Social theorists, above all Duke University’s Timur Kuran, have drawn attention to the phenomenon of “preference falsification.” The basic idea is that when people speak in public, they aren’t always truthful about their preferences. What they say is different from what they really think.
In unfree societies, people may be too frightened to disclose their actual views in opinion surveys. But preference falsification can also afflict democracies, if social pressures lead people to misdescribe their real views and behavior.
Recent research uncovers strong evidence of preference falsification in the U.S. When people are assured of anonymity, it turns out, a lot more of them will acknowledge that they have had same-sex experiences and that they don’t entirely identify as heterosexual. But it also turns out that when people are assured of anonymity, they will show significantly higher rates of anti-gay sentiment.
These results suggest that recent surveys have been understating, at least to some degree, two different things: the current level of same-sex activity and the current level of opposition to gay rights.
The research, conducted by Ohio State University economist Katherine B. Coffman and her colleagues, involved 2,516 participants, all from the U.S. About half of the participants were randomly assigned to take a standard survey, employing the “best practices” in widespread use today.
In this survey, people were asked to respond to several innocuous questions, not involving sensitive issues, and then to answer questions about sexual orientation, designed to elicit both their views and their reports about their own behavior. This approach gives apparently credible assurances of anonymity to those surveyed, but it remains possible, in practice, for the experimenters to link particular answers to particular questions.
The other participants were assigned to what Coffman and her colleagues call a “veiled report” treatment. The details are a bit technical, but the basic point is to design the survey so that the experimenters can’t learn, and can’t even make inferences about, any individual’s answers to particular questions. They can calculate answers only at the aggregate level.
The two approaches produced significantly different results. In the best practices survey, 17 percent of participants said they had had a sexual experience with someone of the same sex (12 percent of men, 24 percent of women). For the veiled report, the corresponding number was 27 percent (17 percent of men and 43 percent of women) — an increase of 58 percent.
In the best practices survey, 11 percent of the population said that they didn’t consider themselves to be heterosexual. In the veiled report, that number jumped to almost 19 percent — an increase of 65 percent.
Did participants believe that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should be illegal? In the standard survey, only about 14 percent said no. That number increased to 25 percent in the veiled report.
In best practices, only 16 percent of participants said they would be uncomfortable having a manager at work who was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT for short). The number jumped to 27 percent in the veiled report.
The effect of assuring anonymity varied significantly across demographic groups. The veiled survey had no effect on the answers of young people to questions about their sexual orientation, apparently because social norms don’t much discourage young people from revealing the truth.
But among Christians and older people, the effect of the veiled approach was especially large, increasing their reports of non-heterosexuality and of same-sex experiences by more than 100 percent.
In best practices, only a minority of Republicans (35 percent) said they would be unhappy with an LGBT manager. Under the veiled report, most Republicans (67 percent) said they would be unhappy.
It is important to emphasize that Coffman and her colleagues didn’t have a representative sample, so the total percentages can’t be taken as reflective of what the general American population thinks and does. Among other things, the participants in their study were younger, more liberal and better educated than the general U.S. population.
But the researchers’ real interest was the effect of assuring anonymity, and on that question the absence of a representative sample doesn’t undermine their conclusions. On the contrary, the impact of assured anonymity on the answers would almost certainly be even bigger with the American population as a whole, because the demographic groups that show the largest effects from the veiled report were underrepresented in their survey.
In recent years, the U.S. has experienced rapid shifts in popular attitudes toward same-sex relationships. Americans increasingly disapprove of discrimination against gay men and lesbians. That disapproval is likely to grow over time.
But social norms continue to matter. We have good reason to believe that there is more same-sex activity, and also more homophobia, than current surveys suggest.
Posts Tagged ‘homophobia’
Social theorists, above all Duke University’s Timur Kuran, have drawn attention to the phenomenon of “preference falsification.” The basic idea is that when people speak in public, they aren’t always truthful about their preferences. What they say is different from what they really think.
Two gay men stopping for a late night slice of pizza in Columbus, Ohio unexpectedly received a heartwarming show of community support when confronted with a hateful tirade.
Joel Diaz and Ethan White were holding hands and waiting in line at Mikey’s Late Night Slice pizza truck last weekend when another customer told them to cut out their “gay s–t,” the pair told Huffington Post.
“I was a bit startled by his words, but I didn’t expect what happened next. Almost every single person in that line made it known to him it was not OK for him to speak to us like that,” said Diaz.
Unfazed, the man continued his homophobic rant, Diaz said.
Other customers, both gay and straight, continued to argue with the man, but it was actually the employees of the pizza truck that finally squashed the situation.
“The guys who work the truck stopped what they were doing and leaned towards the window and told him they would not serve him because he was spewing hate. They said they support everyone in our community and that he should get out of line because they would not be serving him,” Diaz said.
The man finally left, and moved by the incredible support from his community, Diaz posted about the experience on Facebook.
Thousands of shares later, Mikey’s Late Night Slice also chimed in saying the company can’t “tell you how proud we are of our truck workers that night for speaking up and doing the right thing.”
“We are humbled by the attention that this whole thing has gotten us. But we feel that the greatest recognition belongs to our neighborhood … It is so wonderfully comforting to know that the hearts of our neighbors are filled with kindness and tolerance,” the company said.
Diaz, who works in development at an AIDS resource center, said the experience gave him hope that hate could be “a thing of the past.”
from The New York Daily News
In an attempt to neutralize journalistic descriptions of people who actively oppose gay civil rights, The Associated Press has banned use of the word “homophobic” in its stylebook, which is followed by the majority of the American press.
AP said the word “homophobia” wrongly suggests that the hatred of LGBT people is irrational or represents a psychological problem.
In the latest revision of its stylebook, AP also bans the terms “Islamophobia” and other “phobia” words in “political and social contexts.” AP also categorized the term “ethnic cleansing” as inappropriate.
“Homophobia … (is) just off the mark,” AP deputy standards editor Dave Minthorn told POLITICO. “It’s ascribing a mental disability to someone, and suggests a knowledge that we don’t have. It seems inaccurate. Instead, we would use something more neutral: anti-gay, or some such, if we had reason to believe that was the case.”
The man of coined the word “homophobia” disagreed. George Weinberg, who used the word in his seminal 1972 book “Society and the Healthy Homosexual,” said, “It was a hard-won word.”
“(The word) made all the difference to City Councils and other people I spoke to,” Weinberg said via email to San Diego gay journalist Rex Wockner. “It encapsulates a whole point of view and of feeling. … It brought me some death threats. Is homophobia always based on fear? I thought so and still think so. Maybe envy in some cases. But that’s a psychological question. Is every snarling dog afraid? Probably yes. But here it shouldn’t matter. We have no other word for what we’re talking about, and this one is well established. We use ‘freelance’ for writers who don’t throw lances anymore, and who want to get paid for their work.”
The LGBT media watchdog and advocacy group GLAAD said its officials are reviewing the changes to the AP guide.
Wisconsin Gazette, which subscribes to AP and generally follows its guidelines for reporters, will continue to use the term.
from The Wisconsin Gazette
UNITED KINGDOM – Passengers spent 20 minutes stranded on a bus after its driver refused to board because of a gay rights message on the side.
The unnamed driver would not get on the X78 from Rotherham to Sheffield because it bore a billboard for gay lobby group Stonewall, reading: ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!’
Passengers sat and waited while the driver argued loudly with colleagues and customers.
Among those on the bus was Rebecca Neill, 25, from Herringthorpe, South Yorkshire, who had boarded the 5.25pm service at Rotherham and had just taken her seat when the commotion began.
‘Once the driver had let us on the bus, he was meant to be swapping with another driver, but when his replacement wouldn’t get on they just left us there while they had an argument outside,’ she said.
‘There were quite a few passengers arguing with him and several drivers as well. Someone was shouting at him: “You can’t do that, it’s disgusting.”
‘Then another driver got on and explained what was going on. He apologised and said that the poster wasn’t acceptable to this Christian, but that he didn’t agree with what the guy was doing.’
Eventually, the next X78 service arrived and its driver swapped buses with the protester.
By then, Rebecca had already missed a connecting tram at Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield.
She said: ‘I just thought it was disgusting. I would never say: “I’m not getting on your bus because you believe in God and I don’t.”
‘He’s a bus driver — he’s going to come across all sorts of people. Does he seriously think he has never had a gay person on his bus?
‘I think it’s wrong that he can cause such a fuss while people are trying to go places.’
A spokesman for bus operator First Group would not divulge what action — if any — had been taken against the renegade driver.
He said: ‘We are aware of an incident involving one of our drivers refusing to drive a bus at Rotherham Interchange.
We have spoken to the driver in question and the matter has now been resolved. We would like to apologise to any customers that were affected during this isolated incident.’
Stonewall information officer Louise Kelly said: ‘Passengers in Rotherham can rightly expect bus drivers to do the job they pay them to do — drive buses.
‘If they are unwilling to, perhaps they should look for another job.’
Stonewall, a gay rights lobby group and charity, was founded in 1989.
The group was named for the Stonewall riots of 1969, a series of demonstrations that took place after police raided the Stonewall Inn in New York, a bar popular with the gay community.
Their slogan ‘Some people are gay. Get over it!,’ developed in collaboration with 150 secondary school pupils and teachers, was originally launched in 2007 as part of a campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in schools.
In addition to their billboard and signage campaign, the charity also holds the Stonewall Awards, which recognise people who have affected the gay community in a positive or negative way during the year.
The charity recently named Cardinal Keith O’Brien their ‘Bigot of the Year’ for his stance on gay marriage.
from The Daily Mail
NEBRASKA – Charlie Rogers on Tuesday avowed she was attacked over the summer in a brutal hate crime and accused Lincoln police of botching the investigation.
In an email sent to the Journal Star and other media organizations this week and in a YouTube video posted late Tuesday, Rogers, 34, said she probably will go to jail for a crime in which three men broke into her house on July 22, bound her arms and legs, carved anti-gay slurs into her skin and tried to light her house on fire.
Police arrested her Aug. 21 for allegedly staging the attack, and prosecutors charged her with making a false report to police, a misdemeanor. She pleaded not guilty Sept. 27.
“The perpetrators of my crime are still out there. They are. It wasn’t me,” Rogers said in the 15-minute video. “I wouldn’t say I did it then, and I won’t say I did it now. I am innocent.”
Lancaster County Attorney Joe Kelly said Tuesday no plea agreement is in the works and his office is ready to go to trial. Rogers’ attorney, Brett McArthur, said in September he expects the case to go to trial.
In her email, Rogers said she’s set on getting the chance to tell her story.
“I will keep fighting. I will keep trying to be heard. I will keep telling the truth,” Rogers wrote in her letter.
The Journal Star contacted Rogers, McArthur and some of her friends after receiving the email. Rogers declined to speak over the phone or meet in person in a reply message.
In her original email, Rogers accused the Lincoln Police Department of not taking her report seriously. Investigators immediately homed in on her as a suspect, she said, and didn’t seriously consider any option other than that she staged the attack.
Investigators failed to follow up on promising leads, Rogers said. They didn’t interview a woman who had a key to Rogers’ house, didn’t check out suspicious men taking photographs of her at a public event and didn’t secure the crime scene in the days after the attack, which probably led to evidence being lost, she said.
“The police got away with an inadequate investigation by calling me guilty, by publicizing the details of my case without me being able to defend myself and by keeping a case open against me.”
Police Chief Jim Peschong challenged Rogers’ accusations. Investigators worked the case hard, he said Tuesday. Police brought in an FBI agent to put an outside set of eyes on the case.
The chief said investigators interviewed all the key players at least once, and several of them multiple times.
“We took this particular case seriously from the get-go,” Peschong said.
Investigators, he said, never found evidence to back up Rogers’ story.
He declined to say exactly when investigators started to suspect Rogers lied, but said it was “awhile after” the alleged attack.
“It was quite a bit later on, and then all of a sudden, things that she was telling us were not adding up,” Peschong said. “We couldn’t get anything to support some of her claims she was making.”
Police said they found no sign of a struggle at Rogers’ house, no blood on the bedspread where she said the men cut her and a forensic pathologist from the FBI determined that Rogers made the cuts herself or they were done with her permission, according to her arrest warrant.
Rogers said police released “an alarming” amount of details to the press and more or less convicted her in public opinion without a trial.
“I am perceived as guilty by my community. No trial needed. No questions asked,” she wrote.
Rogers, who has declined all interview requests from the Journal Star, said in her email that investigators questioned her mental health during one of her interviews with police and tried to place her in emergency protective custody. Initially they were unsuccessful, but she was committed after her arrest.
Rogers said she suffers from depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder, all conditions she said she had before the attack, and that colored police and public opinion against her.
“All they have to do is call me crazy and I’m guilty,” Rogers said in her video.
Rogers said she’s not doing well in the wake of the attack and the charges against her. She says she can’t sleep, has trouble eating, suffers from stomach bleeding, nightmares and tremendous anxiety.
“I lost virtually all of my friends. I lost family members. I lost my reputation. I lost my past. I lost my future. I was declared guilty without a trial. I was isolated. I can’t talk about this to anyone. I can’t defend myself to the media.
“I sit alone, day after day, unable to deal with the trauma. I am afraid. I am alone.”
But she vowed to rebound, from her attack and from the accusations against her.
“It’s not right. It’s not fair, and I’m done with this victim stuff. I’m done, because you know what I did? I survived. I got myself out. I picked myself up every damn day, and I’m taking steps forward.”
from The Lincoln Journal Star
Lesbian Faked Anti-Gay Attack
Woman Who Had Gay Slurs Carved On Her Body Speaks Out
TROY, MICHIGAN – Troy Mayor Janice Daniels has been recalled by the city’s voters, ending a one-year tenure marked by controversy over her remarks about gays and other subjects.
With all 31 precincts reporting, Daniels was defeated 52.2 percent to 47.8 percent. She could not immediately be reached for comment early Wednesday.
Ellen Hodorek, with a crowd of about 50 recall backers at Joe Kool’s on Big Beaver Road, teared up and dabbed at her eyes with a napkin as she discussed the election.
“You don’t know how important this is,” Hodorek said. “This is important for the whole region.”
Linda Kajma stood on a chair with a beer in her hand, exultant in Daniels’ apparent ouster.
“I’ve lived in the city for 38 years. Don’t mess with my city,” she said. Speaking figuratively to Daniels, she added: “You can put on your red hat and get on the next train out of Troy.”
Daniels’ term has been marked by controversy since she was elected a year ago, especially her comments about gays, which drew national attention.
Before starting her campaign for mayor, Daniels posted on her Facebook page that she would have to give up her “I Love New York City” tote bag now that the “queer” could be legally married there. When the posting was publicized last December, it sparked a firestorm of criticism.
Daniels, a self-described Independent involved in the tea party movement, later said she regretted her “poor choice” of words. But then she added even more coal on the recall fire when she later opined that a speaker should go into the schools to advise students that the homosexual lifestyle was “dangerous.”
She raised the ire of others by voting against a federally funded transit center and describing the city charter as “whimsical.”
Through it all, Daniels had maintained the transit center plan was a “waste” of federal tax money and argued that some people bend the city charter language to suit their own purposes.
Two weeks ago, she generated more controversy by arguing with a former councilwoman about the wording of a proclamation while giving her an award for volunteer work.
At the polling place at Woodside Bible Church on Rochester Road, voter Stephanie Collins cited Daniels’ controversial statements for her vote to recall the mayor.
“It just astounds me someone like her could ever become mayor,” Collins said. “We are a culturally diverse city, and to make some of the comments that she has is just unacceptable.”
Supporters like Ray Watts believe Daniels has been targeted by a small group of people and her remarks have been blown out of proportion.
“People may not like her as their mayor but she hasn’t done anything to deserve to be recalled,” said Watts.
Should the recall succeed, Troy’s mayor pro tem, Maureen McGinnis, would become acting mayor immediately, according to a city memo.
Six days after the election, City Council would elect a new mayor pro tem for the coming year, and that person would become acting mayor for up to 30 days.
By Dec. 11, council would be required to appoint a new mayor to serve until the next regularly scheduled election in November 2013.
Recall elections are rare in Michigan. The most recent officeholder to be recalled was state Rep. Paul Scott, R-Grand Blanc, ousted by voters last year.
In 2009, Flint Mayor Don Williamson resigned while facing a recall election.
Oakland County’s last recall election, in 2003, targeted then-Pontiac Mayor Willie Payne, who won, according to Joe Rozell, county elections director.
from The Detroit News
Troy Mayor Calls Gay Lifestyle ‘Dangerous’
Mayor’s Facebook Slam On Gay Marriage Draws Widespread Criticism
Who would have guessed that a pretty unremarkable fried chicken sandwich would become a proxy in the battle over gay marriage?
Chicken sandwich lovers who oppose gay marriage have turned out in force to support Chick-fil-A, the restaurant chain whose chief executive has made headlines for his antipathy toward same-sex marriage. Photographs show long lines at outlets around the country.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came up with the idea for today’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, moved by the calls of gay marriage supporters for a boycott after the company’s president, Dan Cathy, told a Christian publication recently that his company supports “the biblical definition of the family unit.”
As you might expect for an uproar that has its roots in a food business, the controversy has been many-pronged.
The Jim Henson Co. pulled out of a deal with the fast-food chain to create toys for its children’s meals. Liberal politicians declared that Chick-Fil-A was not welcome on their turf. The Human Rights Campaign said that “Chick-fil-A has an extensive history of discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, including funneling millions to organizations that actively work to deny rights to the LGBT community.” It urged supporters to tweet about the company’s “discriminatory history,” calling it “Chick-Filhate.”
The Huffington Post interviewed anonymous gay Chick-fil-A employees, who said they were upset that customers, believing they were supporting the chain, felt free to disparage homosexuality and gay marriage to them.
In Laguna Hills this morning, The Times’ Tiffany Hsu reported, about 70 young protesters gathered in front of a newly opened Chick-fil-A store and asked customers to go elsewhere for their meals.
Chick-fil-A Appreciation day is part of a boycott backlash that has taken hold among conservatives who oppose gay marriage. Some supporters also believe that a boycott amounts to an infringement on Cathy’s free-speech rights.
As the battle played out at the food counter Wednesday, it has also had a front in the virtual world, with both sides making their feelings known on Twitter.
One popular tweet, by @yoyoha, said: “Look forward to Chick-fil-A introducing their Only Some People are Allowed to Be Happy Meal.”
A tweet by @pastorLeBlanc said: “As I looked at my Chick-fil-A sandwich today, I thought, ‘This is the way God intended it!’ Same thing I think when I look at my marriage.”
Sarah Palin entered the fray when she tweeted a photo of herself with her husband at a Chick-fil-A near Houston, where she gave a speech Friday in support of tea party favorite Ted Cruz, who beat his establishment Republican rival, Lt Gov. David Dewhurst, in Texas’U.S. Senate primary runoff Tuesday.
In an interview Tuesday night on Fox News, Palin defended Chick-fil-A and accused President Obama of coming out in favor of gay marriage for political reasons.
“The owner of the Chick-fil-A business had merely voiced his personal opinion about supporting traditional definition of marriage: one boy, one girl, falling in love, getting married,” Palin said. “And having voiced support for kind of that cornerstone of all civilization and all religions since the beginning of time, he [is] then basically getting crucified,” she said.
“I’m speaking up for him and his 1st Amendment rights and anybody else who would wish to express their not anti-gay people sentiment, but their support of traditional marriage, which President Obama and Joe Biden, they both supported the exact same thing until just a few months ago, when Obama had to flip-flop to shore up the homosexual voter base.”
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, has urged supporters of gay marriage to participate Friday in “Same-Sex Kiss Day” at Chick-fil-As, then post pictures on social media.
from The Los Angeles Times
Three Big City Mayors Tell Chick-fil-A To Keep Out
Muppets Quit Chick-fil-A
Satire On Chick-Fil-A Anti-Gay Marriage Stance
Chick-Fil-A Confirms It Doesn’t Like Gays
OMAHA, NEBRASKA – An alleged victim of a hate crime in Nebraska spoke out for the first time Thursday, the same day that more than a thousand people rallied in support of the victim that police say was assaulted by masked men who carved homophobic slurs into her body.
“I can’t adequately express how much it has meant to me that people are standing with me and people are standing for me,” Charlie Rogers, 33, said in an interview with CNN affiliate KETV.
Three masked men allegedly bound Rogers and carved the words into her skin Sunday, police in Lincoln, Nebraska, said. The incident has been classified as a hate crime because derogatory terms for lesbians that were used, said Officer Katie Flood, a spokeswoman for the Lincoln Police Department.
Rogers said she had tried to keep her identity secret after the incident. But she decided to go public Thursday because there have been allegations that the attack did not happen.
“For people to think this doesn’t happen here, it does. It did,” Rogers told the affiliate.
Rogers’ attorney, Megan Mikolajczyk, told CNN Rogers wanted to make it clear it was not “a hoax.” Asked if there was anyone specific they were addressing, Mikolajczyk said there was not, but that she wasn’t surprised there were naysayers.
“I don’t think it’s safe or necessary to point the finger at any one individual,” Mikolajczyk said. “I think its par for the course for any sort of high profile incident for people to question what happened.”
More than a thousand people gathered at a vigil in Omaha Thursday evening in support of Rogers.
After the attack on Sunday, Rogers was able to escape and run to her neighbors’ home. The neighbor, Linda Rappl, said she was horrified at Rogers’ injuries.
“I was in shock,” Rappl said. “She was naked, her hands were tied with zip ties. All I could see was a cut across her forehead and blood running down.”
A sales rep who was repeatedly accused by colleagues of being gay just because he was not a football fan has been awarded almost £44,000 for the harassment he suffered.
Michael Austin, 48, was also branded a ‘crafty butcher’ – slang for homosexual – by his workmates, who were avid Newcastle United supporters.
Newcastle employment tribunal heard that it was ‘quite normal’ in the North East for anyone who does not like football to be considered gay.
Mr Austin’s interest in the arts and viewing of a documentary about surrealist painter Dali were taken as ‘further evidence of his homosexuality’.
Mr Austin, who is a married father-of-one, was also upset when he went to make a cup of tea – and then found porn had been put on his computer.
When he was seriously ill with swine flu, his boss Ian Laidlaw texted him saying: ‘Oink oink, lol’.
On his return to work at packaging firm Samuel Grant, his colleagues greeted him wearing surgical masks. In his very first week, one office worker pretended to suffer from Tourettes syndrome and swore at him endlessly.
Mr Laidlaw and a quarter of the firm’s staff at its Jarrow offices were Jehovah’s Witnesses and tried to ram their religion down Mr Austin’s throat, the tribunal heard.
He was encouraged to attend faith meetings and regularly lectured about religion.
When Mr Austin made a formal complaint about bullying and inappropriate homophobic and religious remarks, he was summarily sacked from his £25,000-a-year post.
The tribunal found that Mr Austin, of Durham, suffered ‘atrocious’ bullying by managing director Mr Laidlaw and fellow sales executive Tony Kozlowski.
It found Leeds-based Samuel Grant guilty of harassment on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion and victimisation.
The panel awarded Mr Austin £43,755 for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.
In its judgment, it ruled: ‘It was a series of treatment by two people over a period of several months during which Mr Austin was treated atrociously, by being referred constantly to being gay, homosexual and a crafty butcher.
‘It was extreme, frequent and very unpleasant. All he wanted to do was get out and get on with his job.
‘He was subjected to unwanted religious discussions, then when he made a complaint was dismissed.
‘It has obviously had a deep-seated emotional effect on Mr Austin.’
The tribunal also ordered that the company’s directors and managers must receive diversity training within six months.
Speaking after the recent judgment, Mr Austin said: ‘The level of compensation was a pleasant surprise but this was never about the money. It was about me getting justice for what happened to me at Samuel Grant.
‘I have always worked as a sales rep for blue chip companies. I thought it would make a nice change to work for a small, family-run business and make a big impact there.
‘I was really looking forward to it but it was an absolutely unbearable, dreadful nightmare from day one. The only thing I can compare it to was the tough comprehensive school I attended in the 1970s.
‘There was an atmosphere of fear generated by Mr Laidlaw and Mr Kozlowski and everyone was watching their backs. It got to the point where I could not stand it any more. I thought I had nothing to lose by making a formal complaint.
‘But they had a meeting in Leeds and decided to get rid of me. If they’d apologised, handed me a month’s pay and wished me all the best for the future, I would have walked away.
‘Instead, they were arrogant and lied every step of the way. They got staff who had worked with me to lie at the tribunal.
‘The tribunal was the most stressful time of my life but it was really embarrassing for them because everything came out.’
Mr Austin joined the firm as a sales executive in September 2010. On his first day Mr Laidlaw told Mr Austin that Mr Kozlowski suffered from Tourette’s and to ‘just ignore him’.
Mr Kozlowski admitted to the tribunal that his constant swearing had been ‘crass and out of order’.
Mr Austin was asked whether he liked football. When he said he was not interested in it he was told ‘you’re gay then’. Mr Laidlaw and Mr Kozlowski also told him he was ‘not a real man’.
The tribunal panel noted: ‘Both Mr Laidlaw and Mr Kozlowski, in their evidence, say that such an expression is quite normal in north east England football circles, in that anybody who does not like football must accordingly be homosexual.’
Mr Kozlowski equated Mr Austin’s willingness to do household chores with him being gay.
Mr Laidlaw also sent ‘overtly sexist and racist’ emails to staff, the tribunal found.
He and Mr Kozlowski would quote tracts from the Bible and brand anyone with an alternative religious view ‘a Pagan’.
In March last year Mr Austin formally complained of bullying by Mr Laidlaw and Mr Kozlowski.
Just over two weeks later Mr Austin was marched out of the building and summarily dismissed.
Neither of the culprits were suspended with their behaviour later dismissed as ‘banter’.
The firm claimed that Mr Austin was sacked for poor performance but the tribunal found the real reason was Mr Austin’s complaint.
It ruled that Mr Laidlaw and Mr Kozlowski ‘colluded’ with other employees and that their evidence was ‘unconvincing and contrived’.
It found that Mr Laidlaw was responsible for an office culture of sexism, racism and religious discussion.
It said: ‘This conduct is led by the managing director who sets the tone of the culture within the office by his own behaviour and by accepting the behaviour of others.’
Mr Austin was fired because ‘Mr Laidlaw knew serious complaints had been made and, with proper investigation, could be proved.’
The tribunal heard that Mr Austin declined his GP’s offer of medication for work-related stress.
But he broke down while on a walk with his daughter and wept several times while giving his evidence to the tribunal.
The tribunal heard that Mr Austin has been unable to find another job. He has now set up his own business.
from The Daily Mail
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA – A Pretoria church is at the centre of controversy and is the subject of an investigation into why it included “homosexuality” on a list of afflictions it portrayed on a billboard, while inviting people to be saved.
The billboard, erected by the Light of The Nations Church at the corner of Solomon Mahlangu (Hans Strijdom) Drive and Bendeman Boulevard in Pretoria East, depicts a man ripping open his shirt as words like “drugs”, “lies”, “depression”, “porn” and “alcohol abuse” are written next to him.
Among the original words on the billboard – whose pay-off-line is “Whom the son sets free is free indeed” – was “homosexuality”, an inclusion which raised the ire of human rights groups, members of the gay and lesbian community and the general public.
Although the word was removed this week, several complaints had already been sent to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and an investigation into the allusion to homosexuality as a “sin” was launched.
“We have received complaints which deal specifically with the inclusion of homosexuality and are in the process of sending an enquiry to the church on the issue,” ASA’s manager for the dispute resolution unit, Leon Grobler, said.
Comments on social networks condemned the billboard and accused the church of using hate speech to promote its business. Some called the church dishonest, misleading and pointed out that homosexuality was not a disease to be cured. Bloggers said the advert discriminated against gays and lesbians, and, said Pierre le Roux, exposed the church as ignorant and intolerant.
“The failure to accept homosexuality is the illness, and the billboard only serves to alienate people from the church,” Dawie Nel, of the Lesbian, Gays, Bisexual and Transgender support group OUT, said on Tuesday.
The group’s director said the church was perpetuating an already difficult situation: “Right now they are in no way spreading the love of God. It would have done them good to consult people who know about homosexuality and related issues,” he said. The inclusion of homosexuality was labelled as a mean act, and according to David Richards’s post on facebook “the church has a responsibility to create a more tolerant environment, a more positive church society in which gay men and women of the congregation can come forward without fear of retribution”.
In the church’s defence, co-founder Dr Deric Linley said they had been trying to highlight the challenges of everyday life that people dealt with regularly, not “sins”.
He said: “Besides homosexuality, diets, rejection and depression are also listed. It was never (our) intention to discriminate against any group, but purely to offer a non-judgemental refuge for people.”
from Independent Online
NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY – To some, the name Kirk Cameron brings back memories of Seaver Fever, Boner Stabone and Alan Thicke’s coiffure.
But in recent months, some have also linked the former star of the 1980s sitcom “Growing Pains” to a more serious subject: homophobia.
In March, Cameron, an evangelical Christian, told Piers Morgan on his CNN TV show that he believes homosexuality is “unnatural” and “destructive to many of the foundations of civilization.”
An Ocean Grove-based human rights organization now wants the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to disinvite Cameron from two speaking engagements at the Great Auditorium this July.
Allowing Cameron to speak would reflect poorly on Ocean Grove and on the association, which owns all the land in the community, said Harriet Bernstein, co-chair of Ocean Grove United.
“If someone had made a racist or anti-Semitic remark, would you want to be sponsoring that individual?” Bernstein said.
The association’s board of trustees plans to meet sometime later this month to vote on whether they still want Cameron to speak at the beginning of Camp Meeting Week, an annual celebration of the Methodist organization’s history, said Dale Whilden, its president.
In recent weeks, association officials met with members of the community who oppose Cameron’s visit, Whilden said. Officials also plan to meet behind closed doors with those who support his visit, Whilden said.
“We want to do our best to make a decision that will be respectful to all the people in the community,” Whilden said.
Cameron appeared in the Great Auditorium last year, speaking on the importance of marriage, Whilden said. Cameron is scheduled to touch on the same subject on July 27, for which tickets are selling for $25 to $35. Two days later, the actor is scheduled to speak during a service.
Randy Bishop, the mayor of Neptune Township, which Ocean Grove is a part of, said he would be disappointed if Cameron were to bring his “hate speech” to the community.
“I’m sorry that he’s going to be here,” said Bishop, who himself is gay. “Bringing a lot of emphasis to this just helps (Cameron) sell his books. Whether he is disinvited or not, it seems no one wins except Kirk Cameron.”
Cameron and his manager, Mark Craig, could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, both those opposed and supportive of Cameron’s visit are urging community members to contact the association and express their views via letters or emails.
Homosexuals who preach tolerance are being hypocritical by demanding that someone they disagree with not be allowed to speak, said Pastor Robert Turton of the Gospel Mission Corps, a Hightstown-based organization.
“Kirk Cameron has something to say,” Turton said. “If people don’t want to hear it, they should stay away.”
from The Asbury Park Press
CCOKC – Child Celebrities Opposing Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron Defends Anti-Gay Comments
Kirk Cameron Responds To Anti-Gay Comments
Stephen Baldwin & George Takei Argue Over Kirk Cameron
Kirk Cameron Believes Homosexuality Is Unnatural
KANSAS – A Buhler USD 313 teacher/coach has caused a stir by writing on his Facebook page last week that homosexuality is a sin and ranks in God’s eyes the same as the sin of murder.
The Kansas Equality Coalition criticized what Prairie Hills Middle School social studies teacher/Buhler High School assistant freshman women’s basketball coach Jack Conkling wrote. It also urged USD 313 to review its policy on social media and bullying, whether by students or teachers.
Jon Powell, chairman of the Hutchinson chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition, said Conkling’s “inflammatory statements” could make students think it’s OK to bully fellow students.
Powell termed the posting “reckless,” “dangerous” and “irresponsible.”
“What would Mr. Conkling say to a student who is getting bullied for being gay or lesbian?” Kansas Equality Coalition Executive Director Thomas Witt asked in a press release issued this week.
High school students are among Conkling’s nearly 600 Facebook friends. Some posted comments or reactions, pro and con, to his statement written May 10, in the wake of President Obama’s announced support for gay marriage rights.
It was a former seasonal employee at Hutchinson’s Salt City Splash, where Conkling works in the summer, who alerted the Kansas Equality Coalition to the Facebook statement. USD 313 Superintendent Dan Stiffler learned about it from a teacher.
Conkling wrote: “Gay marriage is wrong because homosexuality is wrong. The Bible clearly states it is sin.”
He also wrote: “It ranks in God’s eyes the same as murder, lying stealing, or cheating.”
“I wrote what I wrote for my Facebook friends who understand my heart and my intent,” Conkling said Monday. “I understand that there were some folks who didn’t understand my heart, and while that’s sad, it is what it is,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Craig Williams, principal at Prairie Hills Middle School, said the school does not have a Facebook policy for teachers.
“We’re looking into it,” Williams said, but said he could not talk about a personnel matter.
USD 313 had a technology committee already looking at a policy for staff and social media, according to Stiffler.
“Where do you draw the line?” Stiffler asked, describing the challenge of setting rules that do not infringe on a teacher’s First Amendment freedom of speech.
“I know that it’s kind of tricky,” said USD 313 Board of Education member Laura Dick, unaware Monday of details of Conkling’s posting.
The News was unsuccessful in reaching other board members.
Hutchinson USD 308 hopes to have a policy by the next school year specifically addressing staff and use of social media, according to district spokesman Ray Hemman.
Hemman, too, described it as “tricky.”
School districts want teachers to be professional, but staff also “have a right to have a life,” Hemman said.
“All this talk in the news about gay marriage recently has finally driven me to write. Gay marriage is wrong because homosexuality is wrong. The Bible clearly states it is sin. Now I do not claim it to be a sin any worse than other sins. It ranks in God’s eyes the same as murder, lying, stealing, or cheating. His standards are perfect and ALL have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Sin is sin and we all deserve hell. Only those who accept Christ as Lord and daily with the help of the Spirit do their best to turn from sin will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. There aren’t multiple ways to get to Heaven. There is one. To many this may seem close minded and antagonistic, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Folks I am willing to admit that my depravity is just as great as anyone else’s, and without Christ I’d be destined for hell, if not for the undeserved grace of God. I’m not condemning gay marriage because I hate gay people. I am doing it because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And I desire that for no one.”
Facebook posting by Buhler USD 313 teacher/coach Jack Conkling
from The Hutchinson News
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – Some of the most emotional and divisive issues in our society, specifically issues concerning gay rights, revolve around two central and critical questions: should homosexual activity be legalised or branded immoral and illegal?
In an effort to bring clarity to these issues, an intellectual forum titled “Homosexuality: Crime or Right” was held at the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) here recently.
The speakers were Dr Shamrayahu Abdul Aziz, constitutional expert (IIUM); Lim Chee Wee, Malaysian Bar president; and Dr Farouk Musa, chairman of Islamic Renaissance Front.
Farouk (picture below, right) questioned state intervention in matters of personal morality, asking: does the state have a right to do this? He cited the sodomy case of Oppoosition Leader Anwar Ibrahim who was tried under Penal Code 377B. Anwar called for a review of the Penal Code after he was acquitted of all charges.
“Some people think that this Penal Code has some semblance to Islamic law. Since 1938, there were seven cases tried under 377; out of the seven, four were related to Anwar. It implies, to me as lay person, that 377 has been used as a tool to persecute a state opponent.
“Section 377A and 377B says it’s a crime to have adult consensual sex against the order of nature and it was introduced in the 1800s – a very archaic law, initiated by the British. Singapore modified 377 in 2007. It’s very important to have a clear demarcation where the state can intervene in this matter,” he said.
Drafted by Lord Macaulay in 1860, Section 377 is a sodomy law which criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”. The UN General Assembly declaration, which is not legally binding, condemns rights abuses against gays and urges states to pass laws to ensure that “sexual orientation or gender identity” cannot “be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention”.
Human rights groups report that homosexuality is still outlawed by more than 85 countries and that it is punishable by death in several Islamic states, including Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.
The UN declaration on gender and sexual orientation discrimination was sharply criticised by Islamic countries, which assert that it would promote sexual behaviour that is considered socially unacceptable. The Vatican also denounced the declaration.
“The most important thing to understand is that we are born free with a conscience to decide what we want to be. Everyone of us must make decisions without coercion. If repentance is to be had, it must be sincere and it shouldn’t be done out of fear that the state would punish us,” Farouk added.
At the turn of the 21st century, criminal penalties for homosexual acts remained part of legal codes primarily in three countries.
Executions of homosexual men were reported in the 1990s in the radical, theocratic states of Iran and Afghanistan, as well as in Saudi Arabia. With the fall of the Soviet Union, most of the newly independent states, including Russia, moved rapidly to decriminalise homosexuality, but some Islamic republics still retain the Stalinist legal code.
Criminal law is, of course, not a reliable guide to actual practice. Applied to consenting, sexual behaviour, it is necessarily arbitrary and uneven. Enforcement typically relies on vindictive neighbours, police intrusion, or periodic campaigns of persecution which depend on the motivations of political elites and moral entrepreneurs.
Because it is a charge that is virtually impossible to disprove, sodomy law has long proven to be a convenient political weapon in the absence of legitimate wrongdoing.
Sodomy was a convenient tool for seizing control of the commercial empire of the former Crusaders, the Knights Templar, in the 14th century when French and Spanish monarchs grew covetous of their influence. The Nazi regime also used it to discredit and arrest political enemies. In 1998, it proved useful to the Malaysian prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who successfully imprisoned his political rival, Anwar, then deputy prime minister and finance minister, on charges of sodomy.
Shamrayahu is all for homosexuality being deemed a crime. She said that she found it “embarrassing” to speak about it because “I am a lady, what more sitting in between two men. As a Muslim, I will say it’s sinful, but as an Islamic criminal law lecturer, I will say that it is punishable under hudud law. I am not a liberal. For me it’s a sin and crime. I disagree protecting the right of homosexuals. In any case, Malaysia doesn’t have the framework to do this.”
Shamrahayu added that Malaysia is a civilisation and all civilisations will collapse without purpose or objective. She asked the audience what is their purpose and ambition as a nation and cited the Rukun Negara as an example.
Homophobia is more pronounced in individuals with an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex and who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires, a series of psychology studies demonstrates. The study is the first to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies. Conducted by a team from the University of Rochester, the University of Essex, England, and the University of California in Santa Barbara, the research will be published the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
“Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author.
“In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” adds co-author Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research.
Richard Ryan, professor of clinical and social psychology at the University of Rochester, discusses research on the psychological roots of homophobia. A new study shows that individuals who reported themselves to be more heterosexual than their performance on a psychological test indicated were most likely to react with hostility to gay others. Credit: Matt Mann/University of Rochester
The paper includes four separate experiments, conducted in the United States and Germany, with each study involving an average of 160 college students. The findings provide new empirical evidence to support the psychoanalytic theory that the fear, anxiety, and aversion that some seemingly heterosexual people hold toward gays and lesbians can grow out of their own repressed same-sex desires, Ryan says. The results also support the more modern self-determination theory, developed by Ryan and Edward Deci at the University of Rochester, which links controlling parenting to poorer self-acceptance and difficulty valuing oneself unconditionally.
The findings may help to explain the personal dynamics behind some bullying and hate crimes directed at gays and lesbians, the authors argue. Media coverage of gay-related hate crimes suggests that attackers often perceive some level of threat from homosexuals. People in denial about their sexual orientation may lash out because gay targets threaten and bring this internal conflict to the forefront, the authors write.
The research also sheds light on high profile cases in which anti-gay public figures are caught engaging in same-sex sexual acts. The authors cite such examples as Ted Haggard, the evangelical preacher who opposed gay marriage but was exposed in a gay sex scandal in 2006, and Glenn Murphy, Jr., former chairman of the Young Republican National Federation and vocal opponent of gay marriage, who was accused of sexually assaulting a 22-year-old man in 2007, as potentially reflecting this dynamic.
“We laugh at or make fun of such blatant hypocrisy, but in a real way, these people may often themselves be victims of repression and experience exaggerated feelings of threat,” says Ryan. “Homophobia is not a laughing matter. It can sometimes have tragic consequences,” Ryan says, pointing to cases such as the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard or the 2011 shooting of Larry King.
To explore participants’ explicit and implicit sexual attraction, the researchers measured the discrepancies between what people say about their sexual orientation and how they react during a split-second timed task. Students were shown words and pictures on a computer screen and asked to put these in “gay” or “straight” categories. Before each of the 50 trials, participants were subliminally primed with either the word “me” or “others” flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds. They were then shown the words “gay,” “straight,” “homosexual,” and “heterosexual” as well as pictures of straight and gay couples, and the computer tracked precisely their response times. A faster association of “me” with “gay” and a slower association of “me” with “straight” indicated an implicit gay orientation.
A second experiment, in which subjects were free to browse same-sex or opposite-sex photos, provided an additional measure of implicit sexual attraction.
Through a series of questionnaires, participants also reported on the type of parenting they experienced growing up, from authoritarian to democratic. Students were asked to agree or disagree with statements like: “I felt controlled and pressured in certain ways,” and “I felt free to be who I am.” For gauging the level of homophobia in a household, subjects responded to items like: “It would be upsetting for my mom to find out she was alone with a lesbian” or “My dad avoids gay men whenever possible.”
Finally, the researcher measured participants’ level of homophobia – both overt, as expressed in questionnaires on social policy and beliefs, and implicit, as revealed in word-completion tasks. In the latter, students wrote down the first three words that came to mind, for example for the prompt “k i _ _”. The study tracked the increase in the amount of aggressive words elicited after subliminally priming subjects with the word “gay” for 35 milliseconds.
Across all the studies, participants with supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation, while participants from authoritarian homes revealed the most discrepancy between explicit and implicit attraction.
“In a predominately heterosexual society, ‘know thyself’ can be a challenge for many gay individuals. But in controlling and homophobic homes, embracing a minority sexual orientation can be terrifying,” explains Weinstein. These individuals risk losing the love and approval of their parents if they admit to same sex attractions, so many people deny or repress that part of themselves, she said.
In addition, participants who reported themselves to be more heterosexual than their performance on the reaction time task indicated were most likely to react with hostility to gay others, the studies showed. That incongruence between implicit and explicit measures of sexual orientation predicted a variety of homophobic behaviors, including self-reported anti-gay attitudes, implicit hostility towards gays, endorsement of anti-gay policies, and discriminatory bias such as the assignment of harsher punishments for homosexuals, the authors conclude.
“This study shows that if you are feeling that kind of visceral reaction to an out-group, ask yourself, ‘Why?’” says Ryan. “Those intense emotions should serve as a call to self-reflection.”
The study had several limitations, the authors write. All participants were college students, so it may be helpful in future research to test these effects in younger adolescents still living at home and in older adults who have had more time to establish lives independent of their parents and to look at attitudes as they change over time.
from Medical Xpress