Archive for October, 2011

October 24, 2011

Significant People Who Were Gay []

October 18, 2011

What effect does having LGBT parents have on children? []

An excellent study on the outcomes of children raised by gay/lesbian parents has been published by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry:

No. 92; August 2011
Click here to download and print a PDF version of this document.

Millions of children in the United States have lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT)  parents. Some children of LGBT parents were conceived in heterosexual marriages or relationships. An increasing number of LGBT parents have conceived children and/or raised them from birth, either as single parents or in ongoing committed relationships. This can occur through adoption, alternative insemination, surrogate or foster parenting. A small number of states currently have laws supportive of LGBT couple adoption.

What effect does having LGBT parents have on children?

Sometimes people are concerned that children being raised by a gay parent will need extra emotional support or face unique social stressors.Current research shows that children with gay and lesbian parents do not differ from children with heterosexual parents in their emotional development or in their relationships with peers and adults. It is important for parents to understand that it is the the quality of the parent/child relationship and not the parent’s sexual orientation that has an effect on a child’s development. Research has shown that in contrast to common beliefs, children of lesbian, gay, or transgender parents:

  • Are not more likely to be gay than children with heterosexual parents.
  • Are not more likely to be sexually abused.
  • Do not show differences in whether they think of themselves as male or female (gender identity).
  • Do not show differences in their male and female behaviors (gender role behavior).

Raising children in a LGBT household

Although research shows that children with gay and lesbian parents are as well adjusted as children with heterosexual parents, they can face some additional challenges. Some LGBT families face discrimination in their communities and children may be teased or bullied by peers. Parents can help their children cope with these pressures in the following ways:

  • Prepare your child to handle questions and comments about their background or family.
  • Allow for open communication and discussions that are appropriate to your child’s age and level of maturity.
  • Help your child come up with and practice appropriate responses to teasing or mean remarks.
  • Use books, Web sites and movies that show children in LGBT families.
  • Consider having a support network for your child (For example, having your child meet other children with gay parents.)
  • Consider living in a community where diversity is more accepted.

Like all children, most children with LGBT parents will have both good and bad times. They are not more likely than children of heterosexual parents to develop emotional or behavioral problems. If LGBT parents have questions or concerns about their child, they should consider a consultation with a qualified mental health professional.


October 14, 2011

How Could Anyone Be Against Gay Marriage After Watching This? []

By Matt Cherette /

One reason why some people oppose same-sex marriage is that they’ve never met a happy, loving gay couple or family. That’s what the Campaign for Southern Equality is trying to change with the WE DO Campaign.

For the past 10 days, same-sex couples in Asheville, North Carolina have been showing up to the county register’s office to politely request marriage licenses. They’ve all been denied, since North Carolina doesn’t permit gay couples to marry. (A proposed amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage comes up in May.) But it certainly puts a human face on the struggle for marriage equality.


October 14, 2011

Women Don’t Go After the Big Jobs with Gusto: True or False? []

by Christine Silva and Nancy Carter / Harvard Business Review

Want to get ahead in your career? We all know the proactive career advancement strategies you should use. Let your boss know you’re ready for that high-profile assignment he’s seeking to fill. Tell him clearly and directly about your career aspirations, and that you’re willing to work longer hours. Don’t just build a relationship with your boss—also be sure to rub shoulders with your boss’s boss. Oh, and meanwhile keep your options open by constantly surfacing opportunities outside your organization, as well.

It’s all sound enough advice—but the problem is, it doesn’t work for everyone. Catalyst’s latest research on the career trajectories of high-potential men and women finds that doing “all the right things” to get ahead—using those strategies that are regularly promulgated in self-help books, coaching sessions, and the popular press—pays off much better for men than it does for women.

It isn’t that women are neglecting to wage the campaigns. In the large population of high-potentials we’ve been tracking, Catalyst finds equal proportions of women and men using proactive strategies. Many in both groups report seeking high-profile assignments, networking with influential leaders, and making their accomplishments more visible, among other tactics. But regardless of the career advancement strategies used—proactive or relatively inactive, internally- or externally-focused—men were more likely than women to have reached the senior executive/CEO ranks. Most interestingly, while within the group of men we surveyed, more proactivity meant greater advancement, among the women, this wasn’t the case. Employing the prescribed proactive strategies didn’t make as much of a difference to women’s career advancement.

What does work best for women? Among the career advancement tactics we studied, one stood out as having greatest impact. The women who did more to make their achievements known advanced further, were more satisfied with their careers, and had greater compensation growth. (A second strategy was also effective: Women advanced further when they proactively networked with influential others.)

The implication for women is obvious. They should continue to ensure that their managers are aware of their accomplishments, seek feedback and credit as appropriate, and ask for promotions when they are deserved, just as the high-potential women we’ve followed have been doing. Helping others recognize their contributions will help women get ahead further and faster.

Unfortunately, it won’t be enough to close a gender gap that begins to appear on day one. Among high-potential employees—the people companies invest significant dollars to recruit, develop, and advance—Catalyst research has documented that women lag men with respect to both level and compensation starting with their very first job out of business school. Worse, the pay gap grows throughout a woman’s career. In one of our previous studies, we reported that the gap between women’s and men’s salaries in their first post-MBA jobs was $4,600. By the time of our latest survey, as the careers of these same high-potentials had progressed, the gender gap in pay had increased to over $31,000. When you start from behind, it’s hard enough to keep pace, never mind catch up—regardless of what tactics you use.

And no, it’s not that women are less ambitious, or that they have too few mentors, or that they take time out to have children. Catalyst has examined all these supposed explanations and finds that, still, the gender gap in both advancement and compensation persists.

And with these most recent findings, yet another myth is busted: the one that says women fail to pursue their career goals as proactively as men. The truth is that women do, but even when they make use of the same strategies, they still don’t get as far ahead.

This brings us to implications for organizations. If the issue isn’t a difference of behavior between their high-potential men and women, then the problem can be laid at their doorsteps. Why does being proactive pay off more for the men than for the women in their ranks?

Take a look at your culture—the way things are done in your workplace. To what extent are people advanced and compensated based on their strategic career tactics versus their skills and performance? How, then, are people being coached to get ahead? Are there assumptions made that what has worked for men in the past will work for women? And when women and men use the same strategies, are reactions and evaluations sometimes different?

Individuals who don’t strategically manage their careers run the risk of lagging their peers. Likewise, organizations that allow individuals’ use of advancement strategies to overly influence talent management decisions without checks and balances are at risk of lagging their competitors in attracting, developing, and retaining the best candidates—and in particular high-potential women—to serve as their next generation of leaders.

In the coming weeks, we will unpack some of the other myths around “ideal workers.” Are men paid for potential while women are paid for proven performance? Are women intentionally seeking slower tracks? Does the gender gap exist because “women don’t ask”?

The answers may surprise you—and change the way you do business.

October 14, 2011

Can’t Buy Love: Materialism Kills Marriages []

by Courtney Hutchison /

Focusing too heavily on the “for richer” part of the nuptial vows could spell disaster for a marriage, according to research published today by Brigham Young University.

In a survey of 1,700 married couples, researchers found that couples in which one or both partners placed a high priority on getting or spending money were much less likely to have satisfying and stable marriages.

“Our study found that materialism was associated with spouses having lower levels of responsiveness and less emotional maturity. Materialism was also linked to less effective communication, higher levels of negative conflict, lower relationship satisfaction, and less marriage stability,” said Jason Carroll, a BYU professor of family life in Provo, Utah, and lead author of the study.

Researchers gauged materialism using self-report surveys that asked questions such as to what extent do you agree with these statements? “I like to own things to impress people” or “money can buy happiness.” Spouses were then surveyed on aspects of their marriage.

For one out of every five couples in the study, both partners admitted a strong love of money. These couples were worse off in terms of marriage stability, marriage satisfaction, communications skills and other metrics of healthy matrimony that researchers studied.

The one out of seven couples that reported low-levels of materialism in both partners scored 10 to 15 percent higher in all metrics of marital quality and satisfaction. Interestingly, the correlation between materialism and marital difficulties remained stable regardless of the actual wealth of the couple.


The Things That Money Just Can’t Buy

Study authors and marriage experts noted that the findings probably have to do with the personality traits that go along with materialism. They will be published today in the Journal of Couple & Relationship Therapy.

“The finding does not necessarily mean that it is the materialism itself that damages their relationships. … A materialistic orientation may be associated with other unidentified factors, such as childhood deprivation or neglect, which might play a more pivotal role in adult marital satisfaction,” said Don Catherall, professor of clinical psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University in Chicago. “Of course, it may also simply mean that people who are more focused on making money have less energy and interest left to invest in their marriages.”

Click here to continue reading the article…

October 14, 2011

Effort To Repeal Gay History Law Fails []

by Margaret Hartmann /

The group Stop SB48 has been working torepeal a new California law that requires public schools to teach social studies lessons on the contributions of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, but yesterday it failed to collect the signatures necessary to put the issue on the ballot. That means the law will go into effect on January 1, but Stop SB48 is expected to keep working to repeal the measure in the November 2012 election. If there’s one thing that’s worth protesting in the U.S., it’s kids spending 20 minutes learning about Harvey Milk.


October 11, 2011

Governor Brown signs notable transgender bills into law []

Governor Brown announced Sunday that two important transgender bills have been signed into California law, making the state less discriminatory against its transgender population. The first passed law, the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, will protect transgender people against discrimination in the workplace, school, housing, and other public settings. The second law, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act, will allow transgender people to protect their gender through a court-ordered change.

The laws, AB 443 and AB 887 is an epic movement for transgender people in California since it now legally protects the group.

“California laws protect people from discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression [because] California non-discrimination laws define ‘gender’ to mean sex including a person’s gender identity (how they seem themselves) and gender expression (how other people see them),” said Assemblymember Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) prior to the law’s passing.

Atkins added: “In 2009, the Transgender Law Center released its “State of Transgender California” report. The report revealed overwhelmingly that Californians who experience discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression at work or elsewhere often times do not file complaints because they are unaware that they are protected as a result of confusing non-discrimination laws.”

Atkins explained the bill was proposed because of its aim to reduce discrimination with legal language that is “direct and easily understood” so employers, housing officials, and other groups can adhere to laws that now protect the group.

The laws are an important stride for transgender people in California, and will help set example for other states considering transgender protection through instituted laws.

October 11, 2011

TransFolk Holiday Party December 3rd, 2011 in Los Angeles []

For clients, guests, colleagues, supporters, and providers of the Transgender / Transsexual Community in Los Angeles, sponsored by Gender Wellness of Los Angeles. Toasting the new standards of care that were recently released at the WPATH (World Professional Association of Transgender Health) Conference in Atlanta.

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
3pm – 6pm

Rockwell Restaurant
1714 N. Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA  90027

$10 Cover Charge – All proceeds donated to Trans Youth Family Allies

October 9, 2011

Babies are already morally superior to the rest of us by 15 months []

By Alasdair Wilkins /

Babies are already way more adorable and beloved than other humans, but at least we old-timers could scoff at infants and proudly declare, “My senses of fairness and altruism are way better developed than yours!” Well…I’ve got some bad news.

It turns out that babies – those cute, lovable jerks – are just as good at us old people when it comes to basic morality. If anything, they’re even more moral than we are, considering they haven’t yet had a lifetime of experience to warp and corrupt their sense of right and wrong. Until now, it was thought that children don’t understand altruism – the tendency to do things for the benefits of others – until at least two years old, and a sense of fairness doesn’t develop until the age of 6 or 7.

But University of Wisconsin researcher Jessica Sommerville wasn’t convinced, and she set out to prove that babies already think they’re better than the rest of us – at least, I assume that’s how to interpret her research – at an even younger age than previously thought. Recent research has shown that children as young as fifteen months display signs of cooperative behavior, and Sommerville designed an experiment to reveal just what these youngsters were capable of.

To that end, she had 15 month old children sit on their parents’ laps while they were shown two videos. The first video featured three characters, one of whom had a bowl of crackers. This person shared the crackers with the other two – once in equal portions, and then with one person getting more crackers than the others. The second video was exactly the same thing, only this time around with milk substituted in for crackers. (And they say sequels never add anything new…)

The researchers measured the responses of the forty-seven babies that participated in the experiment, each of whom was tested individually. The researchers were on the lookout for something called “violation of expectancy”, which basically means babies pay more attention when they’re surprised. The babies’ attention tended to perk up considerably when the milk and crackers were unevenly shared than when they were distributed equally, indicating they expected the participants to get equal shares.

Admittedly, it’s not ironclad proof, but it does suggest babies possess some sense of fairness. That conclusion only gets stronger when you consider the next part of the experiment, in which the babies were presented with two Lego toys, one a simple block and the other a more elaborate figure. Whichever toy the baby chose was considered the preferred toy.

A previously unseen experimenter then entered the room and asked the baby if he could have one of the Lego toys. A full third of the babies gave up their preferred toy, while another third just gave the researcher the other toy that they hadn’t previously chosen. The remaining third perhaps just didn’t want to share, although it’s also possible that they felt nervous around strangers.

Here’s where it gets really interesting – 92% of the babies who shared their preferred toy had also paid more attention to the unequal sharing video. In other words, the vast majority of babies who gave up the toy they liked – a basic act of altruism – were also ones who were surprised by an act of unfairness. The same held true going the other way, as 86% of the non-altruistic sharers who gave away the other toy had paid more attention to the equal sharing of food.

Taken together, it suggests that babies do possess a sense of fairness and a sense of altruism, and the presence of one very heavily informs the presence of the other. We now know a lot more about babies’ cognitive capacity for morality, and now the big question is why some babies develop these tendencies at such a young age and why others don’t. Sommerville speculates that a lot of it has to do with nonverbal cues, as babies are informed by how those around them treat other people. But that’s a much bigger question, and one that will need a lot more research before we can really say for certain.

October 8, 2011

Women Are The Real Victims Of The So-Called ‘Men’s Crisis’ []

By Hugo Schwyzer /

It’s not your imagination. Young women really do have to work harder than guys in order to receive equal treatment, a long-held suspicion confirmed by two recent studies.

Recently Inside Higher Education report on changing college admission practices found that both private and public institutions are giving preference to male applicants, regardless of race or class. The New York Times predictably buried the lede, choosing to focus on the breathtakingly obvious reality that admissions officers are more partial than ever to wealthy students. But it’s not news that the capacity to pay full tuition compensates for lower grades; it has never not been so. It is news that female applicants of all races are now held to a higher standard than white men at universities large and small.

For several years, this preference for guys was assumed to be a phenomenon of highly selective liberal arts institutions. Five years ago, Jennifer Delahunty Britz, the dean of admissions at Kenyon College, wrote a famously apologetic op-ed in the Times called To All The Girls I’ve Rejected, in which she noted grimly that in the interests of gender parity, standards at her school were now “stiffer for women than men.” Half a decade later, this Inside Higher Ed study confirms that what was thought to be limited to a few elite colleges has now become a nearly universal practice.

Men don’t just get a break from admissions officers; they also get the media’s focus. The hot problem of our era is the “masculinity crisis.” Hanna Rosin worried about The End of Men; Bill Bennett writes this week of a growing male “maturity deficit.” Pundits, pastors, pediatricians — everyone’s got a book out explaining “what’s wrong with boys.” Certainly, there’s some evidence that for any number of reasons, young men are falling behind. And since any discussion of the causes of this male malaise tends to be highly politicized, the debate about what to do about “slacker guys” is likely to continue for some time. But as we now know, one highly questionable solution is already in place: lower admissions standards for men. And Britz’s 2006 mea culpa notwithstanding, the collateral damage to women of this attempt to fix the dude deficit is being ignored.

The damage to women doesn’t just come in the form of the dreaded thin envelopes from admissions offices. The reality of being held to a higher standard is making another crisis much worse: young women’s already worsening perfectionism. Girls have always been aware of an unjust sexual double standard; now they get to contend with the additional reality of much higher intellectual expectations.

UCLA’s annual freshman survey has tracked changing attitudes among first-year college students for decades. The most recent results, released in January, make clear that stress is a female phenomenon. The Times writes:

Every year, women had a less positive view of their emotional health than men, and that gap has widened…

For many young people, serious stress starts before college. The share of students who said on the survey that they had been frequently overwhelmed by all they had to do during their senior year of high school rose to 29 percent from 27 percent last year.

The gender gap on that question was even larger than on emotional health, with 18 percent of the men saying they had been frequently overwhelmed, compared with 39 percent of the women.

Young men and women also dealt differently with leisure; UCLA’s Linda Sax notes that the survey revealed that “Men tend to find more time for leisure and activities that relieve stress, like exercise and sports, while women tend to take on more responsibilities, like volunteer work and helping out with their family, that don’t relieve stress.”

Since we now know that colleges across the country hold young women’s applications to a higher standard, girls’ substantially greater commitment to volunteerism has become a female competitive necessity. Though voluntary community service has been a graduation requirement at many secondary schools since the 1980s, it has taken on greater significance in an era of rampant grade inflation, in which virtually every college applicant may have a 4.0 or better. The more hours devoted to feeding the homeless or caring for cancer patients, the better the chance of distinguishing oneself from the huge number of bright, ambitious, well-rounded girls applying for a finite number of spots in the first-year class.

Young men, on the other hand, are collectively rewarded for their absence of academic ambition and community spirit. By the intensely competitive standards of college admissions, what might seem like a lackluster volunteer record from a high school girl (say, 5 hours a week reading to the blind) seems positively heroic when it belongs to a guy. The more time the mass of young men devote to the gym or to playing Call of Duty, the more the shrinking number of even moderately ambitious dudes benefit; they become the chance for a selective school to keep its gender ratio from becoming too female-heavy.

The traditional “stressors” in so many young women’s lives – the obligation to care for family, the burden of chasing an unattainable physical ideal, the pressure to be sexy but not sexual, the worry about “running out of time” — all these were present well before the current frenzy of anxiety over the end of manhood. These familiar worries have now been joined by the depressing reality that young women have to be far more accomplished than young men just to receive equal consideration in college admissions.

There may well be a “guy crisis.” But as the Inside Higher Ed and UCLA studies both reveal, it is young women who have become the anxious and exhausted victims of the strategies we’re using to solve this problem of masculine malaise.

Hugo Schwyzer is a professor of gender studies and history at Pasadena City College and a nationally-known speaker on sex, relationships, and masculinity. He blogs at his eponymous site and co-authored the autobiography of Carré Otis, Beauty, Disrupted.


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