20 years ago, the world came face to face with one of the most shocking hate crimes of the modern era. Now, Matthew Shepard’s family has announced his final resting place.
21-year-old Matt Shepard, a handsome, blond political science student with blue eyes and a sweet smile met two men in a bar in Laramie, Wyoming. The three chatted for a bit, before the two strangers offered Matt a ride home. Instead of taking him home, they drove to a rural area and proceeded to beat and torture Shepard, pistol whipping him until blood covered his face. The two men then tied Shepard to a fence and left him for dead in near-freezing temperatures.
18 hours later a cyclist saw Matthew’s body, at first mistaking him for a scarecrow. Police arrived at the scene and transported Shepard to a nearby hospital. He died there six days later, never regaining consciousness. The two men who assaulted Matthew both received life sentences in prison.
Shepard’s murder sparked a national dialogue on anti-queer hate crimes and inspired Shepard’s friends and family to activism. His mother Judy reluctantly began traveling the world, giving speaking engagements about her son, and lobbying for hate crime protections against LGBTQ people. She and Matthew’s father, Dennis, also founded The Matthew Shepard Foundation, an advocacy group aimed at raising awareness of hate crimes and anti-violence.
Judy & Dennis Shepard have selected Washington National Cathedral as Matthew’s final place of rest, the same church that began hosting same-sex weddings in 2010, and that welcomed a transgender preacher four years later.
“We’ve given much thought to Matt’s final resting place,” Judy Shepard explained via press release. “And we found the Washington National Cathedral is an ideal choice. Matt loved the Episcopal church and felt welcomed by his church in Wyoming. For the past 20 years, we have shared Matt’s story with the world. It’s reassuring to know he now will rest in a sacred spot where folks can come to reflect on creating a safer, kinder world.”
Matt’s internment marks an epilogue of hope to a story of pain and tragedy. Today, he would be 40 years old, and though he may not have lived to see marriage equality, an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and all the cultural advancements of the LGBTQ community, his spirit and his legacy live on.
Source: David Reddish. 11 October 2018. Queerty
A Missouri cop will be spending the next seven years in prison, for taking nude pictures of a 17-year-old he was sleeping with.
Justin Watson was a highway patrol trooper in south-central Missouri. He met the 17-year-old at a baseball game where he was an umpire.
The two did engage in a consensual sexual relationship. However, at some point Watson took several x-rated photos of the teen, using the teen’s cellphone then sending the images to his phone. By sending the images he violated federal child porn laws.
The legal age of consent in Missouri is 17, but taking pictures the age is 18.
Watson faced a possible 20-year prison sentence.
Prosecutors recommended a 12-year sentence for “grave abuse of the defendant’s position of power”. Meanwhile, Watson’s attorney, Brian Risley, asked for something closer to the federal minimum, which is five years.
Risley argued that the relationship between Watson and the 17-year-old was consensual and that Watson immediately took responsibility for his actions by pleading guilty.
But Judge Doug Harpool was unmoved, calling the case “complex and peculiar” and voicing his disapproval of a 40-something man sleeping with a 17-year-old boy.
This week, Harpool sentenced Watson to seven years in federal prison, followed by 10 years of supervised release.
“Photographing sexual activity by people who are minors under federal law is not something that can be tolerated,” the judge said.
Charges have been filed against two teenage boys who helped a 16-years old friend rape several students at Gunnison Valley High School, in Gunnison Utah.
Misty Cox’s son was held down and sexually assaulted after football practice.
“Two boys held him down, a third boy pulled his own pants down and rubbed his backside and genitalia all over my son’s face,” she tells FOX13.
The attack apparently happened October 2017.
USA Today reports:
Five more victims have since come forward since a 16-year-old was charged with six counts of object rape and four counts of forcible sex abuse, according to the Tribune, while FOX13 said there were five counts of forcible sex abuse.
The investigation has revealed at least 13 suspected assaults, according to the Tribune….The first alleged assault occurred in October 2017, according to charging documents. One assault was reported in November and December 2017, with two in January. Once was reported in March and another in June. Four assaults reportedly occurred on the same day: September 17.
Of the 13 victims, nice were male. Currently, there are 349 students enrolled at the school, that means four percent are alleged victims.
“We’re dealing with a lot of victims and a diverse [set] of victims,” said County Attorney Kevin Daniels.
Detective Carl Wimmer of the Gunnison Valley police stated: “I’ve never seen anything like this before.” Wimmer also said the school district has hired crisis counselors for students who need support.
School officials are remaining silent about the matter. However, superintendent Kent Larsen said that the 16-year-old student will not be allowed to return to the school until the matter has been resolved.
A transgender student at a Virginia middle school was kept out of both male and female locker rooms during a school safety drill meant to prepare students for events such as a mass shooting.
The school, located in Stafford County, instructed students to seek shelter in the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, but teachers could not agree on which one the trans girl should enter. LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Stafford shared news of the event on Facebook, sparking a public outcry. The name of the school is being withheld to protect the student’s identity.
“The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care, debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” the post reads. “During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different. After some additional debate, she was made to sit in the locker room hall way, by the door away from her peers. This happened because the child, in addition to being a model student, also happens to be transgender.”
“Let me be clear. During an event that prepares children to survive an attack by actual assailants, she was treated as if she was so much of a danger to peers that she was left exposed and vulnerable. These events occur across our country right now but this one happened here,” the post, which at time of writing has well over 1,000 shares, continues.
The group is calling on concerned citizens to attend tonight’s school board meeting.
Schools spokesperson Sherrie Johnson released the following statement, WUSA-9 reports:
Stafford County Public Schools does not comment on individual student incidents to avoid divulging confidential information. However, the new superintendent has requested a review of all protocols and procedures to ensure that all children are treated with dignity and respect. We take such matters very seriously and they will be addressed. The welfare of all students is of the utmost importance for SCPS.
A news report from that outlet follows.
Source: Taylor, Jeff. Transgender Student Blocked from Both Locker Rooms During Mass Shooting Drill. 09 October 2018. New Now Next.
#SOCIAL NOBODY SERIES Bravo to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who delivered an anti-bullying message that aired on the "Ellen" show this week. Brees is speaking out after a rash of suicides among gay teens, many the victims of bullies (of course, not all victims of bullies are gay but LGBT teens are a very at-risk group). See video below.
The text of Brees' message:
“If you think that making fun of someone is harmless, you’re wrong. If you think it’s OK to do because everyone else is doing it, you’re wrong. Bully has to stop, and it has to start with you.
I want my fans to know that if you’re making fun of someone because they’re different then you are no friend of mine. And if you are being bullied and you feel like one supports you, I want you to know that there is support. I support you. Making fun of someone because they’re different from you? That’s not being tough, it’s being ignorant. Appreciate people for how they are different from you: That’s what it takes to be a friend.”
Watch the video:
Health care experts have been informed of a US man contracting HIV despite being on PrEP. He’s thought to be the first man in California – and only the third in the US – to contract HIV while adhering to a daily PrEP regime.
PrEP is a medication that minimizes the chances of someone acquiring HIV, even if they do not use condoms.
News of the case was presented at the annual IDWeek conference in San Francisco, which concluded over the weekend. The conference is run by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
The man was HIV negative when he began taking PrEP in San Francisco in late 2016. He continued to diagnose HIV negative when testing at three, six and ten months. Blood tests also demonstrated he continued to take his medication consistently.
HIV positive after being on PrEP for a year
After just over a year on PrEP, he received an HIV positive diagnosis in early 2018. He was immediately placed on HIV drugs and has maintained a suppressed viral load since that time.
Doctors were able to accurately diagnose the exact strain of HIV he picked up. It’s one identified with people who have taken HIV medication in the past but no longer take it. It was then revealed that the patient’s main male partner was HIV positive but no longer taking medication.
The partner was tested and found to have a high viral load of the resistant strain. He has resumed taking medication.
Researchers say it was the fact the patient came into contact with a resistant strain that led to him acquiring the virus. They believe he stuck to his PrEP regime well. They could tell this from analyzing his hair, which he happened to grow long.
Dr. Robert Grant, of the University of California San Francisco, said, ‘[The patient’s] long hair allowed us to test by centimeters, which allowed us to go back and read drug levels from six months ago.’
Previous cases of men becoming HIV positive while on PrEP
There have been five previous reports on men acquiring HIV while on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). The first two occurred in Toronto and New York in 2016. In 2017, there were three more cases. One involved a man in North Carolina, one in Australia, and a fifth a man in Amsterdam.
The first four cases are believed to be due to the person on PrEP having sex with someone with a high viral load of a rare, resistant strain of HIV.
The fifth case is not believed to be linked to a drug-resistant strain of HIV. The Amsterdam man had an ‘unusually high number’ of sexual partners – averaging 50-70 a month – and several other sexual infections. Researchers have speculated he may have repeatedly exposed himself to HIV, which took a hold in his body after a slight dip in Truvada levels.
‘Greater than 99% effective’
Health experts say despite these rare cases, PrEP remains highly effective. The medication is taken by more than 350,000 people worldwide.
Dr. Grant said, ‘We know PrEP is greater than 99% effective. There are some cases where HIV will break through. We only have a handful of cases now, and next year, we’ll probably have a handful more. Fortunately, these cases are caught early, treated, and suppressed quickly. The person goes from taking one pill a day to one pill a day. The biggest difference is the stigma.’
Matthew Hodson, Chief Executive of HIV information organization NAM, agrees. 'We estimate that PrEP is more than 99% effective at preventing HIV. By comparison, a recent meta-analysis of the efficacy of condoms found that they prevented nine out of ten cases, this was a better result than previous analyses.
‘PrEP is still better than condoms at preventing HIV. PrEP failure makes the news. Condom failure doesn’t.
He said that in the UK, 93% of people diagnosed with HIV have suppressed the virus to a point where it cannot be passed on ‘in any circumstance.’ This is regardless of whether it’s a drug-resistant strain or not.
‘It’s vital to acknowledge that PrEP, just like other safer sex strategies isn’t 100% effective. It is also vital not to let isolated cases obscure how effective it is. PrEP has played a significant role in bringing down new HIV infections in London, Sydney, New York, San Francisco and other cities around the world.’
H/T: The Body Pro
Source: Hudson, David. California man on PrEP medication acquires HIV.9 October 2018. Gay Star News.
Wyatt Pertuset has quite a season, the wide receiver and punter for Capital University in Ohio is one of seven openly gay college football players this season.
Pertuset made headlines when he became perhaps the first openly gay player to score a touchdown and was featured on ESPN. But perhaps the biggest honor was being named Special Teams Player of the Week by the Ohio Athletic Conference, which plays in Divison III.
“Pertuset was called upon to punt four times in last week’s matchup against Baldwin Wallace over Homecoming Weekend. He totaled 182 yards in his four punts and averaged 45.5 yards per boot, a new single-game high for the junior. He also set the mark for a new personal long when he cranked one punt 55 yards downfield. Three of his four punts also pinned the Yellow Jackets inside their own 20-yard line.”
Pertuset admits he is proud to be gay and has no problems with people knowing it.
“I want it to be one of those images in young minds, especially for the same age as me, who might be in the closet, to work hard and just play your heart out, not only for your team but for what you stand for,” Pertuset said after scoring his touchdown a month ago. “I want this to be a turning point that proves to people that we are great athletes as well.”
The contagious and deadly bacteria Neisseria meningitis has been reported in Berlin. Considered one of the deadest, meningitis is spread through saliva and respiratory secretions. Authorities in Berlin are asking those who have visited KitkatClub nightclub to seek an immediate test for the bacterium.
A man who attended the “CameBall” on Saturday, September 29 has been hospitalized and is in critical conditions and at the current time is unable to describe his sexual contact at the event, so health officials are asking everyone who attended to get tested and vaccinated.
Deutsche Welle reports: “The bacteria strains A, C, Y and W135 are believed to have been possibly spread at the music-thumping Berlin institution, known for wild and raunchy sex acts being performed out in the open or in nooks and crannies…Common symptoms include severe headache, high fever, chills, dizziness, neck stiffness and extreme malaise. Within a few hours, a life-threatening infection can develop. The infection can be treated with antibiotics.”
Wrote Berlin officials: “All persons on KitKatClub on Saturday should seek preventative treatment immediately. Please contact your family doctor, your family doctor or the emergency department of a hospital immediately. On Saturday, 29.09.2018, there was, according to current knowledge, the transmission of bacterial meningitis (meningococcal meningitis) in KitKatClub in Köpenicker Straße 76, 10179 Berlin-Mitte. So far, it is known that the meningococci belong to one of the groups A, C, Y, W135. The infection takes place via liquids from the mouth and throat area. As a rule, this requires a very close contact. Preventive treatment usually consists of taking an antibiotic. Meningococcal meningitis is a serious disease. Common symptoms include severe headache, high fever, chills, dizziness, neck stiffness and extreme malaise. Within a few hours, a serious, life-threatening clinical picture can develop.”
Chester Crown Court records show that a 31-year-old unemployed plumber has pleaded guilty of hooking up with a closeted married man and then trying to extort him for thousands of dollars.
Benjamin Muskett, a father of two, decided to put together a plot to seduce closeted married men then extort them for cash. Muskett would contact men through online dating sites. It’s unclear how many men were involved, but a 51-year-old referred to as “Mr. X” is listed in court documents.
It appears that the two agreed to meet up for sex on September 2 of this year.
“An arrangement was made whereby the complainant, “Mr. X”, traveled to Sandbach and met in the car park of Co-op,” Hussey said. “He met the defendant who had given his name as Lee.”
“The defendant got into “Mr. X’s” vehicle and after a discussion, they agreed to travel out to a country lane.”
“Mr. X” is married to a woman and performed oral sex on Muskett who happens to be in a relationship with a woman. A few days after the encounter “Mr. X” started to receive threatening notes from Muskett.
“He received messages demanding that he pay up £5,000 in cash,” Hussey told the court. “If he didn’t then there would be uploaded to the website a video that was taken of what they had been doing.”
Afraid of being outed to his family, “Mr. X” contacted the police.
“The fact that he is a married man was uppermost in “Mr. X’s” mind in taking the decision to come forward,” said Hussey.
Muskett was arrested the next day. He confessed to blackmail but stated he was bluffing about there being a video and stated that no such video existed.
In court, Muskett’s lawyer said he only did it out of desperation and love for his family: “He was on benefits and felt unable to provide for his family. He’s a fully qualified plumber.”
He added: “In the cold light of day he realizes how stupid he’s been and apologizes unreservedly to “Mr. X.”
The judge, however, was not impressed and sentenced Muskett to three years in prison.
“This crime was particularly vicious because it was planned and deliberate,” Judge Berkson told the defendant. “You set up a profile on that website in order to carry out this crime.”
20-year old bodybuilder Ajay Holbrook has over 50K Instagram followers. Oh, heâs also trans.
Recently Holbrook was featured in Menâs Health, and he opens up about his experiences. He was 13 when he came out as trans after his mother taking him to hair appointments and making him wear dresses. âShe grabbed me, and she was like, âWhat are you doing, youâre a girl!â I looked at her like, âWhat are you talking about?ââ Holbrook recalls.
Holbrook admits it took time for his mother to accept him for who he is. It was while in high school that he started taking testosterone and at 18 he began documenting his fitness journey on YouTube and Instagram.
Heâs definitely worth look at! And we support you on your journey.