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.
Read the rest
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...
Read the rest
"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.
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
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
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
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.
"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
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