<i>IoS</i> letters, emails & online postings (8 August 2010)

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I applaud David Cameron's professed commitment to gay equality ("A celebration – and a challenge for us all", 1 August). However, his government gives visas and work permits to Jamaican dancehall singers who advocate the murder of gay people, endorses the lifetime ban on gay and bisexual men donating blood, even if they test HIV-negative, and exempts religious organisations from aspects of the equality laws, which allows faith agencies to discriminate against lesbians and gay men. The real test for Mr Cameron is whether his government is prepared to abolish these remaining vestiges of homophobic discrimination.

Peter Tatchell


London SW14

In the 76 countries that still prosecute people on the grounds of their sexual orientation, gay men and lesbians are robbed of their rights and subjected to state-sanctioned harassment, imprisonment, corporal punishment and, in seven countries, the possibility of the death penalty. We urgently need a global movement to end this situation. Britain could take a first step by appointing a special ambassador to build international support for the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Joseph O'Reilly

Founder, Free & Equal

London WC2

It is always encouraging to see the increasing profile of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) members of society and more so the acknowledgement that LGB people are in all sectors of employment and work (The Pink List, 1 August), and positive role models for young LGB people. But young people attending our transgender and questioning youth project LGBTQ still face daily homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Life is different outside the metropolitan bubbles: LGBTQ youth projects struggle to survive year on year. Maybe some of the Top 100 on your Pink List can support those trying to support the young LGBTQ people of today.

Andy Fell

Outreach youth


I find your list of "eminent" homosexuals and lesbians ridiculous. Next, will you give us The Fat List? It seems just as reasonable (or idiotic) to be distinguished by size as by sexual practices.

Bernard Keir

London SW7

British Gas doubled its profits for the first six months of the year due to the coldest winter in 30 years and its high prices, while millions of poor and old people were too frightened to use their heating. Many died of cold-related illnesses, as statistics will show when published later this year. This continued profiteering at the expense of the poor and elderly is shameful.

Simon Icke

Aston Clinton, Buckinghamshire

David Miliband criticises David Cameron for the way he is conducting foreign policy, but what foreign policy achievements does Labour have to show for 13 years in power ("The PM should listen more and talk less", 1 August)?

There is Blair's slavish obedience to Bush, and the supine Labour MPs, including Mr Miliband, who voted for the war on Iraq that Bush wanted. There is the craven submission to China, which led to both the arrest of peaceful protesters and the awful sight of Chinese secret service goons parading the Olympic flame through London. There was the rehabilitation of Gaddafi, which led to the "deal in the desert", possibly concerning Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. Gordon Brown was equally content to be photographed in Gaddafi's tent. Labour was also happy to grovel in front of Saudi dictators, who deny women the rights we are allegedly fighting for in Afghanistan, and dealt with Pakistan's General Musharraf, also a dictator, as if he were a legitimate politician.

Labour politicians have no moral authority to lecture the present government on foreign policy.

Allan D Forrester

Kemnay, Inverurie

Fat kills ("Say 'fat', and stop the nation eating itself to death", 1 August). Being fat is caused by eating more calories than you use. Fat can be reduced by changes in diet and exercise. Now that death from smoking has been dramatically reduced, will UK society now turn attention to fat people and make them feel as uncomfortable and unwelcome as smokers?

Thomas Aikenhead

posted online

While I very much enjoyed Katy Guest's litany of praise for the North of England last week, her South appeared to consist entirely of London. Here in the West Country, we do not regard ourselves as southerners, any more than she would. She could even have a bath – in "Bahth". I couldn't write "Barth", as she does, because we pronounce our Rs. Why do people people who drop their Rs but pronounce their Hs look down upon the likes of us who drop our Hs but pronounce our Rs?

Patrick Caseley

Stowford Gate, Devon

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Letters to the Editor, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF; email: sundayletters@independent.co.uk (with address; no attachments, please); fax: 020 7005 2627; online: independent.co.uk/dayinapage/2010/August/8