Tag Archives: political

Spotlight: Artist James Joyce

10 days after the US election, artist James Joyce created this cover for French magazine ‘Le magazine du Monde’. The magazine itself has some fantastic covers and images on their instagram, and Joyce has also created some incredible work. Joyce’s recognisable work includes the use of a variety of media including painting, drawing, moving image and screen-printed editions. His most recognisable work being ‘Dismaland’, commissioned by Banksy, which included a video installation that then turned into the cover image for the programme.

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The style of Joyce’s work for Dismaland has translated into the cover below, following his iconic style of bright, iconic shapes and striking compositions. His work has been featured in a tone of exhibitions and curated by brands like Apple, Nike, BBC, The Guardian, The New York Times.

Joyce has perfectly encapsulated the consequences of Trump’s presidency. I think other than the composition itself, the fact that no images of Trump himself were used, yet the message is so easily translatable to all languages, speaks volumes.

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Audi: Drive Progress

Progress is in every decision we make, every technology we invent, every vehicle we build. It’s our past, our future, our reason to exist. Audi of America is committed to equal pay for equal work. A 2016 report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee found that women were paid 21% less than men on average.*

Audi is know for its storytelling adds, and this Super Bowl ad by Venables Bell & Partners didn’t disappoint. It’s always interesting when a brand takes a political stance, especially when it’s hard to work out whether the message is genuine or just jumping on the back on a current political issue. I like it, and I think it’s important for brands to make their political views public, so that the consumers know what they are putting their money towards.

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Donald Trump Made Me Cry: What His Leadership Will Do to the LGBT+ Community

This morning I woke up after having a wonderful dream that Hillary Clinton had won the US election. It took me half an hour to nervously scroll through Twitter and news websites to confirm in my panicked and confused mind that this was no dream – but an absolute nightmare.
Since 7:30am I have thought of nothing else. Despite not being American and having no personal ties to America, Trump’s words and beliefs have so deeply affected me. Why? Because I am a passionate activist – I have dedicated so much time an effort trying my best to spread equality, peace, love and tolerance in a world that is constantly being challenged by bigots. If you know me personally or have read a lot of my blog posts, you’ll know that the majority of my beliefs in equality surround the LGBT+ community. This is an incredibly important issue to me, and today has left me immensely fearing for this community.

Aside from every other hellish comment Trump has made about women, disabled people, immigrants, blacks and latinos (and everything other than a straight white male), this blog is going to be about the affect Trump’s power will have over the LGBT+ community not just in America, but the whole world.
When Trump officially takes over in January, it will be in the first time since 2005 that the Republicans will have full control of both the executive and the legislature. The Republican Platform passed earlier this year contained some of the most anti-LGBT plans in years. Topics mentioned were same-sex adoption and parenting, opposing a ban on ‘gay cure’ therapy, and lawmakers who’ve drawn up bills affirming ‘religious freedom’ exemptions from anti-discrimination laws. Additionally, Trump hasn’t released a policy plan on LGBT rights, and HIV/AIDS, and I don’t believe he will.
The list goes on and on and on… Donald Trump signed a Republican-backed First Amendment Defence Act, permitting forms of anti-LGBT discrimination on the grounds of religion, meaning that he will legalise religious discrimination against LGBT people in these sectors: employment, retail, healthcare – therefore banning the government from intervening. Therefore, the Democrat-backed Equality Act – a bill that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to finally outlaw discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation on a federal level – will never happen under his ruling. This is devastating news for the community all over the world.

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A list of Supreme Court candidates released by Trump contains only anti-LGBT conservatives. This includes the vile and intolerable Vice President Mike Pence, who confirmed that he will be rolling back Barack Obama’s groundbreaking equality act and marriage laws. Imagine someone after President Lincoln rolling back slavery laws after they’d been imposed. There is no difference. We’re living a civil liberties nightmare of the 21st century.
Mike Pence confirmed his intentions to turn back time on a radio show last week claiming that his “Religious liberty is enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution” in an anti-LGBT evangelical tirade…

This is such an example of an administration that seems to have… there’s no area of our lives too small for them to want to regulate, no aspect of our constitution too large for them to ignore. Donald Trump and I both believe these questions can be resolved with common sense at the local level. These issues are resolved in the state of Indiana whenever they come up, and they should be resolved, for the safety and wellbeing of our children first and foremost, their privacy and rights, and with common sense. Donald Trump and I simply believe all of these issues are best resolved at the state level, by communities. Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools. It’s just one more example of the heavy hand of this administration, and Donald Trump and I will stand by that common-sense people that when it comes to our kids, and the operation of our schools, those decisions should be made at the local level. Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation. No-one should fear persecution because of their deeply-held religious beliefs. I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order. The Trump-Pence administration will be dedicated to preserving the liberties of our people, including the freedom of religion that’s enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

This man is everything I despise. He has even suggested that HIV prevention funding be used elsewhere to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy (yes, you ready that correctly – gay-f*cking-cure). Also, last month it was uncovered that Pence approved extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review journal in the 1990s. These views included the claim that being gay is a choice and an illness:

The more extreme of the gay movement consider themselves members of a sexual determined political party. Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.

My head hurts and my heart hurts. I cried all this morning and I’m struggling not to break down writing this. I cannot comprehend how people still exist in this world who hold the believe that LGBT people are diseased. It is pure insanity.
I thought that people like Trump and Pence died out before my generation, but it goes to show how much work we actually have to do. I’ve never been surprised by the extreme views of Trump and his party, but I was stunned and sickened that half of the USA agree with him too. How have we allowed this to happen?!
Unfortunately, I believe this is the beginning of a terrible, disturbing snowball effect that will influence other evangelical countries, including the anti-LGBT Russian government. Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve most likely seen the gay-bashing videos taken in Russia where men use fake Grindr profiles to meet up with gay men to attack, humiliate and film them. I bet every penny I own that this will happen in the USA over the next few months. I predict we will see a rise in bigotry, hate and violence, and we must stand up against this. I predict high suicide rates within the LGBT+ community.
People always ask me why I care so much about human rights, and gay rights in particular if I’m not gay, and this is exactly why – the battle is not over. We are not free, and that means my loved ones are under threat. A great deal of my closest friends are part of the LGBT+ community, and I cannot comprehend how distraught they must be, no matter what country they live in. I cannot allow my friends to exist in a world where they don’t feel comfortable or safe.

America has chosen guns over civil liberties. What a terrible time to be alive.

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Protest for Syria: An Accidental Art Installation

Yesterday at the Russian Embassy in London a group of 25 activists from human rights organisations Syria Solidarity UK and the Syria Campaign created a peaceful protest and outdoor art installation. Whilst the protest wasn’t supposed to be a work of art, and purely for a demonstration, it’s hard to ignore the creative outcome with the use of mannequin limbs. The protesters collected and displayed 800+ mannequin arms and legs near the front gates of the embassy representing the massacre of Syrians in Aleppo. I think this should be bought by a gallery, and give the money to the organisations!

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Bissan Fakih, deputy campaign director of the Syria Campaign said:

We have the limbs ‘flowing out’ of the embassy. We want [Russia] to stop their war crimes in Syria. We want them to stop bombing children. Our message is very clear to the Russian government. The world is watching.

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The protest represents the tragic events of Moscow committing untold atrocities in Syria’s largest city. Two activists even chained themselves to the embassy gates. Boris Johnson previously encouraged people to protest earlier on in October due to innocent children being killed, and doctors being bombed for trying to help civilians.

Through the medium of an unintentional art installation, the message serves as a poignant reminder of the abuse endured by Syrians, and a plea to politicians.

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LGBT Refugees: Abuse Uncovered in Asylum Centres

Stonewall UK and UK Lesbian & Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) have uncovered some shocking truths from refugees fleeing to the UK in a report called No Safe Refugee . A large majority of asylum seekers in the UK are those from the LGBT community who face violence, abuse, rape, torture and even death in their countries. This is something that has made me so proud to be British, because despite a small amount of gay-bashers in the UK, as a whole we are very inclusive and accepting of sexual orientation and gender. However, I seem to have been under the illusion that the UK is a safe place for those who are being persecuted for their sexuality or gender identity. Researchers carried out interviews with 22 LGBT asylum seekers, who’ve been held in UK detention centres, asking about their experiences with staff and other asylum seekers, their physical and emotional well-being in detention, and access to legal and health services.

We will always meet someone or hear of someone who is a bigot – someone who makes you feel uncomfortable because of their backwards views – but I had no idea that the centres (which are made specifically for those who are desperate for a safe place) would contain these stupid, uneducated people too. The report uncovered frequent incidents of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and some violent incidents. Also, some asylum seekers were denied vital medication for HIV, and transgender detainees were banned from taking hormones.

Vani, a transgender asylum seeker from India said:

They didn’t provide me with any kind of medicine. I have to take regular cycle of hormones. I normally get hormonal implants. Then in detention they told me I can’t have any kind of hormones. If I don’t have the hormones I get hot flushes and all those hormonal imbalance things. I get like blisters, get depressed, get anxiety and all sorts of stuff.

How does this happen? The UK is so lucky to have a fantastic free healthcare service alongside a ‘good’ (I say that with hesitation, as I know there are a lot of concerns from trans* people when it comes to their treatment under the NHS) understanding of medical services and advice for LGBT patients.

Not only were vital medications confiscated from the refugees, others told of shocking instances of homophobia at every level of the system – from guards, other detainees, interpreters and even legal representatives.

Sathi, from Sri Lanka said:

He asked me if I am speaking with my parents. I said no because they are not happy with me because of my sexuality. He then told me that ‘if you are not happy with your parents then God isn’t going to be happy with you. So make your parents happy and go back’. It means leave my sexuality and just make them happy.

Why is this important? Why should we care about what happens in other countries – shouldn’t we focus on our own? Well, I’m proud to live in such a multicultural and diverse society, and when I saw a group of LGBT asylum seekers strut down the street at the Pride Parade this year, I felt incredibly overwhelmed with emotion because I knew that they had to give up their families and lives to live authentically in this wonderful city. I care because I’m privileged – I’m a white, middle-class woman from London who has never suffered any discrimination or violence (other than for simply being a woman, of course), so if I can’t take advantage of how lucky I am by trying to help others who aren’t as lucky, what’s the point of my existence? It takes some serious guts to start an entirely new life in a different country, but most refugees have no other choice. Often, death is the only solution if they stay in their homeland, but Brianna from Jamaica managed to escape, and told the reporters that back home:

I have been shot, I have been raped, I have been beaten. I just got fed up because Jamaica is a very homophobic place. They don’t tolerate LGBT people. You have to live a life of lies.

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I’m hoping this public report allows further investigations from the Home Office as it is simply not acceptable that asylum seekers are not protected by the detention centre staff. Many say they felt they have to hide their sexuality to avoid abuse, which is the exact reason they fled in the first place! The UK has one of the largest detention estates in Europe, where it detains more migrants and asylum seekers than most other countries, which is so fantastic… but this isn’t the first time there have been concerns about the welfare of refugees. In July 2015, the High Court found that the detention process was “systematically unfair and unlawful”. Umm… So why is it still happening?!

A Ugandan asylum seeker said :

It felt like I was betrayed because if somebody seeks asylum, they’re just trying to get some protection, but then you’re detaining them. It’s like you’re putting them in prison for having come to you for help. It didn’t make sense to me.

Seeking asylum is a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is not a crime, and those looking for help should not be treated like criminals. We should be accepting those who are trying to live authentically, but unfortunately the reports clearly show that UK detention centres offer little respite.

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