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Trump fires all members of HIV/AIDS council without explanation



Trump Pence, gay news, Washington Blade

President Trump has fired all members of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

With no explanation, the White House has terminated members of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS amid widespread discontent with President Trump’s approach to the epidemic.

After six members of PACHA resigned in June, the White House on Wednesday terminated the remaining 16 members without explanation via a letter from FedEx.

Scott Schoettes, a Chicago-based HIV/AIDS activist and senior attorney for Lambda Legal, was one of the six who resigned in June over Trump’s inaction on HIV/AIDS and said on Twitter the remaining members were fired.

“No respect for their service,” Schoettes said. “Dangerous that #Trump and Co. (Pence esp.) are eliminating few remaining people willing to push back against harmful policies, like abstinence-only sex ed.”

Sources with knowledge of PACHA said many council members were fired even though additional time remained on their terms as advisers. The terminated members, sources said, were given the option to reapply after Tuesday.

Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.,-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution, was a remaining member of PACHA and confirmed they were fired, but said the “explanation is still unclear.”

“I can only speculate,” Maldonado said. “Like any administration, they want their own people there. Many of us were Obama appointees. I was an Obama appointee and my term was continuing until 2018.”

Maldonado said “ideological and philosophical differences” with the administration are a potential reason for the terminations.

As an example, Maldonado cited a recent Washington Post report the Centers for Disease Control is banned from using words like “diversity” and “transgender” in budget documents. The CDC director has denied those words are banned.

“I was co-chair of the disparities committee, so much of my advocacy and policy references surrounded vulnerable populations, addressing issues of diverse communities, specifically looking at the impacts of the LGBT community, namely, the disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS to people of color, gay men, transgender women,” Maldonado said. “And a lot of those key vulnerable populations are not being prioritized in this administration.”

Maldonado added he intends to publish an open letter to the community about his termination on Friday.

Also among the terminated members was Patrick Sullivan, a professor of epidemiology at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health.

“My reaction is that our focus should be on the policies that PACHA addresses,” Sullivan said. “These issues are critical to people’s health, and are critical to making new HIV infections rare. At PACHA’s last meeting in August, the Council urged the Administration to affirm the National HIV/AIDS Strategy through 2020. Doing this would be a great way for the administration to set the tone and lay out national roadmap of priorities for a new PACHA.”

Created in 1995, PACHA has provided advice starting in the Clinton administration and into the George W. Bush and Obama administrations on policy and research to promote effective treatment and prevention for HIV — maintaining the goal of finding a cure.

In September, Trump signed an executive order that renewed PACHA along with 31 other presidential bodies for an additional year.

Trump’s termination of council members isn’t the first time an administration cleaned house on PACHA. The Obama administration eliminated all of George W. Bush’s appointees before making new appointments.

Kaye Hayes, executive director of PACHA, affirmed the council members were terminated on Wednesday, but said there’s more to the story.

“They were also thanked for their leadership, dedication and commitment to the effort,” Hayes said. “Changing the makeup of federal advisory committee members is a common occurrence during Administration changes. The Obama administration dismissed the George W. Bush administration appointees to PACHA in order to bring in new voices. All PACHA members are eligible to apply to serve on the new council that will be convened in 2018.”

Jim Driscoll, a gay Nevada-based HIV/AIDS activist who supported Trump in 2016, said replacement of PACHA members “is standard practice” for a new administration.

“Now they need to find bonafide community people with appropriate expertise and the ability to adapt to the changed political circumstances,” Driscoll said. “It is fully understandable why a president would not want people who oppose his policies and might be happy to see him impeached serving as his HIV advisors. That would serve the needs of neither the president nor of people living with HIV-AIDS.”

But Maldonado said the termination of PACHA members during the Trump administration is only partially consistent with the Obama years.

“It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in,” Maldonado said. “I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1? Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on nearly four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council.”

In June, six members of PACHA resigned their posts in protest over what they called inaction from Trump on the global HIV/AIDS epidemic. An estimated 1.2 million people have HIV/AIDS in the United States and 37 million have the disease worldwide.

Chief among the reasons was the absence of leadership at the White House on HIV/AIDS. To date, the White House has yet to appoint a director of the Office of National AIDS Policy, which was one of the reasons the six members of PACHA resigned in June.

Trump’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal also sought massive cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, including $150 million on HIV/AIDS programs at the Centers for Disease Control and more than $1 billion in cuts from global programs like the PEPFAR Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria. The Republican-controlled Congress has thus far continued to fund these programs at previous levels.

Maldonado noted the PACHA terminations are taking place at the year’s end after the June resignations, which he said is “a little too coincidental.”

“The timing is a little bit unorthodox compared to what the Obama administration’s approach was,” Maldonado said.

Maldonado said he represented a younger demographic on PACHA as the only member under the age of 30, which he said is where the majority of new HIV infections are occurring, and as a young, black gay man.

“I just am coming to the acknowledgment that the traditional tactics of politicking and policy and strategy and negotiation, the kind of standard tools that we’re trying to use, that the status quo is no longer acceptable,” Maldonado said. “The tactics that we had are kind of obsolete, and now we need to craft new strategy to address the troubling and unsettling revelations, particularly around the silence and inaction that have taken place around HIV and AIDS.”

Since the resignations in June, Trump has made public statements on HIV/AIDS consisting of proclamations on National HIV Testing Day and World AIDS Day. Neither statement included an explicit mention of LGBT people, who have faced the brunt of the disease.

The White House deferred comment to the Department of Health & Human Services, which provided the statement from the PACHA executive director.

New appointments may be coming soon. The Blade reported in October gay Republicans familiar with HIV/AIDS issues and LGBT issues have been among those contacted by a Trump administration official for possible appointments to PACHA.

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  1. BobSF_94117

    December 29, 2017 at 8:38 am

    I don’t find any notice or news article about Obama summarily firing the entire membership of PACHA with no explanation, no notice, no new appointees announced. When a journalist makes a statement that Trump’s actions have precedent, the journalist is obligated to explain how and why, as far as I’m concerned.

    • Neil Baker

      December 29, 2017 at 8:51 am

      “It is common for appointees to be terminated and for folks to kind of want their own people in,” Maldonado said. “I think where the discrepancy comes in is why a year later, No. 1? Two, many of us, our terms were over earlier this year and we were sworn back in, and three were stayed on nearly four months after an executive order was signed continuing the council.”

      • Thisoldspouse

        December 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

        Sounds like they should count their blessings, then.

    • Mark Hatchett

      December 29, 2017 at 9:36 am

      `You can’t expect an agenda driven “journalist” like Chris to be fair to President Trump.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 5:33 pm

        Trump is fair to no one but his special interest! If you don’t like what you read no one obligates you to troll here! Stick to your right-wing news sites that regurgitate the lies and BS your fake potus peddles!

      • Thisoldspouse

        December 29, 2017 at 6:13 pm

        It’s “rules for thee but not for me” with this bunch.

        • Mark Hatchett

          December 29, 2017 at 7:18 pm

          Everyone is entitled to an opinion however the Washington Blade should change its masthead to America’s LGBT Opinion Source. It’s way past time the B and T were dropped as well.

          • lnm3921

            December 29, 2017 at 7:37 pm

            How about dropping you instead since you do nothing for the community! The N for NAMLBA was dropped decades ago so why do you hang on?

            Further everything you say is opinion so who are you to whine? You hate the blade’s NEWS yet are glued to it and keep returning! What a joke you are!

    • Simon Dibley

      December 29, 2017 at 10:46 am

      “Gabriel Maldonado, CEO of the Riverside, Calif.,-based LGBT and HIV/AIDS group Truevolution, was a remaining member of PACHA and confirmed they were fired.”
      That’s the named source. Another un-named source was quoted. This is in addition to the tweet by Scott Schoettes. Chris Johnson also approached the White House for comment, but so far has not received any.

      Did you read this article?

      • BobSF_94117

        December 29, 2017 at 11:20 am

        I don’t know what you’re talking about (nor do you, it appears). Maldonado confirmed the firing of HIS OWN group, today, by Trump.

        I was looking for notice that OBAMA did anything similar or in a similar fashion, or with similar timing, and found nothing.

        • John D Neumann

          December 30, 2017 at 9:59 am

          That is what happens when you come to a story expecting something that isn’t related.

  2. obelus

    December 29, 2017 at 11:54 am

    It makes no sense to swear members back in upon expiration of their terms if you are cleaning house for patronage sake. This is likely more an attempt to gut the council’s effectiveness, and is entirely consistent with the Trump administration’s effort to dismantle government. In my opinion, this is further verification that Putin’s interest in our elections is entirely hostile, and Trump a malignancy on our nation.

    • Mendota2

      December 29, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      These people have different ideology from Trump administration. Can you explain what goals these people want to achieve other than collecting paychecks from taxpayers?

      If they have any decency, these Obama leftovers should have resigned long time ago.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 5:29 pm

        people don’t work for nothing! Most people need a paycheck! Meanwhile you have trump cronies wasting tax payer funds to take lavish plane trips they can pay for themselves yet you don’t want them fired because they push your agenda!

        • Mendota2

          December 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

          That person was fired. These Obama leftovers should resign and find a new job in Dumbcrazy field to making a living. Stealing taxpayers money isn’t decent.

          • lnm3921

            December 29, 2017 at 6:21 pm

            Trump should resign! He’s toxic as his supporters are crazy!

          • CheKerouac

            December 30, 2017 at 9:58 am

            Go to emergency room now! You’re suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome

          • lnm3921

            December 30, 2017 at 5:22 pm

            Trump supporter’s are as good as in a cult brainwashed to think he’s their God! Well he’s not mine and never will be!

      • obelus

        December 29, 2017 at 7:21 pm

        That is not how government agencies work. Let’s discuss now the People’s business as it takes precedent above all else. That means it comes before an officials party affiliation, their campaign funders, their own careerism or well being. It is the proverbial elephant in the room. There are a number of laws that specifically forbid government agency personnel from front running their own interests ahead of the People’s. Similarly, unless you are entirely self employed, your ability to front your own interests ahead of your bosses is curtailed or soon will be. We are not all entirely free agents in our dealings. Sometimes you are the agent for other interests and you have to serve them with fidelity. It is undermining for any organization with ongoing work to experience a sea change sweeping everyone out with each election. The effectiveness of organizations that serve the People’s interest is considered paramount to what an election outcome may be. Real world stuff still needs to get done in an orderly way —

        • Thisoldspouse

          January 6, 2018 at 11:20 am

          The “people’s business” sounds like something out of Pravda.

          Let people take care of their OWN business. Fighting a wholly preventable disease that a tiny minority of people refuse to take responsibility for should not fall on the shoulders of “the people.”

      • icposse2k

        December 29, 2017 at 7:31 pm

        I can absolutely explain what goals they have. They want to reduce the spread of HIV and the development of AIDS through education and proven interventions such as condoms and needle exchange programs. These programs save lives, period. They want to expand pre-exposure prophylaxis and get people treated so that they don’t develop AIDS and we treat their infection through once-a-day pills rather than expensive hospital stays. It’s really not that complicated.

        • Stanley

          December 30, 2017 at 1:56 am

          People know how to prevent the spread of AIDS. What education do they need? You play, you pay. That’s enough of an education.

          • CheKerouac

            December 30, 2017 at 9:03 am

            Exactly. Billions have been spent on AIDS prevention. It’s like smoking. If you don’t know that cigarettes cause lung cancer you have to be living in a bubble.

          • John D Neumann

            December 30, 2017 at 9:54 am

            It’s almost like you don;’t know new people are born every day and will need to “know” these things …. How the F do you think YOU know these things?
            But your ilk think education is a liberal conspiracy dontcha?

          • CheKerouac

            December 30, 2017 at 9:57 am

            That’s what parents and schools are for.

          • Stanley

            December 30, 2017 at 4:26 pm

            So true. The stove is hot. If you touch the stove, you get burned. Likewise, if you participate in a dangerous, illicit and risky lifestyle, you have a good chance of contracting AIDS.

          • Michael Rozdoba

            December 30, 2017 at 5:49 pm

            Likewise, if you participate in dangerous, fascist governmental policy, you have a good chance of your nation contracting a far more lethal disease.
            You may well be entitled to kill yourself but please do stop killing others including by preventing them from receiving help from those willing to give it.
            Please do stop spreading lies & disinformation. You will be tolerated for so long but only so long. Half your nation is waking up.

          • Stanley

            December 30, 2017 at 7:27 pm

            Agree. Liberalism has such consequences. They need to find a cure.

          • Kemwit Tall Tree

            January 5, 2018 at 11:02 pm

            This isn’t 1920’s-1940’s Italy, there is no such thing as Fascism in America. You are a hysteric. Get a life!

          • Michael Rozdoba

            January 6, 2018 at 9:16 am

            Do you know what hysterical means? Your ignorance is toxic. I am sad to belong to a species which considers you to be an acceptable example.

          • sanlass

            December 31, 2017 at 8:38 pm

            You do realize that heterosexuals is a large growing population fo AIDs right? Answers are so easy when you are ignorant.

          • Stanley

            January 1, 2018 at 12:09 am

            Yeah- The innocent babies. Yes I know that.

          • Stanley

            January 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

            Like Ryan White.

          • Marsha Heflin Brady

            January 7, 2018 at 11:13 pm

            Stanley, you’re showing your ignorance and are proving the necessity of education. One does not contract AIDS. HIV is the virus that one can contract, whereas AIDS is the long-term result of HIV viral infection. We’ve been aware of HIV/AIDS transmission for decades yet you, a (assumably) gay man, don’t know the facts! Please tell me again why we don’t need continued funding for education!

          • Stanley

            January 8, 2018 at 6:42 am

            You are like most others in that you make an attempt to dilute the facts. Call it whatever you want. AIDS is AIDS; and you don’t catch it from a toilet seat.

      • Allegra

        December 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm

        PACHA members are not paid–a fact you could have easily looked up.

        PACHA members receive travel allowances and per diem which are strictly controlled by the General Services Administration–but this is standard for ALL Federal Advisory Committees. That is not “collecting paychecks from taxpayers” or “stealing taxpayers’ money.” Federal Advisory Committee Members donate their time and expertise to help guide government policy in many critically important areas. You really should get your facts straight before you go mouthing off in public….

    • BigGaySteve

      December 29, 2017 at 5:46 pm

      Obama removing the HIV travel ban let in drug resistant AIDS from Africa last year. Hopefully Trump fills the positions with people who want less AIDS in the US. Maybe he will even get a Murse that says that, and will rattle the cages of those who jack up HIV drug prices from $13 a pill to over $700 a pill.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 5:53 pm

        We have a global pandemic because of the failures of the GOP. Reagan and social conservatives to act and show compassion during the onset of the disease because it was labeled a gay disease! Stop trying to distort history with revisionist lies to push your agenda!

        Worry instead about the size of your waistline and butt and maybe you won’t be “big”!

        • Stanley

          December 30, 2017 at 4:27 pm

          Why should any government be responsible for one’s behavior?

          • obelus

            January 5, 2018 at 8:09 am

            A friend of mine recently built a house for himself. Because he is a homebuilder, it is a rather nice house. His neighbor where he bought the land decided soon after the home was completed to redo their landscaping. The neighbor not only created big swales and berms that served to direct runoff directly towards my friend’s foundation, but he also failed to pull a permit which would have required a topography drawing that would have failed due to code restricting just that sort of thing. The local village had the man tear out all the landscaping and have it redone by a professional company that was under permit.

            It was the neighbor’s behavior that caused the harm that needed remedy. I’m curious how you would have adjudicated this matter using your powers of mutual self governance?

          • Stanley

            January 6, 2018 at 2:58 pm

            I think you are in the wrong thread.

          • obelus

            January 6, 2018 at 7:22 pm

            Do you believe government is to have control over people’s behavior if people’s behavior adversely impacts their community or society?

    • Thisoldspouse

      December 29, 2017 at 6:11 pm

      Oh, please. They’re a money-sucking bureaucracy set up to create an appearance of “caring,” nothing more. The money can be better spent elsewhere, like fighting breast cancer.

    • Zaidi

      December 29, 2017 at 6:17 pm

      The “counsil’s effectiveness” is measure by the Republican House’s support and funding of it!!!

    • Thisoldspouse

      January 6, 2018 at 11:17 am

      A government doesn’t make a country, the people and their values do. 95% of the current over-bloated government needs to be dismantled. The people who voted for Trump did so because they believe so, too.

      • obelus

        January 6, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        Values don’t make a government, rather people make “values” mean anything they want it to mean as long as it serves their interests. Let’s say that a young man is hardworking and gets up every morning to do a job and works six days a week in all kinds of weather trying to grow his business while saving for a new car he can use for the business and new clothes that assist him in his sales efforts. Would you not call that man thrifty and industrious? What if his business is slinging drugs to kids? Does he still exemplify the values you like to see? What if he is a big-pharma executive? How do we calibrate his “values” now? Do you know people who have died in the opioid crisis? I do. Did they not possess the “values” to see that the drugs they were taking, often prescribed by a doctor, were bad for them? And what exactly takes the place of government once it is dismantled? Do you know or are you just guessing? If you think it is something better, more purposeful, more good for us, what if you are wrong? Finally, where does that 95% figure you cite come from? Two thirds of the US government’s annual budget is non-discretionary spending that can’t be dismantled by Trump or anyone else. The discretionary part is mostly comprised of defense spending, which creates far fewer jobs than other spending that could be done. Fact: Defense spending is not the best way to create jobs. A UMass-Amherst study found that $1 billion in military spending created 8,555 jobs. The same amount spent on public transit created 19,795 construction jobs. I think that figure of yours is unsourced and, quite frankly, uninformed. As far as I am concerned, it is inexcusable to live in the Information Age and be entirely misinformed and spewing misread or misunderstood “facts”. If you have some basis for what you put forth, would you be so kind to share it or shut up about it?

  3. Pizza!

    December 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    “Gays For Trump” are the Trumpette section for anti-gay action.

  4. notyetagm

    December 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Best. President. For. LGBT. Ever!


    • lnm3921

      December 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm

      Only if you’ve been labotomized!

    • BigGaySteve

      December 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

      If he reinstates the HIV travel ban & stops importing moslems at taxpayer expense to shoot up gay bars, he might be.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 5:57 pm

        The fake potus will NEVER be great only obese! Your Muslim hysteria tactics will never change that! He’s failed to prevent terrorism repeatedly since Las Vegas! He’s a fraud!

  5. Danny Douglas

    December 29, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    LORD help the USA, because you have allowed the most despicable man alive to attain the office of president. He may, or may not have performed this disservice, but the very fact of his statements and actions lead one to easily believe so. And from the sources, we can only believe it.

    • Thisoldspouse

      December 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

      I thought that Scott Lively was the most despicable man alive.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 7:24 pm

        Thinking and you are an oxymoron and YES because I said so and I’m sure many would agree!

  6. wil9000

    December 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Terrifyingly enough, this may be one more attempt to make him “Reaganesque”. Reagan ignored the epidemic completely.

    • Thisoldspouse

      December 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      Lie. He did not ignore the epidemic completely. But that sounds so convenient for your agenda.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 7:01 pm

        You’re the liar trying to revise history! It’s you pushing the agenda!!

        Reagan ignored the epidemic encouraged by Christian conservatives pushing their anti-gay agenda! All Reagan did was unrealistically tell people to practice abstinence!

        • Thisoldspouse

          December 29, 2017 at 7:02 pm

          LOL! I’m a liar because you say so? What a maroon.

          From Wikipedia:
          President Reagan issued Executive Order 12601 creating the President’s Commission on the HIV Epidemic on June 24, 1987.[1] On June 26, he appointed Dr. W. Eugene Mayberry, CEO of the Mayo Clinic, to chair the commission. Jeff Levi, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force objected to the appointment of someone with no experience with the disease, but others praised Mayberry’s experience in both medical research and clinical services.

          • lnm3921

            December 29, 2017 at 7:14 pm

            The disease emerged on the community in 1982 so you’re telling me it took Reagan FIVE years to appoint a commission! That’s a failure in leadership after millions had been infected and many died!

            The only reason Reagan did that was that children in particular babies were being born with it! The lives of gay men did not matter to him and I defy you to show me something that proves he did this for them!

          • icposse2k

            December 29, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            1987. Do you know when Reagan took office? Do you have any idea how many Americans were dead of AIDS by 1987? No, of course you don’t. It was tens of thousands before Reagan even uttered the words HIV or AIDS.

          • Thisoldspouse

            January 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm

            Probably because it started to affect the innocents in the general public by then. Yes, I said it. AIDS is innocently contracted by the general population, and it is ACQUIRED by high risk behavior of homosexual men. I don’t see a problem with responding when the non-culpable ones get sick.

          • obelus

            December 29, 2017 at 7:50 pm

            As you pursue you little Wikipedia scholarship, please be aware that there may be people on this thread who knew people that died while the Reagan administration carefully steered their inaction into a corner where it could do no good. We will patiently wait for you to acquaint yourself with meatier research and come up with a cogent point. We have time.

          • Count Dracula

            December 29, 2017 at 10:01 pm

            Actually your AIDS will probably kill you soon…so you don’t have time.

          • lnm3921

            December 30, 2017 at 12:04 am

            Actually you’re a homophobic right-wing babbling idiot!

          • Thisoldspouse

            January 2, 2018 at 4:53 pm

            More responsibility shucking.

    • kingkevin3

      December 30, 2017 at 11:59 am

      What epidemic? The CDC simply expanded the scope of the ‘epidemic’ to steadily increase the number of AIDS defining diseases from two in 1983 (kaposi sarcoma and PCP) to currently 30. Each of these diseases of course are all well know and pre-date the invention of the HIV virus. It’s about time people started calling out this crap. Enough money and lives have been sacrificed to the PC of it all.

  7. Thomas Cassel

    December 29, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Not since Reagan’s days has HIV been this political. HIV doesn’t know political party. It doesn’t know sexual orientation.

    This is about bringing new transmissions down to zero and curing those who have it. Anything short of that increases long term health care costs for everyone. That is what everyone doesn’t realize.

  8. Terje Anderson

    December 29, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    It is not “standard practice” to prematurely terminate members’ terms on these councils — I was a member of President Clinton’s PACHA and I continued to serve out the remember of my appointment for the first year+ of the George W Bush administration.

  9. Gaius Octavius

    December 29, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    Without explanation? Seriously? What rock have you been hiding under these past 12 + months, Mr. Johnson? This is what Trump promised to do; whether you like it or not he is keeping his word to “drain the swamp”.

    …and yes, this useless committee is part of the muddy, stinking swamp that needs to be drained.

    • lnm3921

      December 29, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Trump is the creature from the black lagoon and only fills the swamp! You’re distortions can’t change the reality people see and hear themselves from your fake potus and his evil administration!

    • sTv0

      December 29, 2017 at 9:59 pm

      Drain the Swamp? Woo-Hoo! I’d say it’s getting drained! Walsh, Bharara, Yates, Flynn, Comey, Shaub, Dubke, Spicer, Priebus, Scaramucci, Bannon, Gorka, Price, and Manigault.

      Who’s next? Drain that Swamp, baby!

  10. Helen Wallace

    December 29, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Donald Trump is a great man like King Cyrus of the Torah who will be used as God’s instrument to lead the nation back to him and punish the sodomites with death

    • lnm3921

      December 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      La Honnie soit qui mal y Pense! Sanctimonious s”trump”ette!

    • sTv0

      December 29, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      Well, your god certainly has punished a lot of babies with death. Like, the millions, perhaps billions, he drowned in Genesis. Or the forty-two he had mauled to death by two she-bears in 2 Kings. Or (and this is soooo special to you Christians), the time he threatened to kill a baby in 2 Samuel…first he made it sick after it was born, then he tortured it for seven days…then he killed it.

      I’d say your god has a lot for which to answer, HW. And according to our secular laws, he should be locked up and the key thrown away.

    • icposse2k

      December 29, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” (1 Timothy 2:12)

  11. Chaim Green

    December 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    The president have a right and obligation to his supporters to purge the goverment of all employees who effectively are commiting treason by working against the presidents agenda

    • sTv0

      December 29, 2017 at 9:14 pm

      Right On, bro! Can’t wait to watch Eric and Donnie, Jr. do the perp walk. Yay! Go, President Moron!

    • lnm3921

      December 30, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      We have the right and obligation to purge America of the fake potus! The massive laxative is coming!

  12. Frank Roper

    December 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    The president is doing what should of been did 30 years ago, let natural law extingish the homosexuals and the aids virys

    • sTv0

      December 29, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      “should of” ≠ “should have”. Go to the back.

    • icposse2k

      December 29, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Learn to spell virus and maybe someone will listen to you, ignorant thought you are.

  13. Rick Boxer

    December 29, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    I’m just going to “guess” that, since Trump is certainly no friend to the LGBTQ community, that this mass firing is simply another one of his ways to hit back at Obama, anything or anyone else who gets in the way of THAT agenda be damned. Lastly, I eagerly await the day Mueller can develop enough investigative material to force the impeachment of Trump.

    • Thisoldspouse

      December 29, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Were Obama’s mass firings his way to “hit back” at GW Bush?

      Don’t be consistent or anything like that.

      • lnm3921

        December 29, 2017 at 7:33 pm

        Obama was open to hiring people from both parties!

      • icposse2k

        December 29, 2017 at 10:38 pm

        Obama’s firings were to replace people who thought ‘abstinence only’ was a realistic method for controlling the spreading HIV/AIDS epidemic. He replaced them with people who supported interventions that actually work, like condoms, needle exchange programs, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), etc. In other words people who evaluate interventions based on scientific evidence (can I say that in the CDC now?) as opposed to ideology.

  14. Thisoldspouse

    December 29, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    Isn’t it strange that on the whole homosexuals were never healthier than when their behavior was universally condemned by society?

    • lnm3921

      December 29, 2017 at 7:19 pm

      Are you homosexual? Frank roper’s comment is typical of what can be expected from social conservatives in regards to gay men! A reason why the community cannot trust them and never support them!

  15. sapience

    December 29, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    If Pence has any input don’t be surprised if these positions remain vacant or this council completely disappears.

  16. Stanley

    December 30, 2017 at 1:57 am

    People know how to prevent the spread of AIDS. Let the LBGTVPQCBS start their own group. What education do they need? You play, you pay. That’s enough of an education.

  17. Jesus Krist

    December 30, 2017 at 8:18 am

    My New Years Wish is that both Ivanka and Tiffany hook up with people who were getting help with this disease and whose programs have been cut, and acquire the full blown version of the disease in record time.

    • kingkevin3

      December 30, 2017 at 12:01 pm

      It isn’t a disease dimwit. It’s a syndrome which encompasses 30 diseases, whose causes are well known and pre-date the invention of the HIV retrovirus. The level of ignorance on this subject among the dumbocrat population is the main reason the Pharmaceutical industrial complex has been able to get away with mass murder on an industrial scale. And their profits have soared accordingly.

      • Jesus Krist

        December 31, 2017 at 5:53 pm

        Fine, let me rephrase that in the manner that the almighty kingkevin3 can approve.

        My New Years Wish is that both Ivanka and Tiffany hook up with people
        who were getting help with this syndrome which encompasses 30 diseases and whose programs have been
        cut, and acquire the full blown version of the syndrome which encompasses 30 diseases in record time.

        How is that OH mighty king of dimwits ?

  18. jedaustin

    December 30, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    I had to go to the UK to find the answer and it’s a reasonable one:
    “On December 27, 2017, the current members of Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/Aids (Pacha) received a letter informing them that the Administration was terminating their appointments,” she said in a statement. ”They were also thanked for their leadership, dedication and commitment to the effort.”

    The statement also noted that changing the makeup of federal advisory committees is “a common occurrence during Administration changes”, and that former President Barack Obama had dismissed the Bush-era appointees on his council.

  19. Manqueman

    December 30, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Here’s the explanations:
    Donald’s base — the entire GOP — hates gays.
    Donald constantly needs to punch down, because that’s what little punk bullies do.

  20. John Young

    December 30, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    It is true that Federal Advisory Committee Members do not receive compensation other than their travel expenses. However, it is also true that being a member of a Federal Advisory Committee can be used/promoted (especially by consultants) in other ways to produce/influence indirect income. As another matter, there is no reason that any President should be prohibited from assigning people of their choice to the advisory panel. For example, why would anyone want to surround themselves with advisors who have a complete ideological difference? Using this logic, Trump would have kept all of the Obama appointees…I don’t think so!

  21. Brando Calrissian

    December 30, 2017 at 8:41 pm

    There should be no such thing as a right-wing or a leftist AIDS activist.

    If you think that there is, that the people are there to support a president’s or a political party’s policies over the welfare of the public, then you’re doing more harm than good.

    Hiring a candidate based on their political ideology defeats the purpose of unbiased advocacy. Surrounding yourself with likeminded individuals will not produce an environment rich in solutions that take in account a multitude of American voices. Right, left, and everything in between in needed to accomplish this- otherwise, you’re working for an institution instead of the greater good.

    It’s also important to note that Trump isn’t consistent with his dept. firings which is cause for concern. For instance, The President’s Cancer Panel is still intact with Obama’s nominees, amongst others. So you have to ask yourself, what makes the panel over HIV/AIDS different? (or better yet, the demographic they supposedly represent…)

  22. Brooks Austin

    December 31, 2017 at 11:36 pm

    HIV/AIDS research and education should be a bipartisan issue and the argument Trump can only support HIV/AIDS research with people he shares political ideologies with makes zero sense to me.

  23. Lillian

    January 2, 2018 at 8:35 am

    Google is paying 97$ per hour,with weekly payouts.You can also avail this.On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..with-out any doubt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleCashGoldCareerPartTimeJobs/get/hourly ✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱✱.

  24. DC Mykl

    January 2, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    I will restate again my firm belief that any LGBTQ person who identifies as a Republican should be shunned by our community in all things and should be spat upon should he or she ever wander out in public.

  25. 4CarlD

    January 4, 2018 at 11:12 am

    As your may know, President Obama spent several million trying to prove that homosexuality is related to our genetic code to include and all of the LGBT probabilities. We are STILL looking for an association! The obvious conclusion is that it is a personal decision. Why are we so inclined to creating an issue. Life is what we as individuals make of it in all of our stupidity.

  26. Ruckweiler

    January 5, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    Good. This “group” was a lobby for the homosexuals. Glad they’re gone.

  27. Leland Whitehouse

    January 6, 2018 at 10:28 am

    The Media is going nuts over President Trump being the boss and dismissing people. Our President wants the best team possible to get things done. Unlike Obama Trump is the Boss.

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Bill would create LGBTQ veterans advisory committee at VA

Advocacy groups back U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.)’s measure



U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas (D-N.H.) (Photo courtesy of Chris Pappas for Congress)

New Hampshire Congressman Chris Pappas has introduced a bill that would create an LGBTQ veterans advisory committee at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A press release that the New Hampshire Democrat’s office released notes “many LGBTQ+ veterans faced systemic discrimination and were unfairly denied their VA benefits under ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and continue to run into roadblocks when attempting to access benefits or programs afforded to non-LGBTQ+ veterans, such as health care, burial and memorial, education, and home loan benefits.”

“LGBTQ+ veterans, whether they served during the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ era, in the years following, or more recently during the Trump administration’s transgender military ban, all face unique challenges after separation or retirement,” said Pappas. “LGBTQ+ veterans’ voices need to be heard and effectively represented at the highest levels of VA. Establishing an LGBTQ Veterans Advisory Committee will ensure that VA benefits and services are accessible and responsive to the needs of the LGBTQ+ veterans community.”

The committee that Pappas’ bill would create would “reflect the diversity and unique needs of the LGBTQ+ veterans community by including professionals in fields related to health care and other needs unique to LGBTQ+ veterans, at least one lesbian, gay, or bisexual veteran with a service-connected disability, at least one transgender veteran with a service-connected disability, minority LGBTQ+ veterans, and LGBTQ+ veterans who have been both voluntarily and involuntarily separated from service.”

The committee, among other things, would assess “the needs of LGBTQ+ veterans with respect to benefits and programs” the VA administers. The committee would also recommend “needed adjustments and improvements to best meet the needs of LGBTQ+ veterans.”

Pappas’ office notes the Minority Veterans of America, Out in National Security and the Modern Military Association of America are among the groups that support his bill.

“It remains as important as ever to get the ground truth on how LGBTQ+ veterans experience VA services — and then to use that information to improve the system,” said Out in National Security President Luke Schleusener in the press release that Pappas’ office released. “The historical discrimination that LGBTQ+ veterans experienced in service to their country and from American society make culturally competent and informed care a special responsibility and obligation of the VA. We are grateful for Rep. Pappas’ leadership on this effort, and applaud his work for us across the LGBTQ+ community.”

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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Va. school guidelines for transgender students

Christian Action Network and other conservative groups filed suit



Connor Climo, gay news, Washington Blade

Lynchburg Circuit Court Judge J. Frederick Watson on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit that challenged the Virginia Department of Education’s model policies for transgender students that are to be implemented for the 2021-2022 school year.

The VDOE introduced the policies in March to better protect and affirm trans and non-binary students in schools, considering they are more likely to face discrimination and harassment from their peers and students. The directives would require Virginia schools to allow them to use school bathrooms and locker rooms that conform to their gender identity and pronouns and a name that reflects their gender identity.

Several conservative organizations, including the Christian Action Network, and families whose children attend Lynchburg public schools had sought to overturn the VDOE’s policies. The groups cited their need to protect their right to free speech and religion under the First Amendment.

Challenging the enactment of non-binary and trans-inclusive school policies in Virginia is not a new occurence. 

Tanner Cross, a Loudoun County teacher, was suspended in May after stating he would not use trans students’ preferred pronouns. Circuit Judge James E. Plowman, Jr., who invoked Pickering v. Board of Education,  a 1968 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a teacher that stated they have the right to provide commentary on issues of public importance without being dismissed from their position, reinstated Cross after he filed a lawsuit,  

Equality Virginia on Tuesday a statement celebrated what they described as “a win for Virginia schools and students.”

“This ruling is important progress and emphasizes the continued need to protect transgender and non-binary youth in Virginia,” said Executive Director Vee Lamneck. “These policies will create safer classrooms and will reduce bullying, discrimination and harassment. It’s imperative school boards adopt these policies as soon as possible because the lives of transgender students are at risk.”

Equality Virginia, ACLU of Virginia, and more than 50 other organizations and school board leaders across the state filed an amicus brief earlier this month encouraging the court to deny the lawsuit.

The brief’s arguments included references to historic lawsuits like Brown v. Board of Education and Grimm v. Gloucester City School Board that specifically addressed inequalities in schools for minority students.

While Tuesday’s ruling is a win for LGBTQ rights advocates in education and their respective students, there still remains a final barrier to ensure that the VDOE’s policies are sanctioned in the fall. 

“The dismissal clears one statewide hurdle for the guidelines and limits future challenges,” reports the Virginian-Pilot newspaper. “But it leaves the fight to continue at local school boards, which are currently debating how or if to implement policies before the start of the school year.”

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Comings & Goings

Ward named project manager at REACH



Adam Ward

The Comings & Goings column is about sharing the professional successes of our community. We want to recognize those landing new jobs, new clients for their business, joining boards of organizations and other achievements. Please share your successes with us at: [email protected]

The Comings & Goings column also invites LGBTQ+ college students to share their successes with us. If you have been elected to a student government position, gotten an exciting internship, or are graduating and beginning your career with a great job, let us know so we can share your success. 

Congratulations to Adam Ward on his new position as program manager and biostatistician for the newly formed Research Enterprise to Advance a Cure for HIV (REACH) Collaboratory, based at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. This is a multi-institution project recently funded by the National Institutes of Health through the Martin Delaney Collaboratories program, with institutions represented from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Uganda, and the U.K. 

Upon accepting the position, Ward said, “I am humbled to take on this role and to have the opportunity to continue working in the HIV cure field — work that I find so personally meaningful and fulfilling. I genuinely believe that the science this collaboratory will undertake over the next five years will be some of the most impactful in the field, and I am looking forward to supporting it as well as to the progress that will be made. Additionally, community engagement is a key component of this work, so please look for future opportunities to be involved and to learn more.”

Ward began his Ph.D. in epidemiology in 2016 at George Washington University, and worked as a Research Assistant then Research Associate in the laboratory of R. Brad Jones conducting HIV cure research. Ward’s research focused on several areas, including developing new pre-clinical models to test HIV cure strategies, studying how HIV hides in cells of the central nervous system, and investigating drivers of inflammation and associated comorbidities in cohorts of participants living with HIV. 

Ward has worked as a Graduate Student Researcher at North Carolina State University, Department of Molecular Biomedical Science. He was an Honors Village Community Director, North Carolina State University. He has been a contributing author to numerous publications and has done presentations and sessions at conferences around the world.

Ward has his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from North Carolina State University; his master’s degree in Comparative Biomedical Sciences, North Carolina State University; and is slated to receive his Ph.D. in epidemiology from the George Washington University in D.C. 

Congratulations also to Zachary L. Baum on his new position with New York State United Teachers Union (NYSUT) as Regional Political Organizer for Long Island. Baum is a communications and public affairs professional with more than 10 years of experience working in the public and private sectors. He has an extensive track record of delivering results on complex intergovernmental matters regarding environmental policy, housing policy, economic development, food policy, and public health. 

Prior to joining NYSUT, Baum was chief of staff to Brookhaven Council member Jonathan Kornreich. He has worked for Stanton PRM as a senior account executive. Baum also worked as a political organizer for Michael Bloomberg in 2020 and prior to that for the Office of Suffolk County Executive as a Community Affairs Liaison.

Baum earned his bachelor’s degree in political science with distinction from SUNY Stony Brook Universit; and his master’s of public administration with a concentration in public management from the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College, New York. 

Zach Baum
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