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Why sports still chafes up against queer culture

We are seeing more and more players come out as being openly gay than ever before, and more leagues and teams even taking part in things such as Pride events. But it’s the fans who have to put on the pressure and to support LGBTQ players to effect real change.

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We are getting more of our first openly-gay sportsmen and women for their particular sports than ever before. The 2020 Superbowl featured more LGBTQ+ representation in its ad break than ever. Even the WWE had an openly gay couple win a tag championship (and unlike Trish Stratus and Lita, they weren’t just playing up the sapphic vibes for the assumed straight male audience.)

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However, when it comes to sports and the Ls, the Gs, the Bs, the Ts, and the Qs, there is still a lot of taboo to unpack, and a lot of work to be done.

The question of transpeople in sport

By far the most hot-button issue in sports at the moment, the question of trans athletes competing alongside other members of the gender they identify has stumped a lot of people. We have, of course, seen trans athletes compete against and alongside people of their gender identity, such as Dr. Renee Richards and Fallon Fox. However, the latter was forced to hide her status as a transwoman until 2013, while the former had to win a New York Supreme Court case in order to compete with other women.

The answer to this question isn’t a simple one, either, as many argue and have evidence to suggest that transwomen who transition have had the benefits of biologically male puberty, including longer reach, greater muscle mass, and the like. As it stands, just over a third of women and under a quarter of men support trans athletes participating with others of their gender identity. Support for trans athletes is higher amongst other members of the queer community, including gay, bi, and pan people, as well as other transmen and transwomen. Yet it seems the public still has a long way to go to find the answer to this particular question.

There are spaces being created for trans athletes in some areas of sports, however. For instance, the first trans hockey team has taken to the ice in Boston. However, this creation of bespoke spaces for trans people denies them the opportunity to be treated and to compete as their gender identity dictates to them. 

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There’s still a great risk to careers

There are gay men in every sport, there’s no denying that. However, there are still some sports and leagues that have no openly gay players. The NHL, for instance, hasn’t had even its first openly queer player. Not so much as a bi goalie. However, some research has shown that the reason for this might largely still be the threat of losing their job.

Sports sociologist Cheryl MacDonald did a study in which both straight former NHL players and six openly gay hockey players outside the NHL spoke on attitudes within hockey about queerness. While there was no seeming consensus on whether the NHL was homophobic, there was general agreement that the risk of losing one’s career by coming out would outweigh the benefit of coming out. The most commonly mentioned concern was that players could be fired for being a “distraction” and that this applied not just to coming out as gay, but also to publicly dealing with mental health issues, addiction, a history of abuse, and so on.

In male sports, in particular, there is also the question of what role toxic masculinity has to play in the management of teams and how gay people are treated. One example of the case of an openly gay man being denied the next step of his career was Michael Sam, who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams and competed well for them but ended up losing his roster spot to another athlete who was not outwardly gay.

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The impact of the internet

The democratizing effect of the World Wide Web has served as something of a double-edged sword when it comes to the world of queer sports. For many, it’s a lot easier to see the negatives as opposed to the positives. Trolling is as popular as past-time for the spiteful as ever, as the internet has made it a lot easier for people to send abusive and homophobic messages directly to queer people who are coming out, as seen in the case of Dwayne Wade and Gabrielle Union who were forced to defend their gay son against a barrage of online attacks.

However, there is also the potential for the internet to do a lot of gay for LGBTQ sportspeople, especially the younger members of the community. One study by GLSEN found that LGBTQ youth do find a lot more bullying and harassment online, but that they also find a much stronger and larger network of supportive peers. It is thought that the internet’s role in making queer culture more acceptable is what has played the largest part in helping so many more people come out than they would before. It clearly isn’t the solution to all problems the queer community face, but it can be used for good.

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The risk of losing fans

As it currently stands, many professional sportsmen and women do not make their money solely from being good at their chosen sport. They make money because they are able to draw fans, which also helps them draw sponsors. Homophobic jeers and insults are common on many sporting pitches around the world, often aimed at members of opposing teams regardless of whether or not there’s any indication they are gay. With such virulent homophobia being clear and present as the default, it’s no wonder that so many players are hesitant to come out as gay.

More than one-third of US soccer fans openly hold homophobic views, as one study has found. As such, for an athlete to come out, they have to risk the very real danger of losing a significant portion of their fans. Fan outcry can be enough to grab the attention of sponsors, which can risk a player losing their sponsorship and, in the worst-case scenarios, losing their job. Of course, there would be a risk of major blowback for any major sporting team that fired an openly-gay player for reasons related to their sexuality, but how many are willing to risk that?

Many teams are still desperate to avoid any kind of PR problem. Even if news coverage of players coming out as gay is primarily positive, it is still seen as a distraction, and not always in good faith. There are plenty of fans who take whatever reason they can to dismiss and criticize players who come out as gay, offering them an effective shield against criticisms of their own homophobia.

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Could the problem be in the locker rooms, too?

Many of us like to think of the ideal team mentality and to apply it to the teams that we support. We might like to think that a good teammate will have their teammate’s back, no matter what the conflict they’re facing is. However, that’s not the perception of many in the teams, at least for gay men. There could be a problem with teams being able to accept openly gay men amongst them.

One study looked at the athletes that performed in the last three Summer Olympics and found a worrying trend.  While 60% of openly gay women athletes participated in team sports, there was not a single man who was openly gay and also competed in a team. This isn’t to say that gay men aren’t competing in team sports, they just don’t feel comfortable sharing their sexuality. Research has shown that male sporting teams have had the effect of taking traditional masculine behaviors and heightened them, such as dominance and self-reliance. As such, behaviors that might defy these traditional masculine expectations, or be seen to defy them, could result in one being ostracized within one’s own team. 

Other reports have shown that homophobic locker room talk is still very prevalent in team sports. Male athletes hear homophobic slurs both on the pitch or rink as well as amongst their own team members. Several players have attested to hearing slurs towards queer people used in locker rooms. It’s simply an accepted behavior by many men, and there are those who divorce the slur from its homophobic roots, but that’s of little help or consequence to gay mean who feel threatened by an environment of seemingly normalized homophobia.

Shaping the future of queer sports

Unfortunately, it has been proven time and time again that simply waiting for times to change isn’t enough. The fans, players, teams, and the organizers all play a role in making queer faces more acceptable in sports, and there’s still a lot of playground and locker room bullying to beat back. But the trend seems to be on the right side, at least.

As mentioned, we are seeing more and more players come out as being openly gay than ever before, and more leagues and teams even taking part in things such as Pride events. But it’s the fans who have to put on the pressure and to support LGBTQ players to effect real change.


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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