Saturday, October 22, 2016

UK pardons men convicted of sodomy laws posthumously; Detroit org assists LGBT refugees and asylum seekers

The New York Times is reporting that the UK will pardon men convicted of sodomy before 1967 posthumously, in a front page story by Sewell Chan Friday Oct. 21.

The bill has the support of the new “Conservative” government and is named after Alan Turing.

Back in the early 1950s, men were sometimes arrested by police busting in to private homes.

Turning was arrested after reporting a robbery by a partner, and was forced to undergo chemical castration as an alternative to prison, an idea that led to his eventual suicide.  Today this sounds like one of the greatest personal outrages of history – against a man to whom England may owe its salvation from Hitler.  If opposition to homosexuality was about procreation, this punishment made even less sense.

Today, Center Global in Washington DC shared on Facebook an article by Kate Opalewski. “Freedom House  Seeks Help for LGBT Refugees”.  Freedom House is located in Detroit.   The organization should not be confused with a larger organization of the same name, which deals with freedom of the press. The article does not clearly differentiate between asylum seekers and refugees – an important distinction covered here before.  But the website does get into the special problems of asylum seekers.

Monday, October 17, 2016

"Gender segregation" gets re-thought: just look at how male birds show off

Here’s a long, detailed article in the New York Times Sunday Review, “Is it time to desegregate the sexes?”
Primitive societies often do.

I’ll add this thought.  Sexes are generally kept separated when fully nude to make adult sexuality (usually heterosexual) more fulfilling when it eventually happens in appropriate circumstances.  It’s more than just “privacy” (as we saw the idea thrown around in 1993 regarding gays in the military).  I grew up in a culture that, at a certain level, valued female “beauty” more than male (as opposed to nature – like with many birds).  I found it interesting when partial “revelation” showed some men to be more “manly” than others as they grew up, and the same can be said about women (especially by Donald Trump).  But for an attractive male to show off in public seems noteworthy.
Still, as a nation and in our particular communities, we have more pressing concerns than the bathroom bills.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

New article in Blade asks individuals to house (or at least "host") asylum seekers

I was at the AGLA brunch at Freddie’s Beach Bar today, discussing Airbnb with someone else, especially Arlington’s proposed new rules, which would modestly regulate it.  I was told that people who use it expect to stay much cheaper than at a hotel and don’t expect perfect, hotel-style housekeeping and services.  They want to “crash” while they go to an important function before flying home.

Soon the discussion turned to the subject of housing asylum seekers (I should have mentioned the “Emergency BNB website set up by a realtor immigrant from Egypt), with which there is at least a cultural connection in terms of who might naturally offer to do it ("Major issues" blog Oct. 1). I got out my cell phone and looked up “Washington Blade asylum seekers” expecting to pull up the Aug. 18 article about Center Global (posting here Aug. 28). Instead I found a new article by Eric Stults “Consider Hosting an LGBT Asylum Seeker”   Again, my own reaction is to think about existential personal risk:  due diligence, legalities, moral hazards (spread to others), stuff I covered on my main blog (Oct. 4).  I’m still going through the process, which involves talking to a number of people and organizations and even lawyers, especially in Virginia.  I think I’ll come back to this in about two weeks.  Actually -- we can quibble about words -- "hosting" is a more inclusive verb than just "housing" (below).

But the Reception on Oct. 6 (see story that day) made no mention of the need for direct housing assistance, other than a remark by one award winner.  I was left with the impression that direct housing assistance was not being actively pursued, because of the risks involved.  But I was wrong, as this article appeared next day in the Blade.  I didn’t see this in print last week.  Did I miss it?  I also haven’t seen it on Facebook or Twitter.

I have the impression that housing an asylum seeker means taking on a dependent – compare it to foster care of sorts.

I would wonder if it would be possible to buy a building as a shelter.  If you got together a number of donors – maybe 30-50 or so, this might be doable.  In Baltimore there is an asylum seeker shelter than mainly houses women.  Maybe something like that could be done in DC or northern VA.
But you can’t go to York PA and offer to bail out an asylee.  DHS won’t talk to you, unless you actually knew the person before he/she came to the US.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

HPV-related oral cancers may affect older men, maybe older gay men disproportonately

The Oct. 2006 issue of the AARP Bulletin has an informative article on the risk of HPV-induced cancers for older men.  The article by Peter Janet is here.

Carcinomas of the tonsil and back of the tongue have been attributed to human papilloma virus. They seem to appear several decades after infection, after the virus has been dormant, as the immune system weakens during age.  It would be logical if it were more common with HIV+ men, but that isn’t always true.  Men who had childhood tonsillectomies might be less exposed.

Oral sex may increase the risk of HPV-associated cancers later in life, but this could include oral sex among heterosexuals as well (both sides).  Anal sex may increase the risk of HPV-associated squamous cell cancer in the anus, also.

It’s logical to wonder if HPV (along with some unusual cellular immune defect) could be implicated in other cancers, such as the bizarre thyroid cancer that killed Roger Ebert, or even something like pancreatic cancer.  
I had a plantar’s wart cauterized on the sole of my foot twice in ninth grade (painful to get the novocaine shot).  Then it didn’t come back.  I think probably my immune system had simply learned to control the virus.  But the virus had probably been transmitted along lockerroom and shower floors.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

DC Center Global holds reception with awards; Bar hosts gay kickball and seems to like the Sam Francisco Giants as much as the Nats

I attended the Fourth Annual Reception at the Castleton on 16th Sr in Washington DC tonight of the Global Center Project of the DC Center for the LGBT Community  
The Global Advocate award went to Dr. Chloe Schwenke, professor at Georgetown and at the University of Maryland.  The Global Courage awards went to Pati Hernandez of El Salvador and Temitope Oke from Nigeria.

The event was well attended, by over 200 people, and there was a silent auction and free sandwich buffet and bar – enough for supper. 
The presentation presented the information on the fact sheet here

There have been several town halls since late 2015, but there has generally not been a lot of publicity in other gay media in DC until perhaps late July of this past summer.

The Center says it has assisted 157 asylum seekers to date. 

Tonight’s event did not make any mention of the need for people to house asylees (except for one brief mention by Oke, who said he arrived from Nigeria with nothing but was granted asylum in 2014).

The Center has access to a staff attorney and social worker.  I discussed the issue of major support for asylum-related volunteers on my main blog Oct. 4. 

Later I walked over to JE’s, where several teams from Stonewall Kickball had gathered.  It seems like gay sports teams like the San Francisco Giants as well as the Nats, even in DC.  Is that because Richard Harmon, from Judas Kiss, supports the Giants?  Or does the national gay community simply make a San Francisco team its own? 

Update:  Oct. 15

The Washington Blade covered this event with a story Oct. 7 by Maximillan Sycamore, here

Saturday, October 01, 2016

NoVa Pride held in Bull Run Park, VA, as dreary weather holds off

Northern Virginia Pride 2016 Festival was held Saturday in Bull Run Park, near Manassas Virginia (although barely within Fairfax County). The weather was cool, foggy, drizzly.

Many of the familiar groups were there, such as Adventuring, the outdoors group, which had a skyscraper building contest with wood blocks at its pavilion.

I did find AGLA.

I also found Log Cabin Republicans, which has not yet made up its mind on endorsing Donald Trump.  There was an admission that our system discourages well qualified candidates with better character to even try running for high office.

I found a lonely booth operated by UMFS, recruiting foster parents.
I did not find any booths related to immigration, refugees or asylum seekers.

An NSA drone flew around at times, sounding like a bumble bee.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Major reports: HIV, CA anti-discrimination order, UNHRC appointment

There is a new report, with videos, called “HIV: The Long View” discussing barriers to long term care for people with HIV, link here.
I may be getting an article written by the group, in New York City and Red Bank NJ.

One question of concern to me would be how common new HIV infection is occurring today specifically among gay men.  Among younger men in a campus setting, could it interact with other specific health threats like Meningitis (especially type B)?

In another matter, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed an executive order to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination at private universities, Equality California link here.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has posted a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expert, Vintit Muntarbhorn from Thailand.