A little while ago, I mentioned that I was reading Helen Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird, on an open thread, a really interesting retelling of the Snow White fairy tale by a Nigerian-British novelist that engages issues of race in a way that very few fairy-tale retellings do (“The Glass Bottle Trick” by Nalo Hopkinson is […]...read more
It’s Banned Books Week, celebrating books that are absolutely, objectively horrible and mustn’t be read by anyone. They’re books that need to be blocked from school libraries, ejected from public libraries, struck from publisher’s lists and set on damn fire every time they’re encountered. Which means that most of them (although by no means all of them) are worth reading, particularly when it comes to books for school-age kids who shan’t be exposed to naughty language or mentions of sex. Because if there’s one thing that abstinence-only education has taught us is that if you never, ever mention it, kids will never do it.
So here are six banned and/or challenged children’s and young adult books to read to a kid this week in honor of Banned Books Week....read more
[Trigger warning for transphobia]
Unfunny comedian and walking Halloween decoration [update: See in comments where I regret writing that part] Joan Rivers took a completely random opportunity this week to throw transphobic slurs at Michelle Obama. Asked by a reporter, for some reason, whether we’ll ever see a gay president, she replied, “We already have it with Obama, so let’s calm down.” This was, she elaborated without prompting, because “You know Michelle is a [transphobic slur redacted]. A transgender. We all know.”...read more
Just in time for LGBT Pride Month: The Department of Health and Human Services has lifted the national policy barring Medicare from paying for gender-confirming surgery. Decisions will still be left up to regional administrators, but claims will be subject to individualized review and will no longer be automatically rejected for gender-related procedures, just like any other medical procedure. The blanket exclusion will be fully lifted by June 30....read more
On Monday, a federal judge threw out Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriage, on the basis that the state’s marriage laws violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The judge put his ruling into effect immediately, and couples began marrying across Oregon immediately after that, having lined up outside courthouses around the state in anticipation of the ruling. Also on Monday, a federal judge ordered that Utah recognize 1,200 same-sex marriages performed after the state’s same-sex marriage ban was overturned, but before the U.S. Supreme Court issued a stay on the original ruling. Monday was a big day for love....read more
Fred Phelps, Sr., despicable human being and founder of the notorious hate group Westboro Baptist Church, has died.
Family members have said that Phelps, who one estranged son says has been excommunicated from the church, will have no funeral to picket....read more
Women are more likely to regret casual sexual encounters than men. Is that because women are evolutionarily predisposed to feel shame after sex? A team of UCLA evolutionary psychologists says yes. I say no:...read more
Feminism is and must be a home for trans women, in solidarity with trans rights. In response to transphobia in feminism, almost 100 activists, writers, artists and academics from across the globe signed this statement....read more
Trigger warning for prejudice against sexual minorities and mentions of violence. Also, please note that I’m specifically using the phrase ‘sexual minorities,’ because in Russia, a lot of people shy away from acronyms such as LGBTQI, etc. Just letting you know!: So, um, hi everyone. First of all, this is a personal blog post of […]...read more
We live in an era of unprecedented access to information about sex, imagery of sex and health care related to sex. Internet porn is ubiquitous. Sexual health information, though not always easily accessible, is more accessible online, in mainstream publications (hello Cosmo) and at doctor’s offices than ever before. Frank discussion of sexual pleasure is standard on television and in movies. There are entire university departments dedicated to the study of human sexuality. That’s all good, and we have early sexual pioneers and researchers to thank for it. But we still have quite a long way to go. I’d love to see us embrace a vision of sexuality that isn’t transactional or gendered or capitalist:...read more
I’m overjoyed about the DOMA ruling earlier this week. But coming on the tails of the gutting of the Voting Rights Amendment and the meh ruling on affirmative action, it tasted less sweet. And it reflected a very simplistic American idea of “fairness.” That’s what I’m writing about in the Guardian this week:...read more