I didn’t really enjoy Hairspray Live this week, but listening to Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande lead the cast in the end credit song Come So Far (Got so Far To Go). gives me as much hope and joy as the winter sunshine outside my window right now. Stick this on for some Sunday celebration and read my review of the bigger LGBTQ stories so far this month.
NHS England will fund a PrEP trial
Last Sunday, NHS England announced a trial of PrEP for 10,000 people in Spring 2017, the drug that can reduce the chance of contracting HIV by 96-99%. This is a huge victory for the National AIDS Trust and other organisations that supported its court case to make the drug available, which NHS England appealed against and lost. There’s a lot in the story to get your head around and questions to keep asking, so thanks to Buzzfeed and NAM for summarising and explaining it far better than I could. Let’s hope PrEP becomes freely available in England and all the home nations (there’s already action in Scotland) and across the world to those at high risk of HIV (read New Internationalist for that global perspective).
— Matthew Hodson (@Matthew_Hodson) December 5, 2016
World AIDS Day
The PrEP news came just three days after World AIDS Day on 1st December, marked in New York City with the opening of the Aids Memorial. On Wednesday a petition was delivered to City Hall asking for London to follow NYC, Paris and Sydney by having a permanent memorial. You can sign the petition now on 38 Degrees.
We build our homes on the graves of others. My piece on the new, beautiful New York AIDS Memorial.https://t.co/SREK9vrBCF
— Alexandra Schwartz (@Alex_Lily) December 8, 2016
— UKAidsMemorial (@AidsMemoryUK) December 7, 2016
No jobs or gay culture in the Church
There is one UK shrine to HIV/Aids, St Andrew’s Chapel in Southwark Cathedral. But as with every week, the discomfort and fatal homophobia of religion proves its not a safe or inclusive space for everyone. Canon Jeremy Pemberton was a Hospital Chaplain, providing some faith and comfort to people in their worst times. But since he married the person he loves in 2014, he’s no longer allowed to do that and this week lost his appeal on unfair dismissal. Meanwhile, over in the Vatican it was declared anyone supporting ‘the gay culture’ can’t be priests. Back in 2013, Pope Francis said ‘Who am I to judge?’ about gay priests. Well he answered this week: still the Pope, still controlling a church more intent on fuelling hatred and homophobia than anything else.
Can we still get the monthly newsletter? https://t.co/eNZwvER5mJ
— Boy George (@BoyGeorge) December 9, 2016
Send a celebratory rainbow cake to Malta, the first country in Europe to ban gay conversion therapy. And give a huge hug to this comic book store seller and her teenage customer.
So, I want to tell you all what happened in the store today. It’s probably the single greatest moment I have ever experienced working here.
— 🌈Mary🌈 (@sapphicgeek) December 3, 2016
Changing hearts and nations on same-sex marriage
Here’s three fantastically uplifting stories to end the week with. Andrew Griffiths became the 2nd British MP this year to say he was wrong to vote against same-sex marriage in 2013, calling it his biggest regret. The Cherokee Nation, a self-governing indigenous tribe in America, overturned any assumed ban on same-sex marriage. And in Australia, where the equal marriage debate continues, South Australia changed their state law to recognise same-sex couples. It follows the death of David Bulmer-Rizzi in January, whose death certificate read ‘never married’. Now that is being rewritten. David’s husband Marco told Buzzfeed (and do read the whole story) ‘It’s as close to happiness as I can be – I am the happiest I’ve been in the last 11 months.’
— BuzzFeed UK (@BuzzFeedUK) December 6, 2016
Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for more #LGBTQProgress news throughout the week.