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Recent posts

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 4

For the final post in this series (here are links to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) we’ll examine the final 3 characteristics of minority groups based on a sociological list of 5 traits that minority groups tend to share. And we’ll discuss some implications for considering LGBT folks a minority group when it comes to the question of “rights.” 3) A shared sense of collective identity and common burdens: The LGBT community has bonded in order to provide community support to one another, both in cases of discrimination and intolerance described above, and to do what all social groups do for one another (celebrate life, mourn death, share their daily existence, tell stories, make art, help one another, work, gossip, raise children, and so on). 4) Socially shared rules about who belongs and who does not determine minority status: This group might be more porous than other minority groups, since many GLBT groups accept straight allies, asexual allies, and so on within their ranks. But there are still norms for membership, inclusion, and so on. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 3

In this post series, I’m defending the idea of giving GLBT people minority status. My first post gives some background on the issue, while my second post documents the oppression they face, thus fulfilling the first of 5 sociological categories that grant minority status to a group. Now we’ll get into the 2nd of these 5 categories:

2) Physical and/or cultural traits that set them apart, and which are disapproved by the dominant group: as far as I can tell, the scientific community is still researching the nature vs. nurture explanations for same-sex desire (take, for instance, this Slate article explaining some of the recent theories for the biological basis of homosexuality). My educated guess is that there are both biological and environmental factors going into sexual identity, and we’re still figuring out which conditions cause certain factors to come to the forefront. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 2

In the first post in this series, I listed 5 sociological characteristics of minority groups, intending to build an argument that LGBT people are, in fact, deserving of minority status. Here’s where I’ll get into the first – and perhaps most important – of those characteristics. Please note that for the purposes of this discussion, I will be focusing on gays and lesbians; this is not to erase the unique challenges faced by bisexual people, trans*people, queer folks, asexual people, and others, but simply because I’m not trying to conflate all these groups under one umbrella heading, though in some cases it does make sense to consider them grouped together, and I’d argue that they all do deserve minority status based on their uniqueness and their experiences of oppression. 1) Suffering discrimination and subordination: here is a list of atrocities committed against gays and lesbians specifically because they are gays and lesbians:

Numerous hate crimes against gays and lesbians, such as the murders of Matthew Shepard, Steven Simpson, Sakia Gunn, and many, many more, as listed on Wikipedia’s page, History of violence against LGBT people in the U.S. (seriously, click on that last link if you don’t believe that hate crimes against LGBT people are a thing)
Put another way, according to The Leadership Conference, “Of all hate crimes reported in 2007, the proportion committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals rose to 16.6 percent, also the highest level in five years.” I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that the population of gays and lesbians probably remained fairly constant, so the fact that the proportion of hate crimes against them went up means that they are being targeted specifically for who they are. Continue Reading →

Does Being Gay Make You A Minority? Part 1

Since I started following the news about HJR-3, the proposed Indiana amendment that would ban same-sex marriage (which will not appear on the 2014 ballot after all), I have gotten more and more involved in debates on why gay marriage should be legal, what gay rights are, and whether the phrase “gay rights” should even exist. One Indiana blogger, Sam Kean, wrote in a blog post titled Sexual Identity & Equality that “The LGBT culture attempts to claim rights as a minority against which discrimination is happening. That claim for equal rights as a minority is based on sexual identity, as if sexual identity must be equated with other essential (permanent) descriptors of human identity–race/ethnicity, gender, nationality (origin), age.” Kean discusses other aspects of sexuality in his blog post, which I won’t get into here, as my main goal is to demonstrate that gays and lesbians do, indeed, deserve minority status. Here’s why. Continue Reading →

MSP interviews Jason Ball, Activist and Gay Football Player

Jason 2

Australians will often tell overseas visitors that Aussie Rules Football, or simply ‘footy,’ is like a religion. It’s rare to find an Aussie who doesn’t passionately support an AFL (Australian Football League) team and team rivalries are deeply entrenched in family and footy culture alike. As with most sports, the professional teams are all male and reflect and reinforce traditional male gender roles. When I read that an Aussie Rules Football player – Jason Ball – had come out publicly as gay (the first ever to do so), I was thrilled to see how it would affect change in this traditional institution. Not only has he come out, he’s also become a passionate spokesperson for eliminating homophobia in the AFL. Continue Reading →

Malaysia Training Teachers To Spot Gay Children

According to the Jakarta Globe, the Malaysian government has started training teachers and parents to spot early signs of homosexuality in children. The consequences of being spotted or outed are are not clear in the article, but adult men and women can be prosecuted for engaging in homosexual acts, or even oral sex. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Male Homosexual Behavior In Iran

A recent study suggests that as many as 1 in 3 young Iranian men engage in homosexual acts with other men. It is difficult to get accurate numbers on behavior that is so stigmatized in a given society, but it is still intriguing to note that these behaviors are occurring in Iran, a society that vehemently discourages public displays of gay identities. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

“Too Gay To Give”: Are Blood Donation Restrictions Outdated?

As of late, there have been numerous blood drives taking place on IU’s campus – attempting to peak students’ interest in donating blood. The Red Cross buses have been parked outside of popular buildings on campus – with signs littered about campus and chalk on the sidewalks leading towards their location – in hopes of attracting new donors. Yet this emergence of visibility has not just peaked the students’ interest in donating blood, it has helped raise awareness surrounding the discriminatory restrictions that the FDA has placed on gay mens’ ability to donate. Continue Reading →

Sex Round-Up: Born Gay This Way, Cheating in the Marital Bed, Separation & More

Of interest this week:

- The New York Times explores why, if you’re going to have an affair, doing it in the marital bed is a huge mistake (and why you might want to decline the sofa your ex is eagerly offering you in the settlement) [New York Times]
- Attention sex therapists and researchers: the Society for Sex Therapy and Research is coming up soon at the end of March/beginning of April! AND it’s in Florida this year. [SSTAR]
- NPR takes a look at stories of army spouse separation from a new collection by Siobhan Fallon  [NPR]
- BornGayThisWay is a blog to which GLBT adults can “submit pictures from their childhood (roughly ages 2 to 12) – with snapshots that capture them, innocently, showing the beginnings of their innate LGBT selves.” There’s some pretty cute stuff in here – definitely worth a look. [BornGayThisWay] Continue Reading →