5 things you need to know


Pride-goers attend the annual Pink Dot event in Hong Lim Park, Singapore on 18 June 2022. (AFP via Getty/ Roslan Rahman)

Recent statistics suggest a turning point could be on the horizon for monkeypox, while yet another colonial-era ban on gay sex has been overturned.

Elsewhere, gay Black men in an American city have been left terrified after a member of their community was murdered.

It might seem like there’s a lot going on in the world, but we’ve got you covered. Here are five essential things you should know this week.

1. Monkeypox declines as vaccine boost looms

A vaccinated man put under quarantine after his roommate got monkeypox has lost his court case. (Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images)

After weeks of panic, there’s finally some hope on the horizon – the rate of monkeypox is starting to decline in the UK, particularly in London.

According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the epidemic in London is now the same size as everywhere else in the country.

The news is a sign that prevention efforts are working. Health officials have been urging gay and bisexual men to avoid having sex if they’re experiencing any new symptoms such as rashes or lesions on their skin. Many have taken a smallpox vaccine, which also protects against monkeypox, in a bid to drive down transmission.

The world has been contending with vaccine shortages, but there’s some good news on that front too. Bavarian Nordic, the company that produces the vaccine, has entered into an agreement with another manufacturer to fill and finish vaccines.

Bavarian Nordic has said the extra capacity will allow it to get extra orders to the United States.

2. Singapore has overturned its ban on gay sex, and LGBTQ+ people are overjoyed

Attendees form the characters Repeal 377A in a call to repel the section of Singapore's penal code
Attendees form the characters Repeal 377A in a call to repeal the section of Singapore’s penal code which criminalises sex between men on 29 June 2019. (Getty/Ore Huiying)

The news that Singapore is ending its colonial-era ban on gay sex has been met with jubilation from the country’s LGBTQ+ community.

Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong announced on Sunday (21 August) that Section 377A, a law introduced under British colonial-rule, would be scrapped.

The news was greeted with joy from LGBTQ+ activists in Singapore, who have been campaigning for years to have the law overturned.

“Decriminalisation will not only improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people and their families, but will bring other obvious benefits to business, trade and Singapore’s international reputation, making this announcement welcome on many fronts,” said Leo Yang, executive director of LGBTQ+ charity Oogachaga.

3. War in Ukraine rages on half a year later

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (AFP via Getty/ SERGEI SUPINSKY)

It is now six months since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, prompting a war that has displaced millions and caused the deaths of innocent people.

Half a year on, the war shows little sign of abating. Overnight, the Ukrainian city of Nikopol was hit by Russian artillery fire, causing destruction and chaos once again.

Since the war began, more than 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes in a desperate bid to get to safety.

In that time, more than 12 million people have been forced to flee their homes. As of 14 August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) had 5,514 confirmed civilian deaths since the war began.

Six months on, only one things is clear: Russia is dedicated to continuing its brutal war – and there is currently no end in sight for the Ukrainian people.

4. Liz Truss could give the Tories a temporary boost

Liz Truss wears a dark outfit as she gestures with both hands in the air
Liz Truss. (Ian Forsyth/Getty)

Liz Truss, the frontrunner in the Tory leadership race, could give her party a temporary bounce in the polls if she wins – but it wouldn’t last for too long.

That’s according to a leaked internal analysis from Labor, details of which were published by The Guardian, Deborah Mattinson, Keir Starmer’s director of strategy, said their focus groups show voters like Truss less and less the more they get to know her.

“Serious negatives – untrustworthiness, inauthenticity, U-turns, lack of grip – are starting to cut through suggesting that any bounce may be very short-lived,” the leaked document said.

Concerns continue to mount about the prospect of Truss as prime minister within the LGBTQ+ community. During her time as minister for women and equalities, she repeatedly came under fire for halting progress on trans rights, while her office also failed to deliver on a planned conversion therapy ban.

5. Gay Black men ‘terrified’ after murder of student

Jimmy "Jay" Lee posing for a photograph.
Jimmy “Jay” Lee was murdered in July.

Gay Black men at the University of Mississippi have been left “terrified” after a student was murdered in July, according to Insider,

Jimmy “Jay” Lee went missing on 8 July, and Sheldon Timothy Herrington Jr – a former student at the university – was later arrested and charged with his murder.

The motive for the murder, according to prosecutors, was that Herrington was afraid of being outed.

Braylyn Johnson, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, told the news outlet that some people “don’t want to come back to school” because of “how scared they are”.

“For a lot of gay people there, we’re scared,” Johnson said. “Especially for gay Black men. They’re scared. They’re terrified.”

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