The Daily Sting, Wednesday: PrEP Maker Faces Lawsuit, Ruggers Fight Gay Teammate’s Deportation
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Happy hump day to all! Now let’s take a look at the day’s top gay headlines, starting with a lawsuit in which we see Truvada manufacturer Gilead sued, accused of withholding a safer HIV treatment drug from the public. And is New Zealand Pride in danger?
In other news, a rugby team is fighting the deportation of one of their gay teammates back to Kenya. A South Korean woman tricked anti-gay locals into donating to an LGBTQ cause. And we’ve got some sad news: It turns out that Taron Egerton isn’t gay.
From Gilead sued to danger for New Zealand Pride, here are the day’s top gay stories:
A lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court last week alleges that Gilead — the pharmaceutical corporation that manufactures Truvada and the antiretroviral HIV drug known as TDF — is withholding a version of that HIV medication with fewer side-effects (called TAF) until its TDF patent expires in 2021. According to PinkNews, “Patent expiration would usually allow others to produce cheaper generic versions of drug cocktails, but timing the rollout of TAF to the date of expiration would allow Gilead to continue to charge premium rates for the new drug.” Ben Crump, a civil rights attorney, has said, “This lawsuit is a major step in the right direction toward racial equity in communities unevenly affected by HIV and exploited by pharmaceutical goliaths like Gilead.”
2. UK Rugby Players Are Fighting to Keep Gay Teammate From Deportation (Sports)
Rugby players in Bristol are trying to prevent a gay teammate from being deported to Kenya, Africa, where they fear he will face persecution for his sexuality. The player, Kenneth Macharia, had his claim for asylum rejected and is currently being detained at an immigration center near Heathrow airport in London. He reportedly texted his rugby teammates from that detention center, and they’ve reached out to the government to intervene. There’s also a petition on Change.org.
As an update, the team has reported that “He has been released from the detention centre and the threat of imminant removal from the UK has been lifted. Whilst this is good news, we have no confirmation that Ken will not be removed from the UK entirely.”
3. New Zealand Pride Parade in Chaos After Ban of Uniformed Police (Culture)
Is New Zealand Pride in danger? The country’s largest LGBTQW celebration, Auckland Pride, is dealing with fallout from a decision to ban police from marching in its parade, scheduled to take place next February. Following the decision to not allow police to march, the New Zealand Defence Force pulled out of the parade, as have several corporate sponsors, including Vodafone, Bank of New Zealand and Air New Zealand.
4. South Korean TV Star Fooled Anti-Gay People Into Supporting a Queer Cause (News)
An outspoken South Korean LGBTQ advocate named Eun Ha-Sun has been fined in her home country after a stunt that fooled anti-gay citizens into donating money to a queer cause. After a show focusing on LGBTQ issues, several religious fundamentalists were upset, so Eun Ha-Sun posted this: “Dear children of God who oppose homosexuality. The producer’s contact number of ‘Candid Men and Women’ has been changed. Make sure to text to this number: #2540-6550.” When they texted that number, they donated the equivalent of a few dollars to the Seoul Queer Culture Festival.
Eun Ha-Sun has since been found guilty of fraud and has been fined the equivalent of just under $2,000 USD.
5. #SadFace: No, Actor Taron Egerton Isn’t Gay (Celebrities)
It was a topic of conversation for weeks, and we even reported on the speculation when it happened, but we now know the truth: Taron Egerton isn’t gay. Following an Insta post in which the actor (soon appearing in Robin Hood and Elton John biopic Rocketman) referred to a male friend as “cutie. my boy.” and liked a comment asking if he had a boyfriend, many people thought it was a sly way of Egerton ‘coming out.’
But he recently said in an interview: “One of the lads was at my London flat and I Instagrammed a picture of him and said, ‘Look at this cutie,’ and a million outlets reported I was coming out as gay. I’m not gay but two of my mates came out when I was 15 and it was a joy to support them because, as a group, we are all secure in who we are. … I’m certainly not going to stop calling my mates cuties and gorgeous, because they are cuties and they are gorgeous.”
What are your thoughts on the news of Gilead sued? And are you worried for New Zealand Pride?