The UK is a brighter shade of pink this morning after a new dawn of gay journalism was born last night.
Politicians from across the political spectrum mingled with leaders from the gay community, and key figures from the world of business, arts and a select gathering of PinkNews.co.uk readers, to officially launch The Pink News.
The Law Society event was addressed by Minister for Women and Equality Meg Munn, Liberal Democrat Party President Simon Hughes, Labour MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch Meg Hillier, Conservative Party Chairman Francis Maude, PinkNews.co.uk and The Pink News editor Benjamin Cohen and David Harvey, editor of 3Sixty magazine, media partners with the new outlet.
Richard Cohen, The Pink News’ Legal Director, started the evening, after a performance from The Pink Singers, he said: “I believe that PinkNews.co.uk and The Pink News/3Sixty are media titles of their time, and demonstrate that the gay community with the advent of civil partnerships have moved centre stage and will become an important economic community to reach and engage with.”
Ms Munn outlined the government’s commitment to equality, she said: “I’m glad to see a further demonstration of the vibrancy of the UK’s gay and lesbian community. Having a press that is rooted in the community, carrying differing ideas and views is important.
“Certainly energetic public debate has been essential in driving the equality agenda forward and the pink press makes a key contribution in this process. I am sure that the ‘new’ The Pink News will continue to make its presence felt in this and other areas of life in today’s Britain.”
She was followed by Mr Hughes, who showed his support by hugging the title’s editor, he said: “I welcome another serious publication for and about gay and lesbian people and issues that matter to them.
“Since the European Convention on Human Rights was written, the UK has come a long way in giving equal rights to gay people and lesbians. It is a real cause for celebration that civil partnerships are now nationally available and that the Equality Act is at last in place. There is huge cause for celebration across the country in general and in London in particular.
“But there is absolutely no time for complacency. The recent terrible deaths of David Morley and Jody Dobrowski, both near the middle of London, show, as do others, how much prejudice we still have to counter before attitudes change. At last our courts can give exemplary sentences for crimes aggravated by prejudice, as a warning and hopefully as a deterrent.
“But the cultural change needs to go much further and much deeper. Without a doubt it must begin at school. Civilised education and effective responses to all threats or reality of homophobic bullying should be part of the absolute guarantees in education from the beginning of the new century.
“Until our country move from a sensationalist press to a responsible press and from callous media to careful, not solemn, but careful media we also still have work to do.
“But from the cosmopolitan community which is London and Britain we also have international responsibilities to carry out. Between 2006 and the arrival of the Olympics in 2012, we have to get across the international message that whatever people’s faith or cultural views, adult gay and lesbian people have equal rights to make their own choices as to how to live their lives.
“Nationally and internationally, we need civilised asylum and immigration policies and strong foreign policy which campaigns for individuals and human rights wherever they are under threat. In too many countries of the world, gay people have not just a hard time but a dangerous time and potentially a life threatening time. International solidarity between people and communities in many ways should be easier in a globally inter-connected world. Rights of gay and lesbian people to live their lives free of discrimination and free of fear are not especially British rights but European and international rights. Respecting each other for what they are does not signal a decadent society but a civilised, respectful and pluralist one.”
Mr Maude applauded the serious approach of The Pink News and spoke of how proud he was of being one of the few conservatives MPs who voted to allow gay couples to jointly adopt, he then proposed a toast to the publication’s success.
Ms Hiller welcomed The Pink News which is based in Shoreditch, to her constituency.
Benjamin Cohen said: “PinkNews online was designed to be instantly different from all other LGBT media outlets. Shunning sex and entertainment to focus on politics, business and the law.
“Reflecting if you will the fact that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues affect all aspects of British life, not just what people engage in within the privacy of their own homes or on the dance floor of their local gay club.”
Mr Harvey welcomed the joint venture with PinkNews.co.uk and highlighted their joint attempts to bring gay media into the mainstream,
The July issue of 3SIXTY and The Pink News is out now.
It can be downloaded by clicking here.