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LGBT|POV : : Page 2

Watch: New Zealand Laughs Passing Marriage Bill

by Karen Ocamb on April 19, 2013

On Wednesday, April 17, New Zealand became the 13th nation – and the first in the Asia-Pacific region – to legalize same sex marriage by a vote of  77 to 44. The law goes into effect in August.  Openly gay US Ambassador David Huebner was not in the country when the vote was taken. For a really refreshing and humorous take on the usual Religious Right gibberish, please check out this video of MP Maurice Williamson addressing Parliament on the third reading of the marriage bill.

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NBC TwitPic: Eerie Boston on Lockdown

by Karen Ocamb on April 19, 2013


Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news,

world news, and news about the economy


Do You Know These Boston Marathon Bombing Suspects?

by Karen Ocamb on April 18, 2013

The FBI just released video and surveillance photos of two apparently young men they believe are connected to the Boston Marathon bombing. They are asking for the public’s help in identifying these two suspects – but also request that if you know or spot them, please do not attempt to capture them yourself. They are considered armed and dangerous. Instead, immediately call the FBI with any information – “no matter how small” at 1-800-CALL FBIGo here for more and continuously updated information. The FBI is trying to get better resolutions of the photos.



LA County to Offer Free Meningitis Vaccines

by Karen Ocamb on April 18, 2013

Dr. Jonathan Fielding, Director of the LA County Department of Public Health, held a news conference Wednesday afternoon, April 17, to respond to the anxiety around the reports now of four gay men who contracted meningitis since last December, two of whom – Brett Shaad and Rjay Spoon – have died. I spoke with Fielding after the news conference and am working on that story – but I wanted to post a quick summation first.(You can listen to the entire news conference here.

Fielding said this is NOT an outbreak because the CDC criteria for an outbreak establishing specific links among the cases have not been established. He did acknowledge, however, that there is an 85 percent overlap between three cases here in Los Angeles and cases in New York City, where the bacterial meningitis infection has caused seven deaths since 2010. Fielding said they are still investigating the strains of bacterial infection.  

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Following the news last Friday, April 12, that popular West Hollywood gay lawyer Brett Shaad was suddenly struck brain dead from bacterial meningitis, the gay community has essentially been begging the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) for accurate information about how meningitis is spread and reports of any other cases in the gay community. But at a West Hollywood City news conference Friday, DPH Area Director Dr. Maxine Liggins downplayed the need for an alert and seemed to indicate that Shaad’s death was an isolated case in the gay community.

Last year in LA County, we had about 13 cases of meningococcal disease and we are currently not having an outbreak in LA County,” Liggins said.  Asked why the West Hollywood gay community had not been informed about the presence of the infectious disease until two days after Shaad’s diagnoses, Liggins said: “We don’t normally alert the public about each case of meningitis. One of the first things I said was that last year there were 13 cases of meningococcal meningitis in LA County, so we normally do not put out a public alert with each case of meningococcal meningitis.”

But at a Tuesday, April 16, news conference, AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein, West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran and 26 year old Casey Hayden announced the death from meningococcal meningitis of Hayden’s boyfriend Rjay Spoon (seen together in Facebook photo above) last Dec. 18, raising questions about what appears to be the insensitive and virtually cavalier attitude with which DPH shares information. Tuesday night, after LA Gay & Lesbian Center medical professionals pressed DPH Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding for clarity, Jim Key, the Center’s Chief Public Affairs Officer, issued this statement:

We’ve recently learned from the L.A. County Department of Public Health that L.A. has an average of 25 cases of meningococcal meningitis every year.  In 2012 there were 12 cases.  So far, in 2013, there have been nine cases.  Only since last November has the department tracked cases among gay/bi men.  Since beginning that tracking they have identified 4 cases among gay/bi men in L.A. County, two of which resulted in death. (Emphasis mine)

Two of the cases were reported on Dec. 18, one on Jan 9 and the most recent was the death that occurred on April 13 [Brett Shaad].  DPH tells us they have not been able to establish a connection among any of them.

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Gay Latino Cop at Site of Boston Marathon Attacks

by Karen Ocamb on April 16, 2013

The Dallas Voice is reporting that Javier Pagan, the Boston Police Department’s gay Latino liaison to the GLBT community (who was profiled by the Bay Windows LGBT newspaper after he got the job) was on the scene at the Boston Marathon bomb explosions:

Boston Pride reports that Pagan, who is at far right in the photo above, was standing right behind the flags where the first bomb went off. The photo above, which shows 78-year-old marathoner Bill Iffrig lying on the ground, was shot by John Tlumacki of The Boston Globe, who talks about his experiences here.

Officer Pagan’s husband, Pedro, is a retired sergeant from the New York Police Department who rescued many people when the Twin Towers collapsed on Sept. 11, 2011, according to a recent profile of Pagan by a Boston CrossFit site. He also escorted LGBT civil rights attorney Mary Bonauto to City Hall Plaza on May 17, 2004, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of marriage equality.


Eight year old Martin Richard from Dorchester, Massachusetts (pictured above on Facebook)  was among three people who died after the first of two explosions ripped into spectators watching the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15. Martin’s mother Denise – who has undergone brain surgery – and his 6 year old sister Jane – who lost a leg – were among the 176 injured when the two bombs filled with BBs and ball bearings packed in pressure cookers in backpacks exploded in trash cans during the last stretch of the race. Martin, Denise, Jane and older brother Henry, 12, who escaped injury, were there to watch father Bill cross the finish line.

(Martin Richard, right, with father Bill, mother Denise, sister Jane, 6, and older brother Henry, 12, in Facebook photo)

As if the explosions weren’t horrific enough, believed to be the worst act best place to buy viagra online of terrorism on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001, the last mile of the Boston Marathon was dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, as Congress considers gun control restrictions on Thursday. The Atlantic reported:

Boston Athletic Association president Joanne Flaminio said before the race that had a ”special significance” because it was 26.2 miles long and there was 26 victims in the Newtown attack. There was also a group of Newtown parents running as part of a group called Team Newtown Strong who were raising money for local charities. A banner honoring the victims, hung at the end of the 26th mile, can be seen in the photo above. 

“In the first twenty miles we’re honoring the twenty Sandy Hook first graders,” Laura Nowacki, a spokesperson for Newtown Strong, explained to WBUR Boston. “When we crest Heartbreak Hill, and we’re coming back towards Boston, we run the final six for our six fallen educators, including their lives, to protect our children.” 

There was a 26-second moment of silence for the victims before the race started. 

Update, 4:07 p.m. Eastern: Newtown families were reportedly seated in the VIP section right by where the explosions went off. There’s no word whether they are among the 23 injured and two dead from the explosions. Click here for updates.

The FBI has taken over the investigation. As of yet, there have been no arrests and it is not known if this is a foreign or domestic act of terrorism. Boston Police are asking any eye witnesses or anyone with cameras or information to contact them with any details - 1-800-494-TIPS and the FBI is also asking that anyone with information call 1-800-CALL-FBI.  Angelinos were concerned, too, with some having friends at the marathon. The woman in black with her kids in the photo above is a close friend of videographer/director Renee Sotile of Traipsing Thru Films, who (with her wife Mary Jo Godges) works with me at LGBT POV and at Frontiers.

President Obama has ordered American flags flown at half-mast over government buildings in honor of the victims.



The Boston Globe reports three dead - including an 8 year old – and approximately 140 injured in the two explosions at the Boston Marathon Monday, April 15, as runners crossed the finish line. You’ve no doubt seen the footage all day – but this video shot by a Boston Globe reporter covering the race has the natural sound of the horrifying chaos that following. In fact, you hear him say repeatedly, “Oh, my God. Oh, my God.” It is still unknown whether the attacks where precipitated by a foreign or domestic terrorist – but terror it caused, with cities such as Washington DC and Los Angeles going on high alert even though Homeland Security said there was no terrorist “chatter” before the explosions.



Our thoughts and prayers are with the people in Boston in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.  We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to monitor the situation and stand ready to aid Boston in any way possible.  The LAPD and other public safety agencies will remain vigilant at all public and sporting events in Los Angeles.

UPDATE 2:30p – head of JFK Library says no explosion, but apparently unrelated fire.

UPDATE 1:55pm: Boston PD Chief just said there was a third incident at JFK Library. “This is an on-going event,” he says.

From the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Depart:

“While the cause of the explosions this morning at the Boston Marathon are still under investigation, our vigilance has been raised,” said Sheriff Lee Baca. “The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence where people congregate, such as government buildings, shopping centers, athletic events, and public transit.  Partnering with local police and public safety agencies and other countywide efforts have been enhanced, including opening the Department Operations Center to maximize communication.”

“As always, we encourage the public: ‘If You See Something, Say Something.’ The greatest deterrent to crime is often a phone call to law enforcement by a person who sees something that just doesn’t look right,” said Sheriff Baca. “Our thoughts and prayers go to the many victims, families, friends, and first responders affected by this tragedy.” 

Partner to prevent or report crime by contacting your local Sheriff’s Station. Or if you wish to remain Anonymous, call “LA Crime Stoppers” by dialing 800-222-TIPS (8477), or text the letters TIPLA

plus your tip to CRIMES (274637,) or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/