Inciting fear and hatred of gays and lesbians doesn't seem to take a holiday.

In Russia, only days after the world united against HIV during the 20th anniversary of World AIDS Day, Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov linked HIV to the gay rights movement.

According to Luzhkov, greater visibility for the gay community results in an increase in HIV.

“We have banned, and will ban, the propaganda of sexual minorities' opinions because they can be one of the factors in the spread of HIV infection,” he said while speaking at a conference in Moscow titled HIV/AIDS in Developed Countries.

The comments are no revelation to anyone who monitors what's happening inside Moscow, where the mayor has denied gay activists a gay pride parade license for the past three years, and has called being gay “satanic.”

Luzhkov's demagoguery places Russia on an infectious train wreck. Consider the fact that in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly 32.9 million people have contracted HIV, the primary route of infection remains heterosexual sex, but for Western countries gay men, prostitutes and drug addicts represent the highest risk groups. Reaching these at-risk groups is key to stemming the rise of new infections, and driving gay men underground by dehumanizing them is contrary to that end.

Back in the U.S., a full-page ad characterizing grassroots demonstrations against the passage of Proposition 8 as mob “intimidation” set a new low bar for hypocrisy.

The full-page ad appearing in Friday's New York Times was sponsored by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a nonprofit group dedicated to “protecting the free expression of all religious traditions”.

“[W]e're united in this: The violence and intimidation being directed against the LDS or 'Mormon' church, and other religious organizations – and even against individual believers – simply because they supported Proposition 8 is an outrage that must stop,” the ad reads.

The ad vows to work against demonstrators by “exposing and publicly shaming anyone who resorts to the rhetoric of anti-religious bigotry – against any faith, on any side of any cause, for any reason.”

The Mormon Church might have visioned Hosannas as it rounded its anti-gay victory lap, but instead faced recalcitrant demonstrators who've been cheered on by the media and politicians for their spunk to stand up against such a Goliath.

Exposing and publicly shaming? Had we only thought of that first! Oh, the sweet irony.

From Kalamazoo, Michigan, some good news: A new ordinance makes it illegal to use sexual orientation to discriminate in the areas of housing, public accommodations and employment. Kalamazoo joins 15 other Michigan cities in passing such legislation.

But only a state away, in Toledo, Ohio, a former University of Toledo human resources official is pressing ahead with a lawsuit against the school after she was fired for an anti-gay rant published on the Toledo Free Press website.

Crystal Dixon believes that her First Amendment right to free speech was violated when the university fired her for saying that being gay was a choice and promoted the notion that gays can be “cured” through prayer.

Dixon was responding to an editorial that likened gay rights to the African-American struggle.

“As a Black woman who happens to be an alumnus of the University of Toledo's Graduate School, an employee and business owner,” Dixon wrote, “I take great umbrage at the notion that those choosing the homosexual lifestyle are 'civil rights victims'. Here's why: I cannot wake up tomorrow and not be a Black woman. I am genetically and biologically a Black woman and very pleased to be so as my Creator intended.”

“Daily, thousands of homosexuals make a life decision to leave the gay lifestyle evidenced by the growing population of P-FOX ... and Exodus International.”

Dixon is being represented in her lawsuit by the Thomas More Law Center, the same group that promised legal protection for Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern after she received threats for saying, “I honestly think it's [homosexuality] the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam,” in March.

Birds of a feather.

And it was our own Gay Entertainment Report that brought me news that Ciao, lauded by as “the best gay movie I've seen all year,” has finally arrived in theaters.

The Gay Slant is a weekly feature of On Top Magazine. Walter Weeks is a writer for On Top and can be reached at