… and I am Somebody male. in my thirties. recovering alcoholic. live in minneapolis. work in progress. gay. serenity please.

Republicans targetting M.A.P.

04.24.2005 · Posted in In the news

M.A.P. is a state-level nonprofit organization that’s been active in the community since 1983. Their website at www.mnaidsproject.org states their mission as:

Our mission is to lead Minnesota’s fight to stop HIV and enhance the well-being of those affected.

Pretty admirable if you ask me.

I know some of the folks involved over there and they’re a great group. They’ve raised more money for AIDS causes than any other person or group in this state. They are wherever they are needed, whenever they are needed.

Now they’re being targetted by a republican legislator – Rep. Tom Emmer, (R-Delano) wants to cut the anual state funding of $425,000 because he doesn’t agree with two pieces of the literature they’re publishing.

The literature in question are two zines published by Pride Alive – a project of M.A.P. that is funded through private donations.

The zines are called Shameless and Outsight. Both publications are available in print and online.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll stress this again – I’m no political expert. I don’t know the ins and outs of how ‘the system’ works. But I do know that M.A.P. is a wonderful organization where people work not for the nonprofit-sized paychecks, but for those they are helping. I believe this is just another example of the Republican party targetting homosexuals.

This is shameless. People are fucking dieing here, and they want to take away the little money that M.A.P. is provided because they don’t agree with some of the literature? The literature is targetted at the folks who are at-risk for the disease – do you expect them to print biblical passages? (NOTE: I’m not knocking the bible, just using a hypothetical example)

For the facts, see the StarTribune article. Since the S’trib’s articles tend to expire after a few weeks, I’ve copied and pasted it’s content in below.

Irked legislator targets AIDS-prevention funds

Warren Wolfe, Star Tribune
April 23, 2005

The website is at www.pridealive.org. The material may not be appropriate for all audiences.

A Minnesota legislator who said he was “shocked and disgusted” by explicit language on a gay-outreach website has won approval in a House committee to eliminate all Health Department funding for the state’s largest AIDS-prevention program.

A measure sponsored by Rep. Tom Emmer, R-Delano, would end $425,000 in funding for the Minnesota AIDS Project (MAP). It would forbid state funding for “websites, pamphlets, or other communications that contain sexually explicit images or language.” The bill next goes to the House floor.

Emmer said he objected to language and images in articles on the website of Pride Alive, a program sponsored by MAP that targets gay and bisexual men. The articles were from two Pride Alive magazines, Shameless and Outsight, published in printed and electronic forms.

While defending the website language, MAP said Friday that no state money is used for the Pride Alive project or its magazines, which are supported by private donations, a distinction noted on the Pride Alive site.

“The language is appropriate for the gay and bisexual audience it’s aimed at, written with language that communicates directly with them,” said Amy Weiss, MAP spokeswoman.

State Health Commissioner Aggie Leitheiser said her department is talking with House members about Emmer’s amendment to the Health Department budget bill. “MAP has been a pretty good partner for us, doing things we can’t do. But as far as sexually explicit language, I’m not sure what that means.”

Said Emmer: “I’m not trying to change anybody’s lifestyle. People can do whatever they want. I just don’t think state money should be used for this childish and offensive language.”

Emmer said he hasn’t talked with Health Department officials about his concerns, and he isn’t sure how to define inappropriate sexual language. “Maybe that’s a role for the [Health] commissioner,” he added.

Health officials said the department’s review committee has approved AIDS-prevention material supported with public money, based on federal guidelines.

“There is a role for language that may be jarring for some people, and which is appropriately targeted to specific risk groups,” said Kip Beardsley, the department’s AIDS director. “But we don’t pay for that.”

Losing Health Department funding would cut the MAP budget by about 10 percent, including money for the state AIDS hot line, HIV testing clinics and HIV prevention outreach programs, said Lorraine Teel, MAP executive director.

“This amendment is telling us to shut up, and we won’t shut up,” she said. “We are doing important public health work to protect Minnesotans

Emmer, an attorney, said he might be persuaded to restore some MAP money but not to change the prohibition against sexually explicit language because “it’s just plain wrong.”

Warren Wolfe is at wolfe@startribune.com.

7 Responses to “Republicans targetting M.A.P.”

  1. Thanks for bringing this up. A good friend of mine works at Pride Alive, and they do excellent work.

  2. That sucks. I get too political personally but try not too. The African American community got everything by appealing to the basic humanity of both parties, not siding with one party. Of course it’s much harder today. (No, I’m pretty much totally democrat, but in Texas, eh…. You gotta cross the fence to get the lesser of the evils that has a chance of winning).

    I hope the money stays and this is just political bluff to rally the people for another election or for popularity, and if it isn’t, I hope they’re able to make up for it in donations. Keep us posted! I don’t have much extra these days but I can give a little!

  3. Dan, this is extremely disheartening. MAP is truly helping gays and others in Minnesota stay away from HIV. MAP has no equal that I’ve seen in SF or LA…more states would be well-served to fund organizations like MAP.

  4. Thanks for pointing this out. I emailed Rep. Emmer and the Star Tribune.

  5. Drew Emmer says:

    Your characterization of Tom Emmer’s action against MAP use of state funding to support PrideAlive’s website is inaccurate. If you would like a copy of Tom’s letter to MAP Executive Director Lorraine Teel please let me know and I will email it to you. It clearly states Tom’s reasoning in raising the issue. Warren Wolfe (Star Tribune) had a copy of Tom’s letter but refused to quote it accurately in his article.

    I’m a straight guy who has helped raise money in the past for MAP. MAP has been an important service provider in the past. But nothing puts MAP above being responsible to the poeple they serve. This is even more critical when it involves taxpayer money.

    Let me know if you would like to publish the letter to clear up any ambiguities your blog is perpetuating by not having the facts.

    “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance—that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

    —Herbert Spencer

  6. Hey, Herb – thanks for posting. No, I haven’t seen Emmer’s letter – but really, that’s irrelevant as he’s gone beyond letter writing tactics.

    M.A.P. may not have the cleanest books around. I doubt if many non-profits have the expertise necessary for good bookeeping.

    What I wanted to point out with my post is simply Emnmer’s choice to target M.A.P. I would put money on the table that he never looked into the literature being distributed from other organizations that receive state money.

  7. Drew Emmer says:

    Thanks for confirming your unwillingness to stand up for the truth about the situation. I offered. You declined. Good luck on your journey. Drew