Saturday, March 30, 2013

GAY PUERTO RICO - 1:00 PM 3/30/2013

"Gay Puerto Rico" bundle created by Mike Nova

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via Gay Puerto Rico Links's Facebook Wall by Gay Puerto Rico Links on 3/30/13

NEWS: Gay Review - 11:55 AM 3/30/2013

via Gay Puerto Rico Links's Facebook Wall by Gay Puerto Rico Links on 3/30/13

PUERTO RICO NEWS: Blogs Review - 10:45 AM 3/30/2013
Comprehensive collection of newslinks to Puerto Rico, The Caribbean and The Latino Culture - Amplia colección de newslinks a Puerto Rico, el Caribe y la Cultura Latina

via Gay Puerto Rico's Facebook Wall by Gay Puerto Rico on 3/30/13

NEWS: Gay Review - 11:55 AM 3/30/2013

via Gay Puerto Rico's Facebook Wall by Gay Puerto Rico on 3/30/13

PUERTO RICO NEWS: Blogs Review - 10:45 AM 3/30/2013
Comprehensive collection of newslinks to Puerto Rico, The Caribbean and The Latino Culture - Amplia colección de newslinks a Puerto Rico, el Caribe y la Cultura Latina

via Queerty by Lester Brathwaite on 3/30/13

Willam is the latest queen to pick up the phone in our new favorite web series, Ring My Bell, which in Ms. Belli’s manicured claws quickly devolves into a low class, high camp sex hotline. You’re welcome.

via Queerty by Lester Brathwaite on 3/30/13
WAITING FOR BARBARAPlaywright Dan Fishbackcovers a lot of territory in his humorous but highly provocative play, Waiting for Barbara: homophobia, privilege, power, racism — all rolled up and snorted through a 100 dollar bill.
Set on the first night of the War in Iraq, two gay Yale seniors await the arrival of the President’s daughter to bring them to “an opening night war party.” While they wait, they drown their sorrows in cocaine and crystal meth, self-loathing and self-denial, and through their own twisted lenses, they envision what the war means for them and for America.
Fishback staged a reading at New York’s New Museum on the tenth anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, followed by a discussion of its themes. A few days later we had Dan analyze his own words to give us his unfiltered take on internal homophobia and gaycism in the LGBT community.
Warning: there’s some indelicate language ahead.
Davenport: I never thought I’d feel this way, but it’s like: I’m really thinking about gay people all over the world, and how we’re going to save them from the Muslims.
Bryce: It’s our duty. It’s our duty as homosexuals to protect one another.
Queerty: Do you think the plight of gays in the Muslim world has improved since the start of the wars?
Fishback: Oh god, no.  This is one of the big myths of Western imperialism – that war with Muslim countries will bring safety for women and queer people.  In the decade since our invasion of Iraq, hundreds if not thousands of gay men and trans women in Iraq have been systematically hunted down, tortured and killed by anti-queer death squads.  Some of the more gruesome torture involved cementing the anuses of the victims, and then force-feeding them laxatives so their intestines would explode.  This was not happening under Saddam.  So yeah, the War in Iraq has not been good for gay people, no.
And yet we still see this attitude that Americans should support violence against Muslim countries because those countries are homophobic.  (As if America is not also homophobic and transphobic – as if trans people in our own country are not also systematically murdered.)  You see it particularly in the discourse about Israel and Palestine, but if you talk to queer Palestinians, they all say that they will never see progress until the Occupation ends.  So if you partially justify the subjugation of Palestine because it is a homophobic place, you’re also ignoring the actual wishes of real queer Palestinians who are begging for freedom.  Recent writing by Sarah Schulman is particularly helpful to understand this process, especially her book,Israel/Palestine and the Queer International.
Davenport: Sam’s in love with you.
Bryce: Sam’s in love with Barbara!
Davenport: Sam is in love with power. Sam is in love with the power of being best friends with the First Daughter, and Sam is in love with the power of SUCKING YOUR PASTY-ASS BLUE-BLOOD YANKEE DICK.
Q: One of the most interesting themes of the play is “proximity to power,” particularly how homosexuals in those positions – closeted or not – forsake the LGBT community, e.g. Ken Mehlman. Can you speak to that a bit?
F: One of the worst culprits of this kind of betrayal is Christine Quinn.  People support her because she’s a lesbian, but her actual policies are terrible for most queer people.  She supported turning St. Vincent’s Hospital in the still-gay West Village into a luxury condo high rise, as if gay people need wealthy neighbors more than they need a hospital.  She won’t pass paid sick leave, she’s supported our demonic Police Commissioner, the list goes on and on.  But the thing is: queer people are everywhere.  So when politicians like Quinn attack the poor, they attack the LGBT community.  When they attack immigrants, they attack the LGBT community.  When they attack people of color, they attack the LGBT community.
It happens over and over again – not just here, but in Western European countries too.  When white homosexuals gain access to political power, they consolidate it by joining the white heterosexual elite in oppressing some “other” group – like immigrants, the poor, or people of color.  This is being called “homonationalism,” which I think is a really helpful term, because it’s so widespread – the desperateness with which so many white homosexuals shit on whoever is beneath them in order to feel more secure in the power structure that, only a few years ago, would have eaten them alive.
Davenport: Jesus. Don’t get all Self-Loathing, Country Club Pity Poofter on me – it won’t work. I’m not going to feel sorry for you.
Bryce: I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.
Davenport: Good, cause I’m not going to…
Bryce: I don’t care what you think.
Davenport: Good, cause I think you’re a cry baby.
Bryce: I’m a faggot.
Davenport: Jeez. Give me a fucking break. You have no right to get like this.
Bryce: I have no right…to be sad, when [my] friend says horrid, horrid things about [me]?
Davenport: You have no idea.
Q: These characters are particularly vicious towards one another, but you said it wasn’t much of a stretch from conversations you’ve heard. Why do you think there’s so much internal homophobia among gay men?
F: Homophobia means fear of gay people, and who is more afraid of gay men than other gay men?  There’s a great anthology by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore calledWhy Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? which shines a light on this dynamic.  We are so deeply oppressed, and so deeply fucked up as children.  We retreat into our imaginations, we dissociate, we withdraw.  As adults, we’re suddenly confronted with the reality of other human beings and so often we can’t get beyond those initial defense mechanisms.  And because we’re still trapped in our defensive narcissism, so often gay men can’t understand that other people are real.  So we lash out, we project, we see other people as reflections of ourselves and we destroy them because it’s easier than dealing with our own self-hatred and guilt.  Just lurk in any gay bar late enough and you see this dynamic play itself out.  It’s depressing and disgusting and it’s the result of systemic cultural homophobia.
Davenport: We can do anything we fucking want. I mean…that’s like… THAT’S, LIKE, THE POINT. That’s the point of this war. We’re fighting this war so we can do WHATEVER WE FUCKING WANT.
Q: After the play, talk turned to The New Normal and the sense that gay white males are somehow beyond racism. Why do you think that is?
F: So many white gay men seem to think that, because they are oppressed as homosexuals, they automatically understand ALL OPPRESSION, and are experts about all minority experiences, and therefore have a free pass to indulge in racist humor.  “I’m gay,” they say, “so I couldn’t possibly be racist.”  This is being called “gaycism,” which I think is a pretty helpful term.  You also see it in white gay men’s attitudes towards women and trans people.  Like, in another Ryan Murphy show,Glee, one character is a trans woman of color, but she barely ever says anything because the writers obviously know nothing about trans people.  And yet they feel that they somehow own this experience because they are “LGBT,” and that T has got to mean something.  But the truth is that being a cisgender homosexual teaches you ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about transgender experience until you get to know transgender people, or read books by transgender authors.
It all comes down to this: In my eyes, being queer can lead you down two different paths – it can make you sensitive to other oppression experiences or it can make you oblivious to them.  It can make you humble or it can make you a dick.  It can make you confront your own internalized racism, misogyny, transphobia and homophobia with dignity and a genuine concern to become a better person, or it can make you shut down to any implication that you are anything but a progressive gay saint.  My hope is that more and more people use gay identity politics as a gateway drug to intersectionalism – so we can all tap into our revolutionary queer potential.
That’s the genius of being queer – we have the opportunity to inspect society from outside of it, to better understand how it’s broken.  What concerns me – and whatWaiting for Barbara is about – is that, so many homosexuals are missing that opportunity.

via Queerty by Dan Avery on 3/30/13
Asmara Songsang
If ever there was an art form us gays own (besides, y’know, all of them) its musical theater. That’s why we’re so incensed that the Malaysian government has sponsored a musical aimed at teaching young people about the dangers of being LGBT.
Asmara Songsang (or, Abnormal Desire) follows the lives of three queer gang members—we know they’re gay because they take drugs, throw loud parties and engage in casual sex. The trio’s Muslim neighbors try to bring the perverts back into the fold, but a convenient lighting storm slays those who refuse to change their evil ways. After a  lecture on the hideous wrongs of not being heterosexual, the entire cast comes out on stage with Malaysian flags and sings a song dedicated to national unity.
DSC2310Writer-director Rahman Adam, 73, says the goal of Abnormal Desire is to alert  youngsters and their parents as to “the bad things about LGBT.”
“Nowadays in Malaysia you read so many things in newspaper articles or write-ups about LGBT… because [LGBT] are going into schools and influencing the children,” he said. “Children need to recognize that men are for women, and women are for men. They are all out to have homosexual and lesbian sex, and although right now it is not so serious [in Malaysia], we need to act, to do something, to say something, to say that this is bad and not to follow it.”
Malay blogger Alia Ali calls Asmara Songsang “all-out propaganda” that’s not just bigoted, it’s poorly executed:
Even if it wasn’t propagandistic, there were too many troubling issues: The part that gets to me the most is that according to the playwright, all non-heterosexuals seem to belong to a club. Membership is declared by choosing whether they want to be an L, G, B or T, then a partner (or “baby LGBT” as they call it) for them is found. Any sort of contact with the heteronormative world is cut off — in fact, they’ll fight tooth and nail to keep recruits in their clutches and away from their family. And since they’re immoral and not “normal”, they must of course drink heavily, take drugs, and make out right in public. They actively recruit members to join their side, turning straight people gay, and clearly don’t even live in reality.
The Guardian reports that the musical features some of the country’s biggest TV stars and has played the national theater in Kuala Lumpur, in addition to public schools and universities across the largely Islamic country.
We’re guessing it won’t be heading to Broadway.
Photos: © Kakiseni Blog

via Steve Rothaus' Gay South Florida by Steve Rothaus on 3/23/13
News release from Azucar Nightclub:
High Heel RaceMIAMI, Fla., March 2013 -- Azucar Nightclub, a proud Gold sponsor of the Miami Beach Gay Pride, is delighted to bring the 1stannual High Heel Race on Ocean Drive and 9th Street on April 14th, 2013. This is a first for South Florida and for the festival. The idea for the event came directly from the South Florida LGBT community.
They expressed to Azucar to bring another exciting event to the fun and joy that Miami Beach Gay Pride brings to the community.  “Our inboxes were flooded with requests for a high heel race to enhance the sense of community produced by Miami Beach Gay Pride. The High Heel Race is by the people and for the people we were called to action to create it,” said High Heel Event Director, Ron Brenesky. “Azucar Nightclub, recognized in the community for quality entertainment, is proud to bring this to Miami Beach Pride so that it may join other pride festivals across the nation with their own successful high heel race,” he continued.
For additional details on the High Heel Race, including information on pre-registering and pre-race events, visit

The Guardian

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via Queerty by Dan Avery on 3/30/13
AM_ArmCandy_Cover_R1Usually when we think of the word “escort,” we think of guys who “lift luggage” for closeted preachers. But Chris Gaida is a legitimate escort—he goes along with big-name celebrities to red-carpet functions, making sure they get where they’re supposed to and have a nice time while they’re there.
Gaida has escorted Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Betty White, Ricky Martin, Mariah Carey, Darren Kriss, Angelina Jolie and countless other stars.  He’s seen the sloppy drunks, the diva fits, and the “straight” movie stars who have their hands all over the male escorts.
Now, Caida, 38, is spilling some red-carpet T with his memoir, Arm Candy, In it, he delivers behind-the-scenes dish, reveals who in Hollywood is a pain in the posterior (you’d be surprised) and shares his personal coming-out storyc.
We chatted with the walker-turned-author about his exploits, the rules of the business, and clearing up the confusion that he’s not “that” kind of escort.
How did you get involve in the escort business?
I was fresh out of college when I landed a temp job at MTV Networks in New York. One day while trying to stay busy answering phones, some random guy approached my desk and asked if I would want to escort at the VH1 Divas Live show.  I told him no, as I heard about the casting couch and sleeping with someone was not the way I wanted to make it to the top.
He insisted that it was not a sexual job, so I decided to take the chance and escort at the show. From what he briefly described, it sounded cool, but also too good to be true—I didn’t want to end up in one of those 20/20 stories.  You know, the ones where some kid knew something was shady and did it anyway and wound up getting murdered.
Not only was I not murdered, but it was everything I could have imagined and more. I had all access to every celebrity, and sex was not on the menu.
What’s entailed in a typical escorting job?
Celebrity escorts exist at just about every award show and there are, on average, about 20-30 escorts per show.  There are a small group of us that work just about every show and then there are a few people that do it just a few times and then disappear forever. I imagine that they get frustrated because of the amount of work involved, and some get upset that they always have to take a back seat because the celebrity gets all of the attention. Other times they get fired because they do something stupid or don’t have the best interest of the celebrity in mind.  Christopher Gaida
Basically we handle the celebrities experiences at award shows. From rehearsal to red carpet to the actual show, we make sure that not only the celebrities are well taken care of, but that the show producers get what they need to make the show the best that it can be. We bring the celebrities backstage when its time, handle media requests, coordinate script changes, rush celebrities past eager fans and coordinate timing and logistics for the show. I have to wear many different hats and deal with multiple personalities—sometimes within the same person.
Since these shows are mostly live, mistakes are not an option and not knowing an answer can cost you your job.  Its an incredible job, though, where you are able to literally spend an entire day with your favorite celebrity. Its nice to see how the other half lives and to experience a part of Hollywood that very few people have.  Even reporters and other crew members don’t have the access we do.
Do people assume you sleep with celebrities?
People always wonder about that. That’s not part of the job at all, and never expected of anyone.  The insiders knows about this job and how important we are to making sure things flow properly and that the celebrities are clear in communication with the producers. A few times I have been asked out by the celebrities “people”—manager, publicist, make-up artist—but rarely has a celebrity themselves asked me out.
Who were some of the celebrities that surprised you—either with how diva-like they were or how cool they were?
Pamela Anderson is one of the celebrities who has shocked me with how different she was in person than what I expected her to be. I expected this dumb blonde, but in real life she has it all together—she’s very savvy. In my book I apologize if I’m blowing her cover!  She not only seems to be an excellent mother, but an incredible business woman who knows how to work the dumb-blond image.
Another celebrity that surprised me was Queen Latifah.  I escorted her back before she became a big movie star and I assumed she would be difficult. I knew she was a rap artist and was on one TV show at the time, but that is all I knew.  The moment I met her though I realized how special she is.  She instantly treated me as if I was her brother or as if we known each other for years.  She was very welcoming and a very fun person to spend time with.  In my presence she was always happy and not a diva in anyway.  I still remember the expression on her face when we went to her suite in Las Vegas that production and booked for her.  It was like a scene from a movie where the doors opened and we both saw this big gorgeous room for the first time.  She lite up like a Christmas tree and was truly grateful for such an incredible room.

What are some of the never-break rules of being a celebrity escort? 
The Number One rule for a celebrity escort is to never lose your talent. Escorts usually just have one celebrity that they are with all day and night, and they are not allowed to lose sight of them. This may sound simple, but celebrities are often pulled in many different directions and with crowds of people and people pulling an escort away by asking questions or just talking it can be a challenge.  Ten seconds of giving someone directions can be a fatal mistake—because just that quickly the talent can be gone.
Other rules are to act professional at all times, don’t be late, know the venue inside and out, and  be prepared for everything.  An escort could be walking their celebrity to their dressing room only to find the hallway blocked. If that escort doesn’t know another route instantly then problems can occur.  I make sure I know where everyhallway and door leads to, because you never know when you are going to make a hasty detour.
Have you escorted any gay celebrities—or covered for any who were in the closet?
I escorted the Queer Eye For the Straight Guy cast back in 2003, at the height of their fame. It was at the MTV Video Music awards and they were all extremely nice guys.  Two of the guys asked me out and I did go on dates with them both—though not the same night. No romance brewed, but it was a fun experience and I was happy to have spent some time getting to know them better.
1 of 8
2Chris with Barbara Bach
3signing Arm Candy at Barnes & Noble (Photo: Bren Cooms)
4Chris and Darren Criss
5With John tenny and Rebecca RomjiT
6Some of Chri's celebrity clients
7Christopher Gaida and Kim Kardashian
8Christopher Gaida

Gay travel stories from the week of March 25, 2013 — Supreme court hearings in USA, gay panel discussion in Berlin & other gay travel adventures.

GlobalPost : San Juan, Mar 27 (EFE).- A total of 48 Haitian migrants were detained Wednesday by Puerto Rican police when they landed illegally at Isabela, a district on the west coast of the Caribbean island. Police said in a ...

via gay rights puerto rico - Google Blog Search by BigFurHat on 2/26/13
The “Puerto Rico Stands Up” campaign has been drawing hundreds of thousands of believers since Monday morning in the capital city of San Juan, bringing traffic to a standstill as the gay rights debate in the U.S. ...

via Gay Voices by Derrick Clifton on 3/29/13
What in the world could be wrong with it?
It's been all over Facebook and Twitter as part of a wider social media campaign for marriage equality. If you're especially savvy, you're aware that it's a spin on the Human Rights Campaign's logo (which they've self-promoted). And if your Facebook and Twitter friends/followers are anything like mine, you've probably seen a variation of profile photos and status messages critiquing it.
Keeping it 100 percent honest here, there's an air of uneasiness implied by all the commentary about a seemingly innocuous red photo of an equal sign.
Should marriage equality become law of the land, I'm sure hordes of us will celebrate a historic moment -- that our nation's highest court ruled in favor of the right to marry the person we love. But after the drinks clink and the confetti gets swept away, what will come next?
Allow me to be blunt.
Not everyone appreciates how the HRC has been lent high legitimacy as the organization representing the entire movement when their actions have consistently proven otherwise. Going further, some people have reservations that a large number of people -- especially economically well-off, able-bodied, gender conforming, non-immigrant and white (read: relatively privileged) gay and lesbian Americans -- will disengage from the many other institutional and social changes necessary for full inclusion of LGBT communities.
That may very well not be the case. But who comprises the majority of the Human Rights Campaign's staff and donor base? The same white, gay and lesbian people previously described. For many of these folks and some others, marriage equality is the last major step to becoming "fully privileged" citizens relative to their heterosexual peers (well, save perhaps for employment protections).
Just the sight of the HRC logo recalls that scary possibility of broader disengagement given how the organization has represented itself so far -- and what's below only scratches the surface.
The HRC has appeared more concerned with praising corporations and financial institutions that continue to oppress the poor and play reverse Robin Hood to screw many folks (LGBT* included) out of homes and livelihoods.
The HRC has yet to make a strong, substantive appeal on youth homelessness, which disproportionately impacts LGBT communities.
The HRC has a long history of throwing trans* people under the bus. Many folks still remember them dropping the "T" while attempting to push the Employment Non-Discrimination Act through Congress in 2007... and it still failed to capture enough votes to pass in the Senate and become law. They've since reverted to supporting a trans-inclusive bill, yet many still feel the sting.
The HRC has tokenized and otherwise has given lip service to issues pertaining to LGBT communities of color. Racial justice (or even an allusion to it) isn't even listed on their website's "issues" tab as part of a broader strategy. And dare we not address how that functions from within, given the racism many people experience in LGBT* spaces and forums.
Yet the HRC has thrown almost the full weight of their strategy, fundraising moolah and public platform on the issue of marriage equality. And they've done it for a while now.
It's as if the organization can't make fully-voiced statements and actions to push forward other pressing issues. I'm sure many folks can appreciate that they've at least tried with employment protections and addressing bullying. But, more often than not, you won't hear HRC's voice on issues other than marriage. A quick perusal of its Facebook posts over the past year confirms that.
With marriage equality occupying so much space in the conversation, many people have grown tired of the perfunctory strategies that eat up time, money and resources to address surface-level issues rather than work intersectionally to address the root cause of systemic issues impacting LGBT communities. That's not to say marriage doesn't matter -- it's indeed a big step that'll move us closer to achieving equality -- but the high, high level of its prioritization is troubling to many.
When people openly express their discomfort about the red HRC logo heavily populating their Facebook and Twitter news feeds, they're doing more than simply raging against the Gay Inc. machine. Scrutinizing marriage as an institution and acknowledging broader community issues while supporting marriage as an option for all couples are not mutually exclusive ideas or actions.
If anything, it's a plea for recognition that the marriage issue is one part of a larger strategy for equality and not the ultimate end goal.
It's a plea for people to understand why the HRC deserves more scrutiny rather than childlike faith that they're out there representing a broad base of people in LGBT communities. As with other leading organizations and political figures, they don't deserve a free pass.
It's a plea that people who still require and desire more than marriage equality won't be forgotten about.
Here's hoping that won't happen on this issue and many others to come. But, for now, we await two court rulings...

via Gay Voices by Dana Beyer on 3/29/13
This past week saw historic events at the Supreme Court of the United States, not only for gay and lesbian couples but for all Americans. And "all Americans" includes trans Americans. I and many of my trans colleagues have labored for years on the particular civil rights issue that is marriage equality. Sometimes that is recognized; many times it isn't. But so many people work without recognition; that is not a real problem.
What continues to be a problem is the cold war that is ongoing between the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the trans community. I don't remember a time when there was an absence of conflict, and having served as an HRC Governor during the last decade, I was present for some of the worst of the confrontations. It is true that HRC was late to the community's acceptance of trans inclusion, adding the "T" to "LGB" only in 2004. The worst experience was the 2007 debacle over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), when virtually the entire LGBT community organized for trans inclusion, leaving HRC alone in support of an exclusive ENDA. HRC's support for marriage equality has been robust and intense, but not so much its support for trans equality. Internally HRC has no trans staffers and only one trans board member. Worse, it has rarely been any better than that, and this is an organization with nearly 50 board members. Being tasked with increasing national trans board representation, I know that HRC does not stand alone as an outlier. But given that HRC is unofficially the national voice of the entire LGBT community, a role embraced by the organization, that lack of representation does stand out. This needn't be the case.
This past week there was an event that reopened the scab of the past two decades of wounds. It was reported by Matt Comer that a trans flag was removed from an event at the steps of the Supreme Court by an HRC staffer. I don't know the facts, though I lean toward supporting Jerame Davis, Executive Director of the National Stonewall Democrats, and his take on the incident. Maybe there were only American flags planted at the podium, in which case the trans flag would have been inappropriate. Maybe there were other rainbow flags, in which case the action would not have been appropriate. Regardless, this is just one more instance of institutional bad blood between the two communities.
It's time to resolve this problem, and this is a very opportune time to do so. The trans community has scored many great victories recently, the most recent being thereconsideration by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services of coverage for genital reconstruction surgeries. The gay community has also scored impressive victories, both last November, with the marriage referenda, and this week, with the oral arguments in the Supreme Court. We can come together in strength and equal standing.
It's also an opportune time for a rapprochement because of the recent changes in senior staff at HRC. Regardless of where one wants to place blame, those changes with a new team in place allow for a fresh look and a fresh start. I know that President Chad Griffin is committed to better relations with the trans community, as is his newest hire, Jeff Krehely, formerly of the Center for American Progress.
This effort need not be only morally grounded, in that it's the right thing to do for all of us. Yes, many trans persons are gay, and many gay persons are gender-nonconforming. There is so much overlap that it becomes silly at certain points to be arguing. Just as self-interest has propelled the gay community to focus primarily on gay issues, the increase in exposure of the trans community and the rise of our particular issues means that not only do we need the support of our gay friends and allies, but they also need us to remain relevant and a part of the ongoing civil rights discourse.
I was taught to be very wary when someone presents a deal as "win-win." He is often just trying to pick your pocket. Sometimes, though, the situation has become so toxic that inaction means more "lose-lose," and regardless of who benefits more when a deal is reached, there is a general overriding benefit for the larger community.
I hope Chad and Jeff take the time over the next few months, before the Supreme Court justices rule in June, to sit with the trans community to find a way past injuries and old wounds. If Israel and Turkey can resolve their differences, surely HRC and the trans community can. Maybe it's time for Nixon to revisit China. And this season of liberation and rejuvenation might just be the ideal time.

via Gay Voices by Jennifer Bendery on 3/29/13
WASHINGTON -- Conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said Friday that he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, though he wouldn't commit to cosponsor legislation to do that.
In an unexpected Twitter exchange with The Huffington Post, Amash, one of the more savvy members of Congress when it comes to social media, began with a tweet stating that the "real threat" to traditional marriage isn't lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, but government itself.
Real threat to traditional marriage & religious liberty is government, not gay couples who love each other & want to spend lives together.
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 27, 2013
This sparked a series of tweets with HuffPost about where he stands on repealing DOMA, a topic that has dominated the news this week as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the law.

@repjustinamash Hmm. So do you support the right for gay couples who love each other to get married?
— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 29, 2013

@repjustinamash But you support idea that private, consensual union for gay couple = federally recognized marriage?
— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 29, 2013

@jbendery Of course. How can anyone stop a couple from getting married in their own way? I just want government out.
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, 2013

@jbendery Right. ;)
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, 2013

As laid out in his tweets, Amash emphasized that his support for repealing DOMA is tied to his belief that government shouldn't be involved in anyone's marriage. Amash's spokesman Will Adams explained the congressman's libertarian-leaning position on the matter earlier this week.
"I think in his ideal world, the governments -- at all levels all together -- would get out of marriage," Adams told HuffPost's Chelsea Kiene on Wednesday. "Much like we don’t want the government involved in my church’s communion or we don’t want the government to regulate my church’s baptism, we don’t want to have government regulate another sacrament in my church, which is marriage. That’s then his position."
Adams added, "But as a federal legislator, as a congressman, he’s in charge of shaping federal law and so he’s willing to oppose the federal government's definition of marriage in DOMA."
During Friday's Twitter exchange, HuffPost took the issue a step further and asked Amash if he would cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. That bill, which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) files in every Congress, currently has three GOP cosponsors. Amash didn't bite.

@jbendery We'll take a look. Thx.
— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, 2013

Amash's views on DOMA have shifted in recent years. He said in 2010 that he "strongly support[s] the federal Defense of Marriage Act." But by 2012, his positionwas more in line with what he says now: "I believe that marriage is a private, religious institution that should not be defined or redefined by the federal government."

Chelsea Kiene contributed reporting.

via Gay Voices by Chris Greenberg on 3/29/13
During his six seasons in the NFL, Kwame Harris remained in the closet because he did not believe being gay was "compatible" with his career. A first-round selection out of Stanford in the 2003 NFL Draft, the 6' 7" offensive lineman spent five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the Oakland Raiders before retiring in 2008.
"I love football. Football provided me with some experiences and some opportunities that I wouldn't trade for anything else," Harris told Coy Wire in an exclusive interview with CNN that aired on Friday. "But at the same time, the cost was great in asking me to not speak candidly or be able to be open about myself in this complete manner."
Harris kept his sexuality private during his career in the NFL but found himself in the spotlight after an alleged altercation with a former boyfriend generated headlines in January.
At the time, defense lawyer Alin Cintean told The Associated Press that Harris identifies himself as gay, but "is not very public about it." The 31-year-old broke his silence this week speaking with Wire, a former teammate at Stanford who also played in the NFL. In the interview, Harris spoke publicly for the first time about being gay and reflected on his decision to remain silent during his career.
"No, not while I was playing. I didn't see those two things as being compatible," Harris said when asked if he ever considered coming out while playing n the NFL. "But now when I look back in hindsight, if I could have done it differently, I would like to think that I would find the strength or find the fortitude or the grace to kind of make the hard decision."
According to a recent report by Mike Freeman of, there is a gay player currently in the NFL who is strongly considering coming out publicly. In his conversation with Wire, Harris expressed hope that his recent candor would help young gay athletes realize that they are not alone.
"I want people -- whether they're gay athletes or athletes who are still in the closet or youth who aren't quite sure of what their sexuality is -- to realize that not only is that not unique but those feelings are common feelings," Harris told Wire. "Don't feel incredibly alone in having these questions."

via Gay Voices by New York Department Of Health on 3/29/13
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) is expanding a recommendation issued earlier this month by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) regarding meningococcal vaccinations for men who have sex with men (MSM). These meningococcal vaccine recommendations have been issued in response to an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease (IMD) in New York City.
Meningococcal disease is a severe bacterial infection of the bloodstream. Common symptoms include high fever, headache, vomiting, stiff neck, and a rash. Symptoms may occur two to 10 days after exposure, but usually within five days. Since 2010, 22 men residing in NYC and one man who resides outside the City, but spent significant time there, have become ill in this outbreak, seven have died.

via Gay Voices by Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick on 3/29/13
Last month I attended the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta, where ballrooms and newswires were ablaze with excitement, skepticism and conversation about the functional cure of a Mississippi infant. Details about the newborn were complex, which consequently led to conflicting narratives about the serendipitous finding. Thankfully, in response to what I suspect was a dire need to quell expectations about a cure on the horizon and information chaos incited by the media, Drs. Anthony Fauci and Carl Dieffenbach, HIV science mavens at the National Institutes of Health, published a balanced and detailedscientific summary of these events. The story about the infant is encouraging, but the discovery is really rooted in scientific principles of which we were already aware. The functional cure is largely attributable to a perfect storm of three events: 1) Doctors knew when the infant was likely infected, 2) treatment was administered almost immediately and 3) diagnostic technology needed to detect the infection was readily available. Simple. Yet, as another young gay man walked into my clinic last week tearful and frightened by the news about his new HIV diagnosis, I pondered how the news of a functionally-cured infant was as a stark reminder of our failure to thwart infection or achieve functional cures in adults, particularly in young, gay men like him. It raises an important public health question. Where is a similarly aggressive public health response to achieve this perfect storm in adults? Unfortunately, achieving the perfect storm for adults isn't so simple. Many hurdles impede our ability to routinely replicate functional cures in adults, but I believe there are three glaring medical and/or behavioral barriers to imminently achieving this public health success.
First, the community and many healthcare providers are not educated or vigilant about identifying early HIV infection and its symptoms.

Early or acute HIV infection (AHI) can manifest as a flu-like syndrome with vague symptoms shown in the figure. The gravest public health concern about AHI is its occurrence during the "the window period" when the traditional HIV test is negative. Consequently, a person with unknown infection may continue engaging in high-risk behavior for months or years before the infection is discovered. Furthermore, because the virus replicates most aggressively during early infection, people with AHI are highly infectious and more capable of infecting others. Both the community and health care providers must think about this diagnosis and act because the traditional HIV test will be negative for as many as 12 weeks.
Second, the diagnostic test that detects AHI earliest is not readily available and accessible to those at greatest risk for acquiring HIV. The HIV viral load assay, which detects virus in the bloodstream, is routinely used to monitor the HIV treatment response, but the test is not FDA-approved to diagnose AHI. Despite this, the test can still be ordered by a medical provider who suspects AHI but many health care providers are not aware of its utility in identifying AHI. Ideally, a viral load should be performed by frontline providers like emergency department and primary care providers who are most likely to encounter a person with AHI symptoms. Sites in Washington, D.C. will soon begin performing an assay that detects HIV infection two weeks after exposure, but even this technology pales in comparison to the near immediacy of using a viral load assay.
Third, many persons engaging in high-risk sexual behavior are not aware of and unable to act upon their risk for acquiring infection. Just as the doctors knew when the infant was likely infected and initiated treatment almost immediately, if the timing of a new infection in adults is known, it may be possible to interrupt long-term infection by administration of early treatment or post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The timing of HIV infection is imperative but is only known by those involved in risky sexual encounters. Therefore, immediate medical intervention such as with the infant requires acknowledgment of the risk and personal action to seek medical evaluation for AHI around the time of risky sexual encounters. A perfect storm would also require HIV-positive persons who are aware of their HIV status to disclose the infection to sexual partners before or immediately after a risky encounter. Given the prevalence of stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive persons, disclosure of serostatus remains a daunting social challenge that is difficult to concretely address as part of a strategy to identify AHI.

Up to now, AHI discussions have largely been confined to the research community and the prevailing sentiment is that finding early infection is expensive, impractical and akin to finding a needle in a haystack. These perceptions have limited implementation of public health strategies to identify and treat sexually-active adults near the time of initial infection. Justifiably, HIV treatment standards are heavily driven by science and research, however, given the plateau in HIV rates over the last decade, bold and aggressive community-based approaches are needed to begin reducing national HIV incidence. The news of a functional cure in an infant signals a need to expand this discussion beyond the research community. The discussion must include clinical and community partners who can assist in implementing complementary educational, biomedical and behavioral strategies that increase uptake and facilitate access to AHI-related diagnosis and treatment. Over the last year our clinic population has expanded on average by at least one acutely infected young gay man each month. These young men and so many adults at risk of infection desperately need a perfect storm. We owe it to them to develop and implement a comprehensive public health strategy that orchestrates one on their behalf.
For more by Dr. Lisa Fitzpatrick, click here.
For more on HIV/AIDS, click here.

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