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Five most influential LGBT+ sportspeople

In recent decades the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in our communities has developed considerably. Despite this excellent progress, many believe that the world of sport is still lagging behind. But here are some who are paving the way.

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In recent decades the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ people in our communities has developed considerably. The law has changed in many countries to permit same-sex marriage, and major storytelling platforms such as Netflix and Hollywood are representing LGBTQ+ people more and more. Despite this excellent progress, many believe that the world of sport is still lagging behind.

According to a 2019 Human Rights Campaign report, 70% of LGBTQ+ people do not come out to their teammates and coaches through fear of homophobia and non-acceptance. Hence, sportspeople who decide to come out are not just being honest about who they are; they are taking an ethical and political stance that is crucial to shaping the future. 

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RUGBY: Garath Thomas 

Gareth Thomas made his name in international rugby following his debut for Wales against Japan in 1995. He then equalled the best Welsh record by scoring four tries in a match against Italy in 1999. Gareth was selected for the British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2005 and was made the captain for the second and third tests in the series. 

Gareth and his wife, Jemma Thomas, filed for divorce in 2007; in 2009 their divorce was finalized. In December 2009, Garath announced that he was gay, telling the Daily Mail newspaper: “I don’t want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player, first and foremost. I am a man.”

By coming out as gay, Garath Thomas became the first openly gay male rugby player – he hoped his announcement would make it easier for a younger rugby player to come out and be accepted by the game, he said. 

Following his announcement, support for Garath was roundly positive, from his ex-wife Gemma, and the world of rugby. Later, in a newspaper interview, Gemma said they had wanted to stay together, but for that to happen, she would need to have all of him, not ninety percent. She went on to marry again, and so did Gareth – to a man called Stephen Thomas. Neither Garath, Gemma, nor Stephen enjoy the media attention surrounding their private lives and tend to steer clear of it. 

In September 2019, Garath made another public announcement – that he was hiv positive, with an undetectable status. He was again applauded for his bravery and proactive stance on the issue. On the day of the announcement, he completed an Ironman event.  

Sportspeople who decide to come out are not just being honest about who they are; they are taking an ethical and political stance that is crucial to shaping the future. 

FOOTBALL: Katie Sowers 

In 2020, Katie Sowers became the first openly gay person to coach at the Super Bowl, acting as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers. She was born in Kansas and began playing football at the age of eight. She began her playing career with West Michigan Mayhem and the Kansas City Titans. In 2013, she won the IFAF Women’s World Championship with the United States Women’s National American Football Team – but in 2016 she announced her retirement, due to a hip injury.  

Following her retirement, Sowers joined the National Football League with Atlanta Falcons – she was a wide receiver’s intern. She stayed with the Falcons after the internship ended as a scout before moving to the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers hired her through the ‘Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship,’ a program that aims to bring more diversity into NFL coaching positions. Sowers continued her work as a seasonal coaching assistant until 2019 when she received a promotion to a full-time position. In her first season as an offensive assistant, the 49ers won the championship sending the club to the Super Bowl – Katie Sowers then became the first female, and openly gay coach, involved in the event.

As one of the first out female coaches in the world of football, Katie Sowers represents a change in attitudes within the sport and its official governing bodies. The need for more inclusivity and diversity in the sport, particularly within coaching roles, has opened up new channels of possibility for talented minority coaches to make an impact. Katie Sowers is likely to be both an inspiration to younger minorities involved in the game and the first of many in leading professional roles.   

DIVING: Tom Daley

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Tom Daley is an Olympic diver and award-winning personality who disclosed his sexuality on his popular YouTube channel in 2013. He was born in Devon, England, in 1994. He had an early interest in diving and was noticed by a diving coach at a local center. After being placed into a competitive squad for the first time in 2002, his career went from strength to strength; he won many junior events throughout his boyhood and began entering professional competitions as a teenager. 

In 2012, Tom Daley, along with his counterpart Jessica Ennis, was tipped to be among the first medallists of the London Olympic Games. They were widely publicized with big brand department store John Lewis displaying 40-foot banners of them outside selected stores. The event itself, however, didn’t go exactly to plan. Tom’s performances in the dives varied drastically – in one event he requested to retake the dive due to the interference of camera flashes. Despite the setbacks, Tom won a bronze medal in the men’s 10-meter dive event.

In 2010 Tom began a YouTube channel where he uploaded Vlogs on a range of topics including food, exercises, and lifestyle. In 2019, his channel had 800,000 subscribers and over 100 million views. It was on this channel in 2013 that Tom announced he had been in a relationship with a man since earlier that year. In summary, he said that he had never before felt love before and that he couldn’t be happier with his new partner. He stopped short of applying a label to himself, merely saying that he still fancied girls, but the attraction felt much stronger with his spouse.

TENNIS: Renee Richards

Renee Richards is a former American tennis player who underwent male-to-female reassignment surgery and competed in professional tennis tournaments in the 1970s. Born in 1934 in New York City, she grew up as a Jewish boy named Richard Raskin. As a youngster, she excelled as a wide receiver on the football team, a pitcher on the baseball team, as well as an outstanding performer on the tennis court. 

In college, Richards began dressing as a woman which eventually led to reassignment surgery in 1975. Following her surgery, she battled to compete in several professional tennis tournaments. 

Renee Richards personal journey and professional success was not easy. She experienced issues with her identity, which created sexual confusion, depression, and suicidal tendencies. In the early to mid-sixties, she began to see a doctor called Charles Ihlenfeld, who specialized in endocrinology, transsexualism, and sexual reassignment. With the help of Dr Ihlenfeld, she began taking hormone injections in the hope of future reassignment surgery. It finally happened in the early 1970s through a specialist surgeon – following the surgery, she moved to Newbeach, California.   

While in California Renee (a name which means reborn in French) picked up tennis again and began playing at the local club. Her devastating left-hand soon caught the attention of the club, and she was entered into several professional tournaments including The Tennis Week Open. The USTA and WTA attempted to block her through sanctions, but she won a court case at the New York State court arguing that the governing body was undermining her human right to be a woman.    

SOCCER: Megan Rapinoe

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Women’s soccer has boomed in recent years, growing in popularity around the globe; diversity in the sport is also on the rise, and people such as Megan Rapinoe are leading the way. Born in 1985 she is an American winger who has played in World Cup tournaments for her country, as well as a string of home-based professional teams. She is known for her skill on the ball, her accurate passing, and composed finishing. Outside of the game, she is an advocate for many LGBTQ+ organization, like Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally. 

In her first year of college, Rapinoe discovered that she was attracted to women; she officially came out in the July 2012 edition of Out magazine – aged 27. In her interview, she disclosed that she had been in a relationship with Sarah Welsh, an Australian soccer player, since 2009. Five years later, the couple ended their relationship. In 2015 Rapinoe announced her engagement to Sera Cahoone; however, the arrangements were put on hold. Rapinoe later confirmed she had been dating basketball star Sue Bird. 

As well as openly expressing her sexuality in the media, Rapinoe is an advocate of LGBTQ+ rights and has stood up against inequality and discrimination – quite publicly – on a number of occasions. In 2016, she knelt down during the national anthem at an NFL league game in support of Colin Kaepernick, and has refused to sing the national anthem on several occasions: “being a gay American, I know what it means to look at the flag and not have it protect all of your liberties,” she says.

Health & Wellness

Sexual minority men who smoke report worse mental health, more frequent substance use

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

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Cigarette smoking is associated with frequent substance use and poor behavioral and physical health in sexual and gender minority populations, according to Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, examined tobacco use by sexual minority men and transgender women to better understand the relationships between smoking, substance use and mental, psychosocial and general health.

The researchers, who are part of the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, surveyed 665 racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sexual minority men and transgender women, 70 percent of whom reported smoking cigarettes.

They found that smoking was associated with participants’ race/ethnicity, marijuana and alcohol use and mental health. Current smokers were more likely to be white and reported more days of marijuana use in the past month. The study also found that current smoking was associated with more severe anxiety symptoms and more frequent alcohol use.

“Evidence also tells us that smoking is associated with worse mental health and increased substance use, but we don’t know how these conditions are related to each other, exacerbating and mutually reinforcing their effects,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s senior author.

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

“Our findings underscore the importance of holistic approaches to tobacco treatment that account for psychosocial drivers of substance use and that address the complex relationships between mental health and use of substances like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana,” said Caleb LoSchiavo, a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s first author.

The study recommends further research examining the social determinants of disparities in substance use among marginalized populations and how interpersonal and systemic stressors contribute to poorer physical and mental health for minority populations.

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Health & Wellness

Notable percentage of trans men who have sex with men never got tested for HIV, bacterial and viral STIs

When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

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When considering screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), transgender men who have sex with men (TMSM) represent an understudied population. A study found that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs.

In “Sociodemographic and behavioural factors associated with testing for HIV and STIs in a US nationwide sample of transgender men who have sex with men” – done by Nadav Antebi-Gruszka, Ali J. Talan, Sari L. Reisner and Jonathon Rendina, and published in BMJ Journals – researchers tried to examine HIV and STI testing prevalence among TMSM along with the factors associated with testing in a diverse sample of TMSM. They used data from a cross-sectional online convenience sample of 192 TMSM, analyzed using multivariable binary logistic regression models to examine the association between sociodemographic and behavioral factors and lifetime testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs, as well as past year testing for HIV.

The researchers found that more than two-thirds of TMSM reported lifetime testing for HIV (71.4%), bacterial STIs (66.7%), and viral STIs (70.8%), and 60.9% had received HIV testing in the past year. Engaging in condomless anal sex with a casual partner whose HIV status is different or unknown and having fewer than two casual partners in the past six months were related to lower odds of lifetime HIV, bacterial STI, viral STI and past year HIV testing.

Being younger in age was related to lower probability of testing for HIV, bacterial STIs and viral STIs.

The domiciles of the TMSM also affected their health-seeking behaviors. In this study, those residing in the South of the US were less likely to be tested for HIV and viral STIs in their lifetime, and for HIV in the past year.

Finally, lower odds of lifetime testing for viral STIs was found among TMSM who reported no drug use in the past six months.

According to the researchers, these findings indicate that a notable percentage of TMSM had never tested for HIV and bacterial and viral STIs, though at rates only somewhat lower than among cisgender MSM despite similar patterns of risk behavior.

They recommend for “efforts to increase HIV/STI testing among TMSM, especially among those who engage in condomless anal sex.”

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Health & Wellness

People with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder show brain similarities, differences

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders.

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A new UCLA study shows partially overlapping patterns of brain function in people with anorexia nervosa and those with body dysmorphic disorder, a related psychiatric condition characterized by misperception that particular physical characteristics are defective.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Imaging and Behavior, found that abnormalities in brain function are related to severity of symptoms in both disorders, and may be useful in developing new treatment methods.

The results reinforce the understanding that eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look. “These are brain abnormalities, and how we treat those brain abnormalities could be with psychotherapy, or psychiatric medications, but brain changes need to happen in order to address these disorders,” says Dr. Wesley Kerr, neurology resident and biostatistics researcher at UCLA.

For the study, the researchers recruited 64 female participants: 20 with anorexia nervosa, 23 with body dysmorphic disorder, and 21 healthy controls. Patients with anorexia nervosa have a distorted body image and an intense fear of gaining weight, leading them to eat very little. Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is characterized by obsessions with a particular body part or a perceived flaw rather than with weight.

Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder are more than simply choosing to eat or not eat or not liking how you look.

Participants were shown images of male and female bodies while researchers observed their brain activity via MRI. Three types of images were used: normal photos, “low spatial frequency” (LSF) images, which had details blurred out, and “high spatial frequency” (HSF) images, in which the edges and details were accentuated.

Functional MRI is a brain imaging technique that detects the blood flow within the brain, allowing researchers to see which parts of the brain are active while a person is doing various tasks. It can also be used to understand what brain regions’ activities are in sync with each other; that is, “connected.”

Each of the women performed a “matching” task while inside the MRI scanner. On the top of the screen, the person would see an image of a body, and would have to choose the matching body from two images shown on the bottom of the screen.

While viewing the images that differed from those of healthy individuals, people with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD showed patterns of activity and connectivity in visual and parietal brain networks. These abnormalities in activity were different in BDD and anorexia nervosa, whereas the connectivity abnormalities were largely similar. The more severe the symptoms, the more pronounced the pattern of brain activity and connectivity when the images were viewed, particularly for the LSF images. Further, connectivity and activity abnormalities were associated with how the participants judged the appearance and body weight of the individuals in the photos.

What the researchers saw indicated that while the brains of patients with anorexia nervosa and those with BDD abnormally process images with high, low, or normal levels of detail, the abnormalities for low level of detail, that is “low spatial frequency” images, have the most direct relationships to symptom severity and body perception. The results may help researchers understand the underlying neurobiology that leads to the characteristic body image distortions in both cases.

“This gives us a clearer picture of neurological basis for what is one disorder, what is the other, and what characteristics they share,” said Dr. Jamie Feusner, senior author and professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.

A next step for the research will be to see whether, with existing psychotherapy and medication treatments, the brain activity in patients begins to normalize, or else changes in a different way to compensate for underlying abnormalities.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Things only old-school Pac-Man fans will appreciate

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

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Pac-Man is one video game that has been around for the longest time. In fact, this game was released back in the 80s and has managed to stand the test of time. In fact, Pac-Man is actually one of the top-grossing game franchises of all time.

Long before best payout casino games or 3D video games were popular, there was Pac-Man. Although the young generation might not quite appreciate the game, it is really one of the best games, and only old school Pac-Man fans will understand this.

Below, we list some of the things that old school Pac-Man fans will appreciate about the game. Enjoy!

Pac-Man Was The First Game With Major Merchandise

We guess that when Pac-Man was first released, it was at a time when mainstream media had just started realizing the power of merchandising. Thus, a lot of products were made that carried the game logo or character on the packaging. This increased sales astoundingly. As a result, Pac-Man became popular amongst all people of all ages.

The Pac-Man Cartoon Was Pretty Good In Its Day

The Pac-Man cartoon was made as a spin-off to the video game. While many cartoons like these seemed to fail, that didn’t happen with Pac-Man. In fact, back in the day, Pac-Man was a really pretty cool cartoon.

Pac-Man Fever Was A Huge Hit

Pac-Man Fever is the soundtrack album of the game that was released on cassette, vinyl, and 8-track. The album carried a total of 8 songs that were based on video games and meilleurs jeux au casino . The album was so popular that the title track actually became a top 10 hit, and it also got featured in a few TV shows. 

Of course, the young generation may not understand it, but the album was pretty cool when it was released. It’s not surprising to see some die-hard fans of the game jamming along to some of the songs today.

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Lifestyle & Culture

How SMEs can practice more effective digital marketing

This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

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Digital marketing is the perfect way that you can get to grow and firmly establish your business.  The best thing is that there are a lot of tools that you can get to use in order to be successful. You might want to start your own fashion network, online casino and so many other lucrative businesses. This article is going to help you establish yourself in the market.

Improve Your SEO Skills

The best way to be able to stand out is by making sure that your business is the highest ranking on google. That way you can get to come out on top of the completion. Also, you will get to be the buyer’s first choice. Considering that the buyer will not have the time to scroll through all the pages, they will just pick from the first pages that they see on Google. 

The best part is that there are a lot of tools that you can use to achieve this.  For example, the Neil Patel Ubber suggests platform or the SEMrush Assist tool will give you all that you need to know about your competition and what you can do to outrank them.

Do Your Keyword Research

This is the most important that you will need to do to make sure that you rank. And, even if you are at the top, you should continue monitoring your pages and make sure that you are on the right track. Remember, there is a lot of competition that will be wanting to outrank you, more especial on machine a sous industry .  And, the best part is that there are tools that you can easily use for all this.

 Keep Audiences Locked In

 The best way that you can get to do this is by starting your blog. That way there will be frequent traffic on your page. Also, the blogs may be a way of getting even more people to know about your services.  Hence, research on the latest news and start uploading now.

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Lifestyle & Culture

How to choose a dating site that works for you

There are hundreds of sites to choose from and millions of people using them from all around the world. So, how do you choose the right dating site for you?

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Online dating can be a really easy and fun way to meet new singles and put yourself in with a chance of finding a great relationship. Today, online dating is one of the most popular ways to meet somebody new, and every year thousands of partners meet online. Whatever kind of relationship you’re looking for and no matter what stage you’re at in your life, online dating can be a great way to find what you want. However, online dating can also be quite overwhelming.

There are hundreds of sites to choose from and millions of people using them from all around the world. So, how do you choose the right dating site for you?

Be Clear on What You’re Looking For

Knowing what you’re looking for in a relationship before you get started will make it easier for you to find the right dating site for your needs. If you’re not sure what you want, this #1 trusted dating site in San Jose ticks all the boxes and offers a wide range of features to suit everybody. Whether you’re looking for a casual fling or want to eventually get married, find a site that caters to those needs and is likely to attract people who are looking for the same thing as you are. 

Consider Your Location

It’s a good idea to consider your area when choosing a dating site. The last thing that you want is to end up signing up to and potentially paying for a site that isn’t very popular with singles in your area. If you’re not sure then it’s a good idea to sign up to a site that’s popular in many different areas so that you can be sure you will meet local singles. You can sign up for Meetville here: https://meetville.com/catalog/us/ca/95631/woman

Check the Reputation

Don’t waste your money on a dating site that doesn’t have a good reputation. Before choosing the right site for you, take some time to research your options and find one that is well-known for bringing successful couples together. There are some other important considerations to make, too, such as the level of security on the site and how seriously any untoward messages or abuse towards members is taken. 

Try it Out

The good news is that many good dating sites and apps offer a free version or a limited free trial that you can take advantage of before you decide to commit to paying. Sign up for as many free trials as you can find so that you’ve got a good chance of finding a site or a couple of sites that work better for you than others. Remember, if you find a few different dating sites that you like there’s nothing wrong with using a few different once at the same time to get even more matches. 

The world of online dating can be a fun way to meet new people when you’re single and potentially find your perfect partner. Keep these tips in mind and find a dating site that works well for you. 

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