Tuesday, July 05, 2016

NEWS: Verbal Gay Bashing, Australian Election, HIV Cases Rise in BC, Hillary Clinton, Gay Refugees, First LGBT Star Wars Character

Rhys Smith
Gay Man Films Homophobic Abuse on Packed Bus in Edinburgh, Scotland 
A gay man has revealed how he was homophobically abused on a bus in Scotland on Pride day. Rhys Smith, who works on the digital team at Scottish Widows, has posted a video of the moment the incident on a packed bus. Mr Smith pressed record on his mobile phone after a fellow passenger called him an a********e. The 23-year-old, from Edinburgh, kept filming as a heated argument broke out, culminating in retired passenger taunting 'you probably take it up the a********e'. Rhys, who describes himself as 'not the gayest of the gay', said he was sharing the footage to shame the 'stupid fool'. The incident is all the more shocking as it took place just hours after thousands had lined the streets of Edinburgh to celebrate the Pride event, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) festival. Although it is not clear what precisely triggers the argument, Rhys claims he could see the man abusing him out of the corner of his eye. READ MORE

Australia's Federal Election Sees Parliamentary Gains in Support for Marriage Equality
The big winner from Saturday’s election [July 2, 2016] was marriage equality. One of the biggest losers was the plebiscite on the issue. Before the election there was slim majority of MPs in favour of marriage equality. But now the majority is decisive – at least 81 MPs in favour according to the latest count, and that number could increase as more seats are decided. Most of the defeated Liberals were against the reform and have been replaced by Labor MPs who are for it. New Liberal faces like Tim Wilson will also be an asset in the Coalition party room. Marriage equality has lost a couple of key Liberal supporters like Wyatt Roy, but they have been replaced by MPs who also back marriage equality and, additionally, oppose a plebiscite. If a free vote was held tomorrow, marriage equality would sail through parliament. Credit goes to Australian Marriage Equality for running a smart marriage equality campaign in many of the key regional marginal seats where anti-equality advocates lost, especially in Tasmania where the swing was largest.

Increased Testing Reveals Cluster of New HIV Cases in North Okanagan, British Columbia
The number of confirmed cases of HIV is on the rise in the B.C. Interior, but health officials say that's a good thing, indicating that their push for more testing is working. According to the Interior Health Authority, between 10 and 20 new HIV diagnoses are made in the B.C. Interior each year. Nearly six months into 2016, the health authority has already confirmed between 10 and 12 cases. A third of these are in the north Okanagan. But IHA chief medical health officer Trevor Corneil says that doesn't necessarily indicate an outbreak of the virus. Rather, Corneil said increased testing through the IHA's Stop HIV program is revealing "hidden positives" that already existed. READ MORE

Hillary Clinton
Sources: Hillary Clinton Not Expected to Face Charges in Federal Email Probe
According to sources that are familiar with the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server, the former Secretary of State is not expected to face charges in the probe. This, according to CNN’s Senior Producer Edward Mejia Davis, who took to Twitter shortly ago to indicate the likely announcement of "no charges". While Republicans have sought to drag this story out into the news cycles surrounding the 2016 Presidential campaign cycle, Democrats are hoping for an expedited end to the investigation, just weeks ahead of the party’s national convention in Philadelphia.

Gay Iranian Refugees in Limbo After Istanbul Terrorist Attack 
Three gay refugees from Iran are unable to leave Turkey because of Tuesday’s terrorist attack at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport [June 28, 2016]. Arsham Parsi, founder of the Iranian Railroad for Queer Refugees, which helps Iranians who have fled their homeland because of anti-LGBT persecution seek asylum in Canada and other countries, told the Washington Blade on Thursday that the men were scheduled to fly from Istanbul to Toronto on July 4. Parsi, a gay man from the Iranian city of Shiraz, received refugee status from the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and has lived in Canada since 2006. He told the Blade during a telephone interview from Toronto that the three men fled Iran in 2013 and 2014 respectively because of anti-gay persecution. The Canadian government sponsored two of the refugees, while a private citizen sponsored the third. READ MORE

Drew Leinonen
Help Make Pulse Victim Drew Leinonen the First LGBT Star Wars Character
As a way of honouring Orlando shooting victim and Star Wars fan Drew Leinonen, his friend has started a petition for him to be the franchise’s first ever LGBT movie character. In an open letter to Lucasfilms and Disney, Joshua Yehl says “Drew was a beacon of positivity in Orlando, a force that brought people together. “He loved Star Wars, yes, but he also loved his friends and his family, and he was warm and welcoming to everyone he ever met.” Drew and his boyfriend Juan Ramon Guerrero were two of the 49 victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando, and coming home from his funeral, Yehl decided on a way to honour his friend’s memory. “He and I bonded over many things, but nothing brought us together like Star Wars.” READ MORE