Best gay blog. Towleroad Wins Award

Gay Stories Hub



04/19/2007


New Report Dispels 'Myth Of Gay Affluence,' Shows Disproportionate Poverty Rates For LGBT Americans

Lookingfancy

The American public is getting used to seeing gay characters proliferate on their television and movie screens. Most of us would agree, however, that these portrayals leave a lot to be desired, and that "getting used to" is not the most desirable result. A new study from UCLA's Williams Institute suggests that one way in which representation in media, continued into modern day with Looking even, has failed is in its singularly affluent understanding of gay life (How did Jonathan Groff afford that apartment all on his own the whole season? Dom may be a waiter, but he sure has a nice pad!).

The reality? Gay Americans are more likely to grow up homeless, live an impoverished adult life, and require assistance in receiving necessities like food. 

The Atlantic looked to understand "The Myth of Gay Affluence," both in terms of inaccurate representation and economic disparity. The results are a work in progress:

A new report released by UCLA’s Williams Institute found that 29 percent of LGBT adults, approximately 2.4 million people, experienced food insecurity—a time when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family—in the past year. In contrast, 16 percent of Americans nationwide reported being food insecure in 2012. One in 5 gays and lesbians aged 18-44 received food stamps in the last year, compared with just over 1 in 4 same sex couples raising children. The LGBT community has made huge political strides over the past decade, but in economic matters they still lag far behind the rest of the country.

The researchers suppose that those political strides have encouraged people across the country, not just in wealthier urban centers, to come out, increasing the amount of respondents who would identify as LGBT and impoverished in some way. "Alabama...is poorer than Seattle," or San Francisco, or New York. Thus a widening economic disparity. Why then is the public perception skewed toward wealth?

“Corporate America was one of the first targets in terms of trying to improve policies around LGBT issues,” says [Gary] Gates [author of the study], “and part of it was this idea that they needed to focus on the LGBT community as a consumer market that mattered.”

Marketing firms conducted surveys to try to show not just affluence, but disproportionate levels of brand loyalty were a hallmark of gays and lesbians...In 2012, Experian, a national marketing firm, released a business report claiming that the average household income of a married or partnered gay man is nearly 20 percent more than a straight married or partnered man ($116,000 compared to $94,500).

The Atlantic cited a 2010 study, however, that showed gay men to have a poverty rate of 20.5% compared to 15.3% for straight men. The Williams Institute points to a higher amount of lower paying jobs (such as nursing and teaching) taken by gay people, a very real disparity in hiring practices, and the realities of workplace discrimination, but nothing has conclusively shown why the economic difference exists. One thing is for certain:

...equality can’t and won’t be achieved as long as myths and stereotypes about LGBT people continue to be perpetuated and believed.


Congo Considering Anti-Homosexuality Bill

MbakayiThe Democratic Republic of Congo may follow in the footsteps of Uganda if the Congolese National Assembly approves a drafted anti-gay bill currently in legislative limbo, though the level of support there is variable and wavering. Introduced in December by Steve Mbikayi (right), an MP in the Parti Travaillaise Congolais, the bill would criminalize homosexual and transgender-identified people with jail sentences and hefty fines. Mbikayi has cited homosexuality as an identity akin to such acts as pedophilia and bestiality, and given that there are reportedly open-minded and un-closeted communities in Kinshasha, the capital of the DRC, the bill has the potential to do serious damage to a large number of people. 

allAfrica reports:

Mbikayi's bill - which has yet to be made public but which has been seen by Think Africa Press - contains 37 articles that would render homosexuality and transgenderism illegal. The proposed penalty for engaging in a homosexual act is 3 to 5 years in prison and a fine of 1 million Congolese francs (about $1,000); while a transgender person would face the same fine and a jail sentence of 3 to 12 years.

The draft also contains a passage promising that the Congolese government will pay three quarters of any medical costs to "correct hormonal disorders that may result in homosexuality."

"The bill emanates from the Travailliste Party's philosophy," Mbikayi explained to Think Africa Press. "In relation to our culture, homosexuality is an 'anti-value' that comes from abroad. Already, in our country, seeing a man with a man or a woman with a woman is considered scandalous. So I promised my base that I would take care of the issue and penalise homosexuals."

DcrflagAnother similar bill lay dead in the water in 2010 after never receiving a vote, and many activists hope that Mbikayi's will meet a similar fate in the coming months. There is not a consensus, however, on whether or not the bill would meet the support required to enter a session of the National Assembly.

"In the city [Kinshasa], we know gays and transvestites who are known and accepted by their communities. No-one would try to attack them," explains Okakessema Olivier Nyamana, a lawyer from an NGO that works with HIV-positive people. "To me, it seems like political opportunism."

...

With the next parliamentary session looming, however, others are more pessimistic. "My fear is that the bill will pass next week without anyone noticing," says Françoise Mukuku, the executive director of Si Jeunesse Savait, a feminist organisation that also advocates for the rights of LGBT people in the DRC.

If the Congolese National Assembly approves the bill, which could enter into debate as soon as March 15th, it would become the 38th country in Africa to criminalize homosexuality. Hopefully the activist's outcries and campaigning will overcome Mbikayi's attempt to sign such discrimination into law. 


South Carolina House Votes to Financially Punish Colleges That Assigned Gay Books

The South Carolina House refused on Monday to restore book purchasing budget cuts assigned to College of Charleston and University of South Carolina Upstate after the two institutions of higher learning taught literature dealing with homosexual content. Totaling nearly $70,000, the cuts reflect the amount of money the institutions spent on buying texts for the freshman class this year. Some saw the cuts as censorial attempts to limit what can be taught in colleges, while the majority argued vehemently that teaching Alison Bechdel's Fun Home and a book about an LGBT radio station, Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio promoted "a lifestyle" that they do not agree with.

Gildacobb-hunterAssociated Press reports:

When it comes to public colleges, legislators should be debating funding and building construction, not "pushing our own moral agenda on these institutions of higher learning," said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (right), D-Orangeburg.

"Are we saying we don't trust the college students enough to expose them to something they may not have seen before? We can't let you read anything other than what we believe?" she asked. "What about the notion of freedom to have different views? Isn't this what we go all over the globe fighting for?"

Some thought, however, that making the books mandatory reading took it all a step too far.

GarrysmithRep. Garry Smith (right), whose subcommittee made the reductions, said he wanted to make a point after college officials declined to give students an option to read something else. He said he wouldn't oppose the books if they were part of an elective course. He called it promotion of a lifestyle.

"Freedom comes with responsibility. These universities did not act responsibly," said Smith, R-Simpsonville.

Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, said opponents of the cuts argue for a diversity of ideas but don't want to consider conservatives' viewpoint. After House Speaker Bobby Harrell rejected Smith's suggestions to project illustrations from "Fun Home" on the House screen, Nanney said, "It's not appropriate to even put up in this room but we're giving it to 18-year-old kids?"

Sadly, it might just be that Representatives Smith and Nanney are less mature than the "18-year-old kids" who read the texts.

College of Charleston President George Benson said the university is committed to academic freedom, and any university education must include the opportunity for students to engage controversial ideas...

"Our students are adults, and we will treat them as such," Benson said. "Faculty, not politicians, ultimately must decide what textbooks are selected and how those materials are taught."


Key West's Island House Resort Put Up For Sale

One of the longest operating gay resorts in the world, the Island House in Key West is now being put up for sale by owner Jon Allen who bought the resort (open since 1976) with partner Martin Kay in 1999. The couple invested more than $2 million in the refurbishment of the resort, but Kay passed away in 2013. Allen, for his part, still believes that the House will flourish under new management.

IslandHouse_KeyWestMetroWeekly reports:

"I think I can say without boast that we created at Island House a unique place, a safe and happy space for thousands of gay men to meet, to eat and drink, to make merry. I’m proud of that, but more important in this context, Island House is successful and profitable operation. I’m confident that its new owner will operate it as a gay men’s resort. It has higher ADR’s and occupancy than any comparable property in Old Town. There’s no good reason to change its model. It’s a success," wrote Allen.

Steve Smith, outreach director for the Key West Business Guild and a friend to Allen and Kay from the time they purchased the Island House, said, "[Jon and Martin's] purchase and renovation of the Island House was a major undertaking and the end result shows through its loyal repeat guests and their dedicated employees."

Top ratings don't hurt either; the clothing-optional resort was called the "best gay resort in the world" by outtraveler.com, and its amenities, including a pool, hot tub, tanning deck, spa, and cafe/bar all help create a top notch experience. For now the resort will continue to operate as usual. 

Image via MetroWeekly.


British Man Attacked in Anti-Gay Hate Crime, Posts Story On Facebook

Richard Scott Kennedy, a British student at University of Central Lancaster, was reportedly attacked in an anti-gay hate crime last week. He posted a photo and his story on Facebook:

RichardkennedyHere is my face after a homophobic attack, 4 of my teeth are gone, not fallen out but deep inside my gums and cheek, one is sitting under my cheek inside my gum on the right side bottom of my nose. My face is swollen and it was worse yesterday, both my knees are badly injured and I struggle to walk and my hole face is constantly throbbing and i'm now on 4 tablets a day for pain and infection and may require surgery to sort the damage.

All of this and what was their motive? because of my f--king sexuality. something that doesn't concern ANYONE else minus me and the person I fall for, either man or woman. A sex life is private and has nothing to do with no one, needless to say it's absolutely disgraceful to violently attack someone because of who they are. My confidence has gone, im utterly embarrassed to be seen in public, the only reason I am putting this picture up is because I want you to see me as an example. An example why homophobia is wrong and it's disgusting that it's still around in 2014. Society needs to get a grip, people are who they are, people are different, people are gay, straight, bi, transexual, black, white, asian, fat, skinny, small and tall but regardless of who they are and what they look like they are still human. There is more to people than their sexual preference and what they look like. 

This is just another homophobic attack that happens every day, but it needs to stop, this is wrong, this is disgusting and using sexual preference as a motive to be violent and abusive is utter inhumane.

Richard's post has been shared more than 176,000 times since he posted it on February 26.


Gay Soccer Star Robbie Rogers Has 'Attitude': PHOTO

Attitude_rogers

When soccer player Robbie Rogers came out last year, after leaving the sport and his former Leeds United team, he certainly made waves. When he signed with the L.A. Galaxy and became the first openly gay major league soccer player, he became a star. Now, in a cover article for April's issue of Attitude magazine, Rogers has revealed that the road to self-acceptance was not so easily traversed.

Sports Mole reports:

In an interview with Attitude magazine, the 26-year-old said: "Definitely in my career there were so many times when I struggled with my mental health. That affected the way I played.

"For younger people that are closeted and they see that it's illegal to be gay in Qatar, then they know that the World Cup's going to be there and maybe they're football fans? That's so damaging on their psyche, on their mental health.

"My thing was that I was done and I was going to [come out] on my own terms, away from a football club. I was going to take some time to myself and no-one was going to try and persuade me to do that while I was back in football and no-one was going to persuade me to do it in any other way."

Rogers continues to be an inspirational presence in professional sports. He, along with the NBA's Jason Collins and college football star Michael Sam, have kickstarted a whole new level of openness in American sports.


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged