Showing posts with label Gay Issues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Issues. Show all posts

March 20, 2020

Study Suggests Males with an Older Brother or More are Likely to Be Born Gay

by Bob Yirka ,
A team of researchers from the University of Toronto, the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the University of Lethbridge has found evidence showing that males with an older brother have a greater chance of being gay than males that do not. In their paper published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of data from past research efforts and what the learned from it. 
Scientists are not currently able to explain homosexuality in either  or females, even as researchers continue to find the answer. In this new effort, the researchers were looking to find some commonalities between  and homosexuality. To that end, they analyzed data from 10 unrelated studies that included  for 5,400 men and also sibling information.
The researchers found that the men in the study who had an older  were 38 percent more likely to be gay than were those who did not have an older brother. They also found that the more older brothers a man had, the more likely he was to be gay—having three older brothers, for example, doubled a man's odds of being gay. But the same could not be said for females. The researchers were not able to find any pattern in siblings, male or female, that changed the odds for a woman being gay.
The researchers were not able to determine why birth order impacts the odds of male homosexuality, but suggest it is possible that the mother's immune response to having a male child has a later impact on male babies born thereafter. The , called "maternal immune hypothesis," suggests that when a woman carries and gives birth to a male baby, her body produces antibodies in response to certain male chemicals. The theory suggests that the antibodies produced remain in the woman's body and somehow make their way into the brains of future male babies. The theory has been proposed before by other researchers and has also been used to settle arguments surrounding the nature of homosexuality—specifically whether it is a matter of genetics or upbringing.

March 18, 2020

If There Was a Pill To Make You Straight Would You Take It?

Being gay is far more than who I sleep with (Picture: Supplied) If there was a pill to make you straight, would you take it? This was the question my friend and I pondered recently over a lukewarm soy white mocha. It was confronting to consider and I nearly choked on my drink’s tepid foam. Straight Gary would never do that, I thought. He’d drink an espresso, no sugar. Down in one. He wouldn’t even wait for it to cool down. 

I almost feel ashamed to admit it, but there was a time I absolutely would’ve taken that pill to become Straight Gary. Probably even as late as my early 20s and I’m 37 now. But that shame doesn’t belong to me; it belongs to British society. It belongs, specifically, to every politician who voted for Section 28, the law that made it illegal to ‘promote homosexuality’ in schools like the one I attended. Homophobia festered. It convinced me I had some horrible disease. 

Brewery launches ‘Pub In A Box’ so you can enjoy the experience at home during coronavirus self-isolation Not anymore; I absolutely wouldn’t take that pill today. My friend, sadly, said he would. Even now. It shows how far there is to go. Many gay people – myself included – say that being a homosexual is just part of who we are; it doesn’t wholly define us as fully rounded people. In fact, we can get annoyed when someone diminishes us to our sexual orientation. ‘I love gay men’, they’ll gush. ‘They’re all so lovely and fabulous’. 

My eyes have barely finished rolling before I offer to introduce them to far-right political commentator Milo Yiannopoulos. They’re absolutely not all lovely. They’re as complex and flawed and diverse as any of us. This much should be obvious by now. Defining us by our gayness alone can feel reductive and dated. And a bit irritating, if well-intentioned. We’re more than our sexual orientation. It doesn’t define us. But the question ‘who would you be if you were straight?’ has forced me to revise this. If I was straight, my core values would not be the same Being gay is far more than who I sleep with. It influences how I vote, my lack of religion, where I socialise, my attitude towards women, where I’ll work, my outlook and views, the music, icons, culture, films, books and art that speak to me. In this way, being gay doesn’t define me but it certainly shapes how I live my life. I was culturally gay before I was sexually gay. I remember mum allowing me two illegally copied £2.99 cassettes down Strood market. I chose: Diana Ross and Gloria Estefan. I was nine. And a lifelong addiction to VH1 Divas Live was born. Of course, not all gays love Cher (she’s such a survivor though!) and the wrestle over gay culture’s camp stereotypes can be problematic for some. But being gay goes beyond culture too. If I was straight, my core values would not be the same. It was surprising to me, but I concede that I’d be an entirely different person, society’s structures still being as they are. I don’t know who he is and I don’t want to know. It has amplified my gratitude for being gay and all the qualities I believe that has gifted me with: drag queen wit, humour, and resilience. I vote based on empathy and compassion. I hate to think that Straight Gary would vote from a place of self-interest but how can I be sure white male privilege wouldn’t take hold? The fact I even ask myself this question – you can bet your last pork scratching straight men don’t ask who they’d be if they were gay – shows how powerful the messages of assimilation were, which I absorbed growing up under Section 28.

February 15, 2020

Local Politics and International Skirmishes on LGBTQ World

Troy Price, the chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party, has submitted his resignation.
Why it matters: Results from last week's caucuses were delayed due to software failures and reporting errors, leading to calls for an independent investigation and requests by the Buttigieg and Sanders campaigns for a partial recanvass.

What he's saying: 

"While it is my desire to stay in this role and see this process through to completion, I do believe it is time for the Iowa Democratic Party to begin looking forward, and my presence in my current role makes that more difficult. Therefore, I will resign as chair of the Iowa Democratic Party effective upon the election of my replacement."
— Troy Price 
The big picture: Tom Perez, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, has said he will "absolutely not" consider resigning in the aftermath of the Iowa chaos. He told CNN on Sunday that there will be a conversation within the party about stripping Iowa of its first-in-nation caucus status after this election cycle.
School in London Gets Abusive calls, mails, email because of they an LGBT Rainbow Crossing

 Rainbow crossing and highway workersImage copyrightWOODSIDE HIGH SCHOOL
Image captionThe crossing, outside Woodside High School in Wood Green was installed to celebrate LGBT Month

A school in London claims it has received about 200 abusive messages after a rainbow-colored crossing was installed outside its building.
It said the crossing was painted last week in celebration of LGBT History Month and has prompted some angry reactions on social media.
However, the school in Wood Green said that would not deter it from continuing its work on equality.
The crossing was funded by Haringey Council.
A spokeswoman for the school said the abusive messages were sent to the school on Twitter and Instagram but were "not from parents or anyone connected with the school", adding that the school had been "overwhelmed with positive messages of support from parents, carers and [its] community".
Gerry Robinson, head of Woodside High School, on White Hart Lane, said: "This rainbow crossing stands for our commitment to championing equality, for our children's rights to be respected and able to thrive as themselves, in school and beyond.
"The hundreds of abusive messages regarding Woodside's work on equality will not deter us from continuing our work. 
"In fact, it only encourages us further for we do not want our students to go out into the world and face such hate."

Gerry RobinsonImage copyrightWOODSIDE HIGH SCHOOL
Image captionGerry Robinson, head teacher of Woodside High School, said the school was committed to championing equality

She added: "Never has there been a more important time to stand up to hate in all its forms and education is a key part of that."
Haringey Councillor Seema Chandwani said Woodside had become the first school in England to install a rainbow crossing and added the authority stood "in solidarity with them, and the LGBTQ+ community against discrimination and prejudice of any kind".
Woodside holds the Gold Award Stonewall School Champion title, awarded by charity stonewall to schools that celebrate diversity and work to tackle discrimination.
Head of education programs at the charity Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton said two in five LGBT pupils were not taught anything about LGBT identities and 45% were bullied for being LGBT in Britain's schools.
"That's why it's fantastic to see such visible displays of support for equality, like the rainbow crossing at Woodside High School," she said.


January 29, 2020

Gay Body Shaming Pressure is Led to Severe Heart Failure in Some


 "You're too ugly to be gay," a man in a Huddersfield gay bar told Jakeb Arturio Bradea.

It was the latest in a series of comments from men that Jakeb says made him feel worthless. Last summer, following the comments, he tried to kill himself.
Manchester-based charity the LGBT Foundation has warned that body image issues are becoming more widespread in gay communities. It says gay and bisexual men are "much more likely" than heterosexual men to struggle with them. 
A number of gay men have told the BBC they are going to extreme lengths to change their bodies - including using steroids and having plastic surgery - just to become "accepted" by others in the LGBT community.
Several said pressure from social media platforms and dating apps was exacerbating their body issues.
"Guys with stunning bodies get the comments and the attention," says Jakeb. "I've not gone on dates because I'm scared of people seeing me in real life. I would honestly have plastic surgery if I could afford it."
Instead of surgery, a few years ago Jakeb turned to anabolic steroids - class C drugs that can be misused to increase muscle mass.
"I got to a certain weight from just working out and going to the gym, but I couldn't get any bigger, and I got into my head that I needed to be bigger," he says.
"My friend said he knew a steroid dealer, so I thought maybe I'll just do a low dose to see what happens."
But anabolic steroids can be addictive. Jakeb soon found himself unable to stop.
"I got to the size I wanted to be, but it didn't feel good enough," he says. "I kept wanting more. It was like there was a harsh voice telling me I'm skinny."
Jakeb had his second near-death experience in November last year when - after several years of heavy steroid use - he suffered heart failure.
"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't sleep, I was days away from dying," he says. "The cardiologist said if I had done one more injection or gone to the gym a few more times I would have dropped dead."
Months later, Jakeb has stopped taking steroids and has lost the extra muscle he gained, but he continues to have health problems for which he is receiving hospital support. "It just hasn't been worth it at all," he says.
And Jakeb is not alone in taking drastic measures to try to appeal to men.
James Brumpton - a software engineer from Lincoln - found himself "catapulted into this world of self-consciousness", after he hooked up with a man at a local gay bar.
When James went back to the man's house and took off his T-shirt, his date looked at him and made a disgusted noise. "Nice arms though," the man added.

James Brumpton
Image captionOther men have shamed James about his body many times, he says

Eventually, the experience led to James deciding to have an abdominoplasty - otherwise known as a tummy tuck.
"I allowed another man to influence me to a point where I literally had part of me removed," he says.
According to the most recent figures released by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), 179 abdominoplasties were performed on men in 2018 - up 18% on the previous year.
Prof Afshin Mosahebi, of Baaps, says gay men are currently having more cosmetic procedures done than straight men, although he notes that women have more procedures than men overall. 
The surgeon believes the pressure of social media is pushing people to go under the knife.
"Some patients don't need surgery, they need psychological help, and even the patients that do need surgery need to be appropriately informed of all the potential risks," he says.

James Brumpton's abdomenImage copyrightJAMES BRUMPTON
Image captionJames's abdomen after having a tummy tuck

After James's tummy tuck went wrong, he was left with permanent scarring, which made him even more conscious of his body.
"I've been shamed many times since then," says James. "A guy I was dating once said that I needed to go and find jeans in the maternity section because I have wide hips."
Dating apps have fuelled body image concerns, he says. "People having in their profiles 'no fats', or that they're only into masculine and muscular guys, so they don't want anyone that's super skinny," he says.
Images on social media and in leading gay magazines have also led James to feel he is an "invader in the space".
"The idea in your head is that to be a gay man, is to look like a Calvin Klein model," he says.
Photos of "sexy bodies" drive sales of gay magazines, according to Matthew Todd, a former editor of one such publication, Attitude.
"It was tension the whole time and I continually tried to put people on the cover that weren't like that: the first trans man, the first trans woman, the first lesbian," says Matthew.
"I kept doing those kinds of things, but they didn't sell well."
When Matthew put a photo of Stephen Fry on the front of the magazine in 2010, "it was one of the worst-selling editions ever", he says.
"That's not a reflection on Stephen Fry, because he's incredibly popular," he says. "I think it says more about what readers are coming to gay publications for."

Low self-esteem

Matthew, the author of Straight Jacket: How to be gay and happy, says homophobia has fuelled gay men's body issues.
"It's really important to remember that there is unprecedented pressure on everybody to present themselves in a visual way," he says.
"But I think you can't take out of this discussion the fact that LGBT people grow up, shamed, not able to be themselves.
"And I think for lots of people, that's a massive trauma that manifests as low self-esteem. If you don't like yourself, that manifests as not being happy with the way you look."
The result has been that gay men are under more pressure than straight men to have the perfect body, Matthew says.
"If you go on to some gay dating apps, you would think that the vast majority of gay men are supermodels," he continues.
"If you're a gay man, the act of finding another man attractive is also making a judgment of yourself. Many gay men confuse 'Do I want to be with him?' with 'Do I want to be him?'"
Jeff Ingold, from LGBT charity Stonewall, says it is "crucial" that we see more diverse representations of gay and bisexual men with different body types in the media.
"Not only would this help gay and bi men see themselves reflected in what they watch, it would also help break down harmful stereotypes that affect gay and bi men's body image and self-esteem."
But as it is, Jakeb says he still gets people online telling him they "wouldn't leave the house if they looked like me".
"I didn't go on pride marches and have bricks thrown at me to have the community we've got now," he says.
"We have equality, but we're horrible to each other."

September 27, 2019

When Being Gay Is Not A Big Deal (Two Sides of The Argument)


Earlier this year, Andrew Sullivan, one of the earliest and most influential intellectuals to advocate for gay marriage, argued that “a gay politics was necessary only so that we could eventually get beyond politics, and live as our straight brothers and sisters do, with our sexual orientation being a nonissue in our wider lives.” He urged a posture of “just getting on with our lives, without our sexual orientation getting in the way,” calling that “the sanest approach to being gay, seeing it as an integral but by no means exhaustive way of being human.”  
Those words came back to me this week as the producer Richie Jackson told the origin story of his forthcoming book, Gay Like Me, while being interviewed at The Atlantic Festival. He began writing after his son came out as gay at age 15. “One of the reasons I wrote the book is that he thinks being gay is not a big deal. And I think he doesn’t think it’s a big enough deal. That’s where our tension is,” Jackson said. “I think being gay is the best thing about me. It is the most important thing about me. It is the blessing of my life. And I want that for him.”
These approaches to gay identity exemplify of a more general phenomenon: Every identity—of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, political party, profession, and beyond—encompasses members who prefer a thick approach to that marker and others who prefer a thinner, or thin, approach. That preference is complicated whenever an identity is subject to oppression. 

“Some might say that this is progress,” Matt Thompson, the interviewer, said. “That the fact that being gay is just one dimension of many identities your son could claim––”
Jackson cut him off.
It cannot be that we have fought back centuries of being stigmatized by religions, that we have fought battle after battle with our government, that we have disappointed our parents, all just to get our liberation so that we can say being gay isn’t a big deal. That would be heartbreaking. It would be devastating. I don’t want to celebrate being gay just one day at the end of June every year. I want to be able, every day, to say this is why I am as successful as I am, why I have a beautiful family—this is how I think, this is how I feel, this is how I crave. It all comes from this well of my gayness. If we’re going to get to our liberation just to say gay is just a matter of fact, then we’re colluding with our adversaries.
An audience member followed up.
“I'm the mother of an 18-year-old who has two moms,” she said. “He is profoundly straight. If your son were not gay, would you advocate that his straightness be as defining a characteristic or would you be okay with it just being a part of his life?"
He answered that Gay Like Me “is a permission slip for anybody who has something unique about them. And straightness is not unique. So many people have it.” Being gay is different, he continued, in that “we’re not taught to feel good about it. And to me, being gay is the best thing about me. It is the most important thing about me. And it’s been a blessing. He doesn’t have to make it the most important thing about him. He doesn’t have to say it’s the best part about him. But I do want him to think it’s a blessing. And that’s why I wrote the book.”
He regards his son’s statement that gayness is “not a big deal to him” as a sign that “he’s not taking full advantage of the gift that it is. And I want him to have faith in his gayness. I want him to rely on it, to invest in it, and that’s what the book is. Here’s how you build up your gay self-esteem. Here’s your permission to take what is special about you, what is unique about you, and hit the gas on it.” He added: “I hope we start making being gay the gift that it is. We’re 4.5 percent of the population. We’re not a defect. We are a gift. We’re chosen. And we have to make sure that it’s treated like a gift, and I want people to join me in that.”
The convergences and divergences with Sullivan are interesting.

  On the one hand, Sullivan urged “earning a living, raising kids in some cases, pursuing careers, sustaining marriages, and everything every straight person does without thinking twice about it,” and declared that he seeks, in that sense, “a kind of irrelevance for our sexual orientation—a world in which the hetero and homo categories define none of us, straight or gay, and the category of human includes us all.” On the other hand, he writes that “there’s more to the souls of gay folk than just this kind of normalcy.” Gay people remain a specific minority “with life experiences that do shape us differently, and a way of life that will always, in some ways, be a subculture, as well as a counterculture.”
There is, he posited, a gift in sometimes hidden “sexual and emotional difference” that teaches tolerance and empathy at a very young age. “The suffering that will always accompany gay and lesbian teens — the suffering that is a function of being so different at such a crucial age — can be deployed as adults, if we so choose, to see and alleviate the suffering of others,” he explained. “Very few gay people sail through their lives without some element of humbling or pain or epiphany. We need to nurture this painful insight and expand it.”
As Sullivan sees it, integration need not mean assimilation, and the less defensive post-liberation gay people become, “the more ambitious we can be in crafting a future in a way no previous gay generation has had the chance to. We can see what homosexuality can bring to a culture that is not, as it so long has been, dedicated to our exclusion. We can see what homosexuality can be when it is not driven to the margins or underground. This does indeed require pride in what we have that is distinct, a pride that is worth celebrating once a year.”
If Richie and Sullivan were in direct conversation on this subject, their divergences would likely spark a lively debate. There may be no resolution, insofar as there will always be gay people who differ on whether to embrace the thick or thin version of that identity. But both sides of the debate can hope for a future where those personal preferences need no longer be informed or distorted by anti-gay bigotry.

 CONOR FRIEDERSDORF is a California-based staff writer at The Atlantic,where he focuses on politics and national affairs. He is the founding editor of The Best of Journalism, a newsletter devoted to exceptional nonfiction.

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