Joseph Beam

joseph_beamBorn: 1954
Died: 1988

“The bottom line is this: We are black men who are proudly gay. What we offer is our lives, our loves, our visions … We are coming home with our heads held up high.”
-Joseph Beam

Joseph Beam is an official honoree today for LGBT History Month 2013, which this year has several HIV-positive honorees.

Joseph Beam was a gay activist and author who worked to foster the acceptance of LGBTs in the African-American community.

Beam became a leader in the black gay community in the early 1980s, writing news articles, essays, poetry and short stories for publications such as The Advocate, Body Politic, Gay Community News and the New York Native, relating the gay experience with the U.S. civil rights movement. In 1984, the Lesbian and Gay Press Association awarded Beam for his outstanding achievement as a minority journalist.

In 1986, he edited and published In the Life, an anthology of work written by largely unknown black gay writers, in response to his frustration over the absence of African American voices in LGBT literature. The anthology is widely regarded as the first of its kind.

Beam was also the founding editor of the national magazine Black/Out, served on the board of directors of the National Coalition of Black Lesbian and Gays, and was a contributing editor for the magazine Blacklight. He also worked as a consultant for the Gay and Lesbian Task Force of the American Friends Service Committee.

In 1988, Joseph Beam died of AIDS-related complications just three days shy of his 34th birthday. In 1991, Beam’s mother and friend published a second anthology of black gay men’s literature, titled Brother to Brother, which Beam was working on at the time of his death.

Go to lgbthistorymonth.com for more information about Beam and the other honorees.

The Road to the NLGJA Hall of Fame

By Mark Segal (Publisher, Philadelphia Gay News)

What surprised me most at the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association annual convention in Boston last week was the concern for print media.

Granted, print media is having a hard time at present; it doesn’t know how to monetize its online material and print circulations are on the decline. So, that led me, at the last minute, to completely change my acceptance speech for my induction into the NLGJA Hall of Fame.

First, to give some perspective to audience members who didn’t know me, I detailed my activism background. Those of you who have read this column regularly know that the timeline went: Stonewall, Gay Liberation Front New York, the founding of Gay Youth, disruptions of “CBS Evening News” with Walter Cronkite … then the founding of PGN.

PGN Masthead

I first told them of our early days in which we put up with bombed vending boxes, vandals destroying our office, only having one IBM Selectric typewriter and using press type for headlines. We even had The Thunderbolt, the nation’s white supremacist magazine, put us on their hit list. No journalism organizations allowed us to join (now I sit on their boards).

Then to give them optimism, I explained that PGN now owns its own building, equipment, all our bills and taxes are paid to date and we employ a full-time staff of 14 with full benefits. That is success in print media.

Then the important part — how did we become so strong? It’s a simple formula, at least to me. A strong business department that makes the funds to hire award-winning journalists to put out not an LGBT newspaper, but the highest-quality journalistic newspaper that serves the LGBT community. It was easy to explain that. PGN is the most-awarded LGBT publication in the nation. Yes, I said that with some of the other publishers present.

Stories that readers can get only in your newspaper bring readers, so publications shouldn’t be afraid of controversy and strong opinion pieces, and allowing those who disagree with you to do so in your letters to the editor or in op-ed pieces. But the most important is investigative reporting. Here I recalled Tim Cwiek’s 10-year saga on the Nizah Morris case, which prompted a new report by the city’s Police Advisory Commission, and rule changes at the Philadelphia Police Department. No other paper that I know of would put the resources into such a story for so long.

Hard news and features keep you relevant. We were out front on the Boy Scouts and the city’s decade-long battle with that group began in our pages, while we also covered the dangers of pumping parties, requesting a reporter to spend a night on the streets with homeless gay youth.

Media has changed and print must embrace and innovate. I explained that we have partnerships with philly.com and Philadelphia Business Journal, the first such partnership in the nation. Our work with the Philadelphia Multi-Cultural News Network, which not only allows PGN to work with a full range of diverse publications but has helped more than 20 newspapers, making Philly a vibrant, diversified newspaper city.

I had much more I could have added, but my time limit was running out. My desire was to bring new ideas and optimism, and I believe I succeeded.

Mark Segal, PGN publisher, is the nation’s most-award-winning commentator in LGBT media. He can be reached at mark@epgn.com. This article was originally published on epgn.com.

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

By Mark S. King

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998.  It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication.  The promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself.  “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.  “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star.  The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.”  The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful regularity.  The right to serve openly in the military.  Marriage.  Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public consciousness.  Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in particular, those stories feel stale.  It has all been said so many times before.  Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community.  When new data was reported recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of rising infection rates and a bored readership?  Are they simply reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions:  The 2013 LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.  About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.  Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and international rights.

Mark and Bil.jpgThe absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at #LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various people in attendance.  Their very personal answers – and undeniable passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day.  I will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times?  Is it progress?  And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner, who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping people see the importance of the issue.  I’m glad I have some company in the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices.  Anyone who has the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table, can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

Mark S. King is an activist, author and blogger. This blog post was originally published on his blog My Fabulous Disease.

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.VM8SJ8h8.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close. – See
more at:

http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/category/my-fabulous-disease/#sthash.EHgX0nga.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

HIV and Gay Media: The Vanishing Virus

The turning point could be traced to August of 1998. It was the month that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Bay Area Reporter
did not have a single AIDS obituary submitted for publication. The
promise of protease inhibitor medications had been realized, and it felt
for many that our long community nightmare was coming to a close.

The milestone in the life of San Francisco’s LGBT newspaper was
celebrated around the country and became a media story unto itself. “AIDS Deaths Take Holiday,” trumpeted the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “For Once, No AIDS,” said the Wilmington Morning Star. The headline in the Spokesman Review assured us that “No News is Good News.” The Bay Area Reporter’s own front page carried two words in enormous type: “No Obits.”

That could be seen as the moment in which coverage of HIV in gay media began to fade.

Today, the LGBT community is celebrating other milestones with joyful
regularity. The right to serve openly in the military. Marriage.
Growing acceptance and political muscle.

HIV/AIDS has largely moved off the front page and out of public
consciousness. Despite newsworthy data such as increased HIV
transmission among gay men and the ongoing slaughter of gay black men in
particular, those stories feel stale. It has all been said so many
times before. Even new storylines, such as Pre- and Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, cure research advocacy, and tools on the horizon such as rectal microbicides, it’s become harder to capture the imagination or interest of the gay community. When new data was reported
recently showing that half of the 20-year-old gay men today will have
HIV by the time they’re 50 (and if they’re black, that figure rises to a
whopping 70 percent), the news barely rated a tweet or newspaper item.

What, then, is the responsibility of LGBT media in this climate of
rising infection rates and a bored readership? Are they simply
reflecting the community’s waning interest, or do they have a
responsibility to keep HIV in the headlines, to serve as advocates for
better public awareness?

I was just in the perfect place to ask these questions: The 2013
LGBT Media Journalists Convening, held in Philadelphia and sponsored by
the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
About 100 media professionals, including a healthy dose of bloggers
like myself, attended the event, which educates LGBT journalists on
various issues so they we might report on them with more authority.
Those issues this year were transgenders, immigration, aging, labor, and
international rights.

The
absence of HIV/AIDS wasn’t lost on me, I assure you (AIDS activists
called them out about this in real time in the event’s Twitter feed at
#LGBTmedia13) and it became the topic of my interviews with various
people in attendance. Their very personal answers – and undeniable
passion for the cause of HIV in many cases – sure made it a little
easier to understand the tough choices they are making every day. I
will be very interested in your reaction.

Aside from my griping over HIV coverage, it really was terrific to be
in the company of a lot of dedicated journalists, and I appreciate very
much the work done to mount the event, including the contributions of
Bil Browning of The Bilerico Project (pictured with me above, at right).

Is sparse HIV coverage just a sign of the times? Is it progress? And what can we do to increase visibility again?

The journalists in my video provide some answers, but I especially liked the observation by gay political activist David Mixner,
who reminded me that coming out, whether as gay men or as someone
living with HIV, is the greatest tool in fighting stigma and helping
people see the importance of the issue. I’m glad I have some company in
the poz blogosphere, but we can always use more voices. Anyone who has
the ability to share their story, online or across the dinner table,
can make an awesome contribution.

Meanwhile, I’m going to keep nudging my LGBT media colleagues, and I encourage you to do the same.

Thanks for watching, and please be well.

Mark

- See more at: http://marksking.com/my-fabulous-disease/hiv-and-gay-media-the-vanishing-virus/#sthash.6jhNBAEb.dpuf

Fear of Homophobia

Weinberg-Healthy-HomosexualThe recent decision by The Associated Press (AP) to discourage the use of the terms “homophobia” and “Islamaphobia” has prompted much discussion.

NLGJA president Michael Triplett emailed the following to Andrew Beaujon at Poynter:

The general sense is that the AP is probably correct in terms of the literalism of the word “homophobia” and that it really is not the best way to describe anti-gay actions or motives. On the other hand, it leaves writers without a term — like racism or sexism — that describes anti-gay sentiment. At this point, I am not sure whether NLGJA will change its stylebook or not given the AP’s recent pronouncement.

Poynter also got the following from David Minthorn, the AP deputy standards editor:

We feel that ‘homophobia’ and ‘Islamophobia’ have two shortcomings: they are not specific, and can also imply a psychiatric condition. We always owe it to readers to say exactly what we mean. Instead of terms that try to describe some general state of mind, we always prefer to say what a person’s position is or how he acts. Does a given person or group assert that gays are immoral? Do they oppose gay marriage? Do they oppose gays in the military? Do they commonly make anti-gay slurs? Does Jones question whether Islam is a religion? Does he say Islam should not be the basis of a country’s law? Does he engage in anti-Muslim violence? Such specifics tell a reader the points that are at issue and allow for a response to those points. As a result, the reader obtains more accurate information.

Of the reactions Poynter cites, this one from John E. McIntyre at the Baltimore Sun sums up the backlash:

If the editors of the AP Stylebook wish to discourage the use of certain words simply because they can be misused or misunderstood, there ought to be a great many in line ahead of homophobia.

I thought that was that until I came across an op-ed at Gay City News by Dr. George Weinberg, a psychotherapist and author of the 1972 book Society and the Healthy Homosexual, which coined the phrase homophobia.

Here’s an excerpt:

The AP’s recent dislike of the word because it is “political” makes no sense. It is political because a large number of people have brought it to light and are opposing abuse. If one man beats up his wife nightly because he’s a drunk, it isn’t political. It is personal. If a million do and women organize in protest, it’s political. But it is still personal and psychological. “Political” just means that many people are trying to do something about it. Homophobia doesn’t lose its status as a phobia just because many people are now on to it and are trying to cure it or to live in spite of it. A phobia is an irrational dread of something harmless, motivating the desire to avoid it or expunge it.

The world needs the word “homophobia” and what it says. People need to understand what it teaches … As for the argument that it is imprecise, so is a word like “freelance” writer; people don’t go around throwing lances any more. And, by the AP’s logic, why not get rid of the word “gay” since not all gay people are joyous.  It’s a big mistake to pretend precision here.

It was a great advance to have the term “hate crimes” brought into the language and into the law. The term underscores the psychological motive of the person who commits such crimes — for instance, violent acts accompanied by anti-semetic language or the defacing of temples. By the AP’s logic, that term should be the first to go. It clearly refers to the mental and emotional state of those who commit hate crimes. Victims of hate crimes wouldn’t tolerate the erasure of the word. I can guess why the term “hate crimes” isn’t being eliminated along with “homophobia.” AP wants its language to go over well everywhere its stories might be picked up. The term “hate crimes” wouldn’t stop the media from picking up AP stories, while the word “homophobia” might draw objection in some places. In short, AP’s decision, far from depoliticizing its reporting, is itself likely based on a political judgment.

No surprise the coiner of the phrase still supports it, but his arguments shouldn’t be dismissed because he coined it. Homophobia may not be as precise as the AP wants it to be, but I can’t imagine not using it until an adequate replacement exists. And I don’t think “anti-gayism” is going to catch on any time soon.

Gonorrhea Is Not The New AIDS

The LGBT blog Queerty wrote this attention-grabbing headline in response to recent news about gonorrhea: “Super Bug: Is Gonorrhea the New AIDS?

The post by Dan Avery is the result of new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to health care providers on how to treat gonorrhea.

Here’s an excerpt from the POZ Treatment News article about the new guidelines:

The CDC notes that gonorrhea has developed resistance to every antibiotic recommended for treatment of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium responsible for gonorrhea, leaving only a class of drugs called the cephalosporins, which include Suprax (cefixime) and Rocephin. In turn, the recommended first-line therapy for gonorrhea has been Suprax, an oral antibiotic, combined with either Zithromax (azithromycin) or doxycycline.

“Now the CDC is concerned about an uptick in laboratory data showing that Suprax is becoming less effective in treating N. gonorrhoeae. Continued use of the drug, the agency worries, may prompt the bacterium to develop resistance to all cephalosporins. The CDC is therefore recommending that Suprax no longer be prescribed and Rocephin–which needs to be administered by a health care provider–used in its place, along with either Zithromax or doxycycline.”

Just by issuing these new guidelines, it’s clear that the CDC is worried. Which then prompts the question: How worried should we be?

I can’t put an exact measure on it, but I feel safe in saying that this should provide motivation for those who have become weary of safer sex, particularly condom use.

If untreated, gonorrhea can spread to the blood or joints, which can be life threatening. And gonorrhea can make it easier to both give and get HIV.

As Avery points out in his post:

If there’s a takeaway from the CDC pulling the alarm bell, its that we have to remember that AIDS is not the only sexually-transmitted infection out there.”

Agreed (except that “HIV” would have been more accurate). And although their headline set us up expecting the answer to be yes, Queerty made it clear the answer was no, gonorrhea is not the new AIDS.

Scaring people unnecessarily doesn’t help in the long run with prevention efforts, which is why I chose the headline I did for this post. That said, I plan on keeping a close eye on how this story develops.