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Archive for April, 2006

The Gift Interview

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

Frontiers
Newsmagazine

February
28 2003

Features:

Dangerous
“Gift”

A Chat
With the Maker of a New Documentary About Men Seeking to Become
HIV-Positive

By James
L. Bloor


JULIA BRANDRETH

Left to right: Julia Brandreth, still
photographer; Louise Hogarth, director; Doug Hitzel, interview
subject; May Riglar, director of photography

Author’s note: It was over a year ago that
documentary filmmaker Louise Hogarth first contacted me about
her latest project. She had tracked me down after reading a
Frontiers article I had written lamenting the rising rates of
seroconversion among young gay men.

“Have you ever heard of the term ‘bug
chaser’?” Hogarth asked me. Indeed, I had. Hogarth, a producer
of the Academy Award-winning documentary “The Panama Deception,”
was working on a new piece about bug chasers, or men (primarily
thought to be gay) who set out to become HIV-positive.

Our conversation that night eventually led
to my appearing briefly in her film. I am one of those “talking
heads,” giving opinions with abandon.

As her film, “The Gift,” is set
to debut at some of the most prestigious gay film festivals
across the globe–and may soon be coming to a theater or cable
channel near you–Hogarth finds herself in a maelstrom of heightened
scrutiny. A recent Rolling Stone article about bug chasers echoes
one of the major themes of her film. The fallout from this explosive
article continues to reverberate as Frontiers goes to press.

Louise Hogarth, alert as a cat, gives her computer
mouse a workout as she glides through various editing complexities
while working in the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) offices
in Los Angeles. AHF, Hogarth says, was the only AIDS organization
that offered her a small grant and donated office space so her
film project could have a home base.

Of late, her phone has been ringing off the
hook. Gay magazines are suddenly “hot” to interview
her, and gay film festivals are clamoring for her film. All
the while, she is diligently tweaking “The Gift,”
a documentary chronicling the phenomenon of bug chasers, or
people–primarily gay men–deliberately setting out to contract
HIV. The film also seems to call upon AIDS-prevention specialists
to do a better job amid rising infection rates, particularly
among young gay men.

Already booked at gay film festivals in Sydney,
London, Cape Town and Miami, Hogarth is very near to seeing
the ultimate fruition of her work. Her one-hour documentary
is the result of 80 hours of footage shot, and two and a half
years of hard work. And this month, “The Gift” premiered
at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival.

Hogarth was one of the producers on the 1993
film “The Panama Deception,” which won an Academy
Award for Best Feature Length Documentary. This time around,
she’s wearing the director’s hat.

Hogarth is disarming, to say the least. She
is both beautiful and bright. Her piercing green eyes lock you
in–silently demanding that your brain function at its highest
output. She is short on the small talk and long on probing questions.
“Have you ever knowingly infected someone?” she blithely
asked me and other interviewees. This lesbian from Alaska, with
her petite frame, belies the ferocity of spirit that seems to
imbue her.

To say Hogarth’s subject matter is disturbing
to most viewers is an understatement. Some scenes in this film
depict gay men romantically courting HIV. They seek it out,
then celebrate their resultant infection. One young man, however,
comes to almost instantly regret his fateful decision to receive
“the gift.” We also meet an orgy host who facilitates
infection, and with no apology.

After viewing a rough cut of the film with several
friends, I posed the following questions to Hogarth:

James L. Bloor: What were you thinking when
you decided to tackle this subject matter? I mean, you chronicle
mostly young gay men actively seeking HIV–rhapsodizing about
the relieved “freedom” that infection affords them.

Louise Hogarth: Pretty sad, huh? Boiled down,
I guess I’m trying to answer the question, Why would an otherwise
healthy gay man seek to become infected? What societal/emotional
constructs lead him down that path? Why do some others–who
don’t court the virus actively–seem to perceive it as mostly
nonthreatening?

Quite simply, I’m trying to bust this myth that
HIV is “chronic” and manageable; 17% of gay men who
tested positive in 2001 presented a virus that is immune to
almost all known anti-HIV drugs. Their options are severely
limited, and I fear an early death is imminent for many of them.
And that statistic doubled that of the previous year. You do
the math …

But what about those critics who will attempt
to dismiss you as just another man-hating lesbian? As “anti-sex”?

That’s just plain nuts. I adore all things sexual,
and admire gay men in their safe pursuit of it. Like many lesbians,
I’ve lost too many friends to this disease. A gay male piloting
this project might have his objectivity questioned, as might
a straight male or female. But as a lesbian who genuinely embraces
the gay male spirit, I’m hoping that I’ll be perceived as able
to bring equal measures of objectivity and compassion to this
film.

Parts of your documentary, especially the
poignant reflections of Dr. Walt Odets, an esteemed champion
of gay male sexuality and safe sex, seem steered toward those
who have managed to remain HIV-negative. What is their role
in this ongoing epidemic?

It’s pivotal, I think. Understandably, gay culture
has embraced the victims of HIV. As the cultural mores of the
epidemic unraveled, we’ve naturally done our best to afford
the HIV-positive the esteem and worth they deserve. But in that
process, I fear that we’ve failed to acknowledge the genuine
guilt, fear and triumph of the HIV-negative. Their own efforts
have not been suitably applauded. As a cultural subgroup, we
need to embrace them more overtly, and call upon them to lead
our gay youth into a safer existence. More than most–excepting
the inscriptions upon tombstones–they have the potential to
save and protect.

Portions of “The Gift” clearly
question the worth and effectiveness of current AIDS-prevention
efforts. Do you posit something better?

I don’t, but the HIV-positive men I interviewed
seem to. These men, by and large, seem to have perceived a nearly
overt glamorization of AIDS. Afflicted as they were, they clearly
had difficulty identifying with the muscular, “healthy”
guys depicted in the pharmaceutical ads and safe-sex posters
available for their purview. These were men plagued by diarrhea
and fatigue, as well as cardiac, liver, pulmonary and skin disorders.
And lately some of them are threatened with this drug-resistant
staph infection. They’re experiencing a reality that the posters
don’t convey.

Lately, we’ve seen gay male “glamoratti”
dying of “cardiac” and “cancer” complications
when, in fact, common knowledge dictates that these are AIDS
deaths. It saddens me that many of these newly dead are complicit
in the deaths of the younger generation behind them. Their denial
and shame creates a vacuum where youthful ignorance thrives.

What do you make of the Rolling Stone
article about bug chasers, and the assertion by some that its
claims are exaggerated?

I think “thou doth protest too much.”
These so-called experts, pundits and leaders of gay culture
who have chosen to stick their heads in the sand are throwbacks
to the early days of the epidemic when denial and enhanced victimization
reigned but did little to stem the tide of infection. Statistics
are easily convoluted and bandied about by both sides of this
controversy.

I have seen–and this film chronicles–the abundance
of Web sites and persons who are dedicated to becoming purposefully
infected with HIV. They clearly think infection is “no
big deal.” The percentages and statistics are mostly irrelevant.
Myself, I wouldn’t have devoted two years to this project if
I thought it was just a passing fad or if I thought it didn’t
pose a threat to the vitality of a culture that I adore.

I mean, if it turns out later that “only”
500 guys are actively seeking the virus, doesn’t that transmute
to about 50,000 guys who are passively exposing themselves to
infection? I mean, what’s important in this debate? Image? Numbers?
Or potential lives lost?

I recently screened “The Gift”
for a half-dozen pals of mine. Some were HIV-negative, and some
were HIV-positive. To put it mildly, they were stunned and shocked
by much of the footage. The HIV-negative guys confessed that
they, too, had felt subtle pressure to seroconvert. While most
came to embrace the concept and message of your film, one viewer
remarked, “This film is entirely dangerous.”

Really? That’s good, I think. It means he was
shaken up a bit. I hate to resort to a clichÍ, but reality sucks.
I’m sorry if this film makes most gay men of conscience squirm,
but I wouldn’t have presented it if I didn’t feel certain that
gay men can fix this disconnect occurring, mostly, among our
gay male youth. After all, gay men have historically been natural-born
leaders. Certainly, we’re not going to get that from the Bush
administration. That this abhorrent behavior has emerged–whatever
statistics are eventually attached to it–is understandable
to me, as it is to most gay men, but ultimately fails as an
apology to the movement we’ve all embraced. And in the long
term? It’s a deadly paradox that merits confrontation and remedy.
Ignoring its reality will only rob us further of the humanity
that we’ve been mourning for over two decades now.

But aren’t you worried that your film will
be used by the religious right and conservatives in their continued
efforts to hurt our cause?

Heartbroken is more like it. Honestly, it grieves
me, the thought that this film–this labor of love for me–might
be used by religious hate-mongers to fatten their wallets. But
you have to understand, I’ve told no lies in this film. It may
well be deemed “sensational,” but I have not sensationalized
it. What you see is the truth as it unfolded before my eyes.
How does one apologize for the truth? While I regret the defensive
burden this film may place on the gay community, I’m optimistic
that lives might eventually be saved. Our enemies are not the
ones who are going to help the gay male community. Ultimately,
it’s only gay men who can do that.

So what’s the outcome you’re hoping for?

As documentary filmmakers we are not often permitted
“hopes,” yet I confess to some. … I hope that this
project will result in a thoughtful response and remedy to a
heightened crisis that has been simmering for years now. Gay
men, especially younger gay men, are seroconverting at increased
rates. This controversy is something that only thoughtful, compassionate
gay men can attend to properly. They did it in the early years
of the epidemic, and I hope that they find a way to do it now,
to re-energize and rethink the old prevention measures that
simply aren’t working anymore.

James Bloor can be reached via e-mail
at JLBloor@aol.com.

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The Gift Movie

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

The Gift

(North American
Premiere)

Screening Time: Friday, May 2, 10:00 PM, Charles Theatre 4

Director: Louise Hogarth

Cast: Doug Hitzel, Kenboy, Dr. Walt Odets, James
L. Bloor

Country: U.S.
Year: 2002
Running Time: 62 minutes
Format: Beta SP

By
examining the phenomena of “bug chasers” (HIV negative
men looking to deliberately become infected with HIV) and “gift
givers” (HIV positive men who give “the gift”
of HIV infection), The Gift provides a thought-provoking
view into the current state of AIDS prevention. Issues such as
trying to present a reassuring message to AIDS sufferers while
trying to convey the gravity of the disease to uninfected men,
as well as dealing with the guilt felt by HIV negative men who
have lost friends and partners to AIDS, show the challenge facing
the prevention effort.

The men are allowed to speak in their own words. We are introduced
to two men who present their rationale for wanting to convert
to HIV positive status – once they have the virus, it would
remove the constant worrying about becoming infected or help them
feel that they better belonged in a community, etc. We also meet
men, who have lived with the virus for many years and are now
more concerned about the severe cardiac conditions they have developed
after taking anti-AIDS drugs for many years.

Twenty-one years after the term AIDS was coined, what began as
a panic has now subsided into a dangerous complacency. Recent
advances, while promising, have lead to the mistaken belief that
AIDS is now an easily manageable disease. The Gift is
a thought-provoking documentary that will certainly create discussion
and debate about where to go from here in the AIDS prevention
effort.

–Dan Krovich

0

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Bugchasers

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bugchasing (or Bug chasing) is a term, invented in the 1990s, for the fetish of an extreme minority of gay men for becoming infected with HIV.

Bugchasers are generally looked upon with disdain from the gay
community as being delusional or simply not understanding that modern antiviral therapy is extremely expensive, can still have painful and unpleasant side-effects, and does not cure or ultimately stop the progression of the disease. Further, similar to the existence of NAMBLA,
it is feared by the gay community at large that the behaviours of
bugchasers may contribute to a public perception that the practice is
common or encouraged by all gay people, and would thus cause further
ill-will towards them.

Writer/director Daniel Bort made a 2003 short film called Bugchaser, which premièred at the 16th Annual Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, on the subject, shot mainly in New York sex clubs. In an interview with the Austin Chronicle, he explained: “The
matter-of-fact declarations of a string of articulate, apparently
nonsensical people … affected me tremendously. I had to find out
the reasons why such individuals will seek suicide in this almost
symbolic way.”
At the Austin G&L Film Festival, the film was shown with an accompanying documentary The Gift by Louise Hogarth.

Also in 2003, Rolling Stone magazine printed an article by a freelance journalist Gregory Freeman
entitled “Bug Chasers: The men who long to be HIV+”, which provoked a
storm of controversy, mainly for the statistics given in the article,
which suggested that the practice might be relatively common. There
seems to be little evidence, however, that bugchasing is the practice
of anything but a very small minority. The reliability of that article
is also questioned, as it cited only two sources. One, who claimed that
as many as 25% of HIV+ men had contracted it on purpose, gave his
information anonymously. The other source was a doctor who, when
confronted, denied the quotes attributed to him in the article.

“In private sex clubs across the U.S. men gather for a chance to
participate in what is called Russian Roulette. Ten men are invited,
nine are HIV-, one is HIV+. The men have agreed to not speak of AIDS,
nor HIV. They participate in as many unsafe sexual encounters with each
other as possible, thus increasing their chances to receive “the bug.”
These are the men known as ‘Bug Chasers.'”
[1]

The issue is, more recently, being taken seriously by medical health promotion bodies, such as the Centers for Disease Control, which hosted a workshop by Dr Michael Graydon of Carleton University, Ottawa, on the topic at the 2004 National STD Prevention Conference.

Bugchasers – myth or reality?

Positive Nation – September 10, 2003

Gus Cairns, Editor in Chief


I was logged on to a gay website recently – it may have been
gay.com, I can’t remember – and was chatting in the HIV positive room.
A guy whose nick was something like breedmenow was going on about how
he wanted to get ‘pozzed up’, i.e. infected with HIV.

The reaction
was instant. A guy who we’ll call ffskin – a pretty hardcore character
who had been exchanging steamy anecdotes with me about orgies – he was
no choirboy – fired back:

> f*** off, bugchaser

He was backed up. Other guys joined in.

> these guys are crazy

> it’s a f***** insult

> I’ve been poz for 15 yrs and if he knew what he was letting himself in for he’d shut up.

Breedmenow didn’t say another word and soon logged off. What this incident shows is:

a) yes, it’s true, some gay men out there fantasise about catching HIV

b) HIV positive guys are not necessarily interested in helping them

I’m writing this because yet another story has come out claiming that
some gay men “are actively seeking out HIV status”. Researcher Melissa
Parker – who, judging by her comments that her ‘findings’ were based on
“casual conversations with gay men over many years”, has been trawling
the same chat rooms in the name of research – told the British
Association science festival that “being diagnosed with HIV is a badge
of being truly gay.”

You can see why the mainstream media love
this sort of thing. Gay sex = HIV positive = death. Gay men are a bunch
of death-obsessed sickos, fighting to board the fast train to hell.
Where have we heard that before? Oh, only about a million times in the
last 100 years.

It’s important not to be defensive about such
claims. The reaction of certain HIV prevention agencies when confronted
with this kind of claim is to close ranks and deny that any gay man,
anywhere, at any time, has wanted to be HIV positive and maybe even
tried to catch it.

I am a counsellor as well as a journalist
and first met a young gay man who admitted he’d thought it might be
better to have HIV in 1992. “I just feel like I’ve got no direction in
life,” he said, “and I see my HIV positive friends and it, like, gives
them a kick up the ass. They feel they’ve got some meaning back,
something to live for.” He didn’t really want HIV. What he did want was
to stop feeling aimless and empty.

This isn’t a bizarre or
pathological reaction. What about the grieving lover whose boyfriend
has died, and wants to join him? What about the HIV negative guy who
can’t face 40 years of rubber-insulated sex with his positive life
partner? If these people were heterosexuals, we would be nodding sagely
and taking about ‘the difficult choices facing couples’. But if they’re
gay men they get called ‘bugchasers’.

What dear Melissa has
failed to cotton on to, however, is the difference between fantasy and
reality. The one thing chat rooms breed is imagination – great gobbets
of steaming, lurid fantasy, mined fresh from the redhot seams of the
unconscious and detailing every possible and impossible anatomical feat
it’s possible to devise.

A clue that poor, innocent Melissa
has taken fantasy for reality comes when she claims that some guys who
visit backrooms “can have 30 or 40 partners in one visit”.

To
that we can only reply, “In our dreams, girlfriend!” If you really got
rogered 40 times a) you’d be still at it when the cleaning lady came
round and b) you would get a teeny bit sore. What Melissa has done is
read or listened to home-made pornography and taken it for Real Sex.

People eroticise what they are afraid of. It’s a defence mechanism, and
the driving force behind S&M sex. The powerful man who gets spanked
in his French maid’s uniform and called Susan is a stereotypical
example. Fantasising about going to ‘ breeding parties’ and getting
‘pozzed up’ is a way of imagining you have control over something you
feel powerless over – avoiding HIV. That’s not to say it never, ever
happens. It is to say that 99% of the talk of it happening is fantasy.

That some gay men do feel powerless is borne out by the most succinct
comment I ever got from a guy who claimed to be bugchasing. “You don’t
want HIV, believe me,” I said. “Why are you barebacking?”

“I’m just tired of dodging the bullet,” he said.

This is the crucial distinction to be made at the heart of the
‘bugchasing’ debate. There’s no doubt that more gay men – more people –
regardless of HIV status are having more unprotected sex. And it is
translating into more infections, with 1,700 gay ones a year reported
in the last two years as opposed to 1,400 or so throughout the 90s.

But this does not mean gay men want to get HIV. On the whole they’re
pretty aware of the concussive effect a positive diagnosis can have on
the health, the life, and the psyche.

Nor does it mean
HIV-positive gay men want to give it to them. For a start, I don’t want
to be sued. Less flippantly, my ride with HIV has not been an easy one
and if I meet some wet-behind-the-ears twink who thinks it’ll be a
breeze I put him right about it. And thirdly, as were the chatters in
the poz room, I am insulted when someone wants to use me, or rather my
virus, as an S&M accoutrement.

Gay men are catching HIV by
omission, not commission. They’re catching it because – notwithstanding
the blithe ‘condom, condom every time’ messages of the 90s -maintaining
safer sex is difficult. Sometimes it’s easier to take the risk and
think, maybe I’ll dodge the bullet this time. Sometimes it’s easier to
let things happen than ask that passion-deadening question: “are you
poz?” Or, if you have HIV, disclose it.

But it doesn’t mean
that we’re all acquiring it like the latest lifestyle accessory. We’re
catching it because we’re human. Not because we’re already sick.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

Positive Nation: The UK’s HIV and Sexual Health Magazine published by UKC

UKC (UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS)

Website: http://www.ukcoalition.org

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Identifying Gay

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

    What is gay ? Tom Katt and Billy Brandt both say they "identify" as straight. Is that possible or is it better to be seen as straight , even a gay world. We all know guys with that conquer a "straight" man fantasy. Ryan Idol is another one who claimed to be straight, I bet they all get paid extra the first time they reciprocate on film. Some are said to be total bottoms off film or only have sex with females off camera.  Maybe they have a psychosexual need to have sex, no matter what the gender of the other participant.

I myself  am a perfect Kinsey six, never been with a female. According to Sue Johanson I am a virgin as well, she says the only way to lose your virginity is penile-vaginal sex. I know that there are strong sexual needs in all of us. People in prison often inter into sexual relationships , these are call "Institutionalized Homosexuals ". Most of these people would never indulge in homosexual acts otherwise.  There are also straight hustlers ( gay for pay ), these most often sell their cock not, their mouth or ass.

My big problem with the "straight " gay porn actors is ,here they are holding an erection in front of  other actors, camera men and all the various crew members. They stay erect for camera angle changes, retakes and all kinds of technical shit. I am gay and maybe I could have done it when I was young , but if you would have put a female in the movie, hell maybe even in the room. No fuckin’ way and I am still hypersexual at 45. I know the little blue pill works wonders, but this " straight" gay actor shit has been going on a long time " Peter North " ring a bell ?

I for one, do not think anal sex is all that gay, many men experiment with the prostate. I have read of straight couples who fist each other , females using strapons , straight sex can be just as kinky as gay sex. Men are also more apt to explore different types of sexual acts in private , with a secure female partner. Some may even prefer transgendered sexual partners but still refer to themselves as straight . More so now , with the advent of the Internet and sex talk shows. Every man reading this knows, most men will do about anything to have a mind blowing ejaculation. As long as no one knows but us, right babe.

I think that sucking cock is the very definition of gay. I am not talking about a man who loves to get his cock sucked, hell we all do! I am talking about men who suck cock. The act itself is phallic worship and you can tell if a man is into praying to the great erect God.  I hate to say it , but a true cock sucker is practiced and swallows. Truth be known, a good cock sucker is doing it for the reward. What might that be ? A true cock sucker is servile and is looking to pleasure his partner.

I am proud to say that I am gay by any definition. I also love a good cock sucker !

And a good Cock!

POZlife

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Gay-Straight Difference

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

Scent study shows gay, straight difference

      Randolph E. Schmid, Associated Press

      Monday, May 9, 2005 / 05:14 PM

SUMMARY: Gay men’s
brains respond differently from those of heterosexual males when
exposed to a sexual stimulus, said researchers at the Karolinska
Institute in Sweden.

WASHINGTON — Gay men’s brains respond differently from those of
heterosexual males when exposed to a sexual stimulus, researchers have
found. The homosexual men’s brains responded more like those of women
when the men sniffed a chemical from the male hormone testosterone.

“It is one more piece of evidence … that is showing that sexual
orientation is not all learned,” said Sandra Witelson, an expert on
brain anatomy and sexual orientation at the Michael G. DeGroote School
of Medicine at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.

Witelson, who was not part of the research team, said the findings clearly show a biological involvement in sexual orientation.

The study, published in Tuesday’s issue of Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences, was done by researchers at the Karolinska
Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.

They exposed heterosexual men and women and homosexual men to chemicals derived from male and female sex hormones.

These chemicals are thought to be pheromones — molecules known to trigger responses such as defense and sex in many animals.

Whether humans respond to pheromones has been debated, although in
2000 American researchers reported finding a gene that they believe
directs a human pheromone receptor in the nose.

The Swedish study was one of a series looking at whether parts of
the brain involved in reproduction differ in response to odors and
pheromones, lead researcher Ivanka Savic said.

The brains of different groups responded similarly to ordinary odors
such as lavender, but differed in their response to the chemicals
thought to be pheromones, Savic said.

The Swedish researchers divided 36 subjects into three groups —
heterosexual men, heterosexual women and homosexual men. They studied
the brain response to sniffing the chemicals, using PET scans. All the
subjects were healthy, unmedicated, right-handed and HIV-negative.

When they sniffed smells like cedar or lavender, all of the
subjects’ brains reacted only in the olfactory region that handles
smells.

But when confronted by a chemical from testosterone, the male
hormone, portions of the brains active in sexual activity were
activated in straight women and in gay men, but not in straight men,
the researchers found.

The response in gay men and straight women was concentrated in the
hypothalamus with a maximum in the preoptic area that is active in
hormonal and sensory responses necessary for sexual behavior, the
researchers said.

And when estrogen, the female hormone was used, there was only a
response in the olfactory portion of the brains of straight women.
Homosexual men had their primary response also in the olfactory area,
with a very small reaction in the hypothalamus, while heterosexual men
responded strongly in the reproductive region of the brain.

Savic said the group is also doing a study involving homosexual women, but those results are not yet complete.

In a separate study looking at people’s response to the body odors
of others, researchers in Philadelphia found sharp differences between
gay and straight men and women.

“Our findings support the contention that gender preference has a
biological component that is reflected in both the production of
different body odors and in the perception of and response to body
odors,” said neuroscientist Charles Wysocki, who led the study.

In particular, he said, finding differences in body odors between gay and straight individuals indicates a physical difference.

It’s hard to see how a simple choice to be gay or lesbian would influence the production of body odor, he said.

Wysocki’s team at the Monell Chemical Senses Center studied the
response of 82 heterosexual and homosexual men and heterosexual and
homosexual women to the odors of underarm sweat collected from 24
donors of varied gender and sexual orientation.

They found that gay men differed from heterosexual men and women and
from lesbian women, both in terms of which body odors gay men preferred
and how their own body odors were regarded by the other groups.

Gay men preferred odors from gay men, while odors from gay men were
the least preferred by heterosexual men and women and by lesbian women
in the study. Their findings, released Monday, are to be published in
the journal Psychological Science in September.

The Swedish research was funded by the Swedish Medical Research
Council, the Karolinska Institute and the Magnus Bergvall Foundation.
Wysocki’s research was supported by the Monell Center.

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Straight , Gay or Lying?

Posted by pozlife on April 27, 2006

A new study of
sexual arousal suggests that men are sexually aroused by either females
or males, but not by both. The study differs from a study of women
published last November by the same team researchers which found that
most women who said they were bisexual showed arousal to both men and
to women.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Porn Star reborn

Posted by pozlife on April 26, 2006


A porn star is reborn

By Daniel A. Kusner Life+Style Editor
Feb 23, 2006, 22:01


Gay
adult-video legend Tom Katt reclaims Christian faith and retires from
erotica. Re-emerging as David Papaleo, he identifies as straight but is
sickened by right-wing Bible-thumpers who preach anti-gay hatred.
Papaleo’s next stop — the pulpit

THE PASSION OF PAPALEO: As Tom Katt, David Papaleo crossed paths with many Christian evangelicals at gay pride events.

In the mid 1990s, Tom Katt began regularly appearing in gay porn
videos. The versatile bodybuilder made at least 15 sex flicks in his
first two years. Handsome and talented, he started earning a lot of
money. And for what it’s worth, Tom Katt became famous — in
the world of erotica.

Over the years, steroids and growth hormones augmented his physique.
Cocaine and pot made the good times seem happier, but the party train
kept crashing. Inside, he felt something was missing. And in 2003, he
walked away from the biz. Katt, who now goes by his birth name, David
Papaleo, had found God.

Last month, Papaleo appeared on “The Gravedigger Show,” an
Atlanta-based Christian TV program where he renounced the adult video
world and said he was heterosexual.

On Internet discussion boards, fans of the porn legend posted messages:
some were outraged, some felt duped and some encouraged his spiritual
adventure. Through a Christian bodybuilding website, Dallas Voice
e-mailed Papaleo and requested an interview. Two weeks later, he called
and said he wanted to discuss his newfound faith, his sexual identity
and a spiritual message for gays and lesbians. This is Papaleo’s
first newspaper interview since his conversion.

Mom, church and death
The first four years of Papaleo’s life were spent in suburban Atlanta where his parents raised three kids.

WAY
BACK WHEN: Before the steroids, Tom Katt won his first major
bodybuilding title in 1994, when he also appeared in Falcon
Studio’s “Full Length,” pictured. Courtesy of Falcon
Studios

When he was 4, his
parents divorced. For the next seven years, David lived in a rural area
of Massachusetts with his mother and stepfather. Although he also lived
with his brother and sister, only David and his mother attended a
nearby Catholic church.

“But my mom was what you’d call very clinically
depressed,” Papaleo, 36, says after finishing a shift as a
personal trainer at a suburban Atlanta gym.
He faced death and grief at an early age: When Papaleo was 11, his stepfather killed his mother.

“A lot of people blame God when bad things happen. I was pissed
off at everybody — everybody in my family for letting it happen.
And I walked away from God. I didn’t want anything to do with
him,” Papaleo remembers. “If he was going to let that
happen, then I’m staying away from him. Of course, this was the
judgment of an 11 year old.”

Growing up and getting big
Papaleo moved back to his dad’s home near Atlanta, and he carried
around a lot of anger. Homework wasn’t high on his list of
priorities, and he was a loner. In high school, Papaleo joined the
wrestling team, but he couldn’t tap into the notion of
“team spirit.”

At 16, he discovered bodybuilding, and results came quickly. Lifting
weights allowed him to release pent-up emotions, and it was something
he could do alone.

“I developed a strong distrust of being able to count on anybody.
Bodybuilding was something I excelled at that was under my full
control,” he remembers.

In 1986, he competed in the Teenage Mr. Atlanta contest and placed
third. Papaleo was hooked. He graduated from high school in 1988 with
the dream of becoming a professional bodybuilder. To make money, he
unloaded trucks and worked as a personal trainer.

Porn = money
“I always dated girls,” Papaleo says, remembering his early
adulthood. “But I didn’t play the field too well. If I
dated someone, it would be for two or three years.”

Through a friend of a friend, he got his first offer to appear in an
adult video — from Fox Studios, a gay erotica company that
specialized in bodybuilders.
“When I realized I could make in one day what I’d make in
three months. It was like, ‘Sure, where do I sign?’”
he remembers.

FLEX
FOR FAITH: Papaleo still participates in bodybuilding competitions. His
new posing routine incorporates recordings of him reading his favorite
scriptures. Courtesy of BlueBlake.com

Papaleo was 21 when he made his first film. And back then, he was
competing in at least three bodybuilding competitions a year.
“That was the beauty of doing porn,” he says. “The
movies and personal appearances at clubs enabled me to spend all my
time just getting ready for competitions. And preparing for competitive
bodybuilding takes up all your time.”

At 24, he won his first big regional title at the 1994 National Physique Committee Eastern Seaboard Bodybuilding Championships.
For a while, everything ran smoothly. Because he had a title under his
belt, Papaleo could demand more money as a personal trainer — his
porn rates increased as well.

His family eventually figured out that he was moonlighting in gay
erotica. Papaleo even showed them a few magazine covers. But in 1996,
the sale of adult videos became legal in Georgia. A video store opened
up near one of the Atlanta-area gyms where he trained. In the
store’s window hung a life-sized cut-out of Tom Katt promoting
Falcon Studios’ “Total Corruption 2.”
“It didn’t make me cringe with embarrassment,” he
says. “In fact, the porn stuff never seemed to faze my family or
friends at all.”
But once his Tom Katt cover was blown, most of Papaleo’s personal training clients dropped him.

Steroids, boyfriends and the Bible
For his first 17 bodybuilding shows, Papaleo competed as a
“clean” contestant. After winning the Eastern Seaboard
title, he started hitting steroids.

“Ironically, all the years I competed taking steroids, I never won,” he says.
Only 5-foot 7-inches tall and at one time bulking up to 255 pounds, the
steroids detracted from his aesthetic appeal. He was too big, too thick.
From 1997 to 2003, Papaleo would live in Los Angeles for a few years,
then return to Georgia. After a couple of years, he’d move back
to Hollywood.
Dating sex workers isn’t for everyone, and Papaleo’s sexual identity was murky at best.

“During the period of the movies, I had two boyfriends and a
couple of girlfriends. I felt I had to stay away from women because,
‘hello,’ I was doing gay porn — no woman was going to
have anything to do with me,” he says.
For a while, he identified as bisexual.

“But when I leaned more towards trying to date a guy, it just
didn’t click. When you’re in a relationship with somebody,
it can’t just be a physical thing. You have to have an
emotional-spiritual connection or it’s not going to work. And I
never really found that I could have that connection with another
guy,” he says.

During this period, he said he wasted huge amounts of money and didn’t have much to show for it.

“I made a lot, and spent a lot. I thought I was having the time
of my life. But I started partying with my money — constantly
altering my mood with chemicals to convince myself I was having such a
good time,” he says. “But deep down, I was miserable, and I
knew it.”

When he was a kid, Papaleo crossed Jesus Christ off his list. So over
the years, he investigated other faiths: Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism.
But in 2003, he found himself drawn back to Christianity.

“I didn’t hit rock bottom, and I didn’t turn to a
particular church. I just started praying. I prayed and asked God for
help,” he says. “I asked him to help me with what my life
was becoming, and what my life should become. He truthfully helped me
in my heart and showed me that what I was doing wasn’t
correct.”

So he began studying on his own.
And get this.

“I remember being on a … [porn] set, and the guys all
laughing at me because I was reading the Bible,” Papaleo says.

God, love and gays
He didn’t blow all his money. Moving back to Georgia in 2003, he
focused on his spiritual awakening and realized that blaming God for
his mother’s death was immature.

Papaleo seems genuinely passionate about studying the Bible. And he’s still not affiliated with a particular church.

“I’ve been very unimpressed with a lot of churches. Many of
them don’t study or teach the Bible in the depth that it should
be taught. A lot of churches pull one or two verses out of the air and
make up their own interpretations of it instead of really studying the
book itself,” he says.

The debates over morality and sexuality identity have fueled his research.
“What I found is that so many people — including myself at
one time — believe those crazy so-called Christians who say, if
you’re gay or bi, God doesn’t want you. That’s a big
piece of crap,” he says. “They are misconstruing and give
twisted interpretations of Biblical scriptures. I’ve extensively
studied the scriptures they try to base that on, and it’s just
not true.”

Papaleo has a boiled-down thesis regarding the “men not lying with other men” verses.

“If you look at it historically, culturally and you’re not
pulling things out of context, the Bible says ‘don’t to go
against what is natural.’ If you are naturally heterosexual and
you’re having sex with men, well, first, you’re treating
that guy unfairly,” he says. “But the Bible’s not
saying heterosexual is natural as far as from nature’s point of
view — it means going against what’s natural for
yourself.”

As far as same-sex relationships and marriage, “They’re not
wrong,” he continues. “The most important thing is to love
God with all your heart. The second thing, is to love your fellow
person that same way. I don’t know how loving someone of your own
sex in that manner is considered wrong.”

So now you’re straight?
“Yes, I identify as heterosexual. There was a time I thought of
myself as bisexual, and I never hide that fact,” Papaleo says.

A couple of years ago, after moving back to Georgia, he met a woman. On
their second date, he told her about his history as Tom Katt. Although
it seems like heavy news for a second date, she seemed to accept it.
“Being completely honest and transparent about things is an
important part of the way I live now. I have to be completely up front
about everything,” he says. And last month, the woman’s
name became Mrs. Papaleo.

Yo, Reverend! Weren’t you a porn star?
Although Papaleo’s gone back to competitive bodybuilding, the
main thrust in his life is studying the Bible. Last week, he and his
wife relocated to Florida so he could enroll in a seminary. Does he
hope to be Reverend Dave one day?

“I believe he’s pulling me toward the pulpit,” Papaleo says.
But what if he makes it to the pulpit and someone turns on a DVD player showing Tom Katt in all his former glory?

“If someone wants to draw attention to that, I’ll help them
put the spotlight on it. I am not ashamed. If they’re going to
judge me, I’ll tell them to read Matthew Chapter 7 a few times
and get back to me,” he says. “God is the judge. For
someone to judge me, that’s wrong.”

He might not be ashamed, but Papaleo doesn’t have anything positive to say about working in adult video.

“I don’t think that erotica or sexuality is a bad thing. I
believe that sex is the strongest physical expression of love to
another person. But porn is not an expression of love. It’s empty
and cold,” he says.

“There’s nothing at all wrong with sex,” he
continues. “God made sex, too. He gave us these things for a
reason. When it’s not an expression of love, that’s when
you’re demeaning it into something less than it was meant to
be.”
Can sex be an expression of love at first sight?
“I don’t think so,” he laughs.

His message
As Tom Katt, he participated in many gay pride celebrations. And when
you have a pride parade, you have Christian fundamentalists preaching
against gays. And that might be the battlefield where he launches his
crusade.
“So many people are shunned or feel like they’ve been
pushed away from God — that God doesn’t want anything to do
with them. I want to tell as many people I can that that is an absolute
lie,” Papaleo says. “God loves everybody. He made you the
way you are. All he wants is for you is to turn to him and to love him
the same way he loves you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re
less than anything in God’s eyes.”

Now he is straight! So now straight men like to get ass pounded !

From : Dallas Voice

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Nick

Posted by pozlife on April 26, 2006

What’s left of him looks mighty damn fine!

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Medical Marijuana’s Catch 22

Posted by pozlife on April 25, 2006

April 21, 2006


11:50:10 am, Categories: Medicine, Politics and Science, 818 words

Medical Marijuana’s Catch-22

Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration issued a statement reaffirming its opposition to the medical use of marijuana, declaring that “no sound scientific studies supported medical use of marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human data supported the safety or efficacy of marijuana for general medical use. There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana.” This, despite the existence of a 1999 report by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, which concluded that marijuana was “moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.” As the New York Times notes in its front-page coverage:

Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee that examined the research into marijuana’s effects, said in an interview that the statement on Thursday and the combined review by other agencies were wrong.

The federal government “loves to ignore our report,” said Dr. Benson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “They would rather it never happened.”

Some scientists and legislators said the agency’s statement about marijuana demonstrated that politics had trumped science.

[More:]

(Forgive a digression: that last paragraph made me laugh. How many times in recent years have science reporters had to write some version of that sentence? “Some scientists and legislators said the [WHITE HOUSE/FEDERAL AGENCY]’s statement about [SUBJECT] demonstrated that politics had trumped science” ought to be a Word macro.)

I’m not going to pick a fight with the FDA’s need to prevent anyone from circumventing its authority to test and regulate the availability of therapies. I’m also not going to argue about whether medical marijuana programs inevitably ease recreational access to pot, and whether that’s a bad thing. (Attention, NORML: please spare me the missives about wondrous, wondrous hemp and its infinite uses.)

What is completely wrong about the FDA’s position, however, is that in effect it continues to impede not just the medical use of marijuana but also medical research on marijuana, which could lead to superior therapies that don’t involve smoking or getting high at all.

Back in December 2004, SciAm published “The Brain’s Own Marijuana,” by Roger A. Nicoll and Bradley N. Alger (you can read the entire text here). The article’s deck tells the tale: “Research into natural chemicals that mimic marijuana’s effects in the brain could help to explain–and suggest treatments for–pain, anxiety, eating disorders, phobias and other conditions.” The SA Perspectives that month argued with the tight federal restrictions that limited the advance of that research:

Yet outdated regulations and attitudes thwart legitimate research with marijuana. Indeed, American biomedical researchers can more easily acquire and investigate cocaine. Marijuana is classified as a so-called Schedule 1 drug, alongside LSD and heroin. As such, it is defined as being potentially addictive and having no medical use, which under the circumstances becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Any researcher attempting to study marijuana must obtain it through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The U.S. research crop, grown at a single facility, is regarded as less potent–and therefore less medicinally interesting–than the marijuana often easily available on the street. Thus, the legal supply is a poor vehicle for studying the approximately 60 cannabinoids that might have medical applications.

The reasonable course is to make it easier for American researchers to at least examine marijuana for possible medical benefits. Great Britain, no slacker in the war on drugs, takes this approach: the government has authorized a pharmaceutical firm to grow different strains of marijuana for clinical trials.

This call for marijuana research is not a closet campaign for drug legalization–easing research barriers would not require that marijuana be reclassified, nor would it have any bearing on individual states’ decisions to approve limited use of medical marijuana. As a 1995 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association said, “We are not asking readers for immediate agreement with our affirmation that marijuana is medically useful, but we hope they will do more to encourage open and legal exploration of its potential.” After almost a decade of little progress, we reiterate that sentiment.

And now we have to reiterate it again. Medical marijuana is caught in a classic Catch-22 situation: It is banned because the federal government dismisses the evidence of therapeutic benefit as insufficient. But because marijuana is banned, scientists can’t easily gather more evidence to make the case. And new drugs based on marijuana are casualties of the same policies. Meanwhile, patients continue to suffer despite strong evidence that work in this area could lead to better medicines.

How does this seem like a good arrangement? Seriously, what are the feds smoking?

Update (4/24): Steve Mirsky reminds me that the second episode (Feb. 15) of Science Talk, the Scientific American podcast, features an interview with Bruce Mirken, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

From: Scientific American

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Plants And HIV

Posted by pozlife on April 25, 2006

ource: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Posted: March 20, 2006

 

Plants And HIV?

Scientists have developed a new kind of molecule which they believe could ultimately lead to the development of a vaccine against HIV using genetically modified tobacco. Writing in Plant Biotechnology Journal, Dr Patricia Obregon and colleagues from St George's, University of London along with researchers at the University of Warwick say they have overcome a major barrier that has so far frustrated attempts to turn plants into economically viable "bioreactors" for vaccines.

   

By creating fusion molecules, the researchers have found a way to make plants produce more of the molecules (antigens) needed for vaccines. At the same time, they may also have discovered a way of producing better targeted vaccines. Obregon and her colleagues in Dr Julian Ma's laboratory are working with the p24 core protein of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This protein plays a central role in eliciting the immune response to HIV infection, and is therefore likely to be an integral part of any multicomponent vaccine for HIV.

Plants have already been used to produce many types of vaccine molecules, but a consistent problem has been achieving adequate levels of protein expression in order to make them viable as bioreactors for vaccines.

Obregon and her colleagues have found a way to significantly boost HIV-1 p24 protein production in plants by producing an entirely new molecule — a fusion of the HIV-1 p24 protein and part of another protein, human immunoglobulin A (IgA) – a major component of the immune system. The team found that the HIV-1p24 antigen produced in this way elicited appropriate immune response in mice.

The results have important implications for the economic viability of using plants as bioreactors to produce vaccines against HIV and other diseases. According to Obregon: "Using antibody-antigen fusion molecules may represent a generic strategy to increase the expression of recombinant proteins in plants. It could open the door to cheaper biopharmaceuticals. Plant-derived pharmaceuticals are of great interest because of their enormous potential for economy and scale of production. This technology could lead to production of modern medicines that will also be accessible to poor populations in developing countries — which is where these medicines are needed the most."

The results could also lead to the development of more effective vaccines. By using specific immunoglobulin sequences in the fusion molecule, antigens could be targeted to specific cells in the immune system, the authors say.

From : Science Daily

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