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SNAP: Utah’s World AIDS Day

In November, over a dozen organizations, gay and gay-friendly alike, worked together to make 2010’s Transgender Awareness Month the biggest and best Utah has seen. In December, gay and transgender rights groups, universities, public health foundations, politicians and citizens in several parts of the state came together to make World AIDS Day not only visible, but relevant in a time when HIV/AIDS is all but ignored in mainstream media (and, most alarmingly, among youth who often don’t know how it’s transmitted). One thing that Utah’s many World AIDS Day events made clear is that we need to have more public conversations about the illness in Utah — and around the country — if we want to get our alarming infection rates down in the next decade. The challenge, of course, will be to continue these discussions and find new, effective ways to educate the public about prevention after we’ve cleaned up the red ribbons.

SLAP: Orrin Hatch and Jason Chaffetz

While a debate can be had on whether lesbian, gay and bisexual U.S. Americans serving openly in the military is a good thing, one thing is certain: lesbian, gay and bisexual people are currently serving in all branches of the military, and banning them from doing so openly is not only harmful to their mental and physical health, but also not something the military can afford to do while fighting in two wars. For these reasons, Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s refusal to back this repeal amid mounting evidence showing it would not hurt the military, is nothing short of irresponsible and (to put it generously) more likely based in bigotry than in fact. Also, if what Chaffetz told The Salt Lake Tribune is true, and U.S. Marines really do have more of a problem with openly gay members than other servicemembers, then, well … why is it so impossible to expect the Marines who object to be professionals and get over it? Shared showers or not, wouldn’t we ask the same of people in any other line of work?

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