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

Houston Chronicle pulls endorsement of school board member Rodriguez over anti-gay flier

Manuel Rodriguez

The Houston Chronicle has rescinded its endorsement of Houston Independent School District Trustee Manuel Rodriquez over an anti-gay flier distributed by the Rodriquez campaign. As previously reported by Houstini, the flier attacked Rodriquez’s opponent, Ramiro Fonseca, for his history of advocating for LGBT people, and his endorsement by the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. The flier also suggested that Fonseca being 52 and unmarried is a reason that Houstonians should not trust him to make decisions affecting children, and points out that he has a “male partner.”

In the online opinion piece removing their endorsement, the Chronicle editorial board called out the overt homophobia in the Rodriquez flier.

“With his hateful flier, Rodriguez perpetuates the kind of stereotypes that put our kids in danger. And he implies that all right-thinking people agree with him – an insult to his constituents, and precisely the kind of blithe, old-school homophobia that makes school hallways so treacherous.

Members of the school board are supposed to be role models, not bullies. They’re supposed to support civil rights, not fight against them. They’re supposed to fight hate speech, not commit it.”

In response to the Rodriquez flyer the Houston GLBT Political Caucus had encouraged people to contact the editorial board and ask that the Chronicle endorsement be rescinded. “Certainly we’re very pleased that the Chronicle has taken this step,” said Caucus president Noel Freeman. “They recognize that there is no place for this kind of homophobia on the school board.” Freeman added the next step for the Caucus will be to continue to work to elect Fonseca. “We’re looking for volunteers who can help us by handing out literature at the polls.”

Until this recent controversy very little attention had been paid to the District III HISD race outside of political circles. No scientific polling on the race has been made public, but it’s considered to be a dead heat, with neither candidate having a clear advantage. It remains to be seen how the Rodriquez flier, and the overwhelmingly negative response it has garnered, will affect the outcome of the race.

HISD elections are part of the general elections taking place this Tuesday, Nov 8. Visit HarrisVotes.org to find your voting location and view a sample ballot.

—  admin

UPDATE: Police release description of missing vehicle belonging to NE Dallas murder victim

Earlier we told you about the two men found dead in a burned Northeast Dallas apartment. Police are still not releasing the victims’ names because their bodies were so badly damaged in the fire that they’re waiting on the medical examiner to positively identify them. However, police have now released a description of the vehicle belonging to one of the victims, which is apparently missing. The vehicle is a silver, four-door 2002 Saturn L200, with a license number of 5CVDN. If you see it, call 911.

Again, police have confirmed that they believe the two victims were a gay couple, but they aren’t treating the murders as a hate crime. Police also say they don’t know the motive for the crime, prompting some to question how a hate crime can be ruled out. We posed this question to DPD Sr. Cpl. Kevin Janse:

“Detectives will not elaborate at this time,” Janse told Instant Tea. “It may hamper the investigation.”

—  John Wright

Is DMN trying to intimidate gay couple into dropping their discrimination complaint?

Mark Reed-Walkup, left, and Dante Walkup

Looks like The Dallas Morning News is going to considerable lengths to defend its ban on same-sex wedding announcements.

Mark Reed-Walkup, who’s filed a discrimination complaint against the newspaper for refusing to publish his paid same-sex wedding ad, sent over a copy of the legal response he received via certified letter last week from the DMN’s attorneys, Jackson Walker LLP. (Download a copy of the the legal document here and the letter here.)

In the DMN’s response, or “Original Answer to Complainant Mark Reed-Walkup’s Original Complaint,” Paul Watler of Jackson Walker LLP argues that wedding announcements don’t qualify as a public accommodation under the city of Dallas’ ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation. Watler also argues that Reed-Walkup and his husband, Dante Walkup, aren’t legally married in Texas, and that any effort by the city to prosecute The DMN would violate the newspaper’s First Amendment rights to free speech and freedom of the press.

Reed-Walkup said he was shocked to receive the letter.

“My first reaction was, I thought we were getting sued,” Reed-Walkup said. “I thought it was very intimidating that we would receive a response from the law firm, and that they were not following the process set up by the Fair Housing Office.

“The maximum fine, worst-case scenario, if this did get prosecuted, is only $500,” Reed-Walkup said, adding that the newspaper likely has already spent more than that in attorney’s fees. “It’s not like a lawsuit where we’re trying to go after them to recover financially for the discrimination we feel we’ve experienced. It’s just trying to get them to the table. The whole spirit of the public accommodations law is to try to work it out between the two parties without getting attorneys involved.”

—  John Wright

Liberals Aren’t Stupid, They’re Evil

From the wingnut documentary Agenda: Grinding America Down, which came out on DVD a couple of months ago.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

In other words: Future conservative primary challengers will have to answer why they’re in bed with an SPLC-designated hate group

FRC Action PAC Pledges to Support Conservative Primary Challengers to Any U.S. Senator Voting to Overturn ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ During Lame-Duck Session

December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – FRC Action PAC, the political action committee connected with FRC Action, the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council, announced today that it will endorse and fund conservative primary challengers to any U.S. Senator who votes to overturn “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” during the lame-duck session.

FRC Action PAC President Connie Mackey made the following comments:

“We are pledging today to endorse, and help fund, conservative primary challengers to any U.S. Senator who votes during the lame-duck session to overturn ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ FRC Action PAC will work to remove any U.S. Senator who would place liberal special interests ahead of the priorities of the American people.

“The U.S. Senate has twice rejected the overturn of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Despite this, Majority Leader Harry Reid continues with his obsession while failing to address the essential responsibilities of the federal government. As three of the four service chiefs have made clear, the men and women of the Armed Forces who are engaged in fighting two wars should not be distracted by Congress using them to advance a liberal social agenda. Using the Senate’s time in the lame-duck session to pay back his liberal political base is simply absurd and demonstrates once again Senator Reid’s misplaced priorities. Members of the Senate should refuse to become accomplices in helping Harry Reid advance his agenda over the American people’s agenda,” concluded Mackey. [Press Release Source]

2 out of 3 Americans support DADT repeal.

Game = on.




Good As You

—  admin

Turns Out Cindy McCain Does Not Miss What John McCain Used To Be: They’re Both Liars

"I think it's very significant what she said," says Dan Choi, who is still willing to show his face on MSNBC, about Cindy McCain appearing in the NOH8 PSA. "What you're seeing in the McCain family is Mrs. McCain misses what Mr. McCain was when she married him: a maverick who was able to stand up for what he knew was right, saying that ,'If the military leadership says get rid of it, let's do the right thing and get rid of it.'" LOL! So not only has Cindy reversed her anti-DADT position in 24 hours, but her senator of a husband — who said he would support repeal if military leaders told him they did too — is also ignoring his own previous remarks. This family is a nightmare.


Permalink | 3 comments | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , ,

Queerty

—  admin

Pentagon Releases Angry Statement: No Information to Be Released on ‘DADT’ Report Until They’re Ready

Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell released the following statement late today regarding leaking of information related to its report on 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' which appeared in a report earlier this week, as well as demands from activist groups to release the study early.

Gates "Secretary Gates is very concerned and extremely disappointed that unnamed sources within the Department of Defense have selectively revealed aspects of the draft findings of the Comprehensive Review Working Group, presumably to shape perceptions of the report prior to its release. 

"The Secretary launched this review in March to objectively ascertain the impact of potential repeal of the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ law on military readiness, effectiveness, recruiting, retention, unit cohesion and families. He made it clear then and throughout this process that it was ‘critical that this effort be carried out in a professional, thorough and dispassionate manner.’ He has also stated clearly that ‘given the political dimension of this issue, it is equally critical that…every effort be made to shield our men and women in uniform and their families from those aspects of this debate.’ 

"For nearly nine months the Working Group has operated in strict accordance to that mandate.  Anonymous sources now risk undermining the integrity of this process.   

"The Secretary strongly condemns the unauthorized release of information related to this report and has directed an investigation to establish who communicated with the Washington Post or any other news organization without authorization and in violation of Department policy and his specific instruction. 

"The full report will be made public for all to review early next month. Until then, no one at the Pentagon will comment on its contents.”

They certainly wouldn't want it to have any impact on DADT repeal passing in the lame duck Senate.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

Why Did Michigan AG Mike Cox Rabidly Defend Andrew Shirvell? Because They’re Political Buddies

Why did it take so long for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox to dismiss assistant attorney Andrew Shirvell? Because the two are politically and financially intertwined. "Intertwined" in a way the totally heterosexual Shirvell would never be caught with another dude. Because he's straight. And hates gays!

CONTINUED »


Permalink | Post a comment | Add to del.icio.us


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

Queerty

—  John Wright

Meet the grooms, Ed and Erwin. They’re legally married. And, it matters.

Joann Armao and her colleagues on the Washington Post’s editorial board think it’s acceptable to elect a NOM-backed homophobe, Delano Hunter, to the D.C. City Council. In fact, the Post endorsed Hunter, noting “Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality.” Marriage equality matters to real people.

Armao and her colleagues should read the featured wedding story in today’s Post. It tells the story of Ed Urbaniak and Erwin Lobo, who got married in DC in August. They’re the parents of two young boys. And, Erwin is fighting a deadly cancer. Marriage equality matters:

“Everyone knows their time is finite, but you think about it more when something like this happens,” says Urbaniak. “Make sure you do today what you can’t do tomorrow.”

Lobo wept as he followed Urbaniak and their sons down a path between 50 friends, all dressed in white, who’d gathered in the sunlit garden of the Meridian House on Aug. 14. Urbaniak’s parents watched via webcam as the men promised to care for each other in sickness and health. Urbaniak’s parents would have been there, but his father had learned that he had lung cancer.

The day was, in Lobo’s words, “a celebration of life.”

“I’m very, very lucky,” he says. “A lot of people just leave their homes and get shot or get in an accident. They won’t have the chance to say goodbye to their families.”

Lobo worries that he won’t be able to repay the caring Urbaniak has given him. But he worries more about leaving the two young boys at the heart of their union.

“It’s unfair for them to lose me at this time,” he says. “That’s why I’ll hold on until I can’t.”

Take a few minutes to watch the video. It’s a tear-jerker.




AMERICAblog Gay

—  John Wright