What with the spectacular opening to the London 2012 Olympic Games, it’s been a busy week but just what went on in the LGBT community over the past seven days? Let’s take a look.

Monday 23 July 2012Legendary lesbian astronaut dies aged 61

Sally Ride, the first US woman to reach space, sadly lost her battle against pancreatic cancer, aged 61. Ride was in a thirty-year relationship with her female partner Tam O’Shaughnessy. She had fought cancer for 17 months before sadly passing away on Monday. Former astronaut and NASA administrator Charles Bolden said ’she literally changed the face of America’s space programme’. There’s been some controversy within the LGBT community this week over whether Ride was lesbian or bisexual; expect a report discussing this from So So Gay very soon.

Tuesday 24 July 2012First anniversary for New York gay marriage

New York City celebrated its first anniversary of the legalisation of gay marriage on Tuesday. We can’t believe it’s been a whole year already. Although the move by one of the most influential states in the country was extremely pioneering for the equal marriage battle, no other state since New York has announced it will be following suit, with North Carolina voters actually banning it altogether. However, President Obama pledged his support for gay marriage in May this year, which indicates that we could be heading for a same-sex marriage happy America extremely soon!

Sub-Saharan sees drugs-resistant HIV on the rise

According to a Lancet study, in the past decade, an inability to monitor the taking of HIV medication has resulted in an increasing resistance to the drugs. The study includes 26,000 previously untreated HIV-positive people in a number of developing countries. The outcome suggests that patients fail to stick to drug regimes, leading to serious problems given the lack of alternative treatments in Africa.

Wednesday 25 July 2012- Scotland to introduce equal marriage

The Scottish government announced on Wednesday its intention to bring forward a bill which will make Scotland the first part of the United Kingdom to allow full civil marriage for same-sex couples. The announcement came after a government consultation on the issue of marriage equality attracted over 77,000 responses, 64% of which were apparently against same-sex marriage. The historic announcement came as the Westminster government continued to reaffirm its commitment to introduce marriage equality in England and Wales by 2015. Read our editor’s note on the announcement here.

Thursday 26 July 2012- ‘It Gets Better’ founder Dan Savage backs Out4Marriage

Dan Savage, the founder of the ‘It Gets Better’ Project, has joined the Out4Marriage campaign for marriage equality. The author and columnist recorded a video in support of the internet-based campaign which encourages members of the public, politicians and celebrities to offer vocal support for a move towards equal marriage rights for heterosexuals and homosexuals living in the UK.

Friday 27 July 2012- Human rights violations overshadowed by improving HIV response

Speaking at the 19th International AIDS Conference, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance voiced concerns over the potential serious human rights violations taking place across the world, which may be forgotten in light of the improved global HIV response. The Global Commission on HIV and the Law has recently found that 78 of the 196 countries recognised by the UN, classify same-sex activity as a criminal offence, many of whom punishing this so-called crime with flogging or even execution. To combat this, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance has come up with a series of comprehensive policies which they have been urging governments to implement.

Saturday 28 July 2012- Amazon founder pledges $2.5 to support gay marriage

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and his wife MacKenzie have given $2.5 million to help fund the efforts to legalise gay marriage in Washington. The Washington United for Marriage group said this was the largest individual gift ever given to ‘secure or protect the freedom to marry’. However, the opponents who called for the referendum in Washington by collecting enough signatures to force a vote, have shot back by saying they intend to raise over $4m, to directly combat equal marriage.

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