brad-angelinaI'm sorry, Brangelina, but real fighters for civil rights don't buckle under pressure when it gets hard

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt got married last weekend at their magical fairy castle in France. Mazel tov! I would hate to deny anyone their happiness and tell them they can't get married when they're in love. Oh wait, except that is exactly what the federal government tells countless gay couples every day by refusing to recognize their rights to get married. Angie and Brad spoke out in support of gay marriage many times and even vowed they wouldn't say their marriage vows until everyone could. Guess what, Mr. and Mrs. Pitt, not everyone can get married, so how good is your promise?

Back in a 2006 Esquire article, Brad said that he and Angie "will consider tying the knot when everyone else in the country who wants to be married is legally able." I can't tell you how much this meant to gays and lesbians all over the country. They were two of the first celebrities to draw attention to the fight for marriage equality and did it before marriage was legal in states like New York, Connecticut, Iowa, California and a growing number every year. This brought international attention to the cause and showed that they were principled people who were willing to put their beliefs before their convenience.

Continue reading at TIME

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Back rooms, parking lots, bath houses... A club a here; an alley there. It was the 70s. The era of free-love and sexual liberation...for some people. For the gay community, there was nothing liberating about it. Even though Stonewall had pushed the LGBT community into the public eye in 1969, its members were a long way from finding acceptance. We were living in a time where people were making gay synonymous with pedophile. Being in the closet meant living in the closet. While Anita Bryant's fame and fortune were fueling a growing hatred for our little sub-population, Harvey Milk was fighting to set us free and give us hope. But regardless of the political climate and media uproar, one thing remained constant...the need for human contact.


Was it all about sex? No, it never has been, but the reality is, when there are so few of us...when so many of us were living hidden, it made finding relationship partners difficult at best, and many people turned to discrete meetings in shadows or seizing an opportunity when someone like them expressed an interest. Condoms weren't readily available, not like they are today. Chance sexual encounters didn't always give you the opportunity to “prep.” Hell, they barely gave you an opportunity to get your pants down. (I guess some things never change.) People were throwing caution to the wind. I'm sure there were some who played it safe, but most people...they just took what they could get when they could get it. And why not? There was no concern for pregnancy, and at the time, most sexually transmitted infections and disease could be cured with antibiotics or treated with a reasonable degree of success. Nothing was really life threatening. But then, in the summer of 1981 something new stepped into the light... HIV made the headlines. The New York Times ran an article titled “Rare Cancer found in 41 Gay Men” and by the end of the year, 121 people were known to have died from the disease inside the United States. The numbers kept growing, and the mystery disease kept spreading. In 1982, the first case of blood transfusion infection popped up. In 1984, Ryan White was diagnosed with HIV from Factor VIII, a medicine used to treat hemophilia. Numbers were growing. People were panicking. It had become an epidemic. In just 5 years, the casualties of the AIDS-crisis had moved from 121 infections to 15,000 cases and 12,000 deaths. A decade later, in 1995 there were more than 500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 300,000 deaths related to the disease. And here we are, in more decade later...with 11.1 million people living with HIV in the U.S. Twenty years turned a handful into millions.


victimWhile initially not reporting on this story, due to it not having a Central Valley connection, we are sadden to report that a Valley native has come forward to allege he was also a victim...

San Diego prosecutors say there could be more charges against a man who willingly exposed someone to HIV, this as more potential victims are coming forward saying they were infected by Thomas Guerra.

A Valley native says he was in a relationship with the suspect and is now HIV positive. He says he's coming forward to warn and alert other potential victims who live in the Central Valley. We're keeping his identity anonymous, but he told us, "He was incredibly charming and romantic, very handsome, not the type of person you'd think to do anything wrong ever."



Additional reporting: ABC 10

A video that alleges to show a self-proclaimed Christian family's reaction to their son, "Daniel," coming out offers a chilling first-hand look at the violence and rejection that can result when parents don't accept their child's sexual orientation.

The video, which claims to be secretly recorded on what appears to be a cell phone, captures the hateful reaction of a family after a child confirms to his parents that he is gay.

The video appears to capture a conversation that was already in progress, and shows the young man's family members citing Biblical opposition to homosexuality before telling the child he must move out of the home, disowning him, calling him a "disgrace," then turning physically violent as a confrontation ensues.

A woman who appears to be the child's mother begins by telling the young man that she has known since he was a small child that he was gay. Nevertheless, the woman tells her son that she believes he has made a choice to be gay, that it is "a path chosen". When he tries to refute her claims by pointing to "scientific proof" that sexual orientation is innate, she says she believes in "the word of God," not so-called science.



My roommate is dying. His body has cancer due to the complications of being treated for HIV, and the way it and the medication for it has ravaged his body for the last thirty years.

When I met Bil, he was still a vibrant gay man. He had a bit of a belly and a fierce beard, along with the quick, sharp tongue wielded by the kind of gay man you want to be friends with (and not get on his bad side). He called it as he saw it, and it was this sort of mannerism that drew me to him instantly. He knew fierce. He knew fabulous. He knew how to mix a goddamned drink.

In the last year that I've known him, though, it's become apparent that so much has changed. He was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma in his throat over a year ago. Treatments, doctors, and chemo drove him and his partner in search of other options than what they could find in Denver, Colorado, where Bil and I met. He reached out to me shortly after my move to Portland, Oregon and wondered what it was like to live up here. I told him it was like a piece of Eden on Earth, with a lot more weird than perhaps anyone truly understands, but that it was a good place. The trees, the energy, the softness of the air all would be a comfort to him after living for years at the high and dry altitude of Denver. He said that his treatment options were greater up here, and that he and his partner Brandon were looking to move. Portland, at least on paper, had a lot to offer them both, and as they made their decision to take the leap, I caught a sense of what was coming. We made plans to meet up once they got here. I braced myself for what I might see in a man who was facing some medical challenges, but that I didn't fully understand, or completely appreciate from a distance. Photos on Facebook and text messages are often very, very cropped, revealing only the images and thoughts we can handle others knowing.

When I did see Bil, in the flesh, it was as a man changed from everything I had known about him when we first met and took off on a hike through the foothills of Denver. There before me stood a man who had aged thirty years. Gone was the spark from his eyes, the smile lines on his face had softened as his skin hung, slightly sallow. Instead of confident steps of power and poise, now he shuffled around, slightly hunched. He'd lost well over fifty pounds. He could barely eat. All of this took place in one earthly rotation around the sun. That's all. One year. I was in shock, and swallowed hard as I struggled to keep the warm grin of welcome upon my face when I first saw him.

I stood there, unsure how to respond, not quite stable on my own feet as he told me that he could feel the gentle step-back of his own small social circle as they collectively prepared for his death. Immediately, I realized that I was on the verge of doing the same thing, and I gritted my teeth. He mentioned this, as if only in passing, and then slid me a hard cider, one of the only alcoholic beverages his body could handle and that he could actually taste. The radiation treatment had killed not only his salivary glands but also his taste buds in his mouth. The cancer was spotted in his throat, to start, but now has started its journey throughout his body. He knows he only has a limited amount of time. I know my time to get to know him is shortened too. As the gravity of his health and situation sank in, I resolved myself to not pull back. I can't be that guy.

A breakup with the man I moved to Portland to be with had thrown a wrench into my life plans in this new town. I struggled to find work, but when I did, it happened a just the moment when the two of them were considering moving out of their apartment and into a home of their own. Bil and Brandon both recognized that my life had taken a tumble upon my landing up here in the Pacific Northwest, and that extending an offer for affordable shelter was the decent thing to do. At first, I was overwhelmed by their kindness and generosity. Now, though, as I have settled into my room in their house, and the schedule of life with these two has found its own pace and rhythm, I know that I am intimately involved in the end of Bill's life due to HIV. I lost my first partner from complications due to AIDS over sixteen years ago. It seems so strange, especially in 2014, to once again be witness to the passing of yet another creative, vibrant, imaginative, powerful, thoughtful, insightful person because of this virus. Though the stories are light years apart, they have that one common thread. They both represent lives that have taken a drastic trajectory change because of one tiny, microscopic half-living entity within their bodies.

Emerson-Collins-250x250Coming out is a right of passage for gay men and women — an experience as nearly universal as it is unique for each person. The process invariably began with the moment where the journey from self-discovery to self-awareness finally coalesces in self-acceptance and the readiness to speak the words. It began the first time we spoke the phrase “I’m gay” aloud to another human being.

Despite the shared experience, the nature of the journey is specific to each of us. Coming out stories run the gamut from those who kicked the closet door off its hinges in six-inch platform stilettos to those who cracked the door open just far enough to let in those nearest and dearest. A nearly infinite number of factors impact how we do it, when we do it, the words we choose, the people we share with and the choices we make once we were received.

That moment draws a line through our lives when our personal timeline suddenly has “Before Gay” and “After Gay” — our own internal birth which allows us to divide the important events, decisions and people on the calendar of our life by whether they happened B.G. or A.G. For the most fortunate among us, it’s a line in the sand. But when the fury of the coming out storm dies down, love and acceptance smooth the sand again and the line is gone. Before Gay and After Gay are one journey with events and people running continuously from one into the other.

Authored By Emerson Collins – See the Full Story at The Dallas Voice

WikipediaAfter a series of incidents where an unknown congressional staffer or staffers made trans-phobic edits to Wikipedia pages, the organization has blocked them from future changes. reports:

It’s impossible to know whether the edits are coming from one or multiple users, but the changes come from an IP address,, that has repeatedly been linked to House of Representatives computers. In the “talk” discussion section of one article, an individual making the changes has also claimed to be a staffer on Capitol Hill. The anonymous user has demonstrated a relatively specific focus on transgender topics. For example, a Wednesday edit to the “Tranny” article changed the phrase “assigned sex” to “biological sex” — a term that has been criticized as transphobic. Articles on “body integrity identity disorder” and “gender identity disorder” were also edited. Even the Wikipedia article on transphobia was edited on Tuesday to include an external link — since been removed for its reported “hateful or abusive content” — defending transphobia. “This article is too pro-trans,” the user complained after his or her edit was removed. “When I attempted to add an alternative point of view regarding this topic … it was reverted right away.”…

The final straw came on Wednesday afternoon, when someone from the House edited the page for the Netflix hit show “Orange is the New Black” to change the characterization of an actor from “a real transgender woman” to “a real man pretending to be a woman.”

“‘This article is too pro-trans,’ the user complained after his or her edit was removed.” Okay, just as a thought exercise, let’s replace “pro-trans” with “pro-Black”, or “pro-Hispanic”. Would anyone seriously look at that and say that wasn’t racist?

joseph-rodriguezBefore this titled is explained, let me enlighten you with a story. It was a warm summer night, and I had offered to give a coworker a ride home. As we both drove off in my car there was a silence. To break the awkward silence, I decided to turn up the radio to cover the silence, and then he asked the question, "When did you know you were gay?" At that moment, I would have rather dealt with the silence. I did not know how to answer the question. Many joke on being born this way, but we are not GAGA, and that answer is a cliché response. I tried to dig deep within myself to come up with a proper mature response, and it was not achieved. My response was, "I felt different." I regretted it once the response left my mouth. The conversation branched off into other gay-related questions, but only this one remained on my mind. When did I know I was, gay? A timeline of my life played in reverse. Was it when I came out? No, I knew way before then. Could it have been with my first same sex kiss? No, but that did seal the gay title. This question began to sink into my skin, and it would not leave my mind until I found a proper response. Growing up, one feels different and awkward but this is a part of the process. Research shows one is not born gay, sorry GAGA. This does not make it a choice. One cannot choose to be gay. Through time, one develops feelings, and emotions. By puberty, many agree they knew for sure. In that period of life, emotions and feelings are fully blossomed. There is no scientific research to credit this response but it does seem realistic. Some individuals can sense their feelings before puberty, and vice versa. If I am asked the question once again, I can respond with a detailed response instead of the vague feeling different remark.

supreme-court-250x250A whole lot of judges who are being asked to decide whether states may ban same-sex couples from marrying think the Supreme Court clearly gave them the answer last year: no. But a few judges think the Supreme Court provided the answer more than 40 years ago: yes.

That reading comes from a one-sentence order the court issued in a 1972 case, Baker v. Nelson, which said there was no “substantial federal question” in a state’s decision to ban same-sex marriages.

The dismissal of that long-ago case might be the reason that same-sex marriage supporters see their winning streak in federal courts come to an end. And it could give lower court judges, who know the ultimate answer on same-sex marriage will come from the Supreme Court, a way to uphold voter-approved state bans without deciding the thorny constitutional questions that accompany the issue.

Authored By Robert Barnes – See the Full Story at The Washington Post

goproud-150x150One of the most widely discussed issues on the political right is the danger supposedly posed by judicial “activism,” when judges are said to substitute their personal preferences for the clear intent of the law and the Constitution. The Supreme Court in particular has been a target of those who oppose judicial overreach.

Overlooked by these critics, however, is the fact that many of the Supreme Court decisions the right loves to hate (from Roe v Wade to Lawrence v Texas) have actually expanded individual rights and limited government power, making them entirely consistent with the presumption of liberty found in the Constitution.

The latest issue to spark outrage on the right is gay marriage. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, for example, railed against it at a rally for traditional marriage this past spring in Washington, D.C. “Judicial supremacy is a curse upon this great Republic,” he screamed, calling last year’s Supreme Court rulings in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8 cases the “greatest heresy of our time.” In the DOMA case, the court overturned that part of DOMA that defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman for the purpose of awarding federal benefits and legal privileges.

By David Lampo – Full Story at Daily Caller