Gay and bisexual men may be at far higher risk for eating disorders than heterosexual men, while women seem to be equally affected regardless of their sexual orientation, a new study suggests.
Researchers surveyed 516 New York City residents; 126 were straight men and the rest were gay or bisexual men and women. The results showed that more than 15 percent of gay or bisexual men had at some time suffered anorexia, bulimia or binge-eating disorder, or at least certain symptoms of those disorders — a problem known as a “subclinical” eating disorder.
That compared with less than 5 percent of heterosexual men, the researchers report in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
In contrast, sexual orientation did not seem to influence the risk of eating disorder symptoms among women. Just under 10 percent of lesbian and bisexual women had ever had a full-blown or subclinical eating disorder, as had 8 percent of heterosexual women.
It’s not clear why men’s sexual orientation may affect their vulnerability to eating disorders, according to the study authors, led by Dr. Matthew Feldman of the National Development and Research Institutes, a non-profit research organization in New York.
Other studies have had similar findings, and one theory is that gay men have different ideals about physical appearance, and, similar to women, they may feel pressure to stay thin.
In their study, Feldman and colleague Dr. Ilan H. Meyer found an elevated eating disorder risk among men who were active in recreational groups, such as sports teams, that primarily included other gay or bisexual men.
On the other hand, men who said they felt closely connected to the gay community had a lower risk of currently suffering eating disorder symptoms. This supports the theory that acceptance in the gay community boosts men’s self-esteem and may offer a buffer against eating disorders, according to the researchers.
As for the findings in women, Feldman and Meyer say, they refute the notion that homosexual and bisexual women may be less vulnerable to body-image issues and eating disorders.
There needs to be greater awareness of these problems among gay and bisexual men and women alike, the researchers conclude.
Archive for the ‘Gay’ Category
Gay and bisexual men may be at far higher risk for eating disorders than heterosexual men, while women seem to be equally affected regardless of their sexual orientation, a new study suggests.
Democratic presidential hopeful Chris Dodd told high school students Wednesday that people debating gay marriage should ask themselves just one question: What would you do if your child were gay? Dodd said anyone who would deny a gay child the right to be happy isn’t being honest.
“We ought to be able to have these loving relationships,” the Connecticut senator said.
Dodd, the father of 2-year-old and 5-year-old girls, said his daughters could grow up to be lesbians and that he hopes they would have the opportunity to enjoy marriage-like rights.
“They may grow up as a different sexual orientation than their parents,” he said. “How would I want my child to be treated if they were of a different sexual orientation?”
Dodd, who opposed a constitutional amendment to limit marriage to man-woman unions, said he supports civil unions but not gay marriage. Asked after his address at Concord High School what he sees as the difference, he said: “I don’t think probably much in people’s minds. If you’re allowing that, all the protections you have there, you’ve covered it.”
As Dodd spoke, lawmakers were debating a civil unions bill a mile away at the statehouse. The bill passed easily, moving on to the Senate.
Later, during an appearance at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics in Manchester, Dodd told young voters that they shouldn’t accept pundits’ predictions that the Democratic field is limited to the three top-polling candidates.
Dodd, polling at under 5 percent in new numbers released this week, said New Hampshire voters should embrace his campaign for its ideas.
from The Associated Press
BAHAMAS – According to a waitress on Half Moon Cay, over the past several months, the cay has been attracting a clientele that has made employees on the cay feel uncomfortable.
Melissa Rolle said Tuesday when she was hired two years ago she was never told that the persons patronizing the resort on the cay would be gay or nude tourists.
Mrs. Rolle said had she known her job entailed serving nude tourists she would have never accepted it.
According to the waitress who is heading the group of workers who plan to walk off their jobs, twice a month two types of cruises pull into the cay’s port – a ship carrying homosexuals and a ship carrying nude tourists.
“We want to know if the entire Bahamas knows about this because we are aware that a gay cruise was stopped from coming to New Providence, but here on the cay we have them coming in so frequently, so we questioned whether this can happen in any other place in The Bahamas,” Mrs. Rolle said.
Because they fear losing their jobs, she said other employees have remained quiet, but she said some are so angry they are willing to protest.
“We are willing to strike if we have to because this is disrespectful to the employees. We shouldn’t have to look at two men making out on the beach or nude persons walking around as if it’s normal. It’s just disrespectful and not right,” Mrs. Rolle said.
“Everyone is angry and everybody wants to do something about it, but are afraid, so I decided to be the one to do something about it.”
The waitress said the situation has become so unbearable that she refused to go to work on Tuesday because a ship carrying nude persons was scheduled to dock at 8am and was schedule to leave at 6pm.
When the Bahama Journal contacted the management of the resort, a manager, who asked that his name not be used, said the resort does not discriminate against any guest.
According to the manager, many groups come to the cay on ships and if they are nude, cripple or gay management doesn’t stop them from using the facilities.
Mrs. Rolle said employees who have worked at Half Moon Cay for many years claimed that in the past the cay never operated by allowing nude guests to walk freely around the resort.
However, in the last several years the private cay lost business due to other developments taking place in South Eleuthera.
Mrs. Rolle said the employees believe this is the reason management has become so liberal.
“We have another private cay called Princess Cay and they have the regular cruise ships in their port, and then we have a new Cotton Bay opening so the tourists have other choices now and that’s why I feel management has allowed these people to come to the island,” she said.
“But they never asked how the employees felt about it.”
The manager told the Bahama Journal that the employees’ concerns have been forwarded to the company’s vice president in Florida and he intends to address those concerns when he reaches the island Wednesday.
from The Bahama Journal
My daughter recently had a boy.
Mother and baby are fine, but the sonogram during pregnancy showed a girl, according to the doctor. So our grandson has a slew of pink blankets, jammies and clothes. I say: no big deal.
My wife says it is a big deal. She?s worried the color will give the wrong message to people, who will then treat our grandson like a girl in a way they won?t even be aware of. She worries that this will make him a cross-dresser when he?s grown up and make him gay.
Our daughter and son-inlaw are in a quandary, too, over the pink clothes. What do you think?
in Guerneville, Calif.
As long as the baby gifts haven’t been used, there should be no problem exchanging them for items in the “right” color.
Please tell your wife, however, that her fears are groundless. Even if her grandson decides to become a crossdresser later in life ? which is not related to what color clothes a man wore as a baby ? it won?t make him gay. The majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual.
from The Columbus Dispatch
UNITED KINGDOM – A father criticised a police force today for launching an investigation after his ten-year-old son allegedly called a schoolfriend “gay” in an email.
Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George.
The officers were called earlier this month after a parent complained that George had called her son a “gay boy” in an email.
Mr Rawlinson, 41, said: “I could not believe what I was hearing when the officers told me.
“They told me they considered it a very serious offence, I thought they were joking at first.
“I run a construction company and have to deal with problems of theft and the like everyday. My wife is a magistrate and sees serious crimes all the time so this just seemed like a huge waste of resources for something so trivial.
“I am furious about what has happened, it just seems the politically correct brigade are taking over.”
Mr Rawlinson said his son, who is a pupil at Farnworth Primary School in Widnes, was terrified when police arrived and asked him if he would be arrested.
He added: “I think the police do a good job but I think their hands are tied by this political correctness.
“My son is not anti anybody, he is too young to have made judgments about people and we have always taught him to judge people as he finds them.
“There is no evidence he sent this email but even if he did I’m sure the words have been taken the wrong way.
“If somebody had called the police about something like this in my day they would have laughed – they certainly wouldn’t have sent two officers out. It is completely ridiculous.”
Inspector Nick Bailey, of Cheshire Constabulary, said: “The matter was reported to police as the parents of the boy believed it was more sinister than just a schoolyard prank.
“We were obliged to record the matter as a crime and we took a proper, and maybe an old fashioned, view.
“Going to the boy’s house was a reasonable course of action to take. We do not feel this is something that should be pursued.
“My understanding is that this message was part of some behaviour that has been ongoing.
“The use of the word gay would imply this is homophobic but we would be hard-pushed to say this is a homophobic crime.
“This boy has not been treated as an offender.”
from 24 Dash
CONNECTICUT – The director of a museum where “The Stepford Wives” was filmed is alleging that her gay colleagues created a hostile work environment, including one who poked her in the eye and another who showed her graphic pictures from a gay Web site.
Marjorie St. Aubyn, executive director of the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion Museum in Norwalk, says the incidents were part of a campaign to force her to resign. She also said her car was vandalized and she was threatened with poisoning.
St. Aubyn filed a discrimination complaint last month. The museum’s board voted this month not to renew her contract, which ends Saturday.
“What appears to have happened is that once my client had some problems with one of the gay members of the staff, they all took umbrage at it,” Craig Dickinson, St. Aubyn’s attorney, said Monday. “It got very ugly.”
Christopher Cooke, chairman of the museum’s board of directors, denied the allegations.
“I am stunned by these things,” Cooke said. “I have no knowledge of any of this being true.”
Cooke said the decision not to renew St. Aubyn’s contract was not related to her discrimination complaint. He declined to say how he voted, but said the decision apparently stemmed from St. Aubyn’s lack of experience as a curator at a time when the museum plans renovations.
Experts say such a complaint is unusual.
“I think it tells us no person is immune and it’s everyone’s responsibility to be mindful of the work environment,” said Paula Brantner, program director at Workplace Fairness, a nonprofit group that promotes employee rights.
St. Aubyn, a heterosexual who became executive director of the 62-room Victorian mansion in 2001, filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities alleging age, gender and “sexual preference” discrimination.
St. Aubyn, 60, says she did a good job, attracting “The Stepford Wives” and other projects to film the site and boost its revenue. The “Stepford Wives” remake, starring Nicole Kidman, was filmed partly at the mansion in 2003.
But she says the museum took no action after one colleague showed her the graphic photos and the other assaulted her by poking her in the eye with his finger.
Telephone messages were left for her colleagues.
St. Aubyn accused Cooke of threatening to fire her if she did not withdraw the assault charges.
Cooke said St. Aubyn filed a police report three months after the alleged assault. He said the case apparently was dismissed, but Dickinson says it’s pending.
“I did not interfere with any prosecution,” Cooke said. “That’s an absolute lie.”
Dickinson said his client is seeking compensation. He said he believes the complaint played a role in the board’s decision not to retain her.
from The Wilton Villager
DEAR STRAIGHT PEOPLE,
Why do you hate gay people so much?
Gays are hated. Prove me wrong. Your top general just called us immoral. Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is in charge of an estimated 65,000 gay and lesbian troops, some fighting for our country in Iraq. A right-wing political commentator, Ann Coulter, gets away with calling a straight presidential candidate a faggot. Even Garrison Keillor, of all people, is making really tacky jokes about gay parents in his column. This, I guess, does not qualify as hate except that it is so distasteful and dumb, often a first step on the way to hate. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama tried to duck the questions that Pace’s bigotry raised, confirming what gay people know: that there is not one candidate running for public office anywhere who dares to come right out, unequivocally, and say decent, supportive things about us.
Gays should not vote for any of them. There is not a candidate or major public figure who would not sell gays down the river. We have seen this time after time, even from supposedly progressive politicians such as President Clinton with his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military and his support of the hideous Defense of Marriage Act. Of course, it’s possible that being shunned by gays will make politicians more popular, but at least we will have our self-respect. To vote for them is to collude with them in their utter disdain for us.
Don’t any of you wonder why heterosexuals treat gays so brutally year after year after year, as your people take away our manhood, our womanhood, our personhood? Why, even as we die you don’t leave us alone. What we can leave our surviving lovers is taxed far more punitively than what you leave your (legal) surviving spouses. Why do you do this? My lover will be unable to afford to live in the house we have made for each other over our lifetime together. This does not happen to you. Taxation without representation is what led to the Revolutionary War. Gay people have paid all the taxes you have. But you have equality, and we don’t.
And there’s no sign that this situation will change anytime soon. President Bush will leave a legacy of hate for us that will take many decades to cleanse. He has packed virtually every court and every civil service position in the land with people who don’t like us. So, even with the most tolerant of new presidents, gays will be unable to break free from this yoke of hate. Courts rule against gays with hateful regularity. And of course the Supreme Court is not going to give us our equality, and in the end, it is from the Supreme Court that such equality must come. If all of this is not hate, I do not know what hate is.
Our feeble gay movement confines most of its demands to marriage. But political candidates are not talking about — and we are not demanding that they talk about — equality. My lover and I don’t want to get married just yet, but we sure want to be equal.
You must know that gays get beaten up all the time, all over the world. If someone beats you up because of who you are — your race or ethnic origin — that is considered a hate crime. But in most states, gays are not included in hate crime measures, and Congress has refused to include us in a federal act.
Homosexuality is a punishable crime in a zillion countries, as is any activism on behalf of it. Punishable means prison. Punishable means death. The U.S. government refused our requests that it protest after gay teenagers were hanged in Iran, but it protests many other foreign cruelties. Who cares if a faggot dies? Parts of the Episcopal Church in the U.S. are joining with the Nigerian archbishop, who believes gays should be put in prison. Episcopalians! Whoever thought we’d have to worry about Episcopalians?
Well, whoever thought we’d have to worry about Florida? A young gay man was just killed in Florida because of his sexual orientation. I get reports of gays slain in our country every week. Few of them make news. Fewer are prosecuted. Do you consider it acceptable that 20,000 Christian youths make an annual pilgrimage to San Francisco to pray for gay souls? This is not free speech. This is another version of hate. It is all one world of gay-hate. It always was.
Gays do not realize that the more we become visible, the more we come out of the closet, the more we are hated. Don’t those of you straights who claim not to hate us have a responsibility to denounce the hate? Why is it socially acceptable to joke about “girlie men” or to discriminate against us legally with “constitutional” amendments banning gay marriage? Because we cannot marry, we can pass on only a fraction of our estates, we do not have equal parenting rights and we cannot live with a foreigner we love who does not have government permission to stay in this country. These are the equal protections that the Bill of Rights proclaims for all?
Why do you hate us so much that you will not permit us to legally love? I am almost 72, and I have been hated all my life, and I don’t see much change coming.
I think your hate is evil.
What do we do to you that is so awful? Why do you feel compelled to come after us with such frightful energy? Does this somehow make you feel safer and legitimate? What possible harm comes to you if we marry, or are taxed just like you, or are protected from assault by laws that say it is morally wrong to assault people out of hatred? The reasons always offered are religious ones, but certainly they are not based on the love all religions proclaim.
And even if your objections to gays are religious, why do you have to legislate them so hatefully? Make no mistake: Forbidding gay people to love or marry is based on hate, pure and simple.
You may say you don’t hate us, but the people you vote for do, so what’s the difference? Our own country’s democratic process declares us to be unequal. Which means, in a democracy, that our enemy is you. You treat us like crumbs. You hate us. And sadly, we let you.
from The Los Angeles Times / Larry Kramer – ACT UP
LOS ANGELES — A West Coast seminary for Conservative Judaism has accepted its first openly gay and lesbian applicants since the movement decided to ease its ban on gay ordination.
The Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies, based at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, has admitted a gay man and a lesbian for the fall semester, a school spokeswoman said Tuesday. The Jewish Theological Seminary, the movement’s flagship school, is still debating its policy.
In December, a panel of scholars who interpret Jewish law for the movement voted to allow the seminaries to decide on their own whether to admit openly gay students.
But the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards left enough leeway to allow synagogues that consider same-sex relations contrary to Jewish law to bar gay clergy from their pulpits.
Conservative Judaism holds the middle ground in American Judaism. The larger and more liberal Reform Jewish branch, as well as the smaller Reconstructionist wing, allow gays to become rabbis; the Orthodox bar gays and women from ordination.
from The Desert News
LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles fertility clinic has launched what it says is the first dedicated program for gay men wanting to become parents.
The Fertility Institutes, already a pioneer in the controversial area of gender selection, said it was responding to huge demand from gay male couples around the world who want their own biological children but are often thwarted by prejudice and bureaucracy.
“There are a lot of centers that dibble and dabble in this. But we are the only program for gay men that has psychological, legal, medical, surrogates, donors and patients all taken care of in one place,” Dr Jeffrey Steinberg, director of The Fertility Institutes, told Reuters in an interview.
“The demand is incredible. The United States has always been busy but we are seeing more and more demand from abroad.”
The last few years have seen a large increase in the number of gay men who want to father children using surrogate mothers rather than opting for adoption, which is difficult or impossible for homosexuals or lesbians in several U.S. states.
Gay male couples seeking parenthood usually have to go to several different agencies to find surrogate mothers, egg donors, lawyers and medical treatment.
Potential surrogate mothers often opt out when they discover the couple wanting a child is gay, partly because of perceptions that homosexuals have a higher risk of diseases such as hepatitis, syphilis and the HIV virus.
Steinberg gets consent from surrogates up front, tests the fathers-to-be for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, and freezes their sperm for six months as an extra safeguard.
Steinberg has already treated about 70 gay male couples while perfecting the program. Some 40 percent were Americans, with the rest from Britain, Germany, China, Canada, Italy, Brazil and South Africa.
The average cost is about $60,000 — and three-quarters of gay couples pay extra to choose the sex of their baby. Gender selection of babies is illegal in most countries except the United States.
“We thought they were all going to come in and want boys, but about 65 percent want male and the others want girls,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg said he was braced for controversy about going public with the program but hoped to ride the storm.
“This is new. It is challenging. We understand people are a little intimidated, a little frightened by it,” he said. “It just takes time to get used to things.”
Data from the 2000 U.S. census showed there were some 301,000 unmarried male couples in the United States. Figures for those adopting or having biological children were unavailable.
For years, the number of athletes who were openly gay and had endorsement deals could have been counted on the hand of the old-time baseball player Mordecai Brown, known after a farm accident by the nickname Three Finger.
Recently, however, that has started to change, as Americans have reassessed their ideas about homosexuality and as athletes have become more willing to discuss their sexuality. In another sign of the times, a company that sells men’s grooming products, HeadBlade, is to announce today that it is adding to its roster of endorsers John Amaechi, the former professional basketball player who said last month that he is gay.
Mr. Amaechi was a journeyman center for such teams as the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz. He is the first National Basketball Association player to disclose his homosexuality. He also became the sixth retired male pro athlete to acknowledge it, joining Billy Bean, a baseball player, and Esera Tuaolo, a football player.
Mr. Amaechi “is the perfect storm,” said Todd Greene, chief executive at the HeadBlade Company in Culver City, Calif., which specializes in products for bald men, because “he’s African-American, a basketball player and gay, and those are all huge demographics for us.”
“And he uses the product,” Mr. Greene said, adding that he learned Mr. Amaechi was a “HeadBlader,” as Mr. Greene calls his customers, while deciding whether Mr. Amaechi would make an effective spokesman.
“You want to do due diligence on who endorses your stuff,” is how Mr. Greene described the research process. Other HeadBlade endorsers include the singer Chris Daughtry, who appeared on “American Idol”; Toney Freeman, a professional bodybuilder; and Howie Mandel, of NBC’s “Deal or No Deal.”
Mr. Greene declined to discuss how much the two-year deal would be worth to Mr. Amaechi, although he said it would include shares in HeadBlade, a private company with revenue that he estimated at under $10 million.
In a twist, another company that makes men’s grooming products, Bald Guyz, recently fired its first athletic endorser, the former pro basketball player Tim Hardaway, after Mr. Hardaway attacked Mr. Amaechi and homosexuals in sports, declaring on a Florida radio show, “I hate gay people.”
Howard Brauner, chief executive, said in a statement, “Bald Guyz, like baldness, does not discriminate based on lifestyle choice, color, education, financial resources, religion, physical capabilities or any other way.”
In other words, the gay guy landed an endorsement contract after the straight guy lost his. What next, a Snickers commercial in which two men accidentally kiss and are completely cool about it?
Mr. Amaechi’s endorsement deal “seems to indicate a bit of a turning point,” said Michael Wilke, executive director at the Commercial Closet Association in New York, which tracks the representation of gay men and lesbians in marketing and maintains an online archive of advertising imagery.
“Society, and sports fans, are becoming more used to gays,” Mr. Wilke said, “and advertising is growing more comfortable with gays.” Among the initial examples, Mr. Wilke cited a deal in 2000 in which Martina Navratilova began appearing in a general campaign for Subaru of America along with three other female athletes.
The campaign, by the agency now known as TM Advertising, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies, was her first appearance as a pitchwoman in national television ads. For decades, Ms. Navratilova had asserted that her openness about being a lesbian had cost her endorsements.
And in 2003, the Chili’s restaurant chain featured Mr. Tuaolo in a TV commercial by GSD&M, part of the Omnicom Group, which came out a year after he did. The spot was aimed at mainstream audiences and identified him as “Esera, retired athlete.”
The first ads featuring Mr. Amaechi for HeadBlade, being created internally, do not identify him as gay but carry a headline with an intriguing double meaning, “Against the grain.”
The ads will run in two magazines for basketball fans, Hoop and Slam, and appear on the HeadBlade Web site and MySpace page. The ads are also planned for other magazines in which HeadBlade regularly advertises.
Mr. Amaechi, who is British, said he might make personal appearances for HeadBlade as the company expands into Europe. He spoke in a telephone interview from Washington, where he was on a book tour for “Man in the Middle,” which he wrote with Chris Bull for ESPN Books.
“It’s quite nice when you can say you use the product you endorse,” Mr. Amaechi said. “I have to shave my head every two days. I would love to tell you it’s a style thing, but I have a bald spot.”
More seriously, Mr. Amaechi said that it was “good for young G.L.B.T. people,” using the abbreviation for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered, “to see us not just in ads for drinks and H.I.V. medications but also in mainstream ads as well, because we are mainstream consumers.”
There may have been “a small amount of karmic justice” in Mr. Hardaway’s losing his endorsement deal, Mr. Amaechi said, “but I don’t feel any joy.”
Mr. Amaechi said he “would like to believe I would be eligible” to endorse bigger brands like Gatorade, McDonald’s and Nike, known for hiring athletes for ads, but “I’m not going to hold my breath.”
Mr. Wilke of Commercial Closet said that “the smaller and/or edgier brands tend to be the ones that step up and do something unusual” like signing openly gay athletes as endorsers. “A large brand may perceive itself as having something to lose if controversy should happen,” he added.
That aptly described what happened to Snickers, sold by the Masterfoods USA division of Mars, after it ran an ad during the Super Bowl. Gay activists complained about the spot, which showed two men who had accidentally kissed reacting by harming themselves. Masterfoods withdrew the commercial, created by the TBWA/Chiat/Day unit of Omnicom.
“The problem is that it was conditioning, modeling behavior,” Mr. Amaechi said, by showing that “real men” were supposed to feel conflicted and horrified when two men kiss.
Asked if he would accept an offer to endorse Snickers, Mr. Amaechi replied: “I could show you how to react to two men kissing. Smile broadly.”
from The New York Times / Stuart Elliott