Book Explores Two-Spirit Literature

Western culture’s grappling with homosexuality and alternate genders isn’t strictly limited to the United States, but is also prevalent in many Native American and native Alaskan groups — or native nations. That issue is the focus of work by one Kansas State University researcher.

Lisa Tatonetti, associate professor of English and American ethnic studies, received a fellowship to “Native Cultures of Western Alaska and the Pacific Northwest Coast,” a National Endowment for the Humanities’ summer institute. She used the opportunity to meet with various native groups to learn about their policies and cultures, including those on alternative sexualities and genders.

Her findings will contribute to her upcoming book, “Queering American Indian Literature: The Rise of Contemporary Two-Spirit Texts and Criticism.” It will be the first literary exploration into recorded Two-Spirit literature, mapping its inception in the early 1970s to its rise in present day and its criticism.

“Two-Spirit is a term coined in the ’90s that refers to people of native cultures who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender/transsexual or queer,” said Tatonetti, who is a foremost scholar in this field. “There’s been this explosion of Two-Spirit literature since the ’70s.”

A native nation refers to a collective body of Native American people who are citizens in an indigenous nation existing within the U.S. or Canada, Tatonetti said. In Alaska alone, more than 300 native cultures exist.

“Traditionally in native cultures, many native nations have alternate genders and different sexuality spaces,” she said.

But when Spanish and French missionaries and settlers first encountered these beliefs and practices in native cultures, they deemed them barbaric, often resulting in the practitioners’ deaths because they did not adhere to beliefs of Judeo-Christian origin. Consequently, this forced the Two-Spirit movement underground, Tatonetti said.

Although the summer institute wasn’t focused on Two-Spirit work, Tatonetti said it allowed her insight into the Yup’ik, Tlingit, Tsimshian, Haida and Kwakwaka’wakw nations, whose cultures differ greatly from those of native nations in the lower 48 states.

For her research she met with internationally known scholars and native artists every day for month.

“When I learned about a particular culture, I asked if their nation had these Two-Spirit traditions. It was amazing because everywhere I went these traditions existed,” Tatonetti said.

Even though a part of many cultures’ histories, she found that acceptance of Two-Spirit practices varied, and contemporary Two-Spirit people often faced the same tribulations as those with alternative sexuality and gender roles in the U.S.

“There are Two-Spirit societies all over the northwest area I visited and also throughout the U.S.,” Tatonetti said. “It’s funny, because while nations like the Navajo and Cherokee have multiple gender traditions, they also have passed their own defense of marriage acts.

“It’s been a back-and-forth in many nations for a long time. I think this literature is blossoming right now because of shifts in the larger conversations in academia and queer studies, and because of the changes in understanding happening in the U.S.,” Tatonetti said. “Historically these native nations are ahead of where American culture currently is in terms of their understanding of the complexity of gender and sex roles, but today they face similar debates and challenges.”

Tatonetti recently co-edited and contributed to “Sovereign Erotics: A Collection of Contemporary Two-Spirit Literature,” which is slated for release with the University of Arizona Press in spring 2011. Her work on Two-Spirit literature has appeared in various journals, edited collections and contemporary magazines.

Tatonetti began studying Two-Spirit literature soon after earning her doctorate from Ohio State University in 2001.

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The Four Best Exercises

Exercise trends are called trends for a reason. They last about as long as a head of lettuce and offer about as many benefits. But some have been around since the birth of weight lifting, and that’s because they work.

But which are the best of the best, and how can you maximize them?

Push-ups
imageWhat’s great about pushups is that you can do them even though you may be weaker than a pick up line. You can start with a few, and over time increase repetitions at a good, even pace that builds muscle in the chest, shoulders and triceps. Different variations of the exercise can work the abdominals as well.

The one-arm pushup: It’s the pushup that impresses, the one that only the strongest and bravest should attempt. That’s right I’m talking about you.

Widen your feet and place your hand on the floor beneath the middle of your chest. Tuck your other arm behind your back. As you lower yourself, you’ll realize that this isn’t a straight-up-and-down movement like a regular pushup.

You’ll twist on the ball of your foot and untwist as you push yourself back up—if you can. You’ll feel muscles working all up and down the side of your body that corresponds to which hand is on the floor.

Do an equal number with each arm, and don’t even try one-arm pushups unless you can bench-press your own body weight eight to 10 times.

imageThe Arm-Blaster Curl
The arm blaster hangs from your shoulders and prevents your elbows from moving forward and back during a curl.

This forces your biceps to work much harder than they would if allowed to swing a little.

Consequently, this curl is the best single exercise for working all parts of the biceps with maximum intensity.

The Squat
imageIf you aren’t doing squats in your workout, then you don’t have a workout. Squats shape the body and develop performance power.

It’s the easiest power move to learn, and you’ll see the fastest results in both strength and muscle size.

To get more out of the squat: Focus on squatting deeper, rather than heavier. The key is to descend until your thighs are parallel to the floor, while still keeping your heels on the floor and maintaining the natural arch in your lower back.

Use a light weight until you develop the correct form.

This deeper squat builds muscle faster and is safer for your knees than a squat in which you stop before your thighs are parallel to the floor. When you cut a squat short, you turn your knees into brakes. And you know what happens to brakes. They wear out.

The Clean and Jerk
imageThe clean and jerk used to be a staple move in hard-core gyms where guys would throw around weights the size of small cars.

But it’s making a big comeback in collegiate training rooms and with the popularity of its champion, Ivan Stoitsov (photo). It requires a combination of speed, strength, skill and balance that few exercises can match.

Place your feet hip-width apart with the bar directly over the balls of your feet. Set the bar right above the point where your toes meet the rest of your foot. Place your hands just about shoulder width apart.

Begin to lift the bar by pushing your feet through the floor. Keep your shoulders, hips and the bar all moving at the same rate of speed. The bar will get to about mid-thigh.

Give your shoulders a big “shrug” and jump your feet out to the sides as you raise the bar to your shoulders. Catch the bar across your shoulders with your elbows held high. You’ll be in a squat position with bar slightly under your chin.

Slowly rise up out of the squat until you’re standing straight with the bar on your chest. Take a deep breath and dip down before you raise the bar overhead.

When complete, split your feet with one leg forward, the other one back and hold. Get steady then bring your legs even with each other again.

So go ahead and jerk. Get a spotter, and start with light weights. Focus on building speed more than building strength. Add weight only when your form is fluid and the move feels natural.

If you’re not ready, use dumbbells instead of a barbell.

imageContributing blogger Troy Meyers is a certified personal trainer and sports conditioner with more than 10 years of experience. He owns Atlanta-based JockBoyLocker.comand contributes to the site’s Lockerroom Blog.

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Web Access Improves Chances at Relationships

Adults who have Internet access at home are much more likely to be in romantic relationships than adults without Internet access, according to research to be presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association.

“Although prior research on the social impacts of Internet use has been rather ambiguous about the social cost of time spent online, our research suggests that Internet access has an important role to play in helping Americans find mates,” said Michael J. Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University and the lead author of the study, “Meeting Online: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary.”

According to the study, 82.2 percent of participants who had Internet access at home also had a spouse or romantic partner, compared to a 62.8-percent partnership rate for adults who did not have Internet access. The paper uses data from Wave I of the How Couples Meet and Stay Together (HCMST) survey, a nationally representative survey of 4,002 adults, of whom 3,009 had a spouse or romantic partner.

In addition to finding that people are more likely to be in romantic relationships if they have Internet access in their homes, Rosenfeld and study co-author Reuben J. Thomas, an assistant professor of sociology at the City University of New York, found that the Internet is the one social arena that is unambiguously gaining importance over time as a place where couples meet.

“With the meteoric rise of the Internet as a way couples have met in the past few years, and the concomitant recent decline in the central role of friends, it is possible that in the next several years the Internet could eclipse friends as the most influential way Americans meet their romantic partners, displacing friends out of the top position for the first time since the early 1940s,” Rosenfeld said.

The study also found that the Internet is especially important for finding potential partners in groups where the supply is small or difficult to identify such as in the gay, lesbian, and middle-aged heterosexual communities.

Among couples who met within two years of the HCMST Wave I survey in the winter of 2009, 61 percent of same-sex couples and 21.5 percent of heterosexual couples met online.

“Couples who meet online are much more likely to be same-sex couples, and somewhat more likely to be from different religious backgrounds,” Rosenfeld said. “The Internet is not simply a new and more efficient way to keep in touch with our existing networks; rather the Internet is a new kind of social intermediary that may reshape the kinds of partners and relationships we have.”

The paper, “Meeting Online: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary,” will be presented on Monday, Aug. 16, at 8:30 a.m. EST in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis at the American Sociological Association’s 105th Annual Meeting.

About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.

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Vesuvian Graffiti

On August 24, 79 AD Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii, Herculaneum and Stabiea under cinders and ashes, preserving the ruins with magnificent completeness – down to the fresh colors of the wall paintings.  Much of what we know about ancient Romans has been learned from excavating the ruins of Pompeii

Among the treasures preserved are aspects of the civilization that would surely have been destroyed by the followers of St. Paul had not the lava of Vesuvius preserved them. These are the famous homosexual graffiti scrawled on walls around the town.  Some of the more choice examples are (in Latin, naturally) “On this spot Actus fucked Quintius” and “Phoebus the perfume maker fucks real good.”  There are no phone numbers of course.

From

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Book Explores Gay Dads’ Paths to Parenthood

As more and more gay men set out to become parents, a new book by University of Iowa Professor Ellen Lewin explores their desire to become parents, the challenges they face along the path to parenthood, and how fatherhood affects their identities as gay men.
“Gay Fatherhood,” an ethnography published by the University of Chicago Press, is the result of interviews with nearly 100 gay men who have or are trying to have children. The book chronicles the men’s lives, investigating how they cope with political attacks from the right and left, including criticism from peers in the gay community who view parenthood as a sign of conformity.
“Many people can understand lesbian’s desire to have a baby because they appreciate the idea of maternal instinct,” said Lewin, professor of anthropology and women’s studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “They’re much more suspicious about why gay men would want to be dads, and therefore gay men have to jump through a lot more hoops to be parents.”
Adoption through the foster system is the most affordable way for gay men to become fathers, but Lewin discovered they are typically last in line in the system, meaning they must consider whether they will accept an older child, a child with disabilities, or a child of a different race.
“Straight, middle-class married couples get first pick,” she said. “Heterosexual singles come next, and then gay people of various sorts. Some states prohibit gays from adopting, but a lot of individual social workers realize these guys can be good parents and want to get the kids into homes. There are 100,000 kids in the system, half of which are available for adoption. Most will never get adopted and will remain in the system until age 18, so there’s a sense of urgency.”
Domestic adoption through a private agency can run $20,000, and some mothers will not select gay men to raise their babies. Options for overseas adoptions, which can cost up to $40,000, are limited. Guatemala is one of the few countries with rules flexible enough to allow gay men to adopt, but one partner is invisible during the process – and the fact that the adoptive dad is gay is not advertised. Surrogacy allows a biological connection to one dad but costs upwards of $100,000.
“They have to make choices about what they want versus what they can afford,” Lewin said. “In some cases, gay couples have more financial resources because they’re men, and men make more money. But for a typical middle-class gay couple, some of these options are out of reach.”
Some dads described their urge to become parents as a natural impulse that crept up as they matured. They spoke disparagingly about stereotypical gay life, saying they wanted to do something significant in life – not just look back on fun parties and a well-decorated home.
A desire to pass on values and traditions was motivation for some of the men to become parents. Several expressed a desire to be considered a family, not just a couple.
“The definition of family in American culture is linked to having kids,” Lewin said. “When people ask whether you have a family, they don’t mean, ‘Do you have any relatives?’ or ‘Do you have a spouse or partner?’ They mean ‘Do you have children?’”
In some cases, moral or spiritual beliefs ignited a desire to have children. Men talked about how parenting inspired them to be better people, or about rescuing kids that “no one else wanted.”
One man adopted a homeless, transgender teen who was in trouble for petty theft and drugs and helped her turn her life around. Another man took in a child who was severely disabled by a stroke. The child was unable to walk, talk, make eye contact, speak or eat, and was believed to be deaf. As the dad “moved heaven and earth,” Lewin said, the child improved. He learned to walk and talk, graduated from high school, and now lives semi-independently in a group home.
“I interviewed several guys who adopted kids with disabilities or other challenges and basically gave their lives up for their child,” Lewin said. “But most weren’t out to be heroes or do something revolutionary by becoming gay fathers. Most were ordinary people who live in suburbs, go to Disney World for their vacations, and just want to have children like anyone else.”
When Lewin asked the dads about how parenthood affected their identities as gay men, responses were split. One dad felt “more gay” because he stood out from the straight parents with which he was surrounded; his partner felt “less gay” because they socialized mainly with straight parents from their kids’ school, and friendships with childless gay friends waned.
“Some dads were wistful about aspects of gay life before kids – maybe they missed going to the clubs, or the opera. But one of the findings was that once you’re a parent, you hang out with people you meet at your kid’s play group,” Lewin said. “One couple said, jokingly, ‘We aren’t really gay anymore. We pick our friends based on whose kids have the same nap time.’”
Fatherhood also had an impact on the dads’ relationships with their own families. Homophobia had driven a wedge between some men and their parents, but the grandchild provided a bond.
“I heard stories about gay men who were estranged from their families, but once they had a kid, the grandparents came over all the time,” Lewin said. “Their relatives may not have understood or supported them in the past, but having kids was something their family got and related to.”

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8 Weeks to Cardio Fitness

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This program consists of a lot of running and swimming, so be sure to prepare yourself mentally for long, hard cardio workouts. I recommend that you take it one day at a time and always remember: don’t give up!

Mondays: Back and Abs
One-arm Dumbbell Row: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Machine Row: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Lat Pull-down: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Shrugs: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Pull-ups: 3 sets to maximum # of reps
Sit-ups: 3 sets to exhaustion
Hanging Leg Raises: 3 sets to exhaustion
Twisting Crunches: 3 sets to exhaustion

imageTuesdays: Shoulder, Triceps and Abs
Military Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Shoulder Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dumbbell Side Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Narrow Grip Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Rope Pull-down: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Dips: 3 sets to exhaustion
Crunches: 3 sets to exhaustion
Leg Raises (Bench): 3 sets to exhaustion
Crunches (Machine): 3 sets to exhaustion

Wednesdays: OFF

Thursdays: Legs
Squat: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Extension: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Leg Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Standing Calf Raise: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Seated Calf Raise: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps

imageFridays: Chest, Biceps and Abs
Bench Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Incline Press: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Decline Fly: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Pec Dec Fly: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Push-ups: 3 sets to exhaustion
Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 repsReverse Barbell Curl: 3 sets of 6 to 10 reps
Decline Crunch: 3 sets to exhaustion
Knee Raise: 3 sets to exhaustion
Hanging Leg Raise: 3 sets to exhaustion

Weekends: Cardio as you go
The weekends are yours to go to the beach, run, swim. Cardio is important in order to get ripped, and although I’m not giving you a set cardio routine, you should make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of cardio done.

Check out more of Troy’s fitness articles at ProjectQ Atlanta

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Why Male Elk Have Long Antlers

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Coupling Reduces Stress

Newswise — Being married has often been associated with improving people’s health, but a new study suggests that having that long-term bond also alters hormones in a way that reduces stress.
Unmarried people in a committed, romantic relationship show the same reduced responses to stress as do married people, said Dario Maestripieri, Professor in Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago and lead author of the study, published in the current issue of the journal Stress.
“These results suggest that single and unpaired individuals are more responsive to psychological stress than married individuals, a finding consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that marriage and social support can buffer against stress,” Maestripieri writes in the article, “Between- and Within-sex Variations in Hormonal Responses to Psychological Stress in a Large Sample of College Students.”
The team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University studied 500 masters’ degree students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. About 40 percent of the men and 53 percent of the women were married or in relationships. The group included 348 men with a mean age of 29 and 153 women with a mean age of 27.
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The students were asked to play a series of computer games that tested economic behaviors, and saliva samples were taken before and after to measure hormone levels and changes.
Each student was told that the test was a course requirement, and it would impact their future career placement. That made the test a potentially stressful experience that could affect levels of cortisol, known as the stress hormone.
The researchers found cortisol concentrations increased in all participants, but that females experienced a higher average increase than males. The exercise also decreased testosterone in male subjects, but not in females, a stress effect previously observed in humans and animals.
But a piece of personal information collected before the test provided another interesting difference within the subjects. “We found that unpaired individuals of both sexes had higher cortisol levels than married individuals,” Maestripieri said.
“Although marriage can be pretty stressful, it should make it easier for people to handle other stressors in their lives,” Maestripieri said. “What we found is that marriage has a dampening effect on cortisol responses to psychological stress, and that is very new.”
The study also found that single business school students also displayed higher baseline testosterone levels than their married or committed colleagues, a finding that mirrors previous human research as well as animal observations.
Maestripieri, who conducts the majority of his research on monkeys in Puerto Rico, said that in species of primates and birds where males assist females with rearing offspring show similar changes. In species that show monogamous pairing and shared rearing of offspring, testosterone levels in males drop as they engage in more fatherly behavior.
Maestripieri’s co-authors are former University of Chicago student Nicole Baran, AB ’09, now a graduate student at Cornell University; Luigi Zingales, the Robert C. McCormack Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance, University of Chicago Booth School of Business; and Paola Sapienza, Professor of Finance at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management.
The Templeton Foundation helped support the study with a grant.

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Who Wrote “Leviticus Ridiculous”?

Surely you have seen this letter we are calling Leviticus Ridiculous which demonstrates how the rules of ancient times may not apply.
In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.  The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet.  But who wrote it?  Here it is:
In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and cannot be condoned under any circumstance.  The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, written by a US man, and posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can.  When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations.  A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians.  Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7.  In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24.  The problem is how do I tell?  I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9.  The problem is my neighbors.  They claim the odor is not pleasing to them.  Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath.  Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death.  Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality.  I don’t agree.  Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight.  I have to admit that I wear reading glasses.  Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27.  How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm.  He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester  blend).  He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot.  Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town  together to stone them? Lev.24:10-

16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.

So here is the real question, who wrote this letter?  Read the story at Snopes.  Nobody is sure, like Desiderata, where the original sprang forth, yet the material rings true nevertheless.

You might also enjoy how a professor who did NOT write the letter got fame, flame and whole lot more by reading this site.

Photo compliments of the Brick Testament.

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