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November 2013

Changes to The Pink List (2013)

By Gay, History, ThinkingNo Comments

Pink List 2013 Logo

The Independent on Sunday has been producing their annual Pink List since 2000. The Pink List is a list of influential gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans gay people in the UK. Each year The Independent assembles a panel of Judges, opens up for nominations from the public and then decides who to award the 100 places to and in which order.

This year’s Pink List 2013 has been published and with some interesting changes. No longer is it enough to be gay and a well known public figure whose a role model to gay youth. This year people on the list have to have contributed or made a difference in some way.

The Independent on Sunday have created two separate lists in addition to the main pink list; one for National Treasures and one for Politicians. On the National Treasures list is the likes of Russell T Davies, Paul O’Grady, Sir Elton John, Stephen Fry, Sir Ian McKellen and John Barrowman. On the Politicians list is various Westminster Peeps.

I am disappointed by the creation of these separate lists for National Treasures and Politicians. I think it is enough to be gay and a role model, so I’d have kept the one Pink List. I’d have just put people who have contributed more in the last year higher up on the list.

I would have extended the list to accomodate the increasing number gay people coming out. It shows that we are out there in numbers and contributing to society. For easy reading, I would have split the list into parts: 1-10, 11-30, 31-50, 51-100 and 101+.

The Pink List has always missed out people that are not in the media spotlight. I think the Pink List could be massively improved by including these people who are contributing a great deal to their local communities and society as a whole. These ‘ordinary’ LGBT people are doing amazing things. Such as those Workers/Volunteers for The Albert Kennedy Trust & George House Trust, Students who’ve set up LGBT Societies in Universities and Employees that set up or run LGBT forums within their employers organisations.

The Pink List should include out LGBT parents. Its very difficult to be an out LGBT parent. Many LGBT parents worry about the impact of their sexuality/gender identity on their children, in terms of some schools institutional homophobia and bullying by other children. I discovered this through two interviews with LGBT parents for a feature article for The Gay UK. The first interview was with Paul and the other with Linda.

Finally, I think there should be a list of influential straight people who support gay rights. The gay marriage bill would have never been passed into law, if it wasn’t for the many straight people who voted in favour of the bill.

Blog soon,



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Book Review: Inventing the 21st Century by Stephen van Dulken

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
inventing-the-21st-century-book-cover If you’re an Inventor, Entrepreneur or a Patent-Geek then you’ll enjoy reading Inventing the 21st Century by Stephen van Dulken.

Dulken a Patent Librarian, tells the patent stories of fifty of the most well known and well used inventions of the 21st Century including: e-books, The ‘bladeless’ fan, The iPod MP3 player, Apple’s iPhone, The Nintendo Wii, ‘Wave and Pay,’ Self-cleaning Glass, Self-Service Checkouts, Robot Helpers as well as others.

Dulken starts with an introduction that describes the patent world as one where technology, law and business meet to create and protect innovation. He writes that inventors need to be good at business as well – being able to do their market research, be honest with themselves and write good business plans in order to get financial backing.

Then Dulken goes onto some of the most popular and successful inventions (so far) of the 21st century. Each of the inventions has a page that describes the patent, the concept and product design/development; followed by a page that has illustrations from the patent.

Dulken concludes by giving advice on how the patent system works and recommends that anyone who wants to write a patent to hire a Patent Attorney.

The Inventing the 21st Century book blurb boasts that it includes ‘personal insights’ from some of the Inventors. So I expected that it would have a few interesting stories about where the inventors got their ideas. I’m fascinated about where creativity comes from and how it develops.

But unfortunately these personal insights were extremely limited, usually down to a sentence or two at most. Instead Dulken focused purely on the patent aspect of each invention. It’s clear that Dulken is passionate about patents, which is great for him, but not so great me. I didn’t want to read a book of facts: dates, specifications, costs, etc. which is what I felt like I was reading. However I’m sure people with a very logical mind will like Dulken’s formal style.

In summary, Inventing the 21st Century by Stephen van Dulken is a well thought-out book that aspiring Inventors, business people and some academics will find a pleasant read.

Inventing the 21st Century by Stephen van Dulken is available to buy on Amazon.

Review soon,


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Book Review: Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French

By Amazon, Books & Authors, ReviewsNo Comments
Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French Book Cover In Oh Dear Silvia, Silvia Shute is in a coma. Silva has a secret; a secret that’s led to the end of her marriage with Ed, a breakdown in the relationship with her children Cassie & Jamie and to her having a lesbian relationship with Cat. Each of the characters are convinced that they are the only one that can bring Silvia out of her coma.

The idea behind the book is a fantastic one, but any writer would struggle to do much with their main character being in a coma. French uses the other characters having conversations with an unresponsive Silvia to tell the story. It meant there was an awful lot of telling, rather than a good mix of show and tell. French was forced put the description into the conversations. At times it was overly descriptive and occasionally made the conversations feel unnatural.

I waited for the paperback of Oh Dear Silvia and it did take me a while to get into the book. But once I was

hooked, I found myself at night thinking: I’ll just read one more chapter before bed. Then staying up late to read three chapters.

The pacing of the story was excellent. However a source of frustration was the repetitiveness of Ed talking about trees. Oh Dear Silvia is exceptionally funny, with the laugh-out-loud comedy usually being delivered by Jo, Silvia’s New Age Hippie Sister. The reader will also enjoy Winnie, Silvia’s Jamaican Pentecostal Christian Nurse who is cleverly written as she’d speak.

As the reader gets to know the characters and what’s happened between Silvia & them, a secret is slowly revealed. A dark secret that’s truly stupendous.

The reader comes to understand Silvia’s choice to cut off her family, that it was to protect them. Empathy develops for Silvia that leads to an emotional ending. The book did end prematurely, it would have been interesting to have seen the characters reaction to the revelation of Silvia’s secret.

Everything considered, Oh Dear Silvia is a mixed bag. It got lots of great aspects that you’ll enjoy, but it really is an easy read that’s intended for light entertainment. It is worth a read, but don’t expect for the story to be memorable or to cause you to think. Oh Dear Silvia by Dawn French is available to buy on Amazon.

On a personal level I love Dawn French and her first fiction book A Tiny Bit Marvellous. I gave it an excellent review. I will probably buy her next book, but can’t deny that this offering wasn’t as good as the high expectations I had.

Review soon,



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Import: 14 Tips to Beat Bullying

By LifeNo Comments

This month it’s been anti-bullying month here at The Gay UK. Bullying takes many forms: Name-calling, making negative comments on your work, making someone feel worthless, physical abuse are just some examples.

So we’ve put some tips together to help anyone out there who might be being bullied. It doesn’t matter if you’re being bullied at school, college, university, work or home.

Remember if you are being bullied remember it’s not your fault.

Write Everything Down
Keep a log of every incident; write down the date, time, location, what happened, what they said and any witnesses that were around.

Tell Someone
Tell someone in authority and ask them what they intend to do about it. Tell them any fears you have about reprisals from the bully.

Someone you trust, like a family member or friend can also be useful. It means that you’re not dealing with the problem on your own; a problem shared is a problem halved.

Get Support
Don’t try to deal with it and your feelings about it all on your own. Get some support. Consider counselling for some additional support around your feelings.

Know Your Rights
All educational settings have anti-bullying policies. Some employers have these as well. Even if your employer doesn’t they will have Equality & Diversity Policies as well as other relevant policies. Read them.

There will also be procedures for investigating and dealing with bullying – so have a look at these as well.

Know your rights. Nobody has a right to bully another. Make authority figures aware that you know you’re rights.

Don’t Let It Get To You
Try to not let the things the bully says or does get to you. Bullies bully for a variety of reasons, but it’s always about their issues, not yours.

Try Not To Show A Reaction or Smile
Don’t let the bully see that they are getting to you. To do this, try to give them no reaction or smile. You know that phrase: Smile – it confuses people.

Walk With Confidence
Use your body language to make you look larger. Stand with your legs apart, your back straight and your chest pushed out slightly. Have your arms slightly away from your body and loose by your sides. Head up as you walk looking straight ahead. This does take a bit of practice, but try practicing in front of a full-length mirror. Believe it or not, this is how most bullies walk.

When we see someone walk like this, especially a bully, we do the opposite with our body language. We make ourselves as small as possible including hunching our back, pulling our arms in close and looking down at the ground. Try to remember to keep this confident body language, even when you see the bully.

The only time to avoid using body language to make you look larger is in the event of a physical assault. In that case, have your side to the perpetrator, as this will give them less of a target. In the event of a physical assault, get yourself out of the situation as soon as you can and to a place of safety.

Remember nobody has the right to be violent towards you; likewise you don’t have the right to be violent towards anyone else. All physical assaults should be reported to the Police.

If It’s CyberBullying
If the bully is sending you messages, texts, images and videos, keep them all. Don’t respond to any messages and make good use of privacy settings. Block/Ignore the bully and report them to the social media provider. If the messages get particularly abusive report them to the Police (this is why you need to keep all the messages as evidence).

Take Sensible Steps To Keep Yourself Safe
Keep yourself safe by carrying a mobile phone, personal attack alarm and being aware of your surroundings. Never walk home on your own and always try to stay with someone when travelling around the setting were you come into contact with the bully.

Involve The Police
Any violence or physical assault should be reported to the Police.

If the bullying is homophobic or racist in nature you can report it to the Police as a hate crime. Hate crime also covers bullying that is related to disability religion, ethnicity or transgender identify. Find out more about hate crimes on the True Vision website.

Come up with Good Coping Strategies
We all have different coping strategies. Some good ones are: taking up sports or martial arts (these are particularly empowering and you learn to defend yourself as well), talking to people, expressing how you feel creatively (e.g. writing, music, drawing, making movies, etc.). All of these activities also raise your confidence and self esteem – something that bullies try to damage or destroy.

Avoid Drugs & Alcohol as a Coping Strategy
There is research that links drugs and alcohol misuse to bullying as a coping strategy. Avoid using drugs or alcohol to cope with the bullying. It might make you forget or feel happier in the very short term (for the night), but the next day the bullying often seems much bigger problem.

Know that It Gets Better
Bullying is a massive issue. Many people get bullied. Remember that the situation you’re in now wont last forever. There will be a time that the bullying will stop.

Avoid Becoming The Bully
There’s some research that shows that some people who have been bullied, later become bullies. Don’t let it happen, you’re better than that! Remember how it felt to be bullied. If you’re in a position to safely stand up to a bully that’s bullying someone else – do.

If you’re affected by bullying please check out our resources page for further help and support.

Published by: The Gay UK on Saturday 30th November 2013.

I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal:

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