A brief tidbit about a few people who chose to take their tops off at an LGBT friendly Delaware beach. This article brands them as "transgender men," but over at Change.org they're referred to as transgender women. Apparently the individuals were all born male-bodied and retain male genitalia, but have augmented breasts, which they were attempting to get a bit tanner. They covered up before the police came, and then reminded the officers that they are still legally male, and so this is not in fact an issue of indecent exposure (not that it should be, anyhow). An interesting little bit of gender politics there, no?
Friend of the show Dr. Karen Rayne brought this article to us. She says:
A recent study has come out … chronicling how much teenagers talk to their parents and what information they are most prone to share. … The coverage of this research is interesting in itself. It takes a straightforward study and twists it and applies in ways that the study was never meant to be used. The Times article begins: "Few things are more alarming to the modern hyperparent than a silent teenager. And for good reason: The quiet ones usually have something to hide." This kind of rampant assumption and generalization is common in conversations about sex and teenagers. But there is plenty of interesting tidbits to talk about in the actual study, including this: "Yet oddly, at least to those of us over 18, teenagers are more likely to hide the content of their romantic instant messages than their sexual activity."
It ain't much, but it's a start: citing flaws in the research, on June 11th the Health and Human Services Committee called for new research on policy alternatives to the life-time blood-donation ban on gay men, but did not recommend lifting the ban. There was much testimony on both sides of the issue. One possible alternative would be to switch to a 1 year deferral period after homosexual relations, which would bring in an additional 89,000 pints of blood a year. Despite this increase, most of the conversation focused around blood safety rather than blood supply. Some other countries seem to have a good idea of how to keep supplies safe: Spain and Italy screen donors for risky behaviors, rather than simply for orientation. Huh; Good thought!
A recent survey by Weddingbells, a Canadian bridal magazine, of over a thousand brides-to-be, showed that only 8 percent of women stated that they felt sex before marriage was a bad idea – and only 4 percent said they felt strongly about those opinions. This despite a recent strong swell in the cultural ethos of saving-oneself, currently being promulgated by everything from school sex education to popular books and TV shows like Twilight and Glee. In truth, this seems to indicate not a change in behavior, but a change in reporting, as the American reproductive health think-tank found that in women under 44, 9 in 10 had had sex before marriage – even those born in the 1940s. This is certainly a positive change, as increasingly, young people are choosing not to marry at all, and it would certainly be sad if the 50 percent of young people projected to opt out of wedlock had to opt in to celibacy with it!
According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett, coauthor of the report "The Athena Factor: Reversing the Brain Drain in Science, Engineering, and Technology," women leave careers in engineering and science more often than men. Professor of economics Jennifer Hunt, Ph.D., notes that "the most important driver of excess female exits from engineering is dissatisfaction over pay and promotion opportunities, a factor explaining about 60% of the gender differential in exit rates." This is concerning American policy analysts, who have noted a decline in scientific publishing.
Hunt further notes the career exit gender gap is most prominent in fields that have the highest portion of male students, i.e., engineering. She says this contributes to a culturally-induced cycle where women lack opportunities men in these fields have. "Explanations hinging on the precise nature of engineering work should be discarded," Hunt says. "Instead remedies should be applied to all fields with a high share of male workers."
"Transgender Americans will no longer be required to undergo gender reassignment surgery in order to change their gender on U.S. passports," Cindi Creager writes. The U.S. Department of State announced on Monday that the "new policy and procedures are based on standards and recommendations of the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)…." They also make it "possible to obtain a limited-validity passport if the physician’s statement shows the applicant is in the process of gender transition." Similarly, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad can also be amended.
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) executive director Michael D. Silverman praised the change, saying, "Adoption of this safety-focused policy is a giant step forward in protecting transgender Americans abroad, and in fulfilling the State Department’s commitment to protect all Americans when they travel, work or live overseas."
In the "so you think you can dance" category of sexuality-related news, a "hot new dance craze" is sweeping Brazil. As Maureen O'Connor explains at Gawker.com, "Brazil, home to the world's most celebrated butts, has invented a new dance move. It's called the Surra de Bunda ("ass licking [or punching?]") and it involves hooking your feet over a man's shoulders and sledgehammer slamming your butt into his face."
Sledgehammer slamming your (presumably very womanly) butt into someone's (presumably shit-eating) grin. "There are dozens of videos of Surra de Bundas on YouTube," Maureen writes. "Nobody there seems to understand what the heck this phenomenon is, either. Is this a dance move or a sex act that we are witnessing? It appears to have migrated to non-hetero, less-bootylicious groups as well."
Unless it's a new kind of alternative energy, I can't wrap my head around this. Watch the video, see for yourself.