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Happy Sunday! It’s brunch time. Don’t be Dumb. This week includes stories about coffee shop porn, an update from Taiwan on marriage equality and multiple stories relating to World AIDS Day. And of course we have our Whackjob of the Week. See who it is below.
Here are five news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch:
1. Starbucks is Not a Porn Hub
After years of pressure to do so, Starbucks has said it will block access to explicit (read: porn) websites from its in-store Wi-Fi. This comes after more than 26,000 people signed a petition created by campaign group Enough Is Enough seeking to make the internet “safer” for families and children, urging for the blockage. But there’s a fear that LGBTQ content could be inadvertently banned as a result. A Starbucks spokesperson stated the company is working towards a way to ban porn that “also doesn’t involuntarily block unintended content.” Who’s watching porn at Starbucks anyway?!
2. Knowing Your Status Just Got Easier
Yesterday was World AIDS Day. Knowing your HIV status is important, but sometimes the stigma and embarrassment one may feel about going to get tested is a reason people don’t do it. Well, it just got easier “down under” — in Australia, that is. The country just approved an at-home self-test HIV kit. The kits, which require users to prick a finger, will cost around $20 USD and deliver results in only 15 minutes. It’s time for a test like this to come to the United States to encourage people to “know their status.”
3. In the World of Gay Marriage … an Update
Last week we informed you of a referendum on marriage equality in Taiwan that showed citizens opposing it by a large margin. Well, as we had hoped, that vote was a waste of time and energy. Taiwanese Secretary-General Lu Tai-lang has said the anti-marriage votes could not overrule the Constitutional Court’s 2017 ruling in favor of marriage equality. The court is the highest ruling body in the nation and its rulings “cannot be touched,” he said. So love wins again, even though the exportation of hate from the United States continues. Three U.S. anti-LGBTQ organizations in particular — the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), MassResistance and International House of Prayer (IHOP) — helped organize local conservative groups.
4. British Lawmaker Has Come Out as HIV-Positive
During an emotional speech on the Parliament floor, British lawmaker Lloyd Russell-Moyle revealed he was HIV positive to his fellow members. He says he decided to speak out to help others to seek treatment, fight the stigma surrounding the disease and because Dec. 1 marked the 30th anniversary of World AIDS Day. Russell-Moyle, diagnosed 10 years ago at the age of 22, said, “No person diagnosed with HIV today should feel any less able to thrive and enjoy life than anyone else because of their status.” What a powerful message this sends to those dealing with HIV around the world. Can you imagine a U.S. lawmaker ever doing this should he or she be diagnosed with HIV? What would the reaction be?
5. Whackjob of the Week: Vice President Mike Pence
The White House honored World AIDS Day earlier this week and trotted out one of the biggest hypocrites and homophobes there is in the administration to do so: VP Mike Pence, whose career has included spreading misinformation about condom use and fueling the worst HIV outbreak in his state’s history. “We are closer today. Than ever before. To ending. The AIDS crisis. In our time,” Pence said at the podium. Check out this in-depth article for more information on Pence’s HIV hypocrisy and the current administration’s desire to actually cut funding substantially for global HIV/AIDS programs in the State Department, USAID (including PEPFAR) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Hornet @PaulandJeff.