October 30, 2014

In India Police Jails Gay Husband when Wife Turns him in


A man has been arrested in Bangalore after his wife realised one year into their marriage that he was gay and having relationships with men.
The identities of the Bangalore couple involved have not been made public.
Senior police officials describe the arrest, that uses Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), as a rare one.
The penal clause, from a 153-year-old British colonial law, makes gay sex punishable with life imprisonment. It has been criticised by activists.
Last December, India's Supreme Court overturned a high court verdict that had termed the archaic British law unconstitutional. 
Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community and supporters attend the 5th Delhi Queer Pride parade in New Delhi on November 25, 2012. The Supreme Court has left it to Parliament to change the law governing homosexuality
Sandip Patil, deputy commissioner of police, Central Division, Bangalore, told BBC Hindi: "We think it is one of the first cases to come up under this section after the Supreme Court's verdict last year." 
The story of the 32-year-old engineer is a classic case of societal pressures hurting individuals to the point of causing trauma. 
He married his dentist wife in November 2013 but the couple did not live together for the first six months. He worked in Mysore and she worked in Bangalore. 
CCTV footage
Six months later, when he was transferred to Bangalore, the couple lived under the same roof but slept in different rooms, according to the police.
"The wife got suspicious about his behaviour because he did not have [a] physical relationship with her. She got more suspicious when she realised that her husband would return home with male friends in her absence," Mr Patil said.
"The wife fixed CCTV cameras in the house, collected evidence for unnatural sex and filed a complaint with the police. We have arrested him," he added.
National Akali Dal activists hold placards and shout slogans during a protest against an Indian court ruling to decriminalise gay sex in New Delhi on July 5, 2009Many religious and political groups have opposed decriminalisation of gay sex
A complaint of cheating has also been filed against the parents, "but the police has not arrested them because we are still investigating," the police officer said.
Dr Vivek Benegal, Professor of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), is not surprised by this case. 
"There are many people who are still being forced to marry because of social pressure. Society really did not give him a choice," he said. 
"The man cannot be blamed. Neither can the woman be blamed. We can only blame the social structure. They have been forced to formalise a lie.''
Dr Benegal added: "It is so tragic that in an era when science has proved that sexual orientation is not a vice, society should be forcing zebras to be horses.''
The Supreme Court had left it to Parliament to either repeal or amend the law governing homosexuality. 
The decision sparked off a huge debate. Many in the Congress Party, which was leading the coalition government at the time, wanted to repeal the law. However, the then-opposition BJP (which is now the ruling party), was opposed to a repeal.

Taiwan the Beacon for Gay Rights in Asia


 TAIPEI, Taiwan — Waving rainbow flags and banners demanding same-sex marriage, the revelers set off from Taiwan’s presidential palace, drawing cheers and thumbs-up from spectators along the way.

For the 13th year in a row, the gay pride march took over the streets of the capital on Saturday in a boisterous, freewheeling demonstration of how far Taiwan has come in the two decades since multiparty democracy replaced martial law and authoritarian rule.

But the loudest applause rose when a Malaysian flag or a troupe of Japanese dancers in traditional folk outfits, envoys from more restrictive locales, were spotted amid the throng. Carrying a handmade placard from Beijing’s gay and lesbian community center above his head, James Yang could barely advance along the parade route because so many strangers wanted to be photographed by his side.

“I’ve been to gay pride marches in New York, San Diego and Los Angeles, but this is so emotional for me,” said Mr. Yang, 39, the center’s director of development. “It’s really exciting, but at the same time, the outpouring of support reminds me of how far behind we are in China.”

At a time when laws legalizing same-sex marriage are sweeping the United States, Latin America and Europe, gay rights advocates across Asia are still struggling to secure basic protections.

Brunei has instituted strict Shariah laws that criminalize gay relationships, conservative legislators in the Indonesian province of Aceh last month passed an ordinance punishing gay sex with 100 lashes, and on Wednesday the highest court in Singapore upheld a law that carries a two-year jail term for men who engage in any act of “gross indecency,” in public or private. In one Malaysian state, effeminate boys are shipped off to boot camp in an effort to reshape their behavior.

When it comes to gay rights in Asia, Taiwan is a world apart. Openly gay and lesbian soldiers can serve in the military, and the Ministry of Education requires textbooks to promote tolerance for gays and lesbians. In recent years, legislators here have passed protections for gays, including a law against workplace discrimination.

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage has been introduced in Taiwan’s legislature, although it still faces strong opposition from Christian activists and their allies in the governing Kuomintang.

“Taiwan is an inspiration for much of Asia,” said Grace Poore, director of Asia and Pacific Island programs at the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “They are way ahead of their neighbors.”

With its lively news media, panoply of grass-roots organizations and a robust, if sometimes noisy, democracy, this self-governing island has become a beacon for liberal political activism across Asia. Taiwan’s environmental movement has emerged as a formidable electoral force, and in April, opponents of atomic energy succeeded in halting construction of the Lungmen Nuclear Power Plant, although a final decision on the facility may be put to a public referendum.

Continue reading the main story
Democracy advocates who have occupied the streets of Hong Kong for over a month studied the tactics of the student protesters in Taiwan who earlier this year took over the Legislative Yuan in an effort to halt a trade pact they said would leave Taiwan vulnerable to pressure from mainland China, which considers the island part of its territory.

“We may have a small population, but our influence is bigger than our size,” said Yu Meinu, a legislator from the opposition Democratic Progressive Party. “The level of free speech is unlike anywhere else.”

Ms. Yu, who introduced the island’s first marriage equality bill into the legislature two years ago, said one of Taiwan’s greatest assets was its thriving collection of civil society groups. “A lot of the calls for reform come from the bottom up, not from the government,” she said. “And when people here see injustice, they are not afraid to stand up and make their voices heard.”

But the wellspring of opposition to same-sex marriage has highlighted the limits of liberal activism. Last December, at the same spot where gay and lesbian marchers gathered over the weekend, an estimated 150,000 people rallied against the legislation.

Min Daixi, vice president of the Unification Church and a leader in the Taiwan Family Protection Alliance, said same-sex unions were a threat to traditional families. “They are trying to redefine a concept that our society was built upon,” he said.

Victoria Hsu, who heads the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, acknowledged that the battle for same-sex marriage faced strong opposition. But she said she was encouraged that the three leading candidates for Taipei mayor — a job on the résumé of every president since 1988 — have all expressed support for same-sex marriage, which to her suggests that the legalization of same-sex unions is simply a matter of time. “It’s not a question of if, but of when,” she said. Several polls over the past year have found that more than 50 percent of people in Taiwan support same-sex marriage.

Religious life here, for the most part, is dominated by Buddhism and Taoism, faiths with little doctrinal resistance to homosexuality. Although they make up less than 5 percent of Taiwan’s 23 million people, Christians have formed the bulwark of the opposition. “Taiwanese are really tolerant,” said Ms. Poore of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. “It’s not the kind of place where gays and lesbians have to worry about violence if they are affectionate in public.”

In addition to scores of bars, clubs and gay bookstores, one well-trod tourist attraction is a Taoist shrine dedicated to a rabbit deity — based on an 18th-century Qing dynasty official who was said to be gay — who has become something of a patron saint to gay worshipers seeking good fortune.

Still, in many respects, Taiwan remains a traditional society bound by a sense of Confucian filial duty that emphasizes family and the production of heirs. Edgar Chang, 34, a chemical engineer who was wearing a rhinestone-encrusted tiara and feather boa on Saturday, said he is out to his friends but has not summoned the courage to tell his parents he has had a boyfriend for the past three years. “I don’t think they would disown me, but at the same time, I think it might kill them because they really want a grandchild,” he said.

Continue reading the main storyContinue reading the main storyContinue reading the main story
The gay pride march has come a long way since 2003, when some participants wore masks to conceal their identities. Albert Yang, 37, one of the parade organizers, recalled his trepidation that year as the march set off with just a handful of participants. “A lot of people didn’t dare join, but they slowly worked their way into the crowd, and by the time we finished, there were 600 or 700 people,” he said.

This year, more than 65,000 people joined the march, according to organizers. They included contingents of Filipinos, Malaysians, Singaporeans, and a much smaller number of mainland Chinese, most of whom are restricted from traveling to Taiwan on their own by strict visa requirements imposed by both governments.

Although the Chinese Communist Party takes a mostly hands-off approach to homosexual activity, there are no legal protections for gays in China, and the authorities have become less tolerant of AIDS organizations and gay rights advocates as part of a wider campaign against nongovernmental organizations.

Waving a large rainbow flag over the crowd, Hiro, a 48-year-old television station employee from Tokyo, said it was his eighth time at the parade. “For gay Japanese, this is the event of the year,” he said, declining to give his full name out of concern it could cause problems at work. “I only wish we were as brave as the Taiwanese and could do something like this in Japan.”

Surveying the march from the sidelines, Jay Lin, 46, said he thought Taiwan could do more to promote its live-and-let-live ethos at a time when the island’s economy is slowing. “We have become a beacon for human rights issues across Asia,” said Mr. Lin, who this year started Taiwan’s first gay and lesbian film festival. “This is a strong selling point, and if the government was smart, they would recognize that this is our soft power and market it to the rest of the world.”

Chen Jiehao contributed research from Beijing

Singapore Court Rejects Appeal of Anti Gay Law


SINGAPORE — The nation’s highest court on Wednesday Oct 29 ruled that a law that criminalises sex between men is constitutional.

The ruling covers both cases contesting the law, one brought by two graphic designers who have been in a relationship for 16 years, and the other by an artistic therapist who had been arrested for a sexual act committed in a toilet. …

The judges found that Section 377A of the Penal Code [which provides for up to two years in prison for physical intimacy between men] did not infringe on the rights of Lim Meng Suang and Kenneth Chee Mun-Leon [Gary Lim and Kenneth Chee], who in 2012 argued that the statute was inconsistent with Article 12 of the Constitution, or 51-year-old artistic therapist and social volunteer Tan Eng Hong, who had been arrested for engaging in oral sex with another man in a public toilet in 2010. …

“While we understand the deeply held personal feelings of the appellants, there is nothing that this court can do to assist them. Their remedy lies, if at all, in the legislative sphere,” the Court of Appeal said in its judgment.

Human rights lawyer M Ravi, representing Tan, said, “Today’s decision has legitimised discrimination against gay men and approved the criminalisation of the conduct of their private lives by statute.” It is “huge step backwards for human rights in Singapore,” he added.

Boris Dittrich, advocacy director of the LGBT rights program at Human Rights Watch, said, “Singapore likes to advertise itself as a modern Asian country and business destination, but this discriminatory anti-LGBT law is wholly out of step with international rights standards that guarantee protections, including for sexual orientation and gender identity.” 

Channel NewsAsia 

Pope, “God is NO Magician”


In a move that could be aimed at healing a rift between science and religion, Pope Francis has said that evolution and the Big Bang are consistent with the notion of a creator. And according to the pontiff, believers should not view God as "a magician, with a magic wand."

Francis made the remarks at an assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, billed as meeting to discuss "Evolving Concepts of Nature."

"When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so," Francis told the gathering,where he also dedicated a statue of his predecessor, Benedict XVI. God, Francis said, "created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment."

To be sure, the Catholic Church's views on the origins of the universe and life, unlike those of many Protestant sects, have for years been largely in line with the scientific consensus. The church has long leaned toward what some describe as "theistic evolution," i.e., a God supernaturally created the universe and life but allowed natural processes to work over billions of years.

In 1950, Pope Pius XII proclaimed that evolution was not at odds with Catholic teachings, and Pope John Paul II endorsed the view himself in 1996.

However, Pope Benedict hinted at accommodating "intelligent design," a form of creationism that has become popular in many religious circles in recent decades.

(As an aside, a recent Chapman University survey showed that more Americans believe in the lost civilization of Atlantis and that "UFOs are probably spaceships" than in evolution, and that as many people believed in Bigfoot as in the Big Bang.)

The Associated Press notes: "Francis has gone out of his way to embrace Benedict even as he steers the church on a vastly different course than that charted by the German theologian."

Francis' remarks are in keeping with a more open view he has taken to church matters and the intersection between the spiritual and secular worlds since becoming pope last year.

He has downplayed the importance of such hot-button issues as abortion, contraception and gay marriage, denounced the "cult of money," and even said that atheists can be redeemed.

But earlier this month, a group of bishops meeting at the Vatican showed that the church as a whole remains deeply divided on many of those issues.


FTC Sues ATT “ Unlimited means= Unlimited, Verizon Hiding behind the Grandfather who cheats


The Federal Trade Commission says AT&T's practice of slowing down the connection speeds of unlimited-data customers who tap excessive amounts of data is a failure to deliver on the promise of "unlimited."

logo de AT&T
The Federal Trade Commission says AT&T violated the FTC Act by changing the terms of its unlimited-data plan while customers were under contract, and failing to alert them. The carrier denies this.AT&T

As a result, the FTC on Tuesday filed a federal court complaint against AT&T, charging the wireless provider with misleading customers who signed up for an unlimited-data plan only to see their connection slowed in an industry process called "throttling."
"AT&T promised its customers 'unlimited' data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in a statement. "The issue here is simple: 'unlimited' means unlimited."
AT&T denies the claims.
"The FTC's allegations are baseless and have nothing to do with the substance of our network management program," the company said in a statement. "It's baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts."
AT&T, like Verizon Wireless, has long claimed that its wireless network can't handle the small percentage of users with unlimited plans who consume excessive data, either by streaming video or music, or by gaming. In July 2011, AT&T took the unpopular step of placing speed limits on those unlimited plans, slowing them down from a high-speed LTE connection to a 2G connection, the speed of which is akin to that of a dial-up modem. At the time, it said it would limit only the top 5 percent of its heaviest users, but it later clarified that to say those who access 5 gigabytes of data in a billing period.
There are far fewer unlimited-data customers still on AT&T, the second-largest wireless provider in the US after Verizon, though there's no real way of telling the number. AT&T stopped offering unlimited-data plans in 2010, instead pushing consumers into various tiered plans with set amounts, or buckets, of data. The move was the result of the immense growth in data consumption from smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, which caused network quality issues for the carrier. Shortly after, Verizon followed suit with its own tiered plans. 
The FTC complaint claims AT&T emphasized "unlimited" in its marketing materials but then failed to inform customers of the throttling program. The FTC said the throttling results in an 80 percent to 90 percent reduction in network speeds. The commission believes AT&T violated the FTC Act by changing the terms of the plan while customers were under contract, and failing to alert them of the change. 
AT&T has throttled at least 3.5 million unique customers a total of more than 25 million times, according to the FTC.
 AT&T argues that it sent customers bill notices and that it also sent out a national press release alerting consumers of the changes.
"We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning," the company said. 
There's been a lot of controversy over wireless unlimited plans recently. In August, Verizon and the Federal Communications Commission traded barbs over Verizon's plans to slow down the connection speed of select heavy LTE data users, with the FCC firmly against the move. At the beginning of this month, Verizon backed off of its plans.
As with AT&T, there are few unlimited-data customers left on Verizon, all of them grandfathered in from older plans. Sprint and T-Mobile, which are far smaller than AT&T and Verizon, have attempted to set themselves apart by offering the option of unlimited data with no throttling. 
"The FCC has been actively investigating throttling practices since this summer, when Chairman [Tom] Wheeler sent letters to major nationwide wireless carriers about these practices," said an FCC spokesman. “We continue to work on this important issue, including with our partners at the FTC, and we encourage customers to contact the FCC if they are being throttled by AT&T or other cellular providers."

October 29, 2014

Middle East Turmoil is so Damaging for the Gay Community


What is it like to be a gay refugee? James Longman hears some Syrian's disturbing accounts of abuse
"There is nobody left in my life who hasn't hurt me." 
Jawad worked in sales in Syria before the war began. When his father found out he was gay, he had him arrested. 
After five years of hard labour, he emerged a broken man, only to find his country at war. Estranged from his family, he found himself dangerously exposed. 
Soon after his release, he was gang raped at gun point by four men from an armed group. 
"They could tell I was gay," he told me, through stifled sobs, looking out over the Beirut cityscape. 

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I have nothing but my body to sell - that was my reward for the Syrian revolution.”
JawadSyrian refugee
His vulnerability made him an easy target for this brutal weapon of war. Now in Lebanon, where he thought he could start again, he works as a prostitute.
"I have nothing but my body to sell. That was my reward for the Syrian revolution."
It might come as little surprise that gay men and women don't have the easiest time in the Middle East. But it was not always so. 
In many ways modern attitudes to homosexuality in the Middle East are similar to western European attitudes of the 19th and 20th Century - religious zeal and a specific vision of gender roles. 
Those convicted of committing homosexual acts in Europe faced the death penalty. In the Middle East at this time, same-sex relations were relatively commonplace and accepted. 
But colonialism brought the influence of Western prudishness and a codification of anti-gay laws. 
The result was that homosexuality became effectively illegal in every Arab country. From "debauchery" in Egypt, to anti-sodomy laws in Tunisia and "acts against nature" in Lebanon - now all enforced with varying levels of severity. 
While western Europe became more accepting, the Middle East went the opposite direction. 
Now in a context of increasingly deeply conservative cultural and religious attitudes, the prospects for change are grim
Totally alone
But the distant memory of "the Arab Spring" did promise some change. 
Gay peopleThe gay community lacks a support network
Protests across the region called for "dignity" and "respect" - values long associated with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) movement. 
From Egypt to Syria, these dreams have turned into nightmares for most - not just the gay community. 
But meeting with gay refugees in Lebanon demonstrated why their plight is perhaps especially significant - gay people have become refugees from both their country, and their families. 
This is a region where the family or ethnic network provides not just emotional support, but much of the practical help the state is unable to deliver. 
In a time of war, where the state begins to break down, these connections become vital for survival. 
When a Syrian refugee arrives in Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey, they often have someone they can call - a relative, a friend, even just an old neighbour.
But without family support, a gay man or woman fleeing the war does so totally alone. 
None of the gay men and women I met had anyone to call. And some - even after escaping the regime or Islamic State - had been hunted down by their own families. 
The very opposite to the kind of care and help they needed. Gay people become targets of the state, the groups fighting it, and their own families. 
"When you lose the familiarity of your surroundings, you are left exposed and in danger," says Tarek Zeidan, from Helem, a long running LGBT non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Lebanon. 
"It is secrecy that keeps most gay people alive in the Middle East."
That familiarity is totally shattered when a gay refugee arrives in a foreign country, often living in close quarters with people who would do him harm. In some cases - such as Jawad's - they turn to what Tarek calls "survival sex". 
It is not known what proportion of the millions of refugees fleeing Syria are gay because most don't register with the UN, but young LGBT men and women escaping the war appear every day at the offices of Proud Lebanon, one of the only NGOs in the region helping the LGBT community. 
Its director, Bertho Makso, explained what it's like being gay and Syrian in Lebanon: "Well you know he will be carrying all the problems that he was facing in his country. 
"He'll flee to Lebanon hoping that he will be accepted. It's true that the image of Lebanon is reflecting an open-minded society. 
"However, it's not the case in all the societies in Lebanon, because Lebanon is many Lebanons. And in every society there is discrimination and trauma. 
"He faces a double discrimination. First because he is Syrian, and second because he is LGBT."
It is perhaps their status as a minority that makes gay people vulnerable in the Middle East. 
Bertho MaksoBertho Makso says discrimiation is rife
The rise of Islamist regimes in the wake of popular uprisings may have reinforced already conservative attitudes towards them, but new regimes keen on consolidating power have - whatever their political or religious leaning - found in the gay community an easy target. 
It is almost impossible to formulate an accurate overview of attacks or arrests of LGBT people. 
They are rarely recorded on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and often governments simply deny them. Victims are also often too scared to come forward. 
But in Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has not reversed the practices of his predecessors.
Indeed, the crackdowns have got worse and anal testing - the crude medical procedure to "prove" homosexual activity - still goes on. 
Most recently, the security services were accused of infiltrating online dating sites to entrap gay men. 
One application, Grindr, actually urged users to hide their identities. 

In Morocco recently a gay British tourist found himself in prison for "homosexual acts" - it was only after an online petition was set up that he was freed. 
And in Lebanon, the country's morality police have been accused of brutalising the gay men they take into custody, and performing these same anal tests which are supposed to have been outlawed - charges they deny. 
Class and freedom
One refuge in the region for some is Israel, which perhaps because of the persecution of gay people in the Holocaust, is one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBT rights.
Same-sex relationships are protected by law, and the only annual gay pride march in the Middle East takes place in Tel Aviv - regarded as an international gay capital. 
Since 1993 - well before the US and other Western countries - openly gay people have been allowed to serve in the military. Palestinians from conservative homes have also been able to seek sanctuary in Israel. 
And, of course, the experiences of gay people in the Middle East are as varied and contrasting as the region itself. 
Living an openly gay life in Saudi Arabia, for example, would be impossible and vastly different compared with an open life in Lebanon. 
But as with so much in the region, socio-economic status dictates relative freedom. 
Bars and clubs for gay people do exist in Lebanon, for example, but these are only really accessible to those who can afford their expensive drinks. 
Ahmed, a successful businessman from Sidon, is "out" to some of his friends. 
But, he told me, this is because "I can afford to be". When it comes to telling his family, that is a different story. 
They own the company for which he works, and he fears telling them would remove the very economic freedom that allows him to live at least part of his life as a gay man. 
Jawad and the men I met at Proud live a very different life. 
They have become the targets of a nation struggling to support the huge number of refugees coming into Lebanon. 
Like other minorities, they are easily blamed for problems for which they bear little responsibility. 
Facing these issues without their families - or even against them - makes their struggle almost impossible to deal with. 
Fighting for their rights
Rights groups continue to fight for LGBT freedoms in the region, combating widespread homophobia in society to ensure political leaders can find no willing constituency for their anti-gay views.
Gay activism is difficult, and often restricted to the internet because of the lack of public support. 
GayEgypt.com was one forum for people to discuss their sexualities and religious beliefs in a safer place - but had to close under constant threat of infiltration by the security services. 
Boris Dittrich, from Human Rights Watch, explains how the organisation tackles the issue. 
"Our experience in the Middle East is that singling out LGBT people as a vulnerable group doesn't resonate with the general audience or with decision makers. 

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Gay rights are human rights - you can't distinguish one from the other. ”
Sherine el Feki Author
"They will view LGBT people as a separate category they can neglect. 
"Best is to embed attention to human rights abuses against LGBT people in a bigger frame. 
"For instance address the issue of police abuse against several vulnerable groups - migrants, people with disabilities, unmarried women, drugs users et cetera - and include information about abuse of LGBT people. 
"Social attitudes might change when the general audience can relate to personal stories of LGBT people. They then will realise their son or daughter, their neighbour or colleague could be gay or lesbian.
"The problems of LGBT people thus become concrete and relatable. Usually, straight allies are convincing partners to address discrimination of LGBT people."
It may seem as though gay rights come far down the list of priorities in a region plagued by war and violence. 
As a gay friend in Egypt told me when I asked him if he thought he'd have an easier life after President Hosni Mubarak was toppled: "One thing at a time." 
But as Sherine el Feki, author of Sex and the Citadel, points out: "Gay rights are human rights. You can't distinguish one from the other." 
It has been a turbulent few years in a region of people struggling to forge better lives. 
A truly democratic system, some would argue, is a more pluralistic one. 
Perhaps one of the true markers of success will be how its minorities come to be treated - including the LGBT community.  

The Only Thing Naughty on”Getting away with Murder’ is Bottom Shaming


An (actually great) Thought Catalog essay on the phenomenon, back when bottom shaming popped up in HBO's Looking, offers this blunt explanation:
Gay sex is only legible to straight people in terms of the heterosexual matrix … [and in that context] if [a guy] is fucking a dude/is a top, well then that’s way preferable than if he was getting plowed by D’s all day long. This attitude is wholly cultural and deeply rooted in how we think about gender. Like, men are supposed to be men. Like, men don’t take dicks up the ass.
When you start paying attention to examples of this dynamic in HTGAWM, you’ll be struck by how often they creep in—and, what’s worse, how unnecessary they seem to be.
In the pilot episode, Connor and I.T. whiz Oliver’s first sexual encounter—which occurs after Connor has preyed on Oliver’s insecurities to gain information for his professor’s case—shows Connor gruffly ordering Oliver to “turn over”—an event realistic and not in itself troubling. But in Episode 2 we discover that Oliver apparently did not like turning over. When Connor appears with dinner after a missed date earlier in the week, Oliver scolds: “You really think I’m that desperate, that you can buy me some takeout and bat your eyes, and I’ll get down on my knees like some sad twink?” Note that the gay archetype of twink is being used here in its pejorative sense, as in a young, silly, effeminate guy who is definitely a bottom. After initially closing the door on Connor, Oliver reconsiders the offer of sex, with a caveat. “OK,” he says, “but tonight, I do you.”
It’s amazing how much ideological weight can be carried by two little words. It would seem that in HTGAWM’s universe, bottoming, despite the preparatory efforts and assumption of health risks it requires relative to topping, is not really “doing.” To do—i.e., to be a true sexual agent; to not be a twink—is to penetrate. This evening, Oliver will “do” Connor (who will, as a consequence, apparently not be doing anything) both to obtain authentic sexual satisfaction and to punish Connor for being an inconsiderate fuck buddy. Bottoming is not a role one takes on willingly, but the price one pays for missing a date.
If you think I’m making too much of one sentence, give the subsequent episodes a look. Episode 3 trades bottom-shaming for full-fledged gay shaming in the storyline where Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) discovers that her fiancé once got off with Connor back in boarding school, the confrontation over which ends with the fiancé dismissing his consensual and presumably enjoyable encounter as “stupid” because it involved another man. But let’s leave that troubling choice of words aside and examine Episode 4. Early in the hour, Connor arrives to court a bit late after having again goaded Oliver into sex, and the bro-tastic Asher Millstone (Matt McGorry) is concerned. “Really dude? Asher asks. “Isn’t your ass tired?” Connor smirks: “Who said it’s my ass?” Who indeed, because that person would be assuming that Connor might like to bottom, and we already know that’s patently ridiculous.
Later in the episode, Connor can again be found “doing” something with Paxton, a client’s sexy personal assistant, including a mysterious (and possibly acidic) maneuver that makes the young man’s “eyes water.” All this eventually leads to Paxton being exposed as a traitor to his boss, at which point said boss indulges in a bit of bottom-shaming and prison-rape joking: “You’re going to be in jail, with the other inmates, who are going to love the hell out of your ass,” she fumes. Good thing Pax commits suicide rather than subjecting himself to that fate.
Impressively, the bottom shame/prison-rape combo is deployed again in Episode 5, when Laurel Castillo (Karla Souza) laments that a client will likely go to prison “where he will probably become somebody’s bitch boy.” It’s a line that makes Asher’s joking about Connor knowing how “to use a back door” seem almost classy. With all this happening in just the first five episodes, who can tell what fresh insights future installments will bring?
Snark aside, here the thing: I find the inclusion of this bottom shaming leitmotif in HTGAWM more confusing than offensive. As I said, it is not at all clear to me that Connor needs these tiresome little asides to establish his character, and I think we can all agree that the ha-ha-prison-rape stuff should have long since been banned from any writers’ room. I’ve watched the clips many times, and I just don’t get why they’re there. Leaving them out would have done nothing—except prevent a show that wants to be progressive in its sexual politics from taking up a damaging old stereotype and broadcasting it to audiences that may not know any better.
Peter Nowalk, HTGAWM’s creator and lead writer, is gay, and he has said that he wanted to “push the envelope” with gay sex in the show. “Writing the gay characterization and writing some real gay sex into a network show is to right the wrong of all of the straight sex that you see on TV,” he told E! “Because I didn't see that growing up, and I feel like the more people get used to two men kissing, the less weird it will be for people.”
Audience education is an admirable goal for a soap, and you have to commend Nowalk (and executive producer Shonda Rhimes) in that regard. But it’s a shame that Nowalk and his co-writers felt, for reasons that remain opaque to me, that gay sexuality had to be rendered as a kind of game in which one is always striving to win at the supposed expense of the bottom, always angling “to do” instead of being “done to.” Do they really think that gay sex won't be “legible,” as the TC essay put it, to viewers without an old-fashioned male/female, taker/taken gloss? This vision of gay sexual dynamics is not only crude, but also largely inaccurate. (And where bottom shaming does exist in real life, we ought to be quick to stamp it out.) If Nowalk is truly interested in using HTGAWM to present a version of gayness that “feels more modern,” he is undermining his project by undervaluing his bottoms. But lucky for him, I think the fix is easy: Less trite talk, more hot action.
J. Bryan Lowder is a Slate assistant editor. 
He writes and edits for Outward
Slate’s LGBTQ section, and for the culture section.

NKorea Kin Jon Un Returns was Operated from Cyst Some Think he Still Needs psycho Intervention

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who recently disappeared from public view for about six weeks, had a cyst removed from his right ankle, a semi-official South Korean news agency reported Tuesday.
The Yonhap News Agency said South Korean lawmakers, who cited intelligence sources, said Kim had an ankle operation between September and October.
The lawmakers told Yonhap the National Intelligence Service told a closed-door meeting that a foreign doctor performed the surgery. The cyst could recur, the two sources said.
Kim reappeared October 14 when North Korean state media published the first photos of him in more than a month.
The North Korean leader gave “field guidance" to a newly built residential district and visited the Natural Energy Institute of the State Academy of Sciences, state news agency KCNA reported. 

Kim hadn't been seen in public since he reportedly attended a concert with his wife on September 3. It was his longest absence from official events since he made his first public appearance in 2010, according to NK News, a website devoted to analyzing North Korea.
In the undated photos, Kim was surrounded by officials and could be seen walking with a cane. He was smiling and didn't appear, in the photos at least, to be in pain.
Before his disappearance, Kim was seen limping, prompting theories he was suffering everything from weight gain to gout. 
He skipped important anniversary
His sudden disappearance took a concerning turn earlier this month when he didn't appear at events to mark the 65th anniversary of the Worker's Party of North Korea.
In previous years, Kim had attended the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang to pay tribute to his father and grandfather. This year his name was absent from the list of attendees. Instead, KCNA reported that flowers were presented at the shrine in Kim's name.
Kim's failure to appear fueled rampant speculation: Was there a power shift in the North Korean hierarchy? Could the young leader be ill? The North Korea you aren't meant to see
According to Dr. Kim So-Yeon, the former personal doctor to Kim's grandfather Kim Il Sung, Kim inherited a number of health issues, including psychological problems and a history of obesity.
She said both Kim Il Sung and Kim's father, Kim Jong Il, suffered from diabetes, heart problems and stress.
After studying the photos, she said Kim's face appeared to have been swollen due to painkillers. She also speculated that he has been receiving hormone shots to make him look more like his grandfather, the much-revered founder of North Korea.
Before this absence, Kim's longest disappearance from public view as Supreme Leader was 24 days between June 7 and July 1, 2012. His was once absent for 29 days,between July 28 and August 27, 2011, while his father was still alive, NK News said.
Kim's sole public appearance in September was at a Moranbong Band concert at Pyongyang's Mansudae Art Theatre, reported by state media on September 4.
He was accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, his sister Kim Yo Jong and several top officials including Hwang Pyong So.
According to KCNA, he visited an orphanage to give field guidance over the weekend.
Source: CNN



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