News Briefs

‘Stunning’ Advance in AIDS Research

At the University of Montreal, researchers are touting “a major advance in controlling HIV,” the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. They have identified a protein, PD-1, “that depresses the immune system” of people with HIV and have found a way to “reverse its effects.” The story said that two major U.S. health centers, at Harvard and the National Institutes of Health, have confirmed the work of the team led by Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly. PD-1 keeps “virus-fighting T-cells too relaxed,” the CBC reported, allowing HIV to replicate. The researchers therefore stimulated the protein, preventing HIV from disabling the immune system. Dr. Mark Wainberg of the McGill University AIDS Centre called the find “stunning” and believed it would have applications to treating other diseases. Sékaly called it “the missing link” in fighting the virus.

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Murder in Detroit

Allen Terrell Jones, 23, a gay man who was a dancer in the Cleveland house ball scene, was shot to death on August 11 on the city’s West Side. A native of Montgomery, Alabama, he had been living in Cleveland for the past 13 months with friends, including the drag performer Divinity, the Gay People’s Chronicle reported. No suspects have been identified and it is not known whether the murder was a hate crime.

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Democrats Support Same-Sex Marriage in New York

A Pace University poll of likely Democratic primary voters in New York State found that they support opening marriage to same-sex couples by a 48-32 margin. There was, however, significant opposition from black Democrats, who opposed gay marriage by 45 to 31 percent. And upstate males opposed it 45 to 35 percent.

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Santorum Closing Gap in Pennsylvania

Senator Rick Santorum is behind State Treasurer Bob Casey, Jr. by a 48-42 margin, continuing to chip away at the 18-point lead that Casey enjoyed in January. At five percent in the polls is Carl Romanelli, the Green Party candidate, who is capitalizing on the fact that Casey is anti-choice. Romanelli has attracted funds from the right wing which hopes he will hurt Casey, who supports civil unions for gay couples. Santorum is one of the leading anti-gay activists in Congress and said that eliminating sodomy laws opened the door to “man-on-dog sex.”

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Cincinnati Can Keep its LGBT Rights Law

A right-wing group has dropped its bid to overturn Cincinnati’s law banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, acknowledging fraud in their petitions and the likelihood they would lose in November anyway. Cincinnati first passed a gay rights bill in 1992, only to have it overturned by a voter initiative. Citizens to Restore Fairness got that anti-gay measure, which prohibited city government from making sexual orientation a protected class, reversed by the voters in 2004. This past March, the City Council voted 8-1 to add the categories of “sexual orientation” and “transgender status” to the human rights law.

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Gay Characters Take a Dive on Primetime TV

GLAAD is lamenting that gay characters on primetime broadcast TV shows this coming season are in decline, with three on returning shows and six on new ones—down from 10 last season. Neil Giuliano, the group’s president, told the Los Angeles Times that despite the high visibility of gay characters in movies such as “Brokeback Mountain,” the networks “are not tapping into this audience.” He noted that there are 25 regular LGBT characters on cable shows from “The Sopranos” to “The L Word.”

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Porn Star to Entertain Gay Israeli Troops

Soldiers in the Korean War got Marilyn Monroe and in Vietnam got Joey Heatherton. Now New York-based porn star and producer Michael Lucas is headed for Israel to do a live sex show for gay troops there. “I will expose the reality that the people of Israel face right now, especially that of gay Israelis who are targeted by the hate of Hezbollah,” he told Something Jewish. A Hezbollah leader, Abu Oudai, this week hailed the “tremendous victory” of his forces, saying that the Israeli Army was “full of gay soldiers and full of corruption.”

Wal-Mart Deal with Gay Group Criticized

Wal-Mart entered into a partnership this week with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce to buy from LGBT-owned and gay-friendly businesses, but the deal was immediately attacked by Pride at Work, the LGBT labor group, because of Wal-Mart’s labor practices. “We’re not sure how Wal-Mart fits into anything worker friendly,” Jeremy Bishop of Pride at Work told PageOneQ.

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Election of Lesbian in Alabama Challenged

Patricia Todd won a primary for the state Legislature in Alabama last month by 59 votes, the first out lesbian to do so. But the mother-in-law of her losing opponent, Gaynell Hendricks, is challenging the result—which has yet to be certified—saying that Todd failed to list a contribution from the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund on her campaign disclosure form. There is a racial element in the dispute since Todd, who is white, was elected to represent a predominately African-American district. She has charged the state Democratic Party vice chair, Joe Reed, who is black, with being behind the challenge, citing a letter he wrote to African-American leaders to back Hendricks because she, too, is black, PlanetOut reported.

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Saudis Arrest 20 at Gay Wedding

Saudi authorities in the southern city of Jizan detained 250 out of 400 people at the wedding party for two men who they charged were “emulating women.” Most were released, but 20 of the young men are still under arrest. There are also charges that some of the guests were chewing qat, an illegal narcotic, Independent Online reported.

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