Monday, February 28, 2011

Do Gay Men Have More Sexual Interest in Children than Straight Men Do?

I thought about holding off on this post until the next time somebody in the news declares that gay men are to blame for the sexual abuse of children. I’d probably only have to wait a couple of weeks at most. But I’ve decided to go ahead and put this research notice out there, so that hopefully the next time this issue comes up, the rational folks talking about it have the data they need to back up their hunches.

So, at the outset, let me give away the answer to my headline question: Do gay men have more sexual interest in children than straight men do? No. And we have lab studies to prove it.

In fact, the British Journal of Psychiatry published a major study backing up the “no” answer almost 40 years ago. The distinguished sex researcher Kurt Freund and his colleagues used a laboratory method (described below) that demonstrated that the sexual responses of gay men to boys were similar to the responses of straight men to girls. (Both responses are relatively low.) This past June in Canada, at the major international research conference on sexual orientation science, sex researcher Ray Blanchard (who was trained under Freund) presented substantial new data confirming and expanding on Freund’s findings.

Blanchard has published this work online, making the work freely available to all comers. Click here to see the full paper. But, because this work is so important (the scientists assembled in Canada were stunned into near silence when they saw the impressive datasets and theoretical work Blanchard put before us), I asked Blanchard to explain the work somewhat more plainly for those who are not scientists. He’s been kind enough to do so for us here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Tale of Tea with Jim the Third

It was one of those messages I get occasionally, this time from a man who had suddenly realized we were just a few blocks away from each other. The writer's father was at a nearby Northwestern hospital, suffering from a terminal cancer.

"While trying to pass some time I went to ISNA's Web site only to discover that it was no more. [The Intersex Society of North America] basically saved my life. Wonderful people such as yourself, Cheryl Chase, Anne Fausto-Sterling, etc., have no idea how much of a difference [you made] and how many lives you have deeply affected. THANK YOU! It would be an honor meet you and shake your hand."

I offered to meet the next morning at the local tea place. And then I started wondering, as I often do with these out-of-the-blue communiqu├ęs, if this message was a fake. Was I being set up?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Straight Life with Rainbow Flag

Although two days ago my mate had completely cleared our driveway of the fourteen inches of fresh powder, yesterday at dawn the snowplow came and barricaded us in. By that point, my husband had come down with a bad cold, so it was up to me to spend an hour with one of our heavy metal gardening shovels, breaking the icy barricade into movable chunks and chucking those chunks into what will be, in six months time, a wild profusion of black-eyed susans blooming under our rainbow flag.

As I toiled away, I could not help but notice that none of my neighbors had been plowed in. And so I could not help but wonder, as I often do at such moments, was it because of our rainbow flag? Did the driver of that truck see our rainbow flag, assume we are gay, and punish us accordingly?