Red pandas are shy and solitary except when mating. Females give birth in the spring and summer, typically to one to four young. Young red pandas remain in their nests for about 90 days, during which time their mother cares for them. (Males take little or


The last but not least of Assorted Planets Month!

And now to cool you all off with some “refreshing” rain!

This week’s entry: Planetary Rain

Why Liam’s no homophobe, why we wanted to respectfully point out that he had made a heteronormative comment, and why it’s good he acknowledged the hurt it caused.

A lot of people in the fandom have been upset by Liam’s comment during the show yesterday, on how most girls can’t relate to finding the right girl. Liam has  in the mean time said sorry to those he offended, but insisted that he does not deserve to be called a homophobe for it.

As mentioned in our Today’s Action in response, it is our belief that Liam’s comments were an unintentional failure to take into account the existence of LGBTQ+ fans – and, as such, not an expression of homophobia, but an expression of the heteronormativity that pervades our society.

Heteronormativity and homophobia are, to a certain extent, connected but the one doesn’t necessarily imply the other and we’d like to take this opportunity to remind people of the differences.

1.    On homophobia, heterosexism and heteronormativity, and why only the latter applies to Liam’s comment

Homophobia refers to an irrational fear or aversion against all types of same-sex relationships and all non-heterosexual people. It is also used for societies/cultures favouring heterosexuality and oppressing non-heterosexual people when the motivation is clearly that non-heterosexuality is seen as dangerous or harmful.

Heterosexism refers to a sense of superiority and is used for people who favour heterosexuality because they think straight is better than lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersexual, asexual, etc.etc.  It is also used for societies/cultures favouring heterosexuality and oppressing non-heterosexual people when the motivation is clearly the idea of one being superior to the other

So homophobia and heterosexism are quite similar. They both describe attitudes, behaviour and practices that are negative towards LGBTQ+ people. Homophobia focuses on the element of fear; heterosexism emphasizes the sense of superiority, sometimes they go together, sometimes not. The hate and fear can lead to acts of violence and expressions of hostility, such as we saw, for example in the Twitter exchange between Independent reporter Jenn Selby and Louis Tomlinson, after Selby had commended him for supporting the LGBTQ+ cause. The overly defensive reply that the article was rubbish and Tomlinson in fact straight indeed expressed fear, ie homophobia.

Heteronormativity refers to the presumption that an opposite-sex relationship (ie heterosexuality) is the norm for everyone. It assumes heterosexuality is the mould that fits the overwhelming majority of people and that every new person you meet is straight, until they are proven gay. It is a cultural bias, so mostly used for societies/culture, but it influences us as members of our society/culture in our thinking even without us knowing or wanting it.

And that’s what seems to have been Liam’s case – Liam assuming that girls don’t have to look for the right girl ie that they are looking for a boy, is a perfect example of heteronormative behaviour.

Seeing something as non-normative is not the same as seeing it as negative. While homophobia thrives best in heteronormative societies, not everyone growing up in such a society who has internalized those norms, is also homophobic. People can consider heterosexuality to be the standard without having a negative attitude towards LGBTQ+ people. Liam’s  shock at being considered a homophobe for the comments he made, illustrate that perfectly. His heternormative comment yesterday does not automatically make him a homophobe.

Still, his comments still hurt LGBTQ+ fans. Here’s why:

2.    On heteronormativity and its repercussions on the LGBTQ+ community.

We live in a hetero (and cis-)normative society. Implicitly, being straight (and cis) is the norm – so much you almost cannot see it. And this implicit heteronormativity has negative repercussions on the LGBTQ+ community. The simple fact that people “have to” come out as non heterosexual (or non cis for that matter) is a good indication of the way our society assumes that people are straight (and cis) unless they have explicitly stated otherwise.  

LGBTQ+ people often express that they knew from a young age that they were “different” and that not fitting the norm made them feel like they themselves were “not normal” because anything not fitting the  norm would be considered a “problem”. It’s because society, families, schools, religions, markets, etc… have assumed for centuries that heterosexuality and cisgenderism are the norm, that they are expected to be as well. Kids are raised to expect that they will be cis, straight and are socialized to conform to those expectations – from the colours their parents paint the nursery, the toys they are given, and the futures their relatives envisage for them, to the standards annual family party “do you have a girlfriend” question for the boys, and the “do you have a boyfriend?” for the girls.

LGBTQ+ people are subtly confronted with heteronormativity all the time. For a genderfluid person it can be going to a clothing shop and be instantly directed towards the gender department they look the most like, for a gay man wearing a wedding ring it can be automatically being asked how his wife is doing, for an asexual person it can mean being questioned about their sexlife, etc…. And in each of those situations, the person being confronted with it has two options: say nothing and leave people to assume the wrong thing, or to clear up the situation and have to explain or even justify themselves, and possibly exposing themselves to harm.

Having to explain themselves, justify who they are and/or who they love is something LGBTQ+ people are used to, but it isn’t as easy as people may think, because you’re never certain of the reaction people will have. This is a direct negative consequence of heteronormativity.

3.    On why we raise awareness about heteronormativity to help end homophobia

We already stated that  heteronormativity and homophobia aren’t the same thing, however since the one can lead to the other, raising awareness about the consequences of making heteronormative assumptions is an important part of the battle to end homophobia.

When a society implicitly raises people to the idea that the norm is to be heterosexual and more generally straight and cisgender, then it should come as no surprise that some people become uncomfortable with anyone who doesn’t fit that model. And that’s why educating people on the subject is important. If we could erase heteronormativity we’d make LGTBQ+ people be more visible and feel more welcome and accepted.

For example, a child that is explicitly and regularly told that there are many possibilities and anyone can be whoever they want to be and love whoever they want, will be more inclined to be open-minded and struggle less with themselves and within their family circle if they were LGBTQ. This includes teaching children not to assume that they or anyone are straight or cis, and to learn the use of indefinite pronouns for people and partners whose gender is unknown, and cannot be assumed.

It’s not easy to be consistent in not making any hetero- or cisnormative assumptions. It’s something everyone does all the time and it’s very easy to slip there without meaning harm. If the media, the entertainment industry (music, TV, and cinema) and celebrities played their part in showing that someone’s gender and sexuality cannot be assumed, then the fight against homophobia would take a major step forward. We all have to try and be sensitive to it, in our own thinking as well as that of others.

4.    Liam

And that’s why we stand by our decision last night to respectfully and gently make Liam aware that the assumption he had made in making his comment was heteronormative, and was painful to some of his LGBTQ+ fans. We made the decision to “come out” in response, and make him aware that “hey, what you assumed doesn’t apply to us.”

We are glad he acknowledged that his initial comment was offensive to LGBTQ+ fans. 

And we hope that people refrain from sending him hate-messages, and treat him with the same respect and understanding that they would want to be treated with if someone pointed them to their mistakes.

The mountain goat hoof has hard, sharp edges surrounding a soft inner area. Four hoofs are on each foot. The two halves of a mountain goat’s hoof can move independently of one another, while the soft, inner pad acts like a suction cup when weight is applie


These Illustrated Posters Show You The 192 Dogs Of The World

Lili Chin, Etsy

Our favorite types of dogs come from all over the world, and illustrator Lili Chin would know - she’s drawn nearly 200 of them! Starting in the summer of 2014, she presented the series Dogs of The World, which is a collection of 192 canine breeds grouped by their geographical location and country.

The illustrative posters feature cartoon-style characters that highlight the unique appearance of each dog.Chin has drawn canines native to England, France, and the Mediterranean, just to name a few. Her series is not only well-crafted - we enjoy seeing all of the unique personalities that Chin conveys - but there’s an educational component to it as well.

By simply glancing at her posters, you can easily see where the different dog breeds originated.  Source: mymodernmet.


Here’s one for you, tumblr: Salim, a cute game made in RPG Maker that centers around a boy named Salim, who goes innocently about his day with his Muslim family. A funny, but educational game with some sobering statistics, Salim is a good game to look at if you want a cute, childish adventure or want to know the Muslim children’s side of the story.

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