Transitioning to be reviewed

The government proposes that trans people should be able to choose their legal sex more easily.

Reforms making it easier for transgender people to legally choose their sex by removing the need for a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria and speeding up the bureaucratic process of changing sex will go out to consultation this autumn.

Trans people currently have to provide evidence that they have been in transition for at least two years before they can apply to legally change their gender. They also have to convince an intrusive interview panel. This is now widely viewed as demeaning and discriminatory.

Yu did it

A gay man in central China, Mr Yu, has damages from a psychiatric hospital over forced “gay cure” conversion therapy. In China it is the first such victory for the LGBT rights movement which is gradually emerging in the country.

A court in Zhumadian ordered a city psychiatric hospital to publish an apology in local newspapers and pay the 38-year old man 5,000 yuan – £570 – in compensation.

Mr Yu had been forcibly admitted to the hospital in 2015 by his wife and relatives. He was diagnosed with “sexual preference disorder” and forced to take medicine and receive injections. He walked free after 19 days.

China removed homosexuality from its list of recognised mental illnesses more than 15 years ago but it is reported that families do admit their relatives for conversion therapy.

Looking the other way

A new study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, which examined the porn-viewing habits of 821 gay, straight, and bisexual men from around the US, found that 55 percent of gay men watch straight porn, and 21 percent of straight men watch gay porn, according to The Advocate.

Dr. Martin J. Downing, the study’s lead researcher, sees this “identity discrepant viewing” as “some level of evidence” of fluidity in sexual attraction, at least in terms of what people are watching.

There’s more. Bi men reported watching guy-on-guy porn just as much as gay men do, and they consumed heterosexual porn almost as much as heterosexual men. According to Downing, bisexual men aren’t “watered down gays or heterosexuals.”

Matthew’s missing


Matthew Paris | BBC | 16303ga

There’s one abbreviation, though, that to me brings neither excitement nor pleasure, nor anger nor dislike, but only a vague sinking of the heart. LGBT — or “the LGBT community”.

This community does not exist. The bolting together of dissimilar groups distorts understanding. LGBT isn’t a club I’m in,

writes Matthew Paris in the Times.

People routinely employ the expression “LGBT community”, but neither out there on the streets nor as a classification in social sciences does this community exist. The Ls and the Gs have lots of friends who aren’t either. Bisexual men don’t self-identify much as a group or feel drawn particularly to each other for friendship and fun.

Bye bye Matthew. When you need us, we’ll be there.

Have yourself a bromosexual little Christmas


Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images | 16300ga

The Daily Mail have been worrying about bromosexuals. The New York Times recently devoted an article to ‘The Rise of the ‘Bromosexual’ Friendship.’

Gay men – particularly those in conservative and rural environments – remain wary about trying to befriend straight men, fearing prejudice-fueled rejection.
At the same time, many straight men still doubt that they’ll be able to relate to gay men in any meaningful way and, for this reason, may not try to initiate a friendship. Of course, the traditional notion that gay men and straight men cannot be close friends is inherently homophobic and untrue.

Yes of course. Pass the mince pies please.

The not so secret teacher

The Guardian has a “secret teacher” section. One of their contributors tells the story of coming out.

I told my new head of department that I was thinking about revealing my sexuality at school. Her only concern was that some members of the team might offend me by making jokes – though with the aim of making me feel part of the team. I then broached my intentions with the headteacher. He’s old-school, in a good way, traditionalist but totally living in the real world. He didn’t bat an eyelid and told me to get on with it.

Then the teacher wondered how to manage the event with pupils, and what their reaction was going to be.

An opportunity came when I took on a Y11 tutor group as a maternity cover. In our first session, one of the students asked straight out if I was gay. I answered with an emphatic “Yes”. I waited for the booing or the pretending-to-be-sick noises, but none came. A group of girls wanted to know if I was single (I’d recently broken up with someone) and whether I’d have a civil ceremony (yes, if I met the right guy) but otherwise it was a non-event. I do think my honesty served to make them trust me quickly – vital in a pastoral role – but my sexuality was ultimately quite boring.

Being out at work means you can just get on with things without it following you around. Eventually everybody forgets, because you have been accepted for what you are.

Bi men paid less, says study

Two Men Enjoying Coffee

Uncredited file photo | 2nd Story | 16486ga

Bisexual men are paid on average a third less than their heterosexual counterparts. The study by Professor Alex Bryson, of UCL’s Institute of Education also shows that gay men and lesbians earn about the same as heterosexuals, as do bisexual women.

In an article in the journal Work, Employment & Society, published by the British Sociological Association, Bryson explains that the average gross hourly earnings for bisexual men were £9.39, compared with £12.30 for heterosexual men, a gap of 31%. Conversely, average hourly earnings for gay men were £13.33, £1.03 more than for heterosexual men.

The study, which used data from the Workplace Employment Relations Survey conducted in 2011 and 2012, also showed that the average hourly earnings for lesbians were £9.87, similar to the £9.97 earned by heterosexual women. The average hourly earnings for bisexual women were £9.58.

The study included 312 gay men and lesbians, 118 bisexuals, 18,635 heterosexuals and 986 people who declined to identify their sexuality.

Luxembourg’s gay refugees


Ennas Al Sharifi | 16481ga

I think this is the first time in 18 years that I have blogged a story from Luxembourg.


Of the gay refugees who do live in Luxembourg safe places, few are open about their sexuality, writes the Luxembourg Wort.

Asylum seeker Mano fled his war-torn home of Syria because of harassment and intolerance over his sexual orientation.

“I always knew I was different. I didn’t know what the difference was or what it was called, but I knew I had a secret to guard,” Mano said, adding: “That was a decade ago. Even in my worst nightmare, I didn’t dream that one day my beautiful country would implode. When I was 15, before I came to terms with my identity, my parents suspected something was ‘wrong’ with me and sent me to a therapist. He told them I was gay.”

Mano said when his family and the community where he lived in Idlib found out, they confirmed his worst fears about prejudice.

“Most of them believed—and probably still do—that gay people like me should be hospitalised, imprisoned and even killed. I felt desperately alone.”

Mano said he was saved by the Internet, where he learned there were other people like him who lived happy, normal lives.

Yes, if only your Activist had had the information freely available now on the internet when he was 14.

More exciting news from the department of hyped up statistics

About 20% straight men watch gay porn according to a new study widely reported today.

Researchers investigated the porn habits of men and whether the films changed their behaviour. They found that 21 per cent of straight men said they had watched same-sex porn in the past six months.

55 per cent of gay participants in the study said they had watched opposite-gender-oriented porn in that time. There was a 96 and 88 per cent split between bisexual men who watched gay or straight porn.

821 men were questioned about their porn preferences, including whether they prefer to watch adult actors using condoms, by the US organisation Public Health Solutions.

We know who you are


Uncredited | Corbis | 16434ga

The number of Britons describing themselves as bisexual has soared by 45 per cent in just three years. In 2012, 230,000 people said they were bisexual – a total that rose to 334,000 in 2015. More young adults aged 16 to 24 describe themselves as ‘bi’ rather than exclusively gay or lesbian – an increase from 76,000 to 133,000 over the same period.

The increase among those who said they were solely gay or lesbian was less pronounced, from 541,000 to 586,000 over the three years.

The ONS found that 1.1 per cent of the population describe themselves as gay or lesbian.

Men are more likely than women to identify as LGB – 2 per cent of men against 1.5 per cent of women. Younger people are also more likely to say they are LGB – 3.3 per cent of people aged 16 to 24 did so, against 2.7 per cent of those aged 25 to 34, 1.7 per cent in the 35 to 49 age group, and only 0.6 per cent of over-65s.

Does your Activist believe the figures? Ha ha ha …