Openly gay actor Sir Ian McKellen has posted an obituary to Margaret Thatcher (on his website) calling her ideology against gay marriage "hypocritical and now pointless," according to Gay Star News. In the obituary he expressed his anger at Thatcher passing Section 28 (which essentially prevented teachers from discussing LGBT issues), but praised UK charity Stonewall, which he co-founded to repeal Section 28 from parliament. McKellen added of Thatcher, "She dies too early to oppose parliament's inevitable acceptance of same-gender marriage."
Also, YouGov has released a poll reflecting the divisive nature of Margaret Thatcher's politics, which revealed that 6 percent of British people thought that Section 28, a law banning the "promotion" of homosexuality in schools, was her worst policy ever, according to Pink News. Thatcher, the first woman to become British prime minister, died at age 87 after suffering a stroke. In a 2011 Daily Mail item, Michael McManus wrote, "As a young, new MP in 1960, Margaret Thatcher had been one of a tiny minority of Tory MPs to support gay rights, but now she turned back the clock and gays became second-class citizens." In 1987, Thatcher's government introduced Section 28.
Someone in the Vatican is illegally downloading hardcore pornography featuring transgender stars, bondage and lesbians, according to Gay Star News. Discovered by Torrent Freak, a U.S. website that analyses file sharing, a number of films and pornographic clips were downloaded in the hub of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican is home to approximately 800 permanent residents, including the newly elected Pope Francis as well as priests, officials and security.
Gambia President Yahya Jammeh, speaking at the opening of the country's Parliament in Banjul, said that gay people are not allowed in the African country and, if caught, "will regret" being born, according to SDGLN.com . Jammeh said homosexuality is "satanic," "anti-God, anti-human and anti-civilization." In 2008, Jammeh promised to enact laws against homosexuality that would be "stricter than those in Iran," and that he would "cut off the head" of any gay or lesbian person discovered in the country.
In South Africa, Lunga Voko said he was brutally attacked and had a part of his right ear shot off for being openly gay, according to Gay Star News. Voko, 23, said a group of drunken men at a gas station began swearing at him from a car and began hurling gay slurs at him for wearing shorts. They then allegedly slapped him, attacked him with an iron rodand then shot Voko as he laid unconscious. Witnesses told Voko's family that men had pulled out his penis to see if it had been circumcised.
British singer Duncan James, of the boy band Blue, said that a female singer was upset that some people might believe a joke he made about her turning him gay, according to Pink News. James, 35, came out as bisexual in 2009 and dated musician Michelle Heaton a while back; he joked about his change in sexual orientation but Heaton reportedly said, "People are actually going to think that is the case." James added he wants to settle down, preferably with a man.
The Canadian Foreskin Awareness Project, which opposes the practice of circumcision, picketed Oprah Winfrey's recent appearance in Hamilton, Ontario, according to the New York Post. The activists were upset because Winfrey endorses an anti-aging cream called TNS Recovery Complex, which uses cells reproduced from human foreskin. The project also planned to protest subsequent stops by Winfrey in Ottawa and Montreal.
France is one step closer to allowing same-sex marriage and adoption after its senate approved a landmark bill to legalize marriage equality, the L.A. Times reported. Justice Minister Christiane Taubira, a supporter of the bill, said legalizing gay marriage and enshrining adoption rights "is an act of freedom, it is an act of equality, and it is an act of brotherhood." Polls have shown that a majority of the French support gay marriage, but are divided on granting adoption rights to partners of the same sex.
KFC Australia has been caught out censoring LGBTQI-related material on its in-store Wi-Fi network, according to Gizmodo Australia. The fast-food chain has said that it was a big accident, pointing the finger at category definitions within Norton's Wi-Fi platform. The issue was set to be corrected by April 16.
In her new autobiography, Amanda Knox says she endured relentless sexual harassment at the hands of senior prison guard Raffaele Argiro and fellow female inmates while in prison in Italy, according to the New York Daily News. (Argiro is now retired after initially being suspended from duty because of accusations he sexually assaulted another female prisoner.) Knox also says that one female inmate repeatedly offered to start a lesbian affair with the young American, frequently threatening and pressuring her, and that officials wrongly told Knox that she was HIV-positive. Knox served four years at the jail for the murder of her fellow exchange student roommate, Meredith Kercher, before she was cleared.
In England, the High Court has upheld a classroom ban on a Christian school teacher in southeast London who condemned the "homosexual lifestyle" in front of students, according to Pink News. Among other things, Robert Haye told a class of students aged 15-16 at Deptford Green School in Lewisham that gay people's lives were "disgusting" and a sin. Following his February 2010 comments, a teaching assistant complained and triggered an investigation; Haye was subsequently fired, but he appealed. Haye can apply to return to teaching after two years.
An LGBT portal is launching in the Ukraine, giving the former Soviet country an online hub for LGBT community events, information and activism for the first time, according to Gay Star News. The websitewhich the Elton John AIDS Foundation is fundingis bilingual (English and Russian) and features news, gay travel advice and lifestyle pieces, among other items. John performed a charity concert in the capital, Kyiv, last July and called for an end to persecution of sexual orientation and gender identity minorities.
A Global Forum on MSM & HIV study indicates that young men who have sex with men (MSM) around the world experience higher levels of homophobia, unstable housing, violence, and other factors that hinder access to HIV services, compared to older MSM, according to a press release. The policy brief reveals that only 33% of YMSM surveyed reported that low-cost condoms were easily accessible, and even lower percentages of younger MSM reported easy access to low-cost lubricants (18 percent). Also, only 38 percent of younger MSM living with HIV reported viral suppression, compared to 73 percent of older MSM.
In England, a man who set fire to three mentwo in the garden of a gay pubhas been detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act, Gay Star News reported. Mitchell Dean, 22, torched Russell Banks and Robert Laszewski as they stood outside the Rainbow and Dove pub in Leicester in October 2011. (Dean had set fire to friend David Chaplin days earlier.) Chaplin, who had been sharing a beer with Dean, said he rejected a kiss on the cheek from his friend, saying "he didn't feel that way."
In New Zealand, a jury in Christchurch found 28-year-old Gavin Gosnell guilty of murdering gay teenager Hayden Miles, according to Gay Star News. The 15-year-old's body was founded hacked into pieces in two graveyards. Foresic pathologist Dr. Martin Sage told the jury that bleeding on the brain after a heavy beating was the most likely cause of death. Gosnell will be sentenced in June.