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Mayor Pete tops President

It’s a little early for a victory lap, but Mayor Pete beats the incumbent President in the well-thought-of Quinnipiac 2020 Presidential match-up poll winning 47 to 42 percent. Other Democrats running also beat the incumbent. Buttigieg is polling well among most demographics and surprisingly well among African-American voters, a key demographic where heretofore he has not found much support.

DA domestic violence

Craig Northcott, a district attorney in Tennessee is being asked to resign his office for statements made while running for the office in 2018. In a discussion about domestic violence involving married same-sex couples, he said he wouldn’t prosecute because he doesn’t agree with the 2015 Supreme Court marriage-equality ruling. He made an arcane legal argument about prosecuting any domestic violence, as it had an effect on the right to bear arms. He said he had prosecutorial discretion so he’d declined to prosecute most domestic violence cases. Northcott is also quoted a writing that Islam is “evil, violent and against God’s truth” and that being Muslim is no different than “being part of the KKK, Aryan Nation, etc.”

Suicide rate tops HIV mortality

Research in Canada reveals that suicide has surpassed HIV as the leading cause of death among gay and bisexual men. Though HIV mortality rates had been declining for years, suicide rates remained stable. In 2007, the lines crossed and suicide surpassed HIV as the leading cause of death with the difference being now twice as many deaths from suicide as from HIV. The survey points to “Minority Stress” if a man stays “closeted”. The stress is felt even if the man is “out,” says the study, because there is the stress of conforming to cultural norms of “gay life”.

Caster in love

A South African runner, Caster Semenya, has been embroiled with the sport’s regulation of the testosterone level in amateur female athletes. She has a very high, natural production of testosterone which has caused increased bone density and “male-like” muscle development and endurance. She has been repeatedly tested and examined but always allowed to compete. Her lawyers say the Swiss Supreme Court has ordered track’s governing body to suspend its testosterone regulations. The two-time Olympic 800-meter champion can now run in her favored event without suppressing her natural testosterone level. She recently announced she is in a relationship with another female athlete.

YouTube  can’t please everyone

YouTube will not enforce its anti-harassment policies against comedian and conservative commentator Steven Crowder, who has been mocking gay journalist Carlos Maza’s race and sexual orientation for two years. Maza is not happy, Tweeting “@YouTube has decided that targeted racist and homophobic harassment does not violate its policies against hate speech or harassment. That’s an absolutely batshit policy that gives bigots free license.” He didn’t like Crowder writing Maza was “An anchor baby, a lispy queer, a Mexican”. Though YouTube didn’t take Crowder down it “demonized” him. He can’t sell his popular T-shirt with the slogan a “socialism is for fags” or charge a commercial rate for click delivery.

Boston Straight Pride goes gay

Super Happy Fun America, which sounds like a Japanese game show, is really a bunch of straight Boston men who have convinced city officials to green light a “straight pride” parade. They wanted to use Brad Pitt as their mascot, calling him “the face of this important civil rights movement.” The “civil right” was not mentioned. Pitt threatened to sue, so they’ve turned to a gay, internet troll, Milo Yiannopoulos as their mascot, which makes no sense, but then neither does “Straight Pride.”  

Star of David banned by “Dykes

The Washington D.C. Dyke March is being criticized for banning rainbow flags with the Star of David on them. The flag proved controversial at the Chicago Dyke March in 2017. The DC organizers said that they banned all “nationalist symbols” and specifically flags of “nations that have specific oppressive tendencies.”  They said Israel, the only country in the Middle East with marriage equality and nondiscrimination laws (the only one that does not throw gay people off of rooftops) oppressed Palestinians and so the flag was not allowed in the parade. Defending charges of anti-Semitism, the Dykes told the Washington Blade, “We welcome yarmulkes, tallitot, tefillin, rainbow pomegranates, Lions of Judah, Hamsas, chai, a menorah and anything that doesn’t directly replicate nationalist images and symbols.”

Stonewall apology

The New York Police commissioner, James O’Neill took the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising to offer a formal apology for its oppression of gay people which caused the Stonewall event. “The actions taken by the NYPD were wrong, plain and simple,” he said, “the actions and the laws were discriminatory and oppressive, and for that, I apologize.”

Don’t be a douche

According to a study published in the Journal of Sexually Transmitted Infections, rectal douching might increase the odds of contracting HIV and other STIs — including hepatitis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Researchers state that douching before sex can damage the lining of the rectum, which leads to an increased risk of transmission due to indirect entry into the bloodstream. Twenty of the studies were particularly focused on the association between douching and HIV transmission. They found that men who practiced rectal douching were nearly three times as likely to contract HIV.

Some pride in diplomacy

US embassies have been ordered not to fly the Rainbow Flag on the official embassy flag poles. The Vice President said it was because the Stars and Stripes is the only flag allowed. That didn’t stop embassies from showing Pride support. Some embassies are ignoring the directive, while others are getting more creative. In New Delhi, the building was illuminated with rainbow-colored lights. In Jerusalem, U.S. diplomats tweeted photos of themselves at the local March for Pride and Tolerance. 

No ”Rocketman” in Samoa, Russia, and North Korea

The South Pacific island nation of Samoa joins Russia and many Middle Eastern countries in banning the Elton John biopic Rocketman from cinemas. Samoa’s official censor objected to scenes that were “not good for public viewing.” The censor gave the movie a good review, though, “It’s a good story, in that it’s about an individual trying to move on in life,” he said. “He [Elton John] went through a difficult family life and managed to move on and become very successful. But there are acts that are not good for public viewing and against the law.” Russia deleted the sex scenes from the movie, proving everybody is a critic.

English poet

A “lost” love poem by celebrated British poet Siegfried Sassoon, written to his boyfriend Glen Byam Shaw, has been found and published. Sassoon was writing to his age-inappropriate boyfriend. Shaw became one of Great Britain’s early movie stars and later a director, who worked with John Gielgud, Albert Finny, and Charles Laughton. The two had spent the night together and Sassoon memorialized it with this poem:

The untitled poem
Though you have left me, I’m not yet alone:
For what you were befriends the fire lit room;
And what you said remains & is my own
To make a living gladness of my gloom
The firelight leaps & shows your empty chair
And all our harmonies of speech are stilled:
But you are with me in the voiceless air
My hands are empty, but my heart is filled.

Sassoon was a noted WWI poet who was having writer’s block until he met Shaw and historians think this was the first poem he had written in some years. 

Pulse National Memorial proposed

Members of Congress from Florida introduced a bill to make the Pulse nightclub location, scene of the worst mass violence against queer people in the US, a national memorial and federal landmark. Forty-nine people lost their lives in the early-morning shooting at the dance club in Orlando in 2016. The legislation would make the memorial part of the National Park System, but allow onePULSE Foundation to retain control of the memorial’s construction. The foundation unveiled the interim memorial last year. It includes interactive wall exhibits, lighted benches, and a steel fence where visitors can leave messages and mementos. The foundation needs to raise $50 million for a permanent facility. Foundation officials recently met with the Mormon Church President who was in Orlando to check on the 297,000 acres of property the church owns in Central Florida, ostensibly for a donation to the cause.

UAF leadership change, Penfold departs

Stan Penfold, long-time executive director, was fêted at a downtown hotspot by long-time donors, friends, and employees of the Utah AIDS Foundation. Penfold steps down, after 20 years to pursue his candidacy for Salt Lake City mayor. He served two terms on the Salt Lake City Council, he served stints as council chair.

Penfold started as a volunteer at UAF in the 1990s and served as associate director before being appointed to the top spot. He recounted that over the 20 years of his tenure they have moved the UAF’s mission from an “end of life service” to “helping those with HIV to lead very healthy lives.” He hailed the continued research and development of therapies which have lead to HIV becoming a more manageable health issue.

Photo: Carlos Maza (left) and Steve Crowder

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