Sex and gender at work, in bed, and on the street

Archive for November 2010

How D.C. hate crimes compare to the nation's

November 22, 2010 - 12:02 PM
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Hate crimes by the numbers (Photo: Associated Press)

Today, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released its annual report on bias-motivated crimes committed in the United States. Nationally, hate crimes are on the decline: In 2009, law enforcement agencies across the country reported 6,604 hate crimes to the FBI; in 2008, that number was 7,783. The hate crime count decreased even as the number of local agencies reporting to the FBI spiked, but the national picture is still far from complete—many jurisdictions still don't contribute their own stats to the feds.

Two agencies in the District of Columbia—the Metropolitan Police Department and Metro Transit Police—do submit hate crime data to the FBI. Though D.C. recorded a similar decrease in bias-motivated incidents last year, crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation remained high.

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Girl talk: Inside GWU's transgender speech clinic

November 22, 2010 - 11:30 AM
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Each semester, eight people attend the George Washington University to learn how to talk like women.

At one of the few transgender speech clinics in the country, GWU speech-language pathologists help male-to-female transgender women find voices to match their gender identities. "We work on pitch, obviously, but there’s a lot of research to say that changing your pitch is not adequate to passing as a woman," says Dr. Adrienne Hancock, an assistant professor of speech-language pathology at the George Washington University. "We work on voice quality, fullness of voice, intonation patterns, nonverbal posture . . . essentially, all the elements of feminine communication. It’s much more than just pitch."

Today, Hancock spoke with me about learning femininity, larynx flexibility, and why trans men don't attend voice clinics:

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Men who pay to watch you sleep: Your sex and gender morning roundup

November 22, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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Beds are for sleeping (Photo: Associated Press)

SEX WORKER Charlotte Shane writes a love letter to the men who have paid for her time, AND DO NOT WANT TO STRANGLE HER: "The man watching me that night bought 90 minutes, which would have cost him nearly $600. I’d landed a big fish and I didn’t want to lose it. But when he told me his request, I froze. 'Why don’t you take a nap?' he wrote. . . . I’ve been hired by men who never asked me to get naked, never requested that I touch their genitals. . . . The clients who do want to have sex—and of course, there are many—don’t want that sex to be uncomfortable or unpleasant for me. They want to me to take pleasure in the act as well. They want to feel attractive and competent and gentle and attentive."

MEN have also told Shane "Your family must hate you,” “I bet you have AIDS,” “You’re a fat whore" . . . and paid her $600 to play the beneficent patriarch.

BELOW: Why Marines don't want to serve around openly gay people; Amanda Simpson's keynote speech at the Transgender Day of Remembrance; breastfeeding!

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Maryland marriage equality speculation: Considering a spring bill

November 19, 2010 - 02:00 PM
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Marriage equality could come to Maryland before the institution becomes entirely obsolete, Maryland state senator Richard Madaleno is speculating. At a time when one-in-four people in the United States thinks marriage is swiftly becoming useless, same-sex couples continue to fight for the right to board the sinking ship. Maryland could be next.

Madaleno, who is gay, says he is "guardedly optimistic" that a marriage equality bill will pass the Maryland state Senate within the next year, giving the bill's prospects a "six, seven, [or] eight” out of ten. As Gay Politics notes, Democrats now boast a 35-12 edge over Republicans in the state Senate, and many newly elected Democrats are even more staunch supporters of the bill than their predecessors were; the support of marriage equality within the state's House of Delegates is less clear. Marriage equality supporters have already secured the final hurdle to legalization: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he would sign the bill should it pass his desk.

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PFOX urges World Bank staffers to give 'ex-gays' money

November 19, 2010 - 01:30 PM
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Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX) won't be funded by the World Bank this year, but the advocacy group for "former homosexuals" is nevertheless claiming victory.

For the first time this year, the World Bank included PFOX on its list of eligible charities in its annual staff fundraising effort; after criticism from LGBT groups, however, the Bank decided not to match funds to the ex-gays. In a statement, PFOX thanked the World Bank and urged staffers to contribute to the cause. "Because of PFOX, the public is beginning to recognize that ex-gays have much to contribute to the understanding of sexual orientation," the statement reads. "Please forward this email to your friends or family members who work at the World Bank and ask them to donate to PFOX."

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Five men charged for transporting sex workers across state lines

November 19, 2010 - 12:30 PM
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Five local men have been charged with human trafficking-related offenses in connection with a series of Maryland brothels. Because sex workers came from Virginia and D.C. to work in the Annapolis and Easton, Md. locations, the men each face ten years in prison for "transporting individuals to engage in prostitution."

Human trafficking legislation is typically associated with the transport of sex workers from overseas, the exploitation of minors, and forced or coerced labor. This case demonstrates how human trafficking legislation can be applied to a wide range of prostitution-related crimes—the Polaris Project notes that domestic sex traffickers are most commonly referred to as "pimps." Here, the convictions will rest on something as simple as driving a sex worker across state lines.

Law enforcement officials characterized the five men as violent; an ICE press release says that they had been "using and threatening to use violence against competitor pimps," but includes no information on violence and intimidation toward the sex workers themselves. Absent that, the charges appear to rest on information that the men had assisted in "transporting the sex workers to the brothel locations."

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The Washington Times has not seen Brokeback Mountain

November 19, 2010 - 11:00 AM
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(Associated Press)

The Washington Times editorial page headline is known for sacrificing sense in the service of homophobia (See: "Obama's hand in your crotch"; "Queer eye for the GI"). Today's effort, "Barack's Brokeback barracks," cannot stand.

In order to articulate the paper's concerns about openly gay military service post-Don't Ask Don't Tell, the editorial references Brokeback Mountain, a 1997 Annie Proulx short story later adapted into a 2005 film. Brokeback is one of the few homophobic cultural touchstones immediately accessible to Times readers—social conservatives have heard that the movie is about gays, which is enough to dissuade them from actually watching the film. Perfect. (The Times exhausted its Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reference last month).

But Brokeback isn't just about gay guys—it's about closeted gay guys. It takes decades of same-sex liaisons for Jack and Ennis to come out even to themselves. If anything, military barracks have been Brokebacked for the past 18 years. For the first time since 1993, Barack Obama could succeed in bringing barracks into the post-Brokeback era. I guess "Barack's Brokeback barracks, if that movie was not actually about how anti-gay stigma ruins the lives of both straight and gay people, and rather about how scary it is to hang out with a dude you are 100 percent sure is gay" doesn't have the same ring to it.

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Abstinence chafe: Your sex and gender morning roundup

November 19, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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Last month, we learned that the District of Columbia—a jurisdiction recording an epidemic-level HIV rate—is not immune from the sex ed purity wars. At least our comprehensive sex ed critics are less creative than those in Austin, Texas, where abstinence groups are so advanced that they're now devoting federal funding to quasi-satirical public service announcements emphasizing the role of pants-wearing in preventing premarital sex.

From How to Have Sex in Texas: "Make sure to check out their other video about an awkward dad bragging that his son has genital herpes and the heartbreak that is fake social networking. While I appreciate this cheeky and novel approach, these ads are being paid for with federal tax dollars."

There's going to be a whole lot of chafing in Austin tonight. BELOW: Blue Top Cab sued over passenger's rape; Georgetown University considers gender-mixed housing; 19 songs to not kill yourself to:

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Jimmy LaSalvia on gay activism and the anti-abortion movement

November 18, 2010 - 04:00 PM
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GOProud's Jimmy LaSalvia urges gays to fight aboriton

This week, several local universities organized events aimed at raising awareness around issues of sexual orientation and gender identity. Some of these issues were unorthodox. "Lady Gaga is evil," radical queer activist Ryan Conrad told a group of Georgetown University students on Tuesday. The group "seemed bewildered by Conrad’s arguments," the Georgetown Voice reported.

And then there was this: "I don't know too many gay guys who have unplanned pregnancies," gay conservative leader Jimmy LaSalvia said at the George Washington University this week. "But I believe the LGBT community should support the pro-life community. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness applies to gay people and the unborn."

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Manassas residents tire of protesting sex

November 18, 2010 - 12:00 PM
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In September, Manassas residents rallied against sex shop (Photo: TBD Staff)

When sex boutique KK's Temptations announced plans to set up shop in Old Town Manassas this fall, hundreds of residents descended upon City Hall in an attempt to stop it. At a September rally, protesters warned that the shop would attract "pedophiles" and "real perverts." They claimed it could be a front for a secret backroom den of "child porn." They worried that it would be even more damaging to the fiber of Manassas than the Victoria's Secret.

One month after KK's grand opening, Manassas lawmakers are ready to indulge these residents' concerns. A proposed city ordinance would restrict adult-oriented businesses from opening within 500 feet from basically anything: "nursing homes; residences; adult day care centers; child day care centers; public or private schools colleges or universities; public parks; public libraries, museums or cultural centers; churches or any other place of worship; hotels, motels or boarding houses; or any other adult business."

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Shorter advice columns: Thanksgiving is terrible

November 18, 2010 - 10:30 AM
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Advice for Thanksgiving. (Photo: Associated Press)

Truncating the week's advice columns:

Maybe somebody needs to slip a tranquilizer into your sister's cranberry sauce. As the years go by, the void left by the dead is filled with the chatter of the concerns of the living. Force your 91-year-old grandmother to smoke in the garage. If you give your friends free tickets to a small community aquarium and then they relentlessly mock the experience on social media forums,  maybe you shouldn't be friends anymore. If your date expects to be lavished with expensive dinners, gifts, and vacations, tells you that she only dates men with expensive cars, and spends the entire evening attempting to discern your income level, she could be considered a gold-digger. Having blood drawn by amateurs is not part of your job description. Do not make the mistake of awkwardly scootching past your coworkers to find a seat again. If you don't enjoy a sext, just text back, "no thanks."   [Dear Prudence]

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Journalism is sexist: Your sex and gender morning roundup

November 18, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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State of women in journalism still depressing (Photo: Associated Press)

JOURNALISM IS STILL SEXIST. All top media companies are run by male CEOs. Male bylines outnumber female ones seven-to-one. Only 28 percent of TV news directors are female. At the major networks, female correspondents report only 25 percent of the stories. And men report on men: Only 24 percent of subjects in media stories are female.

HOLLYWOOD is even worse.

BELOW: The Laramie Project returns; Fred Phelps, discussed; nuns speak out:

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D.C. condom distribution campaign plays to penis size anxiety

November 17, 2010 - 02:00 PM
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The D.C. Department of Health has launched its "Rubber Revolution" campaign, an online effort to increase condom use among District youth. The new site includes information about how to get free condoms, an anatomical guide to putting them on, and this bizarre quiz, which decides which condom you "are" based on your eating habits, your champagne consumption, and relative affinity for Merengue.

Based on my preference for cheeseburgers, network comedies, and top 40 radio, the D.C. Department of Health has decided that I am a standard latex condom.

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Sgt. Justin Elzie, discharged in 1993, talks Don't Ask Don't Tell (VIDEO)

November 17, 2010 - 12:04 PM
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Justin Elzie in 1993

In 1993, Sgt. Justin Elzie became the first Marine to be discharged under Don't Ask Don't Tell when he came out to Peter Jennings on national television. Eighteen years later, Elzie is still fighting for open military service (and shopping a book on the issue). On Monday, Elzie joined Lt. Dan Choi and 11 other servicemen and women in protesting the continued ban on gays in the military; after handcuffing themselves to a White House fence, all were briefly arrested. Yesterday, Elzie spoke to TBD about his decades of work on the issue:

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Homophobia and the heightened HIV risk for black gay men

November 17, 2010 - 10:30 AM
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Homophobia contributes to D.C. AIDS problem (Photo: Associated Press)

In the District of Columbia, 26 percent of black men who have sex with men are HIV positive, compared to 8 percent of white men and 7 percent of Latino men who have sex with men. A new study hopes to explain that alarming divide.

Why are black gay and bisexual men at such a heightened risk of infection in D.C.? According to the study's findings, the high infection rates can't be attributed to risky sex. But widespread stigma against that sex may be to blame.

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Invented feminist trend isn't actually feminist: Your sex and gender morning roundup

November 17, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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What the Jack Johnson corruption scandal can't tell us about feminism. (Photo: Associated Press)

SHORTER PETULA DVORAK: "Ladies, we have a new breed of feminist among us. . . . [Several pages of consideration of this thesis] . . . Maybe not so feminist after all." In the most tortured media response to the Jack and Leslie Johnson corruption scandal yet, Washington Post reporter Petula Dvorak invents a new feminist trend and then  declares that fake feminist trend un-feminist. According to Dvorak, it could be feminist to be "the willing, wily and skillful accomplice" to a husband's embezzlement scheme, except that the trend involves "stuffing our bras for the men" with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, making it "maybe not so feminist after all."

DECIDED: Upon serious consideration, stealing taxpayer money is not the new frontier of women's liberation.

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Washington Times recommends TSA 'sexual assault' for minorities only

November 16, 2010 - 02:00 PM
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When white people are treated like minorities. (Photo: Associated Press)

As we discussed earlier, straight dudes across America have demonstrated a renewed interest in sexual assault now that the Transportation Security Administration's "enhanced pat down" procedures threaten to subject more than just women and sexual minorities to a life of random crotch groping. The Washington Times editorial board has a solution to this injustice (for white people exclusively).

The piece is titled "Obama's hand in your crotch." The argument: Only racism can prevent (white) people from sexual assault at the hands of the U.S. government.

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Genital itching's double standard: The week in college sex

November 16, 2010 - 12:00 PM
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Roseanne did it in public. (Photo: Associated Press)

Parents, teachers, sex reporters, and other adults looking for a creepy window into the sex lives of our nation's youth! Welcome to TBD's digest of local college sex columns:

"SOMETIMES VAGINAS ITCH TOO": University of Mary Washington Bullet "Sexclamations" columnist Erin Hill tackles the genital itching double standard on campus: "Women go to great lengths not to touch themselves in public, especially in any region around the genitals or breasts. . . . If someone catches your hand wandering down to your butt crack, you will certainly gain some nasty looks. . . .  Once you have finished all of your private primping, it is likely that you will return to class to find a male peer adjusting and scratching his crotch."

SOLUTION: Nobody move a muscle. "Normally, I would support a liberal approach and advocate that women defy these social norms and rise against them by scratching, pulling and adjusting all parts of their body any time they want," Hill writes. "In this case, however, I don’t think being crude will benefit anybody, nor will it make the world a better place. Moreover, scratching one’s genitals does nothing to improve a person’s masculinity or femininity. If anything, it is totally awkward."

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Ex-gay World Bank dust-up will affect 25 other local charities

November 16, 2010 - 10:30 AM
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The World Bank/PFOX saga continues. Last week, the World Bank confirmed that it had added Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays to its roster of eligible charitable organizations in its annual staff fundraising effort, the Community Connections Campaign. The addition, the campaign said, was meant to accommodate "differing viewpoints" within the organization.

After LGBT employees protested that funding an ex-gay group is like supporting an organization that claims "it can turn black people white," the Bank announced that it wouldn't match funds to PFOX this year. (Typically, when an employee donates funds to an eligible organization as part of the campaign, the Bank pledges to contribute 50 to 100 percent more to the charity).

But PFOX isn't the only organization that will be missing the Bank's money. The Bank's decision not to bankroll PFOX will also deflect funds from 25 other local nonprofits added to the campaign this year.

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The TSA grope feminist awakening: Your sex and gender morning roundup

November 16, 2010 - 09:00 AM
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Transportation Security Administration screeners get touchy (Photo: Associated Press)

MIKE RIGGS on feminist awakening through TSA frisking: "I have been doing some soul-searching re my anxiety about having my dick measured by a TSA x-ray machine. And I realized, women go through this everyday. Maybe not the x-ray part, but men are always undressing ladies with their eyes. NOW I HAVE TO GO THROUGH A FEW TIMES A YEAR WHAT WOMEN GO THROUGH EVERYDAY, and suddenly, I am feeling much more feminist and so, so, so angry."

GROPING! It happens to straight dudes too, now, so everybody pay attention. BELOW: Eat a vulva cake for $250; why Barack Obama must divorce Michelle immediately; GW frats investigated for hazing violations:

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