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Study Finds Straight People - And Even Many Gays - Are Still Alarmingly Uncomfortable With Same-Sex PDA

Becker.John

Some gay activists have long espoused a theory that the so-called "ick factor" — straight people's aversion to the idea of same-sex intimacy, especially involving men — is a fundamental obstacle to full equality. It helps explain the strategy behind historical gay kiss-in protests — or, more recently, same-sex couples posting photos of themselves kissing (above) on the Facebook page of anti-gay reality stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar.

But now a scientific study gives credence to the "ick factor" theory and, in doing so, could even help chart a course for the LGBT movement post-marriage equality.

The study, authored by Indiana University researcher Logan Doan and published in The American Sociological Review, surveyed more than 1,000 people and found that while 70 percent of heterosexuals support things like inheritance rights for same-sex couples, only 55 percent approve of gay men kissing on the cheek in public, according to Al Jazeera America. That's compared to 95 percent who approve of straight couples kissing on the cheek in public.

What's more, over 20 percent of heterosexual respondents said they disapprove of gay men talking about their relationships.

Even gay male respondents were less approving of gay PDAs than straight PDAs — perhaps, Doan says, due to internalized stigma and an inherent fear of hate crimes. And not surprisingly, heterosexual respondents were far more approving of lesbian PDAs, at a rate of 72 percent.

But approval of gay male PDAs was similar to support for same-sex marriage (53 percent), which many Americans view as a social construct separate from equal legal rights. And while marriage equality can be achieved in the courts, it seems a significant percentage of straight Americans still won't approve of same-sex relationships on a moral level.

From Al Jazeera America:

“We had civil rights laws long before we had positive attitudes toward ethnic minorities,” Doan said, adding that Americans support rights because they see themselves as egalitarian, regardless of their personal views on homosexuality.

“The more informal, subtle types of prejudice linger much longer, because that actually requires people to change their views,” he said. ...

The survey may offer clues to gay rights activists on the direction of the movement going forward, Doan said. “It would be great to take a more comprehensive approach.”

“There’s this informal type of prejudice that has primarily been neglected. There’s a push for more positive portrayals in the media, but the bulk of what people think of when they think of the gay rights movement is marriage,” he said.

Of course, we all know marriage equality isn't going to stop gay youth from being rejected by their families, or LGBT people from being fired by their employers — much of which correllates to the "ick factor."

But the solution isn't just more same-sex PDAs or gay sex on TV. It's for gay people to be not only out, but also open about their relationships.

Before we can do that, though — as the study's finding of lower approval for same-sex PDAs among gays would suggest — we'll first need to fully accept ourselves.


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Al Jazeera Buys Current TV, Will Rebrand to 'Al Jazeera America': VIDEO

Aljazeera

Al Jazeera has bought Current TV, the progressive struggling cable and internet news station started by Al Gore, which it plans to rebrand to Al Jazeera America, adding staff and new U.S. bureaus, the network reports:

Terms were undisclosed, but analysts told the Reuters news agency the deal could be worth an estimated $500m. The new channel will be headquartered in New York City.

In addition to the existing Al Jazeera news bureaus in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, Al Jazeera will open additional bureaus in key locations across the United States. It will also double its US-based staff to more than 300 employees.

The deal brings Al Jazeera into closer competition with American news channels like CNN, MSNBC and Fox. The award-winning channel is seen in more than 260 million homes in 130 countries, but has had limited access to US markets.

"For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal," Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement. "By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America."

Watch Al Jazeera's report on the acquisition, AFTER THE JUMP....

GoreFormer VP Al Gore made bank on the deal, the NYT reports:

Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax rates that took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.

Continue reading "Al Jazeera Buys Current TV, Will Rebrand to 'Al Jazeera America': VIDEO" »


Al Jazeera Looks at Rick Perry's Evangelical Prayer Rally: VIDEO

Response

Here's Al Jazeera's report on Rick Perry's evangelical prayer event on Saturday, The Response.

Over the weekend, Andrew posted several items on the event, including GetEqual protests, Rick Perry's speech, and a special fast that took place at the event, which involved eating hot dogs from the concession stands.

Watch Al Jazeera's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Al Jazeera Looks at Rick Perry's Evangelical Prayer Rally: VIDEO" »


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