Sexuality

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Persecution based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex variation is recognised as a legitimate ground for seeking refugee status. AAP/Terry Scott

Out of the frying pan and into the fire: the plight of LGBTI refugees

It is estimated that there are 175 million LGBTI persons living in persecutory environments worldwide. Only around 2500 asylum claims founded on sexual orientation or gender identity are successful annually.
Uganda has come under pressure over its anti-homosexual laws. Reuters/Edward Echwalu

Science alone can’t shift anti-gay prejudice in Africa

For more than a century there has been tension between the ideas that our sexuality is essential, and the idea that we have the potential to act out a far greater range of sexual desires and identities than we do in practice.
Australians are surprisingly bad at thinking about the place of religion in society. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Religious freedom should not necessitate sexual discrimination

Australia has an apparent conflict between religious freedom and sexual anti-discrimination legislation. It is particularly prominent in three areas: marriage, education, and social service provision.
Activists attend Uganda’s first gay pride parade at the Entebbe Botanical Gardens in Kampala, Uganda, in August 2012. Rachel Adams/EPA

Explainer: tackling the stigma and myths around sexuality

Science shows that thinking about sexuality in a binary fashion of hetero/homosexual is no longer accurate. Rather, evidence shows that there is a diversity of human sexuality and sexual orientations.
Members of a breakaway faction of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe protest against homosexuality. Reuters

Why anti-gay sentiment remains strong in much of Africa

Attitudes and laws about homosexuality are not purely a colonial import. Since independence, other factors, including right-wing evangelism, have driven anti-LGBTI attitudes.
Policymakers and the outcomes they produce can play a powerful role in shaping public opinion on questions of same-sex rights. AAP/Alan Porritt

How do individuals shape their views on same-sex rights?

Government policies regulating sexuality play a significant role in shaping citizens’ attitudes about sexual orientation and same-sex relationships.
In both of photographer Annie Leibovitz’s shots, deviance is synonymous with beauty. Vanity Fair

Two covers, two culture shifts

Caitlyn Jenner evokes Demi Moore's controversial 1991 Vanity Fair cover shoot, done when pregnancy was something to be hidden.
Transgender is an umbrella term, encompassing a number of different identities and practices. 'Umbrella' via www.shutterstock.com

What’s in a word? The challenges of ‘transgender’

Transgender is a relatively new word. So when an academic seeks to create a transgender historical archive, complications abound.
A page from a 1934 sex education manual that, like many of its era, managed to be less about sex than about policing racial boundaries. RPH West, Facts about Ourselves for Growing Boys and Girls (Public Health Department of the City of Johannesburg and the South African Red Cross Society, 1934). Wits Historical Papers, South African Institute of Race Relations Collection, AD 843 RJ/NA 18.

Let’s talk about sex education: race and shame in South Africa

In South Africa's segregated pre-apartheid state, even sex education was racialised. Christian missionaries had very different lessons for black and white children.
Studies of a reclining male nude: Adam in the fresco ‘The Creation of Man’ on the vault of the Sistine Chapel. c. 1511. Michelangelo. © The Trustees of the British Museum

The truth about sex in ancient Greece

Here are the facts behind four commonly held beliefs about Ancient Greek sexuality.
What is it that makes Venus a hottie? Is it her hip-to-waist ratio, or just her slenderness? "The Birth of Venus", Sandro Boticelli c1486.

Is there really a single ideal body shape for women?

Is there an ideal body shape that is universally attractive? A recent study shows that beauty is more complex, and diverse, than that.
BDSM gear at Eros Pyramide shop. Manu2560/Wikimedia

Re-imagined power: BDSM as Utopian fantasy

The BDSM-themed movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, is the number one movie in Australia. Its success means that a lot of people are titillated by the idea of sex beyond “vanilla sex.” Controversy about BDSM…

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