Tag Archives: Gay Men

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Three:

Understanding and Annihilating the Beast

I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part One of an ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

    This particular dysfunctional and destructive cycle of behavior is Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A), which is domestic violence and abuse (DVA) within the LGBTQ community.   

     According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), it is “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  Each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay/SGL men are battered.  Again, IPV/A is no joke.

     According to psychologists and authors Jeanne Segal and Melinda Smith, “Domestic violence and abuse are used for one purpose and one purpose only:  to gain and maintain total control over you.  Abusers use fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and keep you under his or her ‘thumb.’  Your abuser may also threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you.  The bottom line is that abusive behavior is never acceptable. You deserve to feel valued, respected, and safe.”

     Stigma is largely responsible for keeping this destructive behavior “swept under the rug,” which leads to it being dramatically under-reported. Therefore, figuratively, this keeps us (locked) in the closet.  Stigma is the albatross around your neck, choking the hell outta ya.

It’s All About CONTROL—and I Ain’t Talkin’ Janet (If You’re Nastee!)

      There are multiple signs of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  The most telling is fear of your partner, that you feel you have to “walk on eggshells” around him/her.  Other prominent signs:  explaining/excusing frequent injuries as “accidents;” agreeing to everything your partner says/does; being forced into sexual activity.

     Segal and Smith write that abusers employ a variety of methods and schemes to manipulate you and wield their power.  These include:

  • Dominance.  Abusers need to feel in charge of the relationship.
  • Humiliation.  Abusers will do everything to make you feel worthless; therefore, you’re less likely to leave. 
  • Isolation.  In efforts to increase your dependence, abusers will cut you off from the outside world.   
  • Intimidation.  Your abuser may use a number of tactics designed to frighten you into submission. 
  • Threats.  Abusers commonly use threats to keep you from leaving or to scare you into dropping criminal charges.    

     What’s complete cycle of IPV/A?  According to the psychologists, it usually works like this:

  • Abuse.  It’s a power play intended to “keep you in line, and show you who’s boss.”
  • Guilt.  After abusing you, your partner feels guilt—but not over what he/she’s done!  The abuser is more concerned about the possibility of being caught and facing consequences.
  • Excuses.  Your abuser rationalizes what he/she has done, devising a string of excuses or blaming you for the abusive behavior—anything to avoid taking responsibility.
  • “Normal” Behavior.  The abuser does everything to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship.  Your abuser may act as if nothing has occurred.  His/her apologies and loving overtures in between abusive episodes can make it difficult for you to leave.  Your abuser may make you believe that you are the only person who can help, that things will be different, and that he/she truly loves you.  However, the dangers of staying are very real.
  • Fantasy and Planning.  Your abuser starts to fantasize about abusing you again, spending a lot of time thinking about what you’ve done “wrong” and how he/she’ll make you pay.  Next, the abuser devises a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.  

          A common question I receive in my seminars and workshops is, “Can abusers really control their behavior?”  Well, my answer is:  Oh, yes they can!”  

  • Abusers pick and choose whom to abuse.    
  • Abusers carefully choose when and where to strike.   
  • Violent abusers usually direct their blows where they won’t be seen. 

And:

  • Abusers are able to stop their abusive behavior when it benefits them.  When it’s to their advantage, they immediately end their abusive behavior (for example, when the police arrive).

A Cold, Harsh and Bitter Reality   

     The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has found that people of color (POC) comprise 77% of the reports of LGBTQ and HIV-affected IPV homicides.  As well:

  • Transgender women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual and financial violence.
  • LGBTQ survivors with disabilities were two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner and four times more likely to experience financial violence.
  • There was an increase in the percentage of undocumented survivors from 4% in 2014 to 9% in 2015.
  • Forty-four percent of survivors attempting to access emergency shelter were denied and 71% reported being denied because of their gender identity.
  • Out of the total number of survivors who interacted with law enforcement, 25% said that the police were either indifferent or hostile, and 31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest.    

     It is critical to consider the multiple identities and experiences of LGBTQ victims and survivors because they substantially impact their incidences of IPV/A.  According to the NCAVP’s findings, the bias and discrimination that these communities experience everywhere–from workplaces to shelters–both makes them more vulnerable to IPV/A and creates unique barriers to accessing services.   LGBTQ and HIV-affected people often experience workplace discrimination, making them less financially secure. Abusive partners often take advantage of financial insecurity to control their partners, as seen in the high number of survivors experiencing financial violence.

     The findings also include survivor stories that illustrate some of the complicated, nuanced and intersectional ways LGBTQ individuals experience IPV/A.  “We must start listening to the experiences of LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ undocumented people, LGBTQ people with disabilities, and transgender and gender nonconforming individuals to learn more about what these communities need to feel safe,” stated Tre’Andre Valentine from The Network/La Red.  (A few years back, I featured this Boston organization in Huffington Post Queer Voices. 

     Valentine continues.  “We must protect, uplift, and center those within LGBTQ communities who have been traditionally isolated and shamed for their identities and experiences.  It’s only with their voices at the center that we can truly begin the work of ending intimate partner violence against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people across the country.”

     Now, major highlights from those NCAVP findings: 

  • LGBTQ People Experience IPV/A in Different Ways.  Transgender women were three times more likely to report experiencing sexual violence and financial violence compared to survivors who were not transgender women.  Additionally, LGBTQ survivors with disabilities were two times more likely to be isolated by their abusive partner and four times more likely to experience financial violence when compared to LGBTQ survivors without disabilities.  “It’s vital that we understand the unique vulnerabilities to IPV and the unique barriers to accessing services for LGBTQ communities, particular LGBTQ people of color, LGBTQ people who are undocumented, transgender and gender nonconforming people, and LGBTQ people with disabilities,” stated Julia Berberan from SafeSpace at Pride Center Vermont. “We need to make sure we’re reaching all survivors and supporting their specific needs in a survivor-centered way.” 
  • LGBTQ survivors often experience discrimination when trying to access IPV/A services.  Twenty-seven percent of LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors attempted to access emergency shelters.  Of those survivors who attempted to access emergency shelter, 44% were denied, with 71% reporting being denied for reasons relating to gender identity, highlighting the negative consequences of sex-segregated emergency shelter options for LGBTQ survivors. “Shelter access issues most often impact transgender survivors—particularly transgender women—and cisgender men, who are often denied shelter at historically sex-segregated shelters that only serve cisgender women,” stated Lynne Sprague from Survivors Organizing for Liberation in Colorado.  “Survivor-centered and identity-affirming housing options must be made available to all survivors.” 
  • LGBTQ survivors experience violence and criminalization from the police.  LGBTQ and HIV-affected survivors reported experiencing misarrest, verbal harassment, and other hostile behaviors when interacting with law enforcement.  Out of the total number of survivors who interacted with law enforcement, 25% said that the police were either indifferent or hostile.  In 2015, 31% of LGBTQ survivors who interacted with police said they experienced misarrest, meaning the survivor was arrested rather than the abusive partner, up from 17% in 2014. “Negative and violent experiences with law enforcement where survivors are revictimized are exacerbated with LGBTQ survivors of color, LGBTQ survivors with disabilities, undocumented survivors and other communities that hold multiple marginalized identities which are frequently subjected to violence by police,” said Aaron Eckhardt from BRAVO in Ohio.  “Police must be trained to recognize signs of IPV in LGBTQ relationships.  Moreover, we must also seek and create alternatives to the criminal legal system, especially for the safety of those whose identities are already criminalized in our society.”
  •  IPV/A can be deadly for LGBTQ people.  According to Beverly Tilery of the New York City Anti-Violence Project, “The lack of awareness and visibility in the media of LGBTQ victims of IPV contributes to this issue being ignored as a national problem.  Transgender victims are frequently misgendered and misnamed in media reports, and the intimate partner relationships of same gender couples are often reduced to friendships in media accounts of these homicides.  This needs to change.”

SEPARATION VIOLENCE AND ASSAULT (SVA) 

     Unfortunately, leaving doesn’t usually put an end to the violence and abuse.  Time and time again, this can be the most dangerous point in a relationship.  This period is what’s called Separation Violence and Assault.  Its acronym is SVA.  

     According to www.aardvarc.orga respected domestic violence information website, “Instead, (leaving) actually increases dynamics of violence and can initiate new levels of violence and new forms of retaliation from the abuser to the victim.  In fact, many abusers believe that the victim ‘belongs’ to them and that as such, they are fully justified in doing whatever it takes to make sure that ‘their property’ remains theirs.”  In an attempt to force the victim to reconcile with him/her, an abuser may escalate the violence. 

     But there is light at the end of the tunnel.    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides protections for LGBTQ survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse.  “In 2013, the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act created the first federal legislation to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  VAWA-funded services like emergency shelter, crisis counseling, and attorneys are essential to helping survivors of IPV regain security,” said Justin Shaw from the Kansas City, Missouri’s Anti-Violence Project.

Makin’ Your “Great Escape!”

     So, just how can you make your “Great Escape,” the term I’ve coined for my national seminars and workshops? 

    The Women’s Justice Center (www.justicewomen.com), which is headquartered in Santa Rosa, CA, outlines various steps: 

  • Your struggle to escape is heroic.  Continually remind yourself that yours is one of the most worthy and difficult struggles of all.   
  • Reawaken your dreams.   Oftentimes, IPV/A or DVA can snuff out all of your hopes and dreams.  However, to free yourself, you’ll need those hopes and dreams to help carry you through the obstacles and tough times of escaping. 
  • Dealing with fears, risks.  The majority of IPV/A victims feel fear, which can immobilize them from acting on their own behalf.  However, you can help alleviate your fears by having the courage to tell anyone who will listen.    
  • Don’t be ashamed if you still love him/her.   At the same time, however, be mindful and determined that the violence and abuse must be stopped—because the abuser’s not going to stop on his/her own. 
  • Often, the best strategy for breaking free of IPV/A is the exact opposite of the strategy for surviving it.  In order to survive IPV/A, the victim usually does everything possible to avoid offending or upsetting the abuser, and exposing him/her.  However, freeing yourself from IPV/A requires the exact opposite strategy. 
  • You deserve help.  You need it.   You can find it.  It’s important to remember that it’s the abuser who caused you to feel this way and that it’s his/her behavior that’s criminal and unacceptable—not yours. 
  • Know your legal rights.  You have a right to equal protection of the law, and to live free of any kind of abuse.  Do your research!   
  • There are officials and institutions that can help you safely escape IPV/A.  These include the 911 operator, police, county jail, district attorney and victim assistance.  Become knowledgeable about, and avail yourself of these critical resources.           

     So, you CAN make your “Great Escape” from IPV/A.  However, it involves careful planning—if at all possible.  Utilize any and all resources at your disposal. 

     And so importantly:  you must not and cannot keep silent!  You have to tell.  Someone.  Anyone who will listen.  Keep in mind that silence is the most potent, effective and deadliest weapon in the abuser’s arsenal.

     And always remember:  anyone—and I do mean ANYONE—regardless of size, strength, age, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and/or income, can become a victim of IPV/A.        

      How do I know this? 

     Because I’m a Survivor.

                                          Until We Return…      

     I have made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a demoralizing, horrific–and potentially life-threatening–cycle of behavior. 

    We Must RISE UP…And Tell! Someone.  Anyone Who Will Listen. We must make our “Great Escape.” 

     And, always remember:  the most powerful weapon the abuser has in his/her arsenal is…SILENCE.  

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).  

     I have a special IPV/A section right here at Wyattevans.com that includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/ 

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

October is Domestic Violence Month

The IPV/A Chronicles, Part Two:

                   The Power of the Purple!  

I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on a certain demoralizing, insidious and horrific cycle of behavior that continues to be a growing concern within the LGBTQ Community.  This is Part Two of the ongoing series that will address this potentially life-threatening cycle of abuse. 

      It’s purple month!    

     Now, you may ask: “What’s that?”  

     Allow me to explain.  You see, we wear purple—actually, a purple ribbon—as a symbol used to honor victims and survivors of domestic violence/abuse (DVA), which can include sexual violence. In the LGBTQ community, DVA is referred to as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A).  October has been designated as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

     Statistics show that IPV/A occurs with similar frequency as in heterosexual relationships.    Additionally, new research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  And each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way. 

     Sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence and abuse are growing problems.  What makes matters worse:  incidences of IPV/A often are underreported–particularly amongst same-sex couples

     Let’s drill down even further.  In the U.S., about 1 in 3 women and nearly 1 in 4 men experience some form of intimate partner sexual violence, intimate partner physical violence, and/or intimate partner stalking during their lifetime. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP), nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. For one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience severe physical intimate partner violence in their lifetime.

     For more stats that illustrate the full picture of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, visit:  http://wyattevans.com/the-ipva-chronicles-part-one/

     In celebration of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I want to share with you how this observance came to be–and how it has grown. 

    National Domestic Violence Awareness Month evolved from the first Day of Unity, which was established by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in October 1981.  The intent was to connect battered women advocates across the nation who were working to end violence against women and their children. 

     Soon, when a range of activities was conducted at the local, state and national levels, the Day of Unity became a special week.  These activities were as varied and diverse as the program sponsors–but had common themes:  mourning those who had died because of domestic violence, celebrating those who had survived, and connecting those who worked to end violence and abuse.

     Then in October 1987, the inaugural Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed.  In that same year, the first national toll-free hotline was initiated.  And in 1989, the U. S. Congress passed Public Law 101-112, designating October of that year as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

     In October 1994, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, in conjunction with Ms. Magazine, created the “Remember My Name” project, a national registry to increase public awareness of deaths due to domestic violence and abuse.  And on October 11, 2003, the U.S. Postal Service issued their “Stop Family Violence” stamp. A young girl, who expressed her sadness about domestic violence, created the design of this first-class stamp.  Profits from the sale of the stamp were transferred to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to assist domestic violence programs.

 

     Until We Return…      

     As stated earlier, I’ve made it my ongoing–and fervent–mission to continue to shine a bright light on IPV/A, a demoralizing, horrific–and potentially life-threatening cycle of behavior. 

    We Must RISE UP…And Tell! Someone.  Anyone Who Will Listen. We must make our “Great Escape.”

     And, always remember:  the most powerful weapon the abuser has in his/her arsenal is…SILENCE. 

 

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901). 

     I have a special IPV/A section right here at Wyattevans.com that includes resources to assist victims.  Visit:  http://wyattevans.com/lgbtq-domestic-violenceabuse-making-your-great-escape/

     The time is NOW to break the cycle!

Intergenerational couple

“The Daddy/Sir Playbook”: 4 Younger Guys

     A little more than a week ago—I’m sure you recall–I wrote a Wyattevans.com exclusive entitled, The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook (or Sumthin’ Like Dat), based on a recent Queerty article on intergenerational dating.  That article gave tips on “being the best daddy for your boy.”    

     Well, guess what?  You readers made The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook one of the most popular Wyattevans.com articles—and one of the most talked about!  And I thank you for that. 

     As a result, I swore I’d flip the script by sharing Queerty’s “Six Pro Tips for Being a Good Daddy’s Boy” as soon as it was released.  And to flesh out that media outlet’s piece and give it fuller meaning, I promised I’d provide analysis and commentary.

     But before I do that, let’s review exactly what intergenerational dating is.  It’s dating outside your age group.  Generally, it’s at least a 10-year difference between couples.

     Keep in mind that intergenerational dating and relationships have always existed.  However, according to “Are Intergenerational Gay Couples a New Trend in Dating,” a Bilerico.com article from last year, these relationships “…do seem to be more common these days.  One reason might be the shift towards more conservative, traditional views of couplehood.  Now that we can get married in so many states, now that we can adopt children, now that we can bear children on our own, gay males are without question settling into more stable ways of dating, expressing our love, and getting into relationships.”

     The media outlet added, “There is a great hunger on the part of many gay men to be in stable, loving relationships and this just might be a driving force behind the possible rise in intergenerational couples.”

     Now, to my analysis/commentary.  As I mentioned in The “Sugah Daddy’s” Playbook, I take umbrage to the use of the word “boy.”  Younger partner/guy/man is more appropriate.  

     As well, too much subservience and neediness are ascribed to the younger partner for my taste.  For instance, I know a few intergenerational couples in which the younger man is the more emotionally evolved/secure.  The more dominant.  The more financially secure. 

    However I agree with the publication’s assertion that younger guys have “figured out something that most gays take decades to realize: experience is sexy, and smart older guys can teach you things you never knew you never knew.”

     And this is very important:  you’ll see that actually, BOTH the younger and the older man need to take these tips, pointers, guidelines to heart.

     So, in conclusion:  I found that the tips for being “a good daddy’s boy” resonated more–and were more relevant–than those for “being the best daddy for your boy.”  However, you be the judge.

     Now, here are those tips—right outta Queerty’s mouth!  Listen:  as I said before, if you don’t like the info, don’t shoot me!  I’m simply the messenger.  (LOL.)  However, do feel free to give Yours Truly your feedback.

     [To Note:  the accompanying photo is of UMass NCAA B-Baller Derrick Gordon (right) and actor-screenwriter Gerald McCullouch—an openly gay intergenerational.] 

  • Be honest. What are your intentions?  What do you want out of this relationship?  Be up-front and honest at the start of the relationship.  That way you can both make sure you’re on the same page.  Maybe one of you is looking for a fling while the other wants to settle down—well, you’d better make sure that’s clear before things get too far.  Intergenerational relationships are particularly prone to mismatched expectations, so you’re better off clearing the air from the start.  (And remember: expectations can change over time, so a periodic check-in is advisable.)
  • No more games. Older guys have learned the value of being direct and honoring their word.  They’re far less likely than your flakey young friends to play mind games or manipulate, and they’ll respect you if you follow through on your commitments.  Being considerate is the key.
  • Think like a daddy. If you’re looking for a daddy, go where daddies go. (‘Nuff said.)
  • He deserves your respect. Being young doesn’t make you special, so don’t think that your pretty soft skin makes you more important than he is.  A successful intergenerational couple enjoys mutual respect, even if he can’t figure out how to program his DVR.  Don’t make the mistake of thinking that he needs you more than you need him.  And don’t think that just because he’s more financially successful than you are, you’re entitled to his cash.  Let him decide whether he’s going to treat you to dinner.  Acknowledge it when he does something nice.  And if you can’t match him, dollar for dollar, you can still do nice things for him that don’t cost money.
  • It’s OK to be you. Being the younger guy can sometimes feel a little marginalizing.  His advanced knowledge, success and poise might discourage you, or make you feel stupid and small.  But hey, you have nothing to apologize for.  It’s OK that you’re still young.  So don’t think of your youth and inexperience as a liability.  Don’t deprive yourself of doing young-person things, watching young-person shows, and hanging out with your young friends.  Remember, those are the very things that attracted him to you in the first place.  If he wants to cut you off from your life and isolate you,
  • Let him surprise you. You might have a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what a daddy is.  And to be fair, a lot of those stereotypes are true:  older guys are often more genteel, worldlier, and more in-control.  But they’re also full of surprises, and you might discover that your daddy can be as silly and playful as your 20-year-old friends.  He might even—gasp—be a bottom.  Don’t assume anything.  Ask him what he likes.
  • Don’t let him take advantage. Sometimes, it’s hard to define the boundary between a fun power play and an unhealthy relationship.  If your daddy is asking too much of you, taking more control over your life than you want him to, or being condescending, let him know.  Remember, you should be in a relationship because it makes you both happy—not just to make him

     So you guys, both younger and older, and older and younger—shake  yo’ groove thang (Oh, Lawd!  Am I dating myself…that is, as in the age department?), and go on and git busy, with yo’ baddddd selves!  LOL.

Domestic Violence

Does Lovin’ Me Include Battering Me?

      Kwame Harris.  William Ewell.  What do these two men have in common?

     Well, they are (were) Black.  And, both men got caught up in separate incidents of the “nasty bizness” of Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A). 

     In his particular situation, Harris was the abuser.  

     In his particular situation, Ewell was the victim.  

     And unfortunately for Mr. Ewell, he died from it.

     You may recall the story of Mr. Harris.  On December 20, 2013, the former San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders lineman was sentenced to five days in jail and three years of probation for battering Dimitri Geier, his ex-boyfriend, in August 2012.

     At the time of the violence, Harris and Geier were romantically involved.  They’d previously lived together.  According to the San Jose Mercury News, “While dining at a Chinese restaurant, they began to argue and Harris then pinned Geier against a glass wall.  When they went outside, Harris hit Geier several times in the face and head, causing a compound facial fracture that required surgery and insertion of a metal plate.”  After a six-day trial, Harris was convicted of misdemeanor violence and assault charges but acquitted of felony domestic violence and assault charges.

     Now on to Mr. Ewell.  According to the Nydailynews.com, “William Ewell died after getting into a fistfight with his 20-year-old beau on a Bronx street when the two came to blows.  According to friends, ‘Ewell was a devout minister who preached loved and respect for others’.”

      You see, on Sunday, November 30, Ewell was arguing with his boyfriend at Bronx Park East and Mace Avenue, near the Bronx Zoo.  His younger partner punched him, knocking him to the ground. 

     Ewell died sometime later.

     “Friends said that the couple were recently engaged.  Police stated that charges against the younger man were pending the medical examiner’s investigation.”

     These are two horrific examples of the vicious cycle called Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse, or IPVA.    The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs defines it as “a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship.”  

      New research suggests that a greater percentage of LGBTQ individuals are living in fear of an abusive partner than previously thought.  It is estimated that each year, between 50,000-100,000 lesbians (or more) and as many as 500,000 (or more) gay men are battered, and about one in four LGBTQ relationships/partnerships are abusive in some way.           

     As a journalist, I’ve made this dehumanizing and potentially life-threatening behavior–which tends to be heavily stigmatized and notoriously underreported in the LGBTQ community–my signature issue.  I conduct IPV/A seminars and workshops around the country. 

    I’m so passionate about this issue because I know individuals who have been victims of IPV/A.  And in my twenties, I experienced this demeaning behavior first-hand .

    My experience was psychological—the tearing down of my self-esteem, verbal abuse, threats, isolation.  At the time, I didn’t have the tools and information to make my “Great Escape.” 

     Fortunately however, I eventually did.

      With my continuing coverage at Wyattevans.com, Huffington Post, Baltimore Gay Life, BaltimoreOUTLoud, and The Wyatt O’Brian Evans Show (on the progressive Papichuloradio.com), I’ve been shining a bright light on this critical issue.   Part of this coverage includes telling the personal stories of IPV/A victims.

     At my seminars and workshops, I’m frequently asked, “Can abusers really control their behavior?”  The answer:  if they want to, they can!  Research has borne this out.  

     Currently, it’s unclear whether or not there was a pattern of violence and abuse in the relationship of Ewell and his partner.   But what we do know, however, is this:  there must be ZERO TOLERANCE for even one incident of IPV/A. And the faulty thinking and lame excuse (that too many people have) that “boyz will be boyz” just doesn’t cut it. 

    Here’s the Bottom Line:  Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A) ain’t the way that you love somebody.    

     If you or someone you know is experiencing IPV/A, call: the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-7233) or the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project Hotline (1-800-832-1901).

Sir Elton John

Sir Elton John Continues to Step Up to the Plate, Batting Home Runs

     While conducting my usual round of research, I uncovered a rather timely article by Darryl Hannah for Inside Philanthropy entitled, “With HIV Infections Rising among Gay Men, This Funder Aims to Sound the Alarm.”  Hannah stated, “Here in the U.S., AIDS can feel like yesterday’s news, and many funders long ago moved on to other issues, including many LGBT funders who’ve been focused on rights issues.”

     The writer continued, “In fact, though, the rate of new HIV infections remains very high, and is rising.  But you’d never know that judging by the complacency of the media or, unfortunately, of many gay men.  Which is why the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s (EJAF) latest grant making includes funding to raise awareness of the persistent threat of HIV.”

     According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the following dire and gloomy realities are concrete, undeniable evidence that we continue to need EJAF support, clout…and dollars more than ever:

  • In 2010, over 15,000 individuals died of AIDS.
  • Although gay/SGL (same gender loving) men make up just two percent of the U.S. population, they account for 55 percent of all AIDS deaths.
  • This two percent comprise the majority, 56 percent, of people living with HIV.
  • Gay/SGL men account for 66 percent of new HIV infections.
  • 12 to 13 percent of gay/SGL and bisexual men in the U.S. are HIV-positive—including one in five in many major American cities.
  • When you examine HIV/AIDS infections among African-American gay/SGL and bisexual men, the numbers are nearly doubled.

     Hannah wrote, “In short, AIDS is hardly a plague of the past in the gay community.  But it’s seen as such, and the Kaiser study found that few gay men said they discuss HIV with friends and sexual partners and 30 percent had never been tested for HIV.  Only a third knew that HIV infections are rising.  A majority said they were ‘not concerned’ about HIV.

     “It’s frightening findings like these that has the Elton John AIDS Foundation, one of the nation’s largest funders fighting HIV/AIDS, sounding the alarm more loudly and looking for ways to challenge rising complacency about AIDS in the LGBT community.”

     Recently, EJAF formed a partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.  The Foundation awarded this national LGBT organization a $300,000 grant to increase awareness of HIV prevention, treatment, and care among LGBT persons—with a specific focus on young gay/SGL and bisexual men, and transgender women.  The Foundation also hopes to increase awareness and access to care for low-income individuals.

     Additionally, EJAF has just announced $1.5 million in grants, which includes funding to combat stigma confronting those who are poz.

     According to Hannah, “Sir Elton John himself remains as dedicated to this issue as ever.  And deeply worried, too, about issues that he wants more widely shared.  In a recent op-ed for the New York Times, he wrote:

     “’…as engaged as the gay community and civil rights activists have been in the fight for marriage equality, we have lost ground on the fight that so intensely galvanized the gay community to begin with:  HIV and AIDS…we are failing to maintain the kind of basic awareness and education that is needed to save lives’.”