OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Studies

A century-old academic paper labelled “Not for publication” has been discovered at the Natural History Museum in Tring, England. The paper, written by a polar explorer in 1915, observes—with horror—the deviant and immoral sex lives of Adélie penguins. The naughty, naughty penguins were described as having “autoerotic tendencies” as well as partaking in “non-procreative sex and homosexual behaviors.” Of course we may rest assured that these penguins are probably long dead and are now suffering eternity in penguin hell (which is a little like Hawaii, but is assuredly considered quite insufferable to polar waterfowl).

Vancouver’s Gay Housing Discrimination Problem

August 29th, 2011

A landlord with a cigar, monocle, and top hat, addresses his gay, potential clients: "Thank you sirs. I'll let you know shortly. I am quite particular over who gets to pay my mortgage."

Housing discrimination has always been a little difficult to measure. Yet, even in a city as diverse and vibrant as Vancouver, it’s reported to happen. While it’s illegal to deny a gay couple housing simply because of their sexual orientation anywhere in Canada, proving this kind of discrimination is not easy; landlords don’t normally admit to such prejudice. (At least, not the cowardly ones.)

This is what makes a recent experiment conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia so interesting.

Two professors and 34 students designed an experiment around some housing application letters. The letters were all identical except for a small detail. Some letters indicated a heterosexual couple was interested in the property, while others indicated a gay male couple, a single parent, or a lesbian couple. The letters were then sent to 1,700 different landlords in the Vancouver area.

The results are unfortunate.

Letters that were from the gay male partners were 25% more likely to be rejected than letters from the straight couples—more than any other group. The next-most discriminated group, single parents, were 15% more likely to be rejected.

The results, naturally, depended on the neighbourhood in which the property was located. Vancouver’s West End, for example, which has traditionally been an area favoured by gays, had a much higher acceptance rate of all family types than elsewhere in the city.

Now, considering that Vancouver is a pretty a diverse city, it probably exhibits less discrimination than elsewhere in Canada. In this sense, 25% is a pretty worrying statistic, wouldn’t you say?

The results of the study have been published in the August edition of the academic journal Social Problems.

World Becoming More Gay-Friendly

June 3rd, 2011

Calvin and Hobbes look under their cardboard Transmogrifier, confirming that the globe they put under it is changing

For anyone who feels like equal rights have been regressing, here’s a bit of encouraging news. According to a report from the University of Chicago, the world is steadily becoming more and more gay-friendly.

Virtually every country studied has reported a greater acceptance of people with different sexual orientations over previous polling periods, with only four exceptions: Russia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, and Latvia. Encouragingly, the growth of acceptance in other countries outpaced the decline in these four.

The top five countries in terms of GLBT acceptance (which doesn’t include Canada, sadly) are the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, and Belgium. The bottom half of the list was unsurprisingly largely East Asian and Latin American countries, along with Cyprus, South Africa, and Turkey.

South Africa, incidentally, recognizes full marriage equality, which proves that popular acceptance isn’t a prerequisite to offering equal rights. So, even if you’re experiencing some local setbacks in equal rights thanks to alarmist politicians and widespread misinformation, keep your chin up! The trend line is still on your side, and will be for as long as you keep fighting for it!

Study Finds Homophobia Rampant In Schools

May 13th, 2011

A threatening-looking man startles a student: "Leave this place. You are in grave danger! ... Seriously, don't hide from bullies in the chemistry lab's storage closet, OK?"

A new study being released today by the University of Winnipeg has found that homophobia has become a normal part of school life in Canada, with a direct impact on student safety.

Homophobic harassment and comments, sometimes even uttered by teachers, is commonplace. 64% of GLBT students actually report feeling unsafe at school. 21% have even reported being physically harassed or assaulted because of their sexual orientation.

The study also revealed a bit of hope, though. Both verbal and physical harassment were found to be significantly reduced in schools that have explicit anti-homophobia policies compared to those that did not. A clear majority of straight students, 58%, also reported homophobic comments to be upsetting, meaning that most students you meet will be an ally.

Anti-homophobia policies are finding organized opposition from church groups, as was seen in Burnaby this week, but academic research like this certainly outshines any imaginative misinformation and demonstrates a clear need for programs to make schools safer.

So, to all you guys having a rough time in school, hang in there! Things are getting better!

Gay Blood Ban Continues With No Researchers

February 7th, 2011

Nosferatu hesitates over a sleeping gay couple.

Canadian Blood Services continues to ban blood donations from gay males, permanently barring all men who have had sex with another man—even once—since 1977. It’s a dumb policy, and one that helps propagate the myth that all gay men are sexually promiscuous and inherently dangerous to the blood supply.

That could change, though; many other countries implement a questionnaire that bases their bans on risky sexual practices, such as having multiple partners and unprotected sex, rather than simple sexual orientation. It makes a lot of sense, particularly since it would also catch tainted blood from heterosexuals—a group which currently has barely any restrictions in Canada. But so far CBS isn’t budging, citing a need for research.

That research, incidentally, should be underway—but it’s not. CBS set aside $500,000 in research grants two years ago to help fund studies into implementing a different policy, but not one scientist has applied for the funding yet.

So, what’s the deal, medical researchers? I know it’s competitive to find funding for scientific research, so it can’t be that you guys don’t want it. Surely this is just a matter of poor advertising for the grant.

Of course, if no one else wants the money, I have my M.Sc.

It’s in a completely unrelated field of science, mind you, but I’m sure I could wing it. Any science not based in math is just improvisation anyway. So, yeah, call me?

Acceptance Of Gay Families Inching Forward

September 17th, 2010

Tony and his magnificently stupid sibiling, Professor Slobberboots.

A new survey out of Indiana University suggests that 68 percent of Americans now consider gay couples with children to be families. This is an increase from 2003, where only 54 percent of respondents said so.

Encouraging as that is, there’s still a large group—30 percent—who indicated that pets count as family, but not same-sex couples. No word on how many of them have actually tried to declare Mister Snugglekins III as a dependent for tax purposes, but these kooks sure have a crazy idea of what makes a family. Of course, they’re also largely the same group of people that like to define themselves as “pro-family,” (as opposed to the more accurate “anti-gay”) even though—by their definition—it’s legal to have some members of your family put down if they get too expensive to care for.

In the meantime, I guess a third of Americans had better update their wills to include Sir Wigglepuss, or they’ll have some costly family legal battles to deal with later.

A big thank you to Slap reader Matt for the story!

Study: Gay Men Better At Facial Recognition

June 23rd, 2010

A study out of York University has found that gay men are faster and more accurate when recognizing faces than their heterosexual counterparts.

Say, let’s try this out now:

Kermit the Frog

(You can submit your time via email. I’ll wait.)

Researchers attribute the results to differences between the brains of gay and straight men. Gay men, they say, like women, use both sides of their brains for performing these sorts of tasks, whereas straight men only use the right half.

This study adds one more biological trait to the growing list of physiological differences between gay and straight men discovered in recent years. Gay men, for example, are statistically more likely to be left-handed, to have counter-clockwise hair whorls, and have longer index fingers than ring fingers (like me).

With more and more biological links are being discovered every year, I wonder when, exactly, the anti-gay lobby will finally abandon their kooky claims that being gay is just some sort of lifestyle choice. I suppose the Vegas odds on 2:30pm aren’t very good.

Gay Men Make Up Most Victims of Hate-Motivated Violence

June 18th, 2010

Man is crushed by rising column in hate crimes statistic bar chart.

There has been a noticeable jump in the number of reported hate crimes in Canada in 2008, and gay men top the charts as victims of hate-motivated violence, according to a police services report.

The rise in hate crimes is most likely due to better reporting of hate-motivated incidents, which is a very good thing, but these numbers are still way too high. The number of hate crimes logged by police, for example, has risen 35 percent since the year before to a grand total of 1,036. That’s over a thousand victims selected simply because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation with no other motivating factors.

Most disturbingly, 75 percent of all hate crimes involving physical violence (as opposed to vandalism and other non-violent incidents) were motivated solely by the sexual orientation of the victim. Of these, 85 percent of the victims were gay men. This means the gay community, and particularly gay men, are at a hugely disproportionate risk of violence.

This has got to change, and it starts by challenging all casual homophobia before it has a chance to escalate to this level of hate.

Academic Studies Weirdly Excluding Gays

March 24th, 2010

Alien pops out of gay research participant's chest.

A statistically significant percentage of medical studies in the United States have been excluding gay participants for no logical reason, a new survey has found.

The survey was started when one researcher, Brian Egleston, noticed that a clinical trial about cancer patients deferred all gay couples from participating. That study turned out to be just one of about 15% to exclude gay participants without any obvious link to the subject matter. Results of the survey have now been published in last Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

It’s definitely odd for such a disciplined field of academics to arbitrarily exclude subjects for research as generic as a cancer study. Unless they know something I don’t.  Say… Are—are we gays immune to cancer? ‘Cause if we are, I’m totally starting a new, gay-only, asbestos fashion line.

Cyberbullies Target GLBT Youth

March 15th, 2010

Cyberbullying

A new study out of Iowa State University suggests that gay and lesbian teenagers are among the hardest hit by cyberbullying, a phenomenon unique to today’s youth. With the popularity of social networking, bullies have found new venues to harass and ostracize their peers, often without the threat of adult intervention.

The numbers aren’t terrifically encouraging. 54% of gay youth and friends of gay youth reported being cyberbullied within the thirty days prior to the researchers’ survey. The next highest group was females, at 21%.

Less encouraging still, victims of cyberbullying reported feeling helpless, with 55% saying that their parents couldn’t do anything to stop it, and 57% saying they don’t believe school officials could help either.

To help ameliorate the situation, I’ve decided to make an actual cybernetic bully, programmed to protect gay youth against its human counterparts. Any investors?

Gay Youth At Greater Risk Of Bullying

February 1st, 2010

Gay teens are nearly twice as likely to be bullied as straight ones, according to a new study conducted out of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, is based on a survey of 7,559 teens and young adults. While the number of out teens in the sample was relatively small, the results still re-confirm that GLBT youth are at a higher risk of being bullied, likely because bullies tend to target anyone perceived as being different.

Bullying is a huge problem—a problem with lasting, negative effects, and one that will not disappear on its own. Schools must train their staff to recognize and put a stop to it, or the problem will only continue.

High School Still Dangerous For Gay Teens

September 25th, 2009

Friendlier than the hall monitors, mind you.

A professor researching harassment of gay teens is calling high school “the land that time forgot,” a place where aggressive anti-gay sentiment pervades student life.

Catherine Taylor, a professor of education and communications at the University of Winnipeg, regrets to have discovered that virtually all gay teens are verbally harassed, with a startling number even being physically abused. Worse, homophobia so ingrained in school culture that very few students step up to condemn the abuse.

This is the same study, incidentally, that was forbidden from being conducted inside several Catholic school boards in Canada. The study is currently in its second phase, and is seeking funding for its third and final phase to take place early next year.

Psychologist Assocation Re-Condemns “Ex-Gay” Therapy

August 7th, 2009

To be published in the esteemed medical journal, "Congratulations, Sherlock."

The American Psychological Association has finished a two-year review of their 1997 policy denouncing reparative, conversion therapy for gays. The final verdict: “There is no evidence that sexual orientation change efforts work.”

This latest investigation, launched in 2007, reviewed over 80 studies on the subject of gay conversion therapies published between 1960 to present. The 183-page conclusion, which was released on Wednesday, states that “contrary to claims of sexual orientation change advocates and practitioners, there is insufficient evidence to support the use of psychological interventions to change sexual orientation.”

The APA removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in 1973, and has warned that any attempt to change sexual orientation can be harmful to the healthy development of individuals. With this latest report, the APA also condemns non-professionals who portray homosexuality as a developmental disorder, saying that they should instead “increase family and school support and reduce rejection of sexual minority youth.”

While the report is all well and good, this exhaustive review really just reinforces what medical professionals have already known for years: gay conversion therapies don’t work because there’s nothing to cure. Whether you’re gay, lesbian, straight, or anything in-between, you’re every bit as worthy of love as anyone else!

A tip o’ the hat to the always indispensable Wayne Besen over at Truth Wins Out for the story!

Canada’s Pink, Frosted Glass Ceiling

June 5th, 2009

Hand it in with your TPS report.

A study on gay employees in Canada has shown that there are still barriers when it comes to advancing one’s career.

The Catalyst study, sponsored by the Bank of Nova Scotia, found that less than half of gay workers felt their coworkers were very comfortable with gay employees, and fewer than ten percent felt coworkers were informed about the issues gay employees face. The study also revealed a gender discrepancy when it comes to being closeted at work. While only about five percent of men are completely closeted at work, the figure is more than doubled for gay women at twelve percent.

Combined, these attitudes have resulted in gay people being passed over for promotions, and exclusion from business networks.

Of course, gay workers will always be welcome here at InterSlap Enterprises, Inc..

Study: Family Reaction Key To Gay Health

January 2nd, 2009

Parents Gone Wild

Gay youth are at a greater risk of suicide, depression, and self-destructive behaviours if their family reacts negatively when they come out of the closet, a new study has revealed.

Researchers at San Francisco State University found that even marginally supportive behaviour from parents toward their gay children reduced cases of drug abuse threefold,  severe depression sixfold, and suicide attempts eightfold.

Caitlin Ryan, the lead researcher of the study, said that while the results are intuitive, many parents still respond in very harmful ways.  Parents may have severe, negative reactions to learning about their child’s sexual orientation—such as forcing teens out of their homes, or forbidding them from associating with gay friends—in the hopes that an expression of extreme disapproval will somehow turn their kids straight. Ryan suggested that, while most parents have the very best intentions, greater education is required, and doctors should help spread that message.

Sten Vermund, a pediatrician at Vanderbilt University, agreed, saying that while many parents may have difficulty offering the support their gay children need, it’s important to try:

Someone can still be uncomfortable with their child’s sexual orientation, but if they are somewhat more accepting and do the best the can, they will do the youth a lot of good. That, to me, is an important message.

A great message, indeed, and an excellent lesson with which to start off the new year. Hope you all had a fantastic holiday, kids!

Gays At Higher Risk Of Teen Pregnancy

December 17th, 2008

Hey, if Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it...

Researchers at the University of British Columbia have found that gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens are at a significantly higher risk of becoming pregnant or causing pregnancy than their straight counterparts.

The study, which was published yesterday in the Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, suggests that the higher pregnancy rate among gay teens is largely due to overcompensation—an attempt to “camouflage” one’s homosexuality. Another proposed theory suggests that a higher number of gay teens living on the streets may also have contributed to the counter-intuitive results.

Either way, I have a new concern to lose sleep over. All those anti gay marriage people said I couldn’t reproduce—a horrible lie, apparently. I’m not ready to be pregnant, or a father!

Study: Gun-Toting Canadians Don’t Like Gays

September 29th, 2008

A study conducted by Wilfred Laurier University has found that gun-toting voters held the same opinions on controversial topics than non gun owners—with exactly one exception: Same-sex marriage.

Using data donated by Ipsos Reid, researchers noted that of the 5,954 gun-owning Canadians polled, same-sex marriage was the only topic that gun owners opposed in numbers significantly higher than the rest of the Canadian population. Despite their similarities in opinion on other topics, gun owners were also 10% more likely to vote for the Conservative party, which has historically opposed gay rights.

Interesting stuff! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go pick out some lead curtains.

Study: Gays Are Not Inherently Unhealthy

September 22nd, 2008

A study of over 400 gay and bisexual men by the University of Minnesota has shown that internalized homophobia, and not simply being gay, leads to poor mental and sexual health.

Results are to be published in the esteemed medical journal, Dr. Obvious’ Journal of Obviously Obvious Obviousness.

Still, the study is actually pretty important because it runs counter to the claims of anti-gay lobby groups who repeatedly assert that gay people are somehow inherently miserable—spotlighting some ill-defined (but always destructive) lifestyle that all gay people are supposed to share. As an actual gay person, I can say that’s just nutty; so, while my official reaction to this study is an enthusiastic “well, duh“, it is kind of nice that someone went through the menial task of putting it on the record. And put in such a blunt way, as Dr. Simon Rosser, one of the researchers, demonstrates:

Given the debates in many religious denominations about homosexuality, and in society about homosexuals and civil rights, [this research] is also timely. In particular, the old advice to gay men to fight, deny, or minimize their homosexuality likely only increases depression, greater isolation, and poorer sexual health.

So, there you have it. Love yourself for who you are, and you’ll be better off for it. And, as a small aside, why not start with some delicious gay pasta, courtesy of the McGill Daily?

The Existence of Gaydar

June 16th, 2008

I’m super-happy to introduce today’s guest author / illustrator! Premee is an environmental specialist currently living in Calgary. She says her degree in molecular genetics has given her no noticeable edge in telling whether or not she’s hitting on a hot gay waiter, but it does make for interesting party conversation.

Gaydar exists, apparently, which is a bit of a shock to someone who’s spent years arguing that it doesn’t. (My arguments were based on the fact that I don’t have it. I just don’t. Elton John and his husband could come sit on my lap wearing WE’RE GAY t-shirts and I still wouldn’t know.)

Gaydar

Secondly, I had always thought it was an innate thing, like… well, like gayness itself. It turns out new research is showing that it can be traced to some very specific and definable physical characteristics—and I don’t mean the tired old stereotypes of mesh shirts or an iPod full of showtunes. This kind of basic research really provides more weapons in the arsenal against people who continue to insist that homosexuality is either learned or a choice. It’s becoming more and more obvious that it is innate, biological, and immutable.

So, without further ado, I summarize Lippa et al’s research as follows:

  1. A gay man’s index finger will tend to be about as long as his ring finger, similar to straight women; lesbians tend to have shorter index than ring fingers, similar to straight men.
  2. There exists a recognizable ‘accent’ in about 75% of gay men (sidenote: Rufus Wainwright is gay? I didn’t know th… now, see, this is what I was talking about.)
  3. More gay men than straight men have counterclockwise hair whorls.
  4. Gay men tend to have bigger… good heavens. You’ll have to read the article for that one.
  5. The gay man’s hypothalamus cell cluster INAH3 is similar to the size of a straight woman’s.

There you have it! Now go forth in comfort, dear readers, secure in the knowledge that talented scientists are working night and day to decode the signals behind what most of you do without even thinking twice.

Study: Gay Couples As Happy As Straight Ones

January 25th, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

Three independent studies were released this month comparing gay couples to straight ones, and all have reached the same conclusion: They’re every bit as successful.

The results of two studies were released in this month’s issue of Developmental Psychology, while the third was released by The Rockway Institude, an affiliate of the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University.

In all three studies, the findings suggest the exact opposite of what anti-gay groups regularly announce: That gay couples lead less fulfilling lives. Glenn I. Roisman, the lead author of one of the studies, dismissed such claims completely:

The belief that committed same-sex relationships are atypical, psychologically immature, or malevolent contexts of development was not supported by our findings. Compared with married [heterosexuals], committed gay males and lesbians were not less satisfied with their relationships.

One of the studies also revealed that married gay couples fare better than their non-married counterparts, suggesting that the protections offered by same-sex marriage strengthens bonds noticeably.

Hey, wait… Wasn’t same-sex marriage supposed to destroy families or something?

Hat tip to John Kelley, who alerted me to the Rockway Institute study.

Male Doctor Homophobia Surprises Researchers

May 2nd, 2007

Athlete and Physician

Researchers at the University of Alberta’s Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic have found that athletes prefer female doctors to male ones. While the results were primarily attributed to the non-confrontational and caring attitude of female doctors, Dr. Marni Wesner, one of the researchers conducting the work, said she was taken off-guard by one additional recurring element: homophobia.

In particular, Wesner said that some male athletes expressed they’d dislike a male team doctor because they “don’t know if he’s gay.”

Now, this might just be me, but a doctor’s sexual orientation would probably concern me less than, say, the crippling pain that sent me there in the first place. Though, if potential attraction were a concern, I’d remind myself that doctors have seen so much anatomy under the context of injuries and infections that they probably turned asexual long ago.

Pro-Family Group Distorts Research

June 21st, 2006

Wacky Pro-Family Spokeswoman

Troubling news, folks. A British Columbia researcher recently discovered that 38 percent of lesbian teens attempt suicide compared to only 8 percent of heterosexual girls. That’s 4 out of 10; a startlingly high figure.

Now, how do you suppose Melissa Fryrear of the crazily anti-gay lobbyist group Focus on the Family weighs in on this? Well… (drum roll) it looks like she’s placing the blame on… (eye roll) the gays! Observe:

Regrettably, [teen lesbians] think they have to embrace homosexuality because pro-gay advocates told them that they were born gay. And that is absolutely not true.

Uh, OK. So… the people trying to foster a more accepting society are responsible? Gee, I wonder what Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc—who actually did the research—has to say about all this?

Nothing in the brief results we presented or in our overall study could lead to such conclusions.

The research has been hijacked for somebody’s political purposes or ideological purposes and that’s worrisome. In fact, American studies have noted that gay teenagers are at the highest risk of suicide before they come out of the closet. After that, they do quite well unless they’re harassed.

So, there you go. The “pro-family” types were caught lying again. How shocking. Utterly offensive and such. Well, I’m off to make some orange pekoe tea before someone starts interpreting it as being totally pro-citrus, even though there are no oranges in it. Who wants?