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Posts Tagged ‘Gay Agenda’

25 guys showed up to talk about POZ Dating and where to meet men.

The subject immediately turned to the internet. Someone mentioned that most relationships (straight or gay) now begin online and Gay men are probably ahead of the curve on this. We listed the different online sites and talked about their advantages and disadvantages. Some sites were free, some charged and some asked for donations for special priveleges. Some sites had scam problems with people asking money. Some sites seemed to be more geared towards drug hookups. Some sites were bigger overseas than here. Some sites were somewhat useless. But, it was generally agreed that each site could be used for immediate hook-ups, dating or finding a relationship. It depends on how you use the site. Lying about your status on-line was a big turn-off to the group, more so than lying about your stats. If you have problems with declarirng your HIV status, leave it blank or say “Ask Me”. But lying is a terrible way to initiate a relationship, even a hook-up.

It was noted that Facebook is used by your relatives, friends and employers, both current and future, so be careful what you post here. The difference with Facebook is that you normally post your real name.

Eventually, we made it to off-line places to meet guys. Anywhere in Wilton Manors or Greater Ft Lauderdale Metro are places you can meet guys. But it was agreed that Clubs and Organizations where you can meet guys with similar interests might be a better place to meet relationship material.

Few guys seemed to be meeting people in bars anymore. Not sure why, maybe our group is just over the bar scene. But it was mentioned that it was easier to disclose your status at an Online site. There seemed to be a safer feeling online and the feeling of not wasting time on someone who was not comfortable with an HIV status. Online, it’s can be just out there as be used as one of the first filters. In the bars, it’s something you disclose after you’ve spent time with someone.

After the break, we discussed the Hepatitis A and B vaccine which is available free from the Broward County Health Department for High-Risk individuals, which includes HIV+ and Gay men. 954-759-5456. There is no vaccine for Hepatitis-C. More information on Hep-C and the vaccines can be found at the Hepatitis Tab.

Discussion then turned to the surveyjust released by AIDS Care: Majority of gay men support HIV transmission laws. There is general confusion between transmission laws and disclosure laws and even this suvey seemed to not understand the difference as the first sentence contradicted the title: “Two-thirds of US gay men believe that it should be illegal for an HIV-positive man to have unprotected anal sex without disclosure“.

In Florida, our law makes no difference between protected and unprotected nor does it distinguish between anal or any other kind of sex. It does state that you’re only bound to disclose if you know your status and we discussed whether this might be a barrier to some men from getting tested.

As usual, there was a wide variety of opinions on these issues which most people defended passionately. That’s what a discussion group is all about. As we state in every meeting, “not everyone thinks alike, and that’s OK.”

After Group, 10 of us went to Peter Pan for something to eat.

-Steve

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Vote! It’s the way to make your voice heard.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 is Election Day. A lot of the funding and support for HIV programs are dependent on who wins these elections.

If we want to be treated as equal citizens in this country, we have to vote for the people that support those goals.

Florida Equality has a Voter Guide for you to use in case you don’t know which candidates to vote for.

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The Iowa Independent:

New group seeks end to HIV-specific criminal laws
National, international organizations join forces
By Todd A. Heywood 9/28/10 2:00 PM
NEW YORK CITY — Activists, civil rights attorneys and AIDS service organizations met for the first time last week in New York City to launch a project that seeks an end to HIV-specific criminal laws in the U.S. and around the world.

The project, called the Positive Justice Project (PJP), is a program of the Center for HIV Law and Policy in New York City.

“There seems to have been an explosion of new prosecutions in the last two or three years, and federal emphasis on HIV testing also puts into sharp relief the irony that those who respond to this call to test now risk arrest and imprisonment more than ever before,” said Catherine Hanssens, executive director of the HIV Law and Policy Center. “Also, frankly, the agency launching this effort, CHLP, is itself a new organization with a new focus — real collaboration, real sharing and respecting of the legal and policy work of other advocates who have worked in the trenches for years, and a mission that prioritizes the human and civil rights that many mainstream organizations have deprioritized over the last decade.”

Hanssens noted that for the first time since the epidemic began in the U.S. nearly 30 years ago, the federal government has taken exception to the HIV-specific criminal laws on the books. She points to President Barack Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which for the first time calls for states to review their criminal laws related to HIV. The Justice Department is also tasked with gathering information and reporting about those laws and their impact.

Iowa is one of 32 states where engaging in acts that could potentially result in the transmission of HIV could be ruled a crime. The law, which was passed in 1998, was done, albeit belatedly, in response to federal funding mandates. That is, if states wanted to receive federal monies for AIDS care and education, they were required to have criminal penalties related to transmission of the disease. Only two years after Iowa passed its law, the federal government reauthorized the primary legislative vehicle for HIV/AIDS funding, the Ryan White Care Act, without requiring states to criminalize transmission or related offenses.

The formation of the group came as the results of a large study of men who have sex with men was released. The study found, to the surprise of activists, that 65 percent of gay men support HIV-specific criminal laws.

Advocates noted the study points to an uphill battle.

“[The study] is indicative of how poorly-informed our own community is about these statutes and how they affect the epidemic and people with HIV,” said Sean Strub, a senior advisor to the Center for HIV Law and Policy. He is also the founding published of the magazine POZ. “Most people have not spent much time thinking about these statutes and prosecutions; I suspect that once we start to get the message out, those numbers will change fairly quickly. But they are disturbing, for sure.”

In addition to HIV-specific criminal laws, the Center has noted an increase in the number of prosecutions of persons with HIV under other, non-HIV-specific criminal laws. One case in particular that raised concerns was the HIV-as-terrorism case in Macomb county.

Several studies have found that HIV-specific laws do not affect the spread of HIV-infection, nor do they change the behavior of those most at-risk for infection. To the contrary, activists say they hear from many at risk for HIV that they will not get tested for HIV because a positive result would make them eligible for criminal prosecution.

“We know that many people living with HIV and their advocates agree with the harm of HIV criminalization and will welcome the opportunity that the PJP provides to get actively involved, to channel their frustration about prosecutions of people with HIV and the way they are portrayed in the media, and to play leadership roles in ending this toxic form of discrimination and HIV ‘exceptionalism,’” says Hanssens.

In June and July of 2009, The Iowa Independent ran a three part series that looked at several aspects and ramifications of the Iowa law. To date, no Iowa lawmaker has signaled whether he or she is willing to revisit the decade-old statute to see if existing laws governing public health risks are adequate.

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Majority of US gay men support HIV transmission laws
HIV and criminal law
Michael Carter
Published: 21 September 2010
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Reference
Further information on HIV and the criminal law
Two-thirds of US gay men believe that it should be illegal for an HIV-positive man to have unprotected anal sex without disclosure, investigators report in the October edition of AIDS Care.

“Believing that it should be illegal was associated with HIV-negative or unknown status, less education, having a non-gay sexual orientation, living in a state that was perceived as hostile towards GLBT persons, reporting fewer UAI [unprotected anal intercourse] partners…and feeling greater responsibility”, write the authors.

Since 2008, at least 30 individuals in the US have been prosecuted for exposing others to HIV. Penalties vary between states and range from a small fine to a lengthy prison sentence. The impact of such laws on HIV prevention efforts are hotly debated. Moreover, there is uncertainty about the attitudes of the communities most affected by HIV about the criminalisation of HIV exposure.

Gay and other men who have sex with men remain the group most affected by HIV in the US. In 2008 investigators therefore used gay social websites to recruit 1725 to a study designed to:

Describe overall attitudes towards the criminalisation of exposure to HIV due to unprotected anal sex without disclosure.

The factors associated with such attitudes.

Overall, 65% of men believed that it should be illegal for HIV-positive individuals to have unprotected sex without disclosure, 23% thought it should not be illegal and 12% did not know.

Support for criminalisation was highest (79%) among men aged between 18 and 20, and lowest (56%) among those aged 41 to 70. The investigators note that younger gay men were significantly less likely to have been tested for HIV. Separate research has shown that untested men are more likely to adopt a disclosure-based HIV prevention strategy “that gains credibility by transmission laws.”

The overwhelming majority (70%) of HIV-negative and untested men (69%) supported legal sanctions, but only 38% of HIV-positive men endorsed criminalisation. “These differences most likely reflect a shift in orientation toward criminal statues on HIV transmission following seroconversion”, comment the investigators.

Men with the lowest educational achievements were most likely to support criminalisation (75%), and those with a degree least likely (58%).

Over three-quarters of men who did not identify as gay or bisexual supported criminalisation compared to 63% of those who had some form of gay identity.

In addition, those who were least comfortable with their sexual orientation were most likely to endorse criminalisation.

Living in a state which was perceived to be hostile to gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender people was also associated with support for criminalisation.

Sexual behaviour was also significant. Men who reported two or more episode or unprotected anal sex within the previous three months were least likely to support criminalisation (52%), and those who reported no unprotected sex the most likely (69%).

Finally, the investigators found that a sense of responsibility was associated with support for criminalisation.

Statistical analysis showed that men who were HIV-positive were less likely to support criminalisation (OR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.24-0.44), as were those with a higher degree (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.27-0.64). Living in a state that was perceived to be more accepting of homosexuality was also associated with less support for criminalisation (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.59-0.96), as was having had a greater number of episodes of unprotected anal sex (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.56-0.93) and a lower feeling of responsibility towards the sexual health of sex partners (OR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.69-0.81).

Conversely, men who did not identify as gay or bisexual were 54% more likely to support criminalisation (OR, 1.54; 95% CI, 1.08-2.02).

The investigators found no evidence that laws deterred high-risk sexual behaviour. However they conclude “further research is needed to examine whether they act as a barrier for MSM [men who have sex with men] at highest risk for acquiring or transmitting HIV.”

Research carried out among MSM in England and Wales in 2006 found a strong relationship between the expectation that a man should disclose his HIV status to prospective sexual partners and support for criminal prosecution of HIV transmission. The authors of that study, conducted by SIGMA Research at the University of Portsmouth, concluded that the practice of prosecuting transmission worked to reinforce the expectation that men would disclose, thereby impeding any HIV prevention efforts that seek to educate men against making assumptions about HIV status on the basis of a lack of disclosure.

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FL Appeals Court: Anti-Gay Adoption Law Violates Equal Protection
Great news!

By a unanimous decision, an appeals court has upheld a Miami judge who ruled that Florida’s anti-gay adoption ban is unconstitutional.

The Third District Court of Appeals three-judge panel agreed with Miami Judge Cindy Lederman who ruled in 2008 that there is “no rational basis to prohibit gay parents from adopting” and that the law violates equal protection rights for the children and their prospective gay parents.

The opinion reads in part:

“We affirm the judgment of adoption, which holds subsection 63.042(3), Florida Statutes, violates the equal protection provision found in article I, section 2, of the Florida Constitution.”

“Given a total ban on adoption by homosexual persons, one might expect that this reflected a legislative judgment that homosexual persons are, as a group, unfit to be parents,” the opinion states.

“No one in this case has made, or even hinted at, any such argument. To the contrary, the parties agree ‘that gay people and heterosexuals make equally good parents.'”

You can read the full decision here.

This is an historic day but the fight is not over yet. The case may now head to the Florida Supreme Court and anti-gay extremists are expected to seek a ballot measure putting this discrimination into the state Constitution. Equality Florida will continue working with our team across the state to be ready to defend this victory.

What a phenomenal day for Martin Gill and his family who have challenged this ban head on. A big congratulations to the legal team at the ACLU of Florida who worked so hard on this case. Thank you to all the Floridians who have helped to expose the bigotry of this ban.

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We discussed the Don’t ask Don’t Tell policy and vote at the Wednesday Night Support Group. Current issues that affect Gay people are topical concerns for our group.

The Senate on Tuesday September 21, 2010 dealt a significant blow to efforts to repeal the ban on gay people serving openly in the military.

In a 56-43 vote, Senate Democratic leaders fell short of the 60 votes need to proceed to the 2011 defense authorization bill, which included language to repeal “Don’t ask, don’t tell”.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) and Mark Pryor of Arkansas were the 3 Democrats that voted to block debate. Reid’s vote allows him to bring up the bill at a later time.

It’s possible Congrees could revisit the issue in a lame-duck session, that period of time after the November elections and before the new congress takes office in January when things are not as emotionally charged. But there is no guarantee this will happen.

More than 75% of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military according to the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll.

We have a couple questions:

!. Why are the Democrats so inept at getting things passed. We have a solid majority in the House of Representatives, 1 vote shy of a filibuster proof Senate, 59 of 100 Senators and a Democratic President and yet we struggle to get the agenda passed that was promised to the people who voted these people in. Needless to say I am disappointed in this lack of leadership.

2. 13,386 gay men and women have been discharged under DADT since 1993. But the full name of the policy is “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Don’t Pursue.” “Don’t Ask” mandates that military or appointed officials will not ask about or require members to reveal their sexual orientation. “Don’t Tell” states that a member may be discharged for claiming to be a homosexual or bisexual or making a statement indicating a tendency towards or intent to engage in homosexual activities. “Don’t Pursue” establishes what is minimally required for an investigation to be initiated. “Don’t Harass” was added to the policy later. It ensures that the military will not allow harassment or violence against servicemembers for any reason.

Every one of these 13,386 people were discharged under the “Don’t Tell” portion of this policy. Not one person has been discharged over the “Don’t Ask” portion. Why not enforce BOTH sides of this policy?

I realize that this still would not allow gays to serve OPENLY in the military, but it would allow gays to serve in the military without being harrassed. Don’t ask Don’t tell was a compromise at the time, but it was never evenly enforced.

Enforcing both sides of that compromise would move more people to the conclusion that this was a bad policy and needs to be repealed.

-Steve

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The GAY AGENDA:
-Gay Marriage
-Civil Rights Protection
-Fleet Week expanded to Fleet Year
-FEMA assistance for when it’s raining men
-Kathy Griffin to host everything
-Nationwide ban on pleated pants

Jon Stewart hosts the Daily Show on Comedy Central. A little humor can sometimes say a lot.

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