The breathless, lurid speculation for weeks until Charlie Sheen stated in an interview today that he is HIV-positive -- and his revelation that he spent millions of dollars to keep the news quiet, extorted by several individuals -- proves just how far we have to go in talking about HIV and in battling the stigma surrounding it.
After first refusing to confirm or deny it, the Vatican has confirmed that Pope Francis met with the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis at the Vatican Embassy in Washington, where Davis's attorney -- who made the news public after the pope's trip ended -- said Francis told her to "stay strong." We don't yet know all the details of how the meeting came to pass, but the optics of it are bad no matter what. This simple encounter completely undermines all the goodwill the pope created in downplaying "the gay issue" on his U.S. trip. The pope played us for fools, trying to have it both ways. He's an artful politician, telling different audiences what they want to hear on homosexuality.
We claim we want to be treated equally as gay people, but then, in 2015, with much more acceptance in the culture, we still ask for special treatment of gay and bisexual public figures while every aspect of the sex lives of heterosexual public figures is dissected every day. We can't have it both ways any longer.
Political strategists still debate whether Biden forced President Obama to move more quickly on marriage equality -- something Biden surely would like us to believe -- or if he was part of a trial balloon days before the president finally announced support in the spring of 2012 (most reports point to the former). But the bottom line is Biden was first, ahead of Obama and Hillary Clinton -- who was last out of the gate among the three.
Scott Walker thought he was playing a deft game. But this week it blew up in spectacular fashion as Walker stepped on the Ben Carson third rail and blatantly implied gay men are predators who can't be trusted around children. You'd think in 2015 this kind of blatant defamation would be banished from politics.
At a time when Clinton's Democratic rivals are exploiting a dip in her approval numbers, Clinton should be going on the offensive as the candidate fighting for full equality during a civil rights movement of our time. That would not only energize progressives in the party, it would speak to younger voters, including independents.