Herd

So today, the official response from the Whitehouse (WH) is they now endorse herd immunity as a regimen to combat the spread of covid-19.

First, here is the definition of “herd immunity”:

the resistance to the spread of a contagious disease within a population that results if a sufficiently high proportion of individuals are immune to the disease, especially through vaccination.

“the level of vaccination needed to achieve herd immunity varies by disease but ranges from 83 to 94 percent”

Webster’s dictionary

Based on that, herd immunity is currently impossible. We cannot use herd immunity as a treatment regimen because we don’t have a vaccine!

The WH’s deliberate misinterpretation of the idea is to do nothing. Just let everyone be exposed and see who lives and dies. That is NOT herd immunity. This approach pushes the death toll into the millions, not the low hundreds of thousands like we have now. Just one percent of the US population, just one (1) percent, is over three (3) million people!  If we jump that up to five (5) percent, the death toll is just under 17 million people.

For perspective, one percent is more than the entire population of Phoenix, AZ. Five percent is more than the entire population of the New York City metro area. And this does not take into account the millions more who will struggle with lingering illness for weeks or months.

Even if you’re dumb and deaf, you can understand how insanely stupid and dangerous this is.

Voting has never been more important. It is heartening to see many cities are reporting record numbers of registered voters as well as early voting. Vote like your life depends on it because it just might this time.

Deaths

I’ve had not 1, but two significant deaths lately. My good friend Rick passed away. He lived in Hawaii with his husband Jeremy. It was unexpected and a total shock. I don’t need to go into the details, but I’m sad to have lost my friend. It was not covid-19 related, btw. Rick and I met years ago when he was still living here in SF. We met at the gym and he was kind and friendly, even if he looked intimidating as a big ole bodybuilder. I was at what I refer to as the “end-stages” of some of my emotional growth. I had overcome a lot of my demons and was finding my confidence. Out of the blue, Rick came into my life and was just a good genuine friend. We briefly flirted with dating, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Our friendship survived his move back to Hawaii, and Shawn and I have visited him there more than once. He was one of our destinations as soon as we felt comfortable traveling again.

Rick was a war vet and suffered from PTSD. With the current state of political affairs, he was often upset and unhappy with where our country is heading. Not only that, he was denied his rightful military benefits for years due to the old DADT law. He did finally get them, but I know it bothered him he had to fight for so long to get them. I hope he is in peace now, free of the torments of this life and worries for the future. He will certainly be missed! Rick, we love and miss you.

*

Trailing right behind that, I found out the very next day, my old blog buddy ‘ThisboyElroy’ passed away as well.1 It was the day before his 40th birthday. This one also really shook me as I just never thought of someone so full of life could go so soon. I met Adam back after he started his blog, when he and his ex were still together. We actually met at one of the blogger shindigs that were so popular back when blogging was still new. He, Brad, and I hit it off right away! We randomly hung out together over the span of years. And after Adam and Brad split, we sort of became distant but not from any tension. We were just on different paths and didn’t often interact as much. I never got to meet Adam’s new husband. I didn’t want to bother or intrude on his grieving, so I’ll try to reach out to him after some time has passed. Adam was a positive force in this world. He was smart, not afraid of confrontation, and singularly focused on the goals he wanted for himself. His infectious smile and sharp wit will be sorely missed.

*

When I was younger, I often commented I didn’t expect to live into old age. For a variety of messed-up reasons, I never thought I’d live to see 40. Here I am pushing 50 and I am grateful for my life. It was wrong of me to be so callous about it. Life is too fragile and finite to be so careless about it. I should be so fortunate to be remembered as fondly as I remember Adam and Rick.

Be at peace my dear friends.

 

  1. They actually died on the same day []

Remembering

It was January 1991. The first year I witnessed the death of someone I personally knew from AIDS. It scared the holy sh*t out of me. I remember hearing an older couple I was friends with commenting on this article from the NYT. The report of 100,000 deaths from AIDS was buried deep in the paper. There was no national outrage, there weren’t any names posted on the front page. We were on our own.

Fast forward to this week’s front page article with a thousand names of the 100,000 dead from the pandemic.

The LGBTI community remembers. We know what it’s like when the government ignores a disease. We remember what it was like to see so many our people die from AIDS, many of which died alone.

Don’t be cavalier or indifferent to this crisis. Don’t be a name on the front page or one buried on page 18.

Schock-ed!

Oh look, the hypocrite finally came out. Color no one surprised, henny! Seriously, we all knew! How could you NOT know?! He is only coming out now because he is being continually hounded and exposed for the continual liar and hypocrite he is.1 I admit my seething hatred for people like this is hard to control. I have tons of terribly vile and yet appropriate names for him beyond the truthful ones, but I won’t allow myself to go on a personal tirade because I strive to be better than that. Nor will I link directly to his BS non-apology apology statement.

Beside piggy-backing on the self-loathing LCR crowd with his whole straight white male charade, he had to add insult to injury and be one of the most conservative voting members in the house, even beyond LGBTI rights. He bragged every chance he got about how conservative he was.

  • He repeatedly voted against all gay rights.
  • He voted against amendments to include sexual orientation and gender identity as hate crimes.
  • He supported the marriage act.2
  • He aligned himself with the AFA, who hates all of us and wants us criminals or dead.
  • He voted against the repeal of DADT.3

So, no. Your BS letter does not make up for all the horrible things you did. It does not excuse you from being a crook and a liar while you were in office. And it certainly doesn’t make you “one of us” now that you were hounded into finally admitting the truth.

Simply put, until you show some real contrition and make an effort to undue the damage you’ve done, go fuck yourself!

  1. I know, terrible way to end a sentence. []
  2. I don’t think he ever got a chance to vote for it as it didn’t come up again during his tenure from what I remember. []
  3. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell []

Supremes

I wish I was referring to the TV show. Sadly, I am not. I try not to delve into politics too much in my blog as that was never the purpose. However, things evolve and change and the issues today cut to my very survival.

With Justice Kennedy stepping down from the SCOTUS at the end of July, I truly worry for our freedoms. It’s been a sh*t show since he got in there but we had some insulation with the SCOTUS being pretty evenly divided. I knew there would be drama but I kept telling myself, ‘we’ll get thru it intact‘.  I am not so sure anymore. All Trump has to do is successfully appoint a rabidly anti-gay judge and all our hard-earned victories in the last few years are in jeopardy. The right to equality, the right to marry, and the right to exist are all up for grabs folks.

It is time to speak up. Complacency is a vote for those who want us dead. Everyone needs to reach out to their State representatives and demand they support a pro-LGBTI candidate. Elections are coming soon. Make sure they know we are watching and will be voting those who stand idly by out of office! We must exercise our voices. You can bet the fundamentalists are already rallying to get the most conservative, anti-gay choices they can on the list of possibles.

This will affect us for decades to come. We cannot let the SCOTUS turn into a bigoted hate-mongering extension of the extremists. We must demand the Senate fight and kill any anti-LGBT nominees. If you don’t know who your State senators or representatives are, feel free to click the links below.

Find your state’s Senator here

Find your state’s Representative’s here.

If we do not speak up, we not have the right to speak up soon. That is not an exaggeration. Every day we the extremists trying to cut off the voice of the people. They want them demoralized and distracted by hot-button social issues so they can continue robbing the poor and feeding the rich. If we don’t break out of our personal bubbles and get involved, we have no one to blame when they come for us again.

GHHD #1 2018

Well, GHHD #11 is upon us once again. It is Pride weekend.  The gym has begun filling up daily with out-of-town’rs. *giggle*  I’m sure by Friday it will be overflowing. (pun intended)

However, you celebrate it, I hope you have a fun and safe one. For myself, I volunteered to work overtime again this year onsite at the event. I’ll be working with AMR ambulance services who are the medical component for the Pride permit.2  I’ve worked with them for many years at different events and they are always a pleasure to work with. Ironically, after the Pulse shootings, the Pride committee put in metal detectors and this has cut way down on all the illegal booze being brought in by kids.

As always, there are those among us who complain about all that is wrong with Pride. We know gurl, you hate it. Next! This year, it’s over the idea of adding a few extra colors to the rainbow flag. For a community that is supposed to be all about accepting others, we sure do have some rigid ideas when it comes to symbolism. If you don’t like it, use the one you like. Stop bemoaning attempts to make other marginalized communities feel included under our umbrella. I personally am not defined by the rainbow flag or any other symbol. I enjoy the symbols and support them but there isn’t any reason a symbol can’t change or evolve over time to better represent it’s purpose.

I still support Pride as an event. While we have gained a measure of equality since the legalization of gay-marriage, anti-LGBT crimes have sky-rocketed since the current POTUS took office. There is clearly still a need to show our solidarity, especially for our Trans brethren. Frankly, I feel we have an obligation to help pull those behind us still facing daily discrimination in their lives to the front of the line.

So while I am working my booty off to help keep everyone same, I am with you in mind and spirit. Let your freak (or not) flag fly! Whether you wanna look like a Warner-bros cartoon character or an average Joe, get out and celebrate. Maybe you can volunteer at a shelter, food back, or AIDS org as a way of celebrating. It doesn’t have to be prancing down the street or standing on the sidelines. Do you and support those doing them.

 

  1. Gay High Holy Day []
  2. Large permitted events require a medical plan to help off-set the need for emergency services. This assures a modicum of care and prevents overwhelming the normal emergency system. []

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am completely shocked that Moore did not win in Alabama! I fully expected he would win. The bias we see in news and social media these days is sadly getting worse and worse.

While Moore’s loss renewed my hope in the decency of people, when you delve into the numbers, we clearly have a lot of work to do. People of color turned out in much higher numbers and they saved us all from this incredibly hypocritical religious nut. A profound thank you to all who exercised their right to vote. Voting matters and it matters more and more every day now. Moore lost by the tiniest margin.

Reports came in that Alabama saw much larger than usual voter turn out. Historically, this is always of benefit to the Democrats. However, I don’t care what part you vote, just perform your civil duty and vote. It was good to see many “republicans” calling out the party line approach and either not voting or voting against Moore. If more of them had spoken up I think the party in general would not have embraced Moore as they did. Party should never come before what is right or moral.

The increase of “you agree with me or else” approach is increasing the divide between us IMO. I’m a little guilty of this myself. So many things in the public eye right now affect our very way of life. Of course, we take it personal! However, when you delve past the crazies, you find that most people often vote their conscience not out of malice but out of self-preservation. We all need to be better at recognizing that and be more willing to extend an olive branch to others.

Tangent/ Some of you know our mayor here in SF passed away yesterday. Mr. Lee wasn’t a friend to me or my department. He recently back-tracked on his statements to help us. I personally felt very let down by his actions. However, even in my frustration with the man, I am saddened by his death. People who knew him well all agree he wasn’t malicious and tried to be ‘real.’  It doesn’t matter whether I agree with him politically or not. I can give my personal bias and issues a rest for a few days out of respect to allow his friends and family to mourn his death. And yet, immediately online you see people trashing him or using his death to trash SF politics in general. Even the Chronicle posted a piece on the day of his death discussing how it “complicated” politics in SF!  The day of his death!  /tangent

The fallout got me to thinking about how the divide between us is growing. Even within our own umbrella there is so much more in-fighting and vitriol toward each other. This is not how we solve problems. This is not how we overcome our mutual enemies either. Isolating ourselves in our individual groups or identities will not allow us to overcome the inequalities we all face.

So for myself, I plan to work on how I view those I disagree with. I will continue to avoid those who rely solely on deceit and lies. For the rest, I hope I can offer, thru example, the type of respect we all deserve.

Judgey Much?

I get a lot of requests about my thoughts on political subjects.1  I tend to avoid them or at the very least discuss in private. My reasoning has always been people have a right to their opinions, even the ones I don’t like. However, you do not have the right to tell me how to live or enforce your beliefs on me. I draw the line at bigotry. The intersection of these two fundamental principles is entirely up for discussion which is what brings me to my post today.

One of my far away readers, all the way from Sydney, wanted to know my thoughts on the right of a baker or florist to not provide service to me for a same-sex wedding. And as always, I’m all about distinctions so I have sort of a split take on it. There is always that ‘gut’ part of me that says, “why would I want to do business with anyone who doesn’t want my business to start off with?”  I mean you can always choose someone else, right? Then my logic kicks in and I start rationalizing it out.

The problem I have with these so called moral-objectors is their outright hypocrisy. In several of the high-profile cases hitting the news, several of them flat out admitted they don’t particularly question most of their clients. More still when questioned specifically hem and haw over it and until they finally admit the truth. A couple of them even went so far as to admit they don’t really care about the “sins” of most of their clients as long as they weren’t gay.  Therein lies the distinction. Most of these folks regularly make no inquiry into their clientele’s beliefs. If you’re that devoutly religious then you would think they screen all of their customers to avoid violating their beliefs, right? It is no secret I have less and less use for religion as I age. The dissent and destruction is causes far outweighs the benefit IMO. However, I can’t deny it represents a powerful foundation for many people. And if I found a person who truly walked the walk then I’d honestly be more supportive of their freedoms. I can still disagree with most of religion and accept your right to believe and walk your path. Tangent: Ironic how I can accept them but they can’t accept me?

It isn’t really about belief. It is about enforcing their morals on you. In other words, bigotry. These people disapprove of your choices and by refusing they are telling you,  “Your ‘lifestyle’ is not OK with me; I am going to punish you by refusing to provide you a service I provide to everyone else without question.” That is really what it boils down to. So no, it isn’t really about their beliefs. It is about their ability to discriminate against you.  That I have a problem with. I can’t support these people’s so called freedoms because they are liars and frauds.

As for myself, I don’t think I’d sue. One, I don’t have the financial resources for that. Two, I don’t work in a job where I could just miss sh*t-tons of work for the never-ending court appearances, hearings, etc. I’d probably make a big stink, share it with as many people as I could and move on to someone else who wanted my business. However, I applaud those who stand up and won’t back down. I applaud those who can sue and take on the fight for everyone to be treated equally.

 

  1. Mostly, from my 20-30 crazy but exceptionally loyal readers. hehehe []

Pride & Prejudice

So as usual, there is in-fighting amongst all the letters in our glorious alphabet of communities. This year seems to have taken a new twist as people are losing their sh*t over changes to the rainbow flag in PA. Apparently, some folks have decided to add extra stripes to denote the inclusion of race.

For my part, I don’t really care either way. If you want to add some stripes to represent the inclusion of race on the flag be my guest. The rainbow flag is just a symbol. It doesn’t define me or my life so modifying it doesn’t really affect me one way or the other. Symbols are meant to represent us, not define us.

On the one side, racism is just as prevalent in the gay community as it is in the straight world. What harm is there in adding reflections of race to show inclusion? Even though the flag wasn’t meant to reflect race, so what if some people want to include a variation that includes it. I’ve seen so many personal variations of the rainbow flag for years. Where is the outrage on all those variations? No one owns a symbol anymore than they own an idea. Let us all stop acting like changing a recognized symbol will end all our hard earned rights.  

On the other side, I also don’t really think it helps anything. Many of our racial tensions are tied to various socioeconomic issues. Until we work thru these, changing a symbol does absolutely nothing IMO. Actions are stronger than words. How about we stop using disrespectful terms to refer to other races? How about we stop acting like every unflattering joke or mention of race/gender is an attack? Even better, how about we stop marginalizing everyone because of the actions of a few? Instead, let us accept that others suffer differently than you. Be willing to look outside your sphere of existence to see thru another’s eyes.These actions and attitudes are much more effective at stopping hate, mistrust, and fear.

This whole pissing match is a reflection of the deeper issues within our umbrella. These ever growing trends of attacking and/or shaming anyone who disagrees, even in the slightest, are doing the work of our enemies for them. We are destroying our communities from within. Our umbrella of people rarely agree on any given topic. Why must we make enemies of each other over different view points like this? The level of vitriol and disgusting behavior I’ve seen on both sides has been deeply disturbing. This is not how we should be treating each other.We can disagree with our allies w/o labeling them as enemies. We can be patient and show understanding as we try to educate those around us who thru privilege or ignorance don’t understand a given viewpoint. Shock value and strong-arm tactics might sometimes work against our enemies but when we use them on our allies we only further the divide between us.

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have all the answers, but I still support equality and freedom for all. That makes me an ally even though I’m a person who won’t be shouted down just because I don’t always see eye to eye with everyone else. When we silence the voices of our allies over internal squabbles, what is their motivation to speak for us when we need them? And don’t even get me started on the growing tide of small groups who decide they can’t compromise even a little. They demand to have their way or else. If you refuse, they do everything possible to obstruct or shut down the process. How is that productive? You don’t win hearts and minds that way.

While the LGBTI movement has taken some significant large steps recently, it took decades to get this far. We gained many of our rights slowly one at time. We still have more to accomplish. Many of these new found rights are under renewed attack. We need to be unified now more than ever.

Stupefy

Today is brought to you by the letter S.

stu·pe·fy

ˈst(y)o͞opəˌfī/

verb

verb: stupefy; 3rd person present: stupefies; past tense: stupefied; past participle: stupefied; gerund or present participle: stupefying

  1. make (someone) unable to think or feel properly.

And how do we avoid stupefying those around us on social media when presented with a story or “news” item we want to believe but aren’t really sure is true? Let me offer you these short rules. 

  • Read the article. Does it match the title? If not, ignore it. Otherwise,  move on to the next step. 
  • Do you trust the source? Is the source well known or legitimate?1 If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Has the source been caught fabricating stories or publishing false and/or misleading edits of stories? If so, don’t share. If not, move on to the next step. 
  • Seriously, go read the article. We all know you didn’t read it. If it really passed the previous steps move on to the next step. 
  • Does the action / event / article cite sources or provide proof to back up claims, accusations, and/or accomplishments? Sourcing yet another article with no proof is not a valid source. If not, don’t share. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • If you’re too busy to read it, can’t go thru all the steps, or you feel the article is too long, don’t share it. Otherwise, move on to the next step. 
  • Does the article attempt to guilt or scare you into sharing it? If so, don’t share. No, you arent helping others “just in case“. Otherwise, move to the next step.
  • Does the article attempt to incite hatred or violence against others based on bias? If so, don’t share it.

If it passes all these steps then and ONLY then should you consider sharing it. Even then, you should still ask yourself if sharing will contribute in any way to the discussion? 

Now you know. Next time you are about to share a news story on social media you know what to ask yourself to avoid stupefying others. 

😜

  1. stating how many people removed from you can contest to its authenticity is not trustworthy ie “my coworker’s cousin’s wife can attest to this and she is  [insert contrived position of authority here]” []