Pack your hamper, Pink Picnic is back


I had a meeting this week with Charlotte, the Marketing Manager at the Galpharm Stadium. The Galpharm are very keen to get the word out that sporting events at the Stadium (and in fact any event at the Galpharm) are gay friendly. What a refreshing (and often rare) attitude this is!

Charlotte asked for my help in spreading the gay friendly word as recently a gay couple had been to look at the Galpharm to consider it as a possible venue for their upcoming civil partnership but in the end chose an alternate location. The sad reality is that there is still lots of homophobia surrounding sport, and sporting arenas, which can be very off putting. In fact I personally know of a few gay premier league footballers who have had to keep their sexuality a secret because of the discrimination they fear they would face in their careers and their lives! It’s a sad fact that in the 21st Century gay people can still be made to feel uncomfortable in certain areas of life. We need to start breaking those homophobic barriers down �" so boys and girls give the Galpharm a Go!


Speaking of homophobic attitudes �" this week I was asked by a local radio station to give an interview about homophobic bullying in schools. This is something that I personally feel very strongly about as many of my friends have come across this at certain times in their lives and have felt threatened and scared. Tragically it even pushed one young local boy to the point of suicide. The TUC (which stands for The Trades Union Congress) is trying to enforce the notion of teaching ‘anti bullying’ for homophobia in to the national curriculum, in the same way it does to protect students against bullying of race, sexism or class.

The TUC have also been involved in all the campaigns to end legal discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. This is exactly what is needed for gay people today to help bring equality. If we are to change attitudes, we need to educate children young and bring in school education to help change their opinions, helping make pupils feel more comfortable and confident to be themselves.

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber will be calling on the Government to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) equality education in the school curriculum, as the only way to address homophobic bullying in schools. A recent survey by Stonewall laid bare the huge scale of the problem. Almost all LGBT pupils reported hearing homophobic abuse. No less than two thirds reported being the victims of bullying. And perhaps most alarming of all, one in six said they had been subjected to death threats.

Schools and colleges are simply not doing enough. Fewer than a quarter have categorically said that homophobic bullying is wrong. And while 99 per cent of schools told the Stonewall survey they had general anti-bullying policies, just six per cent had anti-bullying policies that dealt with LGBT issues. Statistics and stories like this fill me with horror �" we need to make changes and we need to make them NOW.


I can’t believe the PINK PICNIC is almost upon us again. Pat and her team are again working their magic to produce another unforgettable day. This year will be the 22nd Anniversary of this unique event which takes place on Sunday 27th July 2008 at Castle Hill between 12 noon and 7 pm. It’s always been one of my favourite events of the year since it began back in 1986 (of course, I was much better looking then!) when a group of friends decided to have a picnic on the moors overlooking the scenic reservoir “Binn Wood”. It was fun and high-spirited so they did it again later the same year on a Bank Holiday Sunday. Fast forward and 21 years later the PINK PICNIC is now a major fundraising event. Over the years various special ribbons or badges have been sold raising monies for good causes. However, whilst the scale of the whole event has increased, I love the fact that the PINK PICNIC manages to maintain its true sense of community spirit which is often lost in bigger PRIDE events.

Be prepared to be dazzled by the spectacular picnics and items of campery which have made the Pink Picnic legendary. Dress includes anything from drag queens to hunks in military camouflage. As ever there will be competitions and prizes galore. This year’s include Best Dressed Pet, Best Outfit and Best Picnic (it has always been my ambition to be a judge in this category!). Live entertainment will feature the Pride Sisters, Hazel Dean, our very own Mr Gay UK - Daniel Broughton, plus Claire Chanel and Friends �" watch this space for further news!

Feel free to pop over and say hello �" I’ll be appearing on a picnic rug near you soon!


I have been busy filming this week as Michael and I are making a new TV series. I’ll be filling you in on some of the exciting events we’ve got up our sleeves over the coming months. Stay tuned.