World Aids Day is December 1, 2012.

The World Health Organization established World AIDS Day in 1988. World AIDS Campaign is the leading international organization which plans and implements the observation.

Good News About AIDS in Poor Countries, but Treatment Still Lags

The United Nations reported on Tuesday that new infections with H.I.V. have dropped by half in the past ten years in twenty-five poor countries, particularly Africa.  See http://New H.I.V. Cases Falling In Some Poor Nations, but Treatment Still Lags, New York Times, 11/21/2012.

New infections are down twenty-two percent from 2001, when there were 3.2 million globally. Newborn infections fell 40 percent, to 330,000 from 550,000. Yet, medical establishments can not rest on their laurels!

Alarming Statistics Tell

  • 2.5 million people became infected in 2011 while only 1.4 million received lifesaving treatment for the first time.
  • The number of people afflicted with H.I.V. in 2011 was 34 million.
  • One in five living with HIV is unaware of their infection.
  • Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S. is infected with HIV.
  • New infections continue with approximately 50,000 Americans becoming infected with HIV each year.
  • The most severely affected by HIV are gay and bisexual men of all races, with African Americans having the most cases.

What’s On The Horizon

Prevention methods include a daily prophylactic pill for the uninfected, vaginal microbicides for women and male circumcision which cuts infection risk by about 60 percent. The draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Task Force last Monday proposed HIV screening as part of a routine checkup by your doctor. The screening would not just be for people who are at high risk for the virus, but for all Americans ages 15 to 64, at least once.

What YOU Can Do for World Aids Day

“Working Together for an AIDS-Free Generation” is the 2012 theme for World AIDS Day.  There are many ideas on aids/gov/news-and-events/awareness-days/world-aids-day on ways you can participate:  reading the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, locating HIV Testing and other HIV services, sharing photos and messages in the Facing AIDS photo gallery, sharing CDC (Centers for Disease Control), Tweeting, blogging, posters and logos to download from the site, community resources, getting fact sheets about the epidemic, sharing cards with all the HIV/AIDS Awareness Days, and reading about White House Actions regarding HIV prevention.

You may want to plan an event, for example.  My PFLAG (Parents of Lesbians and Gays) chapter is having a dinner on December 1st to raise money to combat AIDS.


Former Republic National Chairman Launches Gay Rights Project

Ken Mehlman Announces Launch of Project Right Side

On Tuesday, November 20, 2012, Ken Mehlman announced the launch of Project Right Side in a  Wall Street Journal op-ed. Campaign manager for the Bush-Cheney Campaign in 2004, New York businessman Mehlman came out as gay in 2010., at age forty-three. See http://Making the Same-Sex Case, Wall Street Journal, 11/20/12 .

Project Right Side: Its Purpose

This new nonprofit with a James Bond-type title Project Right Side was founded by Mehlman to build conservative support for marriage equality. Mehlman was considered to be the most powerful Republican in history to identify as gay and was the target of gay rights activist Mike Rogers’s outing campaign when he was Bush’s campaign manager.

With Project Right Side, Mehlman aims to educate that Democrats are not the only advocates for gay rights. He hopes to convince more conservatives, traditionally thought of as opposing gay rights, to support marriage equality as the Log Cabin Republicans, GOProud and the newer Younger Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry have done.

As Mehlman, who has fundraised for marriage equality initiatives and publicly spoken out for them, points out in his op-ed, points out it behooves Conservatives to embrace some of America’s fastest-growing constituencies: LGBT persons whose issues the Republican party failed to take into account during this past election.

Core Convictions Can Remain the Same For Republicans Who Align Themselves

Mehlman argues that “what could be more conservative than support for more freedom and less government? And what freedom is more basic than the right to marry the person you love?  Smaller, less government?  Smaller, less intrusive government surely includes an individual deciding whom to marry. Allowing civil marriage for same-sex couples will cultivate community stability, encourage fidelity and commitment, and foster family values. … “

“In 29 states, individuals can be fired based on their sexual orientation. Conservatives believe that individuals should be judged at work based on performance, so shouldn’t we fix this?”

Some Findings from Project Right Side

The GOP polling firm Target Point for Project Right Side surveyed 16,000 voters over the past year; over-sampling Republican and swing voters in battleground states, including 2,000 Election Night voters. Their findings:

  • American majority favor civil marriage for same-sex couples, 49% to 46%. Maine (53%-47%), Maryland (52%-48%), Washington (52%-48%) legalized same-sex marriage at the polls, and Minnesota (51%-49%) voted down a ban on same-sex marriage.
  • In Maryland, there was majority support for marriage equality in strong GOP precincts that voted for Mitt Romney.
  • These trends are growing quickly and across all demographics. Other polls over past year show majority support for civil marriage among African-Americans (51%), Hispanics (52%), and voters between the ages of 18 and 39 (66%).  41% increase (31% from 22%) in support among Republicans over the past three years, to 31% from 22%.
  • The marriage-equality issue is more important to supporters than to opponents. Only 35% of Romney’s supporters said that his opposition made them “much more” likely to support him as opposed to 45% of Obama’s supporters who were “much more likely” to support the President.
  • A majority of independents favor marriage equality. Eighty percent of independents agree that “the government should stay out of the private lives of adults, including gays and lesbians.” 58% of independents in target states support allowing gay couples to marry.
  • Republicans are increasingly supportive of legal protections for gay Americans: 73% support employment nondiscrimination protections for gays and lesbians, 61% support safe-schools protection, and 46% support allowing same-sex couples to jointly file tax returns.
  • Voters under 45 strongly favor marriage equality. 60% of such voters said the law should the marriage of gay and lesbian couples as valid, with same rights as traditional marriage.



French Support For Marriage Equality Increases

Last week the French President Francois Hollande’s government approved a bill to legalise equal marriage and allow gay couples to adopt. The new reform was strongly opposed by many, including over 1,000 mayors and the entire French Catholic Church hierarchy.

France is one of a number of European nations that already have civil unions for same-sex couples, however gay marriage was one of Hollande’s campaign pledges during his bid to become President. On Wednesday he told his cabinet that the bill would mean “progress not only for individuals but for the whole of society” they approved the bill.

Recent opinion polls have increasingly shown that the majority of the French population now support marriage equality, Le Monde newspaper, showed that 65% of French people supported marriage equality and 52% of people supported the right of gay couples to adopt. Of course the prospect of gays and lesbians being treated equally in society has angered many in the legal, religious and conservative political communities.

The UMP have strongly denounced the measure, “It’s the end of the family, the end of children’s development, the end of education. It’s an enormous danger to the nation,” came the outrageous statement from UMP Senator Serge Dassault on a radio talk show in Wednesday.

Yet the popular move was celebrated by thousands of people who turned out on Wednesday evening to show support for marriage equality and adoption rights for same-sex couples outside the National Assembly in Paris.

Many of those gathering chanted “equality now” showing their support, there was also dancing and cheering and to show their support for the reform, “This is the first time for this cause, because of today’s announcement. We learned about the rally from Facebook events, and we have a lot of friends who sent invitations to us.” one couple at the rally told media reporters, “There is a lot of hypocrisy around all of this in the media, other people, and from the church. We’re a changing society. A lot of lesbian couples already have children, so it’s just a legal thing. It’s really important for us.”

The bill will be debated in the French parliament in January 2013, however the future is looking promising, despite the strong opposition from the religious organisations and political foes.

Equality is coming – slowly!

Nov. 20th is the 14th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance

Remembering Trans Heroine Rita Hester And Others

Just five weeks after the murder of Matthew Shepard, Rita Hester, a black transgender performer, was murdered on November 28, 1998 in her first floor apartment outside of Boston. To this day, the heinous crime has gone unsolved. Hester’s murder kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a Candlelight Vigil in San Francisco in 1999.

Initially a response to Rita’s murder, the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) day honors Rita  as well as other transgender people who lost their lives  to anti-gay violence.


There are more than 120 separate vigils and events around the world to commemorate the horrific loss of transgender lives. This year, TDOR honors 265 trans people (13 in the United States) murdered because of hate. It’s also a time to stand in solidarity against hate-based violence, according to Human Rights Campaign’s President Chad Griffin.

 Staggering Statistics on Anti-Transgender Violence

  • From January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2011, there have been 816 reports of people who died from anti-transgender violence in 55 countries. – The Trans Murder Monitoring Project.
  • Twelve percent of reported hate crimes were against transgender people – National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program, 2008.
  • Forty percent of murders against the LGBT community in 2011 were against transgender women, especially African-American ones. 
  • Seventy-eight percent of transgender children in grades K-12 report being harassed in school, 35 percent physically assaulted, and 12 percent sexually assaulted, according to a 2011 report from The National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
  • At least one trans person has been killed every month for the past decade, according to Transgender Day of Remembrance’s website.

Present Case in Maine: Transgender Girl Being Bullied for 2 Years

Susan Doe is one of the seventy-eight percent of transgender children in grades K-12 being harassed in school. GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders is New England’s leading legal rights organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, HIV status and gender identity and expression), filed a lawsuit for this transgender girl who has been  bullied for over two years by a male classmate who goes unpunished.

The case Doe v. Clenchy was filed by GLAD because the officials at Susan’s elementary school denied her the use of the girls’ restroom and other facilities and restricted her participation in school activities.  Maine has a statewide law prohibiting discrimination against people based on gender identity and expression in all areas, including public education and public accommodations. Despite Maine’s law “ a transgender girl, whom the school acknowledged is a girl, needs to be able to live consistent with her gender,” a Maine trial court judge dismissed the case today which GLAD is appealing.

Know Your Rights As a Transgender

Lambda Legal has a website:  for transgender or gender-nonconforming (TGNC) persons.  This site outlines policies for bathrooms and locker rooms, bullying (how to prevent or handle anti-TGNC violence at school or out-of-home care), how to be an ally for TGNC Youth with Do’s and Don’ts for supportive peers and adults, info on legal rights for Transgender Youth, and TGNC-Friendly Schools, a checklist for students, staff and parents seeking a supportive and safe school environment.


Choices and Dreams

As I was perusing through some quotes on dreams I found a great one by Joy Page; “Dream and give yourself permission to envision a you that you choose to be.”  When I read this, I decided it was the one to premise this week’s column on.

Life involves two major actions:  choosing and dreaming.  Life clearly is a series of choices.  It is those choices that have gotten us to our current situations in life.  Choices are sometimes made in direct proportion to others’ actions and influences in our lives.  Because of the influence of others, we sometimes make choices that are not in our best interests.  Many times, we end up regretting the choice we made since it was not grounded in self-advancement and pursuit of one’s life’s purpose.

Dreaming is an integral part of making choices that serve our own best interests.  The two actions are integrally intertwined.  The bigger the dream, the more grounded the choice will be in pursuing one’s mission in life rather than someone else’s.  When we stop dreaming about a better life for ourselves that is when we grow old in spirit and mind, and regrets over actions not taken, begin to dominate our thoughts.

When one is in the closet, their dreams and aspirations tend to be limited, due to the fear of being found out.  They limit themselves to the fabricated lives they have woven, to hide their true essence of whom they are inside.  When one’s life paradigm is built upon a false reality, others will directly influence how one thinks and the choices made in their lives will be grounded in another’s perception of their reality.

I challenge those reading this that are closeted to choose to dream a dream that is reflective of your inner essence.  Let your soul guide your actions and choices by dreaming of life beyond your false facade.

Do not wake up in your golden years regretting choices not made.  Cast off your fears of living your life as an out and proud queer person making the contributions to society grounded in your true essence, dictated by the desires of your soul.  You deserve no less.  Society needs you to express your inherent creativity buried within.  All you need to do is dream you are living your life as the true you.  Then make choices that bring that dream to fruition.

US ‘Gay Cure’ Pastor Charged With Sexual Assault Of Men

US ‘Gay Cure’ Pastor Charged With Sexual Assault Of Men

An American Christian pastor who tried to ‘cure’ gay people has appeared in court charged with sexually assaulting two of the men he was supposedly ‘counseling’ to rid them of their gayness.

The 55 year old reverend Ryan J, from Cambridge, Minnesota, stands accused of eight felony counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charges relative to repeated molestation of two men over a two year period

Muehlhauser was senior pastor at Lakeside Christian Church and also was a counsellor of Robbinsdale-based Outpost Ministries, its website claims it was founded over 30 years ago in order to assist men and women ‘break away from gay life’.

Attempts to ‘cure’ homosexuality have been denounced by every major professional psychiatric bodies and organisations around the world. The World Health Organization in North America labelled such attempts as misguided and dangerous.

According to papers, Muehlhauser was trying to ‘cure’ the two victims of homosexuality and allegedly he fondled them as well as asking them to masturbate for him. One claims that Muehlhauser ‘blessed’ him by cupping his genitals outside his clothing and says the pastor asked him to masturbate in front of him for ‘spiritual strength’.

According to local media reports, the other victim says he was fondled for most of this year and Muehlhauser was worried he would ‘lose everything’ if his secret was discovered. Both men went to another Outpost counsellor to report the abuse, who in turn reported it to the authorities.

‘There is nothing more predatory than taking two individuals whose faith and whose trust is put into their minister and their spiritual leader and then abusing them in the name of the Lord.’ said assistant attorney Stacy St George, in court:

The vile and dangerous Outpost Ministry’s website states: ‘The Father’s great desire for those struggling with same-sex attractions and other sexual and relational brokenness motivated him to send his one and only son Jesus to be the way out of slavery to sin. There is freedom from homosexuality, addictions, despair.’

Lakeside Christian Church has said it is ‘deeply saddened’ by these allegations and it urged other potential victims to contact the authorities.


New UK Anti-Gay Marriage Archbishop Announced.

The Bishop of Durham Justin Welby has been named as the next Archbishop of Canterbury, the head of the Church of England. The Eaton and Cambridge University educated man is a former oil trader and has only been the Bishop of Durham for a year will take of from the current archbishop, Dr Rowan Williams towards the end of the year.

Only last month, Dr Williams, admitted the Church of England’s attitude to gay relationships had often been harmful to gay people he had also said that while his leadership was “wrong” not to have advocated gay equality, David Cameron was wrong to have embarrassed the church over the issue of equal marriage.

Bishop Welby comes from a more conservative evangelical position who is strict on belief in the bible and is opposed to same-sex marriage as well as gay people serving as bishops. However during a speech in London on Friday he offered a little glimmer of hope that gay’s are not going to face a religious battering when he takes over, saying the Church of England must have “no truck with any form of homophobia”.

During the speech at Lambeth Palace Welby indicated he might be willing to talk to the gay community.

“It is absolutely right for the state to define the rights and status of people cohabiting in different forms of relationships, including civil partnerships.

“We must have no truck with any form of homophobia in any part of the church”.

He also said that he supported the House of Bishops’ statement in the summer in response to the government’s consultation on same-sex marriage, they strongly opposed the measure. Welby added, “But I also know I need to listen very attentively to the LGBT communities and examine my own thinking carefully and prayerfully,”

I’m not holding my breath for a more liberal Church of England and whilst I really do believe that before the 2015 elections, we will see marriage equality in the UK, the fight from the church will be particularly vicious and ferocious.

First Openly Bisexual in U.S. House in Arizona

The voice of the middle and working classes, Kyrsten Sinema  (D-Az) has won a U.S. House seat in Arizona. With 47.6% of votes cast, she defeated  ex-Paradise Valley Mayor, Vernon Parker to represent Arizona’s 9th congressional district. During her campaign, she knocked Republican Parker’s position on abortion, education, and his opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy.  In the August Democratic primary for Congress in Arizona’s 9th congressional district, she placed first out of three candidates and received 42% of the vote.

Arizona Legislature

Sinema, 36 years-old, is a former member of both chambers of the Arizona legislature.  She was in office from the 15th district from January 10, 2005 to January 10, 2011.  In 2004, Sinema won the Democratic primary for Arizona’s 15th District, where she won the highest margin of votes with 37%.  She was reelected three times again, with over 30% of the vote.

She was an assistant Minority Leader for the Democratic Caucus of the Arizona House of Representatives in 2009-10.  In 2010, she defeated Republican Bob Thomas for election to the Arizona Senate. In June 2011, she announced that she was considering running for U.S. House of Representatives in 2012.  Then in January 2012, she announced her bid for Congress and gave up her seat in the Senate.

Early Career

Born in 1976, in Tucson, Arizona, of Mormon parents, Sinema received a Bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University.  She now identifies herself as a nontheist.  She received a masters degree in social work from Arizona State University. In 2004, she earned a Juris Doctor from Arizona State University College of Law.  She was a criminal defense lawyer after being a social worker in the Washington Elementary School District.

Sinema knows what it’s like to be poor.  She once lived in an old gas station without running water and electricity.  Recently, she earned a Ph.D. in Justice Studies.

For Women’s rights, Marriage Equality, Gay Rights, and Science Education

With her television news anchor good looks, Sinema has vowed not to take a professional pay raise until the deficit is under control.  She is opposed to high-paid lobbyists with special interests.

In 2006, she sponsored a bill urging the adoption of the DREAM Act.  Four years later, she sponsored a bill to give in-state tuition to veterans.


In 2006, she co-chaired Arizona Together, the statewide campaign that defeated Proposition 107  that would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona.

In 2008, she led the campaign against Proposition 102, a referendum that would have banned the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona.

Awards Sinema Has Received

  • Sierra Club’s Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2006.
  • Planned Parenthood CHOICE Award 2006.
  • Legislator of the Year Award from both the Arizona Public Health Association and the National Association of Social Workers, 2006.
  • Legislative Hero Award from the Arizona League of Conservation Voters, 2006.
  • Stonewall Democrats’ Legislator of the Year Award, 2005.
  • Time Magazine’s “40 Under 40,” 2010.
  • Center for Inquiry’s Award for the Advancement of Science and Reason in Public Policy, 2011.

Tell-All Trends

While it’s wonderful that Kyrsten has accomplished so much and has fought for gay rights, why do we have to know that she’s a bisexual?  Why does the public have to be privy to a political figure’s sex life?  What entitles us to know if a movie star is gay, a singer is out?

Real progress with gay rights will come some day when a person’s sexuality won’t even be mentioned.


Legal Safeguards Possible For UK Church’s In Gay Marriage Bill

The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain is considering additional “locks” for its proposed equal marriage legislation in order to protect faith groups from the threat of legal action, if the legislation goes ahead, according to the Culture Secretary Maria Miller.

During an interview with serious British newspaper the Telegraph, Mrs Miller said: “I would not introduce a Bill that would in any way impinge on a church’s power to decide who it marries. Faith groups should have the ability to control that. There are already clear protections within European law. Marriage is all about creating some stability in society.” she told the paper.

The possible introduction of protections for religious bodies in the bill comes after months of warnings from back bench MP‘s that European law increases the risk of faith organisations facing potential legal action if they refuse to provide gay couples with same-sex marriages.

“It is all about helping people have long-term relationships together. I think more people should be married and I don’t think the state should stand in the way of people getting married unless there is a really good reason — and being gay isn’t one of them.”

There has never been a better time for marriage equality in the UK, with the leaders of all three of the major political parties supporting equality and earlier this year the government opened a marriage equality consultation. They are due to issue a formal response to that consultation before the end of this year.


Ed Miliband’s Out4Marriage video

Maria Miller’s Out4Marriage video here.

Stephen Fry’s Out4Marriage video here.

Can You ever Switch your Gay Identity To Straight?

 Jerry Brown’s Decision to Ban Conversion Therapy in Ca. Upsets Critics

Starting January 1, 2013, sexual conversion therapies, also called reparative therapies, will be outlawed in California for minors.  Governor Brown calls this therapy unscientific with no basis in science or medicine, and they will now be “relegated to the dustbin of quackery.”

The law states that licensed mental health providers ”shall not provide minors with therapy intended to change their sexual orientation including efforts to “change behaviors or gender expressions of to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

Often run by religious groups with names like Journey Into Manhood or People Can Change, these pray-away camps appeal to Christian thought that homosexuality is sinful. Conservatives, opposed to gay marriage and the “gay lifestyle” defend these organizations that believe that homosexuality is a “choice” and can be overcome. Is the theory political or scientifically based?

Wayne Besen, the director of Truth Wins Out, a gay advocacy group, believes that reparative therapy is junk science being used to justify religious beliefs that homosexual urges can be banished.

Nature vs. Nurture

Although the American Psychological and Psychiatric Associations disapprove of reparative therapy, it is still practiced by a handful of therapists who believe that homosexual desires result  from early childhood wounds.

The director of the largest reparative therapy clinic in the world, Thomas Aquinas Psychological Clinical in Encino, California , Joseph Nicolosi, argues that “all  people are heterosexual but some have a homosexual problem, and some of these people attempt to resolve their conflict by adopting a sociopolitical label called ‘gay.’” If you unearth family trauma such as a distant father and an overbearing mother or child abuse, you, as sex –gay believers attest, can bring change not only in sexual desire, but maybe even a permanent cure.(see http://”Ex-Gay’ Men Fight Back Against View That Homosexuality Can’t be Changed.” New York Times, 11/1/12.

Last April, conversion therapy was dealt a blow by Robert L. Spitzer, author of a study eleven years old that purported that gays could change their sexual orientation.  He said his study was invalid.  In June 2012, the president of Exodus International, the largest Christian ministry for homosexuals, Alan Chambers, said that it was futile to try to change same-sex attraction and it seldom works.anyway: “99.9 percent of people Chambers has encountered in twenty years with Exodus were not able to completely rid themselves of same-sex attraction.”

Permanent Cure or Temporary Healing?

Some men who attend these retreats, and partake of reparative therapy, claim the switch works. Says “Jeremy S., 34, a corporate contract officer in Dallas, “ that from his teens until three years ago he lived as a gay man.  It wasn’t working for me.”  After two years of therapy with Dr. Nicolosi, Jeremy claims his attraction to men was” practically diminishing.”  He has not had sex with a man for more than two years and does not think about it more than once a month, adding that his Catholic faith has also deepened.

However, gay rights groups say the therapies cause emotional harm which in some cases has led to depression, even suicide.and certainly anger, hopelessness, and guilt among its patients.

Lawsuits Already Filed: Violation of Free Choice

The lawsuits are being filed on behalf of therapists whose practices include reducing same-sex attraction and changing their sexual orientation, parents who have enrolled their children in reparative therapy as well as the teenagers who are undergoing it.

Does the law infringe on The First Amendment and equal protection rights of individuals to give and receive information that matches their personal and professional beliefs? Will it cause harm to those who claim they need and want the therapy?

What are the long-term effects of subjugating same-sex desires?