Straight women have gay men as friends! Who’d have thought it!

Women tend to have friendlier and more intimate interactions with gay men than straight men after learning of their sexual orientation, notes Psypost.

Women are less comfortable interacting with straight men because they worry that their friendliness could be misinterpreted as a sign of sexual interest.

“This topic has been a long-standing interest of mine for many years,” said study author Eric M. Russell, a research associate at the University of Texas at Arlington. “I have always been interested in the unique bond that straight women and gay men share, and I have greatly enjoyed conducting research that explores why and when (i.e., in what contexts) these friendships are most likely to form and flourish.”

“In this study, we hypothesized that women would have more comfortable and intimate initial encounters with gay men once they discover their sexual orientation. Because straight men typically overperceive women’s sexual interest, women often try to keep their ‘friendlier’ interaction behaviors in check when they are meeting men for the first time.”

Besides, we bake better cakes.


Why Gay Activist is still going

On my wedding night, a Protestant minister blessed our marriage in the eyes of God, and I danced with my father under a tent overlooking a moonlit bay. I didn’t think I was at risk of losing that dream anymore. I didn’t think that my identity, the very core of who I was, meant I had to give up a wedding or a family or be at risk for something much more sinister. But this poll brought me back to reality. Our equality, and the world’s sense of our humanity, is not set in stone. It is not assured. I am right to be afraid,

writes Colleen Curry in the Washington Post, on the subject of last week’s shock poll that support for gay rights in the USA is diminishing.

US: Attitudes to gays have changed

The Washington Post reveals that a new poll for GLAAD reveals a hardening of attitudes in America against the gay community.

For the first time since the survey began in 2014, non-LGBT Americans told pollsters that they’re less comfortable with their LGBT neighbors. And the number of LGBT survey respondents who told pollsters that they’d experienced discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity jumped by 11 points.

For years, activists in America (and here) have hoped that by coming out, gay people can change attitudes. The poll suggests that tactic has stopped working.

But now, Gerzema noted, 80 percent of non-LGBT Americans say they know someone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual, and 20 percent of Americans know someone transgender. If they know LGBT people and are getting less comfortable with them anyway, we may have reached the end of exposure therapy as a political tactic.

Gaydar is cobblers, according to researchers. Which is probably why it works so well.


Gaydar at work | Uncredited/Copyright controlled | 18010

Last year scientists from Stanford University said their artificial intelligence algorithm could detect homosexuality by analysing a person’s facial features, and that was how Gaydar worked.

The academics claimed their results were not psuedoscientific but consistent with the prenatal hormone theory of sexual orientation.

This unproven theory suggests that hormones which people are exposed to in the womb lead to different physiological attributes and also different sexualities.

Not according to Google.

According to the Google team … the algorithm didn’t detect a difference in facial features. Instead, it detected a difference in how homosexual and heterosexual men and women take selfies.

“Heterosexual men tend to take selfies from slightly below, which will have the apparent effect of enlarging the chin, shortening the nose, shrinking the forehead, and attenuating the smile,” they found.

“This [angle] emphasises dominance -  or, perhaps more benignly, an expectation that the viewer will be shorter.”

The analysis by Margaret Mitchell and Blaise Aguera y Arcas from Google, and Alex Todorov from Princeton, concludes: “The obvious differences between lesbian or gay and straight faces in selfies relate to grooming, presentation, and lifestyle - that is, differences in culture, not in facial structure.”

So, it turns out that heterosexual men seem to typically take selfies from a lower angle, while heterosexual women take them from a higher angle, because of cultural norms about how we present our own sexuality.

So there you are. Anyway, I knew you were.

Ghana’s shame

Earlier this week The Guardian discovered that in Ghana, lesbians were more likely to face violence than gay men, who hardly ever face violence.

Human Rights Watch report that many of them have been forced into marriage or sex work, have been beaten, evicted from their homes, ostracised by their communities, and struggle to find accommodation and employment.

Ghana enacted its anti-gay laws in 1960, after independence from the UK. Unlike other African countries it has not enacted further sanctions against the gay community since then. The 1960 Criminal Offences Act criminalises gay sex, serves as a barrier to seeking justice.

Ghana is a liberal democracy that prizes fundamental human rights, yet it has repeatedly rejected calls by UN bodies to repeal the Criminal Offences Act against “unnatural carnal knowledge”, said Human Rights Watch, who described the country as one of “profound contradictions”.

50 Years On

Normally Your Activist deletes posts which are more than one year old, to keep the site up to date; but this year is different.

It is the 50th year since homosexuality between men was decriminalised in the United Kingdom.

I have already heard from some researchers who are comparing the lives of gay men now with the lives they would have lived 50 years ago.

Gay Activist’s archive of stories from 2017 are therefore of greater importance and value than they would otherwise have been, so they will continue to be available for the time being.

If you are doing any research on this subject, help yourself; and it would be very pleasant to hear from you all. Good luck with your research.


Two cream teas and lattés, please

The Economist has been trying to work out how evenly spread gay people are throughout the UK. Their findings turn on the head the idea that all gay people live in cities or urban centres.

They found that there may be more gay organisations and facilities per head in Devon than there are in London! (Devon and Cornwall are not usually known as gay-friendly places to live.)

And official statistics seem to miss counting the majority of gay people – or gay people do not tell statisticians the truth.

So the Economist did the only sensible thing. They looked at the use of pornography by gay people.

Though statisticians struggle to get Britons to reveal their sexual preferences, Pornhub, the internet’s most popular adult site, has no such problems. The anonymised browsing habits of its British visitors this year show that gay content accounts for 5.6% of viewing (this excludes lesbian porn, for which the main audience is straight men). Whereas gay establishments are clustered, gay porn consumption is evenly spread, with 97% of the country within a percentage point of the national average. That suggests that, though visible gay life is still mainly urban, … gay people are more widely dispersed.