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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:24 pm 
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Paedophilia 'culturally accepted in south Afghanistan'

British forces were advised by a military study that paedophilia is widespread and culturally accepted in southern Afghanistan.

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British officers requested the study to help them understand the sexual behaviour of locals and Afghan comrades Photo: AFP/GETTY

By Ben Farmer
13 January 2011

Older, powerful men boosted their social status by keeping boys as sexual playthings and the practice was celebrated in song and dance, a military study claimed. British officers in Helmand requested the study to help them understand the sexual behaviour of locals and Afghan comrades after young soldiers became uneasy when they were being propositioned.

American social scientists employed to help troops understand the local culture reported that homosexual sex was widespread among the Pashtun ethnic group in southern Afghanistan. Strict separation of men and women, coupled with poverty and the significant expense of getting married, contributed to young men turning to each other for sexual companionship.

"To dismiss the existence of this dynamic out of desire to avoid western discomfort is to risk failing to comprehend an essential social force underlying Pashtun culture," the report said. The study, called 'Pashtun Sexuality', said that as well as willing sex between young men, "boys are appreciated for physical beauty and apprenticed to older men for their sexual initiation".

The practice of 'bache bazi' or boy play, is known throughout Afghanistan, but is particularly renowned in the city of Kandahar next to Helmand, where prepubescent boys are widely admired. Western soldiers often report feeling unease at the attentions of their Afghan comrades, who are affectionate with each other and sometimes wear make-up. British troops have also talked of their disgust at police or militias keeping young boys as hangers on.

Anna Maria Cardinalli, author of the report, said British officers requested the research in the summer of 2009 when she worked with them in Lashkar Gah. She said: "They were having young men who were beginning to feel uncomfortable because they felt they were being approached." She said the study gave no advice about what action troops should take if they confronted paedophilia.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "Afghanistan is a sovereign nation with its own law under which the sexual abuse of children is illegal. British forces working as part the wider [coalition] force continue to work with and assist the Afghan National Security Forces, including the Afghan National Army and Afghan Police, to ensure that the rule of law in Afghanistan is adhered to and upheld."

Source: Telegraph UK.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:39 pm 
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Monday November 19, 2007
Afghan boy dancers sexually abused by former warlords

PUL-E KHUMRI, Afghanistan (Reuters) — They are known as "bacha bereesh," boys without beards, teenage boys who dress up as girls and dance for male patrons at parties in northern Afghanistan.



It's an age old practice that has led to some of the boy dancers being turned into sex slaves by wealthy and powerful patrons, often former warlords, who dress the boys up as girls, shower them with gifts and keep them as "mistresses."

Afghan police are battling to crackdown on the practice which has angered Islamic clerics who say those involved should be stoned for sodomy, forbidden under Islamic law. In a society where the sexes are strictly segregated, it is common for men to dance for other men at weddings in Afghanistan. But in northern Afghanistan, former warlords and mujahideen commanders have taken that a step further with competitions for their dancing boys.

"Every boy tries to be the first. They are dressed in women's clothes, have bells on their feet and have artificial breasts," said Mohammad Yawar, a former mujahideen fighter against the Taliban and resident of the northern town of Pul-e Khumri. The practice, called "bacha bazi" — literally "boy play" — has a long history in northern Afghanistan, but sometimes it does not stop with just dancing. "I very much enjoy hugging a boy. His smell and fragrance kills me," said Yawar.

The 38-year-old businessman said he recruited a 15-year-old boy three years ago to help him with his work. "I have had him for at least three years, since he was only 15. He was looking for a job and I gave him somewhere to stay," said Yawar, showing the boy's picture. "I don't have a wife. He is like my wife. I dress him in women's clothes and have him sleep beside me. I enjoy him and he is my everything," he said, kissing the photograph.



MARK OF PRESTIGE

Having the best-looking boy and the best dancer is a mark of prestige. "Everyone tries to have the best, most handsome and good-looking boy," said a former mujahideen commander, who declined to be named. "Sometimes we gather and make our boys dance and whoever wins, his boy will be the best boy."

Former mujahideen commanders hold such parties in and around Pul-e Khumri about once a week. "Having a boy has become a custom for us. Whoever wants to show off, should have a boy," said Enayatullah, a 42-year-old landowner in Baghlan province. "I was married to a woman 20 years ago, she left me because of my boy," he said. "I was playing with my boy every night and was away from home, eventually my wife decided to leave me. I am happy with my decision, because I am used to sleeping and entertaining with my young boy."

The men say they lavish money and gifts on their boys. "I was only 14-years-old when a former Uzbek commander forced me to have sex with him," said Shir Mohammad in Sar-e Pol province. "Later, I quit my family and became his secretary. I have been with him for 10 years, I am now grown up, but he still loves me and I sleep with him."

Ahmad Jawad, aged 17, has been with a wealthy landowner for the past two years. "I am used to it. I love my lord. I love to dance and act like a woman and play with my owner," he said. Asked what he would do when he got older, he said: "Once I grow up, I will be an owner and I will have my own boys." But Shir Mohammad, at 24, was already getting too old to be a dancing boy. "I am grown up now and do not have the beauty of former years. So, I proposed to marry my lord's daughter and he has agreed to it."



POVERTY

Many local residents have called for a crackdown, but are skeptical it will work as many of the men are powerful and well-armed former commanders. Jahan Shah, who lives in Pul-e Khumri, said government and security officials should take tough action against un-Islamic and immoral acts. "If they don't stop this, it will become a custom and hundreds of other boys will be involved in it," he said.

Police and security officials in northern Afghanistan say they have been doing their best to arrest the men involved. "It is sad to state that this practice that includes making boys dance, sexual abuse and sometimes even selling boys, has been going on for years," said General Asadollah Amarkhil, the security chief of Kunduz province. "We have taken steps to stop it to the extent that we are able," he said.

Amarkhil said poverty, widespread in Afghanistan after nearly three decades of war, forced teenage boys into compliance. "We have taken very strict measures to save the lives of the boys and punish the men," he said. "We are monitoring to find out where these men and boys gather, then go there and arrest them."

Those found guilty of abuse would be jailed for at least 15 years, said Baghlan chief prosecutor Hafizullah Khaliqyar. "We have 25 cases of such immoral acts. They are being processed and we are trying our utmost to tackle the problem," he said.

Islamic scholars recommended harsher punishment. "Those who do this are the devil," said Mawlawi Mohammad Sadiq Sadiqyar, a scholar and prayer leader in the main northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. "Under Islamic law, those who practice this should be stoned to death."

But some of the men say they are not interested in women. "We know it is immoral and un-Islamic, but how can we quit? We do not like women, we just want boys," said Chaman Gul, aged 35 of Takhar province.

Source: Yahoo! Reuters.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:41 pm 
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U.N. envoy denounces hidden abuse of Afghan boys
July 7, 2008
By Claudia Parsons

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) — Afghanistan must do more to end an age-old practice of young boys being kept as sex slaves by wealthy and powerful patrons, the U.N. special representative for children and armed conflict said on Monday.

Radhika Coomaraswamy said the practice, called "bacha bazi" — literally "boy play" — was a taboo subject, but she had heard reports of warlords and military commanders keeping young boys and "exploiting them in terrible ways."

"What I found was nobody talks about it; everyone says 'Well, you know, it's been there for 1,000 years so why do we want to raise this now?'" she told a news conference at U.N. headquarters, reporting on a visit to Afghanistan last week. "That seems to be the general attitude among everyone, but somebody has to raise it and it has to be dealt with."

Known as "bacha bereesh," boys without beards, the victims of such abuse are teenage boys who dress up as girls and dance for male patrons at parties in northern Afghanistan. "We feel that a campaign should be run to raise awareness about this issue and to stop this practice," she said. "We talk about sexual violence against girls and women, which is also terrible, but this hidden issue of sexual violence against boys should also be dealt with seriously."

Afghan police have tried to crack down on the practice and Islamic clerics say those involved should be stoned for sodomy, which is forbidden under Islamic law. In a society where the sexes are strictly segregated, it is common for men to dance for other men at weddings in Afghanistan. But in northern Afghanistan, former warlords and mujahideen commanders have taken that a step further, sometimes taking the boys as "mistresses."

Police and security officials in northern Afghanistan say they have been doing their best to arrest the men involved. "It is sad to state that this practice that includes making boys dance, sexual abuse and sometimes even selling boys, has been going on for years," General Asadollah Amarkhil, the security chief of Kunduz province, told Reuters last year. "We have taken steps to stop it to the extent that we are able," he said. Amarkhil said poverty, widespread in Afghanistan after nearly three decades of war, forced teenage boys into compliance.

Coomaraswamy said raising awareness and prosecuting those responsible was the first step to ending the practice as it would act as a deterrent to others. She said she was also concerned about a rise in the recruitment of child soldiers by the Taliban and others in recent months, as well as about civilian casualties including children from U.S.-led coalition raids and air strikes.

(Editing by Eric Walsh)
Source: Reuters.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:43 pm 
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FrontLine documentary about this practice








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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:37 am 
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When A Boy Wants A Man
Tuesday, 18 January 2011
by Marina Fontanascura

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Ours is not a time and place in which a man can easily wax rhapsodic about his childhood sex with married men and priests; but Sergio - an accomplished, handsome and quiet middle-aged resident of Wilton Manors, in a fifteen year relationship - wanted his story told, albeit anonymously.

What happened to Sergio is not unique, but his conclusions constitute a confession usually never given voice. Over dinner, I recorded that story and deliver it to you in his own words. Without judgment. Without commentary.

"I grew up in a city on the Italian Riviera that had been devastated by World War II. It was rebuilt but it had lost its soul and its prosperity. My father struggled to find work to support his family of seven. In the 1960s, he took a second job running the movie theater owned by our parish church. My mother was the cashier and I sold candy in the lobby. My father was a deeply religious man. When the canisters of film arrived on Fridays, he would pre-screen them and if he saw a kiss or even a bedroom, he would cut and splice them. He didn"t know that I was downstairs in the theater watching the uncut versions. My job was to clean up the projection room for him. I would save the scraps he had cut and hold them up to the light in my bedroom. Very Cinema Paradiso.

"Parents dropped their kids off at the theater on Saturdays because it was safe. Before the movie started, the priest would get up on stage and make us say ten Hail Marys. The church was the center of our life and I was leader of the altar boys. We each had a card that the priests would sign every time we served Mass. After twenty times, we got a prize, like candy or a soccer ball. If you didn"t go to Mass on Sunday, you couldn"t play soccer on the church team or use the church recreation field.

"Even as a small child, I learned that sex was a sin. I confessed it all the time. There were seven priests in that parish. Each one had his own confessional with his name on it and a bell. When you rang the bell, that priest would come to the church and hear your confession. I went all the time because of sex and because they taught me that in confession I could wipe the slate clean. I had to lie in each confession because I didn"t want to admit I had just gone the day before. Each day I rang a different bell and confessed to a different priest so they wouldn"t know it was me again so soon, and I never said that I masturbated, only that I had "done bad things behind my mother"s back."

"One of the altar boys who was my age took me alone into a room at the church youth center. He put my hand on his dick and taught me how to rub it. I loved it and wanted to do it every chance we got. Soon there were other altar boys in our group. This kind of fun is how we ended all our Catholic activities until one time, one of the boys ejaculated and that scared the shit out of us.

"When I was about ten years old, I was in the movie theater in the back row on the aisle. One of the priests was sitting next to me. He was the youngest of the seven, maybe 25 or 30, and he was in charge of the youth groups. The other altar boys were spread throughout the theater. I felt his knee against my leg. I didn"t move away. It felt very nice, all through the movie. Next week, the same thing, only I put on a lot more pressure. I started leaning against him. He took my hand and drew it into his robes and into his pants and I grabbed his dick, and I have to say it was the best thing I ever felt in my life. I didn"t want to let it go for the rest of my life. I didn"t move it. I just held it. I felt that either I had died and gone to heaven or that I was home. Next day, I went to the church and rang his bell. Instead of the confessional, he took me into the storage basement of the church where we were surrounded by statues and all the stuff used on feast days. The only thing I wanted was to take out his dick. I was really the aggressor. We did it frequently. I only knew that it felt good. He never asked me not to tell. He never forced me to do anything I didn"t want to do. Sometimes it was with the priest and three altar boys. Never kissing or hugging. Just the sex organ. No incentives offered, just my own pleasure. If I did not have that experience with the priest, I would have found it somewhere else.

"One time, my father kicked a man out of the theater because a boy said he had been touched by him, and my father chased him down the street yelling insults at him. The only thing I wanted to do was to run after that man, grab him by the hand and say, "Take me with you." I had fantasies about our family doctor, that he would take me away and we would live on an island where everyone was just like us. No wonder I live in Wilton Manors which is exactly that kind of island.

"After the priest, I started seeking other opportunities. There were always several married men at the church who I was having sex with. With one I had a code. If his wife was not home, there was a white towel on the door. With another one, I would go to the cemetery with him when he bought flowers to place on his wife"s tomb in the little chapel over the family vault, and that is where we had sex. In my little head it began to click that I should get married like them but still do this forever. The other altar boys I had sex with all got married. I did not want to be a priest. I hated the priests who came into our church to recruit for the seminary. They would take me for a walk and put their arms around me and say that Jesus was calling me.

"Also in my head it began to click that sex was forbidden by the church but that everyone did it anyway. We were strictly forbidden even to watch when the bull was brought to a neighbor"s house to stud the cows; but every time we saw the truck go by with the bull in it, all of us boys would say, "Okay, we know where we"re going later."

"When I was 18, the pressure was on me to get married. For two years, I had a girlfriend who broke off our engagement because I would not have sex with her. I left the country and went to London where I joined a huge gay community. I met mostly older gay men and one friend brought me to an Anglican church that hosted gay nights with dances and raffles and events. My friend said, "Honey, you"re home." I went home with someone on my first night there. It"s funny that some church is always involved in the milestones of my sex life. The experience of religion is the experience of the erotic, and that is something people won"t talk about.

"They say we repeat our early sexual experience, but I would never have sex with a boy. I shy away from young people. I"m not comfortable. I don"t know why. I owe a lot to what some older guys did for me. Maybe I should be helping younger guys.

"I was absolutely not abused. After the first contact with his knee, I was going after that priest more than he was going after me. That is the truth. There is no doubt in my mind, that I wanted it more than he did. I have a very difficult time with these people who are suing priests because for me, there was no coercion. He didn"t even offer candy or gifts. There was no incentive but my own pleasure. All these years when all of these abuse stories came out, I never felt sympathy for those who brought charges against priests. I know that I was very young when it happened to me but I could have stayed with it or walked away. Some of my friends walked away. I didn"t. I went back. I rang that bell. I liked it.

"Today kids don"t have the same opportunity. Those married men would today be classed as predators. It never occurred to me, never crossed my mind that I would turn in any of them. I believe that now kids 12-16 are a lot more aware of things than I was. I think they have some malice that I didn"t have. I believe that what I was doing was not wrong. It was consensual. Some would say that you can"t have consensual sex when one of the parties is a kid. That"s bullshit. I was the aggressor. I had to ring that bell. I had to go up the stairs. I had to seek it out. Either I am a freak or there is something else that I either can"t explain or don"t understand.

"Sex comes with the baggage of guilt. The fact is that when I was a kid, I couldn"t talk about sex with anybody, and this sense of sin screws you up with your whole life. I think I am a better person because of what happened to me. That"s how I was able to understand who I was. That so many people in the church did what I did, there is not anything wrong with it. We are sexual beings. We can control our urges as we get older only because they diminish. The church gave me not just my sexual identity but my whole identity. It showed me that what they preach is not the truth, and I think the priests wanted me to know that. My experience freed me from big baggage."

Source: South Florida Gay News.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:39 am 
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That's all very well for Sergio because he got what he wanted, but I completely disagree with his statement that he feels no sympathy for all those boys who got sexually abused AGAINST their will by paedophile priests. It's an extremely selfish and insensitive attitude, IMO. Not to mention implying that those boys were just feeling bad when they should have been enjoying it like he did. Those boys, who are still haunted by those experiences as adults were not little horny gay boys but heterosexual and those experiences, being abused by adult men, priests, in whom they were taught to have unwavering belief in, did not become happy gay men but frustrated and psychologically damaged adults.

I doubt very much if Sergio would have enjoyed his adolescent sex as much as he did if an adult man he DIDN'T like had repeatedly raped him as a young boy or that an adult woman had constantly fondled and forced him to do sexual games with her.

I also doubt that kids today have more malice than before. In those days you didn't talk about it, you never went against the authority, certainly not that of the church. People wouldn't believe you and blame you instead or simply told you never to mention it again, suck it up. Or if they did believe you your parents would place you somewhere else and that would be the end of it. There was no recognition of the problem, no counselling, no explaining. Instead you learned to live with it one way or the other. But that doesn't mean it was good in any way.

Now that everything is out in the open and child sex abuse cases by priests and other religious figures are coming out of the darkness kids are more aware that they DO have a choice, that parents will believe them if they tell them the priest or an adult wanted to have sex with them, and that they can say so, safe in the knowledge they won't be punished or ridiculed. That some kids use this knowledge in malice is not so much a sign of the times as simply a character trait. Kids will sometimes do whatever it takes to get what they want, sometimes to the detriment of others because they still need to learn boundaries, morals and ethics, after all, and that is what adults are for!

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 08, 2011 4:05 pm 
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Hillary Clinton: Being gay is not ‘a western invention, but a human reality’
by Stephen Gray
7 December 2011


Mrs Clinton had welcomed the UN's first resolution on gay rights this summer

Hillary Clinton has delivered a groundbreaking speech to a United Nations summit in Geneva following the US’ declaration that its agencies will challenge the criminalisation of gay acts and LGBT identity overseas.

The Secretary of State said gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people were “human beings born free and bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that, which is now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time”. She said: “Some seem to believe it is a western phenomenon and therefore people outside the west have grounds to reject it. Well, in reality gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths, they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes. Whether we know it, whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends and our neighbours. Being gay is not a western invention, it is a human reality.”

She also spoke of a new Global Equality Fund to support the work of “civil society organisations” internationally. She told diplomats: “This fund will help them record facts so they can target their advocacy, learn how to use the law as a tool, manage their budgets, train their staffs, and forge partnerships with women’s organizations and other human rights groups. We have committed more than $3 million to start this fund, and we have hope that others will join us in supporting it.”

Her speech was welcomed by Paul LeGendre of the group Human Rights First, who said: “Secretary Clinton’s work to impact the international community and its inclusion of LGBT rights will be one of her enduring legacies. She is right: it is time for all nations to implement policies to protect this vulnerable community from violence and discrimination. President Obama’s directive specifically advances that goal.”

The Kaleidoscope Trust, which supports efforts to protect the human rights of LGBT communities around the world, called on David Cameron to back the initiatives announced by the US. Lance Price, Director of the Kaleidoscope Trust who is in Geneva, said: “The Obama administration has set a new benchmark for governments in supporting human rights for all. David Cameron must now demonstrate his commitment to defending LGBT rights around the world by throwing Britain’s weight and influence behind this campaign. For the first time America now has a government strategy dedicated to combating human rights abuses against LGBT people abroad backed by a new Global Equality Fund. David Cameron has spoken up in defence of equality for gay and lesbian people at home and abroad, but Britain lags behind when it comes to action and practical support. The Prime Minister said he wants Britain to be a global beacon for reform of gay and lesbian rights. We strongly applaud that. Now is the time for him to demonstrate that commitment in practise by strengthening the government’s response in line with that of the United Sates.”

The Kaleidoscope Trust has called on the government to establish a Foreign Office unit to coordinate the defence of gay rights as a foreign policy priority, contribute financially to the international effort, and ensure Britain’s embassies and overseas commissions play a part in combating the criminalisation of homosexuality.

Hillary Clinton: 'Religious Beliefs' Are Standing in the Way of Protecting LGBT


Full speech:


Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2012 4:06 pm 
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Tragic end of the boy who was brought up as a girl
By David Usborne
Wednesday 12 May 2004

David Reimer was hailed by scientists as a triumph of nurture over nature. But as his suicide shows, this was a terrible mistake

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Milton Diamond, Jane Reimer and David Reimer. Photo: University of Hawaii

Two weekends ago, 38-year-old David Reimer told his parents in their shared hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, that although he was going through a rough patch - recovering from the death of his twin brother two years ago and from his separation from his wife - things would get better very soon. He didn't explain how.

Now his family knows. On 4 May, Reimer took his own life. While his recent ills surely contributed to the despair, his mother knows there was more to it than that. His death was the final coda to a life that became a world-renowned case study in the perils of tampering with gender. During the span of his life he had been a boy, then a girl and then a boy again. "I thought I was an it," he once said.

The wrenching story of David (baptised as Brian) Reimer began with a freak snowstorm in 1966. His parents, working-class people from the plains of Manitoba, drove him to the local hospital for a routine circumcision. He was eight months old. But the regular surgeon had not made it in and an assistant took over. She botched the job. A cauterising implement burned David's penis - and it fell off. A witness later said that when the mistake was made there was a sizzling sound, like a steak being seared.

Left with a child with testicles but no penis, his parents were unsure what to do. Then, one day when the boy was more than a year old, they learnt about a doctor in Baltimore who had gained a reputation of helping people of ambiguous gender. His name was John Money and they went to see him.

It was Money, a native of New Zealand and the author of some 40 books on human sexuality, who persuaded them that the best course of action was to transform their son into a daughter. He recommended surgery, including clinical castration, and hormone treatment to turn young Brian into a girl. His parents agreed and the treatment began. Brian became Brenda and long trousers gave way to skirts.

For Money, who had pioneered studies in sexology at Baltimore's prestigious John Hopkins University, it was an irresistible challenge. He was a main proponent at the time of the theory that was briefly popular in the Sixties and Seventies, that gender identity was not necessarily predetermined in the womb. It was more about environment. In the controversy that still rages today over the balance between nurture and nature in determining our sexual selves, Money was a hero of the camp favouring nurture.

Better still for Money, the Reimer case offered an unheard-of opportunity to prove his theory. The patient had an identical twin brother, who was indisputably male. He had an experiment, therefore, with a readily supplied control subject. Two human beings conceived in the same womb with the same genetic profile. But nurture, with help from the knife and some pills, would demonstrate how their gender paths could be separated for ever.

And all seemed to go well. All remnants of Brenda's male genitalia were gone and her parents did all they could to raise her as a daughter. All the while, the so-called John/Joan case, expounded with pride by Money, a fine writer and charismatic lecturer, was celebrated by science and sociologists everywhere. The gender-fixing procedure was adopted at hospitals worldwide. And the Money theory was also embraced by the then burgeoning feminist movement as proof that social expectations of gender were misplaced. The male-female axis, they declared, was not set in stone. It was fluid and dynamic.

The John/Joan case also helped inform treatment of hermaphrodites, who are born with genitalia so ambiguous that hospitals cannot determine whether at birth the babies are boys or girls. In the vast majority of these cases, parents are told that their children should be raised as girls. Meanwhile, Money's reputation continued to grow. Considered one of the world's leading sexologists, his books included The Breathless Orgasm (1991), Venuses Penuses (1986) and Gay, Straight and Inbetween (1988.)

But things in the Reimer household were not as people imagined. It was only in 2000 that the true story of Reimer's experience reached a wide public. By then, out of dresses and bras and back in the world as a boy, Brian - by then renamed David Reimer - had decided that enough was enough. The truth had to be told. By going on Oprah Winfrey's show and collaborating on a book with a well-known New York journalist, he revealed that Money had consigned him to a childhood of humiliation, confusion and misery.

"David was a hero," said Milton Diamond who collaborated on the first scientific papers to expose the disaster of the John/Joan case. Commenting on his death, he said: "David didn't give permission for what was done to him. Even though he didn't have a penis, he still knew he was male."

It was when Reimer was 13 and in therapy with a counsellor provided by the Winnipeg school system that he learned for the first time what had happened to him. Already he had been stigmatised by fellow classmates. They had seen his ungainly gait, the muscles that, despite the removal of his testicles, had begun developing on his neck and arms, and his lack of interest in boys. "They wouldn't let him use the boys' washroom or the girls'," his mother, Janet Reimer, recalled. "He had to go in the back alley."

That was when he rebelled, demanding that he be allowed to go through more surgery to restore his manhood. It was a transition that would be traumatic for any person, let alone someone in their early teens. The breasts that had developed because of the hormone injections were removed by mastectomy. And he opted for reconstructive surgery to build back the penis of which he had been robbed after birth.

The debunking of what Money had wrought first began with the publication of the paper written jointly by Diamond and also Dr Keith Sigmundson, who was the supervising psychiatrist for Reimer from the age of eight until 20. Published in the relatively obscure Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in 1997, it outlined Reimer's rejection of being a girl. "By the time Reimer was 11, the whole experiment was falling apart," noted Sigmundson. "From that point on he sought out all the surgery. He totally changed how he was presenting himself and struggled with a number of operations. He eventually lived his life as a man."

Sigmundson added that the case should serve as a caution to those still drawn to the nurture over nature idea. "There are certain immutable things that happen in your chromosomes and in utero that develop the gonads that have an impact. Reimer didn't adjust well to being a girl at all and began having difficulties at school."

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John Money

Most experts today contend that there is no overriding the gender determinants that are in a person before birth. But that does not mean that environment does not play some part. "The Reimer case has taught a lot of people in the field that things are a lot more complex when it comes to gender than people originally thought 30 years ago," argued Ken Zucker, who is chief psychiatrist at the Toronto Center for Addiction and Mental Health.

"Where we've really had a lot of advances is in recognising biology has a predisposing influence on gender identity and gender roles. But the environment is also important."

Diamond was shocked by the news of Reimer's death. But he hoped lessons had been learned. "His life was very difficult. I think the legacy is the whole issue of how people identify and see themselves as male and female. It's not as simplistic as putting people into blue rooms and pink rooms. Certainly our environment makes a difference and how we're brought up makes a difference. But we come to the game with our own inherent natures and how those things interplay can't be predicted."

It was the book, written with Rolling Stone journalist John Colapinto, entitled As Nature Made Him: the Boy who was Raised as a Girl, that brought the calamity of Reimer's situation to the attention of the world. He was inspired to write it after seeing an account of the Diamond-Sigmundson paper in the New York Times. Colapinto cast Money as the villain of the story, although the doctor, who is now 83, never publicly responded to it. The appearance with Oprah Winfrey coincided with its publication. "I thought the Reimers were just the most dignified, fantastic people," Colapinto commented in an interview at the time. "I think in a way these wonderful working-class people from Winnipeg just kind of stepped onto the world stage on Oprah and were a lesson to us all in dignity and survival and openness and courage."

"Scientists had just relied on this case as being a precedent for the fact that you could assign the sex and gender to children," Colapinto added. And his book had a strong impact. "Those who believed that and taught it and based their clinical practice on it, and who actually performed similar procedures, were scandalised."

The same sense of scandal was what drove Reimer to collaborate with the journalist and expose his pain to the world. He was angry about what had happened to him and by the discovery that Money's tampering with him was being replicated in clinics and hospitals around the world. He wanted it to stop.

"I was surprised that other people wound up going through what I had, because of my so-called 'success story' that wasn't so much of a success," he said. "You were expected to wear girl's clothing and to behave in a certain manner and you were expected to play with girl's toys." But he never believed he was a girl. "I thought it was very ignorant for them to think I was no longer a male because my penis was burned off. A woman who loses her breasts to cancer doesn't become any less of a woman."

His family is left now to grieve for a loved one who was subjected to such humiliations without his consent. For a while, there had been hope that he had put his life back on the rails. While the years of treatment had given his features the fine lines of femininity, he was widely accepted in Winnipeg as a man once more. He got menial jobs and finally found a wife. He became stepfather to her three children.

The loss of his brother, his family said, hit him hard. His twin had also taken his own life and for the past two years, David had made the pilgrimage to his brother's grave every day to arrange fresh flowers. Then the wife with whom he had established the traditional male role walked away, with her children. He slumped into depression. Worse came soon after when he lost his job. His mother, Janet, came closer than anyone at the funeral last Sunday to blaming Money for what had happened to her child.

"He was a hero," she whispered to a reporter. "He showed the doctors, he was a worldwide hero." Asked why she thought he had finally taken his own life, she responded: "I think he felt he he had no options. It just kept building up and up." His father, Ron, shook his head when approached by reporters and said he had nothing to add.

Janet, however, tried to pay tribute. "He was the most generous, loving soul that ever lived. He liked music. He liked jokes. He was a very funny guy. He was so generous. He gave all he had."

Source: The Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 8:29 am 
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Transsexual Mob Boss Named Kitty
14 February 2009

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Ugo Gabriele

Naples, Italy -- A 27-year-old transsexual Mafia boss, Ugo Gabriele, was arrested during a police raid for allegedly running a sophisticated drugs and prostitution racket.

Reportedly, Gabriele is a thickset, butch-looking transsexual with plucked eyebrows who insists on being called Kitty. Nonetheless, he's the boss of a clan. A police spokesman said: 'We have been on Kitty's trail for several months and it is the first time that we have ever arrested a transsexual Mob boss.

'We think it is also probably the first case of its kind in the world. He was born Ugo Gabriele but told everyone to call him Kitty - he is very burly but at the same time you can tell he is trying to be a woman. He was a key figure in the Camorra and ran a drugs and prostiutio (sic) racket out by the airport. We had tried to arrest him earlier this week but he escaped but thanks to good police work we found him and arrested 27 other Camorra members.'

Typically, mobsters react strongly to overt homosexuality in their ranks but it's not clear how transsexualism is generally treated. It's also not clear whether transsexuals are considered hetero- or homosexuals. In any event, since Kitty is a mob boss, his transsexualism is obviously deemed acceptable.

Source: Interest Participant.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 3:05 am 
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Nature, nurture... or neither? Epigenetics is the new twist in an age-old argument

A combination of genes and our environment makes us what we are. Or so we always thought...

by Jeremy Laurance
Friday 1 June 2012

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Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh were conjoined but had different personalities. The 1983 film Trading Places explored the nature/nurture debate. AP

It is a shibboleth of family life – that every individual is the product of their genes and environment, the one an immutable inheritance, the other a mutable array of influences and pressures with unpredictable outcomes.

But new research has demonstrated that genes can change, identical twins with the same genetic inheritance can turn out completely different and the impact of environmental influences can be passed down the generations. The new science of epigenetics has shown that in addition to nature and nurture, what makes us who we are is also determined by biological mechanisms that can switch genes on or off.

These epigenetic (above the gene) "light switches" can affect characteristics as fundamental as autism and sexual orientation. But they are also subject to environmental influences and thus, in theory, are within our control.

Professor Tim Spector, head of the department of twin research at Kings College, London, who has undertaken the most detailed twin studies in the world, cited the case of Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh, who were joined at the head and shared identical genes and environment and yet had different personalities. The differences led him to question the influence of genes. "Up to a few years ago I believed genes were the key to the universe. But over the last three years, I have changed my mind," he said at the launch of his book Identically Different: Why You Can Change Your Genes, which challenges the view that an individual's genetic inheritance is immutable.

Studies of the effects of famines in Holland in the 1940s, in China in the 1950s and in the United States over a century ago show they changed the lifespan and obesity rates in subsequent generations. They switched on genes that increased the accumulation of body fat in times of plenty, in order to improve survival chances in times of famine.

In the modern world, with calorie-dense fast foods more freely available than at any time in history, the seeds of the current obesity epidemic may thus have been sown in the 19th century. "The risk of obesity can come not just from your own environment or your mother's but higher up [the ancestral chain]," he said.

Four drugs with epigenetic effects that can switch genes on or off are already on the market and 40 more are in development, he said. But there are other, natural, ways of controlling them, too. Exercise has been shown to switch off the FTO gene, a key driver of obesity. Diet can also affect gene expression. "We and our genes are more flexible than we thought," he said.

Source: The Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 6:58 am 
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Scientists May Have Finally Unlocked Puzzle of Why People Are Gay
By Jason Koebler
December 11, 2012

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Has the riddle of human sexuality finally been cracked? A few scientists think so.

Scientists may have finally solved the puzzle of what makes a person gay, and how it is passed from parents to their children.

A group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuals get that trait from their opposite-sex parents: A lesbian will almost always get the trait from her father, while a gay man will get the trait from his mother.

The hereditary link of homosexuality has long been established, but scientists knew it was not a strictly genetic link, because there are many pairs of identical twins who have differing sexualities. Scientists from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis say homosexuality seems to have an epigenetic, not a genetic link.

Long thought to have some sort of hereditary link, a group of scientists suggested Tuesday that homosexuality is linked to epi-marks — extra layers of information that control how certain genes are expressed. These epi-marks are usually, but not always, "erased" between generations. In homosexuals, these epi-marks aren't erased — they're passed from father-to-daughter or mother-to-son, explains William Rice, an evolutionary biologist at the University of California Santa Barbara and lead author of the study.

"There is compelling evidence that epi-marks contribute to both the similarity and dissimilarity of family members, and can therefore feasibly contribute to the observed familial inheritance of homosexuality and its low concordance between [identical] twins," Rice notes.

Rice and his team created a mathematical model that explains why homosexuality is passed through epi-marks, not genetics. Evolutionarily speaking, if homosexuality was solely a genetic trait, scientists would expect the trait to eventually disappear because homosexuals wouldn't be expected to reproduce. But because these epi-marks provide an evolutionary advantage for the parents of homosexuals: They protect fathers of homosexuals from underexposure to testosterone and mothers of homosexuals from overexposure to testosterone while they are in gestation.

"These epi-marks protect fathers and mothers from excess or underexposure to testosterone — when they carry over to opposite-sex offspring, it can cause the masculinization of females or the feminization of males," Rice says, which can lead to a child becoming gay. Rice notes that these markers are "highly variable" and that only strong epi-marks will result in a homosexual offspring.

Though scientists have long suspected some sort of genetic link, Rice says studies attempting to explain why people are gay have been few and far between. "Most mainstream biologists have shied away from studying it because of the social stigma," he says. "It's been swept under the rug, people are still stuck on this idea that it's unnatural. Well there are many examples of homosexuality in nature, it's very common." Homosexual behavior has been observed in black swans, penguins, sheep, and other animals, he says.

Rice's model still needs to be tested on real-life parent-offspring pairs, but he says this epigenetic link makes more sense than any other explanation, and that his team has mapped out a way for other scientists to test their work. "We've found a story that looks really good," he says. "There's more verification needed, but we point out how we can easily do epigenetic profiles genome-wide. We predict where the epi-marks occur, we just need other studies to look at it empirically. This can be tested and proven within six months. It's easy to test. If it's a bad idea, we can throw it away in short order."

Source: US News.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 7:11 am 
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As usual, the comments section shows the indoctrinated hatred coming from the religious and other ignorant bigots about this issue.

Homosexuality is prevalent throughout nature, not only in mammals and certainly not exclusively in humans. So to say it is a choice is showing pure ignorance of even the minimal understanding and knowledge of nature outside of humanity. Do fish and penguins also choose to be homosexual?

To consider it an abnormality because it is not the majority is equally bigoted. Left-handedness was considered evil not too long ago, for example. No one is exactly the same so on that premise we are all abnormal because there would be no majority to base 'normality' on. Just because a majority of people have certain religious indoctrination against something or someone does not necessarily make them right as religion is not based on science but on societal beliefs. As such they often have no basis in reality.

But homosexuality and other colours of the sexual rainbow have apparently been around since we were hunter-gatherers, as some of our oldest fossil findings show, and who knows, before that time too, so to call it a 'lifestyle choice' is yet more ignorance showing.

Humanity isn't black and white, not in its skin colour, not in its genetic make-up and not in its sexuality and certainly not in its belief systems.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:39 am 
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Epigenetics Reveal Biological Information On Homosexuality
December 12, 2012
by Connie K. Ho

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Image Credit: Katstudio / Shutterstock.com

A new study from the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) reveals that epigenetics, rather than genetics, could be the basis for homosexuality.

To begin, epigenetics looks at how gene expression is managed by temporary switches, known as epi-marks. In the report, recently published online in The Quarterly Review of Biology, the authors discussed how sex-specific epi-marks generally do not transmit between generations and are considered “erased.” Homosexuality can result when these marks are not “erased” and are passed on from father to daughter or mother to son.

“Transmission of sexually antagonistic epi-marks between generations is the most plausible evolutionary mechanism of the phenomenon of human homosexuality,” explained the study’s co-author Sergey Gavrilets, who serves as the NIMBioS’ associate director for scientific activities and professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, in a prepared statement.

The researchers explain how homosexuality is common for men and women in various cultures despite knowledge of evolutionary methods. Past studies have looked at how homosexuality is passed through family members, but no gene related to homosexuality has been found. The current study by the researchers from the Working Group on Intragenomic Conflict at NIMBioS produced a biological and mathematical model based on evolutionary theory and new information on gene express and androgen-dependent sexual development.

In particular, epi-marks give an extra set of information on the expression of genes. Genes have instruction, while epi-marks manage how the gene instructions are carried out during gene development. For every generation, there is a new set of epi-marks; however, studies have also shown that epi-marks may be passed between generations and can cause similarity among relatives.

“There is compelling evidence that epi-marks contribute to both the similarity and dissimilarity of family members, and can therefore feasibly contribute to the observed familial inheritance of homosexuality and its low concordance between [identical] twins,” the study’s co-author William Rice, a professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, told U.S. News.

In addition, sex specific epi-marks found in early fetal development help protect each sex from having natural variation in testosterone that occurs later in fetal development. For example, sex specific epi-marks will prevent girl fetuses from becoming too masculine while preventing male fetuses from becoming too feminine. Though, when epi-marks are transmitted from one generation to the next, from father to daughter or mother to son they show reversed effects. In this regard, some traits in sons become feminized while other traits in daughters become more masculine.

“Most mainstream biologists have shied away from studying it because of the social stigma,” continued Rice in the article by U.S. News. “It’s been swept under the rug, people are still stuck on this idea that it’s unnatural. Well there are many examples of homosexuality in nature, it’s very common.”

Furthermore, the mathematical modeling of the genes shows that the epi-marks can be passed on the population as a way to boost the fitness of the parent but decreasing fitness in offspring. “These epi-marks protect fathers and mothers from excess or underexposure to testosterone — when they carry over to opposite-sex offspring, it can cause the masculinization of females or the feminization of males,” commented Rice in the U.S. News article.

Overall, the study helps explain the various underling factors related to homosexuality.

“We’ve found a story that looks really good,” concluded Rice in the U.S. News article. “There’s more verification needed, but we point out how we can easily do epigenetic profiles genome-wide. We predict where the epi-marks occur, we just need other studies to look at it empirically. This can be tested and proven within six months. It’s easy to test. If it’s a bad idea, we can throw it away in short order.”

Source: Connie K. Ho for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online
Article source: Red Orbit.

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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2013 4:50 pm 
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Poll: 47 percent of U.S. now thinks homosexuality is inherent
May 16, 2013

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Same-sex marriage supporters rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the Court hears arguments on same-sex marriage, on March 26, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
UPI/Kevin Dietsch

PRINCETON, N.J. (UPI) -- Nearly half of U.S. residents believe gays and lesbians are born with their sexual orientation, while a third say it's a matter of conditioning, a poll found.

Two years ago, the public was evenly divided, Gallup reported Thursday.

In answer to the question "In your view, is being gay or lesbian something a person is born with, or due to factors such as upbringing and environment," 47 percent responded that homosexuals were born with the orientation. Some 33 percent said homosexuality was caused by upbringing or environment.

When Gallup asked the question in 1977, the response was the opposite. Some 56 percent said homosexuality was due to upbringing, while 13 percent said people were born with the orientation.

While movement in the last two years toward the belief sexual orientation was inherent was found among all categories, the greatest change was seen in the 18-29 age group. In 2011, 38 percent of those respondents said they believed gays and lesbians were born with the orientation, while this year 49 percent held that belief. Conversely, 47 percent in 2011 said sexual orientation was a matter of upbringing. In 2013, only 33 percent said that.

The poll found more than 50 percent of respondents now believe gays and lesbians should be able to marry. Some 75 percent of those polled said they know a friend, family member or coworker who is gay.

The poll was conducted May 2-7 with 1,535 adults in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The margin of error is 3 percent.

Source: UPI.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 12:57 pm 
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Indigenous gays celebrate traditions in Mexico
3 July 2013

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In this June 29, 2013 photo, Thanya Mimosa, a muxe, prepares her outfit before attending a gathering of muxes in Mexico City. Muxes, (pronounced MOO-shays), as Zapotec indigenous men who dress and behave in ways associated with women are known, gathered for a "vela," as community parties are called in Juchitan, in the southern state of Oaxaca, to share their traditions with others in the capital. Most donned Tehuana dresses, popularized around the world by Mexican artist Friday Kahlo, and many wore traditional large gold earrings and necklaces and a "resplandor," a headdress made from a starched veil placed around the face that creates a type of halo. (AP Photo/Gabriela Sanchez)

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Wearing a long skirt, headdress and loose blouse embroidered with bright flowers, Mariana de la Noche road on a float in Mexico City's recent gay pride parade.

The float was for "muxes," Zapotec indigenous men who dress and behave in ways associated with women. The 33-year-old restaurant cook was picked as queen of the "muxes" (pronounced MOO-shays) living in Mexico City, where for the first time Saturday they celebrated a "vela," as community parties are known in their hometown of Juchitan, a city of Zapotecs in the southern state of Oaxaca.

Gay men, transvestites and transgender people are generally accepted in Juchitan and often work as home helpers, embroiderers, decorators, cooks and entertainers.

Like Mariana, most of the muxes at her crowning wore Tehuana dresses from the Juchitan area, popularized around the world by Mexican artist Friday Kahlo, along with the region's traditional large gold earrings and necklaces and "resplandor," headdresses made from a starched veil worn around the face like a halo.

It was a party to have fun but also an opportunity to reaffirm the muxes' presence in the capital and celebrate their traditions from back home, said David Kelvin, who organized the event. "We want to bring the party here, but through the party we want to have a (message) about exercising our rights, of respect, of dignity, of culture," Kelvin said. The contact between muxes and the gay men from Mexico City has led to the fusion of urban and indigenous cultures, said Kelvin. The gathering was important "to rescue our culture, to rescue who we are and show the rest of the people in this city how we live our sexuality, how we exercise our rights," he said.



According to anthropological studies, some women in Juchitan encourage sons' muxe leanings because they tend to stay home and care for their parents rather than get married. "Muxes are a blessing from God because they look after you when you are sick more than a woman would," said Vicenta Toledo, who attended the party with her gay son. "They are a very important part of life."

Source: AP.

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