I found it hard to find any unequivocally good #LGBTQProgress stories this week. Yes, there was Ellen receiving her Presidential Medal of Freedom, but I already reported on that last week. So I’m going to start with these words from Vicky Beeching, talking about faith and sexuality in this month’s Gay Times: ‘You’re special, you’re loved and you are wanted as you are!’

UN-successful attempt to block LGBTI expert

On Monday, the delayed United Nations vote on the newly-established LGBTI expert role took place. African nations were unsuccessful in their attempt to suspend Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn’s job before he’d started. Of course this is a victory, but one that only 84 out of 195 nations voted for (77 voted against the role and 17 abstained). Looking at the voting list is a stark reminder that over a third of nations deny human rights and identity by criminalising homosexuality.

 

Stephen Port

The story of serial killer Stephen Port is horrendous. On Friday he was sentenced to life in prison for the brutal murder of four men he lured through gay hook-up app Grindr. BBC News tells the whole story. It is devastating reading, including the Metropolitan Police admitting to ‘potential missed opportunities’ to solve the case and save at least two of the four lives. Anthony Walgate, Gabriel Kovari, Daniel Whitworth and Jack Taylor were all young gay man, found dead in or near the same Eats London churchyard. These similarities were ignored and the four deaths over 15 months were treated as unsuspicious.

Dating and hook-up app users (myself included) need to think about their personal safety, and already do. But Grindr didn’t cause these murders. Four families and the LGBTQ community were betrayed by police incompetence. 17 officers are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPPC).

 

Cheap jokes and cheaper chat

Last Saturday, both Strictly Come Dancing and X Factor found space in the dancing and dull singing for cheap jokes at the expense of Judge Rinder and Louis Walsh.  Then on Thursday, only a week after welcoming its first transgender panellist, Loose Women described gay men to a ‘must-have accessory’ throughout the show for its female audience. These aren’t jokes. They breed the idea that being gay isn’t normal and isn’t equal.

On Tuesday, Australian schoolboy Tyronne Unsworth took his own life. He was 13.

 

#RainbowLaces

Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign reached its biggest audience this week with its message to make sport more inclusive being heard at every Premier League game and rugby games across England. A quick look at some so-called fans tweets highlights the explicit homophobia that still surrounds the game. ‘The Rainbow Laces campaign complements the work clubs are doing to promote inclusion and diversity in their stadiums, and across all levels of the sport,’ said FA Executive Chairman Richard Scudamore. (You might remember the name from the sexist emails he sent back in 2014).

I also laced up for the campaign. Earlier today in Greenwich Park I completed my first ever 10k race, raising money for men’s health charity Movember. You can sponsor me and see just how good I look with a moustache on my MoSpace.

Follow me on Twitter @JoeyKnock for more #LGBTQProgress news throughout the week.