Category Archives: Miscellaneous

8 of the best films to celebrate LGBT History Month

LGBT History Month is a very important time for our LGBT advocates, friends, heroes and brothers and sisters. In the UK it is celebrated in February to commemorate the abolition of the controversial Section 28 back in 2003, while in the US and Canada LGBT History Month takes place in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day on 11th October.

LGBT History Month

There are have been a number of great films and documentaries over the years which highlight the journey and fights that groups of or individual LGBT people in different corners of the globe have faced over the decades. We’ve rounded up our favourite LGBT history films for you here:

Before Stonewall (and After Stonewall)

There have been countless films and documentaries about the Stonewall riots, including the poorly received 2015 film, which the less said about the better. There was also a semi-fictionalised comedy-drama version in 1995 based on the riots. However, Before Stonewall: The Making of a Gay and Lesbian Community, is an award-winning documentary released back in 1984 that is definitely a must-watch for those interested in the history of one of the most famous moments in LGBT history. After Stonewall, kind of like a sequel focusing on the 30 years of LGBT activism since the riots, was released in 1999.

Paris Is Burning

Filmed in the 80s, Paris Is Burning is a documentary about the “ball culture” of New York City and pays particular attention to the African-American, Latino and transgender communities living there during the time. It is still considered one of the best LGBT history films and documentaries of all time, so much so that in 2016 it was selected for “preservation” in the United States National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically and aesthetically significant”.

Philadelphia

One of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/Aids, homosexuality and homophobia, Philadelphia stars Tom Hanks – who won the Oscar for Best Actor for his leading role – addresses issues of closeting one’s sexuality and hiding their HIV status. The film was a work a fiction but the events were based on the similar lives of Geoffrey Bowers and Clarence B. Cain.

Boys Don’t Cry

Based on the real-life story of trans man Brandon Teena, Boys Don’t Cry was one of the first Hollywood films to focus on transpeople and trans issues. Hilary Swank rightfully won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Brandon in what was a hauntingly frank but brilliant film.

Milk

Many films and documentaries have revolved around LGBT activist and politician Harvey Milk, but it wasn’t until 2008 that Milk’s life was given more of a global platform and recognition through this biopic. Nominated for 8 Oscars, winning 2, including one for lead actor Sean Penn, Milk was strategically released to tie in with Proposition 8 on gay marriage in 2008.

Pride

Starring an ensemble cast of great actors, Pride is probably the one and only or at least most notable British film that focuses on the plight of LGBT people in the UK. This historical drama highlights the events leading up to the UK’s first Pride event and the first time the British LGBT community really made a move for their voices to be heard in the country, making it a beautiful yet poignant LGBT history film. It is now reportedly being adapted into a stage musical.

The Imitation Game

Loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma, The Imitation Game looks at the life of one of the UK’s most prolific LGBT heroes, Alan Turing. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film – although apparently not fully faithful to Turing’s life – is noted for bringing his legacy to a wider audience and was a great commercial success.

The Danish Girl

Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne took on what was probably his toughest (and most controversial) role of his career so far as Lili Elbe, one of the world’s first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery. An emotional film that tries to portray the lives of trans people of that time period and helps us appreciate the progress of both trans rights and surgery has come so far.

What is your favourite LGBT history film from this list or are there any you think we’ve missed off? Let us know in the comments section below and on social media! And you can also find out more about LGBT History Month in the UK here.

Our 15 favourite adverts that have embraced the LGBT community

It appears that as the LGBT community in many countries across the world become more and more accepted by and integrated with the rest of society, the media and a lot of companies want to talk more about them and include them in their campaigns. Whether or not these companies are simply cashing in on the “Pink Pound/Dollar” or wanting to create buzz or even controversy for publicity is debatable, but many of them have proven themselves to be supporters of LGBT people and pro-diversity when it comes to their employees and their target audiences. Below are some of our favourite adverts from recent times that feature LGBT people:

15) Lush

Already a favourite company for many LGBT people to shop with, Lush showed they love their customers just as much with their gay and lesbian ads as part of their Valentine’s Day campaign.

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14) Icelandair

Iceland were one of the first European countries to legalise same-sex marriage so it is natural that their national airline were one of the first to feature a gay couple in an ad.

13) Sainsbury’s

The odd chain store in the UK of this supermarket giant have come under fire over the years for some of their staff’s attitudes and actions towards same-sex couples but the company itself has shown they have nothing against us, which they reiterated with this much talked about Christmas ad that aimed to show how a diverse and modern Britain celebrates the biggest holiday of the year. That was the second Xmas ad in a row to include a gay couple.

12) Luvs Diapers

If there’s one kind of ad that gets people gushing over the most it has to be with babies in them. Luvs Diapers, owned by giant company Procter & Gamble released this adorable ad earlier this year. Procter & Gamble’s other offspring brands have also featured same-sex couples, families and even trans people (in India).

11) Volvo

Homophobic and sexist bigot Jeremy Clarkson and his former similar Top Gear presenters would surely hate that the once-manly hobby and love of cars (back in their earliest days, anyway) are now being advertised to a wider, diverse audience than just straight men. Many car adverts now star women but more and more are beginning to include gay people too. Volvo are one company that featured a gay couple earlier this year in this cute ad. Ford in Australia and Nissan in Israel have also begun to target a larger audience with LGBT people in their ads too.

10) Thomas Cook

As we at Gay Homestays know so well, the LGBT travel market is one of the largest growing niches in the world so it is only natural that many of travel companies want to embrace us. Their Christmas ad last year was short but sweet as it included at least two same-sex couples to reflect a “modern population”.

9) Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s, one of the world’s largest cereal companies, released 8 new ads at the beginning of this year. One of them was of a real-life gay couple being interviewed about how they like their perfect bowl of cereal to be. Kellogg’s have also been named one of the best companies for LGBT employees to work.

8) Magnum

Magnum are usually known for the very sexually suggestive videos of hot women enjoying their ice cream and sometimes the odd hot man too. But in their “Pleasure Is Diverse” campaign from earlier this year they went full-out pro-LGBT and same-sex marriage, which featured a lesbian couple’s wedding as the setting.

7) The Bank of Australia and New Zealand

Although same-sex marriage is still not allowed in Australia, that does not stop a number of companies there proudly and unashamedly showing their support for it there. Thankfully it is legal in New Zealand. The Bank of Australia and New Zealand’s heartwarming new ad encourages gay couples to keep holding hands in defiance of the ignorance they still face.

6) Nike

The world of sports has always been a tough one when it comes to supporting LGBT rights and tackling homophobia but Nike and other companies like Adidas have stood with us even if some of the sports they sponsor are not so open or friendly towards LGBT people or players. Although Nike’s latest ad in celebration of Pride Month doesn’t focus on any particular sport per se, it does acknowledge “vogueing” as a sport and features one of New York City’s most prolific “vogue” dancers to make for a very mesmerising and different advert. You can watch here.

5) Lenovo

Earlier in August, computer company Lenovo released their inspiring and also rather logical advert which *appeared* to be “getting rid of the backspace key as it shows people putting various stickers over it and crossing it out on their keyboard. Their tagline “Progress spelled backwards is ssergorp. Just one of many reasons going backwards makes no sense” also makes perfect sense.

Lenovo gay ad

4) Diesel

Fashion is practically a part of the LGBT community and vice versa so it surely doesn’t need to be elaborated on on why LGBT people should be included in more brand’s advertising. Unfortunately, many still don’t and many also still separate their clothes by gender. But Diesel’s most recent ad “Make Love Not Walls” made a step in the right direction with the inclusion of a gay couple. It was also a very clever political stance against a certain U.S. president.

3) Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola got a lot of people talking over their last ad and for all the right reasons – unlike their main competitor Pepsi’s last one. The cute and hilarious ad stars two siblings vying for the same sexy pool boy – only to be beaten to him by their own mother. We think it’d have been even better if it was their father though…

2) Uber

Unfortunately Uber have been consistently bombarded with complaints that many of their drivers have exhibited homophobic attitudes towards them. But the taxi giants insist they are gay-friendly. And in the Philippines they even released an ad based on a true story of a gay guy and his crush, which was extremely cute. Now we’re just waiting on similar ads here in the western world…

1) Absolut

Absolut Vodka have been pioneering the marketing strategy of supporting and appealing to the LGBT community – because alcohol brings everyone together right? For more than 30 years their ads have included LGBT people and targeted them as a key audience and 2017 was no different. This year’s campaign showed different same-sex couples from different countries to help remind us that it is still illegal to be gay or be married if you’re in a same-sex relationship in 72 countries around the world. With just one poignant ad they went all-out, politically and globally.

Absolut gay ad

Which ads from our list are your favourites? Or let us know if there are any we missed that you would have included in the comments section below!

Spotlight On: The Gay Agenda

Not many small time radio shows have achieved more than they dreamt possible from their humble beginnings and reached out beyond their country of origin but The Gay Agenda, on Fab Radio International, is currently Europe’s number one online radio show, with listeners in 46 countries across the globe. Since its launch in 2014, The Gay Agenda, which actually started out as a little challenge and a jest amongst a group of friends, has grown from strength to strength to get where it is today. Gay Homestays spoke to creator and host, Rylan Cavell about the show:

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GH: Hi Rylan, can you tell us a bit more about the beginnings of The Gay Agenda?

RC: The Gay Agenda began life as a jest. I was discussing the launch of a new online radio station with the chaps putting it together. After a few pints they jokingly suggested that I should do a show and call it ‘the gay agenda’. Never one to back down from a challenge, I agreed. And so the show was born. I found a few friend who equally had a passion for equality and media, and launched as one of the original shows in November 2014 at the same time as Fab Radio International. The Gay Agenda is actually one of only a small number of original shows that is still on the station.

GH: And what kind of topics on the “agenda” of The Gay Agenda?

RC: Being in a privileged position has enabled me, via the show, to shine a light on issues faced by many in the queer community who are often marginalised and ignored by mainstream media. Ignored often even by mainstream LGBT media.

Recent topics have included Transgender discrimination, the destructive nature of ‘masculinity’, LGBT University Societies, Asylum Seekers, Sexual Health and much much more! The show is light-hearted, but covers important topics. We hope that we are an entertaining platform where sometimes inaccessible and hard-to-understand topics and issues are opened up for debate in an interesting and amusing way.

GH: How does it feel to know you’ve got listeners in so many countries worldwide?

RC: Being on a station that reaches 46 countries around the world, and that is the number 1 online radio station in Europe shows that Fab Radio is doing something right! The station’s tag line is ‘Embrace The Alternative’, and the figures demonstrate that the grass-roots nature of station and the shows is what people want! It is flattering and humbling to know that so many people are listening, and I hope what we do spreads a little more awareness and understanding of the LGBT people of the worlds.

GH: And finally, are there any celebrities you would love to feature on your show?

RC: I would love to be able to get Sir Ian McKellan and Sandi Toksvig on the show, to name just two.

Sandi Toksvig

The Gay Agenda will be taking its show on the road on Sunday 26th February when Ryan hosts a frank and open discussion on modern queer life at the renowned Frog & Bucket Comedy Club in Manchester. He will be joined by drag king comedian Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow, trans activist, broadcaster and musician Ashleigh Talbot and campaigner Junior Maxwell. Also featuring are compere Laini Johnson and guest speakers Steph Pike and Sali Owen.

The show will start at 4.30pm and tickets are currently available on The Gay Agenda website.

In the meantime, you can tune into The Gay Agenda every Friday evening from 7-9pm and also catch Rylan hosting That’s Pride TV channel every Monday evening from 7.30pm.

 

Queens of Clean: Puffs With Polish

Gay Homestays is proud to be the first LGBT-run online accommodation network for gays and lesbian travellers and hosts and as a company we are always keen to work with and help promote other start-up companies that also target this niche segment of the community. Puffs With Polish is the UK’s first openly gay cleaning service that employs LGBT cleaners that you can hire to help clean your home or your office.

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Founded by Neil Ralphs, who has nearly 3o years of experience in the cleaning industry, Puffs With Polish is – like us – based in Manchester and works primarily within private houses and with LGBT-owned businesses or businesses operating in the LGBT market throughout the northwest of England. And it’s not just cleaning services that they provide: Puffs with Polish can also provide laundry (including ironing), painting, decorating, security personnel and companionship to the highest standard for all customers.

For Neil though, Puffs With Polish is only is newest endeavour – he is already a well-respected entrepreneur who owns several other national businesses, is the winner of the Mayor’s Oscar and Young Business Person of the Year, is a Business Mentor for Richard Branson’s Virgin Start-Up and even had his own BBC documentary entitled “Dirty Work”. Neil is also a host with Gay Homestays and lets out his spare guest room in his luxury (and perfectly clean, we’re sure) apartment in Manchester.

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Just like Gay Homestays, Puffs With Polish aims to provide LGBT customers with a product tailored to their needs and preferences. So if you’re a busy professional or own a gay company and would feel more comfortable with another LGBT person cleaning your property without being embarrassed by anything they might come across or even judged, then Puffs With Polish is the ideal company for you to use. Puffs With Polish also wants to help create friendships and mutual understandings between the cleaner and the owner rather than a typical maid service where nobody talks except for orders being given so if the cleaner also identifies as LGBT that means if you’re around when they are working, you are more likely to have things in common that you can relate to and talk about.

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All Puffs With Polish employees are friendly and skilled or trained in the tasks they do and with experienced Neil and his partner Pete at the helm, you can be assured that you will be receiving the best service possible that your require. For a full range and quote of their domestic and commercial services, check out their website.

Gay Homestays’ Top Ten Gay TV Shows

There have been loads of great gay TV shows on over the years so we thought it was about time we listed our top 10 favourites:

10.

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As gay teen suicides were getting more press in the USA, Glee came along featuring some great gay teen characters. This combined with the great songs and Jane Lynch’s acerbic Sue Sylvester lead to a huge gay following. Though like so many great shows before it it kind of went downhill after a few series. Is it still on? We just don’t know.

9.

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A classic Great British comedy drama, 2005’s Sugar Rush follows Kim as she deal with her hopeless crush on the sexy but straight Sugar. Celebrity spot: current Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield in one of his first roles as Kim’s geeky neighbour, who has a hopeless crush on her!

8.

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Three gay TV shows for the price of one? You can’t ask for better than that! Set in Gay Homestays’ native city of Manchester, Cucumber shows a mediocre middle-aged gay relationship (a side of the gay community often ignored by TV), its breakdown, and the hilarious aftermath. It’s intertwining sister show Banana shows self-contained stories of Manchester’s gay youth. And finally Tofu is more of a documentary, with frank discussion of sex issues. The newest feature on a list, in the UK the shows are currently on Channel 4 and its sister services E4 and 4OD. Whether they stand the test of time remains to be seen!

7.

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One of the first US sitcoms to focus on gay main characters from the start, they said it would never work! But Will & Grace became hugely popular amongst gay and straight audiences alike. Though we like Megan Mullaly’s Karen the most.

6.

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In 2004 it was still unusual to see lesbian leads on US TV (well, it still is today), but then a whole host of great lesbian characters came along at once in this show. Think Sex And The City without the men…

5.

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The sitcom Ellen started in 1994, and its main character, Ellen, didn’t come out till a 1997 episode. It’s always a risk when the main character announces their sexuality three years down the line! The moment received a lot of media coverage and mirrored the coming out of the show’s star and writer Ellen DeGeneres. In 1997, featuring a gay main character was enough for ABC to add a “parental advisory” warning to the start of the show.

4.

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It’s over 20 years since Ellen started (feel old yet?) and times have really changed for gay sitcom characters. Modern Family really does have a modern approach to gay characters: a married couple with kids! And it really is funny too.

3.

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The hugely popular Netflix show follows married “ex-lesbian” Piper after she’s thrown in jail, only to find out she’s banged up with her ex-girlfriend! (Spoiler alert: one things leads to another…) The ensemble cast also features many other great lesbian characters like Poussey, Nicky, Big Boo and “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne, as well as trans actress Laverne Cox in her groundbreaking role as Sophia.

2.

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Time for some reality TV, though its often more surreal than some of the fictional stories we’ve featured! We love seeing the amazing runway looks of the drag superstars, as well as finding more about their backgrounds and watching their relationships form with each other. This is a show that gets bigger with ever season, and we can’t wait for season 7!

1.

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The 1999 UK series was so successful it spawned a US remix, but the original is definitely our number one! Another show set on the Manchester gay scene, it broke down barriers with its unashamed discussion and depictions of gay sex. And it’s funny and gripping too. If you never saw it, track it down!

What do you think of our top 10 gay TV shows? Let us know any we missed off in the comments!