Periodical Political Post *50

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Periodical Political Post *49

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  • Asia’s biggest pride parade brings tens of thousands to Taipei
  • Federal court blocks Trump’s transgender military ban
  • One in four people say same-sex relationships should be illegal
  • Hong Kong to be first Asian city to host the Gay Games
  • Teacher suspended for educating students on LGBT issues

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Disney delivers another Teen Coming Out & that’s great

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Earlier this week, it was reported that The Disney Channel was about to broadcast its first-ever coming out story using a recurring character in their teen drama series Andi Mack, oneof the network’s top performing shows. Well, the episode premiered this Friday (it was the first episode of the show’s Season 2 premiere) and we have a clip of the coming out scene below — it’s pretty sweet.

The context of the Andi Mack coming out scene

Cyrus is friends with the show’s titular heroine Andi Mack. Andi has a crush on the local cutie Jonah, and Cyrus has been totally supportive of her crush. Supportive, that is, until he sees Jonah and Andi actually kiss in the Season 2 premiere. Afterwards, Cyrus realizes that he’s jealous because heactually has a crush on Jonah too. Uh-oh…

Feeling odd about the entire thing (remember, these kids are teens), Cyrus goes to the local cafe to meet his friend Buffy. That’s where the scene begins….

Why the Andi Mack coming out scene is a big deal

The Disney Channel has been taking several gradual steps over the recent past to introduce gay, age-appropriate content to its young viewers, but this is the first time that they’ve had a majorly visible gay character who isn’t just a one-off.

Almost 94 million households receive The Disney Channel. That’s a lot of viewers who might see Cyrus’ coming out story and realise that having same-sex attractions doesn’t make you weird or any less worthy of your friend’s love.

Cyrus’ coming out story arc is also supposed to develop throughout the entire season, giving viewers multiple chances to see a young gay person navigate his feelings with his friends by his side.

Gay Parents aren’t bad for Kids, Discrimination is

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Those who oppose gay rights spend a lot of time worrying about how being raised by same-sex parents will damage kids. A new study found that children of homosexual parents are more likely to face hardships, but mainly because the law still discriminates against their families, not because same-sex couples are inherently incapable of raising a child. Shocking, right?

The report by several gay rights groups, including the Movement Advancement Project, Family Equality Council and Center for American Progress, found that children of gay parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted as those raised by heterosexual parents. The study estimates that there are 2 million children being raised by same-sex parents, and they live in 96% of U.S. counties. However, families with homosexual parents are more likely to live in poverty, and they face other unique situations that can add stress to their lives.

Since the federal government in the U.S. doesn’t recognise gay unions, same-sex parents pay more in taxes, have higher health insurance costs, and aren’t allowed to participate in many government programs for families. Plus, since some states don’t allow gay adoptions, one parent may not have any legal ties to the child they raise. That means that parents can lose custody or visitation rights, and don’t have the ability to make health decisions for their child.

When faced with these facts, groups that oppose gay rights had an interesting reaction. Maggie Gallagher of the National Organization for Marriage told Reuters that the best way to protect kids is to pass federal legislation against gay marriage, because allowing only marriage between one man and one woman ensures kids will be raised by a mother and a father. So according to Gallagher, we can prevent discrimination against children of same-sex parents by getting rid of same-sex parents. Or, you know, we could just change the laws to be more inclusive of all families and have everyone agree to stop behaving like bigoted asshats.

Periodical Political Post *48

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One big Coming Out

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Coming out isn’t easy for many people but a neo-Nazi coming out as a gay Jew might be a whole new level of leaving the closet.

Growing up in England, Kevin Wilshaw had no friends. As a teenager, he drifted to white supremacist circles, finding a sense of camaraderie among its tightly knit thugs. When he joined the National Front, an extreme far-right British party, he cited his hatred for Jews on his application form. He proceeded to have a storied career of bigotry, smashing a chair on an opponent’s head in Leeds and vandalizing a mosque in Aylesbury. And today, he disavowed his ties to his former neo-Nazi friends and came out as a gay Jew.

In an interview with Channel 4 News, Wilshaw admitted that coming to terms with his sexuality opened his eyes to the vileness of his views.

With stories like this and Trump in office, you gotta feel pretty bad for the writers over at The Onion, those poor fellas are gonna be looking for new jobs pretty soon if the world keeps this up.

Swedish Pronoun: Hen

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Identifying as non-binary can be difficult but Sweden has an official gender neutral pronoun: hen. It’s  similar to the use of singular “they” in English. It took inspiration from the neutral pronoun in the Finnish language (hän) and after much debate “hen” was officially adopted.

Its use is:
– for talking about someone who’s gender is unknown
– when the gender is unnecessary in the conversation
– for talking about someone who identifies as neither male nor female

It’s been used in various places in Sweden, some say since the 1960s, but was discussed in mainstream media in 2013 and eventually placed into the official Swedish dictionary in 2015.

It has two main uses in Sweden. The first is, obviously, for LGBT+ groups but the second is interesting. Some schools and pre-schools have started using “hen” for their pupils so as not to push gender roles or identities on their students.

First studies suggest that the use of “hen” in early education doesn’t reduce children’s tendency to use gender to categorise people but it reduces their tendency to gender-stereotype and gender-segregate.

The use of hen is the same and just as simple as han (he) or hon (she), for exmaple “hen är vacker” – “they are beautiful”.

Periodical Political Post *47

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Leviathan

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Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan is a half adventure, half coming-of-age novel set in an alternate steampunk past, in which the powers of the world are divided into “Clankers” who favour huge, steam-powered walking war-machines; and “Darwinists,” whose hybrid “beasties” can stand in for airships, steam-trains, war-ships, and subs (they even have a giant octopus called the kraken that can seize whole warships and drag them to their watery graves).

Set on the eve of WWI, the story’s two main characters are Aleks, the incognito orphan of the freshly assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand (fleeing his murderous uncle Emperor Franz Josef from Austria to the safe haven of Switzerland in a liberated battle-walker); and Deryn, a Scots girl who has dressed in boys’ clothes to muster into Britain’s Darwinist air-corps and finds herself a midshipsman on the Leviathan, a floating ecosystem a quarter-mile long, made up of whales, bats, bees, six-legged hydrogen-sniffing dogs, and all manner of beasties that make her the meanest thing in the sky.

Filled with gripping air and land-battles, political intrigue and danger, science and madness, Leviathanis part Island of Dr Moreau, part Patrick O’Brien. And to top it all off, the volume is lavishly illustrated with fabulous ink-drawings of the best scenes from the book, executed in high Victorian style by Keith Thompson (who also produced contrafactual propaganda maps of alternate Europe)

Westerfeld writes gripping, relentless coming-of-age novels that are equally enjoyable by adults and kids, and Leviathan is no exception. Leviathan is also available as an unabridged 8-hour audiobook on DRM-free CDs for a very reasonable price. The reading is by Alan Cummings, who absolutely nails it, and the production — bed music, editing — is just superb, bringing the whole swashbuckling tale to life.