• Jonathan Lucero McKinney

Feb/March 2020 News Briefs

by Myra Shays


Buttigieg Campaign Moved Fundraiser Due to "Dancer Pole"


On January 17, Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Pete Buttigieg, presidential hopeful and former mayor of South Bend, IN, was slated to headline a fundraiser at the Dark Lady in downtown Providence. Buttigieg, the first openly gay candidate to mount a major campaign for president, has been endorsed by Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and is believed to be in the top tier of candidates in the runup to the Democratic primaries.


But campaign workers who arrived at the club ahead of the event asked the staff to remove the "dancing pole" in the middle of the club. Manager Buck Asprinio refused, saying, "It's been here since we opened and it's not going anywhere…. It's part of who we are." He claims the campaign knew in advance the pole was there, and they cancelled with only 20 minutes' notice, sending attendees to the Hotel Providence with no explanation. He regretted that they chose the hotel instead of a "gayoriented" venue. The campaign says it offered to compensate the Dark Lady for the agreed-on price for the event. through surrogacy. Says Julie Keller, coalition member, "RIPE... parents have experienced firsthand the anguish of not being able to establish a clear legal tie to their children. That creates barriers to doing fundamental things like making school or medical decisions, forces parents into…costly legal proceedings and [puts us] at risk."


Coalition Formed to Reform RI Parentage Laws


Rhode Islanders for Parentage Equality (RIPE) is a coalition launched in early January to pass comprehensive parentage law reform. The state currently has no statutes clarifying parentage for children born through assisted reproduction or through surrogacy. Says Julie Keller, coalition member, "RIPE... parents have experienced firsthand the anguish of not being able to establish a clear legal tie to their children. That creates barriers to doing fundamental things like making school or medical decisions, forces parents into…costly legal proceedings and [puts us] at risk."


The reform law was passed unanimously by the senate last year but must be re-introduced in this session. Supporting organizations include Adoption RI, TGI Network, GLAD, National Association of Social Workers, RI NOW, and several others.



Home Needle Delivery Offered by ACOS


To help prevent the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C among injection drug users, confidential home needle delivery is now offered by the RI Dept. of Health through the ENCORE program of AIDS Care Ocean State (ACOS). The clean needle exchange is also done at locations throughout the state and at ACOS, 557 Broad Street, Providence. ENCORE also provides HIV prevention education, substance abuse treatment, and medical care. For more information about ENCORE and confidential testing, visit aidscareoceanstate.org or call 781-0665.


Reporter Fired for Pushing HIV Fears


Gay City News (GCN) announced that CBS New York fired a reporter who they say described insensitive and misleading "facts" about HIV/AIDS in early December. His story implied that an HIV-positive man who allegedly spit on a Port Authority police officer was somehow putting the officer at risk for the virus, despite the fact that HIV cannot be transmitted by saliva. The reporter also called the alleged spitting incident an "HIV attack" in a tweet. “This online story should not have been published," CBS wrote to GCN.


But the other key piece of the story remains unresolved: that the Port Authority Police Benevolent Association also pushed false claims about HIV and disclosed the suspect's HIV status to CBS, and has not apologized or retracted anything. Many advocacy organizations have reacted with shock and anger, including Gay Men's Health Crisis, ACT-UP NY, Housing Works, and VOCAL-NY.



Largest LGBTQ-Friendly Housing Site Opens


The nation's largest LGBTQ-friendly senior housing complex opened in December on publicly owned land in Brooklyn. Developers of the apartment tower, dubbed Stonewall House in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall demonstrations, celebrated its opening on St. Edwards Street, managed by the NY City Housing Authority, bringing long-awaited housing to queer seniors. It is well known that older LGBT people are less likely to have family to rely on as they age or become infirm.


The 17-story building contains 145 units, all priced below market rates, targeting residents with income of no more than 50 percent of the area's median income, which is $96,100 for a family of three. Applications must include at least one resident aged 62 or older. One quarter of the units are earmarked for formerly homeless households.


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