Asexuality is still a mystery to many

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Three-quarters of people can’t define asexuality, according to a survey. The poll asked British people how confident, if at all, they would be in defining asexuality. Of the 1,119 people questioned, 53% said they were confident in explaining the term. However, when they were put to the test 75´% were either wrong or did not know that asexual people do experience a sex drive.

An estimated 1% of the population are asexual. According to Stonewall, an asexual person is defined as someone who does not experience sexual attraction. However, there is a large amount of diversity among the asexual community, as there is among all groups under the queer umbrella.

Each asexual person experiences things like relationships, attraction and arousal differently and asexuality is a word that asexual people use to help identify and describe themselves.

What is asexuality?

According to the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (ASEN), asexuality is an intrinsic part of who a person is, like any other sexual orientation. The organisation describes an asexual person as someone who “does not experience sexual attraction”, meaning they are not drawn to people sexually and “do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way.”

A lack of information about asexuality means there are lots of misconceptions about it. AVEN (Asexuality Visibility and Education Network) explains: “Unlike celibacy, which is a choice, asexuality is a sexual orientation. Asexual people have the same emotional needs as everybody else and are just as capable of forming intimate relationships.”

Dr Michael Yates, clinical psychologist specialising in sexual health, said: “Sexual attraction is a motivation to engage in sexual activities with another person. It is possible to still have a sexual drive, but for that not to be directed at another person. For some asexual people, they may still have sexual feelings, they may masturbate, but that won’t be associated with fantasy or a desire to have sex with somebody else.”

Large US charities secretly funded anti-queer hate groups

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Several large charities in the United States have been secretly giving millions of dollars to hate groups for years. They funnelled money to white supremacists and anti-queer groups. The Donors Trust, Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, Schwab Charitable Fund, and Vanguard Charitable gave nearly $11 million to 34 groups classified as hate groups. These funds have supported 12 anti-queer groups, 12 anti-Muslim groups, eight anti-immigrant groups, one white nationalist group, and one radical traditional Catholic group according to Sludge.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an anti-queer hate group that masquerades as a Christian legal charity, was the biggest beneficiary of the anonymous donors. The group raked in $2.7 million from mid-2014 through 2017.

ADF is the group behind many of the largest court cases opposing queer rights. They have argued in favour of ex-gay conversion torture and banning transgender people from bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity. They also argued against marriage equality and nondiscrimination laws. The Family Research Council, one of the most vociferously anti-queer groups in America, has also benefited from the secret funding and received $548,000.

Read more…

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How OnlyFans changed sex work

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“With a G-string and a strobe light, he could make as much as $1,000 on a good night.” Sounds like a line from a bargain-bin paperback at an adult bookstore? It’s actually printed in the New York Times.

The paper took a deep dive into the very profitable (for a select few) world of OnlyFans, the service that lets users subscribe — for a monthly fee in the $10 range — to their favourite thirst traps. In return, subscribers get access to models’ photos and videos. As part of its report, the NYT spoke with Matthew Camp, the go-go dancer turned OnlyFans entrepreneur who’s been doing very well for himself.

“If the four main quadrants of the gay approval matrix were daddy, twink, bear and boy next door, [Camp] seemed to sit smack in the center, not falling neatly into any of those categories but appealing to the potential audiences for each.”

With his broad gay appeal, Camp quickly began receiving offers from adult film companies to appear in scenes. “Having sex for money is appealing,” he said. But $1,000 seemed low for something that would sit on the internet and brand him for life as [and adult film star].

So he turned them down and instead used a PG-13 feed on Instagram to build a following of more than half a million. About a year ago, as the club scene continued its slow death, he moved to Hudson, N.Y., and signed up for OnlyFans. Weeks often went by without him posting a single picture or video. He didn’t show a full penetrative sex clip for the first nine months, yet he still regularly took home more than $10,000 a month.

Camp wagers that his success with the platform comes down to a human desire for intimacy. The irony, of course, is that the intimacy he and other OnlyFans models offer comes fully synthesised. Which isn’t very intimate at all.

“Tumblr was filled with the most extreme sexual experiences you could see and I think a lot of people were turned off by that. It’s not what they’re looking for. They want more intimate experiences. They want a boyfriend experience. They want to fantasize about someone that they want to have sex with and not feel disgusted by it.”

Read the whole NYT piece here…

Brazil’s president wants to make sure schools won’t mention homosexuality or feminism

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Brazil’s fascist President Jair Bolsonaro is fulfilling his campaign promise to oust the “Left” from Brazilian life by taking his anti-leftist ideological war to classrooms and universities, “causing angst among teachers and education officials who say the government wants to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist” according The Albuquerque Journal.

“Bolsonaro and top officials have announced plans to revise textbooks to excise references to feminism, homosexuality and violence against women, say the military will take over some public schools and frequently bash Paulo Freire, one of Brazil’s most famous educators, whose ideas had worldwide influence,” the AJ continued.

In January, following Bolsonaro’s inauguration, the country’s Education Ministry reportedly dismantled its diversity department and provided textbook publishers with new guidelines, eliminating any and all references to topics like feminism, gender, transgender, and homosexuality.

Bolsonaro, who once declared, “I’m homophobic, with pride”, pledged to review the content of the country’s national high school exam to remove questions he finds “corrupting the youth” according to The Independent. He made the announcement in a YouTube video after seeing a question from last year’s exam on a “secret dialect used by gays and transvestites” called Pajuba, which mixes Portuguese and West African languages. It is mostly used in Afro-Brazilian religions but has also been adopted by the Brazilian LGBT community.”

via Towelroad

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Gay men are increasingly voting for the politicians who despise them

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 Gay men in n Western countries are increasingly voting against their own interests–and throw other minorities under the bus in the process.

In last year’s U.S. midterm elections, 82% of queer voters voted for the Democrats, America’s more pro-queer political party. But in many other Western countries “right-wing and virulently homophobic parties enjoy considerable support among gay voters,” says Samuel Huneke, a gay historian at Stanford University who studies modern European culture.

Huneke looked at voting data from 14 elections in five Western countries — the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil — and then published a recent article on the troubling phenomenon. It it, Huneke observed:

“LGBT voters in other countries were less likely to support the conservative (or in some cases far-right) party by an average of only seven percent. And when you look only at gay men, the results are even more striking. In other countries, gay men were, on average, more likely than the general electorate to support the conservative or far-right party.”

For example, a 2015 French poll showed 26% of gay and bisexual male voters supporting Marine Le Pen, the anti-gay politician with the far-right National Front party — only 16% of straight voters supported Le Pen. That same year, 38% of gay male couples voted for Le Pen’s party whereas only 29% of straight couples did the same.

Huneke notes that in France and Brazil’s run-off presidential elections, the far-right politicians in each of those two-person races each received a substantial fraction of the gay male vote. In the UK, 26% of queer voters supported the Conservative Party.

This isn’t a formal study and Huneke states that the polling around this issue is slim, so we can’t draw overarching conclusions. For example, in Germany, Huneke admits the picture is hazier: Only 2.7% of queer voters supported Germany’s far-right, homophobic party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

But even still, Huneke thinks that when gay men are studied as an individual group, substantial numbers of them vote right-ward. He says this isn’t true in America where the GOP’s longstanding opposition to HIV-related healthcare, marriage equality and other queer civil rights have driven majorities of gay voters into the Democratic tent. But in other Western countries lacking the same two-party system of villains and heroes, the gay vote doesn’t always lean left.

“Gay politics in other countries prove that LGBT people — especially gay men — are not inherently progressive voters. Give them the chance and they will vote for xenophobia, for racism, and for misogyny. Democrats (and progressive parties in other countries, for that matter) cannot and must not take the gay vote for granted,” Huneke concludes.

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UK ban on “fetish porn” overturned

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The words “UK Government” and “porn” rarely ever are part of a headline announcing good news but here we go: Porn depicting a number of previously banned sex acts has been made legal in England after a review of their ridiculous obscenity laws.

Essentially, sex acts that are not illegal in another context can now be shown in pornography. Certain types of violent porn are now permitted so long as the sex acts are consensual (focusing on ‘full and freely exercised consent’) and do not cause serious harm to participants.

Not illegal in the UK anymore (video by Helix Studios)

The UK government first stated fetish pornography would be outlawed under the Obscene Publications Act. This included any form of BDSM and other pretty tame subjects like face-sitting, fisting and female ejaculation.

This was seen as a major blow to British porn producers. Many protested this change as censorship. ‘Distributing’ obscene material can simply mean sending a video via private message and can be punished with time in prison.

But even if you can watch fetish porn, you will still have to prove your age. New porn laws, officially coming in April, will mean Brits will have to input credit card details if they want to view a site that is at least one-third pornographic.

Obviously this opens the door for credit card data being intercepted by a third party or saved in an unsafe manner by website owners. The  habits of people looking at porn could also be tracked by the government.


France fights anti-queer bullying

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France introduced a national campaign to fight bullying of queer kids in middle and high schools across the country. Starting this week France’s Ministry of National Education and Youth launched All Equal, All Allies. It’s a campaign that ensures all state schools put up anti-bullying posters, as well as provide accompanying guides about queer students for teachers.

SOS Homophobia spearheaded the campaign, which aims to make queer youth in France feel more included at school. They found an increase of reports of anti-queer incidents by 38% in the last year. Their recent report also said this causes decreased self-esteem, isolation and dropping out of school. The risk of suicide attempts remains four times higher for queer youth than for the rest of the population.

They wrote in a press release: ‘SOS homophobia hopes that all institutions, public and private, will open their doors to this campaign so that it can reach a maximum of students and complete the work of prevention and awareness provided by SOS volunteers.’

In November last year, a French queer activist group warned of an increase in anti-gay attacks across the country. Across France, complaints of homophobic attacks increased by 15% since the beginning of 2018.

A number of French queer rights activists also believe that the number of people to experience homophobic attacks or abuse is widely underreported. This is just the tip of the iceberg,’ said the spokesperson for rights group Inter-LGBT, Clémence Zamora-Cruz.

‘On the ground, many attacks go unreported. Often, victims don’t complain for fear of reprisals, or because they’re afraid of speaking to police officers who aren’t aware of issues relating to LGBT identity. They’re scared of not being listened to.’

Last month, a handful of French artists got together to release a song to help tackle homophobia. De l’Amour tells the story of gay refugee Azamat, with all proceeds raised going to French charity Urgence Homophobie (Emergency Homophobia).

Among the artists volunteering to sing on the track and appear in an evocative video were Emmanuel Moire, Christophe Willem and Muriel Robin.