ONTD Political


9:45 am - 03/04/2012
"It takes no compromising to give people their rights. It takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no survey to remove repressions." - Harvey Milk (1973)

Warnings, Notes, and Disclaimers
SPECIFIC TRIGGER WARNINGS: Classroom-safe descriptions of discrimination. Nothing graphic.
IMAGE CONTENT: People, signs, and rainbows.
NOTES: More detailed, follow-up posts for each "letter" are already scheduled. I was going to try to include some sections about discrimination, history, societal attitudes, important people, etc. in this post but they're such huge topics I think they'd be more justly served if they got their own posts. DAMN YOU, character limit!
DISCLAIMER: If there is no post next week it's because I'm playing Mass Effect 3.

Info Posts are a "safe space" to ask questions you might otherwise be too shy to. Please do not reply to people with "Plz Google" or "educate yourself". Everyone should enter these posts with a learn and teach mindset (in that order). WITH THAT SAID, HOWEVER, please remain mindful of your questions and phrasing, be open-minded, learn, and know when to be quiet. If you are flippant with your ignorance, I will not stop angered members from telling you about yourself.

The History of Intialism(s)
LGBT (or GLBT) is an initialism used since the 1990s as a self-designation by what was formerly known as the "gay community". It refers collectively to "lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender" people. In use since the 1990s, the term "LGBT" is an adaptation of the initialism "LGB", which itself started replacing the phrase "gay community" beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s, which many within the community in question felt did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.

The term LGBT is intended to emphasize a diversity of "sexuality and gender identity-based cultures" and is sometimes used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual instead of exclusively to people who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender. To recognize this inclusion, a popular variant adds the letter Q for those who identify as queer and are questioning their sexual identity (e.g., "LGBTQ" or "GLBTQ", recorded since 1996).

Before the sexual revolution of the 1960s, there was no common non-derogatory vocabulary for non-heterosexuality; the closest such term, "third gender", traces back to the 1860s but never gained wide acceptance.

The first widely used term, homosexual, was thought to carry negative connotations and tended to be replaced by homophile in the 1950s and 1960s, and subsequently gay in the 1970s. As lesbians forged more public identities, the phrase "gay and lesbian" became more common. | Source

The initialisms are not agreeable to everyone that they literally encompass. On the one hand, some intersex people who want to be included in LGBT groups suggest an extended initialism "LGBTI" (recorded since 1999). This initialism "LGBTI" is used all parts of "The Activist's Guide of the Yogyakarta Principles in Action. On the other hand, some individuals of one group may feel no relation to the individuals in other groups denoted and find such persistent comparisons offensive. Some argue that transgender and transsexual causes are not the same as that of "LGB" people. A correlative to these ideas is evident in the belief of "lesbian & gay separatism", which holds that lesbians and gay men should form a community distinct and separate from other groups normally included. Other people also do not care for the term as they feel the lettering comes across as being too politically correct, an attempt to categorize various groups of people into one gray area, and that it implies that the issues and priorities of the main groups represented are given equal consideration.

Many variants exist including variations that merely change the order of the letters; LGBT or GLBT are the most common terms and the ones most frequently seen in current usage. Although identical in meaning, "LGBT" may have a more feminist connotation than "GLBT" as it places the "L" (for "lesbian") first.[26] When not inclusive of transgender people it is sometimes shortened to LGB. LGBT or GLBT may also include additional "Q"s for "queer" or "questioning" (sometimes abbreviated with a question mark and sometimes used to mean anybody not literally L, G, B or T) which can then look like e.g., "LGBTQ", "LGBTQQ", or "GLBTQ?".

Other variants may add a "U" for "unsure"; a "C" for "curious"; an "I" for "intersex"; another "T" for "transsexual" or "transvestite"; another "T", "TS", or "2" for "Two‐Spirit" persons; an "A" or "SA" for "straight allies"; or an "A" for "asexual". Some may also add a "P" for "pansexual" or "polyamorous", an "H" for "HIV-affected", and/or an "O" for "other".

The order of the letters has not been standardized; in addition to the variations between the positions of the initial "L" or "G", the mentioned, less‐common letters, if used, may appear in almost any order. Variant terms do not typically represent political differences within the community, but arise simply from the preferences of individuals and groups. The terms pansexual, omnisexual, fluid and queer-identified are regarded as falling under the umbrella term "bisexual". Likewise, the terms transsexual and intersex are regarded by some people as falling under the umbrella term "transgender" though many transsexual and intersex people object to this (both for different reasons).

"SGL" (i.e. "same gender loving") is sometimes favored among African Americans as a way of distinguishing themselves from what they regard as white‐dominated LGBT communities. "MSM" (er.g. "men who have sex with men") is clinically used to describe men who have sex with other men without referring to their sexual orientation.

A phrase introduced in the 2000s, "minority sexual and gender identities" ("MSGI"), used to include all letters and acronyms, has yet to find its way into common usage. The magazine Anything That Moves coined the acronym FABGLITTER (from Fetish such as the BDSM lifestyle community, Allies or poly-Amorous as in Polyamorous couples became more used, Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Intersexed, Transgender, Transsexual Engendering Revolution or inter-Racial attraction), although this term has not made its way into common usage.

Another acronym that has begun to spread is QUILTBAG, from Queer/Questioning, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bisexual, Asexual, Gay. Again, this is not a common term. Similarly, in some areas people are starting to simply use 'LGBTetc' or 'LGBTQetc' to include everyone.

The initial A for Allies came from some of the paraphilia or sexual fetishism lifestyles, who are primarily in support of the GLBT community, and sometimes they form an alliance in sociopolitical affairs to further represent the umbrella term GLBTA (Gay Lesbian Bi Trans Alternative or Allies). | Source


Homosexuality is romantic or sexual attraction or behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality refers to "an enduring pattern of or disposition to experience sexual, affectional, or romantic attractions" primarily or exclusively to people of the same sex; "it also refers to an individual's sense of personal and social identity based on those attractions, behaviors expressing them, and membership in a community of others who share them."

The most common terms for homosexual people are lesbian for women and gay for men, though gay is also used to refer generally to homosexual men and women. The number of people who identify as gay or lesbian—and the proportion of people who have same-sex sexual experiences—are difficult for researchers to estimate reliably for a variety of reasons. In the modern West, according to major studies, 2% to 13% of the population is homosexual or has had some form of same-sex sexual contact within his or her lifetime. In a 2006 study 20% of respondents anonymously reported some homosexual feelings, although fewer participants identified themselves as homosexual. Homosexual behavior is also widely observed in animals.

Publicly gay politicians have attained numerous government posts, even in countries that had sodomy laws in their recent past. Examples include Guido Westerwelle, Germany's Vice-Chancellor; Peter Mandelson, a British Labour Party cabinet minister and Per-Kristian Foss, formerly Norwegian Minister of Finance.

LGBT movements are opposed by a variety of individuals and organizations. Some social conservatives believe that all sexual relationships with people other than an opposite-sex spouse undermine the traditional family and that children should be reared in homes with both a father and a mother. There is concern that gay rights may conflict with individuals' freedom of speech, religious freedoms in the workplace, the ability to run churches,[180] charitable organizations and other religious organizations in accordance with one's religious views, and that the acceptance of homosexual relationships by religious organizations might be forced through threatening to remove the tax-exempt status of churches whose views do not align with those of the government.

In many cultures, homosexual people are frequently subject to prejudice and discrimination. A 2011 Dutch study concluded that 49% of Holland's youth and 58% of youth foreign to the country reject homosexuality. Similar to other minority groups they can also be subject to stereotyping. These attitudes tend to be due to forms of homophobia and heterosexism (negative attitudes, bias, and discrimination in favor of opposite-sex sexuality and relationships). Heterosexism can include the presumption that everyone is heterosexual or that opposite-sex attractions and relationships are the norm and therefore superior. Homophobia is a fear of, aversion to, or discrimination against homosexual people. It manifests in different forms, and a number of different types have been postulated, among which are internalized homophobia, social homophobia, emotional homophobia, rationalized homophobia, and others. Similar is lesbophobia (specifically targeting lesbians) and biphobia (against bisexual people). When such attitudes manifest as crimes they are often called hate crimes and gay bashing.

Negative stereotypes characterize LGB people as less romantically stable, more promiscuous and more likely to abuse children, but there is no scientific basis to such assertions. Gay men and lesbians form stable, committed relationships that are equivalent to heterosexual relationships in essential respects. Sexual orientation does not affect the likelihood that people will abuse children. Claims that there is scientific evidence to support an association between being gay and being a pedophile are based on misuses of those terms and misrepresentation of the actual evidence. | Source


If you look up “queer” on Dictionary.com the first definition reads: “strange or odd from a conventional viewpoint; unusually different.” The queer I’m talking about is a little bit different, though. It is linked to the LGBT community, but is also separate. New York University senior and Social and Cultural Analysis major Emma said, “Queer functions as a sort of other. I’m not positive what this other is, but mostly I believe it exists outside of the heteronormative...and the homonormative narratives that society thrusts upon us.”

The acronym LGBT, which stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, leaves some people feeling invisible, because they don't identify with any of those labels. In these instances, the word queer is absolutely essential. "Whereas I think LGBT is a sexual/gender identity," Emma said, "I believe that queer is sexual/gender with theory, politics, and dance parties added."

But is 'queer' a negative word?
Well, it has been used with negative connotations, and some people still view it that way. The director of New York University's LGBT Student Services, Monroe France, explained that "first and foremost, the word queer still remains a derogatory term for some people." Because it is a word that was co-opted in such a derogatory way for so long, for some people, it remains a slur. If one has memories of the word being used as a put-down to make them feel less-than, it's understandable that one wouldn't want to identify with it. This issue also differs depending on your location, mindset, and social circle. For example, my British aunt was horrified when I mentioned a course I'm taking called Queer Literature. "You can't say that word here," she shushed me, "here" meaning England. Apparently the show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was taken off all British TV channels because the term is still considered extremely offensive in Britain. The integral point is this: choosing not to identify with the word queer is as valid a choice as choosing to identify with it.

So what's up with 'queer' now?
The word queer now is often used to get rid of limits and limitations. France made a point to say that "Queer is a term that is most often used by activists and academics, and that can make it...not accessible to some people." It is often viewed as a more fluid and all encompassing identifier than many others. I have a close friend who explained to me that she tells most people she identifies as bisexual, because it is a label that is more easily understood, but truthfully, she "feel[s] like queer is a much more holistic way of approaching things, since I am not only attracted to men and women, binary, but also trans-gendered people...it's just that most people don't like hearing that explanation." When it comes to bisexuality, people who identify with the word queer have differing opinions. For someone who has trouble believing in the gender binary (the idea that only two strict genders exist) the idea of bisexuality can feel incongruous. However, identification is an intensely personal decision, and if you feel more comfortable identifying as bisexual than queer, obviously that's completely fine. France pointed out that you can actually identify as bisexual and queer, and that in itself is queer, because the world is constantly asking us to choose just one sexual identity! He also stressed that the word "identity" begins with the letter "I." "It's about you and where you live in the world," he said. "I don't want to take that away from someone." He views his role as an educator as a way to give people the opportunity to learn about their options when it comes to labels. | Source


Not so long ago, society dictated that there was one sexual identity and one only. Thankfully, we’ve since progressed to include a wider spectrum of sexual preferences and have a greater understanding and acceptance of gay and bisexual folks. But what if you have no idea where you fit in the spectrum? Or you think you know, but are scared to admit it? You may be convinced you are the only person to have ever felt like this, but you are not the first and you will not be the last. For every person who grows up secure in the knowledge of who they are attracted to, there will be plenty of others who go through a great deal of confusion.

It can be hard to know who to talk to, for fear of judgement or overbearing attitudes. Sometimes those who know us are too closely involved with us to look at us objectively. Therefore it is worth finding some neutral ground – be it online message boards or chat rooms, phone hotlines or a counselling service. A discreet enquiry at your doctors’ surgery is a good place to start if you think speaking to a professional may help you. If you do have friends or relatives you can talk to, great – just remember that they can only listen and advise; they cannot decide your sexuality for you.

Although it can seem like the biggest deal in your life right now, who you are attracted to and who you sleep with has no bearing on who you are as a person, your education or your career. Even if you feel thoroughly undecided about your sexuality, this should not stop you progressing with the rest of your life. There is no rule that says your sexuality has to be decided on forever more at 18, or 25, or 40.

It is part of human nature to be constantly in flux – even those lucky enough to find one person and stick with them, will feel the need to ‘spice up’ or ‘rejuvenate’ their relationships at some point. If your struggle is more to do with fear of other people’s reactions, remember that you are not obliged to justify your sexual preference to anyone, be they friends, family or colleagues. It is a personal matter for us all – gay, straight, bi, undecided or undefined. Discover your sexuality at your own pace, and do it for no one else but you. | Source

*photos in this section were taken from an episode of Oprah, which you read about in Additional Links.

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.

Though we speak of intersex as an inborn condition, intersex anatomy doesn’t always show up at birth. Sometimes a person isn’t found to have intersex anatomy until she or he reaches the age of puberty, or finds himself an infertile adult, or dies of old age and is autopsied. Some people live and die with intersex anatomy without anyone (including themselves) ever knowing.

Which variations of sexual anatomy count as intersex? In practice, different people have different answers to that question. That’s not surprising, because intersex isn’t a discreet or natural category.

What does this mean? Intersex is a socially constructed category that reflects real biological variation. To better explain this, we can liken the sex spectrum to the color spectrum. There’s no question that in nature there are different wavelengths that translate into colors most of us see as red, blue, orange, yellow. But the decision to distinguish, say, between orange and red-orange is made only when we need it—like when we’re asking for a particular paint color. Sometimes social necessity leads us to make color distinctions that otherwise would seem incorrect or irrational, as, for instance, when we call certain people “black” or “white” when they’re not especially black or white as we would otherwise use the terms.

In the same way, nature presents us with sex anatomy spectrums. Breasts, penises, clitorises, scrotums, labia, gonads—all of these vary in size and shape and morphology. So-called “sex” chromosomes can vary quite a bit, too. But in human cultures, sex categories get simplified into male, female, and sometimes intersex, in order to simplify social interactions, express what we know and feel, and maintain order.

So nature doesn’t decide where the category of “male” ends and the category of “intersex” begins, or where the category of “intersex” ends and the category of “female” begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.

In our work, we find that doctors’ opinions about what should count as “intersex” vary substantially. Some think you have to have “ambiguous genitalia” to count as intersex, even if your inside is mostly of one sex and your outside is mostly of another. Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex—so that even if you’re born with atypical genitalia, you’re not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development. And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.

Rather than trying to play a semantic game that never ends, we at ISNA take a pragmatic approach to the question of who counts as intersex. We work to build a world free of shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for anyone born with what someone believes to be non-standard sexual anatomy.

By the way, because some forms of intersex signal underlying metabolic concerns, a person who thinks she or he might be intersex should seek a diagnosis and find out if she or he needs professional healthcare. | Source


Gladys Bentley

Lesbian is a term most widely used in the English language to describe sexual and romantic desire between females. The word may be used as a noun, to refer to women who identify themselves or who are characterized by others as having the primary attribute of female homosexuality, or as an adjective, to describe characteristics of an object or activity related to female same-sex desire.

Lesbian as a concept, used to differentiate women with a shared sexual orientation, is a 20th-century construct. Throughout history, women have not had the freedom or independence to pursue homosexual relationships as men have, but neither have they met the harsh punishment in some societies as homosexual men. Instead, lesbian relationships have often been regarded as harmless and incomparable to heterosexual ones unless the participants attempted to assert privileges traditionally enjoyed by men. As a result, little in history has been documented to give an accurate description of how female homosexuality has been expressed. When early sexologists in the late 19th century began to categorize and describe homosexual behavior, hampered by a lack of knowledge about lesbianism or women's sexuality, they distinguished lesbians as women who did not adhere to female gender roles and designated them mentally ill.

Women in homosexual relationships responded to this designation either by hiding their personal lives or accepting the label of outcast and creating a subculture and identity that developed in Europe and the United States. Following World War II, during a period of social repression when governments actively persecuted homosexuals, women developed networks to socialize with and educate each other. Greater economic and social freedom allowed women gradually to be able to determine how they could form relationships and families. With second wave feminism and growth of scholarship in women's history and sexuality in the 20th century, the definition of lesbian broadened, sparking a debate about sexual desire as the major component to define what a lesbian is. Women generally exhibit greater sexual fluidity than men and find it easier to become physically and emotionally intimate with the same sex than men do. Some women who engage in homosexual behavior may reject the lesbian identity entirely, refusing to identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual. Other women may adopt a lesbian identity for political reasons. Greater understanding of women's sexuality has led to three components to identifying lesbians: sexual behavior, sexual desire, or sexual identity.

Portrayals of lesbians in the media suggest that Western society at large has been simultaneously intrigued and threatened by women who challenge feminine gender roles, and fascinated and appalled with women who are romantically involved with other women. Women who adopt a lesbian identity share experiences that form an outlook similar to an ethnic identity: as homosexuals, they are unified by the discrimination and potential rejection they face from their families, friends, and others. As women, they face concerns separate from men. Lesbians may encounter distinct physical or mental health concerns. Political conditions and social attitudes also affect the formation of lesbian relationships and families. Source | The Well of Loneliness


Dr. Camille Cabral

Transgender is the state of one's "gender identity" (self-identification as woman, man, neither or both) not matching one's "assigned sex" (identification by others as male, female or intersex based on physical/genetic sex). "Transgender" does not imply any specific form of sexual orientation; transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; some may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them. | Source

People who identify as transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body.” For example, a person who identifies as transgender or transsexual may have typical female anatomy but feel like a male and seek to become male by taking hormones or electing to have sex reassignment surgeries.


People who have intersex conditions have anatomy that is not considered typically male or female. Most people with intersex conditions come to medical attention because doctors or parents notice something unusual about their bodies. In contrast, people who are transgendered have an internal experience of gender identity that is different from most people. | Source

Our culture tends to limit its understanding of gender to only two options: man and woman. LGBT Ministries believes there are more than two genders. We use the word “transgender” in our office’s title as an umbrella term to describe the following people: crossdressers; people who identify as genderqueer, third gender, gender fluid, and/or two spirit; some intersex individuals; transsexuals; and all self-identified trans people. But even this is not completely accurate.

Sex and Gender: People are assigned a biological sex at birth (e.g., male, female, intersex). People define their own gender (e.g., man, woman, transgender, genderqueer).

Gender Binary: A system of classifying sex and gender into two distinct and disconnected forms, dividing people into masculine and feminine bodies, identities, roles, and attributes. The gender binary is dependent on policing people to make sure they don’t digress from the system in appearance, anatomy, or behavior.

Gender Identity: Gender identity refers to an individual’s sense of being a man, a woman, neither of these, both, and so on—it is one’s inner sense of being and one’s own understanding of how one relates to the gender binary. Everyone has a gender identity.

Gender Expression: Gender expression describes how people manifest feeling masculine or feminine through their appearance, behavior, dress, speech patterns, and more. This term refers to how a person expresses their gender identity or the cues people use to identify gender.

Transgender: The word transgender was first coined as a way of distinguishing gender benders with no desire for surgery or hormones from transsexuals, those who desired to legally and medically change their sex. More recently transgender and/or trans has become an umbrella term that is popularly used to include all people who transgress dominant conceptions of gender, or at least all people who identify themselves as doing so.

Nong Tum

Cisgender: Cisgender, or cis, is a term that is becoming increasingly popular to describe people who are not trans or gender variant—in other words, those whose gender identities, presentations, and behavior “match” (according to the gender binary) the sex they were assigned at birth. Cis is a prefix with roots that mean “on the same side”; trans and cis are neutral descriptors analogous to the prefixes homo and hetero.

Cross-Dressing & Drag: Cross-dressing refers to occasionally wearing clothing of the “opposite” gender, and someone who considers this an integral part of their identity may identify as a crossdresser (note: the term crossdresser is preferable to transvestite and neither may ever be used to describe a transsexual person). Drag queens and drag kings are performers who offer exaggerated, performative presentations of gender and often cross-dress. Cross-dressing and drag are not necessarily tied to erotic activity or sexual orientation.

Genderqueer / Third Gender / Two Spirit: These identity labels are sometimes used by people who feel between and/or outside the gender binary. Individuals may identify as being neither man nor woman, as a little bit of both, as outside the binary, or they may simply feel restricted by gender labels. Two spirit is a term derived from the traditions of some Native North American cultures, and can sometimes mean a mixture of masculine and feminine spirits living in the same body.

Gender Variant / Gender Non-Comforming: General terms for people who bend gender in some way and/or have non-binary gender identities.

Transsexual: The term transsexual has historically been used to refer to individuals who have medically and legally changed their sex, or who wish to do so. Most transsexual people feel a conflict between their gender identity and the sex they were assigned at birth. Other labels used within this group are MtF (male-to-female) and FtM (female-to-male).

Transition: Transition refers to the complex process of authentically living into one’s gender identity, often but not always including leaving behind one’s assigned birth sex. A transition may include coming out to one's family, friends, and/or co-workers; changing one’s name and/or gender markers on legal documents; hormone therapy; and possibly (though not always) some form of surgery. Not all trans people identify with the word transition and it should furthermore never be assumed that a person will “complete” this process at any particular time. Some people who have transitioned no longer consider themselves to be transsexual or transgender and rather identify only as a man or a woman (occasionally “of transgender experience”). Others identify as a trans man or a trans woman. | Source


Bisexuality is sexual behavior or an orientation involving physical or romantic attraction to both males and females, especially with regard to men and women. It is one of the three main classifications of sexual orientation, along with a heterosexual and a homosexual orientation, all a part of the heterosexual–homosexual continuum. Pansexuality may or may not be subsumed under bisexuality, with some sources stating that bisexuality encompasses sexual or romantic attraction to all gender identities. People who have a distinct but not exclusive preference for one sex over the other may also identify themselves as bisexual, and people who lack sexual attraction to either sex or genders are known as asexual.

Bisexuality has been observed in various human societies and elsewhere in the animal kingdom throughout recorded history. The term bisexuality, however, like the terms hetero- and homosexuality, was coined in the 19th century.

Like other queer sexualities, bisexuality has been discriminated against. Most of the discrimination has surrounded the application of the word "bisexual" and scrutiny of the bisexual identity as a whole. The belief that bisexuality does not exist is common, and stems from two views. In the heterosexist view, people are presumed to be attracted to the opposite sex and it is sometimes reasoned that only heterosexuality truly exists. In the monosexist view, people are either exclusively homosexual (gay/lesbian), exclusively heterosexual (straight), closeted homosexual people who wish to appear heterosexual, heterosexuals who are experimenting with their sexuality, or cannot be bisexual unless they are equally attracted to both sexes.

The belief that one cannot be bisexual unless equally attracted to both sexes is disputed by various researchers, who have reported bisexuality to fall on a continuum, like sexuality in general. In 2005, the belief that bisexuality must involve equal sexual/romantic attraction was further perpetuated by researchers Gerulf Rieger, Meredith L. Chivers, and J. Michael Bailey, who concluded that bisexuality is extremely rare in men. This was based on results of controversial penile plethysmograph testing when viewing pornographic material involving only men and pornography involving only women. Critics state that this study works from the assumption that a person is only truly bisexual if he or she exhibits virtually equal arousal responses to both opposite-sex and same-sex stimuli, and have consequently dismissed the self-identification of people whose arousal patterns showed even a mild preference for one sex. Some researchers say that the technique used in the study to measure genital arousal is too crude to capture the richness (erotic sensations, affection, admiration) that constitutes sexual attraction. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force called the study and The New York Times coverage of it flawed and biphobic. FAIR also criticized the study. In 2008, Bailey stated he regretted repeating the notion that people are gay, straight or lying, especially with regard to men. In a new study with the same technology but different recruiting criteria and stimuli, he said he found bisexual genital arousal patterns in men.

In 1995, Harvard Shakespeare professor Marjorie Garber made the academic case for bisexuality with her Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, in which she argued that most people would be bisexual if not for "repression, religion, repugnance, denial, laziness, shyness, lack of opportunity, premature specialization, a failure of imagination, or a life already full to the brim with erotic experiences, albeit with only one person, or only one gender." | Source


On its homepage, Asexuality.org defines an asexual as "a person who does not experience sexual attraction." This is a definition about desire - how you feel, and not about sexual behavior - how you act.

Beyond the dimensions of feelings and behaviors is something broader - an asexual identity. There a process of self-examination involved in identifying as asexual. Importantly, though, an identity is not just personal - it is also social, cultural, and interpersonal. Asexuals who come together on asexuality.org to share experiences are building a community. They have the potential to engage in consciousness-raising and collective action, too. Health and mental health professionals, for instance, may be a little less quick to pathologize asexuality (see below) if there is a defined group of asexuals keeping the opinion leaders on their toes.

When the 102 asexuals in Scherrer's study discussed the meaning of their own asexuality, they most often pointed to desires: They said they did not experience sexual attraction or desire. One of the participants, Jenn, said this:

• "I just don't feel sexual attraction to people. I love the human form and can regard individuals as works of art and find people aesthetically pleasing, but I don't ever want to come into sexual contact with even the most beautiful of people."

Others, though, said they did feel sexual attraction but not the inclination to act on it. Sarah said this to the researcher:

• "I am sexually attracted to men but have no desire or need to engage in sexual or even non-sexual activity (cuddling, hand-holding, etc.)."

| Asexuality


The term was originally used to refer to feelings of being "carefree", "happy", or "bright and showy"; it had also come to acquire some connotations of "immorality" as early as 1637. The term's use as a reference to homosexuality may date as early as the late 19th century, but its use gradually increased in the 20th century.In modern English, gay has come to be used as an adjective, and occasionally as a noun, referring to the people, especially to men, and the practices and cultures associated with homosexuality. By the end of the 20th century, the word gay was recommended by major style guides to describe people attracted to members of the same sex. At about the same time, a new, pejorative use became prevalent in some parts of the world. In the Anglosphere, this connotation, among younger speakers, has a derisive meaning equivalent to rubbish or stupid (as in "That's so gay."). In this use, the word does not mean "homosexual", so it can be used, for example, to refer to an inanimate object or abstract concept of which one disapproves. This usage can also refer to weakness or unmanliness. When used in this way, the extent to which it still retains connotations of homosexuality has been debated and harshly criticized.

The first documented case of, "I know bitch, I was watching".

When used with a derisive attitude (e.g. "that was so gay"), the word gay is pejorative. While retaining its other meanings, it has also acquired "a widespread current usage" amongst young people, as a general term of disparagement. This pejorative usage has its origins in the late 1970s. Beginning in the 1980s and especially in the late 1990s, the usage as a generic insult became common among young people.

By the mid-20th century, gay was well established in reference to hedonistic and uninhibited lifestyles and its antonym straight, which had long had connotations of seriousness, respectability, and conventionality, had now acquired specific connotations of heterosexuality. In the case of gay, other connotations of frivolousness and showiness in dress ("gay apparel") led to association with camp and effeminacy. This association no doubt helped the gradual narrowing in scope of the term towards its current dominant meaning, which was at first confined to subcultures. Gay was the preferred term since other terms, such as queer, were felt to be derogatory. Homosexual is perceived as excessively clinical, since the sexual orientation now commonly referred to as "homosexuality" was at that time a mental illness diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

In mid-20th century Britain, where male homosexuality was illegal until the Sexual Offences Act 1967, to openly identify someone as homosexual was considered very offensive and an accusation of serious criminal activity. Additionally, none of the words describing any aspect of homosexuality were considered suitable for polite society. Consequently, a number of euphemisms were used to hint at suspected homosexuality. Examples include "sporty" girls and "artistic" boys, all with the stress deliberately on the otherwise completely innocent adjective.

The sixties marked the transition in the predominant meaning of the word gay from that of "carefree" to the current "homosexual". By 1963, a new sense of the word gay was known well enough to be used by Albert Ellis in his book The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Man-Hunting. Similarly, Hubert Selby, Jr. in his 1964 novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, could write "[he] took pride in being a homosexual by feeling intellectually and esthetically superior to those (especially women) who weren't gay..." | Source

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Next week's topic will likely be Human Trafficking & Modern Slavery, assuming I'm not saving the galaxy.

Thanks for reading, as usual!

Comments are back on. I think I'm going to randomly edit the post with moar pics throughout the day though. Thank you for your patience!
paulnolan Re: OP Note4th-Mar-2012 07:25 pm (UTC)
I like this solution. :)
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