Tag: plan

Priti Patel becomes an unlikely bottom rights advocate with plan to fully decriminalise the sale of poppers

Priti Patel becomes an unlikely bottom rights advocate with plan

The UK’s notoriously anti-LGBT home secretary Priti Patel is planning to fully decriminalise the sale of poppers.

Not usually known for liberal stances on anything, Patel confirmed on Wednesday that she is “minded” to explicitly exempt poppers from laws banning former ‘legal highs’.

Alkyl nitrites, popularly known as poppers, are sold in the UK as room odourisers but are commonly inhaled recreationally. The drugs are particularly popular among gay men, both as a party high and because they relax the anal sphincter muscles for anal sex.

Plans to ban poppers were put forward in 2016 by then-home secretary Theresa May as part of a crackdown on ‘legal high’ drugs, but the drugs were confirmed to be exempt from the law after a revolt from gay Tory MPs.

At the time, the technical exemption was made on the basis that the drugs only have an “indirect” psychoactive effect – but subsequent legal rulings have cast doubt over whether they are sufficiently cleared from impact by the legislation.

Priti Patel is ‘minded to explicitly exempt’ poppers from blanket drugs ban

On Wednesday, Patel requested advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs on carving out a more explicit exemption from drug laws for poppers, in a letter setting out “the Government’s priorities for the ACMD work programme commissioned for the next three years.”

In the letter, first reported by the BBC, the lifelong opponent of LGBT+ rights noted the use of drugs “by homosexual men as an aid to sex.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel
Home Secretary Priti Patel (Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

She wrote: “The lawfulness of the supply of poppers is [currently] uncertain. I am minded to remove this uncertainty by explicitly exempting poppers from the 2016 Act.

“I would seek the ACMD’s advice on an exemption. My officials will work with you to provide more detail on the proposed wording of an exemption as you consider the issue.”

The issue is listed as the lowest priority of those outlined, which also includes a request for an investigation into cocaine use by young men, and “advice and analysis of trends in drug trafficking on the dark net”.

Poppers are not addictive, but ‘excessive’ use can have long-term problems

A 2019 study of poppers use in Australia concluded that there is little evidence to suggest they are in any way addictive or detrimental to mental health.

The research by the University of Technology in Sydney, which involved 800 gay and bisexual men, found that the drug does not show “typical dependency characteristics, including health, social, legal and financial problems, and no correlation between popper use and mental health or psychological stress.”

Although poppers may not be addictive, they are not without some long-term health risks and should be used sparingly.

Poppers increase blood pressure which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. If inhaled excessively, the chances of a drop in blood pressure and fainting are higher, along with vomiting and struggling to breathe. Studies have also indicated that they could cause other lasting damage to your eyesight, sexual performance and immune system.

COVID-19 won’t stop Pride as LGBTQ plan digital celebrations

COVID-19 won't stop Pride as LGBTQ plan digital celebrations

Photo via Proud Parenting Family Photo Gallery

Three months into 2020, more than 220 Pride celebrations scheduled worldwide have been forced to cancel or postpone due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, with rights coming under threat in various places and exacerbated by the virus outbreak, organizers are finding innovative ways of reaching out to their communities to provide alternative spaces online to celebrate. 

InterPride and the European Pride Organisers Association announced they’re working with international LGBTQ organizations to present Global Pride 2020, a live-streamed festival scheduled for Saturday, June 27. This means the event will be accessible regardless of disability, location, or socioeconomic status. Anyone with an internet connection will be able to participate. For many Pride events around the world, this level of accessibility will be a first.

“LGBT people around the world are insanely resilient, but they face isolation every day in their life,” says J. Andrew Baker, co-President of Interpride, the international association of Pride organizers. “One of the challenges we find today is that LGBT people are even more isolated.” To overcome that isolation, the world’s biggest international Pride networks, Interpride and the European Pride Organisers Association, are organizing a “Global Pride” to be celebrated online on June 27. Global Pride organizers are planning a 24-hour live streamed event, including remote contributions from international Prides, speeches from human rights activists, workshops with activists and high-profile performers yet to be confirmed. 

via Time

For many, Pride is much more than a one-off party or day-long festival. It’s an opportunity for people who may not be “out” publicly to feel comfortable, surrounded by others in their community. The Pride movement emerged after the Stonewall Riots in 1969, and some Prides today have carried on that tradition of protest, using events as an opportunity to connect with other marginalized communities. “It’s become the cornerstone of LGBTQ communities,” says Jed Dowling, the festival director of Dublin LGBTQ Pride. “It’s our Patrick’s Day, it’s our 4th of July, it’s a symbol of everything that was achieved through the year.” This year, activists around the world were planning major celebrations, from Dublin, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2015, to Zurich, where a recent vote backed proposals to make discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity illegal.

How to plan an international trip in 10 easy steps

How to plan an international trip in 10 easy steps

Okay, this is the less interesting part. But if you are planning an international trip, you need to take care of these important things. So just get it over with!

A. Do you have a valid passport?

If you don’t have one, make sure you get one in time.

Check if your passport is valid until at least 6 months after your return home.

B. Do you need a visa for your travel destination?

Many countries require you to have a visa before you can enter the country. Visa requirements vary from country to country.

Check if your destination requires a visa, and what the conditions are to get approved. What you need to do to get one.

Get your visa in time! It might be quite a hassle, so start your application soon.

C. Do you need to get vaccinations before you leave?

For some destinations, they encourage it to get certain vaccinations and for other countries certain vaccinations are compulsory.

This website has an overview of all countries and the vaccinations you need.

D. Will your debit/credit card work while abroad?

Check your banking app or dashboard to see if your debit and credit card work abroad. Check how much commission you have to pay for transactions and ATM withdrawals abroad.

We noticed our bank wanted a big extra for each ATM withdrawal and store transaction abroad, so we got some travel cards, which ended up to save us a lot of money! Plus, it is always good to have an option B if option A fails. (Which happened to us multiple times)

E. Will there be extra costs for your using your smartphone?

You need to check how expensive calls become if you use your phone abroad. Don’t forget to check the price of your data.

We used to turn roaming off to avoid extra costs.

When staying in a country for a lengthy period you might consider getting a local sim card. So if your phone is a dual sim, this is probably the best option.

Most accommodations offer free wifi so you can use Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype or something else to keep in touch with home base.

F. Contact the right people and agencies of your international trip

Do you have any pets? Ensure that someone takes care of them.

Apart from family and friends, there may still be a few agencies that should know your departure, certainly if you leave for a longer period. For example, think of your bank, your insurance, your healthcare, etc.