About one in seven gay men in Washington, D.C., are HIV positive. That staggering figure was released last week by the D.C. HIV/AIDS Administration , according to a story by The Washington Post .
In a study of 500 gay men in the city, more than 40 percent of the participants were unaware of their diagnosis prior to the study. One in three men reported they didn’t know the status of their last partner.
“This is a wake-up call,” gay D.C. Council member David A. Catania told the Washington Post. “It’s time for my generation to assume greater responsibility for themselves and their partners. Just because we escaped the epidemic of the 1980s doesn’t mean we are immune.”
Last year, the city distributed more 3.5 million condoms and tested 95,000 people for HIV.
While the figures for HIV among gay men in D.C. are high – almost five times higher than the rate of HIV among adults and teens across the city – figures in other cities are higher. In San Francisco, 24 percent of gay men are HIV positive; in New York it’s 25 percent and in Baltimore, an astounding 40 percent.
Although Georgia high school student Derrick Martin has the okay from school officials to bring his boyfriend to prom, not all his fellow students agree with the move. In fact, some students organized a protest.
Protest organizer Amber Duskin, a senior at Bleckley County High School, sent text messages to her fellow students on Wednesday asking them to show up, according to the Macon Telegraph.
“I don’t believe in going up there and dancing with gay guys like that,” she told the newspaper. “It’s also not just him bringing a boy. It was bringing all this attention to it.”
And his parents, who dislike the media attention, kicked him out of the house. He is currently staying with friends. Ironically, Martin’s father is a math teacher at Bleckley County High and is the school’s Teacher of the Year.
Martin said Thursday the school is considering abandoning the traditional “walk-through” where couples are announced as they enter the dance. He also said some students discussed having a separate prom.
A Florida church is taking a stand against Gainesville mayoral candidate Craig Lowe with its “No Homo Mayor” campaign.
Posting a anti-gay video on YouTube, the video urged people to take action.
“Here is Gainesville they’re getting ready to have a run-off election between two candidates, and one of ‘em is openly a homo, gay … uh … a fag, whatever you want to call him,” Dove World Outreach Center pastor Wayne Sapp says in the video. “Bottom line is, we cannot afford a homo mayor. … We got one running for mayor of Gainesville, trying to convert Gainesville into Homoville. We can’t have it.”
The video was later removed from YouTube for violating terms of service, but anti-gay videos can still be found on the church’s Web site .
Lowe was the top vote-getter in this month’s general election. But because no single candidate in the field of five received more than 50 percent of the vote, a run-off is set for next month.
• Bi now, maybe later. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong is having a big year. A new musical, American Idiot , based on Green Day’s last two albums opens on Broadway April 20th. Out  magazine has an interview with the singer and Michael Mayer the musical’s director. Its been more than sixteen years since Armstrong told the Advocate “I think I’ve always been bisexual. It’s ingrained in our heads that it’s bad, when it’s not bad at all. It’s a very beautiful thing.” These days Armstrong is not sure if he still identifies as bisexual. “But I’d never say that I’m not. I don’t really classify myself as anything. And when it comes to sex, there are parts of me that are very shy and conservative. I want to respect my wife.” Please Billie stay bi long enough to plant a big kiss on my lips!
• Lesbians denied. Across the street from Berlin’s memorial for the six million Jewish Holocaust victims sits another memorial . Erected in 2008 this, often vandalized, memorial is dedicated to the homosexuals victimized at the hands of the Nazis. Currently the concrete slab has a window that participants can view video of a kiss between two men.
Every two years the video is to be traded out. In May, the video will be replaced for one of two women kissing. Holocaust scholars are up in arms citing a distortion of historical facts.
“Research shows that the persecution of lesbian women by the Nazi regime was not comparable to that of homosexual men.”
According to Germany’s Culture Minister Michael Naumann , this fact is stated on a plaque at the memorial and the monuments original concept was to memorialize present day GLBT discrimination in addition to the Nazi persecution of homosexuals.
Come on people, discrimination is discrimination.
• Another murder. A 49 year old Connecticut man, Luis Otero , was arrested for the murder of a woman who was having a sexual relationship with his mentally challenged daughter.
Otero murdered Madeline Brisson and placed her body in a freezer but his guilty conscience led him to the local police department to confess the murder and to lead the police to Brisson’s body.
The night of the crime, the two roommates were drinking and during an argument over the care of Otero’s daughter, Brisson stated that she had slept with her.
Otero was aware of Brisson’s previous lesbian relationships and “he got angry”, murdered his roommate and placed her body in the freezer.
These stories never cease to infuriate me.
• Insult to injury. The decision that allowed Derrick Martin  attend the prom with his boyfriend was protested by a group of his classmates on Thursday.
Most of the dozen attending the rally said they weren’t bothered by Martin being gay or being allowed to attend prom with his partner. But they said the school system’s decision has brought too much attention to their small town.
They are afraid that their town will be “known as a pro gay town.”
Martin, who was kicked out of his house by his parents recently, will still attend the prom but may wait until afterwards to speak to the media to “help minimize the attention that so many feel is unwelcome.”
I wish I had been this strong when I was in high school.
• Controversy. The Tribeca Film Festival  has included a film that has many in the GLBT community, including GLAAD , calling for protests.
“Ticked Off Trannies with Knives”  has the blogs  a buzzing with a few pro and a ton of con  posts. With the unfortunate title and references to murdered transsexuals in its trailer it doesn’t surprise that there is heated debates everywhere you turn.
The film’s description from the festival website: “When a group of transgender women are violently beaten and left for dead, the violated vixens turn deadly divas in this hilariously campy homage to the exploitation films of the ’70s and ’80s (“Transploitation,” anyone?).
“Loaded with bodacious bods and extreme violence, this revenge fantasy proves that it takes more than balls to get even.”
I have included a link to the trailer and would love to hear your thoughts.
• Cup of Joe. The wait for the new season of True Blood  seems like an eternity to me. I am such a huge fan and cannot wait to return to the land of Sookie on June 13th. HBO has released a teaser poster for the new season that is just as witty as the show itself and I just had to share. Now I am REALLY needing my True Blood fix.
Germany’s foreign minister and vice chancellor, Guido Westerwelle, will preside over the opening ceremony of the 2010 Gay Games, according to a news release from the sports organization.
Westerwelle, who has been out on the job since 2001, will open the eighth Gay Games, held this year in Cologne, Germany.
“We are so pleased to have found such a prominent advocate. With his commitment, Dr. Guido Westerwelle sends an important signal for more tolerance and acceptance of gays and lesbians in our society,” said Annete Wachter, chief executive officer of Gay Games Cologne, said in a statement.
The Gay Games are expected to attract 12,000 athletes from 70 countries. At least 34,000 spectators are expected to watch the opening ceremonies.
The goal of the Gay Games is to foster tolerance for the LGBT community.
Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai voiced his support of the nation’s president who favors dismissing calls for gay rights.
President Robert Mugabe told a group at a belated International Women’s Day event that he recently learned of efforts to put gay rights into the new constitution currently being debated.
“That issue is not debatable, it’s not up for discussion,” he said, according the Zimbabwe Herald . “It is just madness, insanity. The ancestors will turn in their graves should we allow this to happen.”
Tsvangirai agreed with the president. “Women make up 52 percent of the population,” he said. “There are more women than men, so why should men be proposing to men?”
Homosexual acts in Zimbabwe are illegal.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell said Thursday he doesn’t see a need for protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
During a regular appearance on WRVA , McDonnell said, “I don’t know that we need it based on the numbers that I’ve seen,” when asked if he would sign a bill with LGBT protections.
“There really isn’t any rampant discrimination on any basis in Virginia,” he said. “If you’re going to have a law, it needs to actually address a real problem.”
McDonnell issued an executive directive banning workplace discrimination, but the directive is not law. Nevertheless, McDonnell said it must be obeyed because discrimination is prohibited in the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions.
You know it’s bad when Mark Foley  and Ted Haggard  can’t even be in the top five. For a little humor go examine the top 10 list of anti-gay politicians caught doing the gay. 
They are all there, from Larry Craig  and his bathroom antics to good ol’ Roy Ashburn , who voted against rights for gays and immigrants but was enthralled with Latino male tail (who isn’t?). Some of these guys are really low-down dirty dogs. There is Richard Curtis , a Washington State representative who voted consistently against domestic partnerships and discrimination laws. How did his sodomy loving ways come out? He hired an escort (no problem there), but reneged on the agreed upon price. Really Curtis? That’s so not classy and rather cheap. Glad the working lad had pictures of you in sexy red negligee.
Then there is creepy Bruce Barclay , although his creepy nature saved him from living as a guest of the state. He and a young guy had some booty time. The young thing called it rape. The authorities were called in. Mr. Barclay had many videotapes preserving his sexual conquests, filmed without the consent of his fellow actors. The tape didn’t show rape; however, if you meet this guy in bar and want to give him shot, take him to your place.
Go check the list out. Any glaring omissions? Any problems with the order?
(Jackson, Miss.) School officials in a rural Mississippi county told a lesbian student to get “guys” to take her and her girlfriend to a high school prom and warned the girls against slow dancing with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to documents filed Tuesday in federal court.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Itawamba County School District and some officials at Itawamba Agricultural High School on behalf of Constance McMillen, 18, who wanted to escort her girlfriend to the prom and wear a tuxedo. A hearing is scheduled for Monday to hear an ACLU motion that seeks to force the district to hold the April 2 prom it canceled after McMillen made her requests.
In the court documents, McMillen said Rick Mitchell, the assistant principal at the school, told her she could not attend the prom with her girlfriend but they could go with “guys.” Superintendent Teresa McNeece told the teen that the girls should attend the prom separately, had to wear dresses and couldn’t slow dance with each other because that could “push people’s buttons,” according to court documents.
The school district last week said it wouldn’t host the prom “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.” District officials said they hoped private citizens would sponsor a dance. The decision came on the same day the ACLU asked the district to act on McMillen’s prom requests.
McMillen said she approached school officials weeks ago about wanting to take her girlfriend to the prom.
“I want my prom experience to be the same as all of the other students, a night to remember with the person I’m dating,” McMillen said.
The district, located in northern Mississippi near the Alabama state line, prohibits same-sex dates at the prom. The ACLU has said that violates the rights of gay and lesbian students.
The school district had not responded to the ACLU filing by Tuesday afternoon.
Christine Sun, a senior counsel with the ACLU’s national gay rights project, said the organization is determined to put the prom back on the school calendar.
Fulton Mayor Paul Walker said he has heard that parents are making plans for a private dance but he didn’t know the details. It’s unclear if gay couples would be welcome at that event.
The ACLU has taken on similar cases in recent months.
In October, the ACLU sent a demand letter to the school district in Copiah County, Miss., after officials refused to let 17-year-old Ceara Sturgis be photographed in a tuxedo for the yearbook. The district stood by its decision and the ACLU said it is still considering litigation.
In November, officials at Tharptown High School in Franklin County, Ala., reversed an earlier decision to bar a lesbian from attending the prom with a female date. After the ACLU issued a demand letter, the decision was reversed, said Gary Smith, superintendent of Franklin County Schools.
“The ACLU told us we were infringing on her rights as a student. In view of that, we had to let her bring her,” Smith recently said.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the new fad at churches, fight nights — heavyweight bouts intended to bring more young people into the house of the Lord.
But have you heard of porn night at a church?
In mid-February, Uganda pastor Martin Ssempa hosted a porn show at a church service in Kampala to rally support for a bill that elevates homosexuality to a capital offense punishable, in some cases, by death.
Several hundred people watched Ssempa’s pornographic slideshow about gay sex. The Guardian newspaper quoted Ssempa as saying that he wanted people to know “about what homosexuals do” because “in Africa, what you do in your bedroom affects our clan, it affects our tribe, it affects our nation.”
Porn at church.
I began waiting for word that at a subsequent Bible study class Ssempa led the men in the group in a circle jerk to prove some point. As I scanned headlines for notice of such a news report, I came across a few other stories — closer to home — of interest:
• The Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander reported that the newspaper received a flood of complaints, including some subscription cancelations, after publishing a page one photograph of two men kissing the day the District of Columbia first issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
One reader wrote The Post an e-mail: “That kind of stuff makes normal people want to throw up. People have kids who are being exposed to this crap. I will be glad when your rag goes out of business. Real men marry women.”
• Florida state Rep. Stephen Precourt recently introduced legislation to provide tax incentives to lure filmmakers to the Sunshine State.
Precourt, however, wants to apply a restriction — the incentives would only go for entertainment industry projects with “family friendly” themes that do not contain sex, nudity, smoking, profanity or LGBT characters.
Precourt said he wanted Florida to be known for making “Disney movies for kids and all that stuff.”
• The school board in Itawamba County, Miss., canceled a high school senior prom rather than allow a lesbian couple to attend.
The board’s statement said the April 2 dance was canceled “due to the distractions to the educational process caused by recent events.”
The local mayor said, “I think the community as a whole is probably in support of the school district.”
Wouldn’t you like to give some folks a shove through the looking-glass into a wonderland where everyone gets mushy over the lesbian kiss, gets hot over the gay-sex scene and goes “yuck” and “ick” when a man and woman embrace?
In that wonderland, 99.9 percent of romance stories on TV, in film and on the bookshelves would be about LGBT people and Janis Joplin wouldn’t have pretended the Bobbie McGee she was singing about was a dude.
Down with straight supremacy.
Down with this attitude that everyone, gay and straight, wants to sit through 120-minutes of Hollywood dribble about the boy who romances the girl or the girl who tricks the boy, but only gays find gay-themed movies relevant or entertaining.
Down with this attitude that gay and lesbian youth must sit in the bleachers and cheer on their hetero peers as they dance away their senior prom.
Down with this attitude that a same-sex kiss is acceptable only when it’s played for comedy, and that we all should swoon over the deeply romantic gesture of a man and a woman exchanging tongue.
And down with this ridiculous attitude that gay porn proves a case for sentencing gays to death. I mean really, what would a presumably straight congregation think about watching “Deep Throat” during a church service?
At one point during his pornographic slide presentation, Ssempa pointed out to his church audience, “This one is eating another man’s anus.”
I’m pretty sure that if I looked hard enough, I could find an image of a man and a woman engaged in this act.
In fact, before I go on, I’ll search Google to see.…
I’m back, yes, I can find such images — no shortage of them.
You know what? I didn’t enjoy looking at those images — probably even straight supremacists would say “ick” or “yuck” at the photos. I wouldn’t want to see those images during a church service, but an act worthy of a death sentence?
Porn at church.
We don’t need to tumble through the looking-glass or into wonderland to encounter a mad hatter.