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Analysis: Stonewall’s apology for journalist of the year award

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  1. Andrew Godfrey 20 Oct 2010, 6:14pm

    I’m really glad Stonewall have seen sense on this issue. However, I don’t think the time has yet come to ease the pressure on Stonewall. They are still the world’s only LGB equality organisation not to oppose legal equality, they still haven’t apologised for the other concerns raised by trans people, and they still haven’t shown that they have made the big changes to their culture and approach that are clearly necessary. They are the biggest, richest and most influential LGB organisation, and it does matter if they undermine the cause of equality because of their corporate ties or the bizarre personal politics of Ben Summerskill. I sincerely hope that they use this as an opportunity for change – but at the moment, I think they are just hoping people will give up protesting before the message trickles down to most LGB people that Stonewall isn’t representing them adequately.

  2. I agree with Andrew.

    I would also raise the issue of gay marriage, too, on which Summerskill has rather odd views, for an equality champion.

  3. BrazilBoysBlog 20 Oct 2010, 10:43pm

    Yet again another example of Stonewall being at odds with the majority of GLBT people, whilst claiming to represent them.

    Sorry Stonewall, either represent us and fight for true and total equality, or disband.

  4. “I’d have hoped Stonewall would have had more backbone, but hey ho.”

    Stonewall has no backbone though.

    They refuse to support marriage equality for LGBT people for reasons only known to themselves.

    Stonewall does NOT represent the LGBT community.

    Apparently they only represent their corporate donors.

  5. As Stonewall blunders from one outrage to the next and makes a laughing stock of the community they purport to serve, to hell with the lot of ’em say I!

  6. Stonewall is being framed, and as this and other news sources, will become more and more irrelevant, as the ConDem coalition will dismantle, little by little the feeble network of gay supporting organisations. gay Tories Duhhhh

  7. That’s what you get, gossiping, weaker services or nonservices, misunderstandings, and when you least expect, all is gone. Call the police. There’s no police. gay Tories Duhhhhhh

  8. Eric James 21 Oct 2010, 9:04am

    Pink News’ vendetta against Stonewall is curious and a bit disturbing. Please suggest another pressure group better placed than Stonewall to fight for our rights and we may consider joining it. Until then, I would suggest Pink News should choose its targets more carefully and get away from what is obviously a personal agenda from Ben Cohen who owns the thing.

  9. How many more apologies can we take from this wretched outfit? Enough already!!!!!

  10. Well, in this case Stonewall UK have done the right thing.

    Such an action is, I think, unprecedented in their dealings with the Trans community.

    We would not be in the state of hostility we are in today, if they had done the same over the offensive Bindel nomination a few years ago.

    Does this mean a sea change in the attitude at the top of Stonewall UK?

    I would like to hope so, but only time will tell.


  11. “Pink News’ vendetta against Stonewall is curious and a bit disturbing.”

    Pink News does not have a vendette against Stonewall.

    They merely report the news and allow Stonewall to comment each and every time.

    There is no vendetta against Stonewall.

    There is merely outrage, disgust and horror that a group which claims to be an equality group, campaigns in private against LGBT marriage equality.

    Stonewall hs disgraced itself entirely through its own actions.

    They are entirely to blame for the destruction of their reputation and legitimacy.

    Stop trying to blame Pink News for the imminent closure of Stonewall.

    Stonewall needs the LGBT community’s support. They have lost that.

    The LGBT community does not however need Stonewall. Escpecially when it argues in favour of homophobic discrimination at party conferences.

    Any idea why Ben Summerskill has not been sacked yet?
    Does Stonewall seriously expect anyone to take them seriously when such a traitor to LGBT people is their leader?
    Or do the bosses at Stonewall (the corporate donors) insist that the Summerskill muppet stays in place?

  12. Mr Leckie’s misfortune was to intrude upon private grief.

    ‘Private grief’? What private grief?

  13. Pink News is becoming more irrelevant by the day. Some of its owners are Jewish. I wonder if they “explore” their jewishness in the same way they explore their “gayness”. Band of gossipers. Despicable.

  14. Paul, London 21 Oct 2010, 2:38pm

    Another round of Stonewall bashing! You shouldn’t be too critical when people or groups don’t immediately say they support “gay marriage” because it’s quite a complex issue and means different things to different people. e.g. If the Government do pursue gay marriage what should happen to Civil Partnerships – should they be abolished or automatically converted into marriages? If kept, should Civil Partnerships be opened up to heterosexual people or should they remain exclusive to gay people? If we’re all for equality and the end of “same but different” then should gay marriages be allowed on religious premises or should the religions be allowed to continue to discriminate? Are “gay marriages” the same as heterosexual marriages – if so, why call them “gay marriages” – shouldn’t we be talking about opening up the institution of marriage to gay people instead? Do some gay people like the fact that Civil Partnerships are exclusively for gay people and really highlight publicly their sexual orientation?… These questions go on and on… Until there are answers and consensus on *all* these issues it is unlikely that Parliament would approve any changes to the law.

    I’ve just got a bit sick of reading the hysterical anti-Stonewall comments on here of late – It’s extremely damaging, not just to Stonewall, but to the whole “gay marriage” cause. If the Government sees such deep and bitter divisions opening up on the issue it will not touch it with a barge pole. I imagine Stonewall will come out in support of equality once it’s got answers to all those other questions. Stonewall represent gay people well – from fighting homophobic bullying in school to ending discrimination in service provision and the workplace etc. On this issue, tt’s never good for any lobbyist to go into battle and, when faced with difficult questions all those other issues I mentioned earlier to say “I don’t know, we’ve not thought about that – we don’t really know what our supporters think”. And all those people thinking about demonstrating outside the Stonewall Awards and ranting on these forums about them, you’d be better off demonstrating outside Parliament or writing to your MP – after all, it’s the MPs that have the influence, not Stonewall. This public bickering is a distracting and harmful sideshow and I bet the Daily Mail is loving it. And yes, I do think there is some element of score settling going on, (and perhaps even jealousy at the resources and access that Stonewall has that others haven’t), in the way this is being reporting and the way some other lobby groups have been putting the boot in.

  15. gay marriage is just same-sex marriage
    how complicated is that? heteros marry so why can’t same-sex couples?

  16. Listen to your selves! And people say; ‘women are bitches’. I am not going to pretend that I know what is going on, but having just read these comments; you would think WW3 had broken out! And what in Gods name,the fact of being Jewish got to do with this,do you need to be of a certain faith; or no faith?

  17. I generally agree with the points raised by David above. Stonewall is making news for the wrong reasons and this is wholly a strategic management issue.

    I solidly support Katrina’s comment. What has faith to so with anything here?

    Pink News is a good news resource for the LGBT community and as with any news reporting media one ought to read across the offerings to garner an informed view.

  18. Paul – marriage equality is NOT a complex issue. I don’t know why you keep insisting that it is.

    Ask the Netherlands about their remarkably uncomplicated method of allowing same sex and opposite sex couples to access both CP’s and Civil Marriage.

    That can very easily be transferred to the UK. There is no valid reason on earth why Stonewall refuse to accept such a position.

    The damage being done to Stonewall’s reputation and legitimacy and influence due to their refusal to support LGBT equality, is 100% self inflicted.

    For the past 5 years Stonewall has done NOTHING on the issue of marriage equality.

    Yet Ben Summerskill slopes off to the LibDem party conference to campaign against marriage equality.

    How are we meant to react to such treacherous, homophobic hypocrisy.

    By giving him the benefit of the doubt?

    No way. His underhand attempts to thwart LGBT equality is unforgiveable.

    Stonewall has point blank refused to engage with the LGBT population on the issue of marriage equality since the introduction of CP’s. Its standard response was ‘We have no position on this’.

    The LGBT equality movement does not need Stonewall.
    Stonewall needs the LGBT community. But refuses to represent those of us who favour equality.

    If their non-position on LGBT marriage equality is damaging them (and it has clearly done so) then they have no-one to blame but themselves.

  19. Paul, London 21 Oct 2010, 3:53pm

    @ John – Well if you’re looking for an informed view perhaps it would be helpful if Pink News explored some of the wider issues around “gay marriage” and solicited views on them to help get some answers, instead of just reporting Peter Tatchell’s (and the Trans Lobby’s) criticisms of Stonewall all the time. I imagine it unlikely that Government will move on gay marriage until it fully understands the wider implications and some of the knock on consequences.

  20. Paul, London 21 Oct 2010, 4:05pm

    @ David – Maybe Stonewall have other priorities and limited funding? – perhaps they think that more harm is being done through bullying in schools and through discrimination in the workplace, or the portrayal of gay people in media than on this issue? Maybe they think it’s better to spend their money and time on dealing with these issues first. Maybe they are worried that they’ll get drawing into wasting a load of money and resources on fighting for an issue when its not really clear what the knock on consequences should be?

    @ Chester “gay marriage is just same-sex marriage – how complicated is that?” In itself it’s not that complicated, but we also have Civil Partnerships and heterosexual people who perhaps would like another form of union that’s not marriage (i.e. heterosexual Civil Partnerhsip). If there is to be any movement on “gay marriage” then the Government will need to know what to do about the other things – but I don’t hear many people giving them the answers on here.

  21. @rehan Sorry if I wasn’t 100% clear. By “private grief”, I meant the fact that Mr Leckie walked into the middle of an ongoing dispute between Stonewall and the trans community.

    I’m not terribly keen on what he wrote: but by comparison with other stuff out there, its not especially outrageous. He wouldn’t even cross my radar as a “transphobic writer” were it not for the Stonewall Scotland report. Certainly, he is in a whole other category than Julie Bindel, who publically expressed views that go close to arguing that trans has no right to a separate existence.

    But there’s the rub. He WAS named in the Stonewall Scotland report and the Bindel affair HAD happened previously: so this became an issue of Stonewall’s sensitivity as much – or more – than Mr Leckie’s private views or public writing.

  22. “Maybe Stonewall have other priorities and limited funding?”

    They have a bigger budget than any other LGBT charity in the UK – all of which are able to support full LGBT equality.

    Other priorities – like what? Anti-bullying?
    Homophobic bullying cannot be ended by a Stonewall campaign.
    The end to the legal discrimination against LGBT equality can be achieved through legislation. I fail to see why Stonewall cannot support LGBT equality and still be opposed to bullying.

    This is not a valid excuse for Stonewall’s incomprehensible refusal to support LGBT equality.

    “Maybe they are worried that they’ll get drawing into wasting a load of money and resources on fighting for an issue when its not really clear what the knock on consequences should be?”

    The knock-on consequences. You mean the non-existent knock-on consequences?

    Again I’ll remind you of the remarkably easy transition to full equality in the Netherlands. There is no reason for it not to work the same in the UK.

    Their refusal to support LGBT equality (and the campaigning against equality by the traitor Summerskill) is utterly contemptible.

    Either Stonewall has been ordered by its corporate donors not to support equality or they are worried that overcoming the last obstacle to full legal equality for LGBT people, will render their organisation irrelevant.

    I to repeat it again.

    There is no valid reason for Stonewall not to support full LGBT marriage equality.

    The damage they are causing to their influence, legitimacy and relevance through this bizarre refusal is 100% self inflicted.

    The LGBT Equality movement does not rely on Stonewall.

    Unless Stonewall changes their policy, sacks Ben Summerskill and becomes a LOT more transparent, as an organisation it is doomed.

  23. Paul, London 21 Oct 2010, 5:55pm

    “The LGBT Equality movement does not rely on Stonewall”.

    So why go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on about them then? You clearly have your view over how legislation should change, so make your views known to your MP and maybe pipe down a little bit on here. Perhaps other people have a differet view as to how marriage equality can be achieved that is not based on the the model in the Netherlands. You’re entitled to your view, but other people are equally entitled to explore alternative options. Who’s to say you’re right, eh? To say that Stonewall don’t support LGB equality is frankly ridiculous – Statements such as that undermine everything else you’ve said because it suggests you are not taking a balanced and considered view of all the issues.

  24. Seems like the entire Stonewall staff have been ordered to post rebuttals on here today instead of doing their jobs campaigning for our rights (quel surprise). How more transparent can they get?! I mean, weeks of anti-Stonewall postings then all of a sudden a vicious barrage of support for their treachery. A sure sign they are getting desperate and on their last legs. Oh how the once presumed mighty have fallen…

  25. @ Jane, #21: Thanks for clarifying. Personally, I think it was an unfortunate choice of phrase since it suggests, to me anyway, a public figure dealing with a bereavement. A minor point in an interesting article.

    @ William, #24: Isn’t it a little childish to accuse anyone who expresses discomfort with the ritual Stonewall-bashing on here of being disguised employees? A tiresome bullying technique, which seems much more of a ‘vicious barrage’ than the reasonable points put forward by others like Paul above.

  26. “So why go on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on about them then?”

    Because they are the ‘go to’ gay organisation according to the government and media.

    Yet they are undermining the campaign for LGBT equality.

    If they refuse to support LGBT equality then they must be exposed as the homophobes that they are.

    it is vital that the politiciana and media realise that Stonewall has lost ALL credibility among the LGBT population thanks to their point blank refusal to support LGBT equality.

    The other way to ensure that Stonewall stops acting against LGBT equality is to cancel all subscriptions and donations to them.

    Although I suspect their accountant will already be a little worried when he/she sees the balance sheet at the end of the year.

    “Perhaps other people have a differet view as to how marriage equality can be achieved”

    Perhaps. But no-one seems to be able to offer any alternatives. Your attitude seems to be ‘Despite all evidence to the contrary I will trust Stonewall on this’. You even refuse to take issue with the treachery of Ben Summerskill actively campaigning against marriage equality. Do you work for Stonewall? As your misplaced or misguided loyalty to a group which refuses to campaign for your equalilty is quite bizarre.

    “that is not based on the the model in the Netherlands.”

    Why will the Dutch model not work in the UK? You are making quite the bold statement above. Back it up with reasons please.

    In the Netherlands CP’s and civil marriages were extended to both same sex and opposite sex couples. There was no crippling cost, there was no negative consequences for the society. Please explain why you think this can’t happen in the UK?

    “To say that Stonewall don’t support LGB equality is frankly ridiculous”

    Ben Summerskill went to the LibDem conference (where support for marriage equality became official party policy) and madee the claim that marriage and CP equality would cost the taxpayer £10,000,000,000. He was unable to offer any evidence for this figure. Why did he make that statement if Stonewall has no opinion on equality? Why is his statement now being used by homophobic organisations to argue against marriage equality?

    You are naive in the extreme (or else on the Stonewall payroll) if you think that Summerskill is not undermining the campaign for equality by making these unforgiveable statements. Especially considering that these statements have no basis in fact.

    Don’t you agree that Summerskill has delegitimised Stonewall and should be replaced with someone who supports LGBT equality?

    Why are you blindly defending Stonewall’s position without offering alternatives to their position.

    Why should the 98% of the Pink News readership who support LGBT equality support Stonewall, when Stonewall pretends to have no position on equality, yet still sends Summerskill off to party conference to offer arguements against equality.

  27. @ Paul. As I understand it and from following Pink News. Several stories from Tatchell, Mckellan & Cashman have appeared on this issue. When the subject was first mentioned following the LibDem conference once story was removed by Pink News and they have given Summerskill the right to reply.

    I still maintain that if you want to understand any issue YOU need to do the research. Personally I never trust one news stream to give me the full set of issues around an issue.

    I found this but alas no further detail on the issues from even Stonewall. Surely there is no reason why the consultation in full should be at least on there website with all the argument against & for.

    Why do you have to be an “active supporter” of Stonewall. Surely, using online technology, they could open up the process to other interested parties?

    Pink News could also publish this information to ally and worries over mis-representation. However if Stonewall are not being open how can you expect any media outlet to report on the issues Stonewall uses as defence without providing the detail?

    Again, another example of how they are mis-managing this issue.

  28. The fact that Summerskill refuses to include marriage equality in its agenda is evidence that he works against us. If he can’t multitask, then he shouldn’t be running StonewallUK. No amount of legislation is ever going to stamp out bullying or homophobia and the majority of religious denominations are just not going to allow us to enter into a civil partnership using their facilities, its ludicrous and delusional and an utter waste of time. For heaven’s sake, the C of E will only recognise its gay clergy in partnerships provided they remain celibate. Until we get full equality and not treated differently from the rest of society…the only group that is under civil partnerships….then that won’t change. There is a connection to bullying when you segregate one group of people under a different name which is exactly what civil partnerships do though well intended when they were first introduced, not that I would support a ban on them. Its wrong, dead wrong and sends a message to homophobes that because we’re viewed differently, barred from marrying, then its ok to commit acts of violence against us, both verbal and physical. Separate can NEVER be equal, no matter how one wants to skew it. Summerskill should know better. He MUST go and the time is NOW. He does NOT represent all of us. A 20,000 membership is a small number and why should they get to say who should be allowed to marry and who should not? StonewallUK does not speak for the majority of us. None of us are calling for the abolition of civil partnerships, on the contrary. So why should the naysayers at StonewallUK oppose and refuse to support those of us who want to marry instead? It doesn’t even support the rights of heterosexuals to have a civil partnership. Its wrong.

  29. Marriage Equality will never happen under a Tory government. If one really wants Marriage Equality, the first thing to do is get rid of the Tories.

  30. Paul, London 22 Oct 2010, 3:53pm

    @ David – No, I don’t work for Stonewall but am disappointed at your suggestion that I do just because I am thinking about the issues in a more open and considerative way than you.

    @ Robert – Thankyou for really engaging in some of the issues that would arise when you start to think about what “gay marriage” means in practice. You’ve expressed a view on the religious aspect of it, you’ve expressed a view on what should happen to Civil Partnerships. You also said that “no-one is calling for the abolition of Civil Partnerships” – that may be the case, but the question still needs to be asked to know that that is what people really think.

    David has also expressed his views saying that the UK should follow the model in the Netherlands…. And I’m sure that other people have views too about how they think it could be achieved. I’m not saying David is wrong or that his way won’t work, I’m just pointing out that other people might have different views that would have different outcomes.

    I think that shows what I mean when I say that it can be quite complex and people have different views about what “gay marriage” might mean in practice for them.

    “why should they get to say who should be allowed to marry and who should not” – They don’t. I keep saying it, MP’s do. That’s why people would be better off spending time writing to MPs and Ministers telling them what you think instead of complaining about Stonewall.

  31. James Davison 23 Oct 2010, 5:31pm

    Just what is the point of Ben Summerskill?

    Against gay equality in marriage. Now this.

    What next? Jan Moir for journalist of the year 2011 because she likes gay penguins?

    Is time for Stonewall to bring back people like Angela Mason and new figures who are actually committed to equality – not just out for a knighthood.

  32. Beber says:

    “Pink News is becoming more irrelevant by the day. Some of its owners are Jewish. I wonder if they “explore” their jewishness in the same way they explore their “gayness”. Band of gossipers. Despicable.”

    I spy an antisemite and a homophobe!

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