As first featured on Attitude.co.uk
‘Boulevard’ review | Robin Williams searches for love and happiness in final ever film role
As a closeted older man wrestling with an inner turmoil, Robin Williams’ final role is laced with tragic irony.
“So you wanna touch me or what?”
Nolan Mack is the 60-year-old man who falls for scrawny-but-adorable trick Leo. Boulevard is the story of leading life as a lie, until that lie takes its toll – and is no longer bearable. It’s also the last movie Robin Williams filmed before he took his life.
Robin plays the aforementioned Nolan, the low-level banker and married man who since the age of 12 has been suppressing that urge to look at the hot guy on the beach in his oh-so-sexy shorts. The movie tangos between Nolan’s middle American life with wife Joy and a new-found love with the cute Roberto Aguire’s Leo.
The quote above is uttered by Leo, who is paid by Nolan not for sex, but for a long-craved-for romantic entanglement. Speaking before he died, Robin Williams described the movie as having a painful beauty. “There are a lot of unfulfilled relationships in this movie. This story reminds us of how difficult it is to find fulfillment” he said, adding that when Nolan is with Leo, it’s not about the sex, it is about realising what his life has been missing – a romance with another man.
As first featured in the Guardian
Co Production: Cassie Galpin, Jamie Wareham and Peter Walker
The Islamic students’ society at the London university attended by the militant known as Jihadi John is dominated by hardline, ultra-conservative believers who refuse to speak with female Muslim staff members, according to an independent report into inclusion among students at the institution.
Complaints about the conduct of the University of Westminster Islamic society, some from other Muslims, tended to be ignored or underplayed because staff and student unions officials were worried about appearing Islamophobic, found the inquiry.
Members of the society itself acted as “apostles of a self-contained faith, concerned very largely with matters of religious orthodoxy and perceived heresy”, according to the four-strong inquiry panel, who included the historian Lord Kenneth Morgan and Fiyaz Mughal, a former adviser to Nick Clegg on interfaith matters.
Their report found university officials tacitly tolerated a “sometimes hostile or intimidatory” attitude to women on the campus, calling this “totally unacceptable”. Islamic society committee members would refuse to engage with female Muslim staff, the panel were told, obliging these to seek help from male colleagues to communicate with the group.
Westminster commissioned the report into its balance between free speech and diversity in the wake of concerns about extremism on its campuses, including the revelation in February that the British Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi was a graduate of the university.
Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, was named as the masked figure who appeared in a series of Isis videos in which British, US and other hostages were beheaded.
With a new poll showing that many young people still think it’s acceptable to use many gay slurs, Jamie Wareham of Student Pride asks – should we be reclaiming language that has the power to hurt so much?
A BBC Newsbeat survey has shown that nearly half of 18-29 year-olds still think its OK to use the phrase ‘that’s gay’. It also shows 34% think faggot, a word long steeped in hate, is also OK to use, despite 75% of the respondents being offended by it.
One way the LGBT community has responded to homophobic language is by taking words used against us, and making them ours. One group that is renowned for proudly reclaiming words that were used to demonise LGBT people is Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners.
After the Sun Newspaper called the LGSM perverts during the miners strikes in the eighties, the group held a ‘Pits and Perverts’ fundraising gig – which was massively successful.
Jonathan Blake, original LGSM member and one of the first people to be diagnosed with HIV in London, is a massive advocate of reclaiming language.
Jonathan prefers to use the term queer, rather than faggot. Continue reading
Media appearance on BBC Newsbeat to discuss context of language, offense and how this relates to homophobic language.
Also appeared on BBC News 24, Victoria Derbyshire show and BBC Newsbeat. See series here
This article first appeared on sosogay.co.uk
University is known for being the ultimate place to explore freedom, sexuality and identity whether that means going out in outrageous outfits, dancing the night away or dying your hair bright pink. It should also be a safe place to be open about being LGBT.
Unfortunately, the reality on campus is not as easy as its reputation would lead you to believe. A report by NUS LGBT shows that 1 in 5 students face homophobia, and 1 in 3 face transphobia. Though incidents of violence appear to be relatively rare, it appears that verbal bullying and name calling are almost common place.
That’s why events like National Student Pride are so important. Robbie Young, an NUS LGBT officer, says students are the best resource in fighting LGBT-phobia on campus.
This year National Student Pride celebrates its tenth year. Continue reading