News Round-Up: May 30, 2018

Some news items you might have missed:

• InstaStud Ace Cee (above) “Ain’t got no sweat left to shed.”

• A survey from the University of Oregon of 27,000 students shows that LGBT students are likely to be subject to twice as much “verbal, physical, psychological, and sexual violence” as their peers.

• According to EW, television network ABC is exploring ideas to keep the cast of Roseanne employed, perhaps in a new series – sans Roseanne, of course. #MeetTheBonners?

• A Republican lawmaker says porn is to blame for the increase in school shootings. #Huh?

• “Totally-not-gay” former Congressman Aaron Schock lost his request in appeals court that criminal indictments be dismissed. The 36-year-old is facing 22 counts of corruption.

• Out pro wrestler Anthony Bowens wrote his boyfriend a romantic song for his birthday. #Awwww

FDA Approves PrEP For Use By Teens At Risk Of HIV

hiv.jpg

In 2012, HIV medication Truvada was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by adults as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) against HIV.

The results have been excellent to say the least as studies show the use of PrEP reduces the chances of HIV exposure by over 90%.

Now, the FDA has expanded the approval of Truvada as PrEP to include adolescents. The new approval will now include teens at risk for HIV who weigh at least 77 pounds.

The decision was based on the ATN113 study, which enrolled 78 high-risk adolescents ages 15 to 17.

Over the course of 48 weeks, the participants checked in on a monthly basis for the first three months, and then moved to clinic visits every three months.

Adherence to taking the drug on a daily basis was fairly high during the first three months. But once the study moved to checking in only every three months, researchers found the teens were more likely to skip a dose.

That drop off in adherence led to the conclusion that teens may need monthly monitoring in order to achieve the best results on PrEP.

(photo by Jeremy McKnight)

The side effects reported among the adolescents were similar to those observed in adults on Truvada, the most common being weight loss, headaches and abdominal pains.

In a press release from Gilead Sciences, which manufactures Truvada, Sybil Hosek, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Cook County Health and Hospital System’s Stroger Hospital in Chicago and lead investigator of the study wrote, “Study ATN113 has demonstrated that Truvada for PrEP is a well-tolerated prevention option for adolescents who are vulnerable to HIV.”

“In addition to traditional risk-reduction strategies, health care providers and community advocates are now equipped with another tool to help address the incidence of HIV in younger at-risk populations,” she added.

(h/t Poz)

New Jersey: Teen Gay Couple Ends Prom Night With A Surprise

(images via Theodore Vidal)
Theodore Vidal (L), Colin Beyers (R)

It’s prom season, and like many couples across America, teenagers Theodore Vidal and his boyfriend Colin Beyers were making the most of the end of their prom night last Friday night.

The two high schoolers, in their matching navy blue tuxes and pink bow ties, took a stroll on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, after their junior prom.

As they walked, they approached a rooftop bar where a rowdy group of quintessential “Jersey Shore bros” had been yelling at every couple who passed by to kiss.

Michael Del Moro, a producer for Good Morning America, happened to be out for ice cream with his boyfriend and family members when they noticed the rowdy “bros” and the cute couple at the same time.

Del Moro was initially worried about what might happen when the gay couple passed the group.

So was Vidal, apparently. He told the local ABC affiliate that he and Beyers readied themselves for the razzing. “It’s South Jersey. Guys pick on us for being gay a lot,” said 17-year-old high school junior. “It’s an area where you normally would get picked on and discriminated against.”

Vidal had come out when he was in 8th grade and knew well the bullying being gay can bring. He told Buzzfeed that he spent much of that year being attacked, bullied, ignored and told to “end his life.”

But, he and Del Moro were surprised when the rooftop crowd cheered, changing their chants of “Kiss her” to “Kiss him!” Vidal and Beyers hesitantly kissed one another, and rather than taunting the couple the rooftop crew went wild screaming their approval.

Vidal told ABC7, “The way it went down was amazing. It was so positive and so reinforcing that I could be myself and not get made fun of and I could be myself with who I love and not get made fun of for that.”

“A lot of people here think gay people aren’t strong or we’re more girly because we show emotion but we’ve learned it’s better to show what you are feeling and be open and who you are as long as you are pushing forward,” Beyers added.

The cute couple is now planning a summer trip to Greece together before Beyers begins his freshman year at the College of New Jersey this fall while Vidal wraps up his senior year of high school.

Del Moro later tweeted he actually knew some of the rooftop bar “bros.” They were apparently celebrating their friends’ bachelor party and loved the whole thing saying, “We are all very happy for those guys.”

Check out Del Moro’s full Twitter thread below.

Trailer: Netflix’s New Teen Comedy “Alex Strangelove”

Just as we come off our Love, Simon high, Netflix steps up to the plate with their own take on questioning high schoolers.

In the new coming-of-age film Alex Strangelove, produced by Ben Stiller, we meet way-cute, wide-eyed high school senior “Alex Truelove” (played by Daniel Downey) who seems to have it all.

Life seems pretty sweet for young Alex until his girlfriend (Madeline Weinstein of Beach Rats) begins to pressure him about that major teen milestone – losing his virginity. Suddenly, Alex isn’t so sure about which team he plays for.

Adding to the confusion is “Elliott,” a gay teen (played by out actor Antonio Marziale) who clearly sparks an interest in Alex.

Here’s the official synopsis:

High school senior Alex Truelove (Daniel Doheny) has it all – the grades, the girlfriend (Madeline Weinstein), and the motley crew of hilarious friends. Everything is smooth sailing until Alex shares that he’s decided to part ways with his virginity – and meets Elliott (Antonio Marziale), a sweet and confident gay boy who isn’t shy about his instant crush on Alex…who may or may not feel the same. Rocketed into a endearing and amusing journey of sexual and self-exploration, Alex ultimately learns that like so much of growing up, love can be confusing. And that’s okay.

Director Craig Johnson (The Skeleton Twins) recently told Entertainment Weekly that he’s thrilled the film landed at Netflix, “because you can be a closeted kid in rural Wyoming and access it, where you might not have gone to it were it playing in the theater.”

The film feels very much in the same vein as recent hit Love, Simon, and we couldn’t be happier. More gay rom-coms!

Alex Strangelove premieres on Netflix June 8. Watch the trailer below.

Gay Teen Leaves Behind Heartbreaking Suicide Note

(stock photo via Pexels)

An article no one ever wants to write.

This past Saturday, in a lengthy Twitter thread, Peter Delacroix shared the story of a gay 17-year-old who had committed suicide as a result of bullying and ridicule.

Delacroix woke up to an email from a teen he referred to as “Max” that was clearly a suicide note. Max was one of a group of queer teenagers that Delacroix counsels as a Youth Pastor at his church.

He immediately rushed to Max’s house, but it was too late. Max had hanged himself, and although CPR was administered, paramedics were unable to save him.

Delacroix described young Max as having “the heart of a lion, the soul of a poet and the smile of an angel.” Apparently a budding musician, Delacroix says the 17-year-old’s music could “bring you to tears.”

We have lost an amazing, talented young man, lost his voice amid the howling storm of hatred that finally proved too much even for him.

Max’s grandmother asked Delacroix to share Max’s heartbreaking suicide note with the world. The pastor says he struggled at the request, but eventually shared via Twitter because “I cannot in good conscience silence his last words.”

Repeat – this is being shared by request from Max’s family.

Dear World

You are ugly and dirty and you make me feel ugly and dirty. I have heard all my life that I am a sinner even though I love God and I like to think God loves me too.

I’m sorry Jack that I didn’t kiss you that day. I’m sorry Pastor Pete but please don’t be sad. Mostly I’m sorry Gramma because I know you tried really hard to love me when no one else would. I’m sorry I let you all down. I’m sorry but I’m just tired of all the hate.

I’m tired and want to sleep forever but maybe I will wake up in Heaven and there will be no hate there and only love. No one will call me bad names or hit me or remind me of my accidental place here.

Everyday I watch the news and see the hate against people like me and I realize I have no future. This country I don’t recognize anymore hates me and makes laws to punish me just because I’m gay.

They hate me because I love too much and love too wrong. I learned that my kind of love is bad. I heard it enough to believe it a long time ago.

Everyday someone comes along that tells me that I am worthless and my love, how I love, who I love is an affront to God as if anyone truly knows God’s mind.

I love beautiful things and I cry when they are gone. There is no more beauty left in the world. It has been replaced with this alien thing called hate. Bad people killed all the beautiful things. This is not a world I want to live in.

This is my choice the only choice I was ever given and it is mine alone.

I love you but I won’t miss any of this and I don’t think in the end I will be missed much at all in a world that looks at me like I’m something dirty they found on the bottom of their shoe.

I’m sorry I was weak and that I loved too much.

Max

The pastor did have a final message for Max: “You are wrong about one thing: you *will* be missed, by the entire world, who has been robbed of your beauty.”

And Delacroix had this to say to parents of LGBTQ kids: “Parents, if you have a queer child, hug them and tell them you love them. Do this every day. Tell them they are beautiful and have worth, no matter what anyone else might tell them. Be their armor against hate.”

Max’s grandmother has asked those moved by Max’s loss consider donating to The Trevor Project or to a local homeless shelter dedicated to LGBTQ kids.

IMPORTANT: If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress or having suicidal thoughts, please call The Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386 (thetrevorproject.org) or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 (suicidepreventionlifeline.org).

(h/t LGBTQ Nation)

LGBT Teen Suicide Front & Center In Logic’s Evocative Music Video “1-800-273-8255”

Dark societal pressures come down heavy on a gay teenager in the new video from Logic titled, “1-800-273-8255.”

The title is the actual phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, where those in crisis can find confidential support.

The haunting short film tells the story of a gay teen (played by Coy Stewart) who is slowly coming to terms with his sexuality and his burgeoning relationship with another boy (Modern Family‘s Nolan Gould).

But the two boy’s fathers (played by Don Cheadle and Matthew Modine) are not down with the gay thing, and life begins to spiral out of control.

Throughout the song, Alessia Cara and Khalid are featured offering positive counterpoint to the teen’s turmoil.

The track appears on Logic’s new album, Everybody, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200.

Watch the evocative video below.

Study: Teen LGB Suicides Dropped Thanks To Marriage Equality

(image via Youth OUTright)

According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics today, marriage equality has been linked to decreases in teenage suicide.

In studying suicide among high school students over 17 years, researchers found suicide attempts fell 7% for all high school students.

But, in states that legalized same-sex marriage before the June 2015 Obergefell Supreme Court ruling, suicide among LGB students dropped 14%. States that did not adopt marriage equality saw no change in the statistics.

Suicide ranks 10th in causes of death in the United States, but much higher (number 2) for young people age 10-24. But the numbers are much higher for those students who identify as LGB.

About 1 in 7 heterosexual students (15%) had seriously considered suicide compared to more than 2 in 5 lesbian, gay and bisexual students (43%).

(source)

Hillary Clinton Goes Purple For Spirit Day

Current Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton went purple today on Twitter in honor of Spirit Day.

Spirit Day began in 2010 as a way to show support for LGBT youth and take a stand against bullying.

After several high-profile suicide deaths of gay teens in 2010, GLAAD worked to involve millions of teachers, workplaces, celebrities, media outlets and students in going purple on social media or wearing purple, a color that symbolizes spirit on the rainbow flag.

Spirit Day is observed on the third Thursday in October. So, get out your purple and support efforts to end bullying of young LGBTs!

More info on Spirit Day over at GLAAD’s website.

Oregon: State House Passes Ban On “Ex-Gay” Therapy For Minors

By a vote of 41-18, the Oregon House has approved legislation that would ban so-called “ex-gay” or “conversion” therapy that purports to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of young people.

The bill would make it illegal for social workers or licensed mental health professionals such as psychologists or psychiatrists to practice what’s called conversion therapy on children younger than 18.

Laws banning the therapy have passed in New Jersey, California and Washington, D.C. Advocates say bills have been introduced in about two dozen more states.

Rep. Rob Nosse, a Portland Democrat, said the therapy has been widely discredited. He said the therapy can often lead to depression or anxiety in youths.

Psychology experts have called the practice “harmful” and “dangerous.”

The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled Senate.

ABC Family’s The Fosters Makes History With Youngest Same-Sex Kiss

ABC Family’s “Jude” and “Connor” make history with first kiss

This past Monday night’s episode of ABC Family’s The Fosters made history by featuring a story line which led to the youngest sam-sex kiss in television history.

Plenty of TV shows explore the coming of age aspect of growing up and experiencing romantic attraction between opposite-sex teens. But for the first time, two 13 year-old male characters saw their way to a first kiss during the episode.

The smooch aired on Monday night’s episode of The Fosters and took place between main character Jude (played by 14-year-old actor Hayden Byerly) and his best friend, Connor (played by 15-year-old actor Gavin MacIntosh).

“This story line is important in so many ways,” said MacIntosh in an interview with entertainment site Just Jared Jr. “It’s been eye-opening about how many kids struggle with feeling ‘OK’ about questioning their sexuality.”

Now observers are viewing the “Jonner” kiss as a milestone in diversity. “Boy/girl crushes at 13 are portrayed a lot on TV,” MacIntosh said in his Just Jared Jr. interview. “But to represent something different — I am proud of that.”

Jennifer Lopez serves as an executive producer on the series.