Archive for the ‘gender and sexuality’ Category

Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Medical Aspects of Transgender Military Service
Source: Armed Forces & Society

At least eighteen countries allow transgender personnel to serve openly, but the United States is not among them. In this article, we assess whether US military policies that ban transgender service members are based on medically sound rationales. To do so, we analyze Defense Department regulations and consider a wide range of medical data. Our conclusion is that there is no compelling medical reason for the ban on service by transgender personnel, that the ban is an unnecessary barrier to health care access for transgender personnel, and that medical care for transgender individuals should be managed using the same standards that apply to all others. Removal of the military’s ban on transgender service would improve health outcomes, enable commanders to better care for their troops, and reflect the military’s commitment to providing outstanding medical care for all military personnel.

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CRS — Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (September 4, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The issue of same-sex marriage generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Either legislatively or judicially, same-sex marriage is legal in more than a dozen states. Conversely, many states have statutes and/or constitutional amendments limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. These state-level variations raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of state and/or federal benefits. As federal agencies grappled with the interplay of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits, questions arose regarding DOMA’s constitutionality and the appropriate standard (strict, intermediate, or rational basis) of review to apply to the statute.

Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Fiction or Not? Fifty Shades is Associated with Health Risks in Adolescent and Young Adult Females
Source: Journal of Women’s Health

No prior study has empirically characterized the association between health risks and reading popular fiction depicting violence against women. Fifty Shades—a blockbuster fiction series—depicts pervasive violence against women, perpetuating a broader social narrative that normalizes these types of risks and behaviors in women’s lives. The present study characterized the association between health risks in women who read and did not read Fifty Shades; while our cross-sectional study design precluded causal determinations, an empirical representation of the health risks in women consuming the problematic messages in Fifty Shades is made.

Females ages 18 to 24 (n=715), who were enrolled in a large Midwestern university, completed a cross-sectional online survey about their health behaviors and Fifty Shades’ readership. The analysis included 655 females (219 who read at least the first Fifty Shades novel and 436 who did not read any part of Fifty Shades). Age- and race-adjusted multivariable models characterized Fifty Shades’ readers and nonreaders on intimate partner violence victimization (experiencing physical, sexual and psychological abuse, including cyber-abuse, at some point during their lifetime); binge drinking (consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on six or more days in the last month); sexual practices (having five or more intercourse partners and/or one or more anal sex partner during their lifetime); and using diet aids or fasting for 24 or more hours at some point during their lifetime.

One-third of subjects read Fifty Shades (18.6%, or 122/655, read all three novels, and 14.8%, or 97/655, read at least the first novel but not all three). In age- and race-adjusted models, compared with nonreaders, females who read at least the first novel (but not all three) were more likely than nonreaders to have had, during their lifetime, a partner who shouted, yelled, or swore at them (relative risk [RR]=1.25) and who delivered unwanted calls/text messages (RR=1.34); they were also more likely to report fasting (RR=1.80) and using diet aids (RR=1.77) at some point during their lifetime. Compared with nonreaders, females who read all three novels were more likely to report binge drinking in the last month (RR=1.65) and to report using diet aids (RR=1.65) and having five or more intercourse partners during their lifetime (RR=1.63).

Problematic depictions of violence against women in popular culture—such as in film, novels, music, or pornography—create a broader social narrative that normalizes these risks and behaviors in women’s lives. Our study showed strong correlations between health risks in women’s lives—including violence victimization—and consumption of Fifty Shades, a fiction series that portrays violence against women. While our cross-sectional study cannot determine temporality, the order of the relationship may be inconsequential; for example, if women experienced adverse health behaviors first (e.g., disordered eating), reading Fifty Shades might reaffirm those experiences and potentially aggravate related trauma. Likewise, if women read Fifty Shades before experiencing the health behaviors assessed in our study, it is possible that the book influenced the onset of these behaviors by creating an underlying context for the behaviors.

Homeless LGBTQ Youth

September 12, 2014 Comments off

Homeless LGBTQ Youth
Source: Urban Institute

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are over-represented among the homeless youth population. Researchers and practitioners are working to improve data on homeless youth, especially LGBTQ youth, across the country. This brief summarizes the findings on LGBTQ homeless youth counted during the 2013 YouthCount!, a federal interagency initiative that aims to improve counts of unaccompanied homeless youth. The brief also shares best practices on how to improve counts of LGBTQ homeless youth, and areas where policymakers can act to improve LGBTQ youth outcomes.

Sexual Orientation and the Federal Workplace: Policy & Perception

September 11, 2014 Comments off

Sexual Orientation and the Federal Workplace: Policy & Perception (PDF)
Source: Merit Systems Protection Board

This study examined Federal employee perceptions of workplace treatment based on sexual orientation, reviewed how Federal workplace protections from sexual orientation discrimination have evolved, and determined if further action is warranted to communicate or clarify those protections. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management interprets the tenth Prohibited Personnel Practice, which bars discrimination in Federal personnel actions based on conduct that does not adversely affect job performance, to prohibit sexual orientation discrimination. As this prohibition has neither been specifically expressed in statute nor affirmed in judicial decision, it has been subject to alternate interpretations. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Federal employee perceptions of the workplace are generally less positive than those of their colleagues. We found, however, that in some agencies for at least some workplace issues, LGBT employee perceptions were as positive as those of other employees. This suggests that agencies may be able to create more inclusive cultures, resulting in a more positive atmosphere in the workplace.

Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition

September 9, 2014 Comments off

Girls Just Wanna Not Run: The Gender Gap in Young Americans’ Political Ambition (PDF)
Source: American University School of Public Affairs

Studies of women and men who are well-situated to run for office uncover a persistent gender gap in political ambition. Among “potential candidates” – lawyers, business leaders, educators, and political activists – women are less likely than men to express interest in a political career. Given the emergence over the past ten years of high-profile women in politics, such as Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann, though, the landscape of U.S. politics looks to be changing. Perhaps young women are now just as motivated as young men to enter the electoral arena. Maybe young women envision future candidacies at similar rates as their male counterparts. Until now, no research has provided an analysis – let alone an in-depth investigation – of these topics.

This report fills that void. Based on the results of a new survey of more than 2,100 college students between the ages of 18 and 25, we offer the first assessment of political ambition early in life. And our results are troubling. Young women are less likely than young men ever to have considered running for office, to express interest in a candidacy at some point in the future, or to consider elective office a desirable profession. Moreover, the size of the gender gap in political ambition we uncover among 18 – 25 year olds is comparable to the size of the gap we previously uncovered in studies of potential candidates already working in the feeder professions to politics. Our data suggest, therefore, that the gender gap in ambition is already well in place by the time women and men enter their first careers.

Religion and Relationships in Muslim Families: A Qualitative Examination of Devout Married Muslim Couples

September 8, 2014 Comments off

Religion and Relationships in Muslim Families: A Qualitative Examination of Devout Married Muslim Couples
Source: Religions

Since 11 September 2001, Islam has been the center of many debates, discussions, parodies and publications. Many Muslims feel that their religion has been portrayed unfairly in Western media. The topics that seem to generate the most criticism relate to gender roles and the treatment of women, both inside the home and in society. The purpose of this paper is to examine the perceived role of Islam on marital and familial relationships from an insider’s perspective and to present participants’ reflections on sensitive issues, including gender roles, women’s rights and marital unity. Content analysis of in-depth interviews of twenty diverse Shia and Sunni Muslim couples living in the U.S. (n = 40) yielded three emergent themes: (1) Islam as a way of life; (2) Islam as a unifying force; and (3) gender roles and the treatment of women. These data suggest that, as perceived by our religiously involved “insider” participants, Islam influences marriage relationships, unites families and (when understood and lived properly) protects women from abuse and oppression.


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