TV & Radio
The Battle Over Gay Teens
What happens when you come out as a kid? How gay youths are challenging the right--and the left
A look at the lives of gay teens in the U.S.
Questions for John Cloud
Send in your thoughts for the cover story's author
HELPING HAND: A trust-building exercise at the Point Foundation retreat for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students
From the Magazine | Cover Story
The Battle Over Gay Teens
What happens when you come out as a kid? How gay youths are challenging the right--and the left
By JOHN CLOUD
TIME Cover: The War Over Gays (1998)
TIME Cover: The Homosexual in America (1969)
Posted Sunday, Oct. 02, 2005
In May, David Steward, a former president of TV Guide, and his partner Pierre Friedrichs, a caterer, hosted an uncomfortably crowded cocktail party at their Manhattan apartment. It was a typical gay fund raiser--there were lemony vodka drinks with mint sprigs; there were gift bags with Calvin Klein sunglasses; Friedrichs prepared little blackened-tuna-with-mango-chutney hors d'oeuvres that were served by uniformed waiters. Billionaire philanthropist Edgar Bronfman Sr. was there; David Mixner, a gay activist and longtime friend of Bill Clinton's, was holding court with Jason Moore, director of the musical Avenue Q.
But the odd thing was that the gay (and gay-friendly) elite had gathered to raise money not for one of its established charities--the Human Rights Campaign, say, or the Democratic National Committee--but for an obscure organization that has quietly become one of the fastest-growing gay groups in the nation, the Point Foundation. Launched in 2001, Point gives lavish (often full-ride) scholarships to gay students. It is one of the few national groups conceived explicitly to help gay kids, and it is a leading example of how the gay movement is responding to the emergence this decade of hundreds of thousands of openly gay youths.
Kids are disclosing their homosexuality with unprecedented regularity--and they are doing so much younger. The average gay person now comes out just before or after graduating high school, according to The New Gay Teenager, a book Harvard University Press published this summer. The book quotes a Penn State study of 350 young people from 59 gay groups that found that the mean age at which lesbians first have sexual contact with other girls is 16; it's just 14 for gay boys. In 1997 there were approximately 100 gay-straight alliances (gsas)--clubs for gay and gay-friendly kids--on U.S. high school campuses. Today there are at least 3,000 gsas--nearly 1 in 10 high schools has one--according to the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (glsen, say "glisten"), which registers and advises gsas. In the 2004-05 academic year, gsas were established at U.S. schools at the rate of three per day.
The appearance of so many gay adolescents has, predictably, worried social conservatives, but it has also surprised gay activists, who for years did little to help the few teenagers who were coming out. Both sides sense high stakes. "Same-sex marriage--that's out there. But something going on in a more fierce and insidious way, under the radar, is what's happening in our schools," says Mathew Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, an influential conservative litigation group that earlier this year won a court order blocking a Montgomery County, Md., teachers' guide that disparaged Evangelicals for their views on gays. "They"--gay activists--"know if they make enough inroads into [schools], the same-sex-marriage battle will be moot." Most gay activists would rather swallow glass than say Mat Staver was right about something, but they know that last year's big ucla survey of college freshmen found that 57% favor same-sex marriage (only about 36% of all adults do). Even as adult activists bicker in court, young Americans--including many young conservatives--are becoming thoroughly, even nonchalantly, gay-positive. From young ages, straight kids are growing up with more openly bisexual, gay and sexually uncertain classmates. In the 1960s, gay men recalled first desiring other males at an average age of 14; it was 17 for lesbians. By the '90s, the average had dropped to 10 for gays and 12 for lesbians, according to more than a dozen studies reviewed by the author of The New Gay Teenager, Ritch Savin-Williams, who chairs Cornell's human-development department.
Full Article (Printer Friendly)
Posted on Sat, Oct. 01, 2005
Boi or grrl? Youth culture testing the boundaries of gender identity and roles
CHICAGO - When it comes to gender, Alex Polanco is not easily pegged. Some days, he wakes up in the morning and feels male, pulling on jeans and a T-shirt and leaving it at that. Other times, he wears makeup and one of the wigs he keeps in tidily packed boxes in his bedroom closet.
"I don't want to call it a split personality - but sometimes, I feel like a girl. So I put on the costume, what feels comfortable," says the 18-year-old Chicagoan, who refers to himself as "tranny boy." The term is deliberately ambiguous, reflecting the gray area in which Polanco exists, where gender is blurred and he feels no obligation to choose female over male - or vice versa.
He often switches back and forth around friends he trusts or in urban neighborhoods where he feels free to express himself.
"I'm not trying to be permanently that person," says Polanco, a tall, lanky teen who recently moved to northern Wisconsin with a friend to attend a community college. "I just like the opportunity to be a man or a woman, if I want."
The concept of gender-bending is, of course, not a new phenomenon. Nineteenth century author George Sand was famous for her cigar-smoking and pants-wearing, while "female impersonators" worked their way from underground clubs in decades past to more prominent billing on the Las Vegas strip.
More recently, against a backdrop of increasing equality in the workplace, youth and pop icons have been slowly pushing the limits on gender roles - from the long-haired rock bands of the '60s to David Bowie's androgynous look and Madonna's celebration of drag in the 1980s and '90s.
Now, macho men get makeovers on mainstream TV and one of the most popular TV talk show hosts is a lesbian comic who feels comfortable in slacks and sneakers. And academics who specialize in gender and pop culture say today's youth are continuing to test the boundaries of gender - challenging societal standards in the process.
"I think the fluidity of gender is the next big wave in terms of adolescent development," says Caitlin Ryan, a clinical social worker at San Francisco State University who's conducting a long-term sexual orientation and gender survey of youth and their families. "Gender has become part of the defining way that youth organize themselves and rebel against adults."
While researchers have yet to quantify the trend, Ryan says that, in the last five years, she's seen more young people coming out as transsexual - those who believe they are one gender trapped in the body of the other. She and others in her field also are seeing a noticeable number of young people who are taking it further by purposely evading gender definition.
They are "gender fluid," expressing androgyny with wardrobe, hairstyle or makeup - sometimes going as far as calling themselves a "boi" or a "grrl." For his part, Polanco calls his gender-bending friends "bro-sis," a combination of "brother" and "sister."
To some youth, playing with gender identity and roles is as much about fun and self-expression as anything. "There's a kind of tongue-in-cheek aspect to it," Ryan says, "as well as a celebration of oneself."
But often it cuts deeper, even for some young transsexuals who've chosen to move from one gender to the other.
"At the very basic level, it's about telling society that we're not going to adhere to your rules. At some level, it is very political and anti-mainstream society. And on a different level, it's also very personal - trying to figure yourself out," says T.J. Jourian, a 24-year-old graduate student at Michigan State University who specifically calls himself a "transmale" - not just male - because he doesn't want people to place his gender into a simple box.
Born a female, Jourian does not always hide his high-pitched voice or mannerisms that many would consider more feminine. "Although I identify as a man, I have been socialized in this world as a female, and that experience plays a huge part in shaping my masculinity, my politics and my perspective in society," Jourian says.
Andy Marra, the 20-year-old head of the board of directors for the National Center for Transgender Equality, agrees.
"People assume that gender is cut and dried - and it's not," says Marra, who describes her "gender identity" as female and "biological gender" as male. "But what about a gay male who's effeminate - or for that matter, a straight male who's effeminate or straight woman who's butch?"
Several scientists, including Craig Kinsley, met this summer at the annual International Behavioral Development Symposium in Minot, N.D., to discuss the biology of gender.
"It so complex, so unfathomable in some respects, that it is no wonder our politicians find comfort in defining a world that is populated by only 'men' and 'women,'" says Kinsley, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond. "But trying to define males and females as just males and females really just misses the point."
He says there is "clear and incontrovertible" evidence that biology - genes, hormones and the brain - is a major factor in creating a wide range of gender identities and sexual orientations.
That makes perfect sense to Polanco, who figured out that he was gay by age 16, but who also realized something was different about his gender.
He vividly remembers the first time he dressed as a woman as a younger teenager - how he wore a short skirt and tube top with a fur vest, carefully put on fishnet stockings with platform heels, and glued extensions into his own dark, curly hair.
"Wow," he remembers saying as he stared at himself in the mirror for several minutes. "I couldn't believe how good I looked."
He now keeps a photo album of shots taken of himself both as a woman and a man. Included in it, is a a boyhood photograph taken with his mother, who died of AIDS when he was 14.
"We were like best friends," he says, his dark eyes staring at hers in the photo. "She had long, shoulder-length hair. I look a lot like her."
His mother did not live long enough to learn about her son's sexual orientation or to know that he did not always feel like a boy. He has since told the grandmother who raised him that he is gay but hasn't shared his gender issues with her, out of fear that she won't understand.
Ryan, at San Francisco State, says it's a common struggle for families she's interviewed. "The ones who are having a hard time are seeing only the gender rules and norms and how their kids are violating that," Ryan says. "So they're reacting out of shame, 'What will the neighbors think?'"
Still, that hasn't stopped young people from experimenting.
Elayne Rapping, a professor of American studies at the University of Buffalo, is among those who've seen more students playing with gender roles - something she says her own peers in the '60s and '70s did with sexual orientation.
"A lot of people went back to straight lives. But that doesn't mean that it didn't open doors for a lot of people to come out and stay out," says Rapping, author of "Media-tion: Forays into the Culture and Gender Wars."
She believes this more recent experimentation also will influence acceptance in a society where gender identities are already blurring - where the term "metrosexual" has become a source of pride for straight guys with a sense of style and where tough, independent female characters regularly appear in movies and on TV.
Robert Thompson, a professor at Syracuse University who studies pop culture, has already noted the shift. "A full generation after the major reorientation of American gender roles, we are now seeing the fruits of these changes," Thompson says.
Through it all, Polanco proceeds carefully.
Since moving to Menasha, Wis., just south of Green Bay, he has left his apartment dressed as a woman late at night while walking his terrier, Clide, but would never be so daring at the fast-food restaurant wear he works. "No way," he says. "Not here."
He's more likely to let his hair down, literally, in Chicago, where he attends a monthly dance called SYNERGY, a gathering for high school and young college students who are free to express their gender however they like.
At one dance this summer, Polanco came as his male self, putting on a show on the dance floor with his friends, amid clouds from a fog machine, pulsing music and hundreds of sweaty bodies.
Outside the building, Laura Dziewior, a 17-year-old senior at a Catholic high school in Chicago, took a smoke break and pondered the question of gender.
"It's pretty simple," she said, shrugging. "You are what you feel."
ON THE NET
International Behavioral Development Symposium: http://www.minotstateu.edu/ibds/
EDITOR'S NOTE - Martha Irvine is a national writer specializing in coverage of people in their 20s and younger. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The New York Times
When the Vatican Pays a Visit (5 Letters)
Published: October 2, 2005
To the Editor:
Amy Welborn ("The Sins of the Seminaries," Op-Ed, Sept. 25) implies that most Catholics are not well served by their clergy. In fact, psychologically mature priests are the norm, and sex abusers and alcoholics the exception.
As for the Vatican investigation of American seminaries, the problem is not whether it is or is not aimed at gay seminarians. The problem is that it is one more example of an in-house inquiry destined to miss the mark.
Recent history offers us the example of the lay commission that has had considerable success in addressing the sex abuse crisis.
So let the laity investigate the seminaries. They are, after all, as Ms. Welborn points out, those whom the clergy are preparing to serve, and they may have an idea or two about how to be leaders in today's world that is drawn from wider experience than clerical culture.
They may even have the common sense to see that sexual orientation has very little bearing on who is and who is not able to act with honesty and integrity.
Trumbull, Conn., Sept. 25, 2005
The writer is a professor of Catholic studies at Fairfield University.
To the Editor:
Amy Welborn pours some much-needed cold water on the burning "controversy" generated by the coming seminary visits by the Vatican. Rather than witch hunts, they are merely long-overdue attempts to clean up an out-of-control seminary system whose failings are well documented and painfully visible.
John L. Stehn
Port Washington, N.Y.
Sept. 26, 2005
To the Editor:
Amy Welborn sows nothing but confusion. I agree that practicing homosexuals are not living the chastity they will profess on the day of ordination. Yet the lovely virtues she lists of supposedly heterosexual seminarians are completely possible to be had by and to be expected of homosexual and chaste seminarians.
R. Bruce Bavinger
Wilson, N.C., Sept. 25, 2005
The writer is a Jesuit priest.
To the Editor:
John L. Allen Jr. ("At the Vatican, Exceptions Make the Rule," Op-Ed, Sept. 27) paints a homey picture of a stern but ultimately benign Vatican that Protestant-influenced "Anglo-Saxons" in the United States are unable to comprehend.
It is true that a history of casuistry has resulted in a flexible interpretation and application of canon law and disciplinary rules. And it is true that Catholic parish life often seems far removed from Rome and that Catholics can find abundant mercy in the sacraments and good pastors.
But North American Catholics do not live in Italy, and the modern Vatican is no longer the insulated Italian outpost of previous centuries; it is an administrative center of a worldwide organization that has had to adopt an "Anglo-Saxon" seriousness about the meaning of church discipline.
The irony about the potential document concerning gay seminarians is that the Catholic Church in the United States is one place where Roman authority is widely respected, and where the clergy, despite the recent scandals perpetrated by a few, try to take celibacy seriously.
The approach described by Mr. Allen could serve to undercut the seriousness with which American Catholics still receive Roman authority, even when they are disheartened by it.
Paul G. Crowley
Santa Clara, Calif., Sept. 27, 2005
The writer, a Jesuit priest, is chairman of the religious studies department, Santa Clara University.
To the Editor:
While John L. Allen Jr. has some lovely things to say about Catholicism and the Italian sensibility, he doesn't mention the glaring fact that Pope Benedict XVI is not Italian, but German.
I, as well as many other Catholics, fear that he indeed intends to enforce his rules.
Brooklyn, Sept. 27, 2005
プロ・ゲイの米カトリック指導者、バチカン訪問へ - NYタイムズ
The New York Times
Beauties in Heels, and the Men Who Love Them
By DENNY LEE
Published: October 2, 2005
CALL her a hussy, a tramp, even. But don't call her gay, especially to her face.
"I don't like men who like men," said Georgina, a plump 47, who wore a strawberry blond wig, saucers of blue eye shadow and enough pancake makeup to camouflage a beard. "I like a man who appreciates a woman."
Betty Alexandra Bastidas for The New York Times
At the Silver Swan, Saturday night is ladies' night, thanks in part to Ina.
Georgina, you see, is not a "genetic girl," or "double G," in the parlance of the transgender barflies who gathered one recent Saturday at the Silver Swan, a German restaurant on East 20th Street. Like most of the patrons that evening, Georgina leads a double life. By day, he is George, a buttoned-down receptionist from the Lower East Side who works at the Department of Education. By night, she is Georgina, a sassy, fun-loving woman who goes a little heavy on the makeup. And on the cocktails.
"When I'm a boy, I don't get the men I want," Georgina said, playfully sprawled on the sidewalk, her fishnet stockings and red panties exposed beneath her short sundress. "But when I'm a girl, I get the man I want."
The weekly drag-a-thon was started five years ago by Nazz Somera, better known as Ina. After striding down Fifth Avenue for the annual gay pride parade (now called the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride March), he ducked into the restaurant's powder room and ran into the owner's wife, who suggested a party for his friends.
Two weeks later, Ina's at Silver Swan was born. "I can express my feelings, but some of the girls cannot, so I created this place for them," said Mr. Somera, sounding for all the world like a den mother protecting her brood. Dressed in a Chanel-style jacket and Gucci stilettos, he was one of the only patrons comfortable about giving his full name.
"It's like a sorority and an Elks club for my friends," he said of the place. "After five days of work, they want to express themselves."
He added, "And it's not only for the girls, but the 'guys,' " referring to the more conventional-looking men known affectionately as tranny chasers.
This group included people like Pablo, a stocky, 35-year-old restaurant manager, who arrived by motorcycle at midnight. "My parents, my friends, my co-workers - no one knows about this," he said. "But this is what makes me happy."
Indeed, as the night progressed, the Silver Swan began to look like a fairly typical meat market. Half the crowd had squeezed themselves into tight dresses and high heels; the other half wore the guy-next-door uniform of denim jeans and tucked-in shirt.
The most surprising factor was the age, which ranged from Gen-X to AARP.
A handsome real estate lawyer named Reid could have been mistaken for a frat boy, except for the Evian bottle in his hand.
"I come here for dates," he said as he scoped the crowd. "I usually sleep with genetic girls, but I'm also attracted to trannies. I have no idea why. They are often more feminine than actual women."
But Ina's at Silver Swan is more than a pickup joint. Unlike many other transgender bars in the city, which often have reputations for attracting prostitutes and drug use, the Silver Swan is practically G-rated. For budding cross-dressers, it is a sort of finishing school, offering a safe place for their public debuts as exaggerated members of the opposite sex. For their so-called admirers, it is a cocktail party at which it's possible to mingle incognito.
"I'm just here to watch and talk to the women," said Phil, a divorced 71-year-old who lives on the Upper West Side. He sat alone at the bar, a dapper figure in a navy suit, gold cuff links and a red handkerchief.
"I have a fantasy, but I never act on it," he added. "I come here a lot, and usually stay for three hours."
Most men show up, however, because they have no other place to go. "I usually go to regular straight bars," said Jessie, a fetching 25-year-old with long ebony hair and hormone-enhanced curves. "Places like Marquee in Chelsea. Guys try to pick me up all the time." She never spends money when she goes out, she said.
"But tonight, I'm bringing it back to my roots," Jessie added, flinging her hair. "It's easier to meet people who already know, rather than trying to explain myself."
ＮＺ首相、連立政権の樹立確定へ週明けに党首会談 (日本経済 2005/10/02)
ＮＺ クラーク政権３期目へ (NHK 2005/10/01)
2005年10月01日20時21分 - 朝日
Web posted at: 18:10 JST
クラーク政権、3期目へ＝労働党の第1党確定－NZ総選挙 (時事 2005/10/01)
クラーク政権継続へ ＮＺ、最大野党が敗北宣言 (共同 2005/10/01)
週明けから連立交渉へ ＮＺの与党労働党 (共同 2005/10/01)
保守派超エリート 米最高裁新長官ロバーツ氏 (東京 2005/10/02朝刊)
ＩＳＯ素案判明、社会的責任の新国際規格、企業が適合「自主宣言」、第三者認証不要に (日本経済 2005/10/02朝刊)
Majority of Portuguese want abortion vote by end of year
Sat Oct 1, 9:43 AM ET
LISBON (AFP) - A majority of Portuguese back a government proposal to hold a referendum on relaxing the nation's abortion laws before the end of the year.
An opinion poll showed 56 percent of Portuguese were in favour of the vote being held between nationwide municipal polls on October 9 and presidential elections in January while 31 percent were opposed and the rest undecided.
The survey of 1,031 Portuguese voters was carried out between September 22 and 27 by the Eurosondagem polling firm for weekly newspaper Expresso, private television SIC and Catholic radio Radio Renascenca.
Portugal's 230-seat parliament on Wednesday voted to hold a fresh referendum on the nation's abortion laws, which are among the most restrictive in Europe, and sent the proposal to President Jorge Sampaio to set a date.
The ruling Socialists and the tiny far-left Left Block, which voted in favour of the proposal, would like the referendum to be held on November 27.
But the main opposition centre-right Social Democrats want the vote to take place after the presidential election which polls show they are likely to win.
Abortion is illegal in Portugal except when the mother's life is in danger or in certain specified conditions, such as the risk of damage to physical or mental health, sexual violence or possible congenital deformity.
In a 1998 referendum on the issue voters narrowly rejected a proposal to allow abortion on demand during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy in a vote marred by low turnout.
Opinion polls however show voters would now back a similar motion.
Family planning agencies estimate between 20,000 and 40,000 backstreet abortions are carried out each year in Portugal while thousands more women go abroad to terminate unwanted pregnancies.
Top Court Set to Tackle Contentious Cases
By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
Sat Oct 1, 1:14 PM ET
The Supreme Court opens its term Monday with a young new leader, a veteran justice eager to retire and a calendar packed with contentious issues such as abortion, assisted suicide and capital punishment.
For the first time in 33 years, William H. Rehnquist will not be on the court. The 80-year-old chief justice died Sept. 3. Every day since, the flags in front of the court have flown at half-staff.
The Rehnquist court becomes the Roberts court following a brief tradition-rich ceremony for John Roberts, who learned about the inner workings of the place a quarter-century ago while clerking for Rehnquist.
Roberts, 50, will take a ceremonial oath as President Bush and the eight justices watch on, then Roberts will pose for pictures on the steps of the court building.
The job presents immediate challenges.
For one, there are unanswered questions about Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's departure. She announced July 1 that she would be stepping down; Roberts was to replace her.
Bush shifted Roberts into the chief justice opening following Rehnquist's death. The president has not named a successor to O'Connor and was spending part of this weekend at Camp David considering that choice.
O'Connor, 75, delayed her retirement following a personal appeal from the president.
Once her replacement is named, the confirmation could take as little as two months. Or it could last many more if the nomination is contested by Senate Democrats.
O'Connor, a moderate who often casts the critical fifth vote on the nine-member court, will hear cases and vote during closed-door sessions after oral arguments. Rulings take months to prepare, and if she leaves the court before they are done, the votes would not count.
"The court will be in an extremely unsettled and uncertain situation until Justice O'Connor's successor is confirmed and seated," Supreme Court historian David Garrow said. "No one — including the justices themselves — will know for sure whether the nine justices who hear a case will be the same nine who will decide it."
It will not take long for the court to delve into important social issues.
On Wednesday, the court hears a challenge to Oregon's one-of-a-kind law that allows doctors to help terminally ill patients die more quickly.
In November, justices will review a state abortion law. In December comes an appeal that involves gay rights, as part of a protest against the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
"This will be a real watershed year," said University of Connecticut law professor Paul Schiff Berman.
There are five death penalty cases and two appeals challenging spending limits on political candidates and advocacy groups.
In a test of states rights, justices will consider if states and counties can be sued for not accommodating disabled prisoners, and a religion case will decide the constitutional rights of people who want to use hallucinogenic tea as part of their worship.
The court's workload "touches on all these hot-button issues. It will be a good weather vane for where the court is going," said Martin Flaherty, a professor at Fordham Law School.
Roberts is expected to vote similarly to Rehnquist, although it is unclear whether he will go as far as Rehnquist in supporting a reversal of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that established a woman's right to abortion.
The abortion case before the court this term involves New Hampshire's parental notification law. The case does not pose a threat to Roe, but it gives the court a chance to make it harder to contest restrictions on the procedure.
Whoever replaces O'Connor could make the court more conservative. The White House delayed a pick until after Roberts' confirmation. An announcement is possible anytime.
Among possible candidates are appeals court judges Priscilla Owen, Karen Williams and Alice Batchelder; Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan; White House counsel Harriet Miers; Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; former Justice Department lawyer Larry Thompson; and Washington lawyer Maureen Mahoney.
Several high-profile appeals are awaiting action by the court and could be argued this term, including the Bush administration's attempt to reinstate a law that bans a type of late-term abortion and a challenge to military trials for foreign terror suspects.
On the Net:
Supreme Court: http://www.supremecourtus.gov/
［プロフィル］第１７代米連邦最高裁長官に就任した ジョン・ロバーツ氏５０ (読売 2005/10/01朝刊)
米連邦最高裁、岐路に ロバーツ長官の就任 保守に傾く可能性 (読売 2005/10/01朝刊)