Dear ______ , I Love You. But the Gay Jokes Just Aren’t Funny Anymore.
Forget sticks and stones: Language is powerful. Ash Beckham argues that if we want to build better communities for all stakeholders, it's vital to frame our language around inclusion and empathy.
Ash Beckham: When people are using the word, "gay" in any social context I think that it’s really important to figure out the intent of what they’re saying. A huge part of people being in the closet for so long was because nobody wanted to utter those words and I think that there is — when it’s used in an appropriate way, there’s a really strong sense of pride and identity that comes with that and I think that that’s really important. If it’s ever, you know, ranking something or speaking of something negatively or putting it down a peg or down a notch, that’s when there’s just other words to use. There’s better words to use that don’t carry that weight to people in the room. And you might not even know who those people are. You might not even know how that word affects somebody. You could be talking about their mom or their aunt or their dad. We hold each other accountable to not use those words because then it conveys the sentiment that gay is less than.
Empathy is such a critical part of this in creating empathetic communities, specifically in schools but in other places — in your community, in your place of worship, in your house. We need to create these empathetic environments. And the way that we create empathy is by sharing our stories. And the way that you have that conversation about those words, you know, "gay" being used in a negative way. People don’t respond to no you shouldn’t say that. They really respond to when you say that it makes me feel dot, dot, dot. And there’s something incredibly vulnerable about that, especially around the word "gay." Sometimes that’s kids outing themselves when they don’t necessarily want to which is such a huge role for allies to be able to stand up and say, "That word’s not okay because it makes me feel dot, dot, dot. Not because I’m gay, but because I have friends that are gay and you’re speaking of them in a pejorative way or you’re putting them as a negative connotation to something that they use as a prideful descriptor." You know, there comes a point if you are transgender and you insist that your uncle, you know, everybody’s got like a crazy uncle. Mine is Uncle George. He’s crazy. Like you never know what he’s going to say. But you give him the benefit of the doubt and you expect that he will be better at that. But if after you approach him and say hey, you know, the gay jokes aren’t funny or I’ve asked you to use my preferred pronoun and you’re just not. Like I think there’s a part of intention to assume that, you know, somebody without a tremendous amount of background in it is going to be able to, you know, by choice switch the pronoun that they’ve called somebody for 25 years. I don’t think it’s a fair expectation.
It took us a while to figure out that we were gay and to come to terms with that and handle that and be able to say that out loud. We have to give people in our lives that we care about that permission to do the same thing. But after a certain amount of time, if there’s no remorse or I mean I think especially with people that we’re close to we really — you can tell when someone’s trying or if they’re stumbling or if they’re not. So I think we give them the benefit of the doubt as long as it feels right to us and that relationship is still important. But when we come to the realization that they actually are not trying and not trying to be educated and not having those conversations, then maybe they can’t change or maybe there’s a way to employ other family members or allies or friends to go in and have that conversation in a better way. But, you know, I don’t — there’s so many people in the world that are putting out positive energy and that, you know, you’re going to get so much farther. And if you need to let somebody go because of their inability to try to change with you and be respectful of you that’s just kind of the way it goes sometimes which is hard I think. Obviously especially if it’s family members, but, you know, no one has the right to stop you from being you and from respecting you and you need to hold people to that.
Forget sticks and stones: Language is powerful. Ash Beckham argues that if we want to build better communities for all stakeholders, it's vital to frame our language around inclusion and empathy. It's not simply about a judicious selection of vocabulary. It's thoughtfulness and respect for individuals as human beings.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
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