Happy Sunday! It’s brunch time. Don’t be Dumb. It’s been a big week from Washington D.C. as Trump’s Supreme Court pick is in and, unsurprisingly, it’s not good. We also have a couple of stories on HIV — one about a vaccine, the other about the theft of HIV money, one not so much. RuPaul continues to be part of virtually every week. Of course we have our Whack Job of the Week — see who it is below.
Here are the week’s 5 news stories that’ll keep you looking well-informed at brunch:
1. We Say Kava-NO-gh
Donald Trump announced that D.C. Court of Appeals judge, Brett Kavanaugh, is his pick to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the United States Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, who clerked for Kennedy, helped prepare the Starr Report which argued for President Bill Clinton’s impeachment and also sided with anti-gay Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount that won Bush the presidency.
Kavanaugh’s anti-abortion and says banning semi-automatic weapons is unconstitutional. Whether or not we think marriage equality is safe, we’ll have to wait, see and hope that’s true. It’s clear the Supreme Court will not be the back-stop to equality it once was.
2. Closer to a Cure?
For only the fifth time in the long, dark 40-year history of HIV, a vaccine is going to human trial after showing success preventing transmission of the virus to monkeys. The trial, which has been called “Imbokodo,” after the isiZulu word for “rock,” is starting soon, though we likely won’t know the results until 2021 or 2022. The current results are promising, but there’s no guarantee the success in monkey trials will translate to humans. But we can hope that this vaccine ends this plague forever.
3. Trump Stealing HIV Money
We’ve all watched in horror as children are taken away from their parents, whether or not they’re legally applying for asylum. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has the duty of housing immigrant children somewhere whether in tents, cages or another shelter.
To cover the $1.9 billion cost of more than 25,000 beds for the remainder of 2018, the ORR has started taking money from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, a program meant to provide healthcare to poor and uninsured people living with HIV. HHS will also be going to Congress to ask for additional funds for the detainment costs. It’s just one of many ways the Trump administration has hurt the LGBTQ community.
4. RuPaul All Day
Does Ru ever sleep? Whether it’s his podcast, Drag Race, DragCon or a new Netflix deal, he certainly keeps himself busy. Now, according to Variety, a RuPaul daytime talk show pilot was shot for the TV production company Telepictures, who also produces Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show. The talk show will feature Ru “interviewing celebrities, giving beauty and glam tips, playing games and dishing on pop culture,” and Ru’s gal pal Michelle Visage is co-host. We’re in!
5. Whack Job of the Week: Ohio Judge Joseph Kirby
Ohio Judge Joseph Kirby denied a trans teen’s name-change request this week after asking a number of bizarre questions about transition and wanting to know if it happened after Caitlyn Jenner’s transition was reported on because, you know, she’s brainwashing these kids.
Elliott Whitaker, 15, came out to his parents as trans a year ago. His parents have been supportive, and have been helping with his transition. A name change is usually a simple process and judges approve them pretty easily after making sure it is not being done to commit fraud.
Kirby, who repeated misgendered the teen during the 20 minute meeting, ruled that because “children change significantly and rapidly,” that he would deny Elliott’s legal name-change, saying he could apply again as an adult. Even though Elliott’s decision is supported by his parents, therapists and doctors, Kirby said he was “simply not ready to make this life-altering decision.” Elliott is a brave young man and the courts should be there to protect him… not hurt him and make his transition more difficult.
Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo were one of two plaintiff couples in California’s 2013 challenge of Proposition 8, which brought marriage equality back to the state after being ruled on by the U.S. Supreme Court. These activists also host the weekly podcast The Husbands. Catch them there or follow them on Instagram @JeffZandPaulK.
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