Heard the one about the porn star and the zebra crossing?

WHEN IT COMES to race, progressive thinking isn't something porn is known for.

In the sex industry, ethnicity generally translates as flavour, a bit like different flavours of icecream. This isn't very different from The Life in general, where every characteristic is a potential selling point - or minus. Muscles, twink, blonde, bear, hung, pierced - and black, Latino or Asian: they're all sales pitches on a box cover (or an irritating banner on DList... or, come to that, on the average Joe or Jamal's profile).

The Sword.com has looked at the 10 most racially offensive porn titles, and some of them really are stunningly bad: Ace Of Spades, anyone? How about Dealers? Truth be told, most of their top 10 isn't that bad, and I thought I could come up with some better examples, with a little research (and I do mean a little; it doesn't take too long with porn). But it was all too exhausting, not to mention depressing, a quick browse of the interracial section of Movie Mountain throwing up dozens of Big Black Dicks Tight White Asses (no, it can't be the other way around in porn land), Big Black Bananas (of course they are - they all are, you know that!), some Black Lust White Passion (apparently indicating some primitive difference in black desire) and the revelation that Big Black Men Like Dick Too (hang on, I thought they were all big? And do little black men like dick too?). And don't forget this important warning from your mama: Black Meat Taboo & Forbidden! And that's before I got to Asian and Latino men. No doubt the words "rice" and "spice" feature heavily in those categories.

What must this be doing to our youth? Is it any wonder the whiter than white scene queens on Gaydar look down on those who are not. Or that the precocious divas of BGC think their race makes them a prized commodity? No, you're not special 'cos you're mixed race, and saying "I don't do black" on your Adam4Adam profile isn't cool. Race ain't a commodity to be traded on, kids.

It isn't all bad news in porn land. Jean Daniel Cadinot was generally indiscriminate in his use of models, and his scope was wide (ahem...), with boys from Africa, Asia, Europe and the middle east. More importantly, as a European director, his features were bereft of the depressing slave paradigms and racially charged power relationships prevalent in American porn. Men were, simply, men, not black men and white men coming together and breaking taboos. Similarly, Kristen Bjorn has used a wide variety of nationalities and races in his films, to the extent that it's clear most of the models don't understand a word anyone else is saying. Everyone is an exotic confection, black, white or otherwise. And that's how it should be.

How Not To Get Beheaded In Iran If You're Gay: Be Discreet, Says Home Secretary

Remember gay teen Mehdi Kazemi, who the British government wanted to pack home to Iran where he faced certain death? After a huge outcry he was given a reprieve, but the story doesn't end there. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has proven herself to be a true c*** (yes, she really does deserve that moniker) in her response to calls for a halt to the deportation of gay and lesbian asylum seekers to Iran.

In a leaked letter to a Liberal Democrat peer, she had this to say: "We recognise that the conditions for gay and lesbian people in Iran – and many other countries – are such that some individuals are able to demonstrate a need for international protection. We do not, however, accept that we should make the presumption that each and every asylum-seeker who presents themselves as being of a particular nationality or sexuality, regardless of their particular circumstances, should automatically be ... allowed to remain in the UK...With particular regard to Iran, current case law handed down by the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal concludes that the evidence does not show a real risk of discovery of, or adverse action against gay and lesbian people who are discreet about their sexual orientation."

Maybe if Mrs Smith was a little more discreet about being such a c***, people like Stonewall's Ben Summerskill wouldn't be so outraged. Says he: "You only have to listen to people who were terrorised by the Metropolitan Police in the 1950s and 1960s to know that telling gay people to live discreetly is quixotic."

During interrogation in 2006, Kazemi's former boyfriend named Mehdi as his lover. He was executed.

Australian wants Afro-Caribbeans To Quit London

"Let them go if they don't like it here," says Australian James McGrath. Mayor Boris Johnson's aide was responding to the concerns put to him by respected black activist Marc Wadsworth that people from the Caribbean would leave London if right-wing Conservative Boris Johnson became Mayor.

Anyone surprised? I've already written about Boris Johnson's racist views, and knew it was only a matter of time before his administration's true colours became apparent. Last week Boris forced Rise, the anti-racism music festival, to drop its anti-racism message.

Former Mayor Ken Livingstone isn't surprised either, saying: "In the context of Boris Johnson's well known past comments, abandoning the central message of Rise as Europe's biggest anti-racist festival, and now this enforced resignation of his Deputy Chief of Staff, the real culture of the Johnson administration is becoming clear - one totally at odds with the needs of London as the most diverse city in the world."

Johnson has already set about dismantling Livingstone's diverse team at City Hall, steadily replacing women and ethnic minority appointees with a parade of white (and almost certainly straight) men. In several cases, Australian white men from a country where, was Wadsworth writes in his article, "Black people are the ‘Aboriginal’ indigenous nation who are stereotyped by the white colonisers as social security scrounging drunks."

It's a sorry day for London, but with Johnson and his redneck cronies at the helm, I predict many more to come. Watch this space.

Pigs And Polar Bears II

Those crazy folk up Iceland - what are they like, eh?
Not content with brutally slaughtering one lost, starving polar bear, Iceland's finest have only gone and shot up another of the beasts.

You may recall their last excuse was that they didn't have the right tranquilizer, so you might reasonably expect that they'd have it in place this time around.

Wrong.

Towleroad.com reports zoo spokesman Bengt Holst telling AFP: "The chief veterinarian from the Copenhagen zoo had been flown in late Tuesday to help. The police 'tried to get close to (the bear) with our vet, but they did not get close enough to shoot it with the anaesthetiser. Then the bear started running, so the police were frightened they would lose control. The bear could run very close to the populated area, so they decided to shoot it. It was a security problem."

A security problem. Uh huh.

Thailand, School, Bathroom, Transvestite: You Try And Make A Headline Out Of That

At Kampang School in Thailand, around 200 of the school's 2,600 students apparently consider themselves transgender. The school's head honchos have responded by installing a transvestite bathroom.

Naturally.

"I'm so happy about this," says Vichai Sangsakul, a teenager at the school with pixie hair pulled back with a pink barrette. "It looks bad going to female restrooms. What would other people think?"

You said it, girlfriend, we've all been there.

Rural Thailand is said to be conservative in many ways, but there's a heartening tolerance for the country's transgender population - but then, Buddhism is central to Thai identity; the ghastly twin scourge of Christianity and Islam haven't yet infected the people.

From mainstream television to the department store shop floor, transgenders have staked their claim in the world - or, at least, in Thailand.

In a world where right-wing redneck Christian bigots spit hatred from mainstream platforms in the "free" US, and the British government seeks to humour medieval Islamic fruit cakes, it's good to hear about a toilet just for trannies in a Thai high school.

Maybe all is not lost for mankind.

You Have A Girl Brain

Those crazy boffins over at New Scientist.com (where, I'm sure, you kids are regulars) have come up with some brain scans that "provide the most compelling evidence yet that being gay or straight is a biologically fixed trait."
Yes indeed, your brain (and mine) is built like that of a straight female. In layman's terms, this means that if you sliced off the top of your skull, and the the tops of, say, George Dubya's and Oprah Winfrey's skulls, your little ole brain would resemble Miss Winfrey's and not Dubya's. This is probably a good thing. I could have said Paris Hilton and Nelson Mandela, but that wouldn't really have worked, would it?

In any case, some broad in a white coat called Ivanka Savic, who works for the Karolinska Institute (which sounds like something out of Lost) in Sweden (yes, really) has been faffing about with MRI scans, PET scans and peoples amygdala, which isn't as rude as it sounds (unfortunately). Should you wish to learn more, click the link above, because I can't really be bothered getting into it. Brain symmetry is a terrible bore.

Furthermore, I can't imagine what sort of picture I'd attach to this article, other than one of someone's brain, and that ain't gonna sell copy, so here's one of something completely unrelated.

It Isn't June, It's Mad May

Hooray! If there's such a thing as a soap God, then he (or she) is smiling on us, for Mad May has returned to EastEnders. The baby-stealing-pill-popping loon has returned, and judging by the pictures at Digital Spy, it's going to be a right kerfuffle.

Pigs and Polar Bears

Towleroad.com reports on the horrible story of a polar bear, climate change and some police (oink oink). Who's seen Sir David Attenborough's Planet Earth and the heartbreaking footage of a polar bear swimming, and swimming, and swimming in search of ice, before finally giving up? This is worse:

"A Polar Bear that swam 200 miles from either Greenland or a 'distant chunk of Arctic ice' finally reached land in Iceland, where it was shot by a group of police, They said they were afraid it posed a threat to humans but couldn't wait 24 hours for a "correct tranquilizer" to be flown in.

Actually: "Sveinbjarnardottir's account was disputed by the chief vet in the town of Blönduó, Egill Steingrímsson, who said he had the drugs necessary to immobilise the bear in the boot of his car. 'If the narcotics gun would have been sent by plane, it would have arrived within an hour,' he said. 'They could keep tabs on the bear for that long.'

And then the pigs posed smugly behind it like some kind of trophy — a starving, exhausted, (not to mention endangered) animal whose life had just ended by their rifles."
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