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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.

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

Periodical Political Post *54

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Handsome and Majestic

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This short documentary profiles Milan, a 15-year-old transgender boy growing up in the northern Canadian city of Prince George, B.C.

As a recently transitioned transgender boy, Milan deals with discrimination from his peers and teachers at school, as he seeks to find other kids like himself. His parents are open and supportive throughout his transition, and his sister Lulu never questioned that Milan was her brother.

However, at his elementary school, he must face the lack of education, intolerance and even assault. When Milan meets another transgender boy in his neighbourhood, he finally finds someone his age who understands and shares his experience. With the support of his friends and family, Milan has become a role model and an advocate for trans individuals in his small community and beyond.

Submitted by QueQat

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.

Periodical Political Post *53

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Closet Monster

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Director Stephen Dunn works a delicate balance with his Closet Monster (currently streaming on Netflix), an imaginative spin on the coming-of-age tale that blends together both straightforward storytelling and recognisable emotional beats with creative flourishes. Those flourishes — including a talking hamster and a series of fantasy sequences — are treated with the same equanimity as the rest of the more reality-rooted elements, allowing Closet Monster to retain an authenticity that other, similar features may not be able to hold on to with such grace.

Young Oscar has a seemingly idyllic childhood, one that is punctuated by his father’s rich imagination, is brutally disrupted by his parents’ separation, an event that turns Oscar bitter, while his once-loving father becomes cold and distant. Already in a state of emotional turmoil, elementary school-aged Oscar witnesses a heinous crime against a classmate that compels him to further hide his emerging sexuality. Taught from a young age that being gay is something to be feared or, at the very least, concealed and repressed, Oscar internalises the crime, a reaction he doesn’t fully understand until years later.

When we catch up with now teenage Oscar he’s on the cusp of adulthood, he’s still reeling from the events of his childhood. Highly creative, Oscar spends his time crafting magnificent practical make-up effects for his over-the-top best friend Gemma, taking photos of his artistry and building inventive additions to his hamster’s cage. And about that hamster…

Alive for far longer than any other normal hamster, Buffy — who talks, if only to Oscar — acts as both a comfort to Oscar and as his conscience, going so far as to bill himself (or herself? Buffy’s gender identification is a plot point in the film) as Oscar’s “spirit animal.” The animal illustrates Oscar’s profound tenderness and his deep loneliness in equal measure. Once Oscar meets sexy Wilder at work, his carefully constructed facade begins to crumble, and the hormonally-mad teenager begins to give himself over to desire.

Oscar’s fixation on Wilder — who is attractive and mysterious, but not particularly nice, sort of the platonic ideal for a teen crush — pushes him into new modes and methods of reaction, many of which feel jarringly violent. As he begins to experience the world around him through the emotional milieu of falling in love for the first time, other things come into sharp focus and the already creatively inclined Oscar begins to blend fantasy with reality. The film’s visuals are lush and dreamy, and Dunn makes even Oscar’s tired old town look fresh. The film winds down to a fairly obvious conclusion, but that does not dilute the satisfaction it also earns along the way.

Closet Monster may feature a talking hamster and a hefty volume of very bloody flashbacks-turned-fantasy, but Oscar’s issues continually remain real and relatable. Dunn plays around with perspective and style, but all the flash doesn’t obscure the film’s emotion and heart, which are deep and true. The talking hamster is just a bonus.

 

via IndieWire