You asked for it and we're delivering, this is the first (hopefully of many) weekly LGBT+ news roundups. Our top stories for the week...
Strictly Come Dancing's First Male Same-Sex Couple!
LGBT+ Excellence at the Tokyo Olympics
Manchester Pride Criticised and London Pride Cancelled Wales' Pledge to Become Most LGBT+ Friendly Country in Europe
Da Baby Apologises for Hateful Comments Made at Miami Concert
Tan France Welcomes his 1st Son!
Strictly Come Dancing 2021 is going to feature the shows first male same-sex pairing!
2012 Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite will be competing this September as one half of the first male only couple on Strictly. It is currently unknown which of the professional dancers will be his partner.
In an official statement, John Whaite called this “a great step forward in representation and inclusion.” and said that he felt a mixture of “grateful, excited, and nervous”
Although this is Strictly Come Dancing’s first male same-sex couple, John Waite is following in the footsteps of boxer Nicola Adams who competed last year with professional dancer Katya Jones as the shows first ever same-sex dance partners. Unfortunately, they had to drop out of the competition after Katya tested positive for COVID-19, but they were incredibly successful in the short time they had on the show.
We all have our fingers crossed for John Whaite and his partner, here’s to hoping they stay healthy and snatch the glitter ball trophy!
2021 Tokyo Olympics
At least 182 of the athletes competing at the Tokyo Olympics this year are out as part of the LGBT+ community - that’s more than three times than in Rio 2016!
This number is also bigger than the total of all athletes who competed while publicly out as LGBT+ in the entire history of the Olympic games (even including the Winter games!)
If all the LGBT+ people were on one team together, they would have won a massive 23 medals so far (including 7 gold!) and would be placing 10th alongside the other countries.
Among this massive group of amazing athletes are:
Quinn, a midfielder on the Canadian women’s soccer team who identifies as nonbinary and was the first athlete to compete who openly identifies as transgender
Alana Smith, who competed in street skateboarding on a board displaying their they/them pronouns and is the first openly nonbinary competitor to represent the U.S.
Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand who was the first openly trans woman to compete at the Olympics
Tom Daley, the UK’s very own gold medal winner in diving, who is openly gay (if you haven’t seen the footage of his son Robbie watching him win or the pictures of him knitting in the stands at Tokyo we highly recommend you look them up for a heart-warming moment!)
Although there’s still a huge way to go in terms of full inclusion for LGBT+ athletes, this rise in representation reflects a worldwide society which is becoming more accepting of the LGBT+ community and in which progress can and will be made.
For now, let’s sit back and cheer on Team LGBT+ as they continue to smash it!
Manchester Pride Criticised and London Pride Cancelled
Manchester Pride has been slated for dropping it’s safer sex scheme.
This year, Manchester Pride chose to cut funding for the provision of free condoms and lube, something it has been offering since 1994.
The free condom and lube safer sex scheme began as a tool to combat the HIV epidemic when it was at its height in the UK. Originally, free condoms and lube were given to gay and bisexual men working, living in or visiting Manchester, but this soon expanded to provide for the entire LGBT+ community. It is the longest running scheme of its kind in the whole world and has distributed over 31 million safe sex packages in the last 27 years.
Manchester Pride has previously always funded this project, but revealed in a social media post this week that it was, “no longer in a position to continue funding” since Covid-19’s restrictions on in person gatherings had detrimental effects on their income.
While this is understandable, many Manchester residents have reacted with anger who complained that Manchester Pride has become a pop music festival, rather than the community focused event it used to be, especially as ticket prices have skyrocketed to £76.
Where do you stand on this? Should Manchester Pride focus on their profits to ensure they can continue to put on an event every year or should they focus on the community they are celebrating and provide essential safer sex services and reduced ticket prices to ensure inclusion?
While Manchester Pride falls under criticism, London Pride has been cancelled for a second year, due to fear that it will be a coronavirus ‘super-spreader’ event. Organisers announced today that the celebrations, due to take place in September, could not work under current Covid-19 guidelines.
Wales has launched their plan to become Europe’s most LGBT+ friendly country!
The plan was drawn up by a panel of LGBT+ ‘experts’ (group leaders from across Wales with their own expertise and experiences) and has been released to the public for their thoughts. The plan aims to “tackle the long-term structural inequalities that still exist, to challenge discrimination and to create a country without prejudice.”
Key points from the plan include:
Reforming the Gender Recognition Act in order to make it benefit trans people
Using “all available powers” to ban “all aspects of” LGBT+ conversion therapy
Creating strong relationship between LGBT+ people and the police
Investigating the lack of LGBT+ hate crimes which are formally reported,
Designing a fully inclusive school curriculum
Ensuring colleges and universities are LGBTQ+ inclusive
Increasing support for Pride events across Wales by sponsoring Pride Cymru and establishing a country-wide Pride fund with its own co-ordinator.
Moving across the pond for some news from the USA, Rapper Da Baby made some homophobic and ignorant comments at his concert Rolling Loud Festival in Miami.
The comments he made were negative and false in regards to LGBT+ people and those living with HIV and AIDS. For the sake of controlling this false information and hateful speech we will not be repeating them here.
Since Da Baby came out with these comments last week, he has been removed from the lineup of multiple festivals. Furthermore, celebrities such as Elton John, who founded the Elton John AIDs Foundation, and Dua Lipa, who featured the rapper on her track ‘Levitating’, have come forward saying they are “surprised and horrified” and to dispel these “HIV mistruths”
Da Baby has now come out with an apology on Instagram for his “misinformed comments” and 11 HIV charities banded together to reach out to him and request a private meeting in which they can tackle misinformation.
Their open letter described the comments as "inaccurate and harmful" and added that "It's fear and stigma that keep people, particularly black Americans, from accessing HIV prevention or care that white Americans have historically and continue to access more easily.” They also urged him to “use your platform and celebrity to heal not harm."
To end on a happier note, Queer Eye’s Tan France and his husband Rob have welcomed their first child via surrogate!
Tan revealed the birth of his son via an Instagram post welcoming Ismail France to the world, born 7 weeks early on July 10th and finally arriving home this week. The post now has over a million likes, including high profile celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and, of course, the rest of the Queer Eye gang.