Thursday, October 31, 2013

Article in Nature 1995 About Transsexual Brain Size

We read this article for my neurobiology I lab this week. It's about changes in brain size in transsexuals, published in 1995.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dykes to Watch Out For

For more on Alison Bechdel and her comic strip, see this website.  You can find a strip archive, read cast biographies, learn about her books, and more.

Gloria Steinem Apology

I could not find the actual transcript of the apology, but here is an article that highlights the main points of Steinem's apology.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Representing Pride... Is Gay Pride perpetuating stereotypes?

     I was doing some research when I came across this "Letter to the Editor" from a Michigan woman:
"GAY PRIDE: Stop perpetuating stereotype
I am a winter resident of Arizona, and a lesbian from Michigan. I attended the Phoenix Gay Pride Festival, an event that celebrates the many LGBT organizations that serve the Phoenix community.
Although I was not personally offended, I was NOT proud of the LGBTs who were clad only in their underwear or were wearing overtly sexually suggestive clothes.
In the crowd I noticed straights, some with young children. Perhaps they were there to support a family member, to learn more about my community or maybe just curious. Whatever the case, what they saw only continues to perpetuate the stereotype of gays as sexual deviants.
How proud are you now?
Pat Witek, Apache Junction"
     I think that Pat's comments are telling of tensions that may exist between generations of gay and lesbian people - how do young gay and lesbian people today choose to represent themselves and their gay or lesbian identities verses older generations? Maybe Pat is just a very socially conservative person? 

    At any rate, I think it is important to consider her upset with the Pride event that she attended. Weather or not Pat is a really conservative person or there exists some generational divide, I agree with her that many Pride festivals do tend to focus on highly sexualized portrayals of the gay and lesbian community, which consequently tend perpetuate deviant stereotypes of the community.  I sympathize with Pat when she notices the straight couples and the children in the crowd, "Perhaps they were there to support a family member, to learn more about my community or maybe just curious. " In places with restrictive social and political climates for gay and lesbian expression, I think that is even more important to portray the full range of gay and lesbian identity and experience rather than just stereotypical image people outside the community have come to expect. 

The letter was published on April 29, 2010 in the East Valley Tribune.

Upstairs Lounge Fire in New Orleans

Vickie Eaklor discussed this briefly in Chapter 6 and I remembered reading about it in Time magazine this summer! Here is a link to the story and some photos. Touches on both bar culture and life after the Stonewall riots, mainly untold histories that are still left unresolved.
Hope you all find it interesting!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Marriage Equality and Divorce

I came across an interesting article written by Dese'Rae L. Stage, who was among the first legally married lesbians in New York State. The title of her article explains her unique position: "I Fought For the Right to Get Married--And Now I'm Divorced." Stage is very honest about how she coped with her personal struggles throughout the divorce process, among them a sense of failure for ending such a publicly significant marriage.

Another fascinating aspect of Stage's article was that it was written for Cosmo, a magazine that has had many problems with feminist and inclusivity issues. In her blog post about the writing process for this piece, Slade addresses criticisms she received for this decision: "I’ve been asked a few times why I would choose to write for such an anti-feminist publication. I can’t say that I have an opinion on the magazine’s ideological leanings, but to be honest, the answer is the paycheck. When I was younger, I desperately wanted to be a writer. Now, I’m writing and getting paid for it. On the other hand, nothing I wrote in that essay is anti-feminist, and the piece has reached a demographic I never could have or would have tried to reach. I’m grateful for that. As a spokesperson for equal rights to marriage (and divorce), I think it’s important to get the word out to as many people as possible." 

For the blog post and a link to the article, visit:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Saying no to marriage

Interesting article about gay couples choosing to say "I don't." Article features our own John D'emilio.

Gay Visibility on Television

Last Sunday night, Andy Cohen hosted a Queer-Eye (for the Straight Guy) 10-year reunion special, where the Fab Five sat around and discussed their experience with the show. During the show, Thom Filicia discussed the significance of their presence on television a decade ago, and how there was very limited representation of gay individuals on TV during that time. While Queer-Eye is definitely critiqued for perpetuating somewhat limiting stereotypes for gay men, it can be argued that the Fab Five, and this show, really helped the visibility of gay life in the media, and "ended up making over the mainstream media’s representation of gay men." (2nd EW article) This show presented gay men interacting with straight men in very normal social ways, and helped make LGBTQ life more mainstream in pop culture. This show also encouraged a lot of discussions around LGBTQ issues, such as the use of the word "gay" as a derogatory term, or "making-better" a trans-male in one episode. If you are interested in watching the show, all five seasons are currently on Netflix! (that's how I've been spending my free time...)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Mattachine Society and the FBI

I stumbled upon an interesting collection of documents in the FBI's online archives that pertain to the Mattachine Society. It seems that the Society's concern about building a respectable front was justified, given the scrutiny that it was subjected to by the Bureau: the documents include descriptions of meeting attendees, the Communist backgrounds of at least one leader (name redacted), and investigations into the publication of ONE. I'm sure there's a whole treasure trove of information here. I've only just skimmed it and already found some cool things. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The New York Times Considers Gay Rights and Trans Rights

Since we talked about Christine Jorgensen and the divergence of gay identity from trans identity, this seems like a perfect time to mention: the New York Times has a "Room For Debate" discussion running that asks whether trans issues ought to be lumped together with gay and lesbian issues. Check it out, and see what some of the authors have to say about it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Buzzfeed List

So if any of you spend as much time on the internet as I do, you've probably come across the time-sucking black hole that is Buzzfeed. I found this article the other day, and it reminded me of one of the conversations that we had as a class around the time that Zach Wahls came to class. If you get a chance to look at the list, I would like to know if you agree with the author? Should we be more concerned with these more "serious" issues? Or is marriage equality one of the first steps in gaining societal acceptance of LGBTQ individuals, and the rest of these issues will follow?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

150 Years of Lady-Loving-Ladies In The U.S.

A friend of mine sent me the link to this earlier today. It's essentially a photo archive that one woman assembled of queer women in the US from the last 150 years, pulling from images posted on tumblr, to digital archives, and even scanned images from books and screenshots form documentary films. It's a cool collection to scroll through, and includes a good balance of well-known figures, as well as anonymous "lady-loving-ladies".


Companies supporting LGBT employees

I found this article went well with our recent topic of The Lavender Scare that trickled down to private businesses. It highlights five companies who support and protect the LGBT community both within and outside their company.

The end of the article also mentions companies Chick-Fil-A and Barilla who have publicly stated a lack of support for same-sex marriage, despite retracting those statements due to poor publicity.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Current California Transgender Politics

Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that would make it easier for transgendered people to change their birth certificates. The bill, AB 1121 (Atkins), proposed by San Diego assemblyman Toni Atkins would reduce some of the time and monetary expenses that transgender people experience when legally changing names and gender listings (AP).

While AB 1121 proved a victory for transgender people, a lobbying group "Privacy for all Students" recently began a campaign to repeal California AB 1266 "Pupil rights: sex-segregated school programs and activities" (Wetzstein).  Under AB 1266 children and teens attending California public schools "shall be permitted to participate in sex-segregated school programs and activities, including athletic teams and competitions, and use facilities consistent with his or her gender identity, irrespective of the gender listed on the pupil’s records" (AB No. 1266).


Associated Press (AP), LGBTQNation, October 8, 2013,

Wetzstein, Cheryl, Washington Times, Petition drive underway to put California's transgender student law on the ballot, September 23, 2013,

AB-1266 Pupil rights: sex-segregated school programs and activities (2013-2014), California Chapter 85,

2013 GLAAD TV Reports

GLAAD released their annual reports this morning on the visibility and place of GLBT characters in the past and upcoming television seasons respectively. The Hollywood Reporter summarised the statistics in their article below and while it was good to see so may networks given "good" ratings for last season, the percentage of GLBT characters this season was surprisingly low:

Variety also covered the release and highlighted an interesting point from GLAAD's associate director of entertainment media, Matt Kane, who noted that American TV Shows are broadcast all over the world and subsequently have the potential to influence views abroad. I'm not sure what the exact proportion of American programming to British programming is on British TV but I can definitely say that it feels like it has a significant presence and almost everyone I know back home includes American shows amongst their favourites, so the potential to influence views is definitely there. (

If you'd like to read more the original reports can be downloaded here:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homophobia in Sports

Hey all!

Dovetailing on Hannah's recent post...
I know a few of us are athletes in the class, I thought you would find this story interesting. I think there are a lot of things to be noted, especially sports ability to raise conversation in regards to varying social issues. The sports arena is a unique political venue and clubs/players actions can generate both political and social messages that end up reaching the masses.


Wombach and Huffman Marry

So I know BuzzFeed isn't exactly the best news source, but one of my friends shared this link with me about Abby Wombach marrying long time women's national soccer teammate Sarah Huffman. They have both been LGBT activists for their entire careers and each came out to the public recently.

Sexual Activity in the United States
here is a link to the results of a study that show the percentage of high school students who have had sex. The results are surprising compared to the Kinsey statistics of 75% since as of 2007 only 47.8% of all high schoolers have had intercourse and 64.6% of all 12 graders have had intercourse. 
Surprisingly I was unable to find any documentation on the percentage of college students who have had sex.

How Many People are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender? | Williams Institute

How Many People are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender? | Williams Institute 
This is a recent study done through Williams Institute at UCLA that draws on recent studies and found that only 3.5% of the total population is gay, lesbian or bisexual. this obviously is a much different statistic than Kinsey's research which stated that 10% of males are exclusivity homosexual.
Here is another psychology study Demographics of the gay and lesbian population in the United States: Evidence from available systematic data sources which was published in 2000, so it may be slightly outdated. This study is particularly interesting because of its statistics on percentage of homosexuals in the military and positive correlation between homosexuality and education level.

The Lavender Scare - documentary film

Take a look at the website for "The Lavender Scare," a film based on the book we read that is now in production. The website includes a detailed description of the film and some fascinating videos.  You can also watch the trailer here:

Monday, October 7, 2013

New York Times Op-ed on Pope's shifting views

Interesting article commenting on the Pope's recent remarks on homosexuality. I thought the author did a good job of placing the Pope's remarks in the larger context of the time.