07/23/2014

Decriminalization of Sex Work Among Top HIV-Prevention Strategies

The decriminalization of sex work is among one of the most important steps needed in order to curtail the spread of HIV, according to the findings of a group of HIV researchers recently published in The Lancet and presented at the 20th Annual International AIDS Conference. The need to focus on marginalized populations grows as mainstream populations gain increasing access to HIV-preventative measures and drugs to treat the virus, the research explains.

_DSC7194-LThe longer sex work remains illegal, said The Lancet’s editor-in-chief Richard Horton, the longer those involved in the profession will generally go without seeking the same kinds of treatments necessary to ensure their sexual safety.

“Why should we condemn and criminalise the exchange of money for sex,” He asked. “[E]specially if the severely adverse conditions we create for such exchange hurt women and men and often fatally so?”

In a series of seven studies delving into the role sex work plays in the proliferation of the HIV virus within a country, researchers expressed their concern for sex working individuals. Given the nature of their work, Horton explained, sex workers are at risk of becoming a group for reintroducing HIV back into the general population, in spite of public health initiatives.

Of particular importance, according to Johns Hopkins University epidemiologist Stefan Baral, are male sex workers, who are woefully misunderstood by most HIV-prevention programs.

"When you think of a sex worker, the most common picture that comes to mind is a female sex worker," he elaborated. "Often what’s happened is that people want to oversimplify and generalize the epidemic. [W]e end up in a dynamic where we know very little about male sex workers."

 

Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 6:02 PM EST by in AIDS/HIV, Health | Permalink | Comments (6)


Dragopolis 2.0 Game Coming to iOS & Android

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So Much Drama is the California-based video game house responsible for Dragopolis, a mobile game for iOS and Android that takes queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race and stuffs them into a side-scrolling action/adventure. As the studio gears up to release a sequel, founder Jeff Meador spoke to Polygon about breaking into the generally un-targeted, expressly LGBT videogaming audience.

"We never pulled back on anything. It was always more glitter, more sparkle, more beads.” Meador said of the intentionally camp Dragopolis. “We put it all in there to really create something that's celebratory of the LGBT community and the drag community as well."

Drawing aesthetic and tonal inspiration from Drag Race, Dragopolis is decidedly hyperbolic in its presentation. Unlike other video games in which queerness is optional and tertiary to overall game-play, Meador and his team are aiming at creating a game that’s celebratory of this specific aspect of LGBT culture.

"I think [drag] has such a celebratory element to it,” Said Meador. "Queens are such fun and they're such characters — it was a great opportunity to bring something like that that has such joy and passion to it.”

Watch the trailer for the original Dragopolis AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 5:35 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (8)


Maryland To Provide Trans Health Coverage

As a result of a settlement to a legal claim filed on behalf of Sailor Holobaugh, the state of Maryland will now provide nondiscriminatory health coverage for its transgender employees. Holobaugh, a transgender man and neurological clinical research assistant at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, filed a lawsuit against the State with the help of FreeState Legal after being denied a medically necessary breast removal.

1280px-Flag_of_Maryland.svgAccording to FreeState Legal the denial of Holobaugh’s surgery resulted in language within Maryland state law allowed for the exclusion of coverage “for any ‘procedure or treatment designed to alter an individual’s physical characteristics to those of the opposite sex.’”

Maryland, in response to the lawsuit, not only removed the explicitly discriminatory provision from the books but also added a “gender dysphoria benefit” designed to cover the cost of hormones and certain medically necessary surgeries.

"This is basically a fabulous shift in policy," Holobaugh told the Baltimore Sun. "I think this will affect a large number of people, especially now that children can stay on their parents' plan until age 26 under the Affordable Care Act.”

Maryland is the third state in the country, following Oregon and California, to provide nondiscriminatory health coverage to its employees, but Maryland’s fight for trans-equality is far from finished, says Jer Welter, Managing Attorney of FreeState Legal:

“[T]here is still work to be done, including the elimination of similar transition-related care exclusions in the Maryland Medical Assistance (Medicaid) program and in policies issued by private insurers regulated by the Maryland Insurance Administration. FreeState Legal will continue to work diligently on these issues to further ensure that equal and fair health care coverage is a staple for all LGBTQ Marylanders.”

Read FreeState Legal's full press release AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Maryland To Provide Trans Health Coverage"

Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 4:59 PM EST by in Health, Maryland, Transgender | Permalink | Comments (6)


News: The Simpsons, Chris Pratt, Snoop Dogg, Cat Tail Beard

RoadFederal judge in Louisiana: no more marriage briefs, please.

RoadRep. Mark Takano (D-CA) introduces Social Security fix for gay couples.

DoggRoadSnoop Dogg says he smoked weed at the White House. "Though Mr. Dogg did not explicitly say so, the implication was that President Obama was not there when the rapper toked up."

RoadGiorgio Armani makes his annual Speedo outing.

RoadInquest: Peaches Geldof died of heroin overdose. "The TV presenter had been a heroin addict and took the substitute drug methadone for two-and-a-half years before her death, the inquest heard."

RoadRight-wing media pretend religious liberty protects anti-LGBT discrimination: "Conservative media are condemning President Barack Obama's executive order prohibiting federal contractors from engaging in anti-LGBT discrimination, framing the order as an assault on religious liberty, pushing discredited arguments to claim this discrimination is legally insignificant and asserting that anti-LGBT workplace bias isn't a real problem."

RoadMan Booker Prize 2014 longlist announced.

RoadRicky Martin heads off to Dubai.

RoadJames Franco is the happiest Batman.

MeyerRoadAFL QB Erik Meyer has a cat tail beard.

RoadResearchers: anti-gay laws fuel the spread of HIV. "A study released Monday at the [International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia] shows that vulnerable communities in Nigeria fared far worse after legislation was passed criminalizing gay male sex. And in a panel scheduled for Wednesday , researchers were expected to discuss way to help advocates, doctors and patients combat stigma."

RoadChris Pratt suits up for Guardians of the Galaxy premiere.

RoadEvery single episode of The Simpsons ever made to be available online.

RoadNetflix offers some details on Chelsea Handler's talk show: "People are not watching scripted programming the way they used to. They're also not watching these late-night talk shows the way they used to, meaning they're not watching them at 11:30. They're watching them days, weeks, sometimes months later online or on stacked episodes on DVR. So what we are hoping to do with Chelsea and her team is create a show that’s built closer to the way people are going to watch it, the way we had done with serialized dramas where we to took out the commercial breaks and the cliffhangers and really produce it for the way people watch. And we've got a lot of time between now and then to work through all the format details. Chelsea is incredibly excited and we're really excited about her brand and we think it’s going to be great for us."

Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 3:19 PM EST by | Permalink | Comments (15)


Saudi Man Sentenced To Three Years And 450 Lashes For 'The Practice Of Homosexuality'

Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to three years in prison and 450 lashes for “the practise of homosexuality,” after attempting to arrange to meet another man using Twitter, reports LGBTQ Nation.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transexual Rights UAEArabic newspaper Al-Watan said that “the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice...tracked down the owner of the account” of the man who was trying to arrange sex with another man.

The man’s phone, which contained pornographic images, was also confiscated.

Abdulla, the chair of the United Arab Emirates LGBT group said:

“It is infuriating and disheartening when a country that was elected not too long ago to become a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council arrogantly and nonchalantly violates its core principles and harms its own citizens. Not only is the fundamental human right for privacy breached but the entrapment and sentence also breaches several human rights charters."

Abdulla continued that “if the man survives this ordeal he will find himself an outcast and will be in danger for life after he completes this harsh sentence.”

Saudi Arabia is known for its harsh anti-hay laws. In 2011, Ali Ahmed Asseri, a gay former Saudi diplomat living in Los Angeles in fear for his life, was denied asylum. Asseri's appeal earlier this year was successful.

Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 2:30 PM EST by in Facebook, Law - Gay, LGBT, Law Enforcement, Saudi Arabia, Twitter, United Arab Emirates | Permalink | Comments (17)


Lawyer Requests Summary Judgment in Case Challenging North Dakota's Gay Marriage Ban

Joshua Newville, the lawyer representing seven gay couples in a challenge to North Dakota's gay marriage ban has filed a motion for summary judgment in the case, the AP reports:

NewvilleIn June, Newville filed the federal lawsuit, which challenges a voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment banning gay marriage that passed with more than 73 percent of the vote. It claims it violates protections found in the U.S. Constitution, including the 14th Amendment's guarantees of equal protection and due process.

In the memorandum, Newville argues that the plaintiffs are entitled to summary judgment on their constitutional claims.

Newville is also representing plaintiffs in a challenge to South Dakota's gay marriage ban and filed a motion for summary judgment in that case earlier this month.

Posted Jul. 23,2014 at 2:00 PM EST by in Gay Marriage, News, North Dakota | Permalink | Comments (2)


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