Howl of the KweerWolf

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Location: Kansas City, Missouri, United States

Doing my part to irritate Republicans, fundamentalists, bigots and other lower life forms.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The accidental president and the accidental hero

With the news today that Gerald Ford died last night, I find myself thinking back to what I can remember of the 38th president. Since I was in high school at the time of his presidency, mostly what I remember is his occasional stumble and the way Chevy Chase mercilessly lampooned Ford as a bumbler back in the days when Saturday Night Live was actually funny.

I can also remember the outrage many felt at his pardon of Richard Nixon, the man he followed into the presidency; his wife, Betty, who I always thought was classy for a Republican; those silly WIN (for "Whip Inflation Now") buttons; that he was given the title "the accidental president" because - named vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned in disgrace and then Nixon resigned in the wake of the Watergate hearings - he became president without a single person voting him into office. I also remember he survived two attempts on his life as '60s idealism collided with '70s cynicism.

Seventeen days after an assassination attempt by a former follower of convicted mass murderer Charles Manson, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, as second attempt was made on Ford's life. That attempt, on Sept. 22, 1975, as Ford was leaving San Francisco's Saint Francis Hotel, was thwarted not by the Secret Service agents given the responsibility for protecting the president, but from a bystander who happened to notice the nondescript, middle-aged woman pull out a .38-calliber revolver and aim it at the president.

The would-be assassin, Sara Jane Moore, a one-time FBI informant who was obsessed with the Patty Hearst case, missed Ford from a distance of about 40 feet because the man standing next to her, a Vietnam veteran, grabbed her arm.

That man was Oliver Sipple, known as Billy to his friends. He had grown up in Detroit and signed up with the Marines. During a tour of duty in Vietnam in 1968, Sipple was wounded by shrapnel. He was in and out of veterans' hospitals in Michigan and in San Francisco where he later moved. Eventually he was listed as completely disabled on psychological grounds. Sipple could have faded into history as one of thousands of returning Vietnam vets who carried wounds on their psyches as well as on their bodies. More than likely that's what would have happened had he not stopped to see why a crowd had gathered outside the Saint Francis Hotel on that day.

In a single instant, the time it takes to grab an arm pointing a gun, Sipple's life changed. In saving the life of Ford, he was initially known as the Vietnam vet hero. But there was more. Sipple had a secret. He was gay.

It's hard to believe some three decades hence, but in 1975 there were no gay-straight alliance clubs for high school-aged kids dealing with coming out. Back then talk shows like Donahue still considered being gay shocking enough to be the subject of entire shows - unlike now where you'd have to be a gay Republican married to a person of the opposite sex who enjoys sex with various barnyard animals to raise the eyebrows of the typical talk show viewer. There were no shows like Will and Grace on TV that featured ongoing gay characters. Instead, if a show was brave enough to introduce a gay or lesbian character, you could expect that they'd never be mentioned again at best or, at worst, be killed off in some gruesome fashion by the end of the episode.

While Sipple was gay, he was also not out. At least not in the sense we understand it today. That's probably why he left his family behind in Detroit to move to San Francisco.

Once in San Francisco, Sipple volunteered for politicians, including Harvey Milk whose own assassination was still three years away. He also took jobs as bouncer in some of the city's gay bars.

After a day at the Vietnam vet hero, more stories began to leak out about Sipple and his connections to San Francisco's gay community. Gay activists - including Harvey Milk - saw an opportunity to show America that gays weren't the stereotypical sissies. They proclaimed that gays could be heroes, too, and pointed to Sipple as proof. Soon the story was picked up by the mainstream media and it wasn't long before Sipple's family back in Detroit was reading about Sipple's heroism and his homosexuality.

Sipple's mom, a deeply religious woman, would have no doubt been proud to have a hero in the family, but just not a homosexual one. She (and the rest of Sipple's family) cut off all communication with him. Sipple wasn't even contacted by family members when his mother died.

Angry about the effect his "outing" had on his life and family, Sipple filed a $15 million lawsuit against The San Francisco Chronicle and other publications who printed the story about the gay veteran who saved the president for invasion of privacy. Sipple's case was dismissed and, in 1984 the dismissal was upheld by the state court of appeals. The loss caused Sipple's attorney to wonder whether the next time an ordinary citizen had the chance to intervene in an assassination attempt he or she would hesitate, remembering what happened to Sipple.

Broke and embittered, Sipple spent the rest of his life slipping deeper into an alcoholic haze and depression. His health - physical and mental - deteriorated until early February 1989 when he was found dead in his bed. He was 47 when he died.

For saving the life of Gerald Ford, Sipple received a letter of thanks from the president. He also received life-long estrangement from his family, an uphill legal battle that he didn't win, and enough bitterness at the media and the gay activists who had used him to last the rest of his lifetime.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Penguin butt-sex and other worries of the lunatic right

Penguins are big with the whacko fundies this season. First they went after the children's book, And Tango Makes Three, a true story of two male penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo who care for an egg and raise the chick. Surely a subtle reference designed to promote the idea of gay adoptions!

Now, intent on removing all references to homosexuality ... oops! make that "homo-seck-shu-ality" in the vernacular of the religious reich ... those who would peek into everyone's bedrooms are finding sinister hints of gayness in kids' movies.

The object of their wrath? The movie Happy Feet, about a penguin who can't sing like the other penguins, but, boy can he dance.

Happy Feet has already rattled the right wing with its pro-environmental message and references to global warming (no doubt a subtle endorsement for Al Gore to make another run for the presidency in 2008). Now it has apparently caught the attention of the anti-gay bigots for its lead character who is "different" from the other penguins. Differtness, it seems, is not only suspect among the religiously addicted crowd, it's also a code for ... you know ... homo-seck-shul butt sex!

No less an authority than James Dobson, arch-homophobe and founder of the extremist fringe hate group Focus on the Family, weighed in on perverted penguins on his show earlier this week. He was discussing the film with washed-up right-wing movie critic Michael Medved, according to the media watchdog web site, Media Matters for America:

During the December 11 edition of his Focus on the Family broadcast, FOF founder and chairman James Dobson hosted syndicated conservative radio host Michael Medved to discuss the film Happy Feet (Warner Bros., November 2006), an animated feature about penguins living in Antarctica during a period of environmental upheaval. Medved claimed that the film contains a "subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality," prompting Dobson to wonder whether the filmmakers are "getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic."

As Media Matters for America has noted, in a November 17 entry, titled "Don't Be Misled By Crappy Feet," on his weblog, Medved called the animated movie, "the darkest, most disturbing feature length animated film ever offered by a major studio." He further alleged that the film contains "a bizarre anti-religious bias" and "a subtext that appears to plead for endorsement of gay identity." Medved also attacked Happy Feet in a November 29 op-ed in USA Today for its purported "pro-environmental" propaganda, as Media Matters also documented.

You know, there are medications that can treat the type of paranoia exhibited by Medved, though I seriously doubt he'd avail himself of that sort of therapy. No doubt he makes a buttload of cash pushing his delusions to the easily panicked sheep on the far right. But I digress. Medved's mental health issues aside, here's a transcript of Dobson and Medved chatting about penguin perversion:

MEDVED: And then there's this whole subtext, as there so often is, about homosexuality. Not that the penguins are gay -- they're not gay -- but the one penguin hero doesn't fit in and the religious authorities -- the so-called religious right in the penguin world -- are very judgmental. They say, "You are not a penguin. You're not a real penguin." And then he makes this heartfelt plea, he says, "Dad, you have to accept me as I am. I can't change." And --

DOBSON: Are they getting at the idea that homosexuality is genetic? Is that what the subtle implication is?

MEDVED: Well, how many times do we hear that in the media? That it's not a matter of choice, it's not a matter of change, and my problem with that -- as I understand, that there are some people, who -- for whom that may be true, but they're other people -- and you and I know them -- who have changed their lives and have turned around their lives.

In just a few short sentences, Medved and Dobson manage to tie an animated penguin who can't sing like the other penguins to bashing the religious right for being "very judgmental" (here's a hint guys: they ARE judgmental!) and then promote the sickness known as the "ex-gay" movement.

Wow! Are these guys good or what? I think we should get them started on digging for more evidence of a "homo-seck-shul agenda" in other kids' stories. At least that would keep them busy for a while and cause them to leave the reality-based world alone.

I'll even get them started with a few suggestions they may want to check into:

Peter Pan - all that stuff about the "Lost Boys" is surely a code for something unsavory! (Kind of makes you understand why Michael Jackson called his ranch Neverland!)

Dumbo - Now there's a character who's different from the rest of the elephants and thanks to Michael Meved's exceptional mind we now know that different equals gay. And besides, Dumbo's relationship with that mouse is just plain unnatural!

Cinderella - Ever see the two mice in the Disney version? Gay, gay, gay!

The Ugly Duckling - Oh my Gawd! That duck is DIFFERENT from the others! And the story was written by Hans Christian Andersen, a known homo!

Warner Brothers cartoons - Just why was Bugs Bunny so willing to put on a dress to fool simple-minded "wabbit" hunter Elmer Fudd? No doubt Elmer's a symbolic swipe at the religious right who would like to do some of their own homo huntin'.

There you go, Jimmy and Mikey. There's some ideas to start you out. Now go do your research about how there's a big conspiracy to promote that homo-seck-shul agenda you both keep harping about ... and leave the rest of us the fuck alone.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Coming out of the clergy's closet

There must be a shortage of toaster ovens. That's the only reason I can think of for the number of clergy people who are coming out, possibly in response to the aforementioned home appliances the LGBT community is rumor to hand out to new recruits.

The latest clergy member to get in line for a free toaster is the Rev. Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in Douglas County, Colorado. According to an article in The Denver Post, Barnes spoke to his 2,100-member congregation Sunday via a videotape and announced that he had struggled with his homosexuality most of his life. He also stepped down as leader of the church he founded.

Unlike the Rev. Ted Haggard, another Colorado native, Barnes was neither a high-profile evangelical preacher nor hypocritical enough to preach against the evils of homo-seck-shu-ality at roughly the same time he was getting a hands-free prostate massage courtesy of a male prostitute. According to the article:

Barnes and Grace Chapel stayed out of the debate over Amendment 43, a measure approved by Colorado voters last month defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

"I can't think of a single sermon where he ever had a political agenda," said Dave Palmer, an associate pastor.

Palmer said the church got an anonymous call last week from a person concerned for the welfare of Barnes and the church. The caller had overheard a conversation in which someone mentioned "blowing the whistle" on evangelical preachers engaged in homosexuality, including Barnes, Palmer said.

Palmer met with Barnes, who confessed. At an emergency meeting Thursday, a board of elders accepted Barnes' resignation after he admitted "sexual infidelity," violating the church's code of conduct. Church leaders also must affirm annually that they are "living the moral and ethical teachings of Scripture in my public and private life."

Also unlike Haggard, I can summon up sympathy for Barnes. He spoke in his 32-minute videotaped message about his experience of struggling with his gay feelings and his desire to serve a God he believes views homosexuality as a sin. It's in those moments when Barnes seems most human and most vulnerable ... and most like a person those of us who have struggled with reconciling our identities with the lessons we are taught in the religions in which we grew up. According to Barnes' videotape:

In their only talk about sex, Barnes said his father took him on a drive and talked about what he would do if a "fag" approached him.

Barnes thought, "'Is that how you'd feel about me?' It was like a knife in my heart, and it made me feel even more closed."

When Barnes experienced a Christian conversion at 17, it gave him a glimmer of hope. But his homosexual feelings never went away, he said. He said he cannot accept that a person is "born that way," so he looks to childhood influences.

Barnes said he asked God many times why he was called to ministry, to start Grace Chapel, carrying a "horrible burden."

Barnes' story hits home for me personally - and I'm willing to bet for a lot of other gay men, too. Especially those of us who grew up in conversative religious traditions. I remember struggling with my own feelings about being gay and knowing instinctually that it was something I had to hide. At the age of 16, I even planned to go into the ministry. That was my own form of bargaining with God, just as it was with Barnes.

Though I don't agree with Barnes' rejection of the idea that sexual orientation is something we are born with, I can respect his opinion. And I can respect him for being open with his family and his congregation ... even if the honesty came 40 years late and at the instigation of outside influences.

I hope the members of Barnes' congregation opened their hearts to his story of struggling with who he was. I also hope they are able to remember his story when it comes to dealing with gay issues.

For too long churches have been guilty of the spiritual abuse of their LGBT members. They have forced them into dark corners and denounced them as sinners. They have fostered a system that accepts LGBT folks only if they lie about who they are - to themselves, as well as to the church. For many of us, the choice boils down to rejecting our faith or rejecting ourselves.

As much as I love to poke fun at the hypocrisy of a Ted Haggard or a Lonnie Latham (the Oklahoma Baptist leader who was arrested for soliciting an undercover officer at the infamous Habana Inn in Oklahoma City), it's the experiences of Paul Barnes that drive home the cruel choices some religious traditions force upon their LGBT members.

It's also the experiences of people like Paul Barnes who will help begin to change the hearts and minds of some congregations.


Wednesday, December 06, 2006

'Whose side were you on in the culture war, Mommy?'

It was news that shook Washington, D.C. Not the release of the Iraq Study Group report, but the announcement that Vice President Dick ("I'm NOT a war criminal") Cheney and his wife, Lynn, who has dabbled in girl-on-girl action in the pages of a novel she penned, are about to become grandparents.

Actually, the Cheneys already have five grand children. But the sixth one will be a wee bit unique. It will be born to lesbian daughter Mary and her partner Heather.

All along the far right the tongues are wagging. Though in deference to Grampa Dick being a part of the religious right's beloved BushCo administration, much of the "official" comment from the far right has been subdued. At least compared to comments on the ultra-conservative web site, Free Republic, where comments have been posted referring to Mary and Heather's baby as "Satan spawn" and "turkey-baster baby."

Here's a little sampling of the "official" comment from the religious right, the group who put Mary's daddy and his cronies in power:

Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America described the pregnancy is "unconscionable."

"It's very disappointing that a celebrity couple like this would deliberately bring into the world a child that will never have a father," said Crouse, a senior fellow at the group's think tank. "They are encouraging people who don't have the advantages they have."

Crouse said there was no doubt that the news would, in conservatives' eyes, be damaging to the Bush administration, which already has been chided by some leaders on the right for what they felt was halfhearted commitment to anti-abortion and anti-gay-rights causes in this year's general election.

Carrie Gordon Earll, a policy analyst for the conservative Christian ministry Focus on the Family, expressed empathy for the Cheney family but depicted the pregnancy as unwise.

"Just because you can conceive a child outside a one-woman, one-man marriage doesn't mean it's a good idea," Earll said. "Love can't replace a mother and a father." (From The Associated Press)

Or there's this tidbit from ABC News:

Similar sentiments were expressed by Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Media Institute of the Media Research Center.

"I think it's tragic that a child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father," Knight said.

"Fatherhood is important and always will be, so if Mary and her partner indicate that that is a trivial matter, they're shortchanging this child from the start."

"Mary and Heather can believe what they want," Knight said, "but what they're seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage" and to "create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values."

Heck, even the man Grampa Dick works for is on record as not exactly supporting the type of family living arrangement the new Cheney grandchild will be born into. It's only been a few weeks ago that Dubya sobered up enough to tell an Iowa crowd of inbred yokels shortly after the New Jersey Supreme Court instructed the state legislature to provide the same legal rights to same-sex couples as to straight couples, "I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. ... And I believe it's a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended."

And these folks are friends of the Cheney family?

Surveys have indicated how younger people have less of an issue with gay rights, samesex marriage and the idea that the most important element of a family is love and not the genders of parents. Those young people will be voters some day and when some ignorant fun-D'uh-Mental-ist tries to put a law on the books that discriminates against LGBT folks, these young voters will think of their best friend from high school, or the uncle or their cousin or maybe even a brother or sister who's gay or lesbian. They won't just vote "no;" they'll vote "Hell, NO!"

In the breadth of a generation, the landscape will change and those who fought against recognition for families like Mary and Heather's will be looked at with the same sort of shame my generation looks upon the segregationists who screamed about "niggers" and taught that God meant for the races to be separate because the white race was superior to those other people.

Twenty years from now Mary and Heather's child will probably be starting college. When he or she isn't being a typical teenager and thinking that parents can't possibly know anything, perhaps the young person will come to Mary and Heather and ask question.

"What was it like before you could get married, Mom?"

"Did Grampa really work for a man who tried to keep people like you and my other mom from getting together and raising families like it says in my American history textbook?"

"How could you live in such a world, Mom? Wasn't it hard?"

"Did Gramma really let that awful Alan Keyes guy call you a 'self-hedonist' and a 'sinner' and not chew him up and spit him out?"

"If Grampa was the vice president, how come he didn't just tell all those people that hated families like our's just to shut up and be nice to everyone?"

"Mom, my history teacher says the years around the time I was born are called 'the culture wars.' What side of the culture wars were you on, Mommy?"

That last question may be the hardest one Mary and Heather will ever have to answer.


Friday, December 01, 2006

American Apartheid: Notes from the new South Africa

It used to be popular to hate South Africa. That country on the southern tip of Africa was the last hold-out of white minority rule and the ugly policy of apartheid, a systems of laws that harshly segregated blacks and non-whites (legally referred to as "Coloureds") from the priveleged white population.

U2 lead singer Bono and other rockers calling themselves Artists United Against Apartheid released an album called "Sun City," named after a white-only resort in South Africa, and took a pledge not to perform there until apartheid was abolished. Universities, at the urging of student activists, began to divest themselves of investments in South Africa. It became unfashionable to own gold Krugerrands. Even Mel Gibson's second "Lethal Weapon" movie featured white South African diplomats as the bad guys in 1989.

Faced with the wrath of Mel and Bono - not to mention near universal condemnation around the world and at the U.N. - South Africa began to change. The racist system of apartheid, which had been in place since 1948, fell in 1994.

Once a symbol of oppression, South Africa became a symbol of hope on the African continent and around the world.

In little more than a decade, South Africa has gone from international outcast to a respected member of the world community and a leader in the field of human rights. Meanwhile, America has gone from acknowledged superpower and leader of the free world to a nation viewed with mistrust and sometimes out-and-out loathing.

Since 9/11 and BushCo's ill-conceived war in Iraq, America's standing in the world community has dropped like a stone carelessly kicked into the Grand Canyon. BushCo squandered the world's sympathy and support following the 9/11 attacks on a war based on either erroneous beliefs or outright lies that Iraq was stock-piling weapons of mass destruction. We thumbed our national nose at the international community's concern about how we treated prisoners ... oops! I mean "detainees." Secret prisons, "water boarding," suspension of habeus corpus, photos of grinning Marines pointing to the genitals of naked Iraqi prisoners, thousands upon thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, and a leader viewed by much of the world as a three-quarters mad cowboy who would rather shoot first (and second ... and third) than ever ask questions, painted a bleak picture of 21st century America for the rest of the world.

Somewhere along the way America lost its soul. Or perhaps it simply traded it off for a chance to seize control of an ever-dwindling supply of oil.

The American experiment that began with such promise in words like "We, the people" and the visions of great men of ideas seems destined to draw its final curtain on a leader without a vision who refers to the Constitution as "just a goddamn piece of paper."

LGBT Americans see the reflection of America's ever-speeding decline in our own positions on the national stage. Always marginalized, we had begun to see movement toward having a place at America's table. Rights began to be carved out. Some cities and states passed laws to protect us from discrimination or allowed us domestic partner benefits. We won court challenges on the legality of same-sex only sodomy laws, parenting rights, custody battles, and more.

Then came BushCo and the rise of the hate-mongering "new" conservatives. Suddenly our rights became frozen. As more and more states enacted bans on same-sex marriages, the rights we had won began to be chipped away. Those who would normally be our political allies abandoned us out of fear just supporting our rights would doom them to election losses.

Few things drive this home better than the news out of South Africa today: South Africa becomes first country on continent to legalize same-sex marriage, according to the Associated Press.

Somewhere along the way, America and South Africa traded places. While South Africa moves to become a progressive nation that protects all of it's citizens, America falls back on out-dated bigotry to justify oppressing a minority group.

Now even the U.N. is beginning to pay attention to the plight of LGBT people. A petition titled "For the Universal Decriminalization of Homosexuality" and based essentially on the articles of the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been introduced into consideration, New York City's Gay City News reports. That document says, in part, "We ask the United Nations to request a universal abolition of the so-called 'crime of homosexuality,' of all 'sodomy laws,' and laws against so-called 'unnatural acts' in all the countries where they still exist." According to the article:

Five Nobel Prize winners, six Academy Award winners, 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, and two former French prime ministers are among the hundreds of VIPs who have endorsed a critically important new global petition campaign for a United Nations resolution in favor of the universal decriminalization of homosexuality, unveiled Monday in Paris.

The resolution and the petition campaign for it were the brainchild of Professor Louis-Georges Tin, president and founder of the Paris-based International Committee for IDAHO (the International Day Against Homophobia).

"With more than 70 countries in the world still making homosexuality a crime by law-and punishable by death in 12 of them-this is a legal scandal which the petition for a proposed U.N. resolution decriminalizing homosexuality gives people a concrete way to fight," Tin said in a statement launching the online petition drive.

Elsewhere, other countries are stepping forward to stand against anti-gay discrimination. Norway is at the forefront of recent efforts, according to the U.K.'s Pink News:

Representatives from Norway will be delivering a short oral statement at the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday on the issue, and ARC activists want other countries to pledge their support.

The statement deals with the most severe human rights abuses , such as violence, torture and death, directed against people because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. ...

The main States which have already joined, or might consider joining, the statement are Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the European Union have expressed their support for the statement.
I don't see America on that list of supporters, though the article does mention that "the USA may support the statement with sufficient international support and domestic encouragement."

Odd how we used to be the first nation to call for an end to human rights abuses. Now we wait and offer our support only after we see who among our allies is taking a stand.

Odd, too, how we used to condemn countries like South Africa who make bigotry official national policy and now, sadly, we have become one of them.


Statistics paint sobering picture on World AIDS Day

(These statistics come directly from the Human Rights Campaign's web site. To them I can only add this: Please, please, please be careful and treat yourselves and your partners with respect.)

Dec. 1, 2006, marks World AIDS Day, a time for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV and AIDS. Twenty-five years have passed since the first AIDS case was diagnosed — and the latest statistics in the United States are staggering. Take a look:

  • Forty thousand people become infected with HIV every year in the United States.
  • HIV is the leading cause of death worldwide among those ages 15-59.
  • Among those living with AIDS in the United States, approximately one-third to one-half are either homeless or at imminent risk of homelessness.
  • HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death for African-American women age 25-34.
  • More than half of all Americans who received an HIV/AIDS diagnosis in 2004 were men who had sex with men. Nearly 20,000 men who had sex with men received a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS,* accounting for 70 percent of all male adults and adolescents and 51 percent of all people receiving an HIV/AIDS diagnosis that year.
  • Men who had sex with men accounted for 70 percent of all estimated HIV infections among male adults and adolescents in 2004,* even though only about 5 to 7 percent of male adults and adolescents in the United States identify themselves as men who have sex with men.
  • HIV infections among men who have sex with men are on the rise. The number of HIV diagnoses for men who had sex with men decreased during the 1980s and 1990s, but recent data show an increase in HIV diagnoses for this group.
  • The number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses among men who had sex with men increased 8 percent from 2003 to 2004.
  • Men of color who have sex with men, particularly African-American men who have sex with men, are at particularly high risk. In June 2005, in five major U.S. cities (Baltimore, Los Angeles, New York City, Miami and San Francisco), 46 percent of African-American men who had sex with men were HIV-positive.
  • Of HIV infection cases reported in 2001 among men ages 13 to 19, 46 percent occurred in men who have sex with men.
  • Young men who have sex with men are increasingly unaware of their HIV status. In a recent study, 77 percent of those who tested HIV-positive mistakenly believed that they were not infected. Young African-American men who had sex with men were especially likely to be unaware of their infection — approximately nine out of 10 young African-American men who have sex with men, compared to six out of 10 young white men who have sex with men. Of the men who tested positive, most (74 percent) had previously tested negative for HIV infection, and 59 percent believed that they were at low or very low risk.

* Based on data from the 35 areas with long-term, confidential name-based HIV reporting.

Sources: The Centers for Disease Control, Advocates for Youth, Kaiser Family Foundation, HRSA/Department of Health and Human Services.