The Surprising Top Fitness Trend for 2014

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When you think of what’s trending in the fitness world, crazed SoulCycle junkies and green-juice guzzling yogis probably come to mind. So the findings of the American College of Sports Medicine’s survey predicting the Top 20 Fitness Trends For 2014 might surprise you. Not only does Spinning not make the cut (sorry, FlyWheel fanatics!), yoga comes in pretty far down the list at lowly number ten.

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Homophobia Drives Kids From Sports

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It turns out bullying in sports not only creates problems for students on the high school level – but also in colleges and universities. A new report sheds light on what it means to be LGBT in athletics – and why being discriminated against on the court, field, track or rink makes many young people give up sports entirely.

The National Union of Students says that only a third of LGBT students at the university level participate in a team sport. And almost 40 percent of these athletes say they are not out to their teammates for fear of homophobia, transphobia and outright bullying.

And for those LGBT students who don’t join teams, almost half admit that they find the sports world to be “unwelcoming,” with just as many saying they’ve suffered negative experiences that have made them want to give up sports entirely.

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SURVEY: Sex is the Question

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) want to know even more about men who have sex with men. Whether you’re gay, bi or questioning, a new online survey has been launched – the largest of its kind – asking questions that will help researchers seeking new ways to fight HIV, AIDS and other STDs, and to better understand men’s sexual health.

It’s called Sex is the Question. It’s private. It only takes a few minutes to answer. And it even makes a donation to the It Gets Better campaign.

The survey also provides feedback. Once it’s completed, you’ll be able to compare answers with others, and you’ll even receive educational material to help inform you about sexual health – completely anonymously.

Gay and bisexual men account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. alone, according to the CDC.

What are you waiting for?

Click here to take the survey.

APA: Gay Parents are A-Okay

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As LGBT rights opponents continue to try and discredit same-sex parents (a recent “study” questions gay and lesbian parenting skills, saying that kids of gay and lesbian parents fare worse than those raised in heterosexual families), major scientific and medical associations have spoken up.

The report has already been widely discredited. To start, it was funded by the Witherspoon Institute and the Bradley Foundation, groups that are well-known for their support of conservative causes. As a result, even the American Psychological Association (APA) released a statement this week defending its belief that sexual orientation has no bearing on being a good parent:

“On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association (APA) and other health professional and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”

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Most Americans Know Gay People

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A new poll released today reveals that the majority of Americans have a close friend or family member who’s gay. According to the CNN/ORC International survey, more than 60 percent of people say that someone close to them is gay. This is compared to less than 50 percent two years ago.

For the LGBT community, having straight allies usually means a change in the way gay life is accepted. That might help explain the changing attitudes about everything from same-sex marriage to adoption and child rearing.

The poll also shows that 54 percent of Americans believe that same-sex marriage should be legal. This is especially true among Democrats and people younger than 50, while almost 75 percent of Republicans oppose recognizing same-sex marriage. Support for gay marriage is up from 44 percent just four years ago.

Click here to view the full survey.

The Realities of Transgender Aging

Thanks to Sage (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), transgender men and women have a new guidebook on what to anticipate as they get older. Improving the Lives of Transgender Older Adults: Recommendations for Policy and Practice not only takes on the current state of transgender aging, but also anticipates the challenges that older adults will face in their lifetimes – including disparities in health and healthcare access, employment and housing.

“Transgender individuals face many challenges associated with aging, including declining health, diminished income and the loss of friends and family. Yet they also face additional challenges such as discrimination and hostility when accessing the services meant to support older adults,” says Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE. “Now, with this report, policymakers and aging service providers will gain a clear picture of the current state of transgender aging, and a roadmap of what they can do to improve policies and practices to ensure that transgender older adults age successfully.”

HRC’s LGBT Youth Survey

Do you feel like you fit in? Is there someone you can turn to? These are just a few of the questions HRC hopes to answer in its latest survey of LGBT teens around the country.

Intended to shed a little light on LGBT youth from all corners of the U.S. – and the issues most impacting them – the survey’s designed for teens between the ages of 13 and 18 who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning.

If you fit the demographic – or know someone who does – please share the survey today and have your say. Parents who are reading this: Consider forwarding the link to your own own child’s school or find out if there’s a local GSA in your district. The results will be used by organizations around the country to better serve LGBT youth.

Hispanics and the LGBT Community

A new report shows that the Hispanic community tends to support LGBT rights (photo by Think Stock)

Countering sometimes popular assumptions that the Hispanic community is somehow anti-gay, a new report co-released today by National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and Social Science Research Solutions (SSRS) finds that Latinos are, in fact, as open and tolerant, if not more tolerant, than the general population in the U.S. when it comes to LGBT issues.

The report, LGBT Acceptance and Support: The Hispanic Perspective, offers an in-depth look at how Latinos view gays and lesbians within their own community, as well as the level of support for LGBT issues.

The report, funded by the Arcus Foundation, tells us that Hispanics are actually more inclined to support legal same-sex marriage and to be more accepting of gays and lesbians in society than most non-Hispanic Americans. Also, Latinos are just as likely as any other group in the U.S. today to identify as LGBT.

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Queer, Young and Bullied

A new report about “Being LGBT in the 21st Century” shows some sobering statistics about what it means to be young and LGBT today in America. Liberty Hill, a West Coast-based organization, surveyed LGBT teens around the country to find out about the real dangers of bullying and suicide, and what can be done to prevent yet another loss of life.

Turns out more young people may be considering suicide than we think. Almost 73 percent of LGBT girls and 47 percent of boys admit that at one time or another they have thought about suicide, says Liberty Hill. Worse, more than half of girls say they have made an attempt (compared to 20 percent of boys).

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The Hottest Co-Eds

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There really is a poll for everything these days. And the latest tells us where the hottest co-eds are at colleges and universities around the country.

University of Pennsylvania has the distinction of being on the short list. We like to think that Penn’s very own LGBT center and visible queer undergrads – not to mention all those out Wharton students – might have a little something to do with their placing. DateMySchool.com also seems to think so, since the website ranked the Philly school among only eight other institutes of (handsome) higher education that are said to have the most eye candy.

Another PA-based school, Penn State, also got a nod for its sexy students. But we have to be honest, there seems to be a lot more being talked about in State College that who’s hot.

Other schools on the list include University of Minnesota – Duluth, Baruch College, School of Visual Arts, Queens College, Fordham University and Dartmouth.

So, what do you think? Does the list pass muster? Or are they leaving out the obvious choices, like NYU, Harvard and Yale? You know, the schools that enroll famous folks like James “I won’t pass up a gay movie role” Franco. That’s got to count for something, right?