Friday, January 19, 2018

HHS "conscience office" said to be a cover for discrimination

Gay activists in Washington are condemning the creation of a “religious conscience” division within HHS,, headed by Roger Severino, as a proxy for countenancing religious-based discrimination against LGBTQ by public employees, Washington Blade story by Chris Johnson.

The biggest issues could be with transgender surgery, or with HIV prophylaxis.
Here is CNN’s story, noting coincidence with the March for Life today. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Blaze Bernstein's murder apparently a result of an unwanted flirt on a "redneck" straight man

I generally don’t discuss pending criminal cases here until there is a conviction, but this one seems so clear cut it needs to be reported here.

This refers to the murder of Blaze Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania student.

But Sam Woodward has been held without bail after the apparent slaying in Borrego Park in Orange County, CA.  Blaze was reported to be gay, and news outlets report that Woodward said Blaze kissed him (earlier the language had been “hit on him”) and that the attention as unwanted.

Under current charges, Woodward could face 26 years to life.  Special circumstances could include use of a knife and later hate crime charges.  A death sentence would be very unlikely, but life without parole sounds possible.
The ABC News story is here.
The “OC” Register story is here

Bernstein was said to be smart, verbal and charismatic as a teen, and (like Jack Andraka at Stanford) was pre-med.  This may seem like Matthew Shepard's murder in Wyoming in 1998, subject of several plays and films and candlelight vigils over the years.  

Picture: By GB11111 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link  I was in the area in 2002, 2012, and especially 1979.  

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

A once-a-week HIV pill may work, both for prevention and control of early infection

Medical laboratory researchers at MIT and at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston have developed a pill that would allow HIV prophylaxis to be releases slowly for a whole week.

The MIT story is here;  the LGBTQ Nation story is here.   It appears that the technique is useful for both prevention and control of infection. The pill components can attach to the wall of the stomach in an unusual way.

There will be the issue of cost and whether insurance would cover it after Obamacare repeal/replacement.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Baltimore has a shelter for asylum seekers; same-sex marriage may matter in Mexican asylum case

DC Center Global advises that there is now a small shelter for asylum seekers near Baltimore, in Pikesville, as reported by the Baltimore Sun, here. The story reports on volunteer efforts MLK day.

The shelter does not necessarily emphasize LGBT seekers. 
It’s not clear yet how it is seeking funding or whether it will work with groups in DC.  But this is progress.

Picture is from Sandtown, April 2015.


The Washington Blade and Chris Johnson report Ninth Circuit intervention to stop a deportation of a gay asylum seeker to Mexico who allegedly missed a court date.  The fact pattern is very complicated and is given in the story. The narrative, which is quite lengthy as to the time spanned, invokes the issue that a marital partner can try to get a green card for a spouse (doesn't always work).  But it could also lead to situations where marriages happen just for that motive.  There seems to be another case int he 4th Circuit (no details available).

Asylum Seeker Assistance Project DC website is active and now has an email list, basic link.  Expect more news to follow. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

HRC and the MLK National Day of Service

Today, I did my quasi-mandatory “National Day of Service” for HRC at the Wanda Alston Foundation in Washington DC.

It was short, some deep cleaning.  I did some cupboards and the gas stove.  This was like KP in the Army. 
There were a lot of people there, maybe more bodies than needed.

But a residential house housing homeless teens/young adults does need to be kept immaculate, to hotel standards.
Then I went to a Congressman’s town hall in Alexandria, and linked gay rights to national security (from the attempted transgender ban to North Korea).

Trump did no community service MLK Day.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Chelsea Manning apparently will run for Maryland Senate

Chelsea Manning has filed to run for the US Senate from Maryland, as in the CNN story.  Manning had obtained a pardon from Obama before he left office after seven years of confinement. 

I had considered running for the Libertarian Party for a Minnesota Senate seat in 2000. 

I celebrated my own New Year’s last night at Town DC, on an unseasonably warm evening where “everybody showed up”.  

In another matter, "Rightwing watch" has an article claiming religious right activist Max Staver has claimed that gays shouldn't serve as judges because Christians wouldn't get a fair shake in court, story. In 2013, Tracy Thorne (a former Navy pilot known from the debate over gays in the military  in the 1990s) was sworn in as Virginia's first openly gay judge (story).

Staver has also commented on a case in Oregon that somewhat parallels Masterpiece Cakeshop, VCY article

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Gay marriage today is for personal satisfaction; in the past, straight marriage was a necessary adaptation

Here’s a piece on Vox that to me looks relevant to same-sex couples, an interview by Sean Illing with Eli Finkel, author of “The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work”. 

He mentions the movie “Jerry Maguire” (1996) where Tom Cruise plays the sports agent sweeping in Rene Zellweger.

But what is most interesting is how Finkel mentions that in earlier times it was risky to row through adult life without getting married (heterosexually).  You needed to be competent in heterosexual sexual intercourse to get other things you needed.  I think that helps explain the “homophobia” of the 1950s and early 60s.   Young men were more concerned that gays (as “watchers”) in their midst could distract them from their own fecundity than about men who could become conventional heterosexual romantic rivals.

“The Milo Show” now has an article about someone being called a bigot merely for refusing to date or share intimacies with a transgender person, here

I have a coordinate post on blood and organ donations on my “BillBoushka” blog today.