Wait and See: How Gay Marriage destroys Traditional Marriage

So, we’re constantly being told that same-sex marriage will destroy tradional marriage. The sequence of events goes something like this.

  1. People of the same sex marry.
  2. ????
  3. Marriages collapse.


Meanwhile, back in the real world, Greta Christina argues that marriage equality will have an effect, a good effect, on all marriages. I think she’s right. But, back in fundie-land, what on earth is supposed to be represented by those question marks in point 2? Can you think of anything that fits there? I can’t. But David Usher can. Marriage equality, you see, is only part of the plot. The real collapse comes from that dangerous institution, feminist marriage!

The “reasoning” is quite impressive, in its way. It does feel a little like the plot of a dystopian fantasy novel written by someone with no understanding of actual human psychology, but it’s still interesting.


Cushion the Blow of Criticism

Sofa cushions have many uses, especially in childhood. People sit on cushions. People sit cushions on themselves (some people really seem to love hugging a cushion while they sit: perfectly explicable for teenage boys, perhaps, but I don’t know why other people do it). And, of course, they can be used as defensive structures: cushion forts. Ah, happy memories. I must do it again. Why not? I live alone at the moment. I don’t really have the right kinds of cushions, though.

The very impressive structures critiqued by Build Blog bring me joy. (As does their snarky commentary.)


Sex Is Not the Enemy

Sex is the only sin.

Sex needs context (sub/dom).

Sex for good and bad reasons (casual sex).

Sex can be valuable moments of intimacy.

Sexual orientation requires no apology.

Sex is worse than violence.

Sexual tastes differ, and that’s okay.

Sexual labels can be tricky.

Sex requires decisions.

Sex work can be enjoyable.

Note: The blog Sex Is Not the Enemy includes many erotic photos and is certainly not safe for work. However, it also includes a lot of interesting quotations and  words of wisdom on the subjects of sex, cultural attitudes to sex, sex-positive feminism, and suchlike. That’s what I’ve linked to, here. Browse the rest of the site at your own risk. (Unless you have an unusual job, I wouldn’t recommend you do so in the office.)


How to Handle an Argument: Tim Minchin

The context of this discussion is “elevatorgate” (though, since the incident occurred in Dublin, it should be “liftgate”). If you follow the atheist blogosphere, or perhaps the feminist blogosphere, you’ll know what that is. If you don’t … I’m not going to explain it now.

Anyway, we have some wise words from Tim Minchin. And some more context from Token Skeptic.


Homophobic Bullying in UK Schools

A study in South Yorkshire shows that schools in the UK do not have proper measures in place to guard against homophobic bullying. I haven’t yet had a chance to read the full report, but here are some quotes I’ve pulled out:

This report makes salutary and upsetting reading. In both schools and youth work settings LGBT young people still face prejudice, misunderstanding and on occasions the threat of physical violence. The report highlights the full spectrum of homophobia and transphobia and its multi-faceted manifestations; ranging from the denial of the existence of LGBT young people in school (and the dismissive attitude that their experiences are just part of a phase), through to examples of shocking acts of abuse.

Some staff implied that LGBT issues were only of interest to LGBT young people, and therefore that the relevance within their practice or organisation was limited. This argument was most often made about trans issues, demonstrating a (mis)understanding that a person identifying as trans would always be visible to staff (and therefore that they ‘knew’ that they had no trans pupils).

To a certain extent, LGB young people appeared to expect, and sometimes even ‘accept’, the bullying they experienced. The reported impact of this bullying included (sometimes severe) mental health issues, and problems related to school attendance and attainment.

“The impact being gay and being out and being bullied has on young people’s mental health is colossal… The amount of mental health issues in that group that we know about is immense, the ones we don’t know about makes me shudder” (Youth worker)

“If my son or my daughter was ever gay I’d take them into the back of my garden, tie them to the wall and shoot them with a shotgun” (Young person reporting what a teacher had said at their school)

One of the things that group members found hard to deal with (in addition to bullying) was when it was suggested that their sexual identity was a “phase”, that they were “confused”, that they ‘did not know what they wanted’, or that they could “learn to be straight”. They did not feel that these phrases would be used with or about heterosexual young people, and some therefore felt angry that their feelings appeared to not be taken seriously.

A related issue concerned the common practice of LGB pupils being referred to counselling in school which seemed to suggest that they were a ‘problem’, rather than the homophobic bullying they were experiencing.

“People just need a wake-up call, people need to see… Tell me a nursery rhyme that’s got gay people in it, tell me a children’s storybook that’s got gay people in it” (Youth group 4 member)

A number suggested that teachers and youth counsellors should be trained to be more open minded and use more inclusive language such as ‘partner’ rather than ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’. Currently, some staff were reported to visibly look shocked or awkward if sexuality was raised with them, so often they quickly changed the subject; sexuality awareness raising training could help to address this. Broader visibility within school could also include relevant posters, for example advertising local Pride events.

Across the board, trans issues were not included within schools to the same degree as LGB, if at all.

See the report in (Microsoft Word (docx) format) or my conversion of the report into PDF (some formatting slightly askew).


Did a Stroke Turn a Man Gay?

So, perhaps sexuality can be changed after all, if you have a stroke. A somewhat drastic method, I think.

I’ve found the story told in most detail in The Mirror. A Welsh rugby player, engaged to be married, had a stroke resulting from a nasty accident when attempting a somersault. The story goes that, after he recovered from the stroke, he was gay. He also lost interest in sport and his banking job, retrained as a hairdresser, and now lives above his salon with his boyfriend.

Instinct magazine gives two explanations of what happened.

Stroke sufferers often exhibit peculiar changes following the traumatic event, changes that could include taking on new accents, new personalities. But 26-year old Birch’s might take the cake.

Birch’s own neurologist explains the circumstances as the stroke “opening up” a part of his patient’s brain to which he was previously unaware; while Joe Korner, director of communications for the U.K.’s Stroke Association, says, “Strokes are traumatic, life-changing experiences, which can make you reassess life and your feelings so perhaps that’s the reason behind it,” Korner said. “Whether or not the stroke turned Chris gay, or whether he was gay anyway but unaware of it, his experience seems to be a positive one, which is great.”

So either the stroke opened up a gay potential which had previously been hidden away, or Chris had always been gay but had suppressed it. Either way, it seems the outcome was good, and he’s happy in his new life. Fascinating story, though.