In pop, stars are exploring new sexualities – BBC News

On Twitter, another fan commented, “Ariana ain’t gotta label herself,” prompting the pop star to respond: “I haven’t before and still don’t feel the need to now”.
Grande isn’t alone. After decades of closeted artists and coded lyrics, a new generation of gender and sexually-fluid pop stars are challenging stereotypes and celebrating their identity through music.
A significant breakthrough came in 2012, when Frank Ocean posted an open letter to Tumblr, describing how he’d fallen for a man when he was 19.
“It was my first love, it changed my life,” he wrote. “There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice.”

via In pop, stars are exploring new sexualities – BBC News

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Ilhan Omar: The 9/11 row embroiling the US congresswoman – BBC News

A Democratic congresswoman says she will not be silenced after facing a barrage of criticism over comments she made about the 9/11 attacks – including from Donald Trump.
The US president tweeted “WE WILL NEVER FORGET” alongside a video showing footage of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks spliced with a speech by Representative Ilhan Omar.
“Some people did something,” she is seen saying, in between footage of planes hitting the Twin Towers and people fleeing the buildings.
Republicans have accused her of downplaying the attacks, but Democrats have largely rallied to her defence, saying she had been quoted out of context and some accusing Mr Trump of inciting violence against her and Muslims. Here is how the row developed.

via Ilhan Omar: The 9/11 row embroiling the US congresswoman – BBC News

Taking back control after sexual abuse – BBC News

Rape survivors redefining themselves through dance
Kemi and Mojo are two women who want to take back control of their bodies after their sexuality was stolen from them.
They’ve joined one of the “UK’s first plus-size dance classes” to build their confidence and learn to love themselves as they are.
Both women have waived their right to anonymity to talk about their experiences of being raped in the hope of encouraging others to speak out.

via Taking back control after sexual abuse – BBC News

Period poverty: Wales schoolgirls to be given free sanitary products | UK news | The Guardian

Free sanitary products are to be handed out to tens of thousands of schoolgirls in Wales in a bid to tackle “period poverty”.

As many as 141,000 girls attending both primary and secondary schools in the country will benefit from the free menstrual products as part of the £2.3m scheme, the Welsh government has announced.

The move is part of efforts to combat the period poverty issue, with campaigners highlighting how schoolgirls are forced to miss days at school because they cannot afford the products. Two in five girls have had to rely on using toilet roll to manage their period, one charity’s survey revealed last year. Some were even forced to use socks or newspaper.

via Period poverty: Wales schoolgirls to be given free sanitary products | UK news | The Guardian

‘Consent condoms’ and ‘anti-rape wristbands’: Do they work? – BBC News

From “consent condoms” in Argentina to anti-date rape wristbands in Germany, products designed to tackle sexual assault have been making headlines around the world.
They are part of a growing industry of self-defence inventions aimed predominantly at women.
Other products include shorts fitted with an alarm; a bracelet that releases a “foul smell” to fend off sexual predators; and several sexual consent apps.
With statistics showing that about one in five women in England and Wales have experienced sexual assault since the age of 16, and similar figures reported elsewhere, the makers of such products argue that they have a vital role to play.
But while they may be “well intentioned”, such products miss the mark, some women’s rights advocates say.

via ‘Consent condoms’ and ‘anti-rape wristbands’: Do they work? – BBC News

Ashley Judd On Georgia’s Abortion Ban: ‘I Would’ve Had to Co-Parent With My Rapist’

In March, Judd signed a letter in protest of the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act, a bill recently passed by the Georgia House of Representatives that bans abortion after six weeks, well before many even realize they’re pregnant. While Georgia’s bill would make bad on Governor Brian Kemp’s promise to make Georgia the most difficult place in America to obtain a legal abortion, it’s just one of many Republican-led attempts to restrict abortion access. A similar bill in Mississippi bans abortion after 15 weeks. Meanwhile, a Texas lawmaker has put forth a bill that would classify abortion as homicide, making it punishable by death. The bill has virtually no chance of passing, but as Esther Wang points out, it is pretty indicative of the mindset of many anti-abortion groups.

via Ashley Judd On Georgia’s Abortion Ban: ‘I Would’ve Had to Co-Parent With My Rapist’

Upskirting now a crime after woman’s campaign – BBC News

Upskirting is now a criminal offence in England and Wales after a campaign by a woman targeted at a music festival.
Offenders will face up to two years in prison for taking an image or video under somebody’s clothing in order to see their genitals or underwear.
Gina Martin, who led the calls for change, said she hoped the change in law would help people “feel comfortable” to report such crimes.
It is already a specific crime in Scotland but not in Northern Ireland.
Speaking on the day the law came into effect, Ms Martin called on people to report upskirting when they see it happen.
She told BBC News: “If a new law’s there, great – but if we don’t know about it or aren’t reporting it, [then] it doesn’t do anything.

via Upskirting now a crime after woman’s campaign – BBC News

Katie Bouman: the 29-year-old whose work led to first black hole photo | Science | The Guardian

Katie Bouman was a PhD student in computer science and artificial intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when, three years ago, she led the creation of an algorithm that would eventually lead to an image of a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Messier 87 galaxy, some 55m light years from Earth, being captured for the first time.

via Katie Bouman: the 29-year-old whose work led to first black hole photo | Science | The Guardian

Eternals Rumored Gay Character Addressed by Kevin Feige

Rumor has it Marvel Studios’ upcoming film, The Eternals, could feature the first openly gay character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No one has confirmed that yet and, in fact, no one has formally confirmed The Eternals is even happening. However, at the recent junket for Avengers: Endgame, we asked Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige about the accuracy of that rumor and if LGBTQ heroes are something fans can expect to see in future Marvel movies.

“Well it’s accurate in that we’ve talked about [it for] a long time,” Feige told io9. “You look at the success of Captain Marvel and Black Panther. We want the movies to reflect the audience and we want every member of our global audience to see themselves reflected on the screen. And that’s what we’ve been doing for a long time. And certainly, that’s what we’re focusing on going forward.”

via Eternals Rumored Gay Character Addressed by Kevin Feige

Ohio’s Anti-Abortion Heartbeat Bill One Step Closer to Becoming Law

On Wednesday, Ohio Republicans in the House approved an even more restrictive version of the so-called “heartbeat bill” passed by the state Senate in March, taking the state one step closer towards enacting one of the most draconian abortion restrictions in the country. The state’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine has already promised he will sign the bill into law.

SB 23, which has since been chillingly renamed the “Human Rights Protection Act” by the House’s Health Committee, would prohibit people from getting abortions once a heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into one’s pregnancy. As Linda Greenhouse pointed out in an op-ed in the New York Times, that six-week cutoff date is so early into a pregnancy that the embryo is “not yet even considered a fetus.” If the bill becomes law, doctors in Ohio who perform abortions after detecting a heartbeat would face being charged with a felony and up to a year in prison, and face additional fines of up to $20,000. While it has an exception if the person’s life is in danger, there is no exception in cases of rape or incest.

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via Ohio's Anti-Abortion Heartbeat Bill One Step Closer to Becoming Law