Goodbye Edie

The BBC reports that Edith “Edie” Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88. She leaves her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor.

Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.
She sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died.

The couple had married in Canada in 2007.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-41248327

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Goodbye Pierre

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Pierre Bergé | Agence France Press | 17156gh

The French fashion tycoon Pierre Bergé – the business brains behind the Yves Saint Laurent empire – has died aged 86.

The longtime partner of the late designer Yves Saint Laurent died in his sleep early Friday at his country home at Saint-Remy-de-Provence in southern France.

The passionate bibliophile and art collector was a tireless campaigner for gay rights and donated a large part of his fortune to AIDS research.

Gay Activist sends condolences to family, friends and colleagues.

Oh Jamaica

Another leading gay activist has been found murdered in Jamaica.

Dexter Pottinger, a fashion designer known locally as “the face of Pride”, was found dead on Thursday at his home in the Washington Gardens neighbourhood of Kingston. He had been stabbed, and there was blood “everywhere”, according to police officers quoted by the Jamaica Gleaner.

Mr Pottinger became the face of Pride Week in 2016 in celebrations organised by the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).

This is not the first time a prominent gay activist in Jamaica has been found killed. On 9th June 2004 Brian Williamson, who co-founded J-FLAG, was found killed. He was known for being one of the earliest openly gay men in Jamaican society and for being one of its best known gay rights activists. Williamson was murdered in his apartment by Dwight Hayden. Police believed that Hayden’s motive was robbery, although J-FLAG also suggested that homophobia may have played a part in the killing. Hayden was subsequently sentenced to life in prison.

Gay Activist sends condolences to friends, colleagues and family.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/dexter-pottinger-dead-jamaica-gay-pride-murder-stabbed-kingston-a7925556.html

Colin’s out

Colin Jackson, World Record, Stuttgart, 1993 | Professional Sport/Popperfoto/Getty | 17155

BBC sports presenter and former Olympic hurdler Colin Jackson has come out as gay.

The athlete was recently named by an airline steward who claimed that they had been having an affair. The story prompted Jackson to come out to his family, but he denied the story to the public. He has now come clean on Swedish TV.

‘I was waiting for them in the kitchen. They walked in and they sat down. My mother could see my face and I was quite distraught. It didn’t faze them at all,’ he recalled of the moment that he told his parents.

Well done Colin. Better late than never.

Colin Jackson comes out as gay as former Olympic athlete recalls emotional moment he told his parents

Mark Merlis

Your Activist is sad to report the death of gay writer Mark Merlis on August 15 at a hospital in Philadelphia. He was 67.

Mr Merlis died of pneumonia associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, said his husband, Robert Ashe.

Mr. Merlis worked as a health-care analysis for the Library of Congress’s Congressional Research Service and as an independent consultant. His first novel, “American Studies,” was published in 1994.

It remains an excellent book.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/mark-merlis-novelist-who-explored-gay-life-in-20th-century-america-dies-at-67/2017/08/23/d5bbac94-8762-11e7-a94f-3139abce39f5_story.html?utm_term=.eb4875e972f6

This is why your Activist doesn’t trust religious leaders

A West Auckland pastor has delivered a sermon calling for gay people to be shot.

Westcity Bible Baptist Church pastor Logan Robertson agrees his comments are hate speech but is unapologetic.

Footage posted online at the end of July shows Robertson making highly offensive comments against homosexuals.

Unrepentant when contacted by a newspaper, Robertson said he did not deny his words were hate speech. “Of course it is. Does it sound like hate speech to
you? If the world thinks that’s hate speech then that’s fine.”

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11904818

Ryan’s out

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Ryan Atkin | Sky News | 17150

Gay Activist congratulates Ryan Atkin, England’s first openly gay professional official. The Football Association welcomed his revelation of his sexuality as a landmark sign of progress.

“Ryan’s declaration marks an important moment in the game and reinforces the fact that refereeing really is open to everyone,” said Neale Barry of the FA. “He believes people who are happy in their own skin perform better and I couldn’t agree more. Our role is to support all referees, aid their development, maximise their potential and, above all, help ensure their experiences are positive.”

“I myself have never been a victim of homophobic abuse but I am aware others have been. The biggest challenge I might face in the future as an openly gay referee would potentially be dealing with homophobia that could come from players, spectators and possibly even refereeing colleagues, though so far I have found officials within football to be very open-minded. It’s something the game can be proud of,” said Ryan.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/aug/10/ryan-atkin-first-openly-gay-professional-official-english-football-referee

Leo likes Belfast!

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Mr Varadkar (centre, in jeans) | Peter Morrison/Press Association  | 17146

Attending Belfast Pride yesterday, Republic of Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said it is “only a matter of time” until same sex marriage is legalised in Northern Ireland. Earlier, he attended a Gay Pride breakfast meeting at the Northern Whig bar in Belfast where he met gay members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, pictured, and others.

The DUP did not oppose Mr Varadkar’s attendence at the event, but a small group of Free Presbyterians staged a protest across the road.

Asked if he believed gay marriage would be introduced in the North, Mr Varadkar – who is openly gay – replied: “I do, I think it’s only a matter of time. Of course, the decision is for the Northern Ireland Assembly. But I am confident that like other western European countries they will make that decision in due course.”

http://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/gay-marriage-varadkar-northern-ireland-10936013

Normal for Norfolk?

National Trust members have reportedly quit over the charity’s decision to require volunteers at one property to wear LGBT lanyards.

Volunteers at Norfolk’s Felbrigg Hall were asked to wear the rainbow flag neckwear to celebrate the last lord of the manor, Robert Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, who was gay. The decision provoked a furious backlash from volunteers who accused the trust of “outing” the late owner and infringing on their political freedoms.

More than 240 members have since contacted the National Trust to revoke their membership over the issue.

Mr Wyndham Ketton-Cremer died in 1969, aged 63, just two years after homosexuality was decriminalised, and was featured in a short film last month narrated by Stephen Fry called The Unfinished Portrait, made for the National Trust as part of it’s Prejudice and Pride season, to mark 50 years since homosexuality was partially decriminalised.

Perhaps the National Trust should have run some gay awareness courses for its volunteers.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hundreds-of-national-trust-members-quit-in-protest-over-gay-pride-campaign-a7878131.html

New York Court appoints openly gay judge for the first time

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Paul Feinman | New York Law Journal/Rick Kopstein | 17114

Mid-level appeals court judge Paul Feinman, an openly gay judge, has been appointed to New York’s state Court of Appeals. The state Senate unanimously confirmed him less than a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated him for the post.

Feinman previously served in the Appellate Division in Manhattan and will fill the lone vacancy on the seven-member Court of Appeals.

http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/politics/albany/2017/06/21/new-yorks-top-court-gets-first-openly-gay-judge/103079984/