November 29, 2014

A Drug with Almost complete immunity from HIV has not been greeted warmly by All in the gay community.

You have a reponsibility to you and others to know the correct information about HIV.  HIV activists are not your friend if you are HIV. They want people not to get HIV and to fight the disease, (worthwhile goal) but there is more to keeping an individual whole both mentally and physically.

 Guys that have been testing negative need the information to stay the course. They also need that information so as not to make their friends, families, new friends like they carry something like between Ebola and the Prague but it spreads by word of thought. No need for fear if you know the information you wont let anyone try to scare you like they do when Evangelicals want to convert you with the fear of hell.

The HIV Individual needs to feel that it will make a difference in his life and others to stay undetectable of the virus and to insure taking the meds to make sure the virus doesn’t  come back but also that if there is sex, no matter what sex  (percentages of people that will get infected without condoms are quoted between 5-2%) so chances are he wont be given HIV to no one.

To clarify, the HIV individual {can stay} without infecting anyone, while sex with a negative partner or maybe a date. That is the part that some AIDS activist don’t want to hear or for u to hear. They figure is better with the HIV person to have the relationship with an HIV person. At one point may be this made sense but not anymore. People are being discourage from getting the right information so they wont have too much fun. Because is always good to have the fear of the devil to do the right thing.

Not HIV: Don’t be a whore and be smart ask for the last lab report to make sure the guy is undetectable and is taking meds that kill the virus in the blood and sperm.

HIV: Follow the guidelines as per the CDC and stay undetectable and taking the retrovirals to protect your partner. Iam HIV for 20 yrs. When my test came out positive I was told to put my pepars in order. The top I would live was 2 yrs but the Dr thought a a lot less than that, He did not want to disappoint me. If I thought I would never have sex again (oh noo) I would NOT take the retrovirals.
I am healthy enough on that field that I know I will live without them like many people Ive heard of.

 I take them because they guarantee the virus will stay undetectable and as extra assurance I have the retrovirus on my blood and semen. I lived with a partner for 5 yrs, He was negative because I made him take a blood test. 5 yrs together…when we separated for good he was HIV Negative. That was before retrovirals, which meant I had to keep him safe, I was the top on that situation because and HIV was never an issue after I came out to him before we started dating. This was then, there were no meds no antiretrovirals. One thing we had then and it was how it was transmitted and how it was not. A hard virus to be pass on but deadly once it did back then.Imagine now with HIV killer drugs plus the knowledge we have accumulated and are getting all the time. No wonder this virus is going down. While we bring it down, there is no need to do it on the happiness of guys that can couple nicely even if they one is  seroconverted.
Adam Gonzalez, Publisher

Statistics show that many gay men are increasingly reluctant to wear condoms.  

Not every gay man in Australia is having more sex than you or me, but it's a fair bet that Scott is. Scott, who wants to be known by his first name only, lives in Sydney, where he works as an accountant. He is 52 years old, single and travels a lot. Recently he went to Berlin for the Folsom leather festival, an annual street fair that has become the biggest gay fetish event in Europe. The festival features leather bars and fetish clubs and plenty of sex parties, where, as Scott says, "everyone is up and ready for it. It's just really relaxed and casual, and quite collegiate."
Despite having between 12 and 15 sexual encounters in Berlin over five days, Scott only used condoms "on and off". "You make a value judgment based on the person and the situation, just like you would here," he says. Yet he wasn't worried about getting HIV, thanks to a little blue pill called Truvada, which he took every day. "It was great," he says. "It just took away some of the fear that you always have about sex if you're a gay man, that spectre of HIV that is always in the back of your mind."
Truvada is the world's first oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. Just as the contraceptive pill stops women getting pregnant, Truvada stops you getting HIV. Clinical trials have shown that it reduces the chance of contracting the virus by up to 97 per cent. A combination of two drugs, emtricitabine and tenofovir, Truvada has been around since 2004, when it was released by US manufacturer Gilead Sciences as a treatment for people already infected with HIV. Used in combination with other anti-retrovirals, Truvada can lower an HIV-positive person's viral load (the amount of virus in their blood stream) to undetectable levels, making them, for all intents and purposes, non-infectious.
In 2010, however, a clinical trial funded by the US National Institutes of Health found that, taken as a daily dose, Truvada prevented healthy people from contracting the virus in the first place. Subsequent trials confirmed the results across a range of user groups, including heterosexual men and injecting drug users. Researchers called the treatment "pre-exposure prophylaxis", or PrEP. Others have called it "a lifesaver". Scott calls it "a get-out-of-jail-free card".
 In 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration approved Truvada to be used as PrEP by HIV-negative people who are at high risk of acquiring the virus. In Australia, however, the Therapeutic Goods Administration has only approved Truvada as a treatment for those already infected: for these people, the medication is subsidised by the federal government through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), and costs $36.90 for 60 tablets. Doctors here can and do prescribe Truvada as PrEP, but this is not covered by the PBS, meaning that their patients have to pay full market price, or $800 a month. In practice, most people using PrEP buy it online, from websites based in India or Canada, where it costs between $100 and $200 a month. Or they make like Scott, and cadge pills off an HIV-positive friend who has some spare.
You may think the emergence of a drug that offers almost complete immunity from HIV would be greeted warmly by the gay community, but this hasn't been the case. In the US, where there are 50,000 new HIV infections every year, uptake of the drug has been low, thanks to a reluctance of doctors to prescribe pills to healthy people, concerns over possible side effects (nausea, fatigue, headaches) and the failure of PrEP to prevent others sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
There's also been a campaign against the medication by several powerful players in the HIV and gay communities, who insist gay men will see PrEP as an alternative to condoms. Earlier this year, the president of the US AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Michael Weinstein, described PrEP as a "party drug" whose main supporters have "all been associated with bareback [condomless] porn". Others have called it a "profit-driven sex-toy for rich Westerners".
Studies have found little evidence that taking PrEP increases the rate of unsafe sex, either by encouraging gay men to have more partners or abandon condoms. Yet the drug has unleashed a moral panic almost identical to that which accompanied the advent of the contraceptive pill for women. In an article for The Huffington Post in 2012, journalist David Duran wrote that most of the men "running to get" PrEP simply wanted to continue having risky, condomless sex. Duran called them "Truvada whores", a term that has since been co-opted by the drug's proponents in an effort to de-stigmatise it. (There are now "Truvada whore" T-shirts available, in baby blue - the colour of the pill.)
The debate in Australia has so far been more cool-headed, despite a resurgence of HIV. According to the Kirby Institute's Annual HIV Surveillance Report, the HIV diagnosis rate in Australia is now the highest in 20 years, with 1235 new cases reported in 2013. This represents a 70 per cent jump since 1999, when diagnoses were at their lowest. The Kirby Institute also found that unprotected anal intercourse was a key driver of transmission among gay men, who have become increasingly reluctant to wear condoms. More than 35 per cent of men with casual sex partners practise unprotected sex; in men who are HIV-positive, the rate is close to 60 per cent.
Such stats reflect a significant shift in gay culture and a slap in the face for activists who've worked for decades to make safe sex the norm. "Condom use among gay men has been one of the most effective behavioural modifications in public health history," says University of NSW faculty of social sciences Associate Professor Kane Race. "Uptake was widely effective at the beginning of the crisis, which helped keep HIV infection rates under control."
But with HIV no longer a death sentence, young gay men are becoming complacent. "So many young guys choose to be oblivious about HIV," a 26-year-old gay man told me. "They just think, 'Out of sight, out of mind.' "
For sexual-health specialist Dr Robert Finlayson, "the ignorance of these guys is astounding. It's hard for older gay men to comprehend it. They'll be in sexual situations with these younger men who will say, 'Oh, HIV, do you take a pill for that?' Or, 'I saw on the bus that HIV will be cured soon'. "
It's in this group that most new infections are occurring, says Finlayson. "The reality is that after 30 years of condom messaging we have increased rates of HIV infection, particularly in young men. And so PrEP may be the extra preventative tool we need."
But there are risks. Finlayson works in Taylor Square, the traditional epicentre of Sydney's gay community, where he has written about 30 prescriptions for PrEP. "The studies say that PrEP doesn't cause more risky behaviour, but that's not what doctors at the coalface are seeing. Guys come in here and they want it so they can practise unsafe sex without condoms and feel bulletproof. I tell them that PrEP doesn't make them bulletproof, that it doesn't protect against other STIs like herpes, syphilis, gonorrhoea and chlamydia, which are already at very high rates among men who have sex with men and which increase your risk of HIV infection."
Finlayson is concerned that PrEP "might feed into the general social milieu where condomless sex becomes the norm". And so, he says, the challenge is twofold: "To let young people know about the undesirability of getting HIV without stigmatising people who are already living with it. And to factor in PrEP without encouraging further risky behaviour."
But many of those on PrEP aren't seeking thrills, they're seeking security. Shaun is a 34-year-old curator who lives in Melbourne. He is HIV-negative, but his long-term partner is positive. (Epidemiologists call this a serodiscordant relationship.) Shaun has been taking PrEP for four months, as part of a behavioural study, called VicPrEP, being funded by the Victorian government. (A similar study is starting soon in NSW.) The study provides PrEP to 100 "at risk" individuals to see how consumption of the medication plays out. "We want to know how the men use it," says study co-ordinator Professor Edwina Wright. "How they tolerate the side effects, if there's any stigma to taking it and if they take it regularly."
As far as Shaun is concerned, PrEP is not "a get-out-of-jail-free card" or a licence for sexual mayhem. "It's just an extra safety barrier."
Indeed, in serodiscordant relationships, PrEP's effect is as psychological as it is physiological. "For us, PrEP has almost been an anti-anxiety drug," says Stephan, a 26-year-old Sydney man who has been taking the medication for five months. (He sources it privately.) Stephan's partner, whom he has been with for two years, is positive, but has, through treatment, reduced his viral load to undetectable levels. Even so, their sex life before PrEP was severely circumscribed. "You have a much higher risk of contracting the virus if you are 'receiving', " Stephan says, "which has forced us into certain roles in bed. We have always wanted to mix it up, and PrEP now gives us the freedom to do that without risking transmission." There were other issues, too. "Like if I was giving him oral sex ... There was just so much drama and fear, which PrEP has taken away."
Both Shaun and Stephan believe that PrEP should be made more widely available, preferably by having it put on the PBS. This is also the position of groups such as the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) and National Association of People With HIV Australia (NAPWHA). But there are big problems with this, the first being cost. At $10,000 a year, PrEP does not satisfy the PBS's cost-effectiveness criteria. A study by the Kirby Institute found that PrEP would only be a cost-effective strategy among men who are at very high risk of infection, such as those in serodiscordant relationships, but that providing the drug to 30 per cent of NSW's most sexually active gay men would cost an additional $952 million over 10 years. Which is to say, not so cost-effective.
There are also issues of perception. Some in the health community, not to mention the wider public, are uncomfortable with the notion that taxpayers should subsidise gay men's desire not to wear a condom. "The health budget is finite," one doctor told me. "The money doesn't come from thin air: if you give it to one area, you have to take it away from another. And so there are those who think, frankly, 'How dare these guys demand we take money away from some woman who is dying of diabetes so that a bunch of poofters in Darlinghurst can fulfil what they consider their inalienable right to unrestricted sexual pleasure.' "
One of the interesting aspects of the prep debate is the window it opens onto gay culture, or rather, cultures, the politics of which can both compliment and contradict one another. When Shaun from Melbourne tells people he is on PrEP, reactions are mostly positive, with the occasional exception of older gay men. "That older generation was the first to deal with AIDS," Shaun says. "They worked so hard at the condom message and safe sex. So they feel that PrEP, in a way, disqualifies the journey they had to go on, which I can understand. There is also envy there, potentially. They had friends die, and now there is this quick fix."
Scott, the Sydney accountant, is 52 - old enough to remember the peak of the epidemic and all the gaunt men with late-stage AIDS ghosting down Oxford Street. "Maybe for younger people who are now just coming onto the scene, they will never know that fear. It might be like the Berlin Wall coming down; people will never know it was there."
With its whispered promise of unbridled promiscuity, PrEP also threatens the push by more conservative elements in the gay community to "respectabilise" gay sex. "You see that especially from the gay marriage movement," says Nic Holas, an HIV-positive activist and writer. "There is this unspoken idea that because gays have been invited to sit at the table and talk about issues like marriage equality, then we should all behave ourselves and keep it in our pants."
Holas is tall and slim, with a deep voice and fetching Rhett Butler moustache. I caught up with him at a PrEP forum organised by ACON in Sydney, where he was wearing a "Truvada whore" T-shirt. "The fear is PrEP will give the green light for gays to f... the way they wanna f..., and that this is somehow 'unsafe sex'. But PrEP protects you against HIV, so how is it unsafe?"
For too long, he tells me, HIV-positive people have been demonised, not least in gay culture, where hook-up sites like Grindr and Scruff often feature profile descriptions like "DDF" (drug- and disease-free). "PrEP is exciting because it puts the responsibility for slowing HIV transmission rates on negative people as well."
Holas believes PrEP should be on the PBS. It might be expensive, he says, but not as expensive as having lots more people contract HIV. (The federal government spends $300 million a year on anti-retroviral medications alone.) Besides, "It's not like a guy would be on PrEP for life. Women don't stay on the pill until after menopause; they let it go after a while."
Holas is a champion of "sex positivity" - he really, really likes sex. He is a sex worker and also appears in gay porn; his latest performance is in a bareback movie called Breeding Marcus Isaacs. ("Breeding" is a gay term for ejaculating inside another man's rectum, an activity made transgressive by the advent of HIV.) I mention there seems to be a disconnect between his porn work and his HIV activism - a certain schizophrenia in the messaging. "It's only a perceived disconnect," he says. "The reality is that sex workers have been at the forefront of HIV activism since the start of the campaign." He also points out he does not work in health promotion, and is not employed by any of the AIDS councils. "I advocate for HIV-positive people, and I most certainly can't claim to represent them all. My platform is about what it means to be HIV-positive in 2014, which is a reality of undetectable viral loads, PrEP, condoms, sero sorting and a host of other ways and means by which I get to f.... That's a complicated message, one that is more often than not lost on the general public."
One morning, I speak again to Scott, who is still readjusting to life after Berlin. It had been a quiet weekend: on Friday he went to "Bears' night" at Kinselas nightclub ("bears" are chubbier, hairier gay men who reject the "body fascism" inherent in gay and straight culture). On Saturday he had dinner with his parents.
He's not anticipating going on PrEP again any time soon. "It's pretty quiet for me at the moment," he says, "though I do have several irons in some internet fires."
His "ultimate goal" is to find a long-term partner: someone he can spend time with, someone he can trust; someone he can fall in love with. "You're always looking for Mr Right," he says. “But hey, in the meantime, Mr Right Now and several of his friends will do.” 
 Tim Elliott

2015 Pa Am Games Are Promised to be Gay Friendly for both Athletes and Fans

This is a post from The Canadian Press
During the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Pridehouse Toronto wants to encourage the LGBTQ community to participate fully in the event.
During the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games, Pridehouse Toronto wants to encourage the LGBTQ community to participate fully in the event.
Olympic gymnast Kris Burley remained in the closet throughout his career.
The international sporting environment was too hostile a place for a gay athlete.
“From my perspective, to be the best athlete that you can be, and to reach your objectives, you have to be able to be yourself,” Burley said. “And my personal experience is . . . it wasn’t a comfortable and open environment for me. And it was really challenging. And I know that’s shared by a lot of athletes that have similar stories.”
When Toronto hosts the Pan American Games next summer, Burley said it will mark the first time the organizing committee has worked in partnership with the local gay community.
“That sends a real message I think, a real leadership message to set a higher standard for inclusion,” Burley said.
The Truro, N.S., native was the emcee for Friday’s announcement by PrideHouse Toronto of what it has planned for the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.
Those plans include a “celebration zone” in the city’s Church-Wellesley Village, with family activities such as pick-up sports games.
The 519 Church Street Community Centre will be turned into a Pan Am pavilion, with “a safe space for people to watch the Games as well as celebrate athletes and inclusion in sports,” said PrideHouse spokesperson Ryan Tollofson.
There will be a PrideHouse presence at other Games sites, with 16 ambassadors from across Ontario, who have been trained to be able to address questions about the importance of inclusion in sport.
There has never been a PrideHouse at a Pan Am Games, Tollofson said. In fact, 11 Pan American countries still criminalize LGBTQ activity.
“We want to set an example for what inclusion in sport can be,” Tollofson said. “We’re very fortunate in Canada to have a country where we have a lot of rights and protections as gay folks, as LGBTQ people, and so we want to be able to demonstrate that to the world. The main goal of PrideHouse is to make the Pan Am Games the most inclusive multi-sport Games in history.”
Burley competed for Canada at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, and then the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg, retiring that same year.
The former gymnast said that while Canada is an international leader in LGBTQ rights, sports still remains behind other areas of society in terms of inclusion.
“You can see that from all the media (attention) that comes from every athlete that comes out, beginning with (NBA player) Jason Collins right through to Michael Sam (the first publicly gay athlete to be drafted into the NFL) and some of the other athletes,” Burley said.
He explained that Toronto’s PrideHouse for the Pan Am Games isn’t about a “bricks-and-mortar building where people say, ‘OK, that’s where the gays are going to participate in the Games.’ ”
It’s also about including Toronto communities, as well as encouraging the LGBTQ community to participate fully in the Games.
“We’re not quite there yet in sport, I think we’re a little bit behind,” Burley said. “But this is a good step in the right direction, and it sets a good precedent and I’m hoping that future organizing committees with all adopt the same thing, and it will just be standard that the LGBTQ component and diversity in general gets incorporated as part of every Games going forward.”
The Pan Am Games are July 10-26, while the Parapan Am Games are Aug. 7-15.
By: Lori Ewing The Canadian Press,

Was Shakespeare Gay? Look at Sonnet 20


Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116, Let me not to the marriage of true minds, has of recent years become as popular a recitation at weddings as recitals of Frank Sinatra’s My Way at funerals.
If wide notice is taken of a current spat over what we can read about Shakespeare’s sexuality into the sonnets in the correspondence columns of the Times Literary Supplement, Sonnet 20 may be a future favourite at civil unions. The opening line, to remind you, is A woman’s face with nature’s own hand painted / Hast thou, the master mistress of my passion.
And the end couplet is: But since she [Nature] prick’d thee out for women’s pleasure, / Mine be thy love and thy love’s use their treasure.
The two TLS spatters are Sir Brian Vickers, wholly sceptical, and Stanley Wells – inclined to read Shakespeare’s own gay feelings into the poems. Vickers’s countering line is that one should assume the poet is the “poet’s persona”, no more Shakespeare than Hamlet is Shakespeare. Wells thinks the sonneteer is, indeed, Shakespeare himself in propria persona (this is, remember, the TLS, not saloon bar at the Dog and Duck).
These distinguished scholars’ interest in sex and the sonnets is, one may suspect, wholly academic. They are well into that stage of life in which Shakespeare says (rather unkindly) the “heyday in the blood is tame”. There is something rather touching about two greybeards, well into their Polonius years with a combined age of 155, speculating about what was bubbling up in the Bard’s twentysomething gonads and whether it spurts into the poems.
Sonnets, one should note in passing, are hard to read – particularly as they move on to the “sestet”, or last six lines. They are also particularly hard to write in English. As George Orwell noted, the cross that English poets have to bear is too few rhyme words (how many for “love”? glove / dove / above – that’s it). There are infinitely more in Italian – the home of the sonnet. 
Although it has supplied some “slow news day” fodder the Shakespeare-sex-and-sonnet issue is by no means new. Victorians were well aware of it; Oscar Wilde cited the sonnets in his doomed trial. It didn’t help.
“Sodometries” – particularly in Renaissance (now renamed Early Modern) literature – has been around as a critical approach ever since the rise of the queer theory in the 1970s. Shakespeare’s likely bisexuality has been factored, unexcitedly, into modern biography. In one of the best of the recent ones (Shakespeare Unbound, 2007) René Weis has a cool and illuminatingly open-minded analysis of whether the earlier sonnets (including 20) are directed at the young and glamorous Earl of Southampton, the poet’s patron and possible love object. Weis also discusses whether, in their “madcap twenties”, Shakespeare and the more overtly gay Christopher Marlowe had an affair.
Was Shakespeare gay? Was he bisexual? Was he either or both of the above at different times of his life? Would he have divulged the fact? Buggery was punishable by hanging until 1861. And, the biggest question of all: does it matter?
I think it does because Shakespeare is a “living” author and how we read him affects how he is performed. Should one make Osric in Hamlet openly gay (and what about Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern)? Should a director accentuate a gay theme in The Merchant of Venice (Weis thinks yes), or in the transvestite subplot in Twelfth Night? Was Shakespeare bisexual? I’d risk Vickers’ wrath by thinking probably yes. Take another look at Sonnet 20.

November 28, 2014

Evangelicals with Gay Children Challenge the Church


First a word from the publisher to any parent and any child:

It’s easy to tell parents of gay children what to do about their seemingly gay children. It is another thing to be a parent and know how not to damaged their children instead of following what some clown said which could damaged children probably for life. Read the Bible and see what is the number one responsibility of a parent? “The physical and mental welfare of your child.” If you don’t agree with that I surely hope you are not a parent. It’s not to make the child follow you on your religion or crazy ideas about that child natural development.  If the child identifies as a different gender than the parents thought, nothing had given those parents the right to damaged that child according to their likings like you would a pet if you want it to have siblings or not. The child’s sexuality is not for the parents to assign and is not the parents job to try to find out before a child is ready to tell if they have tendencies different than the parents.
Rob and Linda Robertson did what they believed was expected of them as good Christians.
When their 12-year-old son Ryan said he was gay, they told him they loved him, but he had to change. He entered "reparative therapy," met regularly with his pastor and immersed himself in Bible study and his church youth group. After six years, nothing changed. A despondent Ryan cut off from his parents and his faith, started taking drugs and in 2009, died of an overdose.
"Now we realize we were so wrongly taught," said Rob Robertson, a firefighter for more than 30 years who lives in Redmond, Washington. "It's a horrible, horrible mistake the church has made."
The tragedy could have easily driven the Robertsons from the church. But instead of breaking with evangelicalism -- as many parents in similar circumstances have done -- the couple is taking a different approach, and they're inspiring other Christians with gay children to do the same. They are staying in the church and, in protesting what they see as the demonization of their sons and daughters, presenting a new challenge to Christian leaders trying to hold off growing acceptance of same-sex relationships.
"Parents don't have anyone on their journey to reconcile their faith and their love for their child," said Linda Robertson, who with Rob attends a nondenominational evangelical church. "They either reject their child and hold onto their faith, or they reject their faith and hold onto their child. Rob and I think you can do both: be fully affirming of your faith and fully hold onto your child."
It's not clear how much of an impact these parents can have. Evangelicals tend to dismiss fellow believers who accept same-sex relationships as no longer Christian. The parents have only recently started finding each other online and through faith-oriented organizations for gays and lesbians such as the Gay Christian Network, The Reformation Project and The Marin Foundation.
But Linda Robertson, who blogs about her son at, said a private Facebook page she started last year for evangelical mothers of gays has more than 300 members. And in the last few years, high-profile cases of prominent Christian parents embracing their gay children indicate a change is occurring beyond a few isolated families.
James Brownson, a New Testament scholar at Western Theological Seminary, a Michigan school affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, last year published the book "Bible, Gender, Sexuality," advocating a re-examination of what Scripture says about same-sex relationships. His son came out at age 18.
Chester Wenger, a retired missionary and pastor with the Mennonite Church USA, lost his clergy credentials this fall after officiating at his son's marriage to another man. In a statement urging the church to accept gays and lesbians, Wenger noted the pain his family experienced when a church leader excommunicated his son three decades ago without any discussion with Wenger and his wife.
The Rev. Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation in California, was already moving toward recognizing same-sex relationships when his teenage son came out. When Cortez announced his changed outlook to his congregation this year, they voted to keep him. The national denomination this fall cut ties with the church.
In the United Methodist Church, two ministers with gay sons drew national attention for separately presiding at their children's same-sex weddings despite a church prohibition against doing so: The Rev. Thomas Ogletree, a former dean of the Yale Divinity School, ultimately was not disciplined by the church, while the Rev. Frank Schaefer went through several church court hearings. He won the case and kept his clergy credentials, becoming a hero for gay marriage supporters within and outside the church.
"I think at some point moms and dads are going to say to their pastors and church leadership that you can't tell me that my child is not loved unconditionally by God," said Susan Shopland, the daughter of a Presbyterian missionary who, along with her gay son, is active with the Gay Christian Network.
Kathy Baldock, a Christian who advocates for gay acceptance through her website, said evangelical parents are speaking out more because of the example set by their children. Gay and lesbian Christians have increasingly been making the argument they can be attracted to people of the same gender and remain faithful to God, whether that means staying celibate or having a committed same-sex relationship. The annual conference of the Gay Christian Network has grown from 40 people a decade ago to an expected 1,400 for the next event in January.
Matthew Vines, author of "God and the Gay Christian," has attracted more than 810,000 views on YouTube for a 2012 lecture he gave challenging the argument that Scripture bars same-sex relationships.
"These kids are now staying in the churches. They're not walking away like they used to," Baldock said.
The collapse of support for "reparative therapy" is also a factor, Shopland said. In June of last year, Alan Chambers, the leader of Exodus International, a ministry that tried to help conflicted Christians repress same-sex attraction, apologized for the suffering the ministry caused and said the group would close down. At a conference on marriage and sexuality last month, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, the Rev. Al Mohler, said he was wrong to believe that same-sex attraction could be changed. Baldock, The Marin Foundation and the Gay Christian Network all say Christian parents have ben reaching out to them for help in notably higher numbers in the last couple of years.
"If it doesn't work, then parents are left with the question of what is the answer?" Shopland said. "If I can't change my kid into being a straight Christian, then what?"
Bill Leonard, a specialist in American religious history at Wake Forest Divinity School, said church leaders should be especially concerned about parents. He noted that many evangelicals began to shift on divorce when the marriages of the sons and daughters of pastors and "rock-ribbed" local church members such as deacons started crumbling. While conservative Christians generally reject comparisons between the church's response to divorce and to sexual orientation, Leonard argues the comparison is apt.
"The churches love those individuals and because they know them, those churches may look for another way," Leonard said.
Some evangelical leaders seem to recognize the need for a new approach. The head of the Southern Baptist public policy arm, the Rev. Russell Moore, addressed the issue on his blog and at the marriage conference last month, telling Christian parents they shouldn't shun their gay children. Mohler has said he expects some evangelical churches to eventually recognize same-sex relationships, but not in significant numbers.
Linda Robertson said the mothers who contact her through her Facebook page usually aren't ready to fully accept their gay sons or daughters. Some parents she meets still believe their children can change their sexual orientation. But she said most who reach out to her are moving away from the traditional evangelical view of how parents should respond when their children come out.
"I got a lot of emails from parents who said, 'I don't know one other parent of a gay child. I feel like in my community, I don't have permission to love my child,'" she said. "They have a lot of questions. But then they're going back to their churches and speaking to their pastors, speaking to their elders and speaking to their friends, saying, 'We have a gay child. We love them and we don't want to kick them out. How do we go forward?"
By RACHEL ZOLL Associated Press 

Ottawa Catholic School About Face and Allows 6th Graders Start a Social Justice Project for Gays


Amidst media pressure after initially supporting a Catholic school principal who would not allow two grade six students to begin a social justice project on homosexual ‘rights,’ the Ottawa Catholic School Board has switched gears and has now said it can go forward.
“The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has made it clear that our attitudes to gay and lesbian people should be addressed with love and dignity in an open and transparent way, when he said, ‘Who am I to judge?’” stated OCSB Chairman Ted Hurley, who also works for the Youth Office in the Archdiocese of Ottawa.
“The core message is that gay rights are a human right and that the underlying attitudes that have led to discrimination need to be addressed in school and in society as a whole,” he added.
The students, 11-year-old Quinn Maloney-Tavares and her friend Polly Hamilton of Ottawa’s St. George Catholic School, had decided that they wanted to research a project to be presented to the school in January about how “rude” it is to “make being gay a bad thing,” the Ottawa Citizen reported earlier this week.
Adding his voice to foray was the Ontario PC Party’s education critic, Garfield Dunlop, who said the principal’s decision to block the project may be a violation of Ontario’s Education Act, which states that boards must “promote a positive school climate that is inclusive and accepting of all pupils.”
“We want to make sure everyone feels included and that means everyone: transsexual, transgendered, gay couples and, of course, heterosexual rights,” said Dunlop, MPP for Simcoe North, as reported by Ottawa Citizen. 
The school principal Ann Beauchamp said the topic was inappropriate for a presentation to younger students. The OCSB first defended Beauchamp, but changed its position after massive media coverage from the Ottawa Citizen, CBC, and the Ottawa Sun.
“I have had an opportunity to review the entire matter in the full context of promoting fairness, bullying prevention and Catholic teaching with regard to gay rights. All persons deserve love, respect and dignity, especially those that are discriminated against in society,” Hurley said in his statement today.
“The principal will be inviting the students and their parents in for a follow up discussion to resolve this matter and we support the students’ sense of fair play and respect for all persons,” he added.
“What has since become clear, however, is that the motives behind the planned presentation by the two young girls were simply to combat the kinds of behaviour and attitudes that can lead to bullying of gay people, and violations of human rights,” continued Hurley in his statement.
The Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts are “acts of grave depravity” and the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered.” It teaches at the same time that persons who struggle with “homosexual tendencies” must be “accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”
“Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided,” the Catechism adds.
Pete Baklinski

Finland Approves Gay Marriage



Same-sex couples are set to receive full marriage rights in Finland after the Nordic country’s parliament backed a much-debated legislative proposal on Friday.
The proposal—expected to be enacted into law by the end of 2015—will grant same-sex couples the same marriage and adoption rights as the Finnish law now affords heterosexual couples.
Finland’s 200-seat parliament approved the proposal by 105 votes to 92, capping a period of heated campaigning which clogged the email accounts of parliamentary deputies and aroused strongly voiced commentary from both sides of the argument.
Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, left, hugs the country’s first openly gay MP Jani Toivola after the vote.ENLARGE
Finland's Prime Minister Alexander Stubb, left, hugs the country’s first openly gay MP Jani Toivola after the vote. REUTERS


“I am very happy that the parliament has today said ‘I do’ to an equitable marriage law,” Finland’s center-right Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told reporters shortly after the parliamentary vote.
Mr. Stubb has actively supported same-sex marriage and on the eve of the vote he publicly pleaded to members of parliament to vote in favor of the proposal—an unusual move for a sitting prime minister in Finland.
Same-sex couples have been able to register their partnership formally in Finland since 2002 in an arrangement that has granted them many of the same rights and obligations that come with traditional marriage under the Finnish law.
However, Finland has been lagging its Nordic peers and many other Western nations in giving full marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples.
Mr. Stubb said the proposed new law will now put Finland “on par with the other Nordic countries and Western [nations].”
I am very happy that the parliament has today said ‘I do’ to an equitable marriage law.
—Alexander Stubb, prime minister of Finland
The proposal was put to parliament through a so-called citizens’ initiative. In Finland, if a citizen or a group of citizens gather 50,000 signatures for a legislative proposal, the parliament has to take it up for consideration.
Backers of the proposal came predominantly from urban areas and were younger people and its opponents represented more conservative rural and elderly people.
“I feel great,” said Silvia Modig, a member of parliament who voted for the proposal and represents the Left Alliance party. “Even though I am openly homosexual, this was no personal mission to me. This was foremost an equal protection issue. We are now legalizing and recognizing something that already exists in the society.”
Police estimated that about 6,000 supporters of the proposal had gathered outside Finland’s parliament, erupting in cheers after the vote’s result was announced.
Inside the parliament, Pentti Oinonen, a member of parliament who had voted against the bill, was downcast.
“I am disappointed. This is bad for Finland and bad for our values. I had hoped that in this issue, Finland would have not followed the crowd,” said Mr. Oinonen, who represents the predominantly socially conservative The Finns Party.
  Juhana Rossi at

November 26, 2014

Thank You for that Turkey we Missed on 2014


On Thanksgiving as a National Holiday many of us stop to feel thankful not for what we have got but for what we have been able to avoid. For luck or effort no matter how bad we are now we know that it can get worse. If you are missing a limb, a car, a house, a home it could be worse because at least we are aware of our surroundings. You are missing one limb when you could be missing all of them. You are missing a home but you are somewhere able to read this message. For those that will never read this message, those we can only wish a time in which things are as well as they can be. 

I don’t want to wish the blanket happy thanksgiving because for many there will be no happy time this Thanksgiving Day and for others there will not be a day period.  So for us that are to understand that we are stopping to say, “  am thankful for being here not in a worse way that I could have gotten.”

We could say we are thankful for all the stuff we have accumulated but that leaves out a lot of people and a lot of the things we could have gotten that we would have wish we never have received.

So for the troubled we avoided, the speeding ticket we did not get for rushing to get a bird for dinner. For the lives we did not take as we took that turn a little too close and almost hit the white van full of kids on the way to Thanksgiving dinner, we are grateful.

In this nuclear age there are so many things that can go wrong and they usually do, we are Thankfull those things did not happened and the ones that happened did not keep us from saying “I am grateful” because to be grateful is one of the beauties of the human experience. Yes there is love, adventure, drama and other things  but to be grateful implies we are not selfish because to be selfish is one of the worse conditions a human being can experience.

My wishes are for as many of us as possible to have some quiet time to think that it could have been worse. You believe me it will inspire a sense of peace and giving. It wont be on the turkey or the family, even though those are worthwhile symbols but not as important as taking notice of who we are and where we are because come the day after Thanksgiving we don’t know where we are going to be. So lets be thankful and hopeful that we will be in a better place tomorrow that we are today.

Adam Gonzalez

“Living in closet ‘creates this monster inside you”} Gay soccer star Robbie Rogers

LA Galaxy soccer star Robbie Rogers changed the face of sports in 2013 when he became the first openly gay athlete in the five major North American sports leagues. In his new book, "Coming Out to Play," he describes the pain of living in the closet — and in an interview airing on TODAY Tuesday, he told special correspondent Maria Shriver what he thinks needs to change in sports so that every athlete, gay or straight, feels part of the team.
Rogers' good looks and quick feet made him a fan favorite, but the culture of sports left him feeling isolated and ashamed as he secretly struggled with being gay. As a college player, "I heard, 'Don't pass the ball like a faggot,’" he told Shriver. “[It] made me think, well, I’m never coming out and playing this sport, because when they find out, they’re not going to want to be my coach, or I'm not going to be able to play soccer anymore."  he first openly gay male athlete in the five major leagues talks with NBC news special anchor Maria Shriver about his new book, “Coming Out to Play,” is which he shares his secret struggle with being gay. 


After Rogers left college to go pro, locker room conversations about women and sex made him feel he had to keep his secret. "Someone would ask me a question and I'd be like, 'Oh gosh, I gotta lie about this.' And then I would go to the extremes of like, dating girls and, you know, sleeping with girls. When you have to hide that much and lie about [it], it creates this monster inside you."
He told Shriver that it wasn't until his mid 20s, when he dated boyfriend Greg Berlanti and came out to his family, that he finally found happiness. "From the moment I told my sisters and my mom and my dad, they told me, 'We love you so much. This doesn't change anything for us, and you were created this way.'"
But Rogers was still terrified to be an "out" athlete. He quit soccer and gave his support to groups like the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN). Speaking to young gay men and women, "I realized just by playing again on a soccer field, there's a symbol right there that can encourage and give people hope," he told Shriver.
In 2013, Rogers signed with the LA Galaxy, becoming the first openly gay male athlete in major league sports. But to his teammates, he's just one of the guys.
"Robbie's a good soccer player, you want him on the team, simple as that," said his teammate A. J. DeLaGarza.
"He's a soccer player first and foremost, who happens to be gay," agreed Galaxy goalie Brian Rowe.
Rogers just signed a new contract with the Galaxy, who are now competing in the MLS playoffs. His family and boyfriend will be in the stands, cheering him on. He said that when he came out as gay, he expected to be contacted by other athletes still in the closet. But so far that hasn't happened. That's why he wrote his book, which comes out today, he says — to change the culture of sports.
"What would you like to say to coaches today who are coaching high school, college, and professional sports?" Shriver asked him.
"I would tell coaches, 'You probably have a gay player,'" he replied. “Be aware of what you're saying and what you're putting in their minds, because from a very young age, that stuff will 
stay with them.”
For more support and resources for LGBT youth and their families, go to:

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