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Stonewall co-founder: Ben Summerskill’s departure is a chance to renew relationships and reassess strategy

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  1. Philip Breen 23 Jan, 11:09pm

    Lobbying on the need to get rid of disclosures of gay but victimless spent offences by the DBS must be a priority. At present, anyone convicted of the old, spent, victimless (in practice, utterly gay offences) can’t work of volunteer with children since they have to pass the DBS disclosure, Then they realise that for gay offences of another time, they are deemed a generic risk to kids or vulnerable adults. UNBELIEVABLE

  2. CH Brighton 24 Jan, 8:31am

    Why are some people so quick to be critical of Ben Summerskill’s leadership of Stonewall? There may well have been things he might have done or done differently – show me a busy organisation where this is not the case – but nobody can deny the strong leadership Mr Summerskill’s has given, the high profile and respect Stonewall has garnered, and the organisations many positive achievements of the last ten years. In my view, Ben has kept the organisation focused and relevant (pace the startling error over support for the equal marriage Bill). While the present moment may be an opportune moment to consider Stonewall’s future and the role of Summerskill’s successor, care needs to be taken not to commit the organisation to campaigns that would overstretch and weaken its reputation. It also,

    1. I think Mr Fanshaw’s testimony answers your rhetorical question pretty well.

      And let us not forget the Summerskill did not only fail to support equal marriage, he actively tried to stop it. That’s not an error, that’s a bleedin’ disaster!

  3. Colin (Queenstown/London) 24 Jan, 9:47am

    ve to say the negative comments about Ben Summerskill is disgraceful. Easy to criticise but how many of you have achieved 25% of what he has

    No wonder people walk from gays. We are so immature we destroy the best of our own.

    1. By my reckoning he has achieved about £1m and a gong during his time in post. Not bad for someone who actively campaigned against a central pillar of LGBT equality – equal marriage.

      You would do well, Colin, to listen to what Mr Fanshawe is saying.

      1. Colin (Queenstown/London) 24 Jan, 11:29pm

        You clearly have no idea what you are talking about. Sorry. Just plain nasty.

        The workplace scheme and the schools scheme are changing society. How many of us have led that societal change.
        And all the campaigns, and massive fund raising, and media education etc.
        I’ll vote for him to get an OBE for his work except I’m a republican at heart.

        1. No doubt you and Ben are best buddies, but the man’s an idiot. I know from first hand experience.

          His key achievement: holding on to his job as long as he did.

          All this good work would have gone on with another person in charge, without all the errors and the arrogance.

  4. Chris Ward 24 Jan, 10:11am

    “Life for lesbians and gays is so different now from when we started Stonewall.”

    At least Summerskill acknowledged the B. If they want to heal relationships, they should do so with the T too.

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jan, 12:20pm

      Totally agree with that.

  5. BlokeToys 24 Jan, 1:09pm

    As others have said, Stonewall seems to be a group for specific people within the LGBT community, solely focusing on L and G issues.
    I hope this changes to actually encompass B and T issues too. There are far more open bisexual people in the UK than ever before in my estimation, because of a cultural shift in attitudes and increasing acceptance of sexual diversity. And there have been numerous examples of outright Trans-hate in our media. It’s important that they have a voice.

    I also think this would be a good time to reassess their efforts after the embarrassing show of the Football campaign. I don’t think I’m alone in my belief that it was a mockery of genuine issues, and it should have been handled differently. They didn’t need a sponsor for this, and because of that they lost backing from numerous teams who would otherwise have been involved. This was a BIG mistake, and a glaringly obvious one to any intelligent person around the table when Paddy Power was invited in.

  6. Patrick Lyster-Todd 24 Jan, 3:03pm

    Simon puts in well and with somewhat more tact and diplomacy than I would employ, especially regarding Mr Summerskill. Speaking to some members of staff at Stonewall during the last few years, I think that a change will be welcomed enormously. Stonewall has, of course, achieved much over the years of its existence and we should never forget that. Of all things, its first success was with ‘Gays in the Military’ from whence flowed so many other improvements in terms of employment law and practice. Yet, over the years, there has been a whiff of revisionism about some of these successes, as if Stonewall alone had achieved these, forgetting the enormously important role of other activists, smaller campaigning groups (in particular) and the LGBT+ media. Moreover, certain vitally important issues have been got wrong: Equal marriage, for a start although you’d have thought that Stonewall had led from the start on this one, in terms of how they (including Ben) have crowed.

  7. It would be helpful if Stonewall could appear to give the impression of just a vague awareness that HIV remains a huge issue blighting the lives of gay and bisexual men

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