Monday, July 21, 2008

Help out BiNet USA!

From Wendy Curry, president of BiNet USA:

There's been some exciting discussions going on over the past week... how BiNet can reach out to the younger generation, how we should handle the same gender marriage debate, how to increase or web presence.

It seems like a good time to remind y'all - BiNet is what each one of you chooses to make of it. We are grassroots and all volunteer. We don't have a big budget or staff.

Consider joining us on the board... come up with a nifty title for yourself and i can help set you up with a special name tag ;)

Its funny.. I was having this sometimes exasperating discussion with a binet memeber earlier this month. she has tons of ideas and was confused why we weren't implementing more of them. Eventually, I realized there was an impression that the board secretly meets in dark, smoky quarters to plot our secret agenda... one that we don't share with anyone.

I had to laugh. honestly.... y'all see all there is to see. I volunteer my hour or so a day maintaining the list and web site, responding to email, and being involved in the glbt leadership discussion groups. Margaret manages our mail. Gary, our funds. Matt keeps us up to date on the Task Force's leadership round table. And that's about ALL we're doing.

If anyone is interested in BiNet doing more, please join us!

For more about BiNet USA, visit their website: binetusa.org

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

"Bisexual Species"

Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom
Homosexual behavior is common in nature, and it plays an important role in survival
By Emily V. Driscoll

Two penguins native to Antarctica met one spring day in 1998 in a tank at the Central Park Zoo in midtown Manhattan. They perched atop stones and took turns diving in and out of the clear water below. They entwined necks, called to each other and mated. They then built a nest together to prepare for an egg. But no egg was forthcoming: Roy and Silo were both male.

Robert Gramzay, a keeper at the zoo, watched the chinstrap penguin pair roll a rock into their nest and sit on it, according to newspaper reports. Gramzay found an egg from another pair of penguins that was having difficulty hatching it and slipped it into Roy and Silo’s nest. Roy and Silo took turns warming the egg with their blubbery underbellies until, after 34 days, a female chick pecked her way into the world. Roy and Silo kept the gray, fuzzy chick warm and regurgitated food into her tiny black beak.

Like most animal species, penguins tend to pair with the opposite sex, for the obvious reason. But researchers are finding that same-sex couplings are surprisingly widespread in the animal kingdom. Roy and Silo belong to one of as many as 1,500 species of wild and captive animals that have been observed engaging in homosexual activity. Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and solitary creatures and on branches of the evolutionary tree ranging from insects to mammals.

Unlike most humans, however, individual animals generally cannot be classified as gay or straight: an animal that engages in a same-sex flirtation or partnership does not necessarily shun heterosexual encounters. Rather many species seem to have ingrained homosexual tendencies that are a regular part of their society. That is, there are probably no strictly gay critters, just bisexual ones. “Animals don’t do sexual identity. They just do sex,” says sociologist Eric Anderson of the University of Bath in England.

Nevertheless, the study of homosexual activity in diverse species may elucidate the evolutionary origins of such behavior. Researchers are now revealing, for example, that animals may engage in same-sex couplings to diffuse social tensions, to better protect their young or to maintain fecundity when opposite-sex partners are unavailable—or simply because it is fun. These observations suggest to some that bisexuality is a natural state among animals, perhaps Homo sapiens included, despite the sexual-orientation boundaries most people take for granted. “[In humans] the categories of gay and straight are socially constructed,” Anderson says.

Read more!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

National Forum on Disability Issues featuring the 2008 Presidential Candidates: Coming up in Columbus, Ohio!



The National Forum on Disability Issues, featuring the 2008 Presidential Candidates (invited) is a historic, nonpartisan forum on national disability policy to be held on July 26, 2008 in Columbus, Ohio. The venue allows us to welcome well over a thousand Americans with disabilities and their friends and family (registration required) to attend the event, and to commemorate the 18th anniversary of our civil rights law, the Americans with Disabilities Act. The forum will feature time slots for the presidential candidates to individually present their visions for the future of disability policy in America followed by questions by Judy Woodruff, news anchor and journalist ("The News Hour with Jim Lehrer"), who will act as the Moderator.

This presidential candidates forum builds on the success of our November primary-focused forum in New Hampshire, where the disability community made history with its first-ever disability presidential candidates forum with participation from seven presidential candidates, five of them in person.

In addition to a large live attendance, tens of thousands from across the country will tune in via simultaneous webcast. The forum will also be broadcast live start to finish over all Ohio radio reading services, giving access to the event to people with disabilities in Ohio who don't have a computer and aren't able to attend to attend the event in person.

The Conference & Technology Center in Columbus, Ohio will accommodate large numbers of attendees, but registration is required. Registration will close when our capacity is reached. Please only register if you are certain you can attend this event in person. Please print your confirmation screen after you successfully register and bring it with you to the forum as proof of registration.

Saturday, July 26, 2008
12:30 pm ET - 3:30 pm ET
Location: Conference & Technology Center
First Church of God
3480 Refugee Road
Columbus, Ohio 43232

Register here!!