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Showing posts with label MK Scott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MK Scott. Show all posts

Saturday, December 23, 2023

(MK remembers) A Salute to Holiday Legends Eartha Kitt and Rosemary Clooney!

Kitt's method (in 2004) of seducing young men: Champagne!
By MK Scott

Since it is Christmas, I remember 2 of the greatest Legends I had the opportunity to meet that both have contributed to the Holiday in a Big way. 

This Week marks the 15th anniversary of the passing of Eartha Kitt (Who is known for the classic, 'Santa Baby') and I remember meeting her as she performed at Seattle's Jazz Alley in 2004. After the show, I made way to her dressing room and was greeted by her publicist, "Are you Mr. Scott?". I said "Yes". The publicist then added, "We have been expecting you!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

NW EXCLUSIVE: Victory Fund President, Annise Parker on the MidTerms


by MK Scott

It had been 3 years since I last seen Annise Parker, the former out mayor from Houston and currently the president of the Victory Party Fund, in Seattle. The last two summer parties were canceled due to COVID. We chatted a little and made arrangement for a zoom interview a few days later.

MK Scott: Tell me about some of the open candidates that are currently running this year.

Annise Parker: So, well, there’s more than a thousand out LGBTQ candidates running across America.

It’s slightly a larger number than two years ago. We have endorsed a little more than 300 of those candidates so far, although we’ll have another batch endorsement as we get close to November. I’m going to give you two answers: one, you know, there’s some really exciting congressional candidates, but everybody pays attention to your congressional candidates. And then there are some interesting down ballot races as well, and we’re really the only national organization that engages in down ballot races. But for the congressional races, you might want to highlight just a handful; one, Becca Balint is running for congress out of Vermont. They have only one member of congress, two senators, but a representative. She is the first woman, and obviously the first LBGTQ person elected there, but it is a statewide race. So we are fully backing Balint, and right now she’s in a two way race. She’s the president of the senate, she’s in a two way race with Lieutenant Geller, also a woman. Vermont will send in their first woman to congress, which is great, but we want it to be Becca. Daniel Hernandez, who’s a great story running for congress in Arizona. He is the person who, as an intern, saved Gabby Gifford’s life. He was … after he was an intern for her he was elected to the school board there. Then he was elected as the state representative, and now he’s running for congress. It’s a highly contested race, but he’s contending, and we’re all excited about Daniel. And then I’ll also highlight Robert Garcia who is the current mayor of Long Beach running for congress. He should, you know, they have, California has the single primaries, and two of them end up in the end, but he creamed everybody in round one and should be the next member of congress from our community, we’re very excited. On the other hand we have both Sharice Davids and Mondaire Jones who had their, who are incumbents, who had their districts just eviscerated through redistricting and are in tough battles to return. They’re both really excellent members of congress. There are more than a hundred out candidates for congress this year. We’ve endorsed about a dozen of those. Lots of them don’t have really a path to victory, they’re viable candidates, but it’s exciting to see so many people willing to step up and get out there and put themselves in front of others.

MK: I’m very excited about the governor’s race in Oregon. You’ve got Tina, Tina Kotek, an Openly lesbian running, following Kate Brown, who was openly bi.

AP: Yeah, it’s a legacy seat. To be already at this stage of our movement to have a potential legacy seat in a governor’s race is astounding and exciting, and Tina’s a great candidate. It is going to be a very tough race for two reasons; one, Oregon, like Texas, has unlimited financing. There’s no cap on what you can contribute to a campaign. So the race could get quickly really expensive. And you have Tina as the democrat, you have a republican, and then you have someone running as an independent who is apparently a republican and then became a democrat and now running against an independent, who has already been like the statewide. So you have, and you can definitely be a spoiler in the race. It’s kind of hard to tell how much of an impact, but Three wealth financed campaigns sort of covering the waterfront. Tina has been the, like the speaker of the house for about eight years, which is a long time for serving a leadership position. Clearly has the respect of her colleagues, and must have great political skills, cat hurting skills, I would say, because that’s a tough position. And she crushed it in the primary, but with the three way race everybody is going to have to pay attention and show up in Oregon to get her across the finish line. The other big governor’s race, Gerry Paul is running for re-election and we’re looking forward to his re-election, but Maura Healey, Attorney General of Massachusetts is going to be the next governor of Massachusetts. She is well ahead in the democratic primary. It’s an August primary. And Massachusetts has elected several moderate republicans, and the current governor is a moderate republican, but it looks like Maura should have an excellent shot in November. And absolutely would be a great governor, but also has, I don’t know if she has any ambitions, but I can tell you that she’s a presidential caliber candidate. And one of the goals of victory after the last presidential campaign we were, we got friendly with Pete Buttigieg, and he did a good job, but it’s a heavy lift going from a relatively small city to a presidential contender. So we absolutely believe it’s imperative to elect more governors, more big city mayors, more senators, folks who have the, you know, objective status to move up.

MK: And then also speaking of previous candidates. We chatted about about the chances for Beto O’Rourke.

AP: Beto is an excellent candidate. He came close to taking out Ted Cruz. His presidential ambitions hurt him, the race for president. He jumped out there and kind of fizzled out. But his campaign is ramping up here in Texas, with a lot of money and this is a republican leaning state for the statewide election. But, you know, don’t discount’s Abbott's ability to do something stupid, or us, unfortunately, you know, we’ve had three of the most horrific mass shootings in American history in Texas with the Uvalde shooting the most recent. But we had a shooting in the Santa Fe school which is just outside of Houston. We had the big Walmart shooting in El Paso. So an election could turn on something like that. Hopefully it won’t happen.

MK: One thing about Texas, it’s pretty much like the center point of everything. You’ve got gun control, you’ve got abortion, you’ve got the anti-trans bills, you’ve got, you know, the anti-gay bills and all that all in the state of Texas....

AP: You know the thing about Texas is the big cities, three of the largest cities in America are, three of the top ten cities are in Texas; Houston, San Antonio and Dallas, and you know, Austin somewhere not far behind. So, and El Paso, and they’re all blue islands in the big toxic red sea. So Texas is not a monolith, but the rural vote is stronger, often times than the urban votes, and it’s the sort of suburban women’s vote that will decide this election. And I hope they’re terrified because the Supreme Court is lost for another generation as it stands. And if they care about access to abortion, if they care about the attacks on schools and what’s being taught in schools, if they care about their LBGTQ family members then they need to show up and vote out the turn offers of which Greg Abbott is one.

MK: Beto, he went to that press conference and going after Abbott. Do you think that helped his chances or hurt his chances?

AP: I don’t think it hurt his chances. I don’t know if it helped it very much because I don’t think he, I don’t think it was as effective as it could’ve been, but it certainly inspired democrats who feel like, you know, Abbott … Abbott is in his bunker. Beto is out there talking to people, he goes everywhere, he campaigns everywhere. That was a strength of his, the last time he ran statewide against Cruz, his willingness to go to the small town diners and have real conversations. Abbott stays in his bunker and doesn’t expose himself to that. So, you know, Beto being there and calling him on it was important, but it was a game changer for the campaign, and he, you know, I think he could’ve been, I think it could’ve been orchestrated a little bit better.

MK: Do you think gay rights in marriage will be protected by the Equality Amendment?

AP: Well, I don’t know that the equality act will pass, but the Marriage Equality act, Senator Baldwin is whipping that as we speak. And I have every reason to believe that the democrats will be able to pick up, considering the number of republicans who voted for Marriage and Health that they will be able to put at least ten to get us there. The alternative is, you know, I know that there are some other riders saying, oh, you know, it’s not really an issue, we shouldn’t have to deal with it. When you have a sitting Supreme Court justice say; this is what we need to do next, and we need to take away marriage, we need to take away this and that. Then you have someone like Ted Cruz, Senator Cruz saying; yeah, we need to do this, and other senators jumping on, it is an issue that needs to be addressed because just like in a similar way, but also standing on its own to the abortion issue, where we are now because the Supreme Court really has states where you can get an abortion and states where you can’t, we’re going to end up with states if they proceed because all these, you know, Griswold, Bergenfield and Lawrence were all under guarded a right to privacy. If that goes away then you’re going to end up with states where you can get married, it’s very much like before Obergefell, but what do you do with a million people who have been married since then and are full faith and credit clause as interpreted in the constitution. We recognize marriages from other states. This will codify that. It won’t standardize our relationships and our ability to marry across the country. There will still be state differences, but it will force all states to recognize marriage. And it will affirm that the federal government, as it did after the Windsor decision, will recognize marriages. It’s not perfect, but it’s a really important step. Because it’ll be chaos if you just assemble marriages that way; well, I’m married, but my friends over here can’t be. How do you deal with that? So, apparently Justice Thomas doesn’t care, but some people do.

MK: Do you think in order to be able to rectify Roe V. Wade do you think they could probably do an amendment on that?

AP: Well, I mean, clearly you get through the house, but you can’t get it through the senate. Marriage is a much easier issue in a lot of ways, I mean, marriage is a contract law. And it’s not, while there are certain people who are offended by same gender marriage others recognize it as both an emotional issue but a contract law issue. So it’s fundamentally different than abortion. And I’m fairly hopeful that at least this, again, it’s not, it won’t make it, you’ll still have, if the Supreme Court goes where we think it’s going to go, you’ll still have states where you can’t get  married, but if you want to get married you can just go across state lines and take care of that. Been there, done that. I had to go to California to get married when I couldn’t get married in Texas, so.

MK: There were some people that were at the party that were important including Danica Rohm. Your thoughts on Danica?

AP: You know, Danica is an amazing person. She is an inspiring candidate and a very capable elected official. She is running for, she’s been a state representative, she’s been running for state senate in Virginia. And Danica would be the first to say this, what is important about candidates like Danica, she was the first, not the first trans person elected, but the first elected to a state house here in the United States, but the important thing is she’s not going to be the last, and she wasn’t. The next cycle, I think we elected three more, and then we elected more, and she would only be the, she would be the second trans state senator after Sarah McBride of Delaware, so that’s the important message of Danica. You need people to stand up and be the first as long as they’re not the last. And she’s a great example of that, and she doesn’t, she’s amazingly generous in going around supporting other candidates and supporting the community. And it is more important to have trans candidates when they’re at the tip of the spear of anti-LBGTQ legislation. The culture war folks are targeting the trans community. Trump did it when he kicked trans service members out of the military. Betsy DeVos, the Education Secretary stripping away the Obama era support for trans students. Now you see republican legislatures across the country with a plethora of anti-trans bills. We’re never going elect; you’re not going to have a legislature where the LGBTQ community is in the majority much less than trans elected representatives. We always need allies. But the ability to be in the chamber and speak to your own life experience and your own reality is transformative. And it may not make a difference the first time, but over time, and we at Victory play the long game, it absolutely matters.

MK: There was also our two local lesbian senators, Emily Randall and Claire Wilson.

AP: You know, I think Claire is in good shape. I think Emily, just again, the issue of redistricting and being what happens is a little bit more of an uphill battle. But they do a great job. They’re real constituents and they’re exciting candidates. We’re going to miss Kate Brown.I mean not only is she a very capable and effective public servant, she’s a heck of a nice person. And she cares deeply about her constituents, but she also, again, understands the power of representation, her willingness to be open about her sexual orientation, even though married to a man in a very, you know, from the outside, a very mainstream relationship, being willing to embrace that she’s bisexual. And I’m leaning into that, it has opened the doors for many candidates in other places, and certainly the excellent job that she has done, I mean, Tina Kotek doesn’t have an easy path, she is, you know, she doesn’t have to run to say I’m going to rescue the state. She could run to say I’m going to continue the great policies and we’re going to continue to get better.

MK: My last question. I wanted to know does Kate Brown, was she one of the victims of a recall campaign? And also Jenny Durkan was also, they were trying to do a recall campaign for Jenny Durkan as well, and I know they did one for Sam Adams down in Portland as well.

AP: Some of my constituents wanted to do one for me too. It didn’t get off the ground.

MK: So the question is why do they usually target the LGBTQ candidates for recall campaigns?

AP: Okay, I think you’ve answered your own question. It’s because we are LBGTQ. And there are certainly folks who, you know, but are offended by our very existence. The organizer behind, the person behind most of the anti-LGBTQ, the organizer here in Houston, is obsessed with, I mean, literally he says things like I pollute the gene pool. So they target us. Again, if you look at, you know, we’re not … better or worse as public officials. I mean I happen to think that there’s so few of us that we actually tend to over perform because it’s harder for us to get there. But we are targeted simply because of who we are. That’s just … yeah, so …Clearly, if we do things that offend people, and Adams had some legal issues that are, some issues that came to light that she had to address. But there were no scandals in my a administration, there were no scandals that I know of in Kate Brown’s administration. Durkan was attacked because it was a Catch 22 situation, she was attacked from the left and the right. Protests. That’s the nature of the job.

Friday, July 3, 2020

[INTERview] Catching Up with Laura Dreyfuss & Rahne Jones of Netflix’s ‘The Politician’.

by MK Scott

Netflix’s much-hyped show, Ryan Murphy’s The Politician, matches the political landscape of 2019 and what is to come in 2020, and I recommend it highly. The streaming service’s summary puts it well:

“Payton Hobart (Ben Platt), a wealthy student from Santa Barbara, has known since age seven that he’s going to be president of the United States. But first, he’ll have to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all: St. Sebastian High School. To get elected student body president, secure a spot at Harvard, and stay on his singular path to success, Payton will have to outsmart his ruthless classmates without sacrificing his own morality and carefully crafted image. Full of comedy and sly satire, The Politician offers a rare glimpse into just what it takes to make a politician.”

Last fall, I got to interview two of its stars: Laura Dreyfuss (one of Payton’s campaign managers) and Rahne Jones (Payton’s opponent’s running mate), whose characters start out on opposite sides but are soon revealed as a same-sex couple. I had a chance to sit down and chat with Dreyfuss and Jones while they were on a publicity tour in Seattle.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Matthew Todd’s Pride

by MK Scott


In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the first Pride parade, writer, journalist, and former editor of Attitude magazine Matthew Todd brings us Pride: The Story of the LGBTQ Equality Movement, a beautiful, exhaustively researched history of milestones in the community’s fight for equality.

But this is a new kind of Pride month, one defined by pandemic-related concern and nationwide protest of systemic racism and police brutality. Todd is explicit in linking the fight for LGBTQ+ equality with any struggle to secure fairness and justice. As he says in his introduction to the book: “If we really want to honor the people who fought at the Stonewall Inn on that unusually hot June night in 1969, then we need to defend those hard-won rights and confront anything that threatens the free and stable societies protecting them. Those who wish to control others or have an interest in the status quo will tell you that protest never achieves anything. I hope this book assures you that protest can achieve a great deal, and that when people act together they have true power – and that sometimes using that power is absolutely necessary.”

Pride is a unique and comprehensive account of the challenges facing the LGBTQ community, and a celebration of the rights that have been won for so many as a result of the sacrifices and passion of this mass movement.

The book includes a wealth of rare images and documents, accompanied by moving essays from key players in and witnesses to the moments that pushed the movement forward, such as personal testimonies from Judy Shepard, activist and mother of Matthew Shepard; Jake Shears; David Furnish [Elton John’s husband] and many others.

I had a chance to chat with Todd via Skype from his home in London.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

EXCLUSIVE: Questions for Ann Collier, MD on her latest study on a COVID-19 treatment

by MK Scott

As we announced last week, Dr. Ann Collier, well known AIDS researcher and Director of the UW AIDS Clinical Trials Unit is heading up a new study for a potential COVID-19 treatment. I had a chance to chat with Dr. Collier via email earlier this week.

MK Scott: Please refresh our readers on your background?

Dr. Ann Collier: I am a doctor, Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington, and Director of the UW AIDS Clinical Trials Unit. I have been involved with the care of people living with HIV and clinical research to improve treatment of HIV for over 30 years.

MK: You just launched a new study for a COVID-19 treatment. Can you briefly explain this study?

DC: This national study compares a combination of 2 medicines to 2 inactive “look-alike” (placebo) pills. The visits for this study are done by telephone. Participants are adults (with or without HIV) with mild COVID-19 symptoms who were diagnosed by nasal swab collected within the past 96 hours. The medicine is taken for 7 days; it is a combination of low dose hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. There has been a lot of social media controversy about this combination based upon “observational” studies of hospitalized persons. There is still no FDA-approved treatment for COVID-19 and we need rigorous clinical trials to help us identify safe and effective treatments. It is also important to know that this study was designed with a lot of safeguards, including dose of the medication and excluding people at risk for side effects. Participants are asked to keep a simple diary about their symptoms for 20 days. Reimbursement is $50 at day 20.

MK: You are known as an AIDS researcher. Can you explain the difference between the HIV virus vs the coronavirus?

DC: HIV and coronaviruses are members of different virus “families”. Both are RNA viruses. HIV is a retrovirus. The virus that causes COVID-19 is called SARS-CoV-2. It is a member of the coronavirus family. Other differences include the types of cells that these viruses infect (enter) and the way these viruses enter human cells.

MK: What are your hopes for the study?

DC: My main hope is that this study will generate valuable and valid information about whether this combination of medicines and low dose of hydroxychloroquine is safe and effective for treatment of mild COVID-19.

MK: What have been the challenges so far?

DC: One major challenge is that the visits are being done by phone. This creates lots of new issues, including about how to provide informed consent via phone, how to confirm who the participant is, how to deliver the study medicine, how to collect the study diary, and provide the study reimbursement. The news about results of observational studies in hospitalized patients have led many people to think this combination has toxicity and decreased interest in studies of hydroxychloroquine. In addition, there is a short window of opportunity for people to join the study. They must enroll within 96 hours of the swab collection that shows they have COVID-19. I am proud that our team was able to screen, enroll, and deliver the first participant’s study medication to them all in one day.

MK: I have heard rumors that PReP (Truvada) has helped in decreasing the risk to COVID-19. Do you think that is possible?

DC: There are multiple medications that have been shown in the test tube to suppress SARS-CO-V2, and Truvada, the first medicine to be used as PrEP, is not one. The one anti-HIV medicine (antiretroviral) that is being studied for treatment of COVID-19 is the protease inhibitor lopinavir boosted by ritonavir. It has the trade name Kaletra®, and consists of two medicines in one pill.

MK: How long do you think the social distancing will last?

DC: There is a lot of variability across the state and the U.S. Sorry, I don’t have a crystal ball.

MK: Nursing homes are experiencing the most cases. How can they maintain safety?

DC: Important actions include the testing of staff, frequent handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds, keeping residents apart by closing common areas, excluding visitors with symptoms of COVID-19, and the wearing of masks by occupants, staff, and visitors.

Many nursing homes have banned visitors and encourage communication via Facebook, Zoom, Facetime, or other electronic tools.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and would like to participate in this study, please call or text 206-773-7129 or email actu@uw.edu.

NOTE: PLEASE CONTINUE TO BE SAFE. Wear a face mask when out in public. Maintain 6 feet social distance when possible. Wash hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/index.html.

If you’re feeling sick, stay home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, a cough, fever, or trouble breathing, contact your health care provider before going to a medical facility. If you have an emergency, call 911.

Washington State COVID-19 Hotline: 800-525-0127; Washington State Crisis Connection: 866-4-CRISIS (866-427-4747).

Monday, February 10, 2020

[INTERview] How an Oscars Reporter is Thriving with HIV on a New Media Platform

by MK Scott

I first noticed Karl Schmid in 2018 on the post-Oscars coverage, a native Aussie who was an entertainment reporter for KABC-TV in Los Angeles. He made headlines last year by coming out as HIV positive, and now, at 39, he is editorial director of the newly launched +Life (“plus-life”) website.

+Life’s mission is to end the stigma associated with being HIV positive. Its original content features interviews with newsmakers, first-person accounts of living positively, and a mix of lifestyle, entertainment, and news coverage—in short, +Life shares information for and lends inspiration to people living with HIV and the people who support them. For example, Karl recently interviewed Dr. Anthony Fauci, perhaps the world’s preeminent HIV/AIDS physician and researcher, and they discussed how “undetectable equals untransmittable” (U=U).

Recent news—from Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness disclosing his status to Princes William and Harry praising Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas for sharing that he is living with HIV, to Billy Porter winning the Emmy for portraying a HIV-positive man—only underscores that HIV awareness, education, and acceptance are mainstream, global issues.

I met Karl in late 2018 in Palm Springs at the gay journalists' conference and jumped at the chance when offered this interview.

MK Scott: Greetings, Karl. People in Seattle know you from the Oscar party coverage. But most importantly, they know you because you came out last year as being HIV positive.
Karl Schmid: Yes, I did.

MKS: So how long did you keep that secret?
KS: Well, I kept the secret as far as my professional life [was concerned]. At that point it was coming up on almost 11 years. Yesterday I celebrated my 12th anniversary since my diagnosis.

MKS: Congratulations.
KS: Thank you. It’s funny, people go, “Why do you celebrate?” [or] “Really? You want to celebrate that?” I’m like, why not? It’s funny, you know, HIV—and I’m not the only who says this—in a way it kind of saved me. Not to say that I was out there living some crazy, wild life, but when you have a diagnosis in your life that really makes you [go], “hang on a second,” [you] sit up and take notice. I think it puts a lot of other things in perspective.

The time of announcing it…was not planned in any way whatsoever. I sort of just let my fingers do the talking one night on social media and it all came out. It’s one of the best things I did.
Because certainly on that day back in 2007, if I thought that I would be having a conversation with you talking about +Life, I would’ve said, “Absolutely no way, what the hell are you talking about?” 
[But] here I am 12 years later…

MKS: What was your reaction when you got the news [that you were positive]?
KS: I think it was before—it sort of—I can’t explain it… immediately I visualized a red countdown box ticking backwards over my head. I don’t know why or where that came from, but they told me those words in [the clinic] in London, and all of a sudden, I kind of saw this red digital countdown box just counting backwards. It was almost like at timer had been put on my life.
But, you know, I had to go back to work, I had to walk back…into my office. I had to keep it together. I kind of went into a survival mode. I thought, OK, well, that’s the news, that’s it. So what do we do now?

And that really kind of has been my mantra ever since with it. There was no turning back. So there really wasn’t much of a point of me sitting in a corner and crying and saying, “why me, why me, this isn’t fair.” Because, you know, I made certain decisions and I did certain things that put me in a position in which I got the HIV virus. And education and sort of sauntering on was key.

MKS: Exactly. I remember as far back as 1990, when I got my first HIV test. You went to a community clinic and got an anonymous number. And then they took blood and you had to wait a grueling two weeks.
KS: Yeah, thankfully I only had a 15-minute sit. And you know, I’ve been to that clinic plenty of times over the years of living in London. It was convenient to where I was as a sexually active young guy in his twenties—and responsible: I went and got regular HIV and STI testing every six months or so. So it wasn’t a clinic that was unfamiliar to me, it wasn’t a procedure that was unfamiliar to me, but it was a result that I wasn’t used to.

MKS: Since coming out last year as positive, what has been the response been like?
KS: Well, in life, it’s been overwhelmingly fantastic. For me, personally, my response has been sort of two parts: a great relief, but it’s also ignited a fire within me to fight HIV’s stigma. Because I didn’t realize the level of internalized stigma I had until I really started speaking [publicly] about HIV.

You know, I always kind of joked—because I am a sort of a sarcastic, cheeky person—“Oh, look, you don’t want to be with me, I’m damaged goods.” But what I didn’t realize was actually there was a huge part of me that in my subconscious actually believed it.

And certainly over those 11 years, quite often the worst stigma was from within the LGBT—in particular, the gay male—community, which always surprises me, and still to this day upsets me greatly. Though our community went through so much, it seems that those lessons and those moments are lost on a whole generation who could [still] lose friends and family… The level and stigma and misinformation and misunderstanding from that sector of the community astounds me. I will say this: Generation Z, the newest wave of young people coming through, are so much more informed and so much more up to speed on it. But the millennial generation, we got a lot of work to do.

So [my] reaction was kind of relief, but also wow, I have this internalized stigma. But the outward reaction has been one of great acceptance and great support. And it’s that level of support and thanks that I get to this day—from complete strangers, via direct message on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook—that led me and my partners to come up with +Life.

Because, honest, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t get messages from people who see something that I post on Instagram or Facebook and say thank you… “I’ve been HIV positive, but I’m in the closet, where I live the stigma is real.” I get messages from people in Pakistan, Iran, South America, Vietnam, all over the world. Gays, straight, lesbian, bi, trans—it doesn’t matter their color, their sexual identity, their gender identity, you name it, I’ve heard from them. And they just say thank you.

And I’m like, for what? I posted a picture of me on a beach drinking out of a coconut. But they say, ”You’re out there and you don’t hide your HIV and you’re showing the world that an HIV diagnosis is no different than any other manageable chronic illness. So thank you.” And because of that sort of reaction and support, [we came] up with +Life and created this new digital platform where people could see and hear and identify with themselves, and see that HIV is just three letters and a little positive symbol, no more defining of somebody than diabetes or cancer is.

It’s funny to me that if I told someone I had cancer, the reaction would be to hug me and say, “Are you OK?” If I would tell someone I have diabetes, the reaction would be, “Oh my god, that sucks.” There’s compassion. But you tell somebody that you’re HIV positive and they take two steps back, look at you like you’re a bit dirty, and then often say, “So, how did you get it?” And we need to change that.

We need to change that because the science is there. It’s clear: I cannot transmit the virus if I’m undetectable. As Dr. Anthony Fauci has said to me numerous times, we have the tools to end the epidemic. The tools are there. But we have stigma, and that stigma leads to ridiculous rules and regulations and government bodies and all this crap.

MKS: Do you think that, with the fact that HIV is becoming more undetectable and that people are living longer, the crisis is finally over?
KS: I don’t think the AIDS crisis is over. I really don’t. HIV still matters. We still need funding. We need the funding—not just to find a cure but also looking at treatment as prevention (PrEP). … I’m glad to see that things are finally starting to move in this country as far as making these medicines both affordable and accessible.

So, no, the conversation is far from over. And it still needs to be at the head of the table, because that’s the danger: people think, “Oh, well, now there are these pills, people are living longer.”
But coming back to the stigma again: there’s still such a stigma and such misinformation out there in the public about what it means to be HIV positive, people are not getting tested. They’re not going on PrEP. They feel that “if I take PrEP, I’m going to be slut-shamed.” … Because there are still a lot of people in the medical industry who have prejudice, homophobia, and transphobia, and everything else. So we got a lot of work to do [in terms of] talking about HIV and AIDS.

I don’t think anybody should live with shame and regret for anything, you know? If you’re a sexually active adult and you’re making decisions… Look, we all make decisions we sometimes regret, but nobody should made to feel less than because of the bloody HIV virus in this day. I mean, c’mon, enough already.

MKS: What do you think about Jonathan Van Ness and Gareth Thomas coming out as positive.
KS: Well, I think it’s great. Whenever somebody from the public eye steps up and talks about it, as far as I’m concerned, so long as we’re talking about HIV, we’re walking in the right direction. Because the more people hear those three letters and symbols, the more they see people that may look and sound like them—or don’t look and sound like them—that’s only a good thing, because it takes the sting out of it. There was a time when people used to say “the C-word” instead of cancer. Now, look at it.

You know, Jonathan is fantastic. What he’s managed to achieve in the past week, with Elizabeth Warren, and Nancy Pelosi and eyeballs that he has put on it… He sat there on Jimmy Kimmel and many other shows and talked about “undetectable equals untransmittable.” U=U is the most simple, cheapest public health announcement ever.

But it is not taking hold in this country. +Life working so hard to get that messaging out. And what we need is more people to step up and talk about it. It’s all good and well to have Jonathan Van Ness and me and the Gareth in the UK, but we are seen as white men of privilege, and we know, especially in this country, that HIV rates are on the climb in black, brown, and trans communities.

MKS: That’s correct.
KS: And, unfortunately, those communities don’t really want to hear what I or Jonathan Van Ness or Gareth have to say. So it doesn’t resonate.
And, again, that’s why we created +Life, where we really are bringing together a team of fantastic talented, exciting, bright sparks of life who are all HIV positive, from every shade of the rainbow and every gender identifies preference…to just really represent and to reach those people. And also heterosexual people.

You know, I got a lot of flak last year when I went on the third hour of the Today Show with Megyn Kelly. The number of people who came at me, going, “Oh my god, why would you go to that Trump-loving, white da-da-da-da-da?” And I said, “Aha, that’s exactly why I’m going on her show. Because they’re the people who need to hear about U=U. They’re the people who have this misinformation through no fault of their own.”
You know, we haven’t had a proper, effective public health campaign in this country, or many other countries, that speak to what HIV is today. We did a great job of scaring the shit out of people in the ’80s and early ’90s…

MKS: Yes, I agree with that.
KS: We need Coca-Cola or Pepsi or McDonald’s marketing team to create a campaign, because, you know what? Whether you drink Coca-Cola or not, you know about it. Whether you eat McDonald’s or not, you know about it. And those campaigns speak to everybody.
HIV campaigns are stuck in their clinical world of, “Well, let’s do a billboard, right? We’ll get a black guy and his white boyfriend. They’ll both be holding hands, and we’ll have an Asian female doctor, and she’ll have a stethoscope around her neck, and then we’ll have a trans lab assistant there in scrubs, so we’ve ticked every box, and we’ll say U=U, undetected…”—who the fuck cares?! Nobody. 

So, again, at +Life, what we hope to be doing—you know, we’ve only been up for a week—but what we really hope to do is bring it out to the mainstream, show people—everyday people, from all walks of life—what HIV looks like in 2019 and to educate and to talk to people about it so that we break down that stigma.

MKS: That’s fabulous. Those campaigns in the ’90s basically scared everybody. It’s like trying to scare everybody into abstinence, you know.
KS: Yeah, and by the way, we needed to do something, but we did it so effectively, and we’ve had no updated communication since until, I mean…I hate to kind of toot my own horn…until I came out and talked about it until Jonathan Van Ness is now talking about it. Gareth is talking about it. God bless Charlie Sheen, you know—if you’re a Charlie Sheen fan, great, a lot of people may not be—but in some ways that does damage to the cause: if you don’t like Charlie Sheen, then you’re going to go, “Well, he fucking deserved it,” see what I mean?
As I said, I really hope that people come to +Life and engage with us and interact with us and that we can grow this into something as mainstream as the Huffington Post.

MKS: How is it different from some other sites, such as My Fabulous Disease or HIV Plus?
KS: Right. Well, hey, listen: I love all of these other platforms. What I’m trying to do is talk about it in the sense that anybody and everybody can understand and relate to. You know, quite often, it’s easy to get entangled with the science and the academics of it all. For myself, you know, I go to my doctor, and he starts rattling off all these letters and numbers, and I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t care—I just want to know if am I healthy and undetectable.
So what we’re trying to do is really break it down and put it in everyday language, and again, address and talk to everybody. You know, a lot of places are LGBTQI specific, or female-specific. We’re about embracing and chatting with everybody. 

MKS: OK. Well, I got something a little bit different for you, something a little bit light. With you being a celebrity journalist, which celeb is on your wish list to interview?
KS: Dolly Parton.

MKS: I have! I was a phone conference—there were maybe ten gay journalists that were invited on a press call with Dolly three, four years ago.
KS: Well, I’m jealous. She’s the one that comes to mind. I just think that the career that she’s had, the multi-levels of talents that that woman has, and the compassion that she has… and she’s a fantastic representation of somebody who is “what you see is what you get.” I mean that’s Dolly Parton, and that’s why we love her.

MKS: I’ve been a fan of yours ever since two years ago, when I first saw you on the red carpet at the Oscars. And then having the chance to meet you in person was just very exciting.
KS: Well, thanks for being so nice. And thanks for taking the time, and for giving us at +Life a shout-out. We really want to build this. We want to make this work. It’s taken over 12 months of fighting and flogging to get it here, but we’re there and we’re proud, and we just want to get people eyeballing it and being a part of the conversation. 

Be sure to check out +Life by going to pluslifemedia.com.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

(TIME-WARP) Code of Conduct, a TRUE Tale of BULLYING revealed 27 Years Later!

by MK Scott

With the close of October's Gay History month,  21 years after Matthew Shepard, and 9 years after Tyler Clementi. There was another anniversary this month. 

There was a never before told story that I am working on as a potential Novel and Movie Script based on an incident involving a fellow Native Portlander who had a dream to be the first in his family to get a college degree.

According to my Friend, Matt as well as school documents, tells that in the Fall of 1992, Matt finally arrived at Northeastern University in Boston, MA to study communications. Problems fitting in were immediate and after changing dorms 3 times, he settled into a single room at Light Hall. Matt liked Light Hall because it was drug and alcohol free and that meant no distractions or Drama.

Matt had trouble fitting in, because 1) He came from Middle-class family from Oregon, 2)  He was registered as a Republican (known as Libertarian today) but supported Clinton, 3) He was 22, older than most freshman and 4) He was an Open Bi-Sexual with a boyfriend and a Girlfriend back home in Portland. The Democratic, conservative, Old values, hard drinking way of Boston was clearly the wrong place.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

[ICYMI] EXCLUSIVE: ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ star Derrick Barry on ‘Drag Race’, Britney and the man in the White House.

by MK Scott

In 2003, the LEO Party was formed by community member Joe Torres, using his birthday as an opportunity to give back to the community he loves. Sixteen years later, this drag show celebration and fundraiser is back again to support Seattle Counseling Service, Entre Hermanos, and SOMOS Seattle.

The Leo Party XVI was held on Sunday, August 11, starting at 6pm at Neighbours Nightclub & Lounge (1509 Broadway) and continuing to 10pm followed by Neighbours’ Gay Latin Night from 10pm to 2am.

I had a chance to chat with Berry via email about ‘Drag Race’, Britney and the man in the White House.

Monday, August 5, 2019

[ICYMI] After 40 Years, the B-52s’ Front Man, Fred Schneider, is Still a Fierce Persona

by MK Scott

Can’t believe it has been 40 years since the B-52s had its first big hit, “Rock Lobster”! And who could forget “Love Shack” or “Roam”?

Heading up the group for the past 43 years has been the flamboyant Fred Schneider. And joining them on their new tour are New Wave icons OMD and Berlin (I interviewed Terri Nunn of Berlin in 2017).

I had a chance to chat with Schneider via email about those 40 years and who could play him if there was ever a biopic.

Monday, December 31, 2018


by MK Scott

It has been quite a year as I brought about 2-dozen interviews (mostly exclusives) to Unite Seattle and the Seattle Gay News. What tied many of these interviews together – from Broadway stars to Drag Stars to Gay Icons – were my questions related to the current political climate – from Trump to #MeToo to Youth to Loss – and those questions got each interview subject talking with such passion. Here are highlights from 19 of my interviews based on subject.

Monday, September 24, 2018

EXCLUSIVE: Judy and Dennis Shepard reflect on 20 years after Matthew Shepard’s death

by MK Scott

It is hard to believe that October 12th will be the 20th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. It all started on the night of October 6, 1998, when Matthew Shepard was lured to an open field and was tied up to a fence and tortured for days. Not since the days of the AIDS crisis, both the LGBTQ and straight community came together to help put hate crime legislation into law. Yes, Matthew was known as being the face of combating hate crimes.

I first met Judy Shepard in the fall of 2001 during her visit to Seattle to appear as a keynote speaker at the screening of a documentary called Journey to a Hate Free Millennium at the old Opera House. In 2009, I met up with Shepard again at a cocktail party in Portland; so when I had a chance to actually interview this amazing woman (and meeting her incredible husband) at the National Conference of LGBTQ Journalists on September 8th in Palm Springs, CA I seized the opportunity.

Earlier in the day, the Shepards spoke to a jam packed room of over 200 journalists and when it was all over the audience got up and gave them a standing ovation that lasted for over 10 minutes. This was an amazing opportunity to reflect on the past 20 years and we got to go into detail of what we discussed 17 years ago.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

INTERVIEW: Cyndi Lauper on Trump, #MeToo and opening for Rod Stewart

by MK Scott

Cyndi Lauper is still a legend after 35 years since her breakthrough album, She so Unusual. I last communicated with her four years ago, while she was on tour with Cher’s Dressed to Kill Tour. Now Lauper, 65 (yes, really) is teaming up with Rod Stewart and hitting the Seattle area on September 1st at the White River Amphitheatre in Auburn. After four years, Lauper opened Kinky Boots in London, and is currently writing another Broadway show. Lately Lauper has been active with the #MeToo movement and has opened up about a personal issue. I chatted with her this week by email.

Friday, August 17, 2018

{ICYMI} After 40 years, Olivia Newton-John still ‘hopelessly devoted’!

by MK Scott

Olivia Newton-John has been busy in the last few years with her Vegas Residency at the Flamingo, three albums and a new one on the way, and in her free time she devotes the proceeds and countless hours to her Cancer Wellness charities. On Aug 15th, she was on hand on Hollywood for Grease’s 40th anniversary. Here is my interview that was printed in the Seattle Gay News on Aug 19, 2016.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Melissa Etheridge: ‘Making An Impact’ 25 Years Later

By MK Scott

It is hard to believe that it has been over 25 years since Melissa Etheridge first made it big with her Grammy-winning album, Yes I am. Who could forget such hits as “I’m the Only One” and “Come to My Window.”

Etheridge is back in the Seattle area playing the Tulalip Amphitheater on July 14 with another classic diva, Leann Rimes. I had a chance to speak Etheridge by phone.

Monday, January 1, 2018


by MK Scott

It has been quite a year as I brought about 2-dozen interviews (mostly exclusives) to the Seattle Gay News. What tied many of these interviews together - from Oscar winners to reality stars to music legends - were my questions related to the current political climate - from Activism to the Muslim Travel Ban to Healthcare to Sexual Harassment (ironically, all related to President Trump) - and those questions got each interview subject talking with such passion. Here are highlights from 14 of my exclusive interviews based on subject.


Dustin Lance Black: Well, so all - I, I think we have been - I think that we're doing it in the right way, right now. And that is, that the - what I was so afraid of four years ago - even as we were making great progress, is that we've become incredibly self-centered, myopic, really focused just on our own issues. And we had absolutely lost sight of our connection to other social justice movements. We were not working locked arm in arm. And as a student of Harvey Milk, who built the coalition of yesses, in order to start winning freedom and winning political power, that coalition of yesses wasn't just LGBT people. It was seniors, it was racial minorities, it was union workers. That's what built - well, I couldn't see it. You'd hear at the marches 'Gay, straight, black, white, same struggle, same fight,' but it was mostly Gay people with a few straight people, or mostly African American people with a couple white people. And I kept asking myself, why aren't we showing up for other people's rallies? And, you know, just ask Nero - divide and conquer - and we've become - not out of animus, but out of self-interest - we've become divided. And that was dangerous. And now we're seeing that indeed we've lost ground because we were divided. And what I'm seeing now, when I've gone to these marches, when I've been to some of these rallies, is that it is now truly Gay and straight and black and white, same struggle, same fight - and that's critical. So was it just a Gay rally? No. Should it be? No. We should be showing up for our brothers and sisters in other social justice movements as we wanted them to show up for ours when our rights come under attack. (2/24/17)

Friday, December 22, 2017

(OUTview NW) Out NPR co-host Ari Shapiro returned to his native Portland last month for his international-themed one-man show, 'Homeward'!

by MK Scott 

I first heard of Ari Shapiro two years ago. I knew he was someone from my hometown of Beaverton, OR and was a nationally known journalist working for NPR (National Public Radio) who'd become a co-host of the famed 'All Things Considered' program. We listen to him daily, here at the SGN offices.

I personally met Shapiro, 39, last fall at the Association of LGBTQ Journalists Convention in Philadelphia. About a month later I was thrilled to learn he would be in Portland to perform his one-man show, 'Homeward,' which he presented at the World Trade Auditorium in Portland last month. (On other occasions when he's in Portland he performs with the Portland-based band, Pink Martini.)

Friday, December 15, 2017

(OUTview NW) A holiday toast and exciting changes at this year's GSBA Holiday Luncheon and Annual Meeting!

by MK Scott 

It was an exciting afternoon this past Wednesday (12/13) when major players from the Seattle LGBTQA business community came together at McCaw Hall for the GSBA Holiday Luncheon and Annual Meeting.

As you entered the main hall and lobby there were booths lined up featuring all the GSBA corporate sponsors including Wells Fargo, Pacific Medical, Starbucks, 1st Security Bank, and more with goodie bags filled with water bottles, stuffed toys, etc.

On the McCaw Hall mezzanine level round tables were set up with salad-filled plates and dinner rolls for the luncheon. While the place was packed with familiar faces and some not so familiar, it was quite a contrast to the first GSBA Holiday Luncheon I attended back in 2000, which was a third of the size.

After a great musical performance by GSBA Scholar, Christina Brewer, GSBA President and CEO Louise Chernin spoke of progress, and Board Co-Chair Drew Ness (1st Security Bank) paid homage to outgoing board members Allan Aquila (Aquila and Associates), Marci Flanery (CPA), Jeff Kinney (Concentric Impact), Beth Hester (Comcast/NBCUniversal), John Rubino (GreenRubino) and Kurt Sarchet (Precision Door Service), Ness also welcomed new board members Roz Edison (Marination), Susan Fuller (Attorney), James Hing (Starbucks), Carolyn Hojaboom (ARC of King County), Adrian Matanza (Seattle City Light) and Kyle Mullinix (Google).

Chernin returned to the podium and as everyone picked up their glasses of champagne toasted to the closing of an intense year and to what hopes to be a great start for 2018.

Current Chief of Staff at Seattle City Light Calvin Goings introduced and moderated a panel on the 2018 Legislative forecast with 43rd District State Senator Jamie Pedersen, State Representative Nicole Macri and WA Speaker of the House Frank Chopp. With the Dems now taking over the State Senate, look for immediate changes to happen in Olympia.

For member info for the Greater Seattle Business Association, check out www.thegsba.org.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

(OUTview AMERICA) EXCLUSIVE: The Kosher Baker Previews Hanukkah Favorites in her New Cookbook!

by MK Scott
Too often, Jewish recipes have too much salt, fat, sugar, and processed foods and lack whole grains and fresh ingredients. But now Paula Shoyer, THE kosher food expert and best-selling author has released her newest cookbook: The Healthy Jewish Kitchen: Fresh Contemporary Recipes for Every Occasion, a delicious new take on Jewish cooking. 

In each of Paula’s recipes she uses only natural ingredients and offers a fresh, nutrient-dense spin on every dish. Here you’ll find very little frying, and no margarine, frozen puff pastry, soup stocks and powders, and most jarred sauces. More than 80 recipes include both Sephardic and Ashkenazy Jewish classics (Israeli Herb and Almond Salad, Sourdough Challah, Tzimmes Puree, Potato and Scallion Latkes, Schnitzel with Nut Crust) as well as American and international dishes that extend beyond the Jewish culinary world.

With Hanukkah coming up next week,  the timing couldn't better to order this book as a gift or cook up a storm this holiday season. I had a chance to chat with Paula Shoyer by e-mail.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

(OUTview NW) The 14th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast was better than ever!

by MK Scott

On Friday morning, December 1, the LGBTQ and allied community came together for the 14th Annual Stronger Together World AIDS Day Breakfast at the Seattle Sheraton Hote for the second year in a row.

After welcoming remarks from KOMO 4 News anchor Molly Shen and messages from Gay City's Fred Swanson and Seattle Counseling Service Executive Director, Ann McGettigan, the breakfast began.

The crowd applauded when they announced that Washington state is the first U.S. state to achieve the 90-90-90 UnAIDS Campaign goal. 90-90-90 is an ambitious treatment target promoted by the United Nations to help end the AIDS epidemic. It's goals are that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status. By 2020, 90% of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy. By 2020, 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.

This year's honorees were HIV/AIDS community activist Kenny Joe McMullen from Project Handle and Kevin Patz from CareTeams.

More information about Project Handle can be found at: http://www.nhwa.org/lookinside/program.php?program=Community+Health

More information about CareTeams can be found at: http://www.samaritanps.org/node/390

This year's keynote speaker was Dr. Marjorie Hill from the Adabbo Health Center in Queens, NY. In her remarks she recalled her first experience with HIV/AIDS when she learned of her best friend's AIDS diagnosis in the early-1980's when AIDS was largely untreatable and compared that to where we are at now where it can be treated with antiretroviral medication.

According to Seattle Counseling Service close to $120,000 was raised at the breakfast.

Beneficiaries of the breakfast were Gay City Health Project, Seattle Counseling Service, and CareTeams, a program of Samaritan Center of Puget Sound.

Friday, December 1, 2017

(OUTview NW) Plans for the Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial Resolution 31783 approved!

Photo courtesy of Sabrina Bolieu
by MK Scott
On Monday, November 27, the Seattle City Council passed Resolution 31783 allowing the Seattle Parks Department to construct the Seattle AIDS Legacy Memorial at Cal Anderson Park.

The resolution was drafted by Councilmember Debora Juarez with Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Mike O'Brien providing feedback.

While speaking, Juarez made a point to thank former City Councilmember Tom Rasmussen for organizing the Community Advisory Group, which includes Seattle Gay News publisher, George Bakan.

This project has received $275,000 from the City of Seattle with construction to be completed by 2019 as part of the housing development to be built at the Capitol Hill Light Rail station.

This memorial will honor members of the LGBTQ and all communities who were affected by the AIDS pandemic.

Mike O'Brien commented: 'The HIV/AIDS Pandemic: a Health Crisis, a Political Crisis and a Social Crisis, and the historical and current effects on the LGBTQ Community have been devastating.'

Council President Bruce Harrell called this legislation, 'Powerful.'

Also published in the Seattle Gay News
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