News Bites for November 11, 2015

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender news bites.


Couples Press for End to Mississippi Gay Adoption Ban

(AP) Four lesbian couples pressed a federal judge on Friday to overturn Mississippi's last-in-the-nation ban on allowing same-sex couples to adopt, but lawyers for the state argued the lawsuit should be tossed out.

Plaintiffs want U.S. District Judge Daniel Jordan III to issue a preliminary injunction allowing members of two couples who don't have parental rights to adopt their spouse's children immediately. They say that after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision legalizing same-sex marriage, there's no need to wait for a full trial.

Roberta Kaplan, arguing for the plaintiffs, said Mississippi is still telling same-sex couples that "their marriages and families are not as good as the marriages and families of straight couples. And that's directly contrary to what the Supreme Court said."

Mississippi officials, though, argue the lawsuit is defective because the plaintiffs are suing state officials who have no power to order an adoption. And after the plaintiffs then sued four chancery judges who can order adoptions, the state argued that it's improper for a federal court judge to issue a blanket order to a state judge when the plaintiffs haven't even filed adoption actions.

"These plaintiffs and everybody else should be required to go to state court first," said Justin Matheny, representing Attorney General Jim Hood. He also implied that the ban might not apply to one person who wants to adopt the child of their spouse, saying "there is an ambiguity about how it works," and said anyone rejected by a chancery judge could appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court.


Gay Pokemon Wedding Proposal is the Cutest Thing You'll See Today

(EDGE) A man took to his Tumblr last month and posted photos of what may be the nerdiest and cutest wedding proposal ever.

Since both Brett and his partner Max are both huge Pokemon fans, Brett offered Max to choose his own ring: a grass, fire or water type ring. The grass ring has a wooden inlay, the fire ring is black with a red gem and the water type has a mother of pearl inlay.

To make the proposal even more amazing, Brett placed each ring in a Pokeball.

"I've been scheming like a madman for months, having things shipped to my friends, and hiding art supplies," Brett said on his Tumblr, "Max, for his part, has been telling me pretty much every day since we've started that he's going to marry me. Somehow, I was still nervous when it came time to ask about making that official."
"At the beginning of every adventure, you need to pick a partner. I chose him," he added. "So, I figured if he said yes, he could decide what to wear on his finger. He said yes, by the way."

Max chose the fire ring but got to keep the other rings as well. 

"Whatever he picked as his official starter will 'evolve' at milestone anniversaries. I got plans," Brett said.

Brett also added the reaction to the poke-proposal "has been kinda overwhelming." 

"It's like getting to geek out with a whole bunch of people we've never even met," he said. 

His post has nearly 30,000 notes on Tumblr.


New Study Says There’s No Such Thing as Straight Women

(SFGN) A study conducted by Dr. Gerulf Rieger from the Department of Psychology at the University of Essex, found that 82 percent of the women participating were aroused by both sexes, the Telegraph reports.

The analysis, which involved 345 women, and measured responses such as pupil dilation, found that 74 percent of women who identified as straight were strongly aroused by videos of both men and women.

In comparison, lesbians showed much stronger responses to women. The response was most similar to men, who regardless of identifying as gay or straight, showed distinct favor to their “sex of choice.”

Dr. Rieger said "Even though the majority of women identify as straight, our research clearly demonstrates that when it comes to what turns them on, they are either bisexual or gay, but never straight."


Evidentiary Dispute in Philadelphia Transgender Murder Case

(SFGN) Defense attorneys for accused murderer Charles Sargent say prosecutors are withholding evidence in the case, Philadelphia Gay News reports.

Sargent is charged with the 2013 murder of transgender woman Diamond Williams.

According to PGN, The requested items include:

  • all names and addresses of eyewitnesses
  • all written and recorded statements of eyewitnesses the D.A. intends to call at trial
  • all written and recorded statements made by co-conspirators or accomplices of Sargent whether such individuals have been charged or not
  • and a detailed explanation of any expert testimony to be presented at trial

Sargent is alleged to have stabbed Williams after inviting her to his home for sex. The two argued over payment. Sargent said he refused to pay Williams because she was transgender.

Police are not classifying the murder as a hate crime, despite a statement from Sargent indicating an intense dislike for transgender people. Sargent’s lawyers have requested a separate hearing to have his police statement suppressed.

Sargent is being held at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in Philadelphia.


What It Means To Be Pansexual

(CNN) -- The concept of pansexuality has been around since the days of Sigmund Freud, but it took a shout-out from Miley Cyrus to bring it back into vogue for the 21st century.

The word has been among Google's top search terms since the pop star declared herself pansexual in an interview with Paper magazine in July.

Scholars and sociologists say the contemporary interpretation of pansexual, sometimes called omnisexual, is about as broad as it gets when it comes to describing who you're sexually attracted to, which is precisely why it appeals to a younger generation that's comfortable with gender and sexual fluidity and doesn't care much for specific labels.

It refers to sexual attraction.

Today, the term pansexual is used to describe a romantic or sexual attraction focused on traits other than sex or gender. In other words, someone who identifies as pansexual is capable of being attracted to multiple sexes and gender identities, said David Bond, vice president of programs for LGBT crisis intervention group, Trevor Project.

It's different from bisexuality.

Some prefer it to "bisexuality" because it is encompasses attraction to men, women, transgender people and those who are intersex (born with a sex that doesn't fit the typical definitions of male or female).

However, some sexuality scholars argue that the term "bisexuality" also includes these categories, so the distinction between "pansexual" and "bisexual" is still up for debate, with no consensus on the best terminology.

It's not new, but it's new again.

The term tends to enter the public consciousness through celebrities, and Cyrus is the most recent to claim the title.

"It has cultural resonance because it is so broad and allows for so much flexibility and choice." said psychotherapist and sex therapist Michael Aaron.

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