The Obama administration wants a federal appeals court to maintain the ban on openly gay service members until the Pentagon is ready for them, probably by the end of the year, and to reject a demand for an immediate halt to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
In a filing late Thursday, the Justice Department asked the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to suspend legal proceedings while the government implements a federal law repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the 1993 statute barring military service by gays and lesbians who disclose their sexual orientation.
President Obama signed the repeal in December. It takes effect 60 days after he and the Pentagon certify that it will not interfere with military effectiveness or recruiting.
The Justice Department said retraining of current troops should be mostly done by midsummer, and the administration has promised to complete the process before next year.
“It is well within Congress’ broad constitutional authority over military affairs to establish a brief interim period for transition and implementation of a change of policy throughout the armed forces,” government lawyers argued.
The call for a waiting period didn’t sit well with Log Cabin Republicans, the gay-rights organization that challenged the 1993 law.
“It is hard to believe that the government is still fighting this case (and) still arguing that the court should defer to Congress,” said the group’s lawyer, Dan Woods.
He said the military continues to reject openly gay and lesbian applicants despite a federal judge’s ruling declaring the law unconstitutional. Woods cited the case of Katie Miller, a high-ranking West Point cadet and a lesbian who left the military academy last year because of the policy and was turned down for readmission this month.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips of Riverside ruled in September that the “don’t ask” law violated service members’ privacy and freedom of speech and reduced military effectiveness because it led to skilled personnel being discharged.
Phillips issued an injunction in October halting discharges under the law, but the Ninth Circuit appeals court has suspended her order while it considers the case.
from The San Francisco Chronicle
Archive for April, 2011
The Obama administration wants a federal appeals court to maintain the ban on openly gay service members until the Pentagon is ready for them, probably by the end of the year, and to reject a demand for an immediate halt to “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Tyler Watts remembers having a happy childhood: His parents gave him everything he ever wanted, but as a young teenager growing up in Hindman, Kentucky, a small town of around 700 people, nestled in the Appalachian mountains, Watts was also fighting demons. Comments and jokes — both from strangers and even some members of his own family — about “gays” and “fags” would jolt right to the pit of his stomach, but at the time, Watts wasn’t quite sure why.
Looking back, the 37-year-old says he was terrified of admitting who he really was because of those comments he had heard growing up. “I was worried what people would think of me,” he says.
Watts was born Tammy Watts, but for the last three years he has lived as a transgendered man. And thanks to an oral history project spearheaded by the nonprofit StoryCorps, whose mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds with the opportunity to preserve the stories of their lives for posterity, and the Kentucky Equality Federation, which is focusing on sexual orientation in rural Kentucky, Watts is about to share his tale of growing up in rural Appalachia in the hope it can help other people like him. The stories are to be preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.
“I remember when I first started school and in my mind I related to myself as a little boy,” he says. “When I went into first grade I’d get ready to use the bathroom the boys used and the teacher told me ‘no no no — this way’.”
At first Watts thought he was gay. “Society coerces you into thinking you’re something you’re not,” he says. “My parents were Jehovah’s Witnesses at the time and I remember my mom would want me to wear dresses to meetings and I would throw a fit. I felt so uncomfortable in a dress, even as child. I hated it with a passion. In my head I was thinking ‘You’re dressing me like a girl and I’m not a girl’.”
Watts began dating a girl in high school and eventually came out to his parents, but said it was when he went through his transition three years ago that the problems started. “My parents learned to deal with thinking I was a lesbian. But when I came out with my transition … my mother has every right to hurt. She still lives [in Hindman] and works in a small office there and you know how small-office politics are.”
He says he understands the emotions his mother is going through, but insists it’s important for parents of transgendered children to go through a process of acceptance. “You may never understand it, but you can accept it. There’s a lot of information out there. And your child is not the only one going through this.”
Quinton Lewis’s experience growing up in rural Kentucky was not dissimilar. Now 17 years old and in his final year of high school, he says he first realized he was gay when he was eight. “I didn’t want to tell anybody. I felt alone. But I ended up telling my mom when I was ten and my friends when I turned 12.”
Lewis remembers the day he broke the news to his mother. It was the night of November 2nd, 2004. “I was laying in bed, watching TV,” he says. “I told myself that mom should know; that she will love me no matter what, so I wrote it on a piece of paper and told her to read it. She started crying and told me she’d still love me the same no matter what I am or who I date. I felt a lot better after I told her, but to this day I don’t really talk about it with her.
“I’m scared to go to school; there are kids that pick on me because I’m gay. I’m scared to use the bathroom because I might get into a fight. These are rednecks and country people. I’m thinking about moving to a bigger city where I’ll feel more comfortable living there; probably California or New York. I feel that if I tell other kids my life story, they might understand how I feel. They might be going through the same things I went through and I want to tell them how to get through it, who to talk to, and if they get picked on in school, who to tell and how to avoid it.”
Josh Griffith is Director of Student Activities at Emory and Henry College, nestled in the highlands of Virginia. He wrote a series of columns for the college newspaper, the Whitetopper, which took the form of letters to the president about LGBT issues in rural Appalachia.
Before writing his first column, Griffith asked for help from some students. He got them to play an association game using the words “gay” and “Appalachian.” The objective was to throw out words that students felt would reflect the ideas and attitudes of their peers.
For “gay,” they came up with the following: fag, queer, glitter, homo, immoral, minority, flamer, closet, lesbo, rainbow, AIDS, and metropolitan. “Appalachian,” meanwhile, garnered: banjo, redneck, hick, Deliverance, country, hillbilly, conservative, white, slow, bluegrass, and closed-minded.
Then, Griffith asked whether the students thought the two pictures they had painted were compatible. “Several people responded quickly — ‘no’.”
Griffith wrote: “I’ve talked with so many LGBT people here in our mountains, and their stories are powerful. Experiences of abandonment, exclusion, attempted conversion and worthlessness make up a few of the themes from such stories. Also, self-respect, unexpected acceptance and powerful love complete their pictures. … It is heartbreakingly inspirational, and yet it isn’t wished for anyone.”
Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer says that’s exactly why the Storycorps project his organization is collaborating on is so important. “For me it was difficult growing up in rural Kentucky in the early ’90s. I was lead singer in a Christian band and went to a Methodist boarding school. I was sent to be ‘de-gayed’ as if it was a condition. We didn’t have gay characters on TV and it wasn’t spoken about. I even tried to commit suicide.”
But, Palmer says, it’s certainly not confined to rural communities — and not all rural communities are closed-minded. “Usually families here are very tight knit; they pull together to make ends meet. I’ve actually felt more accepted in small communities than in some bigger towns.”
Palmer hopes the oral history project will make people realize LGBT people are contributing members of society. “We have jobs, we pay our taxes. To me it’s no different from being born blind. I was born this way and that’s the way God intended me to be. It’s about tolerance and acceptance. If they hear these stories — stories of real people who have faced discrimination, harassment and name-calling, they may think twice about opening their mouths and saying something derogatory or negative.”
Last week, students at colleges all around the U.S. observed the national Day of Silence to bring attention to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools. One straight student, at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, had joined others in solidarity, covering their mouths with duct tape as a way of drawing attention to the issue. She wrote: “I have to tell you about how I felt yesterday walking around in silence with duct tape. I felt humiliated at times, and other times proud. You see, everywhere I went, people stared. I felt like a leper, completely stigmatized [by] people. In fact, I was experiencing what the LGBT community has experienced for decades.”
from The Atlantic
HADDONFIELD, NEW JERSEY – A former Rutgers University student accused of watching a surreptitious webcast of a classmate’s same-sex liaison is seeking to enter an intervention program that could result in the dismissal of invasion of privacy charges. The classmate later committed suicide.
Molly Wei, a 19-year-old from West Windsor, applied to enter the pretrial program last month. If she’s accepted, a judge could set conditions, such as staying out of legal trouble, doing community service and maintaining a job or attending school.
If she meets those conditions for a specified time period – it could be up to three years, though one year is typical – the charges would be dropped.
Wei is charged with two counts of invasion of privacy and could receive a five-year prison sentence if she’s convicted. Such a long sentence would be unusual for a first-time offender.
Prosecutors see her as the lesser suspect in an alleged crime that’s linked to a tragedy.
Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge on Sept. 22, hours after his roommate, Dharun Ravi, allegedly tried to watch a second encounter between Clementi and a man via webcam from Wei’s computer.
Clementi’s death sparked national conversations about bullying and suicides by young gays and lesbians.
Ravi was indicted last week on 15 counts. The most serious charge was bias intimidation, which alleges he acted because Clementi was gay. A conviction could mean he’d spend up to 10 years in prison on that charge alone.
Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan has said that Wei’s case is not planned to be presented to a grand jury. That could indicate that either a plea deal is being struck or she’s heading for the pretrial intervention program.
It’s common for people who do not have criminal records and are accused of low-level crimes to apply for the program. The applications are not considered public records.
She could be accepted if the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office and pretrial intervention program officials agree. She would also need a judge’s approval to enter the program.
Her application was first reported by The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick.
Her lawyer, Rubin Sinins would not comment on the case but did not dispute the report.
James O’Neill, a spokesman for the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, said that Wei’s case remains active but would not comment further.
Wei and Ravi both left Rutgers soon after they were charged.
from The Associated Press
A 15-year-old California girl says she was booted from her Christian high school for talking about being bisexual on her Facebook page.
Alexandria Kraft said she was floored when a teacher at Calvary Christian School in Sacramento ripped into her for talking about a girl crush on the social networking site.
“The teacher said, ‘Take your books and leave.’ I got kicked out,” Kraft told CBS Sacramento.
The stunned teen said she was simply curious, but never had a girlfriend.
Still, the teen said, the school told her “that’s not accepted here.”
Later that day, Kraft’s mom, Catina Ayala, said she received a call from a school official asking if her daughter or any other students she knew were gay.
“For her, saying what she is, for them acting the way they did is totally discrimination,” the teary mom said.
Calvary Christian School, which is part of an evangelical Christian church, would not comment on the matter, the station said.
Ayala said she knows “for a fact” that there are other gay students at the school.
“If they are going to kick my daughter out, they should kick everybody else out that is bi,” she said.
In 2009, the state’s Supreme Court said private schools do not have to follow California’s civil rights law.
from The New York Daily News
Atlanta pitching coach Roger McDowell apologized Wednesday in response to a fan’s complaint that McDowell spewed homophobic comments, made crude sexual gestures and threatened to knock out his teeth with a bat before the Braves played the San Francisco Giants over the weekend.
“I am deeply sorry that I responded to the heckling fans in San Francisco on Saturday,” McDowell said in a statement. “I apologize to everyone for my actions.”
Justin Quinn, 33, of Fresno said he was in the stands at AT&T Park in San Francisco during pregame batting practice with his wife and 9-year-old twin daughters when he noticed McDowell hectoring three men and asking them, “Are you guys a homo couple or a threesome?” Quinn said he proceeded to make crude sexual gestures with his hips and a bat.
Quinn, who was down in front of the field, then shouted, “Hey there are kids out here,” he said during a news conference at the Los Angeles office of noted attorney Gloria Allred.
Quinn alleged that the coach replied that kids don’t belong at a baseball park, picked up a bat, walked up to Quinn and asked him, “How much are your teeth worth?”
Quinn said he felt threatened and was unsure whether McDowell intended to hit him.
“My kids are in panic mode … they’re like grabbing onto me,” Quinn said. “I’m talking to him, trying to calm him down and the kids are screaming.”
Some parents who were in the stands with their children began to boo at McDowell and came down to retrieve their children. Quinn said that eventually McDowell walked away.
Quinn said he filed a complaint with Giants personnel and also with police but missed most of the game, although his wife and daughters stayed to see it.
Allred sent a letter Wednesday to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig asking that he launch an investigation and take “appropriate disciplinary action.” She also demanded that McDowell take sensitivity training.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said that even though McDowell has apologized, the Braves and Major League Baseball must take “real disciplinary action and send the message that anti-gay slurs have no place in sports.”
“Professional sporting events should be an environment that all fans and families can enjoy, not a place where children are exposed to violent threats and discriminatory language,” the alliance’s president, Jarrett Barrios, said.
Selig said the Braves assured his office that they will immediately investigate the allegations and report the results to him.
“Although I do not yet have all the facts regarding this incident, the allegations are very troubling to me,” Selig said in a statement. He said he will decide how to proceed after he gets all the facts.
Quinn’s children, Taylor and Kaylyn, said they were upset by McDowell’s remarks and actions.
“Kids should be allowed to be at baseball games without a coach yelling at them or other people,” Kaylyn said.
Taylor said she was upset to hear McDowell say that kids don’t belong in baseball parks.
“Children should not have to hear disgusting things they don’t want to hear,” she said.
Quinn said his family has not heard from the Braves or McDowell.
McDowell, who pitched for 12 years in the major leagues, issued his apology after the Braves beat the San Diego Padres 7-0 Wednesday afternoon.
McDowell was a star reliever with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies in the late `80s and early `90s, and was a member of New York’s 1986 World Series-winning club. He was named Atlanta’s pitching coach in 2005.
from The Associated Press
TOLEDO, OHIO – If you’ve driven down Monroe St. recently you may have stopped and did a double-take when you saw one message pop up on the electronic billboard. The message reads “Being Gay is a Gift from God.”
Dan Rutt of the Central United Methodist Church is one of the faces behind the new campaign. He expected not only that everyone who saw the message would be pleased, but that they would encourage the conversation it brings about. “People who seem to have a different perspective … we welcome that and look forward to that, so let the conversation begin.”
Rutt says the church has been bombarded with phone calls and e-mails from the public. “We’ve got them from all over the country and actually from different places in the world so it is something that’s kind of a touchstone for people.”
But not everyone agrees with the eye popping approach to send the message. One person wrote “homosexuality is a sin – it’s a curse not a gift. You are the one taking the scripture out of context …” Another said, “I am not against gays worshiping in our church, just against them holding leadership positions and teaching that being gay is okay with god. I am praying for your church. I fear you are going about this the wrong way.”
Others sent messages of strong support. One e-mail read, “Mavel tov on your “Gay is a Gift from God” campaign! I love that your church isn’t just quietly welcoming – you’re ready to shout about God’s perfect love for LGBTQ people from the rooftops!” Another e-mail of support came from halfway across the world. “I am writing to you from London, England and wish to thank you for being so clear in your message of love and tolerance of all of people on this planet…Thank you, once again for helping to spread the light of gods love. If we all work together, a difference can and will be made.”
Although the billboard seems to have polarized the public, Rutt says the intent was to unite people. They are inviting people to come to the church to meet with someone face-to-face to talk through any issues in hopes of promoting tolerance of persons who identify as LGBTQ in the church and the community.
They also hope the church, as a whole follows in this path of acceptance and not avoidance. “We just want to offer a positive message that being gay is not something you have to apologize for it’s simply one of the great and diverse ways that god has created us.”
from Toledo On The Move
Rod Stewart would rather play with his toy trains than write a hit song, but his domestic distractions did not prevent him from getting a top songwriters’ award in Hollywood on Wednesday.
The 66-year-old rocker received the Founders Award for lifetime achievement at an annual dinner organized by ASCAP, a firm that collects royalties for songwriters whenever their compositions are played in public.
Stewart attended the event, towered over by his wife, Penny Lancaster, and accompanied by five of his eight children. He has not written a hit song since “Forever Young” in 1988, and the seven albums he has released since 2001 have been covers of other peoples’ songs.
He is perhaps better known as an interpreter of material written by renowned musicians such as Tim Hardin (“Reason to Believe”), Cat Stevens (“The First Cut is the Deepest”), Tom Waits (“Downtown Train”) and Van Morrison (“Have I Told You Lately”).
“I never saw myself as songwriter,” Stewart confessed in an interview with Reuters. “Then I look back on the catalog and there’s been some big songs. It was always a struggle for me, writing songs, almost like being at school.”
After his turn in the late 1960s with the Jeff Beck Group, which established him as one of England’s premier R&B singers, Stewart enjoyed solo success with such songs as “Maggie May” and “You Wear It Well” (both written with Martin Quittenton) and “Every Picture Tells a Story” (written with Faces bandmate and future Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood).
During the awards ceremony, Stewart recalled that his first songwriting attempt with Wood was a dismal failure, with Wood’s mother noticing their blank writing pads and remarking, “I don’t think the Beatles have got anything to worry about.”
Stewart went on to write or co-write such big ’70s hits as “Tonight’s the Night,” “You’re in My Heart,” “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks.” He said he was proudest of his gay rights-themed ballad “The Killing of Georgie,” a bold declaration in 1976.
But his albums during the 1980s and 1990s were largely desultory affairs, and he spent less time writing his own songs even while remaining a popular touring act.
Stewart enjoyed a career renaissance in the new century with his “Songbook” series of albums paying homage to such songwriters as Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin.
Stewart is currently working on a blues album with Jeff Beck, covering such tunes as Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ and Tumblin’” as well as a few curveballs.
He said the ASCAP honor will “maybe give me a push up the bum to start writing again.”
On the other hand, it’s not easy being a songwriter when he is savoring his gilded family life in Beverly Hills. His top priority when he awakened earlier in the day?
“I couldn’t wait to get up and work on my model railway,” he said with a boisterous laugh.
A school board in Clovis, New Mexico, voted to ban all extra-curricular clubs from meeting during school hours after a gay-straight alliance applied to become a club.
School officials call it coincidental that the alliance applied while school policies were being reviewed, but representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico say they are concerned about the timing of the decision.
“This sort of tactic has been used in the past by school districts to discourage gay-straight clubs from forming,” Micah McCoy, communications specialist for ACLU of New Mexico, said on Wednesday. “A lot of alarm bells went off when we saw this.”
In a vote Tuesday night, the Clovis school board decided to prohibit any extra-curricular club from meeting during school hours or using school resources to meet and gather.
Meetings for the gay-straight alliance were going to be held after school all along, said James Walker, a senior at the school. But without resources or the ability to hang flyers or make announcements, it will be difficult to publicize meetings, he said.
“Now it’s almost an underground operation,” he said.
The gay-straight alliance is meant to create a safe place where students can get together and work toward greater tolerance and make schools safer places for gay, lesbian transgender and questioning students, McCoy said.
Clovis is in eastern New Mexico, on the border with Texas. There are 15 extra-curricular clubs currently at the school.
Calls to Clovis High School principal Wayne Marshall and district superintendent Terry Myers were not returned on Wednesday.
But Myers, who is in his first year at Clovis, told the Albuquerque Journal this week that the gay-straight alliance’s application did not trigger the policy review.
“Being a new superintendent in Clovis, the board asked me to review each policy as it came up and make recommendations or at least bring those to their attention if there’s some question as to what the board truly wants with a particular policy,” Myers said, according to the newspaper. “This was not prompted by a particular request.”
This isn’t the first time the high school has gotten attention for an issue involving gay and lesbian students.
In 2008, the school changed its yearbook policy after a public outcry when lesbian couples were featured on a couples page of the yearbook. Now, the principal reviews any content that may be controversial.
His new book, “A Billion Wicked Thoughts,” co-authored with Sai Gaddam, is billed as the first massive undertaking in the field since the Kinsey Reports in the mid-20th century. By analyzing a billion web searches from around the world, Ogas and Gaddam have emerged with the most complete survey yet of our collective sexual id.
“Sex therapists haven’t known which interests are common and which are rare,” Ogas says. “We probably now know more than ever before.”
Among their more surprising findings: Straight men enjoy a wider variety of erotica than imagined, including sites devoted to elderly women and transsexuals. Foot fetishes aren’t a deviance; men are evolutionarily wired to look for small feet, which are a sign of high estrogen production, which itself is a sign of fertility. Gay men and straight men have nearly identical brains, and their favorite body parts, in order of preference, line up exactly: chests, buttocks, feet. Straight men prefer heavy women to thin ones. Straight women enjoy reading about and watching romances between two men — it’s not about the sex, which is downplayed, but the emotion, which is the focus. (The largest audience for “Brokeback Mountain,” says the book, was straight women.) Straight men have a fascination with other men’s penises, which may be conscious or unconscious.
“The research, as far as I can tell, is pretty damn sound,” says Dr. Stephen Snyder, a sex therapist in private practice in Manhattan for over 20 years. “They worked very hard to acquire a large data set, and they found some very, very interesting stuff.”
Snyder read the book just a few weeks ago, and then he read it again. It immediately impacted the way he began treating patients, especially the ones who presented him with issues that aren’t well-documented in the literature. For example, he says, let’s take a wife who’s alarmed to discover that her husband has been looking at “she-male” porn online. Without much in the way of academic research — let alone patients who self-report — Snyder would straw-poll colleagues.
“Some would say, ‘That’s a normal variation,’ ” Snyder says. “Others would say, ‘That’s really disturbed.’ It’s very helpful, as a sex therapist, to know that this is not necessarily perverse.” He now believes that it’s not necessarily perverse.
“We just let the data tell us where to go,” Ogas says. Though the information sent them to Japanese anime sites (exceptionally popular among straight men) or to “cuckold porn” (in which men are forced to watch their wives have sex with someone else), it unearthed an even more surprising finding: 80% of all Internet searches are composed of just 20 interests.
According to the search engine Dogpile — which provided the authors with search data from Google, Yahoo! and Bing — the Top 10 sex-related searches are variations of these terms:
1. Youth (13.5%)
2. Gay (4.7%)
3. MILFs (4.3%)
4. Breasts (4%)
5. Cheating wives (3.4%)
6. Vaginas (2.8%)
7. Penises (2.4%)
8. (Blocked out in the book — too dirty even for the authors?)
9. Butts (.9%)
10. Cheerleaders (.1%)
When this information is broken apart further, however, human sexual desire becomes as confounding as ever. For example: Men fantasize about group sex far more than women and picture more men than women in the action. Straight men prefer to watch amateur porn online, and the authors theorize it’s because of perceived authenticity — a fake orgasm, it turns out, may be as disappointing as one in real life. One of the most popular and diverse areas of interest in sexuality is domination and submission, with straight women and gay men most interested in the latter role. Gay men enjoy straight porn in large numbers.
Such information, say the authors, isn’t merely reflective of the variety offered by the web. It’s human desire at its most unrestrained and uncensored, most secure in its anonymity. According to the book, in 1991 — before the birth of the Internet as we know it — there were fewer than 90 porn magazines published in the US. Today, more than 2.5 million porn sites are blocked by CYBERsitter. In 2008, approximately 100 million men in North America logged on to porn. (Also: One-third of the subscribers to Today’s Christian Women seek out erotica online.)
“Web porn has changed everything,” says Gaddam — including, he theorizes “our predispositions long-term.” Whereas once men may not have had access to unique sets of sexual triggers, now that they do, and now that we know large numbers of men are searching for them, perhaps male desire is evolving.
America’s pre-eminent evolutionary psychologist, Donald Symons, a pioneer in the field of human sexuality, isn’t so sure. While he admires the scope of Ogas and Gaddam’s research, he’s not convinced a causal line can be drawn from hard data to human desire — that, for example, the popularity of sites devoted to granny porn and transsexuals is a sign that straight men somehow find these images erotic.
“One of the first things I asked Ogi about was curiosity versus arousal,” says Symons. “Ogi is convinced that when people are searching for things, it’s primarily for sexual arousal. I’m not so sure about that. If there was a porn star with three breasts — I bet there would be a zillion hits. Would that be a sign men were suddenly aroused by that? I think not.”
Symons says he prefers to think it terms of counter-factuals: “If it had been the case that women were just like men, but society had been repressing women and once they’re online they seek the exact mirror-image of porn — that could’ve happened,” he says. “But it didn’t.” And it’s true: The research shows that men, as evolutionary science has long held, are stimulated visually, while women require a host of stimuli — context, emotion, verbal expression.
What would be really shocking, he says, would be fetish sites devoted to acne suffers, or people with no teeth — signifiers of poor health and high reproductive risk. “I don’t necessarily think that all men are searching for women with clear skin, one head and two breasts,” he says. But “when you’re doing a search, you’re usually looking for things that are uncommon.” Hence, he theorizes, the surfeit of searches for she-male porn.
Though the research is somewhat flawed — the data isn’t based on a true sample of Internet users, and there’s no way to know what motivated any given search — it is the largest and most unexpurgated look into one of life’s greatest mysteries: the origins and formation of sexual desires.
The underlying thesis, which Ogas and Gaddam believe will be proved correct: There’s no such thing as a sexual deviance. People who are attracted to mirrors, or to beards, or get turned on by ants in their pants — these are cases that, until now, have been diagnosed by clinicians who’ve seen patients. The Internet gives us a far better sense — rough, but still — of what is a likely anomaly and what is a far more common predilection. “We discovered things even Kinsey didn’t know,” says Ogas. “Foot fetishes, for example, are common across all cultures.”
The discovery may lead to a re-classification; perhaps someday, the male interest in feet will be considered as normal an interest as breast size or facial attractiveness.
As for lesser, freakier predictions, the authors insist, contrary to Symons’ belief, that the research proves that men who look at elderly women are actually turned on by elderly women. “There are forums where men talk about picking up grannies, the kinds that they like,” says Ogas. “We studied AOL search histories over a period of months — if someone’s just curious, they’re not going to spend money for a subscription to a site, or search for something over and over again.”
Still: why would men be attracted to a reproductively inviable woman? “We don’t have a good theory for that,” Ogas admits. “But we’ve spoken to hundreds of guys since we started working on the book — and we have yet to meet a guy who admits to watching any of the porn we’re talking about. The numbers say we should’ve encountered him by now.”
Despite the shortage of empirical data — and can there ever really be empirical data when it comes to human sexuality? — Symons says that the research itself is a gift. “I think,” he says, “all these questions can be sorted out in the future.” And as the authors so optimistically note in their conclusion, the upshot of the book — no matter how unsettling some of the data may appear — is actually quite comforting: There is, indeed, someone for everyone.
from The New York Post
Last night news broke that Broadway veteran Rosie O’Donnell would not be renting at a Donald Trump property after Trump stated in numerous media interviews that he is against ‘marriage and civil benefits’ for gay and lesbian couples.
This comes after GLAAD launched an online pledge to ‘Tune Out Trump’ and posted a list of Trump-owned properties: http://www.glaad.org/trump.
GLAAD made the following statement on the situation: “Rosie O’Donnell has sent an important message to the majority of Americans – gay and straight – who don’t agree with Donald Trump’s statements against marriage equality for all loving and committed couples,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Fair-minded people should think twice about supporting a businessman who courts our dollars but advocates denying gay and lesbian couples protections that all families need to take care of each other.”
Last week CNN/Opinion Research Corporation released polling data indicating that most (51%) Americans now support marriage equality. The New York Times called it “the fourth credible poll in the past eight months to show an outright majority of Americans in favor of” marriage.
After formally taking a break from the comedy circuit in 1995, O’Donnell went onto host the Emmy winning The Rosie O’Donnell Show, and The View and star on Broadway in GREASE. Additional Broadway credits for the star include FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, TABOO, and SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL. O’Donnell is currently emceeing her own raodio show, Rosie Radio, on Sirius XM Radio.
from Broadway World
ALBANY, NEW YORK – A lesbian cadet who resigned from West Point last year has been rejected for readmission to the academy even as the military moves toward repealing its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Officials at the U.S. Military Academy said they had no choice but to reject Katherine Miller’s application, because the repeal of the policy barring gays from serving openly in the military is not in effect yet. The policy’s repeal did not occur immediately after President Barack Obama signed the legislation in December as training and certification are required before the ban is lifted.
Miller left West Point in August, halfway through her stint at the academy, saying she couldn’t lie about her sexuality anymore.
“While the don’t ask, don’t tell policy was recently changed and will be repealed, the effective date has not yet been determined,” said Lt. Col. Sherri Reed, the academy’s director of public affairs, in a statement. “Due to this situation, West Point is unable to offer her readmission at this time.”
Miller enjoyed attending the historic academy looming over the Hudson River and she thrived there, ranking ninth in her class when she left. But she said keeping her sexuality a secret violated the academy’s honor code and nagged at her conscience. It was hard for her to remain silent when her fellow cadets made derogatory comments about gays.
She filed her resignation just as she was to begin her junior year. The 21-year-old from Findlay, Ohio, instantly became a prominent face in the debate over gays serving openly. Miller was accepted to Yale University, but she missed the camaraderie at West Point and re-applied late last year.
There was no immediate comment from Miller on the academy’s rejection.
The repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” is to go into effect 60 days after the president and senior defense advisers certify that it won’t hurt troops’ ability to fight. Training for service members began around March 1 and could be finished by summer’s end.
“While at the academy Ms. Miller remained in good standing and had done exceptionally well academically, militarily and physically,” Reed said. “The choice to seek re-admission is available to her once the repeal process is completed.”
Under President Bill Clinton, the military in 1993 adopted it’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy as a compromise that let gay men and women serve so long as they stayed silent about their sexuality. Clinton had wanted to repeal the ban entirely, but the military and many in Congress argued that doing so would disrupt order.
from The Associated Press
Some folks think this military-themed Budweiser commercial has a gay vibe, which would put it at odds with most of the brewer’s lunk-headedly hetero mass-media advertising. It seems unlikely that any subtle gay subtext was intended. Still, the 60-second spot, from ad agency Anomaly, is open to interpretation. The enlisted guy’s homecoming story does focus rather heavily on his clearly close yet undefined relationship with another dude back in the States. Are they significant others, brothers or best friends? Maybe they’re best friends with benefits. Isn’t that guaranteed by the G.I. Bill of Rights? The absence of bikini-clad babes in a beer commercial is certainly suspicious. Ultimately, his orientation is anybody’s guess.
TOKYO, JAPAN – Taiga Ishikawa, the first openly gay politician in Japan to win an election, Tuesday hailed the result as a victory for the rights of sexual minorities.
“I hope my election victory will help our fellows nationwide to have hope for tomorrow, as many of them cannot accept themselves, feel lonely and isolated and even commit suicide,” he told AFP.
Ishikawa, 36, won a seat in a Tokyo ward assembly in local elections on Sunday. Prior to his victory, no openly homosexual politician had won office in Japan.
He said he hoped his victory would help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
“Many LGBTs, or sexual minorities, realise the fact when they are at elementary and junior high schools, many of which are operated by the municipality,” Ishikawa said.
“As a ward assembly member, I would like to reinforce support to LGBT children at schools.”
Ishikawa disclosed that he is gay in his autobiographical “Boku No Kareshi Wa Doko Ni Iru” (Where Is My Boyfriend?),” published in 2002.
“Many readers of my book told me that they are isolated and the situation I wrote about in the book is so similar to theirs. So I started to host events that offer opportunities to have links with friends,” Ishikawa said.
He founded the non-profit organisation “Peer Friends”, which hosts events in Japanese cities to provide young gay men with opportunities to meet other gays.
Since February 2010, he has served as a private secretary to Mizuho Fukushima, the leader of the Social Democratic Party, a small opposition group.
from Sin Chew Jit Poh
In an interview in The Guardian, Rachel Maddow urged others in the cable news business who may be gay to come out, citing it as a “responsibility” to the gay community. The comments were reported by Business Insider as a specific direction to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, with the breathless (and erroneous) headline “Maddow To Cooper: ‘You Have A Responsibility To Come Out’ Of The Closet.” Maddow took to her blog to clarify she meant nothing of the sort: “he literally was never discussed during the interview at all — even implicitly.”
Her short note, entitled “Anchors Away,” both clarifies that she did not mean to allude to Cooper at all, nor did she independently believe Cooper had a responsibility to come out as gay. In fact, she appears rather shocked that some made the connection, noting that “media-about-media today notwithstanding, I did not in my interview with The Guardian say anything about or to Mr. Cooper, nor would I.”
That “media about media”? A post by Business Insider post which specifically claimed by the writer Noah Davis that Maddow’s comments were “clearly targeted” towards the CNN anchor. She refutes the claim, adding that, moreover, if she did have something to say about him, she continued, “you wouldn’t have to read between the lines.”
She also handily summarized her philosophy on high profile LGBT commentators:
1. Gay people — generally speaking — have a responsibility to our own community and to future generations of gay people to come out, if and when we feel that we can.
2. We should all get to decide for ourselves the “if and when we feel that we can” part of that.
3. Closeted people should reasonably expect to be outed by other gay people if (and only if) they prey on the gay community in public, but are secretly gay themselves.
This, however, she noted as a completely separate issue from the insinuations that she believed Cooper was doing a disservice to the gay community by not coming out if he was indeed gay. The latter, she concludes, never crossed her mind at all– though now that it’s been mentioned, “nor is it what I believe.”
WASHINGTON D.C. – Things went very retro on 17th Street one night last week in the District.
And I mean that in a bad way.
“It was like I was in the ’50s or something,” Ari Fredge, 45, told me.
He and his main squeeze hopped into a cab after a nice dinner out. They told the cabbie their destination, then shared a quick kiss after the driver pulled away. A peck, they said.
Slam! went the brakes.
“My cab is not a bed. You cannot have sex in my cab!” declared the driver, who ordered the couple to get out of his taxi.
Stunned, the two men got out of the cab, just a few blocks from the restaurant. It took Fredge’s partner, Christopher Holloway, 51, a little longer to get out. Recovering from double hip surgery, he was using a cane and wasn’t moving so quickly.
The driver demanded that the men pay $6.35 for the four-block ride and unceremonious dump. When they refused to fork over the money, the cabbie warned them that he’d call the police for nonpayment, said Fredge, who works in human resources at a Georgetown hotel.
“Too late; I’m already calling 911,” Fredge told the driver, who then sped off.
The men were devastated by what happened.
“I’ve lived all over. In Missouri, in Texas, in Germany, California, Tennessee,” Holloway told me. “I’ve never been treated like this anywhere. It’s one of the reasons I live here, because it is such a tolerant, friendly city.”
The driver picked them up at 17th and P streets NW in Dupont Circle. There are few places gayer than this intersection, the men agreed. After all, they were walking on the very street renowned for its annual Halloween High Heel Drag Queen Race.
“If he can’t deal, what was he doing picking up people on 17th Street?” asked Holloway, who is a fixture on Capitol Hill, where he works as a server in the Members’ Dining Room.
This happened in a city that hasn’t just legalized same-sex marriage, but also celebrated it. Rainbow flags are almost as ubiquitous as donkey and elephant lapel pins. Sometimes, amid all the talk of same-sex parents and open military service, it is easy to forget that some people can still be so cold and so intolerant.
“We don’t see a large number of cases like this,” said Gustavo Velasquez, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights, which fields plenty of taxi-related discrimination complaints based on race or ethnicity but relatively few when it comes to sexual orientation. “But sometimes, you wonder, is it really that nothing is happening, or is it that people are not aware it’s happening?”
The couple talked to police officers who arrived at the scene Wednesday night. The officers were kind and sympathetic, but suggested that Holloway and Fredge register their complaints with the Office of Human Rights and the D.C. Taxi Cab Commission.
By the time the couple got out of the cab and realized they should’ve checked out the driver’s name and hack certificate, he had driven off.
It was one of the mint-green Grand Cab taxis that are headquartered on Rhode Island Avenue.
“I don’t know anything about this,” Ephrem Yiheyis, manager at the cab company, told me when I asked him about the incident. But it looks like the D.C. Taxi Commission is already after the driver.
“That type of behavior will not be tolerated,” said the head of the commission, Leon Swain, who was already aware of the case Monday morning and was trying to get the cab company on the phone.
“You’d like to say that you’re surprised by something like this.”
The men didn’t remember the driver’s name, but both said he spoke English with an accent. Fredge wonders whether he was raised somewhere less tolerant of homosexuals.
Sorry, that’s just not cool when you’re working with the public.
And that’s exactly what Swain says, after hearing culture as an excuse when he’s dealing with the transgressions of drivers from different countries.
“This whole thing about being from another country? Nuh-uh. You’re here now,” he said. “It’s an uphill battle, but we’re working on it.”
Swain wouldn’t identify the driver, who is facing an investigation by the commission and will have a hearing. He could face suspension or revocation of his license, Swain said.
That would be appropriate. After all, even in the 1950s, a couple would have been allowed to kiss in a taxi. And that’s all that Fredge and Holloway are — just a couple, like any other.
from The Washington Post