Monday, June 23, 2008
The brains of gay men and women look like those found in heterosexual people of the opposite sex, research suggests.
The Swedish study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, compared the size of the brain's halves in 90 adults.
Gay men and heterosexual women had halves of a similar size, while the right side was bigger in lesbian women and heterosexual men.
A UK scientist said this was evidence sexual orientation was set in the womb.
As far as I'm concerned there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay Dr Qazi Rahman Queen Mary, University of London Scientists have noticed for some time that homosexual people of both sexes have differences in certain cognitive abilities, suggesting there may be subtle differences in their brain structure.
This is the first time, however, that scientists have used brain scanners to try to look for the source of those differences.
A group of 90 healthy gay and heterosexual adults, men and women, were scanned by the Karolinska Institute scientists to measure the volume of both sides, or hemispheres, of their brain.
When these results were collected, it was found that lesbians and heterosexual men shared a particular "asymmetry" in their hemisphere size, while heterosexual women and gay men had no difference between the size of the different halves of their brain.
In other words, structurally, at least, the brains of gay men were more like heterosexual women, and gay women more like heterosexual men.
A further experiment found that in one particular area of the brain, the amygdala, there were other significant differences.
In heterosexual men and gay women, there were more nerve "connections" in the right side of the amygdala, compared with the left.
The reverse, with more neural connections in the left amygdala, was the case in homosexual men and heterosexual women.
The Karolinska team said that these differences could not be mainly explained by "learned" effects, but needed another mechanism to set them, either before or after birth.
'Fight, flight or mate'
Dr Qazi Rahman, a lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary, University of London, said that he believed that these brain differences were laid down early in foetal development.
"As far as I'm concerned there is no argument any more - if you are gay, you are born gay," he said.
The amygdala, he said, was important because of its role in "orientating", or directing, the rest of the brain in response to an emotional stimulus - be it during the "fight or flight" response, or the presence of a potential mate.
"In other words, the brain network which determines what sexual orientation actually 'orients' towards is similar between gay men and straight women, and between gay women and straight men.
"This makes sense given that gay men have a sexual preference which is like that of women in general, that is, preferring men, and vice versa for lesbian women."
Story from BBC NEWS:http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/health/7456588.stm
Published: 2008/06/16 23:28:31 GMT
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The decision to go to Bauchi was one of the craziest I have done thus far, but I know that Jesus was moved much more with compassion for people.
I love Jesus and I learnt that Jesus never discriminated, it was not necessary to determine whether you are Jewish, Gentile or Greek, a man or woman, old or young, gay or heterosexual, Jesus will talk and play with you. In Nigeria the segregation of religions, tribes and sexuality is more open than anything. If you are not a Muslim and a Northerner you are not welcomed in most part of the North, let alone if you are a homosexual. I learnt this was one of the problems during the sixties Biafra war against segregation, and the continued conflicts between Muslims and Christians.
In preparing for the trip sponsored by The Independent Project, I was careful. I carried my bible on my trip as far as the hotel in Jos, Plateau State, but did not take it with me to the Sharia court, I understand it is a criminal offence, it would have been the wrong place to present Jesus and come out alive. I have been advised by all my friends and well meaning people to keep safe. We love Jesus and I too really want to stay alive, to preach and further the inclusive gospel of Metropolitan Community Church.
Meeting the men was like walking into familiar territory, you know when you are there, gay and lesbian people are universally unique, there were smiles and tears. I think that the gaydar in Bauchi Nigeria is as strong at the gaydar in St Louis Missouri USA and we connected, emotionally and spiritually. It took a few moments to trust me as I looked either like a preacher (ofcourse which I am) or a reporter, I ensured they understood we are their friends and not the persecutors. I tell you a few eyes were coiled up and rolled over as many times and we tapped our feet and fingers in response, there were even cheeky but unique laughter.
I saw young men who by God’s love have made them the way they are and wondered why selfishly the system has decided cruelly to destroy them because of their uniqueness in God’s lovely creation.
It is obvious that these men are heroes for many other young gay men and women in Nigeria and all over the world, they just wanted to get on with life, they least understood the seriousness of the problems and why they are in court, they acted as normal and as natural as they could until their assailant arrested them and determined by the Sharia law that their behavior was not acceptable.
Because of this case their lives have been disrupted and I believe they need the help of the community as far as we can get, they need support to regain their positions in the society, they need to be able to trust us and help us in future. I also believe that they are not public about their sexuality as they appear coy. The Hausa language is rich and has a strong culture, Homosexuality is a difficult lifestyle generally in Nigeria, made worst in the Northern part of Nigeria by Sharia law, However we must remember that we are moving on in the world and ever ready for a revolution to reality, even a place as odd as Bauchi Nigeria.
The case was administratively adjourned to the 25th June 2008, 2pm. The defense team is asking for a complete dismissal of the case.
The prevailing problems for the accused men and their legal team include;
The length of the case and the apparent waste of time,
They informed us of the fact that their lives have been disrupted and are no longer receiving support from their immediate families, therefore life has been more difficult.
All the students informed us that their families have refused to support their education and they are struggling to keep up with expenses related to their studies.
Those that are students claimed that there is an increase in homophobic abuses and they are unable to defend themselves at their different institutions.
For those trading, they have lost clients and they have been dropped and not supported by the workers union.
They have lost earnings due to the numerous court adjournments.
Two who are in work, claimed discrimination from their clients and other market traders and they have not been able to earn adequate income to support themselves.
Legal team is being discriminated against and don’t feel safe
The case is costing the legal team new opportunities for other legal work, due to the time spent on this case.
We can help NOW, please let us ACT now by raising funds
Even when this case is over these men will need some support to get their lives in order, I strongly feel that we can help.
The lawyers are also on seemingly low pay for this case and are also losing other major clients due to discrimination and stigmatisation. There is an urgent need to support their efforts by subsidizing their legal fees and other expenses.
Thanks so much. Rev Rowland Jide Macaulay
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Monday, June 2, 2008
by John Dart
Little noted in the history behind the California Supreme Court decision that gives the "right to marry" to same-sex couples are the bold steps taken over four decades by onetime Pentecostal minister Troy Perry in trying to establish legal and religious rights for gays and lesbians.Perry, who founded a church 40 years ago that became an international denomination for Christian homosexuals, filed the initial lawsuit with his spouse and a lesbian couple in February 2004 that led to last month's ruling making California the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.The 4-3 decision by the high court—though endangered by an expected state initiative in November to amend the constitution to ban gay marriage—marked another milestone for the homosexual-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches, started by Perry in 1968 in Los Angeles County.
In 1969, Perry performed the first public same-sex "holy union" ceremony in the U.S., and in January 1970 he filed the first-ever lawsuit seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage. It was dismissed before coming to trial.Perry tried unsuccessfully for years to gain membership in the National Council of Churches for MCC churches. But ministers in the denomination do serve on NCC committees and have been welcomed into many regional and local interfaith councils. Meanwhile, gay caucuses grew vocal within nearly all mainline denominations, and some clergy were conducting same-sex blessings.
The idea of legal marriage for gays was too politically volatile in the mid-1990s for the MCC to make it a priority issue. But by early 2001, Perry and his church were fully committed to the fight. Perry and his longtime partner, Phillip Ray De Blieck, were legally married July 16, 2003, at an MCC congregation in Toronto."Today the California Supreme Court legally recognized our marriage," Perry, 67 and now retired, exulted on May 15, saying that "our marriage is equal in the eyes of the law to all other marriages."
A sociologist of religion who has studied the MCC movement credited Perry's leadership for the changes. "He has had the audacity and the tenacity to claim for gay and lesbian people the religious and civil rights that most Americans have the privilege to take for granted," said Steven Warner, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois-Chicago and immediate past president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Warner said the movement led by Perry was "reformist" in seeking change and "conservative" in affirming the value of "two conservative institutions—the church and marriage." Many people in the gay community say "nuts to marriage" and reject all churches as homophobic, he said. But Perry and other plaintiffs "don't want to overthrow marriage; they want to be part of it."The majority opinion, written by Republican-appointed chief justice Ronald M. George, overthrew a law enacted in 1977 and a statewide ballot measure in 2000 that limited marriage to a man and a woman.
"An individual's sexual orientation—like a person's race or gender—does not constitute a legitimate basis upon which to deny or withhold legal rights," George wrote.The justices made it clear that the ruling applies only to civil marriages: "No religion will be required to change its religious policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs." The ruling cited its own 60-year-old precedent that made California the first state to strike down a ban on interracial marriage.
The U.S. Supreme Court did not follow suit until 1967 in a case filed by Mildred Loving, a black woman who died May 2 at age 68 in Virginia. In comments last month, Perry referred to her as one of his heroes—one who "paid a steep price, solely for marrying the only man she ever loved."The three dissenting justices worried about what effect this precedent might have in the future.California should allow gay and lesbian people "to call their unions marriage," Justice Carol Corrigan said somewhat surprisingly. But she joined two other dissenting justices in noting that so far a majority of Californians "hold a different view."
The two other justices asked whether a future "activist court might find laws prohibiting polygamous and incestuous marriages were no longer constitutionally justified."In 2000, 61 percent of California voters approved the ballot measure, saying the only valid marriage is one between a man and a woman. Only six of the state's 58 counties voted against the initiative, all of them in the San Francisco Bay area. Public opinion polls have shown increasing ratios favoring gay marriage. Still, a Field Poll in 2006 found that 51 percent opposed a change while 43 percent approved.Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican who has twice vetoed bills passed by the California legislature to permit same-sex marriage, said he respected the high court ruling and would not back a constitutional amendment to overturn it.
Matthew D. Staver, representing Liberty Counsel, a firm that defends traditional marriage, and Glen Lavy, an attorney for the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, told newspapers in separate comments that they would seek a stay of the ruling until the November election.The California Catholic bishops immediately decried the ruling, and other conservative religious groups indicated that the issue may prod conservative voters around the country to action, perhaps to renew a drive for a U.S. constitutional amendment."
The California Supreme Court has taken a jackhammer to the democratic process," said the Family Research Council, based in Washington, D.C. "This decision put marriage at risk all across the nation."The decision was called "supremely arrogant" by the Institute on Religion and Democracy, a conservative group. "Churches should work to overturn it," said IRD president James Tonkowich, who noted that only two weeks earlier United Methodist delegates in their quadrennial conference maintained their longstanding policy that homosexual activity is "inconsistent with Christian teaching."By contrast, some mainline leaders who have welcomed homosexual clergy into their ranks praised the California high court.
The United Church of Christ, which joined a brief in the California case, approved overwhelmingly in its 2005 convention a resolution supporting legalization of same-sex marriages. Bill McKinney, president of the UCC-related Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, said the seminary "celebrates this historic decision."Episcopal priest Susan Russell, the national president of the gay-advocacy group Integrity, indicated that supporters for gay union rites should raise these issues at the 2009 triennial Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, California. She told Episcopal News Service that it is time for the church to "be as prophetic as the state of California has been."
Bishop Jon Bruno, who heads the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, said the court decision resonates with the church's baptismal vows to strive for justice and respect for all. "To paraphrase St. Paul," Bruno said in a May 15 statement, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, gay nor straight in Jesus Christ our Lord."