Self-lubricating condoms for more pleasure, fewer infections

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The researchers tested the friction that resulted when rubbing the polymer-coated latex over a surface resembling skin for around 15 minutes. After this time, the polymer-coated latex generated approximately half the friction compared with standard latex which had been lubricated with water. Non-treated latex with a commercially available lubricant performed better at first, but after the 15-minute test period was still not as effective as the newly developed polymer-coated latex. The new material additionally scored well when people were asked to rate its slipperiness. A massive 85 percent of test participants described it as more slippery than the non-treated latex with added lubricant.

“The next steps include manufacturing the condom under [good manufacturing practices] and conducting a marketing study with couples,” Grinstaff said. “One of the authors on the paper, Dr. Stacy Chin, has started a company, [Hydroglyde Coatings], to develop a self-lubricating condom. In fact, she has a new formulation that performs even better.”

The paper describing the work, “Friction-lowering capabilities and human subject preferences for a hydrophilic surface coating on latex substrates,” was recently published in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

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Netflix’ Big Mouth features a pansexual teen character

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The second season of Big Mouth, Netflix’s cartoon about the trials and tribulations of adolescence, is fixated on the same issues as the first: uncomfortably and entirely relatable gags about boobs, stray pubes and “rubbing fronts.” But this season includes an unexpected gem: one of the 13-year-old characters came out as pansexual.

In Big Mouth, the heartaches and desires of the characters are personified by hairy, horned “hormone monsters” that serve as emotional, hilarious joke-cracking guides through the land of sexual maturation.

Spoilers for season 2 ahead:

Although Jay is a side-character, he’s also a close friend to the show’s main characters and is surprisingly complex. In the first season, we learn that his father is a shady divorce lawyer who regularly cheats on his mom. He also has two older abusive brothers and a curiously self-aware and depressed pet pit bull.

In the second season’s ninth episode, Jay makes out with Matthew, the show’s only openly gay character (voiced by gay actor Andrew Rannells), during a spin-the-bottle game called “Smooch or Share.” While their initial kiss (with tongue) at first comes off as the two literally kissing and making up from a fight they had earlier in the show, the two meet up later on for more flirting and kissing during a debaucherous lock-in in the school gymnasium.

Previous to Season Two, Jay had only expressed interest in girls and a female pillow named Pam. The show could have left his kiss with Matthew at that, giving its gay fans an unexpected moment of same-sex smooching. But then, in Season Two’s final episode, Jay struggles with feeling attracted to both a male and female pillow.

The female pillow, Suzette, initially tells him that he has to decide which one he feels more attracted to. But by the episode’s end, Jay has a threesome with both of the pillows, pretty much establishing himself as attracted to more than just one gender.

While it’s great to see Big Mouth feature a pansexual teen, the show proved itself to be quite progressive in its queer and sexual views long before its final episodes. Season Two features an entire episode on how sexually transmitted infections aren’t moral failings and Season One had a coming out episode in which a young character questions his sexuality — during the episode, the show made no homophobic jokes at his expense.

Live in Massachusetts? Please help keeping trans people safe <3

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People in Massachusetts, USA, will be voting on whether to repeal a nondiscrimination law in November. The vote is on whether to repeal a 2016 law which prohibits discrimination in areas of public access on the basis of gender identity. It will be the third question on the ballot. So, a ‘Yes On 3’ campaign is encouraging residents to protect transgender rights when they go to the polls.

Opponents of the non-discrimination law, Senate Bill 2407, gathered enough signatures for a state-wide referendum. The ballot will take place alongside upcoming midterm elections on 6 November. A No vote would repeal the law, while a Yes vote would preserve it and continue protecting people who are not cisgender in Massachusetts.

A group encouraging a No vote, to ‘keep MA safe’, released a transphobic advertisement last month. One of the biggest myths surrounding bathroom laws is that sexual predators will take advantage of laws protecting trans people. In fact, it’s trans people who face disproportionately high amounts of discrimination, harassment, and violence.

Trans kid left in the open during mass shooter drill at school

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During a lockdown drill at a middle school in the state of Virginia a trans kid sat on the bleachers as teachers prioritised refusing to let her into the girls’ locker room over assuring her safety in a crisis.

The drill is designed to ready students in case of a mass shooting, the kids practised finding shelter in sex-segregated locker rooms, local LGBTQ group Equality Stafford reports in a Facebook post. However, the transgender child was forced to remain on the gymnasium bleachers throughout the drill rather than prepare for a potential emergency.

“The student was forced to watch the adults charged with her care debate the safest place (for the other students) to have her shelter,” Equality Stafford wrote. “During this debate, she was instructed to sit in the gym with a teacher until the drill was complete, away from her peers and identified as different.”

Teachers eventually decided that the trans teen should sit in the locker room hallway, a door away from her peers – a place unlikely to offer much protection during a mass shooting. Why kids need to be divided by gender in the case of a mass shooting to begin with remains a mystery to everyone.

Matthew Shepard died twenty years ago but his legacy lives on

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Twenty years ago, on October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was assaulted and then left for dead in a vicious hate crime that transformed the way America thinks about the abuse endured by queer people. After the devastating crime Matthew’s family worked tirelessly to create a legacy of safety and acceptance, pushing for a hate crime bill that took a decade to pass — and that could now be undone by the Republican party.

Matthew was studying politics and language in Laramie, Wyoming, when he met the two men who would eventually murder him. They offered Matthew a ride home after becoming acquainted at a bar. But on their car ride, they stopped to beat and torture him before tying him to a fence where he was left to die. A description of the crime scene detailed Matthew’s face completely covered in blood except for the streaks left by his tears.

The killers didn’t get far. That same night, they got into a fight with a group of people and police were called, quickly finding evidence of the assault. Meanwhile, Matthew was found by a cyclist passing by the fence early in the morning. He was still alive, and was brought to a trauma centre in Colorado. There, he was found to have suffered extensive brain injuries, leaving his body unable to regulate his heart. He passed away a week later on October 12.

In their defence, the killers’ attorney claimed they were driven into a murderous rage after learning that Matthew was gay. This is the so-called “gay panic” defence, by which the perpetrators of violence seek to defend their actions by claiming they’re unable to control themselves in the presence of queer people. Such defences are still employed by people in the U.S., even to this day.

The country was horrified by the violent killing, but also galvanised to action. After enduring the loss of their child, Matthew’s parents formed a foundation to advocate for an end to violence as well as services to ensure the safety of queer youth. Friends and family pushed hard for new hate crime laws, but faced intense resistance from Republicans who sought to protect anti-gay violence. State and federal Republicans did everything in their power to block hate crime laws from taking effect.

It took a decade of hard work, but finally, in 2009, Democrats were able to push through the roadblocks and pass The Matthew Shepard Act in 2009. The bill expands hate crime laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

But many Republicans still oppose protections for queer people, and the law could be undermined by determined anti-LGBTQ extremists. In particular, Donald Trump‘s pick for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh, has been tied to efforts to undo progress. Kavanaugh worked in the Bush White House at a time when the administration was doing everything in its power to sabotage hate crime laws. Now that he was appointed to the Supreme Court, Kavanaugh might find a way to roll back what protections we now have. The work of honouring Matthew Shepard’s legacy is still not finished.

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