HIV Gay/Bi Men’s Health Retreat

When:  September 14 – 16, 2012

Where:  Helena, MT

Cost:  FREE

Registration Deadline:  September 7, 2012

• Experienced facilitators and educators • Great workshops on accessing resources  • Safe and confidential space

To Register, CLICK HERE, or if you have Questions, call:

FDH & Associates ● 406.829.8075 Or email: fdh@mtgayhealth.org

HIV+ and Partners Retreat

Montana does something that, to my knowledge, is not done anywhere else in the U.S.- we invite HIV+ persons and their partners/support persons to learn about coping and living with HIV. It’s a fantastic weekend filled with information, activity, relaxation, community and support, and I’ve been part of it for five years now.

I highly recommend it. Out-of-staters welcome. To check it out and/or register, click the pic below.

Utah Legislature Avoids Messy Facts, Science; Advances Bill Dropping Sex Ed

Utah State Capitol

Image via Wikipedia

Sadly, but perhaps unsurprisingly, Utah’s Legislature is moving forward on HB363, a piece of legislation that would effectively end any comprehensive sexual education in Utah schools. The Salt Lake City Weekly:

House Bill 363 sponsor Rep. Bill Wright, R-Holden, argued that teaching contraception only encouraged immoral behavior, so his bill would allow for schools to teach abstinence-only or to opt out of teaching sexual education entirely. Wright said teaching sexuality wasn’t a priority in education. “This is not like all our students are going to die if they don’t learn promiscuous behavior,” Wright said. (emphasis mine)

Yes. That’s what he said.

In an editorial for the same paper, Rebecca Walsh opines

Anti-sex-education crusader Bill Wright would have loved me.

In seventh grade, I was just like the tiny blond granddaughter the Republican legislator from Holden hauled up to Capitol Hill last week as a prop for his legislative campaign, House Bill 363. I was the pristine product of a sex-free Utah public education and Mormon parents—innocent, naïve, clueless.

Then one day, I overheard a boy in the hall at school crudely describing the mechanics of copulation. In an instant, Troy rendered irrelevant my parents’ denial that we needed to have the talk and showed me the limits of my teachers’ silence. It was the end of innocence, delivered by a pimply teenage boy.

And that’s the problem with Wright’s (and my parents’) plan: It’s not rooted in real life.

American teens are shockingly misinformed about their bodies, birth control and pregnancy—Utah kids even more so.

A 2008 study by Self magazine and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found many young adults had “magical thinking” when it comes to sex—unsure of how often to take birth-control pills, unfamiliar with 28-day fertility cycles.

And that was among young adults with some level of sex education. In the information vacuum created by Utah lawmakers, sex ed ranges from abstinence-only programs in four school districts—Alpine, Canyons, Jordan and Nebo—to oblique references from frightened biology and health teachers in others.

When are we going to wake up to science and truth? High school students are having sex. Right now. Probably without condoms, birth control, and in Utah, without rudimentary knowledge of biological processes.

While this “teaching kids about sex causes them to have more sex” nonsense avoids the reality of the situation: as a society, we are ridiculously stupid about sex.

Ridiculously.

And if this bill gets through, that ridiculousness will be enshrined in Utah law.

Montana Young Gay Men’s Retreat

An awesome opportunity for young gay/bi men in Montana to feel less isolated, learn about themselves and make some awesome friends!

Click pic for registration link.

 

LGBT Student Congressional Internships Available

Shaping future political leaders is always important, shaping future LGBT political leaders is vital- it assures that the voices of LGBT persons will be involved in the political processes that have a direct impact on our lives.

If you are a student interested in political process, this could be you next summer:

For college students, an internship is key to gaining experience, insight and perspective. And for those interested in politics, an internship on Capitol Hill is a privileged opportunity to connect with our nation’s leaders and learn firsthand about the federal legislative process.For LGBT young people, it’s also a chance to witness the impact LGBT members of Congress are having each day – and learn about the barriers they’ve overcome along the way.Last summer we launched the Victory Congressional Internship to develop the next generation of out public leaders.

College students can apply for the Summer 2012 session until February 6, 2012.

Hear about the experiences of our inaugural class of outstanding LGBT college students:

Apply today for this intensive leadership program and an internship with an LGBT-friendly member of Congress.Not a college student or can’t participate this summer? Help spread the word about this incredible opportunity:
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Paid for and authorized by the Gay & Lesbian Victory Institute.
Contributions or gifts are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
1133 15th Street, NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20005

Meet Pam Bucy

If you haven’t met her yet- or heard of her- she’s a contender for the Democratic nomination for Montana Attorney General.

As far as I’m concerned, the only real choice.

I like Jesse Laslovich- he’s a go-getter, very enthusiastic, personable and has a lot of energy- but I just can’t see him filling the AG’s shoes, especially when we have someone of Pam’s caliber in the race. So, I thought I’d give a minute to someone who’s taken more than a minute with me.

From The Havre Daily News:

She said her policy differences with Laslovich probably aren’t as different as they are with the more conservative Shockley, but she said she would campaign on her experience.

She has held high-level positions with Montana Department of Justice and the Labor Department and has been in private practice. Bucy, 43, pointed out that Laslovich is “just 30, and five years out of law school,” and has never argued a case before the Montana Supreme Court.

Her resume’ is pretty impressive:

Pam studied law at the University of Montana and immediately after receiving her degree, went to work as a criminal prosecutor with the Lewis & Clark County Attorney’s office.  In that role, she gained a solid understanding of the various issues surrounding our criminal justice system and successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases, including DUI, domestic violence, theft and homicide.

During her seven years as Executive Assistance Attorney General under former AG and current Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike McGrath, Pam represented the State of Montana in complex civil and criminal matters before the Montana Supreme Court.  She also spearheaded the Department of Justice’s efforts to pass legislation to register sexual and violent offenders, help senior citizens protect their identity and credit information and ensure protective orders, such as restraining orders, can be more easily enforced.

Prior to her legal career, Pam owned and operated a small business in Livingston and served as Assistant Manager of the Livingston Chamber of Commerce.

Until recently, Bucy served as Chief Legal Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor and Industry and currently serves as Administrative Counsel for the Montana Department of Labor.

Bucy graduated with honors from the University of Montana School of Law in 1998.  She graduated with honors from Rocky Mountain College in Billings in 1991 with degrees in history, political science and English.

No slouch, Ms Bucy… In addition, she has received endorsements from law enforcement officials and county attorneys general from all across Montana. Like I said, impressive.

But judge for yourself. Click the links above and get to know her better. Or better yet, go to one of her events and meet her.

When you do, the choice will be obvious.

WE’RE HERE

The Missoulian and other media outlets are reporting that, according to the 2010 Census:

The number of gay and lesbian households in Montana has grown more than 54 percent over the last decade, and more than a quarter of those couples are raising children.

Census data released Thursday show there were 2,295 Montana households with same-sex couples in 2010. That’s compared to 1,482 in 2000.

More than 28 percent, or 655 households, are raising children under 18 years old. The 2010 Census tracked that information for the first time.

My first response to this news was to think, “Twice as many Montana same-sex households haven’t been ‘created’ in the last ten years- they’re just being reported.” But, then again, I just started one myself, so who knows?

Whatever the reason, I just love that the numbers have almost doubled. That particular reality must make some people very nervous….

However, the fact that more than a quarter of those reported are raising children is important, especially in light of the fact that some Montana school districts have been battlegrounds for comprehensive sex education- education which includes discussion of a broad understanding of sexuality. These battles are seemingly fought in ignorance to the rapidly dawning (and expanding!) reality of  family diversity- even here in the wilds of Montana.

655 same-sex households are raising children- that’s at least 655 children who will have acceptance and understanding of diversity from a first person viewpoint. That’s at least 655 children who will know that good parenting doesn’t depend on heterosexual orientation. And their friends and the parents of their friends will know it, too.

Excellent.

Read more: http://missoulian.com/news/state-and-regional/article_03b13acc-ae18-11e0-a84d-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1S5tyHllQ

He’s For Them, But He’s Against Them

source: AP/Lisa Kunkel

Poor Denny Rehberg. So misunderstood.

So easy to do.

Over at Cowgirl, a letter to the editor of the Dillon Tribune- and Rehberg’s response(?)-appear.

The subject is/are Pell Grants (against which Rehberg was/is), Western’s Commencement (out of which Rehberg backed) and Rehberg’s defense of Pell Grants (which are for students who are students- we just can’t have too many students, it’s welfare.).

Read it.

Then join me in taking a Rehberg break in honor of the First of May.

Mississippi- A Damn Shame


According to Human Rights Watch, the State of Mississippi is the worst when it comes to educating and testing its people, and treating or housing persons with HIV:

Thousands of Mississippians are at risk for HIV, and many who are infected are denied lifesaving measures and treatment because of counterproductive state laws and policies, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Mississippi has resisted effective approaches to HIV prevention and treatment and instead supported policies that promote stigma and discrimination, fueling one of the nation’s highest AIDS rates, Human Rights Watch said.

Mississippi also clings to failed approaches to sex and HIV education, Human Rights Watch said. Mississippi has some of the nation’s highest rates of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, sexually transmitted diseases that can significantly increase an individual’s risk of becoming infected with HIV. Yet the state legislature has repeatedly refused to approve programs that provide complete, accurate information about HIV and pregnancy prevention, insisting on ineffective abstinence-only curricula in the public schools. The result, Human Rights Watch said, is the denial of potentially life-saving information to adolescents, putting them at unnecessary risk of HIV infection.

This is America, not Rwanda. Full, upsetting story here.