Gladiator gone


Mr Walters in the outfit | Back to Stonewall | 16306ga

Will X. Walters, who lost a lawsuit against San Diego police who arrested him for nudity during San Diego Pride, may have killed himself.

Police were called to the apartment of 35-year-old Will X. Walters Wednesday but it’s unclear how long he’d been dead. The case is under investigation by the medical examiner.

Back to Stonewall report that Mr Walters “was dressed in leather gear consisting of boots, a black leather gladiator kilt, black underwear, and a black leather harness with chrome rings and says he was forcibly escorted out and had his phone knocked from his hand as he attempted to record the incident.”

His attorney, Chris Morris, says he hadn’t heard from his client since the Dec. 13 verdict.

Mr Walters was arrested in 2011 during a gay pride event at Balboa Park, San Diego for wearing a leather gladiator outfit that didn’t fully cover his buttocks. He sued police for anti-gay discrimination but a federal jury ruled against him. Mr Walters had run up a bill of roughly $1 million for his legal costs.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.


Gay plays coming soon?


Robin De Jesús, left, and Michael Urie in “Homos, or Everyone in America.” | Monique Carboni | 16305ga

The New York Times reviews some new gay plays which have been shown recently in New York and hopefully will make it across the Atlantic. They include “Bright colours and bold patterns”, “Homos, or everyone in America” and “Falsettos”.

It is 50 years since “The Boys in The Band” was first performed.

Marking 50 years of legality

It was in 1967 the UK law was changed to legalise homosexuality between two consenting males. The 1967 act amended the law of England and Wales regarding homosexual activity, with Scotland following suit in 1980, and Northern Ireland in 1982.

The British Museum’s new exhibition will highlight the previously-hidden gay histories within its collection, and creates a treasure map of historic LGBTQ moments and objects held by the museum.

The Museum has a coin featuring the Roman emperor Hadrian on one side, and his male lover Antinous on the reverse. Antinous, who would have been part of a harem of the emperor’s lovers, drowned in the Nile river during a lion hunt, leaving the emperor distraught.

Other events will be taking place across the UK at the British Museum, the Red House, the Walker in Liverpool, the Russell-Cotes museum and gallery, and more.

Cameroon’s crisis

Gay rights groups brave abuse and violence to fight HIV in Cameroon, reports Reuters.

Fleur listens intently to the speaker talk about gay sex before slowly raising his hand. “Can we catch AIDS by swallowing sperm?” he asks, prompting laughter from his peers at the group discussion held by Alcondoms, an organization promoting the rights and health of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

It is serious business.

Cameroon has the second highest HIV prevalence rate in West and Central Africa (Nigeria is worse) and men who have sex with men are hit the hardest according to UNAIDS. One in 25 people in Cameroon are living with HIV, but almost a quarter of men who have sex with men in Yaounde have the HIV virus.

In Douala, the economic capital, two in five men who have sex with men are infected, according to the state’s national AIDS control committee.

Cameroon’s gays live in fear.

The fear of discrimination and threat of five years in prison are driving MSM and LGBT people away from hospitals and state programs, according to civil society groups who say they fill the gap by providing condoms, counseling and healthcare. Animosity is growing between a largely conservative society and a younger generation less concerned by homosexuality in a country which prosecutes people for being gay more aggressively than almost any other nation in the world. 50 people were convicted of homosexuality between 2010 and 2014, for acts ranging from cross-dressing and wearing make-up to a man texting ‘I love you’ to another man, according to data collected by The Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS.

Gay Activist wishes them success, health and their human rights for 2017.

Goodbye George

Gay Activist is sad to learn of the death of gay icon George Michael yesterday from heart failure at his home.

The Independent remembers:

In April 1998, George Michael was caught engaging in a sexual act by an undercover police officer in a public toilet in Beverly Hills.

He was handed a £500 fine and 80 hours of community service for the incident, but his real punishment came from the press and public reaction, spurred on by headlines such as The Sun’s infamous “Zip Me Up Before You Go Go” front page.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends, fans and colleagues.

Do we miss gay bars really?

The Chicago Tribune notes the demise of more gay bars.

Gay bars are going out of business fast.

Since 2015 at least five have closed their doors in Indianapolis, about half the city’s total. Among the casualties: the venerable Varsity, the city’s oldest gay bar, dating back to the 1940s.

In the past six months Talbott Street, long-known for its drag shows, closed, as did the 501 Eagle, a bar favored by leather enthusiasts since 1986.

Jack LaFary poured the last of the drinks at the 501 in October but had seen the end coming well before then. “Guys my age stopped going out to bars all the time,” said LaFary, 48, “and the new generation never did catch on.”

Most of the gay bars your Activist knew have long closed. Frankly – good riddance to seeing prices rise throughout the evening, dirty glasses, cheap drinks passed off as expensive drinks, and bottles of drinking water being charged at £11 or more. No wonder they have gone out of business.

Families sue social media over terrorist killings

Families of three victims of the Orlando nightclub massacre have sued Facebook, Google and Twitter. They assert that the gunman who killed their loved ones was radicalised through propaganda found through social media.

The families of Tevin Crosby, Juan Ramon Guerrero Jr. and Javier Jorge-Reyes filed the lawsuit on Monday in federal court in Michigan. They are seeking an unnamed amount of money under a federal law that allows the estates of victims of terrorist attacks to sue anybody who provided “material support” to the terrorists.

Bye Bye Lionel


Rabbi Lionel Blue | File photo: Evening Standard | 16304ga

Gay Activist is sad to note the death of Rabbi Lionel Blue, the broadcaster, journalist and first openly gay British Rabbi, who has died aged 86 this morning.

The liberal London synagogue, Beit Klal Yisrael, announced the news of his death in a statement on its Facebook page and paid tribute to him. “He was a friend and mentor to many and his courage in coming out as gay in the 1970s paved the way for many other Jews, including many Rabbis.”

He was also a prolific broadcaster and received an OBE for services to broadcasting (pictured).

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

Matthew’s missing


Matthew Paris | BBC | 16303ga

There’s one abbreviation, though, that to me brings neither excitement nor pleasure, nor anger nor dislike, but only a vague sinking of the heart. LGBT — or “the LGBT community”.

This community does not exist. The bolting together of dissimilar groups distorts understanding. LGBT isn’t a club I’m in,

writes Matthew Paris in the Times.

People routinely employ the expression “LGBT community”, but neither out there on the streets nor as a classification in social sciences does this community exist. The Ls and the Gs have lots of friends who aren’t either. Bisexual men don’t self-identify much as a group or feel drawn particularly to each other for friendship and fun.

Bye bye Matthew. When you need us, we’ll be there.

Montenegrans want to marry


Birn | 16302ga

Dozens of people marched the streets of Podgorica in the fourth Montenegro Pride parade, urging their families to show support for their LGBT relatives and to campaign for gay marriage. The theme for Pride was “Family Values”.

Marchers called for same-sex marriages, the eradication of homophobia and transphobia, and the creation of conditions required to develop the LGBTIQ community in Montenegro.

Queer Montenegro, who organised Pride, hope that by the end of next year, Montenegro would adopt a law on same-sex marriages.