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On the need for stronger HIV/AIDS prevention

A young journalist from Britain writes that the LGBT community needs a stronger and more effective HIV/AIDS prevention program:

Craig’s story brings home the reality of barebacking – a reality missed by the glossy HIV prevention adverts and messages aimed at my generation of gay men (I’m 23). Those responsible for the ads, organisations such as the Terrence Higgins Trust and GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, insist that harder hitting representations of life with HIV do not work and that they stigmatise those living with the virus.

But I believe that a refusal to show the harsh reality of HIV is encouraging attitudes like that of one of the three men infected. John, 22, told me and Newsnight (video) that he wasn’t bothered he had HIV, and that being gay he always knew he’d get it. Time Out’s Paul Burston told the debate’s audience of a conversation he’d had with a 22-year-old in Liverpool, who said he was more worried about catching gonorrhea than HIV.

[..snip..]

Yet instead of giving us a picture of what our lives could be like if we bareback, they choose to “empower” us. They do that by saying: “If you are the active partner you’re less likely to get HIV” and “If you withdraw, then you and your partner are at less risk of contracting HIV.”

When was the last time you were told that if you’re going to drink drive you should opt for a bottle of wine instead of tequila slammers? Or saw the withdrawal method advocated to prevent pregnancy?

The very nature of sex, when arousal clouds your judgment, means even stronger messages on safe sex are required. You need an authoritative voice at your shoulder, not a voice as clouded as your judgment telling you that you’re at less risk if you do this or that.

Read the whole commentary at The Guardian.

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Headlines: At the week’s end

A re-cap of the last week at InterstateQ.com and around the blogosphere.

Royal Queen
Prince Harry’s antics continue to raise eyebrows, being called racist one day and enlightened the next. Either way, it’s hot.

And the winner is…
On Tuesday, I urged you to vote your conscience for Best LGBT Blog in this year’s Weblog Awards. While I contribute to both Bilerico.com and PamsHouseBlend.com, and rooted for them the whole time, Towleroad shone through as the winner. Congrats!

Campus crusading
A Campus Crusade group wants to work with a campus LGBT group on HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness. I still can’t figure out how that’s going to work out.

‘Ex-gay’ lies
Exodus International’s Randy Thomas continues the legacy of the group’s long-standing disingenuousness, claiming no one is ever forced into “ex-gay” therapies. The stories from the long list of gay youth victimized by such therapies call such claims into question.

A model for the nation
Florida LGBT groups are teaming up in a united coalition to fight regional and statewide threats to equality. On Wednesday, I said such a coalition could serve as a model for countless regions around the nation, as well as our national LGBT community.

Secretary of the Gay
A Boston, Mass.-based grassroots group wants a “Secretary of GLBT Affairs.” The U.S. Department of Queerdom will have fabulous office furniture and impeccable interior design for sure.

Lavender Folder
A Charlotte talk show host took shots at several North Carolina and Charlotte LGBT organizations in his Jan. 15 broadcast. Audio included.

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The ‘Enlightened’ Prince

Remember Monday morning’s post on Prince Harry’s royal racist and homoerotic tendencies?

Well, discounting the racism, of course, legendary Brit gay activist Peter Tatchell is saying King-never-shall-be Henry is “enlightened” and is praising the lad for his apparent comfort with male-male intimacy:

The video, obtained by the News of the World tabloid, also includes images of Harry on a night out with friends in which he mouths to one soldier: “I love you” before kissing him on the cheek and licking his face.

Another extract shows Harry asking a colleague how he felt after an army exercise, adding: “Gay, queer on the side?”

But Peter Tatchell, an Australian-born human rights activist who made his name focusing on gay rights, said he had no problem with Harry’s use of the word “queer” and praised his show of affection.

“For him to happily give his soldier friend a public kiss and lick his face strikes me as rather liberated and enlightened, for a straight man,” he said.

“If only more heterosexual men were relaxed about same-sex affection like Harry, the world would be a better place.”

Tatchell added: “The context and intention of words is crucial in deciding whether they are offensive or not. I don’t find anything objectionable about the context in which Harry used the word queer.”

Heterosexual men rarely kiss their male friends or family members in stiff upper lip Britain, preferring to greet each other by shaking hands.

Maybe Harry’s really gay and all this macho-jock-boy-cool-and-down-with-the-gays thing is a cover-up?

I think this story is almost as good as, and maybe even better than, Prince William’s penis pictures (NSFW).

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Royally screwed

harry-kiss1Prince Harry just doesn’t ever seem to get it. Nazi uniforms. Smoking weed around the palace. Sucking a friend’s nipple. Licking and kissing a friend on the face. Calling military colleagues “Paki” and “raghead.”

Sounds like average-joe, racist, redneck, military jock talk and behavior to me. It certainly isn’t behavior you’d expect from a member of the most powerful royal house in Europe.

This is what happens when you give a hot boy complete access to the world’s privilege and power expecting no responsibility in return. You don’t see big brother William acting like this. Maybe Harry should be told he’ll be his brother’s future co-regent. Maybe then he’ll shape up. Some responsibility might do him some good. I doubt William would appreciate sharing the throne, though.

But on the other hand… I kind of feel bad for the guy. He’s 24 years old, he’s never had a normal life and he’s part of a family he certainly had no choice to belong to. I kid about him having no responsibility; that certianly isn’t true. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have to grow up with the whole world watching, nit-picking over every little part of my life.

More: News of the World