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Friday, September 28, 2007

Interview with Samhita Mukhopadhyay of Feministing

Our editors, Joyce Nishioka and Anna Steiner, have recently interviewed Samhita Mukhopadhyay, who is the editor at the famous feministing blog. Samhita talks about third wave feminism, Duke rape case, racism, heteronormativity, and Paris Hilton.

View Audio Slideshow here.


Liz Taylor on AIDS

Liz Taylor was great last night at the Macy's Passport event. The annual AIDS fundraiser was held for the 19th time. It has raised $25 million since its inception - all the vision of Liz Taylor.

Liz spoke last night of the changes she has seen in the past 20 years. If in the late 1980's doors were slammed in her face when she mentioned AIDS, 2000's are quite different.

Thanks for spreading the awareness and sexual literacy!


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Verizon trying to silence pro-choice voices

Update: Verizon has relented. An excerpt from their statement. Thanks for all your actions!


BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - On Wednesday, September 26, Verizon Wireless received a letter from NARAL regarding the company's policy on text messaging. The following statement may be attributed to Jeffrey Nelson, spokesperson for Verizon Wireless.
"The decision to not allow text messaging on an important, though sensitive, public policy issue was incorrect, and we have fixed the process that led to this isolated incident.
"Upon learning about this situation, senior Verizon Wireless executives immediately reviewed the decision and determined it was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy. That policy, developed before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent
to children.
"Verizon Wireless is proud to provide services such as text messaging, which are being harnessed by organizations and individuals communicating their diverse opinions about issues and topics. We have great respect for this free flow of ideas and will continue to protect the ability to communicate broadly through our messaging service."

Fantastic news!


NARAL Pro-Choice America, a friend of ours, has been banned by Verizon Wireless from sending text messages to supporters through their network. It's a shameless attempt to silence advocates for a woman's right to choose, which fits with their political donation history as well (at least 59% of donations to Republican candidates every cycle in the last ten years).

Here's NARAL's response - I got this in my email this morning. Help out by taking action here.

I've got some bad news for you: even your cell phone isn't safe from censorship.

Last week Verizon Wireless deemed NARAL Pro-Choice America too "controversial" and "unsavory" to approve a short code for our text-messaging program.

Not familiar with the term "short code"? That's okay. The bottom line is that Verizon won't let its customers access our text-messaging program.

Verizon's decision sends chills down my spine. What kind of company would deny its customers who signed up to receive information the ability to use their cell phones to participate in our democracy? That's just wrong.

I've sent a letter to Verizon president and CEO Lowell McAdam asking him to end his company's policy. But Verizon hasn't contacted me with an official response - so now I'm asking for your help. Please send your own message to Verizon opposing their decision today!

The principle at stake here is simple. Verizon Wireless' customers have every right to decide what actions to take with their phones, regardless of their political views.

If you think that Verizon, which controls 25 percent of the cell-phone market, has no business deciding what information their customers can and can't receive, I hope you take action today.

Thank you for standing with us.


Slate Magazine has a new sex issue

Couple of highlights: The history of the butt (an excuse to talk about the great big butts of our time) and Sex ed via YouTube (Where to find the most useful information about sex for both parents and kids). Enjoy.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sexyback x Can't Get Enough of Your Love Babe: The Lure of the Voice

A recent study published in Biology Letters reports that deep-voiced men are likely to have more children than their higher-pitched counterparts. The authors of the study liken this phenomenon to the flashy tail of the male peacock, metrosexual style kings of the bird world.

The study focused on the Hadza tribe of Tanzania. Wondering if this pattern appears in western cultures, I immediately thought of sexy soul crooner Barry White. And indeed - White fathered eight children. On the other hand, falsetto master Barry Gibb fathered five children. Justin Timberlake - 0 children - but he's only 26.

Looks like the verdict is still out, at least in musical circles. All this makes me wonder -is it the voice, or the man with the voice? My next study - a mashup methodology, with Nina Simone and Joan Armatrading in the mix.


Jenna Bush against abstinence-only education

Jenna Bush wrote a book about her experience as an intern with UNICEF. Ana's Story tells about the life of a young woman who was born HIV-positive. The book is written for a young audience apparently and will soon appear on the shelves. Jenna Bush was interviewed by Diane Sawyer of ABC news and said the following when asked whether she agreed with her father's abstinence-only policies:
No, I mean, not at all, first, because I’m not part of the administration. You know, I’m just my father’s daughter. … I think that when we’re talking about keeping kids safe, and we’re talking about Ana and other kids that are living with HIV or other STDs … kids need to have education; they need to be educated in order to make the right decision for themselves. (via Think Progress)

The personal experience of Jenna Bush shows her the folly of Bush's policies. You actually have to get out of your life to see what works and doesn't work. Nobody can show any kind of compassion with their eyes closed. I am slightly encouraged to see that she came out of her sheltered life. That is the biggest difference between her and her father, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and never ever showed any curiosity for a world outside his own.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

National AIDS Strategy

More than 100 organizations called for a National AIDS Strategy. After all these years in the epidemic we still don't have one and the number of people that are being infected every year is not going down. Having given up on Bush, and who hasn't, they call
AIDS is a national crisis. The next President of the U.S. should develop a results-oriented AIDS strategy.

You can be part of this effort and sign the petition for a National AIDS Strategy.
Senator Edwards is the first of the presidential candidates to support this effort.

That is very good to see. Who can forget his vice-presidential debate with Dick Cheney. Gwen Ifill asked both men to talk about African American women's increased exposure to HIV. Don't talk about African women, she said, African American women, you know, who live in this country. Neither men could do it and it was a shameful moment (one of many to follow for Cheney to be sure). Edwards has learned and that gives me hope. I imagine that he actually did feel ashamed then and now is part of the action. What little hope we hold on to sometimes, when it comes to our national leaders.

Via POZ: Health, Life and HIV

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Ahmadinejad: no homosexuals in Iran

The controversial appearance of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University has finally happened. Ahmadinejad's speech dealt with a variety of topics including sexuality. Here are some of the highlights from the speech.

Dear academics, dear faculty and scholars, students, I believe that the biggest God-given gift to man is science and knowledge.

Those in Iran are genuine true freedoms. The Iranian people are free. Women in Iran enjoy the highest levels of freedoms. We have two deputy vice -- well, two vice presidents that are female at the highest levels of speciality... Women are respected more than men are. They are exempt from many responsibilities.

In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country. (Laughter.) We don't have that in our country. (Booing.) In Iran, we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it. (Laughter.)

President Ahmadinejad then goes to compare homosexuality to using drugs, killing with guns, and spreading microbes.
People who lead the lives -- cause the deterioration of the lives of hundreds of millions of youth around the world, including in Iran, can we have any sympathy to them?... People who violate the public rights ... are sentenced to execution in Iran.

Well, I don't think there is even a need to comment - there are no gays in Iran (they've been hung) and women are so free they are exempt from freedom (but are eligible for "stoning" benefit). That's president Ahmadinejad with an old friend.


Oprah's 237 Reasons to Have Sex

Pepper Schwartz, the chair of NSRC's advisory board is going to be on The Oprah Winfrey Show tomorrow, September 25th, discussing her new book, Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years.

According to this scintillating description on Oprah's website, Tuesday's show entitled 237 Reasons to Have Sex is sure to titilate:

It's the sex talk your parents never had. Open marriages, sex over 60, friends with benefits, erotica…what's really going on in America's bedrooms? We're going under the covers.

Congratulations Pepper! A true Champion of Sexual Literacy.


Friday, September 21, 2007

Intersex on Oprah

Today's Champion of Sex Literacy is Oprah - she discussed issues of intersex on her show. She also interviewed "Middlesex" author Jeffrey Eugenides.

Read our own article on intersex and ethical dilemmas connected with treating intersex in the womb.


Week's weird sex(uality) news

This week has been more productive than others in churning out strange or funny sex news.

To start of, there was a clear "sex and transportation" theme:

Man Blames Friends for his Car Crash
- two of his friends were engaging in sexual activity on the back seat, which led to a crash into a telephone pole. Remember: eyes on the road!

Seattle Residents will be Riding a SLUT - or known under a less-exciting name of "South Lake Union Trolley".

On a more serious and disturbing note - Teacher Had Sex with Pupil While Driving Bus; he also shared his cocaine and nude videos with the 18 yo pupil. The excitement of the event was summarized as "How funny is it that some year 12s will be sitting where we had sex."

Moving on to sex toys - we have two in this category:

Man Hides Sex Toys in a Wiener - he tried to smuggle dildos from Germany to Dubai.

Burglar Gets Sidetracked and Seduces Vacuum Cleaner
- he also used laundry detergent. He was caught. He is now married with two kids.

And let's finish with procreation and God.

Shortage in Eurosperm - are you an American and want Scandinavian-looking babies? Tough luck - eurosperm is banned due to mad cow disease scare. But do not fear - there is plenty of "white" sperm to go around from local, American, sources.

God Responds to Lawsuit
- a mysterious filing rebuts legislator's case that God makes terrorist threats, causing "widespread death, destruction and terrorization of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants." The rebuttal says "I created man and woman with free will and next to the promise of immortal life, free will is my greatest gift to you."

Have a nice weekend everyone!



Thursday, September 20, 2007

Larry Craig: The gift that keeps on giving

A must read piece from Barbara Ehrenreich on Larry Craig, lesbians, and air travel. The concluding paragraph:

As for the fellow who unintentionally revealed the presence of the sex police in our airport restrooms: I'm hoping Larry Craig comes back and comes out. This will no doubt involve a tearful public renunciation of his past homophobia and a lifetime membership in the Log Cabin Republicans. But he'll meet plenty of guys, and in the end it will be so much easier not to have to pretend to take a leak every time he needs a little loving.


How students can stop homophobia

Last week in Nova Scotia, students took action against bullies in their high school. You must read this story. I love what they did, because the threshold to participate was relatively low, guaranteeing high participation. And that is how it worked. A great show of force. Just two students needed to come up with the idea. Apparently, several media outlets and Ellen Degeneres have showed interest. Could this be the beginning of a pink movement in high schools? That would be sweet.

Thank you Seth Godin, for letting me know and telling this interesting blue jeans story from your college days.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Jena 6 Day of Action: September 20th

Hello Jim Crow... how you doing?

Something foul is wafting through the Louisiana bayou and it’s not just the fetid stench of a mold-riddled New Orleans. This, my friends, is a story that takes place in a small town called Jena. It starts with about 200 years of history and ends with 200 years of criminal injustice. It has to do with civil rights, human rights, activism and a community refusing to let the weight of apathy and bigotry hold it down.

I’m writing this today because tomorrow is a Day of Action in Solidarity with the Jena Six. The organizers expects as many as 60,000 people from more than 30 cities to attend the protest in Jena.

For those unfamiliar with the story, there's a quick and dirty outline below. For an informed look the case, take a look at this transcript from Democracy Now or this Wiki entry.

Last fall, two black students sat underneath the “white tree” on the Jena high school campus. A few white students responded by hanging nooses from the tree. The black students demanded that the noose setters be expelled from school. When it became clear that the administration was not going to punish the responsible students, more black students sat underneath the tree, in protest.

As sometimes happens in the wake of civil disobedience, violence followed. Racial tension that had been bubbling under the surface in this small town of 3,000 (with an 85% white population), erupted. Black and white youth were at each others throats. Attack, retaliate, attack. The fateful beating that landed six young African American men in jail for what could be up to 100 years each, landed one young white man in the hospital for less than a day.

Unfortunately, being threatened with a punishment so ill-fitting the crime is not so unusual in black communities. So, why has this case attracted so much attention? I can only imagine that the people who marched thorough the streets of Selma must be wondering what the hell happened.

Have civil rights, human rights, sexual rights really advanced in the past 30 years?

Or have we just gotten better at masking the –isms. And than the ‘white tree’ grows a noose, and that theory falls apart.

I guess the old adage is true: those who don’t know the past are condemned to repeat it. But why repeat what doesn’t work. Do we need to create our own version of the civil rights movement? Feminism? Class warfare? The Anti-war movement? And if we do, sign me up. I want to be on the frontlines this time ‘round.

So, once again, if you’re close to Jena, there will be a day of action there tomorrow.

If you can’t make it to Jena, do not fret. You can always participate locally. Indymedia usually has a great calendar with these types of events.

Here in SF, there is an action at Market Street at 4th Street at 4pm

You can download fliers and info from Color of Change


Larry Craig - Champion of Sexual Rights

As we continue to monitor the Larry Craig debacle, we are surprised to report that Idaho Senator is emerging as the unlikely Champion of Sexual Literacy and Rights.

ACLU has filed a court briefing in defense of Sen. Craig's attempt to be cleared of charges. However, ACLU's strategy is quite different from Craig's, who claims that nothing happened at all. ACLU strategy in lay terms is: "even if something was happening, so what?" Sex is a lawful act and solicitation of it should not be so easily punished. "Non-commercial sex can only be prosecuted if the state can prove that the sexual encounter being solicited would have occurred in a public, rather than private, setting." More importantly, sex solicitations are expressions of free speech.

What a great way to highlight the hypocrisy of this case - women get subtle and not so subtle sex solicitations at all times and in all places, and yet there is no wave of arrests of heterosexual men.

The fact that Senator Larry Craig might or might not be a gay or questioning man and that he has opposed sexual rights for others is a separate issue.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

What, for Pete's sake, do we mean by sexuality education?

The Pew Research Organization released a report in which they make this claim: "78% - Favor Sex Education in Public Schools." At first sight, I thought that I knew that already. But what they mean by sex education is terribly misleading. 78% of those polled (a sample they call "the public") wants education about birth control. And a full 76% wants schools to teach their children abstinence. Seculars (who are they?) have a little more reservation about this, though 62% of them still favor abstinence education.

Truly, there is a lot of work to do for those who want to increase sexual literacy in this country. The pew organization is a place to start. Teaching about birth control does not constitute sex education, we have to spell it out. Have a look at SIECUS's online library for a more comprehensive idea of sexuality education. It is a great library.

to that library I would like to add a discussion about the ways in which the republican party has used sexual stigma and sexual shame for great political advantage. I will return to that another time. That so many people want schools to teach abstinence tells me how successful they have been and how much sexual shame exists for them to wreak further havoc with.


Time to Seek

The Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing just released a study guide on all things LGBT for churches around the country. It is a terrific starting point for ordinations to start asking relevant questions about sexual and gender diversity. The guide gives an overview of the science of sexual and gender diversity and is fairly comprehensive. A good old social scientist like myself would have to (out of professional obligation, if nothing else) cherry pick some points of critique here and there, but I will resist. That would miss the important point, that many religious organizations want to start talking about sexuality and have precious little resources they can turn to. The Religious Institute provides an important resource with this guide that I hope will be used widely. And if you cannot open up a discussion in your community, the guide tells you what communities are open and welcoming.

Nevertheless, I miss one thing. If religious organizations are going to open a discussion about sexual and gender diversity, they will have to, at one point or another, recognize the suffering they have caused. We are after all not merely discussing a topic of ignorance. Sexual and gender minorities have been terribly mistreated and prosecuted. At some point, churches and temples will have to atone for the suffering they have caused. Sexual and gender minorities have always been in their midst. They didn't simply appear yesterday. And they have carried a terrible burden. Churches and temples will have to decided not only whether they will get informed, important though that may be, but also whether they will recognize their own role in the suffering of so many. With Yom Kippur coming up, we have a day to begin this attonement. I hope that Christian churches will join in.


Monday, September 17, 2007

What's wrong with good food and good sex?

Well, let's ask Professor Judy Wubnig! She responded to this editorial (subscription required) in the Wall Street Journal. It lambasts an attendance-required student performed play at Princeton that, in the author's own words, is "warn[s] about sexual assault and alcohol abuse," but instead encourages sexual promiscuity. Her expert response is excerpted here:

No education about sex is necessary, although it is promoted in schools. Human beings, like all animals, know how to reproduce without any instruction...So-called "sex education" is a waste of money and teaches that the purpose of sexual activity is pleasure, like teaching that the purpose of eating is pleasant taste.

I have a couple of thoughts for Judy Wubnig, who apparently is a professor (!) of Philosophy (!!) at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario.
  1. What's wrong with eating because it tastes good? What do you eat? Dirt, rice, and more dirt? Isn't it wonderful that modern farming has given us food that tastes good as well as well satisfies a biological need.
  2. What's wrong with having sex because it feels good? The vast majority of us have sex for pleasure, and I'm with the vast majority. Modern medicine has made it possible for hetero-couples to have sex without the threat of pregnancy whenever they succumb to the natural urge to feel intimacy and pleasure. Occasionally, when the time is right, they have sex to procreate.
Yes, Professor Judy Wubnig represents the impractical extremism of a small anti-taste, anti-pleasure minority. But it also represents the thinking of a constituency that holds power in the conservative movement, and which currently holds the Presidency, the Supreme Court, and their fair share of the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and many State legislatures.

These people are powerful and they are dangerous. They want to take the pleasure out of both our food and sex. Not if we have anything to say about it!


Friday, September 14, 2007

Eat, Pray, Love - Is that all there is?

My favorite TV programs are Globe Trekker, No Reservations and Top Chef. I read Rumi and Lao-Tze. So I’m not surprised to see Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” topping the best seller list, especially among women and foreplay loving guys such as myself.

Still, I’m wondering what to make of this celibacy thing. In Gilbert’s case, it doesn’t seem to be about “dying to the world” and having no desires (ala Rumi or Buddha), or we wouldn’t have the eat side of the book. Not too mention the 33 pounds she gains in four months.

Sure, sexual relationships can be complicated, destructive, annoying. But might actively avoiding all sex be the flip side of actively seeking out [lots of] sex. This either/or dichotomy is all too common in the US (e.g. 12 steppers v. addicts, fast food junkies v. health food fanatics). And we all know there’s a thrill in pushing things to the edge, and then leaving ourselves dangling in bliss.

I like to think we can find spirituality and meaning through actual sex. Certainly this idea is common to many belief systems across space and time. Maybe if we spent less time thinking and writing about having – and not having – sex, we’d get what we need without even trying.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Top 5 Feminist Blogs

Feminism is alive! In the blogosphere! [cue kick ass orchestral music]

But seriously, there are tons of blogs out there that are fighting the good feminist fight. We'd love to be counted among such an esteemed group. But there are a few that are really setting the agenda, and we thought it'd be helpful for our readers to document them here. Add them to your rss feeds, bookmarks, and however else you get the content you crave.

  1. Feministing. This well-run community blog is the top of the pack when it comes to blogging feminism. They've got at least a few posts a day on the news of that day, well-connected and respected editors, and a refreshingly snarky perspective.
  2. BitchPhD. Also a healthy helping of the snark and a great header photo. She gives a feminist perspective on the news of the day, instead of just a feminist perspective on the feminism-related news of the day.
  3. Alas! A blog. (Hope I got that punctuation right.) Another blog run by a community of feminist authors from lots of other feminist blogs around the internets. The site is maintained on the professional site of a, *gasp*, man! He is the primary author, although not sure what percentage of his posts are baby blogging. His kids really are super cute, though.
  4. FireDogLake. I wasn't sure whether to describe this blog as a 'feminist' blog, since it was founded by a strong feminist I respect and deals with broader issues than just 'feminism' in the classic sense. But because of this post, I felt like FDL had to be added to this list. Though I'm not sure I agree with her entirely, but it's a welcome perspective to add to the discussion on how to best advance the feminist agenda.
  5. Feministe. Another community blog asking the tough ideological questions about feminism today. They also seem to have a focus on sexual violence and the anti-women parts of our culture that makes sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence possible. Personally, political bloggers who swear causes some chemical reaction in me so that I'm ready to fight the bad guys tooth and nail. Love that! And there's no shortage of vulgar red meat on Feministe.
Of course, we couldn't possibly detail all the great blogs that feminists are publishing. And if you think we're missing a serious feminist blog that should have made this list, write it in the comments.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Never underestimate a political foe

When I read Amanda Marcotte's question on RH Reality Check
“How on earth could one of the most powerful political movements in the nation collectively be unable to string two thoughts together in any type of coherent form?”
I thought for a moment that she would be refreshingly self-critical. But alas. All she can add to the conversation about reproductive rights is that the anti-choice people don't think. How is that helpful?

Of course anti-choice people think. And they think real hard. How else can such a minority have been so successful? That is the more important question.

There are are two intellectual traditions that suggest another way of thinking. One is better known and suggests that all people interpret the world according to frames they have in their minds. George Lakoff is the one person I know best and he has tried to make frame analysis useful for progressives in his book Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives. Since anti-choice activists have a very different frame, they literally see the world differently than Amanda and I do. But that is no reason to suggest that they don't think. Worse, it is completely useless to suggest that they don't think. They think perhaps harder than we do, for they know that being right and getting it right are two different things. I am bothered by smug progressives who simply think that being right ought to be enough.

Of course, I would betray my own discipline of anthropology, were I not to suggest that we have a country with very different cultures. For the current purpose, proposing to think in terms of culture is not that different than talking in terms of frames. With one notable difference. The culture concept invites the consideration of a broader spectrum of emotions and cognitions than frame analysis. Anthropologists also take religion more seriously and understand its fundamental importance to people's lives.

Let's also recognize that the anti-choice movement is not anti-sex per se. That again is too simplistic. They often suggest that good sex is important. However, good sex for them means intercourse between a man and a woman in the context of marriage. That is where we disagree. For me, sex can be many things between all kinds of people as long as they consent and achieve pleasure. Anti-choice people have orgasms. Women too. They don't mind other people having orgasms either, as long as they are married. That fits within their frame.

Underestimating such a phenomenal political foe as the anti-choice movement is the last think to do.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Want a Car? Get Pregnant. Day of Conception

Russia is dominating the news lately in the "ingenious ways to promote pregnancy" category. Just several weeks ago activists held a several day event which encouraged unprotected sex and resulted in a mass wedding of 35 couples.

This time the mayor of Ulyanovsk declared October 12th a Day of Conception. Which I guess makes July 12th a Day of Deliverance. And just to give some incentive, city government will provide successful mothers with money, cars, and refrigerators. Couples get to take a half-day off work to "do the deed." And the coolest part - those who deliver on July 12th, get to do it to the sounds of the national anthem! It is not entirely clear how the government will deal with early or late deliveries.

In all seriousness, this "event" highlights the desperate demographic situation in Russia. The current population numbers just 141 million, down from 150 million in 1992.


Saturday, September 08, 2007

Traditional Values Defined

Once in a while amongst all the email offers I get offering to increase my penis size, buy prescription medicine, and sign up for a subprime loan, I get a true gem.

This week's winner is a message from one Pastor David Wetzler. Pastor did not want his name revealed but underestimated the power of google. Here are some highlights from his message about 'traditional' values...

- We support the God-ordained institution of the family, which is a union of a man and woman, with or without children—and is based upon marriage, blood, or adoption...

- The epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases running rampant in our culture is evidence of the failure of the sex education movement...

- Homosexual behavior is explicitly condemned in both the Old and New Testaments as an abomination and a violation of God’s standards for sexuality...

- We oppose the normalization of sodomy as well as cross-dressing and other deviant sexual behaviors in our culture...

- Pornography is a progressive addiction that ruins the conscience of the person. Frequently, this person acts out his sexual fantasies by molesting children, raping girls, and committing other sexual crimes—including murder...

Individuals may be free to pursue such behaviors as sodomy, but we will not and cannot tolerate these behaviors. They frequently lead to death. We believe in “discrimination” in the good sense...

It is not “hate” to fight against such cultural forces as pornography, drugs, abortion, and sodomy...

So let's see what lessons and questions I took away from his Sunday school:
1. God ordains institutions. Is there a certification process?
2. My learning about STDs actually increases my chances of contracting one.
3. God has sexuality standards - are they ISO9001 compatible?
4. Cross-dressing is a sexually deviant behavior. Women wearing business suites and Scots will burn. Do cross-dressers who engage in sodomy get punished more than those who don't?
5. It is Christian to hate and discriminate - if only done for the right reasons. Who defines the "right reasons"? Pastor Wetzler.
6. Last but not least - is something wrong with me that I watch porn but don't have fantasies about molesting children and committing sexually-charged murders? If something is wrong with me, can Ted Haggard be my personal counselor.



Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday fun

Via Queerty.

Anything else on your mind?


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The cost of sex work

Sex work has always been a difficult topic for us to write about on our blog. We know there is a raging debate about sex work within the sexuality rights community and elsewhere - on the one hand, some believe that selling sex should be legalized and have the protections that others jobs possess, and on the other hand, others believe sex work is fundamentally an exploitative relationship that reaffirms the unequal relationship of men and women and between the haves and have-nots.

I think we'd be better off if we let actual sex workers do most of the talking in this debate. I stumbled across this particular account this morning and wonder what you think about it. This is an open thread.



A sick hoax is working its way around the internet. MarryOurDaughters.com purports to advertise extremely young women - many under 18 - for men looking for a wife. For example, here's Kyra, age 14 1/2. Kyra's asking price is $27,995.

Kyra likes the outdoors, more the open air of the beach or the desert than the woods. She would love to live somewhere away from it all. She is bright and funny and full of life and while she has little direct experience with the opposite sex we have made sure she is aware of everything she needs to know to be a good wife and mother.

How do I know it's a hoax? The helpful folks at Museum of Hoax's have a pretty good analysis.

Is the site for real? Of course it isn't. Signs that it's a hoax (in addition to the general ridiculousness of it):

a) the google ads. It's always a sure sign of a hoax when a site claiming to be a legitimate business has to stick google ads on its page. Though in this case, the owner of the site isn't even earning any money from the ads because google is only serving up public service ads.

b) The creator of the site used an anonymous proxy service to register it.

I'm going to go with that instead of wasting ink on criticizing it. Because it's crazy. Like, really crazy. Don't you wonder how they determined the price?


Saturday, September 01, 2007

No way! Kansas?!

This ought to put a bee in Thomas Frank's bonnet. Frank wrote 'What's the Matter with Kansas,' a well-read description of how social conservatives took over the heart of the country using abortion and gay marriage as political wedge issues. Now, it seems like things might be turning around in Kansas.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Kathleen Sebelius signed an executive order Friday prohibiting most state employees from being discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The order, effective immediately, requires that agencies under the Democratic governor's direct control make sure they have programs to prevent on-the-job harassment against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and people who have undergone sexual reassignment surgery. It covers about 25,000 of the state's 41,000 employees.

"I'm sorry it took us so long," Sebelius said after signing the order in front of two dozen activists.

Sebelius' action contradicts the thinking that progressive abortion and gay rights positions are political suicide in the Mid-West and the South. It's a welcome sign that progressives are asserting themselves while prominent social conservatives are getting busted for their hypocrisy (Rev. Ted Haggard and Sen. Larry Craig).

This decision also challenges our elitist thinking (I say 'our,' because I have certainly been a part of it) about the 'fly-over states' being uneducated, easily duped, and sexually repressed. All people can come around to a less repressive view of sexuality, but we have to elect the right politicians who are willing to lead and educate voters on difficult issues. Thank you, Governor Sebelius, for doing exactly this in your state.

P.S. We really don't want to write only about the Democrats and the work they are doing for gay rights. We welcome Republican examples, but are having a hard time finding any. Please, as a reader of this blog, send us stuff that Republicans are doing to protect and expand gay rights. We'd be happy to publish them.