Methodists Against Orthodoxy

Dear Baltimore OUTloud Community, As a pastor here in Baltimore, I am grateful for the opportunity to share some background to the recent headlines about the United Methodist Church, and some words about the welcome of all. The Methodist movement began in England in the 18th century and has been a part of the American landscape since colonial times. There have been multiple iterations of the Methodist movement, including churches bearing both Methodist and Wesleyan titles. The United Methodist Church was officially formed in 1968 and includes churches in the US and throughout the globe. Our church polity, or governing […]

A Teenage Girl Made a Film

When Ella Johnson made a video documentary about Greg Louganis for her National History Day project, she knew most of her fellow students would be shocked. Ella is a high school freshman in Whitehall, a very small town of the west coast of Michigan. It’s not a bastion of progressive thinking. Ella was right. Her classmates were not exactly enthralled by her choice of topic. But she’s used to it. “My video was met with the usual ‘stupid liberal’ comments,” Ella told me, “but my teachers were very impressed.” Ella has a thick skin for a 15-year-old. She has attended the Women’s March and proudly sports […]

Pie-in-the-Sky Dreams: Worth Having

I want to share a success story with you, which started in the pages of Philadelphia Gay News. Once upon a time, I wrote a column with the headline, “The Pie-in-the-Sky Project.” It was about a project on the drawing board. It would create affordable housing for members of our LGBT senior community, to be located in their own community. Most people thought it was preposterous – an impossibility. Some people even laughed. Still, others didn’t understand the need. As with any column, I listed the basics, starting with what should be obvious, that LGBT seniors are our first real […]

A Medicare Change……

When I was diagnosed with HIV in 1985, there were no medications to treat it. Not one. I never imagined that the medical community would achieve the advancements in HIV treatment and prevention we see today. In fact, President Trump actually proposed a plan in his State of the Union address to end the HIV epidemic in America by 2030. This lofty goal would be thwarted, however, by proposed changes to Medicare Part D that jeopardize the advancements we’ve made in the fight against HIV. I have lived with HIV for almost 35 years. I’ve dealt with more doctors, stubborn […]

Trump’s Cynical HIV Plan

Today is National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, so let’s hear it for the Trump USA team behind his master race plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030. I’ve even included an actual photo of their meeting on January 6th with a diverse group of stakeholders. Oh, wait. Scratch that. I’m sure the people of color are in the room somewhere. Pouring coffee, perhaps? “Meeting today at HHS with the principal architects of the Administration’s plan to end HIV,” says the Facebook post with the photo from Carl Schmid, the hapless new co-chair of the President’s Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). You remember PACHA. The council that […]

I Don’t Do Movie Reviews, But …

There is a movie that by seeing its trailers and advertising on TV, you’d have no expectation that it has any relevance to you or our community. At the end of 2018, there were five major movies with major gay characters or themes. Bohemian Rhapsody, Boy Erased, The Favourite, Can You Ever Forgive Me? and the one you must see, The Green Book. Here’s how IMDB (International Movie Database) describes the film: “A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.” The title refers to a publication […]

Ryan White Confab

“A Trump appointee walks into an AIDS conference” sounds like the beginning of a terrible joke, doesn’t it? Just wait until you hear the punchline. It’ll kill you. The sight of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar standing before more than 4,000 public health and community-based providers of HIV services is shocking enough. Ludicrous is the word that comes to mind. Secretary Azar is one of the lesser-known names in the rogues’ gallery of Trump appointees, given that no outrageous charges of personal or professional corruption have maimed his tenure, at least not yet. He may actually […]

Once, When We Were Heroes

Each year, in honor of World AIDS Day on December 1st, I share my piece “Once, When We Were Heroes.” I will never, ever capture the early days of AIDS any better than this. I’m proud of it, yes, but it’s strange because I feel like I channeled it rather than wrote it. I think some old friends might have helped me with this one. Thanks for reading and for sharing this. MY BROTHER RICHARD smiles a lot. He has an easy laugh. But there was a time, years ago, when he held a poisonous drink in his hands and […]

LGBT economic equality and empowerment

Last week, as I turned the pages of my local daily newspaper, the newspaper of record, I saw a few pages of ads from the city notifying the public of the coming elections, where the polling stations were and what was on the ballot. This is common practice from governments around the country. And in many of those municipalities, they also place those ads in community newspapers to ensure the participation of minority communities who have been left out of the process.   So I smiled when I saw those ads, since those same ads were in this paper last […]

What 5,000 Sex Phone Calls…… Taught me about gay men

The number might be a little low. Over the course of my “phone fantasy” career in the 1980s, I spoke to as many as ten customers in a given day, numbering in the many thousands over the years. That’s a lot of heavy breathing. It began when I was a struggling actor in Los Angeles and needed income. I went to work for a gay phone sex company, the kind that doesn’t really exist anymore, that predates hook-up apps or even the internet. Customers responded to ads in the gay skin magazines and, for what we would now consider an […]