Thursday, December 18, 2014

Obama's deal on Cuba said to be good for LGBT people there, but remember the refugee crisis of 1980

The Washington Blade, in an article by Michael D. Lavers, reports that LGBT activists in Cuba welcome the improvement in relations between the US and Cuba, given President Obama’s deal to release some US Cuban prisoners in exchange for a hostage.  The story is here.  

Some conservatives have responded by suggesting that the deal could encourage more hostage taking of visitors to dictatorial countries.  Imagine a prominent LGBT visitor (maybe a journalist) being kidnapped while working in Russia.
Back in the latter part of 1980, there was an influx of Cuban refugees by boat to South Florida, and many were LGBT.  There was a lot of “pressure” in gay churches (such as Metropolitan Community Church of Dallas at the time, when Don Eastman was pastor) to personally sponsor and house refugees.  This has not happened in 2014 with the immigration and asylum “crisis”, which can include LGBT people from Russia, Uganda, Nigeria, etc., although there has been “underground” talk in some forums, such as at the DC LGBT Community Center.  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A full Civil Rights bill for LGBT people?; IOC adds protection of LGBT people to Principle 6 of Olympic Charter

The New York Times has a feature story by Cheryl Gay Stroberg on proposals for a sweeping Civil Rights bill in the US for LGBT people, analogous to the 1964 Civil Rights Act for African Americans. HRC emailed the story Tuesday.
The article does give detailed accounts of pockets of discrimination despite the lifting of “don’t ask don’ tell” for gays in the military in 2011 (does not protect transgender), and the legalization of same-sex marriage in 35 states and Washington DC, as well as the beginnings of laws to outlaw reparative therapy for minors in a few states, and proposals to alter the blood donation ban for MSM.  In one case, credit was denied a female-to-male person after the name change because credit history under the new name did not exist.  In other, a fast food worker in South Dakota was asked to wear a “scarlet letter” saying he was gay at work. 
At the same time, Rock Santorum talks about running for president in 2016.  And his 2005 book is titled “It Takes a Family”. 


I see from the twitter feed of Timo Descamps that the International Olympic Committee has announced it will change Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter to protect LGBT athletes, link here

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Washington DC council passes bill banning reparative therapy for under 18

The City Council of Washington DC has passed a bill banning reparative or conversion therapy for those under 18, which would join New York and California as states which ban the practice.  A typical story, from the New Civil Rights Movement, is here.  

The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) says it aims to eliminate all reparative therapy within the US within 5 years.

Some time back, Anderson Cooper on C360 had reported on the “Sissy Boy Experiment”
Two of three therapists that I had in the early 1960s practiced in DC, the other in Arlington.  It's amazing how little critical thinking there was in those days.  

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

GLIL gathers at old bar in DC, now serving food; curious story about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman mentioned

I did find a nice gathering of GLIL, the remnant from “Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty” (I don’t mean guilty remnant from “The Leftovers”) at Windows, the upstairs bar just below R St on 17th in Washington DC, about the Dupont Italian Kitchen.
The place actually serves hamburgers and fries on Monday and Tuesday nights.
We did have some conversations about Ferguson, and there was a feeling that the actual evidence that Brown was indeed very aggressive at first is overwhelming.  There was also an interpretation of Trayvon Martin that I have never heard, that he attacked George Zimmerman because he thought George, “following him around”, was a “gay rapist”, story here.  It’s true, that is how some men interpret being “watched”.  The film “OC87”, reviewed on the Movies blog Nov. 22, 2014;  OCD behavior can set up this kind of possibly deadly confrontation. 
The Level One (discussed Nov. 29) and Cobalt, across the street, appeared to be operating completely normally. 

Monday, December 01, 2014

World AIDS Day 2014

Vox Media honors World AIDS Day 2014 (theme) with an interesting perspective, that while HIV/AIDS deaths are declining worldwide, they are on the rise in Russia, story by German Lopez, here  One big reason, Russia is “notoriously anti-gay”.
I can recall, around 1984, the prognosis, that the number of cases doubled every six months.  A geometric progression in an epidemic like this couldn’t be tolerated very long.  That leveled off in the late 1980s and eventually declined.  And now many relatively affluent people do live (and go to work)for decades on medications, which gradually for most men have come to have fewer side effects, although they are expensive.  You don’t hear much discussion about the cost of protease inhibitors in the debate over Obamacare.
My own sense is that among younger men (under 30) whom I do know or recognize, most are still uninfected.
Vox has been reporting that the FDA may be close to lifting the blood donor ban, for men that will stop having sex, that is.

CNN offers a perspective by Barbara Lee and Kenneth Cole, with a little pitch by Prince Harry, here. 
And there may be more on a new vaccine soon. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Transgendered person alleges assault in popular DC club-restaurant when it wasn't yet supposed to be open, on Thanksgiving Day

A transgendered woman reports being assaulted in the lavatory of a popular restaurant at 17th and R Sts NW in Washington DC early Thanksgiving evening.  The establishment is called “Level One”, and it constitutes the first level of the Cobalt 30 Degrees and disco above.  One enters the bar through the first floor, most of which is the restaurant.  I have often eaten there.  The Level One is accessed through the Cobalt website here
The news story appeared on NBC Washington, Channel 4, Friday, link here.  It is critical to note that management says that the time of the reported attack (before 7 PM Thanksgiving Day) occurred before the restaurant was open, which was later than usual because of the holiday.  Few employees were present.  As a matter of logic (however bizarre and unlikely), it would sound conceivable that someone could have broken in before the club was open.  It isn’t clear from the news story if the victim, as self-reported to police, should have been on the premises herself at the time. It's logical to question whether the alleged attack even occurred at all, at this point. Likewise, ask if the victim could somehow have named the wrong place.  
The story also appeared on WJLA7 this evening.  There is no story on WJLA's website yet (WJLA did not mention the name of the establishment, but NBC4 did) and I don’t see it on the Washington Blade as of midnight Friday. Nor do I see it on the Metro Weekly. It was not reported earlier on NBC4 today, as I watched most of it during dinner.
Cobalt is defending class-action litigation regarding employee compensation and tips, best explained in a Washington Blade article by Lou Chibbaro, Jr. Sept. 10, 2014, here

The “gay bar business” has always been “risky”, but over many decades one of the most enterprising was Frank Caven in Dallas, who has owned clubs all over the country, as explained in the Dallas Voice, here  He owned JR’s and the Village Station when I lived in Dallas in the 80s.  The Village Station eventually became the Station 4, one of the largest gay discos in the country in floor space.

Any incident in a bar is very serious for the business, because, as for example, in Washington DC that usually results in 96-hour closure and often loss of liquor license, with a fight to reclaim it.  Loss of license has occurred because of incidents very near a property when caused by customers and not management.  It may occur without just cause.  It is less clear what happens if it results from an intruder when the place is not supposed to be open. 

The Blade will surely have more details soon.
I’ve seen “incidents” in bars only twice, once in Wailuku, Hawaii in 1980, and in London, England in 1982.  After fights started, I simply left quickly.  Fights are much more common “proportionally” in straight bars (like in the short film “Last Shot”, in DC Shorts, mentioned here on the movies blog Sept. 14). 

Update: Dec. 6

The Washington Blade, on Dec 5 , page 6, has a story by Lou Chibbaro Jr., "Assault of trans woman didn't happen at Cobalt: source", link here

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The biology of heterosexual desire and "family behavior" implies a lot about immutability of sexual orientation

Louann Brizendene has a detailed op-ed on CNN, “Love, sex and the male brain”, here. She makes a lot of blunt observations.  During the teen years, men’s testosterone level rises 20-fold, causing them to “notice” female body parts and desire their reproductive potential.  But once a man has a pregnant partner, pheromones from her cause his testosterone levels to drop so that he will become more domesticated and help build the nest.

What happens if he is in a household with a pregnant woman with someone else’s child?   (Is that why Sonny loses his chest hair on “Days of our Lives” when living with Will and Gabi, and their biological daughter?  Remember, Sonny delivered the daughter in an emergency. Now that Will is gone for a while in LA, Sonny’s chest hair grew back.)

What happens to professional baseball and football players if their testosterone levels drop during a domestic cycle?  Does that help explain losing streaks?

Normally, in the past, most gay men did not have pregnant female partners to develop the testosterone loss – an observation that the Family Research Council cited in opposing gay marriage.
With things explains so biologically in this article, what does happen in the development of gay men? 

Also, boys differentiate in strength and athletic performance even before teen years, before the hormone levels shoot up. 
Further, girls mature biologically sooner than boys.  But what happens with lesbians? 

It seems that hormonal development is indeed biological, yet the purposes one attaches it to can be personally chosen, and can reflect many other prejudices.  

 Second picture: the aliens spaceships from my novel "Angel's Brother".  A movie maybe?