GLBT youth have a hard road to travel and few are spared the cruelty of bigots. I hope Steven and Mark find legal representation and go for a multi million Euro lawsuit against the bigots who did this. Those bigots include a totalitarian christian who campainged to keep the Conservative Section 28 on the books after it was repealed. If they sue and win they’ll send a powerful message, earn themselves a whole week of free smirks, and could even, if they so desired, help fund GLBT leagal services.
This type of occurance is appalling. When is the world going to wake up and tell the bigots and homophobes that this isn’t acceptable behavior? “they will carry out a thorough investigation and discipline staff if necessary.”This is a horrid PR-riddled statement that means ‘We’re sorry we upset some people, but we don’t really have a problem with our bus drivers decision.’ Accepting, healthy companies don’t tolerate this sort of behavior. If the driver isn’t fired it’s clear what’s what.
so let our feet do the walking. lets not use stage coach any more?
The only bigots would appear to be those who will not accept common decency and the feelings of normal members of the public.
That’s right Tom and if these two common decency young men can’t sit next to each other on a bus without being humiliated in this way I’m sure we’d all agreed there is something very wrong with our society.Thank goodness we have laws that prevent discrimination of this kind.
The question is, if all that Steven did was put his arm across Mark’s shoulder, why would that be grounds for ejection, no matter if a fellow passenger found it objectionable? Assuming that is all that happened, then the same policy must be applied to straight couples engaged in similar behavior if you could call it that. Equality should be gender neutral, no exceptions.
Before he became mayor, Ken Livingstone said he would refuse Stagecoach a license to run the buses in London. He should now keep to that promise.
This has come up before and clearly he hasn’t and equally clearly he has no intention of doing so.
Mr Stewart said that Stagecoach bus drivers get diversity training which includes “the type of situations they would face in terms of carrying different people.”Could someone please explain, if the current laws regarding “equality” are the law of the land…then why should two same-sex couples feel that they are “second class citizens”? Isn’t equality about being treated the same way as everyone else with the “same” rights and priviliges? If not, then what does equality reallly mean? One set of laws governing straights, and another governing gays? How can that equate with equality…all things being eaqual….obviously, NOT?! If NOT, then why are we having this discussion since everything is supposed to be “equal?”
Robert, ex-pat Brit. Australian born Peter Tatchell and numerous other sincere activists make the same point you do. So I’m left with a dilemma. Who to believe? Should I side with the paytriotic native born clique who adhere to the preposterous idea that bigots and bigotry are a thing of the past just because a few, admittedly very good laws were put on the books by Labour?Am I supposed to take as a matter of faith the infantile theory that universal tolerance has broken out since the ferociously bigoted Conservative Thatcherite Clause 28 was repealed by Labour? I think Labours efforts are very good and I certainly wish that we already had a viable Labor Party in the US but I don’t think these laws herald the beginning of the Golden Age. I’m just a wretched foreign person myself so I’ll put my money on Outrage and on ex-pats like yourself and most honest activists who seem to have a more realistic view and who have no ‘party loyalty’ axe to grind.
I see everything has been put through your distortion matrix again Bill. I think that the point has been made by numerous of us living here, at the coal face if you like, that LAWS in this country have changed to provide us with equality. All the research that is being undertaken shows that society is becoming vastly more tolerant and accepting of gay people, however free will is still allowed in this country and individuals may still hold different views to us. There is no law, in this country at least, that prevents people from thinking this way. However there are now laws that prevent people acting on those thoughts to ensure we do not receive partial or differential treatment.As reported here and in the mainstream media, Stagecoach are under police investigation and I am sure that if what the boys have said is true and Mr Souter’s bus company is found to have acted in a discriminatory way, appropriate prosecution will follow. Should Stagecoach be prosecuted it will then become even harder for Ken Livingston to continue to allow Stagecoach to operate within the Greater London area. Clearly you are not stupid, so I can only assume that this faux obtuseness is a ploy to further your personal misinformation war on here. No matter how many times you are set straight by those of us living in the UK, you seem happy to take as gospel the words of Robert, who by his own hand, tells us he is coming to the UK with his family for Christmas.“Tatchell judges his achievement to be “helping a process of cultural change, which seeps into institutions ….” – New Statesman.
Bill, I’ve talked to Peter Tatchell via emails. He’s the only one who really knows what the bottom line is and he’s been right every time. He has an incredibly deep understanding of the issues, so I am with you on that.Actually, the golden age indeed has not yet begun, but some have started the ball rolling which began with Sweden when it decriminalised homosexuality as long ago as 1944, can you imagine, quite radical for its time. Sweden has in fact come full circle since its seriously considering the abolition of civil unions which their government consider outdated and replacing them with full marriage, similar to what the states of New Jersey and Connecticut, among others are mulling. Denmark of course was the first to offer civil unions in 1995 I believe, but it is really Holland that put equality on the map, soon to be followed by Belgium, Spain, Canada and South Africa. Actually, South Africa as you know is the only country wherein same-sex rights are guaranteed in its constitution, quite a remarkable accomplishment! The UK is getting there, but moving in the right direction, a lot better than the U.S. Even if Clinton wins and opens civil unions at the federal level, I think it will be an uphill battle with the legislature unless they have a mandate and control both houses, but then she’ll have to deal with those states that refuse to overturn their state amendments barring same sex couples from marrying or even entering into civil unions. Its not going to be easy.
Robert, ex-pat Brit Here is a perfect example of what you were taking about, Robert. Honest activists will ignore those who claim it’s the Golden Age and organize massive, militant, ‘pushy’, ‘confrontational’ actions to challenge the bigoted swine depicted in this news report from the Sun:”A PLATOON of elite Para recruits is being investigated after one was subjected to a sickening sex attack by comrades who FILMED the assault. Shocking mobile phone footage obtained by The Sun shows one of the gang pinning down the victim in their barracks as another attempts to rape him.”"Amid laughter and cheering, others egg the attackers on to commit horrific sex assaults and are heard taunting the screaming private for being “gay”. At one point, one of the mob laughs straight into the camera lens before walking away.”The story is also in the Guardian. It’s s arousing anger and disgust here in the US, because we have our share of murders and beatings of GLBT service members. The Guardian reports: “Allegations that a trainee paratrooper was gang raped by comrades in an attack filmed on a mobile phone are being investigated by military police. The assault involved at least six men at the Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, according to a newspaper report.” “One of the gang is said to have pinned down the unnamed victim as another attempted to rape him. It is claimed the solider, one of 300 trainee paras at Catterick, was accused of being gay and, after the alleged assault, was curled up on a bed crying: ‘Help me’.”The assault went on for quite awhile and the young mans screams woke up other recruits in nearby barracks but it seems that his desperate plea was met by a wall of silence and cowardice. No one helped him. The incident came to light later when the ‘horrified’ mother of one of the participants informed the authorities. Where were the sergeants and officers whose duty it is to prevent this and to punish it? Were they covering it up? We should demand answers.If legal proceedings prove that these press reports are largely true my fondest wish is that these bigot pigs get more than a slap on the wrist. I also hope that we won’t hear any whining from conservatives that punishing them will alienate them. Or that even raising the question is England bashing. Hopefully Mother Superior, no matter how many aliases he uses, will not try to ignore the horror of this story by claiming, as he usually does, that it’s just another mean attack on England by a wretched former colonial or an expat. I think just this once conservatives should stick to the point and attack the bigots instead of the GLBT movement.Mother Superior, referring to the bus incident said; “Thank goodness we have laws that prevent discrimination of this kind.” he makes the common error that get Tatchell and most honest activist so angry. Laws are good only if they are enforced. Clearly more enforcement and harsher punishment are urgently called for. The six thug-bigot-rapists were mean, and to teach them and other bigots a lesson we have to demand harsh sentences. We should reject conservative distortions that will try to blame this on the victim or to exonerate his tormenters. We should focus on building demonstrations and other actions to demand long, harsh, punitive sentences for these bigots. If English military prisons are anything like US military prisons they’ll soon be getting a regular dose of their own medicine.
I haven’t found any follow up stories on the internet on this gang rape charge. Does anyone know if it’s still under investigation or been settledf one way or the other?
Do Stagecoach operate a policy of ‘No touching’ regardless of sex or sexuality? Can’t see it on their terms and conditions! Would a Stagecoach driver have adopted the same aproach if Mark and Steven had complained to the driver of two hertosexual with an arm round the others shoulder? I think not. In which case this is a discrimination issue from start to finish! Thats Stagecoach for you.
John, I suspect that Stagecoach will win, regardless. Its about time gay passengers started hitting back at straight couples doing the same thing. Then maybe they’ll realise the absurdity of their policies and the bigotry they engender.
Bill, thank you for that. The Sun is arguable one of the worst tabloids on the planet and a leader in yellow journalism for which the British tabloids are notorious. However, I did read about the incident elsewhere. This type of “hate” crime, which is what it truly is, justifies the passage of additional legislation. If it does not pass, it will be down to the conservatives and their apologists and will demonstrate their indifference to equality based on sexual orientation. Calling someone a derogatory name is one thing and I defend one’s right to free speech no matter how unpleasant, but when it results in a violent act as an outcome of such language or slur, legislation is necessary.
I hope that both victims will take legal action. Under the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, it is illegal for any service provider to discriminate on the grounds of Sexual Orientation. Perhaps Stonewall Scotland will offer their assistance?
I am feeling on edge about this story; I’m not entirely sure any of this is true. I believe the media is being used here and the media is taking full advantage of it.The claim that the teenagers were arm in arm by the defendants – possibly.Fellow passenger complains about their behaviour – we have not heard what their behaviour was.I wouldn’t be surprised, being teenagers, that they were indeed fondling each other. I don’t care how my opinion maybe perceived – but I know what goes through my mind when I’m on a coach…And they’re not innocent thoughts!
“but I know what goes through my mind when I’m on a coach… And they’re not innocent thoughts!”Really? I usually fall asleep. Wow, I’m missing out on so much here…
This is not just a story reported in the tabloids. Long before the news reached The Sun, the serious Herald in Glasgow and Scotsman in Edinburgh reported this. The bit that Stagecoach had investigated this and found that the bus driver acted professionlly is hard to swallow at this stage. I would rather trust the outcome of the police investigation than I would that of Souter’s company. Why no same-sex hug-ins on Stagecoach services in England?
If you have an alternative bus company you can use, they don’t use stagecoach – I know in some areas they are the only operator. Then email them to say they don’t have your custom because of their homophobia. If they do this again then we should all head up to the route where the boys suffered this homophobic abuse and make the bus gay! Direct action always works!