April 8, 2014

Does porn harm teens?

A recent article in the  New York Times  addresses the touchy topic of teen consumption of porn. There was a time when it was a lot easier for parents to monitor what their teenaged children watched on the Internet. But now with so many devices - phones, tablets, laptops, desktops and televisions - hooked up to the Web and so much porn freely available on tube and pirate sites, parents have little hope of preventing sexually curious teenagers from accessing explicit content online. The question, then, is has this new reality caused psychological harm to teens? 
Two recent meta-studies -- one based in the US, the other in Great Britain -- fail to conclude that teens are harmed by watching porn. 

Last May, the Children’s Commissioner for England released a report titled “Basically ... porn is everywhere,” which examined 276 research papers on teenagers and pornography. It was not able to establish a causal relationship between teen viewing of porn and risky sexual behavior, such as not using condoms or starting to have sex at an earlier age than they might otherwise. 

The US meta study, "The Impact of Internet Pornography on Adolescents: A Review of the Research,” was conducted by  West Chester University in Pennsylvania and published in Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. It looked at over forty studies and also could not find conclusive evidence of negative consequences to teens watching porn. 

However, researchers remain cautious. After all "neuroscience tells us that young minds are still forming and thus malleable, and they tend to respond to emotionally charged material in ways that adults don’t. Given that pornography is emotionally charged, it would be shocking if it had no impact."

Professor Miranda Horvath, one of the researchers behind the Children’s Commissioner report, says that parents should be teaching their kids about relationships and sex at a young age, "If we start teaching kids about equality and respect when they are 5 or 6 years old, by the time they encounter porn in their teens, they will be able to pick out and see the lack of respect and emotion that porn gives us. They’ll be better equipped to deal with what they are being presented with.” 
At the very least, researchers recommend, the traditional "birds and the bees" conversation between parents and their adolescent kids must be revised and expanded to include a full and frank lesson on porn literacy. 

April 6, 2014

Graham crackers = love

Last month, Nabisco released an ad for its Honey Maid graham cracker snack. The “This Is Wholesome” spot featured families from all walks of life, including same sex couples. Needless to say, haters responded with some nasty comments. But Honey Maid turns it all back on them, with what has got to be one of the best turn-the-other-cheek messages we've seen in a while, enough to melt even our cold, porny hearts. 

April 2, 2014

Battle of the (not really) virgin artists

Clayton Pellet versus John Bingham

Last October, art school student Clayton Pettet (pictured, left) announced that he was going to lose his virginity to another man, in front of an audience, as a piece of performance art. His work, called Art School Stole My Virginity, is planned for this week.

Then last month, a second young artist came out of the woodwork and claimed to have inspired Pettet's project. John Bingham said he met Pettet a few years earlier and had suggested doing a similar piece. He then announced that he would actually follow through on the idea in a piece called Art School Stole My Sexuality. In it, he would be penetrated by both a male and female partner, in front of an audience. (He planned to have his parents in the audience. Ick!)

Bingham has now pulled out of his project, claiming the “outrageous, pornographic and self-abusive performance” would not benefit his career as an artist. 

He also took a shot as his rival, Pettet. "It's porn, it's not art, he's abusing himself and making a fool of himself at the same time," Bingham said. "I won’t be attending or buying any of his paintings."

It gets better. Bingham then claimed that Pettet's performance would be a lie because the two had sex a few weeks ago, alleging that Pettet is no longer a virgin. Meow!

Pettet has not responded to Bingham's comments. He's probably too busy anal douching.

March 27, 2014

World Vision reverses decision to hire legally married gay

World VisionA few days ago, Christian organization World Vision surprised everyone when it announced that it would be revising its handbook in order to allow for the hiring of Christians who are in same-sex marriages. Before, gays and lesbians could only find employment within the organization if they were practicing abstinence.
Two days later, World Vision reversed its decision.
"The board acknowledged they made a mistake and chose to revert to our longstanding conduct policy requiring sexual abstinence for all single employees and faithfulness within the Biblical covenant of marriage between a man and a woman," World Vision President Richard Stearns and Jim Beré, Chairman of the World Vision U.S. Board, said in a statement.
The international relief organization had initially been lauded by the LGBT community for being so progressive. However, conservative Christians were outraged and called for a boycott.
"This whole situation has left me feeling frustrated, heartbroken, and lost. I don't think I've ever been more angry at the Church, particularly the evangelical culture in which I was raised and with which I for so long identified," wrote blogger Rachel Held Evans. "I confess I had not realized the true extent of the disdain evangelicals have for our LGBT people, nor had I expected World Vision to yield to that disdain by reversing its decision under pressure. Honestly, it feels like a betrayal from every side."
It is sad that fighting gays is more important to some people than feeding starving children.
Prominent evangelical charity World Vision to hire Christians in same-sex marriages [Montreal Gazette]
World Vision Reverses Decision On Gay Christian Hiring Policy [The Huffington Post]

March 19, 2014

Satanists promise to turn Fred Phelps gay in afterlife

Pink Mass for Fred PhelpsThe leader of the New York-based Satanic Temple, Lucien Greaves, said that when Fred Phelps passes (which, according to his estranged son, may be soon), he will lead a 'Pink Mass' to turn Phelps gay. Greaves claimed to have turned Fred Phelps' mother "gay for all eternity” in a similar ceremony last year.
He said he hopes that Phelps, who created the Westboro Baptist Church, "lingers long enough to savour the full terror that must consume a mind as superstitious and bitterly haunted as his… abandoned by the only people he personally shared his spiteful and depraved sense of mission with."
He added: "At the time [that I turned Fred’s mother gay], I predicted that Fred hadn’t too much longer till he would pass, and I stated – in a direct tweet to the WBC – that I would be presiding over Fred’s own Pink Mass before too long. As I have made a promise to a dying man, I fully intend to do my very best to see it through, and the pomp and circumstance of this Pink Mass will surely far, far exceed that of the original event in Meridian, Mississippi."
It is an interesting way to send Phelps on to whatever comes next. Maybe he will become a drag queen in the afterlife!

John Kerry will send experts to Uganda to explain homosexuality

John KerryOn Tuesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US will send scientific experts on homosexuality to Uganda. He hoped they would help persuade Uganda's politicians to reconsider the recently passed law that makes homosexuality punishable by life in prison.
Kerry said he was hoping to "reach a point of reconsideration," and that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni had agreed to meet the US experts.
"He committed to meet with some of our experts so that we could engage him in a dialogue as to why what he did could not be based on any kind of science or fact, which is what he was alleging," Kerry said. "He welcomed that and said that he was happy to receive them and we can engage in that kind of conversation … maybe we can reach a point of reconsideration."
Fingers crossed that logic, and real science, will beat out Uganda's irrational fears. 
US to send scientific experts to Uganda to discuss homosexuals and the country's anti-gay law [Gay Star News]

March 17, 2014

Fred Phelps excommunicated and near death

Fred PhelpsIt looks like Fred Phelps' days are numbered. The 84-year-old former head of Westboro Baptist Church - best known for its 'God Hates Fags' message - is near death.
Nathan Phelps made the announcement on his Facebook page, saying that his father was "on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas."
Nathan, who left the church several years ago, also revealed that Fred Phelps was excommunicated from his own “church” back in August of 2013, though no explanation was given. (Maybe a change of heart? Or perhaps the WBC also hates old people.)
"I’m not sure how I feel about this," he wrote. "Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made."
According to Nathan, the Phelps family are blocking anyone who is no longer with the church from seeing Fred. 
A spokesman confirmed on Sunday that Fred was not well. “I can tell you that Fred Phelps is having some health problems," said Steve Drain. "He’s an old man, and old people get health problems."
If only there were a hell ...
Fred Phelps Sr, ex-pastor of gay-hating Westboro church, 'close to death' [The Guardian]
Ex-Westboro Baptist Church Leader Fred Phelps is Finally Dying [Gawker]

March 5, 2014

Gay former soldier: 'Want equality? Close icky bathhouses'

James WhartonAn openly gay former British soldier is causing quite a stir in the UK after he penned an editorial saying that true equality for homosexuals can only be accomplished when gay saunas are closed down.

James Wharton wrote his opinion piece for the new LGBT lifestyle mag Winq. He claimed the existence of gay saunas - where he said men congregate to have anonymous sex with strangers, often in an alcohol and drug-infused haze - only "feeds the haters."

"Sex saunas need to be history," he wrote. "The time has come to close them down. ... [They are] thorns in our side that mark our community as different for the wrong reasons. 

"If we don’t, we feed the haters and we hand the bigots who remain a vocal minority ammunition with which to attack us."

Of course, with that logic we should stop letting men wear ass-less leather chaps or perform in drag, because that dastardly vocal minority will whine about them. (Oh, and no more anal sex. Bigots don't like that, either!)

Although he claimed he was not a prude, he admitted that he was turned off by the idea of these bathhouses. "For me as a gay man, the notion that there exist within our communities a series of places that actively promote the convening of gay men for participation in sex of shades various and in groups of all sizes rather revolts me – and I‘ve been round the block a few times, believe me."

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell disagreed. '‘It would be very wrong if the gay community became proscriptive and moralistic over consenting adult behavior," he argued. "Plenty of gay and bisexual men use saunas without resorting to drugs or unsafe sex. A small minority may act recklessly and that should be challenged but it would be wrong to penalize the majority."

Gay former soldier: ‘If LGBTs want equality, shut down saunas’ [Gay Star News]

James Wharton responds to backlash over closing gay saunas [Gay Star News]

Gay Soldier James Wharton "Shut Down Gay Saunas" [The Gay UK]

February 27, 2014

Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay bill

Jan BrewerAfter receiving a lot of pressure from human rights groups, politicians and business leaders, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has vetoed a bill that would have allowed business owners to turn away gay customers if they felt serving a homosexual would compromise their religious beliefs.

Brewer said that the legislation would have "unintended and negative consequences," potentially tarnishing the state's reputation, scaring away business and leading to unexpected lawsuits.

"I have not heard one example in Arizona where a business owner's religious liberty has been violated," she said. "It could divide Arizona in ways we cannot even imagine and nobody could ever want."

Sadly, seven other states are considering "religious liberty" bills like the one almost passed in Arizona. At least for today, though, we can revel in the knowledge that there are a lot of unhappy bigots out there. Suckas!

Arizona governor vetoes anti-gay bill passed by right-wing legislature [The Guardian]

Jan Brewer, Arizona governor, vetoes anti-gay bill [CBC]

February 26, 2014

Uganda's anti-gay bill signed into law

President MuseveniIt is now official: being gay in Uganda can land you in jail for life. President Museveni (pictured) signed the new anti-gay legislation into law on Monday.

Museveni said he wanted to see scientific proof that homosexuality was not a choice before approving the bill. A group of MPs provided him with a report based upon the findings of the country's 'top' scientists. 

The report stated: "Homosexuality is not a disease but merely an abnormal behavior which may be learned through experiences in life. In every society, there is a small number of people with homosexuality tendencies. ... The practice needs regulation like any other human behavior especially to protect the vulnerable. There is need for further studies to address sexuality in the African context."

That was enough for Museveni, who, upon signing the law, said that gays were all prostitutes and that oral sex gave people worms. (Obviously an educated man.)

Africa's Mail and Guardian discovered that the report was - surprise, surprise - doctored. The scientists actually said that people did not choose their sexual orientation, and that homosexuals had always existed in Africa and homosexuality was not introduced to the continent by Westerners.

To make matters worse for the local LGBT community, the tabloid Red Pepper published a list of the top "200 homos."

"The media witch-hunt is back," tweeted Jacqueline Kasha, a Ugandan lesbian activist named on the list.

The West has started to take a stand, however. 

The Netherlands stopped a $9.6 million subsidy to Uganda's judicial system. And Norway and Denmark said they will redirect $17 million earmarked for the Ugandan government to non-governmental agencies in the area.

The US, however, seemed less willing to act. Secretary of State John Kerry revealed that his government would look at the aid being sent to Uganda. "Now that this law has been enacted, we are beginning an internal review of our relationship with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all dimensions of our engagement, including assistance programmes, uphold our anti-discrimination policies and principles and reflect our values,'' he said in a statement.

Canada and the UK have also been critical of the new law, but have not stated if aid will be affected.

Europeans Stop Uganda Aid After Antigay Law [Wall Street Journal]

Ugandan tabloid prints list of 'homosexuals' [CNN]

February 24, 2014

Welcome to Arizona, little Russia of the USA

Last week, Arizona politicians passed a law that would allow vendors to deny service to gay customers on religious grounds. The bill, known as the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act," was approved by Republican-controlled legislature on Thursday.

The bill was heavily inluenced by the Center for Arizona Policy, a social conservative group that opposes abortion and gay marriage. The group claimed the bill was a response to increasingly "activist" federal courts that were allowing same-sex marriage.

"The world is upset with how Russia has treated gay rights... I think it's time for that same anger to be directed towards AZ," countered state House minority leader, Democrat Chad Campbell, through Twitter.

Governor Jan Brewer has not said whether she will sign the bill or veto it. "It's a very controversial piece of legislation," Brewer said. "I will make my decision probably by next Friday, if I do decide to sign it."

Soon gays will only be able to drink from certain water fountains and be asked to sit at the back of the bus. Can this really be happening in 2014?

Wary Arizona businesses urge veto of anti-gay bill [LA Times]

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: ‘I’ve Got Plenty of Time’ to Decide on Anti-Gay Bill [ABC News]

February 22, 2014

HRC calls out Americans pushing homophobia in Russia

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a new web video highlighting the role that American extremists have played in the passage of Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT laws. The video details how more than a dozen Americans, including National Organization for Marriage (NOM) President Brian Brown have traveled to Russia in the last year to meet with policy makers and lobby for these laws. (Geez, homophobes are ugly!)

February 13, 2014

Dale Hansen has a few words for homo-hating NFL fans

Dale Hansen, Dallas-Fort Worth's WFAA newscaster, called out the bigots who are upset a homosexual might get drafted into the NFL. Brilliant!

In related news, New York Giants Terrell Thomas has an interesting issue with gays in the locker room.

"There's a lot of talk and joking around, and some guys walk around completely naked all the time, and they might not want to do that anymore," he said. So ... he's sad because he won't get to see more of his teammates naked? Maybe someone else needs to come out of the closet ...

February 12, 2014

BananaGuide asks: Are you boycotting the 2014 Olympics?

Sochi protests