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Virginia school district ponders banning cross-gender dress | Reuters

Posted: February 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Showcasing how ignorance is a life-threatening, clear and present danger, a "Virginia school district is considering banning cross-gender dressing in a move proponents said aims to protect students from harassment," Matthew Ward reports. The ban is being considered "after teachers […] said some male students were dressing like girls, prompting complaints from other students."

Although wanting to protect youth from harm is noble, misguided bans on expression are functionally equivalent to censorship, and serve no protective purpose. Worse, ignorance of gender diversity "could actually make the students more susceptible to bullying," not less, according to the executive director of Equality Virginia, James Parrish. "They're calling it cross-dressing, but if [one wears] clothes that reflect their gender identity [then] that's appropriate gender dressing," he said.

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Update: A grass-roots petition to oppose the ban has been circulating on Tumblr. A vote is expected in March. Hopefully, the petition along with the threat of legal action from the ACLU of Virginia will be enough to deter this dangerous violation of student’s freedom of expression.

Equal Access to HIV Treatment Could Finally Slow the Black Epidemic – COLORLINES

Posted: May 30th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A sad fact too few realize is we have the tools to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, but not the political will. This month, results from a clinical trial known as "HPTN 052" were released and "confirmed what many public health experts have long believed: early HIV treatment not only benefits the person infected, but also reduces the likelihood that he or she will transmit the virus to sexual partners," Rod McCullom reports.

The reduction in transmission rates is an astonishing 96%, lighting a fire under health officials to fundamentally reevaluate approaches to treating the disease. Termed "treatment as prevention," the more aggressive stance on treatment and early testing "could help finally break the back of the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic," particularly among hard hit groups, such as the Black community, who "represent only 13 percent of the U.S. population but account for 45 percent of new HIV infections."

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Study: Employment Ads Perpetuate Traditional Gender Roles | Duke Today

Posted: May 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Gendered language in job ads "may lead some women away from occupations they may otherwise have found interesting," thereby perpetuating employment discrimination, according to a new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology:

The clues come in the form of gendered words like competitive and dominant (male) versus compassionate and nurturing (female), the researchers report. Both men and women show a preference for job descriptions matching their gender, women more strongly so. But no one in the study was aware of the effect, the researchers discovered.

After examining more than 4,000 recent job ads, senior author Aaron Kay and his team wrote their own. "When we used more masculine wording, the traditionally female-dominated jobs became more appealing to men," Kay said. This unconscious behavior could explain gendered disparities in jobs like nursing. Moreover, genuine attempts at diversifying could be undermined if job ads have gendered wording.

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SaferProducts.gov U.S. Consumer Web Site Aims to Enhance Sex Toy Safety: Scientific American

Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Sex toy safety is finally being taken seriously by the US government. Long have these "novelty" products been relegated, rather than regulated, using "buyer beware." However, from "March 11, disgruntled sex toy users at least gained access to an empowering new outlet: a searchable public database for all kinds of products at SaferProducts.gov," Regina Nuzzo wrote.

Due to stigma, products like vibrators have been treated differently than, say, blow dryers. In some states, sex toys are considered "obscene"; their sale illegal. But with manufacturers coming under pressure from safety advocates for the dangers of ingredients like phthalates, and with their increasing ubiquity, why shouldn't toys be just as safe? "We take it for granted that our hair dryers won't send us to the emergency room and our toothbrushes won't make us go numb," Nuzzo writes.

We just hope reviews of all toy sorts will be there. Remember, leather floggers are porous, too.

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Abortion Rate Increasing Among Poor Women, Even As It Decreases Among Most Other Groups

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

As if we need more evidence of class warfare, a new study by the Guttmacher Institute found that despite a decrease in abortion rates from 2000 to 2008, abortion rates among poor women actually increased. Study author Rachel K. Jones notes reasons including contraception restrictions, which then result in unintended pregnancy, and the economic downturn as potential contributing factors. "Antiabortion restrictions and cuts to publicly funded family planning services disproportionately affect poor women, making it even more difficult for them to gain access to the contraceptive and abortion services they need," she said.

From the Guttmacher press release:

In addition, when confronted with an unintended pregnancy, women who might have felt equipped to support a child or another child in a more stable economic climate may have decided that they were unable to do so during a time of economic uncertainty.

Abortion: where class warfare and the culture war meet.

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D.C. Abortion Funding Ban Begins To Rear Its Ugly Head: DCist

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Since DC's ban on funding abortions was put into effect, 28 women were informed as of midnight their abortions would no longer be funded by Medicaid. The DC Abortion Fund is sending out the call to raise money for these women.

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On our difficult language, and the calling-out of same. « Two Whole Cakes

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

Leslie Kinsel talks about the activist culture of Tumblr, the most productive ways to engage people that disagree with marginalized groups, and how not to fear the call-out.

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John Norman, the philosophy professor who created the barbaric world of Gor

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

io9's interview with the creator of the Gor series of pulp novels, John Norman. When not writing the novels, Norman teaches philosophy at Queen's College CUNY. In this wordy interview, he talks about what inspired the novels and whether the Gorian world is about BDSM.

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Landmark Study Finds Bisexual Population Underserved

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

A study by the San Francisco Human Rights Commission claims that bisexuals "make up the largest population within the LGBT acronym, but are also the most underrepresented".

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Etsy’s privacy Valdez: opt-out policy exposes users’ real names and purchase histories – UPDATED – Boing Boing

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Etsy, in a move to make their site more Facebook-like, revealed their buyers' real names and shopping histories. People who had shopped for handmade sex toys under fake names now had their shopping history show up on Google searches.

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