There Were No Gays in High School

Question: How has the situation for LGTB youth changed in recent years?

Glennda Testone: There’s a lot more visibility.  You know, I was thinking about, prompted by this question, well what was it like for gay folks when I was growing up?  There were no gay folks.  There was no one that was out at my high school.  I think there was one woman at college.  And this was not that long ago.  I mean, we’re talking about the ‘90’s.  And it just wasn’t talked about.  You just didn’t see it.  People made gay jokes, anti-gay jokes in high school.  And I remember, you know, my boyfriend and I at the time were both really pretty progressive compared to other folks we went to high school with.  And so we would sort of stand up to people and it was, you know, we were in the minority, definitely.  But no one was out.  

And I... the young people that I see at the center and the kids that I see that come to the center, they run the gamut.  You know, what I see really surprises and inspires me is the kids who are so confident and so secure and so like, “Yep.  I’m gay.  I know it.  Here I am.  Love me.”  You know.  And whether it’s a front or it’s real, the fact that it even exists is fabulous and something to be nurtured.

And then there are other kids, you know, I do sit on the Mayor’s Commission, which ended recently for LGTB runaway and homeless youth, and it’s a big problem.  You’re an LGTB young person, not living in New York City and you’re not accepted by your family and you don’t have a supportive environment, a lot of those kids come to New York.  And it’s expensive here, it’s challenging, it’s isolating.  We see a lot of them at the center. We serve a lot of them at the center. And they really need our support and our, you know, they need resources.  They need a place to sleep.  They need someone who tells them that they’re okay.  That it’s okay to be who they are.  So, I really see the entire spectrum when it comes to young people.

And you know, I met recently for Pride Week, one of the Grand Marshals was Constance McMillan, who is the lesbian woman who wanted to bring another woman to her prom and wear a tux and the school said, “no.”  And they cancelled the prom, and then they faked a prom so she would not be able to go to it, and just this horrific story.  And she is so confident and so inspirational.  Every step of the way and wants to go to college and get her PhD. and counsel other gay kids and support them, and that’s just amazing.  

It’s terrible that we still have to deal with that kind of blatant, almost proud bigotry from her school and her classmates, but it’s amazing that she is standing up and not backing down and saying she deserves to be treated equally.  So, I think the young people today, the young LGBT people are really an inspiration and a reason why we all need to engage in the fight to achieve basic rights and protections and treatment.  

So, no, I appreciate that.  So, in the media, there is such pressure for everybody to conform, gays, straight, you know, you should be beautiful, you should be thin, you should be rich and you should be endlessly interesting.  I mean that’s what reality television and some of the media in general is telling us.  So, I think it’s up to all of us to be who we are and present a different picture and show the world in all of it’s many facets and support that and find ways to really support that because things do get very homogenous and very anesticized through the media.  Everything does.  And it’s why I think we need to look outside and build our – outside of the media, build our own communities, talk to real people and just create a world where we can all be who we want to be.

Recorded on July 16, 2010

Interviewed by Max Miller

Things have improved tremendously for LGBT youth since Testone was young, but there are still plenty of kids without supportive families who come to New York and end up homeless.

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Scientists study tattooed corpses, find pigment in lymph nodes

It turns out, that tattoo ink can travel throughout your body and settle in lymph nodes.

17th August 1973: An American tattoo artist working on a client's shoulder. (Photo by F. Roy Kemp/BIPs/Getty Images)
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In the slightly macabre experiment to find out where tattoo ink travels to in the body, French and German researchers recently used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence in four "inked" human cadavers — as well as one without. The results of their 2017 study? Some of the tattoo ink apparently settled in lymph nodes.


Image from the study.

As the authors explain in the study — they hail from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment — it would have been unethical to test this on live animals since those creatures would not be able to give permission to be tattooed.

Because of the prevalence of tattoos these days, the researchers wanted to find out if the ink could be harmful in some way.

"The increasing prevalence of tattoos provoked safety concerns with respect to particle distribution and effects inside the human body," they write.

It works like this: Since lymph nodes filter lymph, which is the fluid that carries white blood cells throughout the body in an effort to fight infections that are encountered, that is where some of the ink particles collect.

Image by authors of the study.

Titanium dioxide appears to be the thing that travels. It's a white tattoo ink pigment that's mixed with other colors all the time to control shades.

The study's authors will keep working on this in the meantime.

“In future experiments we will also look into the pigment and heavy metal burden of other, more distant internal organs and tissues in order to track any possible bio-distribution of tattoo ink ingredients throughout the body. The outcome of these investigations not only will be helpful in the assessment of the health risks associated with tattooing but also in the judgment of other exposures such as, e.g., the entrance of TiO2 nanoparticles present in cosmetics at the site of damaged skin."

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

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  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.