Saturday, November 27, 2010

Studying LesBians: Does having lesbian parents make you bisexual or just more open-minded?

Studying Lesbians is a monthly column discussing recent (and not so recent) research involving lesbians. This time we look into another interesting study that had its results taken a little out of context.

A study was published in the December issue of the Archives of Sexual Behaviour journal that looked into the sexual behaviour and identity of 17 year-olds raised by lesbian parents. The data were part of the National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, which is the most extensive long term study into American lesbian mothers and their children. 

The journal in question publishes all kinds of research revolving around sexual identity, experiences and disorders and makes for quite an interesting read if you are interested in that sort of thing. The study I want to discuss is no exception.

Photo credit: Gigi Kaeser

78 adolescents (39 boys and 39 girls) who were raised by lesbian parents were followed for a period of time and were asked a whole range of questions about their sex life, including sexual experiences, sexual identity etc. etc.

They were also asked about other aspects like sexual abuse, to which none answered affirmatively. This led to quite some news coverage about there being no abuse at all in lesbian households.

Of course, 78 participants is way too small a sample to make any kind of general claims about the entire population of kids growing up with two mommies. Those reporting about research findings tend to ignore that part and just go for the juicy headlines.

Still, not that much research has been done on sexual orientation and experiences of kids growing up with two mothers, so it is interesting and important to look at the results.

When asked to indicate their sexual orientation on the Kinsey scale (a scale that measures sexual orientation ranging from totally straight to totally gay, with bisexual being somewhere in the middle), 5.4 % of 17 year-old boys identified as gay and 2.7 % identified as bisexual. In stark contrast, none of the girls identified as gay, but no less than 18.9 % identified as bisexual.

This is not only a big difference compared to boys of the same age raised by lesbians, but also much higher than what you typically find in girls of the same age raised by straight parents.

In addition, it was also found that girls raised by lesbians (regardless of sexual orientation) were much more likely to have had same-sex experiences than girls raised by straight parents. They were also older when they first engaged in girl-boy experiences than girls raised by straight parents.

Photo credit: Gigi Kaeser

Should we be surprised by this? I think it is only logical that if you are raised by lesbians and all your life you have seen two women loving each other, and presumably been around to a lot more lesbians and/or homosexuals, the threshold to have experiences with a woman yourself or to question your sexual identity is much lower.

How many of us wouldn't have come out much sooner if only we had known about and/or had been made more comfortable about our feelings towards girls?

I also don't think that the 18.9 % of girls who now identify as bisexual will still say the same in ten years time. I'm not saying you cannot be sure about your orientation at 17, but it's probably more likely that a number of these girls are simply more open-minded towards same-sex experiences, but will still end up being heterosexual, whereas a number of them will realise they are gay.

It could also mean that a much larger number of women are bisexual than is always assumed, but because of upbringing and experiences the same-sex loving part is never fully developed and being around lesbians is activating it (I don't mean to imply that bisexuality is something like being a Cylon that can be triggered without your control).

A more anti-lesbian standpoint would be to say that lesbian mothers are making their daughters bisexual. But then again, if that were the case we would expect lesbian mothers to make their daughters lesbians as well, and to also have more of an influence on boys.

But before we try to explain these results, let's not forget that 18.9% of 39 girls is only 7 girls. Seven girls saying they are bisexual is very very little.

Photo credit: Gigi Kaeser

I would love to see more studies like these, and I would especially be curious to see what has come of these girls and boys 10 years from now. Will they still be more queer or will they be more comparable to kids raised by straight parents?

What do you think of this study? Do you think parents' sexual orientation influences those of the kids? Are girls with lesbian parents more likely to be bisexual or just more open-minded?

This post was first published on eurout.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Snow, snow, snow

Last night I was telling my girlfriend I'd seen a few snowflakes, but it didn't look like there was going to be much snow. She replied I'd probably wake up to the entire city being covered in snow. I told her to take it back, but to no avail, because this is what I woke up to:

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I took these pictures from my front window. I can't believe there's already snow, it's only November! Last year my girlfriend and I wished for a white Christmas and we ended up with 4 (!) months of snow. Let's hope it won't get that bad again this year.

Don't get me wrong, I love some snow to walk around in and to look at all the prettiness, but when you're regularly travelling cross country, this weather is a nuisance to say the least.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lists Are Hot: 10 LesBian Web Series

Lists Are Hot is a monthly column for all those who love lists. This time I want to share with you 10 lesBian web series I think you should check out.

Ten years ago it was pretty hard to find lesBian content in anything but movies. These days, however, lesbians seem to be everywhere! To be fair, lesbian characters and storylines on television are still rather scarce, but luckily there's an entire internet universe out there that is filled with gay.

One of the greatest creations of the last few years has to be the web series. When they first came out I was so excited about them, I watched them all the time and pretty much any web series I could get my hands on. I am a little more picky these days, but I still like to check out any web series involving lesBians.

The good thing about web series is that they are relatively easy and cheap to make. However, because it's pretty much a hobby or side project for most people working on them, it can take a while for new episodes to show up.

Some of the lesbian web series I am about to list might be familiar to you, and some might be new discoveries. As there are not that many lesbian web series out there yet, this is not a top 10 of the best, but just 10 web series you should check out. They are in no particular order, but feel free to let me know which one you think is the best.


10. B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye (Canada)

B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye was created by Regan Latimer and revolves around B.J. Fletcher, a very clumsy, stubborn, unprofessional, yet very loveable PI and her sidekick, best friend George. Together they solve crimes the best way they can, and try to balance this with their love lives. As with any crime solving team that spends a lot of time together, soon enough they start to realize who they really want is each other.

Watch the trailer of the show here.

I am a big fan of crime shows and good humour, and I am definitely enjoying B.J. Fletcher: Private Eye on both counts. So far there have been two seasons of the web series and it looks like there is much more to come. We'll let you know when there's more news about a release date for Season 3.


9. Anyone But Me (US)

Anyone But Me is the web series by Susan Miller (the L word, Thirtysomething) and Tina Cesa Ward about “A new generation seeking love and belonging in the post 9/11 age."

It tells the story of 16 year old Vivian who moves from the big city to the suburbs, leaving behind all that was familiar; her school, her friends and her girlfriend Aster. Being a teenager and figuring out who you are is hard enough, let alone having to do it while trying to fit into a completely new environment, yet at the same time holding on to those old connections.

Vivian and Aster are the cutest lesbian couple ever. Not only that, but even the "non-gay" parts of the series are worth watching. The web series has a great storyline and good actors. So far there's two whole seasons for you to enjoy, but they are currently busy creating Season 3, which should be ready in the Spring of 2011.


8. Emma Stahl (Germany)

Upcoming German web series Emma Stahl is something you don't want to miss. The web series is produced by Sandra Uredat and is about a bad ass female special agent, who loves adventure and beautiful women. Or as the official press release summarizes:

“Emma Stahl is a special agent for the fictional European police unit EuForce. This elite team fights organized crime in Europe. When normal police action does not go anywhere, Emma Stahl is called. Her bosses tolerate her unorthodox methods grudgingly as long as they lead to success.

Emma Stahl is addicted to adventure and beautiful women. A sometimes fatal weakness.”

Now doesn’t that get you excited? I am a huge fan of crime shows, films, books, you name it, as long as it has strong, interesting, hot leading women. Therefore, I cannot wait for this web series to start airing.

So far, we have to make do with just a trailer, but we'll keep you posted on when you can expect the entire web series.


7. Chica Busca Chica (Spain)

Germany is not the only European country with lesbian web series, Spain even has more than one. Unfortunately, none of them have made any new episodes since 2007. However, just because they are a little dated, doesn't mean they are not worth checking out.

Chica Busca Chica is a 16 episodes series about the lives and loves of a group of lesbians that can best be described as a Spanish version of the L word, and I mean that in the best possible way. This web series is really well done and you would not be surprised if it would turn up on your television.


Last year, the maker of the show was looking for funding to make a second season, but unfortunately not enough money has been raised so far. The web series is available on DVD though, but I think only for those in the United States.


6. Plan V (Argentina)

Another great web series in the Spanish language is Plan V, which comes from Argentina.

This 11 episode web series revolves around Ana, a 30 year old lesbian and her interesting love life. The main plotline, that is explored throughout the episodes, is that of Anna meeting a girl named Laura on the subway, who she falls madly in love with. Only it turns out Laura just happens to be dating Ana’s brother.

Plan V is actually quite a fun watch, despite the plotline. Interesting fact is that the actresses who play Laura and Ana are a couple in real life, and the reason they participated in the show is to increase visibility for Argentinian lesbians.


5. Out with Dad (Canada)

Another cool lesbian web series from Canada is Out with Dad, this web series is about a young girl who lives with her single father and is coming out of the closet. The series is written, directed and edited by Jason Leaver and so far 8 episodes are available online.

Like most series, they would love to come back for a second season, but are not sure yet whether they will have the time and/or money.

What I like about this web series, is not only the original outlook, but also that it is just really well made.


4. The Real girl's guide to everything else (US)

The real girl's guide to everything else was a nice surprise. I didn't know this one before writing this column and I didn't think I would like it. But I was wrong, it is actually pretty good.

So far there's a 6 episode first season (created by Carmen Elena Mitchell) about a Lebanese lesbian and political journalist who is trying to write a book about the Afghan women’s struggle for civil rights. However, she needs to write a real Cosmo kind of book for girls to make some money, and thus she goes to find out what this straight girl world is all about.


3. Girl/Girl scene (US)

Girl/Girl scene is a web series that came out this year, that follows the lives of four "unapologetically queer women" in Middle America. This doesn't mean the lesBians in this web series live average lives, as already in the pilot we are thrown in the middle of an Indie movie set. Read Garance's more detailed account of the pilot.

With only two episodes finished so far (they are working on more episodes as we speak), it is hard to get a good idea of the series, but I watched the first episode and that wasn't too bad. I didn't think it was great, but it has promise, so I am looking forward to more of their episodes.

You can watch the episodes for yourself here.


2. Heet Gras (the Netherlands)

There's a great new Dutch series entitled Heet Gras (Hot grass), which tells the story of two teenage girls on the same soccer team who end up falling in love with each other.

So far, only the pilot has seen the light of day, but this definitely makes me want to wait for more. Check out Anna's recap of the episode. The makers are hoping to be picked up by a TV station, so that the entire series can be made. Thus, technically this isn't really a web series as such, but they are planning to put the pilot online, which would make it a web series, I guess.


1. Seeking Simone (Canada)

Online dating is something many of us have experience with. You might not have met the love of your life that way (or maybe you have?), but it has probably made you some fun and embarrassing experiences richer. If you want to relive all the fun and horrors of online dating, check out Seeking Simone created by Renée Olbert and Rosemary Rowe.

Their tagline is “Online dating has never been so gay” and I couldn’t agree more. It's such fun to watch Simone go through one bad date after the other. Five episodes is nowhere near enough, so I am happy to tell you they are currently working on getting more episodes done.

Renee Olbert (who plays Simone) also recently made an It gets better video, which you can watch here.


So what do you think of this list? What are your favourite web series and which don't you like at all? Are any of the lesbian web series you watch missing? Let us know in the comments.

This post was first published on eurOut.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cartoon: Rainbow Duo - 2 - Buying exciting tropical fruit

This is the second in a series of cartoons created by my girlfriend and I. The Rainbow Duo shows the adventures of 2 gay stick figures in love, which is loosely inspired by our real life experiences.

In this cartoon you can see what happened when we/they decided we wanted to try some new types of fruit.

Check out the first cartoon here.