As the Church prepares to elect a new Archbishop of Canterbury, the Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams is the front-runner.
Williams from the traditionalist Anglo-Catholic branch of the church, is an ‘Affirming Catholic’ – one who is strongly in favour of women priests (and wants to make them bishops) and who is seen as strongly supportive of an open attitude towards homosexuals, both within the priesthood and the laity.
‘If we are looking for a sexual ethic that can be seriously informed by our Bible, there is a good deal to steer us away from assuming that reproductive sex is a norm, however important and theologically significant it may be,’ he told a conference of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement in 1989.
These views brought him into direct conflict with the current Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, who had gone to great lengths not to recruit, train, appoint or promote homosexuals who profess to be in a same-sex relationship.
Williams does become Archbishop of Canterbury, the first appointment in modern times to come from outside the bishoprics of the Church of England.
Source: The Observer, 20 January 2002; The Guardian, 20 June 2002
Wales’ gay club, Club X, on Charles Street, Cardiff, renews its flirtation with the funkier side of house on May 17, with electrofunkateers K-Klass and delectable double act, The Superstarz. The club is also expanding its ring of punters to include straight clubbers in addition to its current gay clientele with a new hard house night, Generic, on the first Friday of each month, again open til 6am.
Source: Barry & District News, 10 May 2002
Alison Lewis wept in court as she told of her love for Mandy Power who, along with her disabled mother and two daughters were allegedly “massacred” by Lewis’ brother-in-law builder David Morris (39) of Craig-cefn-parc, Swansea.
Lewis (35) told how she represented Wales and Great Britain at karate before turning to the “lesbian” world of women’s rugby. She began playing on the wing for Ystradgynlais and was soon selected for the full Welsh side and the first of her seven caps at international level. She told Swansea Crown Court the majority of the Ystradgynlais players were lesbians. “I became aware of it almost immediately. It was not a secret,” she said. “I had had crushes on women. I never chose to be gay. It was something that was there.” Her first lesbian experience was with Tracey Hillyer during a rugby sevens tour to Aberystwyth in 1996.
The story, the biggest homicide investigation in Welsh history, is covered extensively in the press and in 2022 a documentary is made Murder In The Valleys questioning the conviction of Morris.
Source: Barry & District News, 10 May 2002
Gays flout God’s laws, says head
A headmaster faced calls for his suspension yesterday after telling pupils at morning assembly that homosexuals, divorcees and unmarried mothers were “flouting God’s laws”. Bill Beales, of Cwmcarn High School, near Caerphilly, South Wales, said that in the current climate of political correctness people who broke the rules for “right living” escaped criticism. “Through the thin veneer of political correctness, the fundamental precepts, beliefs and value system of the Christian faith are being eroded by spin doctors and politicians,” he said. “They are keener on gaining votes than standing firm on the principles of right and wrong.
Caerphilly council leader Lindsay Whittle criticised the speech given at the 820-pupil school as “entirely inappropriate”. He said that Mr Beales should be suspended pending a full investigation. “How many pupils left the assembly feeling worthless because their parents are divorced, because they live with a single parent or may be homosexual?” he said. “When children from certain backgrounds are singled out in this way there is a danger bullying could be encouraged.” Mr Whittle said he had written to the school’s board of governors suggesting that Mr Beales be suspended. Local authorities can advise about suspensions but the final decision lies with the governors.
Denver Preece, the board’s chairman, said that Mr Beale had “100 per cent support from the governors”. He added: “I am making no other comment, none whatsoever, until I next speak to my governors.”
Geraint Davies, of the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, said: “We have to teach our children that no one in society should be discriminated against because of their background.”
Mr Beales said yesterday that his speech, entitled “Paradoxical Freedom”, was not about attacking individuals. He wanted to highlight the unfair accusations of “bigotry and discrimination” faced by Christians who defended the principles of their religion.
Monmouthshire AM David Davies supported the head, claiming Mr Beales shouldn’t be sacked but promoted. Mr Davies believes the erosion of Christian standards is leading to a breakdown of society.
There followed extensive coverage in the press over the right to speak for Christians.
Source: The Telegraph, 4 June 2002; Barry & District News, 5 June 2002
In Llanelli, Debbie Rees, chairwoman of the Wales TUC’s gay and lesbian steering committee, launches a campaign for the town’s register office to start offering civil “partnership services”. Carmarthenshire County Council says it will consider the idea.
Source: Spousal Collection – Part 2, News clippings on spousal rights, Jan. 2000-Dec. 2004
Prisoners in our own home
A Barry gay couple claimed they had become victims of a series of vicious hate attacks by local youths.
Colcot residents Annette and Angela Gauder, who changed their name by deed poll, said they were living like prisoners after stink bombs, water balloons, feces, and even bricks have been thrown at their home.
Source: Barry & District News, 22 August 2002
Drug addict in murder attempt
A drug addict who tried to murder a man who he claimed made homosexual advances towards him was jailed for 14 years. Cardiff crown court heard Shane Thompson, 25, stabbed Martin Lewis, 40, with a glass decanter 23 times before setting fire to his house to cover his tracks. His barrister said, “He responded forcefully to an unexpected homosexual advance from a larger, older, seriously drunk man.” The prosecution claimed there was no evidence of the advances.
Source: Barry & District News, 5 September 2002
Tony Dyson (73) a shy, private English lecturer who became an unlikely campaigner for homosexual law reform died on 30 July 2002.
In 1958, as a 29-year-old English lecturer at the University College of Wales, at Bangor, he persuaded some of the great liberal voices of the day to sign a letter to the Times, calling for the implementation of the Wolfenden report recommendation that homosexual acts in private should no longer be a criminal offence. He also had the courage to write to hundreds of MPs, despite the attention it would draw to himself, which could have led to police interest.
Later he met Welshman Cliff Tucker, a senior BP executive and inner London Labour councillor. They lived together for 35 years until Tucker’s death.
Source: The Guardian, 10 September 2002
Gay priest gives up licence
A gay Gwent priest who adopted a teenage boy with his partner has not officiated at services for “several years”, a Church in Wales spokesman said today. The couple, who live in the Monmouth diocese are understood to have been together for 22 years. They adopted the 15-year-old boy, who has severe emotional and learning difficulties, two weeks ago, after caring for him for ten years. The gay priest is now employed in non-Church-related work, the diocese said today.
This was another story covered extensively in the press.
Source: Barry & District News, 28 October 2002
The first gay and lesbian civil unions in Wales will take place in Swansea, following a 49-4 (1 abst) vote by the city council who hope the seaside location will make it a popular “gay honeymoon” spot; the city clerk says the seafront registry office is ideally suited for mixing a holiday with a commitment ceremony.
Source: Spousal Collection – Part 2, News clippings on spousal rights, Jan. 2000-Dec. 2004
Welsh Boys Too receives literary award
John Sam Jones’ Welsh Boys Too was named a ‘Stonewall Honor Book’ by the Stonewall Book Awards. It is a collection of eight fictional stories inspired by the lives of gay men living in Wales. Jones also gave evidence to the Welsh Affairs – First Report, detailing his experiences of working with young LGBTQ+ people.
Stonewall Cymru publishes Counted out: findings from the 2002-3 Stonewall Cymru survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Wales
The feminist seventies (Raw Nerve Books, 2003) by Helen Graham, about the 1970s and the relevance of the Women’s Liberation Movement to contemporary feminism, claimed, ‘For lesbians in Wales is seems to have been a slow process to become visible and confident as a group. While lesbians in major English cities could find networks for themselves, the small size and relative isolation of Welsh groups made this very difficult.’
Gay partners rush to register at town halls
“More and more gay couples are taking advantage of the new legal right to register their relationships.
Registration ceremonies are already being organised by local councils in Swansea, London, Leeds, Bourne-mouth, Manchester, Liverpool, Brighton and Hove, Bath, Devon and Somerset – and they are about to start in Caerphilly, South Wales … They do not yet incorporate any legal rights for the couple, although they encourage equality among employers, housing authorities, immigration officials and others who wield power.”
Source: The Observer, 9 February 2003
And still they f**k you up
What happens if a student’s parents refuse to make any contribution to tuition fees and living costs? In October 2000, Stuart Jones (a pseudonym) began a psychology degree at a university in Wales. He was hoping for a 2.1. By the Easter of his second year, he had dropped out, with no degree and £8,500 of debt. But at the end of his first term, Jones told his parents he was gay and they threw him out. Asking them for money was out of the question.
The NUS believes that lesbian, gay and bisexual students may be over-represented in these situations when there is a parent-child rift. “Anecdotally, our student officers tell us that this kind of scenario is fairly common,” says Verity Coyle, welfare officer of the National Union of Students. In order for Jones, then aged 18, to be assessed independently of his parents he would need to be over 25, or to have supported himself for three years prior to university.
Other routes to independence include a spell in custody or care post-16, belonging to a religious order, being orphaned or being married – Jones points out that the system does not recognise non-heterosexual relationships. There is one category for students who are “irreconcilably estranged” from their parents, so Jones applied to his local education authority. “It was ridiculous. I wrote to them and explained the situation. They rang up my parents to check, but my parents just said it wasn’t true. So the LEA wrote and told me that I did not qualify, even though I was estranged.”
Source: The Guardian, 25 February 2003
Thrilled by our gay marriage
Lisa Slade and Julie Stamps from Barry created history after taking part in Wales’ first lesbian commitment ceremony. Taxi driver Lisa (31) spoke about the effort it took her, and Morrisons’ employee Julie (23) to publicly declare their love. Visiting the registry office in Swansea, Julie and Lisa were asked if they would be willing to launch the first of the same-sex ceremonies. They agreed, waiting until July 1, because the registrar was on holiday. Lisa added: “We were told there’d be media attention, but we never expected all this hype. It really surprised us.” The ceremony was held at Swansea Council’s Celebration Suite at County Hall and the reception was at the Golden Cross pub in Cardiff.
Speaking about the proposed changes in legal rights, Lisa added: “The one thing that worried both of us living together is we would have to pay 40 percent tax if one of us passed away, and that’s a lot of money. There should not be any discrimination as we all pay our taxes.”
The Rev Geoffrey Fewkes, of Pantygwydr Baptist Church in Swansea, criticised the ceremonies. “They are not good socially, morally or financially. These commitment ceremonies – whether held for gays or heterosexual are not legally binding – they can not and should not replace marriage.”
Source: Barry & District News, 3 July 2003; Barry & District News, 10 July 2003
Transsexual buys string of hotels
Stephanie Booth, “who was once jailed for selling porn and runs a sex-change and cross-dressing website, has bought five hotels and pubs in Ruthin.” With her husband David Booth they bought five hotels in Denbighshire: the 600-year-old Bodidris Hall, Llandegla, the Plough Hotel, also in Llandegla, the Anchor Hotel, Ruthin, the Castle Hotel and adjoining Myddleton Arms in St Peter’s Square, Ruthin, and the Clwyd Gate Restaurant, between Mold and Ruthin.
She founded the Albany Clinic as a centre for transsexuals to seek specialist medical advice and guidance on their condition. She starred in a reality television series about her businesses’ Hotel Stephanie for BBC Wales in 2008 and 2009. In 2011 her hotels went into financial administration. On 18 September 2016, Booth was killed in a tractor accident at her smallholding farm on the outskirts of Corwen, Denbighshire.
Source: Daily Post, 3 July 2003; Wikipedia
Farewell in flowers to drag queen
The body of Jason Massiey (32), alias Lady Ding, of John Street, Markham, Caerphilly, was found floating in Pen-y-Fan pond, Manmoel, Newport. He was believed to have been suffering from depression. Fellow drag artist Miss Kitty (27) of Riverside, Cardiff, was the on-stage partner of Jason in their long-running show at Cardiff’s Kings Cross. “Jason was my best friend and I don’t think I could ever replace working with him – and as a friend I loved him dearly.” Chris Marshall, manager of the King’s Cross pub in Cardiff, said: “Jason was probably the wittiest and most talented drag queen I’ve ever seen. He would have made it very big given the opportunity, so it’s a great loss. Friends made a floral tribute to Massiey at Cardiff Mardi Gras.
Source: Barry & District News, 4 August 2003
Will the force be with you if you’re gay?
Police chiefs are backing moves to recruit more gay and lesbian officers.
Some senior police officers agree that there is a long way to go. “It gives us a very real cause for concern,” that there are only two out officers and two out support staff in South Wales Police Service, says Assistant Chief Constable Mike Lewis. “It suggests they don’t have the confidence to come out.” The police force reflects the community from which it is drawn, he says. “It is far easier [to come out] in London and Brighton than in the valley communities in south Wales.”
Inspector Warwick says he could name two Welsh forces, two northern forces and at least one Anglian force, where there is not one out male officer. Similarly, he says there are divisions where there are loads of gays and lesbians, while in the one next door there are none. “They all move to where it is safe, and where you can get on with being a police officer without anyone giving too much of a damn or care about who you sleep with and who you love.”
Source: The Guardian, 16 August 2003
Man guilty of gay taunts
Nathan Michael Jones in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire but who had since moved to Cardigan, pleaded guilty to harassment by shouting and making rude and offensive gestures of a sexual nature towards a man outside his own home. The court heard how youths on Elm Lane, the Mount Estate, were shouting comments about the man’s sexuality outside his home. Jones admitted he had called the man a “gay b**d”, “shirtlifter” and “f*ing poof.” Jones was released on bail on the conditions he lived in Cardigan and did not contact the victim directly or indirectly.
Source: Barry & District News, 2 October 2003