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March 6, 2015

Arrest made in 2013 murder of transgender woman in Harlem

New York City--Two years after confessing to the beating death of Islan Nettles, 24-year old James Dixon was indicted for the crime on March 3.

He was charged with manslaughter and felony assault, and is being held without bail, having pleaded not guilty.

In August 2013, Nettles and other transgender women were out on a Friday night when a group of men realized that the women were transgender. The men attacked the women, and Nettles never regained consciousness after being taken to Harlem Hospital.

Another man was arrested in connection with the beating, but charges against him were dropped in November 2013 because of differing accounts as to who attacked Nettles.

Investigators said that part of the reason for the delay in charging Dixon was because witnesses had trouble telling him and Paris Wilson, the man earlier charged, apart.

Prosecutors say that Dixon punched Nettles, knocking her down and causing her to strike her head on the pavement. He then allegedly continued beating her while she was down, knocking her head repeatedly into the sidewalk.

Dixon allegedly told Wilson that he was going to take responsibility for the attack, and Wilson’s mother went with him to the police station, where he made a confession. The presence of Wilson’s mother and the resemblance the two men bear to each other caused confusion with the investigators, who thought that it was Wilson who confessed, not Dixon.

This cat’s tail flicks both ways

Gotham City--Selina Kyle, better known as Catwoman, has been many things in her 75-year history: burglar, paramour, crime lord, even Batman’s wife in an alternate universe or two.

Now writer Genevieve Valentine, who took over writing the character’s eponymous book in October, has established her as being one other thing: bisexual.

While noting on her blog that Catwoman #39 is important for a number of plot points, “This is also the issue in which Eiko finally tips her hand about one of the reasons she’s been so drawn to Selina, and sets another plot in motion.”

She talks about some “emotional beats” she wanted to hit, and another “was establishing Selina as canon bisexual.”

“She’s flirted around it - often quite literally - for years now; for me, this wasn’t a revelation so much as a confirmation,” Valentine writes.

The aforementioned Eiko is the daughter of a Japanese ganglord who has been running around as Catwoman as Selina Kyle, the real Catwoman, had given up her costumed persona to assume control of her estranged father’s crime family. The two kiss, with the understanding that it is unclear whether they will be allies or opponents in the looming gang war.

A novel “cure” for homosexuality: bore the gay away

Nashville, Tenn.--David Benham, whose HGTV reality show with his twin brother was canceled before airing because of his anti-gay comments, told the crowd at a religious broadcaster’s summit that he turned a man away from homosexuality by giving him baseball tickets.

The story, which he told on February 26, holds that, amid the backlash he received after saying that homosexuality was “attacking the nation,” one man in Chicago stood out to him.

After conversing with him, Benham found out that he was a big baseball fan, and he bought the man tickets to a Chicago Cubs game.

Benham said that the man messaged him on Facebook, telling him that his gift was unexpected and he was leaving the “lifestyle.”

So, while thinking about baseball is helpful in staving off premature ejaculation, apparently watching baseball can bore the gay away.

Arkansas bans local LGBT ordinances

Little Rock, Ark.--The February 23 deadline for Gov. Asa Hutchinson to veto a bill that would prevent cities from passing antidiscrimination ordinances that go beyond the state’s passed without the governor’s action, meaning that the bill could take effect by the summer.

The bill, passed by the state senate on February 13, was pushed based on the argument that having differing nondiscrimination measures would provide undue burdens on businesses that have to navigate them.

A similar law exists already in Tennessee, and bills have been introduced in Texas and West Virginia that would do the same thing.

This year’s bills are another attempt to turn back LGBT equality. Last year’s bills were “religious protection” bills, that would allow discrimination on the basis of religious belief under the auspices of protecting employers’ and supervisors’ freedom of religion. However, they experienced a major setback when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed her state’s bill, pressured by the business community.

Labor Dept: All married couples entitled to FMLA benefits

Washington, D.C.--“The basic promise of the FMLA is that no one should have to choose between the job and income they need, and caring for a loved one,” said Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez, announcing that the Family and Medical Leave Act will cover same-sex married couples, even in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

The release announcing the change came on February 23.

Before the rule change, married couples in states that did not recognize same-sex marriage were not covered under the FMLA. It now refers to “place of celebration” instead of “state of residence.”

The new rule officially takes effect on March 27, and follows the Obama Administration’s extension of other federal benefits after the Windsor ruling striking Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Lack of treatment leads risk for HIV transmission

Atlanta--A new study, released on February 23 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, indicate that over 90 percent of HIV infections “could be averted by diagnosing people living with HIV and ensuring they receive prompt, ongoing care and treatment.”

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that, the further along in treatment a person is, the less likely they are to transmit the virus to another person.

“We could prevent the vast majority of new infections tomorrow by improving the health of people living with HIV today,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC.

Almost one-third of infections were from people who did not know they were infected themselves.

“Positive or negative, and HIV test opens the door to prevention. For someone who is positive, it can be the gateway to care and the signal to take steps to protect partners from infection,” said Dr. Eugene McCray. “For someone who tests negative, it can be a direct link to important prevention services to help them stay HIV-free.”

Even those who were in care, but not on antiretroviral treatment, were half as likely as those who had been diagnosed but were untreated to transmit the virus.

And those with the viral count under control with treatment were 94 percent less likely to transmit HIV.

“At CDC, we’re working hard to make testing as simple and accessible as possible,” McCray said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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