The Sexual Freedom Project: The Glass Closet

(También en Español)

What issues in your own family that are “off limits” in terms of discussion due to past or present circumstances? Does your family make you live in a glass closet, where everyone knows about your sexual orientation and/or gender identity but just are unwilling to talk about it?  Do you wish your family was more comfortable talking about these tender issues?

Make a video, write a poem, song, or an essay — or even create an original work of art — and express your thoughts. If we feature your contribution on the site, we will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt to thank you.

(Editor’s note: The Family Acceptance Project has many resources for your family that can help based on decades of sound research that proves that family acceptance is crucial in reducing youth homelessness, substance abuse, and suicide.)

More videos.

Adam Lambert’s Post-Gay World

Adam Lambert Is a ‘Killer’ Queen by Daniel Reynolds for The Advocate

Dan Massey and I had a somewhat secret passion for Adam Lambert ever since he sang Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen for his audition on American Idol in 2009. (Can you even remember who came in first to his second place finish?) We once spent a weekend in Baltimore and Washington, DC, attending two of Lambert’s early concerts coinciding with his first album. They were medium-sized venues, and at the last one I got lost finding the restroom only to run in to Lambert, face to face, as he was going out on stage.

Yes, he glowed.

Adam Lambert Flickr/creative commons

Adam Lambert
Flickr/creative commons

For several years, Dan not-so-secretly finished each of his emails by attaching some of Lambert’s lyrics we were especially fond of, ones like these that captured VenusPlusX’s campaign for a better world.

Welcome to the Master Plan
Don’t care if you understand
Don’t care if you understand
Welcome to the Master Plan.
(“Master Plan”)

And . . .

I was born with glitter on my face
My baby clothes made of leather and lace
And all the girls in the club wanna know
Where did all their pretty boys go?
(“Sure Fire Winners”) 

Lambert set out to answer that question, Where did all their pretty boys go? Something we are explaining to each other in our joint search for equality rights.

Lambert has become the personalization of gay is good, slowly emerging as one our most articulate gay icons in the entertainment industry.

[Like last year, Lambert is continuing] “as spokesperson for AT&T’s “Live Proud” campaign. The initiative encourages all people – regardless of sexual orientation – to share memes illustrating their pride through social media channels. Five lucky participants in the campaign, which ends August 10, will have the chance to attend a private event with Lambert in New York. The goal, he says, is ’empowerment,’ and to give others ‘a voice to be what and who they are.'”

Through the AT&T campaign and in practically all of his public statements, Lambert is showing youth what it’s like to just be yourself, no matter who that is, and to not only be proud but to be exceedingly happy that you are you. After all, there is no one in the greater universe that can be that person.

Right now Lambert is finishing up a well-reviewed tour with the band QueenHe inhabits the lead spot formerly held by Freddie Mercury, who happened to have been an openly bisexual artist who died of AIDs in 1991. Mercury lived through some bitter years when being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or trans (LGBT), especially in the public eye, was a grim affair with mostly everyone else in the closet. The AIDs epidemic changed all of that because it has become a matter of life and death to acknowledge LGBT people. 

“I feel like it’s one of the things that I respect about him a lot. He never really made any apologies for anything,” Lambert says of Freddie Mercury. “He just was who he was. And if there’s something I can take from that, it’s that sometimes, especially in today’s world, where we’re at, there’s such a strong statement in just boldly being what and who you are.”

Lambert’s builds on our shared history by heralding the coming ordinariness of being openly gay, a world where we all can live in a post-gay and post-gender, a new age of sexual freedom unimaginable just a couple of decades ago.

Even as the industry continues to close doors on many out musicians, Lambert attests to a noticeable shift to what he terms a “post-gay place.” He maintains that younger generations do not share the stigmas that were more prevalent in Mercury’s day and they refuse to be pigeonholed with labels on their identities.

“This next generation coming up is like, ‘Hey, it doesn’t fucking matter… My sexuality, doesn’t [determine that] this is the type of music I listen to, or this is the type of activities I’m into, or these are the type of people I hang out with. It’s getting to the point now where we’re more mainstream, and we’re allowed to do anything we want, and we’re allowed to be with anybody we want,’” Lambert says. “So there’s not as much segregation… and I think that’s really exciting, because I don’t think it should matter.”

Daniel Reynold’s article today is well worth a full reading.




Bill Gates gives $750 million to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

(También en español)

News of Note: Gates Foundation gives $750 million to Global Fund

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave $750 million Thursday to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to help assure that the organization can keep supplying AIDS drugs while it seeks to adjust to the economic downturn.

The Global Fund, which has disbursed $15.1 billion to low-income countries over the past decade, said in November that it would not award any new grants until 2014. Nearly all of the fund’s money comes from governments in the industrialized world, many of which were unwilling to increase their donations or, in a few cases, fulfill previous pledges.

The fear has been that some AIDS programs in Africa might run out of money, forcing patients to stop taking the antiretroviral drugs that are keeping them alive. While such dire events were never likely, they are even less likely now.

Seven hundred and fifty million dollars? That is a profound amount of money, thank you Bill Gates! Now I’m curious how much of this money will make it into the right hands as well as how much will contribute to finding a cure for HIV. The Global Fund has raised nearly 30 billion in pledges from developed nations since 2002. That is a tremendous amount of money floating around, and a significant portion of that is being spent on treatment. I just hope that no one involved in the distribution of this wealth sees treating HIV/AIDS as more profitable than finding a cure. Never the less, I applaud anyone who donates $750 million to relieve human suffering.

Creative Commons Image: Source

HIV vaccine developed in Canada approved for human studies

News of Note: HIV vaccine developed in Canada approved for human studies

A Canadian-developed vaccine to prevent HIV has been given the green light for testing in human clinical trials.

The vaccine, developed by researchers at the University of Western Ontario, has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start being tested in humans in January.

It is the first preventive HIV vaccine approved for clinical trials to use a whole HIV-1 virus, which has been both killed and genetically engineered, to activate immunity. In this way, the new vaccine is much like the killed whole virus vaccines that are successful against polio, rabies and influenza.

This is yet another huge step towards the cure for HIV. A future without sexually stigmatizing diseases looks more realistic everyday. Keep an eye on VenusPlusX for continuing coverage of these exciting breakthroughs.

Online gamers crack AIDS enzyme puzzle

Gamers solve molecular puzzle that baffled scientists

There is this website, People go there to play a video game about Protein Folding. Players can contribute to science by solving these puzzles.

Wikipedia sums up the news nicely:
“. . . online gamers used Foldit to decipher the crystal structure of M-PMV retroviral protease, which is linked to an AIDS-like virus. Players produced an accurate 3D model of the enzyme in just three weeks. The problem had thwarted scientists for a decade.”  

This is significant: We haven’t hit the singularity yet, but the emergence of tools like Foldit that enable the masses to cooperate, will greatly accelerate technological progress.

  • Captchas are often part of a transcription project, and you’re actually helping transcribe words from old texts.

The beautiful cooperation that we have enabled with the Internet is throwing us forward. As more people participate, and new forms of participation are created, the benefits to and advancement of humankind will be exponential.

We are our pride – Kushaba Moses Mworeko

It was June 5, 1981, when the first cases of HIV were reported (

Yes, in the USA, this was referred to as a gay disease and to some people it still is. But to a person like me who comes from a place where the disease was and is heavily among heterosexuals, I have to disagree.

As years have gone by, education and awareness campaigns and research on this disease have helped to dispel the myths. It has taken years for Africans to understand that a witch doctor’s diagnosis and prescription of expensive sacrifices for this disease were not only hurting the patient but the whole family, culture, and tribe. On this other side of the world, in North America, where technology flourishes, people have come to understand that HIV/AIDS is a non-discriminatory disease and is not a curse deserved by sexual minorities because of alleged deviant behavior.

While attending an HIV/AIDS conference in South Padre, Texas, two years ago, I shared the impact of this disease on me, and practically everyone on this planet. Everybody has either been infected, knows someone who is, or been affected in one way or the other. Some may argue there has been no personal effect on them personally, but consider that by just going school and hearing about or being taught something about HIV/AIDS, or just listening the nightly news makes an impact on each person’s attitude.

Now that we are no longer pointing fingers at each other, whether straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, young, old, educated, uneducated, upper-class, peasants, white or people, what do we know and what don’t we know still about this disease? How do we feel about ourselves now? Yes, progress has been made in our knowledge, attitudes, perceptions and advancements in technology, research, and medicine, is that all? Are we done?

Definitely NO, people are still getting it and dying, so what are we missing here?

Yes, there must be something missing because in spite of advancements in treatment there has been a RELAPSE. People need to wake up and look at this disease afresh, fear it as if were back in the 80s. Take precautions and use preventative measures at all time. Take medication as prescribed. And, TALK about it.

Last week on Thursday, June 2, 2011, I watched a documentary Messengers of Hope about a gospel choir from Oakland, California, that engages African American churches in conversation about HIV and AIDS. This whole concept of this documentary is a new strong voice about the importance of speaking out, especially in religious organizations where finger pointing remains common. The film goes a step further in urging pride in who we are, one of the choir members saying, “This is what HIV looks like; strong people, people of faith, black people.”

One thing I have noticed after coming to America is that people have taken for granted the privileges and rights that come with being an American. I am talking about the freedom, the liberty, the equality, the power . . . all this is taken for granted.

I was reading Ida B. Well’s (1862-1931) autobiography, Crusade for Justice (University of Chicago Press 1970) and came across this statement, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.”

Ms. Wells argues that although the United States does have some ‘wonderful institutions’ to protect our liberty, we have grown complacent and need to be ‘alert as the watchman on the wall.’” I totally agree with her because it is still so relevant today, not just regarding the end of slavery, but all human rights.

Last weekend was Black Pride, and this weekend is Capital Pride in Washington, D.C. We must ask ourselves hat are we proud of?

Pride can be one of the times throughout each year we remind ourselves of our rights, human rights that we are born with, not man-made. We should embrace them and ponder what we have and what we have been denied.

Pride reminds me of the unforgettable occurrence of the pneumonia that was found in these gay men 30 years ago. It reminds me of the resistance that people have put on fighting this terrible disease.

It’s time to show the world that LGBT people are great people, with great potential. If gay men exit the church . . . there wouldn’t be any services. If we decided not to pay tax the states would file for bankruptcy. If we didn’t enlist, there would be shortages in the military. We are everywhere . . . we are not silent and never will be.

With Charlie Sheen’s “Winning” mantle still echoing in our ears, we say too,” The only thing I’m addicted to right now is winning.” Recently it seems like everyone is addicted to winning.

The White House launched a new page in concert with D.C.’s Pride Month 2011 called
Winning the Future: President Obama and the LGBT Community.” During its launch, the President said, “We’ve got a lot of hard work we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that we’ve made . . . on behalf of Americans who are gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender”

I strongly believe that, we are going in the right direction to WINNING. I am talking about WINNING THE FUTURE.

Let us not be afraid or ashamed. Let us embrace who we are…it is our PRIDE.

— Kushaba Moses Mworeko, independent global LGBT and HIV+ rights activist, guest blogger, and Editor of VenusPlusX’s Global Sexual Freedom Annotated Bibliography.