‘Rubber Revolution’ campaign targets gay men
The D.C. Department of Health launched a new condom awareness campaign last week called “Rubber Revolution,” which includes ads in gay publications urging men who have sex with men to use condoms “every time” to prevent the spread of HIV.
AIDS activists have expressed concern that the city’s existing condom distribution and awareness campaigns didn’t go far enough to attract the attention of high risk groups, including black men and women and gay men. In a statement released on Nov. 18, DOH Director Dr. Pierre Vigilance pointed to the new campaign’s more blunt and explicit messages.
“Big Enuf 4 U,” “A condom Fits Any Head,” and “Get Wrapped Up for the Moment,” are among slogans the “Rubber Revolution” condom campaign will use in its literature and on its newly launched website, HYPERLINK “http://www.rubberrevolutiondc.com/”RubberRevolutionDC.com.
“The Rubber Revolution aims to encourage sexually active people to always use condoms and engage community and business partners to support condom use,” said Mayor Adrian Fenty in a statement. “The District is proud of its aggressive approach to address this issue, and we hope to build on our success as one of the only two cities in the country with a public sector condom distribution program that has provided more than 3.5 million free condoms last year,” Fenty said.
DOH said in its statement that it developed the campaign in response to studies showing that between 40 percent and 70 percent of all D.C. adults and adolescents are not regularly using condoms
The city will continue to fund a separate condom distribution campaign organized by gay D.C. physician Terry Gerace with the involvement of the Whitman-Walker Clinic and the D.C. LGBT Community Center called “FUK!T.”
That campaign has already distributed thousands of packets containing condoms and lube to the city’s gay establishments. Volunteers assemble the packets each week, according to AIDS activist and D.C. medical student Daniel O’Neill, who is involved with the project.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” O’Neill said of the ‘Rubber Revolution’ campaign. “It can’t be as provocative as the ‘FUK!T’ campaign. But this could be helpful with certain groups.”
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Gay couple participates in D.C. Adoption Day
A judge signed the official papers for a gay male couple to adopt a two-year-old girl they have raised since infancy on Nov. 20 during the 24th Annual Adoption Day ceremony at the D.C. Superior Court.
District residents John Coon, 43, and Josh Tuerk, 42, who have been a couple for 18 years, were among the parents of more than 20 kids whose adoptions were finalized at the ceremony. Their adopted daughter, Gabriella “Ella” Logan, who attended the event, was described by an announcer as having a “captivating and vivacious personality.”
Court officials and the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency said in a statement that the Adoption Day event is intended to “celebrate the joy of adoption and encourage area residents to consider adopting or fostering a child” through the city’s child welfare system.
Same-sex couples have been adopting children in the city since 1994, when the D.C. Court of Appeals issued a ruling clearing the way for such adoptions. Local gay rights attorney Michelle Zavos, who specializes in gay family law, said the city’s child welfare and adoption office is fully supportive of gay adoptions. She noted that qualifications and background checks used in the adoption approval process are the same for same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
“We adopted two boys 10 years ago—Noah and Marcus. They’re both 10,” Coon told the Blade. “And Ella — we decided it was time to add a little princess to join our all-male household,” he said.
Coon, an interior decorator, and Tuerk, who owns and operates a D.C.-based pet care business, live with their children in the city’s Wesley Heights section. They recently bought a farmhouse and farm outside Charlestown, W.Va., where they plan to spend the Thanksgiving holiday.
“All the grandparents will be with us,” Coon said.
LOU CHIBBARO JR.
Anti-gay lawmaker ousted in Maryland
LGBT advocates in Maryland are celebrating the defeat of Republican State Senator Alex X. Mooney in the recent elections. Mooney conceded the contest to Ron Young a few days after most of the absentee ballots were counted. He lost by fewer than 1,000 votes and had represented the 3rd District that includes Frederick and Washington counties.
Since taking office in January 1999, Mooney, 39, was a vocal opponent of LGBT rights. He frequently denounced the LGBT community.
Mooney once said “Homosexual activists have managed to gain legal recognition as a minority, based solely on their lifestyle choices, through so-called ‘hate crimes’ and domestic partnership laws.”
Mooney had been a member of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, which consistently blocked movement on marriage equality and gender identity protection bills.
In each of the three previous races for Senate, Mooney’s margin of victory declined — a trend that speaks to the changing demographics in Frederick.
But the election may have also turned on the work of Equality Maryland, SEIU and a host of volunteers. Equality Maryland’s Field Organizer Aimee Martin was in charge of GOTV (Get Out the Vote) support in Frederick County. She turned out approximately two-dozen Equality Maryland supporters to work in the Frederick area each weekend during October through the election.
According to Lisa Polyak, PAC Director for Equality Maryland, the organization provided ground support, such as literature drops, door knocking and phone banks on behalf of all the LGBT-supportive candidates, including Ron Young, Candy Greenway and Ryan Trout in the Frederick area. During the summer, Equality Maryland collected signed statements from 1,200 residents who support LGBT equality in Frederick County. In addition, the PAC contributed $3,000 to Young’s campaign.
Equality Maryland also collected signatures in support of gender identity anti-discrimination and marriage equality at two dozen polling places in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery and Prince Georges counties on Election Day. This resulted in identification of 3,278 voters who were willing to sign their names in support of LGBT equality, including 588 new supporters in the home district of Senate President Mike Miller (District 27).
STEVE CHARING/BALTIMORE OUTLoud
Orange Crush wins football championship
Last Sunday, the D.C. Gay Flag Football League (DCGFFL) held its inaugural league championships. Orange Crush was 0-3 after the first two weeks of the season and then went undefeated for the next five weeks to make it to the championships.
The team lived up to their name and crushed Gang Green by a score of 34-20. The teams started the championship game by trading touchdowns. As Gang Green was driving to score again, Kevin Smith intercepted a pass and it was all Orange Crush for the rest of the game.
Quarterback Brian Moll was voted MVP for the Orange Crush and Brian Sparrow, utility player, was voted MVP for Gang Green.
In the consolation brackets, Rug Burn defeated Golden Wave 14-13 for 3rd place and Blue Ballers topped Hell Marys 40-14 for 5th place. Complete details can be found at HYPERLINK “http://www.dcgffl.org”dcgffl.org.