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Below you'll find a list of all posts that have been categorized as “News & Articles”

Periodical Political Post *108

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Alan Turing will be the face of the Bank of England’s new £50 note

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The Bank of England has announced that Alan Turing’s will appear on British £50 notes starting 2021.

“Alan Turing was an outstanding mathematician whose work has had an enormous impact on how we live today,” Bank of England governor Mark Carney said. “As the father of computer science and artificial intelligence, as well as a war hero, Alan Turing’s contributions were far ranging and path breaking. Turing is a giant on whose shoulders so many now stand.”

Turing was a computer scientist whose innovative thinking was integral to breaking Nazi codes during World War II. Despite his heroic deeds, he was deemed a criminal less than a decade after the end of the war when he was found guilty of having sex with a man. He was sentenced to chemical castration in 1952 and eventually driven to suicide.

“It’s important that we remember and recognise the impact of LGBT figures throughout history, so it’s great that Alan Turing will be the face on the new £50 bank note,” Kim Sanders, director of communications at LGBTQ+ rights organisation Stonewall in the U.K, said in a statement. “It’s vital that we celebrate LGBT history, which is often less visible, and make sure that we represent the diversity of those who paved the way before us.”

Years after his death, Turing’s early contributions to technology have become more fully embraced, materialising in a movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, an official royal pardon in 2013, and other accolades.

The Bank of England received 227,299 nominations after it put a call out for suggestions for a scientist that should be featured on the £50 note. Finalists included Ada Lovelace and Stephen Hawking. The photo of Turing will be a 1951 portrait, his signature from the visitor’s book at the famed Bletchley Park, where code breaking efforts were concentrated during the war, and a quote of his from a 1949 interview with the Times of London: “This is only a foretaste of what is to come, and only the shadow of what is going to be.”

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Is the acceptance of gay sex declining in Britain?

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The number of people believing there is nothing wrong with gay sex has fallen for the first time since the Aids crisis. The British Social Attitudes survey puts it at dipping from 68% in 2017 to 66% in 2018, leaving a third of the population in some way opposed. NatCen, who conducted the survey, said that, while further polling was advisable, “liberalisation of attitudes does seem to be slowing down”.

The findings coincide with the first decrease in more than a decade of people comfortable with pre-marital sex. On the plus side, last week also saw the Commons victory for gay legislation in Northern Ireland. Still, what a hammering same-sex couples have had recently – everything from attacks on buses to Ann Widdecombe (the Aunt Lydia of Brexit, anyone?) pondering how science could “produce an answer” to gayness. In this context, is the NatCen survey indicative of new attitudes, or yet more evidence that people are feeling bolder about expressing previously veiled prejudices?

Part of the problem seems to lie with gay sex in particular, rather than gay people generally, the bizarre phenomenon of almost “enforced asexuality”, where gay people (or anyone non-straight) can be accepted, even celebrated, but only so long as the “sex stuff” is played down to the point of being undetectable.

This often seemed to be the “problem” with the late George Michael – that he was an actively sexual gay man, and didn’t care who knew it. To a certain hetero mindset, it seems there are two distinct groups – cultural gays (acceptable), and sexual gays (unacceptable!). Some people pride themselves on “tolerating” what they perceive as cultural gays, but then recoil from evidence of their sexuality.

Perhaps that’s when they start pompously opining to people with clipboards about non-acceptance – as though somehow their homophobia had been forced upon them by gay people who just had to go and spoil everything by having sex.

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The heartbreaking letter a gay teen left his parents before leaving

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Kent was 19 when he fled his home. All he left his parents was a note explaining why he’s gone: They wouldn’t accept him because he’s gay. He also posted a photo of the letter on Twitter where people reacted with messages of support and sympathy to his situation.

“There hasn’t been a day where I haven’t cried or struggled to find the energy to get out of bed,” he opened. “This doesn’t feel like a home and I don’t think it ever will. You have accused me of being a bad person, of being an embarrassment, and telling me I have a psychological disorder. I don’t think you guys will ever understand what it’s like to hear that from your own parents and how harmful and damaging it is to a child.”

After listing other efforts his parents made to “cure” him of homosexuality, he patiently explained where his parents had gone wrong by not respecting his journey to self-discovery and peace with his sexuality.

“The other day you asked me what parents were for,” he wrote. “Parents are supposed to love and accept their children unconditionally. It took me a lifetime to get to a point where I’m happy and secure with who I am and it breaks my hear that the two people that have supported me my entire life do not accept me when I’m finally happy with who I am. It pains me that you both can’t put aside your personal opinions and views and just love and accept me for who I am.”

He goes on to list statistics about queer teens who attempt suicide, noting that the lack of parental support increases the odds dramatically. “I’m leaving because I refuse to become another statistic,” he says.

He closed by telling his parents not to bother contacting him unless they decided to accept him for who he is. In a later tweet, he revealed that they hadn’t contacted him since he left.

He is currently staying with a friend and wanted to make sure everyone knew he wasn’t looking for attention when he posted his letter.

“I’m not sharing this for pity or for attention but because I know there are people out there just like me who are scared and stuck in abusive homes and I want to be an example that you’re never stuck and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” he tweeted after his missive started going viral.

Periodical Political Post *107

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Twitter says it’s still OK with porn

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The internet became increasingly puritanical over the last few months. Tumblr banned all porn from its platform and other social media sites followed suit with more regulations and censorship of sex-related posts.

Many people turned to Twitter as a save haven for porn starts, sex workers and everyday people who want to post some slightly juicer stuff on private alt accounts for a smaller circle of friends.

A recent article by XBIZ got people worried that Twitter’s updated Terms of Service might mean the company is following in the footsteps of Tumblr by putting an end to any usage of their service for porn and other sex-related content.

Twitter says though that they have no such plans. A spokesperson said “We recently updated our rules to better demonstrate what is and is not allowed on Twitter. The updates were made to provide more clarity, not to reflect changes in our policies or enforcement practices.”

In a section of their Terms of Service titled “Sensitive Media Policy,” updated on March 2019, Twitter has, among other things, introduced a few new guidelines. Sensitive media, for the company, includes media that depicts graphic violence, adult content, violent sexual content, and gratuitous gore. This content is not allowed to be shared in profile photos or header imagery. As for “graphic violence and consensually produced adult content,” it can be shared within tweets but it will be marked as sensitive and will be available behind a warning.

Following Tumblr’s porn ban, over 150 million users left the platform. And of those, many migrated to Twitter to hopefully reassemble their communities. Porn performers, both studio performers and those creating homemade work, have corralled their followers there for updates, sharing previews of upcoming scenes.

Other sex workers have also used the platform to share their work or stay in touch with fans. Additionally, users who just share their own homemade content for the enjoyment of friends have spurred communities of “alt Twitter” accounts, sometimes with tags like #TumblrRefugee in their bios — porn has long had a presence on Twitter so these refugees only added to it, as opposed to having created it. Under this new policy, it seemed even these accounts would be in danger.

“Accounts that simply post adult content either to express their sexuality or their interests will not be suspended,” a Twitter spokesperson said though.

The site has long allowed adult content on its platform, and according to the company, plans to continue doing that as long as it was created and shared consensually — creeper shots and revenge porn would not fall under this.

Periodical Political Post *106

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50 years after Stonewall most queer Americans are still too scared to hold hands

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Fifty years after the Stonewall riots queer rights have come a long way. It would be easy to lean back and tell yourself that it’s a job well done. It would have little to do with reality though. There are many major milestones still to achieve and we even have to be careful not to lose some of the progress made so far.

Since Trump took office as president of the U.S. Nazis, religious extremists and other homophobes feel safe again in speaking their mind and often actions follow soon after. Trans people of colour are being murdered on such a regular basis that the subject became a major point for candidates in the presidential race. And that is just the gruesome tip of the iceberg.

Many queer Americans feel the consequences of a homophobic racist running the country. The acceptance of queer people even among young Americans dropped for the second year in a row and most queer Americans don’t dare to hold hands in public because they fear to be met with violence and discrimination.

In a survey 85% of respondents said they were scared when displaying this type of affection in public spaces. Only 15% said they had no fear at all of holding hands or showing other displays of affection in public.

More than three quarters of queer Americans surveyed said they believed that transgender people experienced more discrimination. With this in mind, just over 80% of trans people said they were “very” or “somewhat afraid” to hold hands in public, and not a single respondent said they had “no fear at all.”

26% of the respondents have personally experienced discrimination in the workplace. With 47% the number was almost twice as high for trans people. 12% of queer Americans said they had been refused service by a business before while 36% of trans people had such an experience.

Of all queer people surveyed, 77% said they were discriminated again sometimes or often when they apply for jobs. In terms of offensive slurs; 59% of queer people said they had been called a slur, and 81% of transgender people said the same.

However, people said there was also discrimination within the queer community itself. The types of prejudice cited as problematic included transphobia (60%), sexism (51%), and racism (52%).

Among LGBTQ people, 40% would not date a trans person. For gay  gay men specifically that number was even higher at 66%.

 

Periodical Political Post *105

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