Tuesday, February 09, 2016

GOP Georgia representative thinks that bullying and hazing are good for you


A Georgia bill to prevent anti-gay discrimination in public accommodations has failed, according to the Georgia Voice , but the real story comes from a publication called “Creative Loafing”: Republican state representative Tom Weldon is quoted as saying, “bullying makes you stronger”.  
 
This seems to be a throwback to mentality where college hazing (or “tribunals” as they were called at William and Mary in 1961) was seen as making young men more resilient, and more able to conform to heterosexist expectations, no matter what.   (It might take hair off your legs.) 

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Libertarianism on accidental display at AGLA social in Ballston


This was not a “big” event, but Friday evening, early, AGLA (Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance) held a social in the Pinzimini Lounge in the Westin Hotel in Ballston in Arlington.  

What was a little unusual was that Mary Ruwart’s libertarian thesis “Healing Our World: The Compassion of Libertarianism” (2015 version of her HOW book) was “on display” at the gathering because I had just picked it up from a nearby UPS store, just coincidence, and walked over with it.  I may be the pseudo-distinguished author with my “Do Ask, Do Tell” series, but Mary Ruwart’s is perhaps a companion.  However, Ruwart deals only with economic policy issues, with no mention of gay issues (like marriage).

Also on display was a spinach pizza pilaf (without a miniature toy chair from a train set – private joke).

Today (Sunday), I had an “accidental” public speaking engagement, pimping my own book under the table (see main blog).

Tentatively, we’ve set a book party for AGLA for me in April.  More details to come.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Facebook's birthday gives us reason to recall Harvard and the military recruiter controversy


Today, since it is Facebook’s birthday (and as I wrote a post about such on my main blog) I thought about the political climate at Harvard when Mark Zuckerberg was attending there (before founding Facebook), and the idea that he must have been aware of the controversy over protesting military recruiters on campus under “don’t ask don’t tell” and then challenging the Solomon Amendment.  All of this came about when Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court justice, was a dean of Harvard Law School, and protested the recruitment (the school eventually relented).  She would face questions during her confirmation hearings, as detailed on Politifact.   NPR also has a story here.

It's interesting that Kagan's views took into account the national importance military service and the sacrifice such service can imply.  In earlier decades, military recruiters had been shunned because of the Vietnam War.
 
The topic seems a bit timely to me now also because on Tuesday, February 2, the Senate Armed Services Committee held hearings on whether women should be required to register for Selective Service (Issues blog, Feb. 3).

Monday, February 01, 2016

Gay history resources, in DC, FL, and with National Archives


At a social gathering for AGLA Sunday night near Freddie’s Beach Bar in South Arlington VA near Crystal City (yes, the snow banks in the neighborhood had melted enough that I could park) I did learn of a couple of resources.

One is the Rainbow History Project in Washington DC, which has an online exhibit and Oral Histories.

Another is the Stonewall Museum in Fort Lauderdale, FL.  Incorporating the Stonewall National Education Project.

Of course, the material in my three “Do Ask, Do Tell” books could be valuable at both places and I will be looking into these and contacting them soon.  One is local for me, and another could conceivably justify travel at some point.

I also learned that the National Archives has an exhibit on the history of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.  as part of the David M. Rubenstein Gallery Record of Rights.  I will visit the facility soon (but there is no photography allowed, due to photoflash sensitivity of documents).

Tentatively, I expect to talk about my books at the Arlington County Library Sunday April 3.  There will be more details later.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Bernie Sanders had stood up for gay rights in 1972, tried to help Bill Clinton lift the military ban


German Lopez reports that Bernie Sanders stood up for ending sodomy laws and other anti-gay laws as far back as 1972, on Vox, article here.  Lopez notes that Sanders scolded a conservative Congressman for insulting say soldiers who had put their lives on a line with a speech about “homos” in the military back in 1995, shortly after Bill Clinton had been able to start “don’t ask, don’t tell”.  Lopez also notes that as late as 1996 (when it seemed to me many things were improving rapidly) about half of all Americas thought that homosexual acts should be illegal, and the belief may not have been as always predicated on religion as most of us think.  Those were the days when Oliver North bragged that he didn’t “ask” his employees about sexual orientation, and Laura Schlessinger called homosexuality a “biological error” while bragging “I am my kids’ mom”, and Joe Palka was talk radio’s main liberal.

I have been critical of Sanders on other grounds on other posts, about catering to people who want benefits without figuring out how to pay for them.




Note in the cardstack, how Vox handles the conservative argument that marriage “channels” heterosexual activity into providing relationships for raising children coming from the potential for procreation.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Regular use of HIV-prevention drug for negatives stirs medical controversy


The Washington Post, in an article by Ariana Eunjung Cha, reports on the wide use of a drug called PrEP, to prevent HIV infection by sexual activity among MSM  The story presents a particular graduate student in San Francisco, who looks a little older than he is in the pictures.  There is controversy over insurance coverage and pledges to use condoms.  There is also some medical controversy over whether NIV-negative people really should take some anti-retroviral drugs all the time. But, could HIV really be stopped with "one little pill" at last?
 
Generally, the side effects these days are much less than they were in the mid 1990s, when protease inhibitors were first widely used.

The same reporter has a story about HIV “sanctuaries” in the body remaining after the virus has become undetectable, particular some more obscure lymphatic cells.

Update: Sunday, Jan 31

The Washington Post followed up with an op-ed column by Richard Morgan about truvada, "The miracle AIDS drug people refuse to take".

Monday, January 25, 2016

Portugal's president nixes equal adoption rights for gay couples


In a blow to equality overseas, Portugal’s president Anabel Cavaco Silva has vetoed a law passed by Parliament giving married same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.  Parliament could override by a 2/3 vote. Silva claims that Parliament has failed to show the law to be in the best interest of children.  ABC News has the story here.

Again, adoption is one way to break the artificial nexus between capacity for traditional sexual intercourse, and capacity to provide for other people.

I spent one night in Lisbon in April 2001, on top of the hill .  The view of the harbor from the plane is interesting.

Wikipedia attribution link for picture by Xosema, under CCSA 4.0 International License.