BY Advocate Contributors
February 10 2010 9:00 AM ET
Research manager in epidemiology
Los Angeles // 37
Gay men have long had a complicated relationship with condoms. Anyone who’s fought a losing battle with a prophylactic due to a latex allergy or loss of an erection may one day owe a debt of gratitude to Leonardo Colemon. The affable Mississippi native manages a team of researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, and in collaboration with Pamina Gorbach and Peter Anton is developing a lubricant that would be applied to a receptive partner prior to anal sex. This lube (referred to as “booty butter” in an online educational video produced by the group) will contain microbicides designed to kill HIV and other STIs to a certain degree. “There is a condom fatigue within our community,” Colemon says. “Gay men like the natural feeling, and I look to a future with that being an option. That’s what rectal microbicides will do.” This cutting-edge infection-prevention tool is “being developed and targeted to men who have sex with men and don’t use condoms consistently,” says Colemon. “But it will also be useful to heterosexuals who want safer options for anal intercourse.” Colemon, who also volunteers as an HIV/STI counselor at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, notes that Food and Drug Administration approval could take five to 10 years, and he readily admits that while rectal microbicides “are unlikely to be 100% effective, they will certainly reduce the potential for transmission.”
Chicago // 42
When she was a girl, the quiet transition from winter to spring signaled the beginning of softball season for Laura Ricketts. As the frost thaws on the grass at Chicago’s Wrigley Field, she is feeling that excitement once again. “As an adult I haven’t experienced that feeling quite so strongly as I do this year,” she says. “Then, of course, there is the thrill of being at Wrigley Field on game day, especially the home opener, with a full house of 41,000 fans brimming with excitement and hope for the new beginning. There is nothing quite like it in the world.” Ricketts and her three brothers—Tom, Peter, and Todd—purchased the team in October for $845 million, making her the first openly gay owner of a Major League Baseball team. She says that while her new role is exhausting, she is up for the task. “I want to really devote my time and energy to help make the Cubs a model franchise both on and off the field.” Her newfound visibility is taking some getting used to. “Never before have I been asked for my autograph!” But of course the ultimate goal is to end the Cubs’ century-long losing streak and bring home a World Series trophy.