Radcliffe assists gay teens

Actor Daniel Radcliffe at a London film premiere. Photo Credit: Heathyr, via Wikipedia.org
Actor Daniel Radcliffe at a London film premiere. Photo Credit: Heathyr, via Wikipedia.org

LOS ANGELES — British actor Daniel Radcliffe, famous for his role as Harry Potter in the film series of the same name, made a major donation to support the U.S.-based Trevor Project suicide prevention program and hotline.

Radcliffe joins the Trevor Project’s “Circle of Hope,” a community of major donors which plays an essential role in providing financial leadership making the group’s work possible.

“I am very pleased to begin my support of The Trevor Project, which saves lives every day through its critical work,” Radcliffe said in a release. “It’s extremely distressing to consider that in 2009 suicide is a top three killer of young people and it’s truly devastating to learn that LGBTQ youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers.”

Radcliffe continued, “I deeply hope my support can raise the organization’s visibility so even more despondent youth become aware of The Trevor Helpline’s highly trained counselors and Trevor’s many other resources. It’s vitally important that young people understand they are not alone and, perhaps even more important, that their young lives have real value.”

Trevor Project executive director Charles Robbins said the group was “incredibly grateful” for Radcliffe’s support.

Radcliffe said he anticipates he’ll take additional steps to further broaden awareness and support for the group.

Gay for a day
EASKEY, Ireland — Some are calling this little village festival the smallest gay pride celebration in the world. The town with just two stores, two bars, two butchers and a post office asked straight residents to “go gay” and stand unified with their LGBT citizens on Aug. 9, The Guardian’s Observer reported.

“We are hoping to attract around 80 people out of a population of just 250,” said 48-year-old interior designer Denise Clarke. She moved to the tiny coastal town 10 years ago. She said she felt ostracized.

“People were afraid of the new lesbian in town” she said. “One woman even rang around the local farmers to warn them that their wives could be in danger. It was just a lot of fear and some ignorance, but an event like this today helps dispel those myths and brings the townfolk together.”

The Pride celebration here is part of a larger set of events known as North West Pride. The umbrella group is helping to organize events in several western Irish counties, including Sligo, Mayo and Leitrim. North West Pride has been active since 2006.

Clarke and fellow organizer Pat Hegarty said the day is a way for straight folks to feel comfortable participating in the events.

“It’s all about inclusiveness,” said Hegarty. “It’s no different to the world going Irish for the day on St Patrick’s every March.”

Contestant sues for ‘gay’ claim
MOSCOW — A contestant on the Russian version of reality show “Big Brother” has filed a lawsuit after a tabloid newspaper and a gay website published articles alleging he is gay and once worked as a prostitute.

Vasily Pechen, 28, is suing Express Gazeta and Gay.ru. Pechen says the untrue stories have begun “to cause difficulties in my ordinary life,” he said outside of a court room.

The Moscow Times reports Pechen saying he was “turned away or sexually harassed when he applied to work at television production companies.”

He said, “In the light of this information, I either heard that a project had been put on hold or, ‘You’re one of us, buddy. Let’s sleep together.’”

Pechen is demanding the publications retract their stories. The lawsuit also asks for $94,000 in damages from Express Gazeta and over $31,000 in damages from Gay.ru.

Group: Repeal Burundi law
BURUNDI — An international human rights organization has called on lawmakers in this African nation to repeal a law that makes homosexuality illegal and punishable by up to two years in prison.

Lawmakers here passed the law in April. Human Rights Watch said in a new report that gays and lesbians there will face increased discrimination as a result of the law, which bans only sexual relations between people of the same sex.

“Half the world’s countries that criminalize homosexual conduct do so because they cling to Victorian morality and colonial laws,” said Scott Long, director of LGBT rights program for Human Rights Watch. “Getting rid of these unjust remnants of the British empire is long overdue.”

Prior to the passage of the law, LGBT citizens in the nation had begun to organize and protest for their rights.

“The government needs to listen to these voices to understand the harm it is doing to Burundians with its state-sanctioned discrimination,” said Georgette Gagnon, Human Rights Watch’s Africa director. “The government should rescind this law and instead work to promote equality and understanding.”

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.