Research into the effects of “ex-gay” ministries

This is, actually, an under-researched area, but here’s a start:

The top three results for why people tried to change their sexual orientation included “To be a better Christian,” “I believed it was what God wanted me to do,” and “I feared I would be condemned by God.” After that comes such responses as a general desire to fit in, cultural pressures to conform, and a desire to please family and friends. But beyond the numbers lie the written responses of survey participants which illustrates the huge variety of their experiences

Question 8 asked why they quit the ex-gay movement. The top answer, by far, was that they failed to become straight. But one disturbing answer given by nearly a quarter of respondents was that they had had a nervous breakdown.

Only a relatively small minority of this particular sample, less than ten percent, say they weren’t harmed by their participation in the ex-gay movement.


Elderly trans* people in Indonesia

I have no idea what it’s like to be a trans* person in Indonesia. According to this report from the BBC, many of them are prostitutes. This can happen when prejudice against trans* people is so harsh that it’s all but impossible for them to get any other job. But it’s not a job for life. And that is why Yulianus Rettoblaut (known as ‘Mami Yuli’) has set up a home which provides food, shelter and skills training for elderly transgender people.


“sexiness is feminine-coded”

This is a righteous rant.

What do women who like guys want in their porn? Well, it varies (women: not a hive mind), but here’s a reasonably common desire:

‘smiling dudes’, ‘dudes giving bedroom eyes’, ‘cock’

Seems reasonable to me.

And here’s what the patriarchy thinks women want:

tough, aloof-looking shirtless guys with power muscles and weapons

Which some women definitely do want, of course (see: not a hive mind), but in many ways it’s also a masculine power fantasy:

  • Men in comic books/movies/TV/video games/etc. are who men want to be.
  • Women in those same media are who men want to fuck.

Which is a problem. It’s a problem which is addressed head-on in this rant by moniquill:

We could probably use this as a really interesting launching point for the fundamental disconnect between ‘what people actually find hot’ and ‘what society/patriarchy presumes is hot’ and how the assignations of gender roles and sexuality fuck with that.

Go read the full thing.


Note: These links are to Tumblr, which means it’s impossible to work out what’s going on. The thought process behind Tumblr seems to have been, “Let’s take a blogging platform, and remove all the features which make it usable, such as understandable navigation, and release it on the world. And let’s replace the comment system with a strange system of reposting stuff you like onto your own blog, and adding a note there. Or simply reposting without adding a note. Which means that anything popular will be duplicated a few hundred times and you’d usually have to follow a very very long chain of links to find the original.”

If that’s what the thought process was, well, congratulations, because that’s what they produced.

I do not like Tumblr. I do not understand why Tumblr is popular. At least the Tumblr blog “Sex Is Not the Enemy” tends to reformat and tidy up the stuff they repost, rather than just hitting the “reblog” button, so their Tumblr is readable, unlike most others. So read the article there.

Anne Bonny and Mary Read: Piracy, Sex, and suchlike matters

In the early 18th century, Anne Bonny and Mary Reed were, along with Calico Jack Rackham, among the most-feared pirates on the Spanish Main. Their lives were hard, fascinating, and quite unlike the stories which may have been told.

Disenfranchised outsiders, victims of institutionalised exploitation, sexual minorities – everyone found a haven in lawless pirate ports such as New Providence in the Bahamas, where they not only raised merry hell with the shipping, but also founded shipboard democracies that were centuries ahead of their time in tolerance and respect for personal diversity.


I believe: How it works

British pharmacists are allowed as a matter of conscience by their regulatory body to pretend they believe that contraception is an “abortifacient”.

A pharmacist who claims to believe that emergency contraception (or even regular daily contraception) is an “abortifacient” is either lying in order to justify imposing their religious views on other people, or is allowing their religious beliefs to overrule their scientific training.

Meanwhile, in America, Hobby Lobby thinks it should be exempt from covering medical care “they believe” causes abortion.

So Hobby Lobby’s legal claim is that a company has a “religious liberty” right to avoid anything they say causes abortion even if it does nothing of the sort.

If Hobby Lobby were to be granted such an exemption, then, what would prevent any other corporation from claiming that it believes minimum wage laws, OSHA regulations, nuclear safety rules and fire codes are also “abortifacient”?

What Hobby Lobby is seeking isn’t merely some legal permission to be exempt from providing health insurance. The corporation is seeking the “religious liberty” to redefine reality and to rewrite the laws of medicine, human anatomy, biology and chemistry.

The medical care they’re talking about is, again, emergency contraception, which (keep up) does not cause abortion. It doesn’t even cause abortion in the very narrow sense of preventing implantation, which most medical experts would not call abortion anyway:

There were studies done that show that overly huge amounts of estrogen can cause failure to implant in mice, so that warning was stuck on Plan B while they studied it in human vagina owners. But no proof has been found that it happens in human women.

Of course, this is actually all about sex:

If Hobby Lobby said that they believed cancer was caused by sinful behavior, and therefore they weren’t covering chemotherapy, they would be shamed so fast they wouldn’t know what hit them.

Except when it’s all about politics:

I note in passing that Hobby Lobby is neither passionately sincere or sincerely passionate.  They offered this coverage without any qualms until they found out that President Obama wanted to make them do it.


Victim Accused

Note: This is a story about rape and about police misconduct and the treatment of victims of rape.

“There is a national crisis,” said Carol Tracy, of the Women’s Law Project, an advocacy group in Philadelphia. “We’re witnessing the chronic and systemic failure of law enforcement to properly investigate crimes of sexual violence.”

Sara Reedy was raped. When she went to the police, she was accused of fabricating the story to cover a theft, arrested, and charged. She has now, after a massive legal battle, succeeded in changing US law around rapes and won a $1.5m settlement from the police.


Politics driving theology

American Evangelicals have changed their mind on abortion. The clear, unambiguous, Biblical teaching on the subject is younger than the McDonald’s Happy Meal (even if they don’t like to admit that). It now seems that a similar shift might be coming on Evangelicals’ beliefs on contraception.

Just five years ago it would have been unthinkable for American evangelicals to rally against contraception. Religious opposition to contraception was strictly a Catholic thing and evangelicals, as Protestants, did not accept the baroque theological arguments supporting that Catholic teaching.

But that radical ethical and doctrinal reversal will not be the really amazing thing. Far more amazing will be the Orwellian aftermath in which, 10 years from now, white evangelicals will pretend that they have always unanimously opposed contraception and they will seem unable to remember that it was ever otherwise, angrily denying that any change has taken place.


God, gays and gynecology: policing the boundries of evangelicalism

Of course, no one can actually throw anyone else out of their religion. What would that mean? Revoking their license to pray? However, it is possible to police boundaries, to treat some people as your coreligionists, and others as … well, as The Other. Some people are in good standing as members of the tribe, and others just aren’t.

What are the allowable variations, and what are the dealbreakers? We can learn a lot from that. For American evangelical Christians, it seems the boundaries are drawn in what might seem to be rather strange places.

Fred Clark suggests that evangelicals police the left fringe quite harshly, but don’t really care about the right fringe. They can do what they like:

Mainstream evangelicalism — including institutions like Christianity Today and LifeWay — pays lip-service to “racial reconciliation,” but it has never been mandatory. You cannot be pro-gay, pro-choice or feminist and remain an unchallenged or un-”controversial” member of the evangelical tribe. But as Wilson, D’Souza (and let’s not forget Richard Land) confirm, you can espouse racially biased views without that ever prompting anyone to ask if you are really an evangelical.

As long as you continue to repeat the right phrases about God, gays and gynecology, you can say whatever vile things you want to about slavery, or Africa, or “race hustlers,” without any worry that it might provoke questions about your godly evangelical bona fides. You can be a vicious racist, but as long as you’re an anti-abortion, anti-gay racist who talks about the “authority of scripture” like its the fourth member of the Trinity, then you’re golden.