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Are We All A Little Bisexual? Exploring Gender Identities & Cultural Programming

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Are we all bisexual at our core? How much of our sexual orientation is influenced by cultural programming around sexual identity?

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My curiosity with these questions was sparked after reading an article by Mike Iamele, fascinatingly titled, I’m An Otherwise Straight Man (Who Fell In Love With His Best Friend). Mike unabashedly shared his story with the world, which revealed how he developed romantic feelings for his best friend and roommate, Garrett, after a life threatening illness left Mike debhilitated and needing assistance. Because of their close friendship and shared living situation, Garrett stepped up as Mike’s caretaker.

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“My roommate, Garrett, one of my best friends at the time, took pity on me. He took care of me. He picked up my prescriptions from the pharmacy. He cooked me dinner. He stayed in on Friday nights to watch movies. He’d even rub my back when I was in pain.”

Two months into the routine, Mike said romantic thoughts began to creep into his head.

“I had a thought — a tiny, little thought — that I loved him. It seemed preposterous. It seemed laughable. I shooed it away immediately. But that thought started creeping into my mind whenever he was away. That thought sneaked in whenever he did something nice or made me laugh.”

Eventually Mike came to terms with these thoughts as something very real. He decided to tell Garrett one evening, and Garrett revealed to Mike that he “loved him too.”

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“We had no idea how to make this work. We had no idea if this even could work. Sometimes we still don’t. It took time — years even — to figure it out. But it’s a relationship. None of us know what we’re doing. We just try and negotiate and compromise. And, little by little, you become just another boring couple.”

Mike revealed that yes, he is an otherwise ‘straight’ man in love with another man. His thoughts around his relationship are fascinating,

“I would never reduce Garrett down to just being a man… He’s a pharmacist and a good cook and a great cards player… I love him for who he is, not what he is. We’re more than our gender. We’re more than one attribute. And sometimes we need to remember that. We have this myth of identity — that who we are is the summation of a lot of choices we made in the past. In every moment, we’re changing and evolving and growing. In every moment, we’re reconstructing our identity. We’re not defined by our decisions from two years ago. We’re not even defined by our decisions from two minutes ago. We’re defined by who we choose to be in this very moment.”

Mike’s words are powerful and couldn’t be more accurate. Should we so quickly and directly be defined by our decisions? Should our sexual identity be limited by predisposed cultural programs? I became very curious about human sexuality.

At our core, are we all open to bi-sexual experiences? Is our mono-sexual (hetero or homo) orientation and identity more so influenced and decided by cultural programming?

Bi-Sexuality In The Animal Kingdom

Many animal species exhibit bisexual behaviours.

Many animal species exhibit bisexual behaviours.

When looking at our animal relatives, the Bonobo Chimpanzees, we quickly learn that bisexuality is commonplace among various chimp groups. They engage in sexual acts with one another for many reasons, whether they are hungry, tired, tense, or whether they just want to play.

In fact, as of 1999, over 1500 species have been observed to showcase bisexual behaviours, including lions, lizards, swans, and dolphins.

Sexual and gender expression in the animal world displays exuberant variety, including same-sex courtship, pair-bonding, sex, and co-parenting–even instances of lifelong homosexual bonding in species that do not have lifelong heterosexual bonding.

Could this observation tell us something about our own innate sexual curiosity?

Are We Born Naturally Inclined To Bi-Sexuality?

Neurologist Sigmund Freud suggested that we were all innately bisexual.

Neurologist Sigmund Freud suggested that we were all innately bisexual.

Famous neurologist Sigmund Freud was one of the first public figures to address the concept of innate bisexuality.

The conclusions that he drew were based on the fact that at early stages of development, humans undergo a period of hermaphrodism. Based on this, he asserts that all humans are born predisposed to bisexuality but gain other sexualities throughout later psychological development – with bisexuality remaining latent.

This develops into a general theory that attraction to both sexes is possible, but that one is more common for each sex. From there, it is the supposition of some that the way in which humans express or enjoy themselves sexually is indifferent to the gender of the person from which that erotic fulfillment is derived.

Late author Gore Vidal spoke about innate bisexuality during a time when the idea was widely condemned. He said it is the “tribal taboos” that have taken our innate bisexuality away, whereas in fact it is a matter of our human condition that we are all responsive to sexual stimuli from whichever gender it should come from.

Male And Female Same-Sex Experiences: Double Standards?

Traditionally, if a man has experienced even one same-sex encounter, his sexual orientation is almost immediately equated to being article-2514246-19AC6E4200000578-495_634x826homosexual. This old cultural idea effectively erases the possibility of bisexuality being possible for a man.

Yet conversely, it seems bisexuality is more commonly accepted in women. If a woman has a one-time sexual experience with another woman, she is less likely to be categorized as ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ as opposed to two men in the same circumstance.

In the past there seemed to be more sexual identity standards with regards to men as opposed to women.

Even those identifying as bisexual have often been stigmatized, sometimes being described as simply being in transition into pure homosexuality, or being sex crazed.  Other social attitudes towards bisexuals paints them as neurotic or ‘incapable of making up their minds.’

In this way, bisexual individuals have been subject to double discrimination, facing hostility from both heterosexuals and homosexuals.

The point is that all too often we get caught up in defining our sexuality and thereby limit our potential as free and open beings. We are quick to place gender labels on people based on predisposed cultural ideas of gender norms. But is this all beginning to change?

Survey Says?

Perhaps the labeling of sexuality is dissolving in our current era. In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Bisexuality titled Aren’t We All a Little Bisexual?: The Recognition of Bisexuality in an Unlikely Place, a group of heterosexual male sports players from universities across the US were asked about same-sex experiences.

Researchers asked the men questions such as, “If a straight guy had sex with a guy once, would it make him gay?”. A common answer was, “Only if he wasn’t attracted to women.” article-2514246-19AC6E4F00000578-381_306x423

Instead of viewing sexuality as a polarized ‘either/or’ identity, most of these men were interested in discussing issues of sexuality through a recognition of its complexity.

On participant said, “What does it really mean to be gay anyhow?”. When asked to ‘describe bisexuality’ many of these men initially offered an explanation that being bisexual means being sexually attracted to men and women.

Almost all of the men in the study maintained that bisexuality exists among men, and most even recognize bisexuality in themselves, but few know male friends who publicly identify as bisexual.

One of the participants elaborated, “It’s cool right now for girls to be into other girls. I don’t think it’s bad for guys to say they are into other guys… I don’t think there is much homophobia [biphobia], but it’s also not ‘cool’ yet. Maybe it will be in a few years. But, right now, a guy just doesn’t get the same credit with his friends for doing guys as he does for doing girls. So if you’re a guy, and you like girls [too,] I guess it just make sense to say you’re straight.”

Another participant chimed in, “I don’t get it. Why do we have to be straight or gay, or whatever? Why can’t we just be?”

In an article written for the Daily Mail titled Rise of the Female Flexi-Sexuala study revealed that in 2010 16% of women admitted to sexual experiences with other women, compared to only 4% claiming the same in 1990.

On top of that, women said that they enjoyed the experience, but wouldn’t necessarily classify themselves as bisexual. It seems that our current era offers more sexual freedom without the worry of gender labels.

Dropping The Labels

All of these findings are fascinating indeed, they signify that sexuality is best understood as a spectrum rather than a definitive label. It’s important to take into account multiple variables in understanding sexuality, including emotional preference, social preference and more.

The questions begs, if we were born into a society that was completely neutral and void of gender and sexuality standards, would we all be open to sexual experiences with either sex? Is there an innate same-sex curiosity in all of us, that has been buried by layers of cultural programming around sexual norms?

These are all important questions which will continue to evolve as sexual freedom and non-identification becomes more ubiquitous throughout society. For now, let’s drop the identities and labels around sexual orientation and let sexual expression flow both naturally and freely.

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Vancouver Council Votes Against Mandatory Mask Mandate: They’re Not Required

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vancouver, Canada will not have a required mask policy in civic facilities, and instead will simply recommend that people wear them.

  • Reflect On:

    Should governments recommend what they feel we should do and present the science instead of forcing certain measures on the population that many people and health professionals clearly disagree with?

What Happened: The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada will not mandate masks inside city buildings and will “strongly encourage” people to wear them instead. This is a bold move as many cities across the globe have mandatory mask measures in place.

The proposal by Counc. Sarah Kirby-Yung, which would have required masks inside city buildings, was opposed by more than a dozen speakers who pleaded with the city council to vote against it.

“Please consider our forefathers fought for our freedom, and if we release that choice, it’s the first step towards a dictatorship,” said one speaker according to City News. “Masks are used as weapons and they have certainly been used as weapons against me and others to silence and marginalize us and it’s not fair.”

According to Coun. Christine Boyle, public health experts encourage wearing masks, but a mandatory policy is not needed.

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Positive Association Found Amongst COVID Deaths & Flu Shot Rates Worldwide In Elderly

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A recently published paper has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

  • Reflect On:

    Why does vaccine hesitancy continue to grow worldwide? What's going on? What information/factors are contributing to this hesitancy?

What Happened: A recently published study in PeerJ  by Christian Wehenkel, a Professor at Universidad Juárez del Estado de Durango in Mexico, has found a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and influenza vaccination rates in elderly people worldwide.

According to the study, “The results showed a positive association between COVID-19 deaths and IVR (influenza vaccination rate) of people ≥65 years-old. There is a significant increase in COVID-19 deaths from eastern to western regions in the world. Further exploration is needed to explain these findings, and additional work on this line of research may lead to prevention of deaths associated with COVID-19.”

To determine this association, data sets from 39 countries with more than half a million people were analyzed.

The study was published on October 1st, and two weeks later a note from the publisher appeared atop the paper emphasizing that correlation does not equal causation, and that this paper “should not be taken to suggest that receiving the influenza vaccination results in an increased risk of death for an individual with COVID-19 as there may be confounding factors at play.”

The paper provides evidence from others which have recently been published that ponder if the flu shot could increase ones chance of contracting and dying from COVID-19.

For example, this study published in April of 2020, reported a negative correlation between influenza vaccination rates (IVRs) and COVID-19 related mortality and morbidity. Marín-Hernández, Schwartz & Nixon (2020) also showed epidemiological evidence of an association between higher influenza vaccine uptake by elderly people and lower percentage of COVID-19 deaths in Italy, which directly contradicts the author’s own findings and suggests that the flu shot may help prevent COVID-19 related deaths.

He goes on to mention another study:

In a study analyzing 92,664 clinically and molecularly confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil, Fink et al. (2020) reported that patients who received a recent flu vaccine experienced on average 17% lower odds of death. Moreover, Pawlowski et al. (2020) analyzed the immunization records of 137,037 individuals who tested positive in a SARS-CoV-2 PCR. They found that polio, Hemophilus influenzae type-B, measles-mumps-rubella, varicella, pneumococcal conjugate (PCV13), geriatric flu, and hepatitis A/hepatitis B (HepA-HepB) vaccines, which had been administered in the past 1, 2, and 5 years, were associated with decreased SARS-CoV-2 infection rates.

So, its important to mention that correlations between the flu vaccine have also found that it may decrease ones chance of deaths from COVID-19.

But are there studies that have shown an increased chance of death or contracting other respiratory viruses as a result of getting the flu shot? Yes.

That’s also discussed in the paper. For example, he mentions a paper published in 2018:

In a study with 6,120 subjects, Wolff (2020) reported that influenza vaccination was significantly associated with a higher risk of some other respiratory diseases, due to virus interference. In a specific examination of non-influenza viruses, the odds of coronavirus infection (but not the COVID-19 virus) in vaccinated individuals were significantly higher, when compared to unvaccinated individuals (odds ratio = 1.36).

The study above found the flu shot to increase the risk of other coronaviruses among those who had been vaccinated for influenza by 36 percent. The study was conducted prior to COVID-19, so it’s not included and only applies to pre-existing coronaviruses. The study also found an even higher chance of contracting human metapneumovirus amongst those who had received the flu shot.

Below are some more studies regarding the flu shot and viral infections that hint to the same idea.

  • 2018 CDC study (Rikin et al 2018) found that flu shots increase the risk of non-flu acute respiratory illnesses (ARIs), including coronavirus, in children.
  • A 2011 Australian study (Kelly et al 2011) found that flu shots doubled the risk for non-flu viral lung infections.
  • 2012 Hong Kong study (Cowling et al 2012) found that flu shots increase the risk for non-flu respiratory infections by 4.4 times.
  • 2017 study (Mawson et al 2017) found vaccinated children were 5.9 times more likely to suffer pneumonia than their unvaccinated peers.

Why This Is Important: We live in an age where vaccinations are heavily marketed. We’ve seen this with the flu shot time and time again and we are also living in an age where a push for more mandated vaccines seems to be growing.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal) and also an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy. He published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

This is a touchy subject that dives into medical ethics and the connections that big pharmaceutical companies have with our federal health regulatory agencies and health associations. Vaccines are a multi billion dollar industry.

At a recent World Health Organization conference on vaccine safety, it was expressed that vaccine hesitancy is growing at quite a fast pace, especially among doctors who are now becoming hesitant to recommend certain vaccines on the schedule. You can read more about that and find links to the conference here.

We have to ask ourselves, why is this happening? Is it because people and professionals are becoming aware of certain information that warrants the freedom of choice? Should freedom of choice with regards to what we put in our body always remain? Are we really protecting the “herd” by taking these actions?

In a 2014 analysis in the Oregon Law Review by New York University (NYU) legal scholars Mary Holland and Chase E. Zachary (who also has a Princeton-conferred doctorate in chemistry), the authors show that 60 years of compulsory vaccine policies “have not attained herd immunity for any childhood disease.” It is time, they suggest, to cast aside coercion in favor of voluntary choice.

When it comes to the flu shot, I put more information and science as to why so many people seem to refuse it, in this article if interested.

The University of California is currently being sued for mandating the flu shot for all staff, faculty and students. A judge has prevented them from doing so as a result until a decision has been made. You can read more about that here.

In South Korea, 48 people have now died after receiving the flu shot this season causing a lot of controversy. You can read more about that here.

The Takeaway: There are many concerns with vaccines, and vaccine injury is one of them. The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Should these statistics alone warrant the freedom of choice? Should the government have the ability to force us into measures, or would it simply be better for them to present the science, make recommendations and urge people to follow them? When the citizenry is forced and coerced into certain actions, sometimes under the guise of good-will, there always seems to be a tremendous amount of uproar and people who disagree. Why are these people silenced? Why are they censored? Why are they ridiculed? Why don’t independent health organizations receive the same voice and reach that government and state “owned” or organizations do? What’s going on here? Do we really live in a free, open and transparent world or are we simply subjected to massive amounts of perception manipulation?

When it come to the flu shot there is plenty of information on both sides of the coin that point to its effectiveness, and on the other hand there is information that points to the complete opposite. When something is not 100 percent clear, freedom of choice in all places should always remain, in my opinion.

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Some South Korean Doctors & Politicians Call To Stop Flu Shots After 48 People Die

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The number of South Koreans who have died after getting flu shots has risen to 48, but health authorities in South Korea have found no link between the vaccine and the deaths.

  • Reflect On:

    Is the flu shot as safe as it's marketed to be?

What Happened: It’s that time of year and flu shot programs are rolling out across the globe. The number of South Koreans who have died after getting the flu shot has now risen to 48 and some South Korean doctors and politicians have called to stop flu shots as a result, according to Reuters. The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) has decided not to stop the program, and that flu vaccines would continue to be given and will reduce the chance of having simultaneous epidemics in the era of COVID-19.

Health authorities in South Korea have explained that they’ve found no direct link between these deaths and the shots. KDCA Director Jeong Eun-kyung said, “After reviewing death cases so far, it is not the time to suspend a flu vaccination programme since vaccination is very crucial this year, considering…the COVID-19 outbreaks.”

According to Reuters, “Some initial autopsy results from the police and the National Forensic Service showed that 13 people died of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and other disorders not caused by the vaccination.”

The South Korean government is hopeful to vaccinate approximately 30 million of the country’s 54 million people.

Concerns Some People Have With The Flu Shot: One concern many people seem to have is the worry of a severe adverse reaction.

Dr. Alvin Moss, MD and professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine emphasizes in this video:

The flu vaccine happens to be the vaccine that causes the most injury in this country. The vaccine injury compensation program, 40 percent of all vaccinations in this country are flu shots, but 60 percent of all the compensations are for the flu vaccine. So a disproportionate number of  vaccine related injuries are the flu shot.

Moss is one of many who believe that the flu vaccine is not as effective as it’s been marketed to be. For example,  A study recently published in Global Advances In Health & Medicine titled “Ascorbate as Prophylaxis and Therapy for COVID-19—Update From Shanghai and U.S. Medical Institutions outlines the following:

Recently outlined A recent consensus statement from a group of renowned infectious disease clinicians observed that vaccine programs have proven ill-suited to the fast-changing viruses underlying these illnesses, with efficacy ranging from 19% to 54% in the past few years.

Dr. Peter Doshi is an associate editor at The BMJ (British Medical Journal)  published a paper in The BMJ titled “Influenza: Marketing Vaccines By Marketing Disease.”  In it,  he points out that the CDC pledges “to base all public health decisions on the highest quality of scientific data, openly and objectively derived,” and how this isn’t the case when it comes to the flu vaccine and its marketing. He stresses that “the vaccine may be less beneficial and less safe than has been claimed, and that “the threat of influenza seems to be overstated.”

These are just a few examples out of many claiming that the flu shot has not really been effective, opposing others that claim it is.  Mercury that’s still present in some flu shots also seems to be a concern.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid more than $4 billion to families of vaccine injured children. A 2010 HHS pilot study by the Federal Agency for Health Care Research (AHCR) found that 1 in every 39 vaccines causes injury, a shocking comparison to the claims from the CDC of 1 in every million.

Professor Heidi Larson, a Professor of Anthropology and the Risk and Decision Scientist Director at the Vaccine Confidence Project stated at a World Health Organization (WHO) conference that more doctors are starting to be hesitant when it comes to recommending vaccines.

The other thing that’s a trend, and an issue, is not just confidence in providers but confidence of health care providers, we have a very wobbly health professional frontline that is starting to question vaccines and the safety of vaccines. That’s a huge problem, because to this day any study I’ve seen… still, the most trusted person on any study I’ve seen globally is the health care provider…

This is no secret, and actions against mandates are being taken. The University of California was recently sued for making the flu shot mandatory. That trial will begin soon, and you can read more about it here, and find information regarding the claim that the flu shot can help in the times of COVID-19.

The Takeaway: We are living in an age of extreme censorship of information, no matter how credible or how much evidence is provided, information that goes against the grain always seems to receive a harsh backlash from mainstream media as well as social media outlets. Why is there a digital fact checker patrolling the internet? Should people not have the right to examine information openly and freely and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?

As far as vaccines are concerned, despite the fact that there are many safety issues the scientific community  is bringing up, a push for vaccine mandates continues and the idea that we are protecting other people is usually the narrative that’s pushed hard. Vaccine skepticism is growing at a fast pace among people of all professions, and people aren’t stupid. There’s a reason why more and more people are starting to question what we’ve been told for years, and those reasons should be acknowledged and openly discussed amongst people on both sides of the coin.

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