Friday, March 30, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Shildrick goes on to demonstrate how social policy has reinforced this view by emphasizing rehabilitation and compensation, and not sexual embodiment, for persons with disability. She states that even the disability rights movement has largely ignored sexual pleasure and desire and she concludes with a call for the full sexual citizenship of people with disabilities.
Shidlrick's strong analysis is part of a special issue of SRSP on sexuality and disability guest edited by Russell Shuttelworth that ranges from an examination of the disabled performance artist Bob Flanigan's celebration of the practice of BDSM as a mode of empowerment to studies of the sexual needs of LGBT disabled people. Go here to see the table of contents for this new journal issue.
Illegal abortion is widespread in Mexico, and most private medical facilities quietly offer them, activists say. About 1 million abortions are performed in Mexico each year, in the ritziest hospitals and in clandestine "clinics" in homes in poor neighborhoods.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
The immediate past President of the National League of Cities, James Hunt expressed his support for Steve Stanton as he goes through this difficult and painful transition. The full text of what James Hunt said is beneath the fold.
I fully support the efforts of Steve Stanton to continue in the profession that he has dedicated much of his life...I applaud Steve Stanton's courage.
As I have continued on the journey to build a more inclusive country, I am amazed at the fear that exists in people. We seem to want to return to an era in America that in many ways never existed. The white picket fences and neat little houses disguised a frightening reality for many. Sadly, many don’t want to sit at the table and discuss these very real issues. While the Steve Stanton case could have been an opportunity for community growth and maturity, it was seized upon by community fear.
I have a very real belief that community is the answer and that the Steve Stanton case is a signpost along the road to greater understanding. I trust that this is the beginning of a journey and not the end of a career.
This story begins with Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, unveiling Gardasil, a groundbreaking cervical cancer vaccine in late 2006. The introduction of Gardasil marked the culmination of many years and millions of dollars spent by Merck in preparation for the release. In addition to an educational campaign linking HPV and cervical cancer, Merck led an aggressive lobbying effort for mandatory vaccinations of girls and donated funds to ‘sympathetic’ state and local lawmakers.
One of these local lawmakers, Rick Perry, the Republican Governor of Texas (who received $6,000 from Merck during his 2006 re-election campaign) caused a virtual sh*tstorm earlier this year by issuing an executive order requiring that all sixth grade girls in Texas receive the Gardasil vaccine. This action was later overturned by the state legislature but there are currently 20 other states drafting bills requiring the compulsory cervical vaccination for girls 9-14.
While, in this case, the sh*t mostly flew from the direction of a delusional group of wack-jobs who somehow confused a cervical cancer vaccine with a state-mandated invitation for the young girls of Texas to screw their brains out (how do they get so confused), there were other concerns voiced as well.
Some of these are concerns that I share; that big pharmaceuticals, anticipating a windfall of cash, have manipulated the process and exaggerated the necessity of compulsory vaccination. The phenomenal amount of money states are considering spending on this vaccine could be much better spent developing a comprehensive and realistic sexual education programs. Not to mention that Merck has not had enough time to study the long term effects of this vaccine and is using girls as guinea pigs.
I don’t want to come off looking like some kind of reactionary cancer-promoting freak, but when we look at a recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association showing the rate of HPV 16 and 18, the two types of HPV responsible for most cervical cancer effect respectively only 1.5% and 0.08% of women with HPV, I wonder if a mandatory vaccine is really that urgent or cost effective.
And not to doubt the intentions of Merck’s marketing, um, I mean, ‘educational’ campaign to promote the prevention of cervical cancer, but wouldn’t the approx. $360/vaccination be better spent on educating girls about STI’s, sexual health, or funding of regular OB/GYN visits for all girls from 12 on up? I’m no expert but I’ll bet these sort of preventative efforts prove to be more effective in preventing the spread of all sexually transmitted diseases in the long run.
Yes, I’m a cynic by nature. But in these days of big pharma payola and pseudo moral outrage, I believe that thinking critically about this issue is crucial, especially when it comes to our kids. Before state governments start pouring millions of dollars into the Merck coffers, let’s take a good look at a holistic approach to sexual education and STI prevention.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Composed of two 85-minute movies, one by Tarantino and the other by Sin City director Robert Rodriguez, Grindhouse is a tenderly bloody acknowledgment of old-school exploitation films; the kind the two (directors) have not only sought to emulate, but have established entire careers on.
What is of greater interest, however, is Rodriguez’s part of the pie, Planet Terror, featuring Rose McGowan as a go-go dancer named Cherry Darling, whose leg, an early causality of the zombie outbreak, gets outfitted with a machine gun prosthetic. She wears a four-inch stiletto on her other foot, perhaps compensating for height or balance. More likely, though, her bionic-like state pays homage to the misogynist’s dream of sex and violence. Think about it, is anything more stereotypically “sexy” than a hot woman with a machine gun for a limb?
Adding to this heterosexist dream-girl conundrum is the presentation of an amputee-come sex-symbol. There is an unspoken yet unequivocal stance in western culture where amputees, and the disabled community in general, are desexualized, let alone regarded as hot. Looking at Cherry Darling from such a perspective, one might think that Rodriguez is making a long overdue statement of sorts, rallying against conventional perceptions of what is and is not deemed attractive. Then again, maybe it’s nothing more than horny man’s Grand-Theft Auto induced vision of the perfect woman, complete with boobs on top and bullets coming from down below.
Monday, March 26, 2007
We are appalled at the Commission's decision. Though Largo's city motto is 'City of Progress,' we join with our allies at Equality Florida in calling Largo, the 'City of Regress.'
We hope that the City Commission's decision only serves to educate Americans about the need for workplace discrimination legislation that protects GLBT employees. Stanton will be deciding whether to take legal action in the next week or so.
Friday, March 23, 2007
The vigil will take place at the intersection of Mission and 24th St and in San Francisco at 6pm.
Please bring a white candle and/or other items to contribute to an altar for Ruby.
The full press release from CUAV is below:
For Immediate Release
Tina D’Elia, Hate Violence Survivor Program Director
(415) 777-5500 ext. 304
Alexandra Byerly, EL-LA Program Coordinator
Community Mourns Murder of Latina Transgender Woman
Requests Attendance at Vigil to Demand Change
San Francisco, California (March 22, 2007) – A Nicaraguan transgender woman, Ruby Rodriguez, 24 years old, was murdered on Friday, March 16, 2007. Her body was found on the corner of Cesar Chavez and Indiana Streets in the Mission District of San Francisco. The murder is currently under investigation by the San Francisco Police Department. Community United Against Violence (CUAV), EL-LA, San Francisco LGBT Community Center, TRANS Project, allies, and community members will hold a community vigil in her honor on Friday, March 23, 2007 at 6:00PM, on the corner of 24th Street and Mission Street in the Mission District.
Organizers request that the community bring a white candle to the vigil. There will also be an additional altar set up on Cesar Chavez and Indiana Street, and community members are encouraged to bring flowers, photographs, cards and good wishes to this site. Let us not forget Ruby. She was an exceptional woman who was intent on improving her life. Ruby participated in various support groups and language classes, and idolized Chicana singer Selena.
This murder comes at the heels of at least two other violent deaths of transgender women of color in the San Francisco Bay Area over the past six months. Transgender people, particularly low-income transgender women of color, are disproportionately poor, homeless, criminalized and imprisoned as a result of systemic discrimination in our daily attempts to access safe housing, healthcare, employment, and education.
Unfortunately, Ruby’s murder is not an exception, but an everyday fear for many transgender people who are targeted and brutalized by institutions and society at large. Our communities mourn Ruby’s death and ask for a renewed commitment to real safety for transgender communities. It is vital that the Mayor’s Office, the San Francisco Police Department, and the District Attorney’s Office work to end the cycles of criminalization, poverty, and violence in transgender communities and communities of color.
Please direct any questions about the vigil to Tina D’Elia or Alexandra Byerly. If anyone has any information regarding Ruby’s murder, please contact Inspector Karen Lynch at (415) 553-1388 or Inspector Tom Cleary at (415) 553-9569 of the SFPD Homicide Unit.
Community United Against Violence works to end violence against and within the LGBTQQ communities, providing free and confidential counseling, advocacy, and education in English and Spanish. CUAV’s crisis line is (415) 333-4357.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Deb also recently appeared on ABC's Nightline to talk about the recent APA study on girl's sexuality. You can read the story here. We'll post the video if and when we can get it.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
This murder offers a disturbing glance at the simmering hate that exists even in San Francisco. The madness is here, too.
Then we remember the high-profile case of Gwen Araujo, a transgendered teen from the Bay Area who was brutally murdered by three male acquaintances in 2002 upon discovery she was genetically male. In 2005, these same men were cleared of committing a hate crime by a jury of our peers. A crime "motivated by feelings of enmity against an identifiable social group." Say what! And so we discover that we Bay-Area-dwellers do not live in a happy shiny bubble of love. In fact, something is very wrong here. Not just in the way out yonder Red States.
The tragedy of the situation only grows when we consider that this is only one of an unknown number of transgender victims, many of whom will know never show up in the newspaper and whose names we'll never know.
If you have more information on the case, SF based Community United Against Violence has sent out a media alert asking community members to contact them or the SFPD with any information that you may have relating to the case:
· Tina D'Elia, CUAV's Hate Violence Survivor Program Director: (415) 777-5500 ext. 304
· The SFPD Hot Line: (415) 575-4444
· Homicide Detail Inspectors Karen Lynch or Tom Cleary: (415) 553-1145
Doctors, caretakers, and the rest of society have long denied full sexual citizenship to the physically and developmentally disabled. Too often, we view disability something to sweep under the rug. This issue of American Sexuality focuses on voices showing the struggle of the disabled to be full sexual citizens.
Here's a quick synopsis of what we've got up right now.
- A video on a art show of nudes, created by people with developmental disabilities, by Joyce Nishioka. It's up on YouTube here.
- User's Manual for the Paralyzed Penis: Love after spinal cord injury by Tre Trefethen.
- Freak Fucker: Sexuality and disability in British art by Ronda Gowland
- A summary of our special Disability and Sexuality issue of our Sexuality Research and Social Policy Journal. You can reach the journal directly here.
- And last but not least, two reprints from BENT magazine. One on a guy who was chubby as a youngster, lost weight, became a beautiful gay man, and then lost his hand. Another on a guy from Scotland who as a disabled man didn't fit into any gender stereotype, denied his sexuality, and discovered he was gay in his middle ages.
When General of the Marines Peter Pace tells the world that "I believe homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts," echoes were heard not only in the military, where homosexuality is still banned, but in the Presidential race, where even progressive Democrats were not willing to stand up and be counted in the fight against sexual prejudice in this country.
The general compounded his prejudice by confusing immoral ACTS that the military injunctions (extramarital relationships) with CATEGORIES of people, that is, homosexuals. For someone to have relationships with others they are attracted to, care about or love, as do LGBT people, in the 19th Century sin and disease warnings, was sufficient for them to be imprisoned or incarcerated or medically treated or ex-communicated.
But this is the 21st century! Perhaps ex-communication is the model that comes close to General Pace's stiff resistance to changing the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy of our military, which was ill-conceived and which none of our allies support, and now some of the general's own colleagues think anachronistic and needing to be changed. But isn't it the Pope who ex-communicates, not generals? The fact that the leading contenders for the Democratic nomination in '08 were missing in action on this debate and shirked clear and honest rejection of the prejudice tells us that this society has still to learn the terrible lesson of discrimination. Sexual illiteracy is no excuse for generals, but it is inexcusable for the individuals who would lead this country.
Monday, March 19, 2007
John Ibson's article in American Sexuality Magazine entitled One of the Guys: The distraction of 'sexual orientation' and the lost world of the American male has sparked a conversation over at MetaFilter. Kudos to Y2Karl for posting it.
Question for the readers - did I get enough links in that post? ;) No? Well here's one more - it's our Technorati profile.
A little more research reveals that Military.com has also published this editorial critical of Pace's remarks. But it's not like they're some liberal bastion -- they do publish Oliver North's pieces as well. Here's a full list of their opinion contributors.
When we get people like Pace - and like Tim Hardaway - to say that being gay is somehow immoral we can demand apologies in the short-term, and, in the long-term, continue to educate Americans about how GLBT folks deserve the same rights as everyone else. Pace has helped make our point to the millions of Americans who are coming around on gay rights: (1) 'Don't ask, don't tell' is hurting the war effort and (2) its supporters are from the stone-age. While the rest of us were getting to know that gay people are just like the rest of us, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' proponents stuck their heads in the sand and hoped this day would never come. Well, sorry Major General Pace, that day has arrived.
"I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts. I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way."
Thursday, March 15, 2007
But now, the University has settled with Nemecek after he threatened a workplace discrimination lawsuit. This is a small victory for equality. We hope that this news has a positive impact on the upcoming Stanton hearing and possible lawsuit.
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
The UN is reviewing procedures for appointing these special independent experts and some countries are taking the opportunity to lobby AGAINST their very existence. That's why we need to fight back! Please take a moment, and sign the petition here. The victims of human rights violations around the world need our support.
Monday, March 12, 2007
What goes around comes around in politics, as in the marketing of morals. If commentator Mark Shields is correct, Rudolph Giuliani will be the Republican nominee in 2008. For decades, Shields said on NPR, the Republican candidate who has been ahead by 20 points this far in advance of the election usually wins the nomination. That may be one reason that Senator John McCain, who is championing the failing Bush Iraq war, and who has avidly courted the Extreme Christian Right, doesn't look very well. But if Giuliani gets it -- in spite of being married three times, having roomed with gay pals when his former wife kicked him out of Gracie Mansion for an affair with his current wife, and being on record in favor of abortion– the Moral brigade (e.g., Focus on the Family) has no one to blame but themselves. And they are not going to get sleazy Ann Coulter to call tough guy Rudy a faggot, either.
Giuliani, the hero of 9/11 who was right there when the Twin Towers came down, was the real Leader on a day when the President went missing. To reconstruct himself as a hero, Bush handlers fabricated WMD, and sold a disastrous war to a shell-shocked people. Giuliani wisely stayed out of what Frank Rich calls "the greatest story ever sold." Never mind that Rudy's son doesn't speak to him because of the messy divorce, or that he has New York morals; he never lied about Iraq. The Extreme Right Republicans are not happy with him, though, or with his alternative, Mormon Mitt Romney. Romney's credentials include large donations to anti-choice and anti-gay organizations, and one continuous wife and children who speak to him. To quote Ann Coulter: "He tricked liberals into voting for him. I like a guy who hoodwinks voters so easily." But Mitt isn't Bush, and this isn't 2000.
The Moral Brigade supported the election of Bush to get their anti-choice, abstinence only, anti-gay agenda enacted into law, not to mention lots of tax cuts passed for rich donors. Now they are stuck with a very unpopular President, and the worst disaster since Vietnam, and there is no candidate in sight who is moral enough to please them. The same Party that gave us sexual illiteracy of the worst kind in a century is now going to have to support a former mayor of the most Blue State liberal city in the US. How ironic that we may have the first election in a generation when candidates of both parties are pro-choice and pro-gay. The morality marketers have no one to blame but themselves, unless they believe in Divine providence.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
For those unfamiliar with Coulter’s personal brand of hate, this is the same woman who was fired from MSNBC when she told a disabled Vietnam veteran, "people like you caused us to lose that war." She was also fired from the conservative National Review when she turned in a column offering a final solution to the Muslim problem: "We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity".
Since her latest outburst on Friday, five daily newspapers have dropped Coulter’s column. Now Verizon, Sallie Mae and Georgia-based NetBank each say they want their ads, which were placed on Coulter's site by a third party without their knowledge, removed.
As a Canadian, I can’t say that I’m disappointed by this response to Coulter’s obnoxious, and just plain stupid, ranting. After all, we are talking about somebody who went on the record saying "[Canadians] better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent." Her spiteful column is nothing more than the rantings of a lunatic, solely consisting of political positions she disagrees with, which are briefly, brusquely, and often inaccurately described, then dismissed, often with an insult. The same steps are repeated several times per column. The technique is enthralling for readers already in agreement with Coulter. For anyone else, it is beyond tedious.
For those still unsure of what to make of Coulter and her “spitfire” approach to the news, her uninspiring use of the “F” bomb last Friday draws a pretty clear picture: a woman so greatly lacking in talent and perspective that she has no choice other than using innocent people as a punch line.
Daniel Radcliffe, the 17-year-old actor who's best known for his role as Harry Potter, is now making his mark on the London stage in a revival of "Equus". The former child star (though I guess technically, he's still a child) sheds his HP image--along with his clothes--to reveal his newly mature artistry and brawn. Sarah Lyall wrote a great article about it in the NY Times. Considering Daniel's age, I'm wondering if this would fly in the US. Would you let your tweens and teens see it?
That being said, I know it's tricky to weigh in on another culture's sexual mores, especially coming from a Western (read Imperialist) perspective. That's why I'm going to, instead of writing screeds against Wahhabism, highlight the work of activists in Muslim countries who work to advance the cause of sexual literacy. Check out Aubrey Resech, who runs a sex clinic in Cairo. It's the least we can do.
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Fuziyah al-Ouni, described as an activist by the paper, said she was outraged by the case. “By sentencing her to 90 lashes they are sending a message that she is guilty. No rape victim is guilty,” she said.
Monday, March 05, 2007
If the fight against global warming isn't the ultimate pro-life struggle, then I don't know what is! But that is not what the extreme Christian Right believes. In their view, being pro-earth takes attention from what they call "the great moral issues of our times." Predictably these are abortion and abstinence-only education, not to mention gay marriage. Sexual issues. James Dobson, chairman of Focus on the Family, and Gary L. Bauer, once a Republican presidential candidate and now president of Coalitions for America, among other big Bible-totters, have written a letter to stop the National Evangelical Movement’s Policy Director, Rev. Richard Cizik, from speaking out on Global warming. As this New York Times article reports, Rev. Cizik had better stop being Pro-Earth and speaking out on global warming, or these guys will see that he loses his job.
If only these stalwart conservatives would take a lesson from History. Once upon a time, as every sophomore history student knows of Teddy Roosevelt and Barry Goldwater, to be a conservative meant to be a conservationist, not a member of the moral brigade. Being Pro-earth was cool – until these new conservatives came along to battle against sexual literacy.
Pro-Earth gave way to Pro-life, with the rise to power of the Evangelical Christian Right that is blinded by its rage against anything sexual, especially reproductive and sexual rights. Now what these myopic men focus on is a peculiar "Sexual Morality" that campaigns against abortion and same-sex marriage and the need to promote "the teaching of sexual abstinence and morality to our children." Their deep and mysterious hatred of sex, gays, comprehensive sexual education, women's rights, and the right to choice have so discolored their view of the world that they can see only Red, as in Commies, Red States, and not Green, as in Pro-earth. Theirs is a new brigade of the Flat earth society that is about as forward looking as telling a parent to stop talking about sexual literacy with their child until they reach marriage. That, in fact, is precisely the effect of Ignorance Only, AKA, and abstinence-only sex education.
Protecting the earth and our vital heritage is the one great and true way of being Pro-life, and we ought to shun these sexual conservatives and their moral panics that are life-destroying, to join with all those, including evangelicals, who are taking a stand that is Pro-earth.
Since the launch of our 'Stand with Stanton' petition, we have had some signers express concern that we were using male pronouns when we should be using female pronouns. They wrote that since Steve Stanton will be becoming a woman, we should be calling him a her.
We used - and are using - male pronouns to refer to Steve Stanton because:
- Our allies are using male pronouns. Equality Florida, whose Executive Director was arrested at the event and has been in personal contact with Stanton, continues to use male pronouns. The Human Rights Campaign is also using male pronouns at its national press office.
- Stanton has asked that people that aren't his close family or friends use male pronouns until he begins his transition, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
- Steve is self-referring with male pronouns. Refer to his NPR interview and other media quotes.