The Older Brother Effect

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For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out which biological factors determine sexuality. One of the more inexplicable discoveries in this arena is that homosexuality is more common in men who have older brothers, known as the “older brother effect”. Up until now, it’s been unclear why that is.

New research from Brock University in Canada suggests that women who give birth to boys multiple times progressively build up antibodies that will affect their future sons in utero. The researchers argue that these antibodies, formed in response to proteins present in male brains, may lead to changes in brain development that influence sexual orientation.

“It seems that some women during their first male pregnancy, or just after their first male birth, begin to detect this foreign substance (the NLGN4Y protein) and start to develop an immune response. And then later, with further male pregnancies, the high levels of antibodies directed toward this substance may change brain development in these later born males,” says lead researcher Tony Bogaert in a media release.

While the study has yet to be replicated by another research team, it suggests that the older brother effect is rooted in prenatal factors. In other words, this is yet more evidence that sexual orientation has a biological basis, a point that has long been contested by anti-gay types.

“The implications of this study, especially if and when it is replicated by an independent team, are profound,” explains Bogaert. “Along with more deeply understanding the exact origin of the older brother effect, it helps solidify the idea that, at least in men, there’s a strong biological basis to sexual orientation. “This is the culmination of more than 20 years of research where we started looking at the older brother, or fraternal birth order, effect. The current study adds to the growing scientific consensus that homosexuality is not a choice, but rather an innate predisposition.”

There’s no single factor determining whether a person is gay or not, but research like this continues to support the theory that sexual orientation is at the very least influenced by biological factors. Considering that anti-gay groups still push the notion that being gay is a choice that can be fixed with harmful conversion therapy and the like, this area of research is truly valuable.

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Different from the Others

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In 1919 the first known film that was sympathetic to gay people was produced. A year later, it was banned. Different from the Others (Anders als die Andern) is a German movie about a relationship between a master violinist and his student.

Paul Körner, the violinist, is approached by a young man named Kurt who begs Paul to be his teacher. He accepts and their relationship develops.

Their families don’t understand their relationship, and Paul comes out to his parents by sending them to a doctor who explains that Paul is gay and it’s nothing to worry about. Homosexuality isn’t an illness, the doctor says, it’s just a normal variation of human sexuality.

This was 50 years before Stonewall. These ideas were revolutionary even during the brief social liberalization Germany experienced in the decade before the Great Depression, which is why public screenings of the film were banned a year after it was released.

The film goes on to discuss suicide among gay men, the pressure to be straight, and blackmail used against Paul.

Magnus Hirschfeld, a Jewish doctor and sexologist who rose to fame at the beginning of the 20th century and is remembered most as one of the first major gay rights activists and for founding one of the first gay organizations in the world, helped make the film. He devoted his life to trying to get the law the banned homosexuality in Germany repealed, and he believed that more education and scientific understanding could help society accept gay people.

The film was produced with the help of Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sexual Research and 40 copies were produced, according to John Baxter’s book Carnal Knowledge. The Institute of Sexual Research was raided and closed when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and Hirschfeld spent the last few years of his life in France trying to continue his work before he died of a heart attack in 1935.

You can watch the film on YouTube.

That Cake’s pretty gay

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While the US are debating whether or not a bakery has to provide cakes for gay couples, a bakery in Canada is doing one better. A man from Ontario wanted to celebrate his engagement to his partner;  what better way to do that than with a cake? He called up Cake & Loaf, a local bakery, and request the GAYEST cake they could make. Without hesitation, and with much excitement, they said “We’ll do it!” This is what he got:

In celebrating my engagement to Jared Lenover (It's been a year… 8 months 'till the big day!!) I wanted to get him a…

Posted by Chris Farias on Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Mollies Club

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Welcome to the molly house: How a gay bar survived and thrived in a deadly environment of 18th-century Britain.

In 1709, the London journalist Ned Ward published an account of a group he called “the Mollies Club.” Visible through the homophobic bile (he describes the members as a “Gang of Sodomitical Wretches”) is the clear image of a social club that sounds, most of all, like a really good time. Every evening of the week, Ward wrote, at a pub he would not mention by name, a group of men came together to gossip and tell stories, probably laughing like drains as they did so, and occasionally succumbing to “the Delights of the Bottle.”

In 18th and early-19th-century Britain, a “molly” was a commonly used term for men who today might identify as gay, bisexual or queer. Sometimes, this was a slur; sometimes, a more generally used noun, likely coming from mollis, the Latin for soft or effeminate. A whole molly underworld found its home in London, with molly houses, the clubs and bars where these men congregated, scattered across the city like stars in the night sky. Their locale gives some clue to the kind of raucousness and debauchery that went on within them—one was in the shadow of Newgate prison; another in the private rooms of a tavern called the Red Lion. They might be in a brandy shop, or among the theaters of Drury Lane. But wherever they were, in these places, dozens of men would congregate to meet one another for sex or for love, and even stage performances incorporating drag, “marriage” ceremonies, and other kinds of pageantry.

It’s hard to unpick exactly where molly houses came from, or when they became a phenomenon in their own right. In documents from the prior century, there is an abundance of references to, and accounts of, gay men in London’s theaters or at court. Less overtly referenced were gay brothels, which seem harder to place than their heterosexual equivalents. (The historian Rictor Norton suggests that streets once called Cock’s Lane and Lad Lane may lend a few clues.) Before the 18th century, historians Jeffrey Merrick and Bryant Ragan argue, sodomy was like any other sin, and its proponents like any other sinners, “engaged in a particular vice, like gamblers, drunks, adulterers, and the like.”

Read on…

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Cult of Boys

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With her scrapbook Cult of Boys fashion photographer Toyin Ibidapo created a visiual memorial for the (slightly older) androgynous sons of the fading emo decade.

You can’t always trust your gaydar. Opening this book might let you think of the numerous gay photographers with their affection for teens. Not this time though. Cult of Boys comes form a woman who photographed for clients like the Dazed & Confused magazine or the late queer fashion star Alexander McQueen.

The portraits of the emosih lads featured in this book were made over a longer period of time in her own flat. Most of the boys are scantily clad (or not at all) but eroticism isn’t the major theme; there seems to be an intimate atmosphere built on trust and maybe even friendship. Ingenuous models explore who they are–and who they could be. Although carefully staged the photos seem genuine and emit the honesty and frankness the photography of the young and beautiful so often lacks. Impetuous and with lots of charm the fascinating pictures capture the raw vulnerability of the soft youth.

Canada says Sorry

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Earlier this week Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took steps to mend the nation’s fractured relationship with its own queer community.

In the House of Commons, he issued a lengthy, formal apology to gay Canadians who’d been fired from their jobs and the military during the Cold War. Trudeau, who teared up as he spoke, also proposed a bill that would let courts expunge the records of people charged with crimes due to their sexuality and urged modern Canada to adopt “forward-thinking and progressive” ideals. At the same time, he said the nation must not forget its past.

After his speech Trudeau was criticised for allegedly pushing the ominous “gay agenda” on kids by addressing them directly in his apology.

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The fierce Teen Boys stirring up the Online Beauty Scene

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Would you be inclined to buy makeup because a 10-year-old boy is showing you how to create a look on Instagram? If we’re talking about Jack Bennett of @makeuupbyjack, then the answer could well be a resounding yes.

Since convincing his mother to start his account in May, young Mr. Bennett, who lives in Berkshire, England, has amassed 331,000 followers and attracted the attention of brands like MAC and NYX, which have offered products to create looks. Refinery29 has celebrated him as the next big thing in makeup.

He is the latest evidence of a seismic power shift in the beauty industry, which has thrust social media influencers to the top of the pecking order. Refreshingly, they come in all shapes, sizes, ages and, more recently, genders. Hailed by Marie Claire as the “beauty boys of Instagram,” the early male pioneers, like Patrick Simondac (@PatrickStarrr), Jeffree Star(@jeffreestar) and Manny Gutierrez, (@MannyMua733), have transcended niche to become juggernauts with millions of followers. And their aesthetic is decidedly new: neither old-school-rocker makeup nor drag queen.

Read on.. 

Submitted by Jon Snow