Also.Also.Also: Atlanta’s Gays Are In Luck These Days And Other Stories We Missed This Week

Feature image by Pierre Goyard.

Hello, love machines! Let’s dive right in to the stories we missed this week.

Bad Education

Turns out the kids don’t know enough about sex.

Washington, D.C. just released the results of the nation’s first standardized test measuring students’ knowledge of health and human sexuality. Although high school students were able to answer about 75 percent of the questions correctly, the results confirm that they knew less about practical solutions for sexual health issues, such as how to locate health information and assistance.

If we’re not worried about the love lives of students, though, maybe we should be looking closer about their programs: this week Eastern Michigan University lost a lawsuit against a student expelled from their counseling program for saying she could not counsel the gays while Crystal Dixon did not get her job as VP of human relations back at the University of Toledo for being similarly homophobic.

And as if all of this wasn’t enough, GLSEN released a report on the state of rural and and small town queer schoolchildren. The study found that focusing more on the experiences of LGBT students is of the utmost importance – especially considering how many fall through the cracks as “troublemakers” and land in prison.

All of this learning is hard! Let’s just go to our NYU dorm and listen to Rihanna.

They Really Like Us

So many important people are coming out in support of LGBT people that honestly, it’s hard to keep track. Let’s see who said the kindest words, shall we? We begin with the big dogs: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, for example, recently declared that an end to LGBT discrimination and violence simply had to come: 

Let me say this loud and clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. They, too, are born free and equal, ” Mr. Ban said at a special event on the need for leadership in the fight against homophobia, held at UN Headquarters in New York.

It is an outrage that in our modern world, so many countries continue to criminalize people simply for loving another human being of the same sex. In most cases, these laws are not home-grown. They were inherited from former colonial powers, ” he added, noting that these laws must go. “

But Barack Obama, never far behind anyone else as Best Person on Earth, has long ensured that the United States will be taking an active role in the growing acceptance of LGBT folk around the globe:

We all have a stake in this: when laws such as those proposed in Uganda strip away the right to life, privacy and freedom of expression and association for the LGBT community, everyone’s fundamental freedoms are threatened. As we move forward with this work, we stand in solidarity with the many brave LGBT activists around the world – from Albania to Zimbabwe – who put their lives on the line every day. We are inspired, and we are listening.

This is horrible news for the GOP as they suffer due to their lack of quality, supportive policy ideas for hispanics and LGBT people. (It isn’t like it’s important because shit like gay marriage improves mental health for gay couples or anything!) But it’s great news for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed as he joins the ranks of pro-gay politicians:

“Today marks an important day as I announce my support for marriage equality,” said Mayor Reed. “It is well known that I have gone through a good bit of reflection on this issue, but listening to the stories of so many people that I know and care about has strengthened my belief that marriage is a fundamental right for everyone. Loving couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should have the right to marry whomever they want. By signing this resolution, I pledge my support to marriage equality for same-sex couples, consistent with equal protection under the law provided under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Today’s announcement follows years of Mayor Reed’s advocacy for equal rights for gays and lesbians.

The Atlanta Police Department would also like to add that “It Gets Better.”

Laying Down the Law

+ In Iowa, two lesbians were given an unusual formal right: a correctly printed death certificate for their stillborn son.

+ Eighth-grader McKenna Pope singlehandedly gender neutralized the Easy-Bake Oven:

The petition now has close to 45,000 signatures and even better, the ears of Hasbro execs. Earlier today, the toy company announced it would be releasing a gender neutral version of the oven in February 2013.

Hasbro invited McKenna and her family to its Pawtucket, R.I., headquarters to meet with its Easy-Bake team, and on Monday, they drove to Rhode Island from New Jersey. During the meeting, Hasbro executives showed off a prototype of their newest Easy-Bake: one that’s black, silver and blue.

+ Ireland is legalizing abortion when the mother’s life is in question – including when she is threatening suicide.

+ This is Anita Sarkeesian’s TED talk on sexism and gaming. This is something you want to get invested in now.

Consenties Bring Holiday Cheer to VS Stores

First, they created a fake PINK campaign to end rape culture. Now, they’re stocking the shelves without permission:

Last week, feminist group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture tried to convince everyone that Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line was launching a line of consent-themed underwear. The company’s legal team nipped their satire advocacy in the bud, so now FORCE is actually placing thongs that say “Ask First” next to real VS panties that say “Unwrap Me” in in over a dozen stores in North America and Europe. They’re calling it “operation panty drop.” They rule.

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BBC Schools… Itself

The BBC was pinpointed as a media outlet perpetuating sterotypes and erasing the experiences of lesbian and bisexual women by a study commissioned by, er, the BBC itself. This should be more awkward, right?

The report, after two years of research, concludes that the BBC should feature more lesbian, gay and bisexual people across its bouquet of channels and programming. It also called for the BBC to put LGB folks on children’s shows and sport, and to cover LGB issues on BBC News in a more nuanced fashion.[…]

The BBC’s acting director general Tim Davie, chairman of the BBC working group which commissioned the review, said: “The BBC has a fundamental obligation to serve all its audiences. In fact, it’s one of the BBC’s public purposes to reflect the diversity of UK life.

Pictures Worth Over 1,000 Words

9 Portraits Of Gay Military Members Who Serve In Silence Under DOMA

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+ A Photo-essay: Decolonizing My Body, My Being:

I was deeply worried that he would react negatively to photographing a body that is rendered undesirable in our cultural imaginary, a body that personifies the bottom rung of otherness. In our cultural imaginary, my body is a battleground in the fight against the real threat of violence, of being institutionalized within the medical industrial complex and of experiencing deeply entrenched economic, cultural and social oppression, simply because I move through the world as a black queer femme man who lives with a visible disability.

Homo Stuff

Calling all members of the A-Camp extended family known as the Smoker’s Circle! Smoking is very dangerous and we should all probably stop as soon as possible. It’s very likely that none of us would have this horrible tar addiction, though, if we weren’t being mentally manipulated and targeted by Big Tobacco! 

“It’s very likely that smoking is the single greatest health issue stealing years off the lives of LGBT people,” Dr. Scout, the director of the Network for LGBT Health Equity, explains in video that Legacy produced to accompany the report. “More LGBT civil rights leaders’ voices have been silenced by tobacco disparities than any other single thing. For me, tobacco is one of the biggest social justice issues.”

I wonder why we all smoke so much. What makes you a smoker? And what makes you gay, by the way? Turns out the answer isn’t in the genes – it’s in the womb. You’d think people would get by now that all studies about how people “turn gay” end up proving that “gay people are human beings” and thus we should be allowed to join military spouses’ clubs okay you jerks?

Meanwhile, over at WeHoVille… a straight chick is pondering about how gay men feel about lesbians. Yawn.

Cutest Things in 2012

I am mostly disappointed that nobody asked me to compile this list. Here’s Buzzfeed’s full 40 cutest things of 2012.

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Carmen

Carmen spent six years at Autostraddle, ultimately serving as Straddleverse Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Consulting Digital Editor at Ms. and writes regularly for DAME, the Women’s Media Center, the National Women’s History Museum and other prominent feminist platforms; her work has also been published in print and online by outlets like BuzzFeed, Bitch, Bust, CityLab, ElixHER, Feministing, Feminist Formations, GirlBoss, GrokNation, MEL, Mic and SIGNS, and she is a co-founder of Argot Magazine. You can find Carmen on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr or in the drive-thru line at the nearest In-N-Out.

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14 Comments

  1. “this week Eastern Michigan University lost a lawsuit against a student expelled from their counseling program for saying she could not counsel the gays”

    Does anyone else get EXTRA sad when it’s a female homophobe? Like, great, that’s one more person who’s DEFINITELY not going to sleep with me.

    [Also of course I’d like to think that they could better understand what it’s like to experience discrimination, but this is a strictly shallow argument I’m making here.]

  2. I hate all these studies about what causes queerness, because it sets up this big divide between what’s supposed to be “normal” (heterosexual) and the “abnormal” (everyone else) and that there must be a cause for someone being “abnormal” because they deviated from the “normal”. Like, why can’t we all just… be?

    I mean, I understand the arguments for why these studies are important and all that, but I just feel really othered by these studies more than anything else. Also, there’s the lingering worry that the next step after these studies will be people attempting to manufacture a cure for queerness (and there have been some attempts already, so that’s terrifying).

  3. that gay men v. lesbian article was an incredible waste of space on this vast, vast internet, and that’s saying something.

    “When it comes to how we present ourselves and live our lives, gays are more about form and lesbians are more about function. Gay men and straight women focus on style and beauty because that’s what attracts men. So perhaps it’s natural that those two groups would more easily bond.”

    …and ten thousand femmes evaporate into thin air. Not even going to touch the lesbian body-shaming happening in that article, but I find it maddening that “Hank,” our resident expert on the gay community [in West Hollywood], just feeds hetero-America what they want to hear about gays and lesbians. That entire article boils down to gays=normatively attractive v. lesbians=normatively unattractive *in the straight community*. Because a dapper butch whose waistcoat accentuates her strong body under a perfectly pressed shirt has no concept of “style and beauty.” I’m sending Hank and anyone who takes his article seriously a massive EYE ROLL.

    WeHoVille should have just linked to Cam and Mitchell’s venn diagram explanation and called it a day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yLJulFeAFyk

    • Oh god, yes, this article is such a ridiculous mess, I can´t even wrap my head around it.

      And although my mom taught me to never respond while in fury, I kinda left a sarcastic comment that contains a reference to Hitler and the word “penis”. Being tired, sick and somewhat high on sugar and cough & cold medicine, didn´t help either, I guess, but this is what I wrote:

      “Really, Papi? Really?
      Wed, Dec 19 at 4:35 pm
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      In conclusion to this article – and as the one and only possible solution to everything – I may suggest that gay men immediately start to procreate with straight women, so that they can breed a race of Ubermensch to spread beauty and intelligence all over the word. Because – obviously – they are the most perfect people ever! Hail … yeah, you know who…
      But as I am bisexual and therefore busy climbing up and down the fence to collect the straight privileges on the one side and to educate those darn lesbians on all the important things in life (cars, dogs, narrow standards of the beauty industry that will make them hate their bodies, synonyms for “penis”) on the other, I´m just gonna let it go.
      Seriously, WTF is this article?”

      I mean, it´s not only the offensive prejudices itself that made me furious but the whole way of how the (gay) men´s priorities in life are supposed to be the right and the most important ones. Like: How dare you not to own the right car, the right over-bred dog and how dare you to not reduce yourself to an eye candy (to some random men´s taste because it´s the only taste that matters)?! How dare you to not care about that stuff at all?!

      Seriously?

      As a woman I am offended! Not because I´m queer or because I swoon over MOC girls in (or without) their plaid shirts but because Hank needs to check his f*cking privileges and stop being an idiot!

  4. re: the bbc – not denying they’re pretty bad on positive lgb representation, but the presence of ass-kicking interspecies detective lesbians in the latest doctor who christmas special redeems them somewhat in my eyes. even if they’re going to have to rely on ~the doctor~ to save the day.

    (don’t even get me started on trans* representation tho)

    (a trans* horse does not count)

  5. It is 100% bullshit that that homophobic counseling student won her appeal. That is just infuriating. There is NO way that she is going to be an ethical therapist.
    I’m a counseling grad student and I met someone last month at a conference who had similar viewpoints about counseling the gays. I kind went off on her- definitely did not make a friend. Honestly people like that should not be allowed to practice therapy.

  6. Bleh, not about to give any love to the APD or Kasim Reed considering that homelessness is highly criminalized in Atlanta, and a high percentage of queers are homeless. Again this just shows what kinds of queers people really care about when they express their favor for marriage equality. (the white middle class ones)

  7. well of course I smoke. it’s because of math. if members of the lgbtq community are twice as likely to smoke and being european doubles that again and living in Austria, where they sometimes even need to have ‘non-smokers are welcome,too’ signs outside of restaurants and 50% of the female youth smokes …
    poor me, I never had a chance.
    right now I just like it to much to stop. I made plans w/ a friend to quit together before we’re turning 23. luckily thats after may camp.

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