Saturday, September 29, 2018

Northern Virginia Pride 2018 held today; Governor of Virginia spoke

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam spoke at Northern Virginia LGBTQ Pride today, in Bull Run Park, in Fairfax County, but near Manassas and near the Bull Run monuments.

I only recorded the few ending seconds as I did not realize he had mounted the stage.  He arrived and left by helicopter.   The Washington Blade also reports that Terry McAuliffe spoke. 

The appearance reminded me of former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appearance at an HRC dinner a few years ago.

Earlier a female speaker criticized societal expectations of gender roles and mentioned Thursdays Senate Judiciary hearings as very difficult for women.

Later a rock group called Wicked Jezabel performed.
The Washington DC Gay Mens Chorus had a booth, and offers a concert Oct. 10 “Ropebuan 2: Guaridans of Equality”.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

PrEP not associated with increase in non-HIV SRD's; more on Putin's idea of "moral compass" and it's pretty unsettling

The Los Angeles Blade reports a Williams Institute study denying that the acceptance of PrEP has led to a rise in non-HIV STD’s in men, what you worried about before 1982. The story by Christopher Lane is here

LQBTQNation echoed the results in a story by Gwendolyn Smith, here
I wanted to link to an old story, from 2013, from the UK Telegraph, about Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russia is the moral compass of the world – and it sounds like alt-right stuff (jiving with the 2013 anti-gay propaganda law).  Putin is particularly aghast at the idea of (through liberalism) promoting the “genderless and infertile”, whom he sees as parasites on “the people”.  I guess, as an only child, I’m the perfect bad example.  I didn’t carry on my parents’ genes into the future, so a whole potential family dies because I “decided” that it wasn’t good enough. Is this “personal fascism”?  In my novel I will come to a topic called “erotic royalty”.  I even describe a world in which there are “reeducation camps” to bring the non-conformists in line so that society can survive the next big catastrophe and rebuild itself.  Maybe I’m playing into the alt-right’s hands personally?  No wonder Trump admires Putin (to the point of wanting a kiss). 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Pence speaks to "Voter Values Summit" in DC, anti-gay interests there

Mike Pence has attracted a lot of attention for speaking at a “Voter Values Summit” in Washington DC.

While some of the attention was focused on pseudo-religious freedom bills, there was a back current from some more extreme speakers that LGBTQ activists were lobbying kids to abandon conventional gender obligations.

Pence has supported conversion therapy in the past as a way to stop AIDS (really??), like before 2000, but he denies that he supports it now.

There was a lot of attention to Kavanaugh’s appointment, the hearings this week on the sexual assault allegations, and the concerns over Roe v Wade and even Obergefell. Vox weighs in here  Ford Fischer on the protests here.   There is a general undertone that a lot of this is about false male supremacy. 

Pence’s attitudes are of great concern since he would become president if Trump were forced out of office.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

San Francisco HIV new infection rate drops to record lows -- but not among POC or homeless

Erin Allday has an important story in the San Francisco Chronicle, reporting that the rate of new infections with HIV is at an all time low in the City.

But the results are much better among gay white men than among other groups.  Black men had new infection rates maybe three times as high, but recently black men have been able to use PrEP more.  But that could be in jeopardy with Trump’s health care policies.
HIV is also much more common among homeless populations, which are considerable in the Tenderloin.

Pictures: from walk through area on Sept. 19 from Civic Center 

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Castro in San Francisco

Okay, maybe as I said in the DADT-1 book, the world ends at the land of the Midnight Sun on Castro and 18th Street in San Francisco, a bar that was popular during the early days of the “don’t ask don’t tell” book.

But of course the Castro is loaded with bars: Badlands, Twin Peaks, Toad Hall, the Edge.

And I actually found on-street parking for the rental car, hard to believe in the Castro, on 18th Street on the hill to the north.

Nearby is the Castro Theater and Dog Eared Books.

You get to the Castro off 101 by getting off at Cesar Chavez, right on Mission, drive to 14th and make 3 right turns to get on 16, then to Market and Castro.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

OK, I see the "real" Secrets at Ziegfelds

Last night, I visited Ziegfelds-Secrets for the first time since 2011.  I took Uber to get there, even early evening, as Metro was running only every half hour.

Previously, I had thought that “Secrets” is the upper bar on the slit lower level. I hadn’t realized that you go upstairs, which I did, to see the real "Secrets". Yup, there were fully nude male dancers. I don’t recall whether the “Wet” back in the mid 2000’s had complete nudity.  Those were the good old days of Velvet Nation, before Nats Park was built. 

I presume that there is no photography of the dancer, although I didn’t see a sign saying that. I did see a sign, to touch only below the knees or above the navel. Indeed, one or two of them had gone to great lengths to create an appearance of extra endowment. Photos (or videos especially) would be against community standards, anyway.

By about 11 PM there was some activity on the dance floor, and there were three or four men communicating in sign.

The drag show downstairs didn’t start until 11:45 PM.
One area of the downstairs has a continuous video showing variations on the idea of riding inside a Mobius tunnel (like in my screenplay).
Outdoors, the new Audi stadium for the DC United looms.  I don’t know how much longer it will be before real estate development happens on the property for this bar.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

New Jersey's Chris Smith duplicitous on gay parents; Kavanaugh tries to stay neutral on gay issues in hearings and Booker won't let him

Chris Johnson has a long essay in the Washington Blade on the somewhat convoluted story that Chris Smith, R-NJ, insinuated that many children would be better off in orphanages than when adopted by same-sex couples.  Smith was amazingly critical of gay organizations for indirectly participating in coercing Catholic charities adoption agencies to close in some jurisdictions because they were not allowed to refuse gay couples on religious grounds. 

A study in California reports that only 4% or less of sexually active gay men use Truvalda, the Blade reports.  Paying for it with insurance can obviously become an issue. 
The questioning of Kavanaugh by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) on anti-gay discrimination and on the legal finality of Obergefell as a precedent is instructive.  Booker keeps interrupting him.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Glucksberg Test could be dangerous to any review of previous gay-equality wins before the Supreme Court

Facebook shadow-banned a ThinkProgess article because of criticism from a fact checker, the Weekly Standard. But what’s important is that the article discussed the Glucksberg test. This maintains that a right is fundamental if “deeply rooted in American tradition.”

It’s not just Roe v. Wade.  Gay rights decisions like Lawrence v Texas and Obergefell might have trouble remaining settled law if they in fact don’t represent long standing traditions. In Hardwick v Bowers, the conservative majority had held that anti-gay animus was rooted in tradition.

Zach Beauchamp of Vox explains all this here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Revisit DC Eagle; more on bars in stadium areas of DC

Sunday afternoon, I made a jaunt to DC Eagle, my first visit since Town close.

I parked at the Minnesota Ave. Metro free on Sunday (must use Smart Card all other days to leave).  It’s a long walk across Benning Road
I got after the Redskin’s game started. But all that went on was karaoke.  But I’m told it’s busy Saturday night – no dress codes.  I was told you can park near the Safeway now with security guard watching.

There seems to be no recent reliable information on the Baltimore Eagle.

As to rumors about Ziegfeld’s (I heard them there), the best info seems to be that the developers of the land would build residence and retail (not parking) but would not start until at least 2019 or perhaps 2010.

The Blade has some stories, in 2016 and recentlyThe City Paper had weighed in on July 3 after the closing of Town.

Bottom line:  there ought to be a gay disco space in the stadium area, in a more modern building and with a parking garage  This is more likely, ironically or not, if both the Nationals and DC United do well. People who go to the Eagle do tend to follow sports, and there is a feeling that the Nationals management messed up the team with poor trades in 2018.  
Ziegfeld’s had moved in 2009 (before my June 2011 visit) and replaced its liquor and dance licenses without too much trouble. So it’s had nine years so far.  But there is a problem in general that when bars are evicted by landlords for development, cities don’t always let them have licenses in new locations.  

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Legal pressure on some schools, businesses to use gender-neutral pronouns

There is a movement to force schools, colleges, employers, landlords and public accommodations to force the use of gender-neutral pronouns for gender fluid or transgender people who want them.
In New York City (according to a 2016 New York Post story) the neutral pronoun third person singular would be “ze” and plural “hir:.  It’s not clear why you need a plural because “they” (“their”, “them”) does not imply gender. But you would need possessive “zer” direct object “zim”. 
“Gender unspecified” would not have the same connotation as “neuter” in German.  Romance languages would need to invent gender unknown pronouns and cases, as would German.

One question is what would make such a change “official”, like according to the Chicago Manual of Style. 

Indeed, there is a conceptual objection in some areas to allowing the use of the word “marriage” for same-sex unions (even with equivalent benefits) because the language has no way to imply that a person has a commitment to a monogamous relationship that can allow complementary sexual intercourse. But this would serve a political objective of lessening potential discrimination, even against the single or childless. 

Update: Sept. 13

"EI", conservative vlogger, who looks hot himself as a cis male, weighs in on transphobia and trans fads. 

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Adam Rippon video: does male body shaving imply gender fluidity? (or the converse)

The YouTube channel “Baring Is Caring” (Nivea Men) has a whimsical video about “all that body shaving”, or “Danny Amendola and Adam Rippon Talk Body Shaving”. A Facebook friend in Florida shared it recently.

Rippon (skating) was supposed to meet with Vice President Mike Pence at the time of the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February, at a time when North Korea was still an immediate threat to go back to missile tests.  For all the controversies about Pence’s past anti-gay attitudes, this meeting could have been diplomatically important. And, given the developments of the past couple of days, it looks a little more like Pence could become Commander in Chief.

As for the depilation, there is another angle. CNN journalist Will Ripley had interviewed some North Korean teenagers “on the beach”, and they had said that Americans were big hairy monsters with big noses.  Kim Jong Un has made a foppish, fem appearance into a perverted erotic royalty.

But there is a long backstory to this. Back in the 1950s, when I was growing up in largely segregated America, where I formed my impressions of what looked “masculine” only from white (aka European ancestry) men, I did have the idea that hairy men were automatically to be viewed as more masculine. The Advocate did a story on this in the late 1980s, after running a short story called “The Body Shave”.

There is something potentially “race related” about all this that nobody ever dares talk about (as Will Ripley found out).  Generally speaking, most white men evolved in colder, less sunny climates and wore more clothes.  In the rest of the world, where body hair would simply lead to overheating when hunting in the day (humans got much better at this than chimps with their full bipedalism) some hormones developed to prevent skin hair follicles (except on the beard) from responding to androgens after puberty.  (That observation could lead to some sci-fi scenarios for new hospital sanitation procedures – Michael Crichton had already explored the idea with the photoflash chamber in “The Andromeda Strain” around 1970).  So body hair wasn’t useful to men to attract women – that’s rather like saying in some bird species, the male’s plumage is brightly colored, and others not.  In parts of Europe it remained so.  (Whether mixing with Neanderthals made a difference, we don’t know – although Neanderthal genes may have offered some slight advantages in the cellular immune system, in exchange for greater exposure to heart disease).

And remember this about race:  uniquely human ability to pass down culture to succeeding generations started in Africa.  In a sense, we are all "black".  But ancestors who moved north lost skin pigment (protective against UV radiation) to make vitamin D.

But in the 50s and early 60s – well before competitive swimming and cycling got attention – male body shaving was seen as a no-no, or something ritualistic, maybe fair game for college or fraternity initiations (like the “tribunals” at William and Mary in the fall of 1961, as I describe in my first DADT book).  People could probably get off on it.

Then, of course, there was football – players often shaved for sports tape.  Then along about 1983, John Travolta, fresh off “Saturday Night Fever”, removes it all for a curious dance film called “Staying Alive”. And slowly, the magazines started talking about it.

Of course, things would change.  In high schools, as well as college, competitive swimming became an established sport (and more often learning to swim could become a graduation requirement form P.E. as high schools started getting pools).  Lance Armstrong put cycling on the map – after his own testicular cancer recovery and then the later scandals.

And furthermore, people became more racially integrated, not just in schools, but socially, even in dating and marriage (and even gay marriage today).

More recently, it seems to happen a lot in Hollywood:  Justin Timberlake and Jake Gyllenhall, among others, seem to regard their male plumage as expendable for the role.  And Cillian Murphy did to play a trans person in "Breakfast on Pluto" (2006) and that's controversial. On "Days or our Lives", it seems that both Will and Sonny have trouble with losing it all the time. 
In the video, Amendola has an excuse – the taping for football (Oh, yes, the NFL starts tonight). But Rippon seems rather girlish. "He'thmooth."  Is this video a monument to gender fluidity after all?

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Male couple (married) adopts four foster children and founds "Comfort Cases" charity

NBC Nightly News tonight presented a story (Lester Holt interviewing) about a married same-sex male couple that has adopted four foster children, and started a charity called Comfort Cases.  It appears to be in Rockville MD. 
The tone of the story was indeed remarkable and should make the case for supporting (maybe even expecting) adoptions by same-sex couples, even as the courts (including the Supreme Court) grow more conservative.  The “expectation” might be viewed as a conservative.

The charity seems to make backpacks for children in foster care.

NBC has also covered another charity “Sleep in HeavenlyPeace” which makes beds for children with volunteer carpentry. It has chapters around the country.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Fostering agency would close rather than follow the law on LGBT parents; entertainers from Town now seem to be working in other clubs

The Supreme Court, on Aug. 31, rejected a case from a Catholic foster agency in Philadelphia that had sued when forced to consider LGBT couples as parents (maybe also singles) as counter to its religious teaching.  The group that runs the agencies closes agencies in cities where it is not allowed to discriminate. LGBTNation has a story here and notes that Republican lawmakers want to introduce a bill to allow such religious discrimination when using public funds.

This could be harmful if social service agencies getting federal funds could discriminate against LGBT asylum seekers or volunteers serving them.  That was a problem with Catholic Charities in Dallas in 1980 with the Mirabel Boatlift.

On another matter, it appears to me that draq queens from Town are now working other shows, such as last night at Freddie’s in Arlington VA.