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04/19/2007


Billions of Insects are Having Accidental Gay Sex

Ladybugsex

Scientists at Tel Aviv University have been researching the peculiar, but extremely common practice of same-sex mating between insects. The result: bugs are just so excited to procreate that they can't tell the difference before they've mounted each other. There are, it turns out, plenty of factors that go into the randy, six-legged sex-fest, including confusing female pheromones from the bugs' previous mates. Still, some 85% of the insects in the study took part in same-sex mating practices; maybe they're on to something.

Daily Mail reports:

The study found there are no clear benefits for certain species of insects to have same-sex relationships and concluded they may be duped into thinking another is a female, either because of how similar they look or by scents they have picked up. 

Dr Inon Scharf of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology and Dr Oliver Martin of ETH Zurich claim mating takes time and energy and can be dangerous, which makes homosexual mating even less appealing from an evolutionary perspective because it lacks the payoff of procreation. 

'Insects and spiders mate quick and dirty,' claimed Dr Scharf. 'The cost of taking the time to identify the gender of mates or the cost of hesitation appears to be greater than the cost of making some mistakes.'

The researchers identify insects' evolutionary flaws as one cause of the phenomenon as well. These bugs are not adept to make cost-benefit analyses, and they are also unable to distinguish between other objects and their own kind. They sometimes "mate with related species or inanimate objects, like beer bottles." The benefits of same-sex coupling, if there are any, remain unclear, but researchers are not done looking into the mating practices of insects.

'Homosexual behaviour may be genomically linked to being more active, a better forager, or a better competitor,' said Dr Scharf. 'So even though misidentifying mates isn't a desirable trait, it's part of a package of traits that leaves the insect better adapted overall.'

To confirm their theory, the researchers plan to study the conditions that make homosexual behaviour more or less likely in bugs. They also want to look more deeply into male resistance to homosexual mating.


Gay Man Runs for Mayor of Tel Aviv, Hopes for Historic First in Middle East

Just yesterday, Towleroad posted about Sheka and Teka, sexually ambiguous puppets who set off a firestorm of excitement when a baby was brought into their lives. Are they gay? Should they "come out" in order to raise awareness for LGBT families? Well, Israelis will not have to second guess one of Tel Aviv's mayoral candidates, Nitzan Horowitz who, if elected, would become the first openly gay mayor in the Middle East.

It is an exciting prospect, but one that is unlikely to happen. Horowitz's bid though, much like the puppets, reveals much about gay life and culture in the socially diverse country of Israel.

Horowitz_NitzanReuters reports:

The left-wing legislator is not predicted to defeat the incumbent, the well-established ex-fighter pilot Ron Huldai, in an October 22 municipal vote.

But the 48-year-old remains upbeat, pointing to an opinion poll his dovish Meretz party commissioned last month that gave Huldai only a five-point lead.

...

"I'm going to be not only the first gay mayor here in Israel, but the first gay mayor of the entire Middle East. This is very exciting," Horowitz told Reuters.

Horowitz's prominence in Tel Aviv is not altogether surprising. In a region better known for its religious and social conservatism, it is dubbed the "city that never sleeps".

With a population of 410,000, it was also ranked in a poll by Gaycities.com last year as a top gay destination.

Huldai, Horowitz's opponent, has done much for the gay population of Tel Aviv. The city hosts an annual pride parade and LGBT film festival, as well as a cultural center accessible to older and younger citizens alike. However, Horowitz hopes that this lofty public position could end some of the lingering homophobia in Tel Aviv and the larger Middle East. 

The task of improving policy toward gays in the Jewish state is "very challenging, because this is a country, a region with a lot of problems concerning the gay community, discrimination, even violence," the candidate said.

...

Gay marriage - and civil ceremonies in general - that take place in Israel are not recognized by the authorities. Horowitz, who has lived with his partner for more than a decade, wants that to change.

"I hope once I'm elected this will contribute to tolerance and understanding, not just in Israel, but in the entire region," Horowitz said.

Good luck to Horowitz in the coming election! 


News: Tel Aviv, Anderson Cooper, Chris Colfer, Sean Hayes

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi The street in Queens where murdered gay rights activist Louis Rispoli lived for 32 years has been named after him: Louis Rispoli Way.

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Anthony Weiner's campaign manager flees a sinking ship.

Telaviv6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Some disagreement surrounds the 2009 Barnoar tragedy in Tel Aviv: "Most gay men and lesbians, speaking in the news media or on social networks, are still adamant that the crime was driven by deep homophobia and deserves the distinction of a hate crime, an argument the indictment appears to accept."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Scott Thorson on his alleged romance with Michael Jackson: “It was short term because Michael became very big at the time and his management team thought it best that we didn’t go any further with our relationship."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Chris Colfer remembers Cory Monteith: "Love and miss you, buddy."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Man charged with beating a gay man with bicycle U-lock: "Santos Manuel Marquez is charged with assault with a deadly weapon, assault by means of force causing great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury. Prosecutors also allege Marquez committed a hate crime. 'That is the subject of why the defendant didn’t want to be seen with the victim. He didn’t want people to think he was gay.'"

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Co-founder of Russia's largest search engine Yandex succumbs to cancer at the age of 48.

6a00d8341c730253ef017742f270f9970d-800wi6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Anderson Cooper stalker being held in lieu of $75,000 bail: "Since 2008, Alex Hausner — described as a gay, Jewish white supremacist — has allegedly made unwelcome phone calls plus four attempts to see Cooper, last month trying to kick down the red, lacquered door to the posh, four-story West Village converted firehouse that Cooper shares with his hunky, bar-owner boyfriend."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Creator of upcoming Sean Hayes comedy on the tv show: “I think of this as a post-gay show where there is a gay man at the center but it’s not about his being gay.”

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi The Onion presents "Chick-Fil-A Debuts New Homophobic Sandwich."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Colin Farrell gets his yoga on.

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Newly married gay man allegedly attacked by man who "hates faggots": "'Next thing you know, he hit me upside the head.' He said he blacked out, but then woke up to a beating of 4 to 5 minutes filled with gay slurs...the man broke wine glasses on his head."

6a00d8341c730253ef0191046aeec2970c-800wi Three women complete their 101 mile walk to speak about LGBT rights.


2009 Shooting at Tel Aviv LGBT Center Not a Hate Crime: Police

Telaviv

This week, in a surprise development, police arrested four suspects in relation to the 2009 shooting at a Tel Aviv LGBT Center that left counselor Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16, dead. The case is under a gag order but some details are emerging.

Katz_trubeshiThe AP reports:

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Friday that the motive behind the killing was of a personal nature. He said the suspects intended to shoot someone else at the center. Instead, they opened fire on the two people they killed. Other details of the case are under court gag order.

Haaretz adds:

Telaviv3All three [suspects] are known criminals, with the killer and at least one accomplice being "soldiers" in a large, central Israeli crime organization who have been interrogated since the Bar Noar killings for arson and assault, police said.

The fourth, most recent arrest in the case is apparently of an activist in the gay community. He has been detained for allegedly knowing the motive for the murders and obstructing the investigation by not sharing that information with police. It is believed this individual is directly connected to the motive, and that he was the target of the assassination, which involved revenge.

The activist is known to support young people in the gay community and help them with decisions regarding their sexual identity. Three other suspects were arrested in connection to the murders themselves on Wednesday.

Thousands of people gathered in Tel Aviv today for its annual Gay Pride parade.


Police Arrest Suspects in Bloody 2009 Attack on Tel Aviv LGBT Center That Left Two Dead

Arrests

In a surprise development, Police arrested three suspects yesterday in relation to the 2009 shooting at a Tel Aviv LGBT Center that left counselor Nir Katz, 26, and Liz Trubeshi, 16, dead, Ynet reports:

Katz_trubeshiThe suspects, all Jews, will appear in court on Thursday for a remand hearing. They are residents of Pardes Katz and the ages range from 20 to 40.
 
Police believe the motive for the murder was a personal dispute and that the shooter was seeking revenge. A comprehensive gag order was placed on the details of the investigation. 

Sources in the Tel Aviv District Police said the investigation is far from over but said their lead was solid and ruled out nationalistic motives. It was suggested that two of the suspects were arrested in a central Israel city after being taken off a truck.

The suspects are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.

UPDATE from the Jerusalem Post:

The three main suspects in the murder of two gay patrons at the Bar Noar in Tel Aviv four years ago professed their innocence during their first appearance in Tel Aviv District Court on Thursday.

The court extended their remand by 11 days at the police’s request. The court is now discussing whether to extend the remand of a fourth suspect, a high-profile member of the gay community who is not thought to have taken part in the shooting but is alleged to have held information about the investigation.

Approximately 10 others were injured in the 2009 attack, in which a gunman fired on those gathered at the LGBT center with an automatic weapon.

Previously...
Shooting at Tel Aviv Gay Center Leaves 2 Dead, Nation in Shock


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