This thread is so gay

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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby My pseudonym is Ix » 23 Jun 2016, 02:11

Thank you Ditto, for injecting some truth and moderation into proceedings- always appreciated.

(If I sound cranky- I'm British, and am thus thoroughly sick of opinionated, poorly-balanced political arguments right about now...)
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 23 Jun 2016, 10:14

Psyclone wrote:Behavior-based meaning risky behavior for everyone and not just gay men, yes? Right?

Nah, probably not.


As I understand it, that's what that means. Makes sense, right?

I bet we don't see the change for fifty years. :(

As to blanket bans on gay men donating blood, the problem is that you end up with the following scenario:

Say you have two gay men who have never had sex with anyone, ever. They get into a sexual relationship - marry, even, - and are strictly monogamous. They are barred from donating blood.

Now say you have a straight man who has unprotected sex with three women every night for a year. He is not barred from donating blood (and I know that's the case - I'm a blood donor, and go through the screening questions every time).

Who is more likely to contaminate the blood supply?

Let's leave the discrimination aspect aside for the moment. The salient point is that the current policy does not adequately protect the blood supply, because it focuses on irrelevant things; it doesn't bar certain things that are harmful, and it bars certain things that are not. It's bad policy, because it doesn't actually do what it intends to. It misses the target.

Now, if that weren't the case, I'd agree that the discriminatory aspects are secondary. But, because the policy isn't rationally-connected (legal term) to its objective (that is, it wants to do X, but it actually does Y, or not-quite-X), we have a situation where the discrimination is not required in order to bring about the desired public-health outcome.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 23 Jun 2016, 11:40

The risk rate in Ditto's post are highly exaggerated in quite a few ways. Not that Ditto is the one doing that, just that the information they are working with was created originally in bad faith, based on demonstrably bad assumptions, or simply based on incorrect information in the first place.

The assumption that 12 units of HIV infected blood per year would be added to the blood supply is based on pure statistics and does not hold up under scrutiny. Using the same method of pure statistics there should be around 8 HIV infections per year in the USA from blood donors (Estimated 1 out of 2 million infected units, ~16 million units used a year.) However, there has only been one case in the last 13 years - in 2008. By the pure statistics model we should have had about 104 infections in that time. Clearly this statistics based approach is not an effective method of estimation, it is 2 orders of magnitude off.

We don't know the reason for the discrepancy, but the most often put forward theory is based on the fact that this method assumes zero self selection from the heterosexual population. People who donate blood are civic minded and do so for the purpose of helping others. It would be counter to their goal if they were to donate at risk blood. Self selection is therefore likely a strong influence on the blood supply, and there is no reason to suspect the homosexual population would behave any less responsibly in this sense. In fact, the openly homosexual population is usually far better educated on HIV and may be much better about self screening than the average individual.

12 additional units per year is an extraordinarily high estimate and based on techniques we know to be flawed and results in a massively inflated figure. The risk has been consistently massively exaggerated.

But lets not take my word for it, lets take the word of Dan Bruner, the senior director of policy at Washington, DC's premier HIV clinic. "The updated policy is still discriminatory and not rooted in the reality of HIV testing today," he wrote in response. "The deferral period should be no longer than 30 days."

Furthermore, Italy has been doing HIV screening by risky behavior instead of by blanket sexuality for years and by their own estimations it has been just as effective at protecting the blood supply.

And last of all our protection techniques are becoming even more effective. The FDA just recently approved the use of a technology that renders HIV viruses inert in treated blood units with a very low failure rate. Instead of the double layer testing protection we now have we can have a triple layered protection. With our current techniques eliminating it down to 1 case in 13 years this should basically eliminate the risk all together.

But lets talk a different approach. Gay men are a high risk group for HIV. So are black women, at about 1/3rd rate for MSM men in general. And hey, there is no shortage of blood, so lets ban anyone who has sex with a black woman within the past year from donating blood. Same basic logic applies. But I don't think any of us would agree that is appropriate.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Psyclone » 23 Jun 2016, 13:26

Thank you for that updated information, CamelKnack. That explanation does make a lot more sense. I'd forgotten that statistic about black women, too - which makes it pretty clear that the ban is based on discrimination rather than actual science. Although I'm sure the people creating these laws would be happy to discriminate against black women as well if they thought it would go over well.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 24 Jun 2016, 14:10

I'm concerned that my friend who is gay and originally from Catalonia might be pressurised to leave the UK. I've only recently gained a friend who I could relate to in this way and I don't want that to go.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby AlexanderDitto » 29 Jun 2016, 06:34

CamelKnackRambleHort wrote:The risk rate in Ditto's post are highly exaggerated in quite a few ways....


Thank you for that additional perspective! This is exactly the sort of information I want to see.

It's frustrating for me because the bulk of the arguments for lifting the ban seem to be focused on the discrimination aspect, which to me is not compelling; I'm trying to find numbers/statistics and it's super difficult! I honestly do not know what the right answer is here.

From the CDC's post about the 2008 case you mention (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5941a3.htm

Blood collection centers conduct investigations of previous donations when a positive antibody or NAT result is identified in a repeat donor. However, fewer than the expected number of cases of transfusion-transmitted HIV infection were reported to CDC from 2002 to 2008, a 6-year period when an estimated 16 million units of blood or blood components were donated annually. Because the number of reported cases is lower than expected, risk estimates might have been too high. Alternatively, transfusion-transmitted HIV infections might have gone unreported either because of 1) recipient death attributed to the underlying condition or some other cause before detection of HIV infection from the receipt of infected blood or blood components, 2) poor recall by infected persons regarding receipt of blood or blood components before their HIV diagnosis, 3) inability to confirm or rule out transfusion as the source of infection because no HIV-infected donors were identified, 4) underrecognition of HIV infections among recipients of potentially infected blood or blood components who recover and might never have been subsequently tested for HIV infection, or 5) misclassification of a transfusion-transmitted HIV infection in a person who also had other risk factors more frequently associated with HIV transmission (e.g., male-to-male sexual contact or injection drug use) to which that infection was attributed.


So the risk rate may be too high, or cases are under-reported. Or both?! Who knows.

The paper I read did include self-selection; they themselves admitted that while their calculations ended up at 75 units, self selection would cut that based on the percentage of people who could/would self-select. They guessed at 75%, and that's where the 12 units number came from.

I don't know where you're getting the stat that black women have a 1/3 rate of HIV infection, I'm trying to find it but I can't find any actual rates, just absolute numbers. And yes, if black women had a significantly elevated risk, it would not be uncouth to ban them from donating (I think the sexual transmission of HIV from women to men is significantly lower than from men to men so I'm not sure banning anyone who had sex with a black woman makes sense, and race is a fraught category anyway, but not the point). But I don't think the risk is anywhere near as high.

Also I don't deny HIV prevention techniques are getting better. It may indeed be the case that a 30 day window is now or will soon be appropriate. That is the sort of nuance I have not seen in this debate! I want to know what the right answer is, risk-wise. Maybe a ban on "risky behavior" would be good enough. I'm not convinced that it would "discourage straight people from donating" which seems to be the reason people resist more detailed questions about sexual behavior. And like I said, since there's no great shortage in blood, trying it probably wouldn't hurt.

I have seen the Italy data, it's compelling, though Italy has WAY more cases of HIV in "heterosexual" people than the US does. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3729137/)
I can't find info on France's blood transfusion HIV case stats either! AUGH why aren't stats on this easier to find! *grumbles*
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 03 Jul 2016, 10:37

This is maybe a small thing, but it's been bugging me a bit.

Today is Toronto's Pride Parade - the biggest in the country, I'm pretty sure. The Prime Minister will be marching in it (he's the first sitting PM to do so), which means it's national news, so it was all over the CBC.

Watching the coverage, though, they kept talking about the "gay, lesbian, and trans community." Which is great! My first thought was how wonderful it is that trans people are getting more and more recognition as members of the queer community, and as members of society generally. Made me happy.

My second thought was "Hey. Why do they keep leaving bi people out, over and over?"

I mean... it's not like biphobia and bi-erasure are things, right? It's not like I've seen people saying bi people don't belong at Pride events, and should stay home entirely, right? It's not like bi-exclusionary terms like "gay rights" and "gay marriage" are commonplace, right? It's not like there's a history here that people might be sensitive about, right?

I dunno, like I say, this is a small thing, and I'm sure I'm being oversensitive. I'm sure it wasn't intentional. Still... kind of made me feel a bit like all this wonderful Pride stuff, all this support right up to the PM... well... maybe it's not for me. Maybe I'm not part of that. Maybe I'm on the outside.

Engh. Yeah. Definitely overreacting. :(
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 03 Jul 2016, 12:30

Bisexuality's meaning means different to different people.
Which is why I have to be prepared to clarify my sexuality when I tell people it; "Indiscriminate towards gender with attraction".

I missed my local pride. I'm not bothered because the live performers there did not appeal. I may have had to have spent the evenings trying to entertain myself. Watching other people have fun when you're not is not enjoyable.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby My pseudonym is Ix » 03 Jul 2016, 13:43

I'm going to go on a limb here and suggest that the label was shortened because a) the speechwriters thought it flowed nicer and b) they don't quite appreciate nuance.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 03 Jul 2016, 13:53

Oh, I agree. As I said, I know I'm overreacting. But emotions aren't rational.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 11 Jul 2016, 04:26

Told my best friend I was bisexual over Skype. 40 minutes of nice discussion afterwards in broken English and broken Spanish.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 11 Jul 2016, 08:01

So it sounds like it went well Merrymaker_Mortalis. If I read that right, congratulations!
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 11 Jul 2016, 13:57

It was good. Friendship still exists and he was really supportive and grateful that I told him. He is someone who I want to share everything with, so it was strange that for some reason I was hesitant to tell him my sexuality. I asked how to speak to him about something, and said that I would have preferred to say face to face, but was unsure when that could happen next. So he suggested Skype, and after a blip of schedule, we got to talk 6 days later than planned. The connection cut out halfway, but we reconnected and it was fine.

Found out he was straight (he spoke about what I had, implying he is straight), which will help quash any romantic feelings that may exist since those feelings are not grounded. Yay.

Back to now feeling how sucky that my best friend is busy doing good stuff hundreds of miles away and I am unsure when I would ever see him again. It would be nice to Skype again on a regular basis; one a month or something. But I feel like he's too busy to do that. I miss him so much...
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Jamfalcon » 11 Jul 2016, 14:10

Good for you for doing that, Merry. :) I know you've talked about wanting to tell him for a while, and it can't have been easy to work up to it.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 11 Jul 2016, 15:53

Anxiety grew over the day. In a mixed bag, he was late. Which meant over 30 minutes my anxiety drained, to be replaced by worry.
Worry that I wasn't clear enough with agreement and I didn't ensure it would still happen.
Worry about his wellbeing.

When I came to explain, I did find it hard to find the words. Skype on a shitty connection is awkward. Throw in two people who care barely speak each other languages too. So that made it a little more uncomfortable.

I said I was bisexual.
He didn't understand that.
I typed the term.
Still didn't understand.

Decided to explain in Spanish; "Me gustan los hombres y mujeres con romantica" and he understood. So yeah, I outted myself with Spanish.

Was a good talk. We talked theology stuff, but he spoke about me, rather than blanket. The conversation was about me, and he lead it. I feel privallaged to have a friend, who actually cared enough to want to understand how it related to me personally. He wasn't asking about a dictionary definition of my sexuality. He was asking about me as a person. He's a dear friend to me and I am glad that he lives up to that. He is a true friend.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 11 Jul 2016, 22:16

So I came out to my siblings about 3 weeks or so ago. I thought I posted something about it here, but it looks like I didn't. Anyway, it was a very bare bones coming out. I just told them I was trans, male to female, but nothing about transition or anything like that. And everyone took it pretty well. My brother, in fact, pretty much didn't care it seemed like, his immediate follow up question was "so we still on for ping pong tomorrow?".

But today is the real test. It has been a few weeks so everyone has had some time to adjust to the idea, and we have all seen each other a few times at various family events. Last night I sent out an email to them explaining my intent to transition. that I am on hormones, I go by a female name, and live and present as a female as often as possible, and that someday before the end of year I will be going full time, Which means they need to decide what they are going to do about that, if they can still have me in their lives like this. I didn't say it so blunt of course. But now I am kind of freaking out.

My parents are having a really, really hard time with me being trans lately. They found out I am on hormones, and that I wear women's clothes outside of my apartment. They also saw me wearing a female outfit and it didn't go great. They are very civil but things are very tense. Over the phone I suggested the idea that I might wear nail polish at a family gathering soon and my mom almost yelled at me. She remained civil, but I know the signs. I had to drop it immediately and backpedal to avoid a fight, "clarifying" that I was simply asking her opinion on what might be appropriate and what everyone in the family might be comfortable with. She wrapped up her answer in nice words, but her response was basically that I needed to not present ever so everyone else can be comfortable, and maybe down the line we can consider discussing it with the family. It is really, really hard not to read her response as "we are ashamed of our freak of a son and don't want his freakishness bothering our other children." And maybe that isn't fair, but I am starting to get really frustrated with my parents. My dad is even worse than my mom, he's already given me one hour long "you'll tear this family apart" lecture that I bit my tongue and suffered through and several condescending lectures about "things I may not have considered".

I came out to them almost 11 months ago now and I have been damn patient with them, doing my very best to help them understand and ease into the idea of me transitioning but I don't think they want to deal with the idea. Every time I take even a small step forward they are surprised and "just need more time to adjust to the idea" and I have to humor them like children so things don't end in a fight even though I told them from the very beginning that I intend to transition. I am getting really sick of them trying to delay my transition like this. I decided to go directly to my siblings and not involve my parents, I think they would influence my siblings against me.

And now it's been a full day and even though all of them will have read it by now, I specifically alerted to them in a text that I was sending them a very important email, but none of them have responded yet, not even with the "we still love you and we are thinking it over." sort of email. Just nothing.

I don't want to lose my family, but I think I might. And it really hit me hard today and it just sucks. I was thinking about my daughters first birthday party last year and how much it hurt that I had to pretend to be the "daddy" for the sake of everyone else and what her next birthday will be like and how I can't stand though thought of doing it again, but it will also hurt if she doesn't get to have her cousins and family over because of me.

I didn't ask to be different. I tried so damn hard to not be trans. I did every single thing their stupid religion told me to and it brought me nothing but misery. They swear up and down that "my happiness is their only concern" but now I'm living a life where I am actually happy for the only time in my entire life and I have to bend over backwards making every compromise (by which I mean giving into their demands on my behavior) so these people who "will always love me, no matter what" wont decide that I am too much of an embarrassment to have around and stop inviting me to family events. At this point I almost wish I would get into a shouting match with my parents so I could have an excuse to just cut them off and be done with it.

Sorry for venting here, I just don't have anywhere else.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Jamfalcon » 11 Jul 2016, 23:53

First off, you never need to apologize for venting here, it's one of the things this thread is for.

There are a ton of people way more qualified than me to offer advice so I won't even begin to guess at what to say, but from my perspective, it sounds like you're doing everything right and handling your family the best way you can. Sounds like it was a smart choice to tell your siblings yourself, and it's a really good sign that they were relaxed about it a few weeks ago! I obviously don't know them or their personalities, but it seems to me like if they could accept that, there's a chance they'll accept everything about who you are. It may take them a while to figure out what to say or how to say it... if your family isn't one for frequent emotional or deep talks, they could just be thinking over how to reply.

I can't tell you what's going to happen next, but just remember you're feeling anxious and seeing worst case scenarios. You could be right, but I'm sure you had just as many fears three weeks ago. And look at how that went.

I guess I'm just saying that I really hope it works out perfectly, but either way, I think you made the choice you had to make for your own happiness.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Psyclone » 12 Jul 2016, 00:09

Merry, that's fantastic! I'm glad it worked out well for you :D

And CamelKnack, I'm so sorry to hear that. Like Jamfalcon said, it sounds like you're doing the best you can - even more than you could be expected to be doing. It may be that while your family tries to process this you need to back off a bit and stop compromising just to take care of your own mental health. Hopefully they'll come around, but in the meantime you're doing yourself no favors constantly trying to please them. /unsolicited advice

But also like Jamfalcon said, they're probably just not sure how to respond right away. Which obviously doesn't make it okay that they've just left you hanging like that, but at least they're thinking it through rather than giving a knee-jerk response.

I really hope things aren't as bad as you're worried they are, and your siblings seem to have been pretty cool with it so even if your parents aren't as great as you'd like they may be able to act as a buffer.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 12 Jul 2016, 23:40

Sigh. Still no response from anyone.

Thanks for your advice and comments Jamfalcon and Psyclone, I do appreciate it. But... The thing is that I know my family quite well. How things went 3 weeks ago was pretty much what I expected, I wasn't even slightly anxious that night. My brother was more casual about it than I expected, but none of them were ever going to have a problem at that point. This is the real sticking point, right here. If I am ever visibly trans. And if they had good news they would have at least said something by now. We are a family that is normally very, very good at communication. If they are waiting it is because they are trying to figure out how to break bad news to me.

A year ago my older sister and her husband were ready to cut off my gay sister from seeing their family because she got just a bit too affectionate with her girlfriend in front of their kids (by which I mean she showed signs that their friendship wasn't purely platonic, such as holding hands.) My family are the "tolerant and accepting" religious types. Which means they are very open and accepting and friendly of lgbt people right up to a certain point and then you hit a massive brick wall. Because that is as far as their religion will allow them to go. Take my sister. She came out as gay 4 years ago. Everyone was encouraging and loving and nice, telling her how they would always love her and how they supported her, and they did right up until she tried to be herself in front of everyone else. And then it was made clear to her in no uncertain terms that if she wanted to continue to be part of the family in any real way then she needed to hide that part of herself. Otherwise she was no longer welcome.

I am not freaking out as much as yesterday, but I am just tired of this shit. It is so exhausting. I think you are right Psyclone, I just need to step away from this, stop trying to keep everything together. It is just to stressful. Especially when I have friends and a wife who are actually supportive of me.
Last edited by CamelKnackRambleHort on 13 Jul 2016, 07:44, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 12 Jul 2016, 23:58

I'm so sorry that your family is treating you this way, CamelKnack. I know I can't do anything to fix it, or give you any useful advice, and I'm sorry for that too.

But I'm damned happy that you have a wife who supports and loves you. And I want you to know that I do care, for what that's worth.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 13 Jul 2016, 08:51

Thanks a bunch Arclight_Dynamo. And thanks Jamfalcon and Psyclone, having someone to vent to really helped me out.

Sorry for being so depressing over the last to days, but I am doing a lot better now. My family still hasn't responded or anything, but I'm ok with it. My wife and I talked last night and I figured out what I am going to do about all this. It's to hard trying to keep the family together, and I'm doing all the work and I just can't keep it going, so I am going to stop trying for a while. Let myself recharge, stop going to family events, that sort of thing. I'll let everyone know what's up and if they decide I am important enough to them that they can always contact me.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby CamelKnackRambleHort » 17 Jul 2016, 21:16

My wife and I have been disowned by my mother in law.

Honestly, not even mad about this one. It's like "finally I don't have to deal with your shit."

Oh, and in case anyone cares, update on my siblings situation, they basically wont give an inch. Wont call me by my female name, wont use female pronouns, wont let me present in anyway around their kids, not so much as wear nail polish. They still want a relationship with me, but entirely on their terms.

At least my gay sister it totally cool with me still.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Jamfalcon » 17 Jul 2016, 22:32

I'm really sorry to hear all that. :( Except about your sister of course, it is really good you have someone in your family who's accepting.
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 17 Jul 2016, 22:51

Geez, you have my sympathy, too, CamelKnack. That's dreadful. :(
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Re: This thread is so gay

Postby Psyclone » 17 Jul 2016, 23:06

Oh my goodness, CamelKnack, I'm so sorry. That's pretty worst-case scenario there. If there's anything we can do other than just be supportive, please let us know.
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