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LGBTQ News Roundup – 5th November 2021

Doubts surround story of ‘AIDS angel’, and her book All the Young Men    

Residents of a town profiled in the biographical book All the Young Menare questioning the veracity of the book and its author Ruth Coker Burks. The biography details Burks’ claims she cared for hundreds of gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s. This year, NBC News began investigating claims that Burks lied and/or overstated her story and that claims she owned a cemetery where she buried the ashes of many men were untrue. You can read more about this story here, and you can read my review of her book, written before these allegations came out here.

Actor Kal Penn has publicly ‘come out’.   

Actor and comedian Kal Penn has publicly acknowledged his sexual orientation and relationship in an interview with People magazine.  The Indian-American actor known for his role in the Harold & Kumar franchise said he fell in love with his fiancé Josh while he was working for the Obama administration 11 years ago. Penn admitted that he discovered his own sexuality relatively late in life. He has a new memoir out called You Can’t Be Serious.

“I feel free” – LGBT Afghan refugees arrive in UK 

Twenty-eight LGBT refugees from Afghanistan have arrived in the UK after being granted asylum in the country. One man who chose not to be named was interviewed by the BBC on arrival. He said he fled Afghanistan fearing for his life under the Taliban regime. He said he felt like “a human being for the first time in my life.” Last week, a Taliban spokesman told Reuters news agency that the new rules of Afghanistan would not respect gay rights. Members of the country’s LGBT community are trying to leave because they are unsure of their future under the Taliban. The last time the group was in power between 1996 and 2001, gay men were reportedly stoned to death. 

US issues first gender-neutral passport 

The United States has issued its first gender-neutral passport to Dana Zzyym, a 66-year-old intersex activist who sued the State Department over the issue in 2015. Zzyym’s passport now has an “X” in the gender box, signalling that they do not identify as either male or female. In an interview, the former US Navy veteran said it was an exciting moment for them, and “I get to go to places and say ‘yes, this is who I am’.”


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