News 2006

 

News - 4 July 2006


Towns Women's Guild Flixton

April 6 2006. Inga gave a talk to members of Flixton Towns Women's Guild about the work of Manchester Parents Group and FFLAG, and the issues parents and families face when a child "comes out" as gay.

The meeting concluded with a question and answer session which generated some lively discussion and which could have continued much longer if we had not had to vacate the premises at 4pm!!

National Women's Register (NWR) Conference

April 21-23.  The above National Conference "Making a Difference" was held at Manchester University and was attended by approx 300 delegates from NWR groups throughout the UK

Inga Rhodes gave a presentation entitled "Family Outing" She spoke about her feelings when her son "came out " as gay to her twenty five years ago at the age of 16, and her consequent work for Manchester Parents Group helping other parents of gay children on their own personal journey of understanding and acceptance

Other speakers were:

Colin Parry OBE who suffered the death of a son in the IRA bombing in Warrington and who spoke about "Good from Evil" Colin set up the world renowned Peace Centre in Warrington and he now works tirelessly for peace.

Maurice Stewart a black man brought up in Moss Side Manchester who has worked with disadvantaged young people aged twelve to twenty one for 30 years His presentation was a race awareness story "The Cuckoos Nest"

Professor Dian Donnai CBE Professor of Medical Genetics at Manchester University whose research includes mechanisms underlying birth defect syndromes gave a presentation entitled "Genes-you can't afford to ignore it"

Penny Dean who shared her life experiences of being born a dwarf-"Small in a Tall World", and coping with marriage, having children and societies attitude to difference.

There were also "on site" workshops ranging from  belly dancing, clog dancing to  book discussion, poetry, origami etc etc and "off site" workshops"-visits to places of interest in Manchester eg The Lowry and Salford Quays, Manchester Art gallery, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry etc etc

It was an impressive, inspiring and thought provoking weekend  if somewhat exhausting!

Civil Partnership Seminar

April 27. Christine and Inga attended a Civil Partnership Seminar at Manchester Business School which was attended by research students from Universities from throughout the UK and  members of interested organisations.

Professor Carole Smart and Dr Brian Heaphy of The Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life Manchester University reported on their recent research "Gay and Lesbian marriage; an exploration of the meanings and significance of legitimating same sex relationships"

This was followed by questions and discussion.

The National anti Bullying Alliance

May 2006. The "Addressing  Homophobic Bullying" sub group of the "Bury Metropolitan Tackling Hate Crime Working Party gave a presentation at the recent NW regional meeting in Bury of the "National Anti Bullying Alliance"

The presentation included a brief description of the work of MPG and FFLAG  and our collaboration with Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland in the "Education for All" initiative and also our work to tackle homophobic bullying wherever it occurs.

Delegates were very interested in the display of FFLAG and MPG materials and information. Booklets, hand outs etc were gathered together and were removed by individuals at an alarming rate! Very rewarding! 

Tribute to Joyce Layland

This is a tribute to Joyce Layland who sadly  passed away on 3rd May 2006.

 Joyce was one of the founders of the Manchester Parents Group and worked hard to establish and maintain links with the LGB community in Manchester for many years. Joyce helped countless parents over the years and campaigned tireless for equality. Our condolences go to her family and friends.

I first met Joyce in February 1988, at a protest march in Manchester against the much despised Section 28 which the Conservative Government was then passing through Parliament.

What stands out about that march was the moment when we passed the group of parents carrying placards of support and the extraordinary reaction of the people marching near us. They clapped, cheered and ran from the march to hug and kiss the stalwart band of mums and a dad. I little knew at the time that these people would become my dear colleagues and friends. Joyce was one of this group but her image was further etched on my mind when, later that same afternoon, she spoke from the rostrum to the rally in Albert square.

I was recently talking to Brenda Oakes about this moment and she reminded me of what Joyce said, it was: “I am the proud mother of my gay son” The whole square had erupted with the cheers and applause of 20,000 people. In fact Brenda told me that at the time Joyce had felt angry that a normal comment from a parent should have had such an effect. It demonstrated the loneliness and fear of parental rejection that many gay, lesbian and bisexual people had.

So Joyce, as a member of the inspirational Manchester Parents Group was already immersed in working against the inequality suffered by lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Joyce and Cath Hall organised the first Manchester Parents Group seminars for the several parent support groups around the country, and it was at one of these in 1989 when we first discussed the topic of an “umbrella organisation” for these groups.

In January 1990 Joyce came up with the name “Family Pride” for our new “umbrella organisation” A steering committee was formed which set to work on the aims and formal structure in many meetings around the country. Joyce was the co-ordinator of Family Pride which metamorphosed into FFLAG in September 1991. Joyce stayed at the helm until October 1992. She was impatient as was I with some of the steering committee who thought her views were just too grandiose and her wishes for the launch of FFLAG and a video were really rather wild dreams. Of course Joyce was absolutely right and FFLAG has done so much more than Joyce had planned. Ill health forced her to pass on the baton to Brenda Oakes who carried it on with similar brilliance.

Joyce was warm, brave, clever and politically sophisticated. She made a great contribution to the movement for equality for lesbian gay and bisexual people and her inspired leadership of FFLAG’s beginning is remembered with love and gratitude.

Frances Nicol ( FFLAG Trustee)

 

News - 21 May 2006


Towns Women's Guild Flixton

April 6. Inga gave a talk to members of Flixton Towns Womens Guild about the work of Manchester Parents Group and FFLAG, and the issues parents and families face when a child "comes out" as gay.

The meeting concluded with a question and answer session which generated some lively discussion and which could have continued much longer if we had not had to vacate the premises at 4pm!!

National Women's Register (NWR) Conference

April 21-23 The above National Conference "Making a Difference" was held at Manchester University and was attended by approx 300 delegates from NWR groups throughout the UK

Inga Rhodes gave a presentation entitled "Family Outing" She spoke about her feelings when her son "came out " as gay to her twenty five years ago at the age of 16, and her consequent work for Manchester Parents Group helping other parents of gay children on their own personal journey of understanding and acceptance

Other speakers were:

Colin Parry OBE who suffered the death of a son in the IRA bombing in Warrington and who spoke about "Good from Evil" Colin set up the world renowned Peace Centre in Warrington and he now works tirelessly for peace.

Maurice Stewart a black man brought up in Moss Side Manchester who has worked with disadvantaged young people aged twelve to twenty one for 30 years His presentation was a race awareness story "The Cuckoos Nest"

Professor Dian Donnai CBE Professor of Medical Genetics at Manchester University whose research includes mechanisms underlying birth defect syndromes gave a presentation entitled "Genes-you can't afford to ignore it"

Penny Dean who shared her life experiences of being born a dwarf-"Small in a Tall World", and coping with marriage, having children and societies attitude to difference.

There were also "on site" workshops ranging from belly dancing, clog dancing to book discussion, poetry, origami etc etc and "off site" workshops"-visits to places of interest in Manchester eg The Lowry and Salford Quays, Manchester Art gallery, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry etc etc

It was an impressive, inspiring and thought provoking weekend if somewhat exhausting!

Civil Partnership Seminar

April 27. Christine and Inga attended a Civil Partnership Seminar at Manchester Business School which was attended by research students from Universities from throughout the UK and members of interested organisations.

Professor Carole Smart and Dr Brian Heaphy of The Morgan Centre for the Study of Relationships and Personal Life Manchester University reported on their recent research "Gay and Lesbian marriage; an exploration of the meanings and significance of legitimating same sex relationships"

This was followed by questions and discussion.

The National anti Bullying Alliance

May 2006. The "Addressing Homophobic Bullying" sub group of the "Bury Metropolitan Tackling Hate Crime Working Party gave a presentation at the recent NW regional meeting in Bury of the "National Anti Bullying Alliance"

The presentation included a brief description of the work of MPG and FFLAG and our collaboration with Stonewall and LGBT Youth Scotland in the "Education for All" initiative and also our work to tackle homophobic bullying wherever it occurs.

Delegates were very interested in the display of FFLAG and MPG materials and information. Booklets, hand outs etc were gathered together and were removed by individuals at an alarming rate! Very rewarding!

 

News - 16 April 2006


Homophobic bullying training session with peer support mentoring group

March 8 2006. The Tackling Homophobic Bullying sub group of Bury's Hate Crime Working Party held a very successful training session, on homophobic bullying, with the Peer Support Mentoring Group at Parrenthorn High School, Prestwich.

About twenty students attended. They were interested and insightful commenting very favourably afterwards on how much they had learned from the session.

This is the first event of its kind in a Bury Metro school. Hopefully it will not be the last.

Help My Child is Gay

February 7 2006. Christine gave a talk to the Heaton Deanery Synod at St Elisabeth's, Reddish entitled, "Help my Child is Gay" This described the work of  Manchester Parents Group and FFLAG in some detail, and was well received. There was time afterwards for questions and comments

People were very interested in the display of information about MPG and FFLAG There was information also about the projects which FFLAG is involved with eg-homophobic bullying, ethnic minority groups, Education For All.

Following the above, and because the Revd Canon Philip Groves has been recently appointed facilitator for the "Listening Process" across the Anglican Communion (ie "listening" to the experiences of Lesbian and gay people within the  Church of England) a copy of the above has been forwarded to him , to the Revd Stuart Millington, Area Dean of Bury and to each member of the House of Bishops-forty four in all!

Radio 4 Interview

February 16. Christine from Manchester Parents Group and Marie from Birmingham Parents Group were interview on Radio 4 Women's Hour about how their son's "came out" to them, how they felt then and how they feel now.

Thanks to the programme, which included interviews with Gay people, listeners should now have deeper understanding of what can be the real difficulties for Gay children and their parents in the "coming out" process.

The programme provided a wonderful opportunity also to highlight the work of FFLAG, the Parent Support groups and the dedicated input of our many volunteers.

 

News - 22 February 2006


Manchester Parents Group goes Skype

You can now speak to us directly using Skype to get instant help and support. Details are on the Contact Us page.

Raising Achievement: Tackling Homophobia

January 19th 2006. Jane represented FFLAG and Manchester Parents Group by presenting the parents’ perspective at a conference held jointly by Stockport Council and the Primary Care Trust. She was also involved in the organisation of the conference.  Mark Jennett was the key speaker and also the key adviser on the programme content.

It was aimed primarily at the PSHE teachers in all schools in the Stockport borough and most of the 120 people who attended were from Primary schools.

Jane had to follow two very emotional presentations – firstly some local case studies from young people and, secondly, a middle aged PSHE & Citizenship teacher who is gay, Liverpudlian and Jewish who was a lawyer before he started teaching a year ago in an East Manchester school (where 37 different languages are spoken and only one pupil has ever gone on to university!). He came out to the whole school within a few months and has never had cause to regret it. He encountered more prejudice from his middle class, Tory colleagues in his previous career!

The young people were the stars of the day as they spoke with great confidence about their experiences and how they are trying to help others through peer support groups at school and at the Stockport young people’s project. They joined in the workshops looking at attitudes and developing effective policies, as well as practical work around addressing homophobia and supporting young people. Most of them have experienced homophobia at school but have learnt to ‘deal with it’ and, in most cases, have improved things for their young peers.

As one of the workshop facilitators, Jane observed the effect that some of the young people had on some of the more experienced teachers and  was pleased that she'd been able to ‘introduce’ her daughter, Jess, as a 6 year old, to everyone in her presentation – she’s the cheeky looking schoolgirl in the FFLAG presentation portfolio. In his presentation, Mark Jennett told the delegates that most schools, especially Primary, would declare that they have no LGB pupils. When that photo was taken, neither Jess nor her Mum knew that she was gay so how could the school know?

The lunchtime break was very busy as she spoke to people collecting FFLAG booklets and mail order forms. A number of people were also attracted by the new display stand acquired by Manchester Parents Group - it’s big, it’s attractive, and it sends out a powerful message – and there were two family members who were interested in our monthly meetings.

All in all, it was an emotional and tiring, but very rewarding and worthwhile way to spend a day off from work!

 

News - 22 January 2006


Changing Attitude

November 2005. Changing Attitude of which Christine is a member, is an organisation which works towards the full acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people within the Anglican Communion.

Recently C.A (Changing Attitude) invited the Right Rev Gene Robinson, Bishop of New Hampshire in the Episcopal Church USA to it's tenth  anniversary celebrations in the UK.

Invited by CA northwest, Christine gave a talk to that group entitled- "Help My Child is Gay" This was advertised in Crux, the monthly Manchester diocesan magazine, which has a readership of about fifty thousand, along with a brief but quite detailed mention of MPG and FFLAG

The talk, the display of MPG and FFLAG materials, along with information about our work to tackle homophobic bullying were well received and led to a very interesting discussion and exchange of ideas afterwards.

Anti Bullying Week

November 21-25 2005 was National Anti Bullying Week.

It opened in Bury, with a conference, at the Teachers Training and Development Centre entitled "Children and Young Peoples Participation in tackling Bullying"

Amongst speakers representing the Local Authority, the Anti Alliance Bullying Alliance and Child Protection  were young people from two of the Borough's secondary schools. Some were actual victims of bullying, others reformed bullies and peer group.
mentors.

Howard Lawrenson from the Bolton Homophobic Bullying Forum facilitated three workshops each based on the teaching resource and video "Living It" Thirty six of the sixty or so delegates  to the conference attended.

Christine & Dave represented Manchester Parents Group They took along MPG's display board and a selection of MPG and FFLAG's material, in which there was a great deal of interest. Being present at each of Howard's workshops they were able to take part ion the discussion which formed a valuable part of Howard's presentations.

Christmas Party

December5th 2005 We had our Christmas party  at Taurus. It was great for families and friends to get together and socialise, and we were especially pleased to see so many young people. We enjoyed a  buffet  and we  were able to get drinks from the bar. The raffle was a great success, although some people seemed to win more than their fair share of prizes!! It was a great ending to a successful year.