Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump's sacking of Obamacare a grave threat to MSM needing PrEP and protease inhibitors ("moral hazard")

It may sound counterintuitive that an individual health plan would pay for PrEP, but it looks like some men have found ways to make this work, as with this one story on Blogger from Minnesota.
Andrew Sullivan, in 2015, had written about the controversy over the “gay men’s Pill” here.  It’s important to note that PrEP requires medical supervision and some blood work, especially for liver function.

Kaiser Health has a detailed posting about “tiers” of drugs for HIV infection and cancers, under Obamacare, from early 2016, here.
It’s pretty obvious that a “repeal” of Obamacare and a “replacement,” which would purport to separate pre-existing conditions into publicly funded mechanisms (mostly for the better for the general public), would put affordable access to both PrEP and probably protease inhibitors at risk, as they would seem to be related to “behavior”.  “Moral hazard” will become a conservative and Trump-ian buzzword (and not just on Buzzfeed).  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Baptist Church in Washington DC starts conversations on recognizing same-sex unions

Today, I did attend the conversations at the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington DC about inclusiveness, as to whether the congregation would accept or welcome the performance of same-sex marriages in the Church.

There was a soup and sandwich luncheon, and then we divided into small groups of about six.
We were asked not to film and to keep the personal contents of the discussions confidential, except for our own statements.

As a general level, I’ll note that the excitement and disruption in Washington this weekend over the inauguration did not disrupt holding the talks (and there is one more next Saturday).  There were no unusual traffic or access problems today near the Church.

Furthermore, there seems to be little concern that the new administrations is actually likely, in practice, to have a negative effect on LGBTQ people.

I can say that there were remarks to the effect that marriage is an extremely important experience for most people who actually do it, and that there is no intrinsic reason why this would not be so for same-sex couples.  There is understanding that same-sex couples often do raise children.

There was understanding that in the developing world, hostility to homosexuality is common and much of it appears connected to local religious beliefs, some of which are deliberately provoked by “conservative” outside interests.

I did give a history of anti-gay attitudes in the past, even mentioning my own William and Mary expulsion in 1961.  I mentioned sodomy laws in the past, the AIDs epidemic, and the debate over gays in the military and DADT policy that emerged under Bill Clinton.  (I forgot to mention security clearances.)  There was acknowledgement that legal acceptance of gay marriage had developed rather quickly and suddenly.

I had actually started my own comments by noting that Dr. Pruden had been very progressive on civil rights and ending segregation in the 1950s.  Because the Church is so close to the White House, it is influential.  Pruden’s influence may have helped accelerate civil rights once Kennedy and particularly Johnson were in office.  The acceptance of interracial marriage (the film “Loving”) got mentioned.

I then said that history shows that what the Church congregation does will be noticed.  Most likely if the congregation accepts performing same-sex marriages, the press will report it, and Congress, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court and White House will at least learn of if subliminally.  It was noted that because the Church is in both Baptist conventions, there could be some influence on the rest of the denomination, at least among more moderate or divided congregations.  So, by analogy to the Election that the “swing states”, “your” vote here counts more politically than normal, even if discussions are confidential.

It appears that this is viewed as a procedural, and not doctrinal matter.  It is not clear yet how the issue will be decided. A vote would sound possible. More details will be available later as they develop and become more public.

There is an issue for me, of course, with the way I run my own journalism and blogging.  There is a tendency for me to view anything that happens as having potential public significance, at least in setting examples, even if it concerns private citizens acting in a private mode.  I don’t like to work in “Snapchat” mode (in fact, I don’t use the app).

Saturday, January 21, 2017

GLBT lawyer warnings about Islam and immigration, in a manner that sounds like Trump; White House takes down LGBT links

Shannon Gilreath has an op-ed in the Washington Blade going against conventional liberal wisdom, “Europe’s Islam Problem and U,S. Immigration Policy”.   She is a lawyer and says she has normally fought for gay rights as part of the liberal left.  But she provides warnings of what she says is evidence that even in the west Islam is hostile to tolerating homosexuality among anyone.  Perhaps this goes along with what Trump or even Ted Cruz would say.

The Blade also has article about Log Cabin trying to lobby to keep the XO protecting LGBT employees in federal service (I could wonder about security clearances, especially in intelligence agencies – but we have rulings like Obergefell, and Mattis seems OK with gay soldiers) and about the disappearance of the LGBT page from the White House website, as well as Nikku Haley’s reassuring statement on non-discrimination.  We’ll come back to this later.

And soon we'll have to look at how Trump's repeal of Obamacare could affect people with HIV.  It's not that easy even now.

Kaiser has a detailed discussion on pre-existing conditions before and after Obamacare, and HIV infection usually is considered pre-existing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chelsea-aka-Bradley gets commuted sentence from Obama on his way out

President Obama has commuted most of the remaining sentence of Chelsea Manning for her “Wikileak: in 2010, NY Times story here.

In 2013, activists were informing us that Bradley was Chelsea, particularly on the Mall in DC, passing by a particularly virile 78-inch guy who had visited Town recently on 18-20 night.
Chelsea-Bradley, however, was an outlier in the whole history of gays in the military.  Other people who had performed as Navy Seals later turned out to be transgender – more than one.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Female couple, legally married, with co-pastor historic church in downtown Washington DC; another development on Orlando

A legally married female couple, Sally Sarratt and Maria Swearingen, will become co-pastors of Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington DC on 7th St, according to a Washington Post story by Michae; Allison Chandler, here.

First Baptist has sometimes participated in co-events, like choral concerts, with Calvary, over many decades.

I have a picture of Calvary somewhere, but I’ll take another one probably tomorrow because the Refugee Ball will be nearby.  (Note: 1/17: done).

Another important story this morning concerns the arrest of the Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, in California, on federal obstruction of justice charges, and on abetting a terror organization, New York Times story.    The event broke on our cell phones while I was at a day of service volunteer event in Washington today.  Everyone stopped and read the story on their phones.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Mattis (DOD) and Pompeo (CIA) promise Senators to keep hands off social changes on gay issues

James Mattis, Trump’s appointment for secretary of Defense, was questioned on his feelings about social changes in the military by the Senate this morning.  This followed questions where Mattis seemed to disagree with Donald Trump on having an accommodating policy toward Russia and Vladimir Putin. The Russian 2013 anit-gay law did not come up, but Mattis is probably aware of how the law was a prelude to other aggressive behavior by Putin.  The Senators certainly must also be aware of Mattis's book ("Warriors and Citizens") where Mattis does discuss how the military has had to accomodate changes in social values and even covers the past military draft in a manner similar to my own writings.  Mattis did mention the "volunteer" force very early today. 

Mattis said that what consenting adults do in their own bedrooms should not be the government’s business, even in the military (when not on duty).  His attitude seemed to be more like the “Don’t Pursue” idea that Bill Clinton had coined in 1993.  He said he would not go looking for problems, or seek to change existing policies with regard to gays, women, or (probably) trans, unless problems are brought to attention.  He seemed to be aware that in exceptional circumstances women and transgender persons are capable of serving in various special forces, even it is statistically uncommon (which “Milo” once said on Breitbart).  In rare cases, trans (for intelligence deception) could be desirable for a mission.
Ted Kopan, of CNN, however opinionated that Mattis left wiggle room for right wing demands for rollback of policies. 

Later, Mike Pompeo was questioned about the CIA.  Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked whether he would leave his personal religious views on homosexuality our in supervising employees, and offer equal treatment to LGBTQ employees (who have been eligible to work for the CIA since 1996).  

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Virginia transgender bill 1612 sounds very restrictive

The Williams Institute at UCLA reports on Virginia's HB1612, as restricting student and adult transgender use of bathrooms to original birth certificate biological gender, article here. It doesn't seem as though there is a provision to allow parents to let the child change the gender on the certificate. The law would also apply to public buildings, and would require notification of parents if a student tries to get the pronoun of his/her person changed.

Some transgender students say they are not allowed to use any bathroom.