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Watch What Happens When Some Guy on an Airplane Jokes About Having Ebola: VIDEO



Not funny.

Fear about Ebola — warranted or not — is definitely ramping up.

The overall death toll stands around 3,865. Nearly all of the deaths have taken place in West Africa, which is several months into the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Two recent deaths in the United States and Spain have raised concerns that — despite repeated assurances by public health authorities — the outbreak could spread overseas.

Much of the anxiety has come since the death of Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man flew to Dallas on Sept. 20 while infected with Ebola. He had no symptoms but had been in direct contact with an infected woman back in Liberia. He died on Oct. 8.

Since Duncan's case came to light, airports in the United States have announced new screening measures. But that's not reassuring everyone. At LaGuardia International Airport, workers who clean airplane cabins have gone on strike, afraid that they could come into contact without bodily fluids carrying the disease.

And it's in this climate of anxiety, misinformation, and human error that the above video appears. It was filmed on an Oct. 8 flight from Philadelphia, Penn. to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While in flight, an American passenger apparently sneezed or coughed and then joked about having recently been in Africa.

Of course, the guy hadn't been in Africa and didn't have Ebola. Here, in shaky smartphone video form, are the incredible repercussions of it all.


Continue reading "Watch What Happens When Some Guy on an Airplane Jokes About Having Ebola: VIDEO" »

NYC Councilman Corey Johnson Introduces Groundbreaking Transgender Birth Certificate Legislation


A bill introduced yesterday by New York City councilman and LGBT rights activist Corey Johnson aims to change the law under which transgender people wishing to change sex on their birth certificate must prove that they have had “corrective surgery,” reports Capital New York.

The Department of Health will propose new regulations mirroring Johnson's legislation.

Last year, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill on Tuesday that will make it easier for transgender Californians to obtain a birth certificate with sex and name alterations

New York City law currently requires anyone wishing to change their birth certificate to undergo surgery. However, under the proposed change, transgender people would only be required to provide a signed form from a physician, a doctoral level psychologist, a licensed clinical social worker, licensed master social worker, physician's assistant, nurse practitioner, marriage family therapist, mental health counsellor or a midwife.

According to advocates, although New York City in 1971 became the first municipality to permit changes to a birth certificate for transgender people, the policy has not been updated and now stands as too restrictive.

Johnson - a former political editor for Towleroad - said that the change is a human rights issue and is necessary “because transgender people currently do not have accurate documents to be able to access basic things like a driver's license that matches who they are.”

Michael Silverman, Executive Director of Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, said:

“We applaud both of these efforts to help transgender people born in New York City update their birth certificates to match who they truly are. These proposed policy changes reflect modern medical standards for transgender health care.

"A birth certificate is a fundamental form of identification. Yet New York City’s existing policy makes it all but impossible for transgender people to get birth certificates that reflect their true identities. It requires surgical procedures that most transgender people have not undergone, either because of discriminatory health insurance exclusions that make such procedures unaffordable, or because such procedures are medically inappropriate for some people.”

GLAD Sues Walmart on Behalf of Employee Denied Health Coverage For Same-Sex Partner


Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed a charge of discrimination on behalf of Jacqueline Cote [right], a Walmart employee in Swansea, Massachusetts who was denied spousal health insurance for her wife, reports The Rainbow Times.

Cote’s wife, Diana Smithson is currently battling ovarian cancer.

According to GLAD, Walmart’s refusal of health insurance for Smithson violates both state and federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment.

Between 2006 and 2012, Cote attempted to add Smithson to her insurance. However, when she entered her spouse’s gender as “female,” Walmart’s online system would stop her from proceeding further.  When she called the retailer’s home office to investigate further, she was told that Walmart did not offer health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses.

By the time Walmart announced that it would change its policy in 2013, Cote and Smithson had racked up medical bills of more than $100,000.

Janson Wu, senior staff attorney at GLAD, said “all that Jackie wanted was to be treated like all other Walmart employees and to take care of her spouse. Instead, Walmart chose to discriminate against its gay and lesbian employees.”

Obama Mentions LGBT Victims of Sexual Violence at 'It's On Us' Campaign Rollout: WATCH


On Friday President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden announced the White House’sIt’s On Us” campaign designed to heighten the public’s awareness of sexual assault. Working in collaboration with Generation Progress, a progressive political non-profit focused on college campuses, It’s On Us is the latest addition to the White House Task Force on Sexual Assault’s broader initiative to standardize the processes through which rape and sexual assault are reported and addressed in college settings.

In April the Task Force published a 20-page reportd detailing steps that university leadership should take to more effectively engage with their students, faculty, and security personnel in the on-going conversation about rape-culture.

“An estimated one in five women has been sexually assaulted during her college years -- one in five.” Obama said during Friday’s press conference. “Of those assaults, only 12 percent are reported, and of those reported assaults, only a fraction of the offenders are punished.”

Obama made a point of highlighting the prevalence of sexual assault across multiple demographics, adding that while discussion of rape-culture tends to focus on women, men and members of the LGBT community also deserve the same kinds of protections.

“[W]hile these assaults overwhelmingly happen to women, we know that men are assaulted, too. Men get raped. They’re even less likely to talk about it. We know that sexual assault can happen to anyone, no matter their race, their economic status, sexual orientation, gender identity -– and LGBT victims can feel even more isolated, feel even more alone.”

It’s On Us’s emphasis on bystander prevention and encouraging men to talk about their own experiences marks the White House’s future plans to further expand the Task Force’s focus to K-12 schools, representatives asserted.

“Obviously, many of these habits do not begin as young people arrive on college campus – it begins earlier than that,” explained a senior White House representative. “Today’s announcement is a critical part of the administration’s work to prevent sexual assault, but it is not the final step.”

Watch It's On Us's firist video PSA featuring actors Jon Hamm, Kerry Washington, Rose Byrne and others AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Obama Mentions LGBT Victims of Sexual Violence at 'It's On Us' Campaign Rollout: WATCH" »

CDC Launches 'HIV Treatment Works' Campaign: VIDEO


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has begun a video campaign titled "HIV Treatment Works." Their goal? Encourage and support people living with HIV to do just that, keep living a vibrant and healthy lifestyle.

The CDC reports:

More than 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV. This campaign features people from across the United States who are living with HIV talking about how sticking with care and treatment helps them stay healthy, protect others, and live longer, healthier lives.

This campaign shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to get in care and stay on treatment. On this website, you will find information encouraging people living with HIV to get in care and stay on treatment, as well as resources on how to live well.

The CDC website has a series of videos chronicling a wide array of Americans living with HIV as well as an HIV testing location finder and a list of other resources.

Check out the campaign ad, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "CDC Launches 'HIV Treatment Works' Campaign: VIDEO" »

How Does Deodorant Work? - VIDEO

How Does Deodorant Work?

Ever wondered just how deodorant works - or in a lot of cases completely fails to?

Mental floss has a new explainer that should sort you out.

If you have 150 seconds to spare, grab a seat and learn some science, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "How Does Deodorant Work? - VIDEO" »


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