When Russian gay activist Alexei Davydov died Friday morning with no family or estate, the call went out to help pay for his funeral. Gay icon Tilda Swinton answered that call, donating more than $1,600 of her own money.
Moscow Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev confirmed the donation and write, ‘Bravo, Tilda!!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Tilda Swinton donated 1000 GBP for the funeral of Russian gay activist Alexey Davydov. YOU ARE JUST AMAZING! I am sure Alexey would be flattered to know this… ‘This is a very generous gesture on her part, for which we are very grateful.’
Alekseev revealed Davydov’s friends have garnered more than $3,000 to pay for his funeral in a single day: “Alexey was a hero and now he will have a fitting funeral. I am pleased we were able to help in our small way but all the credit belongs to the generous donors and Alexey’s brave activist friends.”
Davydov was only 36 when he died after a prolonged illness. The funeral will be held Monday.
In an address to the United Nations this week, the president of Gambia warned the world that the global LGBT community is one of the “biggest threats to human existence.” Speaking to the General Assembly on Friday, Gambian president Yahya Jammeh said homosexuality was “more deadly than all natural disasters put together.”
Gee, we’re almost flattered.
“Those who promote homosexuality want to put an end to human existence, insisted Jammeh, who came to power after a bloody 1994 coup. “It is becoming an epidemic and we Muslims and Africans will fight to end this behavior. Homosexuality in all its forms and manifestations which—though very evil, anti-human, as well as anti-Allah—is being promoted as a human right by some powers.”
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Gambia, and technically can be punished by the death penalty.
Jammeh piped up a day after numerous UN representatives spoke out on behalf of gay rights around the world. “In too many places around the world, LGBT persons are still punished for simply exercising their fundamental rights and freedoms,” said Secretary of State John Kerry at Thursday’s session.
A quick glance at Wikipedia tells us Jammeh has had two divorces—one of which was instigated in 2011 when he took a second bride. We also learned Jammeh claims he can cure AIDS with bananas and a herbal body rub. So, y’know, his proclamations about threats to humanity should be taken with a grain of salt.
David Cameron was a staunch supporter of marriage equality in the United Kingdom, but a new book suggests he regrets the headaches the issue Brought him: In It Together by Matthew d’Ancona, maintains the British PM was frustrated by backlash from right-wingers and his own Conservative Party. “If I’d known what it was going to be like, I wouldn’t have done it,” the book claims Cameron told an aide. DAncona writes that privately, “Cameron was becoming savagely self-critical about his misreading of the party on gay marriage… “This is down to me.”
Marriage-equality legislation was approved in Parliament this summer and got royal ascent from Queen Elizabeth in July.
The Matthew Shepard Foundation has denounced a new book claiming Shepard was a drug dealer and had a sexual relationship with one of his murderers. The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard by gay author Stephen Jimenez claims the brutal slaying wasn’t a hate crime but more of a drug-deal-gone-bad scenario.
Jimenez maintains Aaron McKinney, one of two men found guilty of the 1998 murder, “had been a male hustler, had been familiar with gay guys and gay bars…He really did like having sex with gay guys and…he was not unfamiliar with homosexuality and the gay world.” Book of Matt also insists the story of an innocent college student attacked by homophobic strangers was a myth created by LGBT activists to garner empathy.
But the Matthew Shepard Foundation isn’t having any of it, saying Book of Matt is “based on untrustworthy sources, factual errors, rumors and innuendo rather than the actual evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented in a court of law.”
Even if Shepard knew his attackers, and even if he dealt drugs, how exactly does that change the brutality and impact of his murder? Did we miss the part where gay people don’t get bashed by people they think they know and can trust?