The Most Popular Gay Stories of the Week
Washington Native American Tribe Approves Gay Marriage
A Native American tribe from Washington state has taken the steps to formally recognize gay marriage.
The Colville Tribal Council of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation voted on Sept. 5 to recognize same-sex marriages, according to The Wenatchee World. While not all council members were present during the vote, all those who were voted favorably.
Council chairman Michael Finley told the newspaper that the vote was the final step toward full recognition, as LGBT identities had long been recognized (called two-spirit in the tribal vernacular).
Gay couples in the tribe were already allowed to add their spouse to their insurance and other benefits plans.
The total number of U.S. tribes with formal marriage equality reaches six with the Colville Nation.
The Coquille tribe legalized same-sex unions in 2009, while the Suquamish Tribe approved such unions in 2011—one year before state residents voted at the ballot to legalize it in 2012. The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan also began to recognize same-sex marriages this March.
The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians in Michigan and the Santa Ysabel Tribe of California also recognize gay marriages.
While a state may have approved gay marriage, Native American tribes enact their own laws.
Study: Urban Gays Less Happy Than Those In Rural Settings
It is generally thought that the city, with its wide variety of people, offers a more welcoming setting for LGBT, however, a new study asserts that gays in rural areas might actually be better off than those in metropolitan cities.
The study, called “Does Place of Residence Matter? Rural–Urban Differences and the Wellbeing of Gay Men and Lesbians,” was recently released by the Journal of Homosexuality. It focuses on the experiences of 635 gays and lesbian living in the U.S., who filled out a series of surveys regarding their experiences.
The results found living in large metro areas seems to negatively impact the health and well-being of gays and lesbians.
“For gay people, large cities tend to provide more social-networking opportunities, more social and institutional supports and more tolerant social climates,” the study concludes. “Yet, they also typically have more noise, pollution, traffic, crime and ethnic conflict – stressors that tend to erode wellbeing. Other drawbacks of urban life may include high taxes, inferior public schools, substandard housing and a relatively high cost of living.”
Researchers reached the conclusion that the quality of life experienced by rural or small-town gays often outweighs the challenges and threats associated with living in a large metropolitan area.
These findings contradict a research study conducted last year that concluded that conservative climates in rural and small town settings tend to negatively impact the health and well being of LGBTs.
Toys ‘R’ Us Stops Labeling ‘Boys’ And ‘Girls’ Toys
Toys retailer giant Toys “R” Us will stop labeling its products for boys and girls after mounting pressure from consumers.
According to Think Progress, the United Kingdom branch of the company will start to use gender-neutral terms and images in its toys Christmas catalogue. The move comes in response to an online petition launched by the group Let Toys Be Toys asking the company to remove gender stereotypes from its products.
A similar Change.org petition was made for the U.S. stores, reaching over 3,000 signatures to follow on the UK’s steps, but the company’s website still labels toys for boys and girls, and the company hasn’t replied back to requests for comment.
Last year, Top Toy, one of the largest toy chains in Sweden, published a catalogue showing girls holding toy machine guns and boys playing with dolls, according to RT.com.
The move was an effort to cash in on Sweden’s new gender-neutral language revolution.
RT reported that since 2008, the country’s government has spent millions promoting gender equality in schools. The Swedish are so hardcore about it that some government officials have proposed a new single gender-neutral pronoun – “hen” – to replace “he” and “she” in order to minimize gender stereotyping.
Russian Journalist Promises to Out Closeted Lawmakers
An LGBT journalist has promised to take drastic measures if a new anti-gay legislation in Russia moves forward.
According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Elena Kostyuchenko, who writes for the Novaya Gazeta, promised on Twitter she will start outing closeted members of parliament who voted in favor of the country’s “homosexual propaganda” law, and those who vote for a proposed law that would remove children from their gay parents.
Kostyuchenko said publishing the private information of Russian legislators is like a “nuclear bomb” that should only be used as a “last resort,” but given the new anti-gay bill recently proposed, she said that “such a time has come.”
Russia’s current anti-gay law prohibits the public display of homosexuality, as well as the teaching of anything LGBT-related to a minor. If passed, the new bill would deny gay parents custody over their children.
Kostyuchenko promised she will publish her report outing closeted parliamentarians on the day the bill gets its first reading in the State Duma, reports Gay Russia.
She added the only way for closeted politicians to be spared is to vote against the custody bill.
“Others will disclosed,” she tweeted on Sept. 5. “This is a warning. They want to destroy our life, and we will destroy them.”