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November 20, 2015

Germaine Greer gives Cardiff University oration despite campaign to prevent lecture

Germaine Greer gives Cardiff University oration despite campaign to prevent lecture

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Friday, November 20, 2015

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Feminist author and academic Germaine Greer gave a lecture at Cardiff University on Wednesday despite a petition with over 3,000 signatures calling for its cancellation.

Cquote1.svg I feel like the words Germaine Greer has spouted in recent years has no place in our movement Cquote2.svg

—Emily Cotterill, LGBTQ rights activist

Australian Greer gave the Hayden Ellis Lecture entitled “Women and Power: The Lessons of the 20th Century” under security with uniformed police officers and university security guards. The lecture covered equal pay for women, and Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes.

Ms Greer had been criticised by LGBTQ rights activists for comments made about transgender reality television star Caitlyn Jenner, and her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women aren’t ‘real women’. The women’s officer of the Cardiff University Student Union called for cancelling the lecture in a Change.org petition which has received over 3,000 signatures. “I’m 76,” Greer said in a BBC Newsnight interview, “I don’t want to go down there and be screamed at and have things thrown at me.” However, ultimately she did give the lecture.

The Independent reported a group of around two dozen protestors outside the lecture. LGBTQ rights activist Emily Cotterill, who was at the protest, said she believed transphobia had no place in modern feminism. “I feel like the words Germaine Greer has spouted in recent years has no place in our movement”, Ms Cotterill said.



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November 12, 2015

Tasmanian man denied next-of-kin status to late same-sex partner

Tasmanian man denied next-of-kin status to late same-sex partner

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

A Tasmanian man was denied next-of-kin status to his same-sex partner following the partner’s suicide in their Hobart home earlier in the year.

Ben Jago and his late partner Nathan Lunson had been in a relationship for 5 years when Mr Lunson took his own life in January after struggling with mental illness for many years.

The couple had de facto civil partnership status under Australian law, giving unmarried couples almost the same legal status as married ones, and the Tasmanian Relationship Act guarantees equal protection under that state’s laws.

Despite these legal rights, Mr Jago said his relationship wasn’t acknowledged by Police or the Coroner.

“Several hours after his death I was interviewed by the police who told me his mother would be recognised as next-of-kin instead of me, and that she would be given custody of his body,” Mr Jago wrote in The Launceston Examiner. “I was distraught, disoriented, and overwhelmed,” he said.

In the same article, Mr Jago said that Mr Lunson had been estranged from his family in Ulverstone in rural Victoria. Mr Lunson’s family ignored his wishes to be cremated in Hobart, and Mr Jago said he had only found out the date and location of his partner’s funeral through word of mouth.

Cquote1.svg I was distraught, disoriented, and overwhelmed. Cquote2.svg

—Ben Jago

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Jago was told by the State Coroner that he would have to register the relationship with the Tasmanian government and the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages for these rights. “When I contacted that office I was told both parties had to agree to registering the union which was now impossible,” he said.

National director of Australian Marriage Equality Rodney Croome told The Sydney Morning Herald that he believes current marriage legislation in Australia allows for officials to treat LGBT people as if they have no spousal rights. “As long as the Marriage Act says same-sex relationships don’t matter, the existing legal rights of same-sex couples will be easier to disregard,” he said.

Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine told The Sydney Morning Herald that while determining next-of-kin can be legally complex, “sexuality is not a consideration”.

According to SameSame.com.au, Mr Jago has lodged a complaint with the Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commission against the State Coroner and Police Force for the denial of his legal rights.



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nothing” after my partner died]” — SameSame.com.au, November 8, 2015

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October 25, 2015

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by \’transmisogynistic\’ Germaine Greer

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by ‘transmisogynistic’ Germaine Greer

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Cardiff University student union has called for the cancelling of a November lecture by feminist author and academic Germaine Greer, following comments about transgender star Caitlyn Jenner and other trans women that they have labelled ‘transmisogynistic’.

Image: Photo by user Walnut Whippet on flickr; cropped slightly by Daniel Case.

In an online petition, women’s officer Rachael Melhuish asserts that Greer “…has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.”

The petition adds that while debate should be encouraged in universities, Greer’s ‘problematic’ views of trans people, especially trans women were dangerous.

According to The Guardian, in an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight Greer said that Jenner had stolen the limelight from other women in the Kardashian family.

“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she [sic] wanted the limelight that the other… members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” Greer said.

According to SameSame.com.au, Greer defended her previous statements denying that trans women were ‘real women’.

Greer stated that she believes she is being pressured not to talk about trans people because of her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women are not women. “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [gender reassignment] procedure,” Greer said.

Greer clarified her position by stating that “It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition.”

This is not the first instance where Greer’s statements about trans people has come under criticism.

In 2012, New Zealand Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) advocacy group Queer Avengers ”glitter bombed’ Greer at a book signing in Wellington. According to SameSame.com.au, the group said at the time: “transphobic feminism is so 20th Century. It wasn’t okay then and it’s not okay now.”



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Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by Germaine Greer

Cardiff student union calls for cancellation of lecture by Germaine Greer

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Cardiff University student union has called for the cancelling of a November lecture by feminist author and academic Germaine Greer, following comments about transgender star Caitlyn Jenner and other trans women that they have labelled ‘transmisogynistic‘.

Image: Photo by user Walnut Whippet on flickr; cropped slightly by Daniel Case.

In an online petition, women’s officer Rachael Melhuish asserts that Greer “…has demonstrated time and time again her misogynistic views towards trans women, including continually misgendering trans women and denying the existence of transphobia altogether.”

The petition adds that while debate should be encouraged in universities, Greer’s ‘problematic’ views of trans people, especially trans women were dangerous.

Cquote1.svg It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition. Cquote2.svg

Germaine Greer

According to The Guardian, in an interview on BBC2’s Newsnight Greer said that Jenner had stolen the limelight from other women in the Kardashian family.

“It seems to me that what was going on there was that he/she [sic] wanted the limelight that the other… members of the family were enjoying and has conquered it, just like that,” Greer said.

According to SameSame.com.au, Greer defended her previous statements denying that trans women were ‘real women’.

Greer stated that she believes she is being pressured not to talk about trans people because of her belief that ‘post-operative’ trans women are not women. “I’m not saying that people should not be allowed to go through that [gender reassignment] procedure,” Greer said.

Greer clarified her position by stating that “It happens to be an opinion, it’s not a prohibition.”

This is not the first instance where Greer’s statements about trans people has come under criticism.

In 2012, New Zealand Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) advocacy group Queer Avengers ‘glitter bombed‘ Greer at a book signing in Wellington. According to SameSame.com.au, the group said at the time: “transphobic feminism is so 20th Century. It wasn’t okay then and it’s not okay now.”



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October 21, 2015

Recorder sets 2016 dates for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

Recorder sets 2016 dates for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, today set a provisional timetable in the case against Stephen Port, an alleged serial killer. January 9 was set for a plea and case management hearing. The trial has been scheduled for April 2016.

File photo of the Old Bailey in London, scene of today’s hearing.
Image: Nevilley.

Port, 40, attended the hearing from HMP Pentonville via videolink. He spent the ten-minute hearing looking down, and spoke only to confirm his identity. He wore a bright yellow and green prison-issued uniform designed to make him highly visible should he escape.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have given overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

He was charged on Sunday. On Monday he appeared before a Magistrates’ Court which sent the case to today’s hearing at the famed Old Bailey courthouse. Port has not applied for bail and remains in custody.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths a week ago on Wednesday, when they were passed to serious crime investigators.

Three of the deaths occurred last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at the inquest.

Port was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death. Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.”



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Judge sets 2016 trial date for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

Judge sets 2016 trial date for London serial murder accused Stephen Port

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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The Recorder of London, His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard QC, today set a provisional timetable in the case against Stephen Port, an alleged serial killer. January 9 was set for a plea and case management hearing. The trial has been scheduled for April 2016, and is currently expected to last four weeks.

File photo of the Old Bailey in London, scene of today’s hearing.
Image: Nevilley.

Port, 40, attended the hearing from HMP Pentonville via videolink. He spent the ten-minute hearing looking down, and spoke only to confirm his identity. He wore a bright yellow and green prison-issued uniform designed to make him highly visible should he escape.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have given overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

He was charged on Sunday. On Monday he appeared before a Magistrates’ Court which sent the case to today’s hearing at the famed Old Bailey courthouse. Port has not applied for bail and remains in custody.

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police only linked the deaths a week ago on Wednesday, when they were passed to serious crime investigators.

Three of the deaths occurred last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St. Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at the inquest.

Port was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death. Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.”



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October 20, 2015

London serial murder accused Stephen Port makes first court appearance

London serial murder accused Stephen Port makes first court appearance

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

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A London man charged on Sunday with drugging and murdering four men made his first court appearance yesterday. Stephen Port, 40, was remanded to appear before a higher court tomorrow.

The revolving sign outside Metropolitan Police HQ.
Image: “Man vyi”.

Port faces four counts of murder and four counts of “administering a poison with intent to endanger life or inflict grievous bodily harm“. He is alleged to have administered overdoses of recreational drug GHB. He allegedly murdered the men at his home before dumping the bodies, after finding victims online using gay dating services.

Three of the deaths were last year. Anthony Patrick Walgate, 23, was found dead on June 19, 2014 in Cooke Street. Port lives in Cooke Street. The other three alleged victims were found in the vicinity of St Margaret’s Church on North Street. Gabriel Kovari, 22, was discovered dead on August 28. Daniel Whitworth, 21, was found dead the following month on September 20. Fourth alleged victim Jack Taylor, 25, was found a year later on September 14.

Whitworth and Kovari were known to each other, according to testimony at inquest. The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission concerning what police called “potential vulnerabilities in [our response] to the four deaths.” Police did not initially link the deaths.

Special needs teacher Port, who was guarded by three officers in the dock, spoke in court to confirm his identity. He did not indicate if he will deny the offences. He was arrested following a police appeal to trace a man seen with Taylor shortly before his death.

Police at the time released security footage of Taylor’s movements, with an officer telling the press “the man captured on CCTV may well be the last person to talk to Jack.” The four deaths were finally linked and passed to the Metropolitan Police’s serious crime investigators on Wednesday last week.

The Magistrates’ Court ordered Taylor to appear at the Old Bailey, a famed London courthouse, tomorrow. He spent the hearing holding one arm, and repeatedly looking at the floor, whilst clad in a grey tracksuit given to him by the authorities holding him.


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June 28, 2015

US Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal

US Supreme Court declares same-sex marriage legal

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

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Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the majority decision.
Image: Supreme Court of the United States.

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all fifty US states. More than 30 states already permitted gay marriage. The Supreme Court ruled by a five-to-four vote that bans on same-sex marriage were not constitutional. The majority decision was delivered by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Same-sex marriage was banned in more than a dozen states. Justices Sotomayor, Ginsburg, Kagan, Breyer and Kennedy voted in favour while Justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas voted against.

Kennedy’s decision brought tears to the eyes of some lawyers in the courtroom. However, Justice Antonin Scalia in his dissenting opinion derided the majority decision: “The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic. […] Of course, the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”

When the decision was made, police allowed people outside the court to wave the rainbow flag on the court plaza. Demonstrators outside the court chanted “Love has won”. This decision made the United States the 21st country to legalise same-sex marriage.

President Barack Obama responded to the decision: “Today we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”

After this decision, Facebook introduced a new tool to add rainbow coloring to one’s profile picture to celebrate this victory. Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook “I’m so happy for all of my friends and everyone in our community who can finally celebrate their love and be recognized as equal couples under the law”.

Later, companies like Google, Yahoo, Tumblr and Vine tweeted with hashtag “#LoveWins”. That night, the White House had the rainbow projected on the outside of the building to celebrate the decision.



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May 26, 2015

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten moves towards legalising same-sex marriage

Australian Opposition Leader Bill Shorten moves towards legalising same-sex marriage

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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File photo of Bill Shorten, 2015.
Image: Nick-D.

Australian Labor leader Bill Shorten announced today, they will present a private bill to Parliament next Monday to legalise same-sex marriage, with the support of deputy leader Tanya Plibersek.

This move towards same-sex marriage follows the Greens‘ initial announcement this morning, saying they planned senate debate of a marriage equality bill in June.

Bill Shorten announced his plan to bring same-sex marriage to Australia through a statement, saying, “I have given notice that I will move a Private members Bill in the House of Representatives on Monday which will finally bring about marriage equality in Australia”.

The Irish referendum which saw a majority of voting citizens support same-sex marriage over the weekend has brought the issue back to the front of public debate In Australia.

On the possibility of a similar process in Australia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, “Referendums are held in this country where there’s a proposal to change the constitution […] I don’t think anyone is suggesting the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”

In order for the bill to pass through Parliament, votes are not only needed from the Labor party, but also the Coalition MPs. Tony Abbott has said it is up to the Coalition party room whether MPs will be permitted to have a conscience vote, rather than being required to vote their parties’ position.

Talking about the effect the private bill will have, along with the freedom to vote, Bill Shorten says, “It will challenge the deeply held personal beliefs of MPs and senators on both sides of politics. This is why Labor members have the freedom to vote their conscience, a freedom Tony Abbott is currently denying his party.”



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May 24, 2015

Ireland legalises same-sex marriage

Ireland legalises same-sex marriage – Wikinews, the free news source

Ireland legalises same-sex marriage

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Sunday, May 24, 2015

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Ireland by public vote on Friday legalised same-sex marriage. This was the first time a country legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote. The historic referendum resulted in a landslide sixty percent “yes”.

Over sixty percent of the nation’s electorate participated in the vote, with about two million counted on Saturday before the result was announced at Dublin Castle. A total of 1,201,607 — 62 percent — of people voted “yes” to gay marriage, with only 734,300 — 38 percent — voting “no”.

LGBT flag map of Ireland

Prime Minister Enda Kenny said, “we have disclosed who we are. We are a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to gay marriage.”

Other political leaders also took to the media to voice their support for the decision. Cabinet minister Leo Varadkar remarked, “We’re the first country in the world to enshrine marriage equality in our constitution and do so by popular mandate. That makes us a beacon, a light to the rest of the world, of liberty and equality. So it’s a very proud day to be Irish”.

Ireland is a majority Catholic country. The church opposes same-sex marriage. Dublin archbishop Diarmuid Martin said Ireland’s vote is part of a “social revolution”. “If the referendum is an affirmation of the views of young people, the church has a huge task in front of it,” he said.

About 2,000 LGBT supporters celebrated in the Dublin Castle courtyard on Saturday. Drag queen Rory O’Neill, publicly known as Panti Bliss, was among the crowd, and stated “I am drunk on Yes […] It’s not that Ireland has changed today, but that Ireland has confirmed the change that we already knew had happened.”



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