September 26, 2014

IOC adds anti-discrimination rule for all future Olympic hosts

Gay olympics

Hoping to avoid the embarrassment that was the Sochi Winter Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has added a non-discrimination clause to its contract with any future host city. In 2014, the IOC was heavily criticized for not taking a stronger stand against Russia after the country introduced anti-gay laws, calling into question the organization's choice.

As part of the new contract, a host city would be required to commit to the part of the official Olympic Charter that states: "Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement."
Gay rights group All Out said the move was "a significant step."
"(It) sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated," argued Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out. "This is a particularly important moment for the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens who face discrimination and persecution not only in Russia but in countries all over the world."
Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally, added: "By adopting a non-discrimination clause into its host city contracts, the IOC is showcasing its own realization that we must protect the rights of every athlete to live free and openly."
Call us skeptical, but are we the only ones concerned that sexual orientation isn't actually written into the contract? This gives the IOC a little too much wiggle room to award the Games to potentially homophobic hosts in the future.
Olympic anti-discrimination clause introduced after Sochi gay rights row [The Guardian]

September 16, 2014

From Russia, with hate

BullshitA sad little conference attended by sad little people was recently held in Moscow. It brought together groups who hate gays so much that they want to prohibit people from talking about homosexuality in a positive light.
At the "Large Family and Future of Humanity" conference a resolution was passed calling for lobbyists around the world “to work for the adoption of legislative bans on all types propaganda concerning homosexual relationships” in order to “uphold the interests of children” across the world. (It's okay if kids go hungry, as long as they never have to see two men kiss!)
The resolution also supported a study on “the negative social and psychological effects of raising children in same-gender couples," to help stop same-sex couples from adopting.
The event was hosted by Russian businessman Vladimir Yakunin, a close advisor to Vladimir Putin. In attendance were several US-based groups, including the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the Christian Broadcasting Network, and the National Organisation for Marriage.
In related news, the area surrounding the event had to be evacuated because of the unbearable stench of bullshit.
Moscow Takes a Break From Ukraine Fighting to Hate on Gays Some More [New York Magazine]
Moscow Forum Sends Out Urgent Appeal For More 'Gay Propaganda' Bans [On Top Magazine]

September 13, 2014

Straight best buds get married to win radio contest

Straight buds get gay-married in New Zealand.Straight friends Matt McCormick and Travis McIntosh tied the knot in New Zealand in order to win a radio contest.
The contest was sponsored by The Edge radio station. The station was looking for "two best mates who would be prepared to take advantage of New Zealand’s same-sex marriage laws to prove the depths of their ‘bromance.’"
"The point of this competition is that men marrying each other is still something they think is worth having a laugh at,’ said gay-rights activist Joseph Habgood. "Maybe on the day that statistics around mental health for LGBTI (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Intersex) people are better, when high schools are safe places for LGBTI youth, we can look back on all this and laugh -- but competitions like this don't bring that day any closer."
Matt and Travis said there was no intent to offend anyone with the stunt.
"We are not here to insult anyone," McIntosh said. "We are here to do our own thing and travel our own path… It's just seeing how far two good mates would go to win a trip to the Rugby World Cup."
All that's left is to consummate the union. Hope they bought lots of lube!
Marriage of two straight men for radio competition angers gay rights group [The Guardian]

September 4, 2014

First gay group to march in NYC St. Paddy's Day Parade

Rainbow LeprechaunExpect to see a few rainbow flags amongst all the green in next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City.

Until now, the annual event would not allow an openly gay group to march. Every year gay groups would ask, and every year they were told no. But threat of a commercial boycott has helped turn things around.
This year OUT@NBCUniversal, the LGBT group of TV network NBC, will be part of the parade. NBC airs the parade, which may be why organizers were willing to let this one group in.
“Organizers have diligently worked to keep politics—of any kind—out of the Parade in order to preserve it as a single and unified cultural event," said Craig Robinson of NBCUniversal. "Paradoxically, that ended up politicizing the Parade. This grand cultural gem has become a target for politicization that it neither seeks nor wants because some groups could join the march but not march with their own banner."
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio actually boycotted this year's parade for not being inclusive. He said the parade's organizing committee was moving in the right direction. “What we do know is it’s a step forward," he said. "This is progress. What I’ve called for for a long time is an inclusive parade. This is a city of inclusion.”
He would not commit, however, to marching next year until he knew further details about the new policy.
“It’s about time," added GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis "Discrimination has no place on America’s streets, least of all on Fifth Avenue."
Hooray! A single group from a company intimately related to the parade gets to take part. It seems like a rather small, and extremely safe, gesture for the organizers to make. When other gay groups have the same chance to be included, then we'll be impressed.
Organizers lift gay ban in NYC St. Patrick’s Day parade [The Globe and Mail]
Gay Group to March in New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade [Wall Street Journal]

August 26, 2014

AHF takes out ads cautioning Truvada use

truvadaThe AIDS Healthcare Foundation is launching an ad campaign citing several studies that conclude anti-HIV drug Truvada is far from the panacea many sexually active gay men had hoped for. The reason: a significant proportion of people on the drug fail to take it every day, as directed. 

"The bottom line is that people won’t adhere and take the pill,” Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, told BuzzFeed. “That’s what studies have shown. If this catches on as a public health strategy, that means there are going to be people who will take Truvada irregularly and some will be infected, and some develop drug resistance.” 

In May, the Centres for Disease Control issued clinical guidelines on PrEP (Pre-exposure Prophylaxis) to prevent HIV transmission, saying that if taken daily along with using condoms, it is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection. It recommended that doctors with patients at high risk of infection should consider PrEP as part of their HIV prevention strategy, including regular HIV and STD testing and condom use. In July, the World Health Organization announced a similar recommendation, saying men who have sex with men should consider PrEP as an additional method of preventing HIV infection. 

In other words, no health agency recommends using Truvada instead of condoms and many Truvada users aren't taking the drug properly anyway. 

August 13, 2014

Man sues after doctor calls his gayness a "chronic problem"

Doctor sued for calling man's gayness a "chronic problem"An openly gay man in Los Angeles is suing his doctor after his homosexuality was listed as a "chronic problem."

Matthew Moore, 46, is also suing the Torrance Memorial Physician Network for failing to remove the offensive diagnosis from his medical records.

"It was infuriating. It was painful," he said. "It was another attempt by this doctor and this medical group to impose their agenda of discrimination and hate onto a gay patient."
He said his doctor defended her notes, claiming that the medical community was still split on whether being gay was, or was not, a chronic condition. 
"We would like to unequivocally state that the Torrance Memorial Physician Network does not view homosexuality as a disease or a chronic condition, and we do not endorse or approve of the use of Code 302.0 as a diagnosis for homosexuality," Torrance Health Association Senior Director Heidi Assigal wrote following a formal complaint from Moore. The Association promised the error would be corrected.
Moore's records were only amended slightly, but his gayness was still listed as a chronic problem. He decided to sue for the intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel.
The lawsuit also claims that the defendants "engaged in a pattern of deceit and medical record doctoring in an attempt to establish that they had earlier removed and retracted the defamatory content, when in fact they had not removed and retracted the defamatory content until the latter part of May 2014."
"I don’t want any gay, lesbian, transgender or bisexual ever to hear from a doctor that their normal and healthy sexuality is anything other than that," said Moore.
Lawsuit Filed After Doctor Lists Homosexuality as "Chronic Condition" [NBC Los Angeles]

July 30, 2014

Revenge porn laws result in arrests

Revenge porn lawsThe first person has been charged with violating Colorado's new "Revenge Porn Law." The law took effect on July 1, and was designed to target individuals who post explicit pictures of another person without consent. Often such postings are done by an ex looking to humiliate a former lover.
Michael Clasen, 25, allegedly posted intimate pics of his ex-girlfriend on July 1. He is also being charged for stalking his ex and damaging her car. 
His charge, a misdemeanor, could land him in jail for 18 months and result in a $10,000 fine. 
21-year-old Brandon Oliver is also facing charges, under Virginia’s new revenge porn law. He faces 24 months in jail and a $5,000 fine.
Other states with similar laws include Hawaii, Arizona, California, New Jersey, New York, Georgia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin.
Of course, these types of laws wouldn't be needed if people could just grow up and move on when a relationship ends.
1st Man Charged Under Colorado's 'Revenge Porn' Law [XBiz]

July 24, 2014

Commonwealth Games opens with gay kiss

Openly gay actor John Barrowman made the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow one to remember. He gave a big ol' smooch to another man!
The Games are the world’s third largest multi-sports tournament, with 53 nations that once comprised the British Empire competing. The kiss is very symbolic because 42 of the 53 countries competing at these games actually criminalize homosexuality. This includes some of the world's most homophobic nations like Uganda, Nigeria, Brunei and Jamaica, that have kept anti-sodomy laws from the old colony days on the books.
But the mother country has moved on: the UK does recognize same-sex marriage and Scotland is also funding a Pride House to support LGBTI sports during the games.
Ugandan gay activist Edwin Sesange described the kiss as "inspirational," saying that "now we need others to follow."
Hmmm, if Barrowman is handing out kisses ...

July 23, 2014

China says no to porn apps

China goes after porn on appsChina, which already censors adult content on the web, has extended its war on porn to include smartphone apps. The country's Ministry of Industry announced yesterday that it will be cracking down on any app that features adult content.
The Communist Party-run government is hoping to effectively “clean the Internet,” or at least the parts of the Internet it can control. Officials say they will "enhance abilities to discover pornographic and obscene apps" and "improve the process of punishment.”
Initially the government hopes companies will voluntarily remove objectionable material, but has promised to take action on anyone who does not comply.
The China Internet Network Information Centre says that the country accounts for over 600 million of the world's Internet users, of which over 80% rely on smart phones to access the web. There were no stats available on how many Chinese use porn apps. 
Of course, anyone who owns an iPhone knows what it is like to live without porn apps; the big difference is we can access plenty of porn with our browsers.
China cracking down on porn in mobile apps [Chicago Tribune]

July 16, 2014

Archie Andrews dies saving gay friend

Iconic comic star Archie Andrews died today, sacrificing his life for his gay friend, Kevin Kellar. The demise of the 73-year-old character had been announced in April.

Archie thwarted an assassination attempt on Kevin, the comic’s first gay character. Kevin is a military veteran and freshman Senator pushing for tougher gun-control laws.  He first made his appearance in a 2010 issue of “Veronica.” The character was popular enough to get his own solo title, “Kevin Keller,” which debuted in July 2011. In 2012 he married his African-American partner, Clay Walker. 
Archie has had a good run and, of course, the way it is with comics, you never know if he might be miraculously resurrected some day. 

July 10, 2014

Spornosexuals are the metrosexuals of 2014

The metrosexual is dead, long live the spornosexual: a more extreme sex- and body-obsessed male. But who exactly are they?

June 16, 2014

"Ex-gay" Republican: I eat food instead of fucking men

Jeremy SchwabTexan Republicans are determined to maintain their battle against the terrible sin that is homosexuality. They have officially endorsed reparative therapy in the party's state platform.
“We recognize the legitimacy and value of counselling which offers reparative therapy and treatment to patients who are seeking healing and wholeness from their homosexual lifestyle,” the platform reads.
Apparently, the official position was written up by Jeremy Schwab, once a member of the Log Cabin Republicans who is now "ex-gay."
He claimed that he is no longer dealing with same-sex desires, choosing to redirect his urges toward food. He posted a former topless pic of himself, saying, "This picture was taken about 7 years ago. It was BEFORE I came back to the Lord. I think in some ways food replaced sexual sin for me and now I can’t even get into my OWN pants."
Preferred foods include hotdogs, whole cucumbers, popsicles, and penis-shaped chocolates with creamy centers.
“This resolution does not state that a person cannot be gay, nor does it try to intimidate gay persons," he argued, defending the policy. "It only seeks to protect the rights and health of self-motivated individuals in the state of Texas.”
Tell that to the next gay teen who tries to kill himself after failing to be "cured." 
Meet the ‘ex-gay’ man behind the Texas GOP’s reparative therapy plank [Lonestar Q]

June 10, 2014

TĂȘtu Magazine doesn't care if you are a racist, as long as you are hot

French magazine Têtu doesn't think being a racist should disqualify someone from representing it in the Mr Gay World contest.

The issue arose after 22-year-old Matthieu Chartraire, who was selected by Têtu readers as "Mister Gay May," took to Facebook to complain about people of different races on Facebook. He also posted a video of a white woman being attacked by a black man, writing: "This is why I would vote for FN," he wrote. (Note: FN, or Front National, is a far-right anti-immigration, anti-Semitic and anti-gay political party in France.)

The magazine distanced itself from Chartraire, saying, "The fight against homophobia can't be separated from the fight against any other form of discrimination." But Chartraire is still welcome to compete in the Mister Gay 2014, in December.

"It's in his right to vote for FN, even if we don't share his beliefs," argued Têtu editor-in-chief Yannick Barbe. "This is a beauty pageant, and our readers' vote was only based on a single criterion! He only stands for himself, and certainly not for the gay community. (Excluding him) would be censorship, and the best way to victimize him."

Because models should never be held accountable for what they say.

France: Gay magazine refuses to disqualify ‘Mr Gay’ contestant over racism allegations [Pink News]

May 27, 2014

Is Truvada the Pill of our time?

On May 14, the U.S. Public Health Service released the first comprehensive clinical practice guidelines for HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PreP) using Truvada. The New York Times recently speculated that Truvada could have a social impact comparable to that of the birth control pill. 

The debate around Truvada sometimes seems moralistic, but it's  rooted in a fear of change. We've had it hammered into our heads for decades that condoms are the best way to prevent HIV transmission. Now suddenly we're being told that there is a better way, albeit with a hefty price tag and a commitment to taking a daily pill.   

There is also the consideration of an added layer of sexual negotiation, new classes of potential sexual partners and another level of assumptions about the risk to yourself. How many men will lie about being on PreP? Will there be a great divide between men who have the means or the insurance coverage to be on Truvada and those who don't? How many of us will have condomless sex because we start to assume there is a "herd immunity," thanks to Truvada.   

Aside from the cost, there are other negatives compared to condoms. STDs will surely increase when fewer condoms are used and there is a very real risk of treatment-resistant strains of gonorrhea and syphillis cropping up. 

Sex in the age of AIDS has always been complicated. But there should be no more shame in using Truvada to prevent HIV than there is in using the pill to prevent pregnancy. Making Truvada available at a much lower price and adding PreP to the list of anti-AIDS drugs governments will pay for should be a priority for organizations combatting HIV/AIDS.

Are we ready for H.I.V.s' sexual revolution?  [New York Times]