Can Science “Prove” Bisexuality? Studies Suggest Yes — My Latest for Paste Magazine

I first realized I was bisexual in high school but didn’t come out until fifteen years later because I thought it was just a phase. As a teenager during the late ‘90s, most coming out stories I saw on TV involved gays and lesbians, so I didn’t think I was “queer enough” to come out. When I did come out a few years ago, though, I found that not only did the mainstream LGBTQ rights movement still focused exclusively on gays and lesbians, but also that some gay people don’t believe bisexuality is a thing. Sex columnist Dan Savage is known to respond to young bisexuals with, “I was, too, at your age.” The TV show Glee, despite its positive portrayals of gay and lesbian teens, had a few episodes that suggested bisexuals are either liars or cheaters. Even my first boyfriend was convinced he could end my “addiction to pussy.” I know Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” but I didn’t think being able to love people regardless of gender was too extraordinary of a claim.

Apparently it is, though, because in 2005 three researchers published a paper that casted doubts on bisexuality in men. For this study, the researchers picked 30 straight men, 33 bisexual men, and 38 gay men to measure how they reacted to erotic visual stimuli. First the participants filled out a form where they described how they identify sexually, and then the researchers attached sensors to their penises and showed them porn. Some of the porn featured two women, and some featured two men. According to results, the majority of bisexual men shared the same reactions (i.e. amount of erections) to the male-on-male porn as did the gay men. Thus, as many interpret, most bisexual men are really just gay.

However, as bisexual blogger Sue George pointed out, the study had flaws. The sample group was too small, only 22 out of the 33 bisexual men in the study had “sufficient genital arousal for analyses,” everyone has different reactions to porn, and the study didn’t look at romantic attraction. So why did people take the study as “proof” that bisexuality in men doesn’t exist? “It’s so popular because it says what people want it to say” George wrote. “Huge swaths of society seem to have a vested interest in implying that no men are really bisexual and all women are. Society (specifically, but not exclusively, straight men) is frightened of bi men—who are a bit too much like them—but they can push gay men over to one side and think of them as ‘other.” They can even allow them a few rights now and then.”

Click here to read the rest.

Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti

My guest for today is Rajani Gudlavalleti, racial equity trainer and board member of the Foundation Beyond Belief. Here’s what her bio says: “Rajani Gudlavalleti is a second-generation, South Indian-American queer humanist woman residing in Baltimore, MD. Rajani works at the intersections of social justice, public health, and the legal system, providing contract and consulting services as an organizer, evaluator, trainer and writer. Currently, she is a community organizer for the BRIDGES Coalition for safe drug consumption spaces in Baltimore City, and a facilitator with Baltimore Racial Justice Action. Rajani co-founded Baltimore Asian Resistance in Solidarity in February 2015, and explores her multiple intersecting identities on her website, charmingly-hyphenated.com.

In March 2016, Rajani joined the board of Foundation Beyond Belief (FBB) bringing with her over a decade of experience in social justice work. FBB provides humanists opportunities to engage in service work, such as volunteerism and giving, and advocates for compassionate secular action throughout the world.” So today we’re going to get to know Rajani and all the stuff she’s doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #105: Race, Harm Reduction, and Humanism with Rajani Gudlavalleti” on Spreaker.

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The Biskeptical Podcast #27: Comey Spills the Tea

On today’s episode, we talk about James Comey and Jeff Sessions’ recent hearings, and whether or not they will change anything. We talk about the revelations, the non-answers, and the rude interruptions. Get the paper towels out because we spill all the tea!
Listen to “The Biskeptical Podcast” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #104: BC Humanist Association with Ian Bushfield

My guest for today is Ian Bushfield, executive director of the British Columbia Humanist Association. According to his bio, “Ian Bushfield was the first Executive Director for the BC Humanist Association and lived for two years in the UK where he worked on campaigns with Sense About Science. He has a background in physics and non-profit management and grew up in Alberta. In 2017 he joined the BC Civil Liberties Association’s Board of Directors.” So today we’re going to talk about Ian’s background and find out everything the BC Humanist Association is doing.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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New Paste Magazine Article and Two Podcast Guest Appearances

Hey y’all!

Last weekend I was at the 76th American Humanist Association conference, so I forgot to share my latest Paste Magazine article and two podcasts I was on.

My latest Paste Magazine article is “Can You Really Change Someone’s Mind?” It goes into the science of changing people’s mind (spoiler alert: it’s complicated).

I was also on The Gaytheist Manifesto last week in a panel discussion on Pride Month, and the Inciting Incident to read two blog posts I wrote last year about the Pulse shooting.

Enjoy!

Bi Any Means Podcast #103: Nazi Punching, Tone Policing, and Racism and with Ashton P. Woods

Returning to the show today is Ashton P. Woods. He is the co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Houston, and is the co-chair of the Black Humanists Alliance, which we talked about the last time he was on the show. Today we’re going to talk about some recent stuff going on with tone policing, free speech, and racism.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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Bi Any Means Podcast #102: Embrace the Void with Aaron Rabinowitz

My guest for today is Aaron Rabinowitz, co-host of the new podcast Embrace the Void. Here’s what the official description of the show says: “Welcome friends, to a podcast for a darker timeline. Maybe the darkest of all timelines. Definitely not one of the good timelines. Maybe it’s always been a dark timeline, maybe the Hadron collider screwed us over. Science may never know. What we do know is that we live in the void. The void, a place where a chittering mass of void crabs can infest a person suit and win the presidency. The void, a place where we’re just clever enough to know that climate change is happening, but not quite clever enough to do anything about it. The void seems terrible and cruel, but it loves you, in its own ironic way.” So today we’re going to talk about philosophy, religion, and what it means to embrace the Void.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast” on Spreaker.

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What Activist Burnout Looks Like — My latest for Splice Today

It looks like having a moment of panic every time you hear your phone ding because you’re afraid either trolls are threatening to beat you up on Twitter, or an argument in the comment section of your Facebook page has turned into an ugly shouting match.

It looks like staring at a thought-provoking article you found on either The Establishment or Everyday Feminism for five hours and debating whether or not to share it online because you’re afraid someone will accuse you of being a stupid SJW who hates white people (even though you are white).

It looks like wanting to hide in shame because when you tried to explain the complexities of modern feminism—including valid criticisms of it—all you get in return is a bunch of guys replying, “Feminism is cancer, you cuck!”

It looks like having to take a bunch of deep breaths about half an hour before correcting someone who says, “Black Lives Matter is a hate group.”

It looks like not getting anything done because you’ve spent the entire day explaining to a Facebook friend you don’t think all white straight cis men are inherently bad.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever someone demands you validate your gender identity with a peer-reviewed science journal article.

It looks like wanting to punch a baby in the face whenever, after explaining to someone the science behind gender identity, they respond, “Transgenderism is a mental disorder!”

It looks like gaslighting yourself and wondering if maybe they’re right and you’re just a special snowflake and not a transgender person.

Click here to read the rest.

Do Fidget Toys Work? — My latest for Paste Magazine

I got my first fidget toy a couple of weeks ago at my friend T’s birthday party. We were at their kitchen table playing Munchkin when I suddenly started experiencing sensory overload. I never played Munchkin before, so between trying to learn all the rules plus everyone talking, I felt anxious and fidgety. (I’m not autistic, but I do have ADHD, and some people with ADHD experience sensory processing problems.) I started playing with T’s fidget toy, and I started feeling calmer. T noticed this, so they gave me a simple green-and-white wooden spinner with four rings that spin in different directions. I became so immersed in the fidget toy that I forgot I was supposed to be learning how to play Munchkin.

Three weeks later, I still have my fidget toy (in fact, I’m playing with it right now as I think of what to write next). It helps center me when I’ve got too much sensory stimuli around me, like when I’m listening to a podcast while trying to do other projects (not something I recommend). However, being a good skeptic, I know very well that personal anecdotes don’t prove anything, so I decided to do some research. What I found was that with most things in science, it’s complicated.

Click here to read the rest.