Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Why you should think twice before you talk about 'the LGBT community'

What does the phrase “LGBT community” mean to you? Chances are if you don’t identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans yourself, you might think about what you’ve seen on TV – so Queer as Folk, Orange is the New Black, or The L Word , to name a few TV hits. It might also bring to mind images of brightly coloured rainbow flags or Pride parades.

But just stop for a minute and think about how often you’ve heard someone talk about “the heterosexual community”? Rarely I imagine – but the term “LGBT community”, or sometimes “gay community”, is frequently used by pretty much everyone...

Read on: Why you should think twice before you talk about 'the LGBT community'

Sunday, 6 August 2017

WATCH: What does science actually say about whether there's a gay gene? - ScienceAlert

It's thought that between 2 and 6 percent of people identify as same sex attracted – but the jury is still firmly out on the science on why and how it occurs.

Is being gay genetic, and if so, is there a gay gene?

WATCH: What does science actually say about whether there's a gay gene? - ScienceAlert

Friday, 4 August 2017

Guys don’t tape your penis shut instead of using a condom | Dr. Jen Gunter

I admit the penis is not my professional wheelhouse but after someone sent me the horror that is Jiftip the Diktip I could not resist. After all Alex Jones has proven that men are equally vulnerable to snake oil and I do not want any guys trying this or any female partners getting pregnant because of it (it seems aimed at that demographic).

The product, Jiftip, is an adhesive plaster for the penis. Like a penis Post-It Note (sorry 3M).

I believe this image says it all.

First of all there are no studies. Yes, I looked. As far as medical products go “beta-testing” appears to be snake oil Parseltongue for send-us-your-cash-we-have-done-absofuckinlutely-no work-on-this-what-so-ever-but-it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-3 a.m. Ethical researchers do not release “beta” products they complete Phase 1 studies and then recruit for Phase 2 studies.

Read the full post: Guys don’t tape your penis shut instead of using a condom | Dr. Jen Gunter

While not explicitly stated, this dangerous-sounding gadget is almost certainly completely useless against STIs as well.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

UK Govt: National LGBT survey


This survey is for people who are:
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, or have a minority sexual orientation or gender identity
  • 16 years old or over
  • living in the UK
The survey should take around 15 minutes to complete.

Complete the questionnaire here: National LGBT survey

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Between the (Gender) Lines: the Science of Transgender Identity - Science in the News

First, some (controversial) definitions. It would be remiss to claim to be able to define or categorize all variations in human sexuality and gender (hence the continually lengthening acronyms used, sometimes tongue in cheek, by the community); one of the larger acronyms, LGBTQQIAAP, still humbly accepts that it is not all-inclusive. These lists, while not exhaustive, are exhausting. The labels are useful in some respects, much like any other label denoting origin or role – they help us navigate social situations and can often be signs of respect. It is a natural human inclination to categorize, but broad assumptions can also lead to stereotyping. To limit the scope of this article, we will focus on transgender identity...

Read more: Between the (Gender) Lines: the Science of Transgender Identity - Science in the News

Meet The Doctor Social Conservatives Depend On To Justify Anti-Transgender Hate

Conservatives champion McHugh as an expert on transgender identities, but his antiquated rhetoric and biased rejection of what transgender people experience set him drastically apart from the consensus of psychiatrists and the standards of care that best support transgender people’s health...

Read more:
Meet The Doctor Social Conservatives Depend On To Justify Anti-Transgender Hate at ThinkProgress

Sex redefined : Nature News & Comment

As a clinical geneticist, Paul James is accustomed to discussing some of the most delicate issues with his patients. But in early 2010, he found himself having a particularly awkward conversation about sex.

A 46-year-old pregnant woman had visited his clinic at the Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia to hear the results of an amniocentesis test to screen her baby's chromosomes for abnormalities. The baby was fine — but follow-up tests had revealed something astonishing about the mother...

Read the rest of this article: Sex redefined : Nature News & Comment (published in 2015)

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

French ethics panel backs lesbian procreation help | Reuters

French ethics panel backs lesbian procreation help | Reuters

Campaigners for lesbian motherhood got a significant boost in France on Tuesday when a panel of ethics specialists said that female couples and single women should be granted access to sperm-donor techniques of medically assisted reproduction.

The recommendation from the National Consultative Committee on Ethics (CCNE) comes two months after President Emmanuel Macron promised to legislate on access to medically assisted procreation for lesbians if elected.

The all-clear from CCNE, a panel which deliberates on sweeping societal changes made possible by the progress of science, brings France a step closer to the biggest gay rights reform since same-sex marriage was legalised in 2013.

A group1 that spearheaded months of protests before the legalisation of gay marriage denounced the view of the ethics committee. It urged Macron in a statement not to launch what it said would be a "futile" debate on the issue.

It cited a poll by Opinionay2 survey which found earlier this month that 77 percent of respondents answered "yes" when asked if they felt the state should guarantee the right of children born through medically assisted techniques to a mother and a father3.

Medically assisted procreation is widely available in places such as Britain, Belgium and Spain but it is reserved in France to heterosexual couples, with most or all of the bill paid for by public healthcare funds.

France was the 14th country in the world to legalise gay marriage.

The CCNE, which is made up of a rotating membership of 39 people representing the main religions as well as ethics experts and scientific researchers, was created by late President Francois Mitterrand in 1983.

Gay rights group SOS Homophibie welcomed its recommendation and called on Macron to legislate rapidly.

The CCNE said it opposed recourse to surrogate mothers, one of the only ways gay male couples could aspire to parenting, though they can adopt.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet, Brian Love and Cyril Camu, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Notes:
1. Manif Pour Tous, an exceptionally virulent and homo/transphobic manifestation of the religious far right. It became an official political party in 2015 but has yet to present any candidates for election as far as we know.
2. A typo for Opinionway
3. The question was "Do you believe the State should guarantee the right to have a father and a mother for children conceived via medically assisted procreation?"

Thursday, 25 May 2017

An Open Letter To Those Praising The New York Times ‘Tomboy’ Piece

Why do we need to have a conversation about the harms of gender norms that does so through the lens of affirming one’s not-trans-ness?
Well worth reading to the end: An Open Letter To Those Praising The New York Times ‘Tomboy’ Piece

Wendy Davis: Texas Lawmakers Are Bullying Transgender Youth

Just a couple of weeks ago, as the Texas legislature entered the final days of its legislative session, House lawmakers from both sides of the aisle came together, tearfully, to pledge their support for “David’s Law,” a bill that addresses cyberbullying. Named for a San Antonio teen who took his own life after being bullied, the law would require public schools to establish cyberbullying policies and systems for anonymous reports.

As Republican State Rep. Wayne Faircloth said, speaking in favor of the bill: “It is time to treat each other with respect, and that starts here in this House… We have to set the example here. It’s how we treat each other. It’s how we walk. It’s how we talk. It’s how we listen to seek to understand, to make a difference.”

Just 10 days later, some of those very same lawmakers became the bullies... Wendy Davis: Texas Lawmakers Are Bullying Transgender Youth at motto.time.com

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

EU Parliament reiterates commitment to combating homophobia

Monday, 10 April 2017

Chechnya has opened concentration camps for gay men

Gay men arrested in a ‘purge’ in the Russian region of Chechnya are being held in concentration camp-style prisons, reports have alleged.

Early reports emerged earlier this month that gay people are being targeted in the region, which is part of Russia but has substantial autonomy.

Russian newspapers and human rights groups report that more than 100 gay men have been detained “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation, or suspicion of such” as part of a purge. Several people were also reportedly feared dead following violent raids.

In a chilling response, a Chechen government spokesperson denied that there are any gay people to detain, insisting that “you can’t detain and harass someone who doesn’t exist in the republic”. The Kremlin denied any knowledge of a purge.

But reports have since emerged that the men arrested are being kept in horrific concentration camp prisons, where violent abuse and torture is common...

Read the rest of the article and sign the petition here.

See also : 


and, alas, many more. This story appears well-founded.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

AP Definitive Source | Making a case for a singular ‘they’

During a panel at the American Copy Editors Society national conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Friday, it was announced that the 2017 AP Stylebook will include guidance on the limited use of “they” as a singular pronoun. 


The addition is immediately available to AP Stylebook Online subscribers and will be included in the new print edition of the Stylebook when it is published on May 31. Key passages from the new entry include:
They, them, their — In most cases, a plural pronoun should agree in number with the antecedent: The children love the books their uncle gave them.They/them/their is acceptable in limited cases as a singular and-or gender-neutral pronoun, when alternative wording is overly awkward or clumsy. However, rewording usually is possible and always is preferable. Clarity is a top priority; gender-neutral use of a singular they is unfamiliar to many readers. We do not use other gender-neutral pronouns such as xe or ze…
Read the full post: AP Definitive Source | Making a case for a singular ‘they’

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

FightAIDS@Home Team Re-Opens Phase 1


We are happy to announce that we are re-opening Phase 1 of the Fight AIDS@Home project. In collaboration with World Community Grid, and thanks to their affiliated volunteers around the globe, High Throughput Virtual Screening will be performed by targeting the HIV-1 capsid protein with the goal of discovering new chemical compounds to defeat the AIDS virus (HIV).

Read more in this update.

Join World Community Grid & help with this and similar projects here.

Hidden HIV reservoirs exposed by telltale protein : Nature News & Comment

Attempts to cure HIV have been thwarted by a particular type of immune-system cell that can hide the virus. These long-lived infected T cells can evade detection by the body for years, and are hard to find, study and kill. Reliably identifying these covert reservoirs is top of the wish-list for HIV researchers, but they've had limited success.

That may soon change with the identification of a protein called CD32a. It sits on the surface of T cells that are infected, but lie dormant. Researchers reported their findings on 15 March in Nature. Like a police sketch of a criminal, the protein provides a way to distinguish these sleeper T cells from other immune-system cells. And it provides hope that scientists could target these silent, infected cells and destroy them...

Read on: Hidden HIV reservoirs exposed by telltale protein: Nature News & Comment