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Is Late Better Than Never? – Libby Post – timesunion.com – Albany NY

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Late Better Than Never? – Libby Post – timesunion.com – Albany NY

"[T]wo bills of great importance to the [LGBT] community have passed," Libby Post, founder of Empire State Pride Agenda writes. One grants same-sex couples bereavement leave, while the other is the Dignity for All Students Act, New York's anti-bullying legislation that includes prohibitions against harassing students based on characteristics such as sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation for the first time in the State's history. It passed with a 58-3 vote.

"While we waited for the Senate Republicans to join their Democratic colleagues, our kids suffered. LGBT students or those who are perceived to be are the ones hardest hit by severe and widespread discrimination and harassment," Libby said. According to a 2005 survey, 72% of students hear homophobic slurs during school. While school bullies are concerning, some don't think laws are a solution.

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Editor’s note: As noted by the Feminist Wire Daily Newsbriefs, a similar bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) died on the Senate floor on June 10th. The Bilerico Project has an interesting analysis of why the anti-bullying law might have passed with relative ease, while GENDA remains a political piñata.


The last person out of the closet? The bisexual male – CNN.com

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

"Coming out bisexual in the 1980s was an agonizing experience for [Robert] Winn, who was raised Methodist in a military family," Stephanie Chen reports. "When Winn was a teenager in the 1980s, public support toward gays and bisexuals plummeted as the HIV panic stigmatized the gay community. Bisexuals were blamed for spreading the virus to the straight population."

Robert Winn, a physician monogamously married to a woman for 18 years, is not an exception among bisexual men. "Joshua Verbeke, a 29-year-old business student at Indiana University…played along with being gay [while working with advocacy organizations] to avoid criticism and questions about being bisexual," and "John, 41, a bisexual from California, said his sexual orientation makes him open-minded."

This balanced article is a rarity, and Stephanie Chen touches on many issues: "being openly bisexual can be complicated." Stereotyped promiscuity, gay camouflage, and disease make being a bisexual man harder than it sounds.

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Windy City Times – Trans professor makes history at Chicago State

Posted: June 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Philosophy Professor Das Janssen, the first openly transgender addition to Chicago State University, deals with both gender and race issues daily. "But it isn't Janssen's gender identity that gets the most attention in class," Mason Harrison writes, "it's his race. Janssen, who is white, simply 'politely corrects' students who may refer to him as 'she,' but aggressively challenges his students 'who don't want to be told what to do by white guys in ties at the front of the room.'"

Janssen says, "I haven't had the same troubles here that I've had at other institutions like with bathroom use. People want to make sure that I'm safe here." Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality said, "There is a myth that Black people don't like gay marriage or LGBT people. […] I think that that's all just hogwash. There are white and Black people who are tolerant of LGBT people, and higher education has become a great place to transition." Now that's progress!

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The agony of a girl who just wanted to fit in – The Boston Globe

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jenna Russell tells of a high school freshman's ordeal with bullies. "Lexi would suffer in many ways during her first year," she wrote. "Lexi’s ordeal did not end in death or attract widespread attention. But in many ways, her case illustrates forms of bullying that are far more common, and is more instructive of the difficulties that school administrators across the state are likely to face this fall as they try to comply with Massachusetts’ new antibullying law."

Lexi, her friends, and their parents "described weeks of daily taunting, boys calling [them] 'whore' and 'slut.' Their conduct…amounted, in her view, to sexual harassment" that began after pictures taken by a former friend were posted to Facebook. But school officials were also struggling, saying, "the same students play both roles, acting as bully and victim." Ultimately, Lexi "doesn’t think schools or laws can stop bullying." Myself, I wonder how youth are expected to learn civility while forcibly imprisoned in school.

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Op-Ed Columnist – Gay? Whatever, Dude – NYTimes.com

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

"Stunning" figures from a newly released Gallup poll show, "For the first time, the percentage of Americans who perceive 'gay and lesbian relations' as morally acceptable has crossed the 50 percent mark," Charles M. Blow writes at the NY Times. The numbers are punctuated "by a dramatic change in attitudes among younger men, but older men’s perceptions also have eclipsed older women’s." While 48% more men aged 18 to 49 and 26% more men over age 50 perceive "gay and lesbian relations" to be morally acceptable, there was no significant change in womens' views.

Three theories are offered to explain the numbers. First, as more gay men come out of the closet, and as these men prove to be more varied than stereotypes allow, it becomes harder to discriminate against them. Second, men at large are becoming less afraid of such diversity, thanks to the civil and women's rights causes. Third, virulent homophobes are being outed, too, so being too fiercely anti-gay is not as cool as it once was.

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Pakistan jails couple over gay marriage allegation – CNN.com

Posted: June 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Pakistan jails couple over gay marriage allegation – CNN.com

18 year old Rani, who was born as a man but lives as a woman, and 42 year old fertilizer dealer Malik Muhammad Iqbal, both Pakistani residents, were arrested and now face up to 10 years in prison. Peshawar police Chief Shoukat Ali said that their investigation "shows [Iqbal] likes these people more than women. He admitted it. This is a psychological disease when men are attracted to men and not attracted to women."

Iqbal and Rani deny the allegations. "We were only celebrating my birthday," Rani said, according to a CNN report, which says that "prosecutors say it was a marriage that was taking place. Police smashed their way in, broke up the party, arrested 43 dancing guests, Rani and Iqbal. Iqbal says he was just another guest at the party."

Rani is one of about 400,000 people known as 'khusra,' called eunuchs, transsexuals or transvestites. "After decades of discrimination, Pakistan's Supreme Court recognized khusras as a minority last year—but many are still mocked in public."

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In The Interest of "Equality," Malawian Woman’s Identity Is Erased | RHRealityCheck.org

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on In The Interest of "Equality," Malawian Woman’s Identity Is Erased | RHRealityCheck.org

Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, residents of Malawi, Africa, were sentenced to 14 years hard labor after being found guilty of "unnatural acts" and "gross indecency." While news reports have consistently portrayed Steven and Tiwonge as "two gay men," Tiwonge has consistently self-identified as a woman. "Both the mainstream press and gay rights groups have consistently erased this fact from their statements," Audacia Ray writes. "The mainstream media is notorious for misgendering trans people; … they are described as being 'men dressed as women' and referred to persistently as 'he.' And although many gay rights groups include the letter 'T' in their acronyms and claim to be inclusive of diversity in gender identity, they don't hesitate to blatantly disregard gender identity when it serves their purpose of arguing for 'equality' in the treatment of gays."

In Africa, 37 countries enforce anti-homosexuality laws, but is silencing trans women an appropriate way to fight them? No.

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Law.com – Jury Finds Sex Bias by Novartis, Supports Punitive Damages

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Law.com – Jury Finds Sex Bias by Novartis, Supports Punitive Damages

Multinational Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. was ordered to pay $3.3 million in compensatory damages after a jury of 5 women and 4 men found the company guilty of "discriminating against women in pay and promotion and on the basis of pregnancy," Mark Hamblett writes at Law.com. According to plaintiffs' lawyer, Steven Wittels, "this is the first gender bias class action in which a jury will have awarded punitive damages. [The judgment] is a resounding verdict for women all across the country, both at Novartis and elsewhere, who for too long have been underpaid and underpromoted and have suffered at the hands of male-dominated companies."

The company released a statement expressing disappointment in the verdict and "maintained the company believed plaintiffs' claims [of paying women less than similarly situated men are] unfounded." The defense team said "random or isolated acts of discrimination" only amount to "anecdotal evidence." Some 5,600 women are part of the class-action suit.

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Update: Two days after finding the company guilty of discriminating against women, a U.S. jury decided that Novartis Corp. must pay $250 million in punitive damages, Reuters reports. David Sanford, a lawyer for the women, “had argued in court on Tuesday that the jury should award between $190 million and $285 million in punitive damages, which is about 2 to 3 percent of the company’s $9.5 billion 2009 revenue.”


BBC News – Heart attack survivors ‘fear sex’

Posted: May 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on BBC News – Heart attack survivors ‘fear sex’

Heart attack survivors "fear sex" and thus have less of it, unless they're given information about how sexual activity may or may not affect them. According to a BBC report of a US study, "The team told an American Heart Association meeting that those whose doctors failed to talk to them about sex were most likely to avoid it. […M]en were 30% and women 40% more likely to report having less sex a year on, compared with before their heart attack, if they had not been given information on resuming sexual activity."

Dr Stacy Tessler Lindau, who led the study of 1,700 people, said, "Most heart attack patients are sexually active. But for the most part, physicians just aren't discussing this topic with their patients after a heart attack." The study found that "less than 40% of men and 20% of women talked to their doctors about sex in the 12 months after their heart attack." In fact, the chance of sex killing you "is really small," but dramatic TV shows & movies may mislead one otherwise.

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Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz | Scarleteen

Posted: May 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz | Scarleteen

Scarleteen has put out a fantastic True/False quiz of a dozen Bisexuality Myths, ranging from "bisexuals are just confused about their sexuality" and "bisexuals are just opportunists" to more complicated myths like "sexual identity never changes" and "if you've never had sex, you can't know if you're bisexual or not" to downright insidious social brain-washing like "bisexual people spread HIV/AIDS because they have sex with gay people, then go pass AIDS on to straight people." An absolutely fantastic resource and setting-straight for people of any and every sexual orientation, and another strong step away from bi-invisibility. Thanks again, Scarleteen!

PS: Here's a helpful hint while you're taking the quiz – the answer is always "false."

For more great sexuality information, follow Scarleteen on Twitter.

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