Studies attempt to understand MSM behavior
by Gus Cairns
reporting from the Bangkok World AIDS Conference
Several studies presented at the World AIDS Conference documented gay life in India, China and other parts of the globe, and in many cases showed that gay men are missing out on HIV-prevention messages.
The first thing to sort out, however, appeared to be what to call men with same-sex attraction. The acronym "MSM," for Men who have Sex with Men, seemed to be the usual conference term, in deference to societies that don't view homosexuality through the lens of modern "gay" culture, or to men who only had sex with other men in certain situations, such as in prison.
But this abbreviation was criticized as dangerous and demeaning by HIV-prevention campaigners from the developed world, such as San Francsco's Frank Strona, who came to the conference to present his Web site SafeSexCity.com, a riposte to sites like Barebackcity.com. Strona had to fund Safesexcity with $10,000 of privately raised capital after U.S. funding for gay men's HIV information dried up.
"HIV funders and providers need to start looking at us as men who have sex with men who love men," he said. Sexual behavior always includes the emotions, and concentrating exclusively on sex would miss out on the psychological drivers of much unsafe sexual behavior, Strona argued.
Politicians 'are failing Protestant gays'
By Brian Hutton
Protestant homosexuals in Londonderry are less inclined to 'come out' than their Catholic counterparts, according to the city's leading gay rights group.
Sean Morrin, director of the Rainbow Project, said that a failure of some public unionist figures to fully represent Protestants in Derry was making the lives of many unbearable.
Indeed, some representatives were "promoting and applauding" homophobia in the city to suit their own "personal agenda and morals", said Mr Morrin.
"It is the case that many more gay people within the Protestant community in Derry want to stay 'in the closet', than is the case in the Catholic community.
Anti-gay motive plays into robbery-slaying of Alabama teen
BAY MINETTE, Ala. A Bay Minette teenager's gay lifestyle was described by a defense lawyer and a prosecutor today (Thursday) as a factor in his gruesome murder during a robbery in which three suspects have been charged with capital murder. 18-year-old Scotty Joe Weaver was strangled, beaten and stabbed July 18th with his body dumped in woods and burned beyond recognition.
Rusty Pigott, a lawyer for one of the suspects, says Weaver was killed "because of his sexual orientation." Baldwin County District Attorney David Whetstone said part of the motive was his "lifestyle" -- and that he was robbed of about 80-dollars in cash.
Whetstone said defense attorneys are "spinning their stories" about the case, trying to eliminate robbery as an aggravating circumstance because it could bring a death sentence upon conviction.
Alabama's hate crime statute does not cover sexual orientation, but it still may determine whether prosecutors seek the death penalty.