Homophobic Blog Post Postpones House Minimum Wage Hearing

The end of 2018 seems to be the time in which people's pasts come back to bite them. First Kevin Hart's resurfaced homophobic tweets from 2010 caused him to step down from hosting the Oscar's and now a meeting to discuss a $15.00 minimum wage had to be postponed because of homophobic blog posts made in 2002 by the would-be speaker, Joseph Sabia, according to CNBC.

The push for a federal minimum wage of $15.00 an hour has been a longstanding issue between Democrats and Republicans. As such, House Republicans set up a hearing to discuss the potential downsides of a $15.00 minimum wage, and chose San Diego State Economics Professor Joseph Sabia to testify on the effects of raising the wage.

However, a 2002 blog post made by Sabia was discovered in which he says that "homosexual acts" should be taxed and regulated. The post reads: 

 In gay sex, we have an activity that is clearly leading to disastrous health consequences. What rational person would engage in this sort of activity? There is only one solution — let's tax it.

All sex can lead to "disastrous health consequences" and "rational" people have been engaging in gay sex since people have been around. Not to mentioned implementing a gay sex tax would be extremely difficult. Anyway, here is the continuation of the post:

In all seriousness, the bottom line is this — the government has no business interfering in the lives of smokers, fatties, or gays. In America, each citizen ought to be free to choose the risks he is willing to take and the potential rewards (or costs) he may receive. He should be free to make choices that could lead to heart disease, diabetes, or HIV. And if these bad outcomes materialize, he should not look to the public dole for relief.

As he so eloquently puts it, "smokers, fatties, and gays" should not receive government assistance because they are putting themselves at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and HIV by being themselves. There are more than one way to contract any of the three things he mentioned, not just from smoking, being heavy, or being gay.

He did apologize for the post, however, saying "I regret the hurtful and disrespectful language I used as a satirical college opinion writer 20 years ago." Make of that what you will. I don't know him personally so I can't say with great certainty that he's changed, but a lot can happen in almost seventeen years. He also rejects the accusations of homophobia, as he said that he's "a gay man in a long-term, committed relationship."

Democrat California Representative Mark Takano said in response to the blog post that it is shameful and disgraceful that the GOP invited Sabia to be a witness and that the posts should automatically disqualify him as speaking as an expert and that the postponing of the hearing was the wrong move by the Republicans, as they should have just disavowed Sabia and continued with the hearing. The hearing would have been the first minimum wage hearing that Republicans have held in eight years.

Raising the federal minimum wage is something that should definitely be discussed between the two parties. Was postponing it the only option? And did Sabia really change? We can only speculate. 

h/t: CNBC

#Toronto Mall Takes Steps to Make it all Easier with Gender-Neutral Bathrooms.

Yorkdale Mall, located in Toronto, Canada, recently added a gender-neutral restroom in an effort to boost inclusivity, according to CBC.

Yorkdale is one of Canada's largest and busiest malls and with the holidays just around the corner, shoppers will be flocking to the stores to get their last minute shopping done and at least one person will have to use the facilities at one point during their gift-getting escapades, and Yorkdale's new gender-neutral bathroom will make it easier for shoppers to do so.

Schools, restaurants, and community centers are among other spaces that have installed gender-neutral restrooms in order to promote inclusive spaces for all genders, and now hopefully more malls will follow suit. 

A statement by the Yorkdale malls reads: 

"The new washroom provides an inclusive option for anyone, including transgender people, people of diverse gender identities and those who may require accompaniment of some kind."

It is no secret that transgender and gender non-conforming people are often given a difficult

 regarding the topic of which restroom they should use, so by Yorkdale sending out this statement, perhaps trans and nonbinary people will feel more accepted. The restroom has been open for about two weeks, and includes ten stalls. Options for male and female restrooms are still available, as the mall still has seven male and seven female restrooms for shoppers to use if they choose.

This mall isn't the first shopping center to incorporate gender-neutral restrooms, however. Ivanhoe Cambridge, a real estate company that operates 28 shopping centers across Canada, has had gender-neutral restrooms, starting with Vaughan Mills outlet, an outlet north of Toronto. Since then, the company has added twenty gender-neutral restrooms to nine of their properties and more restrooms of the same nature are suspected to be built in future properties.

Additionally, all renovations of existing properties require that gender-neutral restrooms be built. 

Judging by the fact that gender-neutral restrooms have been a thing for almost seven years without predatory incidents, it is safe to assume that building inclusive restrooms will not increase the rate of sexual assaults in public facilities. In my mind, building gender-neutral restrooms to promote inclusivity is common sense. We all use the restroom, right?

h/t: CBC

Big & Cuddly Guys = Easier Targets for Discrimination in the Gay Community?

I was perusing my social media the other day when I came across a list of gay stereotypes with men pictured next to them.

After going through the very judgmental grouping, something I took instant notice of is that there wasn’t a single guy from the pack that was husky or even bigger than a 32 pant size.

Yes, lists like this are silly and usually only involve an emoji response after you read them, but it’s part of a "bigger problem" I continue to notice in how men of size are still excluded in today’s gay society.

There are many examples of this that resonate in the media and every day life. In all of the primary gay series out there, there has been one character I can remember that featured a bigger dude (Daniel Franzese on Looking) without making his weight a major factor. 

Fat jokes, whether serious or joking, are still a constant fixture on shows like Will & Grace especially from Jack (Sean Hayes) who constantly makes fun of husky men. I hope they give him a storyline at some point where he falls for a bigger guy just to see how that transpires.

Even on the most popular reality show competition out there, RuPaul's Drag Race, the queens of size are still separated from everyone else due to their weight. A debate over if a big girl can really win this show still happens to this day as they haven't crowned one yet. 

Look at how a lot of the porn awards operate. Men who are nominated in main categories are never bears. If they are, they have a six-pack. Will a husky dude who performs well on screen ever see the day where he gets a Performer of the Year nomination?

This sort of issue happens in real life as well. Bears are still a niche. We are still a separate category where if you’re into us, it’s a fetish. The norm of the muscle dudes still exists even though we’ve made many strides to normalize us as much as possible.

And it does happen in gay bars and events. A popular bear party in NYC used to include husky dudes as part of their gogo dancer lineup. Now we’ve been downgraded as “hosts.” I used to perform/dance at them and was told by many guys there that they wish they saw me onstage.

I took them saying this as two ways: flattering and a big hit of reality. A lot of men (all kinds) are terrified to be viewed and judged that way, where I could care less. Seeing someone like me up there could means that in a way, we belong, as we should given that we are part of this community.

The question remains over who is to blame for this existing today. Is it the media, who endlessly shove photos in our faces of what they think is a good looking man? Is it our community, who comes together for major things like marriage equality but separates when it comes to who we hang out with? 

I’m curious to know if this will ever change, where all body types can be seen as the norm and covers of gay and straight mags can feature men that don’t have a six pack with purchase. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for.

But, instead of asking for it, I and other writes have posted a variety of pieces on Instinct that do highlight the bear body, the bigger boys, the pretty pounds. We know that we are part of the media and if we are asking for changes in the media, we need to start at home. It's just as fun covering the bears and bigger boys in the gay/bi/queer community.  Here are just a couple found when searching for "bear hottie" in our database, but there are many others. We love all our bears, twinks, and everything between. Let's show all the rainbow flavors and body types out there. 

Instinct Insta Hottie of the Week is Woofy Kurt Reese!

Get To Know 'Plus-Size' Male Model Zach Miko

Instinct Exclusive with the Zany & Hilarious Cast of 'Where The Bears Are'

This post was created by one of our Contributing Writers and does not reflect the opinion of Instinct Magazine or the other Contributing Writers when it comes to this subject.

Adoption Agency Swinging Religious Liberty Laws In the Air And Suing New York for Right to Discriminate

A Christian adoption agency from Syracuse, New York is suing the state for the right to discriminate against same-sex couples, reports Think Progress.

Alliance Defense Fund, or ADF, is representing New Hope Family Services, the adoption agency mentioned above. ADF is an anti-LGBTQ hate group that has repeatedly attempted to impede equality in pro-LGBTQ cases. 

The ADF was founded in the early 1990s to defend religious liberty laws and to stop the ACLU's efforts to "immobilize Christians," and has since gained quite a folleoing and rose to become one of the most powerful Christian organizations in the United States. As such, it has a good number of allied (read: homophobic) attorneys at their disposal to defend their hateful rhetoric.

Recently, the Fund filed a lawsuit against the state of New York, claiming that the Office of Children and Family Services, or OCFS, are infringing upon New Hope's religious beliefs and are asking that a judge declare the OCFS' nondiscrimination policies as unconstitutional. 

New Hope's policy manual has a lovely and very direct section in which it flat out says that New Hope is discriminatory. The manual instructs people in same-sex relationships that want to adopt to call the Executive Director, who will explain that because New Hope is a Christian ministry," they "do not place children with same-sex couples." 

So, using loopholes, New Hope technically doesn't discriminate against same-sex couples by denying them adoption because same-sex couples shouldn't bother filling out an application. 

Officials in the state of New York has made it very clear that denying adoption based on marital status is discriminatory based on OCFS policy. The ADF asserts that the OCFS does not have the grounds to advance the regulations, as they believe that New York law does not include nondiscrimination protections by child placement services.

Fortunately, the ADF is wrong. In 2013, the OCFS explained that

The amendments also promote fairness and equality in the child welfare adoption program by eliminating archaic regulatory language that implies the sexual orientation of gay, lesbian, and bisexual prospective adoptive parents — but not of heterosexual prospective adoptive parents — is relevant to evaluating their appropriateness as adoptive parents.

That sure sounds like there are nondiscrimination practices. New Hope disagrees with these protections because they feel, despite evidence stating otherwise, that same-sex couples make unfit parents.

As someone living in the tristate area, I am fairly confident that the lawsuit filed by the ADF won't hold water because there are nondiscrimination practices already placed into New York law that say that adoption agencies can't discriminate against same-sex couples. In conjuction, New York has been reliably liberal for as long as I can remember (or at least NYC is) so refusing to give same-sex couples the same adoption rights as heterosexual ones would go against what many New Yorkers believe.

But I suppose we'll have to wait and see what happens.

h/t: Think Progress

Trump Directive Halts HIV Cure Research, Pleases Religious Right

Scientists are upset with the Trump administration after members shut down research that could potentially lead to a cure for HIV, according to LGBTQ Nation.

A scientist that was responsible for supplying mice that have been modified with fetal tissue to labs that are attempting to find a cure for HIV was informed that the Department of Health and Human services has told researchers to discontinue acquiring fetal tissue. He write that this directive would stop all HIV research in the United States.

The ban on using fetal tissue is something that the Trump administration announced last year and it is now coming unto effect. This will affect many researchers in the biomedical field, as a good number use mice modified with fetal tissue, as the tissue creates an immune system in mice that is similar to that of a human's. 

Republicans in Congress have attempted to put this ban in place for years in order to placate their religious followers as well as their anti-abortion ones. Anti-abortion individuals have also been trying to get this ban in place for years. 

Warner Greene, director of the Gladstone Center for HIV Cure research, said that the research center was ready to proceed with the HIV cure experiments when what he describes as a "bombshell" was dropped upon them. Greene was scheduled to collaborate with another research facility in Montana when this decision came into effect.

Mice are one of the few animals who can also be infected with the HIV virus which makes them perfect for testing for HIV cures. Researchers at the Gladstone Center were planning on testing a potentially viable antibody that would prevent HIV from developing reservoirs, which are cells that are infected with HIV but do not produce the virus. Currently, there are no medications that affect the virus. 

Greene commented that the mice and the antibody were ready to shipped to the Montana facility when this decision came about and that it would take a year to get back to where he was research-wise if he were to be greenlit to continue the experiment. Jermone Zack, a medical researcher who studies HIV at UCLA, said that his lab will have to be shut down because everything he does in the lab involves humanized mice.

In addition to this decision, the Department of Health and Humans Services announced earlier in the year that they announced the creation of the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division, which is a subgroup of the HHS that is responsible for handling complaints from medical professionals who do not want to perform abortions or treat transgender patients.

If this trend continues, it will become increasingly more difficult for LGBTQ people to receive quality medical care.

Let's hope it won't come to that. 

h/t: LGBTQ Nation

Welcome To The Peak Break-Up Time Of The Year!

Are you going home with your significant other this holiday season?  Well don't count on it until the end of the day today.  If there ain't a ring on it, you had better think again.  It appears that December 11th is the day relationships need to make it past if they are to survive the holiday season. 

We've all heard of people breaking up before summer so you can have fun at all the prides, sex fests, and circuit parties during the hottest days of the year.  Now, researchers say that maybe, that relationship you held onto at the end of the summer will fizzle out just about now. 

The specific date - this Tuesday, December 11th - has been identified by statisticians who monitored 'break up' Facebook posts and statuses.

Why now?  Is it to save money?  Not wanting to introduce them to family yet or ever?  Too stressful time of the year, so to simplify, ditch the date?  Would you rather be just with family?  So many good reasons!

So if your relationship makes it past today, well then, bravo?  As long as you are happy I guess.  But brace for impact because the other high dumping time of the year is just around the corner.  Set your sights on Valentine's Day and just before.  If you can make it through that, you may have clear sailing until next November and December.

I honestly think my first relationship did break up on or near December 11th.  It was odd, because he had already bought me my Christmas present.  But come to find out, he was already seeing someone else, cheating yet again, and I couldn't compare with the new one since his preference seemed to be a policemen or firemen so he could feel protected.  Dodged a crazy bullet there!

Have you been dumped or dumped someone around the holiday season? 

What was your/their reasoning?

h/t: informationisbeautiful.commirror.co.uk

This post is a repost from 2016 and reflects the opinions of one of Instinct Magazine's contributing writers and not those of the magazine or other writers.


When It Comes To Gender Reveal Parties, Do You Support The Practice?

Are you a fan of gender reveal parties?  I avoid them like I avoid the garter belt removal and throwing at a straight wedding. There's no harm done with either event, but I just don't care to attend.

Gender reveal parties provide an opportunity for couples and their friends and family to get to know what color clothing to buy the child, what color to paint the nursery, what kind of hair cuts they will receive, and what kind of toys the infant will get to play with until they can decide on their own.

So, yeah. No harm done, except for this gender reveal. 

Back in April of 2017 in the Santa Rita Mountain Foothills in Arizona, a gender reveal party hosted by Border Patrol Agent Dennis Dickey and his wife did not go so well for the family or the environment.



U.S. Forest Service blacked out persons shown in the video. "Start packing up!"

Dickey admitted the fire started when the dad-to-be shot the target during his family's gender reveal party for his expecting wife. The target contained Tannerite, an explosive that detonates when shot by a high-velocity firearm, which has also been linked to wildfires in several other Western states.

Was it a big fire? It was big enough to be named The Sawmill Fire, burned 47,000 acres, and cost $8.2 million to extinguish, with nearly 800 firefighters working to put out the disaster.

Dickey agreed to pay $220,000 in restitution after he pleaded guilty Sept. 27 of this year in federal court to a misdemeanor charge of causing a fire without a permit.

Do you attend gender reveal parties?

As an LGBT person, do you think you have a different outlook on gender than non-LGBT?

Have you had a gender reveal party for your child-to-be?

h/t:  tuscon.com

Discharged Cadet Shows Honor and Pride While Fighting US Military's Ban On HIV+ Soldiers

Imagine that your life's dream was almost obtained, but then you were casted out for something you thought would never happen.

Cadet Kevin Deese was discharged from the United States Navy after a routine blood test found that he was HIV-positive.  The 2014 blood test was one month before Deese was to take part in the U.S. Naval Academy's May graduation. Officials told Deese that he would be allowed to graduate but he would not be commissioned.

In an interview with TheBody.com, Deese shared:

So April Fool's Day 2014, I'm eating lunch in the dining hall with my best friend, and a lieutenant I didn't know comes over and ushers me to the commandant's office, which is like the dean of students. "It's not a good reason that you're here," the commandant says, and I start to panic. What did I do? Was I in trouble? I had no idea why. Then he tells me that I tested positive for HIV and my heart just dropped. It was not something I thought I had been at risk for. Then he says that I will not be commissioning as an officer along with my classmates. It was a double whammy -- so much stigma and shame, everything I had worked for and that the Naval Academy had paid to educate me for. So I spoke with the chaplain and the brigade medical officer. "We're not going to abandon you," they said. But really no one had my back. It was presented as very cut-and-dry with no possibility to get a waiver, no process. One of the commandants had prepared talking points for me and had scrawled "not a death sentence" on a Post-It note

We could not imagine the pressure and stress of going through with the graduation and then needing to tell all why you were not continuing with your military career and on top of that, telling them that you were HIV+. 

In a recent Facebook Post, Deese wrote:

I’m a little scared but determined to take additional action by putting out to the world that I am an HIV-positive gay man who’s here for people who don’t feel they can or should be out as being positive – and who’s not here for your HIV stigma, society.

NowThis worked with Deese to put together this video of his story. 

AS stated in the video, Deese, who is gay, has joined an ongoing legal battle to remove this outdated policy. 

  • 1985 - 1st Screening of Military Applicants for HIV screening applicants for HIV in 1985.
  • 1991 - Under George H.W.Bush, the Military Banned HIV-Positive Applicants
  • 2018 - "Deploy, Or Get Out" - Trump's New Policy requires Military to discharge any service member who cannot be deployed for at least 12 months. People living with HIV are automatically disqualified from deployment. 

Best of luck Kevin in your suit against the Government. Your courage is noted, appreciated, and envied. It takes a strong individual to rise above not one but two life changing occurrences all at the same time. 

We know it has been hard and will be hard. Deese recently shared the following on his Facebook page. 

Content warning: Quotes from people with a lot of ignorance and not a lot of compassion. Could be hard for people living with or affected by HIV to read.
"I wouldn't want to be near you at the mall let alone on the field while bleeding to death"
"They dont want your hiv blood on everything your putting others at risk"
"What I don't like about this guy is he's willing to put other people's lives and health at risk. Very selfish!"
"Your a liability"
"Why does he feel so entitled?"
"Get over it."

Thank you to NowThis for sharing my story. I wasn't sure what to expect when I agreed to do this. Maybe reading the comments was a mistake, but it at least confirmed what we've always known: we have a long way to go in educating people on HIV in general (treatment as prevention, transmission risks, etc.) - and obviously specifically in the military context (i.e. people living with HIV currently serve in the military, there are many jobs in the Navy that don't involve getting shot at, etc.).

I'd be lying if I said the personal attacks aren't hard to read, but it makes a world of difference knowing the support I have behind me. Thank you to anyone who's ever voiced their support; it means more than you can know.

But enough about me...happy World AIDS Day to all; may we take a moment to remember all those who died and those who still die today because they cannot access treatment.

h/t: thegavoice.com, thebody.com, Kevin Deese's Facebook Page

GSA Not Allowed to Say Gay or LGBT+

Staff members at Leo Jr./Sr. High School won't let their recently-founded Gay-Straight Alliance use the word "gay" or the initialism LGBT+, according to New Now Next.

The alliance was originally called Leo GSA, but the school's administration told the members that they must go by the alternate name - Leo Pride Alliance. Of course, the pride in this instance doesn't have any connection to pride in the LGBT sense, but it is instead an acronym that the school created that stands for Professionalism, Respect, Integrity, Diligence, and Excellence. 

So, how is this a GSA? As mentioned above, "gay" and "LGBT+" and other related words have been prohibited from being spoken by members of the Pride Alliance, as well as prohibiting meeting outside a single classroom and holding school fundraisers. Additionally, unlike other groups at Leo, the Alliance is required to provide a list of members, which resulted in a decrease in attendance. 

The purpose of a GSA is to create a safe, judgment-free space for LGBTQ people and to bridge the gap between heterosexual and LGBTQ students. By censoring the group and treating it differently than others, is obviously harmful to LGBTQ students and their allies as there seems to be an increase in hostility towards non-heterosexual students (or at least it's becoming more mainstream). 

Ken Falk, executive director of ACLU of Indiana, said that the differential treatment of the Alliance is a violation the students' first amendment rights. The ACLU also argues that the way that the Alliance is treated in violation of the Equal Access Act, which prohibits restriction of open forums based on religious, political, philosophical, or other speech content, and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As such, the ACLU is suing the school. 

Lambda Legal reports that there are approximately 4,000 Gay-Straight Alliances across the United States and every single one has had its right to exist upheld by the courts as well as not having their names altered or have content censored. 

So basically this school is saying that there can be a GSA, but there can't be any mention of sexuality, can't use the words gay or the initialism LGBT+, and can't be called a gay-straight alliance. Can anyone see the point of a group centered around accepting people for who they are and creating a welcoming environment for LGBT that can't talk about anything related to the group? I sure can't. I do hope that this gets settled and that the ACLU wins the lawsuit because having a non-gay GSA is just about the same as silencing LGBTQ voices, which GSAs seek to prevent. But hey, it's better than being threatened to be set on fire

h/t: New Now Next

Students at Indiana High School Need Permission Slip to be Trans

Two transgender male students at Burris Laboratory School in Muncie, Indiana have been pulled out of class multiple times to discuss which bathrooms they can use with school administration, Ball State Daily News reports.

The students are Noah Golliher and Leigh Kumpe, both of who used the men's room in the school at the beginning of the year until other students reported them to the administration. Because of this, Golliher and Kumpe have been pulled out of class repeatedly to discuss what bathroom to use, which is not only disruptive academically but also highly personal and embarrassing. After the meetings with administration, a form was sent home to their parents in which they have to fill out their children's preferred name and the facilities that they use.  

Immediately I can see two things wrong with this: the school is effectively delegitimizing Golliher and Kumpe's gender identity by having them prove that they are indeed trans (because cisgender people do not have to prove that they're not trans) and that by sending that form to a student's parents, the school may prematurely out that student to parents which may create an unsafe home environment for the student. 

The purpose of the form, according to Kathy Wolf, Kathy Wolf, Ball State vice president of marketing and communications, is to facilitate communication between the school and parents. 

Golliher identifies as male but was assigned female at birth. He discovered that Burris Laboratory School had an open bathroom policy and began to use the men's room discreetly. Before 2018, the school did not have a policy that required trans students to provide a handwritten note and there is no such policy written in the Burris Laboratory School Student Handbook. Students are trying to get used to the change, but some found that certain school staff members were less eager to accommodate trans students. 

One example of this is how the student only has 24 hours to get the form signed from when they receive it. Laura Janney, the co-founder of Muncie OUTreach, an LGBTQ support group, said that if the form isn't signed and delivered within 24 hours, the school's staff will call trans students by their birth name, or, using colloquial nomenclature, their dead names. She believes that this is emotional blackmail and I am inclined to agree with her. Calling a transgender person by the dead name and purposely misgendering them can cause psychologically harmful effects for people who suffer from gender dysphoria. 

Janney is working with Golliher and Krumpe to provide support for trans students who are still closeted or feel unsafe revealing their gender identity. If Golliher and Krumpe did not get the permission slips signed, they would be holding in their urine for hours, which is very harmful to the kidneys and can cause a urinary tract infection. However, a student at Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation sued the school for prohibiting him from using the bathroom, as he feels that his Title IX and 14th Amendment rights were violated. The case is currently still active. 

Transgender people using the bathroom has been a hot-button issue for years, as many people believe that allowing transgender people to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity would open the door for predators to take advantage of women and girls, which is simply not true. The form that requires parents to verify their child's gender identity is harmful and embarrassing, and while the purpose of the form (if what Wolf said is indeed true) was created with good intentions, well... we know what the path to hell is paved with. 

h/t: Ball State Daily News