He was an influential figure in one of the biggest social changes the country has seen in decades -- the growing acceptance of gay Americans. But, you've probably never heard of him. So we've gone back to the DecodeDC archives to bring you this encore podcast from June of 2013, featuring Rich Tafel. Tafel opened the first office in Washington for the Log Cabin Republicans, the nation's largest organization representing gay conservatives.
Tafel provides stunning behind-the-scenes insight of an early 1990s Washington. He describes a vibrant, underground network of gays working in politics that cut across party lines. But Tafel tells the story of how that camaraderie was undermined by pure politics as the Republican Party became more socially conservative. It's a story of closed door meetings, outing campaigns, and a vast shift in how politics are done today.
It's rare but definitely not impossible for HIV to be transmitted by sexual contact between women, according to a paper published this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the first confirmed case of its kind, the CDC believes one Texas woman infected another with HIV through sexual activity that included unprotected sex, the use of sex toys, and sexual contact while menstruating, reports the Los Angeles Times. The women, both in their 40s, had been in a monogamous relationship for six months before the infection, which was first detected in early 2012.
Advocates expect the Supreme Court to decide a case addressing same-sex couples’ marriage rights in the next few years. But to get there, cases have to be heard by lower courts first.
With a rush of court filings since the Supreme Court ruled this past June striking down the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on federal recognition of same-sex couples’ marriages, lawyers and organizations have been racing and fighting to get a marriage case back to the high court. Trial court decisions started coming down on Dec. 20, 2013, and they haven’t stopped since.
Here’s where things stand as of March 14 with cases that have reached a trial court decision and could eventually reach the Supreme Court.
In late February, when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the nation's harsh new anti-gay bill into law, he claimed the measure had been "provoked by arrogant and careless western groups that are fond of coming into our schools and recruiting young children into homosexuality." What he failed to mention is that the legislation—which makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison in some cases—was itself largely due to Western interlopers, chief among them a radical American pastor named Scott Lively.
On Nov. 7, 1991, the face of HIV/AIDS changed forever when basketball star Magic Johnson announced he had received a diagnosis that at the time was almost universally associated with gay men. In front of a packed press conference at the Los Angeles Forum, Johnson revealed something that seemed incomprehensible to many: Anyone—“even me,” he said—could contract HIV.
Today, 61% of Republicans and Republican leaners under 30 favor same-sex marriage while just 35% oppose it. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans ages 50 and older favor allowing gays and lesbians to marry.
This generation gap among Republicans comes against a backdrop of rapidly changing public opinion overall on the issue. More than half the public (54%) now favors allowing gays and lesbians to legally marry, a record high in Pew Research surveys, in keeping with findings from other recent polls. Democrats and Republicans remain on opposite sides of the issue, with 69% of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents favoring same-sex marriage compared with 39% Republicans and Republican leaners.
Saturday’s a big day in Queensland for gay rugby – the Brisbane Hustlers will be hosting thePurchas Cup at Ballymore Stadium.
The Purchas Cup is the Australian Gay Rugby Championships, played each year, named after the founding Captain of the Sydney Convicts, Australia’s first gay rugby team, Andrew Purchas.
Sydney’s gay and inclusive rugby team The Convicts have never lost the trophy, but as the Brisbane and Melbourne teams grow, others are getting closer to wrestling the trophy off them! The Hustlers in particular will be looking to make use of the home ground advantage, after only just losing in a tight game last year.
I confess once again to being a little sideswiped by the sudden uptick of momentum in national support for marriage equality. I shouldn’t be. It was perfectly clear three decades ago that the arguments for equality were much stronger than the arguments against. And key debating points have been seriously and consecutively won, culminating in the logical devastation of the case against marriage equality in the Prop 8 trial.
But what I under-estimated, I think, was the personal dynamic. Simply put: it's extremely hard to oppose marriage equality when you know someone who is gay. It requires you to hold a position that clearly treats the human being in front of you as inferior – or at least it sure can feel that way. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a reasoned, theological argument that gays should be denied equal treatment under the law. It simply means that even if you hold that principled position, you will increasingly feel like an isolated asshole with gay friends, family members and colleagues. And few actively want to be an asshole. I think that’s in part what fuels Rod Dreher’s passion. He’s a decent guy, and it anguishes him to think others will think he isn’t. He’s a humane person who nonetheless has to come off as inhumane to almost any gay person and many straight ones.
But when people resolve the struggle between theory and the human person – and it’s only resolved by embracing the whole person, including her sexual orientation – the denial of equality can seem increasingly outrageous. No straight person would ever acquiesce to the idea that he or she does not have a right to marry. Such a denial seems redolent only of slavery’s evil treatment of African-Americans. And who can really demand that another human being never experience love, commitment and intimacy? And so, over time, the country is sorting itself into two camps: most everyone in one camp, and older, white evangelicals – who have often never met a gay person – in the other. Which means a huge headache for the GOP.
In their spring advertising campaigns, the luxury retailer Barneys New York and the award-winning jewelry designer Alexis Bittar feature transgender models. In February, a memoir by Janet Mock, a former editor at People magazine, which drew heavily on her transition from male to female, made the New York Times best-seller list. Laverne Cox has become a breakout star on Netflix’s hit show “Orange Is the New Black,” playing a sympathetic character who winds up in prison after using stolen credit cards to pay for her gender reassignment surgery. And Carmen Carrera, a transgender showgirl who first achieved demi-fame as a contestant on the reality television program “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” has become an in-demand fashion model and muse for the photographer Steven Meisel.
Jackie Robinson broke into Major League Baseball in 1947 and immediately took the game by storm. His unique combination of power, speed, and intensity completely changed the sport. He was an aggressive, almost terrifying base runner, the last person you wanted barreling toward you when you were trying to turn a double play. Suddenly, a game that had been plodding was electrified; Robinson led the league his rookie year in stolen bases with 29, a number that seems impossibly low now, in the post-Robinson era (and would suffice to lead the league only twice again in baseball history). Baseball was different after Robinson began his career; his race was the primary reason for that, but it wasn’t the only one. No bigot could look at Jackie Robinson and make even the most tortured, self-justifying argument that he wasn’t good enough to earn a spot on the baseball field. He was the best player on the field.
This is the next step, the emergence of a true gay superstar. Someone whose jersey leaps to the top of the sales chart because he’s gay and because he’s amazing—someone whose jersey is worn by kids who don’t even know he’s gay. That’s who the gay Jackie Robinson is: Someone who grabs the game and shakes it, dominates it, and then knocks it over. That player is out there. He might already be in the pros right now, watching Sam and Collins and planning something very big.
Around midnight on February 13, a young Nigerian man named Femi* was jolted out of his evening prayer by shouting outside his window. A crowd of some 40 people had gathered around his house. "No more homosexuals in Gishiri!" they yelled, referring to Femi's neighborhood within Nigeria's capital city, Abuja. The mob broke down his door and dragged him outside in his boxers. They beat him and about 13 other gay men that night with broken furniture, machete handles, sticks, and a garden rake, vowing to kill them if they didn't clear out of the neighborhood.
The attack, and other actsof vigilante violence targeting gays and lesbians around the country, was motivated by a new anti-gay law that Nigeria's president signed January 7. The measure, modeled off the one that Uganda enacted in late February, levies harsh prison sentences on anyone who makes a "public show" of a "direct" or "indirect" same-sex relationship or supports an LGBT organization (10 years), and anyone who attempts to enter into a same-sex marriage (14 years), even though this would be virtually impossible in Nigeria. The anti-gay backlash the law has provoked in Nigeria has led not just to violence, but to homelessness, unemployment, harassment, and a steep drop-off in HIV/AIDS treatment.
A federal judge in Tennessee Friday ordered state officials to recognize the marriages of three same-sex couples during the consideration of their lawsuit challenging the validity of the state’s ban on recognizing such marriages.
Well, I'm a year older now -- and now I can make that case in just one chart. (Sidenote: As a kid, I LOVED the game show "Name That Tune" and am a firm believer it could and should make a comeback.) The chart comes courtesy of a fascinating Pew Research Center study on millennials -- people aged 18-33 -- that details their political leanings, their likes and dislikes and where they stand on hot-button issues.
For the first time ever, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith is attending the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association’s “Headlines and Headliners” benefit.
One wonders if a long overdue announcement is coming,” asks Joe.My.God. blogger Joe Jervis.
I asked Fox News and NLGJA if Smith – outed by Gawker last October – plans to announce anything at next Thursday’s event.
“Not to my knowledge,” NLGJA membership coordinator Matthew Rose told me. “Our special guest list is filled with allies,” straight and gay. (Another NLGJA member noted that Anderson Cooper attended the “Headlines and Headliners” bash during his closeted years.)
Health insurance providers in the US will be as of next year required to provide equal cover for married gay and lesbian couples, the federal government has said.
The Department of Health and Human Services on Friday announced that as of 2015, health insurance providers offering coverage to opposite-sex married couples, must also offer the same coverage to those in same-sex marriages.
This latest change comes from last year’s landmark ruling by the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which it found to be unconstitutional.
Too many clinicians are failing to offer HIV tests to older people, resulting in late diagnosis and increased risk of mortality, research has found.
A study published in the British Geriatrics Society journal ‘Age and Ageing’ suggests that despite a year-on-year increase in the number of people over the age of 50 diagnosed with HIV, there is widespread reluctance of healthcare professionals to offer HIV tests to the group.
INTERSEX people are born with atypical physical, hormonal or genetic sex characteristics. Historically, the word “hermaphrodite” was used. Hermaphrodite has since become more closely associated, in biology, with species that can perform “male” and “female” sexual functions — something impossible in mammals. Intersex describes 40 or more known diagnoses, most of them genetic, with an extraordinary variety in bodies and identities. Medicine collectively calls them “Disorders of Sex Development”, a term which pathologises us as having individual disorders that can be fixed. Very many of us are made to physically conform to sex and gender norms.These expectations to become “real men” or “real women” are also what make us part of the rainbow LGBTI family.
Still, it is worth asking why anybody should care about the seemingly antiquated workings of religious law. One answer is that the fight for marriage equality within the church has implications that extend far beyond its pews. The trials chip away at widely used religious and moral arguments invoked to justify discrimination, changing the way people think about church-sanctioned homophobia. The significance of this moment in a broader struggle for equality is evident to those who participated in this most recent proceeding.
Pity the multinational corporation. It operates in many nations, and those nations are all so different!
Take, for example, a company like AIG or Ford. Or Coca-Cola. At home, in the United States, they have to be good for the gays, because that's good for business. In Russia, the opposite is true. The level of corruption in the Russian government is rivaled only by its level of homophobia, and failing to toe the Kremlin's anti-gay line can bring the ire of its entire extortionist, business-killing machine upon the corporation.
But even as the human-rights gap between countries widens, communication continues to improve. So when a company does something in Russia, its customers in America hear about it. Like when IKEA edited an interview with a British lesbian couple out of the Russian edition of its in-house magazine. (It ran in other editions around the world.) Or when a Hilton in Moscow canceled its contract with the Russian LGBT Network a day before its conference was to convene there. Or when it turns out that companies on the Human Rights Campaign’s list of “best places to work” have entirely different personnel policies in the United States and in Russia, where their LGBT employees have a much greater need for protection.
Which companies have different policies in Russia than in the United States? Why, most of them.