Thursday, January 25, 2018

Conversion therapy is still around; 4 LGBT bills in Virginia; Army same-sex wedding


A lot of stuff, suddenly.
  
HRC has a post pointing to a New York Times article by Sam Brinton, “I was tortured in gay conversion therapy, and it’s still legal in 41 states”, This time the state was Florida.  It sounds like parents determined to have as many grandchildren as possible.  Don’t forget Mike Pence’s history.



But Virginia has introduced bills to ban conversion therapy for minors (Blade story by Michael Lavers.)    HRC advises on Virginia Semate bills SB 202 to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in public employment (many counties like Arlington have the ordinances) and SB 423 to add sexual orientation and gender identity to Virginia’s housing laws. (HRC Text alert – curiously I couldn’t find an article on HRC’s site on it).

   
Lavers also reports VA House bill 1466 which would ban gender identity discrimination in health insurance. 
   
The Army Times and AP report that a same-sex couple has married at West Point, link.  This may be the first gay marriage of a same-sex couple with both on active duty.  We’ve come a long way from the days of SLDN dinners.  But a Mike Pence could set us back (as Trump has tried with the trans issue).

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Surrogacy raises litigation regarding US citizenship


Here are two brothers, born with surrogacy but only one is a citizen, because only one was conceived with sperm from an American father (the other was Israeli).

The complicated case involving same-sex couples as parents and surrogacy was filed against the State Department, and is explained by ABC News here
  
The State Department says that the child must have a biological connection to an American citizen as a parent in order to become a citizen at birth. 

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.



Update:

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. 

Monday, January 08, 2018

Supreme Court dismisses Mississippi religious freedom case out of lack of standing


The Supreme Court has refused to hear a case from Mississippi, about a law that allows businesses to refuse services to LGBT people on religious or other belief grounds (like gender is immutable),  The case was dismissed for lack of standing.

Greg Stohr has the Bloomberg story

It sounds like this is more about public accommodations taking all comers than about specialized expression.

Marian Tupy offers a libertarian analysis of the Makepiece case on Rick Sincere’s blog (which has a style resembling mine but a lot of guest posts lately). 

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Transgender troops start enlisting again, and military intelligence needs them


Transgender troops have started enlisting in the military today, according to some sources, in small numbers, as the DOJ was rebuffed in appealing a court order.  Talking Points had a story today

But the DOJ said it was doing another independent study, which sounds a lot like punting in football.
But Trump and Sessions (and Mattis) don’t see cis gays in the military as controversial any more.

The Pentagon is mostly preoccupied with intelligence on North Korea, Iran, and the remnants of ISIS. Even Chelsea Manning notwithstanding, the presence of culturally diverse troops improves the chances of getting all the needed intelligence. 
  
Contrary to rumors, the Pentagon doesn’t seem busier late at night on weekends than usual.

Update: Jan. 11

The Russian media has jumped on Trump's attempted transgender military ban for propaganda purposes, as in this article.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Anderson provides my gay New Years Eve.


Well, it’s so cold in DC this New Year’s Eve that for the first time since 2003-2004 I didn’t go to a bar celebration.

So I’ll miss Town’s last New Years.

For a gay New Years I’m watching Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper from New York City Times Square. Anderson refuses to wear a fur headmuff despite being outside in 10 degrees. Yup, they had to do it outside.

I had a quiet dinner at Freddie’s late this afternoon.  



Later, CNN broadcast part of a drag show from Key West, FL.



And a friend did a Facebook Live from Hunter's Disco in Fort Lauderdale. FL. Right now it's at the top of my FB feed here. 

Sunday, December 24, 2017

New "pop up" club apparently is set to open in NE Washington DC in January 2018


I missed the main Christmas Party at Tow Danceboutique in Washington DC on Dec. 16, but I got there last night.

The crowd was smaller than usual as Christmas Day approaches.  In fact, as of 1 AM, when I left, the upstairs disco had not yet been opened. But the drag show was quite creative, including a “top-bottom” contest among four couples.

One of the performers announced a new club to open Jan. 14, 2018.  She described it as a “popup” and gave an address in NE Washington DC which I did not get.  It sounded like Brookland.  But in the Union Market in NE (near Gallaudet and the NOMA station) the Angelika theater chain has a “pop up” theater (which it plans to replace across the street) for small indie films.  NE is now undergoing rapid redevelopment with many new condos (as near the Eagle).She also mentioned the idea of it as a safe space for trans or gender fluidity.

  

The lower floor got quite busy after midnight. It was mild enough last night (despite an earlier December thunderstorm and wind) that the patio could have been opened. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Q Virginia Magazine publisher gets Equality Award and summarizes how PrEP and PEP should work succinctly om Facebook


I wanted to pass along a post by Justin Ayars (Q Virginia Media) on Dec. 1 on World AIDS Day, refreshing memories about undectectable viral load, as well as the effectiveness of PRP (post exposure prophylaxis).
The individual post is on his timeline and is embeddable  but the individual post doesn’t have its own URL.

The future of health insurance support for PrEP and PEP would seem questionable, given GOP attempts to “repeal and replace” Obamacare.
  
Justin received the 2017 AGLA Equality Award at the Christmas party at Freddie’s in Arlington VA on Tuesday Dec. 12 (FB video)  I had a conflict that day and did not get to the event.  But my Facebook feed should have reminded me of it.  I don’t think the Russians have manipulated my Facebook feed!

Update:  Here is the direct link to Justin's post above. Here is the link to all the videos for the AGLA 2017 event. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

DC club owners face economic issues over land values, parking, and transit


On December 8, the Washington Blade ran an article by Mark Lee: “DC deserves a city ‘Office of Nightlife’ – done right”   
  
I can only recall the cutback on Metro hours.  And the same time Town DC is closing because the land owner wants to build condos or apartments, but the sort of people who would buy or rent them want clubs in the area.

I have written that the area needs a parking garage, especially as Metro cut back.

But I see in a local paper in Greensboro NC that “Parkingdecks are the new dinosaurs” because of ride hailing services and the advent of driverless cars. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Employment discrimination still happening, in Georgia (Evans case)


Lambda Legal has reported that the US Supreme Court has denied an appeal in the case of Jameka Evans, a security guard fired from a hospital in Georgia because she is a lesbian. Here is their link

  

Yes, this still happens.  The legal paperwork is here.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Indonesia contemplates sodomy law to protect parents from "intimidation"


A bill to ban gay sex, even in private, and adultery has failed in a high court in Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim majority country, according to this Wall Street Journal story

But the dissenting voices stressed religion as a source of morality and made the comment that gays were “intimidating parents”   Think about what that would mean – making procreation seem less important and less rewarding?
  
Wikipedia attribution link for Toraja House Ave by 22Kartika CCSA 3.0 . 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

UCLA law school study notes large percentage of gender-nonconformity in California youth


The Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law, at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, offers a paper “Characteristics and Mental Health of Gender-NonConforming Teenager in California”, by D.M. Scott Wilson, Soon Kyu Choi, Jody L. Herman, Tara L. Becker and KeritJ. Conron, report that 27% of California’s teenagers are gender nonconforming. 
  
But gender non-conformity can occur among cis-gender people and among heterosexuals.  The paper is not really clear on how this is defined, but it seems to include various behaviors such as cross-dressing (which might be done for acting purposes) or depilation. California is one of the few states that prohibits discrimination on the basis of what we sometimes now call gender fluidity.
  
This does not seem to be the same concept as Paul Rosenfels’s polarities (from the Paul Rosenfels Community or the earlier Ninth Street Center). Generally, on a dance floor or disco, most gay men are surprisingly cis-conformist.  

Monday, December 11, 2017

DOJ appeals court ruling ordering military to accept transgender recruits Jan. 1


The Department of Justice will appeal a ruling from Judge Collar Koteen-Kelly that the military must allow otherwise qualified transgender people to enlist by January 1, CNN story with video by Smerconish.

The appeal is to the federal circuit.

There are about 50,000 transgender soldiers in the US military, including a Navy flight surgeon who speaks in Smerconish’s video.

But at least one Navy Seal later became transgender. 

It may not take too much imagination to wonder if transgenderism or fluidity could be an asset in some intelligence operations. 

Roy Moore has made offensive remarks about transgender (and perhaps gay) servicemembers, who have replied (AOL story).



Update: Dec. 21

The federal circuit has refused to intervene, and the military must start being able to accept transgender recruits on Jan. 1.  German Lopez explains on Vox here

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Tech giants, after Cloudflare and Stormer, warn of a slippery slope that can affect LGBTQ online speech and sites


Justine Quart writes a provocative post on tech that is very much of concern to the LGBTQ community, “Where the battle for free speech is being battled online.” 

Matthew Prince of Cloudflare and Ed Williams of Medium discuss the problem in the video on this article (on October).

Prince says that after be booted Cloudflare, he got over 3500 requests to boot other customers.  He says he is particularly concerned over the idea of getting demands from authoritarian countries to block LGBTQ content (and this probably could include Russia, although he didn’t name Putin). It sounds like this has been happening but not reported. 

It isn’t hard to see how this problem could mix in with the newest controversy over ending net neutrality, which would involve another set of companies.  There is definitely a lot of public confusion in distinguishing among publishers, distributors, social networks, and utilities. 
   
There are consequences to what we don’t see online as to what we do see. That's how I would warn people as a "gay conservative".