Improved photos and faster load time!

MaleForce is going through a complete evolution this year. Less than two months ago MaleForce 2.0 was released on the Android platform and 2.0 will be ready to launch on iPhones in the next few months.

Since our last shout out, we have been inundated with suggestions of what you would like to see on the MaleForce app. The biggest suggestion by far was for better quality and bigger pictures… so we fixed it! All new photo uploads will now be higher quality than before. You can even view any image that’s sent to your inbox in full screen and see how much clearer they are.

We do have some tips for making the resolution even better. It seems that the faster your connection, the better the quality. We suggest you upload all of your pictures over a WiFi connection rather than 3G as the quality of your image will be far superior.

Speaking of fast; we’ve also improved the app loading speed. We concentrated on packing your app full of fantastic features, we hadn’t considered the knock on effect this could have on the loading time. But after many sleepless nights and our developers overloading on coffee, we’ve managed to noticeably improve the app loading time… who wants to wait when there’s hot guys to chat to?

But don’t take our word for it – use it and find out yourself! Oh, and keep your suggestions coming in; we want to make MaleForce the best gay app there is.

Simply go to the market or app store on your smart phone and download for free MaleForce 2.0

MaleForce

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Gay Chat News: A week of gay stories

I felt like doing a news round-up kinda thang today. There have been so many interesting gay stories over the past seven days, it just didn’t seem right to focus on just the one.

Proud for Pride?

It was London Pride on Saturday. I was there, as I have been nearly every year for the past 13. I’m not sure if it’s my age or not, but I didn’t rate Pride at all this year. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen it; meaning that trying to walk anywhere was a real struggle. I missed the Parade and went straight to Trafalgar Square where the headlining act was Bucks Fizz – they were on stage for all of 10 minutes! At 4pm our group of friends headed into Soho which was heaving and got progressively more and more busy for the next six hours. The queues at the bars were at least six deep – with stupid drinks prices, 20 minute queues for every toilet – and not enough of them around, people pushing and shoving – turning to barging into you the more drunk they got and the entire road became a sea of broken glass, beer cans and bottles. With nowhere to sit, after eight hours on my feet it was time to go home.

I have considered that this may just be an age thing, but how can Bucks Fizz be a headlining act? How can standing around waiting for something to happen that never does for eight hours be fun? I know I’m in my thirties now, but ten years ago Pride had real headlining acts on stage and set in a huge London Park where people could sit, chat and mingle with everyone. London Pride is now a shadow of it’s former self and I know a lot of people who feel the same. While ever there is homophobia, lack of equality and religious nuts blasting us for no good reason, we need Pride, so why are we crammed into a couple of streets with no amenities?

Next year is Euro Pride here in the capital; I just hope London pulls its finger out and gets it right for once!

Gay Islam?

I didn’t really think about it at the time, but at big events like Pride or Glastonbury there is always the threat of terrorist attacks. And it seems the LGBT community have a cause to feel threatened as Islamic extremists are now being told to act gay.

In a 64 page guide written by the Taliban and uncovered by the Sunday Mirror; it details to its followers in Europe what they should do if they feel they are being followed by an MI5 agent:

“Many hotels – especially in busy UK cities – have women hanging around the lobby areas in order to attract men. A young beautiful woman may come and talk to you. The first thing you do to protect yourself from such a ¬situation is to make dua (prayers) to Allah for ¬steadfastness. The second thing is to find an excuse to get away from her that is realistic and sensible, such as you having a girlfriend for the past few years and you are loyal to her or you are ¬homosexual.”

OK, that’s quite scary in itself, but then to think what’s happening here in London in 2012 – keep an eye out for those Islamic terrorists. You’ll know who they are; bombs strapped to their chests and a GAY Late stamp on their wrist.

Psycho killer

Of course, Soho has already been a victim of a terrorist attack. Back in 1999 a 22 year old neo-nazi named David Copeland planted a nail bomb in the Admiral Duncan pub on Old Compton Street killing three people. In a 13 day rampage, he admitted to planting nail bombs in Brixton and Brick Lane previously to the one in Soho in an attempt to damage the minorities of London.

As well as the deaths of three people, he also injured 139 people, some who were amputated because of the attacks. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison which was extended to 50 years in 2007.

David Copeland, who has confessed to idolising Hitler, Starling and Saddam Hussein, said he wanted to be caught to become famous. He felt no emotion whatsoever when he planted the bombs and was concluded by the trail judge that he did this because of his hatred of black, Asian and homosexual people.

Even though he has admitted killing and maiming so many people, he still appealed the ruling to serve an extra 20 years. Last week, his appeal was rejected. But he must have known this would happen and it does make me wonder if this sick individual really appealed to get some extra press exposure and get some perverse pleasure in seeing his name in print once again? Whatever the reason, I hope he rots in his cell.

Copeland is currently serving his time in Broadmoor Hospital after being diagnosed a psychotic paranoid schizophrenic. If he is ever released, with this new ruling he will be 72 years old.

Sealed with a kiss

But don’t let age fool you. We may think that 72 is too old to make an impact on this earth – but a 74 year old gay rights activist is now in the midst of a legal case that is rocking the gay world.

Joan Parker has been charged with assault after she hugged and kissed an anti-gay preacher at a Pride event in North Carolina, USA.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Mrs Parker said: “He was just waving his arms and has a Bible in one hand, up and down, and screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘sodomites’ and ‘you’re going to hell’. I thought he needed a hug. So I gave him a hug.”

As heart-warming as this story truly is, and how amazing Joan is; preacher James Belcher has pressed charges of assault as Mrs Parker’s kiss was “just one of many attempts to silence the preaching to those in need of salvation who practice a death style that they call a lifestyle.”
What a lovely man! But if Mrs Parker is found guilty of assault, she could be made to do 30 days of community service, but as a lot of my friends have said – hasn’t she already done the community a service!

What is it with these religious nuts? 2000 gay rights supporters attended the event in Salisbury but there was also 200 gay right opponents including Mr Belcher. They turn up at every gay Pride event around the world and no one to my knowledge has ever been converted. Do they get some perverse thrill from upsetting people and trying to push their beliefs on others?

So that was my round-up for the week’s gay news. Obviously my unique, personal slant on them all as always – but you wouldn’t want it any other way – or maybe you would? If you want to get in contact with me, please join our FaceBook page and leave your comments and suggestions.

In the meantime, from me and all of the Gay Chat team, have a great week.

Terry Gee

Gay Chat News: That’s a rapture!

New York announced on Friday that gay marriage will be legal in the US state on July 24. And as Pride took place in the entertainment capital yesterday, there was a lot of celebrating to do. Here at Gay Chat Towers, we think this is fantastic for America and the world who will now have eyes on New York and to hopefully follow suit.

New York is the seventh state to legalise gay marriage, with eight more states offering same-sex civil partnerships.

US States offering gay marriage: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Washington DC. Of course California did have it for a few months in 2008 as well!

Countries that have legalised gay marriage: Canada, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Iceland, South Africa, Mexico City, Argentina.

There are also countless countries that have legalised civil unions all over the world.

But gay marriage is not a new thing; it was legal throughout the ancient world until Christians deemed it to be “against god” in 342 CE. For centuries before that, same-sex unions, relationships and marriages happened all over the ancient world and were not only accepted but encouraged. The Greeks are famous for depicting homosexual unions in their artwork – as are the Chinese – and the Romans were widely regarded as bi-sexual at the very least.

Love is the reason for marriage; so regardless of sexuality, that one emotion should be enough to convince anyone that this is a good thing… unfortunately, it has been hit back (once again) by the religious sect. “The end of the world is nigh”, “New York – the new Sodom and Gomorrah”, “judgement day is coming.” Really? Eleven countries have already had gay marriage for years – I haven’t seen fire and brimstone envelope those lands, have you?

Let’s face it; it is man who has put into place these restrictions and sexual segregation, not a god figure. And why would any ‘being’ end the world because two people choose to show their love for each other? People’s prejudices are what harm this world and the outdated, misguided writings of men 2000 years ago. It has taken far too long, but finally the bible is being recognised for what it truly is; a fictitious book to install fear and order into the populous 2000 years ago. It is not relevant anymore and we are only now waking up to that fact. I for one can’t wait for religion to finally fall and humans to move on to a higher, more evolved plane of thinking where they love their fellow man and worship the things that he or she has achieved – regardless of sexuality.

Instead of closing their eyes and praying for a rapture that will never come – how about opening them and standing in rapturous applause aimed at their fellow man. The world is amazing, wonderful and full of love, but hiding behind outdated text to fuel ones discrimination and hatred can only colour it grey at best.

Terry Gee

Gay Chat News: God versus the devil

No, this isn’t the new novel from Dan Brown but actually a reflection on something that has just happened at the United Nations (UN).

Here at Gay Chat Towers we are pleased to announce that on Friday the UN passed a resolution endorsing the rights of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Brought to the table by South Africa, the declaration outlined “grave concern” for the wellbeing of the global LGBT community through abuse and discrimination.

This shouldn’t come as a shock that South Africa were the ones to outline the necessity for immediate action; they have been pro-gay for many years and were one of the first countries in the world to pass the gay marriage law back in 2006; something that the UK still hasn’t managed to achieve!

Also not surprising is the backing from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. A big supporter of gay rights, she said, “This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love,”

Although this resolution has been passed, it was a very close call with just 23 votes to 19. Three countries also abstained from voting even though this is about human beings being discriminated against and treated (in some countries) like a bacterial poison expelled from the fictitious biblical character, the devil.

23 For: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Guatemala, Hungary, Japan, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Poland, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, USA, and Uruguay.

19 Against: Angola, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Moldova, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, and Uganda.

3 Abstained: China, Zambia, and Burkina.

It appears that religion is once again playing the main deflect to this resolution. The countries against have made it clear that South Africa and the UN are actually the anti-Christ. Blog and news sites have been inundated with comments from the god squad from all countries, including the US quoting passages from the bible, how the UN are supporting another world ending catastrophe akin to Sodom and Gomorrah and that all gays are perverts and children of the devil.

How can gays be perverts for falling in love with another human being? And as for the devil; it’s hard to be children of a fantasy character made up for the bible. Just like a lot of stories, the bible has a good vs evil conflict in which the good is represented by god – who incidentally kills 2,038,344 people in the bible whereas satan kills just 10. Good?

And if you need more proof that the bible is fiction, just read the first chapter, Genesis; there are two creations of the Earth in the same book. It contradicts itself all the way through, because it is a made up story to keep people in check according to the feelings of the church 2000 years ago.

What is real is that human beings who are alive right here and now are suffering because of religious beliefs and uneducated people. How dare anyone make someone else suffer either mentally or physically because they believe it is right? Isn’t that what Hitler did? There is no difference; we are all human beings regardless of who we love, sleep with or what we believe.

Now is the time for the world to stop focussing on out of date, fictitious religious books as they only inflict pain, confusion and mistrust between our races. It’s time to actually base our views on living people, current issues and equality.

Terry Gee

Gay chat news: Children in need

So you’ve been using MaleForce for quite a while now and have maybe even met ‘the one’. You move in together and set up home. Now if you were a straight couple you’d be considering having children or at least adopt, but you’re gay so you can’t… can you?

Being gay doesn’t mean you can never have children. There’s a common misconception that because we’re gay we wouldn’t be able to adopt or foster kids. But same sex couples have been able to adopt and foster children since 2005!

Lambeth council in London is calling out to single men, gay men and gay couples come forward and find out more about fostering. As long as you can provide a stable and loving environment for a child, you’re already on the right step.

I’m sure that like me, there are many gay men who would love to have children. Fostering seems to be the best way to get an idea if this is the sort of commitment you want and also helps out some really vulnerable children. Lambeth are in desperate need for people to look after children from all walks of life but particularly teenagers, disabled children and those on remand.

There are many of us here at Gay Chat Towers that are seriously thinking about fostering. I’ve always wanted children and am getting to a point in my life where I have the stability to be able to provide a home for someone who really needs it. Foster parents also receive money to look after the children and so even if you’re not a high earner, you will be financially supported by the council.

With only around 3% of adoptions from same sex couples the fear is that gay people aren’t aware that they can adopt and foster. There are so many kids in care or without a home to call their own and same sex couples can provide the same love and support as anyone else.

So, if you’ve ever wanted children and like the idea of fostering someone in need, Lambeth council is inviting anyone interested to an information meeting in room 101 of Lambeth Town Hall. It’s on 28 June and takes place from 16.30 – 17.45. For more information call 020 7926 8710

Terry Gee

Are you positive?

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of the first diagnosis of HIV. Research into how HIV began is still inconclusive. Sporadic cases were reported prior to 1970 but no name was given to it and it wasn’t the pandemic it became in the 1980s. It is generally accepted that HIV can be traced back to Africa and then carried over to the United States. The virus then grew in strength (and numbers) in the late 1970s making its presence known to the medical world in California on 5 June 1981.

California was hit hard in 1981 when (predominantly) gay men were testing positive for a fatal virus the world had never seen before. With no previous knowledge, medical staff had no way of treating the illness and therefore thousands of people died over the next decade, some only living a few weeks/months after diagnosis.

As the first cases were only seen in gay men, doctors assumed that this would only affect homosexuals and was named as GRID (Gay-Related Immune Deficiency). When this was later to be found false in 1982, the acronym AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) was suggested and used in newspapers and scientific journals.

We still use the term AIDS today when in fact we mean HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). The difference is that AIDS is a syndrome, in this case; the last effects of the immune system breaking down. It is medical terminology for when HIV has broken down the immune system leaving it vulnerable to an attack from another illness that may ordinarily not be fatal.

With so little known in the 80s, a lot of fear arose without any solid evidence. Gays, drug users and even hemophiliacs were segregated. But by 1987 the World Health Organisation had been notified of 43,880 cases in 91 countries. Now this was everyone’s problem and knowing that it was sexually contracted sparked the harrowing AIDS adverts worldwide, to inform people of the seriousness and to urge everyone to use a condom. “Don’t die of ignorance.”

1989 saw the introduction of drugs that could slow the progression of the virus. Although extremely expensive, these were seen as a turning point in the fight against AIDS. By the end of the decade, an estimated 8-10 million people were living with HIV.

Over the next 10 years, drugs were improved and slashed in price but still infection rates rose. The side effects from treatment were in some cases severe, with people suffering from lipodystrophy, organ failure and even death.

By 2003 many drug manufacturers had lowered their prices for antiretroviral drugs and had made the treatment more effective in a smaller dose with far fewer side effects. People were not only surviving with HIV but actually living. Now in 2011, the life expectancy of a person living with HIV on medication is almost the same as someone without HIV – as long as the virus is detected early. This is why it is so important for everyone to have regular tests. It is better to know and deal with it than to let HIV win. The virus cannot be passed on from someone on medication with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood and with a CD4 count of over 400. For the first time since the discovery of HIV, it is contained and manageable.

The problem with this is people are no longer worried about HIV. 30 years later and we have once again become ignorant. Next year, the UK will hit 100,000 people living with HIV (60m worldwide) and yet funding has been cut by a fifth in the past year. It is too easy to forget how many people have suffered and died and how it still affects millions of people on a daily basis. HIV may be a manageable, chronic disease now, but it is by no means easy to live with. Side effects from the medication are still prevalent, the emotional state of the mind is almost always affected and stigma is widely in force. There is still a large proportion of the world who still don’t realise that HIV dies in oxygen and it can only be passed through sex and needles.

There is still no vaccine, but I believe there will be at some point. As far as a cure goes – why would anyone invest in a cure? Pharmaceutical companies make too much money from selling the drugs for a now manageable illness. If a vaccine is released, they will make continuing money from the vaccine whist still selling the medication to the 60 million people affected. If caught early and treated with the right medication, HIV is no longer a death sentence; therefore it seems only right to put our efforts into finding a vaccine rather than the seemingly impossible task of a cure. As with everything; prevention is the best defence. We here at Gay Chat Towers hope that in the next 30 years AIDS doesn’t exist at all and HIV has become a vaccine as routine as rubella. In the meantime, play safe!

Terry Gee

The 56th Eurovision Song Contest – Dusseldorf 2011

We are now only days away from the competition final of the biggest music contest on the planet. But who will win? Blue say ‘I Can’ but who will be the real victor?

The atmosphere here at Gay Chat Towers is intense. As always I would like to see my favourite win, which this year isn’t the UK (again) – although I know a lot of other people who are routing for Blue. To understand the enormity and importance of this competition we first have to take a short trip back in time. The Second World War ended in 1945 andEuropewas still in pieces. Trying to reunite the people was a daunting and almost impossible task. Television was still in its infancy yet by the 1950s, TV was already becoming the main source to reach people on a global scale.

In 1955 the European Broadcasting Union came up with the idea of a European song competition televised across the lands. Just seven countries took park in the first show back in 1956: Italy, Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, Switzerlandand The Netherlands. Can you imagine how strange it must have been for countries that had been at war? Killing each other in their thousands just ten years before and now, performing on stage together in a frivolous television programme. These people were true pioneers in uniting the Europe we know today.

The following year, Austria, The United Kingdom and Denmark joined with more following in the years to come, making up the 43 countries we have today.

Nowadays, The Eurovision Song Contest is the biggest competition of its kind, pulling in around 125 million viewers for the live final. It sometimes may come across as being camp and cheesy, but it is never offensive, is always good fun and (especially in the gay world) brings nations together in a celebration of song and dance. Don’t forget, this competition has made some of the world’s greatest pop stars including: Sandie Shaw, Bucks Fizz, Celine Dion and Abba.

This year, Blue are representing the United Kingdom, and after last year’s utter disaster (Pete Waterman – seriously!) the UK really needs to get into at least the top 10. With a well-known pop group and a catchy song, (which I personally think is far too twee and 90s boy band) it is looking very likely that they will be in the top 5 and even have a real shot at taking home first place. The UK hasn’t won the contest since 1997 and after coming last in 2010 we really need this. If we did win, our calendars are going to be pretty full next year as the UK is already hosting the Olympics, the Paralympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and World Pride.

2012 is looking to be a year of non-stop celebration… Bring it on!

Terry Gee

U.K. Sporting Bodies Sign Gay Charter

Gay rights campaigners have welcomed a new charter that aims to stamp out homophobia and transphobia within U.K. sports. The Charter for Action was signed this week by major sporting bodies including The Football Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Rugby Football League and the Rugby Football Union.

They join the Lawn Tennis Association and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in being the first major sports to sign up to the initiative. Equalities minister Lynne Featherstone has urged more associations, groups and individuals to add their signatures.

“Sport should be about what you can do, not who you are. But too many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people feel that the sports field is not somewhere they can be themselves, and that prejudice and discrimination will mean their sexuality is always talked about more than their ability with a ball, bat or racket…” she said.

“Homophobia and transphobia has no place in sport and I’m delighted that so many sporting bodies are backing our campaign to stamp it out at all levels, from local parks to Olympic stadiums.”

Published this week, the charter is one part of a new action plan that sets out the government’s initiatives for supporting LGBT equality in the coming year.

Alex Horne, General Secretary of the Football Association, said “The FA and its stakeholders have worked hard over the years in providing football for all and ensuring that football stadia are open to everyone and are both family and LGTB friendly.

“We’ve seen real progress over the last 20 years when it comes to tackling racism and that’s something football should be proud of. We remain committed to our long-term goal of removing all forms of discrimination, such as homophobia, out of the game.”

We are all massive sports fans here in the gay chat team and have an appreciation for football, rugby, tennis etc that goes far beyond sitting on the sidelines! We’ve shown our support for the charter by visiting and liking the Charter for Action Facebook page. Why not sign up too and join us in supporting our out sports men and women? Game on!

Gary Cosby

R.E.M. Star Outed as Gay (Again)

It’s not all Gaga and Kylie on heavy rotation here at gay chat Mecca, Maleforce. We love our rock bands too, especially if they are as fabulous as the mighty R.E.M.. Singer Michael Stipe & Co. have been delivering top-notch tuneage since way back in 1980, eventually hitting pay dirt with their fifth album “Document” and hit single “The One I Love”.

Since that time R.E.M have rocked on to become one of the world’s biggest bands, notching up several top 10 albums and releasing over 60 (yes, sixty!) singles, including mega-hits “Losing My Religion, “Shiny Happy People”, and the amazing “Everybody Hurts”.

But it hasn’t always been a shiny or happy ride for Stipe; rumours regarding his sexuality started circulating in the early 90s with unfounded reports that he was suffering from HIV. In 1994, with questions mounting over whether the gay rumours were true, Stipe outed himself as “an equal opportunity lech” saying he was attracted to both men and women.

It may seem a total non-story these days, but back in the eighties coming out wasn’t a walk in the park for a celebrity (or anyone for that matter). Elton John, Boy George, George Michael, to name but three, all remained schtum in regards to their sexual preferences at that time.

Stipe eventually declared himself a “queer artist” in Time magazine in 2001 announcing that he had been in a relationship with “an amazing man” for three years. He currently lives with his partner, artist Tom Dozel in New York.

In an interview with The Observer this week Stipe revealed how his sexuality led him to feelings of alienation at the height of his success: “I wasn’t troubled or confused, but I just felt there wasn’t a place for me.”

“For a time I was conflicted by how I was represented, and then AIDS came, and that’s an era that has still to be spoken about in depth by people of my age. It was a very difficult time to be honest and frank about one’s sexuality. And a very scary time for people like myself, who were not able to be tested anonymously without some concern.”

The new R.E.M album ‘Collapse Into Now’ is out now.

Gary Cosby