Kids are indeed the future and so they're also the site of great moral panic. As more kids are skipping the closet, debate rages on about what is appropriate to "expose" young people to—which also raises the question of what is appropriate to acknowledge as already existing in young people's experiences. And because it is easier to recognize the specificity of queer sexuality, sociality, and familial forms in the face of unmarked mainstream culture—where hetero love stories provide the narrative framing for most cultural products—youth and non-normative sexuality are a fascinating and revealing combination. (Maybe my next post will be on why the Disney Princesses have made the "PC" leap to include a princess of color but won't be advertising a lesbian princess any time soon?) So in this series, I want to ask: How have discourses of sexuality and gender been transformed in the context of youth? Who gets to speak for kids? Where do young people receive their most influential messages about the values around sex, sexuality, and gender, and their proper performance?
I doubt that many people will feel the need to shell out good money to find out if their son is gay using such suspect methods. But I imagine some desperate young men will buy it themselves and be taught they can change their sexuality by suppressing their gender identity. Some young gay men will be identified as straight because they enjoy stereotypically masculine activities and some young straight men will once again hear the message that every activity that isn't Shark Punching or Lady Ogling is, like, the gayest thing ever. Not that there's anything wrong with that! The choice is completely up to you! You can either pass the test or witness your sainted mother bawling her eyes out about never having grandchildren! As she clutches empty photo albums and screams "The App told me to accept it but I can't!"
Gay high schoolers have a pretty rough go of it. Bullying, harassment, and feelings of isolation are all too common for a lot of gay teens, and many of them live in situations where they don't have access to queer-friendly organizations. Last week, a gay high school student in Indiana named Billy Lucas took his own life, reportedly because of the torment he experienced at the hands of his peers.
I wish I could have talked to this kid for five minutes. I wish I could have told Billy that it gets better. I wish I could have told him that, however bad things were, however isolated and alone he was, it gets better.
But gay adults aren't allowed to talk to these kids. Schools and churches don't bring us in to talk to teenagers who are being bullied. Many of these kids have homophobic parents who believe that they can prevent their gay children from growing up to be gay—or from ever coming out—by depriving them of information, resources, and positive role models.
Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids? We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don't have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.
File it under "No Longer Surprising," but yet another anti-gay douchebag has turned out to be... wait for it... GAY!!! Baptist Minister George Rekers was caught out not only entertaining a male escort, but entertaining him on a ten-day trip to Europe! Oh, and the kicker? Though Rekers claims the man was just there to help him "lift his luggage" (yeah, that sounds sexual to me too) he hired his "luggage lifter" from the male escort service rentboy.com! Yeah, I'm not buying that he thought it was a site for the hiring of "luggage lifters."
It's OK! I'm not gay, I just don't like carrying my own bags."
Two upcoming films about gay couples feature big name celebrities. Is mainstream film becoming more queer-friendly or are the white, mostly monogamous characters and the straight actors that play them anything but revolutionary?
The problematic policy of Don't Ask Don't Tell, implemented in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, has now been beautifully, if not dutifully rendered visible by LA-based photographer Jeff Sheng. That is, visible to the certain point his courageous subjects can be while in uniform.
Bryan Safi... total dreamboat, am I right, ladeez? I sort of wish he wasn't gay, but if that were the case, we wouldn't have the excellent "That's Gay" segment on CurrentTV's brilliant infoMania. So here's a Bryan Safi-inspired mix of catchy songs to help you blur the gender lines and celebrate the sexuality spectrum. Put on your rainbow suspenders, donate to Stop 8 and rock out with your softpack out.
This isn't a post about feminism specifically, but it is about an item some feminists hold near and dear: penises. The U.S. government's Center for Disease Control (CDC) is considering promoting routine circumcision of all American males. They hope cutting off men's foreskins will also cut their risk of transmitting HIV/AIDS. But the CDC's study shows that circumcision does not reduce HIV transmission among the group most at risk in the U.S.: gay males.
Almost 80 percent of American males are circumcised already and many consider circumcision a routine surgery for cultural reasons as well as to reduce the risk of infection. But some people, especially some men who had no say in the matter, push back against the norm.
Obviously, anything that science can do to stem the AIDS epidemic is a welcome discovery. But it's not clear at all that recommending all American males get circumcised would have a significant impact on HIV in America. Groundbreaking studies showed that in Africa, circumcision could reduce transmission of HIV up to 50 percent. But those studies focused on heterosexual sex. The CDC found that the HIV transmission rate among American gay men was the same regardless of whether or not they possessed a foreskin. It looks like circumcision doesn't provide the same protection against AIDS during anal sex as it does during vaginal.
Personally, I find it troubling to promote a surgical procedure on millions of people without their consent (even if they're too young to do anything more than pee and gurgle) without some solid stats proving it could save their lives later on. It's bunk to recommend circumcising all men based on research showing it may only benefit the straights.