Gender Stereotypes Are Destroying Girls, And They’re Killing Boys

Original Article

By Alia E. Dastagir

In almost every society, from Baltimore to Beijing, boys are told from a young age to go outside and have adventures, while young girls are encouraged to stay home and do chores Time

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live. Lessons about gender start early, and they have lifelong consequences.

A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Healthfound many norms around gender, what’s expected of boys and girls, become entrenched in adolescence and have negative impacts that carry into adulthood.

We knew some of this already. Existing research shows gender roles can harm both sexes. But the Global Early Adolescent Study — which looked at girls and boys between 10-14 years old in 15 countries with varying income levels — found many of these stereotypes are universal, and they become entrenched before 10 years old.

“We were actually anticipating more differences than similarities, and one of the big findings is that there are still very consistent forms of patriarchy around the world,” said Kristin Mmari, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the lead qualitative researcher on the study.

The ideas girls and boys have about gender, the study found, form earlier in adolescence than had previously been measured, Mmari said.

“There seems to be a shift as soon as girls and boys enter this stage, where their attitudes and beliefs about the opposite sex change dramatically,” she said. “And they talked about how this was not so in childhood. That they could have these friends — opposite sex friends — and they were given equal amounts of freedom. They were treated the same, they thought. But once they began puberty, and their bodies developed, their worlds changed.”

The biggest myth perpetuated about gender, researchers found, is that once girls hit puberty, they are vulnerable and in need of protection to preserve their sexual and reproductive health, while boys are seen as strong and independent. It’s this myth, Mmari said, that changes how the world sees both sexes during adolescence, and how it continues to treat them throughout their lives.

“How you perceive girls and boys is socially driven,” Mmari said. “It’s not biologically driven.”

Among consequences that the study noted when girls conform to gender stereotypes:

  • Depression
  • Child marriage
  • Leaving school early
  • Exposure to violence

And consequences when boys conform to gender stereotypes:

  • Engaging in physical violence to a much greater extent than girls
  • Dying more frequently from unintentional injuries
  • Being more prone to substance abuse and suicide
  • Having a shorter life expectancy than women

Mmari said one of the major takeaways from the study is that it’s important to challenge gender stereotypes when children are young.

“You can look at it as a window of opportunity to really address these attitudes and beliefs before they become cemented later on,” she said.

The next phase of the study, which Mmari said will take about four or five years, will measure how gender norms change over time, what factors influence those changes and how they relate to health-outcomes for boys and girls.

“We need to view gender as more of a system,” Mmari said. “One of the problems … is we typically look at things on an individual level. So we feel like if we just empower girls, make them feel good, then we’ll change. But the problem is they go back to their homes where they’re given messages from their parents that are contradictory. They go to the schools where they’re given messages from their teachers that are contradictory. They look at the media — it’s a whole system out there that’s transmitting these inequitable norms, and so we have to think of it more on that level.”

California School Board Will Allow Transgender Books in Elementary School

 

Original Article

Should children in kindergarten be taught about transgender people?

That’s the question at the center of a controversy that erupted in June after a transgender student at Rocklin Academy Gateway, a charter school in northern California, brought the children’s book “I Am Jazz” to school to share with classmates. The book chronicles the life of a real-life transgender girl named Jazz Jennings.

In a Monday night vote after an impassioned, emotional debate, the Rocklin school board decided to keep its current literature policies in place, which allow similar types of books to be read to children during story time. However, the board passed a provision stating that teachers “will endeavor to notify parents in advance of controversial topics being discussed when they are part of the school’s curriculum or a teacher’s lesson plan so that parents can also share their views at home.”

The policy adopted further states, if advance notice is not possible,
teachers will “endeavor to notify parents via email or verbally after the fact.”

Some parents raised objections that they were not notified, while others at the meeting supported the school’s policies and did not object to the reading material.

Wendy Sickler, a parent of two children at the school, said her “concern is that a book that was read was outside the curriculum, and it was a sensitive topic, and the parents weren’t notified.”

Sickler said she’s not opposed to a transgender child being in the classroom.

“I know that our kids are going to be exposed to different lifestyles, and that to me reinforces that they should notify parents,” she said, according to the Sacramento Bee, adding that she thinks that additional changes are needed other than the issues brought before the school board.

According to the newspaper, Beryl Mayne, of Auburn, arrived before the meeting with other members of the LGBT community holding signs that said: “Trans Rights are Human Rights,” “Trans Kids Have Courage” and “Love and Let Love.”

“It’s important tonight to support transgender children. It’s not about me. It’s about transgender children,” Mayne told the Bee.

After the vote, one school board member urged the community to come together and move forward now that a decision had been made.

“Please let this end tonight,” Larry Steiner said, according to the Bee. “We cannot forget Rocklin Academy is a school of choice. The hostility has to end. Let’s bring back our sense of community.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

AI Can Determine Sexual Orientation From A Photograph

By Sam Levin
An illustrated depiction of facial analysis technology similar to that used in the experiment.

An algorithm deduced the sexuality of people on a dating site with up to 91% accuracy, raising tricky ethical questions

Artificial intelligence can accurately guess whether people are gay or straight based on photos of their faces, according to new research that suggests machines can have significantly better “gaydar” than humans.

The study from Stanford University – which found that a computer algorithm could correctly distinguish between gay and straight men 81% of the time, and 74% for women – has raised questions about the biological origins of sexual orientation, the ethics of facial-detection technology, and the potential for this kind of software to violate people’s privacy or be abused for anti-LGBT purposes.

The machine intelligence tested in the research, which was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and first reported in the Economist, was based on a sample of more than 35,000 facial images that men and women publicly posted on a US dating website. The researchers, Michal Kosinski and Yilun Wang, extracted features from the images using “deep neural networks”, meaning a sophisticated mathematical system that learns to analyze visuals based on a large dataset.

The research found that gay men and women tended to have “gender-atypical” features, expressions and “grooming styles”, essentially meaning gay men appeared more feminine and vice versa. The data also identified certain trends, including that gay men had narrower jaws, longer noses and larger foreheads than straight men, and that gay women had larger jaws and smaller foreheads compared to straight women.

Human judges performed much worse than the algorithm, accurately identifying orientation only 61% of the time for men and 54% for women. When the software reviewed five images per person, it was even more successful – 91% of the time with men and 83% with women. Broadly, that means “faces contain much more information about sexual orientation than can be perceived and interpreted by the human brain”, the authors wrote.

The paper suggested that the findings provide “strong support” for the theory that sexual orientation stems from exposure to certain hormones before birth, meaning people are born gay and being queer is not a choice. The machine’s lower success rate for women also could support the notion that female sexual orientation is more fluid.

While the findings have clear limits when it comes to gender and sexuality – people of color were not included in the study, and there was no consideration of transgender or bisexual people – the implications for artificial intelligence (AI) are vast and alarming. With billions of facial images of people stored on social media sites and in government databases, the researchers suggested that public data could be used to detect people’s sexual orientation without their consent.

It’s easy to imagine spouses using the technology on partners they suspect are closeted, or teenagers using the algorithm on themselves or their peers. More frighteningly, governments that continue to prosecute LGBT people could hypothetically use the technology to out and target populations. That means building this kind of software and publicizing it is itself controversial given concerns that it could encourage harmful applications.

But the authors argued that the technology already exists, and its capabilities are important to expose so that governments and companies can proactively consider privacy risks and the need for safeguards and regulations.

“It’s certainly unsettling. Like any new tool, if it gets into the wrong hands, it can be used for ill purposes,” said Nick Rule, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, who has published research on the science of gaydar. “If you can start profiling people based on their appearance, then identifying them and doing horrible things to them, that’s really bad.”

Rule argued it was still important to develop and test this technology: “What the authors have done here is to make a very bold statement about how powerful this can be. Now we know that we need protections.”

Kosinski was not immediately available for comment, but after publication of this article on Friday, he spoke to the Guardian about the ethics of the study and implications for LGBT rights. The professor is known for his work with Cambridge University on psychometric profiling, including using Facebook data to make conclusions about personality. Donald Trump’s campaign and Brexit supporters deployed similar tools to target voters, raising concerns about the expanding use of personal data in elections.

In the Stanford study, the authors also noted that artificial intelligence could be used to explore links between facial features and a range of other phenomena, such as political views, psychological conditions or personality.

This type of research further raises concerns about the potential for scenarios like the science-fiction movie Minority Report, in which people can be arrested based solely on the prediction that they will commit a crime.

“AI can tell you anything about anyone with enough data,” said Brian Brackeen, CEO of Kairos, a face recognition company. “The question is as a society, do we want to know?”

Brackeen, who said the Stanford data on sexual orientation was “startlingly correct”, said there needs to be an increased focus on privacy and tools to prevent the misuse of machine learning as it becomes more widespread and advanced.

Rule speculated about AI being used to actively discriminate against people based on a machine’s interpretation of their faces: “We should all be collectively concerned.”

Justice Department Sides With Baker Who Refused To Make Wedding Cake For Gay Couple

Original Article

By Robert Barnes

In a major upcoming Supreme Court case that weighs equal rights with religious liberty, the Trump administration on Thursday sided with a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

The Department of Justice on Thursday filed a brief on behalf of baker Jack Phillips, who was found to have violated the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act by refusing to created a cake to celebrate the marriage of Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012. Phillips said he doesn’t create wedding cakes for same-sex couples because it would violate his religious beliefs.

The government agreed with Phillips that his cakes are a form of expression, and he cannot be compelled to use his talents for something in which he does not believe.

“Forcing Phillips to create expression for and participate in a ceremony that violates his sincerely held religious beliefs invades his First Amendment rights,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall wrote in the brief.

Plaintiff in landmark Supreme Court case says: ‘One person can change the world’
The Post’s Steven Petrow sits down with Jim Obergefell, the main plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell v. Hodges, and talks about gay marriage, equality for the transgender community and his late husband John.(Video: Erin Patrick O’Connor/Photo: Maddie McGarvey/The Washington Post)

The DOJ’s decision to support Phillips is the latest in a series of steps the Trump administration has taken to rescind Obama administration positions favorable to gay rights and to advance new policies on the issue.

But Louise Melling, the deputy legal counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing the couple, said she was taken aback by the filing.

“Even in an administration that has already made its hostility” toward the gay community clear, Melling said, “I find this nothing short of shocking.”

Since taking office, President Trump has moved to block transgender Americans from serving in the military and his Department of Education has done away with guidance to schools on how they should accommodate transgender students.

The DOJ also has taken the stance that gay workers are not entitled to job protections under federal anti-discrimination laws. Since 2015, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission has taken the opposite stance, saying Title VII, the civil-rights statute that covers workers, protects against bias based on sexual orientation.

Federal courts are split on that issue, and the Supreme Court this term might take up the issue.

Indeed, lawyers for Jameka Evans, who claims she was fired by Georgia Regional Hospital because of her sexual orientation and “nonconformity with gender norms of appearance and demeanor,” on Thursday asked justices to take her case.

Citing a 1979 precedent, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit rejected her protection claims.

Taking that case, along with Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, would make the coming Supreme Court term the most important for gay rights issues since the justices voted 5 to 4 in 2015 to find a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry.

The case of Phillips, a baker in the Denver suburbs, is similar to lawsuits brought elsewhere involving florists, calligraphers and others who say providing services to same-sex weddings would violate their religious beliefs. But these objectors have found little success in the courts, which have ruled that businesses serving the public must comply with state anti-discrimination laws.

Mullins and Craig visited Masterpiece Cakeshop in July 2012, along with Craig’s mother, to order a cake for their upcoming wedding reception. Mullins and Craig planned to marry in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriages were legal at the time, and then hold a reception in Colorado.

But Phillips refused to discuss the issue, saying his religious beliefs would not allow him to have anything to do with same-sex marriage. He said other bakeries would accommodate them.

The civil rights commission and a Colorado court rejected Phillips’ argument that forcing him to create a cake violated his First Amendment rights of freedom of expression and exercise of religion.

The court said the baker “does not convey a message supporting same-sex marriages merely by abiding by the law.”

How The Transgender Crusade Made Me Rethink My Support For Gay Marriage – Bethany Mandel

Original Article

By Bethany Mandel

Over the course of the last few months, whenever I write or tweet anything, on any topic, I usually receive a caustic social media response about my position on transgenderism. These trolls post links to my tweets about the subject and screenshots, as if showing me my own recent opinion is some sort of gotcha. These individuals even send tweets to my husband and employers, perhaps in hope that they will use their power over me to get my opinion in check with The Approved Position.

One Twitter follower who “favorited” a tweet of mine about my view on transgenderism even received an email from a stranger demanding to know if her decision to “favorite” my tweet meant she agreed with me. I’ve been called every name in the book: hateful, bigoted, transphobic, etc. All for having a belief that was utterly uncontroversial just three years ago: men are born with penises, women are born with vaginas, and, to quote the great Ben Shapiro, facts don’t care about your feelings.

We Are Being Made to Care

Many of my fellow millennial conservatives, out of what they view as courtesy, use the preferred pronoun and name for individuals who identify as transgender. Here is why I won’t: We will be made to care.

The phrase is care of another great conservative thinker, Erick Erickson. He coined it in the midst of the gay marriage debate. During that debate, I was like many of these younger millennial conservatives. I naively thought the issue was merely about gay marriage, and thought “Hey, marriage is great, so let’s just give into the Left’s demands about the redefinition of a cornerstone of our society because not doing so would be bigoted.”

But there was more to the Left’s battle with conservatives than that. It wasn’t just about redefining marriage to these activists; it was also about punishing those who weren’t 100 percent on board, especially religious Christians. The livelihoods and lives of bakers, photographers, farmers, and the CEO of Mozilla were destroyed for not completely adhering to the Thought Police’s demands. These Americans were made to care.

The Trans Police Are Frightening Control Freaks

My colleague Joy Pullmann provided just the latest example last week of how the progressive Left is making the rest of us care about the transgender debate: “Angry parents stampeded a California charter school board meeting Monday after a teacher read her kindergarten class picture books about transgenderism to affirm a gender dysphoric classmate. During the class, parents say, the gender dysphoric boy also switched clothes to look more like a girl in a ‘gender reveal.’ Parents were not notified beforehand of the discussion or the classmate’s psychological condition, and learned about it when their confused kindergarteners arrived home from school that day.”

For Acculturated recently, I gamed out a frightening thought experiment about how parents who decide not to play along with their child’s gender dysphoria could one day be faced with a visit from Child Protective Services.

The Left has shown the totalitarian manner in which it exacts support, or at least silence, from everyday Americans. We’ve seen how lives were destroyed in the wake of the gay marriage debate, how many individuals were shouted down into submission by the side that proclaims itself to be “open-minded” and employed the slogans “No H8” and “Love Wins.” For many conservatives, including myself, the lesson has been learned.

With every tweet aimed at publicizing and shaming my position on transgenderism, the progressive Left is solidifying my decision to call Bruce Jenner by his given name instead of the name he has chosen because of a condition that mental health professionals once took seriously. Playing along with delusions isn’t a kindness to those suffering from other psychological conditions, and it isn’t a kindness for those with gender dysphoria either.

And if we lend credibility to the notion that adults can choose their sex, parents who refuse to allow a child who, just the week before, self-identified as a butterfly to choose her own gender could then be accused of denying their child health care (because many progressive activists view opposite-sex hormones and plastic surgery as health care now).

My answer for those on the Left who ask me “Why do you care what transgender individuals call themselves?” is simply this: because you have made me.