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Life-sized Amy Winehouse Memorial Statue Unveiled in London - VIDEO

Statue

Fans from across the world travelled to Camden, north London, yesterday to celebrate the unveiling of a bronze statue of the late Amy Winehouse. Collaboratively designed by sculptor Scott Eaton and Winehouse’s father Mitch, the statue depicts Amy with her trademark beehive bouffant and a star of David.

"The hand on the hip, the turn of the head, the grabbing of the skirt, the turned in foot - these are all small elements that contribute to the personality of the piece,” Eaton told The Guardian.

The unveiling marks the three year anniversary of Amy Winehouse’s untimely death after a long, public battle with alcohol and drug addiction. Following her death by accidental alcohol poisoning, Winehouse’s father established The Amy Winehouse Foundation that focuses on providing drug abuse in youth communities.

"They don't put statues up for people who are with us anymore so it reinforces the fact that physically she's gone but spiritually she'll never leave us,” said Mitch Winehouse after adorning the statue with a living red rose. “We shouldn't be here but we are, this is the reality and we've just got to make the most of it. Getting people to come here, spend some time with Amy and put a flower in her hair and remember her in a very positive way. That for me is wonderful.”

Watch video of Amy Winehouse’s memorial statue unveiling AFTER THE JUMP...

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Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO

Sultan

Hassanal Bolkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei, has offered to pay around $2 billion to buy New York’s Plaza Hotel, along with Grosvenor House in London and the Dream Hotel in lower Manhattan, reports Huffington Post.

Bolkiah has faced severe criticism for Brunei’s new penal code which includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.

A number of celebrities - including Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson - have protested against the Brunei-owned luxury hotel operator Dorchester Collection following the implementation of the country’s anti-gay laws. However, Russell Crowe announced his support for Dorchester, claiming that protests would “throw employees under the bus to make a political point.”

A statement from the hotel chain said that the company continues to “abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

However, activist group Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said “the American profit stream that flows from [Bolkiah’s] hotels back to his regime needs to stop. We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

Watch a CBS News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Christian Ex-gay Org Loses Court Battle Over London Bus Ads

BusCore Issues Trust — a Christianist group that sought to promote ex-gay therapy via London bus advertisements — have lost their appeal of a lower court ruling the absolved London Mayor Boris Johnson of any impropriety in banning their ads.

Making good on his 2008 pledge to make London the most “gay-friendly city in the world,” in 2012 Johnson banned the bus advertisements.

The ads read, “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” and were a parody of similar ads placed by the UK LGBT group Stonewall that read, “Some people are gay. Get over it!”

In retaliation, the group sued even going so far to accuse Johnson for banning the adverts to court the gay vote during the 2012 election. In 2013, a judge ruled narrowly in favor of Johnson’s ban


Campaign Launched To Recognize Elizabeth Taylor's HIV/AIDS Work

Elizabeth_Taylor_1953

English television presenter and journalist Matthew Wright has said that Elizabeth Taylor should be honored for her campaigning work with HIV and AIDS.

Speaking to Gay Times, Wright describes the moment he met Taylor when she was in England to receive the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award.  At the end of the night, Wright says that the actress asked him to promise that after she died he would make sure that she received an English Heritage blue plaque on the house in London where she was born.

Wright said that Taylor changed the world’s perceptions towards HIV and AIDS when she established the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1991:

“At the time when she set up her charity, people thought you could catch HIV from standing too near to someone who was gay, and all other kinds of homophobic nonsense and ignorance. The fact that she was so iconic certainly had an impact. If someone like Elizabeth Taylor is going to embrace a cause – kind of like Princess Diana, actually, who also did fantastic work with HIV and AIDS – it’s going to change the way people think.”

When Taylor died in 2011, Wright was told by English Heritage that in order to qualify for a blue plaque, a recipient must be dead for a minimum of 20 years.

However, some London boroughs waive the requirement.  Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell was honoured with a plaque outside his London home in 2010.

Wright has launched a petition to get Taylor recognized with a blue plaque.


English Cops Perform Shirtless Rendition Of ‘YMCA’ At London Pride - VIDEO

Cops

At London Pride on June 28, a group of police officers spontaneously took part in a performance of "YMCA."

Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst performed in Traflagar Square and was introducted to the stage by Sir Ian McKellen who was recently granted the Freedom of the City by the Lord Mayor of London Fiona Woolf.

Watch the performance of "YMCA", AFTER THE JUMP...

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'Star Wars' Actor Sir Alec Guinness Begged Ian McKellen Not To Speak About Anything ‘As Dirty As Homosexuality’

Ian mckellen says alec guinness was a self loathing bisexual

Speaking at a June 25 gala dinner for LGBTI Pride hosted by London’s Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf, Ian McKellen said that Star Wars actor Sir Alec Guinness begged him not to campaign for gay rights.

In a recent interview alongside Patrick Stewart with British TV's Channel 4, McKellen compared the mutants in the X-Men movies to gays, black people and Jews treated harshly by “a society that doesn’t completely understand them.”

Guinness, who is probably best known for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars, is reported to have had male partners and to have been arrested in 1946 for a public sex act, despite being married.

Speaking at the historic event, held for the first time in the Lord Mayor’s Mansion House, McKellen alluded to his fellow actor’s bisexuality:

“Alec Guinness took me out to lunch and said: ‘You really should not, as a leading actor, have anything to do with anything political, especially anything as dirty as homosexuality. I beg you not to do it.’ That was self-hatred.”

McKellen also said that his wish for the future is for a professional British soccer player to come out as gay, adding: “My preference is that he is cute.”

Woolf, who is only the second female Lord Mayor of London since 1189, has dedicated her year in office to promoting diversity. Speaking about the historic significance of an LGBTI dinner being held in Mansion House, she said:

“This is a clear statement of intent by the mayoralty and the City of London Corporation. Our responsibility is to capture the benefits of diversity for the city and for business. The business case is clear and the moral case is obvious. To be yourself and not someone you are not is a human right.”

Eurovisioner winner Conchita Wurst will headline the main Pride event in London's Trafalgar Square tomorrow.

Watch the Channel 4 interview with McKellen and Stewart, AFTER THE JUMP...

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