Op-Ed

 

I find myself thinking about the myriad of injustice issues that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. championed. One glaring injustice is the treatment of Bayard Rustin by leaders in the civil rights movement. Bayard Rustin was the Black gay organizer for the historic March On Washington. He organized the historic march with 200,000 in attendance to hear Dr. King deliver the famous "I have a dream" speech. I wonder what the dream was for Bayard. Did he have a dream for himself? A dream for LGBTQ people? I am sure that in 2020, Dr. King would have evolved, as his family did, to defend queer folks. 

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Most weeks, someone asks me on social media why I “waste my time” writing for the queer press. I write predominantly for the mainstream press, but I have never stopped writing for the queer press because the stories of our LGBTQ lives must be told, and there is no one else to tell those stories but us. We’re losing the queer press — PGN and Bay Area Reporter are anomalies as independent newspapers that have never ceased publication since the 1970s. There were more closings of queer publications in 2019 than in any other year, and, according to an investigative piece last week by Maya Kosoff, 3,385 American journalists lost their jobs in the past 12 months. A dozen I know are LGBTQ.

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At a rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania on Dec. 10 — the same day Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Articles of Impeachment against him — President Trump targeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Warren has dipped in polls as the media has attacked her Medicare for All plan and her proposed wealth tax to get billionaires to pay their representative share of taxes. In Hershey, Trump referenced that drop, saying that Warren “was doing fine until she opened that fresh mouth of hers.”

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World AIDS Day is always a grim memorial. The day marks another year of stultifying numbers of people infected with HIV/AIDS. Another year of stigma not yet lifted and denialism still entrenched. Another year of surviving all those who did not survive.

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On World AIDS Day 2019, ACT UP Philadelphia, the AIDS Coalition To Unleash Power, recognizes 31 years of direct action and civil disobedience. ACT UP membership reflects the AIDS epidemic. AIDS is a non-crisis crisis, now that the disease is impacting primarily Black and Brown people. The majority of infections still come from men having sex with men. Transmissions of the virus are also generated by homelessness, poverty, addiction and stigma. These issues mirror reasons Black and Brown people are disproportionately incarcerated — the only difference is that the racist war on drugs caused those incarcerations.

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This year, to commemorate World AIDS Day, Action Wellness (formerly ActionAIDS), a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization serving individuals living with HIV and other serious chronic illnesses since 1986, wants you to know about one of the many innovative ways it is working to bring about the next “AIDS-free” generation in Philadelphia.

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Thanksgiving is all about sharing with others and being grateful. The November holiday heralds the season of giving — Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice or just the year’s end tax credits. Thanksgiving is when people begin to open their wallets.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 133 million Americans have chronic illnesses — diabetes, asthma, HIV, cancer, heart disease, autoimmune diseases. At more than 40 percent of the U.S. population, that’s a huge demographic and expense.

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Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) was among the wave of women and LGBT people elected to Congress in the 2018 midterms. Endorsed by former President Barack Obama, Hill trounced the Republican incumbent in a district that was solidly GOP for 30 years, and did so while rejecting PAC money — only accepting money from small donors. Her campaign was the subject of a Vice News documentary that highlighted her left political positions and called it “the most millennial campaign, ever.”

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