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…

Why Are There Gay Men? [lifeslittlemysteries.com]

By: Natalie Wolchover / lifeslittlemysteries.com

While female sexuality appears to be more fluid, research suggests that male gayness is an inborn, unalterable, strongly genetically influenced trait. But considering that the trait discourages the type of sex that leads to procreation — that is, sex with women — and would therefore seem to thwart its own chances of being genetically passed on to the next generation, why are there gay men at all?

Put differently, why haven’t gay man genes driven themselves extinct?

This longstanding question is finally being answered by new and ongoing research. For several years, studies led by Andrea Camperio Ciani at the University of Padova in Italy and others have found that mothers and maternal aunts of gay men tend to have significantly more offspring than the maternal relatives of straight men. The results show strong support for the “balancing selection hypothesis,” which is fast becoming the accepted theory of the genetic basis of male homosexuality.

The theory holds that the same genetic factors that induce gayness in males also promote fecundity (high reproductive success) in those males’ female maternal relatives. Through this trade-off, the maternal relatives’ “gay man genes,” though they aren’t expressed as such, tend to get passed to future generations in spite of their tendency to make their male inheritors gay.

While no one knows which genes, exactly, these might be, at least one of them appears to be located on the X chromosome, according to genetic modeling by Camperio Ciani and his colleagues. Males inherit only one X chromosome — the one from their mother — and if it includes the gene that promotes gayness in males and fecundity in females, he is likely to be gay while his mom and her female relatives are likely to have lots of kids. If a daughter inherits that same X-linked gene, she herself may not be gay, but she can pass it on to her sons. [Why Are There Gay Women?]

But how might the “gay man gene” make females more reproductively successful? A new study by Camperio Ciani and his team addresses the question for the first time. Previously, the Italian researchers suggested that the “gay man gene” might simply increase androphilia, or attraction to men, thereby making the males who possess the gene homosexual and the females who possess it more promiscuous. But after investigating the characteristics of 161 female maternal relatives of homosexual and heterosexual men, the researchers have adjusted their hypothesis. Rather than making women more attracted to men, the “gay man gene” appears to make these women moreattractive to men.

“High fecundity, that means having more babies, is not about pleasure in sex, nor is it about promiscuity. The androphilic pattern that we found is about females who increase their reproductive value to attract the best males,” Camperio Ciani told Life’s Little Mysteries.

Turns out, the moms and aunts of gay men have an advantage over the moms and aunts of straight men for several reasons: They are more fertile, displaying fewer gynecological disorders or complications during pregnancy; they are more extroverted, as well as funnier, happier and more relaxed; and they have fewer family problems and social anxieties. “In other words, compared to the others, [they are] perfect for a male,” Camperio Ciani said. Attracting and choosing from the best males enables these women to produce more offspring, he noted.

The new study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Of course, no single factor can account for the varied array of sexual orientations that exist, in men as well as in women. “It is quite possible that there are several influences on forming a homosexual orientation,” said Gerulf Rieger, a sexual orientation researcher at Cornell University. He noted that environmental factors — including the level of exposure to certain hormones in the womb — also play a role in molding male sexuality. But as for why genetic factors would exist that make men gay, it appears that these genes make women, as well as gay men, alluring to other men.

Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @nattyover. Follow Life’s Little Mysteries on Twitter @llmysteries. We’re also on Facebook & Google+.

http://www.lifeslittlemysteries.com/2555-gay-men.html

 

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/

 

Sexual orientation fluctuation correlated to alcohol misuse [eurekalert.org]

Understanding this phenomenon could improve psychological support systems for sexual minorities and help young people avoid alcohol problems

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Many young adults explore and define their sexual identity in college, but that process can be stressful and lead to risky behaviors. In a new study, students whose sexual self-definition didn’t fall into exclusively heterosexual or homosexual categories tended to misuse alcohol more frequently than people who had a firmly defined sexual orientation for a particular gender, according to University of Missouri researchers. These findings could be used to improve support programs for sexual minorities.

“Bisexuals and students whose sexual orientation was in flux reported the heaviest drinking and most negative consequences from alcohol use, such as uncontrolled drinking and withdrawal symptoms,” said Amelia Talley, MU assistant professor of psychological sciences in the College of Arts and Science. “Those groups reported drinking to relieve anxiety and depression at higher rates than strictly heterosexual or homosexual individuals. One possible explanation is that people who aren’t either completely heterosexual or homosexual may feel stigmatized by both groups.”

The study followed more than 2,000 incoming college students for four years. Each fall and spring, study participants were surveyed about their sexual self-identification, attraction and sexual behavior. The students fell into different sexual orientation groups. One was exclusively heterosexual, but there were several sexual minority groups: exclusively homosexual, mostly homosexual, bisexual and mostly heterosexual. The survey also asked about frequency of alcohol use, reasons for drinking, and negative consequences experienced as a result of alcohol use.

“Exclusively homosexual and heterosexual persons drank at roughly the same rate and reported drinking to enhance enjoyment of social situations,” Talley said. “The other sexual minority groups tended to report more alcohol misuse. This suggests that it may be the stressful process of developing one’s sexual identity that contributes to problematic drinking, just as people in any difficult situation in life may turn to alcohol to alleviate stress.”

The study also found gender differences in sexual behaviors and self-definition of sexual identity.

“Females showed the greatest degree of sexual orientation fluidity,” Talley said. “They were able to admit a certain degree of attraction to the same gender without defining themselves as completely homosexual.” Talley suggested that “women may be more open to admitting to same-sex attractions because women are more likely to be objectified as sexual objects in our culture; hence, women are accustomed to assessing the attractiveness of other women in comparison to themselves.”

Males tended to define themselves as either heterosexual or homosexual. Talley speculated that this may be because many males aren’t aware that being “mostly straight” is a feasible alternative. Even a small degree of sexual attraction to other males may cause a young man to feel anxiety about his sexual identity due to strict masculine gender norms.

“Organizations could put our findings to use by providing a support network to help young people avoid using alcohol to cope with stress as they define their sexual identity,” Talley said.

The study was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-06/uom-sof060612.php

Contact: Timothy Wall
walltj@missouri.edu
573-882-3346
University of Missouri-Columbia