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Government set to allow full gay same-sex marriage – So So Gay

The equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone, has announced that the Government intends to begin a consultation on the introduction of full gay marriage in England and Wales. The Government hopes to legislate for gay marriage by 2015. So So Gay was the first gay magazine to report that a number of prominent political figures had shared rumours of the move on Twitter – starting with Tim Montgomerie, the editor of the Tory blog ConservativeHome:

The Daily Mail journalist James Chapman later tweeted that the plans followed a personal intervention from the Prime Minister:

The announcement will be formally made at the Liberal Democrats’ annual conference this weekend. The plans will bring Westminster into line with the Scottish Government, which recently announced a commitment to introducing gay marriage; Holyrood is currently consulting on the commitment.

The LGBT rights charity Stonewall welcomed the announcement, but noted that the consultation had already been delayed twice.

This article has been amended since it was originally published, following confirmation of the Government’s plans.

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Gay marriage law must be properly comprehensive – So So Gay

The Government’s commitment to introducing gay marriage in England and Wales is to be welcomed. In fact, it is to be celebrated, as much for bringing an end to a shabby compromise as for its liberalism. Civil partnerships were a huge step towards equal rights for gay men and lesbians, but it was hard to escape from the reality that, at their heart, they also represented an illiberal stitch-up – an effort to placate narrow religious and political interests, rather than a full-throated commitment to equal rights. In announcing its commitment to full gay marriage, the Coalition has committed itself to a greater principle: that no special interest should be able to hold down and discriminate against millions of people in flagrant breach of the spirit of equality laws.

That, however, remains precisely what religious leaders wish to do. Strong words have been fired at Alex Salmond’s nationalist government in Scotland, which also hopes to introduce gay marriage; words to which English and Welsh politicians should pay close attention. The leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Cardinal Keith O’Brian, has attacked the Scottish Government for attempting ‘to demolish a universally recognised human right’ – by which we presume he means the right to marginalise and discriminate against a large number of perfectly innocent people. If so, it’s a ‘universal right’ that Salmond – and, in London, Nick Clegg and David Cameron – have seen fit to reject, opting instead for a more equitable right: to celebrate one’s identity and position in society with dignity, and in full equality with fellow citizens. We hope they continue to do so.

However positive the news, though, doubts remain about the extent of the Government’s commitment to full equality. As we highlighted in our exclusive interview with Peter Tatchell some months ago, civil partners are currently at a distinct disadvantage in their rights to inherit deceased partners’ pension benefits. Unless this deeply unfair disparity is to be eliminated, campaigners must continue to say that the Government’s plans do not go far enough.

We hope, however, that the Government will make provision for that in its consultation on the issue; what is the point in having marriage equality, after all, if we can’t have genuine, true, full equality? In recent years, that has seemed like a realistic prospect. We have an equal age of consent, equal rights in the workplace, equal protection from crime and bullying, and as you read this, lesbian, gay and bisexual soldiers, sailors and airmen are serving and protecting our country with the Crown’s full legal support. Proper gay marriage could just prove that Britain’s liberal heart continues to beat strongly. Now we have only to hope that bigotry, religious intolerance and petty political manoeuvring don’t put an early end to a long-overdue step towards a properly decent society.

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DADT: US soldier comes out on YouTube as Don’t Ask Don’t Tell ends

As So So Gay has written before, gay military personnel serve their country with every bit as much determination, pride and distinction as their straight colleagues. When we interviewed gay Royal Air Force personnel in April, one message came through clearly: it doesn’t matter who you sleep with – it’s how you do your job that matters.

That’s been the case in the British armed forces since 2000, but the US has taken rather longer to reach the point where openly gay, bisexual and lesbian personnel can serve alongside their colleagues without fear of being thrown out of the military. On 20 September, however, the US government repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ (DADT) – the policy, signed into US law by President Clinton in 1993, that said it was okay to be gay but not to be honest about it. As of the moment DADT was lifted, a raft of legal cases and charges were dismissed, and recruitment applications from openly gay civilians started to be processed.

Movingly, one soldier has taken to YouTube to be one of the first serving personnel to come out. The soldier, who serves in Germany and has chosen to remain anonymous, has been tracking his experience of preparing to be open about his sexuality since April. On 19 September, as the ban was lifted, he called his father in Alabama to have that conversation. I’ll leave you to judge the response.

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So So Gay short-listed for Stonewall Publication of the Year Award | So So Gay magazine

So So Gay has been short-listed for the Stonewall Publication of the Year. Stonewall announced its nominees for its annual awards on Friday, listing So So Gay alongside People Management, the Nursing Standard, the Derby Telegraphand Guardian Weekend in the Publication of the Year Category. The winner will be announced at the Stonewall Awards on 3 November. Nominees for other categories include Matt Smith and Jessie J (Entertainer of the Year) and Alan Hollinghurst and Jodi Picoult (Writer of the Year). So So Gay interviewee Ruth Davidson garners a nomination for Politician of the Year.

Andy Wasley, So So Gay’s Editor-in-Chief said he was ‘delighted’ by the nomination. ‘It’s quite remarkable that we’ve grown from blog, to magazine, to award nominee in the space of just nine months. It’s a testament to our writers’dedication and talent that we’ve grown so quickly; it would have been inconceivable at the start of 2011 that we’d reach October with an award nomination and a string of high-profile news stories, features, comment pieces and interviews under our belt. It’s only down to our writing team that it’s been possible. We’re all volunteers, so it’s taken our spare time and effort to get this far – and we don’t begrudge a second of it.’

So So Gay started life as the personal blog of its founder, Caspar Aremi, in 2009. In 2010 he and Scott Elliott incorporated So So Gay Limited and set about creating a group blog. By the end of 2010, when Wasley joined as the site’s production editor, So So Gay was already pulling around 25,000 hits per month. Since rebranding as a magazine and setting up a full editorial management team under Wasley and deputy editor Colin Warriner, it has grown at a near-constant rate and has attracted praise from celebrities, charities and its readers. In July it was selected to be the official media sponsor of POUT, a national film tour organised by the UK’s largest distributor of LGBT films, Peccadillo Pictures.

‘POUT proved that our arts and culture content is top-notch,’ said Wasley. ‘We’ve worked hard to build a reputation as a cheeky, intelligent, cultured and edgy magazine, and that’s been very demanding for our writers – some of whom are new to journalism. Caspar, Scott, Colin and I are incredibly proud of what the whole team has achieved, and we’re very much looking forward to finding out if they’ll soon be able to say that they’re writing for an award-winning magazine.’

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Editor’s Note: Food and drink | So So Gay magazine

Hullo readers! I hope you enjoyed the late summer heat. Here at So So Gay, we’ve seen it as a great opportunity to drift out into London’s parks, show some flesh and drink some Pimm’s. This can’t last; the final sting of the after-sun cream will soon be a fading memory as nights draw in and winter approaches. What better way to comfort yourself than find some of the UK’s best eateries and watering holes to enjoy some culinary fun and games?

Ardent foodies that we are, we’ve decided to make October our food and drink month. We’ve some great stories lined up, including interviews with the talented people at London’s legendary chocolatiers, Paul A Young – and some lip-licking competitions to boot. We’ll also be running our usual combination of reviews, news, features and interviews – a mix that has earned So So Gay an unexpected nomination for Publication of the Year from the LGB charity Stonewall. We hope you continue to enjoy our tender little offerings – and that you have a great October.

Andy Wasley
Editor-in-Chief 

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Terms and conditions | So So Gay magazine

By continuing to browse and use So So Gay, you are agreeing to comply with and be bound by the following terms and conditions of use, which together with our privacy policy govern So So Gay’s relationship with you in relation to this website. If you disagree with any part of these terms and conditions, please do not use our website.

The term ‘So So Gay’ or ‘us’ or ‘we’ refers to the owner of the website whose registered office is 87 Tower House, 81 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1GW. Our company registration number is 07268773, registered in England. The term ‘you’ refers to the user or viewer of our website.

The use of this website is subject to the following terms of use:

  • The content of the pages of this website is for your general information and use only. It is subject to change without notice.
  • Neither we nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, timeliness, performance, completeness or suitability of the information and materials found or offered on this website for any particular purpose. You acknowledge that such information and materials may contain inaccuracies or errors and we expressly exclude liability for any such inaccuracies or errors to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  • Your use of any information or materials on this website is entirely at your own risk, for which we shall not be liable. It shall be your own responsibility to ensure that any products, services or information available through this website meet your specific requirements.
  • This website contains material which is owned by or licensed to us. This material includes, but is not limited to, the design, layout, look, appearance and graphics. Reproduction is prohibited other than in accordance with the copyright notice, which forms part of these terms and conditions.
  • All trade marks reproduced in this website which are not the property of, or licensed to, the operator are acknowledged on the website.
  • Unauthorised use of this website may give rise to a claim for damages and/or be a criminal offence.
  • From time to time this website may also include links to other websites. These links are provided for your convenience to provide further information. They do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the linked website(s).
  • Comments posted on this website by users reflect the opinion of that user and not of So So Gay Ltd. Should you have concerns about the content of any comment, please use the ‘flag’ function to report them to a moderator.
  • Your use of this website and any dispute arising out of such use of the website is subject to the laws of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
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Privacy policy | So So Gay magazine

This privacy policy sets out how So So Gay Ltd uses and protects any information that you give So So Gay Ltd when you use this website.

So So Gay Ltd is committed to ensuring that your privacy is protected. Should we ask you to provide certain information by which you can be identified when using this website, then you can be assured that it will only be used in accordance with this privacy statement.

So So Gay Ltd may change this policy from time to time by updating this page. You should check this page from time to time to ensure that you are happy with any changes. This policy is effective from 7 April 2011.

We may collect the following information:

  • name and job title
  • contact information including email address
  • demographic information such as postcode, preferences and interests
  • other information relevant to customer surveys and/or offers

We require this information to understand your needs and provide you with a better service, and in particular for the following reasons:

  • Internal record keeping.
  • We may use the information to improve our products and services.
  • We may periodically send promotional emails about new products, special offers or other information which we think you may find interesting using the email address which you have provided.
  • From time to time, we may also use your information to contact you for market research purposes. We may contact you by email, phone, fax or mail. We may use the information to customise the website according to your interests.

We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

A cookie is a small file which asks permission to be placed on your computer’s hard drive. Once you agree, the file is added and the cookie helps analyse web traffic or lets you know when you visit a particular site. Cookies allow web applications to respond to you as an individual. The web application can tailor its operations to your needs, likes and dislikes by gathering and remembering information about your preferences.

We use traffic log cookies to identify which pages are being used. This helps us analyse data about webpage traffic and improve our website in order to tailor it to customer needs. We only use this information for statistical analysis purposes and then the data is removed from the system.

Overall, cookies help us provide you with a better website by enabling us to monitor which pages you find useful and which you do not. A cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us.

You can choose to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser setting to decline cookies if you prefer. This may prevent you from taking full advantage of the website.

Our website may contain links to other websites of interest. However, once you have used these links to leave our site, you should note that we do not have any control over that other website. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting such sites and such sites are not governed by this privacy statement. You should exercise caution and look at the privacy statement applicable to the website in question.

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used by anybody for direct marketing purposes
  • if you have previously agreed to us using your personal information for direct marketing purposes, you may change your mind at any time by writing to or emailing us at [email address]

We will not sell, distribute or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your permission or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you promotional information about third parties which we think you may find interesting if you tell us that you wish this to happen.

You may request details of personal information which we hold about you under the Data Protection Act 1998. A small fee will be payable. If you would like a copy of the information held on you please write to So So Gay Ltd, 87 Tower House, 81 Fieldgate Street, London E1 1GW.

If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to or email us as soon as possible at the above address. We will promptly correct any information found to be incorrect.

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Become a contributor | So So Gay magazine

So So Gay is always on the look out for fresh talent. We’re a diverse and vibrant team – if you feel you have what it takes to become part of it, fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you.

We ask that all contributors write at least three contributions per month, including one on our monthly theme.

Please complete as much of the form as you are able. A Twitter account or blog helps us get an idea of how you write but if you don’t have anything already online, please use the larger text box at the end to give us details of why you feel you should become part of the SSG team.

Our writers aren’t limited to contributing to just one topic on the site, but it would be useful if you could indicate which categories you would most like to publish articles to.

Please note we are unable to pay contributors at this stage.
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Meet the team | So So Gay magazine

So So Gay is produced by an extremely dedicated team of editors and contributors. Below is a list of everyone who is or has been involved in SSG, including links to all of their contributions. To contact any team member, please use the contact us page.

If you are interested in contributing to SSG, please submit an application.