Thursday, December 2, 2010

UK Gay Activist Tris Reid-Smith Speaks OUT

In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Tris Reid-Smith Editor-in-Chief of the Pink Paper and the Gay Times in London, UK. Pink Paper was established in 1987 and remains the only national newspaper for the LGBT community in the UK. In 2009 Pink Paper became strictly an online format. Gay Times and Diva are fabulous glossy magazines serving our gay and lesbian communities that are available worldwide. We talked to Tris about our LGBT community’s rights and protections in the UK and America.

In the United Kingdom there are complete protections for our LGBT community in the workplace, unless you are a priest. This is similar to what the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (ENDA) would provide our LGBT community in America if it ever gets out of committee. In the UK the new Equality Act covers shops, services, hotels and public services like hospitals and schools; all must avoid discrimination. Civil partnerships were passed in 2005 and provide 99% of the same rights and protections as heterosexual marriages. The one percent appears to be the use of the word “marriage” which is currently under consideration. Gays and lesbians have been openly serving in the military since 2000.

When asked his thoughts about our “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” military policy Reid-Smith stated, “I can’t believe how hard it is in the US to get something done. I can’t believe that the Obama Administration which says that they want to get rid of the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy which was an election promise, as I recall; I can’t believe that they’re still fighting it. So first of all I’m stunned by what’s happening in the US. I’m as disappointed as I am surprised. Secondly, I think you certainly will get there because you only have to look at Iraq and Afghanistan where US and UK troops are basically doing the same job. There are more of you guys than there are of us but you’re doing the same job in the same conditions and serving along side each other and if it works for us there’s no way any military chief in the US can put his hand on his heart and genuinely say it’s not possible because it is. Now in the UK the military are very proud of its record and you can go to a gay event and our (gay & lesbian) military will march in uniform in the beginning of pride events around the country. I’ve been to events at Downing Street at the Prime Minister’s house and being amongst a room full of gay people including senior officers from the navy, the army, the air force in uniform and openly gay. So it is incredible and it can be solved in the US. But, I am baffled at a time when you would have thought we need to retain as many troops as possible that the Obama administration is prevaricating about this quite so badly and letting the troops that do such a good job for you guys, letting them down.”

Tris Reid-Smith has been the Editor of Pink Paper since 2001. In 2009 he was made Editor-in-Chief of Gay Times and He is Consulting Editor of DIVA, AXM, Puffta and Co-Executive Producer of PinkSixty their new TV daily news series.
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