Photo by Ív and Candie
This week, a Dutch neuroscientist called Dick Swaab (yep) claimed in his new book that smoking, drug use and stress during pregnancy can affect the sexuality of a child.
In We Are Our Brains, Swaab writes that "pre-birth exposure to nicotine or amphetamines also increases the likelihood of lesbian daughters", and claims that "pregnant women suffering from stress are also more likely to give birth to homosexual children, because their raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol affect the production of foetal sex hormones".
Which I guess is just an insane, totally misguided way of saying, "Hey, assholes – homosexuality is not a choice."
In fact, Swaab has argued in the past that this line of reasoning destroys the conservative idea of homosexuality being a choice (which, in theory, is good). However, it's also saying that specific lifestyles of pregnant women = gay babies, overlooking the existence of all those bigots who already think of homosexuality as some kind of genetic defect and would jump at the chance to justify that assumption with "scientific" research.
I don't have the time to explain why Dick's research – based partly on a study of women who took synthetic oestrogen sometime last century, before some of them had babies that turned out to be gay or bisexual – shouldn't be classified as scientific. But I'm pretty much covered by the fact the story was broken by the Daily Mail, an organisation with a selective view of what makes something "science".
Ben Summerskill, the former chief executive of Stonewall, agreed, telling the Mail, "There does not seem to be a shred of evidence to support the idea that a mother’s lifestyle changes a child’s sexuality." Which almost makes it even weirder that gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell supposedly "welcomed the idea".
Bonus Info: In the past, Swaab has also claimed that teenagers being dickheads is nature's way of preventing incest (!).
David Silvester – UKIP councillor for Henley-on-Thames – used to be a member of the Conservative party, until he left in opposition to David Cameron's support of gay marriage. [This past Saturday](http:// http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2014/01/19/ukips-gay-marriage-caused-floods-politician-now-says-homosexuality-can-be-cured-through-prayer/), he realised that the Christmas floods proved he'd been right about same-sex marriage bringing hellfire to the UK all along, so wrote to his local paper to rub it in Cameron's face.
Does Silvester's theory make any sense to you? Let's see if you catch on after reading parts of his letter:
"The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war."
"I wrote to David Cameron in April 2012 to warn him that disasters would accompany the passage of his same sex marriage Bill."
"But he went ahead…"
"Since the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, the nation has been beset by serious storms and floods. One recent one caused the worst flooding for 60 years. The Christmas floods were the worst for 127 years. Is this just global warming or is there something more serious at work?"
Let's all take a moment to reflect on the fact that this man is an elected politician. Now, stop cry-laughing and do your bit to get "It's Raining Men" to number 1 in the singles chart instead!
Human Rights organisation Stonewall announced yesterday that its Chief Executive Ben Summerskill will be stepping down after 11 years. I'm not sure of the organisation's internal politics, but so far people seem pretty into the news – even if they're not saying it outright.
For example, Pink News reported that the new exec will give a lot more consideration to the UK's trans community than Summerskill, while co-founder Simon Fanshawe claimed that this is a chance "to refresh Stonewall’s position and collaborations".
Binyavanga Wainaina, photo by Nightscream
Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina celebrated his 43rd birthday this weekend by publicly coming out. On Sunday, Africa Is a Country published an article titled 'I Am a Homosexual, Mum', which Wainaina claimed was a "lost chapter" from his 2011 debut, One Day I Will Write About This Place. Later on, he tweeted: "I am, for anybody confused or in doubt, a homosexual. Gay, and quite happy."
Back in November, Ireland's Cabinet announced plans to hold a referendum on equal marriage in 2015. On Wednesday, Irish Equality Minister Alan Shatter said he is looking to establish parenthood rights that will allow gay partners to adopt children together, regardless of whether they are married or not. The changes will hopefully be included in the Children and Family Relationships Bill, which is currently being drafted and will be discussed in September. Late last year a poll suggested that 76 percent of Irish voters support gay marriage. Let's hope that translates into votes.
On Wednesday, thousands of protesters gathered outside the Sharia court in Bauchi city, Nigeria, where 11 men were standing trial for belonging to gay organisations. The stone-tossing flock wasn't protesting against the trial, but calling for the execution of the accused. The crowd actually kicked up such a fuss that the court's security guards were forced to fire guns in the air to disperse them, and the trial had to be stopped abruptly.
Esquire magazine ran an article about how HBO's Looking – a show about three single gay guys in San Francisco – is boring because the main characters aren't "funny, mincing guys with witty one-liners and put-downs". They then added a disclaimer apologising for their "attempt at humour".
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