Editor’s Words: June 2011

‘FIRST MAN CURED OF HIV’ – such a headline of course caught my eye as I perused the various websites the other day. This was not a vaccine breakthrough but a stem-cell treatment that has had surprisingly good results. Of course this doesn’t mean that we can all start shagging around irresponsibly but it perhaps means that help may soon be available for the 6+ million victims of this dreaded disease.

Meanwhile, straight, and very adorable ex England rugby union star Ben Cohen (yes the sweetie who donated his jock-strap to a gay auction) has been leading the way in the campaign to stop bullying and tackle homophobia… especially in sport and schools. He’s touring the USA and the UK with his Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation, where he will visit gay and gay friendly sports institutions raising awareness and speaking out against what he sees as the sad lack of support on these issues from most sports stars and regulators.

In an interview with this month’s Attitude magazine the world’s only openly gay footballer, Anton Hysen, says others in the closet should not worry about fans’ reactions. The Swedish star, 20, came out earlier this year, declaring that it was “f**ked up” that no other players had done so. “I really don’t think it’s a big thing,” he said. “I mean, of course it’s brave but why should it be brave?”
I think that it will take a whole host of gay sport stars to all come out at once, tell those detractors to “Go fuck themselves” and just get on with it. They may need to challenge homophobia with a bit more zeal but it shouldn’t be left to gay-friendly straight sportsmen to do all the bloody work… as much as we appreciate their efforts.

A bit of good news… if it is indeed good news… is that the Ugandan government has put the brakes on their hateful bill to ban homosexuality thanks to international condemnation from around the globe. According to leading activist Peter Tatchell that is except for one august body… the Commonwealth. “The 54 Commonwealth member states comprise one quarter of the UN membership and one third of all humanity.” He writes in a piece for the Guardian. “Forty-six of these Commonwealth countries still criminalise same-sex relations in all circumstances, with penalties including 25 years jail in Trinidad and Tobago and 20 years plus flogging in Malaysia. Several countries stipulate life imprisonment: Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Uganda, Tanzania and Bangladesh. These 46 homophobic Commonwealth countries account for more than half of the 76 countries in the world that still have a total prohibition on homosexuality.”

I don’t know about you but I’m getting pretty fed up with our Government nodding in the direction of LGBT rights but doing pretty much nothing about it when they get the chance. They should be aggressively challenging the leader of the Commonwealth, which surprisingly isn’t the Queen but The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, and insist that he acts against those within this elite band of countries to stop invoking laws to the detriment of their own citizens.

Here’s a thought to the PM and his Deputy, David and Nick; stop promising that you are going to give your mate the best blow job ever… but never really going through with it. Because, in the end, neither of you will ever know just how good it really feels!

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