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Gay does not mean paedophile

Paris Lees on the news stories that have caught her eye recently

Paris Lees

Wed, 25 Apr 2012 17:53:32 GMT | Updated 4 years today

A mother challenges homophobia in the Boy Scouts, Chaz Bono tackles the American media and Paris Lees locks horns with Julie Bindel…


One of the ugliest lies our heternormative culture spreads is the idea that gay people threaten children. Of course, gay people are capable of abuse - but so are straighties. The gay community poses no more risk to children than any other social group. Furthermore, recent research revealed that lesbian parents were actually less likely to abuse their children. So there.

Why, then, does the Boy Scouts of America prevent gay people from becoming members or serving as leaders? Does this shock you? Britons are protected from such discrimination and, though it is still possible to express prejudice in covert and creative ways, an outright ban on a particular group of people sounds like something from the Victorian Era. Not so in North America, though.

In the land of the free, it is perfectly legal for the Boy Scouts of America to reject a mother because she happens to be gay. Ask Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forced to resign as a den leader because the National Office discovered her sexuality.

Pretty shitty, right? Well, imagine how upsetting it must be for Jennifer's 7-year-old son, and scout, Cruz.

One thing the Boy Scouts of America should have realised is that you don't mess with an angry mum. And, though she came to activism reluctantly, Jennifer is fighting back. She's chosen to highlight the homophobic Boy Scout policy with a petition. So far, it has more than 120,000 signatures. Show some queer solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the Atlantic, ladies. Sign it.

Register your outrage.




Ah, bless 'em. The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), which promotes better coverage of gay people in the media, has worked really hard to improve transgender representation in recent years. With so much ignorance about trans people and such a lack of positive role models, it's not an easy job. Thank goodness, then, for high profile trans activist Chaz Bono. The 43-year-old was honoured with the outstanding documentary prize at the 23rd annual GLAAD Media Awards, for his transition diary, "Becoming Chaz".

And that's not all. As reports:

"Bono, who was the first-ever transgender contestant on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" last year, was also given the Stephen F. Kolzak Award, which is given by GLAAD to a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender member of the entertainment community. Past winners have included Ellen DeGeneres, Rufus Wainwright, Wanda Sykes, John Waters and Melissa Etheridge."

Good going, Chaz. Keep up the great work.



If you're one of those people who enjoys awkward silences, menacing glares and tensions you can cut with a knife, you might want to download the latest issue of META magazine. In it, I interview lesbian and feminist Guardian columnist Julie Bindel - a woman who is well known among the British trans community for her old fashioned (and decidedly unpleasant) views on transsexual people. Why, for example, did she call hormone blocker drugs for trans teenagers "child abuse"? What does she know about it?

Bindel apologised for some of the things she has written about trans people. She also claimed that she only writes about things which she has experience of, which left me feeling rather confused. What possible experience does Julie have of being trans? Well, she says: "Looking at the definition used by many transgender people... I fit perfectly with that". Ah, so she is trans.

Does Bindel consider two trans women who date each other valid lesbians? Does she feel embarrassed by her connection to blogs which bully and ridicule trans people and their genitals - as described in my latest feature for DIVA's Sex Issue? There's only one way to find out…

Watch the exclusive interview in the current issue of META magazine, a digital publication for trans people.


META: Buy it here!
Follow Paris on Twitter at @ParisLees

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