U.S./World: Bisexuals, LGBTQ issues, FedEx benefits

Beyond the Carolinas

Bi reaches new high

According to the latest national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], more Americans are identifying as bisexual than ever before.

Not only that, but more heterosexual men are admitting to having had gay sex.

Researchers interviewed more than 9,000 men and women ages 18 to 44 between 2011 and 2013. Respondents were asked about the types of sexual experiences they’ve had, whether they’re attracted to the same or opposite sex, and how they label their sexual orientations.

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Here’s what they learned: 1.9 percent of men said they were homosexual, which is on par with the CDC’s last survey conducted between 2006-2010. Meanwhile, 2 percent of men said they identified as bisexual, up from 1.2 percent in the last survey.

And this is where it gets interesting, because 6.2 percent of men said they had engaged in either oral or anal sex with another man.

A bit of basic math: If 1.9 percent of men said they were gay and 2 percent said they were bisexual — but 6.2 percent said they had engaged in same-sex sexual activity — that means 2.3 percent of men engaging in same-sex sexual activity are straight. Or at least straight-identifying.

“You do expect some differences,” said Casey E. Copen, the lead author of the study. “For some people … they may or may not have had the experiences they’re contemplating, [especially] if they’re younger.”

LGBTQ Nation (lgbtqnation.com), a qnotes media partner

Survey: Americans not so angry over LGBTQ issues

As we inch closer to the 2016 election, a new survey by Esquire and NBC News called “American Rage” polls 3,000 Americans to get a sense of what makes Americans angry.

The findings are surprisingly pro-LGBTQ.

Only 22 percent of respondents said they’d be angry at a hypothetical headline that read: “More Than 100,000 Couples Have Wed Since Supreme Court Ruling.”

Apparently, 45 percent of those surveyed are angry at the way LGBTQ people are treated, and 41 percent think LGBTQ people have a right to be angry about their mistreatment.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a properly gay-focused poll without at least one question about Kim Davis (the clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples based on her religious views), but rest easy: only 24 percent of people support her.

Due to these results, the Washington Post said that LGBTQ rights ware “the social justice issue that garnered the most agreement” among those polled.

However, the news isn’t quite so cheery for one particularly famous transgender woman.

A headline reading “Caitlyn Jenner’s Wedding of the Century!” would make about 41 percent of respondents angry — though respondents may simply be tired of seeing Jenner in the news so often.

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A few other interesting tidbits from the poll: 77 percent of Republicans get angry once a day (compared to 67 percent of Democrats), whites and Republicans are the angriest groups in America, and 63 percent of people claim the “American Dream” is no longer true, or never was true.

LGBTQ Nation (lgbtqnation.com), a qnotes media partner

 

FedEx must deliver survivor benefits

On Jan. 4, U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton denied FedEx’s attempt to throw out a lawsuit filed by Stacey Schuett, widow of a longtime FedEx employee who has been denied the survivor pension benefits her same-sex spouse earned during her long career with the company.

FedEx refuses to provide the benefits because its pension plan incorporates the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), even though that law was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013. As a result of the Supreme Court’s decision, federally-regulated retirement plans must recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples for purposes of survivor benefits.

“It is shocking to me that a company that pays lip service to diversity and the importance of its employees refuses to recognize our family,” Schuett said. “My wife earned her benefits during her decades of service to the company. No employer should be permitted to ignore our families and refuse to provide the hard-earned benefits of dedicated and skilled employees.”

According to FedEx’s “Diversity and Inclusion: Values in Action” website, FedEx believes that diversity is “a smart business practice.” The company page goes on: “But there’s another, far more important reason why we embrace diversity and inclusion: It’s simply the right thing to do.”

Amy Whelan, senior staff attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, said: “Companies that claim to support diversity, as FedEx does, should be celebrating the downfall of DOMA, not trying to resurrect it for widows of FedEx employees who are fighting to receive the basic benefits their spouses earned during decades of service to the company.”

Attorney Nina Wasow, who also represents Schuett, said: “The June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision established once and for all that DOMA was an unconstitutional law. The fact that FedEx continues to rely on it as a defense in this case is not only legally wrong, it’s shameful.”

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