Feed on
Posts

Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

Alice Purnell OBE is an important contributor to the development of the trans community in Britain.

She was involved in founding the Beaumont Society in the 1960's; founded the Gender Trust in 1990; and instituted a groundbreaking series of biennial conferences bringing trans people and clinicians together that same year.

In this extended interview, on her 70th birthday, Alice speaks openly about her own childhood; the experiences which moulded her approach towards community support; and those pivotal developments in which she had a leading role.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

Paris Lees appeared in an earlier edition of Just Plain Sense about the signing of a Memorandum on trans people at Channel 4. Even then she was probably not all that well known outside of a small circle, having only moved to London the previous year. These days she is rapidly emerging as a rising star.

She has quickly established herself as an art reviewer and commentator on issues of diversity. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian and the Independent, in Attitude magazine, and in Pink News. She has regular columns in Gay Times and Diva. She has appeared on Radio One and BBC TV ... and acted as a consultant on several programmes about trans people. Most notably, she launched a unique magazine, META, earlier this year.

Paris recently won the title 'LGBT Role Model' at the National Diversity Awards. This interview was recorded with her the following morning whilst she was still getting used to the recognition.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

July 16th will mark the thirtieth anniversary of a campaign supporting what became known as the 'Bradford Twelve'.

On that day in 1981 a dozen young Asian men from the United Black Youth League were arrested in dawn raids across the city and charged with conspiracy to make explosives and to cause explosions.

The case was set against a backdrop of racist attacks on black and asian communities in Britain, which the Police had done little to address.

The defendants asserted that "Self defence is NO offence" and the hearing of their case lifted the lid on racism in Britain at that time.

Shahnaz Ali was a teenage girl at the time and was very much involved in the United Black Youth League in Bradford. She was taken for questioning and came close to being charged with conspiracy herself.

Now a senior public sector official, Shahnaz looks back on those events with me, and describes what it was like to almost become the thirteenth defendant.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

On the evening of Monday 14th March 2011 the organisation Trans Media Watch collaborated with Channel 4 TV to launch a new Memorandum of Understanding to an audience of media people, politicians and trans people.

The goal of the memorandum is to help eliminate discrimination relating to trans people in all media by setting out goals that all the parties can aspire towards. Channel 4 were the first organisation to subscribe to the principles.

The MOU doesn't call for censorship but aims instead to give media organisations the tools they need to address endemic problems.

Trans Media Watch say they are guided by the basic principle that they wish to see transgender people and issues treated with accuracy, dignity and respect.

Just Plain Sense was there to capture the atmosphere of the event, including speeches by Minister for Equalities, Lynne Featherstone MP, Stuart Cosgrove from Channel 4 and reactions from the audience.

Listen to the show online with the player below or click one of the options on the right to download into your favourite music player or feed reader. You can also read more background on the Just Plain Sense Blog

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

Professor Joan Roughgarden is no ordinary biologist - and no ordinary trans woman either - though there are quite a few high academic achievers within the world wide community of gender variant, transgender and transsexual people.

Joan is perhaps best known for her 2004 book “Evolution’s Rainbow” - an academic work, written in a language accessible to the public. In it she challenges Darwin’s theory of Sexual Selection.

Her subsequent book, “Evolution and Christian Faith: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist”, published in 2006, showed that her willingness to take on controversial subjects was, if anything, stronger and more confident ... despite the inevitable way in which her critics responded to the first.

This interview was originally recorded for another channel in the summer of 2007, but hasn't been aired on Just Plain Sense before. In the course of conversation Joan reveals an unexpected debt of gratitude to former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and talks about her biologist's view of sexual orientation.

Note that this show features a new, alternative, signature tune that I'm trying out. I'd appreciate listeners' feedback on whether you like it or prefer the traditional one. The theme is "New Ways of Seeing", composed and performed by Richard Harvey in 1978

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

I’ve covered a lot about crime in various forms over nearly three years of these Podcasts. A lot has been said about hatred directed towards Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People. We’ve also covered domestic violence, which is mostly directed towards women.

None of these subjects are pleasant. Yet the hatred which seems the hardest to understand is that which is directed towards disabled people and those with Mental Health problems or Learning Difficulties.

The question why people behave so awfully in the first place tends to be brushed aside. And it’s clear that the unease that society as a whole has in this area is perhaps the elephant in the room.

In this episode I talk to Karen Machin, a campaigner in this field. She and her colleagues work to raise awareness about disability hate crime and how to report it.

She also works with the ‘Time to Change’ campaign, educating people about Mental Illness and she’s been involved in setting up the ‘ROLE Network’ - which is open to anyone who has experienced or supported someone through these kinds of distress or mental health issues.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

What do you think about minority groups like transgender people? Unless you actually know someone in person, have you ever questioned where your beliefs and opinions come from? Chances are, like most people, what you believe and think can be traced back to what you've gleaned from media coverage.

The issue of media representation is nothing new. Study the history of any minority which has struggled for equality and you'll generally find that such issues have been of concern to those who were engaged bringing about social change.

Juliet Jacques is a transsexual writer and journalist who has thought a lot about these questions in her own context. She is writing a groundbreaking fortnightly column for the Guardian newspaper, documenting her own transition. She is therefore ideally placed to offer some perspectives on how the communication problems arise, and how to address them.

Since this show was recorded Juliet has blogged some more detailed thoughts about some of the topics we covered. Please also feel free to build on this discussion through the comments below and on her blog

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

It feels incredible to reflect that we are coming up to the third Christmas for the Just Plain Sense Podcast. The show has covered so much in the last 80 episodes and I hope to continue for a long time to come.

Usually, as the producer and presenter of these shows, it is my job to ask the questions. With the occasional exception, I try not to be self-indulgent.

The festive season provides an excuse for us all to let our hair down and forget the conventions though. That's why I thought it would be nice to turn the tables and present this recent on-air show where, instead, the questions were coming my way.

Andrew Edwards presents the Saturday Forum on Gaydio -- the Manchester based LGBT FM station that I featured in a recent show. The last half hour of every show features 'the Mix Tape' where a guest selects and talks about four music tracks that mean something special. This was my turn in the hot seat...

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

If you’ve ever visited Manchester City Centre then you may have noticed some small rainbow coloured mosaics set into the pavement here and there. These pick out the landmarks in Manchester’s LGBT Heritage Trail.

In this show I speak to guide Jon Atkin about the background to the trail and then we visit a couple of the landmarks. If you're interested in organising a tour for a group of friends then call the Manchester Tourist Information Line on 0871 222 8223

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

When Nadia Almada first teetered into Channel Four's Big Brother house on impossibly high heels, in the summer of 2004, TV viewers in Britain had probably never seen more than a few minutes of any real transsexual person on their screens before.

Activists and lawyers at the time were nursing Britain's Gender Recognition Bill through Parliament, and there was momentary concern about what kind of person this unknown quantity was.

They needn't have worried.

Within days the young Portuguese woman soon had people's attention, as her immense personality, piercing laugh and manifest vulnerability took viewers on a roller coaster ride of emotions, in which her transsexual background was sometimes the focus but often pushed to the background by other dramas.

Nadia won that fifth series of Big Brother in a landslide victory that carried millions on a wave of emotion, sharing her dramatic realisation of public acceptance.

In 2010 Nadia returned to Big Brother for a celebration show with other popular or controversial housemates. The return was not such a happy event.

Three weeks after that event she agreed to give an in-depth interview and talks here about her childhood, changing gender, those television experiences and much more too.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

The first LGBT Health Summit took place at Guys Hospital in London in 2005 and, since then, this major annual conference has been hosted around the country. In this fifth year the hosts were Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and the venue was the excellent conference centre at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield.

In this programme you can hear the organisers, presenters and delegates describing the proceedings as they took place over the 6th and 7th of September 2010

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago, on 18th June 2010, a brand new radio station took to the air.

Gaydio, based in Manchester, is an FM station aimed at and run by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans People.

It's not the world's first such station. There are established FM stations in Australia and Toronto, for instance plus a host of internet stations

Unlike many, Gaydio is not simply a music station though; it's aimed at a wider than usual audience, and has a community development dimension too.

To find out more I spoke to one of the founding directors, Toby Whitehouse, at the studios in central Manchester.

You can listen to the station online at http://www.gaydio.co.uk

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

This is the second part of an in-depth interview with veteran Parliamentarian, Sir Gerald Kaufman MP.

In this episode Gerald talks about how he came to write for the groundbreaking satirical show, "That Was The Week That Was"; about scandals such as the Profumo affair; and his thoughts on where the last Labour Government went wrong.

For more details see the previous episode.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

It was the BBC interviewer Robin Day who once famously infuriated Tory Defence Minister John Nott by referring to him as a ‘Here today, gone tomorrow politician’.

The epithet stung perhaps because Day was reflecting a truism that seems even more relevant today than in 1982.

In truth, many politicians do have a short career in Parliament and are soon forgotten.

This is why those politicians with true staying power are so interesting to examine.

Sir Gerald Kaufman is one of the latter category.

Sir Gerald recently celebrated his 80th birthday in his Manchester Gorton constituency, flanked by crowds of loyal party activists and supporters who turned out for the occasion.

Though regularly offered a chair to sit down by well-wishers, the incredibly sprightly octogenarian politely declined -- remaining on his feet throughout.

The occasion also marked 40 years since Gerald had first won a seat as an MP. Only the Conservative Sir Peter Tapsell has served for a longer continuous period.

As an MP, Gerald served as a Junior Minister in Harold Wilson’s 1974 government and, was shadow Home Secretary, among other roles, during Labour’s opposition in the 1980‘s.

He also famously wrote for the ground breaking 1960’s satirical show “That was the week that was”, has written several books, and, as a Jew himself, is one of the leading critics of Israeli policies and the treatment of Arabs in Gaza.

In this first of a two part interview Sir Gerald talks about growing up in a working class family, his early career choices and close to Prime Minister Harold Wilson in the late 60's and early 1970's.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »

Regardless of the communities we may belong to, it's clear that identity plays a very big part in our lives -- whether that's the identity given to us by our place among family, or the identity we have in official records, or the one which comes from within and which we broadcast to others in the way we present ourselves.

The Wellcome Collection in London is running a nine month season of activity on these themes entitled "The Identity Project", examining the subject through the lens of scientists, artists, actors and other individuals who have, in some way, defined or challenged the boundaries.

I've agreed to lead a tour of the exhibition in February 2010 during LGBT History Month. Prior to that this episode takes a private tour of some of the exhibits with Jane Holmes, one of the Project Managers.

00:0000:00

Read Full Post »