Whatever happened to… Chris Morris?

March 26, 2010

By Trevor Ruth.

Chris Morris’ colourful career as a young writer, broadcaster, internet entrepreneur, political consultant, gay activist, and hypnotherapist spans over a decade. Not to be confused with the Channel Four broadcaster of the same name, Chris is better known for his criticism of the Gay Mafia old-boys club and more recently as a high-profile practitioner of neuro-linguistic programming.

First recruited into the establishment by former Chief Executive of Stonewall when he was just sixteen years old, Chris was asked to front the gay and lesbian lobby group’s attempt to take the British government to the European Court of Human Rights over the unequal age of consent for gay men. Like the majority of those who’ve sought refugee from the glare of the public eye, Chris appears to now live a private but comfortable existence.

It didn’t take young Mr Morris long to figure out who the genuine people were.

The Rise and Fall of YouthSpeak

Those close to him at the time felt Chris was beginning to be exploited by the alpha-gay charities such as Stonewall and their political allies. Chris was uncomfortable being a voiceless show-piece, carted around from function to function. He claimed that his involvement with Stonewall had “really messed with his head” and had become nothing but “Angela Mason’s Poster-Boy”. As he began distancing himself from Stonewall, in 1998 Chris Morris and other younger activists set-up a new (yet short-lived) gay rights group named “YouthSpeak”.

The group was accused of being “a front” for Stonewall to lobby behind to dismiss assumptions from homophobic opponents (notably Baroness Janet Young). The main accusation was that older gay lobbyists were wishing to change the age of consent laws purely so they could legally engage in sexual intercourse with younger-men.

More radical activists accused YouthSpeak was grooming talented alpha-gay types, many of it’s former members certainly went on to great things. Chris was the face of YouthSpeak but he wasn’t the only person who began their adventures with them.

Colm Howard-Lloyd is now an associate director of Pride London, Marketing Director of the European Pride Organizers Association and Manager of Research and Consultations at the Greater London Development Agency.

The group’s original aim focussed on that one goal of equalising the age of consent for gay men. Sir Ian Mckellen’s (Gay Mafia head-boy) financial support came with strings attached, meaning those who wished to expand YouthSpeak’s objectives were blocked by influential figures. Others felt the group had achieved it’s main objective and were in favour of disbanding. It wasn’t long before internal disputes and money-problems contributed to the the group’s demise.

Stonewall’s main focus at the time was the campaign to repeal Section 28. They appealed to YouthSpeak to consider abandoning it’s independence and rejoining with their increasingly powerful mother-ship. But as it’s Chair and leading light Chris Morris was still feeling bruised from his experiences with them. Most of it’s members still advocating the continuation of YouthSpeak and proceeded to leave and explore alternatives as it became clear there was no future in it for them.

With nobody left to carry the torch or to continue the fight against Section 28 in schools, the final blow came as McKellen pulled the plug on the group’s funding. No-doubt a result of Chris Morris so publicly falling out of favour with McKellen’s beloved Stonewall Lobby Group.

Half-way through YouthSpeak’s short existence in 1999 Chris was invited to contribute to the New Statesman. Morris chose to use the opportunity to exposing “The Real Gay Mafia” that had treated him so badly. He wasn’t the first person to do this, but the specific details he published in the national magazine of just how, and precisely who was responsible for the corruption and hypocrisy within the country’s Gay Mafia elite rattled a great many cages.

Coincidently it was one of the last radical queer articles ever published by Chris Morris in the mainstream, leading him to set up his own radical, and undoubtedly controversial queer magazine “OutCast”.

The Rise and Fall of OutCast Magazine

The Gay Mafia never forgave Chris for demonising their precious Pink Pound empires. The launch of OutCast worried the publishers of existing rival gay magazines. Although OutCast was significantly different and posed no real commercial threat to the profit margins of Gay Times, The Pink Paper, Boyz, Attitude etc. After speaking out against their owners exploitative tactics and then switching allegiance from the liberalism of Angela Mason’s Stonewall (which continues to rely on financially backing from Gay Mafia types) to the edgy radicalism of Peter Tatchell’s OutRage! turned Morris into public enemy number one.

Like most young men of his age Chris had other priorities in his life which full-time gay activism caused him to neglect. Having moved from rural Norfolk to Central London he had bills to pay. Selflessly campaigning for civil rights doesn’t pay – a penny. Fellow activists accused Chris of abandoning critical campaigns at a critical time to focus on his own “Empire Building” by capitalising on his high-profile to fuel his own private business affairs. In reality all he really can be accused of is moving on and turning his back on the often divided world of grass-roots gay activism.

It was the Gay Mafia who eventually brought OutCast down, and subsequently his online venture 4D Media which hosted the magazine’s website.

The Rise and Fall of 4D Media

Alongside OutCast (which was a non-profit project which lost far more money than it ever made) was another entrepreneurial set-up , 4D Media which described itself as a “web development company”. 4D presented a lucrative business model at a time when it wasn’t easy for anyone to just set up a website. When you’re an individual with a phonebook packed with rich and powerful contacts all wanting a slice of the internet gold-rush then success was a certainty.

At it’s prime 4D had over 300 commercial clients consisting of a number of multinational corporations such as Virgin, BT, Honda and Umbro to name but a few, as well as a number of senior public figures including Peter Mandleson (another Gay Mafia head-boy). The company also ran a small number of adult porn sites which Chris never denied being connected to nor expressed the need to feel ashamed of what he called having a few fingers in “naughty pies”. But the company also provided free websites to a whole range of non-profit groups such as the Equality Alliance, and for a short time became a major player in offering web hosting services to the full diversity of the gay community.

You’d have thought 4D Media was a Gay Mafia-type empire in itself, boasting a plush Mayfair address on New Bond Street. In reality was a virtual office and a relatively small, but successful operation. One day for now apparent reason it simply disappeared. Clients tried to contact the company via phone and email but heard nothing.

From Activism to Hypnotism

Successful long-term activism requires a talent for entrepreneurship, something Chris Morris has in abundance. But to be successful in business many activists have to make a choice between their ethical ideals and the very capitalist methodology they often oppose.

Those who have succeeded in bringing about significant social-change often go on to channelling their knowledge, passion and initiative into projects that put bread on their tables. If your passion stems from the desire to improve the lives of others – and you do something about it, no matter what it takes – you are activist.

You can of course make a career out of activism, but it is hard to make the leap. De-radicalising is often crucial to engaging with the establishment. Liberalism is tolerated but radicalism is viewed as destructive and eccentric. There are exceptions, but in general most former activists choose to “tone it down” as much as they can.

There is some merit to the saying “if you’re always shouting eventually people will stop listening”. Morris never stopped speaking out, he simply reinvented his way of getting his message across, and he’s achieved that by putting the days of being used as a human billboard for the gay rights movement far behind him.

Shortly after announcing his activist retirement, Chris’ personal homepage displayed the message ”Chris Morris is no longer involved in gay activism”, a statement that carried no further explanation. The message stayed up for a number of years, until he eventually re-launched a new blog at the same domain in June 2009.

Who brainwashed Chris Morris?

There is a peculiar belief out there that Chris’ sudden departure from anything politically gay could have been the result of a well-planned and successful attempt to silence him or buy him off.

Is it merely a coincidence one of Britain’s most high-profile queer campaigners suddenly vanished from the gay rights scene just as he was beginning to uncover it’s dirty secrets? His disappearance occurred at a time when it was clear he certainly knew far too much, and wasn’t afraid to say so.

His later involvement with a controversial form of hypnotherapy (N.L.P) popular with senior politicians (many of whom Chris had initially met through his campaigns) raised yet more eyebrows. Some friends even claimed Chris had somehow been “re-programmed” by powerful members of the New Labour establishment.

Although it is far more likely he simply gave up campaigning – from the heart. He was after all dragged into gay rights by Angela Mason because he’d put his name down on Stonewall mailing list. It was she who had approached him. In retrospect today Chris will tell you he was “never really ready for it” and even expresses a degree of regret and bitter resentment for naively taking up the offers of free trips to London in exchange for the charm of his youth.

What Chris Morris did next…

Questions have been raised as to why Chris no longer discusses the LGBT issues or the status of Gay Mafia in public. Although a lot of what he’s said on the subject in the past remains true today. Behind closed doors he’s spent the last decade either distancing himself or in a few cases befriending many of his former adversaries.

During the days when Chris was shadowing government ministers and celebrities at champagne receptions Chris was befriended by television hypnotist Paul McKenna who introduced him to the mysterious world of Neuro Linguistic Programming (N.L.P), a controversial form of psychotherapy.

Chris Morris had obvserved N.L.P techniques being deployed by politicians and other high profile activists, it instantly stirred his curiousity and openined up a whole world of new opportunities to further his independent entrepreneurship. Since then he’s become a respected player within the UK’s N.L.P community.

Today Chris Morris is the CEO of a company named NLP Connections.

There is signficant controversy surrounding the practice of N.L.P as a form of therapy, but there’s no evidence that N.L.P Connections run by Chris Morris is deserving of the critism levelled at other N.L.P related enterprises that have tainted N.L.P’s overall reputation within the scientific community. The very nature of N.L.P itself, being relativley new, predmoninatly unregulated and ideologicaly fragmented does leave it somewhat open to abuse from unscrupilous and greedy individuals. In relation to Chris Morris – his track record doesn’t indicate he’s one of those people.

His talent for spotting the fakers and exploiters never left him. Since joining the N.L.P movement Chris has encountered some very creepy people indeed, .It isn’t like him to keep this kind of information underwraps, and now nearly a decade after his departure from gay rights, he’s speaking out again.

Doing so has recently caused problems for Chris personally. He and his family have been targetted by some very disturbed sections of the N.L.P community including a few worrying influencial as well as wreckless figures.

Chris’ achievements have made him the target for bitter rivals in the past. Some have become so obsessed with destroying his efforts over the past few years that a smear campaign appears to be running against him.

Smear Campaign

Gay Mafia Watch has been investigating an internet-based smear campaign against Chris Morris. He claims the leading individual responsible is a former N.L.P colleague named Nick Kemp. Chris has written about the saga in his blog:

http://www.chrismorris.com/blog/2009/08/nick-kemp/

Defamatory comments smearing Chris Morris also appeared on Gay Mafia Watch last month when we announced we’d be writing about N.L.P. Clearly someone out there is Googling the web for any mention of Chris Morris looking for an opportunity to blacken his name. The majority of these comments (which are present all over the internet) appear to be to be malicious posts under different names but with identical I.P addresses, mostly posting defamatory and unsubstantiated statements about Mr Morris.

Whether you choose to believe the various conspiracies theories he had unknowingly been brainwashed into his silence, or you favour the possibility he came to the decision entirely by himself, there’s no denying the LGBT community has a great deal to be thankful for Chris Morris’ remarkable achievements, wherever he may be now.

  • Gay Mafia Watch will be going into more detail about how Social Control, Crowd Conditioning and Neuro-Linguistic-Programming is used on a regular basis to control our community in forthcoming articles.

Pink Paper goes BUST!.. again

June 20, 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Flagship Gay Mafia Gutter Rag Sinks

GayMafiaWatch can exclusively reveal, after a troubled 20 year history the UK’s only national “gay newspaper” (The Pink Paper) has gone bust.

The last ever issue will be out in time for London Pride.

This is not the first time the publication has folded. It has struggled to stay afloat over the past ten years having eventually reverted to a fortnightly tabloid broadsheet. Despite claims by the paper’s owners Millivres Prowler Group that the company is suffering from a loss in advertising revenues like much of the media sector, GayMafiaWatch believes that is only part of the story. Last year the company dropped top shelf-gay mens mag AXM explaining it would continue to be available online. Only a few months later the company (which also owns Prowler storesused the Pink Paper to attack rival sex-shop firm Clone Zone (which owed them £100’s thousands in unpaid bills).

Last Thursday (18th June 2009) we called the Advertising desk at the Pink Paper to find out the next copy deadline – to which we were told would be 4th July. The following day a source at the distribution company that delivers the publication all over the country told us they had not received any orders to distribute the title outside of London for the next issue – confirming the news.

Farewell Pink Paper. You have served us well over the years, even if in the end you will be remembered as just another slain soldier in the ongoing pink pound war.


Sex Wars: Attack of the Clone Zone

April 21, 2009

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the bunker we find ourselves on the bring of yet another Pink Pound war.

Following on from our recent article “Gay Dating Wars” we have stumbled upon an emerging row between two of the UK’s largest gay retailers.

The use of the word “Exclusive!” in the title of the story the Pink Paper (owned by the dark lord Prowler group) suggests they are relying on sources that may stem from gossip, rumour and pure speculation. The emphasis on this particular story is interesting as there is a clear motive behind it’s publication, and Clone Zone have quite fairly bashed back.

Decent Journalists and those who know some of the basics of media headline creation will see red when they read phrase “an anonymous member of the public” – tried and tested classic way of deceiving people into thinking the facts have been investigated and the anonymity is because what they are saying is true but want to protect their identity. Even so, it’s also a media excuse for making things up.

As it happens, the Pink Paper’s publishers Millivres Prowler Group are among the list of those owed significant amount of money which the Pink Paper estimate totals at least of £500,000 (according to an unnamed “insider”). Although most people in the same position as Millivres Prowler Group are right to be annoyed at not being paid but don’t be fooled into thinking this is news. The Pink Paper’s report on Clone Zone is nothing but a cleverly constructed case of commercial smear.

On the recently revamped Pink Paper website they recently introduced a commenting feature. Since it was launched it is rarely used, either few people are commenting on their articles or they are choosing to exercise some level of editorial control over public feedback so it is again surprising to see a flood of vicious comments making a range of plain nasty statements about the individuals involved.

The most obvious example of “self-trolling” in order to support the article is this one:

“use your pink pound elsewhere now – shop at prowler and any other decent trading company”

The weekly readers poll in the same issue, also run via the Pink Paper’s website apparently posted by “anonymous”  the day before the paper’s regular weekly publication date asks:

“Should directors whose firms go bust be allowed to run a business again?” – “If your bosses made your company go bust and made you redundant in the process, should they be allowed to side-step into another directorial role?”

You’d expect a “registered newspaper” to have more than 16 people voting in a poll nearly a week after it was created. This could be due to the fact that the relatively poor volume of traffic the site receives compared to it’s biggest rivals which are relatively small operations, many of them non-profit or social-enterprises run by one or two people from home.


In an unepected twist, those who have a clear interest in this particular fight have stepped into the ring and stood up for Clone Zone and have pledged to publish an official statement from the former directors. Manchester based charity the Lesbian and Gay Foundation who also publish a monthly regional gay health and lifestyle magazine “OutNorthWest” have today placed an article on their website under the headline “Clone Zone Bosses Upset at Pink Paper Headline“.

It should be noted that the LGF provide content to the Pink Paper but also rely on significant advertising revenue from Clone Zone. The LGF seem to be attempting to juggle a conflict of neutrality and may be attempting to balance the fuss or perhaps they are making a moral objection to Millivres Prowler’s bully-boy reporting around the situation of a business that has it’s roots in the same community they do.

Previous issues of OutNorthWest have seen several advert placements plugging the adult retailer over the years, the magazine’s editor claims they rely entirely on advertising revenue in order to produce the publication which has a readership of over 60,000. This month (February 2009) contains no advertising for Clone Zone. Although one advert for their more profitable arm “H20 Sauna” remains.

Gossip is an essential part of any community, it allows us to communicate and allows us to inquire about the status of our peers with our peers. The LGF may be quite right in giving so much space on it’s website to a story which airs the dirty laundry of two major players in the country’s gay business community despite this having implications on their own future.

Perhaps the LGF may now consider extending that same opportunity to the wider community, instead of giving so much airspace to rich sponsors even if they vanish tomorrow.

Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.
– Mohandas Gandhi

GayMafiaWatch asks…

To the Editor of the Pink Paper:
Are you so naive to think the public won’t see right through this story you’ve obviously generated to serve the direct financial interests of your parent company? What do you say to Clone Zone’s response that your article about that is unfair and upsetting?

To the Directors of Clone Zone:
What do you think about your alleged creditors using one of their national gay publications as a way of attacking you? and will you continue to stock the (free) weekly Pink Paper as a result? do you feel the change in the formulation of poppers and their resulting unpopularity due to new legislation have contributed to Clone Zone’s problems?

To the Lesbian and Gay Foundation:
Will the new owners of Clone Zone honor existing advertising deals made with yourselves? they appear to have removed all their adverts in your latest issue of OutNorthWest so what impact will this have on the magazine’s future? oh and one last question, who’s your daddy?

You! – tell us what you think, post your comments below:


Ticket to pRide: another wristband rip-off!

April 12, 2009

Last year GayMafiaWatch published an article about Manchester Pride 2007 exposing “The truth about where your wristband money really went” – and how less than 1% of the charity’s income went to LGBT community groups.

Shocked at what we had uncovered, a number of people printed the article off and began handing it out outside the ticket offices to the dismay of festival organisers. Less than a week later, Chair of the Village Business Association Phil Burke resigned from the Board of Manchester Pride claiming the event was “run by dictators” and is “just about making money”.

Phil Burke’s resignation made the front page of the Manchester Evening News and sent shockwaves throughout the gay community causing many others to speak out, although he wasn’t the first despite being the most notable.

Fully aware of the articles published right here on GayMafiaWatch and over on a number of other websites over six months later neither Manchester Pride or its partners (all of whom keep scamming the public) have made no attempt to dispute or explain their deplorable actions. In fact they’ve continued to break their own rules and have once again distributed funding to a number of false community projects and dodgy enterprises in 2008.

Favoritism, cronyism, nepotism, downright self-serving greed is alive and kicking amongst the more influential members of Manchester gay community at the expense of everyone else they claim to serve.

Once again Manchester City Council’s flagship “Lesbian and Gay” charity – the Lesbian and Gay Foundation have been at the centre of the storm. In terms of the number of staff it employs the LGF is the BIGGEST gay charity in the UK.

In the terms and conditions on the application forms for Pride funding it clearly states:

“Multiple applications from the same organisation will not be accepted due to the large number of applications we receive”

Obviously the Lesbian and Gay Foundation feel they are EXEMPT this rule and have again submitted numerous application for their “core services” disguised as independent groups (which clearly they are not).

Here’s a break-down of their scam:

Icebreakers – Ongoing core costs to run the group over the next year

Carousel Group – Ongoing core costs to run the group over the year

Gay Married Men’s Group – Further development of the website – plus contribution towards venue hire and resources

Black North West – Costs towards developing a BME photo library plus venue hire & resource costs.

40+ Gay & Bisexual Men’s Group – Ongoing core costs to run the group over the year & costs towards workshops

Stepping Stones –  Ongoing core costs & money to buy a laptop for the group

Art Class – The Manchester Pride website simply calls this group “Art Class” – but the LGF’s own website lists at as “the LGF Art Class” and the logo has their logo imposed on top of it – as do all of the other groups listed above.

These groups are ALL facilitated by staff and volunteers of the Lesbian & Gay Foundation and meets at their offices.

They also enjoy large amounts of free publicity in LGF publications and access to resources such a free internet, phones and stationary (which other groups are denied). Even more sneakily they are using their funding to pay for room hire in their OWN building – already funded by Manchester City Council and other local authorities.

Maximum grants are around £1,000 (we hear they’ve all applied for the maximum) meaning that approximately £7,000 of extra funding has been skimmed off the Pride Community fund by the LGF in the guide of non-related groups – this is in addition to at least £25,000 they already get from Manchester Pride and the undisclosed sum they also get in return for managing the distribution of funds to other groups.

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation’s own board members also sit on the grants panel that decides who and who doesn’t get the funding – this is a breach of good practice and something the charity commission have vowed to investigate since we brought it to their attention last week following complaints from other groups.

So where is all this money going?

Other than the Lesbian and Gay Foundation…and a small selection of others? Manchester Pride’s Community Fund is meant to be for all “LGBT Community groups” – but the majority of those go to either groups that provide services exclusively to gay men or lesbians. Only two groups serving the transgender community received funding this year. The only dedicated bisexual group to receive funds from Manchester Pride (BiPhoria) have asked for costs pay for room hire costs, and also money towards their Pride stall (this used to be free).

So let’s get this straight – groups like BiPhoria apply to Pride only to hand to back to Pride for the privilege of having a (previously free) stall at the so called “Community Expo”?

  • Less than £3,000 went to Bisexual and Transgender groups.
  • The Lesbian and Gay Foundation claimed at least £7,000 more than it was allowed.
  • Less than £2,000 went to young people’s services.
  • An undisclosed sum was paid to the Lesbian and Gay Foundation for distributing the grants.
  • Only preselected HIV/AIDS organisations received funding from the HIV Fund – sums not published.

What about other groups they’ve funded? With only a very vague description for a group no-one seems to have heard of a group called “Gay in the UK” have been given funding to cover the cost of “practitioners and tutors”.

Considering they are intending to use their grant to pay for professionals (instead of bringing in volunteers with the same skills) for their project (whatever it is!) is it going to be value for money? or is this yet another bogus project set up to line the pockets of someone close to those dishing out the pennies?

Beyond the LGF’s clever little scheme of hoarding even more funding is what Manchester Pride’s website vaguely describes as funding to “set up a new voluntary LGBT photographic group”. Run by a group of professional village photographers known as “Exposure” who have asked or “initial set up costs of new voluntary LGBT photographic group” run by Paul Jones – one of Manchester Pride’s official photographers.

Exposure’s “Profile Page” on Flickr

Jones has also been paid by the Lesbian and Gay Foundation to take photos for their publications in the past. The majority of the photos posted by the group online appear to be professional, promotional photos for Manchester Pride as well as the Pride Games (well their black-tie dinner anyway!). Many of the photos taken by the group appear in various publications including the Manchester Pride website as well as corporate materials used by Pride’s three biggest beneficiaries – Body Positive, the George House Trust and the Lesbian and Gay Foundation in numerous publications and regularly in OutNorthWest. The majority of photos are also taken at commercial events at a number of bars and clubs in the gay village including Vanilla, Cruz 101, Queer, Essential and Federation.

At the time of going to press GayMafiaWatch tried to find out more about “Exposure” and how ordinary members of the public could get involved but we got no reply. Even Manchester Pride themselves couldn’t give us an answer.

We original posed the question… is Exposure a dodgy operation or is it a genuine “community photography project”? Thanks to the vague and slightly misleading way Manchester Pride’s website has presented who and what gets funded when this article was first written we couldn’t be sure what it was until we began asking, got no response and then did our own bit of digging… so now we’ve got to the bottom of it it would be great to hear the same from others who wish to put their side of the story across… although silence is often the best indicator of guilt.

Update 22/04/09 –

Further Details regarding “Exposure”
Since this article was originally published we would like to thank Paul Jones for contacting us directly who to clarify for himself what Manchester Pride could not. You can read his response to our questions in the comments section at the bottom article. We have had to omit some personal details from his response along with an accusation claiming everything on GayMafiaWatch should be regarded as fiction – clearly this is not true! As if it were we’d be forever updating all our contributions and so far this is the most we’ve ever been asked to amend.

Out of respect to Exposure and Paul Jones and in the interest of maintaining the overall integrity of what is otherwise quite a detailed article that has provoked a mostly positive response we have retracted our statement that Exposure appears to be a “shady operation”. From what we know, Manchester’s gay community is rather close-knit and unlike London it does not have an infinite supply of community champions such as Paul Jones. That leads us to conclude that it is conceivable Exposure’s main activities which amongst other things include providing a free professional service run not for profit to commercial companies run for personal gain such as the bars and clubs on Canal Street is merely down to the cosy nature of the scene in Manchester or an admirable kindness of heart. Perhaps a bit of both? You answered our questions, we corrected our assumptions and you have requested an apology and here you have it. We apologise for any distress caused personally to those invovled.

There are times when public figures feel they are so far beyond the realms of accountability that there can be room for satire, and on occasion even humorous ridicule. Although the original article was very careful not make any direct personal attack on the character on Paul Jones as an individual as he has made clear he and Exposure are clearly one and the same, we do in fact owe Paul Jones a public apology for suggesting Exposure appears to be a fake project.  How valuable it’s services are to the community at large and who looses out if you are of the opinion that Exposure’s work is not worthy remains to be seen. People will at least be able to come to their own conclusions next time they see one of their pictures in another glossy brochure somewhere out on Canal Street knowing that’s where some of their wristband money went.

We would like to wish Exposure and Paul Jones the best of luck with their work and look forward to seeing them making a positive and continued contribution to their communities.

For details on how we conduct our investigations fairly visit our Feedback page.

What’s changed since last year?

Groups not giving funding directly back to pride or which are not run by members of Pride’s board and partner agencies is in the minority – although due to the addition of a few extra groups it is slightly more than last year.

In response to criticism and in a a U-turn to previous ways of doing things, Manchester Pride decided to open a surprise round of funding called the “Events Fund” but again their intentions are questionable. Events “must take place during the 10-day pride festival” and funding is limited to £500 per group. Details of successful applicants will be announced sometime in April – no doubt we’ll also see a number of dodgy projects that are run by people linked to Pride showing more evidence of nepotism and conflicts of professional interest.

The “events fund” only came about because they couldn’t get rid of all the funding in the first round and only totals £7,000 altogether out of the total Pride income over nearly £1 Million. Many groups have decided to boycott the grants scheme in protests at events in 2008 and the way money has been collected and distributed). If you are aware of the diverse number of LGBT community groups in Greater Manchester you will no doubt notice a number of names missing from the list of who they funded out of 2008’s funding.

This full list can be found here. Perseverly lots of the smaller community projects which remain (for now!) independent of Manchester Pride and it’s partners end up giving their grants BACK to Manchester Pride. They have to use their funding to pay for the privilege of a stall at the “Lifestyle Expo”, for the cost of an entry and licenses into the Pride Parade and also to hire meeting space at the offices of the Lesbian and Gay Foundation. Ludicrous when you consider Pride would be NOTHING without the contributions to pride from these groups over the years.

Smaller community groups and charities were noticeably missing from last year’s “Lifestyle Expo” stall area and many chose to boycott the space in protest at the recently introduced stall charges. It’s ludicrous to think they are so unwilling to back down considering all the extravagances Manchester Pride splashes out on in terms of promotions – giving large sums of money to marketing companies such as Oz Promotions and free advertising for media giants (such the Gaydar and the Pink Paper) and public sector sponsors seems to be top priority. Showcasing the grassroots LGBT community and giving them a genuine platform is not a priority.

The illusion of the event being about making money for charity has been well and truly shattered once again.

What is Manchester Pride really about?


We’re not disputing that there are many hard-working, selfless people who work and volunteer for Manchester Pride. However there are other, more ruthless people who wish to capitalise on the festival.

In 2007 the Charity Commission launched an investigation into Manchester Pride and concluded that what happens during the August Bank Holiday weekend in Manchester’s fenced off gay village are “not charitable fund-raising events – they are events organised by Marketing Manchester”.

welcome to vulgariaMarketing what?! Marketing Manchester – paid for by tax-payers in Greater Manchester, Marketing Manchester as been described by many as being “a well-oiled PR machine” that has a number of objectives, the first being to make money for a small but powerful elite of business people by increasing tourism and investment.

Led by Andrew Stokes (aka “Drew”) who also happens to be the Chairman of Manchester Pride, this “arms length” management company resides in a swish converted warehouse in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

They even have a Yacht harbored in the luxury French resort of Cannes where Mr Stokes entertains rich Saudi businessmen. We hear Mr Stokes is currently in Dubai at a property fair “selling Manchester” just as he’s committed to “selling pride”. Bon Voyage!…

Further reading on this subject:

Reclaiming Pride in Manchester
Tips on how you can do your part in reclaiming Manchester’s Pride festival by supporting alternative events and links to different bodies that provide funding and support to community groups.

Where your wristband money really went in 2007
Our article dissecting how the money raised for charity was really spent from money raised by sales of wristbands for Manchester Pride in 2007 and distributed to projects in 2008.

External Links: (not by GayMafiaWatch just in case you were wondering)

Manchester Pride Investigation
Gary Seven has been researching the web of spin, PR and false information that surrounds Manchester Pride which the organisers seems to think the public has no right to know. He puts the facts to the speculation surrounding how raising money for charity has become a secondary consideration and little more than a convenient fig-leaf to cover huge profit-making by businesses.

Manchester Evening News: Pride festival ‘just about money’
Festival accused of betraying its gay and lesbian roots by a leading Gay Village businessman. Phil Burke, chairman of the Village Business Association, says the annual event is no longer a celebration of lesbian and gay life, but a cynical money-making operation.


Taking Libertas

February 11, 2009

York based Lesbian bookshop “Libertas” was once known as a beacon of light in a sea of isolation.

Sadly the day of the specialist bookstore has come and gone. Even the the big high-street chains have had several years of trouble seeing a string of mass mergers between the mainstream book and multimedia retailers, companies that have established links and distribution contracts with one of the main gay mafia “families” also in the same business.

Dillons was bought by HMV, Ottakers was taken over by Waterstones which became a subsidiary of HMV. The group proceeded to take over a number of stores from struggling rivals including Fopp and 8 Books etc stores from rival Borders UK. The market now consists of three key players – Virgin, WHSmith and HMV (HMV have been poised to take WHSmith over).

Despite being a relatively small, local operation based in a small shop in York,  it’s owners quick thinking and success in mastering the mail-order market had paid off. Only 4 years after it was founded the company became “Europe’s Number 1 Lesbian Bookstore”. Sadly the actual bookshop itself which also sold gifts, greetings cards and specialist Lesbian products and local merchandise operated at a loss but stayed open despite facing an uphill battle.

The founders of Libertas are now retired and approaching their 70’s. It’s obvious they cared a great deal about their romantic little lesbian bookshop and must have been heartbroken to be forced to close shop for the last time in 2004. The actual bookshop itself wasn’t just a shop, it was a meeting place for Lesbians and other Women from all over the country. Something that to this day is missing although that does continue to some extent through the York Lesbian Arts Festival that was founded by a group of Women who used to meet at the shop. Various other Women’s groups, reading clubs and small businesses also used the premises including the once independent “DykeLife” newsletter, a free community alternative to the mainstream women’s mags such as DIVA.

The famous Lesbian colonies that still exist throughout the small villages of Yorkshire such as Hebden Bridge weren’t the only people who saw Libertas as refreshing. As the country’s only Lesbian bookshop it also offered gay, bisexual and trans women a national alternative to the male dominated gay lifestyle stores like Clone Zone and Prowler.

When it was announced the shop may be forced to close various reports and letters appeared in the gay press from it’s supporters expressing their shock and dismay. This is a slightly different story than the one portrayed by the Millivres Prowler Group – owners of rival online book store “DIVA Direct”, DIVA magazine (as well as many other titles including GayTimes, AXM, the Pink Paper as well as owning their own chain of gay lifestyle shops and publishing houses) which claimed they were stepping in as the bookshop’s saviors and would keep it alive through the established Libertas online store.

As a result, Millivres Prowler completely took the operation over and moved operations to it’s London office. Two years later the group relaunched DykeLife as a glossy magazine and filled it with targeted advertising and placements for it’s own products, capitalising on the acquisition of the 7,000 strong subscriber base built on the bones of the grassroots alternative it once was.

Despite the claims by the Millivres Prowler Group that the spirit of the bookshop would continue through the continued existence of the Libertas online store at http://www.libertas.co.uk which now redirects to “DIVA Direct”. It’s final remnants exist as the “Libertas forum” – a message board for reviewing titles available through DIVA Direct.

Today it appears Libertas is well and truly dead, although spinning in her grave – May she rest in peace.

Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
~Groucho Marx

“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world an loses his own soul?”
~Robert Fulghum


DIVA editor attacks Peter Tatchell

January 29, 2009

Editor of Lesbian lifestyle magazine DIVA Jane Czyzselska (who has also written for the Horse and Hound!) with help from fellow pen pusher Ben Summerskill of “gay equality group” Stonewall have dedicated an entire page in the Guardian’s Comment is Free to launching a rather scathing and hollow attack on fellow trooper Peter Tatchell entitled “Take Pride in Gay Respectability”.

She has decided to compare the likes of money-mad Stonewall to the legendary American gay rights personality and the subject of a new Hollywood film – Harvey Milk.  She believes “if he were alive now he’d be rooting for more “smug marrieds” – meaning complacent gays and lesbians who sit on the fence when it comes to the rights.

In reality, if Harvey Milk were alive today he would notice how different the world is. He won’t be sitting smug in a swanky office on London’s Southbank. He’d be wondering why married doesn’t mean civil partnered and why police still spend vast resources on persecuting gay men who have sex in the woods. He’d be questioning why an organisation named Stonewall, has consistently alienated so many marginalised groups he spent his life (and eventually was killed fighting for both within the LGBT Community on it’s fringe such as sex workers.

Harvey Milk was heavily involved in the founding of many frontline, radicalised activist movements including the San Francisco Coalition on Prostitution, one of the first such “sex-workers unions” in the world. Yet it’s European cousin which still exists today was protesting in unison with angry transgender people outside the Stonewall Awards only last November in protest at the nomination of Julie Bindel (another controversial Guardian Comment is Free journalist).

He’d be asking why the annual turnover of the LGBT voluntary sector in Britain is just £10 million – with about 20% of that going into Stonewall’s wallet with the remaining estimated 1,500 other LGBT groups left to fight for the rest. This may sound like a lot of money the size of the pot available to LGBT community groups – the type of organisations pioneered by queer activists such as Harvey Milk in the 1960’s and 70’s equates to just 0.03% of the income of the entire charitable sector.

It’s also worth pointing out that Czyzelska’s employers Millivres Prowler Group are one of Stonewall’s biggest private sponsors. According to it’s chairman, Chris Graham Bell the company “has historic roots in gay and lesbian rights campaigning and has strong values and beliefs regarding the support of civil rights for our community.”Offering more proof of private business interfering with an apparently independent lobby group.

Even though Summerskill already has his own regular column in the same newspaper, in which he often makes similar attacks on Peter Tatchell and grassroots campaigning this week Stonewall’s highest paid member of staff was given another opportunity to dismiss the work of pretty much anyone who isn’t in the gay rights game for the money. As Jane Czyzelska’s article starts off it quickly descends into appearing to be a platform for Stonewall’s work and yet another outlet for Summerskill and his gay mafia friends to make false claims about the success of their work.

The picture Summerskill paints of his “radicalism” is a fraud. What he describes isn’t radicalism, it’s fraud. Note his nod to the “radicalism”of companies in the FTSE 100. Many of these big players in the stock-market along with a number of institutionally homophobic institutions recently did paid Stonewall in excess of £1,500 in exchange for a place in the group’s own prestigious “stock-market of inequality”.

Stonewall’s work with young people around homophobic bullying gets a regular cash boost from it’s annual “Equality Dinner” where wealthy members of the public make donations in return for spending an evening with celebrities at the Dorchester Hotel. What a shame this cash isn’t reaching the places that really need it.

In August 2008 Stonewall received criticism from the gay community in Liverpool after it failed to speak out after the homophobic murder of gay teenager Michael Causer. In October a planned recruitment day in Liverpool run by Stonewall for the youth volunteering project mentioned in Czyzelska’s article had to be canceled because hardly anyone had registered. The local gay youth group “GYRO” which recently launched it’s own homophobic bullying resources complained they weren’t even told about the event. Another questionable claim made in the article is that Stonewall has seen it’s “active” supporters double and them under 30 is higher than ever causing Czyzelska to blindly state “this is hardly a sign of apathy and complacency”. The truth is – lending one’s support to an organisation like the Stonewall of today is exactly that – apathy and a sign of being complacent. Czyzelska her self describes Stonewall of representing “apathetic conformity” at the start of her article.

Summerskill has a rather contorted view of what activism is. According to Summerskill activism is either “politicised” (the camp he places the likes of Peter Tatchell firmly in) or “smug” (much like himself) – but argues both are equally as radical.

He may well be right, but the terminology is wrong, and it’s designed to confuse people.

Most people will hear the word “political” in this way and instantly assume he’s talking about smiley politicians and out of touch political parties – boring, moaning, infighting and lacking in integrity. But in truth Stonewall itself and those who founded it (Labour Party activists) are no less political, and probably more so.

“Politics” is close to Stonewall’s heart. It courts with representatives of all parties inviting them to debate gay issues whilst leaving fringe activists standing out in the cold like it did at it’s recent Awards ceremony at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Tony Blair was the guest of honour at last year’s Stonewall Equality fund-raiser. Ben Summerskill himself used to be a Labour politician. His predecessor, Angela Mason now works for the Labour government as the Director of the Women and Equality Unit. It is Stonewall who are in the politicised camp that has a narrow agenda not set by the community they work for but political think tanks and business men with lots of opinions.

Most of the “radicals” he tries so hard to tarnish through his use of clever wording are grassroots campaigners who focus on thorny issues Stonewall itself finds hard to grasp (and it’s financial backers wouldn’t touch with a barge pole) such as transphobia, laws around sexual offenses and international human rights abuses (which Stonewall’s funders such as Barclays Bank and Lloyds TSB have been accused of providing finance to).

While Stonewall are leaving by the back door of Lloyds TSB with a nice fat suitcase of money, the real Human Rights activists are banging down the front door in anger at the bank’s decision to block money going to humanitarian charities based in Gaza. This year Stonewall decided to put Lloyds TSB at the very top of it’s “Diversity Champions” index.

No wonder Ben Summerskill just loves brandishing his knife at the real activists like Peter Tatchell who not only tackle domestic issues without asking for the world on the plate, but also around the world. OutRage! has stood up for the human rights of LGBT people in Palestine. Whilst Stonewall smug in to bed with the perpetrators of human rights abuses., happily taking the cash and doing whatever their master tells them – there’s a name for that.

Although she makes many valid points and even provides some balance in her padding of yet another out of touch Summerskill rant, as Czyzelska implies in the title and as the 80’s pop duo once Mel and Kim once sung, – “we ain’t never gonna be respectable”

– well Jane we don’t need your respect any more than Harvey Milk need buy your trashy magazine.


Elton John: Libel Queen

December 29, 2008

In a long overdue victory for free speech, Sir Elton John has been left fuming yet again after loosing his latest libel case against the Guardian newspaper.

This is a mighty blow to the ongoing efforts of one of Britain’s top gay mafia henchmen to seal the lips of all those who question his beloved charity, a battle in which has no doubt cost the “gratuitously offensive, nasty and snide” showman dearly. Journalist Marina Hyde claimed Elton’s AIDS Foundation does not “raise serious funds” and is merely an excuse for “self-promotion”. This is the third time the charity has come in for criticism in a national newspaper.

During the 1990’s, gay mafia charity “Stonewall” often flirted with Sir Elton, flying the entertainer and his entourage across the Atlantic from his L.A home. In November 1999, the organisers of it’s glamorous gala fundraiser at London’s Royal Albert Hall faced a legal challenge from the Scout Movement,  enraged by Elton’s use of erotic dancers as part of his performance for the sold-out event who (although aged over 18.) were dressed up as Cub-Scouts alongside Elton (who’s real name is Reginald Kenneth Dwight). Several right-wing gay-bashing homophobic family-rights groups got on their moral high-horses and claimed “Stonewall should be condemned for holding boys up as sex objects” causing similar claims to be published in The Sun and other tabloid newspapers. Stonewall itself had to make a full public apology whilst Elton stayed silent.

At the time Stonewall was lobbying to equalise the age of consent, and although it may seem like a long time ago now, it was still a very tough battle to fight. Public support was critical, lack of it contributed to several delays to the campaign along with the repeal of Section 28. Elton’s involvement probably didn’t help.

Since then Elton’s work with Stonewall has dwindled and his reputation for making brash personal attacks on other gay icons and celebrities with big gay followings such as Madonna and George Michael certainly no longer makes him a favorable act to headline at a glitzy money-making ball these days.  In fact Elton’s now got his own charity,  naughtily after himself.  Just as the name “Stonewall” itself has slowly begun to drown out, Elton’s charity along with a rather convenient plug for his entire career, the Elton John AIDS Foundation is a name you probably will have heard more and more over the past few years. Combined with the 61 year old’s tendency to mouth-off and throw a queeny-strop at the slightest snippet of criticism or unflattering photo taken of his baldy noggin, the charity itself has given him even more opportunities to indulge in his favorite pastime – suing some ass.

Those who believe in the existence of parallel universes will probably envisage Sir Elton pursing a career in Law. At least in this one he’s got all the right wigs for the part!

Who Elton’s thrown his dummy at:

Elton’s petty legal fights have now whisked the Rocket Man into cyberspace, and although he’s a self-confessed Luddite and technopbobe he’s known to indulge in a bit of silver surfing.

One of his more mean pursuits involved sending the Lawyers down to the webmistress of entertainment “gossip message board” – Countess Joulebine. He managed to secure a hearing by citing precedent set in similar case (Godfrey v. Demon Internet Limited 1999) which involved the former owners of the Pink Paper and Boyz Magazine David Bridle and Kelvin Sollis. The case involved material published by Chris Morris, a former Stonewall activist who had switched sides to grass routes gay rights group “OutRage!” headed by Peter Tatchell who was about to publish details of an apparently “fake” HIV charity “Positive Lives” (now defunct) on his website hosted by Demon Internet.

It appears Elton’s lawyers had in-depth knowledge about this particular case involving the owners of this other allegedly “dodgy HIV charity” which went to court only a year previously,  putting the Pink Paper’s main rival publication “OutCast” right out of business.

David Bridle still publishes Boyz Magazine, and having recently done away with it’s previous editor he is firmly back at the reigns. The Pink Paper was sold to rival publishers Millivres Prowler Group in 2004.

Any brave soul (like Chris Morris, Marina Hyde, Countess Joulebine and a long list of others) who dares question the apparent charitable operations of any gay mafia entities face being silenced by a wall of law suits, funded by gay mafia barons with rich friends and a long list of Lawyers, Publicists and Spin-Doctors armed with everything they need to cover up the most heinous of scandals.

Final Facts

  • In 2007 Sir Elton caused yet more fury after announcing he intends to Shut Down the Internet altogether claiming the web is “destroying music” and “stopping people going out”. Who knows what his real agenda is?
  • In an obvious blitz of damage limitation, less than two weeks after Elton went red in the face after loosing this latest battle with the Guardian, Harrow Council announced it was considering naming a street after him.  However it appears there is already a lovely little street right beside the Bus Station that is infact called “Elton Avenue”!
  • Like most secretive criminal societies, the “gay mafia” has friends in high places, but not all. Even within it’s own close-knit circles there is in-fighting and fierce rivalry, as well as family-like births, deaths, and civil partnerships! We’ll be going more in-depth on who’s who in our forthcoming features “Gay Mafia Families” and “The Gays After Tomorrow”.

Related Links

AfterElton.com