May 24, 2015

Ireland votes yes for marriage equality

Ireland votes yes for gay marriage

This weekend, Ireland became the first country to legalize gay marriage through a popular vote. The "yes" side won with an impressive 62.1% in support.

“I’m so proud to be Irish today,” Ireland’s Minister for Equality Aodhan O Riordain tweeted.
 
“We are making history but that is not what it is about,” said Maeve O’Sullivan, a 40-year-old North Dublin social worker and mother of two. “It’s about supporting people and being inclusive. It is accepting people on the most basic level, and I am over the moon.”
 
Same-sex Irish couples did have the right to enter into civil unions starting in 2011, but activists argued that this did not provide the full range of rights and protections afforded to married couples.
 
“Ireland has long been seen as a traditional conservative country,” said Tom Louwerse, director of Trinity College Dublin’s politics and public policy program. “So it shows that Ireland has become more liberal in those terms.”


May 20, 2015

What younger and older gay men think about each other

In the spirit of Logo’s newest shows Cucumber and Banana NewNowNext asked gay men to open up about the subject of age and dating.


May 16, 2015

Former college wrestler gets 60 years for spreading HIV

Michael Johnson guilty for transmitting HIV to partnersMichael Johnson has received a 60 year prison sentence after being found guilty of knowingly infecting another male with the disease.
 
Back in 2013, the former college wrestler from the University in Missouri was accused of not telling a sexual partner he was HIV+. After the men found out, he went to the police; Johnson was arrested and also expelled from school.
 
Since the arrest, five other men have made similar claims. Police even found video recordings that Johnson had made of himself having sex with multiple men, which was included as evidence in the case against him.
 
Johnson, 23, has claimed throughout his trial that he was up front about his status. 
 
In less than three hours of deliberation, the jury found him guilty of infecting two men and of exposing four other men to the virus. The punishment: 60 years in prison.
 
AIDS activist Peter Staley said the sentencing was unfair, writing on Facebook:
Missouri, and Johnson's sex partners, may well feel they got some sort of justice today, but at what cost? This verdict and sentence will make it much harder to slow the spread of HIV. Others will become infected because of today's "justice." This sentence practically screams "don't get tested" to every citizen in the state, especially young black men.
And activist Charles Stephens, director of the Counter Narrative Project, said the whole case was anti-black. "What happened to Michael Johnson is a call to action. HIV criminalization is anti-black violence, period," he argued. "You can't be against the Prison Industrial Complex without being against HIV criminalization. You can't ignore the fact that the communities most vulnerable to HIV are also the communities most vulnerable to criminalization. We must fight the clinic-to-prison pipeline."
 
Of course, the men who had sex with Johnson and weren't advised of his HIV status feel differently.
 


May 13, 2015

Vienna goes gay for Eurovision

Gay Vienna traffic signsLater this month, the city of Vienna will be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest. The city won the hosting rights when Austria's representative, drag queen Conchita Wurst, took home the trophy for her song "Rise Like a Phoenix" last year.
 
With a wink to Wurst, the city has placed gay-themed traffic lights at 120 intersections (where they will remain until June).
 
“The campaign is mainly targeted at raising awareness for traffic safety,” said Andreas Baur, a spokesman for the city of Vienna. “But it is also pegged to the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest and the AIDS charity Lifeball in Vienna.”
 
 “The city of Vienna is setting a signal for openness and tolerance,” added deputy mayor Maria Vassilakou.
 
Of course, Russia will be pissed. The country threatened to pull out of the contest after Wurst's win, and promised to create a more "family friendly" and "wholesome" competition. However, the Russians relented and will be taking part in this year's show after all.
 
Earlier this month, Wurst thanked her Russian fans, enraging homophobic St. Petersburg politician Vitaly Milonov. “The presence of such a creature as Conchita Wurst on the European stage is not a tribute to his talent, of which he has none, but merely political buffoonery,” Milonov whined. “As for curses, he lives in hell. He himself chose the side of hell, and therefore damnation—this is polite language for someone who leads a sodomite’s life.”
 
Milonov will need to avoid Vienna for the next little while. One look at those traffic lights and he's sure to have a stroke. On second thought ...
 
Vienna's gay traffic lights


May 9, 2015

Museum explores Nazi persecution of gay men

Thousands of gay men perished at the hands of the Nazis along with millions of Jews and other victims including Gypsies, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the disabled during World War II and the Holocaust.
 
The story of what happened to homosexuals in Nazi Germany is the subject of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945. The exhibition opens at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust on May 29, 2015 and will be on display through October 2015.
 
“The exhibition explores why homosexual behavior was identified as a danger to Nazi society and how the Nazi regime attempted to eliminate it,” explained exhibition curator Edward Phillips. “The Nazis believed it was possible to ‘cure’ homosexual behavior through labor and ‘re-education.’ Their efforts to eradicate homosexuality left gay men subject to imprisonment, castration, institutionalization, and deportation to concentration camps.”
 
In 1933, the year Adolf Hitler assumed power, an estimated one million homosexual men lived in Germany. Nazi policy asserted that homosexual men carried a “degeneracy” that threatened the “disciplined masculinity” of Germany. The Nazis charged that homosexuals’ failure to father children was a factor in Germany’s declining birth rate, thus robbing the nation of future sons and daughters who could fight for and work toward a greater Reich.
 
Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested for violating Nazi Germany’s law against homosexuality, and, of these, approximately 50,000 were sentenced to prison. An estimated 5,000 to 15,000 men were sent to concentration camps on similar charges, where an unknown number of them perished.


May 7, 2015

Man caught watching lots and lots of porn at work

Porn at workOne man found an interesting way to make his job more enjoyable: he raided his porn DVD cabinet and brought a few choice videos to work. In fact, in two weeks he managed to get through 39 hours of XXX fun.
 
The as-of-yet unnamed maintenance supervisor with the Department of Public Works in Baltimore was employed at the Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant. He's now unemployed, meaning his hands are free for porn 24/7. Hooray!
 
The Baltimore Sun broke the story, reporting that the employee would watch the videos in full screen mode. 
 
He was first caught with his pants down by management back in September. After an internal investigation, he was fired in January (though the report on the incident has only now come to light). We believe his porn stash was confiscated and is being kept for investigative purposes by a handful of diligent investigators.
 
“It would have been the same if he were watching sports on his computer for four out of eight hours a day,” Inspector General Rob Pearre Jr said.
 
The loss to the city was $1,166 in wages over the two week period. However, if the masturbating maintenance supervisor had been doing this all year, it would mean 951 hours over a 2,000-hour work year, or about $28,400 in pay. That's a lot of lube ... or hand cream ... or whatever he was using.
 
Given the recent news out of Baltimore, it's not the most outrageous crime, but at least it was one that was simple to address. 


April 29, 2015

Yet another anti-gay politician found on Grindr

Randy BoehningRandy Boehning (pictured) is a North Dakota Republican. As a member of the state legislature, he voted against Senate Bill 2279, which would have extended legal protections against discrimination to the LGBT community. 

Of course, he's a closeted homo. The 52-year-old was exposed this week for exposing himself on Grindr, the popular gay hook-up app. A 21-year-old man named Dustin Smith said he recognized Boehning as a man he chatted with on Grindr, saying that 'Top Man!' - Boehning's online nickname - sent him sexually suggestive messages and a photo of his penis.

Once confronted by the media, he admitted that he did use Grindr and did send the dick pic. "The 1,000-pound gorilla has been lifted," Boehning said. "I have to confront it at some point."

He added that he was not out to many of his friends and family. (Well, he is now!) 

When asked why he voted to deny gays and lesbian some legal protection against discrimination, he said he simply voted as his constituents would have wanted him to.

Smith raised an interesting point. “How can you discriminate against the person you’re trying to pick up?" he asked.

Obviously Randy Boehning has some challenges, aside from accepting himself for who he is. First, he needs to start voting for what's actually right, rather than catering to bigotted constituents. And he might want to change his name; it sounds more appropriate for a porn star (or a Grindr profile) than a politician. 

Randy Boehning, voted against gay rights, outed via Grindr [Pink News]


April 28, 2015

Apologies from gay hotel owners who love Ted Cruz

Mati Weiderpass and Ted CruzTwo gay businessmen are having a very bad week after hosting a fundraiser-not-a-fundraiser for guest of honor Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz at their home in New York.

Ian Reisner and Mati Weiderpass are the owners of Parkview Developers, which has several commercial properties in NYC and the Fire Island Pines commercial district. The two met with Cruz for a chat about politics and foreign policy. The Times said the meeting was not a fundraiser, but Politico reported Cruz described the dinner during an appearance in Iowa this weekend as a pro-Israel fundraiser.

Either way, Reisner and Weiderpass seemed excited to share news about the meeting. Weiderpass even posted a picture of him and Cruz on his Facebook page.

As most gay people know, Ted Cruz is a homophobe; he is actively working to limit the rights of the LGBT community in everything from marriage recognition to employment protections. The backlash was swift. A Facebook page was created to support a boycott against any of the businesses Reisner and Weiderpass own.

Initially, the two were not at all remorseful.

Weiderpass posted the following on Facebook: "The fact that Senator Cruz accepted the invitation to my home was a step in the right direction towards him having a better understanding of who I am and what I believe in. We spent most of the time talking about national security issues and in particular the challenges from ISIS, Iran and the defense of Israel ... I did not shy away from the opportunity to ask the Senator about social issues, in particular marriage equality and made it clear that I completely disagree with him on that issue."

And then the two saw dollars slipping away.

"Broadway Bares Solo Strips," an HIV fundraiser, had been scheduled at the 42West nightclub, owned by the couple. Organizers cancelled the event. "We cannot in good conscience hold an event at a venue whose owners have alienated our community, as reflected in an April 23 New York Times story and an April 24 follow-up post," a spokesman explained.

And on Saturday morning, the New York City Gay Men’s Chorus canceled its annual spring fundraiser, scheduled for later in the day at Out NYC (also owned by Reiser and Weiderpass). The chorus explained it “made the decision because we want to be 100% clear in our support for the LGBTQ community.”

Well, a PR expert must have stepped in, because the two have since changed their tune.

> CONTINUE READING Apologies from gay hotel owners who love Ted Cruz


April 14, 2015

Clinton campaign ad hit with "18+" rating in Russia

Hillary Clinton ad features gay coupleOn Sunday, Hillary Clinton finally announced that she was running to be the Democrat's candidate for the presidency in 2016. No one was surprised.

Her first campaign ad was also released. It contained the image of a same-sex couple holding hands. How sweet!

However, over in Russia, the ad was considered too adult for some. It was hit with an "18+" age rating while airing on Russia's Dozhd TV channel.
 
A spokesman for Dozhd explained that the age warning was essential to ensure the station did not run afoul of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law, which bans any promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors. The station said that it would have faced a large fine for failing to comply.
 
In response, Nate Johnson tweeted:
 
Nate Johnson tweet about Russia
 
In related news, Putin is still a major prick.


April 12, 2015

AIDS Healthcare Foundation accused of major scam

AIDS Healthcare FoundationA whistleblower lawsuit has been filed against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), one of the major players in HIV and AIDS medical care, claiming it has scammed up to 12 states for about $20 million a year for the past 4 years.  
 
The allegations are being made by three former managers of the AHF, including Shawn Loftis (who worked in porn as Collin O'Neal). The three filed suit last week claiming the company actually paid employees and patients kickbacks - $100 and $50 respectively - for any new HIV+ patient referrals. AHF could then claim to be helping more HIV+ individuals in need, resulting in bigger payouts from programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Health and Human Services HIV/AIDS grant programs.
 
“[AHF President Michael] Weinstein also directed a patient financial incentive of $50 to those falling out of care to induce them to return to AHF medical care and also a financial incentive of up to $50 every few months to remain in AHF care, as well as an additional financial ‘bonus’ at the end of one year of such care,” the suit said.
 
Weinstein said the lawsuit lacked merit.
 
"Not only has AIDS Healthcare Foundation done nothing wrong, our pro-active approach to finding and linking HIV-positive individuals to lifesaving care and treatment is critical to stopping HIV in this country," Weinstein argued in a statement.
 
AHF is responsible for over 350,000 patients in 36 countries. Of course, in the porn world AHF is better known as a major force in pushing for mandatory condom use in porn films, such as its successful push for a condom law in LA County.  
 
“For those people who have asked me where Weinstein gets the money to wage his multimillion-dollar personal vendetta against the porn industry ... now you know,” Diane Duke, head of the adult trade group Free Speech Coalition, said.
 
“Clearly for Michael Weinstein it has been all about fame and fortune at the expense of AHF's clients and people in need of HIV education and services,” she added. “That Weinstein would misuse tens of millions in federal funds earmarked HIV prevention and treatment is shocking and atrocious.” 
 
Whistleblower Suit Spurs Questions Over AHF's Anti-porn Campaign [Xbiz]
 
Former AIDS Healthcare Foundation Managers File Whistleblower Act Claims Against Nation's Largest HIV/AIDS Medical Company for Patient Referral Kickback Scheme  [Morningstar News]
 


April 7, 2015

California's "Sodomite Suppression Act" gets company

shellfishA (so-called) Christian activist hates gays so much that he submitted a ballot initiative in California that would punish gays with death.
 
Matt McLaughlin, a lawyer, filed the "Sodomite Suppression Act" to instill "Biblical" values by introducing the death penalty for homosexuality. He said the law is based on Leviticus 20:13, which states: “If a man also lies with a man, as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death."
 
“This proposal not only threatens public safety, it is patently unconstitutional, utterly reprehensible, and has no place in a civil society,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris said in a statement, asking the court to relieve her from the obligation to process the proposal. “If the Court does not grant this relief, my office will be forced to issue a title and summary for a proposal that seeks to legalize discrimination and vigilantism."
 
Activist Joe Decker of San Jose has his own way of pointing out the absurdity of the bill, but proposing one of his own. It is based on the same part of the Bible and is called the "Shellfish Suppression Act."
 
Leviticus 11:12 states: “Whatsoever has no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”
 
According to the "Shellfish Suppression Act":
Shellfish are a monstrous evil that Almighty God, giver of freedom and liberty, commands us in Leviticus to suppress. They also smell bad.
 
Any person who willingly consumes or sells shellfish is guilty of a felony, and shall be fined $666 thousand per occurrence, and/or imprisoned up to 6 years, 6 months, and 6 days.
Another initiative, the "Intolerant Jackass Act," has also been introduced. It states: “Any person, herein known as an ‘Intolerant Jackass’, who brings forth a ballot measure that suggests the killing of gays and/or lesbians, whether this measure is called the Sodomite Suppression Act or is known by some other name, shall be required to attend sensitivity training for at least three (3) hours per month for twelve (12) consecutive months.”
 
Before any of the proposals can actually be voted on they require a signatures from 5% of voters (or approximately 350,000 people). Luckily, this means gays and shellfish are probably safe. Sadly, it also means the number of intolerant jackasses in the state will stay the same.


April 4, 2015

Bigotry rewarded in Indiana

What a strange turn of events. 

It all started when the government of Indiana decided to pass the "Religous Freedom Restoration Act," largely seen as giving permission to wedding-related businesses in the state to refuse service to gay couples if the owners don't believe in same-sex marriage.

Governor Mike Pence had to defend the law and claimed their was no intent to use it to discriminate against gay people. Under intense pressure from businesses and rights organizations the law was passed but with an amendment specifically stating that service could not be refused to someone because of their sexual orientation. 

One business, Memories Pizza, went on record as saying it would not cater a gay wedding because its owners say homosexuality is against their religion. The pizza joint was flooded with complaints and negative reviews on social media. The right wing media picked up the story of the establishement's "victimization" and started a Go Fund Me campaign to "relief the financial loss endured by the proprietor's stand for faith."   Donations flooded in, with over $750,000 donated in the first day. 

So bigotry does get rewarded. Just goes to show, the Internet can be used for great good and for great ill.


March 25, 2015

$325,000 fine for newscast that accidentally included penis pic

FCCThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) means business. The FCC has announced it plans to fine WDBJ $325,000 for showing “graphic sexual images” during an evening newscast.
 
Way back in 2012, the Roanoke, Va. CBS station aired a story about a former adult film star who was volunteering for a local rescue squad. The station used naughty images of the actress from a porn website for the story.
 
The image was of the starlet sucking on her finger in a provocative manner. However, the screenshot included more of the website, with other video options pictured to the side. And one of the images was of a nude male, erect penis exposed.
 
Complaints flooded in, though the station said it was all much ado about nothing. It argued that the “extremely fleeting and partial image of a penis during a news story” was not bad enough to be seen as a violation of broadcast rules.
 
The Commission, moving like molasses, has just announced it will hit the station with “the maximum available penalty” for violating federal laws prohibiting indecent programming. This will actually be the biggest fine ever levied for a single incident broadcast on one station.
 
“Our action here sends a clear signal that there are severe consequences for TV stations that air sexually explicit images when children are likely to be watching,” said Travis LeBlanc, Chief of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau.
 
Finally, the evil penis pushers of WDBJ have been put in their place!


March 18, 2015

Gay porn models in Ghana threatened with jail time and torture

GhanaThanks to local news sources, young men in Ghana who have appeared in gay porn films are now being hunted down. They face jail time, abuse and torture if caught.
 
Many of the men are jobless or students from the University of Ghana. Their work was uncovered by StarrFMonline and Breeze FM, both of which called for an end to the "festering underground gay porn movie industry." The news outlets blamed "foreign producers" for the problem.
 
Now the Bureau of National Investigations, the government's internal intelligence agency, is trying to find the young men. 
 
"People are aware that the society frowns upon it," said Gary Nimako, an anti-gay lawyer. "They have engaged in an illegality and they must be arrested."
 
"We are trying to get all of the men to safety and out of the country," said an anonymous gay activist. "This is a terrifying situation for all involved."
 
Same-sex acts between men are illegal in Ghana. The punishment is up to 3 years in prison if found guilty.
 
Ghana: Lawyer calls for arrest of students in gay porn movies [Pink News]

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