History: AIDS

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Recently, a possible preventative “cure” for HIV has been developed. Individuals who do not have HIV who take it are less likely to get it as a sexually transmitted infection when they take the medication. If the medication, Truvada, is able to prevent people from getting HIV, it may be considered a medical miracle. HIV has a long history of causing many deaths and shortening the lifespans of those affected. The disease is most prominent in males, which means it is more likely to affect gay males. The first known infection was in 1959 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nothing was known about the disease at the time. The first case of HIV in the US was in 1981. “Homosexual men began dying from mysterious, pneumonia-like infections.” The number of affected people continued to rise; so did the number of people dying from the disease. The disease was not noticed at first due to symptoms not showing up for a long time. Unfortunately, this meant it could be spread to more people during the time it was not diagnosed. AIDS was originally named GRID or “gay-related immune deficiency” because all that was known was that it tended to show up in homosexual males. The name was later changed to AIDS, when health authorities realized “that nearly half of the people identified with the syndrome were not homosexual men. The same opportunistic infections were also reported among hemopheliacs, heterosexual intravenous drug users, and Haitian immigrants” which lead them to call it the 4H disease. But, “By August 1982, the disease was being referred to by its new CDC-coined name: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).” AIDS and HIV continue to be a problem, especially in the gay community, for the United States and other regions of the world. Truvada has a lot of controversy behind it, but it could be society’s first chance at beating HIV.

For the full history on HIV and AIDS, check out this article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_HIV/AIDS

For a briefer history of HIV and statistics on HIV, check out this article/slideshow

http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/history-hiv#1

 

Author: Lily J.

Question: Biphobia vs. Homophobia

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What is biphobia? Does it really exsist? Isn’t it the same thing as homophobia?

Biphobia is similar to homophobia in that it is discimination based on sexuality. However, biphobia refers specifically to the discrimination against those who are polysexual, or attracted to more than one gender, such as bisexuals or pansexuals, as they deal with unique stereotypes and assumptions than those who are monosexual and queer do. For example, many bisexuals struggle with the opinion that they are inherently more promiscius than others. This is sometimes due to a misunderstanding of polysexuality as many people assume it is similar to being polygamous or polyamourous, as well as the hypersexualization of the identity in the media. Another major issue polysexuals often face is the simple case of their legitimacy. Some feel, even within the LGBTQ community, that bi and pansexuals are not truly attracted to more than one gender. For example, it is an unfortunate trend for polysexual men to be assumed gay, as was the case in the media following Tom Daley’s interview on the subject f his new boyfriend.

Every LGBTQ identity faces different setbacks, slurs, and stereotypes when they come out, and while homophobia is often used to describe this discrimination sometimes biphobia or transphobia is more accurate in labeling the specific form of bigotry.

More about Tom Daley:

http://www.bustle.com/articles/9906-tom-daley-didnt-come-out-as-gay-but-the-media-doesnt-care

http://unitethefight.net//?s=tom+daley&search=Go

Author: Hannah B.

 

Question: Differences

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What would you say is the biggest difference between straight and gay couples?

Their gender. Honestly. Between the way they ask each other out, the fights they have, and the chocolates they give on Valentine’s Day, everyone is a little bit different, but there is no huge divide between LGBTQ couples, and straight couples.

The only significant trait of LGBTQ couples that straight couples generally do not have is the threat of discrimination. Generally speaking, it is not nearly as likely for a straight couple to feel judgment in the mall, or even to fear for their safety when out in public. In this way, straight cis couples do have a high degree of privilege, but other than that, there’s nothing stopping some inter-identity double dating.

Author: Hannah B.

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While giving a TED Talk speech, fashion model Geena Rocero came out as a transwoman.  The fear of facing discrimination as a model and a person kept Rocero from being completely open and honest to clients, managers, her agent, and even her friends.  Rocero has started the campaign Gender Proud to tackle global laws concerning legal transition.  In many countries it is difficult or impossible to legally change your gender marker without undergoing invasive, expensive and sometimes unwanted procedures. Having a marker on your identification that does not reflect your outward appearance is a point of anxiety for many trans* people and can even put them at risk of abuse.  Rocero has teamed up with many organizations such as GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign; she will also work with local advocacy groups who are fighting on the national level in various countries so that equality can be reached. 

 
Author: Kenna B.

Homophobic Church in Harlem

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1012936_10151937760230899_1484598613_n_2While some places of worship use their signs to welcome all, The ATLAH Worldwide Missionary Church in Harlem used theirs to denounce homosexuality.  The messages advocated for assaulting gay people, even going as far as writing “Jesus would stone homos.”
The sign did not go unnoticed, and this was not the first time ATLAH has appeared on Huffington Post. Jennifer Louise Lopez, who lives in the area, decided to take action. She knocked on the church’s door, asking to be stoned.  Lopez said of her actions, “I hope that by going up to the door and presenting myself as the human and the product of [Goddess’] creation, churches can begin to understand that us lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are the very same creations that they are.”
 
 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/20/lesbian-stoning-anti-gay-church_n_5000239.html

Author: Kenna B.

Attempt to Legalize Non-Binary Genders

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There has recently been a petition going around on the Internet asking the White House to legally recognize non-binary genders. “Legal documents in the United States only recognize ‘male’ and ‘female’ as genders,” the petition notes, “leaving anyone who does not identify as one of these two genders with no option… This petition asks the Obama administration to legally recognize genders outside of the male/female binary, and provide an option for these genders on all legal documents and records.” The White House’s agreement to recognize non-binary people as their correct genders would strongly increase visibility of non-binary genders and help the transgender community be noticed better.

Check out the article below for full information:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/19/non-binary-gender-petition_n_4994200.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

Author: Lily J.

Troubles in Utah

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Same-sex couples who were legally married in Utah are facing trouble, as the about couples who wed after Robert Shelby’s ruling that banning gay matrimony was unconstitutional have now been told that “The Utah governor’s office has said the state cannot recognize those weddings – or grant those couples any marriage rights – until an appeal of the case is decided by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.” District Judge Dale Kimball has been asked to make these marriages official, but Utah officials say they cannot do this because of a 2004 voter-approved initiative banning same-sex marriage. For the couples, this means they do not get the same marital benefits that legally married heterosexual couples do for as long as Utah cannot come to a decision. The ACLU Block has said that “the eight plaintiffs in the case have all been harmed by Utah’s refusal to recognize their marriages because their ability to make decisions about a host of issues – from healthcare directives and major financial decisions to second-parent adoptions of their children – had been disrupted.” Until the Judge and Utah’s government have reached a decision, the couples will be in a state of limbo that could affect them dangerously in the long run.

 

Check out the full article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/13/utah-gay-marriage_n_4953663.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices&ir=Gay%20Voices#slide=3473914

Author: Lily J.

Crossdressing Respectfully

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If I was to wear more boyish clothes or even was to cross dress sometimes despite being a cis female, would this be considered disrespectful or offensive to trans people?

In this case, context is important. Whether or not you choose to dress in a way society may not associate with you gender it is rather hard to consider it offensive if you are doing it simply because you want to. Obviously if you were dressing in a more masculine fashion despite a feminine identity to parody or insult trans*persons, then this would be extremely objectionable. Anything that is mean to demean another person, particularly those of an already oppressed group, is entirely unacceptable. That being said, even the fact that you are concerned about causing offense says to me that this is not your intention. If you are more comfortable in masucline clothing you have a right to chose to wear it. You have a right to express your gender, cis or otherwise, in any way that you choose. You are not any less of a person, or in any way hurting other people, by dressing in a way that makes you feel you feel the best regardless of gender norms. Any LGBTQ person could understand the desire to feel right with your own interpretation and representation of your sexual and gender identities.

Author: Hannah B.

Russian Documentary: Children 404

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Russia’s “gay propaganda” law makes it difficult for LGBT individuals to be heard. But some refuse to stay quiet: two Russian filmmakers collaborated to create the documentary Children 404, which brings light to the daily struggles in the lives of LGBTQ youth.  As well as including dozens of Russian teens, interviews with “social workers, psychologists, health professionals, and priests on both sides of the issue” were also included.

The title “Children 404″ was based on a website by the same name, created by Lena Klimova, that was designed to give a safe, anonymous forum for Russian speaking LGBT to voice their experiences and interact with others within the community.
Author: Kenna B

Women’s Day

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March 8 is international Women’s day, meant to honor all the women in our lives. The day is important because women’s achievements often don’t get enough recognition in mainstream media, even though women have helped our society in many different ways. International Women’s Day began in the early 1900’s, when many women began to voice their opposition towards inequality. In 1908, “15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights” and in 1909 the first National Women’s Day was observed. German Socialist Luise Zietz and Clara Zetkin proposed the establishment “that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day – a Women’s Day – to press for their demands.” The over 100 women attending the delegation agreed. This was the beginning of a movement which would earn women all over America, and eventually women in other countries in the world, the right to vote, shorter working hours, and the ability to hold public office, as well as other basic rights. International Women’s Day is still celebrated every year and is an important event to commemorate women’s dedications to history and to the world.

 

To learn the full history of International Women’s Day, check out the following articles:

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/about.asp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Women’s_Day

Author: Lily J.

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