The Daily Sting, Tuesday: Chechnya Survivor Speaks Out, Thai Hunks Promote HIV Testing
On this glorious Tuesday, let’s take a look at five stories we’re calling the day’s big gay headlines. We’ll start with news of a Chechnya survivor and his ongoing legal battle in bringing the Russian republic to justice for its crimes against the gay community. And we’ll take a look at some Thai hunks who are doing their part in the fight against HIV.
In other news, Eric McCormack, star of hit American sitcom Will and Grace, has some interesting words about the role that changed his life. Russia has been told by Europe’s highest court that it can no longer continue to ban LGBTQ events. And a university in New Jersey has disallowed a Chick-fil-A franchise from opening on campus due to its anti-LGBTQ support.
From a Chechnya survivor to HIV-fighting Thai hunks, here are the day’s big gay headlines:
1. Chechnya Survivor Is Taking His Legal Battle to the European Court of Human Rights (News)
As one of the first victims to escape the horrors facing gay men, Chechnya survivor Maxim Lapunov told his story to the world, which included harrowing tales of kidnapping and torture over a two-week period. But his attempt to bring a legal case against Chechnya’s law enforcement has officially been stalled by a corrupt government that has deemed his case unlawful. But Chechnya survivor Laupnov has the support of the Committee Against Torture and the Russia LGBT Network, and they are assisting with his domestic legal case against the Russian government (Chechnya is itself a Russian republic) and are also filing a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.
2. Will and Grace Star Eric McCormack Says He Wouldn’t Take the Same Role Today (TV)
“I think it wasn’t a terrible thing in 1998 that a straight guy played the role,” Eric McCormack, known for his star-making role as Will on Will & Grace, told the Sydney Morning Herald, “but I’m glad that times are changing.” The straight actor says that if the show was newly cast today, an openly gay actor would almost surely get the role, meaning he’d likely not get the job. His character — an openly gay man sharing a NYC apartment with his straight female best friend — was for many in America the first proud-and-open gay man they welcomed into their living rooms.
3. European High Court Tells Russia It Can No Longer Ban LGBTQ Events (News, World)
A group of Russian activists took their country to court for violating their freedom of staging LGBTQ events, and today the European high court ruled that Russia is indeed violating Articles 11, 13 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. From the Court’s decision: “The applicants suffered unjustified discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation” and “that discrimination was incompatible with the standards of the Convention.” The activists were also seeking financial compensation, but the court denied them that, finding that the ruling was “sufficient just satisfaction.” There’s of course no guarantee Russia will abide by the high court’s decision, and the country has famously had an “anti-gay-propaganda” law in effect since 2013.
4. New Jersey University Bans Chick-Fil-A From Campus Due to Anti-Gay Support (Culture)
Rider University in New Jersey polled its students about which restaurant they’d like to see on their school’s campus. But when students came back with Chick-fil-A, the fast food chicken franchise known for its conservative Christian ethics, the school said ‘no way.’ According to the university, it removed Chick-fil-A as an option because it’s “widely perceived to be in opposition to the LGBTQ+ community.” The school says it wants to remain faithful to its “values of inclusion.”
5. Thai Hunks Make Videos Promoting HIV Testing Ahead of World HIV Day (Health)
Bangkok-based HIV org APCOM and the Elton John Foundation are working together on a three-city campaign to promote HIV testing in Asia. In Jakarta, Indonesia; Bangkok, Thailand and Manila, Philippines, local hunky influencers are making videos pushing gay men to get tested ahead of Dec. 1, commonly known as World AIDS Day (or, as we think it should be renamed, “World HIV Day”). Two Thai hunks in particular, model Tudtu Jirat Watcharapornthanarat and TV host Popeye Nathaphob Jongjitklang, have guys in a tizzy with their vids, in which they challenge their friends to get an HIV test. The guys are pushing their followers to testBKK.org/TakingItBKK, but it doesn’t matter where you get tested, just that you do.