May 27, 2014
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]
May 22, 2014
Amy Kushnir, a host of Texas morning show, was so enraged that Michael Sam was shown on ESPN kissing his boyfriend, that she went into a rant and then stormed off set. Gasp. Shock. Horror!
Well, Anderson Cooper added her to his Ridiculist ...
May 5, 2014
The sculpture pictured above, named Blue Human Condition, was designed to represent unity, but residents in Adrian, Michigan said it looked like a gay orgy.
Sculptor Mark Chatterley insisted the piece - part of the town's public art program - was not intended to be sexual, and was designed to represent that “living today, we can’t do it alone. We rely on other people (…) to try to survive.”
Local pastor Rick Strawcutter insisted it was a sign that the town was being left to Sodom. “Everybody I know who sees [the sculpture] just feels like it is in itself an abomination,” he said.
The piece was initially placed near the town hall. It has since been moved to a park where fewer people will see it, making it a rather impressive tribute to gay cruising in the area.
April 25, 2014
Pastor Martin Ssempa hates gay people. A lot. He was one of the biggest supporters of Uganda's "kill the gays" bill (later changed to "put the gays in jail for a long time" bill), and claimed homosexuals like to "eat the poo-poo."
However, he may become a victim to the same bill he promoted. Paul Kaliisa, from Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST), is just as homophobic, but claims that Ssempa should now be prosecuted under the law.
"Pastor Ssempa has, if anything, promoted homosexuality where he is allegedly trying to fight is,’ Kaliisa said. He said that Ssempa recently appeared on a morning show and explained how lesbians masturbate with cucumbers and carrots. He also pointed out that Ssempa loves to show gay porn to his congregation.
"He moves everywhere with clips of gay men. He is so disgusting that at one point he said homosexuals lick each other’s assholes like ice cream." Kaliisa added. (Mmmmm, ice cream. Mmmmmm, assholes.) "Very soon people are going to get used to the idea at some point, men can have sex with fellow men, and armed with the knowledge Ssempa has distributed, they will know exactly what to do."
His conclusion: "Pastor Ssempa easily comes off as Uganda’s number one and strongest fighter homosexuality but in truth, he is Uganda’s number one promoter of the vice. He is promoting the things of these monsters and destroyers of man-kind."
Melanie Nathan, an activist, responded, "If any such good news can be established from the onerous anti-gay laws of Uganda, is that as much as the laws were designed to shut up the LGBTI human rights defenders, and anyone providing much needed services, they will now also serve to shut up their critics and the anti-gay haters such as Ssempa. The less we hear about how Martin Ssempa perceives homosexuality with his phoney disgusting and graphic depictions, the better off all gays around the world will be."
Of course, the stupid law should be repealed immediately. But if people are going to be charged under the law, then it seems fitting that haters like Ssempa should experience it firsthand.
April 16, 2014
It has been a rough week for Peter LaBarbera.
First, the American was denied entry into Canada by Canadian border guards. The president of ‘Americans For The Truth About Homosexuality’ claimed he was going to a pro-life convention in Saskatchewan, but had been flagged by officials because of his extreme views against gays. His luggage was checked. His phone was checked. He was told to go home.
He appealed the decision and was, eventually, allowed to enter the country and attend the convention.
Well, yesterday he was taken into custody when he and Canadian-based hater Bill Whatcott started to hand out anti-gay leaflets at the University of Regina. The two were asked to leave, refused, and were arrested for trespassing.
“The materials were graphic and the materials were disturbing," explained the University’s vice president, Thomas Chase. “The materials, we felt, could harm members of this campus community who we have a duty to protect and support.”
“I think freedom of speech has its limits,” added the University Pride Centre executive director Leah Keiser, “and when it starts inciting hatred and violence, as I personally believe this has been, that’s a line I think we should stop crossing, because we’re not talking about opinions anymore — we’re actually hurting human beings.”
You can watch him get arrested here.
Whatcott, LaBarbera arrested on U of R campus [Leader-Post]
April 10, 2014
A Weymouth, Mass. adult store was torched last weekend by a man who later said that one of the reasons for the arson was that God just doesn't like pornography.
Jon F. Fernald, 44, told police that he had been a customer at Amazing Intimate Essentials and that he blamed the store for getting him addicted to porn.
Rather than just not going to the store anymore, he chose to burn it down with some gas he stole from a nearby garage. Also destroyed in the fire were two other businesses and an apartment housed in the same building (no one was hurt).
It wasn't all Fernald's doing though: he told police that voices in his head had egged him on.
When the officers apprehended him as he ran from the fire they asked him what had happened. Fernald replied, “I’m mentally ill and sometimes I do stupid things.”
Right on two counts there, buddy.
April 8, 2014
A recent article in the New York Times
addresses the touchy topic of teen consumption of porn. There was a time when it was a lot easier for parents to monitor what their teenaged children watched on the Internet. But now with so many devices - phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and televisions - hooked up to the Web and so much porn freely available on tube and pirate sites, parents have little hope of preventing sexually curious teenagers from accessing explicit content online. The question, then, is has this new reality caused psychological harm to teens?
Two recent meta-studies -- one based in the US, the other in Great Britain -- fail to conclude that teens are harmed by watching porn.
Last May, the Children’s Commissioner for England released a report titled “Basically ... porn is everywhere,” which examined 276 research papers on teenagers and pornography. It was not able to establish a causal relationship between teen viewing of porn and risky sexual behavior, such as not using condoms or starting to have sex at an earlier age than they might otherwise.
The US meta study, "The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research,” was conducted by West Chester University in Pennsylvania and published in Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. It looked at over forty studies and also could not find conclusive evidence of negative consequences to teens watching porn.
However, researchers remain cautious. After all "neuroscience tells us that young minds are still forming and thus malleable, and they tend to respond to emotionally charged material in ways that adults don’t. Given that pornography is emotionally charged, it would be shocking if it had no impact."
Professor Miranda Horvath, one of the researchers behind the Children’s Commissioner report, says that parents should be teaching their kids about relationships and sex at a young age, "If we start teaching kids about equality and respect when they are 5 or 6 years old, by the time they encounter porn in their teens, they will be able to pick out and see the lack of respect and emotion that porn gives us. They’ll be better equipped to deal with what they are being presented with.”
At the very least, researchers recommend, the traditional "birds and the bees" conversation between parents and their adolescent kids must be revised and expanded to include a full and frank lesson on porn literacy.
April 6, 2014
Last month, Nabisco released an ad for its Honey Maid graham cracker snack. The “This Is Wholesome” spot featured families from all walks of life, including same sex couples. Needless to say, haters responded with some nasty comments. But Honey Maid turns it all back on them, with what has got to be one of the best turn-the-other-cheek messages we've seen in a while, enough to melt even our cold, porny hearts.
April 2, 2014
Last October, art school student Clayton Pettet (pictured, left) announced that he was going to lose his virginity to another man, in front of an audience, as a piece of performance art. His work, called Art School Stole My Virginity, is planned for this week.
Then last month, a second young artist came out of the woodwork and claimed to have inspired Pettet's project. John Bingham said he met Pettet a few years earlier and had suggested doing a similar piece. He then announced that he would actually follow through on the idea in a piece called Art School Stole My Sexuality. In it, he would be penetrated by both a male and female partner, in front of an audience. (He planned to have his parents in the audience. Ick!)
Bingham has now pulled out of his project, claiming the “outrageous, pornographic and self-abusive performance” would not benefit his career as an artist.
He also took a shot as his rival, Pettet. "It's porn, it's not art, he's abusing himself and making a fool of himself at the same time," Bingham said. "I won’t be attending or buying any of his paintings."
It gets better. Bingham then claimed that Pettet's performance would be a lie because the two had sex a few weeks ago, alleging that Pettet is no longer a virgin. Meow!
Pettet has not responded to Bingham's comments. He's probably too busy anal douching.
March 27, 2014
A few days ago, Christian organization World Vision surprised everyone when it announced that it would be revising its handbook in order to allow for the hiring of Christians who are in same-sex marriages. Before, gays and lesbians could only find employment within the organization if they were practicing abstinence.
Two days later, World Vision reversed its decision.
"The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman," World Vision President Richard Stearns and Jim Beré, Chairman of the World Vision U.S. Board, said in a statement.
The international relief organization had initially been lauded by the LGBT community for being so progressive. However, conservative Christians were outraged and called for a boycott.
"This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don't think I've ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified," wrote blogger Rachel Held Evans. "I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side."
It is sad that fighting gays is more important to some people than feeding starving children.
Prominent evangelical charity World Vision to hire Christians in same-sex marriages [Montreal Gazette]
March 19, 2014
The leader of the New York-based Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, said that when Fred Phelps passes (which, according to his estranged son, may be soon
), he will lead a 'Pink Mass' to turn Phelps gay. Greaves claimed to have turned Fred Phelps' mother "gay for all eternity” in a similar ceremony last year.
He said he hopes that Phelps, who created the Westboro Baptist Church, "lingers long enough to savour the full terror that must consume a mind as superstitious and bitterly haunted as his… abandoned by the only people he personally shared his spiteful and depraved sense of mission with."
: "At the time [that I turned Fred’s mother gay], I predicted that Fred hadn’t too much longer till he would pass, and I stated – in a direct tweet to the WBC – that I would be presiding over Fred’s own Pink Mass before too long. As I have made a promise to a dying man, I fully intend to do my very best to see it through, and the pomp and circumstance of this Pink Mass will surely far, far exceed that of the original event in Meridian, Mississippi."
It is an interesting way to send Phelps on to whatever comes next. Maybe he will become a drag queen in the afterlife!
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry
said the US will send scientific experts on homosexuality to Uganda. He hoped they would help persuade Uganda's politicians to reconsider the recently passed law that makes homosexuality punishable by life in prison.
Kerry said he was hoping to "reach a point of reconsideration," and that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had agreed to meet the US experts.
"He committed to meet with some of our experts so that we could engage him in a dialogue as to why what he did could not be based on any kind of science or fact, which is what he was alleging," Kerry said. "He welcomed that and said that he was happy to receive them and we can engage in that kind of conversation … maybe we can reach a point of reconsideration."
Fingers crossed that logic, and real science, will beat out Uganda's irrational fears.
US to send scientific experts to Uganda to discuss homosexuals and the country's anti-gay law
[Gay Star News
March 17, 2014
It looks like Fred Phelps
' days are numbered. The 84-year-old former head of Westboro Baptist Church - best known for its 'God Hates Fags' message - is near death.
Nathan Phelps made the announcement on his Facebook page, saying that his father was "on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas."
Nathan, who left the church several years ago, also revealed that Fred Phelps was excommunicated from his own “church” back in August of 2013, though no explanation was given. (Maybe a change of heart? Or perhaps the WBC also hates old people.)
"I’m not sure how I feel about this," he wrote. "Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made."
According to Nathan, the Phelps family are blocking anyone who is no longer with the church from seeing Fred.
A spokesman confirmed on Sunday that Fred was not well. “I can tell you that Fred Phelps is having some health problems," said Steve Drain. "He’s an old man, and old people get health problems."
If only there were a hell ...
Fred Phelps Sr, ex-pastor of gay-hating Westboro church, 'close to death'
Ex-Westboro Baptist Church Leader Fred Phelps is Finally Dying [Gawker]
March 5, 2014
An openly gay former British soldier is causing quite a stir in the UK after he penned an editorial saying that true equality for homosexuals can only be accomplished when gay saunas are closed down.
James Wharton wrote his opinion piece for the new LGBT lifestyle mag Winq. He claimed the existence of gay saunas - where he said men congregate to have anonymous sex with strangers, often in an alcohol and drug-infused haze - only "feeds the haters."
"Sex saunas need to be history," he wrote. "The time has come to close them down. ... [They are] thorns in our side that mark our community as different for the wrong reasons.
"If we don’t, we feed the haters and we hand the bigots who remain a vocal minority ammunition with which to attack us."
Of course, with that logic we should stop letting men wear ass-less leather chaps or perform in drag, because that dastardly vocal minority will whine about them. (Oh, and no more anal sex. Bigots don't like that, either!)
Although he claimed he was not a prude, he admitted that he was turned off by the idea of these bathhouses. "For me as a gay man, the notion that there exist within our communities a series of places that actively promote the convening of gay men for participation in sex of shades various and in groups of all sizes rather revolts me – and I‘ve been round the block a few times, believe me."
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell disagreed. '‘It would be very wrong if the gay community became proscriptive and moralistic over consenting adult behavior," he argued. "Plenty of gay and bisexual men use saunas without resorting to drugs or unsafe sex. A small minority may act recklessly and that should be challenged but it would be wrong to penalize the majority."
Gay former soldier: ‘If LGBTs want equality, shut down saunas’ [Gay Star News]
James Wharton responds to backlash over closing gay saunas [Gay Star News]
Gay Soldier James Wharton "Shut Down Gay Saunas" [The Gay UK]