The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that men having sex with men (MSM) account for just four percent of the U.S. male population aged 13 and older, yet the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women. In the rural Appalachian Mountains and foothills of Northwestern North Carolina, a few additional statistics caught the attention of local AIDS service organization, the AIDS Leadership Foothills-area Alliance (ALFA). In 2010, a shocking 90 percent of new clients came into medical care with an AIDS diagnosis and almost 70 percent of the clients self-identified their risk factor as men who have sex with men.
On Aug. 27, the Human Rights Campaign announced the departure of its current executive director, Joe Solmonese, whose contract will run out on March 31, 2012; he has chosen not to renew. The same day, HRC announced the formation of a search committee tasked to find a replacement for Solmonese. North Carolinian Joni Madison, of Hillsborough, and Los Angeles’ Dana Perlman, will co-chair the committee.
You can’t stop Pride. Don’t even try. Human dignity and determination of spirit can’t be overshadowed by hate and prejudice. That’s exactly the message sent by the thousands who attended Pride Charlotte on Aug. 27, the same day hundreds of anti-gay protesters from Charlotte’s radical, religious right made a show of desperate force in an effort to stymie progress and turn back the clock on LGBT equality.
Whether or not you’ve heard of Jerry Buell, in a few minutes you’re going to find it hard to forget him. Buell is a high school teacher in Mount Dora, Fla., who posted on Facebook that he “almost threw up” when he heard about New York’s legalization of gay marriage. He said same-sex unions were part of a “cesspool,” and called them a “sin.”
On Sept. 7, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new guidelines that strengthen the Nov. 2010 hospital visitation rules that protect patients’ rights to be visited in the hospital by their families and loved ones. The guidance, which took effect immediately, makes several important changes to current policy and provides significant protections for LGBT patients and their families.
Jordan Mitzel, born in the spring of 1998 to an alcoholic, HIV-infected and crack-addicted prostitute, has survived much in his short life. He battled the affects of fetal alcohol syndrome and drug addiction from the moment he arrived. Seems like a real horror tale, but he was lucky because his mother left him at the hospital and he was placed with Beverly Mitzel and Sonja Austin at just five days old. Eventually, they would become his new moms.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill may change its housing policies. On the table is a proposal to give men and women the chance to share rooms and apartments at the schools residence halls.
Sporting a brand new venue and a breezy day produced by the feeder bands from Hurricane Irene, Pride Charlotte 2011 became one of the most successful events to date for the LGBT and allied communities of the Queen City.
The Carolina Bear Lodge will hold its Coming Out! Cotillion Ball on Oct. 1, 7:30-11 p.m, at the Holiday Inn Raleigh North, 2805 Highwoods Blvd.