Jamie Wake 2014 Independent Candidate for Whitley ward in the Reading Local Elections
  • Holiday Highlights

    0
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    August 19th, 2011jamiewakerdglgbt
    Well, who would have thought that so much could happen in two weeks.  Having had to plan a holiday that fitted around a potential tupe transfer at workand the availability of our dog sitter, neither of which fitted in with our cruise plans, we decided to spend some time in Bulgarian where my parents live.
    We spent the first two days in Sunny Beach so we could say that we had been to the beach to enjoy the nightlife.  We discovered a resort that resembled San Antonio!  We did, however, find the only gay bar in the area!
    Having experienced two days of lively teenagers who wanted to drink as much as they could, being as louds as they could and wearing as little as they could, we were then collected by my parents and driven into the mountains to stay at their home.
    We were wrong to presume that this part of our holiday would be the relaxing part!  My parents have lived here for a number of years and many other British people now do and every day seems to have non stop activities, events and things to do.  We were very kindly invited to a pool party which was being hosted by two other British people.  What struck me, was the tight friendship that had grown amongst them all are many told us that they now have a better quality of life since coming to Bulgaria.  Many have also seemed to have got younger-well, acting younger anyway!  There seems to be no shortage of fun.  Everyone seems relaxed so I can see the appeal!
    By the magic of twitter, we learnt of the riots back home in the UK and like many, where shocked and appalled by the video and images we were seeing.  Subsequently, I have heard many people trying to determine blame.  What these young people have done is not a protest.  It is pure criminal activity that has killed innocent bystanders, destroyed businesses, homes and other properties.  They have announced that they have no money yet they have broken into shops to loot, leaving with flat screen televisions whilst wearing designer trainers, more jewelry than Mr. T, and communicating amongst themselves on the latest smart phones.  I fail to see how setting fire to furniture shops, vehicles, and bins is a protest.
    Many will disagree with me.  I’m fine with that.  I grew up with no money but I did not burn my hometown down!  I got a part time job in a shoe shop and life started for me from there.  I agree that there is a route cause to this behaviour but young people need to understand that with rights comes responsibilities.  I’m still trying to understand where their parents were?  Surely, most parents would wonder where their children are at that time of night?
    We had minor activity in Reading.  Most seemed to be on the outskirts of Whitley where a number of cars were overturned and set fire to.  Makro was also broken into.  These were simply copy cat incidents.  I believe that if someone is old enough to carry out a crime then they are old enough to be punished for that crime.  Simple.  I wait anxiously for what will happen next.
    Despite our worries about the riots, we have managed to see much of this region in Bulgaria.  Everyone seems friendly.  We were invited to another British couple’s home for a barbecue.  This was just before we were due to return to Sunny Beach to spend two more days before going home.  On this particular night, it rained and rained.  On arrival to my parents villa, I decided that I would stay dry by standing under the verandah whilst my partner spent a little time finding keys.  As I stepped up to the wet tiles in my leather soled shoes, I lost my footing and tumbled backwards on the heaped stones below.  Luckily, my head missed the edge of the verandah but my full body weight landed on my left arm.  I’m not ashamed to say that it was very painful and I may have screamed – a lot.  Somehow, my partner and my parents got me into the villa and then into the car to get me to an emergency hospital-which is where I am writing this now.  I have been here for over a week and have a compound fracture in my left arm and have had to have surgery to insert a titanium plate and some pins.  It will take some time for it to work as well as it did before.
    The doctors and nurses have treated us very well and we have had a ward to ourselves.  The Health System does seem different here and whilst many would think it to be primitive, I have not noticed much difference.  Yes there seems to be an emphases on efficiency rather than care, but as long as I heal nicely who am I to judge?
    Hopefully, I will be discharged tomorrow and then we’ll stay back at my mum’s villa until I need to come back to the hospital so that they can remove the stitches.  Then, will be able to arrange a fly home, when they agree that it would be safe to do so.  I of course hope to be home before this year’s Reading Pride festival.  Whilst I will not be able to wear one of my usual elaborate costumes, I hope to still attend and celebrate diversity within the Thames Valley.  As usual, we already seeing all of the main political parties expressing their support to the fight against discrimination.  It is such a shame that they only do this just before the pride festival in the hope to secure the gay electorates vote.  I’m gay all year round so why should these parties only remember us as of the reading community at this time of year?  The current local administration does not appear to support the reading pride charity like they do other organisation.  I note with interest, that the labour party have now set up a small blog to tell the reading electorate what they have done to support us members of society who happen to be gay, what they have done for us.  It is a shame that it contains inaccuracies.  As a LGBT campaigner, I chose the lib dems for the work and their record of fighting for equality.  Reading lib dems support my okay to be gay campaign and as of yet, I still await a response of support from all other political parties.  The fight against homophobia in reading needs to be a cross party effort and should not be used each August for political point scoring.  Please visit my campaign website at WWW.ok2bgay.co.uk and help me inform Readings’ community that it is OK to be Gay and for those teenagers who are finding it difficult come out to themselves as well as others, that it will get better in Reading.
    Even as members of the gay community, we have a responsibility to eliminate discrimination here in Reading.  I worry that the reasoning behind pride festivals has been lost.  Whilst it is nice to watch entertainment and enjoy a drink or two, there is an real reason why these festivals are occurring.  The gay rights movement is only a relatively new campaign for equality.  At the moment, we do not have full equality.  At times, I feel embarrassed to join the parade through the town centre shouting ogy ogy ogy and it is my sincere hope that we discover and retain the real reason reason we are still fighting against discrimination.   Whether we like it or not, pride is a political event by its very existence and needs to be treated as such to prevent ridicule.
    I know that my words may seem a little harsh, but I wish to see this successful event rediscovering its intention, its values and its necessity within the the reading events calendar before it becomes just another annual festival.  Knowing some of the organisers, I know that this should not happen.  All I ask is that we remember why we’re there.  There are still many countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.  Let’s not forget that.  There are still teenagers committing suicide throughout the world ’cause they believe there is something wrong with them.  There are still members of the UK government that believe that homosexuality is wrong.  Let’s not forget that.  There are still religions that teach their homosexuality is a sin.  Let’s not forget that.  Whilst these views exist, there is a need for pride.  So and so whilst we educate reading, let’s educate ourselves.  By simple glance at the evening post website, shows some of the views and opinion held by commentators.  They do not understand the need for a parade, festival or protest.  They wonder where there hetrosexual pride is and why all they see is a number of men dressed roughly as women.  We need to tell them and let them have the opportunity to question the answers that they receive.  They can only learn if we teach them.  I believe that blatent is better than latent and that is why I will be disappointed not to be wearing my new rainbow covered metallic dress to this year’s festival.  I’m proud to be bgay and I’m prowled to be a lib dem.
    I hope to see you all when I finally return to the UK.

    Well, who would have thought that so much could happen in two weeks.  Having had to plan a holiday that fitted around a potential tupe transfer at workand the availability of our dog sitter, neither of which fitted in with our cruise plans, we decided to spend some time in Bulgarian where my parents live.

    We spent the first two days in Sunny Beach so we could say that we had been to the beach to enjoy the nightlife.  We discovered a resort that resembled San Antonio!  We did, however, find the only gay bar in the area!
    Having experienced two days of lively teenagers who wanted to drink as much as they could, being as louds as they could and wearing as little as they could, we were then collected by my parents and driven into the mountains to stay at their home.

    We were wrong to presume that this part of our holiday would be the relaxing part!  My parents have lived here for a number of years and many other British people now do and every day seems to have non stop activities, events and things to do.  We were very kindly invited to a pool party which was being hosted by two other British people.  What struck me, was the tight friendship that had grown amongst them all are many told us that they now have a better quality of life since coming to Bulgaria.  Many have also seemed to have got younger-well, acting younger anyway!  There seems to be no shortage of fun.  Everyone seems relaxed so I can see the appeal!

    By the magic of twitter, we learnt of the riots back home in the UK and like many, where shocked and appalled by the video and images we were seeing.  Subsequently, I have heard many people trying to determine blame.  What these young people have done is not a protest.  It is pure criminal activity that has killed innocent bystanders, destroyed businesses, homes and other properties.  They have announced that they have no money yet they have broken into shops to loot, leaving with flat screen televisions whilst wearing designer trainers, more jewelry than Mr. T, and communicating amongst themselves on the latest smart phones.  I fail to see how setting fire to furniture shops, vehicles, and bins is a protest.

    Many will disagree with me.  I’m fine with that.  I grew up with no money but I did not burn my hometown down!  I got a part time job in a shoe shop and life started for me from there.  I agree that there is a route cause to this behaviour but young people need to understand that with rights comes responsibilities.  I’m still trying to understand where their parents were?  Surely, most parents would wonder where their children are at that time of night?

    We had minor activity in Reading.  Most seemed to be on the outskirts of Whitley where a number of cars were overturned and set fire to.  Makro was also broken into.  These were simply copy cat incidents.  I believe that if someone is old enough to carry out a crime then they are old enough to be punished for that crime.  Simple.  I wait anxiously for what will happen next.

    Despite our worries about the riots, we have managed to see much of this region in Bulgaria.  Everyone seems friendly.  We were invited to another British couple’s home for a barbecue.  This was just before we were due to return to Sunny Beach to spend two more days before going home.  On this particular night, it rained and rained.  On arrival to my parents villa, I decided that I would stay dry by standing under the verandah whilst my partner spent a little time finding keys.  As I stepped up to the wet tiles in my leather soled shoes, I lost my footing and tumbled backwards on the heaped stones below.  Luckily, my head missed the edge of the verandah but my full body weight landed on my left arm.  I’m not ashamed to say that it was very painful and I may have screamed – a lot.  Somehow, my partner and my parents got me into the villa and then into the car to get me to an emergency hospital-which is where I am writing this now.  I have been here for over a week and have a compound fracture in my left arm and have had to have surgery to insert a titanium plate and some pins.  It will take some time for it to work as well as it did before.

    The doctors and nurses have treated us very well and we have had a ward to ourselves.  The Health System does seem different here and whilst many would think it to be primitive, I have not noticed many differences.  Yes there seems to be an emphases on efficiency rather than care, but as long as I heal nicely who am I to judge?

    Hopefully, I will be discharged tomorrow and then we’ll stay back at my mum’s villa until I need to come back to the hospital so that they can remove the stitches.  Then, will be able to arrange a fly home, when they agree that it would be safe to do so.  I of course hope to be home before this year’s Reading Pride festival.  Whilst I will not be able to wear one of my usual elaborate costumes, I hope to still attend and celebrate diversity within the Thames Valley.  As usual, we are already seeing all of the main political parties expressing their support to the fight against discrimination.  It is such a shame that they only do this just before the pride festival in the hope to secure the gay electorates vote.  I’m gay all year round so why should these parties only remember us as of the reading community at this time of year?  The current local administration does not appear to support the Reading Pride charity like they do other organisation.  I note with interest, that the Reading labour party have now set up a small blog to tell the reading electorate what they have done to support us members of society who happen to be gay and other things that they have done for us.  It is a shame that it contains inaccuracies.  As a LGBT campaigner, I chose the lib dems for the work and their record of fighting for equality.  Reading lib dems support my Ok 2B Gay campaign and as of yet, I still await a response of support from all other political parties.  The fight against homophobia in reading needs to be a cross party effort and should not be used each August for political point scoring.  Please visit my campaign website at www.ok2bgay.co.uk and helps inform readings community that it is OK to be Gay and for those teenagers who are finding it difficult come out to themselves as well as others, that it will get better in Reading.

    Even as members of the gay community, we have a responsibility to eliminate discrimination here in Reading.  I worry that the reasoning behind pride festivals has been lost.  Whilst it is nice to watch entertainment and enjoy a drink or two, there is an real reason why these festivals are occurring.  The gay rights movement is only a relatively new campaign for equality.  At the moment, we do not have full equality.  At times, I feel embarrassed to join the parade through the town centre shouting ogy ogy ogy, without a message or clear direction and it is my sincere hope that we discover and retain the real reason reason we are still fighting against discrimination.   Whether we like it or not, pride is a political event by its very existence and needs to be treated as such to prevent ridicule.

    I know that my words may seem a little harsh, but I wish to see this successful event rediscovering its intention, its values and its necessity within the the Reading events calendar before it becomes just another annual festival.  Knowing some of the organisers, I know that this should not happen.  All I ask is that we remember why we’re there.  There are still many countries where homosexuality is illegal and punishable by death.  Let’s not forget that.  There are still teenagers committing suicide throughout the world ’cause they believe there is something wrong with them.  Let’s not forget that.  There are still members of the UK government that believe that homosexuality is wrong.  Let’s not forget that.  There are still religions that teach that homosexuality is a sin.  Let’s not forget that.  Whilst these views exist, there is a need for pride.  So whilst we educate Reading, let’s educate ourselves.  A simple glance at the evening post website, shows some of the views and opinion held by commentators.  They do not understand the need for a parade, festival or protest.  They wonder where there heterosexual pride is and why all they see is a number of men dressed roughly as women.  We need to tell them and let them have the opportunity to question the answers that they receive.  They can only learn if we teach them.  I believe that blatant is better than latent and that is why I will be disappointed not to be wearing my new rainbow covered metallic dress to this year’s festival.  I’m proud to be gay and I’m proud to be a lib dem.

    I hope to see you all when I finally return to the UK.

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