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National roundup: AIDS items; Campus Pride list; Michael Johnson report
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2015-12-08

This article shared 4883 times since Tue Dec 8, 2015
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The White House issued a release marking World AIDS Day. The proclamation stated, in part, "On World AIDS Day, we remember those who we have lost to HIV/AIDS, celebrate the triumphs earned through the efforts of scores of advocates and providers, pledge our support for those at risk for or living with HIV, and rededicate our talents and efforts to achieving our goal of an AIDS-free generation." The document, among other things, highlights the Obama administration's past and present efforts to combat the disease.

In a new report published on World AIDS Day, the ONE Campaign warned about what it sees as a growing complacency in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, adding that that the fight will not be winnable if especially vulnerable populations—including men who have sex with men and transgender women—continue to be underserved, a press release stated. Compared with the general population, men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to be living with HIV; transgender women are 49 times more likely to be living with HIV than other adults of reproductive age. The full report is at ONE.org/aidsreport.

New HIV infections in gay Black men may finally be leveling off, CTV News reported. New figures show that the number of newly diagnosed cases in gay and bisexual Black men hasn't moved up much since 2010—less than 1 percent. For younger men in that group, who have had alarming infection rates, new diagnoses dropped 2 percent. The group accounts for about 10,000 of the 40,000 new HIV cases diagnosed last year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which presented the new figures at a conference in Atlanta.

Campus Pride released a national listing of colleges and universities who requested Title IX exemption to ban LGBTQ students, according to a press release. The organization titled the list the "Shame List" for the purpose of calling out the harmful and shameful acts of religion-based prejudice and bigotry. Among the schools listed are Fresno Pacific University, Colorado Christian University, Judson College and Oklahoma Wesleyan University. See the full list at CampusPride.org/ShameList.

A new report argues that Michael Johnson, the gay 23-year-old former college wrestler found guilty of knowingly exposing several men to HIV, faced an entirely stacked deck in his criminal trial, according to Queerty. Johnson was convicted last May in the town of St. Charles under a Missouri law that makes it a crime for an HIV-positive person to have sex without first notifying their partner of his or her status. The report says that, among things, two-thirds of the convicting jury intimated that they believed being gay was a sin, and that half believed that being gay is a choice.

Speaking from inside the historic church where the Montgomery Bus Boycott was organized, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton renewed her calls for criminal justice reform, gun control, and "more love and kindness" during remarks at an event to honor the 60th anniversary of the demonstration, ABC News reported. Clinton invoked a sermon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave at this church the first night of the bus boycott. "Justice is really love in calculation," he said. "Justice is really love correcting that which works against love. Standing beside love is always justice." Fred Gray, the legendary civil-rights lawyer who represented Rosa Parks during the boycott, was in attendance.

The Red Umbrella Project ( RedUP ), the National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ) and Best Practices Policy Project ( BPPP ) released a report on the experiences of transgender people in the sex trade—and it recommends decriminalization, a press release stated. "Meaningful Work: Transgender Experiences in the Sex Trade" presents new data and analysis from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey ( NTDS ), first published in 2011 and still the largest-ever published survey of transgender people in the United States. "Meaningful Work" is the first in-depth look at the 694 NTDS respondents ( 11 percent of the survey total ) who reported sex-trade experience.

A 42-year-old gay man, who ran the coffee shop at the Inland Regional Center, was among the 14 victims killed in the shooting attack in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2, according to Los Angeles Times. Daniel Kaufman was finally identified after his boyfriend, Ryan Reyes, and family spent nearly 22 hours trying to ascertain whether he was one of the persons killed or injured in the incident. Information was slow to be released from the crime-scene, so Reyes received conflicting reports about Kaufman's fate. He was finally informed by Kaufman's aunt, once she received word from authorities.

The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund issued a press release expressing its disappointment that Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that no charges would be filed against Chicago police officer George Hernandez, who shot and killed African-American man Ronald Johnson III in October 2014. Executive Director Rea Carey said, "The public has lost trust in local Chicago authorities. We need our leaders to increase transparency and responsiveness to build greater confidence in our criminal justice system. We thank the Justice Department for steps taken thus far and further urge the Department to lead an independent investigation into Johnson's murder."

Signs identifying single-occupancy bathrooms as for "men" or "women" will have to be removed in Philadelphia next year after Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation designed to make gender-neutral bathrooms more accessible, NJ.com reported. The law affects public restrooms in city-owned buildings, as well as in privately owned businesses. The change does not affect bathrooms with multiple stalls, and any previously existing artwork identifiers can stay.

Maryland has an interesting candidate for the Senate seat that will be vacated by Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski when she retires in 2017, DCist.com noted. Openly gay Republican Chrys Kefalas, 36, served as a speechwriter for U.S. Attorney Eric Holder, is engaged to radio host Tommy McFly, comes from a family of staunch Democrats and said that he's open to decriminalizing heroin. Kefalas said he did worry about coming out when he testified in 2011 in favor of Maryland's marriage-equality law. He told the Washingtonian, "I figured that was the end for me politically. There's no way I could serve at the county or state level in the Republican Party."

OutServe-SLDN Interim Executive Director Matt Thorn issued a statement condemning GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz's recent comments about LGBT individuals in the military. "We were shocked to hear that Mr. Cruz made such hateful and disparaging statements about LGBT people who serve our country as members of the United States military," Thorn said. "This behavior is not fitting for a member of the United States Senate, let alone a candidate for the office of president of the United States and commander-in-chief." Cruz has again pledged to nullify all same-sex weddings, and blamed gay people for low military morale, according to PinkNews.

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation—in partnership with Advocates for Youth, Answer, GLSEN, Planned Parenthood Federation of America ( PPFA ), and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. ( SIECUS )—called for significant improvements in sex education programs to ensure that LGBTQ youth have access to information crucial to their health and well-being, a press release stated. More than 60 additional organizations signed a letter in support of the Call to Action. A Call to Action: LGBTQ Youth Need Inclusive Sex Education, urges educators, advocates, and policymakers to take immediate, concrete steps to provide LGBTQ inclusive education for all students; see http://www.hrc.org/resources/a-call-to-action-lgbtq-youth-need-inclusive-sex-education.

According to a new report by the Movement Advancement Project ( MAP ), despite the decrease in revenue, leading LGBT social-justice organizations are projecting combined 2015 expense budgets totaling $189.6 million—a 12-percent increase from 2014 expenses, according to a press release. The 2015 National LGBT Movement Report also found that while individual donor revenue grew 11 percent from 2013 to 2014, organizations lost an aggregate of $6.3 million of revenue from foundations over the same period, constituting an 18-percent drop. The report is at http://lgbtmap.org/2015-national-lgbt-movement-report.

Prudential released a video highlighting the wide-range of financial implications for the LGBT community since the Supreme Court on June 26, 2015, extended the rights of same-sex couples to marry in all 50 states, Business Wire noted. In 2012, Prudential launched the "LGBT Financial Experience," part of Prudential's signature research series that examines financial priorities and behaviors among America's diverse communities. The next edition of the survey, which will measure how financial trends and attitudes in the LGBT community have evolved since 2012, is scheduled for release in 2016.

In Jersey City, New Jersey, a city worker has filed a lawsuit against city director and former deputy mayor Anthony Cruz, accusing Cruz of a host of allegations that include making anti-gay remarks and using his position to help developers, NJ.com reported. Daniel Wrieden, a historic preservation officer, alleges in the five-count lawsuit filed in Hudson County Superior Court, that Cruz referred to him as "that [expletive] weirdo," "consistently" used a slur usually aimed at gay men and created such a hostile work environment that Wrieden contemplated suicide.

The first major gay-rights showdown since Houston's rancorous vote to repeal its antidiscrimination ordinance is shaping up in Jacksonville, Florida—the largest city in the nation whose leaders have never enacted civil rights protections for LGBT people, The Boston Globe noted. Gay-rights groups have poured tens of thousands of dollars into an aggressive effort to persuade the City Council to expand its existing Human Rights Ordinance, and to elect candidates who favor doing so. About 200 cities and 17 states have ordinances barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity—with no evidence of any increase in crime, proponents say.

An article on the information website Unicorn Booty examines the life and death of Rev. Charles Moore, a 79-year-old retired Methodist minister who set himself on fire in 2014 in Texas to protest, among other things, homophobia. Moore had fallen into a depression after his retirement in 2000, writing that he felt ashamed for being "completely inactive" since his retirement and for living in an "arch-conservative" Dallas suburb, adding that he'd "been nothing but a cringing coward" ever since.

Martin Shkreli—the Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO who became a national villain when he hiked the price of Daraprim from $13.50 a tablet to $750 per tablet—has admitted that he regrets not raising it even more than the original 5,000 percent, NewNowNext.com reported. "I think I could have it raised it higher and made even more profit," he told Forbes Healthcare Summit. "This is a capitalist society, capitalist system and capitalist rules."

A new Planned Parenthood ( PP ) location that opened in West Hollywood has begun offering HIV-preventative drugs including Truvada, according to NewNowNext.com . PP will offer pre-exposure prophylaxis ( PrEP ) drug Truvada, a once-daily pill that reduces the risk of contracting HIV to near zero when used with condoms, as well as a cocktail of anti-retroviral drugs used for post-exposure prophylaxis ( PEP ) within three days of being exposed to the virus. The West Hollywood location will be the first of Los Angeles' 20 Planned Parenthood locations to offer both drugs.

A Kansas Department for Children and Families ( DCF ) official scrutinized in a 2013 court ruling that found the agency had discriminated against a lesbian woman is retiring—but the agency said the decision is unrelated to disclosure of the ruling, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Michael Myers, DCF prevention and protection services director, has announced his retirement. Word of the move came the same day the Capital-Journal published a story on Johnson County District Judge Kathleen Sloan's 2013 decision in an adoption case. The court ruling involved a case in which DCF wouldn't consent to allowing an adoption to a lesbian couple because one of the women was accused of welfare fraud; Myers, however, had signed off on allowing the woman to adopt, despite her criminal convictions.

In Massachusetts, a former employee at Fontbonne Academy argued in court that the Catholic all-girls prep school fired him for being gay, and violated state anti-discrimination laws in the process, Boston.com reported. Matthew Barrett, 43, was offered a job in 2013 as Fontbonne Academy's food-services director. But just a couple days later, he says the offer was rescinded after he listed his husband as his emergency contact, he said.

Former Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice has been given an interim head coaching position with The Patrick School in New Jersey, according to Sports Illustrated. Rice—who was fired by Rutgers in April 2013 after video footage showed him physically and verbally abusing his players with gay slurs at practice—will take over for program coach and school principal Chris Chavannes during the month of December. In six total seasons at the helms of Rutgers and Robert Morris, Rice posted a 117—82 record.


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