LGBT Charity Make Waves on the Isle of Man

Monday, June 2, 2014 - 10:00

LGBT Consortiums Membership creates a UK wide network of LGBT groups, projects and organisations. Every month we will highlight the work of one of our Members from around the UK, this month we are talking to a Member from The Isle of Man. 

In 2012 Isle of Man resident Lee Clarke-Vorster & his partner Nathan Rogers set about trying to give the LGBT community a voice about their lack of rights on the Island. Lee, now Managing Director of the Charity, spent a year developing existing relationships and building new ones and in late 2013 The Manx Rainbow Association came to fruition.

The Isle of Man, being a self-governing British Crown Dependency doesn’t have the same equality law or protections in place that most of the UK has. With this in mind, and considering the work of some of the Islanders - one of the first pieces of work that the Lee set about was trying to change discriminatory laws impacting on LGBT mariners.

Lee told us that during his research for the charity he was astonished to find that on Manx Registered Vessels it is still illegal for 2 Male members of the crew to have sex. Under the sexual offences act of 1992 this law stops gay sex on board any vessel flying the Manx Flag. Lee said 'the Isle of Man ship registry is one of the largest and most respected and to have this law in place casts a dark shadow over that reputation'

Lee was pleased to report that when he contacted both the Isle of Man Government and the ship registry he encountered genuine concern and shock that the law was still in place and were even more pleased to see the Government take positive action to have it removed in this summer’s sitting of the islands parliament, Tynwald.  

The Isle of Man has a worrying history with LGBT rights so The Manx Rainbow Association is pleased to see attitudes are changing - with the group currently chairing a group formed to look at the Equality Act (hopefully being introduced in 2016) and becoming a member of the blood donation review which will look at removing the 12 month refrain from sexual activity for LGBT people. The group is also a actively involved with the islands police force helping them with issues raised when dealing with the homophobia and hate crimes.

For more information please contact Lee Clarke-Vorster on lee@manxrainbow.com or visit the website www.manxrainbow.com


 

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