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A Very Queer Word of the Year: The Singular “They”

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Bad news for people who have been arguing that the gender-neutral pronoun “they” doesn’t make any sense because it’s not grammatically correct: a crowd of over 200 linguists who met at the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting last Friday evening have chosen the singular “They” as the most significant term or word in the past year in a landslide vote.

they

Using a singular they is common habit in English & American speech, as in “That cat loves their owner,” but has risen to prominence again as a useful way to refer to people who don’t use the pronouns “he” or “she.”

A practise several languages introduced over the last few years. Swedish speakers for example can use “hen” when the gender of a person is unknown or the classic pronouns don’t apply.

Ben Zimmer, a language columnist for the Wall Street Journal who presided over the voting on Friday afternoon, said in a press release: “In the past year, new expressions of gender identity have generated a deal of discussion, and singular they has become a particularly significant element of that conversation,” Zimmer said. “While many novel gender-neutral pronouns have been proposed, they has the advantage of already being part of the language.

Other contenders for the 2015 title of Word of the Year were “on fleek,” “ammosexual,” “ghost,” and “thanks Obama.” For a full list of the nominees and winners in each category, read the American Dialect Society’s press release here.

Is Steven Universe too Queer for the Queen?

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Cartoon Network hits like Adventure Time and Steven Universe might be the most progressive kids’ shows in the history of cartoons. Adventure Time features an on-going, complicated but charming romance between two of the female protagonists and  Steven Universe is the kind of fantasy adventure where even the villains are treated with kindness and sympathy, and where one of the major characters is literally the physical embodiment of a committed gay relationship.

steven-universe-gay

So it’s going to be pretty upsetting for fans of the show—not to mention the collected hivemind of fanart, “feels,” and animated GIFs known as Tumblr—to hear that some of the show’s more explicitly queer content is being censored from the show’s broadcasts in the UK.

As reported by Pink News—and shown in the Tumblr comparison video below—Cartoon Network UK has been editing moments of mild sexuality—as in suggestive looks and the occasional shimmy, not, like, full-on magical-alien-rock-women bacchanalia—out of its broadcast of the show.

http://officialkurapika.tumblr.com/post/136006093473/as-you-may-know-there-have-been-posts-going

The highlighted moment comes from “We Need To Talk,” an episode in which a giant space woman’s jealous lover manipulates her into having quasi-explicit magical sex in front of her boyfriend as part of a complicated emotional power play. (And if that’s not weird enough, the resulting fusion dance turns them into a sort of multi-eyed Flashdance monster.)

But it’s not the Jennifer Beals homages or bizarre relationship drama that upset the censors; rather, a couple of longing looks between the characters Rose Quartz and Pearl were apparently too saucy for British audiences to handle. (It’s also possible that the watchdogs felt that the “Fuck you” look Pearl shoots mid-dance at her romantic rival Greg was so clear as to be borderline obscene.)

Cartoon Network UK blamed the lack of a British TV rating system for the cuts, telling reporters, “The U.S. broadcast system requires that shows are marked with a rating–in this case PG (parental guidance necessary). In the UK, we have to ensure everything on air is suitable for kids of any age at any time. We do feel that the slightly edited version is more comfortable for local kids and their parents.” (Said locals are apparently completely okay with the unedited heterosexual kissing that closes out the clip.)

via AV Club, Pink News & Polygon

Periodical Political Post *18

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Kafka & the Teenage Nudies

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We live in a time in which some Western countries have to deal with major cases of legislative schizophrenia. They want to protect kids by teaching them that sex is something dirty and disgusting.

But on the other hand they seem to have a perverted passion for destroying the lives of the very same kids by adding pre-teens to public sex offender lists, charging 10-year-old girls with rape for playing doctor or telling a teenage boy that he’ll have to get his boner photographed by cops because he was sexting with his girlfriend.

selfiescut

The newest fad in this kafkaesque nightmare is to treat the same person as a child and an adult at the same time. This requires some mental gymnastics you’d think no sane person would be capable of.

So here’s what’s happening: A teenager takes a selfie of themselves while they’re naked. In the eyes of the Unites States legal system this means they just sexually exploited a child–themselves. But due to the seriousness of this crime they will be tried as an adult by the courts

After a 16-year-old girl made a sexually explicit nude photo of herself for her boyfriend last fall, the Sheriff’s Office concluded that she committed two felony sex crimes against herself and arrested her.

The girl was listed on a warrant as both the adult perpetrator and the minor victim of two counts of sexual exploitation of minor – second-degree exploitation for making her photo and third-degree exploitation for having her photo in her possession.

A conviction could have put the girl in prison and would have required her to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life. [source]

If sexting is a good idea in general is a debate worth having but trying a minor as an adult is an outright ridiculous premise. But in a system that literally hands out the death penalty to minors and mentally ill people all common sense must have been gone over board a long time ago.

A North Carolina 17-year-old caught in a sexting scandal faces charges of sexually exploiting a minor that could land him in jail for up to 10 years, since the law considers him an adult. But one of the minors he supposedly exploited is himself­—which raises an obvious question: how can a teen be old enough to face adult felony charges, but not old enough to keep a nude picture of himself on his phone? [source]

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Love Wins

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National history was made at the U.S. Supreme Court today as the highest court in the land ruled that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to legally marry, in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. This makes the USA the 20th country in the world achieving marriage equality.

rainbow-court

Word of the 5-to-4 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges spread like lightning across all forms of social media, as rainbow memes, pro-marriage cat videos and #LoveWins hashtags zoomed the news around the world in seconds.

Within three hours of the announcement, same sex couples in Georgia started getting married, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Emma Foulkes and Petrina Bloodworth of Atlanta received the first marriage license for a gay couple in Fulton County.

Impromptu celebrations sprung-up across the nation, outside the landmark Stonewall Inn in New York City, where riots by LGBT patrons 46 years ago next week are credited with igniting the modern gay rights movement. Bisexuals and trans couples celebrated as well.

In its ruling, the Court determined that the U.S. Constitution does indeed require states to allow same-sex marriages, effectively striking down existing bans in the 13 states and Puerto Rico, and requires every state in the nation to recognize marriage equality.