‘Never mind LGBTQ people’, British Theresa May says


This video from Northern Ireland says about itself:

Pastor James McConnell – homophobia

9 August 2014

Much was said of Belfast ‘pastor’ James McConnell’s recent racist comments.

First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson was drawn into the row: Peter Robinson under fire for backing Pastor James McConnell’s [anti-]Islamic remarks.

Both Robinson and McConnell were forced to apologise.

Why has the media not commented on McConnell’s homophobic comments? Does Robinson condone these anti-gay sentiments as well?

From Metro daily in London, England:

Theresa May says not to worry about DUP views on ‘LGB…what’s the rest of it?’

Ashitha Nagesh

Monday 12 Jun 2017 7:11 pm

Theresa May reportedly told backbenchers that government policy wouldn’t be affected by the DUP’s views on ‘LGB… what’s the rest of it?’.

The Prime Minister was meeting the 1922 Committee of backbenchers today amid controversy over the government’s discussions with the Democratic Unionist Party of Ulster.

A Tory MP is said to have told HuffPo editor Paul Waugh that the PM had made the apparently flippant comment about LGBT concerns in the meeting today.

The DUP is now infamous across the UK for its extremely conservative, right-wing views.

Among other things, the party is against same-sex marriage, is anti-abortion, and believes creationism should be taught in schools. …

A ‘confidence and supply’ deal would involve agreeing for the DUP to vote in favour of government policy in Parliament. Such a deal would be necessary for May to pass any policies, as the Tories ended up eight seats short of an overall majority in last Thursday’s general election.

However, there are claims the Scottish Tories could form their own semi-independent group – with its own whip – meaning they wouldn’t be required to vote with May and the government. …

Who are the Democratic Unionist Party?

The Democratic Unionist Party is the biggest unionist party in Northern Ireland – that is, it is against Ulster becoming part of the Republic of Ireland. …

Here’s what you need to know about the Northern Irish party that is now within throwing distance of Westminster.

LINKS TO TERRORISM

Disturbingly, the party has strong historical links to Loyalist paramilitary groups – in particular the terrorist group Ulster Resistance, which was founded by people who ended up becoming prominent DUP politicians. The party’s former leader Peter Robinson, for example, was an active member of the terror group.

The group also collaborated with other terror groups, including the Ulster Volunteer Force, to smuggle deadly arms into the UK.

Although the party has since rescinded violence,

Maybe diminished it a bit, but not abolished it. Read for as recently as 2015 ‘Theresa May’s new partners linked with recent HORRIFIC hammer attack on father-of-three’.

this may seem a bit of a rich move from a party that attacked Jeremy Corbyn for his alleged links to former Northern Irish terrorists.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS – OR A LACK OF THEM

The DUP is notorious for being strongly opposed to reproductive choice – specifically a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion. This makes them the biggest anti-abortion party in the country.

This is why women in Northern Ireland either face a costly and incredibly stressful journey to England and Scotland to have an abortion, or are forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

SAME SEX MARRIAGE

The DUP are also known for strongly opposing same sex marriage. As a result, Northern Ireland still doesn’t have equal marriage – unlike all of its neighbours Scotland, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland.

ACCUSATIONS OF RACISM

Last year, DUP MP Sammy Wilson was accused of racism after a member of the public said Northern Ireland should ‘get the ethnics out’ – to which he appeared to reply ‘you are absolutely right’.

CREATIONISM

The DUP is also infamous for pushing for creationism to be taught in schools on a par with proven scientific facts. Creationism is the evangelical belief that Darwin’s theory of evolution is incorrect, and that humans were created whole in God’s image.

Theresa May said she plans to work with the anti-gay and anti-abortion DUP, and America’s [pro-Trump] far-right trolls are thrilled: here.

Today: There is no agreement yet between the Conservatives and the DUP.

Most of the country [Britain] wants another general election this year: here.

New British government dangerous for women’s rights


This video from Britain says about itself:

Outrage as Tory MP reveals May could give DUP this shocking concession to secure coalition

10 June 2017

OWEN Paterson sparked outrage this morning when he suggested Theresa May could offer the DUP a reduced right to abortion to shore up their support.

Well, if Theresa May gets on well with the misogynistic Saudi royal family and with anti-women Donald Trump, one should not be surprised if she gets on well with Irish enemies of women’s rights.

The former Conservative minister sparked furious reactions following his admission that the DUP could get a debate on abortion rights in exchange for a coalition deal.

Owen Paterson was quizzed on what the minority Government under Theresa May would have to give up to secure the partnership.

This comes as the Prime Minister sent her Chief Whip to Northern Ireland to thrash out a formal deal as Mrs May tries to cling onto power after the shambolic election results.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4, Mr Paterson sought to ease fears that the involvement of the DUP in supporting Theresa May’s new government would lead to pressure to compromise.

But, while rejecting any chance of a reversal on LGBT issues such as gay marriage, the Tory MP opened up the prospect of a parliamentary debate on cutting abortion rights.

The former Northern Ireland secretary said: “I don’t see many major social issues coming up in the next parliament.

“You might get a debate I suppose on further reduction of abortion times as medical science advances.

“But the stuff you mention like gay rights and all that, which you’re probably referring to, that is all devolved.

“It’s not only a free vote issue, most of this, but it’s nearly all devolved and that’s down to the politicians in Northern Ireland to resolve.”

The DUP holds a controversial anti-abortion stance, with terminations illegal in Northern Ireland unless a woman’s life is in danger or there is a serious risk to her health.

Last year, its leader Arlene Foster said: “I would not want abortion to be as freely available here as it is in England.”

Labour MP Jo Stevens expressed her disgust online, tweeting: “This is just 1 reason why Theresa May doing a deal with DUP is chilling.”

Another person tweeted: “Owen Paterson & Theresa May you disgust me that you can even consider swapping women’s bodily autonomy in exchange for power.”

Green Party deputy leader Amelia Womack said: “We may have seen a record number of women gain seats in the Parliament this week, but the 10 MPs of the anti-abortion, anti-equal marriage DUP look set to have a disproportionate influence which should concern us all.

The London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign, which campaigns for legal abortion in Ireland and Northern Ireland, warned Mrs May about the agreement with the DUP.

The group said: “The DUP has consistently blocked any attempts to allow abortion even in limited circumstances.

“They are out of step with the Conservative Party and the people of Britain on many moral and social issues, having also blocked attempts to legalise gay marriage in Northern Ireland. We urge Theresa May to think carefully before aligning herself with a party intent on undermining the human rights of Northern Irish women.”

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Campaigners say: Don’t let DUP destroy human rights

Wednesday 14th June 2017

CAMPAIGNERS and union leaders wrote to Theresa May yesterday demanding a “categoric assurance” that women’s rights and access to abortion will not be weakened in any deal with the DUP.

A letter to the PM urges her not to “turn the clock back,” or to turn her back on the women of Northern Ireland.

Signatories to the letter include the Fawcett Society, TUC, Royal College of Midwives and British Pregnancy Advisory Service.

The letter says: “Women in Northern Ireland are forced to travel to another part of the UK in order to access the same abortion services as women in the rest of the UK.

“This affects hundreds of women each year. Only those who can afford to travel and pay for treatment — as, despite being UK taxpayers, women resident in Northern Ireland are currently not entitled to NHS-funded abortion care in England — can do so.”

Ms May met DUP leader Arlene Foster in Downing Street for ongoing discussions about an agreement to bolster the Tory minority government. Ms Foster did not say whether she would agree to a deal.

A failure for the PM to gain support from the Christian fundamentalist party would risk the Queen’s Speech being voted down next week.

Meeting her MPs in Westminster, Ms Foster declared: “The future’s bright,” prompting Ian Paisley Jnr to quip: “The future’s orange” — a reference to the bigoted Orange Order that seeks to ignite sectarian tensions with militaristic marches through Catholic areas.

John Major, Tory prime minister during negotiations for the Good Friday Agreement, said on the BBC’s World at One that he was “wary” of any alliance because it could undermine the peace process.

“The danger is that however much any government tries, they will not be seen to be impartial if they are locked into a parliamentary deal with one of the Northern Ireland parties,” he said.

“And you never know in what unpredictable way things will turn out.”

Tories could lose voters by the “bucketload” in another election if they promise cash for votes with the DUP, when the money could be “equally well received” by Wales, Scotland, and “just about managing” families anywhere, he added.

Ms May told her own MPs: “I’m the person who got us into this mess and I’m the one who will get us out of it.”

British Conservative-fundamentalist religious coalition government?


This 30 April video about northern Ireland says about itself:

[DUP leader] Peter Robinson on homosexuality: “I would hope that if it was illegal people would obey the law…”

Terrorist sympathisers? May’s new friend Arlene Foster took tea with a UDA leader just weeks ago. Did Theresa May even consider the DUP’s paramilitary links? Here.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Meet May‘s stone age allies in the DUP

Tuesday 13th June 2017

Theresa May warned of a coalition of chaos propped up by extremist terrorist sympathisers. She just didn’t say she’d be leading it, writes PETER FROST

WELL, Theresa May has done it, hopped into bed with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to prop up her minority government and try to save her job, at least for a day or so.

So who are these ultra-right-wing MPs from across the Irish Sea who come ready wrapped in the Union Jack and with a bunch of some of the most reactionary policies you could ever imagine?

The DUP opposes all abortions, even for rape victims; is rabidly homophobic, wanting a ban on same sex marriage; denies climate change; prefers the Bible to Darwin, claiming the Earth was made just 6,000 years ago.

Founder Ian Paisley once famously even declared that line-dancing was sinful.

Nice God-fearing Christians you might think, just right to prop up our vicar’s daughter’s weak and unstable efforts at making a government. You would be wrong.

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the scandals that have featured in its relatively short history since Paisley founded the party just 46 years ago.

Paisley invented his own political party: the DUP; his own church: the Free Presbyterian Church of Ulster; as well as several of his own armed terrorist paramilitary groups, such as Ulster Resistance, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF). These groups murdered at least 400 people — mainly innocent Catholics during the Troubles.

Paisley brought the whole lot of his followers together under his banners with messages like: “The Pope is the Antichrist,” “Save Ulster from sodomy,” or more simply “No surrender.”

Today his son Ian Paisley Jr keeps his father’s memory and Christian fundamentalist politics very much alive. Sadly you don’t have to scratch far below the surface to discover a cesspit of hypocrisy.

Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church and the DUP often share officers and leaders. One was David McConaghie who worked as an aide to DUP MP David Simpson in Portadown, Co Armagh.

McConaghie was also an elder in the church, a high-ranking Orangeman and leader of some of the DUP’s groups promoting creationism and the Earth being just 6,000 years old.

He was also a pervert and a voyeur who planted a camera in his DUP office lavatory to film his colleagues using the toilet.

The judge ruled he had done it for sexual gratification and both jailed him and put him on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

Another DUP scandal to hit the headlines concerned Iris Robinson, wife of party leader Peter Robinson and a Westminster MP in her own right. This 59-year-old born again evangelical Christian resigned after an adulterous extra-marital affair with a teenager who she paid with local government grants.

Her husband, DUP leader until recently, was a well-known and much photographed paramilitary leader of Ulster Resistance in earlier days. Ulster Resistance collaborated with other unionist terrorist organisations to smuggle arms, including rocket launchers.

DUP leader Arlene Foster is up to her knees in cash as a key player in another scandal. She oversaw a renewable energy scheme that is set to cost the public purse almost £500 million.

The scheme paid applicants to use renewable energy. The rate paid was more than the cost of heating, meaning favoured applicants were making huge profits.

The political scandal first came to light in November 2016, by which point Foster had become Northern Ireland’s First Minister.

She refused to resign or stand aside. Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness resigned in protest. In the power-sharing government, McGuinness’s resignation meant that Foster was removed from her role as First Minister, which in turn has caused a long-term political stalemate.

Now let’s have a look at the 10 DUP Westminster MPs who will be propping up May’s minority government in return for a massive cash injection to their local infrastructure and a shift to the right in May’s domestic policies.

Nigel Dodds is leader of the DUP at Westminster. The high-ranking member of the Orange Order has been kicked out of the Commons for using unparliamentary language to attack Tory former Northern Ireland secretary Theresa Villiers.

Ian Paisley Jr is well known for his homophobic views. “I am pretty repulsed by gay and lesbianism,” he said back in 2007. “I think it is wrong.”

Jim Shannon topped the entire Westminster expenses league. His claims were five times greater than the second-highest claiming MP and 37 times greater than the average MP’s claim.

Sammy Wilson is known for his racist comments, his denial of climate change and his opinion that female MPs who breastfeed in the chamber of the House of Commons are exhibitionists.

Gavin Robinson at 32 is the youngest DUP MP who will prop up the Tories.

Gregory Campbell has supported the reintroduction of the death penalty. He was barred from the Northern Ireland Assembly for mocking the Irish language.

Emma Little Pengelly is the only woman in the DUP Westminster line-up. Her father Noel Little was a member of the Ulster Resistance described by the Belfast Telegraph as a gunrunner.

David Simpson is member of the Orange Order and believes in creationism. Opposing the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, he told MPs: “This is not the jurisdiction of this House, this is not the jurisdiction of this government of any European government or any government in the world. This is an ordained constitution of God.” His was the office toilet with the camera.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson was previously in the more moderate Ulster Unionist Party. He was Enoch Powell’s agent when Powell’s racism finally got too much for English Tories and Powell defected to Ulster.

Donaldson eventually quit the UUP and switched to the more hard-line DUP.

Paul Girvan sparked controversy in 2015 when he claimed scrap metal dealers should be armed with guns to protect themselves from Gypsies. Before that, he hit the headlines for saying he had no problem with the Irish tricolour being burnt on loyalist bonfires.

These then are the nine men and one woman in Westminster who May hopes will keep her in power.

One of May’s leading Tories was quick to spell out her doubts about the DUP. Ruth Davidson is leader of the Scottish Conservatives and about 10 times as popular as May with the Tory Party rank and file both north and south of Hadrian’s Wall.

She announced: “As a Protestant unionist about to marry an Irish Catholic woman, I told Theresa May that there were a number of things that count to me more than the Tory Party. One of them is country, one of the others is LGBTI rights.”

Davidson is believed to be just one of 19 gay Tory MPs elected last week. None of them is going to be very happy about May’s new bedfellows, and they aren’t the only ones by a long way.

This video from the British parliament in London says about itself:

“We’re here in case the Tory coalition of chaos doesn’t work out”

13 June 2017

“Labour stands ready to offer strong and stable leadership in the national interest” Jeremy Corbyn said on his return to the House of Commons following Thursday’s General Election.

SUCH is the developing crisis facing the Tory Party that the Queen’s Speech has now been delayed: here.

Northern Irish homophobic ban stopped


This video says about itself:

No Gay Marriage Here: The Northern Ireland Story | BBC Newsbeat

14 June 2015

Declan Harvey investigates why Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK to not allow same-sex couples to marry. With the recent ‘yes’ vote in the Republic of Ireland in favour of gay marriage and many other countries across Europe changing their laws to allow it, why is Northern Ireland different? We meet young gay people who say they’re embarrassed and frustrated at their country’s lack of progress and hear the strongly held arguments against change from the governing Democratic Unionist Party.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Stormont ends gay blood ban

Thursday 1st September 2016

NORTHERN IRELAND: An insulting lifetime ban on gay men donating blood in the six counties was lifted yesterday.

Stormont Health Minister Michelle O’Neill’s decision came after a long campaign by gay rights activists and a series of court battles.

A similar ban in Britain was replaced in 2011 with rules that allowed gay men to give blood 12 months after their last sexual encounter with another man. Northern Ireland has now adopted the same policy.

Northern Ireland 2-Ukraine 0, celebration with bird videos


This video is called Ukraine vs Northern Ireland 0-2 All Goals & EXTENDED Highlights (EURO 2016).

Today, at the European football championship in France, Northern Ireland, where only 1,8 million people live, beat the favourite Ukrainian team two goals to zero.

To celebrate, these two videos about bird life in Northern Ireland.

This March 2013 video is called Birds in my North Antrim garden.

This July 2015 video is called Birds at Kiltonga Wildlife Reserve, Newtownards, Northern Ireland.

MI5 death squads in northern Ireland, inquiry


This video says about itself:

MI5 accused of covering up abuse of boys in Northern Ireland in 1970s

16 February 2015

The abuse victims will take legal action on Tuesday to force a full independent probe into the alleged cover-up of British state involvement in the abuses. They want an inquiry with the power to force witnesses to testify, and the security service to hand over documents. The children allegedly suffered sustained sexual abuse. Lawyers say evidence show the security services were aware of the abuse, permitted it, and colluded in protecting the individuals involved. Amnesty International has referred to the incidents as one of the biggest scandals of this age.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Saturday, 11 June 2016

INQUIRY INTO MI5 DEATH SQUADS IN NORTH OF IRELAND

AN INVESTIGATION is being launched which will examine the activities of an MI5 agent known as ‘Stakeknife’ who has been linked to 50 murders during the war against Sinn Fein in the north of Ireland.

The investigation will be led by the chief constable of Bedfordshire Police. The chief constable said the team would consist of between 50 and 70 investigators. The investigation will also examine crimes carried out by other MI5 agents, the army and police handlers.

‘Stakeknife’ is believed to have been one of the highest ranking secret agents embedded within the IRA. The undercover MI5 agent is believed to have led the IRA’s internal security unit, known as ‘the nutting squad’, which was responsible for identifying, interrogating, and executing suspected informers.

The media identified ‘Stakeknife’ as Freddie Scappaticci in 2003 after which he fled West Belfast, where he lived. During a press briefing yesterday, Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) Chief Constable George Hamilton said the investigation team would not include any current or former members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), PSNI, Ministry of Defence or MI5.

Hamilton also introduced chief constable of Bedfordshire Police, Jon Boutcher. Boutcher said: ‘My principal aim in taking responsibility for this investigation is to bring those responsible for these awful crimes, in whatever capacity they were involved, to justice.

‘As soon as officers and staff are in place, the investigation team will begin reaching out to victims, victims’ families and all interested parties to receive information.’ The new investigation was forced on the authorities after an official report on Thursday confirmed collusion between police and loyalist gunmen in the massacre of six men in a County Down pub in 1994.

The report carried out by Northern Ireland’s Police Ombudsman said police knew the names of suspects within 24 hours of the attacks but delayed making arrests. The Police Ombudsman, Dr Michael Maguire, said: ‘I have no hesitation in saying collusion was a significant feature of the Loughinisland murders.’

Dr Maguire confirmed that an assault rifle used in the attack was part of a huge consignment of South African weapons brought into Northern Ireland by loyalist paramilitaries in the late 1980s. Other weapons from the shipment were used in at least 70 murders and attempted murders.

The report raised questions about why all the weapons were not intercepted as police ‘informants were at the most senior levels within loyalist paramilitary organisations’. For the past 22 years, the families of the victims have alleged that the police failed to investigate the killings properly because they were protecting informers.

The first person to arrive at the scene of the massacre, Kevin Gordon has said he is still having counselling after what he saw. Speaking from the Heights Bar in Loughinisland, where loyalist gunmen carried out the murders, Kevin Gordon said what he found ‘never leaves you’.

The Catholic victims were in the bar watching the Republic of Ireland play a World Cup football match against Italy on 18 June that year, when two Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) members walked in and opened fire indiscriminately. The six men who died were Adrian Rogan, 34, Malcolm Jenkinson, 53, Barney Green, 87, Daniel McCreanor 59, Patrick O’Hare, 35, and Eamon Byrne, 39.

Emma Rogan, daughter of Adrian Rogan, said: ‘I’m thinking of my daddy and all those others who died. This report has vindicated our long-held suspicions.’ She told the BBC ‘Today’ programme the collusion ‘goes right to the top of the British government’.

• Undercover police spies from the London Metropolitan Police operated in the north of Ireland in the 1990s without the knowledge of local police, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has confirmed.

The undercover unit, called the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), infiltrated protest groups. Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton told the Policing Board nobody in the Royal Ulster Constabulary or the PSNI was aware of them. He said they were ‘completely blind to their activities’ and their presence.

‘In October last year, the Metropolitan Police advised us that there was a potential that the SDS, as it was then known, had operated in Northern Ireland, unknown to us,’ said Hamilton.

‘We can’t find any record that anybody in the Royal Ulster Constabulary or the PSNI were aware of the presence of these officers in Northern Ireland. Nor were we aware of any information gathered being passed back to us for our use. We appear to be entirely blind to this.’

One of the undercover officers for whom Scotland Yard apologised for tricking women into sexual relationships carried out surveillance in Northern Ireland, say environmental campaigners. Campaigner Kim Bryan said one of the officers spent some time in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

She said she went to Belfast in 2005 with Mark Kennedy at his suggestion. ”Mark Kennedy organised the travel, he paid for the trip and we went in his vehicle so he drove us around Ireland when he came to visit,’ she said.

‘We did three events in total when we were in Belfast. I don’t know exactly what he was doing, but I suspect he used the opportunity to spy on activists in Ireland – in Belfast and Dublin and in County Clare where we were.’

It is only now 18 years after the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement that the UK ruling class’ murder machine in the north of Ireland has begun to be unmasked.

LGBTQ rights and homophobia in Northern Ireland


This video says about itself:

Thousands of revelers lined the route of the 2012 Gay Pride Parade in Belfast on Saturday, August 4, as floats featuring performers of all kinds brought a party atmosphere to the Northern Irish capital. The sun, surprisingly, also made an appearance.

By Annette Pryce:

Hard won LGBT+ rights missing in Northern Ireland

Monday 28th March 2016

A National Union of Teachers delegation to the six counties in February was shocked by the state of affairs, writes Annette Pryce

EQUAL marriage, the repeal of Section 28, adoption, equal age of consent, the Equality Act are all things we as LGBT+ people, as trade unionists, fought long and hard for and feel very proud of. The LGBT+ legislative strategy seems all but complete if you ignore survivor pensions, (don’t ignore that), and a few other important things.

But while we’ve won these rights in Britain, in Northern Irealnd they’re almost totally absent.

When our delegation of 14 NUT LGBT+ teachers arrived in Belfast for our four-day trip we didn’t know what to expect. Growing up hearing about “the Troubles” doesn’t make for a lived experience or a good understanding about what Northern Ireland is like.

Our first meeting with the LGBT+ organisation the Rainbow Project was a crash course in Northern Ireland politics.

Delegates, with their mouths gaping open in shock, demonstrated that our ignorance was just as shocking as the terrible, fragile reality being laid before us.

Despite a clear majority of parties agreeing on equal marriage — and let’s face it, a public that isn’t opposed to the idea — the Democratic Unionist Party use what are supposed to be exceptional veto powers to prevent equal marriage proposals and anything progressively LGBT+ from happening.

Civil partnerships are legal in Northern Ireland — because the Assembly was suspended when the 2004 Civil Partnership Act was passed in Westminster — but there are no equal marriage rights and if you and a same-sex partner got married in Britain, it would not be recognised in Northern Ireland.

But marriage isn’t the most important recognition a state can give you and our delegation wanted to understand what the experience was like for LGBT+ children, teenagers and adults.

With the highest rate of LGBT suicide in the UK, the Rainbow Project told us that 40 per cent of their young service-users had attempted suicide. It was a startling statistic that even with my years of activism and teaching stunned me. “Isolation” was cited as one of the key elements to the statistics as well as school-based bullying.

We headed over to Stormont’s Department of Education to better understand what was being done to protect young LGBT+ people and teachers and received yet more bad news. The department is powerless to intervene in school provision of sex and relationship education and given that every school in Northern Ireland is a faith-based school that often means such education is utterly inadequate, making LGBT+ people invisible.

When we asked the department about protections for LGBT+ teachers we were told that they “didn’t look at the teacher element.” Given this was a room full of LGBT+ teachers you can imagine the cold reception.

There is no Equality Act and therefore no employment protections for LGBT+ teachers except for the vague section 75 of the 1998 Northern Ireland Act. And as for school governors, they have one member of the local clergy on each board and an appointments commission that openly LGBT+ people would have zero faith in.

There was some good movement on bullying in schools and it was demonstrated that recording and intervention programmes were being prioritised and promoted by the Education Minister.

We met our sister unions the Ulster Teachers Union and the Irish National Teachers Organisation to show some solidarity and to hear their take and what their organisations were doing in terms of organising LGBT+ teachers.

It was fantastic and inspiring to hear their efforts to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the education system. We provided messages of support and promised to keep a channel open to work together and exchange best practice on organising LGBT+ teachers.

One beacon of hope was former Communication Workers Union official Chris Hudson, now a reverend at the Unitarian All Souls Church in Belfast. Chris’s church not just openly welcomes LGBT+ people of faith and refugees, it campaigns publicly for their rights. The church hosted us for an evening and lesbian congregation members performed music for us. It was a special moment after a bleak day for our delegation.

There is of course hope in Northern Ireland, with organisations like the Rainbow Project, teachers’ unions, churches like All Souls and the supportive and active spaces that are emerging for LGBT+ people. But the one hope that blew us all away was the irrefutable fact that out of all the parade marches that take place in Northern Ireland, the LGBT+ Pride parade was the largest.

Imagine, a place that has structural segregation and limited protections for LGBT+ people, the largest unifying demonstration is an LGBT+ rights march. That gives us all hope and that’s why our continuing support and solidarity towards our fellow LGBT+ teachers in Northern Ireland means so much.

Annette Pryce is the NUT LGBT executive member.