As PrEP Use Soars Among Men in California, Racial Disparities Persist:
Use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) has expanded rapidly in recent years among beneficiaries of California’s Medicaid system, known as Medi-Cal. Following trends seen across the country, white men older than 25 are the predominant population using Truvada (tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine) as prevention for HIV.
Over 40 LGBTQ Candidates Have Already Announced They’re Running For Office in Texas:
Texas politics is about to have its queerest year ever: More than 40 LGBTQ candidates have announced their intention to run for office in 2018.
The count is 41 at the time of writing, although that estimate changes daily. OutSmart, a Houston-based LGBTQ magazine, listed the number of queer and trans candidates at 35 on Jan. 2. Just two days later, six more political aspirants had joined the ever-expanding pool.
Two LGBTQ candidates will be vying for the biggest job in Texas. INTO spoke with Jeffrey Payne, a Dallas gay bar owner and Hurricane Katrina survivor, after he threw his hat in the ring last July. Lupe Valdez stepped down from her position as Dallas County Sheriff, which she had held for 12 years, to enter the 2018 general election.
Should they win the Democratic Party nomination, they would face off against Gov. Greg Abbott. The Republican leader unsuccessfully attempted to force an anti-trans bathroom bill through the legislature in 2017.
The Texas Senate races include three LGBTQ candidates, all of whom would be the first openly queer or transgender person ever elected to the state’s upper legislative body.
Show ‘em how it’s done, y’all. (via Into)
Meet America’s first all-LGBTQ city council:
Palm Springs, California, is now being represented by the nation’s first entirely LGBTQ city council.
“All five members of the city council identify within the LGBTQ community, and they represent every letter in the acronym. With last month’s election, the pentad arrives in a conflicting political landscape, where LGBTQ politicians have picked up historic wins while the Trump administration and a number of states are rolling back some of the gains the community has made over the past decade.”
“The opportunity to educate and to provide positive visibility, advocates say, are just a couple of the reasons LGBTQ representation in government matters.”
Free speech absolutists often imagine an open public square, in which everyone has access to the same podium, and can advocate for whatever they wish—whether that’s socialism, capitalism, or the extermination of certain racial groups. If all opinions are equally protected, all people are equally free. The job of the courts and the government, in this view, is to make sure no one is silenced for what they say or believe.
The problem is that, in practice, people are most often silenced not for what they believe but for who they are. Totalitarianism rarely looks like 1984, in which everyone is equally repressed, and the party members with more power are most policed. Rather, totalitarianism usually looks more like the Jim Crow South, in which one stigmatized group was terrorized in the name of preserving freedom for their oppressors.
This is very much true of the experience of LGBT people. Gay, lesbian and queer history is one of painfully enforced silence. In the US, freedom of speech protected the right of LGBT people to say anything, as long as they did not discuss the truth of their identities. This position was codified through the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which mandated that LGBT soldiers could stay in the military as long as they lied about their sexuality. This was a government policy that literally punished people for speech—because that speech was about their own marginalized identity. Though scholars argued that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” violated the First Amendment, it was not struck down on those grounds.
If the Supreme Court allows Masterpiece Cakeshop to discriminate against LGBT people, it will be a step back into the closet—which is to say, it will be a step toward silencing gay, lesbian, and queer people in public spaces. If businesses can refuse service to LGBT people, then there is a powerful incentive for LGBT people to censor or silence themselves when trying to buy cakes—or do anything else.
Growing Up Black And Gay In The South:
“From an early age, I remember feeling ashamed of my attraction to other boys in church and school. The thoughts in my head tormented me at times and I tried to do everything I could to fit in and force myself not to think about it. It wasn’t always easy. I hated when someone would bring anything up about homosexuality. At the mention of the word “gay,” my heart would drop. Sunday school lessons and sermons were often about how God created man to find a wife and for women to submit themselves to their husbands. I tried to date girls in order to force myself to be straight. I convinced myself that I needed to be “delivered” from the “spirit of homosexuality.” I thought there was literally a demon or evil spirit causing me to be gay and I wanted to do everything I could to get rid of it. I felt so much shame for sneakily touching or kissing another boy behind closed doors. I felt dirty and worthless and I would always promise God—and myself—that I wouldn’t do it again.”
Such an inspiring read, thank you for sharing your story, Rayvon. I’m certain that it wouldn’t of been easy to share this to the world, but I’m just glad that now you can live and love happily, and fully love yourself as you are.
Federal judge says Trump can’t stop funding gender confirmation surgery for transgender troops:
For the second time, a judge has blocked the president’s proposed ban on transgender people serving openly in the military.
U.S. District Judge Marvin J. Garbis cited Trump’s tweets in his ruling, saying that the administration cannot refuse to pay for transgender troops’ healthcare (including transition and surgery costs) and that trans people have already suffered because of his erratic decision.
In his 53-page order, Garbis said the transgender service members challenging the ban have “demonstrated that they are already suffering harmful consequences such as the cancellation and postponements of surgeries, the stigma of being set apart as inherently unfit, facing the prospect of discharge and inability to commission as an officer, the inability to move forward with long-term medical plans, and the threat to their prospects of obtaining long-term assignments.” […]
The judge agreed with the government that the courts should generally defer to the president and Congress on military affairs, but it found that “Trump’s tweets did not emerge from a policy review,” according to the opinion, which featured images of the president’s July tweets.
“A capricious, arbitrary, and unqualified tweet of new policy does not trump the methodical and systematic review by military stakeholders qualified to understand the ramifications of policy changes,” wrote Garbis, who was nominated to the bench by President George H.W. Bush.
Hell yeah. We are not letting this happen.
Schools Split on Whether to Educate Teachers on Trans Issues:
This was in my local news the other night… trans people are everywhere these days!