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Archive for April 2008

In the 1970's school teachers could be dismissed if it became known that they were Gay or Lesbian. As a young teacher in those days Sue Sanders recalls that women were not even allowed to wear trousers. This was the environment in which the organisation "School's Out" was founded in 1974.

In this in-depth interview Sue speaks at length about the organisation she has worked for during the majority of her adult life, the way things have changed in that time and the problem for the next generation of society when today's teachers are not equipped to teach about diversity. She also talks about LGBT History Month, which she helped to found in 2004.

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For many people the journey of pregnancy and motherhood is a delightful and rewarding experience. Yet, for Elaine Hanzak, this wasn't the case. She developed baby blues, postnatal depression and ultimately puerperal psychosis.

Elaine's story is told through her book, "Eyes Without Sparkle" -- and teaching people about the widespread reality of postnatal illness has become her life's passion.

In this interview Elaine tells the story of how it was, and how such illness can affect anyone after birth... Even the kind who, like her, imagined that they're "not the type".

Details of Elaine's book and how to contact her or obtain a copy can be found on her web site. She also has a regularly updated blog describing her constant efforts to educate more people about the seriousness of the condition.

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A report published last week by the Department of Work and Pensions has poured cold water on one of the most popular arguments for promoting equality at work.

The Business Case for Equal Opportunities: An Econometric Investigation” was researched and prepared for the DWP by a team at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. It says they could find no direct cause and effect link between businesses having Equal Opportunities Policies and having higher productivity and profits. But it says the reverse is definitely not the case too -- and that businesses that have one seem to have the other, even if the connection isn't clear. I look at the researchers' conclusions in more detail.

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What do you do when your child exhibits markedly gender-atypical play behaviour almost as soon as they can walk and tells you, by the time they are four years old, that there's been a mistake?

Susie is a Yorkshire mum with three young children. Two are very much boys, but the other, though born the same, has insisted since pre-school that a mistake had been made.

In this in-depth interview she tells how she handled the challenge, sought help and has cared for her child at every stage in a remarkable journey through growing up. She also tells why she felt her child was not getting the right kind of treatment at Britain's only child and adolescent clinic specialising in this area, and why she turned, instead, to specialists in the USA and The Netherlands. As a mother, she also has advice for schools on how they could help parents and children avoid the bullying her child has experienced.

For more information and support for parents and families in this position see Mermaids (UK) and Trans Youth Family Allies (US).

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The inward migration of workers to Britain has always been a matter of contention -- yet never more so than in recent years when the concepts of economic migrants, unlawful immigration and asyllum have become confused and blended together.

Denise McDowell represents an organisation, Migrant Workers Northwest, that was set up in 2007 to specifically address the reality of migrant working in Britain's North West Region. In this interview she explains about her organisation and the different kinds of people involved whilst answering common fears and suggesting the advantages that worker migration brings.

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Activist and rising media personality Calpernia Addams was in London for a showing of her short film "Casting Pearls" and a panel on media representation at the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. In this in-depth interview she talks about growing up, the murder of her boyfriend Barry Winchell, her blossoming career and the representations of trans people in film and on TV. Just click on the "Listen Now" control below to hear the interview online, without the need for any special software. Alternatively the "Play in Popup" option allows you to listen the same way but carry on browsing.

Calpernia's web site http://www.calpernia.com/ has all the latest details of her work and, when you visit her site, you can watch the You Tube video of "Stunning", her first single, which begins and ends this episode.

As a complement to this item I'd like to recommend another Podcast interview with US trans activist Jamison Green, talking at length about what drives trans people.

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I'm not sure whether I can claim the original credit for the idea -- people didn't seem to have thought it before I made the suggestion at a consultation last year, and they quickly wrote it down. However it happened though, the Equality and Human Rights Commission have now launched their own You Tube Channel.

The channel opened this week with a handful of videos on the theme "Equally Different". You'll find them at : http://www.youtube.com/EqualityHumanRights

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The rights associated with religion or belief are an area where misunderstandings can easily arise. The commonest issue is the incorrect presumption that the Article 9 rights concerning a person's religion or beliefs could allow the rights of others to be impeded. This is not the case.

In this episode I explain how some aspects of our rights are not absolutes, but are designed to be balanced reasonably with the rights of others. There's a difference between being protected from persecution and imposing your beliefs on others.

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