The Daily Package
2 min

Ironman, rabbis and the new face of HIV

Your Daily Package of newsy and naughty bits from around the world

Robert Downey Jr amused by gay fan art

Be careful what you look for. Robert Downey Jr apparently googled himself and was tickled to find fabricated pictures of himself as Ironman in a compromising position with Avengers villain Loki. “HA! This is what happens when you google yourself, kids . . .” he posted.

Russian asylum seekers surge after anti-gay laws

After the Russian government passed anti-gay “propaganda” laws last year, the United States has seen a surge in asylum seekers from Russia. Many asylum seekers say the new laws have convinced homophobes that the law is on their side, leading to beatings, bullying and persecution. The Associated Press talks to gay Russians who left promising careers at home to seek safety overseas.

Read more at The Guardian.

Israeli women forced apart by religious court

Two Israeli women are being forced to live apart because a rabbinical court ordered them not to meet in the presence of one of the women’s children. In Israel, religious courts have special power over divorces among Jews. When one woman divorced her husband and met another woman, her husband asked the divorce court for an injunction barring the two women from meeting around their children. The court agreed, saying that “such meetings confuse the children and cause them irreversible psychological harm.” The justice department has refused to intervene in the case.

Read more at Haaretz.

India holds Pride parade in face of laws, arrests

Hundreds of people marched in New Delhi’s Pride parade on Sunday, Nov 30, the first since India’s high court recriminalized gay sex. In 2009, a lower court threw out the colonial law against homosexuality, but the Indian supreme court reinstated it last year. Participants told Reuters they were concerned about the future of gay rights under the rule of the new rightwing nationalist prime minister, Narendra Modi. Last week, 167 hijras, or transgender women, were arbitrarily arrested in Bangalore and held in a beggars’ colony until they signed promises not to beg on the streets.

Poland elects gay mayor

Polish politician Robert Biedron, who already had become the first openly gay Polish parliamentarian, is now the country’s first openly gay mayor. A record number of gay people ran for office in the local elections, in what is being called the “Biedron effect.” Biedron told the Associated Press that Poland is quickly becoming more tolerant toward gay people. Poland is still a largely conservative Catholic country, where some people think that Winnie the Pooh is risqué for not wearing pants.

World AIDS Day: The new world of HIV

For World AIDS Day, The Globe and Mail rounds up facts you need to know about HIV in Canada, including that our country is a world leader in prosecuting HIV nondisclosure. The Daily Beast writes about the new face of HIV: young, gay and disconnected from its past. At The Independent, the ONE campaign for HIV advocacy says that we are at the “beginning of the end” of AIDS worldwide.  

Photo Credit: Robert Downey Jr