Tag Archives: SGL

Poppers bottles

Instead of that HIGH, What’s A-Poppin’ Might Lead to Your Death

     I’m pretty sure that just about every gay/SGL and bi guy on the planet knows what poppers are! 

     And what they do.

     But for those who don’t, here’s the deal: poppers are those chems you sniff and inhale during sex to get that HIGH.  And some guys use them to relax, to get that calming buzz—in attempts to ward off any awkwardness, nervousness, or/and apprehension while “gittin’ busy.”

     But a recent U.S. News and World Report Health Day article states, “New types of inhaled recreational drugs called ‘poppers’ can contain harmful solvents and propellants that are extremely dangerous, researchers warn.  Traditional poppers (which got the name from their glass vials that “popped”) became popular decades ago among gay men because they enhance sex by giving a mild high and relaxing smooth muscle.  These poppers are based on alkyl nitrates and are related to the medication amyl nitrite.”

     However, according to the publication, some new products being sold as poppers (using brand names such as “Maximum Impact”) are more dangerous than the originals, and pose severe health risks.  And according to a recent edition of the Journal of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, “Those risks include a potentially deadly heart rhythm disorder called ‘sudden sniffing death’.  Other potential risks from the new poppers include short-term delirium, memory and thinking problems, and nerve damage.”

     U.S. News and World Report Health Day went on to state the following: “Despite the increasing use of, and risks posed by, these huffing (sniffing, inhaling) solvents being marketed as poppers, they have received little attention in the gay or mainstream media or in addiction textbooks, according to a research team led by Dr. Timothy Hall of the University of California, Los Angeles.

     “Gay men can easily be introduced to these products by sexual partners without being aware of the dangers, Hall and his colleagues said.

     “Physicians also need to understand the dangers and alert their patients, the study authors added.

     “Doctors ‘are taught almost nothing about regular nitrite poppers.  They’re little more than a footnote at the back of most addiction textbooks, lumped in with sniffing glue and huffing aerosols, even though the physiologic effects are quite different,’ Hall said in a news release.

     “’Gay and bisexual men, on the other hand, have little exposure to huffing but tend to think of nitrite poppers as fairly benign,’ he added.  ‘There’s a real risk here for (gay men) to be taking a much more harmful substance than they’re expecting, and for clinicians not to recognize the difference’.”

     So, men:  be very, very careful what’cha sniff!  Ya see, you might not wind up in the universe you were aiming for.

Happy Thanksgiving

To Reveal Or Not Reveal At Turkey Day!

     We continue to make great strides in Gay/SGL (Same Gender Loving) acceptance.  There’s our increasing visibility in the entertainment realm.  More notables have come out–including film director/producer Lee Daniels, broadcaster Don Lemon, and sports figures Michael Sam and Derrick Gordon.  (And, it seems that the vast majority of Queen Latifah’s body has already “fallen outta the closet!”  Just kidding, but seriously!  LOL.)  As well, we have the surge in marriage equality.

     But even with all of THAT, feeling fully and totally “comfortable in your own skin” as a Gay/SGL man (which translates into being your authentic self) can still present challenges—which can be particularly amplified, daunting and frustrating during the holidays.  Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I’ve decided to explore whether or not you should come out on “Turkey Day.”  

     “Thanksgiving may seem like an opportune moment to come out since you will have a captive audience,” states Ramon Johnson, African-American gay life expert.  “However, you can also find yourself trapped in the situation despite the outcome.”

     Johnson continues, “Your coming our scenario can play out in either one of three ways:  your parents could freak out, they could love you dearly or be indifferent.  We often have in our heads how our parents will react.  They may have made homophobic comments in the past, sneered at a gay couple, or made innuendos about their openness to everyone.  Even if you think you’re sure of how they will respond, you could be quite surprised.”

     The gay life expert speaks about his coming out experience.  “I was sure by me coming out that my relationship with my mom was over.  Instead, she shrugs the news off with a ‘I already knew that’!  It was far less dramatic than I anticipated.” 

     So, should you make your “Grand Announcement”, say, at the dinner table as you’re woofing down that juicy, DEE-LI-CIOUS turkey with dressing…and the rest of “dem other vittles?”  Johnson weighs in.

     “A parent’s feelings about homosexuality and their feelings about their child being gay could be quite different.  You can’t be certain how they will respond.  Also, there will be other family members around.”  He adds, “Coming out doesn’t have to be a group announcement.  It should be an intimate conversation and a moment with the people in your life.”

    The gay life expert emphasizes the following: “Have the conversation not in the busyness of the holiday, but when you will have time to talk about your feelings and what your sexual identity really means.  A big family dinner may not be the best time to have that conversation.”

     (Gourmet) food for thought, eh?  Well, give your decision a helluva lot of thoughtful and deliberate consideration before making…and then announcing it.  And, don’t’ forget to “Git  Yo’ Gobble-Gobble On!”

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’.”