The question time panel at the young peoples hate crime conference held at the maritime museum
Vintage Cat Fashion Show
Tonight we were back at the brave new world bar for a fashion show of vintage clothing. It looked great and we interviewed the designers and Jess spoke to Justyna about the festival and its influence on LGBT culture and politics. We went and had a really nice pizza and then to the lemon bar which was interesting. Everyone had a good time.
out and about in warsaw
This is a picture of a memorial for soldiers who have died in different wars. The flame in the middle is not allowed to go out and there are also two soldiers on guard either side of it side stood to attention.
Some spectacular views of amazing architecture and buildings of Warsaw from the thirtieth floor of the Palace of Culture. It was an amazing sight to see even though I was nearly blown away literary by the wind but a long way down!! This is andrew reporting for project triangle.
Day One in Poland
Breakfast in the Oki Doki hostel is between 8 and 10 and remarkably for the first day in Poland our 8 young people were raring to go by 11. We walked up to the Art Gallery to see a retrospective of the work of gender bending digital artist Katarzyna Kozyra. Andrew felt that she was a man hater. She did chop a couple up in her snow white film so he might have a point. Back at the Oki Dokey we played Jenga and drank beer. Later we went to the Brave New World bar to meet the Polish youth group and saw an amazing opera house music singer. After an evening tour of Warsaw on foot we went to a warehouse concert and Andrew met a lovely Polish boy called John. Much vodka, beer and tequila was drunk and Im told Sophie B fell off the bunk bed ladder in an attempt to spoon Jessie Mc Gee. News came this morning that Lou Muddle has been entered for the Ukranian disco dancing championship.
LGBT People and the Uniformed Forces
Here’s a short video showing some of the highlights from the debate about LGBT people and the uniformed forces from Wednesday night. It was very interesting to hear the experiences of the different services and how fortunate we are in the UK. Thanks to Zotie for the translation.
Today was lots of fun!! Airport went well all met on time, even Becky and Val got there before we HAD to check in
Sophie was brave and handled here 3rd EVER flight well with the help of KML complimentary beverages.
KML is a winner airline!
Made our connection in perfected timing aside from the fact we were all glowing (or in manlier terms Sweaty mess’) at the gate.
Lou Benson is ‘Boss’ looked after us brilliantly.
Had some beers, zubrovska( impossible to remember spelling but polish vodka), maccies, hobo dances and a great bonding session with the group.
Can only look forward to more exciting times to come
BRING ON POLAND!! Warsaw is massive too.
Time for the dance/electro opera. ..
Sian (on left in photo)
over and out x
Helen, the Polish police and the American embassy
Last night was the launch event of the equal right to love festival here in Warsaw. The first event was a debate about LGBT people in the uniformed forces and was held at the aptly named brave new world bar. Helen spoke about Merseyside police and their policies for LGBT people along side the us ambassador who spoke about the dont ask dont tell policy and the head of human rights for the polish police. The debate was in polish but I found that the more Lech i drank the more polish i was understanding.
We then went up the street to the launch of a new exhibition of very large oil paintings mainly of naked men.both events were very well attended and it was a very successful launch of the festival.
Tim will be posting some of the debate in the next day or so. today we are preparing for the arrival of the rest of the group tonight. The usually quiet oki dokey hostel is in for a shock. Bev
Today we are in Warsaw, bev tim, lou and helen are part of the advanced party of project triangles second visit to the Polish capital to see the “equal right to love youth festival”. The rest of the group arrive on thursday. Its cold, there’s a little bit of snow in the air and we have spent today drinking hot chocolate, eating and resting in the rather marvellous okie dokey hostel. tonight we take part in a debate around sexuality in the uniformed forces. Im not sure what my contribution will be having only ever been in the brownies. Really looking forward to seeing the rest of the group tomorrow night..keeping my fingers crossed they get make their flight connection on time. Bev x
The Tony Snell Show
An update from Bev
Last Saturday saw the liverpool youth service launch of the project at knotty ash Community centre..the full film was screened to 140 young people and their families. It was a james bond themed evening where all our participants were treated to a limousine and red carpet arrival..mocktail bar and food. Thank you to Cathi Wareing and her team for a fantastic event. They have been huge supporters of the project and have 100 of our packs for use across the city. We hope project triangle will be inputting to the Trident project with them very soon.Watch out for press this week on this event and on our support from Sir Ian McKellern.
Last week I presented the education pack to 15 PSHE teachers at a healthy schools event. Every one of which have asked us to go into their school with a pack and are keen to start using the lessons as soon as possible. Interestingly there were at least 6 faith schools amongst them and when asked if they thought there might be any specific issues regarding bringing the pack into their schools they were very clear that there would not., and they have been the first to get back and make appointments. Jess and I are going into liverpool schools from next week to give them all a free pack.We are able to provide them with a free pack thanks to Alison and the team at City safe who have provided additional funding to enable this.
Also Wirral Youth offenders service have approached us requesting use of the pack throughout their service and they would like to promote the pack throughout all Merseyside Youth Offender teams. Im meeting with them next week to discuss.
Also last month the fim was shown to the merseyside police authority and Jess and Emily went along accompanied by Tracy O to answer questions. They were very moved by the project and keen to support its continuation and im told they young people brought a tear to the chairs eye. Im hoping in a good way.
We are currently preparing for the NUT national conferance (easter weekend) where our film will be shown to all delegates and 4 of our young people will be holding a workshop for 50 teachers on the education pack. We are also developing inset training with our young people and NUT for teachers to deliver the pack nationally..and are in discussions with cathi and the her team regarding the setting up of a training social enterprise for delivery of the pack.
I have small amount of spare packs at the moment which I will get out to you all as soon as possible. Let me now if you could use some. Thanks to Stuart and Fire and Rescue service who have offered £2,000 which will help us significantly with our ongoing printing costs!
Finally some of you will know that Homotopia were invited to the LGBT history event at Downing Street last month, they are very interested in the project and have asked for a pack which we sent last week.
Thanks for all your support
Knotty Ash Black Tie Screening
Project Triangle Trailer
I made a short Trailer to promote the film and the anti-bullying educational resource pack that we’ve just finished. Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far the young people have travelled since this last year.
We’re pleased with the completed and have so far had a fantastic response from teachers. We are planning to officially launch the pack at the NUT conference in Liverpool in April.
Campaign Against Homophobia
Radio 4 article by Stephanie Power
Great Radio 4 piece by Stephanie Power looking at Homophobic hate crime in Liverpool (it’s about 25 mins in) http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00
It also features a brief interview with Jess from Project Triangle.
The First Screening
Ok – here’s the finished DVD for tonights screening. It’s been an
epic editing process – trying to make sure everyone is included
without central messages being watered down. It’s always about balance
and I hope I’ve got it right. It feels right, and I’m looking forward
to the screening although it’s always a nerve racking experience.
The next stage and I suppose the most important one is the development
of the educational and DVD. There’s a number of themes that have come
out of the film that we can look at more closely in the DVD. It’s
going to be an exciting process.
The Real Cabaret
Interesting BBC 4 Documentary about the real story behind the film Cabaret and what life was like in Berlin in the 1930’s before the Nazi’s got into power.
The Editing Process
Well – it always takes a lot longer than you think. For the last few
weeks since the trip I’ve been busy doing follow up interviews and
researching suitable music and archive images.
Structurally, I’ve broken the film down into 18 sections that I can
knit together once all complete. We managed to obtain some archive
footage filmed by the Russians at the liberation of Auschwitz – we
have the rights to use 30 seconds in the film.
Also have the rights to use a few seconds from a police recruitment
video from 1974 to help illustrate how far we’ve come in terms of
Still some work to do. We’ve also been researching relevant news
headlines to feature at the end.
Not long now though until the first screening so onwards and upwards!
Obama speaks at HRC last night: watch the video
the podium at HRC’s National Dinner to
talk directly to the LGBT community and
our many friends and allies.
Find out what Obama said – and be sure to share the news with your friends >>
Post Trip Interviews
After a short period without a camera, I’ve now been able to start some of the post trip interviews with members of the group. To be honest, I also wanted to leave a bit of space for everyone to be able to reflect on the experience.
This week I’ve spoken to Jess, Emily, Andrew, Jeanette and David. On Wednesday we had a group feedback session with lots of cake and pop. It’s been great to catch up with everyone again, finding out what they’ve been doing.
I’ve been working on the structure for the documentary film based on the footage we have the the various messages and themes we want to put across. With specialist advice from Paul Muddle, we started looking at some of the additional footage we need for the education pack. It’s all coming together.
The Reunion: Stonewall
Listened to todays Re-union program on the BBC covering – Section 28 and Stonewall. Listening now, some of the archive news recording is still shocking.
Listen: The Re-Union
International Police Officer of the Year 2009
I have listened to Colonel Miller from the Army police speak about her 35 years in the services, I listened to many distinguished people who use words such as “trailblazers in law enforcement” and “pioneers in the field of law enforcement” and although I don’t consider myself to be anything unique, it is mega to be here and share people’s stories… I took part in the parade yesterday, joining policewomen from as far afield as South Africa, trinidad and tobago, Holland and even the Mounties… what an honour, 85 degrees heat, marching with my UK colleagues to the town hall… check out www.iawp.org and i shall update on wednesday when i receive my award which will be 1200 local time here which is 8pm uk time… hope my photo’s have made the blog..
Anyway, from International police officer of the year… bye bye… missing you all… see you in October xxxx Tracy.
Jamaica – A grim place to be gay
This article by Peter Tatchell was published in the Independent on 12th September while we were in Poland.
In the wake of the murder of the British honorary consul in Jamaica, in an apparent queer-bashing attack, is it time to make British and EU aid to Jamaica contingent on the Caribbean island’s repeal of its anti-gay laws and its tougher action against homophobic violence?
We’d been trying to take a group photo all week and finally managed on the last day, just before we got taxi’s to the airport. Nice one too.
It’s almost over and I’ve only been in trouble with the police twice. Not the four British police officers who have accompanied us but the polish police. Once for passport fraud and once for ticket evasion. It’s been a very long journey not just here in krakow and Warsaw but for the last two years preparing the exchange. If I ever wonder has it been worth it. The response of the young people make it overwhelmingly worthwhile. Inspirational! I am a very happy homotopian x
Day five krakow
Each day has brought it’s own intrigue. I have heard some truly
wonderful experiences and each interaction has taught me something. I
am a better person for this project and hopefully I will be a better
police officer. Thankyou to all happy homotopians. Tracy
Last full day in Poland:
Wow! What a trip this has been! Iv have learnt so much, not just about
life as an lgbt person in Poland, but just about life in general! I’ve
loved it, and I am so greatful for this opportunity… I think this
have changed my perseption on life : ) smasher!
Hey there, Miki here this trip has been incredible. I have learnt
so much, like what it’s like to be an lgbt person in Poland, life in
general and about WW2. I still can’t get over the fact that I was
given this opportunity to experience a different culture, a different
life. I have met some delightful people along my journey, people I
know I will be friends with for the rest of my life. This jorney has
been one that I will never forget. I will tell my Grandkids about this
trip and the people I have met. YAY ME!! Over.
I love Poland! This trip has introduced me to some bizarre and
wonderful experiences, having met the most amazing people aswell the
trip has been unforgettable! [nipples] jess x
Today interviewed Marta Abramowicz who is the president of the KPH
Group (Campaign Against Homophobia).
In 2003 they took their first big action with a campaign ‘Let them see
us’. This was big billboard posters of LGBT people holding hands. It
kick started a national discussion about the place of LGBT people in
This was the first time gay people were shown to be just like everyone
else, which was new to Poland. The general opinion before this was
that gay people should do what they do in secret.
This new visiabilty also saw an increase in homophobia. There was a
strong movement against the campaign from the far right. The leader
of this movement was also the minister for education. A new law was
introduced banning homosexuals from teaching in schools.
In the future she would like to see all LGBT people happy in Poland.
She would like to see partnership laws brought in as well strong
protection against discrimination.
Visit to embassy
If you want to ask directions ask the police except when in Poland.
Why you might ask? Because we started our visit to the embassy at the
embassy that was closed! We then went to the embassy that was
open to find a very nice guy called Kristof and his photographer
friend (I will come back to her later). There were a couple of senior
cops and two very nice people from KPH, Thomas and Marta.
We had a very short discussion until I realised I had forgotten my USB stick
with our presentation on. Luckily the wonderful Lou came to the rescue
and volunteered to go back to the hotel to collect it .
Karen kept the conversation going by asking questions our hosts
couldn’t answer! That told us alot about our hosts and how much they
had ventured into the world of diversity (not very far at all really).
anyway there we were willing to help them on their way when the
wonderful lou arrived with said stick.
Our new friend the photographer took photos of us talking,
laughing, talking, more laughing, Tim filmed us. We showed them some photos
of our superlamb bananas, more talking
more laughing (are you getting the picture (tee hee).
Anyway we told them our stuff. We introduced them to Ken Dodd, ferry
across the Mersey, some of our iconic buildings and oh by the way
homophobia! This is the bit where it got tricky for them. We told them all
our stuff, offered to help them with their stuff, told them a bit moré
about our stuff, offered more help, more stuff, then kinda gave in.
We gave them lots of literature about GLBT stuff to support them more
I think they appreciated it but it was hard to tell really. Maybe they were so
overwhelmed with our journey they just couldn’t say!
We gave our embassy man a lovely plaque from Merseyside police and
homotpia and then more photos.
We just have to wait and see now!
Ta ta for now jeannette
Police in Warsaw
Police officers outside polonia hotel after their visit to the British
embassy. Looking smart and having shared our journey with LGBT matters
and our journey into the world of equality and diversity. All
character building and all very interesting. We should be very proud
of our work and our great experiences that we continue to have around
this area. I appreciate my world even more after today. Tracy
Travelled to Warsaw today with our Merseyside Police Representatives. Chief Inspector Jeanette Wrigley joined us yesterday. Our aim today is to talk to the Polish Police at the British Embassy, demonstrating some of the work Merseyside Police have been doing to tackle homophobic hate crime. The young people are still in Krakow with the Youth Workers and join us tomorrow.
Thoughts from Auschwitz
Some of the young people’s thoughts during today’s visit. Photos by Bev. (10th Sep, 2009)
When we went to the bookshop at Birkenau we asked if there were any accounts of homosexual victims of the Holocaust. The assistant said no. Then we saw a book called Forgotten Victims of the Holocaust. I looked up homosexual in the index and found only one reference in nearly 400 pages, which was only a list of the different triangles people in the camps wore. How much more forgotten could they be when the Auschwitz museum does not record the experiences of thousands of those who suffered in the holocaust? Kieran
Even on my third visit the impact of the camps can not be put into
The enormity of this really does hit you when you are faced with this
image. Truly chilling. Tracy
Visit to Auschwitz
Today we visited Auschwitz – I don’t think anything can really prepare
you for this. For me, just the reality of the scale of it and the
ultimate lack of humanity really hits you. Time will be needed to
On the filming side – tricky shoot -only filming where appropriate and
not really have the time to stop and film specific things. We’re using
the Edirol audio recorders to capture the young peoples thoughts –
Beautiful day as well. Only incident on flight was one of the toilet
seats got broken – the police have nothing to go on. (Tracy’s joke).
Everyone’s excited and looking forward to finding our way around.
Boarding the plane
Taken longer than we thought to board. A lost boarding pass and a
couple of misplaced bags – all sorted now. We’re on out way!
Initial Interviews – Jess
Jess lives in Huyton, she moved there last year from Kirkby. It’s not too bad as long as no one knows you’re gay – if you keep your head down it’s fine.
She really doesn’t know what to expect from the trip – the workshops have taught her that it’s going to be very different – a bit of a culture shock. She got involved because she wants to learn more about the holocaust – it wasn’t really taught in school.
Jess goes to university soon to study film and video production and has ambitions to be a director. Some examples of her work can be seen here
Initial Interviews – David
David is from West Derby. We met up at FACT where he likes to hang out as it’s a calm place with good films thrown in.
He’s found growing up as a young LGBT person in Merseyside has been OK as he’s been blessed with supportive friends who don’t care about his preferences. From the trip, he’s looking forward to gaining a better understanding of what happened during the Holocaust. In general he believes that life for LGBT people in Poland will be worse than it is over here as it’s something that people in Poland frown upon. He’d like to have the opportunity to ask Polish Polititions their thoughts on the whole gender issue.
Initial Interviews – Kieran
Kieran is one of the co-ordinators at GYRO (Gay Youth Are Out), one of the longest running gay youth projects in Livepool.
For them, this is a really different departure, bringing together 4 different youth groups from Merseyside that have never worked together before. It’s a great opportunity for the young people to be able to compare their experiences with people from another country.
One of the issues GYRO comes up with is that young people don’t have an awareness of LGBT history as it’s not taught in school. Some of them don’t know that the age of consent was ever different or that male homosexuality was ever criminalised in this country.
He says ‘I don’t know quite what to expect in Poland, but from what I’ve read and what I’ve been told, the government is quiet conservative and homophobic. It’s going to be exciting and challenging but supporting the young people through their questions will be quite rewarding’.
More from The Fire Workshop
Natalie Hayes from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service explained to us the benefits people get from attending the fire fighting workshop. These include increased confidence, team building and communication skills.
Good communication is one of the main requirements a Fire Fighter needs, so the training starts and then builds from there.
It was obvious everyone really got a lot out of the day – It looked like great fun and it brought everyone together. Natalie thought our group had done really well. They’d motivated and supported each other and worked well as a team. Infact, she thought some of them were naturals and could potentially be Fire Fighters of the future – she’d be very happy to provide a reference.
Fire fighting workshop
Attended a team building workshop with the young people and the fire
service today. Lots of hose pipes and foam.
Initial Interviews – Jade
Jade lives in Widnes, where she says there’s not much to do and not many places to go. Parts of it are safe, parts of it are rough, just like anywhere. She likes being with friends, enjoys art, drama and english and is about to start college. Ultimately she would like to go to university and study to be a drama teacher. Her perceptions of Poland are that life and lack of freedoms will be worse than over here.
Initial Interviews – Jenny
Jenny lives in Runcorn where she says there is nothing really to do, although she enjoys playing the drums and horse riding as well as hanging around with her friends.
Runcorn is pretty safe, but it depends on who you know. If you hold your girlfriends hand in Murdershaw you’re liable to get a bit of abuse. You’ll be alright if you’re in the closet. She thinks there were only a couple of people who were out at school due to the fact that there wasn’t any lessons on hate crime or sexuality to provide information and advice.
Jenny’s Grandad is from Poland – infact he was one of the liberators from some of the concentration camps, so she’s really interested in learning more about the histrocial side as part of the trip.
Initial Interviews – Tracy O’Hara
On Saturday, I managed to talk to Tracy at Manchester Pride – she’s really looking forward to going on the trip. It’s a unique opportunity for Merseyside Police to gain an insight into the young people’s thoughts, hopes and perceptions around policing in the 21st century, hate crime, as well as remembering the people who suffered in the atrocities of the Holocaust.
It’s a chance to show them some of the good work that Merseyside Police do in enaging with young people and examine how other European countries do this. She says there’s still a way to go, but it’s great to have the chance to look back and see just how far we’ve actually travelled.
The Police from across the region turned out in force today to support Manchester Pride and I was lucky enough to be be to film them at the march. It was an amazing turnout and they received a great reception from the crowd. Good dancing too.
Warsaw Gay Pride – Press Conference
Initial Interviews – Andrew
Andrew works at the Anglican Catherdral at the Cross Guild, which is a similar role to the Catholic Churchs alter boy. He’s been there for 14 years and absolutely loves it. Nobody is derogatory or discriminatory against anyone – everyone is just welcome.
He’s really looking forward to meeting the LGBT groups in Poland and is expecting Poland to be a safer place now that is is part of the EU.
In the future, he’d like to see both hetrosexual and homosexual safe sex brought into mainstream education, as he feels young people of today aren’t being educated enough on these issues.
Initial Interviews – Tim
I caught up with Tim at FACT where he likes to go see films and access the free wifi.
No two people on the planet are the same, and from an early age you see people from all genes being friendly to one and other but grow up to be less tolerant. Is it nature or nurture of which makes us grow up this way and what is the best way to prevent it?”
Polish Gay man wins damages
Workshop about The Holocaust
Attended a second part of a workshop about The Holocaust last night.
We all talked about how we might feel after visiting Auschwitz as well
as learning more about the scale of the atrocity as well as the
A Pansy for Michael Causer
In May, the Pansy Project when to the home of murdered teenager, Michael Causer. Sam Meech took this footage. There is some interesting discussions from everyone, including the police, about homophobia and hate crime.
Initial Interviews – Emily
Coming Out in Poland – Part 2
Coming Out in Poland – Part 1
Part 1 of a great documentary about coming out in Poland.
Anti-gay attacks in Iraq
I heard this shocking news story on the radio this morning. It really hit home, particularly as we’ve been looking into the historical persecution of LGB & T people as preparation for this trip.