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World News

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Parental guidance: gay lessons
TEL AVIV Straight people thinking of becoming parents were told not to 'give up', at an international conference on child development.

'Although all the evidence from recent studies shows that children of homosexual parents, single-parents or those in other non-nuclear family set-ups, tend to grow up more intelligent, imaginative and questioning, it is not impossible to achieve these qualities within a straight or nuclear set-up,' said child psychologist Dr Julia Meir.

But straight couples should try to learn from the experience of sexual minorities. 'Parents in non-conventional set-ups are less complacent, talk to their children more and involve them to a greater extent in decision making - all crucial to a child's development.'

In terms of sexual orientation, non-straights did not try to impose their own preferences in the way that most straight parents, unconsciously and automatically, did. 'Sexual minorities know from their own experience the dangers of making assumptions,' concluded Dr Meir.


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High heels against harassment
BUENOS AIRES The city's police force is planning to redesign its uniforms as part of a drive to attract more recruits from sexual minorities.

'So far the recruitment campaign's been quite successful,' said Chief Commissioner Raoul Bronson. 'We've had a good response from lesbian, gay and female-to-male transgender applicants. But we drew a complete blank on male-to-female transsexuals and transvestites. So we did a fact-finding survey of the community which brought back one overwhelming response: "Sorry, but we wouldn't be seen dead in those uniforms!"'

Transgender recruits are seen as ideal for the force in many respects. 'They know what it is like to be on the streets and to be at the receiving end of injustice and harassment, which, ironically, has come mainly from the police force itself. Also, transgender people know what it is like to be both female and male in our society. That's an incredible wealth of experience invaluable to the complex social task of policing,' said the commissioner. 'It's worth the odd stiletto heel to access that.'


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Better sex - the UN way
[image, unknown] NEW YORK Millions of women are reaping the benefits of an unhampered sex life with no danger of pregnancy, no side-effects from contraceptive pills and devices and a significantly reduced risk from sexually transmitted diseases, reports the United Nations. The organization is hailing this progress as a success for the UN Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) campaign to prevent unwanted pregnancies. With the slogan 'the gay way to health and freedom' the campaign is also boosting male sex lives by providing men with heavy-duty, safer-sex condoms alongside the more conventional (and fragile) models.

Each year hundreds of thousands of girls and women experience physical and mental ill-health due to contraception failure. But since the campaign started two years ago that figure has dropped by 35 per cent. The UNFPA says its only regret is that it did not launch the initiative sooner. 'It's so simple,' said an agency spokesperson. I don't know why we never thought of it before.'


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'Hate gene' breakthrough
MANILA Gay scientists think they may have found a gene for homophobia. Researchers at the city's Gay Science Institute (GSI) are optimistic that they are 'very close' to a scientific explanation for the condition.

'The implications are fantastic, especially if gene therapy is developed,' said Professor Maria Delmonte. Homophobia currently causes considerable damage worldwide, not only to its sufferers but also to the people they target or deride. A typical characteristic of the condition is that however apparent its manifestation, sufferers will vehemently deny that they are affected. Now the researchers are extending their experiments to explore links between the homophobe gene and those for religious fundamentalism, racism and other antisocial behaviour.

But social scientists remain sceptical: 'Yet again the gene freaks are ignoring the social, cultural and environmental factors that encourage homophobia,' said Professor Jaime Alvarez, also of the GSI. 'Tweaking genes will do nothing to address social conditioning and political scapegoating.'


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Source: If Only News Service (IONS)

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