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Local news in brief: Nov. 26

New condom campaign targets gay men, local gay couple participate in adoption day and more

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‘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.

KEVIN MAJOROS


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  1. Danielle Gaines

    November 27, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    There are several reports that some ms-13 members working for al-quaida are planning attacks on all news stations television and radio and to attacks on court judges and prosecutors to help criminals take over the streets of America. The gang members have relatives living in Leisure World in the Arden Courts section in the Silver Spring, Md. area off of Georgia Ave. that are helping these gang members hide from police and commit crimes against our schools and shopping centers. They plan to ruin the holidays of many residents by soon stealing cars, kidnapping little babies from the cribs and stuff them in mailboxes, planting devices in the basememt storage units and etc.. If you have any questions, you can contact 301–598-1925 and speak to Rhonda Kashmeir for details. The public needs to be aware of the dangers lying ahead.

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Md. biotech company’s HIV cure project clears first hurdle

‘We all have something to be excited about’

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HIV cure, gay news, Washington Blade
‘We all have something to be excited about,’ said AGT CEO Jeff Galvin.

American Gene Technologies, the Rockville, Md., biotech company, has announced that the first patient to receive its genetically engineered treatment therapy aimed at curing people of HIV/AIDS encountered no adverse side effects from the treatment.

In an Aug. 2 statement, AGT said that based on the data obtained from Patient One in its Phase 1 human trial of its HIV treatment called AGT103-T, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Data and Safety Monitoring Board voted unanimously to allow AGT to continue its HIV cure program without modification.

“The AGT103-T pipeline is a therapy for treating HIV disease,” the company’s statement says. “The therapy is designed to induce durable viral suppression by delivering therapeutic genes to the recipient’s immune cells,” it says. “The resulting immune cells are expected to survive attack by HIV and durably suppress the virus at undetectable levels without the need for antiretroviral treatment.”

The thumbs up decision by the Data and Safety Monitoring Board allows the company to continue its clinical trial with more participants to further confirm the HIV treatment’s safety outcome. The next phase in the trials will be to determine the treatment’s effectiveness in fully protecting the human body from HIV.

“We have six more patients,” said AGT CEO Jeff Galvin in referring to the patients who will be tested for possible adverse side effects in the coming weeks. Galvin spoke at a July 29 gathering to celebrate the success of Patient One at AGT’s headquarters offices in Rockville.

“If this works, they will be permanently immune from HIV,” he said. “Just think what this can do with the epidemic. We all have something to be excited about,” he told the gathering of about 100 people.

“Keep your fingers crossed. Let’s all keep hoping and praying,” Galvin said. “We will know by the middle of next year,” he said, referring to when the human trials will likely determine whether the AGT103-T treatment, which has successfully stopped HIV from infecting human cells in laboratory experiments, will work just as effectively on people with HIV.

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92% of LGBTQ+ adults have received at least one dose for COVID-19

59% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported Covid-19 made them feel socially isolated, & 50% reported that it impacted their mental health.

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Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

NEW YORK – A summary of data collected as part of the annual LGBTQ+ Community Survey by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation in partnership and supported by The Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, found that the vast majority – 92% – of LGBTQ+ adults surveyed in the United States had received at least one vaccination for Covid-19.

Although vaccination rates vary somewhat within the LGBTQ+ community, the rates across race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, and age are well above the rates for various general adult populations where the data are available:

  • By race and ethnicity, 90% of Latinx respondents, 85% of Black respondents, 96% of Asian or Pacific Islander respondents, and 85% of Native American/Alaskan and Middle Eastern/North African LGBTQ+ adults, among other race identities have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • By gender identity and sexual orientation, 92% of cisgender lesbian and bi+ women, 93% of cisgender gay and bi+ men, and 92% of transgender and non-binary people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
  • By age, 91% of LGBTQ+ respondents aged 18-34, 92% of LGBTQ+ respondents aged 35-5, and 94% of LGBTQ+ respondents aged 55 and older have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine

While vaccination rates are high, Covid-19 took a toll on well-being among respondents. The survey finds that 59% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported that Covid-19 made them feel socially isolated, and 50% of respondents reported that it impacted their mental health.

“Increasing vaccination rates among communities of color is a major focus for us, and working with the Human Rights Campaign Foundation gives us the opportunity to better understand the impact of Covid-19 on LGBTQ communities of color. We look forward to continuing our support and outreach.” said Otis Rolley, Senior Vice President of Equity and Economic Opportunity at The Rockefeller Foundation.

Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

The data finds the Covid-19 pandemic led to social and financial loss, especially among LGBTQ+ people of color:

  • 21% of LGBTQ+ adults surveyed reported that a close family member or friend has died from Covid-19
  • LGBTQ+ people of color surveyed reported higher levels of loss due to Covid-19 compared to white LGBTQ+ people:
    • 30% of Latinx LGBTQ+ respondents
    • 28% of Black LGBTQ+ respondents
    • 25% of Native American/Alaskan and Middle Eastern/North African LGBTQ+ respondents, among other race identities
    • 18% of Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ respondents
    • 17% of white LGBTQ+ respondents
  • 36% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported that a close friend or family member has become very sick from Covid-19
  • 24% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported that Covid-19 has negatively impacted their financial well-being
  • LGBTQ+ people of color surveyed are more likely than white LGBTQ+ people to have experienced a negative financial impact during the pandemic:
    • 33% of Native American/Alaskan and Middle Eastern/North African LGBTQ+ adults, among other race identities
    • 26% of Asian/Pacific Islander LGBTQ+ adults
    • 26% of Latinx LGBTQ+ adults
    • 25% of Black LGBTQ+ adults
    • 22% of white LGBTQ+ adults

“There are many reasons why LGBTQ+ vaccination rates may be higher than the general population, including higher percentages of the LGBTQ+ community being liberal, living in blue states, and living in urban areas,” said CMI Senior Director of Research, David Paisley. “While participants had strong education levels, those with no more than a high school diploma still had an 87% vaccination rate. We also see that Covid isolation significantly impacted LGBTQ+ people, which may have motivated quick vaccination to reenter the community.”

The new data build on the HRC Foundation’s previously released reports, including the most recent report, “Covid-19 and the LGBTQ Community: Vaccinations and the Economic Toll of the Pandemic,” which was released as a part of the HRC Foundation’s vaccine public education campaign: “For Ourselves, For Each Other: Getting to the Other Side of the Pandemic.” The HRC Foundation has also partnered with the Black Trans Advocacy Coalition on a resource, “Finding Financial Stability During Turbulent Times,” with steps and advice for those who may be struggling to make ends meet during these difficult times. Read more about the HRC Foundation’s efforts during Covid-19 here.

The Rockefeller Foundation is supporting the Human Rights Campaign Foundation on a number of Covid-19-related projects to support research and community education to reach LGBTQ communities of color during this crisis through The Rockefeller Foundation’s Equity-First Vaccination Initiative. Learn more here.

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Cornell University study on impact of discrimination on LGBTQ of color

Around 25% of LGBTQ youth have attempted suicide, but the rates are starkly higher for LGBTQ youth of color than their white counterparts

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McGraw Tower, Cornell University (Photo Credit: Cornell University)

ITHACA, NY. – Cornell University’s What We Know Project in conjunction with a coalition of leading LGBTQ rights groups last month published a comprehensive curation of data on studies that chart the intersection of anti-LGBTQ and racial discrimination.

The findings found that discrimination inflicts profoundly greater harm on LGBTQ people of color in a wide range of areas, including grossly disproportionate rates of: experiencing discrimination over  the past year, poorer mental and physical health, greater economic insecurity, and attempts to die by suicide.

 In addition, LGBTQ people of color are more likely than white LGBTQ people to live in states without protections  against discrimination and that state anti-LGBTQ laws harm LGBTQ people. 

“This research brief makes clear the tangible harms that discrimination inflicts on LGBTQ people of color,  and the urgent need for public policy that reflects what the research tells us about how we can reduce those  harms,” said Dr. Nathaniel Frank, the study’s author.

Highlights of the research brief’s findings include

LGBTQ people are more likely than non-LGBTQ people to be people of color, and Black LGBTQ  Americans are disproportionately likely to live in states without protections against discrimination. For  example, 42% of LGBT people are people of color compared to 32% of non-LGBT people and the majority of  Black LGBT Americans live in the South (51.4%, more than twice the share of any other region), where most  states lack anti-discrimination protections. 

LGBTQ people of color face higher odds of discrimination than both non-LGBTQ individuals and LGBTQ  white people. For example, LGBTQ people of color are more than twice as likely to experience anti-LGBTQ  discrimination (slurs or other verbal abuse) when applying for jobs than white LGBTQ individuals (32% vs.  13%). LGBTQ people of color are more than twice as likely as white LGBTQ people to experience anti-LGBTQ  discrimination when interacting with the police (24% vs. 11%). 

Black LGBT Americans are more likely to experience economic insecurity than Black non-LGBT Americans.  For example, the majority of Black LGBT people (56%) live in low-income households (below 200% of the  federal poverty level) compared to 49% of Black non-LGBT Americans, and Black LGBT adults are also more  likely to experience food insecurity than Black non-LGBT adults (37% compared to 27%). 

Hundreds of studies conclude that experiencing anti-LGBTQ discrimination increases the risks of poor  mental and physical health, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, PTSD, substance use, and  psychological distress. 

LGBTQ people of color face disproportionate odds of suicidality, which is linked to discrimination. For  example, while 12% of white LGBTQ youth attempted suicide, the rate is 31% for LGBTQ Native/Indigenous  youth, 21% for LGBTQ Black youth, and 18% of LGBTQ Latinx youth.  

While supportive laws, family, and peers lower the risk of poor health outcomes for LGBTQ people of  color, anti-LGBTQ state laws inflict tangible harm on sexual minority populations. For example, states  with “denial of service” laws that give license to discriminate against LGBT residents between 2014 and  2016 were linked with a 46% increase in LGBT mental distress. Black LGBTQ youth who reported high levels  of support from at least one person, or who had access to an LGBTQ-affirming space, reported attempting  suicide at lower rates than those who lacked such support (16% vs. 24%). 

Supportive laws, family, and peers lower the risk of poor health outcomes  for LGBTQ people of color. 

• Suicide attempts by LGBT youth dropped by 7 percent in states that legalized same-sex marriage.22 

• The corollary is that anti-LGBTQ state laws inflict tangible harm on sexual minority populations. States with “denial of service” laws that give license to discriminate against LGBT residents were linked with a 46% increase in LGBT mental distress.23 

• Black LGBTQ youth who reported high levels of support from at least one person, or who had access to an LGBTQ-affirming space, reported attempting suicide at lower rates than those who lacked such support (16% vs. 24%). Those with high levels of family support had rates of past-year attempted suicide nearly one third as high as those who lacked such support (22% vs. 8%).24 

• Protective measures that have been found to help reduce anxiety, depression, and suicidality among LGBTQ youth include: Establishing inclusive practices and anti-discrimination policies; peer, community, and family support, including dedicated school groups; access to affirmative mental health and social services; societal confrontation of attitudes and norms that exacerbate minority stress; and practitioner training and interventions designed to disrupt negative coping responses and build resilience.

Experiencing discrimination is associated with greater odds of harm to  psychological and economic well-being, which is reflected in data on  disparities for LGBTQ people of color. 

• Hundreds of studies conclude that experiencing anti-LGBTQ discrimination increases the risks of  poor mental and physical health, including depression, anxiety, suicidality, PTSD, substance use,  and psychological distress. 

• LGBT people of color have work-place experiences that are more negative than those of white  LGBT employees, reporting that their success and work-life balance are fostered less extensively,  they have less transparent evaluations, and they are respected less by supervisors. 

• Among LGBTQ people surveyed, 51% of Black respondents say discrimination harms their  ability to be hired, compared with 33% of white respondents; 41% say it has an impact on  their ability to retain employment, compared with 31% of white respondents; 77% of Black  respondents report that discrimination impacts their psychological well-being, a rate nearly 50%  higher than the total LGBTQ survey population. 

• While racial discrimination on its own is not associated with mental health disorders, the  combination of racial discrimination with gender and/or sexual orientation discrimination is  significantly associated with increased odds of a past-year mental health disorder.

LGBTQ people of color face disproportionate odds of suicidality, which is  linked to discrimination.  

• Around 25% of LGBTQ youth of all races have attempted suicide, but the rates are starkly  higher for LGBTQ youth of color than their white counterparts: While 12% of white LGBTQ  youth have attempted suicide, the rate is 31% for LGBTQ Native/Indigenous youth, 21% for  LGBTQ Black youth, and 18% for LGBTQ Latinx youth. 

• In a 95%-non-white LGBT sample, those who report experiencing anti-LGBT victimization (such  as bullying and harassment) are 2.5 times more likely to report a past-year suicide attempt  compared to those who do not report victimization. 

• Black LGBTQ youth who experience anti-LGBTQ discrimination face twice the rate of past year suicide attempts compared to youth who do not (27% vs. 12%). Black LGBTQ youth who  experience race-based discrimination also face higher odds of attempting suicide than those  who do not (20% vs. 14%).

• Black LGB adults are over 40% more likely to have made a serious suicide attempt in their  lifetime than white LGB adults. 

• Latinx and Native American/Pacific Islander LGBT youth are 50% more likely to attempt suicide  than white LGBT youth. Latinx LGBT girls are nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide than  white LGBT youth.

• LGBTQ students who experience discrimination “based on multiple social identities” report more  use of deliberate self-harm compared to LGBTQ students who experience racial discrimination  alone or who do not experience significant discrimination of any kind.

Reflecting on the study’s findings, key executives from participating LGBTQ Advocacy groups weighed in:

“These painful figures highlight an indisputable link between discrimination, economic security,   mental and physical health. People with multiple stigmatized, marginalized social and political identities, particularly Black LGBTQ+/Same Gender Loving people, bear a disproportionate amount  of the weight illustrated by the data in this study. Statutory equality for LGBTQ+ people nationwide is a necessary foundation to remove the gaps in existing civil rights laws if we are to ever live up to  our country’s founding promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all,”  said David Johns, Executive Director, National Black Justice Coalition.

The majority of Black LGBTQ people live in the South, with nearly half (44%) of all Black women couples raising children. Even today, most of these states still do not protect LGBTQ people from discrimination and have overtly discriminatory laws on their books. It is no wonder the disparities are so profound and it is a testament to the strength and resilience of our people that they are doing  as well as they are. For our community and for our children it’s time for federal action!” said Kierra Johnson, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

“This important brief only further solidifies what we have known for a very long time—the combination of racism and anti-LGBTQ discrimination has serious and long-lasting effects for the health and well-being of LGBTQ people of color. This research highlights why federal non-discrimination protections are overdue and vital to protecting the most some of the most underrepresented and vulnerable members of our community. Federal anti-discrimination protections are absolutely necessary in protecting and supporting all LGBTQ people, and this is especially true for LGBTQ people of color,” said Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Study after study shows that nondiscrimination protections improve economic opportunities, public  safety, and physical and mental well-being of LGBTQ people. It is well past time for the essential protections available only in some of our states and cities to be extended to all LGBTQ Americans, especially LGBTQ people of color, who are disproportionately burdened by the lack of protections, ” said Kasey Suffredini, CEO and National Campaign Director, Freedom for All Americans.

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