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The Creators Of The Inclusion Rider Want All Of Hollywood To Get On Board

Three years after Frances McDormand gave inclusion riders a big spotlight, its creators want more studios and companies to commit to diversity in hiring.

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Janeane Garofalo Appears on 'Younger,' Talks Bad Lesbian Sex to Maggie


Garofalo and Debi Mazar are excellent foils for one another in the final season of Younger. 

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Trans dad wins right to be named ‘parent’ on child’s birth certificate – but not ‘father’

Trans parents in Israel will now be able to be recorded on their children’s birth certificates as “parent” after a landmark court ruling. The High Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday (5 May) that transgender parents will now be registered as “parent”, but not “mother” or…

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Laura Ingraham Makes Stunning Claim About Gender-Neutral Pronouns

The Fox News host was on brand in her rant about an education site teaching kids about they-them.

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Home Of San Francisco's First Legally Married Same-Sex Couple Is Now A City Landmark

Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin were wed in 2004 and again in 2008, when marriage equality became the law of the land in California.

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'Mythic Quest' Returns — And With a Sweet Lesbian Love Story

Mythic Quest

The Apple TV series premieres its second season and continues its positive queer representation.

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John Cameron Mitchell gets sassy, Julio Torres opens wide and ‘Drag Race’ live


Whatever your entertainment needs, we got your back (and hopefully your mind) with Queerty’s weekly “Culture Club” column with some of the highlights of new releases, streaming shows, classics worth revisiting, and what to drink while you watch.

The Return: Shrill Season 3

The very underrated Hulu comedy about a large-figured woman trying to find love returns this week, bringing with it much hilarity and a hearty dose of queerness. Season 3 finds magazine writer Annie (Aidy Bryant of SNL) getting canceled over some edits to one of her articles. Her editor, Gabe (John Cameron Mitchell), meanwhile, sets out to publish a self-serving novel, which puts the entire magazine at risk for cancellation. Bryant is, in short, a winning, capable actress who brings warmth and joyfulness to her character. Mitchell, meanwhile, is a riot as the uber-bitchy, self-obsessed Gabe. This season’s guest stars also include Julio Torres, Fred Armisen and Patti Hanson, which is enough for us to give the show a serious recommendation. Come for the queer, stay for the laughter, as they say.

Streams on Hulu May 7.

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The Step-Out: Drive & Drag Saves 2021

With COVID-19 restrictions loosening, San Francisco has opted to celebrate with Drive & Drag Saves 2021, a drive-in drag show. This run features several Drag Race alumni, including Aquaria, Asia O’Hara, Kameron Michaels, Naomi Smalls, Plastique, Violet Chachki, Ms. Vanjie and two special guest stars. This show also allows audience members to ditch sitting the car for socially distanced outdoor patios to take in the festivities. It’s a terrific way to welcome summer a bit early, and to kick off pride season.

May 7-9 at Southland Mall in San Francisco. Tickets available now.

The Charmer: Duty Free

This documentary film follows gay director Sian-Pierre Regis as he rushes to the aid of his 75-year-old mother Rebecca after she loses her job as a housekeeper. Much to the surprise of them both, her cause generates international headlines. Duty Free chronicles the issues facing older adults who still must work to survive, and the unintended sacrifices single parents often face when taking care of their children. Above all though, the film tells the story of a beautiful mother-son bond, and is perfect for viewing this Mother’s Day.

In theatres May 7.

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The Wider: Together Together

We’ve already gushed about this terrific Sundance comedy enough, so we’ll keep this one short. Together Together tells the story of Matt (Ed Helms), a middle-aged, single man who decides to become a dad through a surrogate named Anna (Patti Harrison). As the due date nears, the two form a special bond—not quite romance, but not quite friendship either. The movie also offers a terrific showcase for Harrison, a transgender actress playing a cisgender woman, while Julio Torres and Tig Notaro have fun supporting turns. Have a look, and try not to fall in love.

Available on VOD May 11.

The Banger: The FMs “Song X”

Queer rockers The FM’s dropped their latest track this week, a rage against the constraints of the gender binary. The accompanying video finds the video juxtaposing 1950s normalcy and indulging in some bright-colored fabulous fashion. As for the track itself, we get echoes of Foo Fighters and The Killers as well as the 80s New Wave vibe of Erasure. It’s a head-bang-worthy rock anthem, and one that remembers: the essence of rock & roll has always been rebellion.

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Streams on YouTube.

The Smooth: Evann McIntosh “Nobody Else”

Nonbinary pop crooner Evann McIntosh (they/them) drops a new video this week, a sensuous, bluesy, good ole pop tune. McIntosh’s vocals recall the jazzy rap-sing vocals of Lauryn Hill, Jamiroquai and, in particular, Corinne Bailey Rae as they opine over some beautiful, sexy object of affection. It’s a great track for grinding around the living room with someone beautiful, or driving through the sun on a sunny day.

Streams on YouTube.

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The Spin: Bryce Bowyn “Ruthless”

Maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the stir-crazy, or maybe it’s the promise of revels at Drive & Drag Saves 2021, but we’re ready for a good old dance party. How fortunate then that synthpop artist Bryce Bowyn has graced us with his latest track, “Ruthless.” An ode to sass, glamour and heartbreaking flirtation, it conjures images of strutting down the street to meet friends on a gorgeous day. We intend to have it playing next time we need to get flirty…and given the length of this damn lockdown, that will be in the immediate future.

Streams on YouTube.

The Sip: Tequila Smash

Our friends over at Hornitos suggested this post-Cinco De Mayo libation as a sweet and potent way to bring in the weekend. With mint and lime flavoring, the Tequila Smash reminds us a bit of a mojito…right down to the way it gives us the giggles.

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  • 2 parts Hornitos Plata Tequila
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 3 lime wedges
  • ¾ part simple syrup

Add tequila, simple syrup and the juice of half a lime to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain over ice into a highball glass. Garnish with mint leaves and three lime wedges. Salted rim optional. 

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Trans man forced to wait 10 agonising years to start testosterone: ‘I don’t have any mirrors in my flat’

A trans man who’s been waiting 10 years to access testosterone on the NHS was denied the treatment by his GP because of “unacceptable risk”. Jacob Jones, 30, has been out as trans since he was 12 and first went to an NHS gender clinic when he was 21 and living in London. But in … Continued

The post…

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Don’t Stop at The Early Raves For MDMA’s Impact on PTSD. Ecstasy is Promising Therapy but Not A Magic Bullet

The Conversation

Productions/Getty ImagesAr

PTSD is typically treated with therapy and sometimes medications, under the care of a psychiatrist.
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Recent clinical trials, including one soon to be published in Nature Medicine, have suggested that MDMA combined with psychotherapy may help treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The news generated considerable optimism and excitement in the media, and some in the scientific community.

As a psychiatrist and an expert in neurobiology and treatment of PTSD, I think these developments may be important – but not the major breakthrough that some people are suggesting. This approach is not a new magic bullet.

A combat veteran discusses his experience with PTSD.

PTSD, a disorder of emotional memories

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a result of exposure to extreme traumatic experiences, such as natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents, assault, robbery, rape, combat and torture. Based on the type and severity of the trauma, people may develop PTSD, a condition of heightened anxiety that includes flashbacks, nightmares and avoidance of any reminder of trauma.

In the neuroscience world, we see PTSD as a disorder of emotional memories, where recall of a traumatic memory can trigger high anxiety as if the event is happening in the here and now. People with PTSD often develop fear responses to anything remotely reminding them of the trauma.
We also see PTSD as a disorder of context processing: A person has the same emotional response to a loud noise in the safe civilian environment as in the battlefield.

Current treatments for PTSD are effective

Treatments for PTSD mostly include antidepressant medications, and psychotherapy.

Psychotherapy is among the most effective treatments for PTSD, as it addresses traumatic memories and related emotional and cognitive reactions. That is, a person with PTSD may conflate the experience of trauma with being a bad person. Psychotherapies address these thought processes, or cognitions, caused by trauma.

A double exposure of a woman with her hands in front of her mouth.
PTSD is often treated by directly addressing the trauma that underlies triggers.

Trauma therapists also use exposure therapy to gradually help people expose themselves to situations they avoid or the memories that terrify them until they learn that these situations are safe. The goal is to also help the brain of the person with PTSD disassociate the traumatic memories from the negative emotions that they trigger. This process is called extinction of fear memories. And it is here where researchers and others hope that MDMA and other drugs will help, by enhancing the extinction of these fear memories.

MDMA: It won’t work by itself to treat PTSD

Exposure therapy to traumatic memories is a difficult and exhausting process for some patients. Researchers are working to identify drugs that can enhance the effects of psychotherapy and make extinction of traumatic memories happen faster, or more effectively.

MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is an agent that affects a wide range of neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals facilitating signaling between neurons including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. No one knows for certain just how MDMA affects the learning brain in therapy, but there are some theories. MDMA may enhance psychotherapy by reducing anxiety during recall of trauma memories, helping the patient feel better about himself and others, increasing bonding with the therapist and enhancing extinction learning.

Recent clinical trials suggest that use of MDMA paired with carefully delivered psychotherapy might improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, these effects seem to persist months after the treatment. Given these positive results, the studies entered a multisite phase 3 clinical trial of 90 patients with severe PTSD with 67 experiencing significantly diminished symptoms.

It is very important to note that MDMA is not suggested as a standalone treatment for any condition, and only “MDMA-assisted” psychotherapy is researched in these studies.

Breakthroughs sometimes break hearts

Although these reports sound promising, I am skeptical of breakthrough medical pronouncements. Throughout the history of psychiatry, people have become too excited about promising cures like psychoanalysis, ketamine, cannabinoids, virtual reality, propranolol, opioids and memory-enhancing agents for treatment of PTSD and other psychiatric disorders.

Although each of these treatments helped some patients, none was a magic bullet. Many, including opioids, propranolol and memory-enhancing agents, did not find their way out of the research laboratories into the real clinical world.

Rainbow pill capsule on blue background.
MDMA, though a promising candidate in PTSD treatment, is not a panacea.
James Worrell/Getty Images

For MDMA, we still do not have a solid mechanistic explanation for how this drug might have rapid effects in enhancing long-lasting effects of therapy.

There is a large difference between a highly controlled research study with a limited number of participants and the complexities of real clinical work. For instance, a lot of psychiatric or medical conditions that many patients have are excluded from the clinical trials. Also, psychotherapies are delivered in their ideal form. In the cases of drugs such as ketamine and MDMA, it is almost impossible to blind these studies – meaning, to keep both patient and doctor in the dark about who received the trial drug or a placebo. Most patients, and consequently probably therapists, will know whether the patient received the psychoactive agent or the placebo.

Consequences of trauma cover a spectrum of symptoms, from zero to extremely high level. For having consistent language in research, we draw an imaginary line on this spectrum – say, 70% – and designate whoever is above the line as having PTSD. That does not mean that someone at a 65% or 60% does not have symptoms or distress. None of the studied approaches thus far totally eradicated symptoms. They just showed a larger decrease in symptoms compared with a placebo.

Potential risks and dangers of MDMA

While drugs called selective serotonin uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and psychotherapy are relatively safe, agents like cannabis, ketamine and MDMA have many risks. The first is addiction. Although patients in the clinical trials are given only a limited number of doses, it is likely that someone experiencing a great feeling of relief from a drug given in the clinic will seek it on the street.

We are still dealing with the terrible opioid and benzodiazepine pandemic, the medications about which people were so excited a few decades ago. Longitudinal studies of risks of future substance use with MDMA are currently lacking. This can be further complicated among those with a history of problems with prescription or illegal drug abuse, or those with personality disorders.

While the hype often suggests the drug itself is the cure, it is important to remember that what worked in these studies involved drugs and psychotherapy together.

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Also, it is vital to remind people not to expect a cure from street drugs. At best, the effects will be as good as the therapy provided. So an unskilled person providing therapy, consultation or even friendship using such agents might create much more harm than help. Negative memories could arise that the unskilled person does not have the expertise to deal with. It is also important to know drugs obtained on the street might be very different from what is used in research. Impurities can cause a lot of harm.

We in the psychiatric treatment world have been here before many times. And, in some cases, we are still paying dearly for the initial excitement.

Arash Javanbakht, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Wayne State University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

MDMA PTSD Previously on Towleroad

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