National

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CDC awards Atlanta AIDS organizations large grants on Gay Men’s HIV Awareness Day

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention announced today — National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day — that is is awarding $55 million over five years to 34 community-based organizations, including AID Atlanta and Positive Impact.

The grants amount to approximately $300,000 per organization each year and will be used to expand HIV prevention services for young gay and bisexual men of color, transgender youth of color, and their partners.

AID Atlanta will receive $381,888 per year over five years and Positive Impact will receive $250,000 per year over five years, according to a spokesperson from the CDC.

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WPATH announces new standards of care for transgender and gender nonconforming people

There were champagne toasts and rounds of applause as the World Professional Association for Transgender Health released on Sunday its newest Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender, and Gender Nonconforming People  at a symposium at the Emory Conference Center in Atlanta.

WPATH revision committee chair Eli Coleman launched the 7th version of the standards of care to some 300 people who attended the symposium as part of a partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Medical Association and the Southern Comfort Conference, the largest transgender conference in the nation that takes place annually in Atlanta.

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Atlanta hosts national conference dedicated to ‘LGBT health equality’

Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders

Healthcare professionals from across the country converge on Atlanta next week for the national Gay & Lesbian Medical Association’s 29th annual conference, slated for Sept. 21-25 at the W Hotel Midtown.

The conference aims to improve the quality of medical care given to LGBT patients, according to event organizers. More than 350 doctors, dentists, nurses and other healthcare professionals will attend.

GLMA Executive Director Hector Vargas called the conference a springboard for action.

“What we try to do with the conference is focus on the leading issues around LGBT health, from clinical and primary care issues to education and training and health policy, in a way that serves as the basis for GLMA’s agenda to ensure LGBT health equality,” Vargas said.

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Gay military members cautioned as ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ ends

Sept. 20 marks the end of an era for gay men and lesbians in the U.S. military, and the non-profit Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is trying to prepare gay active duty service members for the historic change.

Since 1993, the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy has banned gay Americans from serving openly in the armed services. The policy will officially end Sept. 20, the day a 60-day review period will have ticked away following certification of military readiness to implement repeal.

Not surprisingly, some organizations, including SLDN, plan to celebrate the end of the 18-year-old ban. Two such events — a Retreat Ceremony on Sept. 19 and Repeal Day Celebration on Sept. 20 — are scheduled for Atlanta.

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By the numbers: Gay couples in the 2010 Census

901,997

Same-sex couples who self-identified on the 2010 U.S. Census.

99

Percent of U.S. counties reporting at least one same-sex couple, including 100 percent of Ga. counties.

60

Percent of same-sex couples who are two women.

5

Atlanta’s rank among large cities for the concentration of gay couples per 1,000 households.

17

Georgia’s rank out of 50 states and D.C. for the concentration of gay couples per 1,000 households.

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CDC campaign ‘Testing Makes Us Stronger’ targets black gay, bisexual men

HIV posterWith new numbers from the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control & Prevention showing a 48 percent increase in new HIV infections for young black gay and bisexual men between 2006-2009, activists and CDC officials are trying to find ways to halt the pandemic particularly within this community.

Today it was announced at the 2011 HIV Prevention Conference that the CDC is set to launch a "Testing Makes Us Stronger" campaign with black MSMs (men who have sex with men).

Featured in posters and in social media campaigns including Facebook and Twitter, the project will urge black gay and bisexual men to get tested and know their status. The campaign will also be advertised in black gay publications as well as mainstream black publications.

The conference is being held in Atlanta through Wednesday, Aug. 17.

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New HIV infections up 48 percent in black gay, bi young men

Young, black gay and bisexual men experienced a 48 percent increase in new HIV infections from 2006 through 2009, according to new data released today by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.

The Atlanta-based CDC determined figures that show that in 2006, there were 4,400 HIV infections among black gay and bisexual men ages 13-29. The numbers jumped to 6,500 infections in 2009 within the same age group. This subpopulation represents the only subpopulation in the U.S. to experience a statistically significant increase during these three years.

“We are deeply concerned by the alarming rise in new HIV infections in young, black gay and bisexual men and the continued impact of HIV among young gay and bisexual men of all races,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, in a statement.

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Prop 8 battle resumes Sept. 6

Georgians gather to support Prop 8 ruling

The legal battle over California's Proposition 8 will resume in September as the state's high court will take up the issue over whether supporters of a ballot initiative have the authority to fight court rulings if the state's governor and attorney general refuse to do so, according to the Associated Press.

The court will hear arguments on Sept. 6.

U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled in August 2010 that the state's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to challenge Walker's ruling.

Jerry Brown is now the governor of California.

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‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal finally certified; 60 days until law is officially gone

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the policy that ended the military careers of more than 14,000 lesbians and gay men, moved a step closer to the rubbish bins of history Friday as President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, formally certified its repeal.

Congress voted to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and Obama signed the bill into law in December 2010. But the legislation required Obama,  the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff to certify to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees that the military was ready to implement the repeal.

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Court order upholds ban on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ discharges

Alex Nicholson

A federal appellate court issued an order late July 15 prohibiting the U.S. government from discharging additional service members under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” while allowing recruiters to continue to bar openly gay people from enlisting in the armed forces.

The order from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals partially reinstates a stay on an injunction barring the enforcement of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The injunction was reissued by the appellate court July 6 after it was first issued by a U.S. district court last year.

“[T]he stay entered November 1, 2010, is reinstated temporarily in all respects except one,” the order states. “The district court’s judgment shall continue in effect insofar as it enjoins appellants from investigating, penalizing, or discharging anyone from the military pursuant to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.”

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U.S. Senate confirms first openly gay federal judge

J. Paul OetkenThe United States Senate, for the first time, confirmed an openly gay man to serve as a federal judge. J. Paul Oetken was nominated by President Obama in January and was confirmed by a vote of 80 to 13 on July 18. A simple majority was needed for confirmation.

Oetken will sit on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who recommended Oetken to President Obama, praised Oetken on the floor of the Senate prior to the confirmation vote.

“Paul is not just an excellent candidate,” Schumer said. “As the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge and to serve on the federal bench, he will be a symbol of how much we have achieved as a country in just the last few decades.”