Straight people identifying as queer runs from ugly appropriation to beautiful idealism

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Jenna Wortham wrote a fascinating article about the pros and cons of straight people identifying as queer. In the wild, this is often nothing more than an ugly appropriation. Ah, but the possibilities...

"Someday, maybe we’ll recognize that queer is actually the norm, and the notion of static sexual identities will be seen as austere and reductive. ... To the queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz, queerness was not a label people could claim but a complete reimagining of how people could be. “We may never touch queerness,” he wrote, in his 2009 book, “Cruising Utopia.” “But we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality.” The widespread acceptance and even appropriation of the word “queer” seem to move us both closer to and further from such a future. But the horizon is out there, and you can see it if you squint."

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Orlando killer frequented Pulse nightclub, described as gay by ex-wife and friends

Investigators work the scene following a mass shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando Florida,  June 12, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Omar Mateen, perpetrator of America's deadliest civilian mass shooting, was a regular at the gay nightclub where he killed 49 people this weekend. His friends believe he is gay, his ex-wife told an interviewer much the same, and other people who frequent the club describe his drunken and often angry presence there. Read the rest

Gay/questioning teens' pregnancy rates way higher than straight teens

gay-pregnant

A surprising survey by Teenwise Minnesota found that bisexual females were five times more likely to have been pregnant than straight females. Questioning and gay males were four times more likely than straight males to report getting someone pregnant. Read the rest

NSFW survey shows what women want in porn

pornhub-redtube-women-united-states-heatmap

PornHub and RedTube's new survey shows that Southern ladies tend to love porn more than other American women, and women are more likely to enjoy porn with lesbians and gay men, regardless of the women's orientation. Read the rest

Portraits of asexual people

Laia Abril

Worth checking out: this photojournalism project about people who identify as asexual.

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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] Read the rest

'Oddly Normal,' by John Schwartz: A family's struggle to help their teen son come to terms with his sexuality

New York Times correspondent John Schwartz shares an excerpt from his book "Oddly Normal: One Family's Struggle to Help Their Teenage Son Come to Terms with His Sexuality," which was released in a new paperback edition this week. The book is about his son Joe, who is shown in the snapshot above, outside the NYC LGBT Center.

Human development at the edge of sexual ambiguity

Image: Mopic via Shutterstock.com.

"If you look carefully at the research, sexual diversity, on the level of genital appearance, hormones and chromosomes, is present and predictable in humans," writes Cory Silverberg, who is the Sexuality Guide at About.com.

"To use the language of normativity, the fact that some of us don't fit into one of two boxes is as normal as the fact that some of us do."

Cory was writing about a new piece of science that examines "what it is that makes us think about bodies as being either one sex or another, only male or only female." He tells Boing Boing: Read the rest

Report: Transgender people serve in US military at a rate double the general population

Amid much talk of Chelsea Manning's transitional status, this interesting factoid shared by Boing Boing pal Andrea James: a Williams Institute study says trans people serve in the US military at rates double that of the general population. Despite the math, "they nonetheless face discrimination during and after service." Read the rest

Coming soon: More than one data point on the transgender experience in the military

Part of the problem with the Chelsea Manning situation is that it's spawned a lot of not-terribly-well-informed discussion about the roles and experiences of transgendered people in the military. There's a risk of this one big anecdote coming to represent the whole. Enter the Kinsey Institute — America's favorite source of sexuality science — which just got a grant to do actual research on the lives of transgender service members. Read the rest

Manning’s gender hell: Shades of gray in a black-and-white world

We asked writer, film director, Boing Boing contributor, and transgender educator and activist Andrea James what she thought about the media confusion following Private Manning's gender transition revelation. Below, Andrea's thoughts.

Serotonin found to influence sexual preference in mice

"When Yi Rao of Peking University in Beijing, China, and his colleagues genetically engineered female mice so that they could no longer make or respond to serotonin, it appeared to affect their sexuality. Although they would still mate with males if no other females were present, given the choice, the rodents preferred sniffing and mounting females." [New Scientist] Read the rest

Crime Against Nature: Beautifully illustrated children's book explores what "natural" really means

This is a book about "doin' what comes naturally". Which is to say, sex. But what kind of sex? With whom? And to what purpose? At what point do things like gender expression, sex, reproduction, and child-rearing stop being "normal and natural" and start being something weird that humans do because we are diverse/perverted/sinful/creative (depending on your personal point of view)?

In reality, the word "natural" is mainly how we tell each other which behaviors and traits are the socially correct ones. Calling something natural is often more about specific human cultural standards than it is about what actually happens in nature. Crime Against Nature is artist Gwenn Seemel's attempt to correct that mistake. Filled with gorgeous, Klimt-esque illustrations, Seemel's book shows readers just how diverse nature can be and just how often it fails to conform to our ideas of what is normal — from girls who are bigger and tougher than boys; to boys who give birth; to boys and girls that don't have sex or reproduce at all (and don't seem to mind one bit).

The issues at play here are hefty and potentially uncomfortable, but the book itself is light, playful, and pleasantly un-preachy. It's also set up in a way that allows it to evolve with kids as their reading skills improve — pairing simple statements like "Boys can be the pretty ones" with longer but still easy-to-read paragraphs explaining, for instance, the most recent scientific theories about why male peacocks are so much more colorful than females. Read the rest

LovePalz teledildonic sex toy

An early 1990s magazine called Future Sex was all about teledidonics - devices that allow people to have sex with each other even when they weren't close enough to have sex. But in the early 1990s, there weren't any real teledildonic devices. Future Sex closed down after a few issue

In 2012, a couple of designers are hoping to make teledildonics a reality with LovePalz, an iPhone sex toy that allows you to "remotely control your partner's device through your body movement." They were rejected from Kickstarter (Kickstarter won't say why), so the designers have launched their own Kickstarter-esque website. They've received 2223 pre-orders so far.

LovePalz

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Anderson Cooper: "I'm gay"

TV's first out news anchor Anderson Cooper explains why he's making it official: "It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true." [Andrew Sullivan] (Update: Don Lemon came out last year! And Rachel Maddow beats them both by years.) Read the rest

Man gay after stroke

Lucy Wallis tells the story of a man whose personality changed after a stroke: "Chris Birch struggles to remember or identify with his old self. He used to be a 19-stone, beer-swilling, party-loving rugby fan from the Welsh valleys, the life and soul of a party. He worked in a bank and loved sport and motorbikes. After a freak accident in 2011, he says he underwent a big change to his personality. He believes that he has gone from being straight to gay." [BBC] Read the rest

Science, sex, and your hands

Here's an interesting fact about sexual dimorphism: On average, if you were born a male, your hands are a little bit different from those of someone who was born a female. Most men have a pointer finger that is a little bit shorter than their ring finger. Most women have a pointer finger that's about the same length as their ring finger, if not a little longer.

People have noted this differences between the sexes for centuries. But what's it mean? Truth is, we really aren't sure yet. But it is correlated to a lot of awfully interesting things. In fact, some scientists think "the finger thing" (as I like to call it) is a hallmark of prenatal hormone exposure. Because of that, in the scientific literature, you'll find lots of examples of studies that try to find a connection between the finger thing and seemingly disparate traits, such as sexual orientation and gender expression.

We talked about the finger thing on a recent episode of the Sex is Fun podcast—what it's all about, what fingers could be telling us about people, and why it's maybe all just a bunch of hooey. Take a listen!

Also, for the record: My right hand has lady fingers. My left hand does not. How about you?

Sex is Fun

Image: Hand, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from teleyinex's photostream

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