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The Oxford queer community has organised a kiss-in at The Cellar nightclub on Thursday 5th March, in response to homophobic abuse experienced by two gay students at last week’s hip hop night.The two students, who have requested to be identified only by their first names, Sacha and Josh, were reportedly asked to leave by a bouncer, after they were seen kissing on the dancefloor. A man attending the club on the same night head-butted Josh, after yelling homophobic insults at the couple.However, Tim Hopkins, the Venue Manager at The Cellar, denied allegations that a bouncer had asked the students to leave, telling Cherwell, “We are sorry this happened and disgusted at the homophobic man’s verbal abuse and alleged physical actions. We won’t tolerate this sort of attack. The great thing about The Cellar is [that] it’s for everyone.“I would also like to make it clear the security didn’t ask them to leave. They did get the other man to leave. The homophobic incident was from a member of the public and not involving any Cellar staff. Yes, the security had to deal with the incident the best they could, and maybe mistakes were made.”The Queer kiss-in was organised by the Oxford University LGBTQ Society Committee. Rowan Davis, the society’s Trans rep and member of its committee, explained, “Kiss-ins have a long and proud history in queer activism, allowing LGBTQIA people to occupy and control spaces otherwise denied to them. Clubs are a political space for marginalised groups and this event will allow us to stand in solidarity with those affected by anti-queer violence in Oxford.”Davis continued in support of the kiss-in, “This is exactly the sort of participatory, non-violent direct action we should be encouraging, and I hope it sends a message loud and queer that the actions of those that oppress us are not going to stop us from being who we are and where we want to be.”Sacha also spoke in support of the organised kiss-in, saying, “It’s a fun event, which will bring together many different people. It’s also a forceful response, but framed in a very friendly, gentle way. It’s quite ostentatious – but the point is not to hide. ” He continued to praise the wider LGBTQ community’s reaction to the abuse he faced on Thursday 26th February, saying, “The people who responded to my Facebook post [on the LGBTQ reps Facebook group, recounting the homophobia in Cellar] have been extremely supportive. I always felt that my welfare was their priority. The LGBTQ community is made up of very different people, but it really felt very united in that moment.”The incident has been reported to the police, who have documented it as a homophobic crime. They are conducting an investigations into Cellar’s policy, as well as the alleged assaulter. Cellar’s management has also met with the victims, and has stated its commitment to ensuring that both staff and clubbers are aware that The Cellar should be an inclusive space for all.The Cellar has informed Cherwell that “the changes we are making to hopefully make The Cellar feel safe again for gay people” are to “reiterate our policy to all our Bar staff and security team” and to “install a better camera in the side bar”.The Venue Manager further commented, “People are allowed to kiss in The Cellar no matter what sex they are. If anyone is homophobic, they should leave or keep their views to themselves. Staff should keep an eye and an ear out for this sort of abuse.”The kiss-in was held on the same evening as student night Supermarket, co-run by Lu Williams and Annie Teriba. Teriba told Cherwell, “Being somebody who organises club nights at Cellar, I was saddened to hear what happened that evening. The rest of the team share the sentiment. We immediately contacted the manager at Cellar to talk about our future there, and had a meeting with him on Monday. We weren’t happy with the club’s response and stressed that Cellar have a duty to protect LGBTQ+ people from queerphobic abuse.“He had barred the man who attacked the students and is speaking to security staff to make sure that there isn’t a repeat. We will push for Cellar to take up the Good Night Out pilot being put together by the LGBTQ Campaign and WomCam.“Knowing what it feels like to be harassed and attacked for daring to defy what is expected by cis-heteropatriarchal norms, I’m really glad that the LGBTQ Society has organised a kiss-in which we will support in any way we can. [I] think this is a reminder that, while queer clubs are incredibly important for our community, we must continue to fight to make all clubs queer friendly. We will not accept being tucked away in a corner and we will not let our queerness be policed.”The Oxford University LGBTQ Society President, Otamere Guobadia, commeted, “When we came up with this Queer kiss-in we envisioned it as romance meets resistance: a disruption of heteronormative status quo. I think that when we queer spaces like this we reframe the narrative about the presumed normality of straightness. “I think that the incident speaks not only to the necessity of queering straight spaces and opening them up to difference, but to the necessity of queer spaces in general. “We are not in a post-patriarchal world. Minorities are still very much prone to violence, and even in the most liberal of spaces, patriarchy pervades, and masquerades itself as inclusivity and neutrality. Yes, it is a powerful thing to disrupt and challenge heteronormativity in this way, but it is a wonderful thing to feel that ones love and expressions of romance can be depoliticised, that expressions of romance can just be. Queer spaces provide for normalisation of experience, an elimination of the violence and finger pointing, that queer people are not afforded in straight spaces.” read more
(ESPNCricinfo) – IPL 2020 is likely to be postponed indefinitely owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is understood that the BCCI has not set a new window yet for the tournament which was to be held between March 29 and May 24.The decision to postpone the IPL was discussed by the BCCI’s top brass, including Sourav Ganguly (president), Jay Shah (secretary), Brijesh Patel (IPL chairman) over a conference call yesterday evening. Also taking part in the call were Arun Dhumal (BCCI treasurer) and Hemang Amin (IPL chief operating officer).ESPNcricinfo understands the BCCI will formally announce their decision after convening a meeting of the IPL Governing Council this week.This is the second time the BCCI has been forced to defer the IPL. Last month, after the Indian government had put the country in a three-week lockdown, the board pushed the start date of the tournament back to April 15.Yesterday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of India’s lockdown until May 3, even as all domestic and international travel in and out of India continued to remain blocked. This made it apparent that the IPL had to be put off indefinitely.Although it was preparing for this scenario for some time, the BCCI had also been optimistic about conducting a month-long IPL with the final scheduled on the first week of June. Also as part of its contingency planning, the BCCI was looking into staging all the matches behind closed doors in the same city or state.All those plans had to be pushed to the backburner after a spike in coronavirus infections around the country. As of yesterday, over 11 000 people had tested positive for the disease in India with deaths inching closer to the 400-mark.With several restrictions put in place by the government in terms of social distancing and travel bans, and overseas players unable to participate with their own countries under lockdown, the BCCI was left with little choice but to put off the IPL.This leaves the tournament’s stakeholders, including the players, facing a big setback. At the auction last December, a total 62 players were bought by the eight franchises who spent INR 140.30 crores. Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins became the most expensive overseas buy in IPL’s history after Kolkata Knight Riders bought him for INR 15.5 crores.Neither Cummins, nor any of the other IPL players will receive any money until the tournament actually takes place. As per the norm, franchises make payment in two instalments: the first a week before the tournament starts and the rest after the season is over.The franchises, too, will feel the pinch as they rely heavily on the IPL’s commercial revenue, which also includes broadcast rights which were bought by Star India for a record sum for a five-year period in 2017. Every franchise, since then, was assured a minimum share worth INR 150 crores. read more
Dear Editor,The despicable behaviour of the attorney-at-law who described himself to the Traffic Police as “Ryan f#@king Crawford” is a great disgrace to the legal profession. He used his power to abuse this Police officer, who was just doing his duty.When I looked at the video, I was moved by this attorney’s behaviour, because this man represents law and order and he refused to submit himself to a Police officer who represents the traffic laws. This lawyer refused to surrender his driver’s licence, and used a ton of expletives (cuss words) on the Police officer before driving away. A learned lawyer of his esteem should have conducted himself better, but he used his office to abuse his power by cussing out and insulting this Police officer. We have a law here about tinted windscreens; also, in my opinion, it’s a traffic officer’s duty to stop any suspected vehicle and ask for documents.In my opinion, that lawyer had no legal right to cuss the Police officer, even if the officer failed to answer his questions properly. The lawyer should have produced his documents and speak in a more professional manner. It tells me clearly that this man, who represents law and order, violated the laws of the land, and he should be disciplined for his actions.He owes this Police officer an apology. The new Police Commissioner ought to do something about this; also the Ombudsman and Minister of Public Security.Our society has fallen morally, spiritually and academically, and we lack love and respect for each other. We must conduct ourselves with discipline, dignity and morality, which are key to our success.I conclude this missive with quotations from John Maxwell and Gandhi:”It’s true that charisma can make a person stand out for a moment, but character sets a person apart for a lifetime” – John C. Maxwell.”Keep your thoughts positive, because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive, because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive, because your behaviour becomes your habit. Keep your habits positive, because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive, because your values become your destiny” – Mahatma GandhiIt is my sincere hope that this letter would inspire the Police officer and the lawyer to conduct themselves better, in excellence of character in our society. May God help us all.Regards,Rev Gideon Cecil read more