Monday, May 21, 2018

News Round-Up: May 21, 2018

(via Instagram)
Some news items you might have missed:

• Model Nick Sandell spent time at the beach; I was stuck in my office watching the sun go by. By the time I got done with work, the dang clouds had rolled in :(

• Andy Warhol's iconic Interview Magazine has shuttered. Employees were told today at an "all-hands meeting" that the magazine had folded.

• A proposal to include discussions on the topics of transgender, sexual orientation and sexual identity in Fort Worth, Texas, public schools has found it's protesters.

• As other states are trying to limit LGBTs ability to adopt or foster homeless children, Connecticut is actively trying to recruit members of the community to participate in adoption/fostering.

• Pope Francis told a gay man that God made him exactly as he is, and that God loves him just as he is.

• GLAAD and Bonnier Publishing USA have teamed up to release a children’s book series featuring LGBT stories (see below).

Documentary Explores Closeted Pro Athletes "Alone In The Game"

A new documentary from AT&T Audience Network, Alone in the Game, reveals the constant challenges that LGBT athletes face in the competitive arena of pro sports.

Interviews with former Olympic freeskier Gus Kenworthy, NBA center Jason Collins, MLS Cup champion Robbie Rogers, NFL draftee Michael Sam, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, former ESPN president John Skipper, and triathlete Chris Mosier are among those included in the film.

In a sobering moment that illustrates how deep the fear of coming out in pro sports can be, former NFL lineman Ryan O’Callaghan admits, “I’d always planned on killing myself when I was done with football.”

“I thought I’d rather be dead than an out gay man,” he adds.

Ryan O'Callaghan in "Alone in the Game"

In one scene of the film, a gay Division I football player asked to have his face and voice disguised to explain why he won’t come out of the closet: “I’m not ashamed, just scared."

“If there wasn’t homophobia in sports, and if everyone felt comfortable to be who they were, then everyone who was gay would be out,” says Olympic soccer player Megan Rapinoe.

“We’re giving viewers a rare look into the lives of these elite athletes’ unique journeys and open their eyes to the daily challenges these athletes face on and off the field of play,” says executive producer and creator of Alone in the Game, David McFarland.

“With added attention to this issue, I’m hopeful we can affect real change at the highest levels of American sport and that the next generation of LGBTQ athletes will be judged by their athletic performance, rather than their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

With the retirement of Robbie Rogers from pro soccer and Jason Collins from the NBA, there are currently no out athletes in any of the major professional team sports in the U.S.

Watch the trailer below. Alone in the Game premieres June 28 on AT&T Audience Network.

Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Look To Protect Trans Military Service Members

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives is looking to protect transgender military service members with a proposed amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The amendment, if adopted, would codify the Obama-era open-service policies into law, thus blocking Donald Trump’s proposed ban of trans service members.

The amendment to the NDAA was drafted by Democratic Reps. Jackie Speier (Calif.), A. Donald McEachin (Va.) and Susan Davis (Calif.) and moderate Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), whose son is transgender.

The House Rules Committee, which will determine which amendments will actually get a vote on the floor of the House, is set to meet Monday and Tuesday this week.

As you may recall, Donald Trump surprised folks when he tweeted from out of nowhere that he wished to place a ban on transgender service members in the U.S. military.

In August of last year, Trump told reporters that he was "doing the military a great favor" by attempting to ban trans service members.

In October, a federal judge effectively blocked Donald Trump's proposed ban on transgender service members in the military saying the ban was "driven by a desire to express disapproval of transgender people generally."

Last month, top military leaders of the Navy and Marine Corps said they have seen no evidence of morale, discipline or unit readiness problems with transgender troops now serving openly in the military.

Trump's ban is currently in legal limbo as four different federal courts have placed a hold on the executive order.

Jennifer Aniston To Play First Lesbian President In Upcoming Netflix Comedy 'First Ladies'

Jennifer Aniston (image via Flickr)

Jennifer Aniston is heading to the White House in Netflix’s upcoming comedy, First Ladies.

Netflix has announced that Jennifer Aniston and comedian Tig Notaro are set to star in the political comedy playing the most powerful couple in the world: president and first lady. Aniston will play POTUS and Notaro will play FLOTUS.

We’ve seen a few female presidents in movies and TV up to now, but never a lesbian couple taking up residence at the most famous address in the world.

The project was pitched by Notaro and her wife Stephanie Allynne, who will also write the screenplay.

According to the log line, "First Ladies is a political comedy about America’s first female President and her wife, The First Lady. When Beverly and Kasey Nicholson move into the White House, they’ll prove that behind every great woman... is another great woman."

While the script hasn’t been written yet, the streaming network has already lined-up producers including Will Ferrell, Jessica Elbaum, Adam McKay, and Betsy Koch as well as Aniston and Notaro.

FDA Approves PrEP For Use By Teens At Risk Of HIV

In 2012, HIV medication Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by adults as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV.

The results have been excellent to say the least as studies show the use of PrEP reduces the chances of HIV exposure by over 90%.

Now, the FDA has expanded the approval of Truvada as PrEP to include adolescents. The new approval will now include teens at risk for HIV who weigh at least 77 pounds.

The decision was based on the ATN113 study, which enrolled 78 high-risk adolescents ages 15 to 17.

Over the course of 48 weeks, the participants checked in on a monthly basis for the first three months, and then moved to clinic visits every three months.

Adherence to taking the drug on a daily basis was fairly high during the first three months. But once the study moved to checking in only every three months, researchers found the teens were more likely to skip a dose.

That drop off in adherence led to the conclusion that teens may need monthly monitoring in order to achieve the best results on PrEP.

(photo by Jeremy McKnight)

The side effects reported among the adolescents were similar to those observed in adults on Truvada, the most common being weight loss, headaches and abdominal pains.

In a press release from Gilead Sciences, which manufactures Truvada, Sybil Hosek, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Cook County Health and Hospital System’s Stroger Hospital in Chicago and lead investigator of the study wrote, “Study ATN113 has demonstrated that Truvada for PrEP is a well-tolerated prevention option for adolescents who are vulnerable to HIV.”

“In addition to traditional risk-reduction strategies, health care providers and community advocates are now equipped with another tool to help address the incidence of HIV in younger at-risk populations,” she added.

(h/t Poz)

Monday, Monday, So Good To Me

Well, hello Nick Sandell, fitness model.

I see you're having a good Monday morning. I know I am :)


Sunday, May 20, 2018

Janet Jackson: LGBTs Are An All-Embracing Community That Has Always Inspired Me

(image via Instagram)

Speaking to Billboard, Janet Jackson shares how the LGBTQ community has inspired her work:

It’s a loving, all-embracing community that has always inspired me.

I don’t often listen to my own work, but when I go back to [1997’s] Velvet Rope, I put on “Together Again” and remember the friends I lost to AIDS.

It was important to me to honor them not mournfully but joyously in a celebratory song. Their spirit did so much to bolster mine.

Sometimes when people talk about Velvet Rope, they call it my edgiest or sexiest record. Yet the heart of the record is not about sex at all. It’s about how, in defiance of death, we will all be “together again.”

It’s an anthem to undying love.

Trump Twitter Rant: "I Hereby Demand..."

Clearly whoever was supposed to supervise Donald Trump today was napping on-duty as the Cheeto-In-Chief went on an unhinged roller-coaster ride of a Twitter rant today.

Even by Trumpian standards, this was pretty much off-the-charts.

The rant was probably sparked by this report in the New York Times today about yet another meeting Don Trump Jr. took with foreign agents who wanted to help elect Trump.

Three months before the 2016 election, a small group gathered at Trump Tower to meet with Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son. One was an Israeli specialist in social media manipulation. Another was an emissary for two wealthy Arab princes. The third was a Republican donor with a controversial past in the Middle East as a private security contractor.

The meeting was convened primarily to offer help to the Trump team, and it forged relationships between the men and Trump insiders that would develop over the coming months — past the election and well into President Trump’s first year in office, according to several people with knowledge of their encounters.

Erik Prince, the private security contractor and the former head of Blackwater, arranged the meeting, which took place on Aug. 3, 2016. The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president.

As we all know by now, it's illegal for a political campaign to accept help or support from a foreign country.

Below, you can see Trump rages and attempts to deflect with call to investigate Hillary (again?).

It's interesting that the Trumpster is suddenly worried about the cost of government spending describing the Special Counsel's investigation as "soon to be $20,000,000. He doesn't seem to have a problem spending over $3 million a trip to go play golf at Mar-A-Lago...?

The Donald also tries to assert that "no collusion" has been found when in truth, no one knows what Robert Mueller's investigation has found yet.

Special Counsel's don't turn in quarterly or monthly reports. No one but Mueller and his team know what they have in evidence. And you can be sure they wouldn't be continuing if there wasn't a reason to do so.

However, if you repeat it often enough, weak-minded people will start to believe you. Like a bad used-car salesman...

What's really rich is his final tweet (see below) where he states "I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes."

He "hereby demands???"

FBI agents spoke to Trump campaign advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page about their communications with Russian actors. You know - that's what the FBI does when they have evidence of treasonous activity.

Check out the meltdown below.