Gender & Sexuality


The possible demise of the Women's Professional Soccer league leaves soccer-playing girls without a dream to aspire to — and women's soccer in the U.S. without a plan. 

Natasha Kai of Sky Blue FC // Credit: WPS

The future is not looking bright for Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) in the United States. The pro league has dropped down to just five teams with October's disqualification of Florida's bungled magicJack franchise (the old Washington Freedom of the WPS, and WUSA, its predecessor league). At the moment, U.S. Soccer, the sport's governing body in the U.S., is dragging its heels in granting the waiver WPS needs to operate a Division 1 league with fewer than eight teams.

Barney Frank Goes Home

The idea that Massachusetts could lose Barney Frank in our congressional delegation never crossed my mind before yesterday, but I'm told that he's been signalling he's ready to go for a couple of years now. The New York Times' Abby Goodnough had a nice item about his departure announcement, which includes a great kicker about his famous combativeness with reporters and, well, everyone:

Mr. Frank’s famous petulance was on display at times on Monday; he dismissed what he called a “gotcha” question from a reporter about his personal investments and, upon learning she worked for Fox News, said, “Quelle surprise.”

Advertising for Marriage

Rex Wockner, longtime gay reporter, says this is the best marriage equality TV spot he has ever seen. The LGBT newsweekly The Advocate agrees. I haven't seen as many as they have, but it's pretty great. My only thought: it could be even better if there's another one just like it, in which the principal figure is a woman.

What do you think?

GOP Candidates: Let's Resegregate the Military!

Around this time last year, the Senate was setting in to tackle various pieces legislation it put off over the course of the year and capitalize on the remaining time before the House majority switched parties in January. Repealing "don't ask, don't tell"—the '90s-era provision that allowed LGBT soldiers to serve in the military so long as they did not reveal their sexual identity—was near the top of the list for Democrats. Rather than immediately repealing the measure after the 2008 election on the grounds that the rule clearly violated civil liberties, Democrats did their best to appease the regulation's proponents and commissioned an impact study, which concluded that there would be no negative impact on military readiness or morale if the law were overturned.

Women in the Boardroom

This morning, Women's E-News reports that since 2003, when Norway required corporate boards to be made up of at least 40 percent women, "plenty of other European countries have followed:

Spain: 40 percent by 2015 for market-listed companies or those with more than 250 employees.

France: 40 percent by 2017 for market-listed companies or those with more than 500 employees.

Manning Up

Rick Perry, the man George W. Bush pretended to be, personifies the allure of Texastosterone.

John Cuneo

IIn Master of the Senate, the third volume of his massive, still-unfinished biography of Lyndon Johnson, Robert Caro devotes a memorable paragraph to the great man’s fondness for exhibiting his sexual equipment, which, with characteristic humility, he called “Jumbo.”

A Quick-Step Forward

Dancing with the Stars challenges ballroom dancing's rigid gender roles.

You’d be forgiven if, like me, you spent several years avoiding ABC’s ballroom dancing contest show, Dancing With the Stars. It belongs to that saccharine genre of reality show geared toward “families,” which usually means it’s sterilized and scrubbed until there’s nothing left to either like or be offended by. It’s a cousin of the ready-to-be-euthanized American Idol. Its pen pal is the British show Britain’s Got Talent, which gave us Susan Boyle. This genre has a lot to make up for.

The Body Politic

Criticism of an Egyptian blogger's nude photos underscore liberal worries about seeming too radical.

Aliaa El Mahdy

As the now historic Tahrir Square filled with protesters over the weekend, the tension between the hope and momentum of the February uprising that ended a 30 year dictatorship and the aggressive, violent military response to a mass civilian demonstration almost one year later was startling. After three days, 23 dead, and over 1500 wounded, it is clear that the transition to a new Egypt is not going to come easily.

Sandusky's Victim One Bullied out of School

According to Sara Ganim at the Patriot-News, the reporter who first broke the Penn State sexual-abuse story back in March, Sandusky's Victim One has had to leave school because he's being bullied:

Officials at Central Mountain High School in Clinton County weren’t providing guidance for fellow students, who were reacting badly about Joe Paterno’s firing and blaming the 17-year-old, said Mike Gillum, the psychologist helping his family. Those officials were unavailable for comment this weekend.

The name-calling and verbal threats were just too much, he said.

The Internet Miniskirt

Flickr/Ed Yourdon

I've been lucky. There was no Internet back in the 1990s when I was one of the few women writing in the mainstream media about LGBT issues. Hate mail, then, was actual, physical mail, usually sent to a newspaper and forwarded, although one or two writers somehow found my home address. But even those were pretty mild. The usual theme was that I was going to hell; sometimes I got conversion pamphlets, with handy cartoon illustrations of people on fire. I got a couple of letters with disgustingly graphic ideas about my sex life, but those were overshadowed by the religious pamphlets and the psychotics' letters—which you learned to recognize by the tiny handwriting on the envelope, and which ran six to ten pages, and almost always mentioned alien life forms somehow.

Republican Hopefuls Focus on the Family

The country's shaky economic condition has dominated the Republican presidential primary conversation, but social issues will still rule the day for a portion of the GOP's base. This voting bloc may sway the outcome in two of the first three nominating states—Iowa and South Carolina—and poses the greatest threat to Mitt Romney's cakewalk path to gaining the nomination.

The Elephant in the Room

AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari

Mike Huckabee may have taken a pass on a second presidential run, but the 2008 Iowa winner turned Fox News televangelist still wants to have his say in this year's race. He's returning to Iowa—the state that defined him as more than just the Southern governor who lost all the weight—to co-host a forum with Citizens United next month. According to Politico, they have invited the eight major 2012 candidates, with abortion slotted as the primary topic of the event.

Roe v. World

It's a myth that the Supreme Court got ahead of public opinion when it legalized abortion in 1973.

As the Prospect's Gabriel Arana correctly noted yesterday, the litigation challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 8—the voter referendum that banned same-sex marriage in California—has become the high-stakes battle it was originally intended to be. The Supreme Court is almost certain to hear the case, which means either the biggest progressive legal victory in many years or a terrible precedent like Bowers v. Hardwick, which upheld a Georgia ban on sodomy in 1986.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Adoption

Over the past two months, I’ve posted a few items about fraud and corruption in international adoption, a subject I’ve reported on extensively. Of the many articles I wrote on the topic, one story in particular broke my heart—and illuminated how such frauds occur. I’ve just heard, again, from one of the principals in the situation, and I’d like to post his letter. Before I do so, here’s a summary of—and links to—the articles that offer background.

Prop. 8 Challengers Have Standing

The California Supreme Court has ruled that, in its view, the people who brought Proposition 8 to the ballot -- the initiative that halted California's same-sex marriages -- have the "standing" to back that law in court. Exactly what does that mean? It's complicated. Learn more from Chris Geidner, here.