Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Las Vegas Joins Fight for Same-Sex Marriage

When California’s Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had equal rights to marry under the state constitution in May 2008, it became a tumultuous ride for the LGBT Community. By November, the decision was overruled when Proposition 8 passed by a 52.3 - 47.7 percent margin, devastating the community.

Yesterday, California’s Supreme Court ruled to uphold the same-sex marriage ban.

“It was a highly discouraging day for many,” says Brett, who married his husband in Los Angeles in July, 2008. “We consider ourselves very lucky that we had this opportunity last year. However, there are many people who are not as fortunate. We adopted two children over six years ago and this was the second most important day of our lives. To think that this right could be taken away from us is extremely disheartening.”

Las Vegas is among 160 cities across the nation rallying against California’s Supreme Court decision to uphold Proposition 8. The issue of Proposition 8 resonates with the LGBT community of Southern Nevada because Gov. Gibbons vetoed SB 283, which was a domestic partner bill that revised provisions governing the rights of domestic partners. To express support, the The Gay & Lesbian Center of Southern Nevada hosted a rally with over 400 advocates in attendance, both gay and straight, last night.

“The rally filled us with hope and pride,” said Sybrina Bernabei, HIV prevention educator at the Gay & Lesbian Center. “The speakers encouraged and energized us. We need to unite and stand up for our rights.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has taken action on a local and national level. They continue to lead us in the fight for equal rights and they continue to need the support of the community.

Make a difference. Get involved.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

AFAN Kicks Off Promo At Long Beach Pride

Despite the devastating blow of Proposition 8 at the onset of 2009, California’s gay activists seem reinvigorated. This weekend, Long Beach Pride had over 80,000 attendees come out in support of gay rights.

AFAN was the proud guest of, a gay internet radio station and a major sponsor of Long Beach Pride. AFAN kicked off its Black & White Party promotions by distributing hot pink Frisbees. They received overwhelming support from Pride attendees. Tickets are $35, which includes all you can eat and drink. Tickets go on sale June 1.

“It was an honor to take part in the festivities and really see the community come together,” said AFAN Client Services Supervisor, Jared Hafen.

The weekend was filled with a variety of artists, including Ari Gold, Guy B as well as other performances by Smashmouth, Jazmine Sullivan, Alec Mapa, Kat Deluna, and Sara Bareilles. One of the highlights included Long Beach Pride’s version of American Idol.

Pride Star was an amazing hit, especially with one ‘celebrity’ judges being Duncan Payton, the CEO and Founder of Payton’s constructive criticism included everything from fashion advice to how to hold a microphone. His judging critiques were almost as entertaining as the performances.

The winner of Pride Star was 19 year old, Niko, from Bakersfield, Calif. He performed Edwin McCain’s “I’ll Be” and George Michael’s “Feeling Good.” Niko won over the crowd with his youthful exuberance and unforgettable dimples.

Niko, supported by friends and family, won a $2,500 cash prize, a production deal with his original single by Media Temple Productions, and the airing of his new single featured on the Network.

Join AFAN and at LA Pride on June 13 and 14 and San Diego Pride on July 18 and 19. Visit the booth to win some amazing promotional items for the Black & White Party, held at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s pool on August 22.

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Camp Courage Helps Children With HIV/AIDS

For its second consecutive year, Aid for AIDS of Nevada (AFAN) will host Camp Courage, a summer camp for southern Nevada kids (ages 5-15) who are infected by HIV/AIDS.

Last summer, the trip included a ride across the state line to San Diego. In four short days, the children attended a play at the Starlight Theater, interacted with the amazing exhibits at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, saw Shamu at Sea World, and swam in the Pacific Ocean. This, of course, was only the beginning of what the campers saw, did, and experienced.

The camp is shorter this year, but still packed with all the fun!

The campers will arrive at AFAN’s office at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17. There, they will be greeted by counselors and given all the items they need for their camp. That night, they will participate in a talent show, play games, win prizes, and enjoy all the pizza, pop corn, and candy they can eat (within reason, of course).

The very next day, everyone will wake up, pack up, and begin the trip to Disneyland! The goal for Camp Courage is to have the campers arrive in time for the park opening at 10 a.m.!

Then, all day long, campers will be free to roam with their counselors and ride the rides, like Space Mountain, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, and many others. They will also be able to enjoy lunch in the park, at the restaurant of their choice. At 5 p.m., they will begin the short ride home to Las Vegas. One full night and day of fun!

Would you like to know more? AFAN could still use some help. To volunteer or for more information, please e-mail AFAN.

We're still accepting donations from people with big hearts too! If you would like to sponsor a camper, please visit AFAN's dedicated Camp Courage sponsor page.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Walk into AFAN’s Education Department on Thursday afternoon and you'll be delighted. Twenty or so people will be talking about art — everything and anything you can imagine from paints and paint brushes to canvases, fabric, and beads. It's a perfect mess, but it's also the kind of mess you want in your life.

This is SMOOSH.

SMOOSH is a creative workshop that provides a safe and artsy atmosphere for those who are HIV positive to come and create art. For those who aren’t so artsy, we are all welcome too.

“I continue to see the need for group projects. You would be surprised how therapeutic the experience can be for the artists,” said Alex Flores, artist in residence. “It provides them with an unparalleled sense of community. If they want to talk about living with HIV they are able to find the support they need, but if they simply want to come and escape they are in a place where they are able to do so.”

The group’s next project will be collages. Flores is encouraging people to create a collage reflecting their experience with HIV/AIDS. The artwork can portray the struggles and losses they have faced, which has been proven to help people deal with the challenges they face.

As funding allows, the group also takes part in “Art Experiences.” Art experiences include activities such as pottery workshops: Giselle by Nevada Ballet, The Phantom of the Opera, and The Bodies Exhibit.

These outings reinforce the comradry of the group as they are able to experience a work of art created by someone else. It has and continues to facilitate discussions, and often provides the inspiration for new works.

“The healing of hearts, souls, and minds happen here at AFAN on Thursday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. when I hear laughter and see smiles that rise from individuals that never felt they had a reason to smile, or compassion that blossoms from a friendship made while creating a piece of art, said Lane Olson, Prevention Education Supervisor. “SMOOSH is truly magical; people come alive when producing something they perceive as beauty.”

SMOOSH is always in need of additional supplies and local artists who are willing lead projects with the group. If you are interested in getting involved please email Lane Olson.