AHF told to move its Condom Nation 18-wheeler from hotel

CondomNationAIDS Healthcare Foundation moved merchandise into its new Out of the Closet store today using its Condom Nation 18-wheeler. Then they checked into their hotel, the Holiday Inn on Harry Hines Boulevard and parked the truck at the hotel near other 18-wheelers.

AHF Regional Director Adam Ouderkirk said Calvin Hamann, the hotel manager, told them to move the truck by 4 p.m. or he’d call the police. After all, you wouldn’t want a truck promoting condom use seen anywhere on Harry Hines Boulevard, a street best known for prostitution, parked at a hotel a block from Parkland Hospital’s AIDS clinic.

I called Hamann, who seemed to know nothing about the incident, but he said he’d get back in touch with me. We’re waiting.

—  David Taffet

Houston Pride reverses course, allows condoms to be distributed at parade

Houston Pride

Participants toss items to spectators during last year’s Houston Pride parade.

After Pride Houston announced at a parade participation meeting that condoms could not be distributed at Pride, the Houston Department of Health and Human Services threatened to withdraw.

Pride Houston claimed in an email that a city ordinance prevented them from allowing condom distribution:

“Recent changes in city ordinances have constituted a change in the 2013 celebration rules. They are as follows: Parade entries are not allowed to throw/distribute contraceptives from their entry (i.e., float, vehicle or walking individuals).”

But letters from the health department and Legacy Community Health Services, a Houston AIDS agency, asked the parade committee to reconsider and pointed out that there is no such city ordinance.

The committee issued several clarifications during the week. One said condoms needed to be distributed in packs with educational material and could only be distributed to people over 18.

Another was condoms could be distributed at the festival after the parade but not at the parade.

Another noted that nothing could be thrown from floats, according to a city ordinance. But beads are regularly thrown.

Finally, the committee agreed that condoms could be distributed by walking participants in the parade but not thrown from floats. The health department may also distribute condoms at the festival. No age limit was mentioned in the latest clarification.

“My take is they got some bad information on what the ordinances are,” said Daniel Williams, a Houston LGBT activist.

Williams works for Equality Texas but was speaking as a Houston LGBT activist. He pointed out Pride Houston is a volunteer organization.

“Now that they have better information, they changed the rules to comply with the information they have,” he said.

The Houston parade takes place along Westheimer Road in the city’s Montrose neighborhood on June 29.

—  David Taffet

25 ways to fight AIDS

Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day.

Wait! Before you click the ‘next’ button or scroll down your news feed hear me out: The LGBT community has been living with AIDS for three decades now. For people of my generation the message to get tested and use condoms has been stated and restated so many times that it has faded into the background with the result that, all too often, people do not take the steps they need to to protect themselves. Harris County is responsible for 30% of the new HIV/AIDS diagnosis in Texas and men who have sex with men account for 64% of newly diagnosed men statewide. The threat is not over, the fight is not over, AIDS still endanger the LGBT community.

But I don’t want to just talk about just condoms and testing (as important as they are). Fighting HIV/AIDS is easier than you might think. I present to you 25 ways, in no particular order, to fight AIDS in Houston.

25. If you’re over a certain age talk to a young LGBT person about how your life has been affected by HIV/AIDS. You might be surprised how eager we are to hear your stories.

24. If you’re under a certain age listen to an older LGBT person tell you how HIV/AIDS has affected their lives. I know you aren’t eager to hear their stories, but listen anyway. You may find that learning the history of your community is more empowering than you’d expect.

23. If you are a sexually active gay man or transgender woman participate in the Baylor College of Medicine’s HIV Vaccine Study.

22. Ask your local public or school library to put books about HIV/AIDS on the shelf, not just in the back room where they have to be requested. Access to accurate information is crucial in fighting the spread of the disease.

21. Post HIV/AIDS stories to facebook.

20. Ask your clergy person what your community of faith is doing to fight the pandemic.

19. Sign up for action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition at texashiv.org

18. Actually follow through when the action alerts from the Texas HIV/AIDS Coalition arrive in your in-box.

17. Volunteer for organizations that deal with communities at high risk for infection: high school dropouts, victims of sexual assault, the poor, the homeless and sex workers. Fighting AIDS means fighting the injustice in our society that all too often contributes to new infections.

16. Say AIDS out loud.

15. Ask political candidates what they will do to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

14. Once they’re elected, ask those candidates why they aren’t doing more to continue funding to fight HIV/AIDS.

13. Remind yourself that it’s OK to be tired of hearing about HIV/AIDS.

12. Thank a person who volunteers their time to the fight.

11. Take a moment to remember the people we’ve lost.

10. Take a moment to think of the people we may loose if this pandemic isn’t stopped.

9. Take a HIV/AIDS healthcare worker to dinner.

8. Wear a red ribbon.

7. Recognize that wearing a red ribbon isn’t enough.

6. Work with communities other than your own. HIV/AIDS effects us all.

5. Get angry.

4. Get over your anger.

3. Donate to an HIV/AIDS Charity.

2. When you pass a mobile HIV testing center, thank the workers.

1. Don’t pretend the fight is over, and don’t let other people pretend it’s over either.

—  admin

S.F. Gives Female Condoms to Gay Men

SAN FRANCISCO FEMALE CONDOM CAMPAIGN X390 (GRAB) | ADVOCATE.COMOn Valentine’s Day, San Francisco became the
first city in the U.S. to distribute free female condoms to gay men, KGO
News reports.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

Don’t let story of David Kato’s murder die

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Flagging Left

A few months ago when I wrote about the draconian anti-homosexual laws being passed in Uganda, I had an ominous feeling that it would be the beginning of a very real nightmare for LGBT people in that African country.

Unfortunately, that is coming to pass.

LGBT activist David Kato was murdered, not by a sniper from a distance, but by an individual who brutally beat him to death with a hammer.

A Ugandan publication had published his photo and that of other LGBT activists on the front page; above the picture were the words “Hang Them.”

Already, the authorities in Uganda are trying to cloud the issue with talk of “thieves and gangs.” But to call his death anything but the hate crime it was is ludicrous.

Beating someone to death with a hammer is up close and personal and comes from a hate-filled rage.

Much of that rage has been fueled by clergy in Uganda. One man in particular — Martin Ssempa, a man with the dubious title of “reverend.”

If you don’t think you know him, you most likely do. Ssempa was the speaker in the YouTube video that went viral last year. In that clip he is describing how gay men “eat the pooh-pooh.”

Though to us it might have seemed comical and worthy of ridicule, in Uganda, Ssempa’s words are taken seriously.

Ssempa is a well-known preacher in Uganda, and he has a lot of well-funded U.S. ties. You see, anti-gay evangelists who can’t find an audience for their hate here in this country have fanned out to proselytize in countries where their message might have more traction.

Rick Warren, the author of “A Purpose Driven Life,” was one of Ssempa’s supporters. Though he now distances himself from the Uganda situation, funds from Warren’s church helped fuel this mess. U.S. evangelicals and the ex-gay movement are big players in Ssempa’s push.

Ssempa has wrapped his hate in the banner of AIDS activism. But don’t be fooled. His brand of activism led him to burn cases of condoms “in Jesus’ name” and to sponsor gatherings with U.S. speakers like Scott Lively, who blames homosexuals for the Nazi Holocaust.

Other U.S. interlopers include Don Schmierer, who is on the board of Exodus International and who spoke at a conference in Kampala in March, 2009, where he endorsed the anti-homosexual laws that caused such an international stir.

Now as David Kato is being laid to rest the controversy continues.

A pastor speaking at his funeral lashed out at homosexuality, prompting a strong reaction from Kato’s friends. Scuffles broke out before the event was over.

Things turned so ugly that villagers refused to bury his body, and it was up to his friends to carry the coffin to the grave and complete the burial themselves.
And all this just adds fuel to the fires in Uganda.

It is unfortunate that those fires have been stoked by citizens of the U.S. who traveled to Uganda to inflame passions there. Worse, this crime is going to fall from the front pages as events in Egypt take center stage in news from Africa. Besides, the story is somewhat old news, and falls well outside the attention span of U.S. news audiences.

That’s why it is up to the LGBT media to keep this urgent human rights story alive.

Hardy Haberman is a longtime local LGBT activist and a member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas. His blog is at http://dungeondiary.blogspot.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 4, 2011.

—  John Wright

Pope: Condoms OK For Male Prostitutes

POPE BENEDICT 201004 X390 (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMIn a striking exception to Catholic Church teaching, Pope Benedict XVI said that he could understand the justification for condoms in some instances, such as for male prostitutes to prevent HIV infections, where contraception is not a concern.
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  admin

Papa Ratzi stumbles upon the obvious – condoms are appropriate ‘in certain cases’

Unfortunately, according to Catholic doctrine, he just stepped into a steaming pile of hypocrisy. How, for instance, does this square with the fact that sex is only for procreation? No matter the reason, this is a shift that acknowledges the church has failed to hold a reality-based view of the use of condoms to stem the spread of HIV.

This new stance by the head of the pedophile priest protection racket is problematic — how does he determine what those certain cases are? Look at this and tell me what part of this makes sense:


Pope graphic by Mike Tidmus

In a series of interviews published in his native German, the 83-year-old Benedict is asked whether “the Catholic Church is not fundamentally against the use of condoms.”

“It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution,” the pope replies.

“In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality,” said the head of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics

To illustrate his apparent shift in position, Benedict offered the example of a male prostitute using a condom.

“There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to re-develop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes,” Benedict was quoted as saying.

Becoming simply fixated on the issue of condoms makes sexuality more banal and exactly this is the reason why so many people no longer find sexuality to be an expression of their love, but a type of self-administered drug.”

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  admin

Pope: Condoms OK To Use ‘In Certain Cases’ – For Male Prostitutes

This unexpected news comes today via excerpts form a new book to be published by Pope Benedict.

The BBC reports:

6a00d8341c730253ef011168fdaff7970c-800wiHe said condoms could reduce the risk of infection with HIV, such as for a prostitute, in a series of interviews he gave to a German journalist.

The Vatican newspaper ran excerpts on Saturday.

The comments appear to soften the Roman Catholic Church's hardline stance, which until now had banned the use of any form of contraception.

When asked whether the Catholic Church is "fundamentally against the use of condoms", the Pope is said to have replied, in the book entitled Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times:

"It of course does not see it as a real and moral solution.

"In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality," he said.

In which "certain cases" does he refer to? The Pope uses male protitution as an example of when people should use condoms.

This new belief goes very much against what the Pope said just last year about condoms being used to in the battle against AIDS. At the time he said, "You can't resolve it with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, it increases the problem."


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

FREE TICKETS: Home & Garden show featuring Joey Green —who just added these useful tips

In the hard copy of the Dallas Voice out today, I talked with Joey Green, who will appear at this weekend’s Home & Garden Market Show. He’s famous for giving new life and multiple uses to household products. Stuff like polishing silverware with toothpaste, teabagging your wooden floors, you know. I asked him about items that may be found in most closets of LGBT peeps. You know how creative we can be with Crisco, Saran Wrap and of course, condoms. No? Just me?

I got an e-mail late Thursday in which Green followed up with a couple more items that probably make our shopping lists at times. So just remember when you dole out the big bucks for quality lube, that you’re also saving because it doubles in another way. His additional suggestions are after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Will San Francisco Be The First City to Recommend Gay Men Use Female Condoms?

I certainly hope so, because it'll be quite some time before India's Spice Up condoms, which come doused with extra lube, reach the States. [SF Weekly]


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Queerty

—  John Wright