Boing Boing 

Stream Season 1 of Transparent FREE today only (24 January)

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If you have not seen it yet, you can enjoy the first season of Amazon's hit series Transparent for free today, Saturday 24 January. A great way to spend your Saturday afternoon or evening!

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Videoshopping still photos of Putin creates an uncanny valley effect

Bennie Melwin shares this clip of how they videoshopped photos of Vladimir Putin for the making of a hilarious commentary on Putin's anti-gay policies.

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Jill Sobule's "I Kissed a Girl": Happy 20th anniversary!

Happy birthday to singer/songwriter Jill Sobule, and happy 20th anniversary to her 1995 indie hit "I Kissed a Girl." It was edgy enough at the time to play on MTV's 120 Minutes.

Though the song title is associated with the Katy Perry song of the same title at this point, 90s adults will get this. Perry was still in elementary school when Sobule shook things up with her non-binary anthem, which helped pave the way for so much of the women-centric folk and roots music of the 1990s, from Lilith Fair and beyond. It's the birthday gift that keeps giving!

I Kissed a Girl (1995)

Arse Elektronika sex/tech conference starts tomorrow in San Francisco


The theme this year is "trans *" and the event features "Talks, machines, games, workshops and performances;" runs from Oct 2-5 at San Francisco's Chez Poulet (3359 Cesar Chavez St).

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Rebutting "Every civilization that accepted homosexuality failed"

In a forum for ex-Mormons, a redditor asks how to rebut his wife's assertion that "Every civilization that has accepted homosexuality has failed" -- the answer is epic.

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Wikipedia bans Congressional IP address for transphobic vandalism (again)

A Congressional staffer, or someone with access to their network, has repeatedly modified Wikipedia articles to insert transphobic slurs, prompting the second month-long lockout for the Congressional IP address in less than a month.

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Cowardly DE school board cancels entire summer reading list over LGBT-inflected YA novel

The Cape Henlopen School Board nuked its entire summer reading list to keep kids from reading The Miseducation of Cameron Post, Emily M Danforth's acclaimed YA novel about a gay teenager coming of age in Montana.

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Singapore library will destroy LGBT-friendly kids' books at behest of bigot


Singapore's National Library Board will pulp three LGBT-friendly children's picture books that it earlier removed from its collections.

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'If Gay Guys Said the Shit Straight People Say,' part 2

Comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding is back with a second installment in his very funny 'If Gay Guys Said the Shit Straight People Say' video series.

Vancouver school-board adds genderless pronoun

Xe, xem, xyr are the new preferred pronouns for transgendered students in the Vancouver school system. Although the National Post is skeptical that this attempt to add a nongendered pronoun to English is doomed -- based largely on the fact that every other attempt has failed abominably -- the VSB's manager of social responsibility and diversity reminds us that not so long ago, no one said "firefighter" while today, "fireman" fairly clangs on the ear.

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Transgender tipping point: Laverne Cox on the cover of TIME

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This TIME cover story, the first to feature a transgender person, is a very big deal. Not just for trans folks, but for all of us.

As the headline suggests, it's a tipping point in the acceptance of gender diversity, and respect for all human beings.

Also Laverne Cox is awesome and talented and an amazing activist and looks totally fabulous.

Here's a TIME video interview.

If you haven't already watched 'Orange is the New Black,' get on it with Season 1.

If gay guys said the stuff straight guys say to them (video)

[Video Link] By comedian Daniel-Ryan Spaulding [Twitter].

What if we admitted to kids that most sex is for pleasure?

Alice Dreger works with intersex kids, and takes an admirably frank approach to talking about sex with her own kid. She's noticed lots of differences between her approach and that of other parents, but the biggest one is that she tells her son that people have sex for pleasure. Her piece about this, precipitated by her kid bringing home a notice that the class would be talking about sex and HIV/AIDS, is a kind of model of rational, sex-positive parenting that made me want to clip it out and stick it on the fridge for future reference.

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Mayor Rob Ford recording: drunken, sexist, racist, homophobic, abusive rant


The recording of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack (again) isn't the only recording to emerge of the mayor; he was also recorded making drunken, racist, homophobic, misogynist remarks at a bar where he was also abusive to the bartender and said rather revolting things about his wife.

Of note in the recording was the mayor's vulgar remarks about Karen Stintz, one of his electoral rivals. Ford previously called another female political rival a liar after she accused him of drunkenly grabbing her ass and propositioning her at a Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee.

In other news, the mayor also allegedly participated in an all-night, coke-fuelled drunken sex party at a nightclub where he vomited in the toilets in between verbally jousting with Justin Bieber and entertaining a group of "party girls" with his entourage.

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For transgender US military personnel, the rule is still 'don't tell.'

From a Washington Post profile of trans servicemen and women:
More than two years after the repeal of the law that barred gay men and lesbians from serving in the military openly, transgender service members can still be dismissed from the force without question, the result of a decades-old policy that dates back to an era when gender nonconformity was widely seen as a mental illness.... Transgender service members are increasingly undergoing procedures to align their bodies more closely with the genders with which they identify. Medical experts, meanwhile, are urging the Defense Department to rescind a policy they view as discriminatory and outdated, noting that some of America’s closest allies, including Canada, Britain and Australia, have done so seamlessly.

Gay jeans: bluejeans that go rainbow as they fade

Chris from Betabrand writes, "Betabrand designer Steven B. Wheeler has discovered the Gay Jean -- more precisely, a denim that slowly but surely fades to reveal rainbow-colored thread within."

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“I F*cking Hate @RuPaul”

Filmmaker, writer, and trans activist Andrea James on the current state of post-disruption journalism and its unhealthy addiction to Twitter, and LGBT brain drain.

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Disney drops $4.8M in Boy Scouts funding over anti-gay policy


Disney has dropped the Boy Scouts of America from the roster of charities eligible to benefit from its Voluntears program, through which the company donates money to charities when its employees do volunteer work in their communities. The Scouts have a policy banning gay people from serving as scout leaders, and Disney has a policy banning charities that are "inconsistent with Disney's policies on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, national origin, age, marital status, mental or physical ability, or sexual orientation."

Last year, the BSA received $4.8M in funding through the Voluntears program.

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South Carolina legislature confiscates budget of college for assigning Alison Bechdel's "Fun Home" as a reading

The South Carolina House of Representatives has withdrawn $52,000 from the College of Charleston for including Alison Bechdel's brilliant, celebrated memoir Fun Home in its summer reading program. Bechdel, creator of the Dykes to Watch Out For strip, published the memoir in 2006. In graphic novel form, it tells Bechdel's story of growing up closeted in a family riven by a father who can't admit that he is gay and an embittered mother who doesn't allow herself to notice her husband's affairs.

Representative Garry Smith said that the book "didn't merit scholarly consideration" because it "graphically shows lesbian acts." He led the campaign to withdraw the funds. $52,000 is the cost of the entire summer reading program.

Bechdel expressed gratitude to the college for assigning her book, and added, "It's sad and absurd that the College of Charleston is facing a funding cut for teaching my book – a book which is after all about the toll that this sort of small-mindedness takes on people's lives."

To its credit, the college is refusing to allow its reading choices to be affected. College president P. George Benson said, "Any legislative attempt to tie institutional funding to what books are taught, or who teaches them, threatens the credibility and reputation of all South Carolina public universities."

The College of Charleston isn't the only institution whose funding has been cut for assigning readings that don't meet with Rep Smith's approval; another $18,000 was confiscated from the University of South Carolina Upstate's budget for including a book with LGBT themes in its curriculum.

I would certainly contribute to a fundraiser to make up the colleges' shortfall, especially if they'd guarantee that the funds would go to a program whose readings consisted entirely of things that Representative Gary Price didn't like.


Update: In the comments, Tim​stellmach writes, "Money has been put where my mouth is. For reference, the name of the program in question is "The College Reads!", and the college's donation page is at https://giving.cofc.edu/donate.

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Ugandan president on the science of why gay sex must be criminalized: 'you can get worms'


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is trying to please a conservative local faction opposed to homosexuality, but risks alienating Western aid donors. Photo: Reuters, February 22, 2014.

"The mouth is made for eating and kissing, and gay oral sex will give you worms."

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda today gave a detailed explanation of why he believed homosexuals should be jailed for life.

"These mercenary homosexual prostitutes have to be punished," he said. "Just like those who are recruiting them."

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Takei to Arizona lawmakers: we will boycott Arizona if it passes its anti-gay Jim Crow law


George Takei (Facebook)


Sergei sez, "George Takei has written an open letter to Arizona legislators regarding a bill that would allow businesses, based on a 'sincerely held religious belief' to bar LGBT patrons from entering their establishments."

Takei reminds Arizona of the estimated $500M it lost by not ratifying MLK Day, and threatens a supercharged version of the boycott, multiplied by the Internet, if the bill passes.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford demands removal of Pride flag from City Hall


Toronto Mayor Rob Ford -- who has steadfastly refused to attend the city's massive, economically vital and glorious Pride parade -- has pitched a tantrum over the decision to fly a rainbow flag from the auxiliary flagpole at City Hall. The flag was raised in solidarity with LGBT activists and athletes in a project led by Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam at the request of Pride House TO. Ford says he tried to get the flag removed, and has pasted Canadian flags over his office window and the doors of city hall.

Wong-Tam characterises this as evidence of Ford's long-suspected homophobia, which strikes me as extremely plausible. The article in the Globe and Mail points out that Ford recently told reporters that he would not attend Pride festivities even if he was not away with his family, this being Ford's usual excuse for missing it.

Wong-Tam hypothesizes that Ford has "let it all hang loose" and other councilors agree. I wonder if he thinks a dog-whistle for the city's bigots will win him votes come election day.

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Last Tales of the City book on sale today

As noted, today is the on-sale date for The Days of Anna Madrigal, the final installment in Tales of the City, Armistead Maupin's addictive long-running series about bohemian life in San Francisco.

New (and final) Tales of the City book to be published

What a thrill it is to learn that there is a new Tales of the City novel coming out -- and what a crushing disappointment to discover that it will be the last one.

The Days of Anna Madrigal, the ninth and final volume of Armistead Maupin's series (begun in 1978 as a newspaper serial), will be published on January 21. It tells the story of Anna Madrigal -- the transgendered, dope-growing, meddling, lovable landlady of 28 Barbary Lane -- visiting Burning Man for the first time, at 92 years of age.

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Queen Elizabeth pardons Turing (but not the 50,000 other gay men the law unjustly criminalised)


Alan Turing has received a pardon under the "Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen," 61 years after he was "chemically castrated" by court order as punishment for homosexuality. Less than two years of forced hormone treatments drove him to suicide at the age of 41. The pardon came at the request of the government's justice secretary. It's a wonderful vindication of Turing.

But I agree with Turing's biographer Dr Andrew Hodges, who says that the idea of a pardon for Turing establishes the principal that "a sufficiently valuable individual should be above the law which applies to everyone else." In my view, the Queen should have pardoned every man and woman persecuted under the cruel and unjust law that ruined so many lives.

But I'll take Turing. For now. And if Stephen Fry gets his wish and we get Turing on a bank note, I'll frame one and hang it in my office.

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The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For: 20 years of op-ed/soap opera


I read Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For in various alternative weeklies and online for about 15 years. I always found it enjoyable, sometimes very funny, sometimes a bit raunchy, always very political. Really my kind of thing. But I've just read The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, a massive, nearly-400-page tome collecting nearly (see below) every single DTWOF strip from its 20+ year run that wound up in 2008, and I've come to realize just how flat-out brilliant the strip was, ranking with Bloom County and Doonesbury in blending incisive editorial with charm and humor.

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Amnesty petition to release Chelsea Manning

Alan sez, "Amnesty International have a petition up that asks for the release of Manning. The petition argues that both on humanitarian grounds and on account of the pre-trial treatment, Manning is deserving of a clemency release."

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Samuel R Delany named a science fiction Grand Master


The incredible, incomparable Samuel R Delany has been named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. It's hard to imagine a writer more deserving. You should really read his whole canon, but if I had to pick just one, it'd be Stars in My Pockets Like Grains of Sand, an extraordinary book even among his extraordinary body of work.

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Bisexual TV characters 'improving'

Casey Quinlan on the improving portrayal in TV drama of people who are neither straight nor gay: "The quantity isn’t there, to be sure. But the quality of bisexual television characters is, on the whole, improving." [The Atlantic]

Lesbian Feminist Haunted House: Kill Joy's Kastle


Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell has erected a "Lesbian Feminist Haunted House" called Kill Joy's Kastle. It's a response to the evangelical "Hell Houses," put up to scare people away from "sin" (especially teh gay).

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