Irish Republic ditches its lifetime ban

The lifetime ban on blood donations from men who have sex with men in the Irish Republic has been lifted.

From today (January 16) a man who last had sex with another man more than one year ago will now be allowed to donate, as long as he meets the other blood donor selection criteria.

Any man who has had sex with another man within the last 12 months will still be prohibited from donating.

Yes, why?


Tamzin B. Smith/Rolling Stone | 17015

Why Is It So Hard for Gay Men to Give Blood? asks Rolling Stone, mainly concerned with the US.

Yes, why? HIV can be detected in days and the stigma around it has decreased dramatically – but the FDA still makes gay men abstain from sex for a year before donating, similar to the UK. I’m not so sure about the stigma decreasing though.

As usual, Rolling Stone get the rock’n’roll sorted.

Last year, the LGBT community was powerfully reminded of that statistic following an attack on Pulse nightclub, the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Forty-nine people were killed and 53 more were injured after a gunman opened fire on the Orlando gay bar. Although OneBlood, a Florida-based donation center, estimated that over 28,000 people donated the week following the tragedy, MSMs were not among them. For gay and bisexual men who will remain sexually active throughout their lives, a one-year deferral amounts to a lifetime ban. This means that these people were not allowed to help their own community members during a time of extraordinary need.

Quite. So get on with it, medical experts, and stop discriminating against law abiding citizens with rights.

Time to come out, says Dustin


Dustin Lance Black | Associated Press | 17014

Oscar-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Tom Daley’s fiancé, has called for more gay sportsmen to come out and publicly speak about their sexuality after the bravery shown by his partner.

“It’s incredibly brave to come out. I understand that for some people that’s difficult. To those who do come make that brave act, you’re saving lives. They truly are. There are a lot more gay kids out there who love football and want to play football and could be stars in football, but they’re afraid. I urge more sportsmen, actors, people in the public eye to come out and dispel those myths, those lies and that shame.”

Regarding gay equality after death…

In Israel, several state-funded Jewish burial societies have been caught attempting to keep families of gay and lesbian people from burying their loved ones in certain cemeteries, drawing angry reaction from politicians, LGBT activists and some religious authorities.

Burial society officials in at least four cities told Channel 2 television they should seek to bury a deceased gay person in another cemetery, or that the person would not be put in the same section as religious Jews.

“Israel has laws that ban this kind of discrimination, but we see they are simply not enforced,” said Oded Fried, the former head of Aguda – the Israeli National LGBT Task Force, who called on the Knesset to act so that we are all “treated equally.”

In 19 years of blogging this is the first time Your Activist has come across this kind of discrimination – and it is appalling.

Catholic schools must welcome gay marriage, says Government adviser

The UK Government’s top adviser on community integration has said it is “not OK” for Catholic schools to oppose gay marriage. Dame Louise Casey referred to the Trojan Horse case of 2014, when a number of individuals tried to introduce Islamic extremism into schools in Birmingham.

“…it is not OK for Catholic schools to be homophobic and anti-gay marriage … it is not how we bring children up in this country.”

An upgrade worth having


Mr Spires (right) | Getty | 17013

A 91-year-old US serviceman who was sacked from the US Air Force in 1948 because he was gay, has succeeded in getting his dismissal reclassified as an honourable discharge.

Edward Spires served as a chaplain’s assistant before being removed because he was deemed “undesirable” and forced out of the military after a probe into his sexual orientation.

The Air Force announced a discharge upgrade today. Mr Spires filed a lawsuit in November.

He was initially denied an honourable discharge because the Air Force said his records had probably been destroyed in a 1973 fire. He is now entitled to financial benefits and a military funeral because of the discharge upgrade.

I’m sorry says Kerry

Brian Snyder/Reuters | 17012

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry apologized to hundreds of State Department employees who were fired after the start of the Cold War for being gay in what is known as the “lavender scare.”

“In the past – as far back as the 1940s, but continuing for decades – the Department of State was among many public and private employers that discriminated against employees and job applicants on the basis of perceived sexual orientation, forcing some employees to resign or refusing to hire certain applicants in the first place. These actions were wrong then, just as they would be wrong today. On behalf of the Department, I apologize to those who were impacted by the practices of the past and reaffirm the Department’s steadfast commitment to diversity and inclusion for all our employees, including members of the LGBTI community.”

Greg changes his mind

UEFA EURO 2020 Launch Event

Greg Clarke | Tony O’Brien/Reuters | 17011

Greg Clarke, the chairman of the English FA, says he has spoken to gay players about providing more support and helping them to come out as a group. “I put the message out there that if a number of top-level pros want to come out, why don’t we synchronise it, so one person doesn’t have to come out on their own,” he told the Times.

“The Premier League, the Football League and the FA could do it at the start of the season,” he added.

Clarke has been FA chairman since September. In October he said he would not recommend a player coming out because of the risk of abuse, mainly from fans of opposing teams.

Storm in a twee cup


Pauline Hanson (l) and Shan Ju Lin (r) | Uncredited | 17003

Australia’s One Nation political party founder has sacked Queensland candidate Shan Ju Lin for her anti-gay comments, saying she will not let people trash her or her party.

Ms Lin was dumped on Saturday night after Facebook posts appeared saying that “gays should be treated as patients” and “abnormal sex behaviour leads to abnormal crime”.

Ms Lin also mocked outgoing US President Barack Obama’s LGBTI policies using a digitally manipulated picture of him in drag.

Party leader Pauline Hanson suspended Ms Lin, a school teacher, on Friday night and warned her to stop the posts, but said the “disparaging comments” appeared again on Saturday night. “These are not the views shared by One Nation, nor the views of fellow candidates and the general public,” Senator Hanson said in a statement. I will not stand by and allow people to trash the party or my name, so I make no apologies for being tough on candidates.”

Ms Lin was unapologetic and retorted, “Once gays realise they can put pressure on a candidate, they will start to target other One Nation candidates also.”

As if we would.

Bona seating!


Orlando United | 17002

Orlando City’s Soccer Club has unveiled 49 rainbow seats in its stadium, in honour of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting of June 2016. The team has replaced a section of seating in the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.

It is the latest in a line of tributes the Soccer Club has paid to the victims of the incident.