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Reverend Right on Race

June 2008


As Obama repudiates a black preacher whose truths discomfort white America, McCain trumpets the backing of white preachers who vilify gay Americans of any color


In my senior year in college, I took “Introduction to Comparative Government.” The large course was taught by Karl Deutsch, a revered and academically well-decorated professor. In class, students were called upon to compare the political cultures of various nations. Each country, Professor Deutsch noted, has its own defining political ethos, a central strand of thinking unique to its history which shapes its internal and external politics. One student asked… Continue reading

Boycott Jamaica?

May 2008


Jamaica is beset with violence and lawlessness. The island nation has one of the highest murder rates in the world — and police, instead of being an antidote to violence, are often themselves perpetrators and accomplices.


Amnesty International confirms that among those “socially excluded communities” frequently targeted for violence are Jamaica’s gay people. Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, Allsexuals, and Gays (JFLAG) reports 43 anti-gay mob attacks in 2007 and claims at least 10 anti-gay murders in 2005 and 2006. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch reported on an attack on four gay men sharing a… Continue reading

Not Just Condoms Stop HIV

April 2008


This past January, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health released a study claiming that HIV-positive individuals whose viral loads are fully suppressed by anti-retroviral therapy (that is, “undetectable”) “do not transmit HIV by sexual means.”


The Swiss study included three caveats to this remarkable claim: the HIV-positive person had to adhere to their medication regimen diligently, his or her viral load needs to have been undetectable for at least six months, and he or she should not be experiencing any other sexually transmitted disease.


For many years, experts have warned that although successful antiretroviral… Continue reading

Broadening Gay Travel

March 2008


My Chattanooga high school’s English department took pride in its southern roots, and “literature of the South” was a staple offering at every grade level. Probably no one graduated without reading Flannery O’Connor’s “A Good Man is Hard to Find,” a macabre tale of a Georgia family’s vacation gone horribly awry. Given its gory denouement, I find it remarkable that I remember the story for one line, uttered by the grandmother, urging her family to reconsider their Florida destination and instead, for her own selfish reasons, head to East Tennessee. The children, she noted, had never… Continue reading

A Valentine’s Message

February 2008


The great chronicler of gay sex Boyd McDonald was fond of repeating the aphorism “How often have we gone out looking for sex but found only love.” As he did so often, Boyd managed to lampoon our culture’s inverted sexual values with words that seem, at first, to be twisted in order to amuse. But Boyd wasn’t just being clever or ironic — his seemingly mangled proverb, taken at face-value, exposes how we are ill-served by prevalent attitudes about sex and love.


“Love,” as used in Boyd’s maxim, is a treacly sentiment. This love is… Continue reading

Christian Lies

January 2008


Pandering and prevarication are, of course, an inevitable part of presidential elections. Leading candidates say and promise what they deem necessary to win, for in their moral calculus winning is everything. While it is possible to stomach a certain amount of such disingenuous opportunism, this year’s Republican field is particularly odious in their kowtowing to the Religious Right, especially in their fantastic and dishonest claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation.


Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, has made the absurd suggestion that “a majority” of the 56 signers of the Declaration… Continue reading