IN THE argot of human rights, LGBT means lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender—a catch-all term for sexual minorities. But Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia for 20 years, has a different reading. “As far as I am concerned,” he thundered during a televised speech in February, “LGBT can only stand for leprosy, gonorrhoea, bacteria and tuberculosis.” He compared gay people to vermin, and said his government would fight them as it does malaria-bearing mosquitoes, “if not more aggressively”.
Gay sex is illegal in Gambia, as it is in 37 of Africa’s 54 countries. Documented evidence of a criminal homosexual conspiracy to poison Gambian culture remains elusive. But politicians remain vigilant: in August the government brought in fresh anti-gay legislation. A few weeks later ministers in Chad approved a bill mandating prison sentences of 15 to 20 years for gay sex. Across Africa, and elsewhere in the world, politicians have found gay people a useful scapegoat to distract from corruption or other domestic problems, to shore up conservative constituencies, or to steal a march on political rivals.
While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
Many parents and clinicians now reject corrective therapy, making this the first generation to allow boys to openly play and dress (to varying degrees) in ways previously restricted to girls — to exist in what one psychologist called “that middle space” between traditional boyhood and traditional girlhood. These parents have drawn courage from a burgeoning Internet community of like-minded folk whose sons identify as boys but wear tiaras and tote unicorn backpacks. Even transgender people preserve the traditional binary gender division: born in one and belonging in the other. But the parents of boys in that middle space argue that gender is a spectrum rather than two opposing categories, neither of which any real man or woman precisely fits.
In a startling and unexpected move, on Monday the Supreme Court refused to review seven gay marriage cases from five different states. That decision effectively legalized gay marriage in those five states—Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin—almost immediately. But within the next few weeks, the court’s move will likely bring gay marriage to six more states—meaning that, without actually ruling on the topic, the justices will have brought marriage equality to 11 states in one fell swoop.
Here’s how that works. Technically speaking, the court’s decision merely let the rulings of the 4th, 7th, and 10th circuit courts stand. Each of those courts had found that gay marriage bans violate the U.S. Constitution. But each court also stayed its ruling, assuming, quite reasonably, that the Supreme Court would ultimately step in and decide the issue.
But the Supreme Court has now officially refused to step in—and that makes gay marriage the “law of the circuit” in the 4th, 7th, and 10th circuits. Every state within each circuit, in other words, is now bound by a ruling that all gay marriage bans are unconstitutional.
Two weeks ago, Facebook was forced to address a firestorm over its real-name policy after "several hundred" drag queens and performers were targeted in a spree of user reports. On that day, Facebook responded by sending a message to those account holders: either switch their public Facebook names to "legal" names or convert their accounts to public "pages," which lack certain normal-profile features. The affected users had two weeks to do so, which ran out today.
However, instead of disabling those hundreds of accounts, Facebook went in a decidedly different direction. A meeting between affected performers, including original complainant Sister Roma, and company officials took place at the Facebook campus today, and according to a Valleywag report, it ended with Facebook issuing an official apology and promising "substantive changes" to the real-name policy.
Forget flowers. Forget candlelight. The “dick pic” is the new method of luring potential lovers into the bedroom. But as anyone who’s ever received a bad dick pic will tell you, there is an art to photographing one’s dong.
Host Nancy Redd over at HuffPost Live tackled this growing trend in hooking up when she spoke with several experts on the subject of dick pics.
Six men were sentenced by an Egyptian court on Thursday to two years in prison with labor for allegedly advertising their apartment on Facebook for men to have sex with each other for a fee of $200 per night, reports the state-owned Egyptian news site Ahram Online based on information from “a judicial source.”
This case may be the first case in which Egyptians have been caught on social media for charges of homosexuality, something human rights activists have warned could become widespread as the Egyptian government widens its crackdown on LGBT rights. Since October, around 80 people are known to have been arrested on allegations of homosexuality, including eight men who are due in court on Saturday for appearing in a video that shows a couple of men exchanging rings that made headlines throughout the Arabic press as a “gay wedding.”
In this newly open environment, LGBT scientists are finding it easier to declare themselves — or at least, to think about doing so. “I’m getting a constant stream of e-mails from young scientists: ‘Can I meet with you?’,” says Ben Barres, a Stanford neuroscientist who transitioned from female to male in 1997, and who has become a prominent spokesman for LGBT issues in science.
But just as for ethnic minorities and women, there is still a long way to go. Many LGBT scientists fear coming out — if only because publications, career progression and promotion are based heavily on the judgement of fellow scientists, which might be influenced by conscious or unconscious bias. And many students may be avoiding a research career entirely — although no one knows, because no one has counted.
“I worry that there is a vast pool of talent that might be being lost to science,” says Trotter. The only way to change that, he says, is for the scientific community to reach out to its LGBT members, and have an honest conversation.
Tuesday was something called Bisexual Visibility Day. Which got me thinking: Where exactly are all the bi guys? I know a fair few fellas who've confided in me about their same-sex experiences, but only a handful of guys who straight-up identify as bi.
That might be because, for years, bisexuality has been maligned as homosexuality’s no-good cousin—a sort of halfway house between straight respectability and full-blown gay-dom. Bisexuals spread diseases. Bisexuals can’t accept that they're really gay. Bisexuals are greedy, confused, selfish. This is the sort of shit people say about bisexuals. No wonder bi dudes like to keep it on the lowdown.
Gay asylum seekers detained by Australia on Manus Island have written of suicidal thoughts, experiences of sexual assault and fear of persecution in Papua New Guinea in a series of handwritten letters seen by Guardian Australia.
The six letters, written by four different men, paint a vivid portrait of life in the detention centre for gay asylum seekers – due to be resettled in PNG where homosexuality is illegal and can carry a jail term of over a decade.
Many of the men write of their decision to flee societies where they were persecuted for their sexuality and detail instances of abuse and bullying inside the Manus centre and in their lives before arriving in Australia.
The letters – all written by Iranian men and mostly in Farsi – were translated independently by Guardian Australia.
A new study out of the University of Montréal has found that men who have sex with 20 or more partners during their lifetimes are less likely to develop prostate cancer. But there’s a catch: It only applies to straight guys. Gay men who bump uglies with 20 or more partners during their lifetimes are more likely to develop prostate cancer.
Barack Obama displayed inspiring leadership on Friday. He also promoted public health, fought bigotry, and helped calm raging paranoia. His heroic act? He hugged somebody.
Nina Pham, the first person to be infected with Ebola within the United States, had just been declared disease-free and discharged from the National Institutes of Health. Obama is a rational, science-friendly guy, so he knew she wasn’t any danger to him. It didn’t take courage to hug her.
And yet, another modern president failed a similar test. Facing the greatest public health crisis of his administration, Ronald Reagan was not heroic. He was a dithering coward.
The hateful, homophobic, racist response to the AIDS crisis is one of the most shameful episodes in recent American history. Within a few years after the first AIDS cases were reported in 1981, scientists knew the disease was transmitted primarily by sex, blood transfusions, and shared needles.
EARLY correspondence between Gough Whitlam and gay liberation activists provides insight into the origins of the former Prime Minister’s influence on the decriminalisation movement, and his attitudes to homosexuality.
Activist and author Dennis Altman shared with the Star Observer a letter from Whitlam dated 14 August, 1972 — just months before the election that made him Prime Minister. The letter was a response to Altman sending the then-Opposition Leader a copy of his seminal book, Homosexual: Oppression and Liberation.
In the letter, Whitlam shared with Altman his expectations that a newly-elected Federal Labor government would act on reforming laws criminalising homosexual sex in the territories.
On Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl struck down Wyoming’s gay marriage ban, making it the third pro-marriage equality decision of the day. Skavdahl, an Obama appointee, essentially had no choice but to invalidate Wyoming’s ban; the state falls within the 10th Circuit, where marriage equality is now officially law. A decision upholding the ban would have been legally unjustifiable and judicially impudent.
While Skavdahl ruled the right way, he made it quite clear that his heart wasn’t in it. First, Skavdahl stayed the decision until Oct. 23—a completely pointless exercise since marriage equality is already law of the circuit. Second, he closed the principal portion of his opinion with an awkward, cranky kiss-off to his judicial superiors ...
Bill Clinton’s presidency was just five days old when he sat down at the White House with top military leaders for a frank and spirited exchange about his pledge to end the ban on gays serving in the armed forces.
A richly detailed, fly-on-the-wall account of that pivotal meeting became public Friday as the National Archives released a large batch of records previously kept secret because they contained confidential advice to the president.
The near-transcript is a reminder of how dramatically public opinion on homosexuality has changed in the course of two decades and how views that were commonplace in 1993 are now widely seen as narrow-minded or even bigoted.
On Monday morning, the Supreme Court declined to review seven gay marriage decisions out of five different states. In each case, an appeals court had ruled that state-level gay marriage bans are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court's refusal to hear every case means that gay marriages can begin immediately in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
The move is unexpected and somewhat bizarre. Most court-watchers, including me, assumed the justices would wait to make a move on gay marriage until a circuit court ruled that state-level marriage bans were constitutional, swimming against the tide. At that point, the Supreme Court would be presented with a circuit split, essentially forcing it to wade in. And since the 6th Circuit seems poised to rule in favor of anti-gay-marriage laws, the justices probably would not have had to wait long.
What would you do if you arranged a Grindr hook-up, only to turn up at the guy's address and realise that he was broadcasting your PMs in a public square as part of an art performance? Because that's exactly what happened to Parker Tilghman, a Berlin photographer who was approached by "Dries" on the dating app.
Berliners should be careful what they reveal on gay hook-up app Grindr in the next few days – their messages are being projected onto the wall of a glass installation for the entertainment of passers by.
For the next two weeks, Dutch gay artist Dries Verhoeven is sitting in a glass-walled container in the centre of a busy square, recruiting a steady stream of men to join him in his box for various non-sexual activities. The project is called Wanna Play?
If you were gay and a recent passenger on American Airlines, you might have used in-flight Wi-Fi provided by Gogo just like any other customer. In the course of finding somewhere to stay before you land, you might have navigated to misterbnb.com, a version of Airbnb where customers looking for a place to stay can be guaranteed the hosts are gay-friendly. Rather than getting the site's homepage, however, your browser would have kicked you to an interstitial page telling you the site had been censored by Gogo. The given reason would have been the site had been categorized as "adult-and-pornography."
Looking at Misterbnb, there is nothing to trigger a pornography-centric filter on the homepage. The word "gay" appears a handful of times, but there is no salacious language, no risque photos, no video, not even any wild-card advertising space that could turn up a rogue Flash ad, photo, or video that runs counter to the tone of the site. "Travel gay friendly," "build the gay travel community," or "attend the next gay events" is about as hot as the site's narrative gets. In total, the word "gay" appears 11 times in text on the site's homepage.
Gogo and American Airlines are not the first Wi-Fi providers to be touchy about LGBT content; over the last year, a handful of businesses, including Au Bon Pain, Tim Horton's, and McDonald's, made minor news for not allowing their customers to view innocuous LGBT-centric websites, like GLAAD's homepage.
Occasionally these incidents happen for regressive "family-friendly" reasons, where businesses cave to people who would be agitated by a reminder that gay people exist. But many businesses, including American Airlines, appear unsure why the Wi-Fi service they provide their customers prevents those customers from accessing otherwise innocuous LGBT-oriented sites.