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.


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.


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.


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.’


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


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Privacy policy | So So Gay magazine

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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.

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.