GLEN used funds incorrectly, says Regulator

Kieran Rose | Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie | r

The Irish Republic’s gay rights’ group GLEN allowed charitable funds to be used to support its founder’s political campaign. Another €51,174 went on credit card bills including personal expenditure and cash withdrawals and was not properly accounted for. The Charities Regulator found funds were used to support the an unsuccessful Seanad (Senate) campaign by co-founder Kieran Rose, which he ran from the charity’s office. He used GLEN’s office space, and its printing and photocopying services, and has since repaid the cost.

€51,174 of company credit card spending was not adequately supported by itemised receipts or invoices.

The inspectors found an organisational culture within GLEN where charity trustees, who included Simon Nugent the former chief executive of the Private Hospitals Association and Seamus Dooley the current general secretary of the National Union of Journalists, appeared to place relatively high levels of trust in staff members without adequate checks and balances being in place to provide necessary oversight of all financial transactions and financial reporting.

The weaknesses in the charity’s financial reporting processes meant the board were unable to detect and mitigate the significant risks identified in this report in order to consistently safeguard the charity’s assets and funds and ensure that they were used to further the charitable purpose of the charity.

“There are key lessons for all Irish registered charities in ensuring there are financial controls in place and full disclosure by management to charity trustees so they can manage their organisation,” Charities Regulator Chief Executive John Farrelly said.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/glen-investigation-charity-funds-used-to-support-founders-seanad-bid-50k-credit-card-spend-not-properly-accounted-for-report-36851080.html

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/over-50-000-spent-using-charity-s-credit-cards-inadequately-accounted-for-1.3476527

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Billy Graham

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Billy Graham | Undated file photo | Getty Images | 18307

The American evangelist preacher Billy Graham KBE – yes, he was an honorary recipient of the British award “Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” – died on 21 February 2018, aged 99 years.

You could describe him as a “Marmite” type of person – some people liked him and others did not. He toured the world preaching in large venues on his “crusades” from 1947 to 2005 – a total of 417 crusades in 185 countries and territories on six continents. And you thought Mormons were a problem.

John Paul Brammer for NBC summarises his career and its effect in a sentence:

For many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, however, Graham was a crusader against them, one whose efforts shaped the religious right into an anti-LGBTQ political force.

That force continues to challenge advances such as employment rights, the right to foster children, to hold down a job, to marry your partner, to this day.

Graham himself had few specific words on LGBTQ people, compared with the rest of society, but his disapproval of homosexuality was unequivocal. “Let me say this loud and clear! We traffic in homosexuality at the peril of our spiritual welfare.” Homosexuality was a “sinister form of perversion” that was contributing to the decay of civilization.

Advocates argue that he may not have been extremely outspoken on LGBTQ people, but he left behind an institutional apparatus that has done structural damage to the gay community.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/billy-graham-leaves-painful-legacy-lgbtq-people-n850031

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New home for gay collection

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Heather Rousseau/Roanoake Times | 18304

The Roanoake Times reports that the local collection of gay books and artifacts has a new permanent home, after many years of being hidden from public view and moving around. The Roanoke LGBT Library has found a new home as a research collection in Roanoke Diversity Center, Roanoake, North Carolina.

Established in 2000, the collection now has a wide array of subjects, from medical and psychology books from the 1960s and ’70s, to mid-20th century lesbian pulp fiction novels. The collection was originally the personal collection of 1,200 volumes of Jim Ricketson, a gay man and retired book editor. The collection has since more than doubled to nearly 3,000 volumes, which have now been catalogued. Much of the collection is long out of print.

Members of Roanoke’s LGBT community continued to donate books, and some books came from a now-closed gay bookstore called Outward Connections.

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Last baths in Chicago

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Brittany Sowacke | 18301

Man’s Country was a Chicago bathhouse open since 1973, but it closed on New Year’s Eve 2018 following the death in 2017 of its founder, Chuck Renslow, of the city’s leather community. Mr Renslow was the founder of the International Mr. Leather contest.

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Chuck Renslow, 1977 | Quentin Dodt/Tribune | 18302

Vice sent a photographer to record the premises before it was cleared and redeveloped.

Man’s Country wore its history on its walls, with portraits of famous patrons, nude men, and other artwork throughout reminding visitors that this wasn’t some staid, humorless bathhouse. In the basement (dubbed “The Pit,”) a huge sauna—once billed as the largest in the Midwest—sat opposite a shower and wet area modeled after Parisian sewers. In its past, part of the cavernous Man’s Country space was transformed into a dance club called Bistro Too, where acts like Boy George, Divine, and major disco stars performed, shifting some focus away from sex in the wake of the AIDS crisis. It also played host to a leather bar called the Chicago Eagle.

Following its final night, everything and anything inside, from architectural elements to artwork to the disco balls that patterned its dance floors for decades, was auctioned.

Mr. Renslow died on 29 June 2017 of heart problems and pneumonia.

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wjpzg5/taking-the-last-tour-of-chicagos-most-historic-gay-bathhouse

Chuck Renslow obituary

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Cuba – improved but not yet free

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2016 Photo | Agence France Press/Getty Images | 18300

In 1959, Fidel Castro came to power after leading a revolution that toppled the corrupt government of Fulgencio Batista. Police began to round up gay men. During the 1960s and 1970s LGBT people were imprisoned or forced into “re-education camps”.

Homosexuality was viewed as going against the ideal of the hyper-masculine revolutionary. “We would never come to believe that a homosexual could embody the conditions and requirements of conduct that would enable us to consider him a true revolutionary, a true communist militant,” Fidel Castro told an interviewer in 1965.

During the 1980s HIV-positive Cubans were quarantined in sanitariums. The conditions were harsh.

In 2010 Fidel Castro admitted responsibility for the injustices suffered by LGBT people after the revolution, apologising: “If someone is responsible, it’s me.”

Today Cuba’s constitution bans “any form of discrimination harmful to human dignity” and healthcare and visibility has improved. Since 2008, gender reassignment surgery and hormone replacement therapy have been available free of charge under Cuba’s national healthcare system; condoms are distributed, sex education and access to antiretroviral drugs have improved.

In 2013 Cuban law banned workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation but Cuba has yet to legalise same-sex marriage.

All this comes at a price. The only LGBT activism allowed is that which is controlled by the state.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cuba-lgbt-revolution-gay-lesbian-transgender-rights-havana-raul-castro-a8122591.html

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Australia gay marriage postal vote

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Uncredited photographer | Undated | Getty Images | 17166gh.jpg

In 2017, the Australian government authorised a national voluntary survey to determine the level of support for legalising same-sex marriage. The survey was held via the postal service between 12 September and 7 November 2017. The survey asked the question “Should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?”

A number of pressure groups, some personalities, and some of the media including “The Age”, campaigned vigorously first to stop the survey going ahead, and then to try to persuade people to reject gay marriage.

There were two legal challenges in the Australian High Court about the survey.

Shelley Argent, of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Felicity Marlowe, of Rainbow Families) and independent MP Andrew Wilkie went to the High Court on 9 August 2017 to seek a temporary injunction. The survey was also challenged in the High Court by Australian Marriage Equality and Greens Senator Janet Rice. The High Court found that the survey was lawful.

A 17-year-old boy who was excluded from voting challenged that with the Australian Human Rights Commission. About 50,000 Australians aged 16 and 17 were registered on the electoral roll to vote. The boy dropped his complaint on 22 September after legal advice.

The survey returned 7,817,247 (61.6%) “Yes” responses and 4,873,987 (38.4%) “No” responses. An additional 36,686 (0.3%) responses were unclear and the total turnout was 12,727,920 (79.5%).

The Liberal–National Coalition government had pledged to facilitate a private member’s bill to legalise same-sex marriage in the Parliament in the event of a “Yes” outcome.

Many same-sex marriage proponents were critical of the postal survey, viewing it as a costly delay and legally redundant to holding a conscience vote on same-sex marriage in the parliament.

As with the Brexit vote in Britain, there was a rush of people registering to vote; by 24 August 2017, the closing date for new registrations, 98,000 new voters had added themselves to the roll. Survey forms were mailed out during two weeks commencing 12 September 2017. They were required to be returned for counting by 27 October 2017.

The Australian Parliament both passed the gay marriage law on 7 December 2017.

https://marriagesurvey.abs.gov.au/

Updated 8 December 2017

The Two Brewers Double Arsonist

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Jason Fossett | Press Association | 17147

Jason Fossett has been jailed for life after setting fire to a busy south London gay bar, the Two Brewers in Clapham, for the second time.

Fossett piled rubbish against the fire exit of  before setting it alight and fleeing on March 20. He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life at Inner London Crown Court. He could not remember starting the fire after “having a couple of drinks”.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum sentence of three years and 244 days.

He was traced through his bank card after CCTV footage showed him buying two drinks at the bar on the night of the arson.

Officers searched his home and found receipts from the Two Brewers for that night, and a red leather satchel which matched that seen on the CCTV.

In 2004, Fossett was jailed for eight years for targeting the same venue in an arson attack. Police said there was no suggestion the attacks were hate crimes, although Fossett’s motivation is not known.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/man-jailed-for-life-for-setting-fire-to-busy-clapham-gay-bar-a-second-time-a3605851.html

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