News

Aurora at PrideFest

Aurora and other groups' banners being carried in the PrideFest paradeOn 28 August 2016, Aurora took part in Croydon PrideFest, the first Pride event for many years in Croydon, and was then one of the groups featured in the "Croydon LGBT groups" stall in Surrey Street.


Aurora launches hate crime leaflet

David Palmer and Ilona Kytomaa with the Aurora stallOn 20 April 2016, Aurora launched its new LGBT hate Crime leaflet, at the "Tackling Hate Crime in Croydon" event in Croydon Town Hall.

The picture shows David Palmer, Chair of Croydon, and Ilona Kytomaa of Croydon Council, with the new Aurora display. The display, like the leaflet prominently features our new "Stop the hate" logo, shown below


Warning to local Grindr users

Grindr logoCroydon police have received reports of gay or bi men in Croydon fixing a hookup over Grindr. In each case they met in the victim’s home. The stories vary but they involve burglary and serious violence. If you have any information phone 101 to speak to the police or 020 7704 2040 to speak to Galop. Galop has been ‘policing the police’ and doing third-party reporting for gay/bi men for decades see www.galop.org.uk. And please pass on the warning to other guys in Croydon.

For more information see the police press release.


Aurora in the park and the town centre

The Aurora stallOn Saturday 20 June 2015, Aurora took part in a fun day in the Beaulieu Heights park, South Norwood, organised by the Metropolitan Police.

Picture from the article in the Croydon Guardian.

On the same day, Aurora was included with other local LGBT organisations in a stall in Croydon town centre for the Croydon Heritage Festival. The displays remained on show in the Whitgift Centre for the following week.


IDAHO 2015

Croydon's event for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in 2015 took place in Bernard Wetherill house on 16 May. It included a tribute to our local LGBT police liaison officers, celebrating their work in preventing and combatting LGBT hate crime.


LGBT Hate Crime figures soar

LGBT hate crime figures have fallen dramatically over recent years as the criteria for flagging a hate crime have changed. But the summary of LGBT hate crime incidents, over the previous six months, presented in Aurora’s November meeting indicated that the numbers were back to the level of five years ago, in spite of the changed flagging policy. It is not clear whether this is a serious trend, or whether the figures are now as meaningless as the Borough Commander said, in February 2014, that they were.


Trans Day of Remembrance 2014

Croydon’s Trans Remembrance event was held in the Central Library, this year, on Saturday 22 November, where the table with lilies and brief details had been displayed all week.

Paula of TransPALS, Fr Geoffrey, Rev Art LesterWe met in the Clocktower Café from 1pm.

At 2pm, the vigil for those murdered for being transgender was held on the first floor of the Central Library.

The names of those murdered in the past twelve months were read out, and those present filed past to light candles and lay them on the table, each candle in memory of one, named individual. The names were read by Geoffrey Thompson (St Stephens Thornton Heath) and Art Lester (Croydon Unitarians).

This was followed by a minute’s silence.

By the memorial outsideAfter the ceremony in the Library we went outside and laid flowers at a memorial which had been constructed for the occasion.

And finally there was a social time and buffet in Croydon Museum, with projected images compiled for this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance.

Two months before, spring bulbs had been planted as a living memorial to the victims. This year they were planted at St Stephens. And some local churches displayed white lilies in commemoration of the event on Sunday 23rd.

In memory of the people murdered for being transgender Projected images and the social time

Details of this and other Trans Remembrance events in the UK are at www.TDoR.org.uk.


IDAHO 2014

For the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Aurora, together with other LGBT groups and local churches, took part in the "One Love" event in Croydon town centre. For more about the event, see the IDAHO 2014 page on the LGBT Croydon website.


LGBT History Month 2014

Aurora again took part in the LGBT History Month events in February 2014


Tenth Birthday

Aurora is ten years old this May. Throughout the month we visited meetings of the other LGBT organisations in Croydon and gave everyone an Aurora pen, a piece of birthday cake (or fruit), the Aurora leaflet and an update on recent projects. We involved far more people by going out and visiting other groups than by asking them to come and celebrate with us, and people reacted very well to being given something rather than just being told about worthy causes and activities.

Some of the 10th birthday pensMembers had worked at a CAGS "Lick and Stick" evening to update the Aurora leaflet with sticky labels and to create the Aurora pens with Aurora’s own inserts. Several non-members joined in. So the exercise was remarkably successful in reminding LGBT people of what we do in their name.

Many, more prestigious LGBT organisations disappear within five years. Aurora has remained active largely because our local police are concerned to keep us there. They have maintained some very dedicated LGBT liaison officers and continued to send a police representative to almost every meeting over ten years. Aurora raises community concerns, disseminates information and works to reduce our common problems.


IDAHO 2013

The Aurora stall at IDAHO 2013We exhibited with half a dozen local churches and half a dozen local LGBT groups in the event for IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, in North End in the morning of Saturday 18th May.

For more details, and more photos, see the IDAHO 2013 page on LGBT Croydon.


Funding for Galop

We’ve made great use of Galop’s green booklets on the rights and wrongs of PSE use, so much so that Galop had been unable to replace them. However we managed to find Galop a couple of funding sources which were used to fund a new set of shorter, more concise booklets, and some of the work on Operation Nutmeg.


Operation Nutmeg

Gay man? Have the police asked you for DNA samples? See the advice on Operation Nutmeg from the Galop website, and ACPO’s new guidance. Aurora is waiting for comment from Croydon Division. For more information see Pink News.


Croydon marks Trans Day of Remembrance

On 17th November, the Saturday before the International Trans Day of Remembrance, Croydon Trans Group joined with Aurora at 8pm to for a remembrance ceremony and social gathering at St Stephen’s Church Norbury and Thornton Heath. For details see www.TDoR.org.uk under "2012 - Croydon".


David Kay steps down as Croydon's Liaison Officer

Aurora members were sad to hear that PCSO David Kay had stepped down from his role as Croydon's LGBT Police Liaison Officer. David took over this role in early 2007, and was a very active and dedicated Liaison Officer. With the Met's new emphasis on "total policing" it is likely that we will not have a dedicated LGBT Liaison Officer in future, although there is clearly a continuing need for Liaison Officers in some form. David had shown a great deal of enthusiasm and commitment in his work. We shall miss him greatly.


IDAHO and PSEs

For IDAHO we spent an afternoon engaging users of a local PSE and distributing leaflets.


Daffodils

The background to the Aurora website in April/May 2012 showed daffodils in a lawn. They were planted at the front of the Unitarian Church, on the Flyover, to brighten up the centre of Croydon as part of the celebration on the International Transgender Day of Remembrance (20th October 2011). The Transgender Day of Remembrance is celebrated each annually in memory of the people who had been murdered in the previous year for being transgendered.


Shooshh

In December 2011 a local press article published a story that the popular Shooshh nightclub had ejected a gay couple for kissing. Our LGBT liaison officer, PSCO David Kay went to the club and met one of the couple, who insisted that he had been treated absolutely fairly, and that he, not Shoosh had been out of order.


LGBT History Month

Croydon Celebrates LGBT HistoryCroydon's LGBT groups once again celebrated LGBT History Month in February 2011. The events included a special LGBT police question time with the Borough Commander in the Council Chamber, Croydon Town Hall (organised by Crocus and supported by Aurora). Aurora was also amongst the groups featured in a month-long display in Croydon Library

See www.lgbt-croydon.org.uk/lgbthm for more details and photos.


Aurora holds its Annual General Meeting

Aurora held its 2010 AGM at Croydon Town Hall as part of the normal November Main Meeting. Community Members were elected unopposed as Community Representative, , Deputy Community Reprsentative, Treasurer and Webmaster. There had been no nomination for Administrator, but the Treasurer agreed to continue to act in this capacity.


Black History Month

Croydon Celebrates Black HistoryAurora members were involved in the events celebrating Black LGBT History, as part of Black History Month, October 2010.

See www.lgbt-croydon.org.uk/blackhm.


Cruising issues

During 2010, Aurora's Cruising Working Party has been consulting discreetly on issues affecting a local cruising ground. Contact us if you have any information or comments.


Spotlight PSE Group

In early 2010 Aurora found that some hate crime problems Croydon was having with its cruising grounds were also occurring across London, as they were across the country. As a result, it worked with Galop, to form an independent London-wide forum to include professionals and LGBT consultation groups to share strategies to reduce hate crime.


LGBT History Month 2010

Croydon celebrates LGBT History Aurora members, and our local LGBT Liaison Officers, took part in events to celebrate LGBT History Month in Febrary 2010. See www.lgbt-croydon.org.uk/lgbthm.


Trans Day of Remembrance 2009

The London event for the 2009 Trans Day of Remembrance took place on the 21st of November in Gower Street.


Aurora AGM – new officers elected

Aurora held its 2009 AGM on the 10th of November at Croydon Town Hall. Three candidates were all elected unopposed to fill the five vacancies for officers. More volunteers would be welcome.


London Pride 2009

For the first time, Aurora was represented at London Pride 2009.


IDAHO 2009

For IDAHO 2009, we celebrated 26 transgendered people who had been murdered during the previous year.


Inquiry into the murder of Kellie Telesford

Picture of Kellie TelesfordApril 16th 2009 a meeting took place in Croydon police station to review concerns about the investigation into the murder of Kellie Telesford.

In the event two representatives of the Serious Crime Unit attended, and Lesley Burton, who heads the Crown Prosecution Service. Several civilians attended, and all those who requested a place were able to attend (even one for whom no place had been reserved because we'd forgotten to include his name).


Forced Marriage

Forced marriage poster A new law to prevent forced marriages comes into force today, 25th November 2008. It also protects those who have already fallen victim.

Anyone trying to force someone into marriage risks up to two years in prison.

There is a new Forced Marriage Protection Order. A victim, a friend or the police can apply for one. It will forbid families from actions such as taking people abroad for marriage, seizing passports or intimidating victims.

Lesbian and gay people have been deeply affected by forced marriage or the fear of it. But until today it has only been a policing matter where other offences or other policing issues involved.

But most victims will be afraid to use the legislation, and the government has taken very positive steps to support them. (See the page on Forced Marriage.)

BBC news article


Internet Dating Attack in Streatham

The Pink Paper published a report of a conviction for an attack that nearly left the victim dead in a burning house. More


Transgender Day of Remembrance

The TS candleSunday, 23rd November 2008
Dragon Hall, Stukeley Street, Covent Garden

An opportunity to remember, mourn and celebrate trans lives lost to violence or suicide.

The Transgender day of Remembrance is an opportunity for trans people, their friends, families and allies to come together in a safe space to reflect on those trans people who have lost their lives through violence or suicide because they are trans. It is a time to remember, mourn and celebrate them and to tell their stories so they are not forgotten. More


New LGBT liaison officers

Croydon Division has committed to have 20 trained LGBT liaison officers, evidence of the commitment to LGBT people in Croydon. By November 2008 18 of them had completed their training.


Mark Gore moves on

Commander Mark GoreOur Borough Commander is moving on after over three years. He looks back over what has been achieved in Croydon over this time, and outlines hand-over arrangements. More


Proposal to close Aurora

A motion was put to close Aurora permanently. Some Aurora members wanted this. The result was defeated on September 9th.


Kellie Telesford - accused not guilty

The 18-year-old Shanniel Hyatt, accused of strangling transsexual Kellie Telesford, was found not guilty today, August 14th.

More about Kellie Telesford...


Call for nominations

In November 2008 Aurora elects new officers. Aurora may well not continue if there are not enough people to fill the posts.

Please consider volunteering.


Kellie Telesford Murder Trial Begins

Shanniel Hyatt, who was 17 at the time, was accused of getting angry in Kellie's Thornton Heath flat, when he discovered that she was transsexual, of strangling her and stealing items including her Oyster card, which he used to get the bus home.

Hyatt denies the accusation and claims that Kellie was alive when he left her.


GBL website

Jay Evans, a GHB addict, has launched a campaign and a new website, www.knowGBL.org.uk, to criminalise sale of GBL, which is now easily available over the Internet and widely used on gay clubs. It is often believed to be a 'safe' drug alternative. Ingesting it produce GHBs. The website contains a petition to Downing Street. Article from Pink News c June 4th 2008. [Note the website seems since to have disappeared].


IDAHO 2008

On May 17th 2008, IDAHO, the International Day Against HOmophobia, Aurora spoke to people at the Bird in Hand about LGBT crimes against them.


Aurora's 5th birthday

On May 6th 2008, we look back on over a dozen achievements.


Arson attack

In February 2008 the 20-year-old Sonny Lockwood was sentenced to ten years in prison for an arson attack in January 2006 on the home of a gay couple, in the estate where he had made so many other people's lives miserable.


YouTube kiss video - School Bullying

A 15-year-old suspected of forcing two schoolboys to kiss while filming them has been arrested and bailed by police. Footage of two St Joseph's College students kissing appeared on YouTube. It showed the boys being forced to kiss each other on their knees. It is understood the pupils were accosted on their way home from the college in Beulah Hill, Upper Norwood. The suspect was arrested on February 1 on suspicion of attempted robbery, false imprisonment and outraging public decency.


Murder of Kellie Telesford

In November 2007 we heard that Kellie Telesford had been murdered in Thornton Heath.

More about Kellie Telesford...


New LGBT Liaison Officer

It's official! Our new LGBT Liaison Officer is David Kay. David is to be our first full-time LGBT liaison officer, and as he is a Police Community Liaison Officer he will not be called away on other duties as our last officer was.


Murder Review

The Independent LGBT Advisory Group to the Met has published a review of the investigations of some gay murders from recent years.


IDAHO May 17th 2007

At 7pm in our usual meeting in the Town Hall we had a short ceremony for IDAHO, the International Day Against Homophobia.

It was nothing like the previous year's event. It was short and sweet. But not silent!

See IDAHO


Condom danger

In January 2007, the London Paper reported that a health warning has been issued after fake condoms hit high street shelves. Experts said packets of "Durexx Gossamer" - fake copies with an extra "x" - seized by trading standards officers could spell disaster for lovers. The fakes are copies of a variety of condoms made by the well-known brand Durex.


WANTED!

More lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to get involved.

Aurora is tiny - we need you.

We're making a big effort to get more people involved.

  • Perhaps you want only to join the mailing list.
  • You can join just to raise just one issue.
  • We specially need more women and more black and ethnic minority people.
  • You can join in by e-group, you don't have to attend meetings.

To do any of these, e-mail info@aurora-croydon.org.uk or phone 07733 286954).


Aurora at Brighton Pride

The Croydon stall at Brighton PrideAurora shared a stall at Brighton Pride with CAGS and other local LGBT organisations.


Good news for Asylum Seekers

Aurora is helping lesbian and gay asylum seekers keep within the law.

It's hard for lesbians and gay men who've escaped persecution by the authorities in their own country to tell the authorities here the real reason they were persecuted.

Our authorities tend to distrust claims based on sexuality: anyone can say they are gay.

Sexuality is seen very different in other cultures. But very western ideas are used to decide that an applicant is not gay. They have included the number of children the applicant has and whether the applicant knows who Barbra Streisand is.

The Home Office's research on danger zones around the world is out-of-date compared with other government departments. So people often get sent back to torture, rape and murder, because official records of atrocities don't exist yet.

So genuine lesbian and gay asylum seekers often decide to 'disappear'.

information for those affected.

0207 620 6010
Tue Wed Thur - office hours
admin@uklgig.org.uk
www.uklgig.org.uk

Asylum poster

Aurora has just managed to get multilingual posters telling asylum seekers the helpline number of the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group. This provides advice and the specialist legal support to which they are entitled and which is necessary to make a valid application. it is also the gateway to other services that are properly provided for them.

This will help more people to make valid applications and it will save time wasted when the grounds of asylum are changed late in the process. But we intend that fewer genuine asylum seekers will 'disappear', to work illegally, become vulnerable to criminal exploitation and blackmail and be denied access to essential services, including the police and justice system.


Cruising incident

At the March Aurora meeting the Police told us of an incident that began in a cruising ground in Croydon. It ended with one man threatening the other with a knife in an attempt to steal his car. The incident was significant in that it occurred after they had had sex together.

There have been similar events in other cruising grounds where someone robs or assaults a cruiser after having had sex. This gives them the advantage of gaining the confidence of the victim. The moral does not need stating.


Holocaust memorial day

Aurora members participated in Croydon's Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration in 2006.

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