Welcome back to our weekly round-up of the most infuriating bits of anti-LGBT rhetoric to grace our news feeds in the past seven days. This week, sexism and homophobia in the classroom once again takes center stage. Read on to see what made the cut in this week's outrageous headlines, but expect a healthy dose of snark in the following pages — sometimes it's the only way we can get through the day.
5. Google Still Thinks 'Bisexual' Always Equals Porn
So for all you bisexual folks out there who were hoping to find resources and community by using the world's largest search engine, well… tough luck.
Despite Google's 2012 claims to the contrary, the search giant's autocomplete function still doesn't recognize the word "bisexual." That means when you start to type in "bi," you won't receive any of those handy suggestions about what you might be looking for. And just to be clear, Google's autocomplete does recognize numerous other terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity, including "gay," "lesbian," "transgender," "pansexual," "genderqueer," "cisgender," "FTM" and "MTF."
A Google spokesperson told our sibling publication The Advocate Thursday that search terms often do not show up through the autocomplete function because they may be highly correlated with searches for pornography. But activists first raised this issue with the Google Gods back in 2009, and were told three years later that the term had been unblocked from its autocomplete feature. But apparently the autocomplete algorithm has reverted to its old, biphobic ways.
What's more, the claim that "bisexual" correlates more strongly to pornography than other terms doesn't really seem to hold up. (Side note: Why so sex-negative, Google?)
As SheWired writer and Advocate managing editor Michelle Garcia reported on Friday:
A search for the word "gay" yielded 302 million results, "lesbian" had 155 million results, while "bisexual" had 43.1 million, and "transgender" had 12 million. While Google has explained that the autocomplete function has dropped off for bisexuality because of its high correlation to porn, other words with a high correlation to pornography are still available with the autocomplete function. Searching "gay porn" will produce 527 million results. A search for "lesbian porn" yielded 69.1 million results, and "transgender porn" yielded 19.2 million (though one could argue those are not necessarily the terms a person would naturally use). Meanwhile, searching for "bisexual porn" came up with 40.1 million results.
As numerous bi activists have pointed out, having the world's largest search engine act like there are "no suggestions" for those searching for information about bisexuality does indeed perpetuate the very real problem of bisexual invisibility — you know, that thing where people say bisexuality doesn't exist, or isn't a legitimate orientation, or can only exist when people are single and/or non-monagamous? Yeah. You're not helping that, Google.
For those who do want to do something to help, sign this Change.org petition to get Google to reinstate bisexual as a non-porn-related search term.
4. Catholic School Peers Inside Teachers' Bedrooms
The Cincinnati archdiocese is apparently looking to nip any gay behavior in the bud and avoid controversies like this or this, where gay teachers or administrators were fired for marrying (or in this case, getting pregnant with) their same-sex partner and daring to return to work.
Teachers at Catholic schools in Cincinnati will be asked to sign a contract promising to refrain from any so-called scandalous behavior that the church disagrees with — even when they're not on school grounds or at school functions.
The new contract, which all new and returning hires will be required to sign, forbids personnel from "from any conduct or lifestyle which would reflect discredit on or cause scandal to the school or be in contradiction to Catholic doctrine or morals." The contract also clarifies that the school district considers teachers ministers, even if they haven't been ordained or, you know, aren't actually Catholic.
But then those loving Christians get explicit about just what scandalous behavior is prohibited from its ad-hoc ministers — or janitors, lunchroom staff, secretaries, or anyone else employed by the school, for that matter.
Those verboten behaviors include "improper use of social media/communication, public support of or publicly living together outside marriage, public support of or sexual activity out of wedlock, public support of or homosexual lifestyle, public support of or use of abortion, public support of or use of a surrogate mother, public support of or use of in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination, public membership in organizations whose mission and message are incompatible with Catholic doctrine or morals, and/or flagrant deceit or dishonesty."
Admittedly, as a private, parochial district, the diocese behind these schools has every legal right to impose such restrictions. That's one of the perks of being a religious organization that kinda-sorta serves the public, but doesn't have to pay taxes. But if they're going to try to police their hardworking staff like this, well, the least we can do is call attention to their hypocrisy.
And did anyone else notice that "public support or promotion of" divorce is notably absent from the list of forbidden advocacies? OK, fine, no one really "advocates" for divorce, but we wonder how unilaterally this district will really apply the guidelines, or if they'll pick-and-choose which sins are the most grievous. (Hint: It'll be the latter, and those sins will all involve LGBT people.)
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