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Anything you see or hear in the media about the GLBTIQ community.

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Why a Gay Gene isn’t Important to the Gay Rights Fight

The study, by researchers at Northwestern University in Illinois, found two possible locations for genes that might be responsible for male homosexuality. The research is being treated as an important advance in the scientific understanding of what makes someone gay and while not conclusive proof, it has excited researchers and sparked new interest in the field.

Indeed, the theories involved in why homosexuality might occur are incredibly through provoking. A leading theory suggests that homosexuals may serve to strengthen kin relationships, acting as satellite parents and extra guardians for offspring. Another theory currently in the spotlight suggests that a certain degree of homosexual affection may serve to bond family units, decrease infighting and in turn offer more protection and more chance of passing on the family’s genes.

Indeed, researchers have been keen to stress that these kinds of results ”erode” the belief that homosexuality is a choice. And indeed, discovering a genetic basis for sexuality of any kind should firmly dispel that myth, but sadly what it should do and what it will do in a culture heavy with science denial on both sides of the political spectrum, are two very different things. It also fails to answer a larger quibble, and that is the unfair standard of proof that has been placed on homosexuality.

There is a certain amount of audacity in suggesting that unless a gay gene can be found, then being gay is still open to be labeled a choice. Indeed, never has there been a “straight gene” located, yet if I decided that all heterosexuals have simply made a choice to be so and that their sexuality still has to be proved with hard genetic data before I believe it, I would be looked on rather oddly. This is, however, what we’re asking of gay people despite massive amounts of anecdotal as well as scientific data to show that in most cases, it simply is not a choice.

There’s also the question of where the threshold of proof lies and who controls that threshold. It’s unlikely that we will find a single gene responsible for something as complex as sexuality — indeed, it’s likely that the genes that code for homosexuality will do other things (which explains why they have survived the unforgiving process of evolution) — and even if we did, it wouldn’t be the whole story. Environmental factors are likely to play a part in having these genes express themselves in particular ways, switching on the homosexuality trait when under certain conditions.

This leaves us with a nagging question: at what point is enough enough? After the genetic basis for homosexuality is located, will the Religious Right that clings to homosexuality being a choice then be allowed to shift the goalposts? Will they decide to disbelieve the facts, like they have with climate change or evolution, and instead place more stock in their argument that it’s nurture over nature and continue to maintain that, with the correct environmental factors at play, homosexuality can still be nipped in the bud?

It seems that no matter how irrefutable the proof, the Religious Right and their friends will continue to deny what the evidence shows. As such, there’s nothing to be gained, then, in letting them set the agenda by their demanding genetic proof that homosexuality is not a choice, when in the first place, we already have the answers we need.

For instance, we have enough evidence to say that sexuality is probably an immutable characteristic that is formed very early on in development, and one that is beyond the choosing of most people. Furthermore, there is no evidence that by itself homosexuality or bisexuality (whether male or female) is harmful either as a psychological trait or when expressed in a relationship.

It is not a psychological disorder to be attracted to the same sex, and all reputable medical bodies support that fact. These two are the fundamental issues at play and while specific details about homosexuality’s origins are still are being argued, answers to those broader questions are already in.

So while the research into the science behind homosexuality is incredibly interesting, and I do believe necessary and important in an academic sense, it shouldn’t be treated as the holy grail for gay rights because to do so enables those opposed to LGBT equality to continue to set the agenda when, in reality, we’ve already moved far beyond their stubborn refusal of the facts.




Gay Groups March at Last in Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade

BOSTON — Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade made history Sunday as two gay and lesbian groups marched after decades of opposition that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The gay military veterans service group OutVets and the gay rights group Boston Pride were invited by the sponsoring South Boston Allied War Veterans Council to the annual celebration of military veterans and Irish heritage.

"We march today for the memories of those thousands and thousands of people who went before us, some who went to their graves in the closet," OutVets founder and leader Bryan Bishop, an Air Force veteran, told his group before the parade.

The Allied War Council's current leaders voted 5-4 in December to welcome OutVets as one of about 100 groups in this year's parade. Boston Pride said it also received an acceptance letter this week.

Boston's mayors had boycotted the event since 1995, when the council took its fight to exclude gay groups to the U.S. Supreme Court and won on First Amendment grounds. This year, Mayor Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and other political leaders took part.

At a St. Patrick's Day breakfast Sunday, Walsh thanked the sponsors for making sure the parade was "fully inclusive today." He and Baker said in parade-side interviews with New England Cable News that they were glad to see the issue put to rest. "Gay people marched in the parade for years, just under different banners," Walsh said.

Some Roman Catholic groups declined to march, including the state Knights of Columbus, saying they felt this year's parade had been politicized.


Image: Gay military veterans march in Sunday's St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston STEVEN 
Members of OutVets, a group of gay military veterans, hold a banner and flags as they march in the St. Patrick's Day parade Sunday Sunday in Boston.

Supreme Court set to hear same sex marriage arguments

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FILE 2008: A male couple inside San Francisco City Hall as they prepare to get married. San Francisco, Calif. (REUTERS)

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear arguments in highly anticipated cases about the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Just two years ago, the high court struck down part of the federal law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples.

The 2013 United States v. Windsor decision did not address the validity of state marriage bans. But lower courts judges across the country, with few exceptions, said the ruling compelled them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

The number of states allowing same-sex marriage has grown rapidly.

As recently as October, just over one-third of the states permitted same-sex marriage. Now, same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.

The justices on Tuesday will hear extended arguments -- scheduled to run 2 1/2 hours. The cases before the court come from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, all of which had their marriage bans upheld by the federal appeals court in Cincinnati in November. That appeals court is the only one that has ruled in favor of the states since the 2013 decision.

Two related issues would expand the marriage rights of same-sex couples. First, do same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry or can states continue to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman?

The second is must states that won't allow some couples to marry   recognize valid same-sex marriages from elsewhere?

Marriage-rights supporters essentially argue states lack any valid reason to deny the right to marry, which the court has earlier described as fundamental to the pursuit of happiness.

They say state laws that allow only some people to marry violate the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law and make second-class citizens of same-sex couples and their families.

Same-sex couples say that preventing them from marrying is akin to a past ban on interracial marriage, which the Supreme Court struck down in 1967.

State argue that they have always set the rules for marriage and that voters in many states have backed, sometimes overwhelmingly, changes to their constitutions to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

They say a lively national debate is underway and there is no reason for courts to impose a solution that should be left to the political process. The states also argue that they have a good reason to keep defining marriage as they do. Because only heterosexual couples can produce children, it is in the states' interest to make marriage laws that encourage those couples to enter a union that supports raising children.

The Obama administration is backing the right of same-sex couples to marry, though its argument differs in one respect. The plaintiffs say that the state laws should fall, no matter what standard the court applies. The administration calls for more rigorous scrutiny than courts ordinarily apply to most laws, saying it is appropriate when governments discriminate against a group of people. That already is the case for claims that laws discriminate on the basis of race, sex and other factors. But the administration is silent about what the outcome should be if the court does not give gays the special protection it has afforded women and minorities.

The Justice Department's decision to stop defending the federal anti-marriage law in 2011 was an important moment for gay rights and President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage in 2012.

If the court strikes down the state bans, the ruling would invalidate the remaining anti-gay marriage laws in the country. If the court limits its ruling to requiring states to recognize same-sex unions, couples in states without same-sex marriage presumably could get married elsewhere and then demand recognition at home.

If the court rules for the states on both questions, the bans in 14 states would survive.

Some states that had their marriage laws struck down by federal courts might seek to reinstate prohibitions on gay and lesbian unions. Questions also could be raised about the validity of some same-sex weddings. Many of these problems would be of the Supreme Court's own making.

That’s because from October to January, the justices first rejected appeals from states seeking to preserve their marriage bans, then allowed court rulings to take effect even as other states appealed those decisions. The result is that the court essentially allowed the number of states with same-sex marriage to double.

 

Ireland same-sex referendum set to approve gay marriage

  • 23 May 2015
Large crowds have gathered at Dublin Castle ahead of the resultLarge crowds have gathered at Dublin Castle ahead of the result

Figures suggest the Republic of Ireland has voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a historic referendum.

More than 3.2m people were asked whether they wanted to amend the country's constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

Government ministers have said they believe it will pass, while prominent "no" campaigners have conceded defeat.

Counting started at 09:00 BST on Saturday morning. An "unusually high" turnout has been reported.

A final result is expected late afternoon on Saturday.

If the change is approved, the Republic of Ireland would become the first country to legalise same-sex marriage through a popular vote.

Crowds gathered at Dublin Castle for referendum count resultsThe final result is expected later on Saturday afternoon
Couple watches counting of same-sex marriage referendum votesA couple watches the counting of the same-sex marriage referendum votes

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar, who earlier this year came out as the Republic of Ireland's first openly gay minister, said the campaign had been "almost like a social revolution".

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What 'yes' vote would mean

The Republic of Ireland has a written constitution which can only be changed by referendum.

If the proposal is passed, a marriage between two people of the same sex would have the same status under the Irish constitution as a marriage between a man and a woman.

They would be recognised as a family and be entitled to the constitutional protection for families.

Civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been legal in Ireland since 2010, giving couples legal protection which could be changed by the government.

However, if the vote is passed, married gay people would have a constitutional standing that could only be removed by another popular vote.

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Speaking from the Dublin count, he told Irish broadcaster RTE that it appeared about 75% of votes being counted there were in favour of legalising same-sex marriage.

Some prominent "no" campaigners have conceded defeat.

David Quinn of the Iona Institute, a Catholic group, said it was "obviously a very impressive victory for the 'yes' side".

Partners Adrian and Shane after casting their vote in Drogheda, County LouthPartners Adrian and Shane casting their vote in Drogheda, County Louth

"Obviously there's a certain amount of disappointment, but I'm philosophical about the outcome," he told RTE.

"It was always going to be an uphill battle - there were far fewer organisations on the 'no' side, while all the major political parties were lined up on the 'yes' side and you had major corporations coming out for the first time to say how we should vote on a particular issue."

Counting of ballots in DublinCounting of ballots began at 09:00 BST
Referendum countAn 'unusually high' turnout has been reported

The upper courtyard of Dublin Castle is open to 2,000 people for people to view the declarations on a large screen.

Before Friday, votes had already been cast in some islands as well as hospitals, hospices and nursing homes. Irish citizens who are registered were allowed to vote, but there was no postal voting. Many people returned to Ireland to cast their votes.

Newly married couple Anne and Vincent Fox were determined to take part in the referendum and voted in DublinNewly married couple Anne and Vincent Fox were determined to take part in the referendum and voted in Dublin
Irish President Michael D Higgins was among those who took the opportunity to voteIrish President Michael D Higgins was among those who took the opportunity to vote
Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny voted in Castlebar, County MayoIrish Prime Minister Enda Kenny voted in Castlebar, County Mayo

They were asked whether they agreed with the statement: "Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex."

The referendum was being held 22 years after homosexual acts were decriminalised in Ireland.

In 2010, the Irish government enacted civil partnership legislation, which provided legal recognition for gay couples.

Banners encouraging voters to support the Yes and the No campaign in the Irish same-sex marriage referendumThe result of the referendum is expected later on Saturday afternoon

But there are some important differences between civil partnership and marriage, the critical one being that marriage is protected in the constitution while civil partnership is not.

Presidential candidates

A constitutional convention established by the Irish government in 2013 considered the specifics of a proposal on extending marriage rights, as well as discussing other changes to the constitution.

It voted in favour of holding a referendum on same-sex marriage and the date was announced by Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny earlier this year.

If the measure is passed, Catholic churches will continue to decide for themselves whether to solemnise a marriage.

The leader of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Eamon Martin, has said the church may look at whether it continues to perform the civil side of solemnisation if the change comes in.

A separate referendum, on whether the eligibility age of presidential candidates should be lowered from 35 to 21, was being held at the same time, along with a parliamentary by-election in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency.

Same-sex marriage is currently legal in 19 countries worldwide.

TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2015 

Ireland’s Social Revolution: Traditionally Catholic Nation Makes History with Marriage Equality Vote

In a historic victory for marriage equality, Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage via popular vote. By a 62-to-38 margin, the people of Ireland voted a resounding "yes" for equality in a national referendum on Friday. This signals what some are calling a "social revolution" in the traditionally conservative Catholic country. Ireland’s constitution will now be amended to say that two people can marry "without distinction as to their sex." The turnout was one of the highest in the country’s history and came after a robust civic campaign led by human rights activists, trade unions, celebrities and employers. Ireland’s referendum reflects a sea change in a country where homosexuality was decriminalized just two decades ago and where 70 percent of the population still identifies as Roman Catholic. 

NO BIGGER NEWS THAN THIS--WE WON!!!!!!!!!!!

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Supreme Court Ruling Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Right Nationwide


WASHINGTON — In a long-sought victory for the gay rights movement, theSupreme Court ruled by a 5-to-4 vote on Friday that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.

“No longer may this liberty be denied,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority in the historic decision. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

Marriage is a “keystone of our social order,” Justice Kennedy said, adding that the plaintiffs in the case were seeking “equal dignity in the eyes of the law.”

The decision, which was the culmination of decades of litigation and activism, set off jubilation and tearful embraces across the country, the first same-sex marriages in several states, and resistance — or at least stalling — in others. It came against the backdrop of fast-moving changes in public opinion, with polls indicating that most Americans now approve of the unions.


Vin Testa celebrated Friday after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses raised their arms in victory. CreditZach Gibson/The New York Times

The court’s four more liberal justices joined Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion. Each member of the court’s conservative wing filed a separate dissent, in tones ranging from resigned dismay to bitter scorn.

In dissent, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said the Constitution had nothing to say on the subject of same-sex marriage.

“If you are among the many Americans — of whatever sexual orientation — who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote. “Celebrate the achievement of a desired goal. Celebrate the opportunity for a new expression of commitment to a partner. Celebrate the availability of new benefits. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.”

In a second dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia mocked the soaring language of Justice Kennedy, who has become the nation’s most important judicial champion of gay rights.

“The opinion is couched in a style that is as pretentious as its content is egotistic,” Justice Scalia wrote of his colleague’s work. “Of course the opinion’s showy profundities are often profoundly incoherent.”

As Justice Kennedy finished announcing his opinion from the bench on Friday, several lawyers seated in the bar section of the court’s gallery wiped away tears, while others grinned and exchanged embraces.

Justice John Paul Stevens, who retired in 2010, was on hand for the decision, and many of the justices’ clerks took seats in the chamber, which was nearly full as the ruling was announced. The decision made same-sex marriage a reality in the 13 states that had continued to ban it.

Outside the Supreme Court, the police allowed hundreds of people waving rainbow flags and holding signs to advance onto the court plaza as those present for the decision streamed down the steps. “Love has won,” the crowd chanted as courtroom witnesses threw up their arms in victory.

In remarks in the Rose Garden, President Obama welcomed the decision, saying it “affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts.”

“Today,” he said, “we can say, in no uncertain terms, that we have made our union a little more perfect.”


James Obergefell, center, a plaintiff, sued when Ohio refused to recognize his marriage to John Arthur, who died in 2013. CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

Justice Kennedy was the author of all three of the Supreme Court’s previous gay rights landmarks. The latest decision came exactly two years after his majority opinion in United States v. Windsor, which struck down a federal law denying benefits to married same-sex couples, and exactly 12 years after his majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime.

In all of those decisions, Justice Kennedy embraced a vision of a living Constitution, one that evolves with societal changes.

“The nature of injustice is that we may not always see it in our own times,” he wrote on Friday. “The generations that wrote and ratified the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment did not presume to know the extent of freedom in all of its dimensions, and so they entrusted to future generations a charter protecting the right of all persons to enjoy liberty as we learn its meaning.”

This drew a withering response from Justice Scalia, a proponent of reading the Constitution according to the original understanding of those who adopted it. His dissent was joined by Justice Clarence Thomas.

“They have discovered in the Fourteenth Amendment,” Justice Scalia wrote of the majority, “a ‘fundamental right’ overlooked by every person alive at the time of ratification, and almost everyone else in the time since.”


Supporters of same-sex marriage gathered outside the Supreme Court on Friday.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

“These justices know,” Justice Scalia said, “that limiting marriage to one man and one woman is contrary to reason; they know that an institution as old as government itself, and accepted by every nation in history until 15 years ago, cannot possibly be supported by anything other than ignorance or bigotry.”

Justice Kennedy rooted the ruling in a fundamental right to marriage. Of special importance to couples, he said, is raising children.

“Without the recognition, stability and predictability marriage offers,” he wrote, “their children suffer the stigma of knowing their families are somehow lesser. They also suffer the significant material costs of being raised by unmarried parents, relegated through no fault of their own to a more difficult and uncertain family life. The marriage laws at issue here thus harm and humiliate the children of same-sex couples.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan joined the majority opinion.

In dissent, Chief Justice Roberts said the majority opinion was “an act of will, not legal judgment.”

“The court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the states and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs,” he wrote. “Just who do we think we are?”

The majority and dissenting opinions took differing views about whether the decision would harm religious liberty. Justice Kennedy said the First Amendment “ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths.” He said both sides should engage in “an open and searching debate.”

Chief Justice Roberts responded that “people of faith can take no comfort in the treatment they receive from the majority today.”

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., in his dissent, saw a broader threat from the majority opinion. “It will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” Justice Alito wrote. “In the course of its opinion, the majority compares traditional marriage laws to laws that denied equal treatment for African-Americans and women. The implications of this analogy will be exploited by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

Gay rights advocates had constructed a careful litigation and public relations strategy to build momentum and bring the issue to the Supreme Court when it appeared ready to rule in their favor. As in earlier civil rights cases, the court had responded cautiously and methodically, laying judicial groundwork for a transformative decision.

It waited for scores of lower courts to strike down bans on same-sex marriages before addressing the issue, and Justice Kennedy took the unusual step of listing those decisions in an appendix to his opinion.

Chief Justice Roberts said that only 11 states and the District of Columbia had embraced the right to same-sex marriage democratically, at voting booths and in legislatures. The rest of the 37 states that allow such unions did so because of court rulings. Gay rights advocates, the chief justice wrote, would have been better off with a victory achieved through the political process, particularly “when the winds of change were freshening at their backs.”

In his own dissent, Justice Scalia took a similar view, saying that the majority’s assertiveness represented a “threat to American democracy.”

But Justice Kennedy rejected that idea. “It is of no moment whether advocates of same-sex marriage now enjoy or lack momentum in the democratic process,” he wrote. “The issue before the court here is the legal question whether the Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry.”

Later in the opinion, Justice Kennedy answered the question. “The Constitution,” he wrote, “grants them that right.”

Correction: June 26, 2015 

An earlier version of this article misstated the time period since Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down laws making gay sex a crime. It is 12 years, not 10.

Gay High School Student Delivers Valedictorian Speech He Was Barred from Giving

Published on Jun 1, 2015

Eighteen-year-old Evan Young was supposed to be the 2015 class valedictorian of Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School in Longmont, Colorado. But his principal prevented him from giving his graduation speech after learning he would announce he is gay. Instead, two weeks later, Young got to give his speech at an Out Boulder fundraiser before an audience of hundreds, a number of them politicians who congratulated him for his bravery. We air Young’s full address and speak to him about his experience.

Ireland’s Social Revolution: Traditionally Catholic Nation Makes History with Marriage Equality Vote

In a historic victory for marriage equality, Ireland has become the first country in the world to approve same-sex marriage via popular vote. By a 62-to-38 margin, the people of Ireland voted a resounding "yes" for equality in a national referendum on Friday. This signals what some are calling a "social revolution" in the traditionally conservative Catholic country. Ireland’s constitution will now be amended to say that two people can marry "without distinction as to their sex." The turnout was one of the highest in the country’s history and came after a robust civic campaign led by human rights activists, trade unions, celebrities and employers. Ireland’s referendum reflects a sea change in a country where homosexuality was decriminalized just two decades ago and where 70 percent of the population still identifies as Roman Catholic.

This is unbelievable; but it's apparently happening more and more frequently that pharmaceutical companies are making such outlandish (and, ultimately, life-threatening)  rate hikes.

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Company hikes price 5,000% for drug that fights complication of AIDS, cancer

Christine Rushton, USA TODAY4:11 p.m. EDT September 18, 2015

 

A drug treating a common parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems increased in cost 5,000% to $750 per pill.

At a time of heightened attention to the rising cost of prescription drugs, doctors who treat patients with AIDS and cancer are denouncing the new cost to treat a condition that can be life-threatening.

Turing Pharmaceuticals of New York raised the price of Daraprim from $13.50 per pill to $750 per pill last month, shortly after purchasing the rights to the drug from Impax Laboratories. Turing has exclusive rights to market Daraprim (pyrimethamine), on the market since 1953.

Daraprim fights toxoplasmosis, the second most common food-borne disease, which can easily infect people whose immune systems have been weakened by AIDS, chemotherapy or even pregnancy, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“This is a tremendous increase," said Judith Aberg, a spokesperson for the HIV Medicine Association. Even patients with insurance could have trouble affording the medication, she said. That's because insurance companies often put high-price drugs in the "specialty" category, requiring patients to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year. Patients whose insurance plans require them to pay 20% of the cost — a common practice — would shell out $150 a pill.

About 60 million people in the United States may carry the Toxoplasma parasite, according to the CDC. It comes from eating under-cooked meat, cooking with contaminated knives and boards, drinking unclean water and contact with infected cat feces.

Mothers can also pass it to their children during pregnancy and organ transplant patients can get it through an infected donor. Symptoms can feel flu-like, but the parasite attacks the brain and can lead to blindness or brain damage.

A number of doctors and patient advocates recently have spoken out about the rising costs of prescription drugs.

The average cost of brand-name medications rose 13% in 2013, according to a reportfrom the Prime Institute at the University of Minnesota. New cancer drugs now routinely cost more than $100,000 a year. A new brand-name hepatitis drug, Sovaldi, costs $84,000 for a 12-week course of treatment.

"Every week, I’m learning about another drug that has increased in price because of a change in marketing or the distributor,” Aberg said.

The HIV Medicine Association and Infectious Diseases Society of America wrote Turing about concerns over the new price. Aberg said she worries the increase will prevent hospitals from stocking Daraprim, which could delay patient treatment. There are no alternative brands for pyrimethamine, and other treatments are not strong enough.

The price increase hasn’t yet delayed patient care, said Rima McLeod, medical director at the University of Chicago Toxoplasmosis Center.

"Turing’s people have been helpful every single time," McLeod said, noting that she has been able to get patients on medication on the day they needed it.

McLeod heads research on toxoplasmosis in Chicago. She said up to 3 billion people in the world are infected with the parasite, which attacks the brain.

“It’s a serious disease and it’s been neglected in this country for a long time, for the most part,” McLeod said.

It’s critical that the treatment stays readily available, McLeod said.

“It makes the difference between whether people see or don’t see, whether babies grow to live happy lives with families or not,” she said.

A Turing spokesman, Craig Rothenberg, said the company is working with hospitals and providers to get every patient covered. This includes free-of-charge options for uninsured patients and co-pay assistance programs.

Rothenberg defended Daraprim's price, saying that the company will use the money it makes from sales to further research treatments for toxoplasmosis. They also plan to invest in marketing and education tools to make people more aware of the disease.

“There has been no innovation in dealing with toxoplasmosis,” Rothenberg said. “That has been a long neglect in the patient community.”

What a juxtaposition between the gay pride parades and this news of yet another mass murder. When will this escalation of madness end. It's like all of humanity has an impulse control disorder.

"At least 20 people have been killed and more than 42 injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida police say." What a juxtaposition between the gay pride parades and this news of yet another mass murder. When will this escalation of madness end. It's like all of humanity has an impulse control disorder.

"At least 20 people have been killed and more than 42 injured in a shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida police say." 

Doug Mainwaring

Tidal wave of ‘out’ LGBT candidates run for political office in 2nd year of Trump presidency

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Gay news sites are reporting that a tidal wave of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) candidates for various political offices will flood the United States in 2018. 

For instance, forty-eight LGBT candidates have already announced they are running for various offices in Texas during this election cycle.  

Perhaps the most high profile race is set to take place in Maryland, where convicted ‘transgender’ felon Bradley 'Chelsea' Manning is challenging Senator Ben Cardin for his seat in the United States Senate.  

LGBT candidates, the majority of whom are running as Democrats, are hoping to benefit from President Trump’s current low approval ratings. Congress almost always loses seats to the opposite party of a newly elected president during the midterms. 

“Annise Parker, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, predicted LGBT candidates endorsed by the organization in 2018 ‘are going to do well,’” according to a report in the pro-LGBT Washington Blade.  

“We’re in this business because we think our candidates are going to do well in any election, but we don’t see just a Democratic surge, we actually see a progressive surge across the United States,” continued Parker in the report.  “We’re going to have more LGBT candidates than we have had ever in our history.” 

The LGBT world has perhaps been emboldened by the unprecedented number of wins by transgender candidates last November, most of whom are biological men who claim to be ‘women.’ In Virginia, transgender journalist Danica Roem pulled a surprise victory over Republican incumbent Delegate Bob Marshall for his seat in the statehouse. In Minneapolis, transgender poet and activist, Andrea Jenkins, and in Palm Springs transgender Lisa Middleton won seats on their city councils.  

The only female to ‘male’ transgender candidate to win was Tyler Titus, who won election to the Erie, Pennsylvania School Board.

Everything in Texas is bigger, including its LGBT candidate roll 

Texas currently leads the country in declared LGBT candidates. At last report, candidates self-identifying as male are evenly split with those identifying as female. Of those, five are “transgender” and six are incumbents.  There are currently 18 LGBT elected and appointed officials in the Lone Star State.     

“One gay candidate for governor, Democrat Jeffrey Payne, became the subject of national media attention due in part to his status as the owner of a leather bar in Dallas,” states a report in Out Smart Houston’s LGBTQ Magazine.  “Then an out lesbian Democrat, longtime Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, joined Payne in the governor’s race.” 

“Valdez scored a surprise victory to become the nation’s first openly gay female Hispanic sheriff on the same night that George W. Bush secured a second term in the White House,” according to The Guardian.  “She won re-election three times in Dallas County before announcing last month that she would resign to stand for Texas gove....”

A homosexual HIV/AIDS advocate, John Duncan, is running in Texas’ sixth congressional district, normally thought to be a Republican stronghold. 

It should be noted that one-third of the LGBT candidates hail from Harris County, the most populous county in Texas.  From 2010 to 2016, Annise Parker, now CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, served as mayor of Houston, the county seat.  

In 2014, Parker famously demanded that Houston’s pastors turn their sermons over to the city.  Houston citizens had filed a lawsuit to oppose the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (dubbed “HERO”), which gave biological males the right to use female facilities within the city and endowed LGBT citizens with the same employee civil rights status as blacks or women. As part of the fact-finding portion of the lawsuit, the city demanded that pastors turn over “all speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuality, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

The move was seen by many as an enormous threat to free speech and an assault on the principle of the separation of church and state.  Lesbian Mayor Parker eventually backed off her heavy-handed demand that pastors turn over their sermon notes on transgender issues. 

Homosexuals across America: turning the red, white & blue into 'rainbow' 

Maryland's motto, Fatti Maschii Parole Femine, which appears on the state seal translates, “Manly deeds, womanly words.”  That motto, already decried as sexist by the Washington Post, would dissolve into meaninglessness if certain LGBT Democrat candidates are elected to office this year, while also serving as a symbolic repudiation of the Catholic founding of the state.  

Not only is transgender felon Bradley Manning seeking to unseat popular Democrat U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, homosexual Maryland state senator Richard Madaleno is campaigning to become the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate, while transgender activist Dana Beyer vies to take Madaleno’s seat in Annapolis.  

LGBT candidates are on the rise in other states as well. 

“The race to replace retiring Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.) in Massachusetts’ 3rd congressional district is a veritable free-for-all of LGBT candidates,” according to the Washington Blade. “No fewer than 12 candidates are seeking the Democratic nomination, including three LGBT candidates. They’re Rufus Gifford, who’s gay and served as U.S. ambassador to Denmark in the Obama administration; Steve Kerrigan, who’s gay and ran to become Massachusetts lieutenant governor in 2014; and Alexandra Chandler, who’s transgender and a former Navy intelligence specialist.”  

In New Hampshire, homosexual state representative Chris Pappas is campaigning for the seat being left open by retiring U.S. House of Representatives member Carol Shea-Porter.  

Colorado also has a homosexual candidate running for Governor, Rep. Jared Polis.  Oregon already has a bisexual, Kate Brown, occupying the Governor’s mansion.

In Florida, homosexual state representative David Richardson is running for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the most pro-LGBT Republican in Congress while lesbian Lauren Baer, is running in Florida’s 18th congressional district.  

Other LGBT candidates vying for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives are Lesbian Minnesotan Angie Craig and New Mexican Pat Davis, currently serving as Albuquerque City Councilor. 

In Arizona, self-identified bisexual U.S. House member, Kyrsten Sinema, wants retiring Republican Senator Jeff Flake’s seat. If she secures her party’s nomination, she could end up facing former Maricopa County SheriffJoe Arpaio. 

But no matter who wins the Republican nomination for Flake’s seat, the CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, Annise Parker said, “it’s going to be a very clear pro-LGBTQ progressive candidate versus a right-wing ideologue.”

 

HIV Self-Test Kit Vending Machines Hit China

HIV Test

It’s 2018, and vending machines now dispense everything from medical marijuana to fresh salads as an alternative to snacks. But nobody has gone as far as China in terms of innovative vending machine technology, with vending machines that dispense automobiles and now inexpensive HIV self-test kits.

This month, three universities in Shanghai, China have installed machines that dispense HIV self-test kits as a part of a pilot project to promote early detection and treatment of HIV/AIDS. Shanghai Lixin University of Accounting and Finance, Tongji University, and Shanghai University are the first three schools to embrace the project.

The project is part of a program launched by the Chinese Association of STD and HIV/AIDS Prevention and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The price is one-tenth the price students would normally have to pay. Universities are selling the kits for 30 yuan ($4.78 USD), compared to the more common price of 298 yuan, ($47.49 USD) as listed on a Chinese ecommerce site Taobao.

While cheap HIV tests in other countries use a finger prick and test blood, the Chinese tests detect the virus in urine samples. Users collect their urine sample and deposit it back into the machine to get their results. The samples are collected from the machine twice a week, and then users can find their results online by logging into renaijiance.com.

Zhongdan Chen is a technical officer from the World Health Organization's office in China, and applauds the new ways students can get tested for HIV.

"Innovations in tools and service delivery approaches are urgently needed to make these services available, accessible, acceptable and of adequate quality, especially for high risk populations," Dr. Chen told ABC News Australia. According to Dr. Chen, about 758,000 people were reportedly living with HIV in China at the end of 2017. But a major portion, which some estimate to be around 30 percent, do not even know they have HIV.

Although the vending machine items first popped up in 2016 at China’s Southwest Petroleum University in Nanchong, Sichuan, more universities are now installing them.

The whole concept is to make it easier for young adults to test themselves for HIV, which is not an easy feat to do, with the stigma that looms over an HIV diagnosis. In China and also in many other parts of the world, young men and women have to be convinced or otherwise compelled to test themselves for HIV because of psychological barriers that get in the way. A vending machine test provides a way for 100 percent total anonymity and allows some people that would never take the test to have a discrete way to get tested. Homosexuality is much more of a taboo topic in China than it is in the West. That makes it even more difficult for gay Chinese citizens to get tested.

The vending machine HIV test method has also been used in the United Kingdom. A vending machine dispensing HIV self-testing kits was installed at a gay sauna club in Brighton, U.K. It dispenses cheap HIV self-testing kits that prick the user’s finger

In South Africa, which is dealing with HIV and AIDS on a much larger scale, vending machines are being used to store prescription HIV drugs, to work around the limitations imposed by the stigma as well.

HIV tests are becoming easier and cheaper to make, and the waiting period for HIV test results is getting shorter and shorter. In modern culture, instant convenience is becoming the norm. Just look at the way RedBox has replaced video rental stores and  McDonald’s ordering stations have replaced employees. When you eliminate the awkwardness of talking to another human being with something as sensitive as an HIV test, a vending machine makes a lot of sense.

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