Lots of interesting news this week – a Tory councillor suspended for gay marriage remarks, babies born on the sliding sex scale, campaign to open up further education for young people with autism and more in the weekly E&D news.

A senior Tory Councillor, apparently exasperated with the idea of gay marriage, decided to voice his views on Twitter, little realising that it would lead to his suspension from the party. Commenting on David Cameron’s support for legalising same-sex marriages, James Malliff wrote “[they] may as well legalise marriage with animals”. Following his suspension, Malliff apologised accepting that his comments were “ill-conceived and crude”.

A campaign is underway to open up opportunities for young people with autism who often find themselves with no place to go after finishing school. The campaign is spearheaded by the charity Ambitious About Autism which has recently published a report entitled ‘Finished School: What next for Young People with Autism?’. The charity has revealed that only 19% of children with autism continue their education beyond school and about 85% of adults with autism are unemployed. The charity is developing plans with a number of further education colleges to support young people with autism to continue their education.

Campaigners are targeting hyperbolic use of mental health terms in everyday language. Many are of the view that the use of clinical terms such as OCD, schizophrenic, bipolar etc to describe personality traits is having a negative impact. Arun Chopra, a consultant psychiatrist at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham and the author of the British research, argues that deploying terms in such a way contributes to public misunderstanding. Moreover, he says it can be deeply upsetting to patients and their families.

© Flickr user Leo Reynolds

BBC One has produced a very interesting and insightful documentary called ‘Me, My Sex and I’. The documentary challenges the assumption that everybody is born either male or female. It tells stories of people born neither entirely male nor female. Conditions like these have been known as ‘intersex’ and shrouded in unnecessary shame and secrecy for decades. It’s estimated that DSDs (Disorders of Sexual Development) are, in fact, as common as twins or red hair – nearly one in 50 of us. Clinical psychologist and sex therapist Dr Tiger Devore, who was born with indeterminate sex, thinks that the definition of sex is inadequate: “The tyranny of being forced to circle M or F (male or female) on every form I fill out, I’d like to see that change, I’d like to have a lot more options.” For more on the debate, read ‘Male or female? Babies born on the sliding sex scale‘.

Finally, good news for those who applied for tickets to Paralympics – nine out of ten applicants will get at least some tickets for next year’s Paralympic Games, London 2012 organiser Locog has revealed. Payments will be taken from Tuesday 18 October for the Games, which start on 29 August next year.
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