A groundbreaking survey reports that nearly 2 out of 3 transgender people say they've been victims of physical assault. Most of those crimes are never reported to police. This year, the Justice Department wants to change that by training law enforcement to be more sensitive to the needs of trans people in their communities.
Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole says its new training program is motivated by a simple yet powerful idea.
Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.
Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:
The zipless f---- was more than a f----. It was a platonic ideal. Zipless, because when you came together, zippers fell away like rose petals. Underwear blew off in one breath like dandelion fluff. Tongues intertwined and turned liquid. Your whole soul flowed out through your tongue and into the mouth of your lover.
So how does the world of 2013 look to the writer who gave us Isadora Wing?
We talk with Jong about feminism and gender in American pop culture and politics.
On Thursday morning, the Board of Regents governing Connecticut state colleges unanimously passed a sexual assault policy which would, among other things, require campuses to give victims detailed descriptions of what they can do.
In the space of a lifetime, the status of gay and lesbian people in the United States and Western Europe has been transformed. So to watch a play like "A Song at Twilight," written by Noel Coward in 1966, is to journey back in time and then wonder how far, really one has traveled.
I'm as excited as anybody else about Jason Collins, but can the NBA really be having its Big Gay Moment when one of its stars from the past frequented gay bars, dyed his hair green and --during his playing days -- wore feather boas and a wedding dress?
There's something exciting about a critic who challenges your perceptions in a compelling way. I love the movie American Hustle but when I read Willa Paskin's take-down of it in Slate, she really got me thinking.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:26 pm
Leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, a dominant storyline was Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and what it might mean for athletes and other visitors. Would athletes protest in any way? Would Russian LGBT activists try to demonstrate against the propaganda law at the Olympics?
The answers (so far, at least) are: barely, and not really.
While visitors watching the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, enjoy spectacular feats of athletic ability from the world's most accomplished athletes, those in Russia's LGBT community anticipate laws that punish Russians for even suggesting that it's okay to be gay, let alone live openly as a gay adult.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:06 pm
Michael Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year out of Missouri, talked about being gay in an interview with The New York Times that ran Sunday, although his college coaches and teammates already knew. Sam was expected to be a solid NFL draft pick in May, making this a particularly intriguing time for him to come out. Assuming he's drafted, Sam would become the first active NFL athlete to be openly gay.
It hasn't been easy for Barbara Amaya to talk about her past. She was abused at home as a child, and when she was 12 she ran away to Washington, D.C. — where she was picked up by sex traffickers and forced into prostitution.
"I fell into the hands of a woman. I was sitting in the park and she just started talking to me," Barbara tells her daughter, Bianca Belteton, on a visit to StoryCorps in Arlington, Va.
"Dallas Buyer's Club" covers a lot of the same ground as an Oscar-nominated documentary about AIDS from last year, "How To Survive A Plague." Each film covers the time from mid-to-late 1980s when the disease struck, when there was no accepted or effective medical treatment, when the patients themselves had to push for better research and faster tracks to bring drugs to market.
As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.
Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 3:35 pm
"Attorney General Eric Holder announced Friday that the federal government will recognize the 900-plus same-sex marriages that took place in Utah during the two weeks when such unions were legal," NPR's Nina Totenberg writes for us.
That means those couples "will be eligible for all federal benefits," NPR's Carrie Johnson adds.
Governor Chris Christie's administration is under fire for ordering lane closures that blocked access to the George Washington Bridge for four days last September, indulging in an egomaniacal fantasy of vengeance against a political foe who refused to recognize the Christie administration's self-professed superiority.
Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 3:05 pm
Pope Francis continues to shake up the Vatican establishment. This time, in what observers are calling a major move, he reshuffled the membership of the Congregation for Bishops, one of the most important organizations in the Vatican.
In the biggest shakeup announced on Monday, Francis removed Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the group and replaced him with another American, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C..
Here in the West, Zen Buddhism is often where you go when you've concluded the religion you grew up with is marred by venality, hypocrisy, misogyny, patriarchal structure, and an insufficient commitment to peace and love.
Buddhism seems to have less hierarchy and more commitment to pure enlightenment and oneness. So, what do Buddhists do when Buddhism falls down on the job?
On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA, which would ban discrimination of employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. On Friday, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal urged House Speaker John Boehner to take up the bill in the House.
On The Nose this week, a viral video musical tribute to Chinese food triggers cries of racism, a father welcoming his fourth daughter into the world, and opens up a can of complicated thoughts about that. And we talk about the time we walked in the shoes of the opposite sex. Listen to our weekly culture panel live from New Haven on WNPR.
Author David Schickler wanted to be a priest as a young man, but he struggled between his desire to serve God and to be with women. He said, “For me to have become celibate for life would have been to become half human.”