Thursday, 29 September 2011

Tough Survivors: Gender Fluid, Intersex Eels

To rice farmers and agricultural economists, the rice paddy eel is a pest, presenting an indirect threat to rice crops. To me, it's yet another example of the remarkable gender and sexual diversity of the natural world - and one which is a real tough survivor.


REFLECTING nature’s remarkable diversity, the rice paddy eel is both hermaphrodite and transgender.
All the young start as females; some become masculine as they mature. When female densities are low, some of the male eels become transgender, turning into the opposite sex again.
The process, which takes up to a year, allows the replenishment of female populations. The greater the proportion of females in the eel population, the greater the reproduction rate.
This remarkable agility to adapt, and without natural predators, allows the paddy eel to multiply fast.
A rice paddy eel may grow as long as 3 feet to 4 feet and weigh as much as half a kilogram. As a voracious predator, its rapid spread threatens fishes, frogs, snails, worms and aquatic insects.
It survives harsh environments as well, from fresh and brackish to saline conditions and even cold temperatures well below freezing.
It can survive for weeks without food and, by burrowing in moist ground, can live for long periods without water.
When not using gills underwater, the rice paddy eel gets a fourth of its oxygen needs from the air – through the skin."

Obama Expects DOMA Ruling ’Soon’


Barack Obama said during a Sept. 28 meeting that he expects a court ruling "soon" on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), an anti-gay law from 1996 that singles out gay and lesbian families for discriminatory treatment by denying them federal recognition of any sort, ThinkProgress reported that same day.
Two federal court cases have already found DOMA to be unconstitutional. The Obama Administration announced earlier this year that it would no longer defend the law in court, where at least ten cases challenge the law, because of Constitutional questions.
House Republicans have vowed to defend the law, and have resorted to using taxpayer money to hire a private lawyer to defend DOMA.
"The legal team that Boehner and the Republicans hired has since come under harsh criticism for arguing that homosexuality is a choice, misrepresenting research, and relying on such experts as ex-gay advocate George Rekers and the National Organization for Marriage’s Maggie Gallagher," reported ThinkProgress."
-full report at EDGE Dallas

September 29: Mara Keisling, Transgender Activist




"What's important is that transgender people are respected as members of the community—that they are safe from discrimination and violence and disrespect."

b. September 29, 1959


Mara Keisling is a leading transgender activist. She is the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, the largest transgender rights organization.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Dirtiest Poem Since Rochester?

Is this really the "dirtiest" poem since Rochester? Or the best erotic one? Dan Chiasson, in a scathing review for the New York Times of David Lehman’s anthology “The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present
” seems to think it is both.  He says it is so "dirty" that he cannot print even extracts in the NYT, but also writes,  "dear old Auden wins this one by a knockout blow".
Wherever it ranks in any hierarchy, two things are beyond dispute. This detailed account of a blowjob on a sexy stranger picked up on a street is undoubtedly gay, and intensely erotic, and WH Auden is an acknowledged master of English poetry. This shows here in the skill with words, so far removed from the banal and unimaginative language of standard porn stories. Whether the result is great poetry, or just some fun, over the top word-play, I leave you to decide.


The Platonic Blow
W. H. Auden

It was a spring day, a day for a lay, when the air
Smelled like a locker-room, a day to blow or get blown;
Returning from lunch I turned my corner and there
On a near-by stoop I saw him standing alone.
I glanced as I advanced. The clean white T-shirt outlined
A forceful torso, the light-blue denims divulged
Much. I observed the snug curves where they hugged the behind,
I watched the crotch where the cloth intriguingly bulged.
Our eyes met. I felt sick. My knees turned weak.
I couldn't move. I didn't know what to say.
In a blur I heard words, myself like a stranger speak
"Will you come to my room?" Then a husky voice, "O.K."
I produced some beer and we talked. Like a little boy
He told me his story. Present address: next door.
Half Polish, half Irish. The youngest. From Illinois.
Profession: mechanic. Name: Bud. Age: twenty-four.
He put down his glass and stretched his bare arms along
The back of my sofa. The afternoon sunlight struck
The blond hairs on the wrist near my head. His chin was strong.
His mouth sucky. I could hardly believe my luck.
And here he was sitting beside me, legs apart.
I could bear it no longer. I touched the inside of his thigh.
His reply was to move closer. I trembled, my heart
Thumped and jumped as my fingers went to his fly.
I opened a gap in the flap. I went in there.
I sought for a slit in the gripper shorts that had charge
Of the basket I asked for. I came to warm flesh then to hair.
I went on. I found what I hoped. I groped. It was large.
He responded to my fondling in a charming, disarming way:
Without a word he unbuckled his belt while I felt.
And lolled back, stretching his legs. His pants fell away.
Carefully drawing it out, I beheld what I held.
The circumcised head was a work of mastercraft
With perfectly beveled rim of unusual weight
And the friendliest red. Even relaxed, the shaft
Was of noble dimensions with the wrinkles that indicate
Singular powers of extension. For a second or two,
It lay there inert, then suddenly stirred in my hand,
Then paused as if frightened or doubtful of what to do.
And then with a violent jerk began to expand.
By soundless bounds it extended and distended, by quick
Great leaps it rose, it flushed, it rushed to its full size.
Nearly nine inches long and three inches thick,
A royal column, ineffably solemn and wise.
I tested its length and strength with a manual squeeze.
I bunched my fingers and twirled them about the knob.
I stroked it from top to bottom. I got on my knees.
I lowered my head. I opened my mouth for the job.
But he pushed me gently away. He bent down. He unlaced
His shoes. He removed his socks. Stood up. Shed
His pants altogether. Muscles in arms and waist
Rippled as he whipped his T-shirt over his head.
I scanned his tan, enjoyed the contrast of brown
Trunk against white shorts taut around small
Hips. With a dig and a wriggle he peeled them down.
I tore off my clothes. He faced me, smiling. I saw all.
The gorgeous organ stood stiffly and straightly out
With a slight flare upwards. At each beat of his heart it threw
An odd little nod my way. From the slot of the spout
Exuded a drop of transparent viscous goo.
The lair of hair was fair, the grove of a young man,
A tangle of curls and whorls, luxuriant but couth.
Except for a spur of golden hairs that fan
To the neat navel, the rest of the belly was smooth.
Well hung, slung from the fork of the muscular legs,
The firm vase of his sperm, like a bulging pear,
Cradling its handsome glands, two herculean eggs,
Swung as he came towards me, shameless, bare.
We aligned mouths. We entwined. All act was clutch,
All fact contact, the attack and the interlock
Of tongues, the charms of arms. I shook at the touch
Of his fresh flesh, I rocked at the shock of his cock.
Straddling my legs a little I inserted his divine
Person between and closed on it tight as I could.
The upright warmth of his belly lay all along mine.
Nude, glued together for a minute, we stood.
I stroked the lobes of his ears, the back of his head
And the broad shoulders. I took bold hold of the compact
Globes of his bottom. We tottered. He fell on the bed.
Lips parted, eyes closed, he lay there, ripe for the act.
Mad to be had, to be felt and smelled. My lips
Explored the adorable masculine tits. My eyes
Assessed the chest. I caressed the athletic hips
And the slim limbs. I approved the grooves of the thighs.
I hugged, I snuggled into an armpit. I sniffed
The subtle whiff of its tuft. I lapped up the taste
Of its hot hollow. My fingers began to drift
On a trek of inspection, a leisurely tour of the waist.
Downward in narrowing circles they playfully strayed.
Encroached on his privates like poachers, approached the prick,
But teasingly swerved, retreated from meeting. It betrayed
Its pleading need by a pretty imploring kick.
"Shall I rim you?" I whispered. He shifted his limbs in assent.
Turned on his side and opened his legs, let me pass
To the dark parts behind. I kissed as I went
The great thick cord that ran back from his balls to his arse.
Prying the buttocks aside, I nosed my way in
Down the shaggy slopes. I came to the puckered goal.
It was quick to my licking. He pressed his crotch to my chin.
His thighs squirmed as my tongue wormed in his hole.
His sensations yearned for consummation. He untucked
His legs and lay panting, hot as a teen-age boy.
Naked, enlarged, charged, aching to get sucked,
Clawing the sheet, all his pores open to joy.
I inspected his erection. I surveyed his parts with a stare
From scrotum level. Sighting along the underside
Of his cock, I looked through the forest of pubic hair
To the range of the chest beyond rising lofty and wide.
I admired the texture, the delicate wrinkles and the neat
Sutures of the capacious bag. I adored the grace
Of the male genitalia. I raised the delicious meat
Up to my mouth, brought the face of its hard-on to my face.
Slipping my lips round the Byzantine dome of the head,
With the tip of my tongue I caressed the sensitive groove.
He thrilled to the trill. "That's lovely!" he hoarsely said.
"Go on! Go on!" Very slowly I started to move.
Gently, intently, I slid to the massive base
Of his tower of power, paused there a moment down
In the warm moist thicket, then began to retrace
Inch by inch the smooth way to the throbbing crown.
Indwelling excitements swelled at delights to come
As I descended and ascended those thick distended walls.
I grasped his root between left forefinger and thumb
And with my right hand tickled his heavy voluminous balls.
I plunged with a rhythmical lunge steady and slow,
And at every stroke made a corkscrew roll with my tongue.
His soul reeled in the feeling. He whimpered "Oh!"
As I tongued and squeezed and rolled and tickled and swung.
Then I pressed on the spot where the groin is joined to the cock,
Slipped a finger into his arse and massaged him from inside.
The secret sluices of his juices began to unlock.
He melted into what he felt. "O Jesus!" he cried.
Waves of immeasurable pleasures mounted his member in quick
Spasms. I lay still in the notch of his crotch inhaling his sweat.
His ring convulsed round my finger. Into me, rich and thick,
His hot spunk spouted in gouts, spurted in jet after jet.


Gay Candidate David Norris Wins Irish Presidency Nomination

Will Ireland's next president be a gay man? A couple of months ago, with David Norris' campaign apparently dead in the water, it seemed unlikely. However, he has had a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes, and has led in recent opinion polls. In a dramatic last-minute burst to the nomination finishing-line, he secured the backing of Dublin City Council, and with it a place on the ballot.

There's still the campaign and election to come, of course - but just to have an openly gay man on the ballot, and regarded as a front-runner, is itself a remarkable demonstration of how far acceptance of queer equality has come in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.



Ireland's most prominent gay rights campaigner has secured the nomination to stand for the Irish presidency after winning the support of Dublin city council.

Senator David Norris, a Trinity College Dublin academic, will stand against six other candidates, including Martin McGuinness, the former IRA chief of staff turned Sinn Féin deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, and the former Eurovision song contest winner Dana Rosemary Scallon.

In a vote on Tuesday night, 13 councillors backed Norris, six opposed his nomination and 11 abstained.

He only needed Dublin city's backing to put his name forward before Wednesday's noon deadline for nominations. Under Ireland's electoral laws potential presidential candidates need either the support of 20 parliamentarians or the backing of four local authorities in order to stand for the poll in October.

Norris said he was "absolutely thrilled and over the moon. I believe I will be the next president of Ireland"."

and from CNN:

Sen. David Norris completed an extraordinary comeback Tuesday, securing the political backing he needed to get onto the ballot after withdrawing over a sex scandal in August, then changing his mind and jumping back into the race.
He leads the field, according to an opinion poll published in the Sunday Business Post this week, followed by Michael D. Higgins of the Labour Party and McGuinness, the Sinn Fein politician who stepped down as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland to run for president of the republic.
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Sep 28: John Perez, State Legislator and Speaker

b. September 28, 1969
"Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer."

John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 

Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.

Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, "He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness."

Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography
"3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez." SFGate. 3 January 2010.
Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. "Politics is part of John Pérez 's DNA." The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
Bajko, Matthew S. "Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history." The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
Dolan, Jack. "John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
"John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
Zahniser, David. "Villaraigosa's cousin enters Assembly race." The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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John A. Pérez, State Legislator

b. September 28, 1969
"Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer."


John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 

Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.

Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, "He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness."

Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography

  • "3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez." SFGate. 3 January 2010.
  • Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. "Politics is part of John Pérez 's DNA." The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
  • Bajko, Matthew S. "Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history." The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
  • Dolan, Jack. "John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
  • "John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
  • Zahniser, David. "Villaraigosa's cousin enters Assembly race." The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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Republican lawmaker calls for repeal of marriage law


"Florida U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has signed onto a new effort to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The bill's sponsor, Brooklyn Democrat U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, says Ros-Lehtinen is the first Republican to do so. He hopes her voice will convince other GOP lawmakers.

Under current law, the federal government recognizes only marriages between men and women. That means even same sex couples who wed in the six states that have legalized gay marriage can't enjoy federal marriage benefits like tax breaks, social security and hospital visitation rights. The bill would return the definition of marriage to the states.

Nadler filed it in March. Ros-Lehtinen became the 125th co-sponsor Friday. Ros-Lehtinen is chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Her district includes an influential gay community."

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Monday, 26 September 2011

First gay Turk elected to German Parliament (Armenia News)


"Hakan Tas – a journalist and gay rights activists was elected to Berlin Parliament from The Left (Die Linke) party.

In his interview to Turkish Hurriyet Daily News Tas noted that Turkish President Abdullah Gul congratulated him during his visit to Germany."

“People in Germany are used to gay politicians; the mayor of Berlin is gay, as is Germany’s ministry of foreign affairs. As a rough estimate, we assume that some 8 percent of the 2.5 million Turks here are gay. However, not everyone is open about their sexual identity and this is not an easy thing to do,” Tas said.

He mentioned that about five thousand people joined the annual gay parade held in Istanbul.

Tas characterized the banning the access to two major LGBT sites, the official websites of gay organizations Kaos GL and LambdaIstanbul by the Turkish Parliament as violation of human rights.

“That’s definitely against human rights and it is a big mistake by the Parliament. These are legal associations approved by Turkish authorities. Turkey needs to let its politicians do politics freely.”

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Beyond Male and Female: Gender Trouble, Biology Trouble |

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
- Galatians 3:28
In the context of religion, Christians should be familiar with the quotation from Galatians (even if some, such as in the Catholic Church, are unwilling to take the words literally, and apply them to ordination). From the world of science though, it is becoming clear that there is a truth in the words that goes way beyond a theological concept, and is instead, a substantial measure of quite literal truth. It may well be that there really is “neither male nor female”, at least not in the absolute binary sense that modern Western culture assumes. This has major implications for Christian sexual and gender theology."



Judith Butler’s “Gender Trouble” was a seminal work in the early development of feminism and queer theory, and later of queer theology. Butler’s central achievement was to demonstrate the fluidity of gender, which she described as “performance”. The fluidity of gender however, also extends to biology. Far from a simple binary world composed of biological males and females, with perhaps a smattering of people with indeterminate gender (once described as hermaphrodites), modern science has shown that there are a far greater range of conditions that may be loosely described as “intersex” than previously realized – and that there are a surprising number of these people, some of whom will not even know of their true sex until they meet a need for some kind of medical testing (as with the case of the South African athlete Caster Semenya, who had no idea she was not fully female until she won a medal at the Beijing Olympics, competing as a woman). The same problems beset Sally Gross, who was raised as a male and ordained a Catholic priest, until the discovery that biologically she was in fact primarily female.

What is a Male?
To illustrate some of the complexities around biological sex, I want to share with you some extracts from two books that I have found helpful in extending my own understanding, Brian McNaught’s “Sex Camp”“, and Virginia Mollenkott’s Omnigender.

-read the full article at Queering the Church

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Pedro Almodóvar Writer/Director, Filmmaker

b. September 24, 1951
I don't make judgments about what's good or bad or what's real and isn't in culture.
Pedro Almodóvar has written and directed 16 movies, including "Mala Educación" and "Volver." His movies are known for their progressive themes including transgenderism, homosexuality and feminism and also for their racy sexuality, irony and wit.
Born into a poor family in Cazada de Calatrava, Spain, Almodóvar attended the school of the Salesian Fathers and the Franciscan friars. While attending the school, he lost faith and turned to avid movie watching. His experience affected the themes of his movies, including "Mala Educación," which is about a transgender male who was molested by a priest .
At age 17, Almodóvar moved to Madrid without money or contacts. After working low-paying jobs, he eventually secured a good position with Telefónica, the national Spanish phone company. His new job enabled him to buy a Super 8 video camera and shoot his first short film, "Dos Putas, o Historia de Amor que Termina en Boda" (1974).
In 1980, Almodóvar's first publicly acclaimed film, "Pepi, Luci, Bom y Otras Chicas del Montón," premiered during the birth of the Spanish democracy. The film challenged conventional moral values and breached sexual boundaries. Since then, Almodóvar has written and directed 15 films.
Almodóvar discovered star actors Antonio Banderas and Penelope Cruz. Cruz won an Oscar nomination for her performance in "Volver." Almodóvar and his films have won over 30 awards including The Best European Director of the Year (1999) and The Best European Film of the Year(1999) from the European Film Awards. Almodóvar continues to direct and write innovative, popular and influential films.
Bibliography
Almodovar, Pedro and Paula Willoquet-Maricondi. Pedro Almodovar: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi. 2004
Block, Melissa. “Interview with Director Pedro Almodovar.” NPR: All Things Considered. November 18, 2004
Smith, Paul Julian. Desire Unlimited: The Cinema of Pedro Almodovar. Verso. 2000
Selected Works
¡Atame! (1990)
Entre Tinieblas (1983)
Hable con Ella (2002)
Kika (1993)
La Flor de Mi Secreto (1995)
La Ley del Deseo (1987)
La Mala Educación (2004)
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Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Tas gay marriage vote to pressure ALP

The Tasmanian parliament's historic vote to support gay marriage will put pressure on the federal government to change the law, proponents say.

The Tasmanian House of Assembly on Wednesday became the first in Australia to formally support same-sex marriage.

A motion calling on the federal government to amend the Marriage Act, was passed with the support of minority government partners Labor and the Greens."

-full report at Sydney Morning Herald
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Two poems of Abu Nuwas, Islamic poet of male love

Abu-Nuwas al-Hasan ben Hani Al-Hakami (756–814), (best known simply as Abū-Nuwās), was one of the greatest of classical Arabic poets, who also composed in Persian on occasion. He was particularly noted for his celebrations in verse of wine - and boys. Here are two examples:




In the Bath-house


In the bath-house, the mysteries hidden by trousers
    Are revealed to you.

All becomes radiantly manifest.
    Feast your eyes without restraint!

You see handsome buttocks, shapely trim torsos,
    You hear the guys whispering pious formulas
        to one another
    ("God is Great!" "Praise be to God!")

Ah, what a palace of pleasure is the bath-house!
    Even when the towel-bearers come in
        And spoil the fun a bit.

A Boy Is Worth More Than a Girl

For young boys, the girls I've left behind
And for old wine set clear water out of mind.
Far from the straight road, I took without conceit
The winding way of sin, because this horse
Has cut the reins without remorse,
And carried away the bridle and the bit.
Here I am, fallen for a faun,
A dandy who butchers Arabic.
His forehead, brilliant like a full moon,
Chases away the black night's gloom.
He cares not for shirts of cotton
Nor for the Bedouin's hair coat.


He sports a short tunic over his slender thighs
But his shirt is long of sleeve.
His feet are well-shod, and under his coat
You can glimpse rich brocade.
He takes off on campaign and rides to attack
Casting arrows and javelins;
He hides the ardor of war, and his
Attitude under fire is magnanimous.


Comparing a young boy to a young girl,
I am ignorant.
And yet, how can you mix up some bitch
Who goes in monthly heat
And drops a litter once a year
With him I see on the fly.
How I wish he would come
Return my greeting.
I reveal to him all my thoughts
Without fear of the imam, or of the muezin.


Abu Nuwas, Le Vin, le Vent, la Vie, (tr. Vincent Mansour Monteil), Sindbad, Paris, 1979, p. 91


For more of Abu Nuwas' homoerotic poetry, see this page at Matt and Andrej Kowalsky's Living Room 

Bisexual squid 'can't tell mates apart' in dark waters - Telegraph

"An 18-year study of the Octopoteuthis deletron, a little-known squid which dwells a depth of 400 to 800m, found that males mate as often with their own gender as they do with females.
The difference between the sexes is so slight and meetings with fellow squid so rare that the amorous males are either unaware or unconcerned whether the object of their attention is female or not, US-based researchers said.
There is little light in the depths where the squid reside and the darkness of the water "cannot aid much in recognising potential mates," they added.
Writing in the Royal Society Biology Letters journal, the scientists said the squid only have a single, brief reproductive period during their short lifespan and will mate with any partner they meet during this time regardless of its gender."
-read more at The Telegraph
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Navy officer weds partner as gay ban ends - CBS News


"When Navy Lt. Gary Ross and his partner were searching for a place to get married, they settled on a site in Vermont, in part because the state is in the Eastern time zone.
That way, the two men were able to recite their vows before family and friends at the first possible moment after the formal repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Just after midnight Tuesday, the partners of 11 years were married.

"I think it was a beautiful ceremony. The emotions really hit me...but it's finally official," Ross said early Tuesday.

Hours before the change was to take effect early Tuesday, the American military was also making final preparations for the historic policy shift. The Pentagon announced that it was already accepting applications from openly gay candidates, although officials said they would wait a day before reviewing them."



Related posts:

Another push by Pa. lawmaker to protect gays, lesbians, and transgender citizens | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/20/2011

 "HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act has long banned discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of gender, race, religion, and disability.

Not covered, however, is sexual orientation or gender identity.

State Rep. Dan Frankel (D., Allegheny) has waged a nearly decade-long fight to change that through legislation that would add gay, lesbian, and transgendered Pennsylvanians to the protected categories."

President Benigno Aquino III "respects gay marriage", but.......

President Aquino's statement of "respect" for gay marriage is welcome - but don't expect wedding bells for same-sex couples in Manila any time soon. The country's Catholic bishops wield powerful political influence - the government is struggling even to pass legislation to make contraception more freely available to the poor who most need it, and the country is now the only one where there is no legal provision for divorce. Gay marriage would simply be a bridge too far.

Still, there is a clear shift in secular sentiment, and in time, marriage equality will surely come -  even to the Philippines.



PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III said he respects the rights of gay couples to get married but admitted that he has reservations if the couple wants to adopt a child.
“I don’t think I’m ready to tackle that fight right now… But the perspective, and I really would have to take quite a lot of… it is their choice,” Aquino said in an interview in New York during the Asia Society Forum Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).The President stressed that he has no problem in gay relationships as long as they don’t trouble anybody.However, on the issue on adopting a child, Aquino seems hesitant on the welfare of the child.“Normally I would say, you’re adults, you should be able to do whatever you want so long as it doesn’t hurt anybody else. But if the next step is we want the right to adopt, then, I would be in a dilemma,” he said."
-Sun.Star
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Sex-free British passports to help transgenders mooted | Metro.co.uk

India and Pakistan now provide for "other" gender on a wide range of official documents, and Australia has introduced new regulations for passports that allow "X" for intersex, and for transpeople to select the gender they identify with - not necessarily their birth gender. Now, the British authorities are reported to be considering something similar, in co-operation with "with international partners".

The road to full LGBT equality is long and arduous, and for far too long trans rights have been left at the wayside, but there are encouraging signs that in some respects at least, officialdom is starting to move in the right direction.
 The Home Office is considering plans to allow transgender citizens to opt-out of identifying their sex on their passports.
Under the new proposals, passports would use a single box marked 'sex' that can be marked with an X.
The Home Office has now begun a period of consultation over the move, to assess what impact it may have on national security and the work of the UK Border Agency.
A spokeswoman for the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) confirmed that the organisation is looking at how gender needs to be reported on passports.
'We are exploring with international partners and relevant stakeholders the security implications of gender not being displayed in the passport,' she explained.

Read more at Metro

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

ACLU steps in to aid transgender Ga. elementary student

 "Tommy Theollyn, the father of a seven-year old transgender son, is trying to get his son, D., access to the boy's restroom at Todd Grant Elementary school in Townsend, Ga., after being told by the district's superintendent that the child must use the girl's restroom. Theollyn presented his case before the McIntosh County School Board on Sept. 15, and also gained support from the ACLU last week.

Theollyn claims that before the new school year began last month, he met with D.'s teacher about his son's transgender status. Theollyn says that the teacher was understanding of his son's unique situation and offered support, but when the new school year began, Theollyn said he was told his son would be required to use the girl's restroom."
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