Transgender Women 49 Times More Likely To Have HIV, Study Says

 | Huffington Post | April 2, 2013

Transgender women were 49 times more likely to have HIV compared to a reference population, according to a new study on transgender women and HIV.

Led by Dr. Stefan Baral, director of the key populations programs in the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, a team of researchers conducted a review and meta-analysis of studies assessing HIV infection among transgender women in 15 countries over the span of about a decade and compared it to adults of similar reproductive age in those populations.

Data were only available in countries “with male-predominant HIV epidemics,” including six Asia-Pacific countries, five Latin American countries, three European countries and the United States.

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Evangelical Pastor Fired for Supporting Marriage Equality and LGBT Inclusion

Todd Clayton | GLAAD Blog | April 3, 2013

For eight years, Ryan Bell was the senior pastor of Hollywood Adventist Church, an evangelical, Seventh-day Adventist congregation affectionately known as the “purple church” because of a clear glaze on the building’s exterior that years of sun have turned lavender. Half a mile up Hollywood Boulevard from the Pantages Theater, Bell’s church was situated in the heart of the city, and reflected Los Angeles’ diversity: “young and older…and now children!, multi-ethnic, poor and middle-class, gay and straight, artists, business people, teachers and civic servants,” he remarked in his open letter of resignation.

Bell was asked to leave the congregation a week ago, not by its members, but by the governing body—the administration of the Southern California Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church—after his theological and ideological convictions were deemed inconsistent with the trajectory of the Adventists.

When asked if he saw the termination coming, Bell—an LGBT ally and marriage equality advocate—said, “Yeah, I would say I did. My views on gay marriage pushed some tensions over the line. There were growing tensions between me and the [governing body of the church], and not just on LGBT issues.” The congregation was devastated by the news, and statements of shock and deep grief have been surfacing since the news was announced.

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ACLU: Nevada’s ‘infamous crime against nature’ statute targets gay teens

LGBTQ Nation | April 3, 2013

LAS VEGAS — The American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada wants a federal court to declare unconstitutional a state law that criminalizes consensual sex between same-sex teenagers as a “crime against nature.”

The lawsuit claims that Nevada’s “infamous crime against nature” statute creates a double standard that treats identical conduct differently based solely on whether the sexual activity involves same-sex or different-sex couples.

While the age of consent to engage in sexual activity in Nevada is 16, the statute criminalizes consensual sexual conduct with persons who are above the age of consent but under 18 if the conduct occurs between “persons of the same sex,” according to the ACLU. The law carries a possible five-year prison sentence.

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The Game With North Korea: Nuclear Roulette Has No Winners

David Krieger | Truthout | April 3, 2013

The United States and North Korea are playing a dangerous game of nuclear roulette. The United States is taking actions that threaten North Korea, such as conducting war games with US ally South Korea, including practice bombing runs that send nuclear-capable B-2 bombers from Missouri to the Korean Peninsula. The North Koreans, in turn, are blustering, declaring they are in a state of war with South Korea, which, technically, is true, since a truce and not a peace agreement ended the Korean War in 1953. North Korean leaders have also cancelled the military hotline it maintains with Seoul to coordinate movement between the countries’ borders and are threatening nuclear attacks on the United States, its troops and its allies.

North Korea withdrew from the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and has since tested nuclear devices on three occasions (2006, 2009 and earlier this year). It has also tested medium- and long-range missiles and is developing capabilities to threaten the United States and its allies with nuclear weapons.  The United States has responded to the North Korean tests by holding talks with other countries in Northeast Asia and putting increasingly stringent sanctions on North Korea. The United States also continues to regularly test its long-range, nuclear-capable missiles from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Tensions in Northeast Asia continue to rise.

Nuclear threats are an integral part of nuclear deterrence. For nuclear deterrence to work effectively, it is necessary for an opponent to believe a nuclear threat is real. When the United States joins South Korea in playing war games with nuclear-capable aircraft on the Korean Peninsula, the message of threat is clear to the North Korean leaders. Equally clear is the message North Korea sends to the United States with its nuclear tests and bluster: North Korea has a nuclear capability that could cause unacceptable harm to the United States, its troops and its allies.

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Rather Than Fix The CFAA, House Judiciary Committee Planning To Make It Worse… Way Worse

Techdirt | April 3, 2013

So, you know all that talk about things like Aaron’s Law and how Congress needs to fix the CFAA?   Apparently, the House Judiciary Committee has decided to raise a giant middle finger to folks who are concerned about abuses of the CFAA.  Over the weekend, they began circulating a “draft” of a “cyber-security” bill that is so bad that it almost feels like the Judiciary Committee is doing it on purpose as a dig at online activists who have fought back against things like SOPA, CISPA and the CFAA.  Rather than fix the CFAA, it expands it.  Rather than rein in the worst parts of the bill, it makes them worse.  And, from what we’ve heard, the goal is to try to push this through quickly, with a big effort underway for a “cyberweek” in the middle of April that will force through a bunch of related bills.  You can see the draft of the bill here (or embedded below. Let’s go through some of the pieces.

Adds computer crimes as a form of racketeering

The bill adds to the current definition of “racketeering activity” so that it would now link back to the CFAA, such that if you are found to violate the CFAA as part of an activity that involves a variety of other crimes, you can now also be charged with racketeering.  More specifically, if you look at that long list of related statutes in the definition to 18 USC 1961 (1), it will also include: “‘section 1030 (relating to fraud and related activity in connection with computers).”  Basically, this just gives the DOJ yet another tool to use against “computer criminals” when they want to bring the hammer down on someone they don’t like.  Not only could you be charged with computer fraud, but now racketeering as well.  Because, you know, all you hackers are just like the Mob.

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The Borgias star Jeremy Irons wonders if gay marriage will lead to legalized incest

Greg Hernandez  | Gay Star News | April 3, 2013


Oscar winning actor Jeremy Irons wonders if gay marriage becoming legal would lead to marriages between a father and a son.

Irons insists he doesn’t feel strongly about the issue one way or another but says he does have some concerns.

‘Could a father not marry his son?’ Irons asked during an interview with HuffPost Live.

When host Josh Zepps reminded the actor about incest laws, Irons said that ‘it’s not incest between men’ because ‘incest is there to protect us from inbreeding, but men don’t breed.’

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Uganda MPs demand secret vote on ‘Kill The Gays’ bill

Joe Morgan  | Gay Star News | April 3, 2013

Ugandan Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has failed in passing the Kill The Gays bill by December last year, but it may happen soon with a closed-door session in parliament.

Ugandan members of parliament have said they want to discuss and vote on the Anti-Homosexuality bill in private.

With many fearing retribution from Western interests, many MPs say they are pushing for a closed-door session.

This will mean no member of the press or public will be allowed access to the debate.

According to a survey by the Ugandan Observer, around 40 lawmakers say their constituents are in full support of the draft anti-gay law.

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‘Nothing wrong’ with taking anti-LGBT musical to schools, says Malaysian education minister

Anna Leach  | Gay Star News | April 3, 2013

Malaysian deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi

Malaysian deputy education minister Mohd Puad Zarkashi said yesterday that ‘there is nothing wrong’ with taking a musical with negative stereotypes of LGBT characters (who turn straight in the end) to schools and universities.

‘We don’t want our children to be involved in such activities and if the content of the musical helps our children understand it, then there is nothing wrong,’ said Puad to the Malay Mail.

‘We do not want to create hatred towards LGBT but it’s just that we need to convince people not to get involved in such activities.’

Asmara Songsang (‘Abnormal Desire’) debuted at the beginning of March at the Palace of Culture in Kuala Lumpur. All performances are free and it’s likely to have received funding from the government.

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Russia: St Petersburg Pride to go ahead despite gay ban law

Dan Littauer  | Gay Star News | April 3, 2013

Yury Gavrikov, of St. Petersburg's Pride organizing committee, said the event will take place this summer despite previous attempts to block and an anti-gay law law

The Organizing Committee of the St. Petersburg LGBT Pride says they will attempt to hold Pride on 29 June, 2013 even though three previous attempts have resulted in arrests and harassment and the city’s ban on so called ‘homosexual propaganda’.

The committee further stated that Pride would be held in order to attract public attention to the LGBT people in the city, as well as promoting tolerance and equality.

Last year the city’s government agreed to allow Pride but then banned it only two days before the event was scheduled to take place (7 July 2012).

Despite the sudden ban activists tried to hold Pride but were detained by police for organizing an unsanctioned event. Pride has also been banned in 2011 and 2010.

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Florida Senate committee approves bill for same-sex domestic partnership registry

 | | April 3, 2013

A Florida Senate committee has approved the state’s first bill to allow domestic partner registration, including specific rights for same-sex couples.

Senator Eleanor Sobel of Hollywood, said that the committee had “made history” by passing the bill, despite equal rights advocates conceding that the bill had little chance of passing this year.

“We look forward to making this reality eventually in the state of Florida because it’s really about fundamental fairness,” she said.

The Senate committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs, passed bill SB 196 by 5 votes to 4 with no debate from lawmakers, and no testimony from LGBT rights advocates, reports the Orlando Sentinel.

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