Black History Month Spotlight – Bishop Desmond Tutu

Today I spotlight, Bishop Desmund Tutu. He has been a champion for many causes including HIV/AIDS awareness, Homophobia, Poverty, Racism and so much more. He was instrumental in shedding light to the world about apartheid in South Africa in the 1980’s.

You can read more about him here!

Black History Month Spotlight – Arthur Ashe

Today, I would like to spotlight Arthur Ashe. The 1st African American Male to win a Grand Slam in Tennis. He was also an active civil rights advocate. You can read more about him here!

Treasure Island Fined by Cal/OSHA; Appeal Pending


San-Francisco based Treasure Island Media is appealing three fines levied against the company for workplace safety violations by Cal/OSHA. The studio produces all-male condomless content. A story published on Friday by industry publication XBIZ pinged around the gay-media-gossip blogosphere over the weekend and said TIM was found in violation of workplace safety regulations by permitting its performers to engage in condomless sexual activity. The citations total more than $21,000, noting TIM “has not developed procedures for methods of compliance, including engineering controls and work practices; Hepatitis-B vaccination, post-exposure evaluation and follow up; communication of hazards to employees; and recordkeeping.” An agency safety engineer said the citations were not issued due to the presence of HIV-positive models; rather, it was “performers having unprotected sex and other technical issues.” TIM General Manager Matt Mason told XBIZ the company cooperated with Cal/OSHA’s investigation. “We have appealed the citations and participated in the informal conference process and expect to take the matter to a hearing in 2011 with an administrative law judge,” he said.

World’s AIDS Day


December 1st is World’s AIDS Day. This day should be a day of awareness and to lovingly remember those who have succumbed to HIV/AIDS.

There is a good pictorial of Black/Latino Celebrities who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. You can view it here!

If you have not been tested for HIV, please go get tested!. You can view HIV test locations here!
Here are other great resources regarding HIV/AIDS
Black AIDS Institute – http://blackaids.org/

"A Letter to Oprah" from Dr. David Malebranche


A couple of weeks ago, Oprah revisited the topic of the “Down Low”. What could have been a very thought provoking show on why this behavior exist, etc., she decides to sensationalize it once again and has the one and only tired JL King spewing his madness. Upon watching this show, a very good friend of mine, Dr. David Malebranche wrote this letter to Oprah. All I can say is powerful!


Dear Oprah,

On a beautiful, sunny October 7th afternoon in Atlanta, Georgia, I sat down to enjoy a rare occasion where I could come home early from work to catch a new episode of your daily talk show that I have watched on and off for the better part of the past 3 decades. Upon pressing the info button on my remote, I learned that your show would be discussing a woman who “sued her husband for 12 million and won,” after finding out he had given her the HIV virus. To say I watched this episode unfold in horror is a profound understatement – I was uncomfortably riveted and disgusted for the entire hour.

To be quite clear, I wasn’t horrified or disgusted by the fact that this unfortunate Black woman had contracted HIV as a result of her husband’s secretive “Down Low” infidelities with other men. As a Black gay male, physician and public health advocate who has dedicated the past 12 years of my life to the behavioral prevention and treatment of HIV in the Black community, I have heard stories like your guest’s on this day more times than I would like to admit. To the contrary, the acidic taste of bile that coated the back of my throat as I heard her story was in response to the superficial and sensationalistic manner in which you handled the topic, and how it was apparent that you and your staff have learned absolutely nothing in the 6 years since you originally interviewed J.L. King on your “Down Low” episode in 2004.

Yes, you can claim that for this updated version of your “Down Low” show, you actually included the fact that publically “heterosexual” White men and men of other races are equally capable of having secretive homosexual affairs as their Black counterparts. And yes, this new version of J.L. King who again opportunistically sashayed onto your stage to promote himself now uses the word “gay” to describe his sexual identity (partly as a consequence of the fame and fortune he attained from appearing on your show). However, everything else about the show remained stuck in a metaphorical time warp in which Black women are portrayed as simple victims with no personal responsibility or accountability when it comes to their sexual behavior, and Black men are projected as nothing more than predatory liars, cheaters and “mosquito-like” vectors of disease when it comes to HIV.

I felt like I was like watching a train wreck or an car accident about to happen: it was so awful that despite wanting to turn it off, I found myself transfixed and could not bring myself to pick up the remote or change the channel. From the ominous background music and blurred images on the screen when discussing Black men being intimate with one another (God forbid!), to your declaration that reading your guest’s husband’s sexually explicit emails and messages on gay websites “blew your mind,” the way in which your show was staged did nothing to forward the conversation on the current facts or the social context that currently drives secretive same sex behavior among Black men and the current HIV racial disparity in the United States. Instead, what came across was a clear, fear-mongering and hyperbolic message: “Black women, look out for your husbands, they could be lying and cheating on you with other men and putting you at risk for HIV.” It was bad enough that 6 years ago, after your original “Down Low” show, you single-handedly launched a major media and cultural hysteria where Black women across the country were now searching for signs of how they could tell if their men were “on the Down Low” through stereotypical signs and ridiculously offensive generalizations about how homosexual men think and act. Your show also helped J.L. King and other self-proclaimed “HIV experts” make a lot of money off this capitalistic, fear-based industry to promote their books, movies and narcissistic products on the so-called “Down Low.” It did nothing, however, but open new wounds and put salt in the old scars caused by centuries of sexual exploitation and calculated pathologizing of Black bodies in the United States and internationally. The way you and your staff have handled this topic has done nothing but widen the already irreparable rifts between Black men and women, as well as between Black heterosexual and non-heterosexual peoples.

While I realize that this is your show’s “final season,” let me give you and your staff some suggestions on how you can better address this issue of the “Down Low” and HIV in the Black community if you ever wish to revisit this issue during this year:

  1. Please do some research on the facts explaining why so many Black women in the United States are contracting HIV. I can guarantee you that what you find will surprise you, as the vast majority of cases are not due to so-called “Down Low” Black men. Remember that in other countries like South Africa, India, Russia and China, there are millions of HIV cases attributable to heterosexual transmission. Ask yourselves where is the proof, outside of anecdotal stories that are splashed on your show, BET and the pages of Essence magazine, that bisexual men are primarily accountable for this horrible disparity among Black women?
  2. If you are going to tell the story of HIV in the Black community, please give equal consideration to the social context and personal story/struggles of Black men who contract the virus, regardless of whether it is through IV drug use or sexual behavior. I can tell you for certain that if you sit down and ask these men to tell their stories, you will undoubtedly have your eyes opened to the fact that there is much more to their lives than the “predator” labels you so easily ascribe to their actions. And believe it or not, Black men can also be “victims” of this disease when exposed through their wives or female sexual partners who don’t tell them about the other people with whom THEY have been having sex.
  3. If you are going to talk about the so-called “Down Low,” then really talk about it. That means, be prepared to discuss how Black men are socialized in this country to believe that our manhood solely exists in our athletic prowess, entertainment value, and the size and potency of the flap of skin that dangles between our legs. Moreover, be prepared to talk about how these manhood expectations placed on Black man are in stark contrast to the stereotypical images and expectations of “gay” men we see in the media: White men who assume a gender performance of how women are traditionally expected to act. And then talk about our society’s pervasive disdain, hatred and religious condemnation of anything that does not fall into a heterosexual “man-woman” norm of relationships and behavior, and how this puts pressure on men to deny who they truly are for fear of rejection and isolation. Only when you begin to scratch the surface of these dynamics can you begin to rise above your current myopic and pathologic lens through which you view and project secret homosexuality and bisexuality as an “immoral act” on your show.
  4. Have your team do better research on the notion that just because men do not disclose that they have same sex relations to their female sexual partners DOES NOT automatically mean that they are irresponsible when it comes to condom use. Simply put, “coming out of the closet” does not mean that a formerly “Down Low” brother will increase his condom use. I can provide you team with numerous studies to support this statement if it goes against your preconceived notions of the so-called “benefits” of “coming out.”
  5. Withhold your judgment and disdain for explicit homosexual websites until you take time to explore websites like craigslist, nudeafrica.com, xtube.com and the many others that heterosexuals are just as freaky, raunchy and sex-crazed as homosexuals are. If you really want to read some conversations, pictures and videos that will “blow your mind,” check out these websites and do a show on how HUMAN BEINGS are sexual creatures – instead of suggesting that homosexually active people have a monopoly on that market.
  6. Finally, if you are going to have a discourse on homosexuality or bisexuality on your show in the future, please be bold and courageous enough to tell the various sides of men’s stories. We are not all self-loathing, secretive, unprotected sex-having, disease ridden liars. Surely in the work you have done in the entertainment field over the past 3 decades, you have interacted with enough same gender loving men to realize that sexuality is a fluid journey for anyone, and that there are many Black homosexual men who are well-adjusted, comfortable with who we are, and at peace with our lives.

Oprah, I was so disappointed with your show and treatment of this follow up to your “Down Low” episode 6 years ago that I don’t know if I really care to watch the remainder of this, your final season. As a seasoned journalist, you have intricately described and explored the nuances of diverse topics such as eating disorders, mental health, spirituality, violence and criminality, cultural diversity and even the benevolent nature of human beings on numerous shows. You have approached these topics with a sensitivity and attention to detail regarding the social contexts driving human behavior, that even the most skeptical viewer can understand why some people do the things they do. So why is it with this topic (the so-called “Down Low”), particularly when it comes to the task of actually humanizing Black men, that you and your staff appear mentally, emotionally and intellectually incapable of creating a show that shows the rich, diverse and complex experience of being a Black male and homosexual in this country? Is it really that difficult?

As one of the most powerful human beings this country has seen in the past 30 years, and someone whose show I grew up watching, it would be nice if you realized your influence and took more personal responsibility for the quality of your shows that address serious topics like HIV in the Black community. The careless manner in which you continue to drive a wedge between relationships among Black men and women, between heterosexuals and homosexuals in this country through your one-sided analysis of Black sexuality in your shows is reprehensible. And I for, one, refuse to sit by idly and say nothing while you spoon feed sensationalism and fear to our community who will all too willingly eat every last drop because it comes from your hand. I need you to do better Oprah – the world is watching.

David J. Malebranche, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor

Emory University Division of General Medicine

49 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive

Suite 413

Atlanta, GA 30303

(404) 778-1630

(404) 778-1602 fax

dmalebr@emory.edu

House of Representatives passes Health Bill


In what should have been taken care of last year, the House has passed, by a slim margin, the Health Bill! The vote was 219-212 with no Republican support (isn’t that a shocker) and 34 Democrats voting against it. Now it will go back to the Senate to “tweak” a few things before going to President Obama’s desk to be signed.

Overall, I think its a good thing as it will help more of the uninsured, children, etc. but at the same time, the cost is overwhelming and they left out some critical portions of the bill regarding LGBT provisions and HIV/AIDS programs, etc.
Big win for Obama! Now work on creating jobs playa! .LOL
You can see who voted for and against the bill here!

What the Fuck….House in Virigina = HIV ?


I recently had a conversation with a brother online who hails from Birmingham, AL. We had talked online about my upcoming trip there and possibly hanging out and working out at the gym. However, due to family issues, he wouldn’t be there during my visit.

Anyway, I enjoyed talking with him because we had talked about everything except sex. I mean just great conversation. Almost very hard to find these days!
Well today, he asked me the most oddest and stupidest question. He asked me “Do I have a House in Virginia?”. I was thinking to myself, “What kind of question is that?”.LOL.. So I replied with a laugh that I don’t. He responds by saying “That’s cool. You are cool with me regardless.” So of course, I’m like there is more to this question. So I bluntly asked him what are you trying to ask me. Well he finally comes forth and asks if I’m HIV positive.
I was thinking to myself, why didn’t you just ask me outright instead of resorting to this childish type of questioning. And furthermore, why is that important? I mean we haven’t even talked about dating or even fucking and yet that comes up. I mean I wasn’t even thinking of asking him that question because I guess for me….it wasn’t all that important. I mean this is as stupid as the guys online asking for a guy who is “clean”. And most of the times, their asses are infected!
He is trying to apologize for his dumb ass question. But to be honest now, I don’t want anything to do with him now. I surely didn’t expect such an immature question from a 36 year old man! And if you can’t even ask me directly about something that is serious (for some folks) then what does that say about you as a whole?
I swear….the South can breed some of the most stupid ass men! Only good to cook and for a fuck! LOL
note: I didn’t say all men in the South and I know there is stupidity everywhere. But I just have to voice what I feel being I’m living in the heart of the South!

Jenifer Lewis – Hot Flash


Jenifer Lewis is one talented woman. A woman of stage, film and TV, she has been entertaining us for almost 30 years. Many of us remember her from her movies roles in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”, “The Preacher’s Wife” and her gay cult classic “Jackie’s Back”.
She has also been a strong voice for the LGBT community as well. She has a new play called “Hot Flash” that will be debuting at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian center on March 5th.
In her article with the Advocate, she talks honestly about her career, her being bi-polar and so much more!
Check out the article here!
Here is a clip of Jackie’s Back

Esther’s Haven


Recently, I was talking to an online buddy of mine in DC and he was telling me about how he spends his time between DC and NC. I asked him what takes him to NC and he mentioned to me that his family runs a home for women with HIV/AIDS. I was like “That’s so cool”. He mentioned the name of the facility is called Esther’s Haven and its named after his grandmother. It’s located in High Point, NC.

Esther’s Haven reaches out to women who are infected with HIV/AIDS who have been turned away from transitional homes, or basically lost everything due to the stigma of the virus (i.e. job loss, family abandonment, etc.)
So I ask you all to check out Esther’s Haven at their website (click here)
If you can please support this great facility and spread the word to others!