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Lesbian Journalist Julie Bindel Says Sexual Orientation Is a Choice

In her new book Straight Expectations, Julie Bindel argues that sexual orientation is a choice.  The journalist, campaigner, and feminist also says that people believe that they are born gay because of “internalised doctrine.”

BindelIn an interview in today’s Independent, Bindel also argues that there is no biological explanation for homosexuality and that there “has to be some kind of choice, as well as some deep-rooted, embedded responses that developed through different experiences in our childhood.”

Bindel, who with her partner co-founded Justice for Women which campaigns for female victims of domestic violence, says that her arguments regarding the causes of homosexuality have been “drowned out” by obsessed scientists and by those who use the gay gene argument to provoke sympathy.

Asked how and why people would choose to be gay in countries with oppressive anti-homosexuality laws, Bindel says:

“I don’t know.  All I know is I’ve never been convinced by a scientific argument, or seen any evidence that is compelling that there is something innate about our sexuality. What I’m suggesting is, there are people who could go one way or the other and happily choose to be lesbian or gay.”

However, writing in The Independent, Patrick Strudwick says that Bindel claims that she herself did not make that choice:

“Because I needed to leave home – there was nothing there for me in Darlington – and pursue my feminist possibilities, that meant starting a new life and all that was open to me. I fell in with a crowd [in Leeds] who spoke about lesbianism as part of women’s liberation. I never chose to be attracted to women.”

Strudwick also claims that what Bindel means by sexual preference being a choice is actually making a decision “to have a gay relationship, identify as gay, come out and lead a gay life (whatever that is).”

(image via twitter)


Clerk Files Petition with Supreme Court to Halt Same-Sex Marriages In Pennsylvania

Theresa Santai-Gaffney, the Schuylkill County clerk, has petitioned the Supreme Court to put a stop to same-sex marriages in Pennsylvania, reports SCOTUS Blog.

Theresa Santai-GaffneyIn May, U.S. District Court Judge John E. Jones struck down Pennsylvania's ban on gay marriage. Last month, Jones refused to allow the clerk to intervene so that she could appeal his decision.  On Thursday, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals barred Santai-Gaffney from the case and dismissed her appeal.

Santai-Gaffney's Supreme Court application is based on the argument that the court’s January order putting on hold temporarily a federal judge’s decision striking down the ban on same-sex marriage in Utah "signaled to all lower federal courts" that they must act "to preserve the enforcement of man-woman marriage laws" until the Court rules on the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage.

Santai-Gaffney’s petition can only continue if Justice Samuel A. Alito or a Supreme Court majority allows her to intervene . Alito can also seek a response from challengers of the Pennsylvania ban before acting on the clerk’s application.

Read the Third Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling on Santai-Gaffney's petition to appeal the decision striking down Pennsylvania's same-sex marriage ban, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Clerk Files Petition with Supreme Court to Halt Same-Sex Marriages In Pennsylvania" »


60 Arrested In Raid On Gay Bar In Nairobi, Kenya

  Nairobi kenya

More than 60 people were arrested over the weekend during a raid on a gay bar in Nairobi, Kenya, reports Africa New Post.

Although there have been no moves to increase penalties for homosexuals in Kenya, the country’s penal code prescribes up to 14 years in prison for men who commit “acts of gross indecency” with other men or for any person who acts “against the order of nature.” A man was stoned to death in Nairobi in 2012 after he was discovered having sex with a co-worker.

According to Ghafla.co.ke, the arrests at Club Envy were made because of the bar patrons’ sexuality and not under Kenya’s Mututho law which restricts drinking hours and regulates the consumption of alcohol.

Speaking to Ghafla, Joji Baro, a well-known performer in the city, said:

“The arrests at Envy had nothing to do with Mututho law but just trying to suppress the visibility of gays and lesbians. So finally someone just realized gays and lesbians have money and they know where to spend it... Just a reminder of the little rights we enjoy."

The website reports that the arrests came after the government “sent their security apparatus to harass innocent homosexuals who were not even taking part in any buggery but rather enjoying their hard earned money.”

No information has been released regarding the charges faced by the detainees.


California Bill Aids Transgendered With Name Changes And Identity Documents

California’s Assembly Bill 1121, which makes the state’s name and gender change process the easiest in U.S., went into full effect July 1., reports The Advocate.

6a00d8341c730253ef0192ac812cfd970d-800wiThe bill, authored by out Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins and co-sponsored by Transgender Law Center and Equality California, was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown last year.

In August 2013, Brown signed into law a bill that will provide unprecedented protections for transgender students in California.

Atkins also authored the Respect After Death Act which would ensure death certificates correctly reflect the authentic gender identity of transgender Californians. The bill is currently awaiting action in the Senate.

Speaking to Equality California last year, Masen Davis, Executive Director of Transgender Law Center said:

“Having identity documents that accurately reflect who you are is vital in so many areas of everyday life — from applying for a job to exercising our rights at the ballot box. Many of us wouldn’t think twice when asked to show our ID, but this is a very serious issue for transgender people.”

Previously, transgendered Californians were required to obtain a court order in order to have their birth certificate reflect their correct name and gender.

However, under the new law applicants are now required to submit a form and a doctor's note directly to the state's Department of Public Health, indicating that they have taken appropriate steps to change their gender.

Additionally, those seeking a legal name change are no longer required to publish notice of intent in a local newspaper, a move which will save trans residents significant amounts of money and allow them to avoid the outing that comes with having a name change published.

Speaking to The Advocate, legal director for the Transgender Law Center Ilona Turner said:

“Today marks another step toward full equality for transgender Californians.  These simple administrative changes are going to make a huge difference for transgender people who continue to face unfair and burdensome barriers to being able to live authentically and free from discrimination.”


Austin Trans Woman Humiliated By Lingerie Store Staff Member

A lingerie store in Austin, Texas has been accused of humiliating a transgender customer, reports Jezebel.com.

On her Facebook page, Kylie Jack said that a staff member at Petticoat Fair asked her for ID stating she was female.  Jack was also told that she had to have undergone sex reassignment surgery in order to have a fitting.


Kylie jack comment facebook

According to its website, "every woman [at Petticoat Fair] is treated with respect and given one-on-one attention and is helped to feel comfortable and confident in properly fitted undergarments."

JackThe store’s owner Kirk Andrews has since posted a lengthy apology which reads in part:

"There seems to be a misconception that Petticoat Fair has a policy of not working with the transgendered community. That is not the case. In fact, we have served the transgendered community for most of our 50 years in Austin. What we do have is a policy regarding who may or may not enter our fitting rooms.

The dressing room area is a particularly private and vulnerable place for many women and girls, so it's a protected area. For that reason, we also have a completely separate dressing area for women who have undergone mastectomies and need post-surgical care.

Just as a gym won't allow men in a women's dressing room for the comfort and safety of its patrons, we don't allow men or boys above a certain age in our dressing area.

Despite our otherwise inclusive approach, those who might be or who outwardly appear to be men (regardless of how they are dressed) pose a delicate challenge, and in the case of imposters, can pose a safety risk to the Petticoat Fair staff.

We respect our customers at Petticoat Fair. All of them. I hope that with this explanation, you have some helpful insight to who we are, how we do business, and that we are open to a productive dialogue."

In a response to Kirk’s apology, Jack replied:

"Kirk is sincere in his efforts to do better, but only time and actual action will tell. I'll consider the issue resolved when a formal public apology is issued to the Austin trans community along with the steps they're taking to update their policies to be trans-friendly and trans-inclusive."


Swedish Ice Hockey Team Supports LGBTI Rights With Rainbow Uniforms

Kiruna IF

Swedish ice hockey team Kiruna IF will wear rainbow colors for the 2014-2015 season in an effort to become the country’s first sports club to receive certification by the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights.

Since 2008, the federation has certified businesses and organizations that are committed to providing a good working environment and respectful treatment of LGBTI people, reports Gay Star News.

On Thursday, 26 June, the players presented their new jerseys and talked about how the club will work to promote acceptance and diversity in Swedish hockey and in society at large.

In a press release, which describes ice hockey as "the most laddish sport," Kiruna IF wrote:

"The certification program provides new skills and tools and helps promote LGBT visibility. The focus is on LGBT issues but the certification process is also an excellent opportunity to discuss and reflect on norms and attitudes in a broader perspective."

Swedish Ice Hockey Association director of hockey development Tommy Boustedt said:

“Kiruna IF's acceptance project is a laudable initiative that is in line with Swedish hockey's core values, mission and vision. Participation and democracy shall be the defining features in the work to develop our sport.”

Throughout the coming season, team members will give talks in schools across Kiruna to stress the importance of accepting LGBTI people.


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