SF encourages gay men to use female condoms

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco health officials are stepping up the fight against spread of sexually transmitted diseases by urging the use of a more comfortable, redesigned female condom.

The city is the nation’s first to encourage use of the new FC2 condom by women and gay men.

The San Francisco Chronicle says health officials began pushing use of female condoms in the mid-1990s, but they were criticized as awkward, uncomfortable and expensive.

Last year, the manufacturer redesigned the safe-sex female condom using a thinner material. The two rings securing the condom are also made of a softer material.

The condoms will be available at city clinics without charge. Free condoms were distributed Monday at San Francisco’s Civic Center, San Francisco State University, Dolores Park, the Bayview and the Castro.

—  John Wright

Did Model Renato Seabra Kill His Gay Activist Boyfriend Carlos Castro And Cut His Scrotum Off?

Carlos Castro — the 65-year-old Angolan-born Portuguese columnist, TV journalist, and gay activist — was found in his New York City hotel room lying face-up in a pool of his own blood — with his scrotum cut off and his bead bludgeoned, the NYDN reports. His suspected paramour Renato Seabra, the fashion and underwear model who was staying with Castro at the InterContinental, was arrested hours later after officials tracked him down at a Midtown hospital when a nurse tipped them off. Seabra, who competed on (but did not win) the Portuguese modeling reality show A Procura Do Sonho (Pursuit of a Dream), was there seeking treatment for cuts and scrapes. That's a pretty damning scenario given witnesses saw the pair arguing loudly just hours before Castro's body was found after a visiting friend — who spotted Seabra in the lobby leaving the hotel, and who had gone to dinner with the pair just days before — could not reach him in his room. The pair were in town to spend New Year's Eve in the city and catch a few Broadway shows including Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.

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GLBT History Museum Opens in San Francisco’s Castro District

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The GLBT History Museum, a 1600 sq ft. facility housing archives from the GLBT Historical Society, is now open at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco's Castro district. The grand opening is next week, on January 13, from 7-9 pm, and is open to the public.

Following are a few images from within the museum, and some info about its origins and support.

Check it out, AFTER THE JUMP

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The "Textiles" section of "Great Collections" features the pantsuits worn by lesbian pioneers Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon when they became the first same-sex couple to wed during San Francisco's "Winter of Love" in 2004 and again when California briefly legalized such marriages in 2008. A couple for more than half a century, Del and Phyllis were cofounders of the Daughters of Bilitis, established in 1955 as the first lesbian organization in the United States.

Said Paul Boneberg, executive director of the Historical Society, in a statement to press.: "A quarter century after the founding of the GLBT Historical Society, we're proud to open a museum to showcase our community's history. The GLBT History Museum is in the heart of the Castro, a neighborhood visited not only by locals, but also by tens of thousands of tourists every year who come in search of queer culture. At our museum, they'll discover treasures from our archives that recount the diverse and fascinating stories of our lives. We have gone all out to create a museum as rich, diverse and surprising as the GLBT community itself. Whether they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or straight, visitors are sure to be moved, enlightened and entertained."

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"Military Matters: Divergent Duties" in "Our Vast Queer Past" focuses on both GLBT demands for equality in military service and GLBT opposition to war and militarism. The document at upper left is the 1919 honorable discharge of gay novelist and short-story writer Clarkson Crane, who served in the U.S. Army medical corps in combat in France in World War I. It's one of the oldest items on display in the exhibition.

The museum will feature two debut exhibitions: In the main gallery, "Our Vast Queer Past: Celebrating GLBT History," curated by historians Gerard Koskovich, Don Romesberg and Amy Sueyoshi; and in the front gallery, "Great Collections of the GLBT Historical Society Archives."

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"Bar Life: Going Out" section of "Our Vast Queer Past." The display includes 120 different matchbooks from San Francisco and Bay Area GLBT bars and clubs (1950s-1990s). The screen in the center shows more than 100 slides of façades of San Francisco LGBT bars (1968-1973) taken by Henri Leleu.

Funding for the museum has come from Levi's, the City of San Francisco, Castro district merchants, and numerous other sponsors and individual donors.

You can check out a whole gallery of these photos HERE (if you're on Facebook).


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HRC Now Squatting In Harvey Milk’s Castro Camera Shop

Harvey Milk's famed Castro Camera shop on Castro Street was a place where the city supervisor congregated with fellow activists to plot strategy in the 1970s. Today, it'll be where the Human Rights Campaign's San Francisco Action Center is headquartered: the group just snapped up the lease to the historic storefront. There, HRC will sell logo-emblazened bumper stickers, coffee mugs, and maybe even let passers-by sign up for its Visa card. Opines local resident Michael Petrelis: "In taking over the lease of Harvey's old shop, HRC is showing us again how desperate they are to develop some bona fide grassroots credibility, by moving half a block in the Castro from their current 'action center's' location. That move will not transform HRC into an effective advocate for the gays."


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Fidel Castro: Blame Me For Cuba’s Persecution of Queers

If anyone is responsible (for the persecution), it's me. I'm not going to place the blame on others. … We had so many and such terrible problems, problems of life or death In those moments I was not able to deal with that matter (of homosexuals). I found myself immersed, principally, in the Crisis of October (Cuban Missile Crisis), in the war, in policy questions.

—Fidel Castro, accepting blame for labeling Cuban gays "counterrevolutionaries" and shipping many off to work camps, and insisting it is not the fault of the state's Communist Party at large while trying to explain why he let the discrimination take place [via]


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—  John Wright

Fidel Castro: I Take Responsibility For Cuba’s Persecution Of Gays

Calling it a “great injustice,” today Fidel Castro told a Mexican newspaper that he accepts responsibility for Cuba’s persecution of its gay citizens, thousands of whom were rounded up and placed in internment camps during his regime.

Castro said that the revolutionary government’s actions represented “a great injustice – a great injustice! – whoever committed it. If we committed it, we committed it. I am trying to limit my responsibility in all that because, of course, personally I don’t have that type of prejudice.” The interviewer paraphrases him as saying that “everything came about as a spontaneous reaction in the revolutionary ranks that came from the nation’s traditions. In the old Cuba, blacks were not the only ones discriminated against; there was discrimination against women and, of course, homosexuals.” Was the Communist Party to blame, the interviewer asks. “No,” Castro responds. “If anyone is responsible, I am. True, at that time I couldn’t concern myself with the subject. I was deeply and mainly involved in the October Crisis, the war, the political issues. But in the end, if responsibility must be assumed, I assume mine. I’m not going to blame others,” Castro says.

Many will likely credit Castro’s niece Mariela for today’s statement as she has led Cuba’s burgeoning LGBT rights movement in recent years. Havana has staged gay pride parades for the last two years.

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright