Straight men kissing? That’s so hot!!!

Straight men in Britain generally have no problem kissing each other on the lips — and in fact locking lips has become something of a fad for college students, according to a gay lecturer at Bath University who did his PhD on the subject.

The lecturer, Eric Anderson, conducted a survey which found that 88 percent of men are happy to kiss another man on the lips, while almost 40 percent have engaged in “sustained kissing, initially for shock value, but now just for ‘a laugh.’”

Anderson said he believes his research indicates that homophobia is all but gone among young people. The Guardian reports:

Anderson says men are now kissing each other to show their “intimacy towards one another,” but not in a homosexual way. “The kisses seem to be stripped of sexual connotation, and given the percentage of men doing them, they certainly do not indicate a hidden homosexual desire.”

The trend, he adds, is not just in a few UK universities or even limited to Britain. “I’ve interviewed graduate students who did their bachelor degrees at other universities, and been to undergraduate clubs and pubs from Bristol to Birmingham to Edinburgh – I can definitively say that although the percentages might vary depending on the city, the class and the racial background, these kissing behaviours are happening all over the country. I have also found it occurring in a fifth of the 60 university soccer players I interviewed in the US, and have a friend who is beginning formal research into male kissing in Australia after recording it there.”

Call us shallow, but we admit our first reaction to this report was, that’s so hot! Our second was, when is this going to catch on in the U.S.? And our third was, this guy has the best job in the world, which was backed up by this tidbit at the end of the story about his next project:

Anderson is now moving his research on to cuddling. “Last week, I was talking to my second-year students about two straight men cuddling; they laughed, ‘what’s the big deal about that’,” he says. “I polled them, and found that 14/15 said they had spooned another man, in bed, sleeping all night long. Gone are the days in which men would rather sleep on the floor or head to toe; not only do they share beds and cuddle, but they are not homosexualised for this.”

—  John Wright

‘An affront to human dignity’: Gay UT employee denied bereavement leave to mourn partner

The Daily Texan has an update on the push to add domestic partner benefits for employees at the University of Texas at Austin. University President William Powers Jr. has established a working group to look at implementing soft benefits, which include sick, bereavement and parental leave for faculty and staff, as well as housing for hall coordinators and graduate students:

“The fact that we don’t have domestic partner benefits puts us at a competitive disadvantage in recruiting students and staff, and that’s an issue that we need to get solved,” Powers said. “It’s still a work in progress, and there are a lot of players involved. The University would be better if we make substantial progress in treating people equally, regardless of sexual orientation.”

But right now, the University has little in its official policy to account for the needs of GLBT employees and their partners, and the resources they receive are not comparable to heterosexual staff members. Last week, a Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association board member’s partner died of pancreatic cancer, said Lindsey Schell, the chair of the Domestic Partner Benefits committee for PEFSA. Not only could the staff member not insure her partner while she was alive, UT’s current bereavement leave policy prevented the staff member from taking paid leave to mourn. The incident was “an affront to human dignity,” Schell said.

She said PEFSA and other stakeholders are working with the president’s office and human resources to determine the most effective way to incorporate soft benefits into existing UT policy without violating state codes and laws. All Ivy League universities offer benefits, as do peer institutions such as the University of Michigan and Ohio State University. Many of these institutions are in states with insurance codes and Defense of Marriage Act laws similar to those in Texas.

For more on DP benefits at UT, including what you can do to help, check out the Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association’s website.

—  John Wright