WASHINGTON — A U.S. judge on Friday barred Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life and ordered him to pay $64.6 million after he famously raised the price of the drug Daraprim and fought to block generic competitors.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in Manhattan ruled after a trial where the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and seven states had accused Shkreli, the founder of Vyera Pharmaceuticals, of using illegal tactics to keep Daraprim rivals out of the market.
Shkreli drew notoriety in 2015 after hiking Daraprim’s price overnight to $750 per tablet from $17.50. The drug treats toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that threatens people with weakened immune systems.
In a 130-page decision, Cote faulted Shkreli for creating two companies, Vyera and Retrophin, designed to monopolize drugs so he could profit “on the backs” of patients, doctors and distributors.
She said the Daraprim scheme was “particularly heartless and coercive,” and a lifetime industry ban was needed because of the “real danger” that Shkreli could become a repeat offender.
“Shkreli’s anticompetitive conduct at the expense of the public health was flagrant and reckless,” the judge wrote. “He is unrepentant. Barring him from the opportunity to repeat that conduct is nothing if not in the interest of justice.”
After the ruling, FTC Chair Lina Khan tweeted the decision, calling it a “just outcome.”
Shkreli’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Shkreli is serving a seven-year prison sentence for securities fraud. He did not attend the trial held last month.
Vyera was founded in 2014 as Turing Pharmaceuticals, and acquired Daraprim from Impax Laboratories in 2015.
Regulators accused Vyera of protecting its dominance of Daraprim by ensuring that generic drugmakers could not obtain samples for cheaper versions, and keeping potential rivals from buying a key ingredient.
The seven states joining the FTC case included California, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
The treatment of lead character Ava’s bisexuality and other characters’ queerness meshes seamlessly into the show while also pushing the boundaries of representation.
“You a lesbian?”
This is how a conversation starts between two leads, Deborah Vance (Jean Smart), an older and established Las Vegas comedian, and Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder), her new young writer, in the second episode of HBO Max’s critically acclaimed and Emmy Award-winning series Hacks.
“Not sure you can ask me that,” Ava responds, before launching into a full-blown explanation of her sexuality. “I used to only hook up with men, but when I masturbated, I thought about women. So then in college I finally hooked up with this amazing TA, Phoebe. And I realized that I could connect more emotionally with women, which led to deeper sexual experiences. But sometimes I do still need penetrative sex with a dick to come. But I don’t know, maybe I was just conditioned to the porn that was fed to me by the algorithm, you know? So anyway, I’m bi.”
“Jesus Christ,” Deborah finally says, “I was just wondering why you were dressed like Rachel Maddow’s mechanic.”
And that’s Hacks. Told in the language of setups and punch lines, the show uses the push and pull between these two women to explore their characters through the shared language of jokes.
This conversation fits seamlessly into the mold of the show, but it also quietly — or not so quietly — nudges at a new boundary of bisexual representation on television.
Check out GLAAD’s interview with Einbinder as part of #BiWeek.
GLAAD’s most recent Where We Are on TV study found that 28 percent of the LGBTQ characters counted on scripted prime-time broadcast, cable, and streaming for the 2020-2021 season were bisexual+ (bisexual, pansexual, queer, etc.). Compare this to a Williams Institute study that shows that 52 percent of LGB people are bisexual+ and recent polling from Gallup, which cites bi+ people as being 54.6 percent of LGBTQ adults — and it becomes clear that television falls far short of real life in telling bisexual stories.
Beyond that, of the bi+ characters currently on television, so many of them don’t actually use the word “bi” or “bisexual.” Of course, characters are free to label themselves however they see fit, but there is power in a word, especially the word “bisexual,” which has often been left unspoken on television. So to hear it spoken so casually on Hacks sets a new precedent for bi characters to be able to casually speak about their identity the way any other character would.
Another striking thing about Ava’s monologue about her bisexuality is that it’s a little shocking and a little messy. There’s a history of television portraying bi characters as no more than defamatory stereotypes — adulterous, inherently promiscuous, transactional, or disloyal — which has thankfully slightly declined over the years. Sometimes, however, the pendulum swings too far in the other direction, and bisexual and queer characters aren’t given the same humanity — including flaws and conflicts — and development as their queer counterparts.
That’s not the case on Hacks. Ava is allowed to be a full person, fitting into the fabric of a show about characters who are funny and flawed and hurting all at once. Ava is allowed to send an ill-advised picture to an ex-girlfriend or to have a one-night stand with a man without asking him any questions about his personal life or to have an inappropriate sex dream about her older female boss.
Something else quietly revolutionary about more characters like Ava on our screens is that the audience is being introduced to a bi character after she has already gone through the journey of figuring out that part of herself. So often, queer stories involve a character discovering their own queerness or how their own sexuality fits into their identity. Those stories are important and speak to so many experiences of the community, but it’s rarer to see characters who are already confident in their queer identity; they can just be.
The inherent queerness of Hacks isn’t just seen through Ava; the third lead, Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins), being gay is as straightforward and a part of the character as is Ava’s bisexuality. The cast behind Hacks is phenomenally queer as well, including Einbinder, Clemons-Hopkins, who is nonbinary, as well as queer actors Megan Stalter, Poppy Liu, Johnny Sibilly, and Mark Indelicato. In fact, an apt way to describe the cast of Hacks is “Jean Smart and her queer ensemble.” The show includes queer staff writers Andrew Law, Pat Regan, and Ariel Karlin, and has multiple episodes directed by bi filmmaker Desiree Akhavan.
All that is to say, Hacks is queer on multiple levels. So often it’s the case that shows as queer as Hacks get moved to the sidelines or labeled “niche,” but what is so wonderful to see is not only is Hacks an excellent show, but it is being acknowledged as such. Hacks was nominated for 13 Emmys this year, with Jean Smart taking home Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Lucia Aniello winning for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series, and Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky scoring the award for Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series. Hacks also sits at a certified 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and is one of the most talked about series of 2021.
It does all this with co-lead who is bi and vocal about it, and a queer ensemble filling out that world. Hacks shows that acclaim is well within reach for shows that offer fully formed bi and queer characters and let them live their full, sometimes messy, sometimes chaotic, but always authentic lives.
Annually, from September 16-23, you can join GLAAD, the Bisexual Resource Center, and Still Bisexual in recognizing the bisexual+ community for Bisexual Awareness Week, culminating in Celebrate Bisexuality+ Day today, September 23. Cofounded by GLAAD, Bisexual+ Awareness Week seeks to accelerate acceptance of the bi+ (bisexual, pansexual, fluid, no label, queer, etc.) community. #BiWeek draws attention to the experiences, while also celebrating the resiliency of, the bisexual+ community. Throughout #BiWeek, allies and bi+ people learn about the history, culture, community, and current policy priorities of bi+ communities.
The Chinese Government Is Committed to Erasing LGBTQ People. Here Are 5 Ways It’s Succeeding.
The Chinese government has long made its stance on LGBTQ people known, not affording them any legal protections or recognizing same-sex marriage. But recent actions taken by the state seem to indicate that China does not want to simply forgo basic rights and protections for their queer citizens, but actually pretend they don’t exist. Through poorly justified censorship, the Chinese government is erasing LGBTQ people from public view.
Here’s how they’re doing it.
5 ways the Chinese government is currently erasing LGBTQ people:
1. Wiping LGBTQ terms and accounts from social media
The hugely popular Chinese messaging platform QQ recently banned terms such as “LGBTQ” and “gay.” QQ is used by over half a billion people in China and allows them to connect to one another in public group chats through key words. However, Chinese users who searched LGBTQ-related words received the following message instead: “Use the Internet in a civil manner. Say no to harmful information.”
It seems that now the message has changed to simply say “no results found.”
Queer dating sites have often been the subject of censorship in China as well, and are an easy tool for erasing LGBTQ people. In 2017, Rela, a popular dating app for lesbians, was unceremoniously shut down. It returned one year later on a different cloud provider. Likewise, Zank, a gay dating app, was shut down by the government for allegedly violating pornography regulations.
2. Censoring any form of masculinity that isn’t heteronormative
Most recently, Chinese state media regulator The National Radio and Television Administration called for a ban of “sissy” boy bands on television, deeming them immoral, as part of an eight-point regulation plan to clean up the entertainment industry. Though criticism of popular boy groups like Super Junior-M and Exo-M for their non-traditional aesthetics has always been prevalent, this is the first time the state is codifying it.
The plan states: “Boycott an overly entertaining trend, promote traditional culture, establish correct beauty standards, boycott “sissy idols,” [boycott] daunting wealth, gossip or vulgar internet celebrities.”
The Chinese government has made it very clear that any diversion from traditional masculine values, such as men wearing earrings (seriously), will not be tolerated — going so far as to literally blur out men’s ears on popular television shows.
3. Banning queer content in entertainment and punishing artists who create it
In addition to censoring any sort of media that might deviate from traditional gender norms, China has also taken to literally erasing LGBTQ people and content from popular entertainment. Ten scenes — all related to Freddy Mercury’s identity as a queer man — from Bohemian Rhapsody were edited out of the blockbuster film when it aired in China in 2019. Additionally, Rami Malek’s Oscars speech was translated incorrectly, replacing “gay man” with “special group.”
Chinese novelist Tianyi was sentenced to a decade in jail for including gay sex in her novel, dubbed “producing and selling pornographic materials” by the Chinese government. While this incredibly harsh sentence is disproportionate to her so-called crime, it also serves as a warning to artists who are thinking of including queer representation in their works.
4. Raiding LGBTQ events or otherwise
In 2020, China’s oldest and largest Pride event, ShanghaiPRIDE, announced it would be canceling upcoming activities and taking a break. One year later, one of the organizers explained in a letter to the community that unwanted attention was a primary factor in the decision to cancel the event. He also explained that due to this, he was forced to leave Shanghai.
An LGBTQ rights conference in Chengdu was canceled following pressure from the local state government in 2017.
Gay circuit parties have been raided by police in major cities like Shanghai as well. These raids occur frequently enough that their possibility is common knowledge.
5. Discrimination in the mental health field and the practice of “conversion therapy”
A Beijing LGBT Center in 2015 reported that approximately one-third of respondents working in the mental health field thought being queer was a mental illness. One-third of respondents believed conversion therapy was effective. China has no laws banning the practice of conversion therapy, and many LGBTQ people in the country have been forced to undergo it.
Homosexuality was classified as a mental illness by the Chinese Psychiatric Association as recently as 2001. The Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders Version 3 includes “ego-dystonic homosexuality,” which allows medical professionals to “treat” people who feel uncomfortable with their sexual orientation, thus indicating that queerness is something that can, or should be, “cured.” It’s not.
These are just 5 ways the Chinese government is actively erasing LGBTQ people.
Toxic masculinity is undoubtedly a serious problem for both men and women alike, but sometimes it presents itself in such a ridiculous manner that the only thing we can do is laugh — while trying not to cry. So here’s the latest statistic we absolutely hate: three quarters of men would rather die a decade early than stop eating meat, according to a “No Meat May” survey.
No Meat May is an Australian campaign that encourages people to completely give up meat for the month of May, commissioned the survey. Out of 1,000 people polled, 47% considered meat to be a “masculine undertaking.”
Co-founder Ryan Alexander says, “What was perhaps most shocking, was that 73 percent of male respondents said they’d rather reduce their life expectancy by up to 10 years than give up eating meat, with three-quarters of men not convinced of the health benefits of a meat-free diet, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary.”
Although 81% of those surveyed admitted to caring about the environment, 79% said they would not stop eating meat in order to help it. The effects of factory farming and eating animal products on climate change, as well as on our own bodies, have been researched for many years. “Yet our survey alarmingly shows that Australian men are either not aware of any of these facts, don’t believe them, or simply don’t care,” he says.
Multiple studies have shown that many men consider caring about the environment to be a feminine undertaking. This is depressing for a number of reasons, but mainly because caring about issues like our planet not dying shouldn’t be gendered.
Since its inception in 2013, No Meat May has strived to challenge and educate folks on the four big reasons we should try to eliminate meat from our diets: our health, the environment, other animals and food security.
Alexander believes “it’s time to step up and reject outdated and damaging gender stereotypes around food.”
Where do you land in the No Meat May survey? Would you rather die a decade younger or stop eating meat?
In 1985, the rapid HIV-related decline of Hollywood icon Rock Hudson changed popular opinion about the epidemic. Thirty years later, it’s hard to say whether Hollywood has really changed when it comes to the disease: It’s rarely spoken of, it’s all but impossible to name a working actor or director with HIV and all the red carpet celebs seem to have put away their red ribbons ages ago.
But even still, Rock Hudson had an undeniable effect on the national conversation surrounding HIV.
In the summer of 1985, the world was shaken unexpectedly by the premiere of a TV show that made national headlines. Christian cable network CBN debuted Doris Day’s Best Friends, a family-friendly talk show about celebrities and their pets, and the show’s very first guest was Day’s old friend and co-star, 1950s heartthrob Rock Hudson.
It became immediately clear to viewers that Hudson was in bad decline. At the age of 59, the formerly strapping, 6’5” actor was visibly ill. Although he didn’t say it, he was dying of AIDS, and middle-America suddenly realized their butch movie hero with the sexy baritone voice was a gay man all along.
Let’s back up a few decades. Rock Hudson got discovered in the early ’50s by well-known gay talent agent Henry Willson, a man renowned for cruising gay clubs and, according to Anne Helen Petersen at The Hairpin, for “picking up the most handsome, square-jawed, Captain America-type specimens for uses both personal and professional.”
The men Willson found were given new backstories and new names that didn’t sound all that different from those bestowed upon today’s gay adult film performers: Chad Everett, Chance Gentry and Clint Walker, just to name a few. Willson also discovered Troy Donaghue, Tab Hunter and Guy Madison, all of whom were all-American, young, handsome … and totally gay.
Rock Hudson starred in some of the decade’s biggest films, including the two biggest Texas oil dramas of 1956: the campy, wonderful Written on the Wind and the big-budget epic Giant, where he shared the screen with Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Later in the decade, he’d reinvent himself as the debonair star of romantic comedies. Women were just crazy about him.
In 1959, Life magazine declared Rock Hudson “Hollywood’s Most Handsome Bachelor,” though even then rumors were circulating about his sexuality. Willson actually sold out Tab Hunter to the tabloids in exchange for keeping Hudson’s secret under wraps.
Shortly after Hudson became the first big-name public figure to admit to having HIV, Life ran a cover story with the headline “Now No One Is Safe.”
In 1985 there were all kinds of terrible ideas being thrown around to “solve” the epidemic, from tattooing HIV-positive people to quarantining everyone with the virus. Hudson’s former Giant co-star Elizabeth Taylor became an active supporter of AIDS charities, channeling time and lots of money into research for a cure.
Hudson died a few months after his appearance on Doris Day’s Best Friends, just shy of his 60th birthday.
That was now over 35 years ago.
A number of celebrities acknowledged their HIV diagnoses after Hudson. Basketball player Magic Johnson and tennis star Arthur Ashe both came out as HIV-positive, though neither of them was gay. Years later, the family of science writer Isaac Asimov would reveal that he too died of AIDS-related kidney failure, but again he was a straight man who got HIV from an infected blood transfusion.
Since the mid-’90s, many people have been able to lead normal, healthy lives with HIV. In 2015, Charlie Sheen revealed his HIV-positive status, as did former child star Danny Pintauro, but it seems they’re anomalies. Most celebrities with HIV may never feel compelled to disclose they have it. That’s their personal business, but it also reinforces the idea that Hollywood can go on as it once did, pretending that HIV doesn’t exist.
The anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising will be upon us sooner than you think, so to commemorate the event we’ve decided to present you with the New York Daily News’ original 1969 reporting on the landmark event. This Stonewall article takes a dismissive and mocking tone to the brave queer rebels who kicked off the American LGBTQ Rights Movement.
Before we go into the Stonewall article, a little background: Homosexuality during the 1960s was heavily policed. In New York in particular, the city’s Mayor Robert Wagner encouraged police to arrest homosexuals for solicitation (i.e. trying to purchase sex) and “intent to deceive” (cross-dressing).
Police regularly raided gay bars, like the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan’s West Village. The popular establishment was mafia-run: the mafia would occasionally blackmail gay patrons who frequented the bar in exchange for hush money (because being outed could get you fired, just like it still can in many U.S. states today). The mob also paid off the police to avoid raids.
Police raided the bar on the night of June 28, 1969, and made everyone stand in line to check IDs so they could begin arrests. But their raid occurred a little later than usual, when many of the patrons were drunk and rowdy.
After a lesbian called out to the crowd, “Why don’t you guys do something?” while being arrested for cross-dressing, the crowd went “berserk” and began a riot that resulted in nightly skirmishes with the cops for the next few evenings.
The homophobic headline of the New York Daily News‘ Stonewall article from July 6, 1969, reads “Homo Nest Raided — Queen Bees are Stinging Mad.”
The Stonewall article has both a voyeuristic tone and an endless fascination with men dressed as women, and the author repeatedly switches gendered nouns and pronouns when referring to the bar’s patrons.
But the Stonewall article takes a rather remarkable shift in tone in its second half when talking to gay patrons of the bar who accuse the cops of being paid off — the police alleged swiped money from the cash register before destroying it — and call the New York Daily News “anti-fag and pro-cop.” The author also interviewed neighbors of the Stonewall Inn who said its patrons never bothered anyone.
“It was just awful when the police came,” one neighbor says in the Stonewall article. “It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”
The entire Stonewall article is worth reading, not only to get a sense of the mainstream media’s coverage of a landmark queer rights event, but also to grasp how much reporting on LGBTQ rights has changed, drastically and mostly for the better.
Here’s the Stonewall article, printed in the New York Daily News:
HOMO NEST RAIDED – QUEEN BEES ARE STINGING MAD
By Jerry Lisker, New York Daily News, July 6, 1969
She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn’t bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.
Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. “We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over,” lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.
“We’ve had all we can take from the Gestapo,” the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. “We’re putting our foot down once and for all.” The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.
The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.
The Raid Last Friday
Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.
All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.
Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.
The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn’t protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn’t want him to see her this way, she wept.
The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.
Urged on by cries of “C’mon girls, lets go get ’em,” the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.
Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.
Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.
Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. “If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war.”
Bruce and Nan
Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20’s. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.
“I don’t like your paper,” Nan lisped matter-of-factly. “It’s anti-fag and pro-cop.”
“I’ll bet you didn’t see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn’t have a liquor license.”
Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan’s trembling hands.
“Calm down, doll,” he said. “Your face is getting all flushed.”
Nan wiped her face with a tissue.
“This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too,” Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.
“What wedding?,” the bystander asked.
Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. “Eric and Jack’s wedding, of course. They’re finally tying the knot. I thought they’d never get together.”
“We’ll have to find another place, that’s all there is to it,” Bruce sighed. “But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later.”
“They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular,” Nan said bitterly. “I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that’s the real reason. It’s a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn’t they leave us alone?”
Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.
“Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there,” she said. “The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don’t know what they did inside, but that’s their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies.”
A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premises.
Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. “They had the tightest security in the Village,” a First Division officer said, “We could never get near the place without a warrant.”
The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.
“They were throwing more than lace hankies,” one inspector said. “I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn’t miss, though, “it hit me right above the temple.”
Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall’s cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.
The police are sure of one thing. They haven’t heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.
Are sex workers being unfairly targeted by tech companies? Here’s how social media censorship affects adult industry influencers.
According to a Centro University study, social media censorship is costing sex workers hundreds of millions of dollars a year. A survey sent out to adult industry influencers back in February revealed startling results, with nearly half of respondents reporting that one of their social media accounts (on Twitter or Instagram) had been banned in the past year. Nearly 1 in 10 reported that both of their accounts had been banned.
Some adult industry influencers also reported that their accounts had been shadowbanned, meaning their traffic and engagement fundamentally came to a halt.
Though most of these influencers play by the Terms of Service, avoiding explicit content, monitoring what sorts of things they link and advertise, and keeping an eye on their followers and hashtags, they find themselves with banned accounts nonetheless. They often don’t know just where and how they violated the Terms, and they often have no chance to appeal.
This comes at a detriment to their very livelihoods.
FanCentro VP says, “Social media censorship isn’t some theoretical issue for adult influencers, it robs them of huge amounts of income. The majority of adult influencers are small business owners who use the income to pay rent and put food on the table, and the arbitrary closure of an account can be devastating, depriving them of tens of thousands of dollars.”
CentroU wanted to see exactly how much an adult industry influencer could be affected by unfair social media bans, and created a profile of a “typical adult influencer.” They reported that someone earning $4,000 per month in January could easily drop to under $1,000 per month in July. “By the end of the first year,” they reported, “an influencer suffers over $30,000 in lost income.”
Revenga went on to say, “Social media has enabled a new generation of independent adult influencers to thrive, and to own what they produce, but the true power rests with the social media companies. Their arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement is costing an already marginalized population hundreds of millions of dollars a year.”
CentroU is a free school for adult influencers and sex workers.
University condemns ‘horrific incident’ after mob of students tried to break into LGBT+ safe space
Emma Powys Maurice
May 15, 2021
Pennsylvania’s Bucknell University is investigating a gang of male students who allegedly tried to break into an on-campus LGBT+ house and harass its residents.
Tyler Luong, a student and residential adviser for the LGBT+ home known as Fran’s House, said nearly 20 former members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity attempted to break in late on Thursday night (13 May).
The students allegedly yelled “Let us in,” “This isn’t your home,” and “This is our home” as they banged on the windows and doors, swung a metal bar at the pole that displays their Pride flag, exposed themselves, and urinated on the front porch.
“I saw one of my residents holding down the window, while a bunch of silhouettes stood menacingly on the other side,” Luong wrote to the university’s president, John Bravman.
“Can you possibly imagine seeing the fear that was in the eyes of my residents? Because it wasn’t imagination for me.
“Tell me President Bravman, what would I do if they had managed to get into our home?” he asked. “President Bravman, I was never trained to handle breaking and enterings.”
Named for Fran McDaniel, the late director of the university’s LGBT+ office, Fran’s House provides LGBT-friendly, gender-neutral accommodation and a safe space for queer students on campus.
With the mob yelling outside, the residents called for the university’s public safety officers, but Luong says they took too long to show up and were far from sympathetic when they did.
“When public safety arrived, they laughed at the situation,” Luong wrote. Shockingly, the officers are said to have “bonded” with the alleged offenders, “reminiscing their college days and calling them handsome young men”.
“President Bravman, the two officers didn’t even speak to me,” he said. “Neither of the two officers came up to us Fran’s House residents to ask if we were okay.
“And then they promised to talk to the chief of public safety to get them access to our house when finals week was over, shaking each and every one of their hands.”
One student said on Instagram that they “always felt relatively safe being an out queer person” at Bucknell, but Thursday night’s attack made them feel “incredibly unsafe”.
“The men who committed a literal crime took away the one place on this campus where LGBT+ students feel safe, and were not held accountable in the slightest,” they said.
The incident was condemned by Bravman and two other top university administrators in a campus-wide letter the following day.
“We are both outraged and sorrowful that the residents endured this violation of the space that is so critically important to them as a community,” the letter read. “These actions will not be tolerated.”
The president continued: “It is clear from multiple accounts that the students violated the physical space and, far more importantly, the residents’ sense of place and security. Further, it is equally clear that Bucknell public safety’s response to the incident was lacking in myriad ways.”
Bravman said the university is “gravely concerned” about the potential violations of the student code of conduct and has retained an outside firm to conduct an immediate investigation.
There will also be an external investigation into the safety officers’ response, with the promise that the university “will implement corrective and disciplinary measures as appropriate”.
“We cannot erase the ugliness and subsequent trauma of last night’s transgression against the students of Fran’s House and, implicitly, many others, but we can commit to addressing it in a way that protects LGBT+ Bucknellians and better ensures their safety in the future,” he concluded.
Finally, an uplifting statistic. The American Psychological Association recently reported that over half of queer Generation Z guys in America are out to their parents. Generation Z is classified as those being born between 1998 and 2010.
The report comes out of Northwestern University’s Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing. David A. Moskowitz, lead author of the study, had this to say:
“This study is encouraging in that it shows that many teens, including those under 18 years old, are comfortable with their sexuality. At the same time, we must be cautious, as the data also point to some of the same barriers and discrimination that previous generations have faced. Work still needs to be done”.
Over 1,900 queer Generation Z guys (assigned male at birth, AMAB) — ages ranging from 13 to 18 — were surveyed between January 2018 – January 2020 as part of an HIV prevention study. All of them identified as gay, bisexual or as being attracted to others regardless of gender.
The study states that “[openly] identifying as a sexual minority has become more prevalent now than in years. This may be attributable, in part, to increased political and societal acceptance of individuals identifying as gay, bisexual, queer/questioning or pansexual. Today, GBQP individuals more readily appear in popular culture and social media, sports, politics, and business marketing.”
See what happens when we have representation?
The survey asked both demographic (race, age, etc.) and social (religious affiliation) questions. The queer Generation Z guys were also presented with a number of statements they had to answer on a 1-to-4 agree/disagree scale, such as, “Sometimes I think that if I were straight, I would be happier.”
At the end, the study found that over half of those queer Generation Z guys surveyed (66%) were out to their mothers or other female parental figures, and 49% were out to their fathers or other male parental figures.
The importance of this study?
‘This gives us an understanding of the factors that move teenagers to share this type of information with the people closest to them. We can now compare these practices with how other generations deal with these issues and think about what it all means for future generations”.
Catholic leaders organise mass blessing of same-sex unions in protest at Vatican
April 15th 2021
Getty/ Lisa Maree Williams
Catholic leaders in Germany have organised a mass blessing of same-sex couples in open defiance of the Vatican’s ban.
Last month, the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith insisted that God “does not bless sin” when responding to the question of whether Catholic churches can bless same-sex unions.
In response to the ban, LGBT+ Catholics and their allies around the world have expressed their disappointment and anger, as many hoped Pope Francis might move the Catholic church in a more progressive direction.
The group of Catholic leaders in Germany have scheduled the mass blessing of same-sex unions for 10 May, and have titled the event “Love wins, blessing service for lovers”, according to Crux.
The event will see blessings take place across the country, and the group wrote on its website: “Love wins. Love is a blessing. People who love each other are blessed.
“On 10 May, 2021, we invite you to various places in Germany to blessing services.
“We don’t want to exclude anyone. We celebrate the diversity of people’s different life plans and love stories and ask for God’s blessings. Without any secrecy.
“On this page you will find the services that take place and you can register for a service and send us a blessing.”
For Catholic LGBT+ allies in Germany who will not be at a blessing, the group has advised that on the same day they use “creative symbols to make visible how many people in the Church perceive the colourful diversity of different life plans and love stories of people as an enrichment and a blessing”.
The German group are among many Catholic leaders around the world who have vowed to defy the Vatican ban on same-sex blessings.
The Pfarrer-Initiative (Priests’ Initiative), a collective of more than 350 priests and deacons led by Catholic church reform leader father Helmut Schüller, declared last month that they would “not reject any loving couple”.
Many high profile Catholic figures have also spoken out against the Vatican ban, including US president Joe Biden and racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
Joe Biden calls for $270 million HIV funding boost to end AIDS epidemic
Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP
President Joe Biden has called for an almost $270 million increase in funding for HIV testing, prevention and treatment programmes to help combat the epidemic in the US.
The Executive Office of Management and Budget (OMB) submitted the president’s initial budget request for 2022 discretionary funding on Friday (9 April). In the request, the OMB said the president is seeking an additional $267 million in funding on top of what the Trump administration allotted to HIV and AIDS prevention in the US.
The Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative, which was started in 2019 under the Trump administration, aims to reduce the number of HIV infections in the US by at least 90 per cent by 2030. The initiative’s website estimated that more than 700,000 Americans with HIV have died since 1981 and more than 1.1 million Americans are currently living with HIV.
In the new budget request, the EHE programme will have a budget of $670 million instead of the $403 million it has been allotted since the initiative’s inception.
Carl Schmid, executive director of the HIV+Hepatitis Policy Institute, welcomed the proposed increase in funding for the EHE initiative. But he said in a statement to the Washington Blade that the funding falls short of the amount advocates were seeking to fight the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
“While it falls short of what the community has requested, if this funding is released it will continue the momentum already created and make further progress in ending HIV in the US,” Schmid said. “Efforts to end HIV will help eradicate an infectious disease that we have been battling for the last 40 years and help correct racial and health inequities in our nation.”
The memo outlining the proposal shared the White House’s commitment to “ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic”. It said the increase in funding would be used to “help accelerate and strengthen efforts to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States”. The funding would help the EHE initiative – which is under the oversight of the Health and Human Services Department – “aggressively reduce new HIV cases while increasing access to treatment, expanding the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP) and ensuring equitable access to services and supports”.
The OMB note also called for additional funding to go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the Indian Health Service (IHS) and the National Institute for Health (NIH) for initiatives that “aim to reduce new HIV cases aggressively”.