The two lovers gave each other matching silver engagement rings for Christmas.
Tom Menard and Topher Duerkes, engaged for a year, may be swapping them in for wedding rings sooner than expected.
Illinois’ same-sex marriage bill, sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, garnered national attention when it steamrolled its way into a Senate committee vote last week. It passed out of that committee but was shelved by the so-called lame duck legislators. The newly sworn in members of the General Assembly will presumably pick it this week week after being sworn in.
Tom Menard, on right, with his partner, Topher Duerkes, in 2009.
When Illinois joins the other nine states that have legalized same sex marriage, it will be a historic moment for the Prairie State. It will carry special meaning for those, like Menard and Duerkes, who have waited years for that right.
It's important for HIV/AIDS organizations and advocates to be able to engage the media and tell powerful HIV stories, particularly in a time when many Americans seem disinterested. Compelling stories can sway public and political opinion.
But effectively engaging with reporters on complicated issues can be challenging. They have tight deadlines to make, and editors, or producers, to please. HIV doesn't often make the front page anymore.
Check out this recent HIVHealthReform.org webinar, called "Driving the Story," on how to effectively engage your local media on HIV stories. The panelists include Claire Hermann, communications program coordinator for the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition; Greg Trotter, communications manager for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago; and Chris Fleisher, a health reporter for the Valley News in New Hampshire.
Our stories matter now more than ever. Let's make sure people actually hear them.
In case you missed it, here's a quick roundup of AFC in the news, over the holiday week, responding to the latest HIV statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in late December.
To read AFC's full statement in response to the CDC statistics, click here.
Leslie Mann, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, focused her story on the rise of HIV infections among young gay men. She interviewed David Ernesto Munar, AFC president/CEO, on the dilemma.
"Gay youth are so vulnerable because they often feel like they have no one to talk to," said David Ernesto Munar, president and CEO of AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "They rely on peers for information, and their peers aren't necessarily giving them the right information."
Do you ever feel there are critical advances in HIV/AIDS prevention that aren't being properly covered in the mainstream media? Or that there are complex HIV/AIDS-related healthcare and funding issues not being clearly explained? Or that there are powerful HIV/AIDS stories here in Chicago just waiting for someone to tell them? We feel that way, too!
At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), we’re committed to changing the story of HIV/AIDS. Inside Story aims to take you inside that story, to give you an intimate look at how AFC, and other Chicago and national organizations, are fighting HIV/AIDS through medical, housing and support services; cutting-edge research into prevention and treatment methods; and advocacy for stronger HIV-AIDS public policy from legislators.