Kansas Senate Comes To It’s Senses And Nixes Extreme Anti-Gay (Jim Crow) Legislation [politicususa.net]

kansassealBy: Justin Baragona / politicususa.net
The Kansas Senate decided on Friday that they would kill the legislation that was passed earlier this week by the state’s House of Representatives. The bill, known as House Bill 2453,would have opened the door to widespread segregation and discrimination of those in the LGBT community. On Tuesday, the House of Representatives, which is overwhelmingly Republican, passed the bill with ease by a vote of 72-49. It was assumed that with a large majority in the state’s Senate and the extremely conservative Sam Brownback as Governor, the legislation was going to fly through and become law.

Well, something happened along the way. Perhaps it was the fact that the law made national headlines and had a lot of blowback. Or maybe it was due to what Andrew Sullivan wrote on Friday regarding what the law would do for the LGBT community. In his column, Sullivan accurately noted that passing a law that so blatantly discriminates gays and treats them like second-class citizens would inevitably be the death knell for the religious right in its attempt to prevent the advancement of gay rights.

Basically, by going forward with this, the gay community could rightly point to this law and compare it to the Jim Crow laws of the South. It also would have an avalanche effect on the GOP, as young voters would be turned off by them for good due to their penchant for bigotry. Sullivan nailed it with the following paragraph:

If the Republican Party wanted to demonstrate that it wants no votes from anyone under 40, it couldn’t have found a better way to do it. Some critics have reacted to this law with the view that it is an outrageous new version of Jim Crow and a terrifying portent of the future for gays in some red states. It is both of those. It’s the kind of law that Vladimir Putin would enthusiastically support. But it is also, to my mind, a fatal mis-step for the movement to keep gay citizens in a marginalized, stigmatized place.

Dallas Sports Anchor Delivers Perfect Speech to Michael Sam’s Critics [gawker.com]

During his “Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating Our Differences” segment Monday night, WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen issued a near perfect public takedown to the the anonymous NFL officials in Sports Illustrated’s much-criticized Michael Sam story.

From Hansen’s speech, via Towleroad:

“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft.

You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome.

Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome.

Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away?

You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that.

You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far!”

Hanson acknowledged his own faults but welcomed Sam, saying it was “time to celebrate him.”

“I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world,” Hansen said. “But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”

[via Reddit]

http://gawker.com/dallas-sports-anchor-delivers-perfect-speech-to-michael-1521723229

Facial Hints Sharpen People’s ‘Gaydar’ [livescience.com]

by Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer

People can judge with surprising accuracy whether someone is gay or straight — even when they’re looking at a black-and-white photograph, cropped of hair and identifying marks, and presented upside down.

The findings from a University of Washington study suggest people use a combination of clues from individual facial features and from the way those features fit together to make snap judgments aboutsexual orientation, said researcher Joshua Tabak, a graduate student in psychology.

“We may be doing this so efficiently that we may not even have to try to make this judgment,” Tabak told LiveScience.

Guessing sexual orientation

Tabak’s is not the first study to find that people can correctly guess a person’s sexual orientation from a photograph more often than just by chance. This “gaydar” isn’t infallible: The rate of correct guesses is usually in the high 50 percent to mid-60 percent range, Tabak said.

Still, that’s pretty impressive, he said, given that researchers use cropped faces without hair, jewelry or other possible hints about sexual orientation. [5 Myths About Gay People Debunked]

What earlier studies had not done was to tease out how people make these snap sexuality judgments. They might base it on individual facial features — nose or eyes — or they might look at how the features fit together in the face, such as how far apart the eyes are. Or it could be some combination of both.

Click to read the rest of the article…

Danish parliament approves equal marriage laws [pinknews.co.uk]

The Danish parliament has approved equal marriage laws 85 to 24 today, reports said today.

by Stephen Gray / pinknews.co.uk

Members of the sole house of the Folketing approved the gender-neutral marriage legislation today after an opposition amendment creating a separate system of marriage for gay couples under different terminology was rejected yesterday.

The new law is due to come into effect on 15 June this year, b.dk reported.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark, to which 80 percent of the Danish population belongs, will be able to perform marriage ceremonies under the new laws. New rites were written up by ten of the Church’s eleven bishops in a spirit of “good cooperation”, Bishop Kjeld Holm said.

Gay couples will be able to marry in churches of their choice but priests will not be obliged to perform weddings. They would, however, need to help the couple find a priest who would marry them at the church under the new laws.

Kim Klaus Wyon-Sergeant, an editor living in Denmark told PinkNews.co.uk: “Members of the Christian Democrats (a party that is not represented in parliament) plan to sue the state, believing that the law infringes on their freedom of religion. However experts say they dont have much of a chance since the law specifically allows ministers of the church to abstain from presiding over same-sex marriages.”

Denmark’s current system of registered partnerships for gay couples was the first of its kind in the world when it was enacted in 1989.

Manu Sareen, the Minister for Equality and Church and Nordic Cooperation in the coalition government of the Social Democrats, Social Liberal Party and Socialist People’s Party said of equal marriage: “It’s liberalism, it’s diversity, it’s equality, it’s tolerance and it’s so beautiful.”

Mr Sareen announced the government’s intention to legalise gay marriages in October last year.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/06/07/danish-parliament-approves-equal-marriage-laws-for-gay-couples/

 

Homophobic Much? Maybe You Are Gay? [nytimes.com]

WHY are political and religious figures who campaign against gay rights so often implicated in sexual encounters with same-sex partners?

In recent years, Ted Haggard, an evangelical leader who preached that homosexuality was a sin, resigned after a scandal involving a former male prostitute; Larry Craig, a United States senator who opposed including sexual orientation in hate-crime legislation, was arrested on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom; and Glenn Murphy Jr., a leader of the Young Republican National Convention and an opponent of same-sex marriage, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge after being accused of sexually assaulting another man.

One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”

It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it. In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchersprovide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.

Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students. Participants rated their sexual orientation on a 10-point scale, ranging from gay to straight. Then they took a computer-administered test designed to measure their implicit sexual orientation. In the test, the participants were shown images and words indicative of hetero- and homosexuality (pictures of same-sex and straight couples, words like “homosexual” and “gay”) and were asked to sort them into the appropriate category, gay or straight, as quickly as possible. The computer measured their reaction times.

The twist was that before each word and image appeared, the word “me” or “other” was flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds — long enough for participants to subliminally process the word but short enough that they could not consciously see it. The theory here, known as semantic association, is that when “me” precedes words or images that reflect your sexual orientation (for example, heterosexual images for a straight person), you will sort these images into the correct category faster than when “me” precedes words or images that are incongruent with your sexual orientation (for example, homosexual images for a straight person). This technique, adapted from similar tests used to assess attitudes like subconscious racial bias, reliably distinguishes between self-identified straight individuals and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Using this methodology we identified a subgroup of participants who, despite self-identifying as highly straight, indicated some level of same-sex attraction (that is, they associated “me” with gay-related words and pictures faster than they associated “me” with straight-related words and pictures). Over 20 percent of self-described highly straight individuals showed this discrepancy.

Notably, these “discrepant” individuals were also significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects (also measured with the help of subliminal priming). Thus our research suggests that some who oppose homosexuality do tacitly harbor same-sex attraction.

What leads to this repression? We found that participants who reported having supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation and less susceptible to homophobia. Individuals whose sexual identity was at odds with their implicit sexual attraction were much more frequently raised by parents perceived to be controlling, less accepting and more prejudiced against homosexuals.

It’s important to stress the obvious: Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.

Richard M. Ryan is a professor of psychology, psychiatry and education at the University of Rochester. William S. Ryan is a doctoral student in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/29/opinion/sunday/homophobic-maybe-youre-gay.html?_r=1

Psychology and the Development of the Sexual Fetish Criteria [io9.com]

or “Do you really have a sexual fetish?”

by Annalee Newitz

Ever since the term “sexual fetish” was first used over a century ago, there’s been a raging scientific debate over what it means. Why does one person get off on shoes, while another gets off on certain large body parts? Are these erotic feelings signs of illness, or simply preferences that are as inexplicable and harmless as liking spaghetti more than sausage?

Though sexual fetishism started out as a fairly neutral term over a century ago in early psychiatry, it’s become one of the most contested ideas in medicine. Here’s why.

The term “sexual fetish” was first used in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by psychiatrists like Magnus Hirschfeld to describe — in a neutral fashion — the many ways that people experience sexual desire. Specifically, Hirschfeld and his contemporaries defined fetishism as the act of eroticizing any non-living object or body part. It wasn’t a mental illness, but a description of a mental state. However, in a world where wanting even the most ordinary kinds of sex can be difficult and embarrassing, having a fetish could make people neurotic. As a result, psychiatrists like Richard von Krafft-Ebing, author of the influential 1886 book Psychopathia Sexualis, often associated sexual fetishism with mental illness.

Derangements of the Sexual Instinct

Most of the people writing about sexual fetishes before the 1930s were psychiatrists dealing with people who had come to them because they were uncomfortable with their lust for rubber aprons, bondage, fur, machines, and hundreds of other sexytime items that are listed exhaustively in books like Psychopathia Sexualis, Havelock Ellis’Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Wilhelm Stekel’s The Sexual Aberrations, and many early essays of Sigmund Freud. Each of these researchers took a slightly different view on sexual fetishism, though Freud is perhaps most famous for his idea that neuroses can arise when people desire any deviation from heterosexual sex where the penis goes into the vagina and stays there for a reasonable amount of time.

Given that many of their patients were no doubt neurotic, many doctors dealing with sexuality at that time were surprisingly supportive of a variety of sexual choices. Havelock Ellis, who wrote about homosexuality extensively, was in an open marriage with a lesbian and championed women’s right to choose their own sexual paths.

Hirschfeld, who deals with fetishes in his book Derangements of the Sexual Instinct, was perhaps the world’s first gay rights advocate. Through his Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, he published a number of essays, and made public health films, about how homosexuality was a legitimate lifestyle and not a sickness. You can see excerpts from one of the movies he made, Different from the Othershere. The film depicts a romance between two men, and was made in 1919.

Even Wilhelm Stekel, credited with inventing the term paraphilia for “extreme” sexual fetishes, also noted in his work that there are many “normal” sexual fetishes — including bondage and domination — that are perfectly healthy and that are shared by many people without any detriment to society or themselves.

Though the Nazis destroyed Hirschfeld’s Sexual Sciences Institute, and burned most of the books and art in its collection, the work he had begun was continued in America by researchers like Alfred Kinsey. A zoologist who studied wasps, he turned to studying human sexuality in the 1940s and published two books — dubbed the “Kinsey reports” — which were summations of thousands of interviews he and his research team conducted with Americans about their sex lives. Though Kinsey never advanced any theories about whether fetishes were normal or not, the fact that he presented the whole range of sexual interests (from Missionary position and homosexuality, to piss fetishes and bestiality) from a detached, non-judgmental perspective was fairly remarkable.

Given that so many of the scientists describing sexual fetishes did not consider them to be pathological, how did the term “sexual fetish” come to be so strongly associated with sickness and perversion?

Click to continue reading the article…