Naomi Wolf's formerly forthcoming book, "Outrages", is about the emergence of homosexuality as a concept and its criminalization in 19th-century England. When review copies went out, though, a serious problem emerged for its claim that many gay men were sent to the gallows by Victorian judges: they were alive after their supposed executions. Wolf had misunderstood the legal term "death was recorded" (which actually means they were pardoned), failed to realize that child rape was also charged as "sodomy" (thereby accounting for some actual executions), and the resulting lack of verifiably gay corpses threatened the book's thesis. The book was temporarily withdrawn for revisions. Four months on, however, the publisher is cutting it loose.
In June, days before the book was expected to go on sale in the United States, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt postponed the publication and recalled copies from retailers, an unusual and costly move. The publisher said at the time that “new questions have arisen that require more time to explore.” Now, it has pulled the book altogether.
On Monday, a spokeswoman for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said in an email that Ms. Wolf and the publisher “mutually and amicably agreed to part company.”
This suggests the book can't be rescued as credible nonfiction, a common outcome for attempts to contemporize historical interactions between sexuality and society. But Wolf's been on thin ice a long time and has few defenders. Read the rest
J.K. Rowling earlier declared wizarding headmaster Albus Dumbledore a gay man. Much discussion centered on why it wasn't on the page or the screen. Once again, she highlights a sexual dimension to her characters that surely motivates them, yet—for reasons unexplained—remains unspoken and unseen.
“So I’m less interested in the sexual side – though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship – than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationship,” Rowling adds.
Everything you say about your art that isn't in your art is criticism of your art.
Photo: Daniel Ogren (CC BY 2.0) Read the rest
In a letter published online today, 56 of America's largest corporations tell Donald Trump not roll back legal protections for transgender people, as he is threatening to do with the midterm U.S. elections one week away. What he appears to be trying to do, of course, is far more than that. Donald Trump says he wants to be the one who determines your gender. Read the rest
Fendi is taking a beating online after creating a pink scarf that resembles female genitalia, bush and all. Read the rest
In 2017, nearly 2.3 million STD cases were diagnosed in the USA, the highest number ever reported, topping previously highest year of 2016 by 200,000 cases.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released new numbers on STDs in America. Read the rest
Transgender model and activist Munroe Bergdorf hosts the new Channel 4 documentary What Makes a Woman? Science and society are grappling with the complex and contentious topics of sex, sexuality, and gender. New research and evidence demonstrate that simplistic binaries are more complicated than previously believed. Read the rest
It's hard to imagine that contemporary discussions in the White House are even dumber than those between Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman and H. R. Haldeman.
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Nixon: The point that I make is that goddamit, I do not think that you glorify, on public television, homosexuality! You ever see what happened, you know what happened to the Greeks? Homosexuality destroyed them. Aristotle was a homo, we all know that. So was Socrates.
Ehrlichman: But he never had the influence that television has.
Nixon: The last six Roman emperors were fags.
Scientific American dedicates its September issue to The New Science of Sex and Gender, and sociobiologists haven't been in this kind of tizzy since the Emmy-nominated Bill Nye episode about sex and gender. Read the rest
This cartoon from Bill Nye Saves the World uses various ice cream flavors as part of a hysterical analogy on the intolerant views of Christians when it comes to sexuality.
It starts off with various flavors of ice cream showing up at an "Ice Cream Conversion Therapy" group. Vanilla is the dogmatic leader of the group. "It's the science of feelings, and as vanilla, I feel that I am the most natural of the ice creams. And therefore the rest of you should just go ahead and also be vanilla. It's the one true flavor."
But his stance immediately weakens once he gets a quick lick of salted caramel, and then all hell breaks loose (literally, if you're a vanilla thinker) as they all jump into the bowl together and vanilla sees his true inner flavor. Read the rest
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...
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"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."
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
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
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
Worth checking out: this photojournalism project about people who identify as asexual. Read the rest
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.
"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