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How To Have The Sex Talk With LGBT Children



Talking to a child about sex is tricky -- and often stressful -- for parents who want to strike a balance between being open, honest and truthful without veering into territory that could be inappropriate for a young age. But the conversation becomes even more complex with lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) children, who often need an extended discussion about gender and sexuality that may be unfamiliar to heterosexual parents who haven't experienced those issues firsthand. 


So what's the best way to handle such an important parenting moment? HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd talked with a panel of parents and sex experts on Monday to answer that very question. Watch part of the discussion above, and click here for the full HuffPost Live conversation about sex-positive parenting.


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01
Sep
2015

Toddler’s Impassioned Rendition Of ‘Les Mis’ Classic Goes Viral



A toddler's viral rendition of "Do You Hear The People Sing?" is earning accolades from parents, "Les Misérables" fanatics and even Broadway stars. 


Mom Erin Frehner uploaded this brilliant video of her 3-year-old son Koen passionately belting out the famous anthem -- with his own adorable touches. Koen sings lines like "The blood of the martyrs will water the meadows of Fwwwwance!" with enough fervor to make anyone want to join the revolution. 


The video has over 260,000 views on YouTube, and even the famous Jean Valjean actor Alfie Boe has taken note. "This is amazing. A future Enjolras," he tweeted.


We're hoping Koen gets his chance on the Broadway stage a little bit sooner. Heck, he'd make a great Gavroche.


H/T Today


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01
Sep
2015

In a Word, What It Means to Be Pansexual

A high school student I've known most of her life came out to me a while back. (Seeing as I had just come out to her, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do.) Laughing that both of us thought the other knew, we finally got around to talking about just where we stood out of the closet, so to speak.

"Bisexual," I said.

"You could say bi," she wrote back about herself. "I identify with pansexual, but it's easier to say bi."

Huh? Pan-what?

After nearly four-and-a-half decades on earth, I had finally come to understand I was bisexual. Now there was another word I had to consider? No wonder I get headaches.

I was reminded of this when I saw last week that Miley Cyrus had told the world she was pansexual. As confused as most people are now, I was then.

As I so often did, however, I went and talked to some of my students in the GSA during lunch. Much more current on, well, everything, I thought they might know what this word meant. I got some interesting answers:

"You like everything."

"You like cookware."

"You like that Greek guy who's half horse."

"He's not half horse, he's half goat."

"I know that guy! He was in the first Chronicles of Narnia movie!"

At this point, I realized "more current" does not always apparently mean better. Not that I was much help, either: "If you like everything, wouldn't that be a globalsexual?"

And with that, lunch was pretty much shot to hell.

To her credit, however, one of my students wandered off into the Internet that week to discover just what pansexual meant. She came back to the next meeting with a number of things that began to clear it up:

• "Bisexual people are attracted sexually and romantically to both males and females, and are capable of engaging in sensual relationships with either sex.... pansexual people may be sexually attracted to individuals who identify as male or female; however, they may also be attracted to those who identify as intersex, third-gender, androgynous, transsexual or the many other sexual and gender identities."

• "Both bisexual and pansexual people might feel desire towards people of any amount of genders. People who feel desire towards people of more than one, more than two, many, multiple or all genders can identify as bisexual or as pansexual (or really anything else): The word people use to name their sexual identity does not predict or convey the number of genders they might desire."

I should note at this point that there are literally thousands of different websites where you can find this information. I liked these two because they discussed the topic in a clinical, non-emotional manner.

(Unlike sites like Yahoo Answers which seem to just as often be filled with idiots as intellectuals. You have to ask yourself: What kind of site allows people to vote on what is the best answer? If you're asking about a gumbo recipe, fine. But when the topics involve facts and information, there is correct and incorrect. Letting people -- many of them idiots -- vote on such things is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.)

Anyway, back to lunch. All of us sitting there listening, even when she was done we were fairly silent. Finally, one of us broke the silence: "There are more than two genders? Oh, come on! I just figured out I liked two of them!"

Yeah, that was me. In all fairness, however, some of the other people at lunch said it as well. They just weren't as loud. Or they didn't want to spit crumbs at people, so they waited until their mouths weren't full.

Whatever the reasons, however, the idea that there are more than two genders is not one you see discussed much. I teach in a fairly liberal school, and they certainly don't talk about more than two sexes in biology. In English classes, when there's the rare LGBTQ character of discussion, they're almost always gay or lesbian.

On TV and movie screens, there are straights, gays and bisexuals. Until Miley, however, I'd never even heard the word "pansexual" on TV, although I only get basic cable, so maybe that explains it.

So to hear there are more than two genders is sort of mind-blowing to some people. Honestly, it goes so completely against the grain that some people's brains just kind of stop. They switch over to less challenging things, like where to find a good gumbo recipe.

I hate doing that. (Not thinking, I mean; I love gumbo.) So I tried to understand the whole multi-gender thing in my own way. It wasn't simple. For the moment, however, it helped me to think of it this way:

If I were to ask you to raise your fingers to show me how many genders there are, you'd probably raise your hand in a "V" pattern. Two genders, two fingers, there you go.

Now raise two digits again, but this time using your thumb and your pinky. You are now fully prepared to "hang loose" and go surfing in Hawaii.

More, however, you can better understand more than two genders. Because just as there are now three fingers between your other two digits, there are other genders between just the two that you know. Too many to name here: It's all in there. Indeed, just about any issues of sexuality, identity or expression between consenting adults fits is in there somewhere.

Because gender is not a binary thing, consisting of just the plumbing in your persons. It's a function of many things, many choices and things that aren't choices at all.

And with that, I'm sure it's all cleared up!

Or not, as I'll admit it's still all rather a mind bender. Indeed, I understand now why my young friend originally said to me, "... it's easier to say bi." Because she's right.

Hopefully someday she won't be.

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01
Sep
2015

Sleep With The Lights On — New ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ Teasers Are Here

Just in case the first two teasers for "American Horror Story: Hotel" didn't convince you to avoid checking into hotels for a while, these new ones definitely will. In three new teasers, which Ryan Murphy tweeted on Monday night, the titular Hotel Cortez gets even creepier.


In one called "Jeepers Creepers," we get a look at the hotel's room 64, which we know is the room of Evan Peters' Mr. James March, the charming murderous psychopath who built the hotel in the 1930s. But is that him snooping through the peephole? As one fan on Reddit pointed out, Peters doesn't have blue eyes, so perhaps this is the eye of a victim in his room. Either way, we're bound to see Mr. March snooping at some point this season, since Peters' character is partly influenced by Howard Hughes, who was known to stay in room 64 at the Chateau Marmont and supposedly used it to spy on women down at the pool.




The second teaser, "Towhead," shows a group of pale, blonde children standing in an eerie hallway. Could some of these be the blood-drinking kids of Lady Gaga's Countess?




The third teaser changes the entire meaning of sleepwalking. Perhaps you should avoid your mattress tonight and sleep with the lights on.




Murphy also shared two new character photos over the weekend, including one of The Countess and one of a masked man who may be Mr. March.








Still not scared? Don't worry, on Monday, Lily Rabe posted a photo on Instagram of the contacts used to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos on "Hotel." That means Murphy & Co. are already shooting the two-part Halloween episode, which we know will feature a dinner party of the most infamous serial killers. Prepare to not sleep for a while.


 "American Horror Story: Hotel" premieres on Oct. 7 on FX.


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01
Sep
2015

Kentucky Clerk Refuses To Issue Marriage License To Gay Couples In Heated Exchange


WASHINGTON -- A Kentucky county clerk on Tuesday refused to issue marriage licenses for two same-sex couples despite a Supreme Court ruling ordering the clerk to do so.


A video posted to Facebook by WKYT shows the gay couples repeatedly demanding that the clerk, Kim Davis, issue them marriage licenses.


"We are not issuing marriage licenses today," Davis says in the video.


"Under whose authority are you not issuing licenses?" asks one of the men.


"Under God's authority," Davis responds.


The Rowan County clerk then asks the men to leave, before retreating to the back of the office herself. 



Davis comes out to speak to another couple denied license

Posted by Hillary Thornton WKYT on Tuesday, September 1, 2015


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01
Sep
2015

See Eddie Redmayne As Lili Elbe In The First Trailer For ‘The Danish Girl’



In the first trailer for Tom Hooper's "The Danish Girl," Alicia Vikander's Gerda Wegener sketches her husband, played by Eddie Redmayne, in bed as a woman. In the film, Redmayne plays transgender icon Lili Elbe, the first person to undergo successful gender confirmation surgery. Assigned male at birth in Denmark, Elbe visited Berlin in 1930 to undergo several experimental operations. Hooper's film is based on David Ebershoff's 2000 novel, a fictionalized account of Elbe's story.


The trailer shows Gerda asking her husband to pose in a dress for a sketch, followed by the two going out with Lili dressed in women's clothing. But things begin to change after Gerda finds Lili kissing a man (Ben Whishaw) who sees her for who she truly is. "I think Lili's thoughts," Redmayne says as Lili. "I dream her dreams. She was always there."


"The Danish Girl" opens Nov. 27.


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01
Sep
2015

Kentucky Clerk Still Won’t Issue A Same-Sex Marriage License Despite Supreme Court Ruling


WASHINGTON, Sept 1 (Reuters) - A Kentucky county clerk on Tuesday rejected requests for marriage licenses for two same-sex couples despite a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court's against the clerk, the Washington Post reported.


The top U.S. court on Monday turned down Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis' request for an emergency order allowing her to continue to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples while she appeals a federal judge's order requiring her to do so. (Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)


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01
Sep
2015

Some Promising News When It Comes To Mental Health Stigma

More people are starting to see mental health as a crucial part of staying well. Nearly 90 percent of American adults value mental and physical health equally, according to a new survey.


The findings were part of a nationwide analysis on mental health and suicide conducted by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Experts surveyed more than 2,000 respondents and are pleased with the results, given the stigma that's generally associated with mental health disorders.


"Progress is being made in how American adults view mental health ... and the importance that mental health plays in our every day life," said Christine Moutier, chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, on a conference call with reporters. "A greater understanding is occurring with the American people, which is very encouraging."


An overwhelming majority of respondents -- 93 percent -- said they'd intervene if they discovered someone close to them was contemplating suicide. Young adults in particular seem to be taking the conversations about mental illness in a more positive direction.


"The younger generation is more likely to seek help and to have a greater understanding that mental health is a very valid and real aspect of their health," Moutier said. "[They're] going to progress into middle age and the older generation before long and those attitudes can spread."



93 percent of American adults said they'd intervene if they knew someone was contemplating suicide.



However, it's not all good news. While the findings are indeed heartening, there's still a long way to go when it comes to recognizing mental health risks and seeking treatment. Approximately half of respondents said they believed they had a mental health condition, yet fewer than two in five people have received treatment.


Perhaps most alarmingly, the survey found that men are significantly more likely to hide thoughts of suicide -- a worrying statistic given that the highest rate of suicide in the U.S. occurs in middle-aged men.


"In general, we're glad to see that Americans are starting to recognize the importance of mental health as part of their overall wellness, but with over 40,000 Americans committing suicide every year ... it remains a significant concern that many Americans don't seek help," said Mark Pollack, president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.


Previous research conducted by the Association for Psychological Science suggests that stigma prevents people from seeking mental health care. After analyzing this survey's results, Moutier, Pollack and other experts also noticed another obstacle: inaccessibility. Approximately one third of people surveyed said finding proper help is a challenge, and four in 10 people said they view cost as a barrier to treatment.


Social support is also a large factor when it comes to suicide, according to Doryn Chervin, director of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Most respondents realized how important their role is when it comes to helping a loved one who is experiencing harmful thoughts.


"People want to do something -- they're willing to do something -- and the more we as a field help them know what to do, the more likely loved ones can play a role in helping to prevent suicide," she said. 



Most survey respondents realized how important their role is when it comes to helping a loved one who is experiencing harmful thoughts.




The findings do offer some refreshing insight into an apparent uptick in society's understanding of mental illness. The common belief that someone can just "suck it up," or "get over it" is a negative stereotype that plagues many sufferers of mental health conditions, which could lead to dangerous consequences, but experts believe the survey's findings suggest that people are beginning to promote a greater acceptance of mental health issues.


"I believe [the results] are a reflection of this change that's happening in terms of increased awareness and stigma going down," Moutier said. "There's certainly more work to be done, but I believe this does reflect a trend in the right direction."



If you -- or someone you know -- need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.




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01
Sep
2015

Here’s How Religious Exemption Laws Can Hurt Women And The LGBT Community

Forty-three prercent of Americans live in a state with religious exemption laws, which can potentially harm women and the LGBT community, according to a new report.


For its "LGBT Policy Spotlight" report released Tuesday, the Movement Advancement Project broke down the history of religious freedom laws, including recent Supreme Court rulings like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that play a role in how state and federal religious freedom laws are interpreted.


"The original federal RFRA may have been passed with good intentions, but the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the law in Hobby Lobby -- alongside states’ ever-increasing roster of religious exemptions, both broad and targeted -- raise serious concerns about how these vague exemptions are being used to harm others, interfere with law enforcement, and undermine the rule of law," the report says.


Earlier in 2015, both Indiana and Arkansas passed religious freedom laws that drew criticism nationwide over concerns that they could be used as legal justification for discrimination against LGBT individuals. A Reuters/Ipsos poll from April showed a majority of Americans believe businesses should not be allowed to refuse services based on their religious beliefs.


The Movement Advancement Project's report examines how much of the U.S. population lives under potentially harmful religious freedom laws:



lgbt

 (Click the map to view a larger image)


The report says the increase in these laws across the U.S. is "no coincidence," arguing the legalization of same-sex marriage and and the coverage of contraception under the Affordable Care Act are among the reasons people are fighting to pass more religious freedom legislation. 


Read the full report below:



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01
Sep
2015

Supreme Court Turns Away Kentucky Clerk Who Turned Away Gay Couples Wishing To Marry

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to delay a federal court order Monday that effectively requires a Kentucky clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians within her jurisdiction.


The court's one-line order offered no explanation for its response to Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis.


Around the time Davis filed her plea with Justice Elena Kagan on Friday, the federal judge who initially ordered her to not enforce her "no marriage policy" against gay couples declined to put on hold his own ruling to that effect, according to BuzzFeed News' Chris Geidner.


Absent an extraordinary move by Davis on Tuesday, she would seem to have no other option but to comply with the judge's order.



In her emergency petition with the court Friday, Davis argued that her "conscience forbids her from approving" marriage documents for gays and lesbians "because the prescribed form mandates that she authorize the proposed union and issue a license bearing her own name and imprimatur."


Lawyers for Davis had argued in court papers that if she couldn't be accommodated based on her religious objections, "then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office."


After the Supreme Court ruled in June that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) -- who was a losing party in that case -- ordered state clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to all couples without regard to sexual orientation.


But Davis refused time and again, even in the face of a federal lawsuit against her and an order from U.S. District Judge David Bunning telling her to comply. Last week, an appellate court told her that she had "little or no likelihood" of winning on her religious-freedom claim.


"I hope Ms. Davis will resume issuing marriage licenses tomorrow not just to our clients but to everyone who is eligible under the law," tweeted Joe Dunman, a local civil rights attorney who was also involved in the case the Supreme Court decided in June.


Despite the Supreme Court's refusal to intervene in Davis' case, her dispute remains alive in the court system: She remains free to challenge the merits of Bunning's decision before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. 

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01
Sep
2015