Malaysia Airlines crash claims 100-plus AIDS researchers, activists

Joep Lange

Joep Lange

The Sydney Morning Herald is among the news agencies reporting that more than 100 AIDS researchers, activists and medical workers on their way to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia were among the 298 people killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in Ukraine early Thursday morning.

Officials have said the plane, a Boeing 777, was shot down by Russian-led separatists using an anti-aircraft missile.

Former International AIDS Society president Joep Lange is said to be among those killed in the crash. New York Daily News is reporting that friends have confirmed that World Health Organization spokesman Glenn Raymond Thomas is also among the victims.

NY Daily News reports that the Boeing 777 departed from Amsterdam and was en route to Kuala Luampur when it was shot down in Ukraine about 25 miles from the Russian border. Among the 298 people killed were 154 from the Netherlands; 43 people, including 15 crew and two infants, from Malaysia; 27 from Australia; 12 people, including one infant, from Indonesia; 9 from the United Kingdom; 4 from Germany; 4 from Belgium; 3 from the Philippines; 1 from Canada; and 41 people “unverified.” Some Americans are believed to have been aboard.

 

—  Tammye Nash

Did anyone really think these gay Doritos ads were gonna air during the Super Bowl?

We know Plano-based Frito-Lay is uber-gay-friendly and all, but seriously, this is the freakin’ Super Bowl. And it’s only Super Bowl XLV, not Super Bowl LXV.

The two gay Doritos ads below began making the rounds in the blogosphere yesterday, with some suggesting one of them might air during the big game.

Well, GLAAD did what many bloggers failed to — they actually contacted Frito-Lay. (Do most bloggers even have phones?) Here’s GLAAD’s explanation:

There has been tremendous confusion however, about what these ads actually are. Some say they could run during the Super Bowl – others say the ads were created by fans of Doritos, and will never air anywhere. So we reached out to Frito-Lay to find out what the truth is.

According to Frito-Lay Director of Public Relations Chris Kuechenmeister, the latter is true. He said the pair of ads in question were two out of 5,600 that were submitted to the company for its “Crash the Super Bowl” contest. Furthermore, the YouTube page on which the ads appear is a fan-made page, and not the official page for the Crash the Super Bowl contest. Kuechenmeister said the ads in question were not among the finalists chosen by a panel of judges, and have no chance of airing during the Super Bowl or otherwise.

—  John Wright

Youth First Texas leader Sam Wilkes speaks from experience about the struggles of gay teens

Sam Wilkes speaks during the safe schools rally in Lake Cliff Park on Friday.

Sam Wilkes is development director and the only paid staff member at Youth First Texas.

On Sunday he appeared on Lambda Weekly to talk about bullying and how groups like YFT can help.

Wilkes said an estimated one-third to on- half of teen suicide attempts are by LGBTQ youth.

The Centers for Disease Control lists suicide as the third leading cause of death of people ages 15 to 24, just behind accidents and homicide. More than 4,000 young people commit suicide every year — that’s one every two hours.

According to estimates, 100 to 200 attempts are made for every actual suicide.

On Friday, at a rally in Lake Cliff Park in Oak Cliff to support safe schools, Wilkes spoke about the youth who attend YFT.

“These are youth who are marginalized and have no other place to turn,” he said. “In fact many of them are homeless because they feel they are safer on the streets than they are in their own homes.”

On Lambda Weekly, Wilkes told his own story and talked about why he’s so passionate about helping other young people.

When he was 18, Wilkes’ mother asked him whether he was gay. Although Wilkes knew he was different from the time he was 12, he wasn’t ready to come out. So he gave his mother an answer that was ambiguous and non-committal.

The next day, his mother handed him a letter that said he was no longer welcome in the house.

Wilkes was fortunate because he already had a job working at a restaurant. He had friends who let him crash on their sofa for several months until he could save enough for an apartment. On his own, he managed to finish school. To this day, he said, his relationship with his parents is nonexistent.

But not all youth are even as fortunate as he was, he said. He called his job at Youth First Texas the best opportunity anyone could have.

Wilkes said more than half of youth at YFT have contemplated or attempted suicide before coming to the center. But after they become involved at YFT and meet other LGBTQ youth, depression and risky behavior decreases tremendously.

—  David Taffet

ADN: Sen Ted Stevens Feared Dead After Plane Crash In Alaska

Breaking story out of Alaska this morning.

NASA former head Sean O’Keefe and sons were on board as well as former AK Senator Ted Stevens, now confirmed by MSNBC (9:50am).


The Anchorage Daily News is reporting that a small plane carrying at least eight people, possibly including former Sen. Ted Stevens, crashed last night near Dillingham, Alaska.

From ADN:


Severe weather has hampered the rescue operation for eight people believed to be on board a GCI-owned aircraft that crashed near Dillingham on Monday night with possible fatalities, according to state and federal officials.

The Alaska Air National Guard was called to the area about 20 miles north of Dillingham at about 7 p.m. after a passing aircraft saw the wreckage, spokesman Maj. Guy Hayes said. Eight people were reported to be on board the aircraft, though their status wasn’t immediately known, he said. There were possible fatalities, he said.

This is not the first plane crash Stevens has been in; he survived a crash in 1978 that killed his wife Ann.

ABC’s GMA had a story about the crash this morning.

NPR also has the story, with a link to local NBC affiliate KTUU.
Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

—  John Wright

Former Senator Ted Stevens May Be in Alaska Plane Crash

Former Senator Ted Stevens may be among eight people that were aboard a plane which crashed in a remote area of Alaska last night:

Dillingham "Severe weather has hampered the rescue operation for eight people believed to be on board a GCI-owned aircraft that crashed near Dillingham on Monday night with possible fatalities, according to state and federal officials…The National Guard said an HC-130 and HH-60 helicopter were encountering inclement weather on the way and had difficultly navigating through Lake Clark Pass. They were still en route to the scene at about 11:30 p.m. and expected to arrive after midnight.

About five good Samaritans were already on scene helping the victims of the plane crash, Hayes said…Friends of former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens said he was traveling Monday to the GCI-owned Agulowak Lodge near Lake Aleknagik, and they were concerned for him."


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright