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A new bill could put an end to HIV criminalization laws that impose cruel and unfair penalties on people with HIV.

U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) plans to introduce the legislation in September. A draft shows it would require a review of all federal and state laws, policies, regulations and judicial precedents regarding criminal cases involving people living with HIV/AIDS.

The bill, called the Repeal HIV Discrimination Act, would then charge the Attorney General and the Secretary of Health and Human Services with developing guidelines for state and federal governments. The guidelines would assist governments in altering discriminatory policies.

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The Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act (FAIR) introduced by the California Senate, eventually passed by the assembly, and signed by Governor Jerry Brown requires the inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender history into curricula in California public schools. Without the inclusion of LGBT components, we fail to properly educate students. I feel we also fail to honor those who fought – not only for LGBT rights, but also those who fought for sweeping civil rights who happen to be queer.

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Victoria Jackson recently posted a column on ultra-conservative website WorldNetDaily entitled, “The Muslims Next Door.” In the very first paragraph of Jackson’s article, she divulges,” Frankly, I’m afraid to say anything about Muslims. Why? Because they kill people.” Given the instantaneous self-contradiction of her declaration, I think it’s safe to assume she really isn’t all that afraid. Jackson goes on to further malign Muslims, among others. Ironically, no one, not even the killer Muslims, cared. All of that faux fear wasted. What did garner Victoria Jackson some undoubtedly much-sought-after attention, however, was an idiotic non sequitur that appeared later in the article. Jackson makes light of an alleged beauty magazine for al-Qaeda women by musing that it is “as ridiculous as two men kissing on the mouth.” I’m not, in the least, sure what one thing has to do with the other, but, I’m confident it all makes sense in the mind of Ms. Jackson. She continues, “Did you see ‘Glee’ this week? Sickening!”

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Poor, unstably housed New Yorkers living with HIV/AIDS are having a significantly harder time finding apartments as a result of two policies adopted by the city’s Human Resources Administration.

That is the key conclusion drawn from a survey of case managers released this week by Shubert Botein Policy Associates, an analysis and advocacy group based in New York City.

In March, the Human Resources Administration changed two long-standing policies regarding the payment of fees on behalf of low-income people who receive rental assistance through HRA. First, HRA halved the amount it will pay to a broker who is working on behalf of an HRA client. Second, HRA will no longer provide cash security deposits to landlords who work with clients. Instead, landlords are given vouchers, which they can use to request compensation for damages caused by a tenant.

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I feel like I’ve been centering my thoughts around the idea that it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or not because it’s irrelevant and that there are other elements of the Bachmann situation to be more concerned about that rest less on ambiguity and more on fact. But maybe I need to, at least in part, distance myself from this idea because it is entirely relevant whether or not Marcus Bachmann is a closeted homosexual or has undergone reparative therapy himself. Their very public and very extreme position on my sexuality and my identity would not allow for me to exist safely, productively and happily if they had their way.

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To be sure, acting out is unhealthy and oftentimes illegal. However, it is understandable in this context. It is the responsibility of those with resources, not only money but common sense and decency, to make all areas welcoming to our gay kids. It is also our responsibility to let all community members know that illegal acts, particularly violence, can result in jail, prison, and sometimes even disability or death. People who violate these shared social norms against violence have to face the penalty, whether the violence occurs on the south side or the north side and this must be made clear in a healthy way. A healthy way in this instance would be an avenue that lets these kids know that if they think it is bad here, it is even worse in jail and that the inequality they experience now will be much worse with a criminal record. These are the facts. We need to take an honest inventory of our city and our gay community and confront the social problems we see head on with common sense and inclusivity. We are all a part of that sometimes silly rainbow, made up of a diversity of colors, cultures and voices. Let’s take care of our own wherever they live in order to make our entire community a safer, healthier environment and make racism and homophobia relics of the past.

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Some things are too important to be pushed at from behind; they must be led, kicking and screaming if necessary, from the front. The president’s failure to identify marriage equality as a civil right, not something for the states to muddle stopping one step short of an unqualified embrace of all Americans’ rights to enter into the sanctioned marriage of their choice – that, in a word, is cruel. It’s small, it’s weak and it’s cruel.

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Unfortunately, most of the white people screaming loudest on this topic have no interest in unraveling the causation of these disparities. They just want to extrapolate the statistical data that demonstrates a correlation between a person’s race (so long asthey are not white) to their negative traits. They attack white intolerance through their religion and black intolerance through their race, and facts be damned. Instead of using every instance of “black homophobia” as evidence that the Negros are coming to get the white homos, the white homos could avail themselves of the realities of minority experiences in the LGBT community.

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This year, two notable controversies have been brewing in Tennessee: a proposed bill that would forbid educators from using the word “gay” in the classroom, and a court battleto determine whether or not Islam is a religion. (The verdict? Islam is in fact a religion—for now, anyway.)

These two issues may seem unrelated, but I believe they’re actually symptoms of the same problem—our nation’s historical difficulty with those who are seen as disrupting the status quo. Intolerance against Muslims and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) individuals isn’t exclusive to Tennessee; with a fever-pitched debate overPark51 (or the “Ground Zero Mosque”) and headline-grabbing concerns about anti-LGBTQ bullying, these issues are a national concern.

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What progress has this act of vandalism achieved, other than the ‘lulz’ of those involved? To these vandals I say this: how dare you criticize outreach efforts like those of It Gets Better, who along with Trevor Project and other orgs, is literally saving lives. If it is impact of direct action that they crave, perhaps their energy might be better spent by allying with groups like GetEQUAL, who are actually making a difference by using the act of protest. This vandalism, and more importantly, claiming to be the arbiters of the spirit of the Stonewall riots is far more ignorant than selling branded merchandise.