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Some History of LGBT Related Laws

History of LGBT-Related Laws


Taken From WikiPedia


Throughout history and across cultures, the regulation of sexuality reflects broader cultural norms.


Most of the history of sexuality is unrecorded. Even recorded norms do not always shed full light on actual practices, as it is sometimes the case that historical accounts are written by foreigners with cryptic political agendas.


In the earlier centuries of ancient Rome (particularly during the Roman Republic) and prior to its Christianization, the Lex Scantinia forbade homosexual acts. In later centuries during, men of status were free to have sexual intercourse, heterosexual or homosexual, with anyone of a lower social status, provided that they remained dominant during such interaction. During the reign of Caligula, prostitution was legalized and taxed, and homosexual prostitution was seen openly in conjunction with heterosexual prostitution. The Warren Cup is a rare example of a Roman artefact that depicts homosexuality that was not destroyed by Christian authorities, although it was suppressed. A fresco from the public baths of the once buried city of Pompeii depicts a homosexual and bisexual sex act involving two adult men and one adult woman. The Etruscan civilization left behind the Tomb of the Diver, which depicts homosexual men in the afterlife.


In feudal Japan, homosexuality was recognized, between equals (bi-do), in terms of pederasty (wakashudo), and in terms of prostitution. The Samurai period was one in which homosexuality was seen as particularly positive. In Japan, the younger partner in a pederastic relationship was expected to make the first move; the opposite was true in ancient Greece. Homosexuality was later briefly criminalized due to Westernization.


The berdache two-spirit class in some Native American tribes are examples of ways in which some cultures integrated homosexuals into their society by viewing them, not with the homosexual and heterosexual dichotomy of most of the modern world, but as twin beings, possessing aspects of both sexes.


The ancient Law of Moses (the Torah) forbids men lying with men (intercourse) in Leviticus 18 and gives a story of attempted homosexual rape in Genesis in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, the cities being soon destroyed after that. The death penalty was prescribed.


Similar prohibitions are found across Indo-European cultures in Lex Scantinia in Ancient Rome and nith in protohistoric Germanic culture, or the Middle Assyrian Law Codes dating 1075 BC.


Laws prohibiting homosexuality were also passed in communist China. (The People's Republic of China neither adopted an Abrahamic religion nor was colonized, except for Hong Kong and Macau which were colonized with Victorian era social mores and maintain separate legal system from the rest of the PRC.) Homosexuality was not decriminalized there until 1997. Prior to 1997, homosexual in mainland China was found guilty included in a general definition under the vague vocabulary of hooliganism, there are no specifically anti-homosexual laws.


In modern times eight countries have no official heterosexist discrimination. They are Argentina, Belgium, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, and Spain. This full non-discrimination includes the rights of marriage and adoption. Two additional countries have marriage rights for same-sex couples, namely Portugal and Canada, but in Portugal this right does not include same-sex adoption, and in Canada it varies by jurisdiction (it is legal everywhere except in Nunavut and Yukon). The Canadian Blood Services’ policy indefinitely defers any man who has sex with another man, even once, since 1977. LGBT people in the USA face different laws for certain medical procedures than other groups. For example, gay men have been prohibited from giving blood since 1983, and George W. Bush's FDA guidelines barred them from being sperm donors as of 2005, even though all donated sperm is screened for sexually-transmitted diseases and even the most promiscuous heterosexual men are not barred from donating.


Appreciation to AGM for his contribution.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Gay Footballer, Singer Lennox Receive U.K. Honors

Posted on Advocate.com December 31, 2010
Gay Footballer, Singer Lennox Receive U.K. Honors
By Advocate.com Editors


A founder of one of the United Kingdom’s first gay football teams is among those being recognized in the queen’s New Year Honours list, as is the gay-beloved singer Annie Lennox.

Aslie Pitter (pictured, right), 50, who helped found the Stonewall football club about 20 years ago, said he was “pinching himself” when he heard he was to be named an MBE — Member of the British Empire, the BBC reports.

Pitter, a London resident, said the club was readily accepted by fellow footballers.

“Being black and being gay, I thought I might come in for a lot of stick,” he told the BBC. “In our first game we were sharing a communal shower with seven other teams and I was pretty nervous. But it has never really been a problem.”

Lennox (left) was named an OBE — Order of the British Empire — for her activist work to fight AIDS and poverty in Africa. She founded the Sing campaign to raise AIDS awareness.

She said she was “genuinely honored” by the recognition. “As somewhat of a renegade, it either means I’ve done something terribly right — or they've done something terribly wrong,” she added.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Graying Of Our Leaders

Thursday, December 30, 2010
The Graying Of Our Leaders
Posted by John Aravosis (DC) at 12/30/2010 01:40:00 PM

From David Mixner:



In the Bible in Palms 71:18 there is a verse that says, "When I am old and gray, do not forsake me..."
The LGBT community is about to lose their tribal leaders, elders and generational history without even a peep. In addition, our collective soul might be scarred for ignoring the plight and needs of those whose sacrifice made it possible for today's generation. Most will never even know or enjoy the rights that they fought so hard for you to celebrate today. They couldn't adopt children, run for office or serve in the military. Often they were institutionalized or forced to live lives of lies and fear.

The baby boom generation of LGBT citizens is the one that spans our history from the oppressive 50's, to the transitional 60's, the liberating 70's, the plague ridden 80's and the beginning of hope in the 1990's. A good deal of the male population of those times already passed in the prime of their youth from HIV/AIDS. Some of the most remarkable women LGBT leaders came to power in that time. Epic battles and tragic stories are waiting to be recorded and told to future generations.

The LGBT community must acknowledge that this generation of LGBT baby boomers is getting old in a time with few services to meet their needs as LGBT seniors. Often they are in smaller and smaller living units, scraping by with little food, limited access to healthcare and almost no living facilities to share with other senior LGBT citizens. The few gay men that are still alive after the AIDS onslaught have few or no peers to share their senior years since the disease wiped out so many of their friends. Like it or not, what remains from the pandemic is an epidemic of loneliness among our seniors.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

North Carolina Politician: Gay People Are “Sexual Predators”

Posted on Advocate.com December 28, 2010
North Carolina Politician: Gay People Are “Sexual Predators”
By Advocate.com Editors

BILL JAMES NC COMMISSIONER

An antigay commissioner in North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County called gay people “sexual predators” in an e-mail response to a letter from a fellow commissioner asking her colleagues to sign a thank-you note to the state’s officials who voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Mecklenburg County commissioner Jennifer Roberts circulated the letter earlier this month, prompting an angry response from Bill James.

“Homosexuals are sexual predators,” James wrote in response to the e-mail from Roberts. “Allowing homosexuals to serve in the U.S. military with the endorsement of the Mecklenburg County Commission ignores a host of serious problems related to maintaining U.S. military readiness and effectiveness not the least of which is the current Democrat plan to allow homosexuals (male and female) to share showers with those they are attracted to.”

In 2009, James made headlines for mumbling the word “homo” after a colleague spoke of her son dying of AIDS. A few years earlier, he was quoted as saying people of color "live in a moral sewer."

Change.org is urging people to sign a petition to the Mecklenburg County board urging members to censure James “for repeatedly using his work e-mail to bash LGBT folks.” James was just reelected to his seat.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Candian Province Still Lists Homosexuality As A Mental Illness

Canadian province still lists homosexuality as a mental illness
by PinkNews.co.uk Staff Writer
22 December 2010, 4:49pm



The Canadian province of Alberta still classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, government records show.

Between 1995 and 2004, doctors cited the diagnostic code more than 1,750 times when billing the province for treating gays and lesbians, the Vabcouver Sun reports.

The figures were uncovered by human rights activist Rob Wells, who has been campaigning on the issue for ten years.

Although the government promised in 1998 to remove the reference to homosexuality, health minister Gene Zwozdesky repeated the promise yesterday and said: “It has no place in Alberta.”

He added: “It is simply an incorrect and unacceptable classification and I’ve ordered it to be removed immediately.”

Homosexuality was removed from the list of mental disorders by the World Health Organisation in 1990.

Alberta’s diagnostic codes were last updated in 2005 and it was not clear why homosexuality remained in the list.

The Alberta Medical Association said the diagnostic code was not its responsibility, while a Alberta Health and Wellness spokesman said that the codes were based on an earlier edition of the World Health Organisation’s guidelines.

However, transsexualism remains in the list of mental disorders, along with paedophilia, bestiality, transvestism and impotence, among others.

In February, France became the first country to de-list transsexualism as a mental illness.

The World Health Organisation and the American Psychiatric Association continue to list the condition as a mental illness, rather than a medical condition.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running With Santas In Speedos

Posted on Advocate.com December 14, 2010
Running With Santas in Speedos
By Advocate.com Editors
Minimages.com
BOSTON Santa Speedo Run 2010

Speedo-wearing Santas ran the streets of Boston, Toronto, Chicago, and Atlanta over the weekend to raise money for various charities.

The event kicked off in Boston 11 years ago and has since spread to multiple cities throughout the United States and Canada. Included in the list of charities the runs raise money for are a number of LGBT and HIV/AIDS research organizations.

Watch video from the runs below.







Monday, December 13, 2010

Three Discharged Vets Sue For Re-Instatement Challenging DADT

Monday, December 13, 2010
Three Discharged Vets Challenge DADT, Sue For Reinstatement
Posted by Joe Sudbay (DC) at 12/13/2010 12:41:00 PM

Minimages.com

Secretary Gates keeps saying he wants DADT ended by Congress, but we're still waiting -- and time is running out. Discharged servicemembers aren't waiting. Today, three of them, Mike Almy, Anthony Loverde and Jason Knight, filed a lawsuit against DADT, seeking reinstatement. The suit was filed in California, meaning the Witt Standard is applicable.

SLDN's press release:

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and Morrison & Foerster LLP filed a complaint today against the United States government asking for the reinstatement of three service members discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), the discriminatory law barring gay, lesbian and bisexual service members from serving honestly and with integrity. The filing in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, also argues the current law and the regulations, policies, and guidance that implement it, are unconstitutional. To read the filing visit: http://bit.ly/eZg5EL

Statement by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Executive Director and Army Veteran Aubrey Sarvis:

“This filing is a shot across the bow as we prepare to pursue and sustain an aggressive far reaching litigation strategy if the Senate fails to act this month to repeal the law. This dispute can be resolved by Congress or by the courts. With this filing we put Congress on notice that a cadre of service members and our national legal team stand ready to litigate strategically around the country. The plaintiffs’ are three service members who want to serve their country again. They represent some of our best and brightest who were fired because of who they are, despite their decorated records. More than 14,000 have already lost their jobs and the investigations and discharges still continue. We are also preparing litigation on behalf of young people who would enter the armed forces to serve our country but for this terrible law. Another suit we’re working on involves clients discharged under ‘Don’t Ask’ who want to enter the reserves or a guard unit, and we plan to file such cases early next year if Congress fails to act. Clearly there is an urgent need for the Senate to act on legislation this week."

Statement by Morrison & Foerster’s M. Andrew Woodmansee:

“Today we are asking the Court to allow these three brave Americans to fulfill the commitment they made years ago when they joined the military. They simply want to serve their country, and it is fundamentally un-American to refuse their service merely because they are gay -- especially when our all-volunteer military is stretched thin as we fight wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Throughout our nation's history, citizens have turned to the courts to remedy injustices when Congress would not act. If the Senate will not meet its obligations by ending this unconstitutional law, we will ask the Court to step in to protect the rights of my clients as well as all men and women who wish to serve this country in the military."

ABOUT THE PLANTIFFS:

Plaintiff Michael D. Almy served for thirteen years in the United States Air Force, including four deployments to the Middle East. He is a highly trained communications officer. During his thirteen-year Air Force career, former Major Almy received numerous military awards and decorations. In 2006, he was discharged from the Air Force under DADT.

Plaintiff Anthony J. Loverde served for seven years in the Air Force. He is a trained C-130 Loadmaster and Precision Measurement Equipment Laboratory Technician. During his seven-year Air Force career, former Staff Sergeant Loverde received numerous military awards and decorations. In 2008, he was discharged from the Air Force under DADT. He is currently a contractor serving in Iraq, doing effectively the same job with many of his old coworkers, as an openly gay man.

Plaintiff Jason D. Knight served for a total of five years in the United States Navy. He is a trained Cryptological Technician Interpretive, Linguist. During his five-year Navy career, former Petty Officer Second Class Knight received numerous military awards and decorations. Mr. Knight has the unique distinction of being discharged twice under DADT. In 2005, he was discharged from the Navy under DADT. Mr. Knight was recalled to active duty in 2006 but was discharged again in 2007 under DADT.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

New Video Game Mocks Gays

Saturday, December 11, 2010
New video game mocks gays
Posted by John Aravosis (DC) at 12/11/2010 02:01:00 PM

I'm just not convinced that, with gay kids killing themselves, it's totally appropriate for a kids' game to include a "flamboyant pack" that includes clearly flaming gay voices (which are used to taunt your opponent),

Here are two gamers with two different opinions on this:

paranoia says:

I *get* that it’s supposed to be a joke but you know what? This is just puerile and insensitive. The whole announcer schtick was meant to humiliate and taunt the other player and then they also decided to use an effeminate male voice, rainbows, glitter and an oversexualized gay stereotype. Why not just call it the “faggot” pack instead of the flamboyant pack? It’s pretty clear what you’re trying to make fun of. Calling it flamboyant doesn’t hide anything.

In my head, this is really no better than them releasing an “Exotic” pack and having the announcer say “ROR YOU GOT OWNED” or “CHING CHONG CHANG MOTHER FUCKA’” or having a “Negro” pack and having it play “Song of the South” clips then putting a sad black face versions onto the other person’s avatar. It’s the cheap, easy but insensitive laugh that just plays on outdated stereotypes and just pisses all over your minority fan base. As a gamer, it’s all too often an occurrence to be called “fag” or “gay” online as a synonym for being bad at a game and this just officially endorses that behavior. You have to draw the line somewhere and I draw it here. This is completely inappropriate for any modern game company.

Raiden says:

I don’t really take much issue with this and I think we have to examine exactly what the product consists of. The “announcer packs” are in essence intended to be taunts – something designed to annoy a fellow player as they lose – and having listened to the brief sample, this particular pack consists of an overly affected and obnoxious voice, which in my estimation fulfils its purpose rather well. I personally would find it grating after around the third time of being subjected to it.

The next aspect, which seems to be the contentious one, is the choice of name, the “Flamboyant Pack.” The question I have to ask gay people who see this as a swipe at them, is when did we start defining ourselves as flamboyant? For a community as diverse as ours, why are we trying to take offence to something that we know not to be representative of us? You can argue that straight gamers might be ignorant and perceive things differently, but as soon as a gay person makes an issue of this we are buying into our own outmoded stereotype, and reinforcing it in the minds of others, which only hampers and reverses progress.

There’s nothing explicitly anti-gay here, and do we really want to become those people who try to infer prejudice from everything, as though being offended was our hobby? This pack is something we can love or hate without bringing our sexuality into the equation.

I'm sorry, but the second guy doesn't understand how discrimination works. It doesn't matter if you don't consider yourself to be people with horns who steal the blood of Christian and Muslim children and eat it in your holiday meal. It's a slur against Jews, regardless of whether it's correct (and it's not). And the same goes with the flamboyant pack. It's clearly a swipe at gay people. And if anything, it perpetuates a stereotype meant to mock.

I just think it's too smart by half to say "gosh, we're not all that way, let's not buy into the stereotype." Bigots see us as all that way, and they use the slur to demean us and dehumanize us. Do you consider a "faggot"? And if not, is it therefore okay for someone to call you that?

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why Do Gay And Lesbian Teens Kill Themselves At Higher Rates?

Ever wonder why gay or lesbian teens kill themselves at higher rates?
Posted by Timothy Beauchamp at 12/09/2010 10:26:00 PM

Minimages.com

So much for the myth constantly being paraded by the right that gay and lesbian teens kill themselves at a higher rate because they are innately unhappy with their supposed choice of being gay or lesbian. A new study from Yale's "The Office Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics" proves society punishes them simply for being who they are.

Gay and lesbian teens in the United States are about 40 percent more likely than their straight peers to be punished by schools, police and the courts, according to a study published Monday, which finds that girls are especially at risk for unequal treatment.

The study, is a welcomed one, when there has been such a focus on why gay teens tend to commit suicide at higher rates:

The study brings punishment differences for gay teens into focus at a time when public concern about torment and bullying is heightened. In September, an 18-year-old Rutgers University student jumped off a bridge to his death after his gay sexual encounter was allegedly filmed by a roommate on a webcam and announced on Twitter.

Andrew Barnett, executive director of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League, in Washington, says it best:

"This is a symptom of school administrators, teachers, court officials, police officers - anyone who works with youth - not necessarily being equipped to handle the challenges" faced by the teens in their care, he said. "It's much easier to punish the youth than to work with them and figure out why they may keep getting in fights and what is leading to this behavior."

My answer why gay and lesbian kids get picked on more than straight kids? Because they can. Therefore, the adults in the LGBT community, who know all too well how this behavior plays out for LGBT teens need to be their advocates every chance we get. We are their only hope, and in the words of Harvey Milk, "We've got to give them hope."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lithuania To Vote On "Fining" Those Who "Promote" Homosexuality

Lithuania to vote on fining people who ‘promote’ homosexuality
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
8 December 2010, 1:50pm

Minimages.com
Lithuanian MPs will vote on a law to ban the "promotion" of homosexuality



The Lithuanian parliament will vote next week on legislation to impose heavy fines on those who “promote” homosexuality.

At a first reading last month, MPs approved adding an amendment to the Lithuanian Administrative Code stating that “public promotion of homosexual relations is to be punished by a fine from 2,000 to 10,000 litas [£480 to £2,400]“.

A second reading and vote takes place on December 16th.

Last month, lawmakers rejected a measure to ban Pride marches by just two votes but Amnesty International said that the new legislation would have the same effect.

In a statement, the human rights group said that the “vague formulation of the new article” would “punish almost any public expression or portrayal of, or information about, homosexuality”.

The group continued: “These actions include, but are not limited to, campaigning on human rights issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity, providing sexual health information to LGBT people or organising gay film festivals and organising and/or attending Pride events.”

Amnesty International is urging Lithuanian politicians to vote against the “blatantly discriminatory” move.

The legislation was proposed by MP Petras Gražulis, who is known for making homophobic remarks and opposing Pride marches.

Earlier this year, the country had its first Pride march. Politicians tried to ban the event but a court allowed it at the 11th hour.

Five hundred gay rights campaigners braved a 1,000-strong mob who shouted homophobic abuse and hurled missiles at them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jesse Jackson: "Gays Are America's Newest Second-Class Citizens"

Jesse Jackson says gays are ‘America’s newest second-class citizens’
by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
8 December 2010, 11:48am

Minimages.com
Gay couples should be allowed to marry, Rev Jackson said.



The Rev Jesse Jackson’s speech to gay rights supporters outside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals courthouse in San Francisco.

Many years ago in the late 1970s, I visited South Africa, then deep in the throes of apartheid. I was asked by the media what I thought of the situation, and I said, “I believe in human rights for all human beings. We must measure human rights by one yardstick.” That principle – our moral centre – still applies. Everything flows from this perspective.

We stand together today as equal members of the human family…. as consistent principled advocates for human rights for all people. We stand together today to uphold the principles of due process, of equal protection under the law, of fighting against discrimination against any and all people based on race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

We stand with you today to support marriage equality, and to declare that Proposition 8 must be struck down as unconstitutional. Peoples’ right to self-expression, self-determination be respected and affirmed. It’s time to challenge ignorance, a time to break the silence and the chains of hatred, of divisive and discriminatory bigotry. Marriage is based on love and commitment – not on sexual orientation. I support the right for any person to marry the person of their choosing.

If Dr King and our civil rights movement has taught us anything, it’s the fundamental principle of that all people deserve equal protection under the law. LGBT people deserve equal rights – including marriage equality – and equal protection under the law. Discrimination against one group of people is discrimination against all of us. The state – and the courts – should not sanction discrimination.

To those that believe in and fought for civil rights, that marched to end discrimination and win equality, you must not become that which you hated. It’s past time to exist in hypocrisy and ignorance, and time to come out of the shadows and darkness to support unequivocally, equality for all people. Those that support civil and human rights cannot, must not, become perpetrators of discrimination against others based upon race, religion, culture, sexual orientation.

African-Americans know too well the sting of legal, state sanctioned, constitutionally driven “second class” citizenship – from centuries of legal slavery and Jim Crow segregation, to classified as three-fifths of a human being in the US Constitution, to facing anti-miscegenation laws that prevented blacks from marrying whites.

We cannot not sit idly by while Prop 8 seeks to target gays and lesbians for a disfavoured legal status, as America’s newest “second-class citizens.” Our legal scholars have cited fourteen times where the Supreme Court has stated that marriage is a fundamental right of all individuals. That principle must be upheld today – for blacks and whites, for straight and gay, for ALL Americans. No group of people should be denied their fundamental constitutional liberties, like equal protection under the law, simply because of who they are.

So today, we do not stand alone. It’s time to go forward by hope and not backward by fear, to stand up with courage, hope and strength and send a shout out for equality. Stiff winds of resistance seek a return to intolerance, bigotry and state sanctioned discrimination – whether against immigrants in New Mexico or against marriage equality in California. It should only strengthen our resolve to defend equal protection under the law, equality for all Americans, and the forging of a One Big Tent America.

Keep hope alive.

10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked
Taken From - Southern Poverty Law Center
By Evelyn Schlatter and Robert Steinback
Intelligence Report, Winter 2010, Issue Number: 140

Minimages.com

10 Anti-Gay Myths

Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement more than 30 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize homosexuals — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gays and lesbians to “recruit” in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that homosexuality is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gays molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at homosexuals, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda.

MYTH # 1
Homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals.

THE ARGUMENT
Depicting gay men as a threat to children may be the single most potent weapon for stoking public fears about homosexuality — and for winning elections and referenda, as Anita Bryant found out during her successful 1977 campaign to overturn a Dade County, Fla., ordinance barring discrimination against gay people. Discredited psychologist Paul Cameron, the most ubiquitous purveyor of anti-gay junk science, has been a major promoter of this myth. Despite having been debunked repeatedly and very publicly, Cameron’s work is still widely relied upon by anti-gay organizations, although many no longer quote him by name.

THE FACTS
According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

MYTH # 2
Same-sex parents harm children.

THE ARGUMENT
Most hard-line anti-gay organizations are heavily invested, from both a religious and a political standpoint, in promoting the traditional nuclear family as the sole framework for the healthy upbringing of children. They maintain a reflexive belief that same-sex parenting must be harmful to children — although the exact nature of that supposed harm varies widely.

THE FACTS
No legitimate research has demonstrated that same-sex couples are any more or any less harmful to children than heterosexual couples.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in a 2002 policy statement declared: “A growing body of scientific literature demonstrates that children who grow up with one or two gay and/or lesbian parents fare as well in emotional, cognitive, social, and sexual functioning as do children whose parents are heterosexual.” That policy statement was reaffirmed in 2009.

The American Psychological Association found that “same-sex couples are remarkably similar to heterosexual couples, and that parenting effectiveness and the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children is unrelated to parental sexual orientation.”

Similarly, the Child Welfare League of America’s official position with regard to same-sex parents is that “lesbian, gay, and bisexual parents are as well-suited to raise children as their heterosexual counterparts.”

MYTH # 3
People become homosexual because they were sexually abused as children or there was a deficiency in sex-role modeling by their parents.

THE ARGUMENT
Many anti-gay rights proponents claim that homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by some psychological trauma or aberration in childhood. This argument is used to counter the common observation that no one, gay or straight, consciously chooses his or her sexual orientation. Joseph Nicolosi, a founder of the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, said in 2009 that “if you traumatize a child in a particular way, you will create a homosexual condition.” He also has repeatedly said, “Fathers, if you don’t hug your sons, some other man will.” A side effect of this argument is the demonization of parents of homosexuals, who are led to wonder if they failed to protect a child against sexual abuse or failed as role models in some important way. In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm said he was about to release a related study arguing that homosexual couples are more likely than heterosexuals to raise gay or lesbian children.

THE FACTS
No scientifically sound study has linked sexual orientation or identity with parental role-modeling or childhood sexual abuse.

The American Psychiatric Association noted in a 2000 fact sheet on gay, lesbian and bisexual issues that “no specific psychosocial or family dynamic cause for homosexuality has been identified, including histories of childhood sexual abuse.” The fact sheet goes on to say that sexual abuse does not appear to be any more prevalent among children who grow up and identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual than in children who grow up and identify as heterosexual.

Similarly, the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization notes on its website that “experts in the human sexuality field do not believe that premature sexual experiences play a significant role in late adolescent or adult sexual orientation” and added that it’s unlikely that someone can make another person a homosexual or heterosexual.

With regard to Schumm’s study, critics have already said that he appears to have merely aggregated anecdotal data, a biased sample that invalidates his findings.

MYTH # 4
Homosexuals don’t live nearly as long as heterosexuals.

THE ARGUMENT
Anti-gay organizations want to promote heterosexuality as the healthier “choice.” Furthermore, the purportedly shorter life spans and poorer physical and mental health of homosexuals are often offered as reasons why gays and lesbians shouldn’t be allowed to adopt or foster children.

THE FACTS
This falsehood can be traced directly to the discredited research of Paul Cameron and his Family Research Institute, specifically a 1994 paper he co-wrote entitled, “The Lifespan of Homosexuals.” Using obituaries collected from gay newspapers, he and his two co-authors concluded that gay men died, on average, at 43, compared to an average life expectancy at the time of around 73 for all U.S. men. On the basis of the same obituaries, Cameron also claimed that gay men are 18 times more likely to die in car accidents than heterosexuals, 22 times more likely to die of heart attacks than whites, and 11 times more likely than blacks to die of the same cause. He also concluded that lesbians are 487 times more likely to die of murder, suicide, or accidents than straight women.

Remarkably, these claims have become staples of the anti-gay right and have frequently made their way into far more mainstream venues. For example, William Bennett, education secretary under President Reagan, used Cameron’s statistics in a 1997 interview he gave to ABC News’ “This Week.”

However, like virtually all of his “research,” Cameron’s methodology is egregiously flawed — most obviously because the sample he selected (the data from the obits) was not remotely statistically representative of the homosexual population as a whole. Even Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, has called Cameron’s methods “just ridiculous.”

MYTH # 5
Homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped to orchestrate the Holocaust.

THE ARGUMENT
This claim comes directly from a 1995 book titled The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party, by Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams. Lively is the virulently anti-gay founder of Abiding Truth Ministries and Abrams is an organizer of a group called the International Committee for Holocaust Truth, which came together in 1994 and included Lively as a member.

The primary argument Lively and Abrams make is that gay people were not victimized by the Holocaust. Rather, Hitler deliberately sought gay men for his inner circle because their “unusual brutality” would help him run the party and mastermind the Holocaust. In fact, “the Nazi party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history,” the book claims. “While we cannot say that homosexuals caused the Holocaust, we must not ignore their central role in Nazism,” Lively and Abrams add. “To the myth of the ‘pink triangle’ — the notion that all homosexuals in Nazi Germany were persecuted — we must respond with the reality of the ‘pink swastika.’”

These claims have been picked up by a number of anti-gay groups and individuals, including Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, as proof that homosexuals are violent and sick. The book has also attracted an audience among anti-gay church leaders in Eastern Europe and among Russian-speaking anti-gay activists in America.

THE FACTS
The Pink Swastika has been roundly discredited by legitimate historians and other scholars. Christine Mueller, professor of history at Reed College, did a line-by-line refutation of an earlier (1994) Abrams article on the topic and of the broader claim that the Nazi Party was “entirely controlled” by gay men. Historian Jon David Wynecken at Grove City College also refuted the book, pointing out that Lively and Abrams did no primary research of their own, instead using out-of-context citations of some legitimate sources while ignoring information from those same sources that ran counter to their thesis.

The myth that the Nazis condoned homosexuality sprang up in the 1930s, started by socialist opponents of the Nazis as a slander against Nazi leaders. Credible historians believe that only one of the half-dozen leaders in Hitler’s inner circle, Ernst Röhm, was gay. (Röhm was murdered on Hitler’s orders in 1934.) The Nazis considered homosexuality one aspect of the “degeneracy” they were trying to eradicate.

When the National Socialist Party came to power in 1933, it quickly strengthened Germany’s existing penalties against homosexuality. Heinrich Himmler, Hitler’s security chief, announced that homosexuality was to be “eliminated” in Germany, along with miscegenation among the races. Historians estimate that between 50,000 and 100,000 men were arrested for homosexuality (or suspicion of it) under the Nazi regime. These men were routinely sent to concentration camps and many thousands died there.

In 1942, the Nazis instituted the death penalty for homosexuals. Offenders in the German military were routinely shot. Himmler put it like this: “We must exterminate these people root and branch. … We can’t permit such danger to the country; the homosexual must be completely eliminated.”

MYTH # 6
Hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who criticize homosexuality and the legalization of practices like bestiality and necrophilia.

THE ARGUMENT
Anti-gay activists, who have long opposed adding LGBT people to those protected by hate crime legislation, have repeatedly claimed that such laws would lead to the jailing of religious figures who preach against homosexuality — part of a bid to gain the backing of the broader religious community for their position. Janet Porter of Faith2Action was one of many who asserted that the federal Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act — signed into law by President Obama in October 2009 — would “jail pastors” because it “criminalizes speech against the homosexual agenda.”

In a related assertion, anti-gay activists claimed the law would lead to the legalization of psychosexual disorders (paraphilias) like bestiality and pedophilia. Bob Unruh, a conservative Christian journalist who left The Associated Press in 2006 for the right-wing, conspiracist news site WorldNetDaily, said shortly before the federal law was passed that it would legalize “all 547 forms of sexual deviancy or ‘paraphilias’ listed by the American Psychiatric Association.” This claim was repeated by many anti-gay organizations, including the Illinois Family Institute.

THE FACTS
The claim that hate crime laws could result in the imprisonment of those who “oppose the homosexual lifestyle” is false. The Constitution provides robust protections of free speech, and case law makes it clear that even a preacher who suggested that homosexuals should be killed would be protected.

Neither do hate crime laws — which provide for enhanced penalties when persons are victimized because of their “sexual orientation” (among other factors) — “protect pedophiles,” as Janet Porter and many others have claimed. According to the American Psychological Association, sexual orientation refers to heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality — not paraphilias such as pedophilia. Paraphilias, as defined by the American Psychiatric Assocation, are disorders characterized by sexual urges or behaviors directed at nonhuman objects or non-consenting persons like children, or that involve the suffering or humiliation of one’s partner.

Even if pedophiles, for example, were protected under a hate crime law — and such a law has not been suggested or contemplated anywhere — that would not legalize or “protect” pedophilia. Pedophilia is illegal sexual activity, and a law that more severely punished people who attacked pedophiles would not change that.

MYTH # 7
Allowing homosexuals to serve openly would damage the armed forces.

THE ARGUMENT
Anti-gay groups are adamantly opposed to allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, not only because of their purported fear that combat readiness will be undermined, but because the military has long been considered the purest meritocracy in America (the armed forces were successfully racially integrated long before American civilian society, for example). If gays can serve honorably and effectively in this meritocracy, that would suggest that there is no rational basis for discriminating against them in any way.

THE FACTS
Homosexuals now serve in the U.S. armed forces, though under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy instituted in 1993, they cannot serve openly. At the same time, gays and lesbians serve openly in the armed forces of 25 countries, including Britain, Israel, South Africa, Canada and Australia, according to a report released by the Palm Center, a policy think tank at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The Palm Center report concluded that lifting bans against openly gay service personnel in these countries “ha[s] had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.” Successful transitions to new policies were attributed to clear signals of leadership support and a focus on a uniform code of behavior without regard to sexual orientation.

A 2008 Military Times poll of active-duty military personnel, often cited by anti-gay activists, found that 10% of respondents said they would not re-enlist if the DADT policy were repealed. That would mean some 228,000 people might leave the military in that instance. But a 2009 review of that poll by the Palm Center suggested a wide disparity between what soldiers said they would do and their actual actions. It noted, for example, that far more than 10% of West Point officers in the 1970s said they would leave the service if women were admitted to the academy. “But when the integration became a reality,” the report said, “there was no mass exodus; the opinions turned out to be just opinions.” Similarly, a 1985 survey of 6,500 male Canadian service members and a 1996 survey of 13,500 British service members each revealed that nearly two-thirds expressed strong reservations about serving with gays. Yet when those countries lifted bans on gays serving openly, virtually no one left the service for that reason. “None of the dire predictions of doom came true,” the Palm Center report said.

MYTH # 8
Homosexuals are more prone to be mentally ill and to abuse drugs and alcohol.

THE ARGUMENT
Anti-gay groups want not only to depict sexual orientation as something that can be changed but also to show that heterosexuality is the most desirable “choice” — even if religious arguments are set aside. The most frequently used secular argument made by anti-gay groups in that regard is that homosexuality is inherently unhealthy, both mentally and physically. As a result, most anti-gay rights groups reject the 1973 decision by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses. Some of these groups, including the particularly hard-line Traditional Values Coalition, claim that “homosexual activists” managed to infiltrate the APA in order to sway its decision.

THE FACTS
All major professional mental health organizations are on record as stating that homosexuality is not a mental disorder.

It is true that LGBT people suffer higher rates of anxiety, depression, and depression-related illnesses and behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse than the general population. But studies done during the past 15 years have determined that it is the stress of being a member of a minority group in an often-hostile society — and not LGBT identity itself — that accounts for the higher levels of mental illness and drug use.

Richard J. Wolitski, an expert on minority status and public health issues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, put it like this in 2008: “Economic disadvantage, stigma, and discrimination … increase stress and diminish the ability of individuals [in minority groups] to cope with stress, which in turn contribute to poor physical and mental health.”

MYTH # 9
No one is born a homosexual.

THE ARGUMENT
Anti-gay activists keenly oppose the granting of “special” civil rights protections to homosexuals similar to those afforded black Americans and other minorities. But if people are born gay — in the same way people have no choice as to whether they are black or white — discrimination against homosexuals would be vastly more difficult to justify. Thus, anti-gay forces insist that sexual orientation is a behavior that can be changed, not an immutable characteristic.

THE FACTS
Modern science cannot state conclusively what causes sexual orientation, but a great many studies suggest that it is the result of biological and environmental forces, not a personal “choice.” One of the more recent is a 2008 Swedish study of twins (the world’s largest twin study) that appeared in The Archives of Sexual Behavior and concluded that “[h]omosexual behaviour is largely shaped by genetics and random environmental factors.” Dr. Qazi Rahman, study co-author and a leading scientist on human sexual orientation, said: “This study puts cold water on any concerns that we are looking for a single ‘gay gene’ or a single environmental variable which could be used to ‘select out’ homosexuality — the factors which influence sexual orientation are complex. And we are not simply talking about homosexuality here — heterosexual behaviour is also influenced by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.”

The American Psychological Association (APA) acknowledges that despite much research into the possible genetic, hormonal, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no evidence has emerged that would allow scientists to pinpoint the precise causes of sexual orientation. Still, the APA concludes that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”

In October 2010, Kansas State University family studies professor Walter Schumm said he was about to release a study showing that gay parents produced far more gay children than heterosexual parents. He told a reporter that he was “trying to prove [homosexuality is] not 100% genetic.” But critics suggested that his data did not prove that, and, in any event, virtually no scientists have suggested that homosexuality is caused only by genes.

MYTH # 10
Gay people can choose to leave homosexuality.

THE ARGUMENT
If people are not born gay, as anti-gay activists claim, then it should be possible for individuals to abandon homosexuality. This view is buttressed among religiously motivated anti-gay activists by the idea that homosexual practice is a sin and humans have the free will needed to reject sinful urges.

A number of “ex-gay” religious ministries have sprung up in recent years with the aim of teaching homosexuals to become heterosexuals, and these have become prime purveyors of the claim that gays and lesbians, with the aid of mental therapy and Christian teachings, can “come out of homosexuality.” Exodus International, the largest of these ministries, plainly states, “You don’t have to be gay!” Another, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, describes itself as “a professional, scientific organization that offers hope to those who struggle with unwanted homosexuality.”

THE FACTS
“Reparative” or sexual reorientation therapy — the pseudo-scientific foundation of the ex-gay movement — has been rejected by all the established and reputable American medical, psychological, psychiatric, and professional counseling organizations. In 2009, for instance, the American Psychological Association adopted a resolution, accompanied by a 138-page report, that repudiated ex-gay therapy. The report concluded that compelling evidence suggested that cases of individuals going from gay to straight were “rare” and that “many individuals continued to experience same-sex sexual attractions” after reparative therapy. The APA resolution added that “there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation” and asked “mental health professionals to avoid misrepresenting the efficacy of sexual orientation change efforts by promoting or promising change in sexual orientation.” The resolution also affirmed that same-sex sexual and romantic feelings are normal.

Some of the most striking, if anecdotal, evidence of the ineffectiveness of sexual reorientation therapy has been the numerous failures of some of its most ardent advocates. For example, the founder of Exodus International, Michael Bussee, left the organization in 1979 with a fellow male ex-gay counselor because the two had fallen in love. Alan Chambers, current president of Exodus, said in 2007 that with years of therapy, he’s mostly conquered his attraction to men, but then admitted, “By no means would we ever say that change can be sudden or complete."

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homosexuality In Leviticus

Homosexuality In Leviticus
By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson
The Washington Post
December 7, 2010; 10:02 AM ET

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This is the second in a series of articles examining the Biblical bases for opposition to homosexuality by The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, Episcopal Bishop of New Hampshire and visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Washington, DC.

First, and most famous, of the scriptural texts used to condemn homosexuality are the two references in the Holiness Codes of Leviticus: "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination." (Lev. 18:22) and "If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them." (Lev. 20:13)

The context of these two passages are the holiness and purity codes set down for the people of Israel - rules set forth both to define what was clean and unclean before God, as well as what set the Hebrew people apart from their heathen neighbors who worshiped gods other than the one true God. In a memorable speech on homosexuality at Trinity College in 1992, The Rev. Dr. Frank G. Kirkpatrick put the biblical code in context: This "purity code assumes a 'normal' or natural state for things, any deviance from which is abnormal, deviant, and therefore unclean, impure, and polluting. Menstruation is not 'normal' for women (since it occurs less frequently than periods of non-menstruation): therefore when women are menstruating they are regarded as unclean. Blemishes [including blindness and lameness] are abnormal, therefore unclean."

Kirkpatrick further explained: "Men who act like women are abnormal, therefore unclean. Now the assumption here is that to be a man is to desire women. Anything else is acting against one's nature. Thus when a man lies with another man he is acting contrary to his own nature. It was inconceivable in this context that a man could be genetically or biologically predisposed to desire other men. To be engaged in homosexual activity therefore was to do what one was literally not inclined or predisposed to do. Thus it was acting against one's own conscience and predispositions. This is what made it unnatural and therefore a violation of nature."

This is an important point, difficult for the modern day mind to grasp: homosexuality as a sexual orientation was unknown to the ancient mind. Same gender, intimate physical contact was not unknown, of course, but everyone was presumed to be heterosexual. In his book Embodiment, An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology, James B. Nelson wrote, "It is crucial to remember this, for in all probability the biblical writers in each instance were speaking of homosexual acts undertaken by person whom the authors presumed to be heterosexually constituted." Therefore, any man who lay with another man as with a woman was considered to be a heterosexual man acting against his true nature.

The psychological construct of a homosexual orientation was not posited until the late 18th century - the notion that a certain minority of humankind is affectionally oriented toward people of the same gender, rather than the opposite gender. For people so oriented, intimate physical contact with people of the opposite gender would be "against their nature." Such a possibility was unknown to the ancient mind. And so, these verses from the Leviticus Holiness Code must be read in the context of the assumption that everyone was heterosexual by nature, and acting contrary to that was not "normal," and outside the will of the Creator.

In practice, we modern day Christians have regarded most of the injunctions in the Holiness Codes of Leviticus and Deuteronomy as culturally bound to the ancient times of the Hebrews--but not binding on us. These same purity codes forbid eating shellfish, planting a field with two different kinds of seed or wearing simultaneously two kinds of cloth. They would prohibit us from ordaining to the priesthood any handicapped person - not to mention women. We cannot, then, isolate these passages about homosexual acts and impute to them the kind of enduring authority which we ascribe to nothing before or after these passages. One has to wonder why the biblical literalists who cite this passage against homosexuality don't seem to go all the way and advocate for death as the punishment for homosexual behavior! We cannot have it both ways.

One other guiding principle in these codes which I presume most modern day Christians and Jews would not espouse is the bias against women. Women are generally regarded as problematic, less worthy, and more unclean than men. A man who had a discharge of semen was ritually unclean until sunset, but a woman who menstruates was unclean for a week. When a woman gave birth to a boy, she was unclean for a week - but when she gave birth to a girl, she was unclean for twice as long! I would maintain that part of what made the sin of a man lying, as Nelson wrote, "with a male as with a woman" so abominable, was the scandal of the noble, privileged, favored male of the species giving up that privilege to take on the role of the less clean, less noble, certainly less privileged female. Indeed it is not extraneous to note that during wartime, a common practice in the ancient Middle East was "the submission of captured male foes to anal rape. It was an expression of domination and contempt, a powerful symbol of scorn in societies where the dignity of the male was held in high esteem. Here a man was using another man as he might use a woman." Nothing could be worse. So in this context, these injunctions are not surprising.

Finally, there is the context of the "science" of conception of that time. Male sperm was thought to contain all things necessary for procreation. Women contributed nothing but a place for the nascent life to incubate. Therefore, the "spilling of seed" (male sperm) on the ground was a kind of abortion, the killing of life. This "scientific" understanding led to other proscriptions in the Holiness Code. Male masturbation is condemned. And the so-called "sin of Onan" was also condemned. Onan was a heterosexual man who withdrew from intercourse with his wife before ejaculation, spilling his seed on the ground instead of depositing it in his wife's womb. And God strikes him dead.

Add to this the ancient Israelites' need to grow the population. Upon their return from slavery in Egypt, they were surrounded by hostile cultures, eager to destroy the invaders who had returned to their "Promised Land." The Israelite nation needed to populate themselves in order to withstand the challenge to their presence. For a man to spill his seed on the ground rather than grow more babies was not only a sin against God, but against the nation!

Oddly enough, we have relaxed these "rules" against a man "spilling his seed" through masturbation and birth control, yet we hold onto "a man shall not lie with another man as with a woman" as if it were eternally binding on believers. Such an inconsistency simply does not make sense.

Given these changes in our modern understandings and contexts, it is no longer appropriate for us to condemn men who have intimate sexual relationships with other men based on this proscription in the Leviticus Holiness Code. Either all of these proscriptions must be tossed out as binding on us, or they all must be adhered to. Biblical "literalists" cannot have it both ways, picking and choosing which proscriptions are still appropriate.

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson is the IX Bishop of New Hampshire, in the Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire, and a visiting Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, Washington, D.C.

By The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson

Gay Kids Punished More Than Straight Peers

Posted on Advocate.com December 06, 2010
Gay Kids Punished More Than Straight Peers
By Advocate.com Editors

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Minimages.com

Inequality persists in schools, says a report in the Pediatrics journal, which found that gay children are more severely punished than their straight peers.

The data was culled from two studies — one in the 1994-1995 academic year and another in a 2001-2002 follow-up — that queried students from around the country in middle and high school. The report concluded, "Nonheterosexual youth suffer disproportionate educational and criminal-justice punishments that are not explained by greater engagement in illegal or transgressive behaviors."

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Criminal-Justice and School Sanctions Against Nonheterosexual Youth: A National Longitudinal Study
Kathryn E. W. Himmelstein, BAa, Hannah Brückner, PhDb
Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics and
Center for Research on Inequalities and the Life Course, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Objective: Nonheterosexual adolescents are vulnerable to health risks including addiction, bullying, and familial abuse. We examined whether they also suffer disproportionate school and criminal-justice sanctions.

Methods: The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health followed a nationally representative sample of adolescents who were in grades 7 through 12 in 1994–1995. Data from the 1994–1995 survey and the 2001–2002 follow-up were analyzed. Three measures were used to assess nonheterosexuality: same-sex attraction, same-sex romantic relationships, and lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) self-identification. Six outcomes were assessed: school expulsion; police stops; juvenile arrest; juvenile conviction; adult arrest; and adult conviction. Multivariate analyses controlled for adolescents' sociodemographics and behaviors, including illegal conduct.

Results: Nonheterosexuality consistently predicted a higher risk for sanctions. For example, in multivariate analyses, nonheterosexual adolescents had greater odds of being stopped by the police (odds ratio: 1.38 for same-sex attraction and 1.53 for LGB self-identification). Similar trends were observed for school expulsion, juvenile arrest and conviction, and adult conviction. Nonheterosexual girls were at particularly high risk.

Conclusions: Nonheterosexual youth suffer disproportionate educational and criminal-justice punishments that are not explained by greater engagement in illegal or transgressive behaviors. Understanding and addressing these disparities might reduce school expulsions, arrests, and incarceration and their dire social and health consequences.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Third Of Gay Youth Attempted Suicide According To Study

Third of gay youth attempted suicide according to study


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A third of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans youth have attempted suicide during their lifetime according to a new study by the University of Illinois at Chicago.
news.PinkPaper.com
Saturday, 4 December 2010
4 December 2010
jonny UIC
A third of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans youth have attempted suicide during their lifetime according to a new study by the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The first of its kind to look into the prevalence of mental disorders in gay youth, the study finds that despite suicide attempts being akin to those of urban and minority youth, the majority (70 per cent) of gay teenagers do not experience mental illness.

Researchers studied 246 16-20 year-olds of mixed backgrounds, putting the participants through psychiatric interviews, which assessed depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide attempts, and conduct disorder.

Nearly 10 percent of participants met the criteria for having PTSD and about 15 percent for major depression. Wile one-third had made a suicide attempt during their lifetime; about 6 percent had made a suicide attempt in the last year alone.

As reported by the university’s website, Dr. Brian Mustanski, assistant professor of psychiatry at UIC and lead author of the study said: “One of the most important findings from our work is that most of these youth are doing very well and are not experiencing mental health problems.” 

The researchers also found differences within the broad spectrum of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans study focus group. Mustanski and his team discovered, contrary to previous evidence, that mental illness in bisexual youth was less common than that in the other sub-groups in the study.

The full study has been published online and in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health.


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Teenage girls ‘kicked gay man as he lay unconscious’

Teenage girls ‘kicked gay man as he lay unconscious’

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
23 November 2010, 3:05pm
Ruby Thomas and Rachel Burke are accusing of stamping and kicking Ian Baynham, a 63-year-old civil servant who died 18 days after he was knocked to the floor last September in Trafalgar Square.
A jury at the Old Bailey heard today that Mr Baynham, who had been out in London celebrating a new job, was punched by 20-year-old Joel Alexander and fractured his skull as he fell to the ground.
Ms Thomas, 18, and Mr Alexander, both from south-east London, deny manslaughter and affray.
Ms Burke was not present at court today and the jury was told not to speculate on reasons for her absence.
Prosecutor Brian Altman QC told the court that Mr Baynham was attacked on September 25th last year as he walked through Trafalgar Square with a male friend.
He said that Ms Thomas and Ms Burke began shouting homophobic abuse at the pair and became involved in an altercation with Mr Baynham.
Ms Thomas is said to have slapped Mr Baynham, who hit her back. He was then knocked to the floor by a punch from Mr Alexander, the court heard.
The BBC reports Mr Altman said: “The story of this case is the all-too-familiar story of drunkenness and loutish behaviour, though these defendants went far beyond anti-social behaviour.
“They [Ms Thomas and Ms Burke] put the boot into Mr Baynham who was clearly flat out on his back, unconscious and completely distressed.”
He added: “Shocked onlookers saw repeated stamps on Mr Baynham as well as forceful kicks.”
The trial continues.

Pentagon: No Gays Were Discharged In Past Month

By Lisa Leff
Associated Press
Monday, November 22, 2010; 8:46 PM

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SAN FRANCISCO -- No U.S. service members have been discharged for being openly gay in the month since the Defense Department adopted new rules surrounding the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Monday.

Under new rules adopted Oct. 21, Defense Secretary Robert Gates put authority for signing off on dismissals in the hands of the three service secretaries.

Before then, any commanding officer at a rank equivalent to a one-star general could discharge gay enlisted personnel under the 1993 law that prohibits gays from serving openly in uniform.

Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith told The Associated Press that no discharges have been approved since Oct. 21.

Smith did not know if the absence of recent discharges was related to the new separation procedures. The Pentagon has not compiled monthly discharge figures for any other months this year, she said.

Based on historical trends, however, it appears the change, as well as moves by Gates and President Barack Obama to get Congress to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," has caused discharge rates to fall dramatically, said Aaron Belkin, executive director of the Palm Center, a pro-repeal think tank based at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

"Statistically, it would be extremely unlikely if we had a month in which there were no gay discharges," Belkin said, noting that 428 gay and lesbian service members were honorably discharged under the ban in 2009. "When you require a service secretary to sign off on a discharge, you are basically saying, 'We don't want any people in this category discharged unless there is an exceptional situation.'"

A month without "don't ask, don't tell" discharges was welcome news, said Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. Still, the organization continues to hear daily from military personnel who are under investigation for being gay and face the possibility of being fired.

"We have clients who are still under investigation, who are still having to respond, and in fact we have a client under investigation right now under suicide watch," Sarvis said. "So 'don't ask, don't tell' has not gone away."

Gates announced the change requiring the top civilian officials with the armed forces to personally approve "don't ask, don't tell" discharges after a federal judge in California ordered the military to immediately stop enforcing its ban on openly gay troops, declaring the 17-year-old policy unconstitutional.

An appeals court subsequently froze the judge's order until it could consider the broader constitutional issues in the case.

Putting responsibility for firing gay personnel in the hands of the three service secretaries was not designed to slow the rate of discharges, Gates said at the time. Rather, concentrating that authority was meant to ensure uniformity and care in enforcement at a time of legal uncertainty, he said in a memo outlining the new rules.

Gates since has urged the Senate to repeal "don't ask, don't tell" before a new Congress takes office in January. He said this week he plans to release a monthslong study on how lifting the gay service ban would affect the armed forces and could be carried out on Nov. 30.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Homophobic attack mars Australian gay marriage rally

Homophobic attack mars Australian gay marriage rally

A rally aiming to put pressure on politicians to change the policy over gay marriage in Melbourne has been marred by a homophobic attack on a party candidate on Saturday.
news.PinkPaper.com
Monday, 22 November 2010
20 November 2010
jonnyaustralianflag
A rally aiming to put pressure on politicians to change the policy over gay marriage in Melbourne has been marred by a homophobic attack on a party candidate on Saturday.

The attack was carried out on Martin Leahy, a Sex Party candidate, during the parade through central Melbourne, according to the Sydney Star Observer. 

The newspaper reports how Mr. Leahy was head butted and hit in the face during an altercation with two men – thought to be in their late teens – who were not involved in the demonstration.

Mr. Leahy, who suffered cuts to his nose, said: “I told them to leave it alone and that’s when they turned on me”, after the attackers were heard using homophobic language.

More than a thousand people took to the streets in the rally calling for equal rights on same-sex marriage, with the aim of persuading the public not to vote for parties that oppose gay marriage in a state election later this month.

Comedian Josh Thomas joined a number of politicians and celebrities at the rally, and he told ABC News: “I just don’t understand people that are against it – I don’t understand their points, If you don’t want to get married to a gay person that’s fine, but why would you want to stop other people from being normal? It makes no sense.”

Another attendee of the march, Bronwyn Pike, the current Education, Skills and Workforce Participation Minister for Victoria, told the broadcaster: “I support gay marriage, there are lots of people within the Labor Party who support gay marriage, many of them are standing with me today. 

“I think this is a journey that’s unstoppable and I think we will see full marriage equality in this country in the not too distant future.”

Earlier this month, Brian Walters, who is standing as a Green candidate for Melbourne in the state election this month told The Age newspaper he would introduce a private member’s bill to allow lesbian and gay weddings if he won the seat.

Violence Mars St. Petersburg Gay Rights Demo



Violence Mars St. Petersburg Gay Rights Demo

GAY PROTEST IN ST PETERSBURG X390 (RIANOVOSTI) | ADVOCATE.COM
A gay rights demonstration in St. Petersburg, the first such state-sanctioned event to be held in Russia, was greeted by egg-throwing protestors on Saturday.
Radio Free Europe reports that “Orthodox Christians and other radicals” tried to break up the gay rights march, which lasted less than one hour due to the violence. Antigay demonstrators threw eggs and shouted insults, leading to the arrest of 10 people.
The dozen or so gay rights marchers were outnumbered by protesters including “old ladies and skinheads,” according to Agence France-Presse.
Last month, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the repeated bans on gay pride parades in Moscow put Russia in violation of the European Human Rights Convention.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Countries Vote To Accept Execution Of Gays

Countries vote to accept execution of gays

The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.
news.PinkPaper.com
Friday, 19 November 2010
18 November 2010

United Nations building The United Nations has removed a plea for lesbians, gays and bisexuals not to be executed in a narrow vote.

For the last 10 years sexual orientation has been included in a list of discriminatory grounds for executions – gay rights activists say the vote to remove that listing is “dangerous and disturbing.”

The UN resolution urges countries to protect the right to life of all people, calling on them to investigate killings based on discriminatory grounds. Sexual orientation was previously listed as one of these forms of discrimination, alongside ethnicity, religious belief and linguistic minorities.

Others protected by the resolution were human rights defenders (like journalists, lawyers and demonstrators), street children and members of indigenous communities.

But now sexual orientation has been taken out of the list. The amendment was supported by Benin in Africa on behalf of the African Group in the UN General Assembly. It passed on a narrow vote of 79 for, 70 against , 17 abstentions and 26 absent.

Some of those voting to remove sexual orientation were countries where gays are known to be or thought to be executed or summarily killed including Iran, Nigeria, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iraq.

The UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and many European countries voted in favour of gays.

Cary Alan Johnson, Executive Director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said: “This vote is a dangerous and disturbing development. It essentially removes the important recognition of the particular vulnerability faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people – a recognition that is crucial at a time when 76 countries around the world criminalise homosexuality, five consider it a capital crime and countries like Uganda are considering adding the death penalty to their laws criminalising homosexuality.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Gay vs g0y (g-Zero-y)

Versus
Recently I had a discussion with an online friend about sexuality, relationships, religion and stereotypes. We found that we have similar preferences in some of those topics.

It started me thinking about the best way to influence Gay culture in a positive way while keeping our minority true to those who paved the way for the current Gay Rights Movement.

I've selected excerpts from our discussion that were relevant and didn't delve to deeply into personal matters. The following quotes are the result.


My friend:
I like men who are in shape... chest hair is really hot to me..... And it might be strange, but I'm not into anal sex that much... Maybe I identify more with G0Y (g-zero-y) than gay? Have you heard of it?


Myself:
Yes, I've heard of g0y before and believe it or not I identify with that movement as well. I'm not "Gay" as society has depicted us. I believe 90% of homosexuals identify with g0y more than gay. All of us are tired of the stereotypes. Society perpetuates these stereotypes in Mainstream Media. Young Gay men are affected by this portrayal and they tend to emulate the stereotype because that is what they think being Gay is. I grew up in a time when being a 'Gay' stereotype would cause you a lot of problems. We were forced to remain in the closet or risk being rejected by everyone. It was a hard time my friend.

Perhaps that is why I have a lot of tolerance for the prancing and dancing fairies we see at the Gay Pride Marches. These young men are doing us a service as well as embarrassing our community. They are forcing society to accept us - they are on the front lines and they take all the heat for us. We can sit back at home watching it all unfold before us while we risk nothing because we remain silent against the oppression of our minority. I don't like the little 'Nancy Boys' nor am I attracted to them but don't kid yourself - they are doing the dirty work for all of us. Don't forget that. I don't mean to preach but I just wanted to remind you of the situation we all face.

I've always enjoyed oral sex much more than anal sex. That's just my preference. Anal sex is fine but only between people in a committed relationship be it Gay OR Straight. The pleasure of anal sex diminishes over time but the pleasure of oral sex lasts a lifetime - I can vouch for that! LOL!!!

As far as religions go - I was raised in a Southern Baptist home and went to church 3 times a week - Sunday morning for Sunday School and then church service afterwards and Wednesday evening church service. My family was always aware of my 'difference' and they protected me from much of the pitfalls many Gays had to endure. I have disassociated myself from any religion as a result of the hatred of homosexuals that is so widespread throughout all religions. That is not to say I am faithless. I have my own belief system and that works great for me.

I hope I haven't offended or bored you with all of this but I thought I would share a little more about myself tonight.


Urban Dictionary Online Defines G-0-Y (G-Zero-Y):

g0y
  
G0Y (G-ZERO-y) is a guy who finds men attractive, but (for whatever reason) is offended by the stigma that currently defines the 'gay community' in the public psyche. A G0Y recognizes that the "gay-male" community tends to embrace every gender-bending act, fetish & affectation and include those things in the general image that "gay" projects publicly. As an example look up gay pride parade on Google and you will see many examples of the associations that the word gay represents. G0YS reject those associations completely & consider it a form of prejudice against men who love men. Behaviorally: Anal-sex is innately shunned by g0y men - as it represents, to them, the ultimate form of sexual disrespect whether it be male/male or male/female. G0y men know that anal-Sex is the mechanism for the EXPLOSIVE SPREAD of Sexually Transmitted Diseases over the globe. Other distasteful stereotypes include (but are not limited to): Effeminate behavior, extreme passivity (like cowardice) & drag. G0Y men don't call other men "girl", "bitch", "queen", etc. G0y men refuse to be defined by the gay community. As G0y men we accept that we are born homosexual but we choose not to be gay, this doesn't make us gay-lite or homophobic. We are self identified homosexual men.How can we who state we are homosexual or bisexual be homophobic? We do not hate gays we just know that the anus is not a sexual organ and wasn't meant to be used as one.
"Oh, you know he's g0y, he's into men, but not gays."


Of course, you must consider the source of this definition. In fact I had to edit the definition to a more understable version because it was almost unfathomable in it's original form - or at least I couldn't understand it as it was.


The explanation this definition offers seems heavy handed and anti-gay but that is acceptable to me because who ever wrote it is probably suffering from low self-esteem and self-loathing related to their homosexual feelings. I'm not saying they are in denial but they do have some issues with  Gay people in general.

The idea of a sub-group of Gay men who reject the effeminate stereotype that has saddled all Gay men is one I support. I do not identify with men who try to behave as women. I have a lot of Gay friends and none of them identify with flaming Gays either. In fact, I do not have any friends who fit that description. I believe the vast majority of Gay men are masculine and desire masculine partners.

I respect everyone's freedom to be who they are and if some wish to behave as feminine as possible then more power to them. It seems unfair to allow them to have center stage in society's eye while the other 95% of Gay men remain invisible. That will probably never change because the invisible majority are too busy trying to blend into society and lead somewhat average lives.

The point I tried to make in my discussion with my friend was this: We masculine Gay men have a duty to respect that small minority of feminine Gay men who are the ones on the front lines fighting for Equal Rights for all Gays. The next time you see a news story about a Gay Pride Parade with thousands of flambouyant young men girating on floats in G-string bikinis and dressed in Drag remember all those who came before us and started the modern Gay Rights Movement. Those few who defied the odds and threw off the shackles of oppression and discrimination while risking their jobs, safety and even their very lives in the process.

Long Live The Queens!

Gideon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Faces Of "Don't Ask Don't Tell"

Photos of gay service members make statement about policy

By Chuck Conder, CNN
November 15, 2010 -- Updated 1812 GMT (0212 HKT)
  • Photographer says idea for project came from the soldiers, sailors and Marines themselves
  • The photo exhibit "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" conveys the stories of gay U.S. military members
  • Exhibit comes as controversial policy is being challenged in the courts
(CNN) -- A soldier and his shadow sit alone on wrinkled sheets. With his knees pressed tightly up against his chest, he wraps his arms around his legs and bows his head.
In another photo, a soldier stands before a mirror. His raised hand covers just enough of his reflection to protect his anonymity.
But it's not photographer Jeff Sheng from whom these men are hiding their identities.
It's the military.
Sheng's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" exhibit, two years in the making, conveys the stories of the gay and bisexual men and women who serve in the U.S. military. And because his subjects are forced to keep their sexual orientations under wraps in order to serve, Shen's photos are portraits without faces.
The Los Angeles, California-based artist said many of his subjects were grateful for the opportunity to make a statement "without fully revealing themselves and losing their jobs."
"If this person got outed, they would lose their pension, their retirement benefits -- their 20 years of service in the military would be gone," he said.
Sheng asked many of those he photographed why they continue to serve despite the inequality.
"I asked, 'Why do you still serve with this policy in place? Why would you do it?' " Sheng said. "And they all looked at me and said, 'Because it's serving the country. It's the most honorable thing that I can think of doing right now in my life.' "
Sheng is also the creator of "Fearless," photographs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered high school and college athletes who are public about their sexual identities. He is working on a project focusing on undocumented Americans.
The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" photos were exhibited last week in Washington at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters, and Sheng said he hopes to bring them next to Chicago, Illinois.
The exhibit couldn't have been unveiled at a more relevant time.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to suspend enforcement temporarily of "don't ask, don't tell." Though a lower court has deemed the law unconstitutional, the controversial policy will remain in effect until the appeals process is complete.
President Obama is on record favoring abolition of the policy but has said he wants the issue to be decided by Congress, not in the courts.
The new commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James Amos, opposes repeal of the policy. "There is a risk involved," Amos told reporters in San Diego, California. "I'm tring to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."
Ryan Vincent Downing, a former Air Force captain and one of the 60 service members Sheng photographed, said he has confidence "that people in the military can handle change." He is no longer in the service and said hiding his sexuality took a toll.
"I found myself making up lies, and then making up more lies to cover the lies I had told before," Downing said.
Sheng said he hopes his photographs open eyes to the way the "don't ask, don't tell" policy affects closeted service members who are fighting and dying for their country.
"This idea that they're hiding, in many ways ... they can't reveal who they are," Sheng said. "[It] has a really profound effect on the way that people see these images and think about the issue."

William Shatner Defends Gay Friend Character


$#*! My Dad Says

William Shatner did more to help the Gay community in 30 minutes of network airtime than all of the empty words and promises Barrack Obama or any other politician will ever do. He took a stand against one of his oldest friends who was openly homophobic, hostile and threatening towards one of his new friends who happened to be Gay.

Of course he was in character as Ed Goodson in his new sitcom '$#*! My Dad Says' along with Wally, his bitter old friend and ex-navy buddy, and his new friend Tim whom Ed had befriended after Tim lost his job because he helped Ed pass his Driver's Exam and now works part time as Ed's housemaid.

I haven't watched a sitcom on a regular basis since the days of All In The Family, Mary Hartman Mary Hartman and Soap. When I read that William Shatner would be starring in a new sitcom titled $#*! My Dad Says (based on the website of a similar name 'Shit My Dad Says') my curiosity was piqued. I am so happy I decided to give it a try.

During a recent episode called "The Manly Thing To Do" Ed was entertaining a group of his old Navy buddies. Tim was invited to join the party because Ed never realized the stark reality of homophobia and the discrimination that his new friend faced everyday. At first Tim was accepted by Wally but as soon as his sexuality was revealed Wally changed and became openly hostile to Tim. Ed played it off by saying that is just how Wally is. Tim opened Ed's eyes to the true nature of Wally's behavior. Later on,  during the party when all of Ed's old buddies were there drinking and reminiscing Tim arrived with the all male, all gay chorus he was involved with. Ed introduced them to his friends and informed them they were invited to the party and would be providing some entertainment by singing. Wally became irrate and behaved very rudely to Tim and the chorus. Ed told Wally "Lighten up will you?" and Wally insisted the fairies would have to leave. Ed informed Wally that "We are old friends and I tell you this now, if you continue to treat my friends in this way I will ask you to leave my house". Wally waitied for some of Ed's other Navy buddies to speak up but alas no one did. He thought about it a moment but didn't leave. Ed said "Now, come on men! I'm not paying you to stand around and look pretty! Let's have some music." With that the chorus began singing "Anchors Away" and everyone joined in except Wally who just stood there confused at the turn of events. I have paraphrased the dialogue in the description above but that is pretty close to verbatim (I think, lol).

William Shatner is a well known and respected icon of pop culture. As such he is one of the best celebrity spokesman for any cause. His persona embodies masculinity. If you wanted to retain his service as ambassador on your behalf the price tag would undoubtedly be hefty. I was so proud to have Captain Kirk defend a Gay man, even if it was only on a TV sitcom, against bullying by one of his Navy buddies that I had to write about it and share it with you all.

If you are interested enough to watch "$#*! My Dad Says" (I highly recommend it) you can check it out on iMDB/TV at this link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1612578/ then find out when and which network carries it in your area.

Gideon