Sunday, July 27, 2014

Town DC hosts biweekly country-western "DC Rawhide" dances early Saturdays as fill in for Remingtons


I did attend the "DC Rawhide" event at the Town DanceBoutique last night, July 26.  The event starts at 7 PM with dance lessons and a general dance at 8 until about 10:30.  There was a cover of $5, which allowed entry into the general party later.  The concept is similar to "Bear Happy Hour" on Friday nights.

The Country and Western dance appears to be a fill-in because the Remington's bar in DE (on Pennsylvania Ave.) closed after the building was sold to a different landlord, and after the owner refused to bid to purchase the building.

The Bear Happy Hour fills in well while DC Eagle works on moving to its new location in NW Washington, and is said to be opening in late summer (perhaps Labor Day).

The crowd seemed a little slower last night than it had been for Bear Happy Hour when I sampled it July 11.  But the Saturday night even is "21 and over" only.

Massive real estate development continues in the U Street area, as two condominium and apartment buildings are going up across Florida avenue, eliminating what used to be a backup parting lot.

Town, remember, replaces Velvet Nation (which in turn replaced Tracks); Velvet closed after property was sold for massive real estate development spurred by Nationals Park (and probably a stadium for DC United).  Because of DC neighborhood politics, Club owners often have difficulty  getting licenses on new spaces when landlords pull leases on existing spsace.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Obamacare not likely to cover infertility problems related to surrogacy


Same-sex couples and single women often are unable to get insurance coverage for fertility treatments, according to a Business Day article in the New York Times on Saturday by Tara Siegel Bernard, link here.    Insurance companies often refuse to cover infertility related to insemination, but only that related to “natural” sexual intercourse.   Of course, one can make an ethical argument about surrogate parenthood or bringing any child into the world if there is not the intention to try to raise it with married, opposite-sex parents.  On the other hand, there is a lot of reason to look into same-sex couples as potential adoptive parents.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

Obama signs XO regarding all employers receiving federal funds


President Obama has singed an Executive Order banning discrimination in employment in companies that receive any federal contracts, as well as federal contractors (and federal agencies), with USA story here.    It’s noteworthy that highly sensitive jobs were made open to openly gay civilians (like in the CIA) by Executive Order from President Clinton in 1995 and took effect at the beginning of 1996.  Intelligence and defense agencies frequently have booths at LGBT Pride events, especially in Washington. 

Yet, Todd Starnes has an article in Fox (where else?) claiming that the order undermines religious liberty (link).  Rick Warren, of the Saddleback Church, has a letter to the president on Scribd  Warren says that some persons in faith communities are motivated by religious identity, which may run contrary to individual equality and even complete autonomy for LGBT people, in order to serve those in need and therefore “the common good” (a common Santorum phrase).  The Senate version of ENDA has the religious exemption, which has undermined some LGBT support for it. 


Saturday, July 19, 2014

CDC survey seems to give a lower count on the gay population, until you look at it more


The Centers for Disease Control has reported on the first ever large federal survey of sexual orientation. 
      
Just 1.6% of the surveyed adult population was gay or lesbian, and 0.7% was bisexual.  But 1.1% basically answered, “don’t know”.  The Washington Post has a typical story here.  The Blade has also reported on it Friday.  The CDC report is a “National Health Interview Survey” and “Statistics Report” and is published here.  It was conducted by workers from the Census. 

Previous reputable surveys have tended to come up with a total of 3-4%.  This does not include transsexuals, who number around 700000 in the US.  

The total number of adults who identify as somewhere in LGBT (including the “uncertains” or essentially asexual or inactive) is probably about 9 million, somewhat larger than the population of New York City.
         
The study did not breakdown by gender, or race.  Anecdotally, it seems that white people (especially males) may be more likely to identify as gay than people from racial minorities.  But the popularity of gay events and clubs with minorities has obviously, if slowly, increased in recent years.

People in higher income levels may also be more likely to self-identify. Coming from a conservative religious culture (especially overseas) probably reduces the likelihood of self-identification.

The large public response to the gay marriage issue in many states may lead to the impression that the population is larger.  So does the recent increase of portrayal of gay issues in Hollywood, as with the willingness of many younger actors (generally under 40)  to identify as gay or appear in or even direct gay-oriented films. 

Gay events, like Pride marches, are now well attended.  The recent NYC Parade, over 5 hours long, leaves the impression of a larger population. It’s common, however, for “straights” to come to parades.  In the Washington DC parade, in a couple of cases some young “straight” couples told me they came because a younger adult sibling of one partner was there. 

What is curious is a flip side, why in countries like Russia, conservative forces see homosexuality as such a threat to population levels and common competitiveness, which would not make sense if the population were only 2-3%.  (see posting Jan. 13, 2014). 

The survey suggested that gay men were slightly more likely to smoke than straight men, and drink (more than 5 times a day).  But gay men were likely to exercise more and (much) less likely to be overweight or obese.  Gay men were more likely to have been tested for HIV, but were also more likely to take flu shots.  
  
By observation, smoking is not as common as it was a few decades ago.  In the outdoor bar area at JR’s during DC Pride, relatively few men smoked.  (No I don’t keep track of who does.)  CDC has warned that tobacco companies target the LGBT community with ads. 




Friday, July 18, 2014

Many AIDS researchers were on downed Malaysian flight


Over 100 passengers on Malaysian Flight MH17 were headed for an HIV conference in Sydney, many reports indicated now, as with this story from the UK Independent by Lizzie Dearden, here. The collective knowledge that could lead essentially to cures or finally effective vaccines could have been lost to the struggle from Russian separatists. Former  President Clinton was to meet the researchers in Australia.

In other news, German Lopez reports on Vox that a federal appeals court has agreed in striking down Oklahoma's ban on same-sex marriage, and has acknowledged a fundamental right to marry; story here, wlin links to Vox explanation panels.

Wikipedia link for map of Donbass insurgency area near crash. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What's the scene like in Richmond, VA?


Although Baltimore MD has an interesting gay club and event scene (which sometimes reinforces the Maryland Film Festival in May as well as Pride in June), what about going the other direction, to Richmond. 110 miles to the south of DC, the capital of Virginia and unfortunately, in the past, of the Confederacy.

In fact, Equality Virginia says that Virginia Pride will occur there Sept. 27, 2014 on Browns Island.  I went to some Equality Virginia dinners in April of 2005 and 2006 (during the days of Marshall-Newman, as I almost got swept by a tornado on the way down once) and found it quieter.  For a state capital, much of the city looks a little run down when compared to other southern capitals, like Austin, Raleigh and Atlanta.  (Montgomery looks worse, though as did Jackson the last time I was there). 

Nevertheless, in 1997, I recall a big special disco event in late July in an arena in the “Bottoms” area just E of I-95.  The artsy area is Carytown, but the best area for clubs may now be the “flats” area in the valley.  (Sounds like Cleveland, doesn’t it.)  There are lots of quaint properties for rent and sale.


There was a club called “Mars” (like the planet) that seems to be replace by “25 Volt”.  Next door, there is a bizarre looking place called “Fall Our” (either like radiation, or like leaving formation in Army Basic Training).  It had a no photography sign, only the second time I have seen this.  A guy, heavily tattooed and smoking, seemed to be watching over it.  You get the picture. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Gay friend" plot twist closes out classic comics series


The “Life with Archie” Comics series will come to an end, after 75 years, with Archie Andrews taking a bullet for a gay friend. Fox news has a typical story here

I don’t know if this sounds politically correct, or sentimental.  I’ve never been one to follow comics. 
  
But I can remember back in the 1980s, the way gay teachers dealt with potential discrimination was to say “I have gay friends.”  There was a time when people accepted this kind of ruse.