Gay News Briefs: Aug. 31, 2018

Posted: August 31st, 2018 | Gay News Briefs, News, Opinion & News | No Comments

HIV Prevention Awareness Day

California Assembly member Todd Gloria is looking to increase public awareness of PrEP and PEP — two medications proven to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by more than 90 percent. In an effort to encourage more Californians to seek out these HIV prevention strategies, the California Assembly today approved Assembly member Gloria’s Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 258 officially declaring Aug. 16, 2018 as “PrEP and PEP Awareness Day” in California.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently approximate that 220,000 Californians are at high-risk for exposure to HIV and 139,000 Californians currently live with HIV. California has the largest number of new HIV diagnoses in the nation, with high concentration in the counties of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as PrEP, is an antiretroviral medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012 that has shown to substantially reduce the risk of transmitting HIV. By taking PrEP once a day, exposure to HIV is reduced by approximately 90 percent. Post-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as PEP, is also an FDA approved medication for individuals who may have been exposed to HIV. PEP can be taken within 72 hours of potential exposure and dramatically reduces the risk of acquiring HIV. Only 12 percent of Californians though have actually started a PrEP regimen.

“PrEP and PEP are critical tools in our fight to get to zero — zero HIV transmission, zero AIDS-related deaths, and zero stigma against people living with HIV,” said Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur.

“We can get there, and together with leaders like Assembly member Gloria and members of the Legislative LGBT Caucus, we’re committed to increasing awareness and uptake of both PrEP and PEP,”6

Zbur continued.

More information, including fact sheets from the CDC and a short informational video highlighting ACR 258, PrEP, and PEP can be found on Assembly member Gloria’s website at

AIDS Walk & Run San Diego

The San Diego AIDS Walk & Run is set for Saturday, Sept. 29 and is seeking volunteers to help with all components of its community-wide event. AIDS Walk & Run volunteers are needed in many areas including advance organizing, event set-up and event activities.

“No experience is necessary to volunteer, and all levels of commitment are welcome and appreciated.” said Cheli Mohamed, director of Volunteer Services & Community Leadership for the San Diego LGBT Community Center, which produces AIDS Walk & Run San Diego.

“You can volunteer as an individual or as a group. AIDS Walk & Run San Diego needs a volunteer team of 500 people to make this vital event a success. Whether you give a couple of hours in advance or volunteer for the day of the event, every hour you contribute makes a real difference, and you can get started right away by signing up today.” He continued

For more information on volunteering, to review all the volunteer opportunities and to register as a volunteer, visit

GLAD celebrates four decades of LGBTQ advocacy

Forty years after its founding in 1978, the GLBTQ Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) is commemorating its continued fight for the rights of LGBTQ people and envisioning of a just future for all Americans.

“This anniversary is not only about our past, but also about our present and our future. We bring to our current work and to this pivotal moment in our nation’s history all the lessons we have learned about building community, devising smart legal strategy, and working with diligence and passion.” said GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu.

Through the end of 2018, the GLAD community will reflect on its role in laying the legal foundation to advance transgender rights, strengthen LGBTQ family law, establish protections for people living with HIV, and advocate for LGBTQ youth. Celebrations include the July 28 Provincetown Summer Party and the Oct. 12 Spirit of Justice Award Dinner. Among other commemorations, GLAD will re-release the 12 historical podcasts created for its 30th anniversary, and produce additional material reflecting the events of the past decade.

For event tickets and information, visit

Lambda Legal challenges DoD’s discharge of HIV-positive service members

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN, along with pro bono counsel from Winston & Strawn LLP, asked a federal court to halt implementation of a new Department of Defense policy resulting in the discharge of service members living with HIV. The motion for a preliminary injunction filed in Harrison v. Mattis — a case challenging the military’s discriminatory policies governing the enlistment, deployment, and promotion of service members living with HIV — follows multiple calls from other service members that plaintiffs’ attorneys received after his case was filed in May.

Service members are being denied significant career advancement opportunities or threatened with discharge due to the departments new “Deploy or Get Out!” policy. Left unaddressed, hundreds of service members who are otherwise fit for duty, including named-plaintiff Sgt. Nick Harrison, will be discharged from the military, suffer irrevocable harm to their careers, and lose critical health care and other benefits.

“Soldiers, sailors, fighter pilots and marines are seeing their promising careers cut short, their dreams of service shattered, and their health jeopardized due to antiquated notions about HIV and the stigma that results,” said Scott Schoettes, Counsel and HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal.

“This must end. If the court doesn’t intervene, the Trump administration will continue to discharge more promising service members living with HIV, denying them the ability to continue serving their country,” he continued.

OutServe-SLDN is also an organizational plaintiff in this case to advance the interests of its members who are living with HIV and serving in the military. In a companion lawsuit entitled Doe v. Mattis, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are representing an anonymous service member living with HIV who the Air Force refused to commission as an officer after he graduated from the Air Force Academy, despite recommendations from medical personnel.

Study examines health impacts of legalized marriage

Researchers at Vanderbilt University have documented evidence that legalizing same-sex marriage has improved access to health care for gay men in one of the first studies to examine the effect legalized marriage has on the health of LGBT individuals. The findings were published as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper in August.

Christopher Carpenter, professor of economics at Vanderbilt, headed the study. He and his team analyzed 16 years of data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a database of information about U.S. residents’ health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services.

“This is an important question to study, since recent research has shown that LGBT individuals often face barriers to accessing health services including lack of insurance, stigma, and discrimination, and, as a result, can experience poor health outcomes,” said Carpenter.

“We found that lesbian, gay, or bisexual adults were more likely to get married after having access to legal same-sex marriage, and for men, that is associated with a statistically significant increase in the probability that they have health insurance, have a usual source of care, and have a routine health check-up,” claimed co-author and assistant professor of health policy, Gilbert Gonzales Jr.

The team was surprised to not see a similar effect for lesbian adults and plans to conduct future research to better examine the reason for the difference. Another surprising finding was that while there was increased health insurance coverage and health care access for gay men, no jump in health effects were seen in any of the populations examined.

The study was supported by a $400,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Vanderbilt University to analyze the health impacts of recent laws and public policies affecting LGBT individuals, as well as local economic and business outcomes.

Scooter pioneer joins ride-share community

Cerritos-based Razor USA, manufacturer of Razor Scooters has decided to make its move into the growing ride-sharing industry. Pioneer of the original scooter design, which launched in 2000, the company is seeking to expand upon the current electric scooter design in hopes of standing out in the crowded market.

“We are thrilled to be joining this vibrant community,” said Danny Simon, chief operating officer for Razor USA. “Our specially designed shared e-scooters create a better shared ride for San Diegans to make the experience convenient, safe, and fun. We are dedicated to continuing to work with the city on how to best be a strong partner for the community.”

The new red and black scooters have already hit the street. Like similar ride-sharing services, the scooters are managed by a downloadable smartphone app. As an additional incentive to try the new scooters, Razor USA is offering customers’ first three rides for free.

— Compiled by Jules Shane.

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