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Popular Topics in Social Sciences
Africa: Sub-Saharan, Pre-Independence
With reports from hundreds of sub-Saharan African locales of male-male sexual relations and from about fifty of female-female sexual relations, it is clear that same-sex sexual relations existed in traditional African societies, though varying in forms and in the degree of public acceptance
 
Stonewall Riots Stonewall Riots
The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.
 
Native Americans
A social role for individuals who crossed or mixed male and female characteristics was one of the most widely distributed institutions of native North America.
 
The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980 The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980
The sexual revolution of post-World War II America changed sexual and gender roles profoundly.
 
Mixed-Orientation Marriages
Mixed-orientation marriages--those in which one partner is straight and the other is gay or lesbian--often end in divorce, but such an ending is not inevitable.
 
Leather Culture
"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.
 
Transgender Activism
Since the late nineteenth century, transgendered people have advocated legal and social reforms that would ameliorate the kinds of oppression and discrimination they suffer.
 
Gay Liberation Front
Formed soon after the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the short-lived but influential Gay Liberation Front brought a new militancy to the movement that became known as gay liberation.
 
Topics In the News
 
Four Stories: Transgender Twin; DOMA Trial; Prop 8 Repeal; UN Report
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 12/18/11
Last updated on: 12/19/11
 
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Love, Honor, Cherish has been granted permission to initiate a petition against California's anti-gay Proposition 8.

The following fascinating stories were recently in the news: an account of a transgender twin and her supportive family; a development in a trial challenging the constitutionality of DOMA; the beginning of an effort to repeal California's Prop 8; and a report on glbtq rights by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

On December 11, 2011, The Boston Globe published an excellent story by Bella English entitled "Led by the Child Who Simply Knew" about the Maines family and their experience rearing a pair of identical twins, both born male but one of whom early declared that she was really a girl.

The story recounts the difficulties faced by the family as well as the hope and support that they found. Read this important story here: Led by the child.

On December 15, oral arguments were presented in an important case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, Golinski v. Office of Personnel Management. The case, which originally began as a simple attempt by Karen Golinski, a federal court employee, to have her wife Amy Cunninghis covered under her federal health insurance plan, has evolved into a full scale assault on DOMA itself.

The real surprise of the hearing on December 15 was that the Department of Justice sent one of its leading attorneys to argue not in defense of DOMA but in opposition to it. Tony West, head of the Department of Justice's Civil Division, personally argued the DOJ's case, thus making a statement about the seriousness with which the Obama Administration regards the question of DOMA's constitutionality.

According to observers of the hearing, Judge Jeffry S. White expressed skepticism both about the constitutionality of DOMA and about whether the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group has the authority to defend the legislation.

Chris Geidner's report on the hearing for MetroWeekly may be found here: Golinski Has Her Day in Court.

On December 15, 2011, the California Secretary of State authorized the Los Angeles-based grassroots group Love, Honor, Cherish to begin gathering signatures on behalf of a ballot initiative to repeal Proposition 8, which bans the recognition of same-sex marriage in the state.

In order to quality for the November 2012 ballot, Love Honor Cherish has until May 14, 2012 to collect 807,615 valid signatures.

The language of the initiative may be found in Karen Ocamb's story about the development at LGBT/POV: Prop 8 Initiative OKd.

One hopes that a ballot battle over the right to marry in California will not be necessary. The Ninth Circuit is expected to rule soon on the appeal of Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. If the Ninth Circuit upholds Judge Walker's decision and permits same-sex couples to marry, Love Honor Cherish will probably drop efforts to place the initiative on the November ballot.

However, the losing side in the Prop 8 case is expected to appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which may mean that the Ninth Circuit will leave the stay in place until the case is settled.

"If that's the case," Love Honor Cherish board chair Tom Watson said, "that's a pretty strong indication we should be seeking to repeal Prop 8 at the ballot."

On December 15, 2011, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay presented the U.N.'s first formal report on the human rights of glbtq people.

In issuing the report, Pillay called on member states of the United Nations to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The report documents widespread discrimination against glbtq people and violence directed against them. In addition, homosexual behavior is subject to criminal sanction in 76 countries, including capital punishment in five (Iran, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Yemen).

Enitled "Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity," the report may be found here: OCHR:Discriminatory Laws and Practices.

The report comes on the heels of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's historical speech affirming that gay rights are human rights and President Obama's directing federal agencies to support glbtq rights abroad.

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