Yesterday marked the 35th anniversary of the founding of what would become known as the the Gay Men's Health Crisis. On August 11, 1981, Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Lawrence Mass, Paul Popham, Paul Rapoport, and Edmund White met with Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien and discussed the "gay cancer" that was affecting their friends and lovers. "In 1983 Larry Kramer, one of the founders of Gay Men’s Health Crisis, was kicked out of the organization he helped create, due to his loud and often controversial methods of raising public awareness about the AIDS epidemic." Today, GMHC serves more than 10,000 people per year. [more inside]
The FDA has announced it is lifting the lifetime ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (Reuters), and will allow donation by men who have not had sex with other men in the previous twelve months (NYT). [more inside]
When the high five subsequently exploded in popularity in the 1980s, historians, critics, and journalists all traced its origins back to this moment. Glenn Burke was championed as its inventor, and his story slowly emerged.The story of Glenn Burke, who invented the high-five during a Dodger game on October 2, 1977
Then, at the onset of the 1977 season, Burke’s teammates learned that he was gay when one of Burke’s friends accidentally revealed the fact at a dinner party with the team. Burke watched his career unravel in a spire of prejudice, intolerance, and misdirected anger.
"Especially with the country in great need of donation, science should speak louder than stigma in determining who can help."
Tainted: Why Gay Men Still Can't Donate Blood - "Since 1983, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines have disqualified men who have ever had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood... Uneven application of exclusion to at-risk individuals suggests that risk aversion disproportionately impacts MSMs. For example, a non-MSM individual who has had sexual contact with a commercial sex worker or HIV-positive partner is deferred for only twelve months... The fact that the U.S. upholds a lifetime ban on MSM donation while Australian policy allows MSM individuals to donate a year or less after contact reveals a glaring discrepancy. Both ethics and science point to a flaw in FDA policy. That I could have had sex with 365 partners this year and be a perfectly fine candidate for donating blood, while the MSM next to me wouldn't qualify, betrays a faulty line of logic." [more inside]
Timothy Kurek is a straight Christian man who decided to go "undercover" for a year as a gay man, [more inside]
A preacher rebukes North Carolina media over asking the wrong questions about marriage. North Carolina votes today on Amendment 1, which states that, "Constitutional amendment to provide that marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State." Here are some of the people who would be affected.
At Norma's cafe in Farmers Branch Texas the results of the Primetime show "What would you do?" brings tears to the eyes of its actors [more inside]
UK respite and foster parents may no longer be homophobic, even when it is due to religious belief. An English Christian couple acting as foster parents have been banned from further placements due to their statement that they could not tell children that homosexual relationships were of equal value, with judges stating that their claims that adoption should still be allowed as a "a travesty of reality". Reaction from the UK religious right (such as it is) is venomous. [more inside]
Are the Rules That Determine Who Can Donate Blood Discriminatory? Canadian AIDS researchers Dr. Mark Wainberg and Dr. Norbert Gilmore say that while the ban on blood donation from men who have sex with other men may have been ethically and scientifically justified in the 1980's, it no longer makes sense. (CMAJ.) Even though the US FDA reaffirmed their long-standing ban in 2007, they plan to revisit the policy in June. [more inside]
workplace protection--not as hotbutton as Marriage Equality or Don't Ask Don't Tell, but far more essential
ENDA House hearings start tomorrow --a record 94% of Fortune 500 companies now provide Sexual Orientation Discrimination Protection, and 89% of Americans polled believe Homosexuals should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities. Repeatedly introduced and then killed since 1994, the 2007 version--H.R. 2015--Employment Non-Discrimination Act (text of bill)--includes transgender protection for the very first time. The TVC is just one of many organizations fighting it. (there is a religious exemption, but groups like the TVC would be covered by it)
Soulforce Equality Ride! Soulforce, a nationwide organization working to end religious discrimination of gays and lesbians are in the middle of their second annual Equality Ride to raise awareness of Christian colleges and universities that discriminate against queer students. GLBTQ students are discriminated against everywhere. The Riders have been met with both open arms and anger. The Reverend Mel White, who runs Soul Force, ghost wrote Billy Graham's and Jerry Falwell's autobiographies and worships at Falwell's church in Lynchburg, VA in silent protest. Previously.
“Treating you with respect and honesty are the cornerstones of our reputation.” --unless you're gay, that is, for a Houston landscaper. Step 1: Turn down 2 gay customers. Step 2: Watch furor ensue. Step 3: Profit (to the tune of $40,000 in new business)
NewsFilter: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the chapel, teh gay menace strikes again. The GOP-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee backs the Constitutional amendment to prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. In a fractious hearing, Republican chairman Arlen Specter shouted "Good riddance!" when Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) walked out. Laura Bush recently advised her party's candidates not to campaign on this issue and to handle it with "great sensitivity." Maybe next time.
“British Muslims welcome working with everyone including members of the Lesbian and Gay community against a common enemy, fascism.”
Gay and Muslim groups getting together in the UK? plans are to look at homophobia in the Muslim community and Islamophobia in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The Muslim Council of Britain is also admitting that if you have nothing positive to say keep your mouth shut, which is a very good first step. Can two groups often on the receiving end of hatred work together ? “British Muslims welcome working with everyone including members of the Lesbian and Gay community against a common enemy, fascism.” I don't know if they have the likes of Michael Savage there (or the many many others), who rail against (and call for the death of) both Muslims and gays on the airwaves daily, but it seems hopeful, no?
When tradition and modernity clash. "While Yeshiva University is officially a nonsectarian institution except for its Orthodox rabbinical school, it is the oldest and largest American university under Jewish auspices. Although commonly thought of as an Orthodox institution, Yeshiva University has been chartered since 1969 as nonsectarian, enabling it to receive state and federal funding." Which is all fine and dandy, except that YU has a history of confrontation with its gay and lesbian students. There was major opposition to the funding of gay and lesbian student organizations. Gay couples sued Yeshiva over apparent housing discrimination. And now, a gay medical student claims he was expelled because of his sexual orientation, and he has a memo that he claims proves his case. Oy.
Laurel Hester, RIP --because she and her partner fought, New Jersey police and fire department employees can now name anyone--not just a spouse--as a beneficiary for pension rights, helping to protect those they love after they're gone. Just one person who made a difference.
LGBT gamers not welcome in World of Warcraft - Despite praise from queer gamers' groups, a feature in the July 2005 issue of Out magazine (sadly not archived online, reader responses 1, 2) lauding the game's gay community, and the presence of hundreds-strong LGBT-positive player groups, developer Blizzard has decided the presence of out gay subscribers would "allow for discussion that we feel has no place in our game". Of course, this isn't the first time Blizzard has angered its paying fans...
Joe Valentine has Two Mommies --..."It's no different than having a mother and father," he said. "These are the two women who raised me, and they are wonderful people. It's just not a big deal to me. Why should it be?" In an enlightened world, it shouldn't. But major league baseball is to enlightenment what Pauly Shore is to career longevity. ... Meet the Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher--"...a baseball player who was raised by two wonderful, loving mothers. How can anyone criticize that?"
Are you a gay teen in Utah? Do you want to attend a high school dance with a same-sex date? Better bring a note from your parents!
Every gay and lesbian federal employee has just lost their protection from discrimination. Gay and lesbians in the entire federal workforce have had their job protections officially removed by the office of Special Counsel. The new Special Counsel, Scott Bloch, says his interpretation of a 1978 law intended to protect employees and job applicants from adverse personnel actions is that gay and lesbian workers are not covered. Bloch said that the while a gay employee would have no recourse for being fired or demoted for being gay, that same worker could not be fired for attending a gay Pride event.
Welcome to the Relativist Fallacy. Conservative blacks in the United States are objecting to recent comparisons between the gay marriage and the 1960s civil rights movement, which fought segregation against blacks, arguing that sexual orientation is a choice.
Jeb Bush, comedian. "It looks like the people of San Francisco are an endangered species, which may not be a bad thing. That's probably good news for the country."
Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Matter If You Are Fluent In Arabic, Despite Our Serious Need For That.... This story hits very close to home. This is a friend from college (Emory) who was just thrown out of the army when they discovered he had a boyfriend. Particularly ridiculous is the fact that he had just achieved fluency in Arabic and would have been (among other gay soldiers) extremely useful to the cause at present. Apparently, heterosexual couples discovered coupled in their rooms at the same inspection were given 10 days restriction and extra duty.
Boy Scouts: 1 Gay Memebers: 0 Court Says Boy Scouts Can Bar Gays, which is slightly troubling, in that a psuedo-national organization can make rules that go against government policy. I don't see how a scoutmaster being gay has anything to do with teaching kids how to tie knots and go camping though.