By Rosemary Counter - Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 0 Comments
Now that anyone can have a baby without sex, stigmas are fading. But some sperm and egg questions are still uncouth.
As Lauren MacMillan’s due date approaches, she’s attracting attention from well-meaning strangers. “At work, I get lots of ‘Ooh, your husband must be so excited!’ ” she says.
That’s when MacMillan, a 32-year-old account manager from Winnipeg, explains she has a wife, whom she’s been with for eight years and married to for a year and a half. There’s an awkward moment, followed by an even more awkward moment. “The look says, ‘Uh, how did this happen?’ ”
If you must know, MacMillan and her partner used a donor. They went through a U.S. sperm bank and chose a handsome fellow with similar interests in sports and travel. She got pregnant on their second try. No, she doesn’t know the donor, not even his name, but yes, she paid more for someone who was willing to be contacted when the child turns 18.
“I’m always open about my lifestyle,” says MacMillan. But if you happen to bump into her in the supermarket, a big smile and a “congratulations” will do just fine. “Don’t make assumptions,” she advises. “Times have changed.” Continue…
By Emma Teitel - Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 6:20 AM - 0 Comments
Emma Teitel explains why not everyone is happy with girl-on-girl-induced ratings
Rumours abound that American singer and occasional actress Jennifer Lopez is leaving the fold of reality television—where she’s been a judge on American Idol for the past two years—to produce and potentially star in a drama on ABC Family. The show, yet to be named (ABC says it’s still in the works), is about a married lesbian couple, their three teenaged children and—apparently—a wayward youth who takes refuge from the streets in their happy home. Needless to say, lesbians in the media are thrilled. ABC Family—or ABC Spark, as it’s called in Canada—may not be breaking new ground in LGBT visibility on the small screen (shows like Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager currently feature gay characters), but according to Trish Bendix, an editor for the lesbian pop-culture website AfterEllen.com, JLo’s foray into gay TV has come at a particularly opportune time—one that may mark the death of the “token lesbian.” Bendix notes that lesbians on TV are no longer immediately thereafter “getting pregnant, sleeping with guys, or dying.” “One or all of those things,” she says, “would happen [in the past].”
She has a point. If you’ve ever watched The OC, Grey’s Anatomy, House, or any other TV show seeking a girl-on-girl–induced ratings hike, you’ll have noticed the same trend: Marissa Cooper’s brush with bisexuality on The OC sends her right back into the arms of brooding ex-boyfriend Ryan Atwood (she also dies two seasons later, albeit not from lesbianism), and Grey’s Anatomy’s in-house lesbian, orthopaedic surgeon Callie Torres, has a tendency to sleep with men and even get impregnated by one. But Bendix says more and more shows are emerging with legitimate lesbian characters. And she’s optimistic about the next one: JLo’s ostensible equal-opportunity project.
By Blog of Lists - Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
1. Urban Outfitters
Though this retailer markets itself to hipster 20-somethings, president and founder Richard Haynes is an ardent conservative. He’s also the owner of Anthropologie and Free People, but Haynes manages to find the time to donate thousands to Rick Santorum’s campaign. He’s also reportedly against gay marriage, and pro-gay tees have disappeared from UO shelves. In the spring, Urban Outfitters got in trouble over a trans-phobic card they were selling, which was eventually pulled from stores. Ironically enough, the anti-gay group One Million Moms targeted UO for a catalog that featured a lesbian kiss.
Walmart’s conservative leanings are well-documented, but the company has also donated thousands of dollars to anti-gay groups. They also used to sell an anti-gay children’s book called Chased by an Elephant, the Gospel Truth about Today’s Stampeding Sexuality.
3. Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts recently reconfirmed their policy on not allowing gay men and boys from joining or being leaders. A special committee of Scout executives and volunteers formed in 2010 decided unanimously that the anti-gay policy was best. The Scout is one of the largest youth groups in the U.S., with more than 2 million members. Still, not all the Scouts are happy about it: after a gay Eagle Scout was fired, 10 other members quit in protest. Other Scouts have been returning their medals because of the policy. There’s a small loophole to the policy, of course: you won’t be denied membership if you keep your homosexuality under wraps.
4. Salvation Army
Although it’s a charitable organization, the Salvation Army has a history of being anti-gay. In 2001, the Salvation Army worked with the Bush administration to make it easier for government-funded religious groups to discriminate against hiring gays. Most recently, an Australian Salvation Army Major said that gays “deserve to die” for their homosexuality.
Then, of course, there’s Chick-Fil-A, the company whose trouble with the gay community got everyone from drag queens to politicians to Muppets involved. Who knew Kermit was all about equal rights? Across the country, Chick-Fil-A is being protested for their anti-gay stance, though Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are vocal supporters.
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By Michelle Tarnopolsky - Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 10:04 AM - 0 Comments
Where the closets are crowded with a lot more than Prada and Gucci
After being punched in the nose and called a “f—ing faggot” outside a bar in Reggio Calabria, Italy on April 13, Claudio Toscano must have assumed his ordeal was over once he got to the hospital. But as he told Il Quotidiano della Calabria newspaper, that’s when the psychological attacks began: “Are you gay?” asked a paramedic in the emergency room. “I can recommend a psychologist. Hormonal treatments can heal you.”
Welcome to the world of LGBT in Italy, where the legal and cultural progress felt elsewhere in the Western world is all but absent. In February, the popular satirical TV news program Le Iene (“The Hyenas”) helped bring to justice Sicilian “magician” Alfio Sciacca, who claimed to heal people from the “sickness” of homosexuality. Le Iene learned of Sciacca after receiving complaints from a number of his fraud victims.
“It’s a great shame, but from this point of view, our country is still in the Middle Ages,” says lesbian activist and parliamentarian Anna Paola Concia. In April 2011 she and her partner were walking hand-in-hand down a crowded street in Rome when a man shouted, “F—ing lesbians. They should have sent you to the ovens!” No one came to their defense; some even reproached Concia for responding angrily. And they were lucky to be downtown—such encounters usually escalate to physical violence on the outskirts of Rome.
By Mitchel Raphael - Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:10 AM - 0 Comments
Egale, Canada’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) human rights organization, held a…
Egale, Canada’s national lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) human rights organization, held a special all-party reception in the Hill hosted by Tory Senator Nancy Ruth.
By Alex Ballingall - Wednesday, December 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM - 0 Comments
Strip searching transsexual or intersexed individuals has never been easy, but it’s about to get more complicated
Nothing is simple in the post-9/11 world of border security. That’s especially so in an era when a person boarding a plane might refuse to be identiﬁed as a man or a woman. Given that, the Canada Border Services Agency has developed a new strip search guideline. But now it’s a question of whether they’ve made things even more complicated.
Released in August, the protocol applies to “transsexual or intersexed” individuals; people who strongly identify or seek to live as a member of the opposite sex, have undergone surgery to physically change their sex, or were born with a mix of male and female reproductive parts. Such people can now choose from three options when faced with a strip search at the border: they can be searched by male border ofﬁcers or female border ofﬁcers—or receive a “split search.” That’s where things get interesting.
Two groups of ofﬁcers perform the search. The person being examined strips the clothes from their upper body, and a team of ofﬁcers from one sex perform the search. Then, the person puts their top back on and strips off the bottom half of their clothing before a second group of ofﬁcers of the other sex scrutinizes down there. The whole process is observed by at least one non-participating ofﬁcer to ensure everything is on the level. For those counting, that’s at least ﬁve ofﬁcers for every split search.