversion therapy needs to be banished into the past, the DESIRE to change needs to be seen as alien and weird. We need to remove the negative connotation, we need to banish slurs from the language, we need to have “gay” stop being a synonym for “bad.” We need inclusive portrayals, not be considered an afterthought or obscene, we need healthcare that acknowledges our needs, we need workplaces that have more than just policies, but co-workers and bosses and customers who won’t try to drive us out. Neighbourhoods that don’t blink to see us among them. We need a world were institutional cissexism and heterosexism doesn’t constantly fence us, drive us out or police us. We need religions that won’t preach homophobia and transphobia as morality. We need a world without hate, without contempt, without derision. We need so much more (this list went on so long I’ve had to delete huge chunks to keep it manageable), things we will not achieve by laws, things we cannot achieve by laws (but policies can certainly make a difference) but things that will rest on a foundation of those laws.

 We need a world where we are as loved and respected and accepted and included as straight, cis people. Only then will we have won

 And that? That’s going to take lifetime upon lifetime to build.

 This isn’t really something even the most optimistic of GBLT people need telling – we live our lives, we know what will and will not change, we know how we’re oppressed, we know how we’re attacked (in fact, straight people telling us what we should and should not be focusing on need to shut up, really, they do). But I’m increasingly getting the feeling that many allies are expecting to down tools and say “yay we won!” and then be really really shocked when we don’t stop fighting.

 So let’s celebrate the victories and progress we’ve made and are making – because they’re definitely worth celebrating – and then dive back in the trenches, because we’ve got a long war to right.


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Now to the news – specifically the grossly overhyped, badly reported and just damn deceptive variety.

 The Commonwealth is producing a new Charter on human rights, in particular rejecting discrimination. The Daily Fail reported on it and (shockingly, I know) got it completely wrong. Then a whole load of blogs grabbed it and ran with it – which is ridiculous because their own headlines don’t match the content.

 So, let’s parse this down.

 Yes, the Queen will sign this charter, she is the head of the Commonwealth after all.

 No, she isn’t speaking out on behalf of GBLT rights. The Queen and her handlers are going to continue her 61 year tradition of pretending we don’t exist. This is not changing. She may speak out in favour of the charter, but that doesn’t include us.

 Because the charter doesn’t include us. In fact all these reports that this is an amazing step forwards for GBLT rights and the queen is finally, after 61 years of silence, going to address GBLT people are laughably wrong. Well, it would be laughable if it weren’t so annoying and if so many people weren’t so desperate for any kind of affirmation they’d cling to anything.

 The charter does address discrimination. Notably:

 “We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination, whether rooted in gender, race, colour, creed, political belief or other grounds.”

 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are not included. More, the fact they have drawn up a laundry list of gender, race, colour, creed and political belief tells me they’ve consciously and knowingly excluded GBLT people from these protections.

 No, “Other grounds” is not sufficient. There’s certainly no indication that we’re supposed to be included. If it were sufficient, they wouldn’t have included a list of other oppressed groups. More, GBLT people, perhaps more than any other on that list, are continually presented as not existing. We’ve all heard the “ex-gays” and “behaviour” and “lifestyle” and “sin”,  It is even more vital that sexual orientation and gender identity be expressly included because our very existence is denied.

 Further, by drawing up a list of several marginalisations and then blatantly NOT including sexuality or gender identity then there is a strong impression that we are not meant to be included.

 People have pointed out that we haven’t been included because 41 members of the 54 that make up the Commonwealth still make being GBLT illegal – they’re still part of the genocide – and, therefore, won’t tolerate pro-GBLT language. Note these are the ones that actively make our existence a crime – not those who have no anti-discrimination protections, but actively seek our destruction. I boggle as to how this is supposed to suggest we’re supposed to be INCLUDED by this thing?!

Seriously, work through the logic. A charter on discrimination does not mention GBLT people because 41 out of 54 members of the organisation expressly want us to drop dead or otherwise disappear – a charter on discrimination does not mention GBLT people because THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE MEMBERS COVERED BY THIS CHARTER DO NOT THINK DISCRIMINATION AGAINST US IS WRONG

 We are not covered by this charter. We are blatantly not covered by this charter. We have obviously been excluded from this charter. More, our exclusion from this charter can and will be used as an argument that anti-discrimination laws and principles are not meant to include us.

This is not a step forwards. It’s a step backwards. Shame on everyone involved in excluding us and shame on people who bought the hype.

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The new Archbigot of Canterbury’s first act upon becoming Archbigot?

Denouncing equal marriage of course

Here’s the new boss, same as the old boss. Justin Welby is no better than the homophobic Rowan Williams was. Yet people who are part of and support the CofE constantly pretend they’re not supporting homophobic bigotry.

And you’ve got to be impressed by Archbigot Sentamu’s comments: “amid an age of seemingly unprecedented selfishness – in a society obsessed with individualism and rights.” Oh and people are “marginalising religion.”

Yeah, that’s not coded language at all. But then, this is the man who couldn’t bring himself to denounce violence against gay people.


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I don’t give a shit. No, I do give a shit – I give a shit that everyone else gives a shit.

 "But Sparky," I hear people protest, "surely you don’t support police lying?"

 No, I don’t. And, as a defence lawyer, I’ve had more opportunities than most to have to deal with police lies and see the damage it does.

And no-one cares. No-one ever cares. The police lie through their back teeth on a semi-routine basis and no-one cares.

 In 2009 Ian Tomlinson was murdered during the G20 protests by the police. And they lied. They lied over and over again. The police who killed him lied. The police at the event lied. The police describing the event lied. And the report the PR monkeys presented was packed with lies. The pathologist originally described his death as natural because he just missed all the internal bleeding and cirrhosis of the liver. They then thanked Dr. Magoo and asked him to go on his way, I assume.

 They lied and said the police were attacked trying to save his life (they did not, it was protestors who applied first aid and called for medical help). They lied and said they didn’t hit him. The police who were stood there watching their fellow thug hit Mr. Tomlinson lied about it.

And no-one cared, no-one was punished, no-one was convicted –not even the murderer, let alone the innumerable police who lied over the man’s corpse.

 In 2005 Charles De Menzes was shot on a London Tube.

And the police lied. They said he was a terrorist and stuck to it long past the time it was clear they were wrong. They said he was carrying a large bag that could have been a bomb when CCTV showed they were lying. They changed that to say he was wearing an unusually heavy coat. Again, a lie.

 Again, no consequences. Again, police murder was shielded by police lies. Again, the police were torturing the truth before their victim went cold.

 So I do not give even the slightest shit about Andrew Mitchell’s “reputation” being hurt by the evil police lies. I have nothing but contempt for a system that will arrest police for lying about mean things a Tory did or did not say, but won’t even muster a slap on the wrist for thugs who cover up murders. They drama about “plebgate” only shows how well and truly screwed up the system is.

When we’re addressing police lying to cover up murders and seeing them slammed in prison for many years and never again allowed near the police force – then I’ll care about smearing a damn politician. Until then, get some priorities, because this is sickening.


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I suspect our ongoing battle of marriage equality is going to cause more headaches so I suspect this may be the first of many posts until it’s a done deal – and then some. So let’s hit some more tomfoolery

 First of all, homophobes, pointing out the ridiculous, archaic elements of our marriage law does not make for a good argument against changing them. I’m bewildered as to why you’d think this was so. Specifically the laws on consummation and adultery.

 On consummation – yes, if you do not have the penis in the vagina sex after you are married it is not consummated and can be annulled. Yes, consummation becomes difficult to impossible for most gay couples.

 And this is ridiculous. Because the whole concept of consummation, what counts as consummation and what counts as sex is ridiculous, heterosexist and archaic. Defining consummation this way is akin to those purity ringed fools over in the US having anal sex and calling themselves virgins.

 Additionally – do we really want to go there? Do you really really link marriage with a single sex act? Do you really want to invalidate or devalue the marriages of those who don’t engage in this sex act? Who don’t want to? Who can’t? Because I’m pretty sure you don’t want to go there and you’re throwing a whole lot of people under the bus in an attempt to attack us.

 On adultery – which is defined as, SURPRISE, penis in the vagina sex! If your spouse engages in any other kind of sex act with someone else, it’s not adultery (you can still get a divorce under the rather nebulous category of “unreasonable behaviour” however – so why adultery needs to be singled out as a separate unreasonable behaviour is beyond me except for archaic law).

 Yeah, I call bullshit archaic law which needs changing or scrapping AND I think that the people using this argument agree with me. No, really. Why do I think this? Ok, say you are married, it’s not an open marriage, you’re monogamous and you expect your spouse to be faithful and have no nookie except with you.

 Now that spouse comes to you and says “hey, I’ve been seeing someone else. I gave them a handjob, we engaged in mutual oral sex and then had anal sex.” Do you think “they’re cheating on me?!” or do you think “Phew, they didn’t have penis-in-the-vagina sex so at least it’s not adultery”? Would you be ok with them doing this? Do you think they are cheating any less? Do you think it makes them more faithful?

 These laws not fitting with marriage equality isn’t because marriage equality is wrong, it’s because these laws are laughably narrow and archaic.



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So the first steps in marriage equality are finally being taken and it’s looking like we may get some action next year, here’s hoping. The Official response to the consultation is in and they’re currently batting it around Parliament. We do have a provision to allow religions to marry people if they so choose so finally actual religious freedom is guaranteed.

 Reports point to 100-130 Tory MPs opposing. Labour, for some bemusing reason, has U-Turned and is now holding a free vote along with the Tories rather than a whipped vote they previously promised. Gods forbid our rights be taken as the severe issues they are (and can we stop with this talk of “morality” and “conscience” being a bigot is neither moral nor conscionable). Still, there is likely to be considerably less no votes among Labour than the Tories so, along with the Lib Dems, we have a good chance of seeing this pass through the commons. ETA The Lib Dems have also u-turned and decided not to whip this vote. Fuck the lot of them. No party will be whipping this vote, our human rights aren't important enough.

 The Lords is going to be more tricky, I feel. Both because of the Lords Spiritual and the Lords, in general, just being less progressive than the Commons. But in theory there should be enough Labour and Lib Dem lords along with what Tory supporters there are among the Lords to pill it through.

 There’s a liveblog on the whole issue here: Be warned: there are a large number of Tories saying some rather vile things as can be expected.

 I’m getting really irritated at all the prating of religious freedom for the precious bigoted church – especially considering there was so much condemnation of their bigotry not that long ago.

I am bemused why, with the guarantee that bigoted churches can still be bigoted, there is any need to BAN the Church of England from performing same-sex marriages. They don't want to, they don't intend to - so why ban them? Why not leave them with the same opt-out as every other church? All this does is mean that, should at some point ion the future the Anglican church and its supporters decide that GBLTQ people are actually people worthy of respect, there'll be an extra barrier towards changing their bigotry.

Needless to say, I remain angry that we have an established church with all its privileges that continues to deny my humanity. Disestablish the bigots.


 The government’s official response to the consultation can be found here. It’s clear that the vast majority of the opposition was religious in nature, confirming again that the majority organised churches of Great Britain are grossly homophobic and we need to continue to view them as enemies of our humanity, our rights and of justice for the foreseeable future.

 On annulment – we will not be able to “annul” our marriages due to non-consummation simply because the whole concept of consummation is ridiculously heterosexist and revolves around a very limited definition of sex. Faced with this, the government has just ticked a big “not applicable” box and, to be honest, I don’t blame them – though I would have preferred it if “non-consumation” were just struck from the law entirely as the archaic relic it is.

 I do NOT approve of leaving the adultery law where it is. Adultery only counts, again, when penis-in-vagina-sex occurs. Sure you can still get a divorce on the grounds of unreasonable behaviour, but deciding only het-sex counts for adultery is insulting and insufficient. To be honest, just scrapping adultery entirely and going with “unreasonable behaviour” for all would suit me better

 The inequality of pensions is also not something I approve of – wives and widows will still have greater access to their partner’s pension benefits than husbands and widowers. We have some nebulous assurance of that changing – but it is still nebulous. Similarly, homophobic discrimination in occupational pensions is not being retroactively corrected so will continue as it is. The idea that this would create “retroactive costs” is failing to acknowledge that it would correct old injustice

 Similarly, I am irritated by the protection for teacher’s “beliefs”. It is not a teacher’s place to teach their beliefs to children, their job is to teach how things are. And how things will be is marriage will be legal – we don’t need to protect a teacher’s editorialising by adding “of course this is wrong and sinful.” Or at least, not if the same teachers aren’t also protected from saying “but it may not be recognised by archaic, bigoted and immoral institutions that insist on dehumanising humanity that continues to cause so much pain and suffering”

 Yes, I am beyond irritated that 52% of the respondents to the consultation were straight. I feel, again, that my rights and humanity has been put into straight people’s hands and had to be validated by straight folks before they could be acknowledged.

 At this stage I almost don’t dare to hope. There’s still so much that could derail the process and the opposition is very fierce, very unreasonable and stunning in how hateful it is. But there’s a path now – it’s not going to be pleasant to walk, the religious groups and Tory homophobes are screaming utter venom, but they have been for a months If not years. Still we’re on the path and maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.

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Recently in Britain we’ve had paedophile scandal after paedophile scandal, I think we have almost a dozen separate inquiries all looking into the various scandals and it’s become clear that previous “investigations” were narrowed down as much as possible. Arse covering was the norm, reputation preserving was what mattered. Same old story, alas.

 And a lot of his criticism is hitting the Tory party since one of the scandals his hitting ex-Tory aides.

 And Cameron has responded by saying he doesn’t want it to turn into an anti-gay witch hunt.


 See, I don’t want it to either. Homophobia often means people often attack gay men as child abusers –just look at the bigots commenting on the Sandusky scandal for one. The Tories should know that – they’ve been the chief forces behind such homophobia – the bigots Baroness Warsi and Theresa May have both attacked gay rights on the basis of “protecting children.”


 Well, except that it’s all been rather… civilised so far. Oh there have been the usual internet trolls but even the Daily Mail has been astonishingly restrained. (It is NOW making connections to gay men – because Cameron raised it). I assume that they locked Melanie Phillips and Jan Moir in a box somewhere to marinate in their collective venom.

 See, if there had been a witch hunt against gay men, if the scandals were constantly referring to gay men or even raising gay men in any significant way, I’d be the first to fight against that and be happy that people are helping combat it.

 But the highest profile cases we have at the moment are Jimmy Saville and Gary Glitter – decidedly straight men. Whether this witch hunt will happen remains to be seen – but, at present, it isn’t.

So what is Cameron talking about? Is he trying to pre-emptively head off such a witch hunt? Or is he trying to stop investigation into the scandal by using gay men as a tool – but suggesting the attackers are homophobic and using the tactics of, well, his party does he try to end the investigation before it hits too close to home?

 The only one connecting gay men to this investigation is Cameron. He is the one who has raised this and, if a witch hunt happens now, it will be at his instigation. I have the nasty feeling we’ve just been thrown not so much under the bus in an attempt to derail this scrutiny.

 No-one’s talking about gay men, Cameron. So why are you?

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Cardinal Keith O’Brien has been nominated as “Bigot of the year” by Stonewall.

 He has called marriage equality akin to child abuse and slavery. He has called us grotesque. He called our love “madness”. He is part of an organisation that has said we could destroy humanity itself, that we are a threat on par with major natural disasters. And that’s just the head – if I looked at what other Catholic Cardinals, bishops and priests had said then it becomes obvious that the only difference between the Catholic Church and the Westboro Baptist church is age and size of membership.

 And the vast majority of straight folks didn’t crack their damn teeth in the face of these attacks. It’s ok, because a religious person is saying them, because it was just their precious opinions, because it’s his religion and, ultimately, because GBLT people were his victims and we’re an acceptable target for hatred.

 But now? Oh how could we! How could people call the Cardinal a bigot? Oh pass the smelling salts and gather the damn fainting couches because it’s just oh too much for these delicate folks to stand!

 Fuck all you people crawling out of the woodwork to whimper how mean the cardinal’s VICTIMS are when he gets some push back to his bigotry?!

 Where the fuck were you, Alex Salmond, when this Catholic bigot called us Nazis? Where were you when the Pope called us a threat to humanity? Where were you then with you whining about “personal insults”? But now? Oh no! How could Stonewall say such a terrible thing?!

 Fuck the lot of you demanding we shut up and take it over and over again. Fuck the lot of you demanding we be victims all the damn time. Fuck the lot of you pretending that homophobia is OK. You’re defending bigots – and you are bigots. Bigots for demanding we be abused constantly and smile and lick your hands like the quislings around you. Bigots for normalising homophobia and hate speech. Fuck you for creating a world in which our lives are constantly demeaned. Arseholes like you are why we’re driven to suicide – because when the haters attack us and degrade us you stay silent, but whenever we try to fight back to tell us to sit down and shut up.



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I get an extra day’s holiday. This concludes how much this will affect me. Oh and I’ll have to turn off the TV to avoid the endless adverts and coverage.

I’ll be honest, most of that isn’t political statement, it’s simple indifference. I have never been even slightly interested in any sport. Least of all athletics. People run around in circles or throw things or swim back and forth – I just don’t get it. I don’t get why you’d want to do it, let alone watch other people do it.

And I also strongly dislike big international sport’s bodies because they tend to be indifferent too prejudice and bigotry – including when it comes to choosing host countries where marginalised people can get involved without, y’know, being institutionally murdered or flogged or arrested. That’s why beloved stopped following football after the world cup debacle – but the Olympics isn’t a shining counter-example

As for the Jubilee: I’m not a republican by any stretch, but nor do I feel the need to praise the monarchy. I especially don’t feel the need to praise the long reign of a monarch over a vaunted “kaleidoscope kingdom” who has never deigned to acknowledge me and mine exist. It was always vexing, but to continue to do so while presenting us as varied and diverse is insulting.

And I don’t big patriotic celebrations – because patriotism is a short hop from nationalism which is generally very ugly. Can you do patriotism without nationalism? Certainly – but “can” doesn’t mean “will”. Besides, all that silly flag waving is so American :P

Also, all in all, they’re big London celebrations, anyway – oh don’t start with the whole country crap, by my whippets and flat caps I know that’s not true. Up here, in Yorkshire, we will feel some of the ripples of these big national events, but only if we get out there and make a local community effort rather than being part of a national effort. Which, frankly, I’m also not keen on because I’ve never been a fan of “local community”, somewhere in my vaunted local community is someone writing nasty little notes and keying my car.

I am faintly irritated that World Pride is actually being held in London this year as well, and not only will it’s thunder be completely unheard against this background noise, but I probably won’t be attending because even going near the capital while this is going on is going to be a chore. Yes I’m pouting
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So when we look at the big, dramatic (and typical) stories lately of religious bigots running their mouths with, frankly standard, homophobic bullshit – are we surprised?

When a pastor calls for gay kids
to be beaten
– are we surprised?

When a
pastor calls for us to be locked up in concentration
camps – are we surprised?

When a pastor calls for us to be
executed by the state
– are we surprised?

When church
goes teach their 4 year old child to sing homophobic
songs – are we surprised?

Why? All of this has happened –much as the straight world tries to erase history. It’s all still happening, for that matter. Why shouldn’t they feel like such language is acceptable? Have you read my “Bad News” lists? Take a moment, scroll through these horrendous lists – the Pope and many other religious leaders have said as bad in the past and likely will do in the future. Look at

Why shouldn’t they think this is acceptable discourse? Or, for that matter, why shouldn’t they think what they espouse isn’t acceptable policy?

Let’s make the root of homophobia clear: GBLT people are considered less than straight people. That is the root, the source of homophobia and we live in a homophobia society. In our society, the lives of GBLT people do not matter. I repeat, again, the lives of GBLT people do not have value. GBLT people are not considered valuable, real people. Our rights are less valuable, our personhood questionable, our humanity refused, our citizenship dismissible.

This is why, whenever we are murdered, we get the gay panic defence raised in court and it’s considered acceptable. This is why, when we die, the sentences are so weak.

Read More
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Cameron has decided that the marriage equality vote, when it happens (if it happens, since the Tory Chief Whip seems to think it’ll never come up for a vote), will be a free vote for the Tories.

That means he won’t be putting out the Whip. Or, every tory is free to vote how they wish without pressure from the party. This is because it’s a matter of “conscience”.

No, Davey boy, it’s a matter of rights. You lose major points there in deciding our rights are a matter for personal conscience. We are due equality, equality is about our status as full citizens. It is not a matter of “conscience” excepting only that denying us rights is unconscionable.

This does not hint at Tory support for our rights. This does not point to the Tories caring about our rights. This does not show the Tories as thinking our rights are important.

And shall we make a prediction? Looking at your party, I still see marriage equality passing – because the Labour, Lib Dems, and sufficient defector Tories will vote for it. But what kind of PR/Gay rights/we’re not homophobes victory is that?

All 3 parties said they’d back marriage equality – but only the Tories (and the coalition mini-mes who re obedient little tools) decided a consultation was needed.

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April 2015

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