How Teens use Grindr

milkboys App, News 10 Comments

Anyone who’s used Grindr knows that it can be a better way to make friends than lovers. Sometimes hookups become friendships, once the masc4masc posturing is over and you realise a conversation might be more successful than fumbling around in the dark. Now, happily, a new study has confirmed what we already knew to be true.

The Journal of Adolescent Health took a survey of 200 sexually active teenage boys from ages 14 to 17, and found that more than 50% of them said they used Grindr and other hookup apps for more than just sex. This is despite the apps being 18+, which as we know, has never stopped anyone from looking at porn.

The study’s been seized upon as showing that Grindr and its ilk provide a sense of community for often closeted teens. “We found that teens in this study were super excited that somebody was paying attention with what was going on in their lives, and how these apps played a role in their sexual development and coming-out process,” Dr. Kathryn Macapagal told the Chicago Tribune when asked about the survey. “I was surprised we didn’t know this information when we started the study, but a lot of folks don’t do research on people under the age of 18, especially on LGBT teens under the age of 18, for a variety of reasons.”

While those polled reported greater risk of unprotected sex, they also had greater odds of getting tested for HIV and more engagement with sexual health services. “The sooner we understand the role these apps play in the lives of gay and bisexual teen guys, the sooner we will be able to tailor sex education and HIV prevention efforts for this population and help them live healthier lives” added Dr. Macapagal.

Grindr, obviously, released a predictably lame statement that will do nothing either to stem the tide of sexually active teens using dating apps, or reassure adults who worry about them. “Grindr does not condone illegal or improper behaviour and we are troubled that an underage person may have been using our app in violation of our terms of service. Grindr services are only available for adults.”

The sooner e know more about adolescent sexuality, the more we can do to help at risk teens find the safe spaces and access to the community they so obviously need and want.

Practical & Queer-Friendly: Japan’s School Uniforms go Unisex

milkboys News 4 Comments

An emerging number of Japanese schools are introducing unisex uniforms or flexible uniform codes in an effort to support queer students. School officials hope the move will ease the mental anguish of these kids, who are usually required to wear gender-based uniforms typified by jackets with stand-up collars and trousers for boys, and sailor-type outfits with skirts for girls.

At Kashiwanoha Junior High School students can freely choose whether to wear skirts or slacks or ties or ribbons with blazers, regardless of their sex. Originally, the school did not intend to make students wear a uniform, but had to change course because nearly 90 percent of parents and prospective students surveyed wanted one.

A panel of parents, teachers, prospective students and education board members was set up to discuss the uniform designs. Some said consideration should be paid to LGBT students and that girls should also be allowed to wear trousers because they are more practical and warmer in winter.

“We thought it would be better to let students wear something they feel comfortable in if they have to struggle to come to school because of uniforms,” said Koshin Taki, the vice principal of Kashiwanoha Junior High. “We chose a subdued colour and check patterns so the uniform would be suitable for any student.”

Similar moves are spreading in Japan, with a junior high school in Fukuoka Prefecture preparing to abandon the stand-up collars and sailor suits for blazers that will let students mix and match with skirts or trousers when the new school year kicks off. In Tokyo, the Setagaya Ward Board of Education is set to follow suit, while boards of education in the cities of Osaka and Fukuoka plan to broach the topic in the near future.

Anri Ishizaki, who heads FRENS, a nonprofit organization supporting LGBT people, said trying to fit all students in gender-specific uniforms can be a burden to sexual minorities who are afraid to come out.

“Some students are embarrassed and cannot concentrate on their studies because of uniforms. In some cases, they stop going to school,” said Ishizaki. “Although uniforms are not the only factors tormenting them, it is a significant element as they are required to wear them all the time,” Ishizaki added.

In 2014, there were 606 cases of consultations related to gender dysphoria, according to a survey among Japanese schools. The following year, the ministry for education issued a notice encouraging schools to improve support for sexual minorities and pay consideration to their clothing, hairstyles, and bathroom use.

Tombow Co., the uniform maker picked by Kashiwanoha Junior High, said it began developing unisex uniforms after schools began making more inquiries about them around the time of the ministry’s 2015 notice. Ayumi Okuno, a designer at Tombow, said she found in interviews with LGBT students that many do not want to wear uniforms that clearly differentiate male and female shapes and silhouettes, so she tries not to highlight certain aspects, such as curves that emphasise femininity.

“We are also offering various suggestions to schools so they can select what works best for them,” said Okuno, noting that it can accommodate flexible dress codes like the one at Kashiwanoha Junior High, styles that suit the gender identity of each student, or even the frequent use of gym clothes except for ceremonies and formal occasions.

Although the two schools mentioned above allow female transgender students to wear skirts, Okuno believes such a product will be difficult to develop and market. “Even if schools and students accept such a uniform, it is likely to be frowned upon by many people in society,” she said.

While the introduction of a new dress code is seen as a positive step forward, it will be difficult to take such measures without accidentally outing sexual minorities, experts say. In the 2014 survey, only about 20 percent of the students in the 606 consultations on gender dysphoria had revealed their gender identities to their peers, and around 60 percent were in the closet.

Kashiwanoha Junior High’s Taki said he is carefully monitoring students’ reactions to the new dress code as some of the female students are fearful about drawing special attention for wearing trousers. He emphasised that the dress code offers options not only to transgender students but also to those who want to be practical.

“I hope it will help students choose what they want to wear without necessarily disclosing their gender identity,” he said. 

via The Japan Times

WHO no longer classifies being Transgender as Mental Illness

milkboys News 15 Comments

Many countries already updated their specifications, now the World Health Organization (WHO) follows suit: Transgender people, who identify as a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth, should no longer be considered mentally ill, according to a new UN categorisation.

Transgender Singer-Songwriter Kim Petras

The WHO issued a new catalogue Monday covering 55,000 diseases, injuries and causes of death, in which it discreetly recategorised transgenderism. The new catalogue, which still needs to be approved by UN member countries, so-called “gender incongruence” is now listed under “conditions related to sexual health”, instead of “mental, behavioural and neurodevelopmental disorders”.

“We expect (the re-categorisation) will reduce stigma,” Lale Say, the coordinator of WHO’s department of reproductive health and research, said. WHO says gender incongruence is characterised as a “marked and persistent incongruence between an individual’s experienced gender and the assigned sex.”

“We think it will reduce stigma so that it may help better social acceptance for these individuals,” Say said, adding that since the catalogue is used by doctors and insurers to determine coverage, the move away from a mental disorder could “even increase access to healthcare”.

The document, which member states will be asked to approve during the World Health Assembly in Geneva next May, will take effect from January 1, 2022 if it is adopted. Say said she thought the text, which is the result of years of discussion among experts, would easily win approval, despite widespread lack of acceptance of transgender people in many parts of the world.

Imagining a better Boyhood

milkboys Articles 6 Comments

As boys grow up, the process of becoming men encourages them to shed the sort of intimate connections and emotional intelligence that add meaning to life.

In hindsight, our son was gearing up to wear a dress to school for quite some time. For months, he wore dresses—or his purple-and-green mermaid costume—on weekends and after school. Then he began wearing them to sleep in lieu of pajamas, changing out of them after breakfast. Finally, one morning, I brought him his clean pants and shirt, and he looked at me and said, “I’m already dressed.”

He was seated on the couch in a gray cotton sundress covered in doe-eyed unicorns with rainbow manes. He’d slept in it, and in his dreaming hours, I imagine, stood at a podium giving inspirational speeches to an audience composed only of himself. When he’d woken up, he was ready.

He walked the half block to school with a bounce in his step, chest proud. “My friends are going to say dresses aren’t for boys,” he told me casually over his shoulder. “They might,” I agreed. “You can just tell them you are comfortable with yourself and that’s all that matters.” I thought of all the other things he could tell them. I began to list them, but he was off running across the blacktop.

I scanned the entrance to see whether any parents noticed us as they came and went. I hadn’t expected my stomach to churn. I felt proud of him for his self-assuredness, for the way he’d prepared for this quietly and at his own pace, but I worried about what judgments and conclusions parents and teachers might make. And of course I worried somebody would shame him.

When he walked into his classroom, sure enough, one child immediately remarked, “Why are you wearing a dress? Dresses are for girls.” A teacher swiftly and gently shut down the child’s commentary and hugged my son tightly. He didn’t look troubled, didn’t look back at me, so I headed home, tucking a backup T-shirt into his cubby just in case his certainty flagged.

In the afternoon, he was still wearing the unicorn dress. He skipped down the sidewalk, reporting that some kids had protested his attire, but he’d assured them that he was comfortable with himself.

Read on…

Periodical Political Post *65

milkboys News 7 Comments

Queer News

Other News

What did You learn at School today? Homophobia.

milkboys Articles, News 7 Comments

Keeping LGBT issues out of schools is a fool’s errand. Some seven percent of millennials—who now account for the majority of the U.S. workforce—now identify as LGBT. The legalization of same-sex marriage has ushered in sweeping cultural change, too. Fewer teachers will feel like they have to hide who they are, or like they must leave the LGBT history untaught.

And yet, in recent weeks, there have been a rash of national news stories about LGBT issues—and, indeed, LGBT people—being pushed out of schools. LGBT teachers are getting suspended or fired. Some parents in Illinois are working themselves into a tizzy over LGBT history making its way into textbooks. And across the border in Alberta, there is considerable controversy over the fact that gay-straight alliances do not have to notify parents if their children come to extracurricular meetings.

Taken together, these stories paint a depressing picture of the state of LGBT acceptance today: For some Americans, the fantasy persists that schools can and should be LGBT-free zones. Age-old fears about teachers indoctrinating children, or “turning them gay,” still have power. And even some parents who consider themselves to be allies of LGBT adults will draw an uncrossable line in the sandbox. Read on…

Queer Kids & Homelessness

milkboys News 10 Comments

New research found that American kids & teens that are LGBTQ are twice as likely to face homelessness than straight youth, and those who are homeless are at a significantly higher risk of violence and death compared to straight youth.

The study, from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, included a phone survey of 26,161 youth as well as 215 in-depth interviews with LGBTQ-identified homeless kids. This is the second in a series of briefs done as part of the Voices of Youth Count project, attempting to link evidence and action in an effort to end youth homelessness.

Queer youth were shown to face a higher percentage of risky conditions on the streets, including being 15% more likely to be physically harmed, 10% more likely to self-harm, and 18% more likely to exchange sex for basic needs.

Discrimination both within and outside their family was also far more likely, with 64% of Queer youth reporting such from their family, and 60% outside of it. This compared to “only” 37% of straight youth reporting either.

Further, race also played a part, with youth who are black or multiracial and LGBTQ being 16% more likely to be homeless, versus only 4% for white, straight youth.

Matthew Morton, the principal Investigator for Voices of Youth Count, wants to offer up a silver lining.

“The findings are a bit grim, but hopefully it will galvanise communities to help these young people. This is a very resilient population, and many expressed hope that they can rise above their circumstances. The message here is really from the youth themselves – if we listen to them and offer help where it’s needed, they can make great progress.”

Periodical Political Post *64

milkboys News 28 Comments

Queer News

Other News

Why Pride still matters

milkboys Articles, History 16 Comments

We made amazing progress over the last few decades when it comes to queer rights, acceptance & visibility. So much that some people might wonder if we really still need pride parades. Here are some arguments why we do:

1. Pride commemorates our history

In 1969, it was illegal for LGBT people to congregate at a bar, or for bars to serve LGBT people. The Mafia-owned Stonewall Inn, located in New York’s Greenwich Village, was one of the few places LGBT people could get a drink or hang out. Even there, life wasn’t easy: Police frequently raided the bar, issuing fines and violently arresting patrons. In the early morning of June 28th, 1969, a black trans woman named Marsha Johnson struck back by throwing a shot glass at police officers.

This act of resistance, known today as the “shot glass heard around the world,” kicked off days of rioting as LGBT people rose up against the police system’s brutality and bigotry. A month later, Brenda Howard, a bisexual woman, helped plan the first Christopher Street Liberation Day March near the site of the riots. And while the LGBT civil rights movement has made great strides in the decades since then, we’re still far from true freedom and equality – which is why we should never forget where and how Pride celebrations started.

2. People are still attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity

Threats, violence and harassment against queer people happen every day, including during Prides. In a number of countries, events can’t go ahead without heavy police presence. In 2015, while 250 people were peacefully demonstrating during Pride in Kyiv, Ukraine, counter-demonstrators violently attacked the parade and left 10 people injured. In many countries, including in Ukraine, crimes perpetrated because of someone’s real or perceived or sexual orientation or gender identity are not prosecuted as hate crimes, and sometimes they’re not investigated at all.

Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes have a devastating impact on LGBTI communities. The fear of being targeted pushes people to hide their identity. When attackers go unpunished it spreads distrust towards the police and the courts. What’s more, these hate crimes are under-reported, which means people don’t get the protection they urgently need.

3. Prides are an opportunity to challenge homophobic and transphobic legislation

LGBTI rights activists have been prevented from holding Pride events in Moscow, Russia, since 2006 – and following a decision of the Moscow City Court in 2012, for the next 100 years. In addition, a federal bill prohibiting the promotion of “non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors was passed in 2013. In short, the law now bans LGBTI activism and support groups and punishes people for expressing their sexual orientation and their gender identity, including at Pride events.

However, some hope is emerging, as in recent years people in Saint-Petersburg were able to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia. The relentless commitment of Russian LGBTI activists to organising a Pride is not only about the event itself, it’s also a brave defiance against Russia’s unjust laws curbing freedom of expression and freedom of peaceful assembly.

4. Rights can never be taken for granted

Even in countries where in the past Pride events were allowed to go ahead, we cannot take things for granted. In Istanbul, the Turkish authorities decided to ban Pride, even though parades have taken place since 2003 without incident. Despite the ban, 5,000 peaceful participants gathered but were dispersed by police forces using tear gas, pepper-ball projectiles and water cannons. This appalling backlash is unfortunately one in a long series of harsh restrictions on the right to peaceful assembly, but it was still a shock in a country where last year’s Pride attracted up to 90,000 people.

5. Prides contribute to changing hearts and minds

Change is possible, even when homophobic and transphobic attitudes exist. When 70 LGBTI activists marched in the streets of Riga, Latvia, for the very first Pride event in 2005, they were met by over 2,000 counter-protestors, and many of them were attacked. Ten years on, more than 5,000 people took part in EuroPride 2015, with only 40 counter-protestors and no serious incidents reported. “The marchers as well as the people watching us were happy, many of them were waving hands,” said Rupert, an activist from Germany, who also took part in one of the first Prides in Riga.

Similarly, after being banned three years in a row, Belgrade Pride in Serbia took place successfully in recent years. In both instances the event went ahead peacefully and according to the organisers’ plan, with proper protection from the police. This sends a strong message to the local population as well as other cities and neighbouring countries. It demonstrates a commitment from authorities to uphold LGBTI rights and shows that activism can bring change.

6. Prides are empowering

Pride events aren’t about approval but acceptance. They are about human rights; they empower queer individuals to reclaim the rights and freedoms they are denied, and the public space they are often excluded from. Visibility is crucial, especially when the state and opposition groups go to considerable lengths to put LGBTI people at the margins of society.

Fighting shame and social stigma, and marching in the face of threats and violence – Pride parades are not only inspiring celebrations of difference but also a declaration of intent. Through these events, demonstrators assert that they will not to be intimidated, that they will continue to demand equality, and that LGBTI rights are human rights.

Before you knock it, just think about the middle school kid for whom going to a Pride event is a dream because they’re so excited to get to be themselves somewhere without fear of judgment. Think about the elderly gay man for whom pride is a reminder of how far we’ve come. Think about these people (and more) before you think solely about what Pride means to you.

Troye’s Little Lies

milkboys Articles 22 Comments

In a not-so-shocking revelation, Troye Sivan talked about how he, like many other queer teens, lied about his age on Grindr to hook up with older men when he was younger.

“All my friends were hooking up with random people at parties, and I just felt so left behind because I didn’t know gay people, I didn’t know where to meet gay people.

I didn’t really want to venture out by myself and so I just did stuff that a 17-year-old boy shouldn’t really have to do. I managed to get a fake ID and then I got Grindr on my phone and started to try to meet people who were like me, but you sort of are forced a little bit into these hyper-sexualized environments, and even though that’s awesome when you’re 17… I didn’t know what else to do.

My heart must have been going a million miles an hour. I don’t remember specifically but, because I was always so small, I was so scared to meet up with people because I was like, ‘I’m going to get killed, I’m going to get murdered by someone.’

When I see photos of myself, from when I was that age, and I think of the guys that I was meeting up with and talking to, I think: ‘Wow, I looked really, really young.’ [It makes me feel] Kind of a little bit creeped-out, but at the same time I really don’t have any regrets. Maybe I wasn’t ever truly scared, just really uncomfortable.

There’s actually a song about it on the album called ’17’… Originally the chorus of the song was ‘Here he comes, like he just walked out of a dream, doesn’t care that you’re 17’. And I was like ‘uh, that sounds a bit predatory’, and maybe it was a little bit. That’s what I mean, it’s like, I’m not looking back at those experiences in a negative or a positive light.”

–Troye Sivan reminiscing about his teenage years to Attitude