Archive for the ‘Ideology and HIV’ Category

A good year for Whores, say the BBC and I (03/02/14)

Last week I found myself at the House of Lords in London, discussing what the BBC World Service means to the world. The World Service stands for accuracy in reporting, a lot of very clever people said, it represents fairness and impartiality, it tells it like it is. So I was thrilled to see that […]

The good side of homophobia (14/03/13)

It’s not often that proper reporters put their own reaction to the story they are working on front and centre, but it can be revealing. Have a listen to this wonderful From Our Own Correspondent from gay BBC journalist Paul Henley reporting from the frontlines of Russian homophobia. Without whining, Henley gives a wonderful flavour […]

Indonesia’s health minister shocked by her own failure (23/11/12)

The always provocative Unspun asks how it is that Indonesia’s minister of health is shocked at the country’s HIV prevention failure. It’s a good question, most especially since before becoming minister of health just a few months ago, Nafsiah Mboi spent six years at the helm of the National AIDS Commission. The failure was highlighted […]

Unconditional homophobia? Jamaica and Canada at the extremes? (23/08/11)

Trawling through an old paper lying around in a hotel lobby in Jamaica, I found this pastor’s reflections on gay men. Jamaica has the dubious distinction of being a world leader in homophobia. Now a senior police officer, Fitz Bailey, had said that most of Jamaica’s booming lottery and credit card fraud businesses are run […]

Dirty pictures? Apple spreads filth about gays (23/03/11)

It wasn’t until Eve ate the apple proffered by the snake in the Garden of Eden that she became ashamed of her nakedness. But a couple of recent decisions by Apple have made me wonder whether their censors are the real snakes. The screen shot above shows a small corner of Filth Fair, a new, […]

Scandal: clinic cares for hookers (07/02/11)

I’ve been taken to task for not commenting on the ink-blot of corruption that is spreading inexorably across the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria. But really, the revelation that dosh sloshed out by the GFATM gets swilled into politicians’ pockets is about as exciting as the discovery that FIFA board members accepted a […]

Church tells my council not to moralise (08/12/10)

The East London Borough of Hackney is trying to wipe lap dancing clubs and sex shops out of my back yard. I’m pleased to see men of the cloth joining me in pointing out that since the businesses are perfectly legal, it is not the goody-two-shoes local councilors’ job to abolish them. The Vicar of […]

Men in dresses: Pope approves trannies too (24/11/10)

The kerfuffle surrounding the Pope´s comments on condoms continues. As the gender of hookers allowed to use condoms switched in translation, the Pope´s spokesman was asked to clarify. Apparently, HIV-infected people can use condoms to protect their partners: “Whether it’s a man or woman or a transsexual.” Of all the men I know who regularly […]

Pope approves of male hookers (22/11/10)

So our old friend Pope Benedict has come round to the idea that there are times when wrapping one´s penis in latex will not consign one to eternal damnation. According to the New York Times, he cited just one instance when it might be ok to use a condom. Benedict said condoms were not “a […]

La sabiduria de las putas, stilo mejicano (14/11/10)

I’ve just spent an interesting couple of days at the Cuidad de las Ideas festival in Puebla in Mexico. I spoke of sex and drugs as usual; Puebla being one of the more conservative towns in this still overwhelmingly Catholic country, some were perhaps shocked by the directness of my language. But I was more […]

Blood donation: rights and wrongs (12/09/10)

In the last few days, Canadian and American courts have ruled on gay rights. Somewhat unusually, activists are happy with the Yanks and cross with their northern neighbours. Even more unusually, I’m happy with both. The Canadian ruling is the more complex, because it has given us the right decision for the wrong reasons. A […]

Christians on a roll: a sermon on rent boys (06/07/10)

When we throw around the term “Rent Boy”, we usually mean a young man whose impeccable abs and other finery are for hire. A very privileged few of us mean a young man with impeccable abs who pays the rent. But we’ve been outdone by the Catholic hierarchy, which has combined the two but inverted […]

Another Evangelical hypocrite bites the dust (02/07/10)

Meena Saraswathi Seshu was a well-to-do Indian do-gooder who was determined to save India’s sex slaves from their evil traffickers. To her immense credit, illustrated in this nice profile in The Lancet, (pdf here), she changed her mind when she learned the facts. Not so the US Congressman who tried to bully her organisation SANGRAM […]

Bipolar Canada flip-flops on sex ed (29/04/10)

I’ve decided Canada is bipolar. In the couple of days that I was there this week, one province bottled and pulled the plug on a solid programme to educate school kids about sex and relationships that it had announced just days earlier. The government took contraception off the agenda at the G8, then said ok […]

Men are pigs, women are angels. Not. (17/02/10)

As promised, data on women, autonomy, partnerships and HIV. It’s quite true that I have not developed some magic indicator of “autonomy”. But the World Economic Forum has. Or at least its Gender Equality Index is as close as damnit. Let’s take the sub-Saharan African countries at either extreme, and set their equality index against […]

Note to UK sex workers: vote Tory (11/02/10)

Yesterday, I sat at the TED conference in California and watched David Cameron pledge to make policies that support prostitutes. He didn’t say it in those words, exactly, but he did promise firmly to make policy that “goes with the grain of human nature”. That would be a massive change for the UK: Labour’s old […]

Zuma shows you get the HIV epidemic you deserve (09/02/10)

So Jacob Zuma is sorry about having unprotected sex with someone three decades younger than himself, who is not one of the five women he’s married. That’s a little better than last week’s “You should be proud that I’ve admitted paternity and paid a fine. What are you all so uptight about?” HIV activists are […]

As one HIV ban ends, another morphs (03/11/09)

Yesterday the US finally dropped its absolutely senseless law forbidding people with HIV from visiting the Land of the Free. (While Saint Obama is getting patted on the back for ending the ban, he was actually signing off on something that George Bush put in motion last year). That’s unmitigated good news for people with […]

Traffic jam: where are all the bonded hookers? (21/10/09)

Finally, a major paper has bothered to deconstruct the mythical numbers that are bandied about to justify the UK government’s idiotic conflation of sex work with sex trafficking. The fact that raids on over 800 brothels didn’t net any traffickers doesn’t mean that there isn’t anyone in the UK selling sex against their will. But […]

Harriet Harman, homophobia, tum-ti-tum (13/10/09)

Last week, I was trying to explain Britain’s sexual and cultural politics to a friend newly-arrived from Canada. That meant trying to explain why nice, left-wing feminists like Harriet Harman are using their political party conference speeches to send men to a website that advertises and rates sex workers. It’s like this. Ms Harman, who […]

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