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Conflicting Sexuality: Exploring sexual abuse in the Internet age

An autobiography with online chat rooms

By Antoine Craigwell

(New York, NY) – Cybersex: The Play, morphed from a 10-year-old seed, as an idea in the mind of Jason Duvall Hunter, to finally growing into and becoming a tree that bloomed and bore fruit with a performance at the New York City Producer’s Club.

At the Producer’s Club, last Saturday night, Jul 10, more than 60 people gathered to share in Hunter’s dream of producing a play. A real estate broker by day and the play’s writer, producer, director, and sound and lighting master, Hunter was finally able to bring to the stage his vision of melding his story with current technology: exploring his sexual abuse as a child with his search for love and affection in Internet chat rooms.

“I’ve thought of this play for over 10 years and with the rise of the Internet and computers, this is also autobiographical where I explore sexual identity and conflict. It’s also an opportunity for me to create this using my own life experience as a template,” Hunter said.

CyberSex: The Play is an adult rated play, which describes in graphic detail the sexual escapades that people engage in online chat rooms. It features a cast and crew of 13, and consists of people of different racial backgrounds, who, according to Hunter, were chosen from an open casting call and is intended as a reflection of diversity in society.

The play, with Harmonica Sunbeam as the Online Host, began with introductions into Internet Chat Rooms by the character “YouMe69n” (a handle used by several of the characters), played and with dance sequences choreographed by FranCisco Vegas – in drag, Michael Smith, Oscar Salazar, Nick Dorvill, and DJ Baker as “Shine2Fine”. Using different chat room handles, the characters include “Boy1683n” played by Delvon Johnson, “ShavedFratboy” played by Yvette Quintero, “Kenny1744n” played by Tristan Sample, “Tyboy1215n” by Nemian Quaid, and “LindaSue49n” by Unique Mills. The play devolves into the story of David, played by Alton Alburo, dressed simply in a black T-shirt and pants, who interleaves into the play a monologue describing his seduction and rape when he was 8-years old by his older cousin.

FranCisco Vegas as "YouMe69n"

It is in Internet chat rooms that David turns to find his sexuality identity, to determine if he is gay, straight, or bisexual. And, it is by entering into the Chat Rooms, in six different scenes, that he encounters people who populate these Internet sites, and are not who they say or claim to be; that in fact, many are hiding their true selves behind masks and various costumes with attitudes and behaviors. He realizes that as he searches for meaning in the chat rooms, he is the only one being truthful.

David reveals toward the end that since he was raped, his sexual development has been stunted: although he has participated in several different sexual acts, including having a girlfriend who turned out to be a lesbian, and with many different people, the trauma of the rape has prevented him from ever achieving an orgasm.

A scene from a sex chat room

“I want people to come away from seeing this play with perceptions of themselves, to see in the people they know, the costumes and the masks people wear, and the lies people tell, especially the covers people use as they interact with each other online. This is basically an exploration of sexuality and sexual identity, and is a peeling away of the layers to reveal true selves,” said Hunter.

Sharing in the play’s production, associate producer Nathan James, a writer and advocate for and of the LGBT community, said that working with Hunter and Bill Johnson, the co-director, was a privilege to create a performance that is at once both provocative and groundbreaking.

“It is provocative in that it’s a play that steps outside the boundaries of convention and engages the audience with intriguing concepts regarding our sexual identity and some of our darker life experiences,” James said.

DJ Baker as "Shine2Fine"

Bill Johnson, 14 years as a director, who participated in productions such as “Colored Museum” by George C. Wolf, and “Bus Stop” by William Inge, said that he was glad to have been given the opportunity to give voice to Hunter’s personal story. He said he took the writer’s words to ensure that the story is told through direction, lighting, costumes, and props, which were minimal.

“It’s a good story. Unfortunately, molestation is too much part of life. Too many men have been molested and haven’t dealt with it, and don’t know how to deal with it. This play addresses this issue and I hope it opens some lines of communication,” the co-director said.

Hunter, who has been working on producing the play since January, had a

Alton Alburo as "David"

table reading in February this year and depending on the success of the play, plans to pursue an extended run for about three or four weeks in the Fall at a mid-level theater, such as the Helen Mills Theater or a theater with about 140 seats. His vision for the play’s future is that it would attract sponsors and with a bigger budget go off-Broadway or even ambitiously, to Broadway itself.

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July 14, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men, Black Men Health, Blogroll, Caribbean, Caribbean Community, community, Elderly LGBT, Guyana, Health, HIV, Immigrant rights, Jamaica, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, LGBT Seniors, Male Health, Public Health, Theater | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Christians must oppose all discrimination: Bishop Singh.

(Pastoral letter issued by Bishop Benedict Singh, Bishop of Georgetown, Guyana, on Jan 4, 2001, and reprinted in The Catholic Standard, a publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Georgetown Guyana, on Jul 9, 2010; editor Colin Smith.)

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ,

The Constitution of Guyana was amended by parliament on 4th January. One section of the amended Constitution of Guyana prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. Some Christians are vigorously opposing this element in the amended Constitution on the grounds that it is an “official endorsement and national approval of sexual perversion”.

When dealing with questions that generate strong emotions, we need to be careful and precise with our choice of language. First, we must note that what is at issue here is not discrimination against homosexuality but discrimination against PERSONS who are homosexuals. We need to remind ourselves that as Christians we are called to oppose every kind of discrimination against persons. We are called to reach out to all minorities and especially to those who find themselves in a minority they did not choose…..

Most of us, whether we find ourselves sexually attracted to the opposite sex or our own sex, did not choose one or the other: we simply discovered that is how we are. Homosexual persons are sexually attracted solely to their own gender. There is strong evidence that their orientation is fixed early in life (in many cases before birth), and it is totally outside of their control. Experience has taught us that no therapy or counseling can change it….

As Christians, we are called by the Lord to love our neighbour. They are our brothers and sisters, children with us of the one Father. We do not show them that we regard them as brothers and sisters if we do nothing to remove the discrimination which they undoubtedly suffer.

In society at large – and in our church – there are homosexual men and lesbian women who lead useful and virtuous lives. Many of them show an active concern for justice and for the plight of the needy which is an example to all of us. In the face of the discrimination they encounter, some of them can be described as truly heroic.

Some allege that to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is to “open the flood-gates “to all kinds of “corrupt and ungodly sexual practices”. Undoubtedly, if this amendment stands as it is and its effects are worked out, we Christians will have to define and proclaim our beliefs and moral standards with regard to sexuality and we will not fear to do so.

We do believe that God himself is the author of marriage in which a man and a woman “are no longer two but one”. We believe that that act of sexual intercourse is the highest expression of that unity. So we hold that the intimate sexual act may only be exercised between a man and a woman joined in the unbreakable union of marriage. Further, we believe that all Christians are called to actively promote the values of marriage and the
family among people of every race and religion and sexual orientation.
But our support for marriage and the family is not helped by discrimination against any person. It is not sufficient to merely refrain from active discrimination. We have to show others that we love and respect them as
persons. For these reasons, Christians should not oppose the wording of this amendment.

Finally, we should not allow ourselves to react to the attempts of others to bring more justice to our society with fear or irrational emotion. The Spirit of God is with us and he will enable us calmly and serenely to proclaim our faith and that justice which is an integral part of that faith.

Bishop Benedict Singh

July 13, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men, Black Men Health, Caribbean, Caribbean Community, community, Elderly LGBT, Guyana, Health, HIV, HIV Status, Immigrant rights, Jamaica, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, LGBT Seniors, Male Health, Mental Health, Politics, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

We should not discriminate against Homosexuals

By Mike James

(Note: this article was extracted from The Catholic Standard, Jul 9, 2010, editor Colin Smith, published by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Georgetown, Guyana.)

A very interesting and often heated debate has developed in Guyana over the past two weeks on the issue of the rights of homosexuals following an impassioned critique by some members of the Inter Religious Organization
of a current film festival sponsored by the Society Against Sexual Orientation Discrimination (SASOD) at the Side Walk Cafe in Georgetown and responses by other members of the IRO and members of the wider Guyanese public.
The debate revives the equally contentious issues surrounding the 4 January 2001 Constitutional Amendment approved in Parliament prohibiting discrimination against persons based on their race, age, sex, marital status, religion or sexual orientation.

Following strong lobbying led by some sectors of the religious community that the law would limit the rights of religious groups to discriminate against homosexuals, the President of Guyana declined to sign the amendment into law, and subsequently approved a revised constitutional amendment without sexual orientation being listed as one of the grounds on which discrimination is prohibited in Guyana.

It is notable at the time significant religious bodies, including the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches and other civil society groups publicly registered solid and dispassionate arguments for retaining the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds sexual orientation. It is also notable that the President bowed to the pressure of very vocal and agitated groups claiming the right to vilify and discriminate against homosexuals despite the fact that he himself had been subject a few short years previously to a sustained, disgraceful, uncharitable, obscene and totally unjustified public campaign of insults, mockery and contempt surrounding supposed allegations of his own sexual orientation.

For a good understanding of a Catholic perspective on the current controversy on homosexual rights in Guyana, the publication of the following excerpts from the excellent Pastoral Letter published by Bishop
Benedict Singh on the issue may be helpful. His concerns, ignored by the President and Parliament at the time, remain as valid today as they were then.

July 13, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men, Black Men Health, Caribbean, Caribbean Community, community, Elderly LGBT, Guyana, Health, HIV, HIV Status, Immigrant rights, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, LGBT Seniors, Male Health, Public Health | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Pride Means

(Note: This article reposted from the SASOD YahooGroup. It was  written by a Guyanese who resides in the U.S. The Center refers to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in New York City.)

Yesterday, in the quiet recesses of the Center, we met as a diverse group of mostly gay and undocumented immigrants to discuss Pride Celebrations. Releasing tension[s] absorbed from the outside world, we all relaxed, and began sharing our stories of coming from societies where no such celebration can occur, and our impressions encountering our first New York City Pride Parade. Some of our stories were of immediate relief, while others like mine, were of initial cynicism and apprehension.

The first time I was exposed to New York City pride, I decided I didn’t want to be that type of gay man. It appeared too celebratory, extravagant and vulgar. The parade didn’t reflect any part of me. I recoiled. Years went by, as I dismissed it it as a vehicle for certain aspects of the gay community that I didn’t identify with.

Now, as part of the Immigrant Social Action Group at the Center, my impression has been drastically changed. The year-long journey that brought me here has been life-altering, as desperation led to self-acceptance. In my case, self-acceptance opened my mind to all forms of diversity in sexual identity and gender identity. A large part of this was due to my presence inside the Center. It has been a wholesome and pleasurable womb for personal rebirth.

The themes of self-acceptance and wider acceptance emerged in our discussion[s] of what gay pride and the parades mean. Through my friends’ stories, I was taught how the celebratory nature of the parades have facilitated many gay immigrants’ acceptance of themselves. Stories were told that delighted me as I sat immersed in the camaraderie. One woman told of her first New York City gay pride, when she tremulously looked on, until a contingent of her fellow countrymen walked by in national wear and invited her into the parade. She jumped in, and immediately experienced a rebirth, and attainment of pride, in her sexual identity.

Another story told, was of a gay man who, newly arrived in the United States, was in San Francisco with a friend. They went to the pride parade, and were taken aback by the sight of gay men and women marching in public dancing and celebrating. It seemed the American Dream; it seemed everything they had come to America for. As they ran along the outside of the parade asking what it was, they were invited onto a Float. Two thin, brown men invited to dance on an all-white float. They melted into the celebration.

A third story came from a man of Caribbean descent who was afraid of being seen in public in the vicinity of the parade. His story reflected mine. After many years of living in fear, he finally broke free. He now marches proudly and openly. Another man, also from the Caribbean, spoke of his initial reluctance because of the pretentious atmosphere of the parade. Yesterday, he too reflected my impression. As he gradually learnt to accept himself, he became comfortable and accepting of others, so that today, he no longer sees the parade as a distortion of gay pride, but a valid celebration, to not only display our presence, but to invite the timid and unsure, and to entice those outside our community into a celebration, with lowered barriers of aversion.

There are still many barriers to be lowered. A significant portion of the intolerance we feel as gay immigrants comes from other settlers from our homelands, and other countries, who have brought bigotry with them. Even within New York City, we live with prejudice because we cannot afford to live elsewhere. It sometimes makes us feel resigned to failure in seeking a better life. This sentiment was shared by many in the room.

Even when those of us who find strength and courage to come out and immerse ourselves in gay-friendly parts of the City, do so, we encounter intolerance. This particular strain of intolerance is very hurtful because it comes from within the LGBT community itself. I personally know that identifying as gay doesn’t automatically lead to full acceptance by other LGBT individuals. At a recent celebration for gay pride, I witnessed racial tension between two individuals. I felt hurt. I went there expecting to see all facets of the LGBT rights movement under one banner regardless of each individual’s other identities. I was hoping to see unwavering acceptance. I was hoping to see public expression of the move beyond self-acceptance to acceptance of others. I came away disappointed, reeling from the reality of bigotry. Even as we ourselves struggle for acceptance, we sometimes fail to push our own insecurities away. I hear gay men mock lesbians and transgendered individuals. I hear macho-acting men berating effeminate men. I hear every possible distinction being used to discriminate. I feel deflated.

One of the storytellers spoke of coming to the US to escape living in the shadows of his society, but finds himself doing the same here. Yes, in coming into the borders, he no longer fears for his life because of his sexual orientation, but he finds it has been exchanged for other intolerances spread across many of his identities. He feels it against his complexion, he feels it against his effeminate manner, he feels it against his thick accent, he feels it against his muslim faith. The magnitude of the intolerance, he feels, remains the same. Another speaker feels it because she is also muslim, has a heavy accent, and because she is transgendered.

I mention this because it is, and has been, transgendered individuals, effeminate men, and macho-acting women who have been at the front lines of the fight for acceptance. No other choice exists for them. They, unlike many others who fit gender stereotypes, don’t have the luxury to hide behind mannerisms for convenience. So they absorb so much more. They also have to be stronger. It is for this that I force myself to accept all of us despite how insecure I feel, or how chipped, shattered or distorted we may have become in our personal struggles.  The line between preference and discrimination is a fuzzy one, and it takes diligent vigilance to remain on the virtuous side of it.

I have heard the term ‘post-gay’ being used to describe individuals who have moved away from activism and live openly within the confines of the larger society. They have given up some of their identity to be accommodated. However, when I hear the term ‘post-gay’ this is what I imagine: a biologically diverse movement that is no longer a minority, but encompasses all sexual and gender identities. A place where we recognize and celebrate all gender non-conforming individuals who don’t have the luxury of hiding behind secondary identities, and who make the pride parade even more colorful and exuberant. Post gay will happen when the laws of the land truly reflect the real biological diversity that humans encompass. It is the lawful discrimination after all, that keeps so many of us living on the fringe of this society as it did in our countries of origin.

I am happy to have had the opportunity to connect with so many LGBT individuals from all countries, sexual preferences and personalities during my own healing process. Being open and accepting of others has helped me heal even further than I would have otherwise. As I walk in my first New York City Parade this Sunday, I will be wearing personal pride and celebrating reaching it. I will also be opening my mind to other expressions of sexuality and gender identity as I encounter them. The Social Action Group, comprised of all colors, ethnicities, sexual and gender identities, have pledged to uphold open acceptance in defending equality.

We will be marching, celebrating our renewed enthusiasm and pride in accepting not only all sexual identities, but all other facets of the LGBT community. We hope our celebration is seen and shared. We hope that our voices as diverse, undocumented, immigrants seeking a better life as LGBT individuals will be heard, understood, and given empathy and support. We feel strongly that our concerns encompass and reflect those of the larger LGBT community; that listening and giving support to our plights will bring awareness to the gamut of issues, and facilitate a wide-ranging healing process.

Greg

June 24, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men, Black Men Health, Caribbean, community, Guyana, Health, HIV, Immigrant rights, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, Public Health, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

LGBT Seniors Have National Caregiver Resource Center

SAGE also launches ad campaign

By Antoine Craigwell

(New York, NY) – In a special event celebrating Pride month, more than 150 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) seniors and staff of Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders (SAGE) gathered on Monday, Jun 14 at SAGE’s office for the launching of the National Caregiver Resource Center and ad campaign.

The National Caregiver Resource Center, a first in the country catering specifically to LGBT seniors, was made possible by a collaborative $900,000 grant over three years to 10 partner agencies around the country from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department for the Aging. These partner agencies are charged with providing training on LGBT issues, access to mainstream services and providers for seniors, and critically important educational tools and information for elderly LGBT people, including financial management, case and social worker assistance, and enabling access to addressing health and disability concerns.

SAGECAP Ad Campaign

“Our SAGECAP program provides an LGBT-affirming space where people who are going through the difficult time of providing care for a loved one can receive essential information and support,” said Michael Adams, executive director of SAGE. “SAGE’s city-wide ad campaign is meant to remind LGBT caregivers that they are not alone and that our SAGECAP services are there to help.”

Pat Parsons standing next to SAGE Resource Center sign

The press release added that the campaign’s ads would run as posters throughout the city’s Metropolitan Transit Authority subway and bus system from Jun 14 to Jul 26, as well as in print and online magazines, blogs, and in media that target the LGBT community throughout New York City. Animated versions of the ads will also run online. In all, it is expected that the campaign will be viewed more than 33 million times during the seven-week campaign period. Later this year, in preparation for November’s Caregiver Appreciation Month, SAGE will broaden the campaign to educate LGBT communities nationwide about the types of support caregivers could receive.

At the combined launch Adams said, “The National Resource Center is a huge breakthrough for the LGBT community because this is the first time that the federal government is providing support, federal benefits, for LGBT people across the country through service providers. The public education campaign, on the other hand, is an example of the kind of educational work the Resource Center would do. The ad campaign is to help caregivers for LGBT elders become aware of SAGE’s caregiver support program.”

Michael Adams, executive director, SAGE, and Sheila Bligen, retired Verizon employee

Although SAGE caters to LGBT elders 50 years and over, John “Marty” Young, an African-American who is two years shy of that goal, is already familiarizing himself with the organization’s services.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to meet the needs and to recognize that there exists a number of LGBT seniors who are invisible. This center acknowledges their existence and importance, especially with so much emphasis on youth these days,” said Young.

Lee Evans, 63-year old, who is a bisexual retired Broadway actor and singer, says that since he came out to his daughter and had to deal with different health issues including prostate cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, that SAGE has been able to help older LGBT people who are single.

“SAGE has given me an opportunity to come out of the closet and be comfortable,” he said

Adams said that seniors in the LGBT community are living in unprecedented times, especially for caregivers, healthcare facilities, and communities that serve them.

“Our country is witnessing the first generation in history to live and age more openly as LGBT people. Going into the closet to access vital services isn’t an option,” said Adams.

Another senior, Shelia Bligen, 59, who is retired from Verizon, says that although she has been with SAGE for two years, she always knew about the organization, from their women’s dances.

“SAGE is an outlet where I can give back. I volunteer and make use of the available programs, including computer services and opportunities to attend the opera. To me the resource center means I could refer friends and others to SAGE because a lot of people don’t know of the organization,” said Bligen.

Three seniors chatting after the launch

Cathy Renna, of Renna Communications, the firm handling public relations for SAGE, said, “This campaign follows last year’s highly successful and award-winning LGBT older adult visibility campaign with the message that “there’s no expiration date on a full and active life.”

Renna added that the world famous photographer Janette Beckman, who has shot photos of rock stars and hip-hop artists for Rolling Stone magazine for the past two decades, has turned her lens on SAGE members, donors, staff and volunteers.

“Janette and Double Platinum, the award-winning gay and lesbian focused marketing agency owned by Arthur Korant and Stephanie Blackwood, have put a positive and hopeful face on LGBT aging,” said Renna.

Barbara Russel, at left, greeted by Lawrence Lala, seated.

While the Resource Center is official, SAGE is in the process of identify appropriate staff, including a director, and later this year, plans to launch a Website which would provide vital information to LGBT elderly audiences to ensure that seniors are supported all over the country.

June 17, 2010 Posted by | African-American News, Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men Health, Caribbean, community, Elderly LGBT, Health, HIV, HIV Status, Immigrant rights, Jamaica, LGBT community, LGBT Immigrant rights, LGBT Rights, LGBT Seniors, Male Health, Public Health | , , , , | Leave a comment

NY LGBT Center Launches Handbook for Immigrants

After five years in the making, handbook now more relevant than ever.

By Antoine Craigwell

Just as the heat erupted in Arizona over the controversial new immigrant law, the social action group of the New York Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Center on Tuesday, Apr 20, launched the first ever handbook for LGBT immigrants arriving in the U.S. For many LGBT immigrants who fled persecution from their home countries to come to the U.S. for refuge, many are again reduced to living in fear, anxiety, and uncertainty, and the launching of the handbook, at the second annual immigrant fair and show, was right on time.

As a resource specifically for LGBT immigrants, director of the LGBT immigrant support group, George Fesser, MSW, in an email response said, “I have been wanting to produce this kind of manual for over five years. In my previous job, the focus of the agency was HIV prevention, so it was a hard sell. At the Center however, I was encouraged to find community partners that would collaborate and help us make this book a reality. Over my years of work with the LGBT immigrant community, individuals have always commented that they wish they could have had access to information that would have avoided them making so many mistakes and trusting the wrong people when it came to their personal immigration issues. With the feedback of over 400 LGBT immigrants, this book was formatted to answer several basic questions about what to do. “

The organizers of the handbook project waited for the specific legislation surrounding the HIV travel ban to become official before going to print.

The green and white covered handbook, “Welcome Guide for LGBT Immigrants” boasts on its cover samples of welcome in at least 16 different languages and lists those who assisted in sponsoring and producing it, including, AIDforAIDS, AIDS Center of Queens County, The Center, GMHC, Latino Commission on AIDS, Immigration Equality, and Housing Works. The 12-page handbook is divided at the center page by a listing of agencies as resources across the New York tri-state region, and with one six-page half in English and the other in Spanish.

Along with an introduction and a welcome, the handbook concisely lists and addresses nine areas of concern for LGBT immigrants, such as understanding rental laws, landlord, and tenant rights, and laws against discrimination, “how do I find a place to live?” It makes references to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, and low wages, for those who are concerned about being able to work, “what are my rights as a worker?” With an excerpt from Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Executive Order 41, which protects all New York City residents, the handbook outlines for LGBT people how to access city-based services and the agencies to obtain help. It also addresses the needs of HIV positive LGBT immigrants, with reference to the U.S. government’s end on the travel ban for HIV positive people entering the country, which took effect on Jan 4, 2010, benefits available to HIV positive LGBT people, and dealt with issues affecting the transgender community, “I am a transgender immigrant. What about me?” Additionally, the handbook suggests to LGBT immigrants how to find a good immigration attorney, knowing about filing for asylum, and how to access free or low cost legal services.

“If you read the book, you will see the logic. On the cover of the book, are all the agencies that collaborated information according to their particular expertise on the subject. It is our hope that with the possibility of new immigration reform, this book will soon become obsolete, and that we will have to create a second edition,” said Fesser.

Fesser said that a plan is in the works to post a copy of the handbook on the Center’s Website, but because of the nature of the material, where translations into other languages have to be officially certified, and with an approximate cost of $1,500 for each translation, there is some uncertainty about being able to achieve this goal.

“It took too long to make it happen, but we finally did,” Fesser said of the handbook.

As a small number of handbooks were printed, Fesser said, and out of those copies remaining, photocopies would be made, so that anyone wishing a copy could get it from the Center.

UPDATE: At a news conference held on Thursday, Apr 29, on the lawn of the Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix, four groups: the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, and the National Immigration Law Center (NILC), announced legal challenges to the immigration law signed last Saturday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. According to the press release posted on the NILC Website, the new law requires law enforcement officers to question people about their immigration status during everyday police encounters and criminalizes immigrants for failing to carry their “papers.” The unconstitutional law, the groups say, encourages racial profiling, endangers public safety, and betrays American values.

April 29, 2010 Posted by | Black Gay Men, Black Gay Men Health, Black Men Health, Caribbean, community, Guyana, Health, HIV, HIV Status, Immigrant rights, Jamaica, LGBT community, Male Health, Public Health | Leave a comment