Gay student’s HIV status revealed

HOUSTON, Texas — Campus police at the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) have launched an investigation over flyers that surfaced on campus that detailed private medical information about a gay student’s HIV status.

Kristopher Sharp, a third year student who is running for student body vice-president, was called into the UHD Dean of Students Tommy Thomason’s office last week and given a copy of the flyer that had been found at numerous locations around campus.

The front of the flyer had the words “WANT AIDS?” above a picture of Sharp with a large “x” on it, and “Don’t support the Isaac and Kris homosexual agenda” at the bottom. (Isaac Valdez, also a junior at UHD, is Sharp’s running mate.) On the back of the flyer was Sharps’s medical information from a physician visit, including his HIV status and prescribed medication, along with his home address and telephone number.

Sharp told the Houston Press that he was “really devastated” by the incident and that his first reaction was, “How quickly can I transfer?” to another school.

UHD Director of Media Relations Claire Caton told LGBTQ Nation that the university is actively pursuing an investigation into the matter and trying to find the person or persons responsible.

According to campus university police officials, because proper words such as AIDS and homosexual were used on the flyer versus offensive slang, it is considered free speech and therefore protected.

But while the involuntary public disclosure of the medical status without permission does fall under criminal statues in the Texas Criminal Code, Sharp said he’s not interested in pursuing criminal charges.

He said he doesn’t want anyone to go to jail — he just wants an apology.

“I just want to know why they did it,” Sharp said. “Truth be told, we can keep that between us, as long as the person comes forward and speaks to me. I’ve been able to reflect, and I really just want an apology.”

— LGBTQ Nation

GLAAD to honor Bill Clinton

NEW YORK, N.Y. — GLAAD, an LGBT media advocacy organization, announced April 3 it will honor former President Bill Clinton with its first ever “Advocate for Change” award at its 24th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in Los Angeles on April 20.

In announcing the award, GLAAD cited several of Clinton’s pro-LGBT equality initiatives, while ignoring that, as president, he signed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on openly gay service members, and the Defense of Marriage Act which prohibits federal recognition of legally married same-sex couples.

Clinton has since said that he signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act in an effort to derail more damaging anti-gay legislation.

Last month, GLAAD raised eyebrows in the LGBT community when it awarded film director Brett Ratner with the “Ally Award,” for his participation in a series of public service announcements.

In 2011, Ratner was forced to step down as co-producer of the 2012 Academy Awards broadcast after he ignited a firestorm of criticism for using a gay slur, in which he said “rehearsal is for fags.”

Clinton wil receive the award on April 20 in Los Angeles.

— LGBTQ Nation

Head of LGBT center sentenced

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The former head of a New York LGBT community center has been sentenced to at least two years in prison for embezzling more than $300,000 from the organization.

Lisa Winters pleaded guilty to second-degree larceny on Feb. 14, in connection with the theft of $338,000 between 2005 and 2009 from the Bronx Community Pride Center.

Winters was led away in handcuffs on April 1 after Bronx Supreme Court Justice Martin Marcus signed off on a deal that’ll keep her locked up for two to six years, reported The New York Post.

Investigators said Winters used the money to pay for domestic and international travel, clothes, liquor, groceries and her dog walker. Among the expenses were $25,000 on a month-long trip to South Africa with her future-wife Eileen Scroggins in July 2007.

“I’m so sorry to all the people that I hurt,” Winters said through a flood of tears. “I’m so sorry for all the harm I caused.”

The Bronx Community Pride Center closed this past summer after 16 years of operation. Board members cited “economic difficulties, past debt and inability to raise” funds in the decision to close the center.

— LGBTQ Nation

Senator supports marriage equality

TAMPA, Fla. — U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida on April 4 joined the chorus of moderate Democrats in reversing his longtime opposition to same-sex marriage, leaving only six remaining Democratic U.S. Senators who have not yet come out in support of marriage equality.

In a statement to the Tampa Bay Times, Nelson wrote, “If The Lord made homosexuals as well as heterosexuals, why should I discriminate against their civil marriage? I shouldn’t, and I won’t.”

Nelson becomes the 51st U.S. senator to throw his support behind same-sex marriage. Forty-six other Democrats, two independents who caucus with Democrats and two Republicans have previously announced their support for marriage equality.

On April 2, GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois became only the second Republican in the U.S. Senate besides Ohio Sen. Rob Portman to publicly support same-sex marriage. North Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan announced her support on March 27.

— LGBTQ Nation

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