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Abstinence program partners Chinese officials with U.S. evangelicals

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

In case you needed more proof of Christian evangelical's worldwide cultural colonization attempts, William Wan reports on a four-year effort to provide abstinence-only education in China's Yunnan province. "In Yunnan schools this year, teachers are being trained with a sex education curriculum created by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family. […] Chinese authorities, despite the country's official atheism, want help with controlling population growth and managing the society's rapidly shifting values."

Well, the suckered Chinese officials will be in for disappointment. The IWHC's Audacia Ray points out that "abstinence-only programs do not raise the age of first intercourse, and that young people who receive abstinence-only sexuality education are more likely to practice unsafe sex that puts them at risk of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy."

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Miss. lesbian student sues over rejected tux photo – Yahoo! News

Posted: August 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Ceara Sturgis has been wearing masculine clothes since ninth grade, but her High School denied her the opportunity to wear a tuxedo in the yearbook photo and opted, instead, to flat-out omit her name. Now Christine P. Sun, the ACLU lawyer who represented Constance McMillen in a similar case earlier this year, "filed a federal lawsuit for Sturgis, claiming the Copiah County district discriminated against her on the basis of sex and gender stereotypes," Shelia Byrd reports. "It's unfair and unlawful to force students to conform to outdated notions about what boys and girls should look like without any regard to who they actually are as people," Sun said. Sturgis said she cried when she saw the yearbook and felt punished "just for being who I am."

This new filing comes weeks after McMillen reached a settlement against the Itawamba County School District. McMillen credits Sturgis, whose own legal battle has been going on far longer, with giving her the inspiration for her own challenge.

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Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A new study has "raise[d] some doubts about abstinence-only education programs that link all types of adolescent sex to a wide variety of problems for teens." The study, conducted by Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy and released at the annual American Sociological Association's meeting, found that teen sex is not inherently a bad omen for educational achievement. "The authors say students who have sex only with romantic partners have generally similar academic outcomes as students who abstain from sex," CNN reports. The study highlights the reality that the context of sexual activity greatly affects the outcome, positively or negatively. It revelaed "students who describe their sexual activity in terms of 'hook-ups,' 'friends with benefits' or 'bed buddies' are more likely to suffer a negative impact on their education," such as an increased chance of dropping out of school or a lower overall GPA. In other words, sex isn't the problem, lack of mutually rewarding relationships is. Duh!

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Update: We learned thanks to Heather Corinna that, as the media is wont to do, this study was severely misrepresented by journalists all over the place. In her analysis, Heather writes: “Some reporting and discussion of the findings suggests that big differences were found with academics for young people who had sex in non-romantic contexts and those who either have not had intercourse or who have done so in romantic contexts. But the study and the authors’ comments don’t appear to make that statement at all.” There’s a lot more, such as the fact that despite media reports to the contrary, the study never uses the word “causes” to indicate any harmful connection between teen sex and academic achievement, nor does it actually ever use the word “committed” to describe the relationships studied. Poor media reporting about sex and young people, and about young people’s sexuality in particular, is incredibly—infuriatingly—common.

Little Women: Early puberty and what it means for girls

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

No one denies children are entering puberty at younger and younger ages but, predictably, many deny the obvious ways to prepare them before and help them through the transition. As Melanie Abrahams writes, "In the spirit of 'protecting girlhood,' there’s been a lot of brouhaha over naming the culprit of early physical maturation of girls, with both obesity and environmental factors under scrutiny. But instead of pointing fingers, we need to face the facts and focus on the changing needs of girls in our lives and around the world." She goes on to offer suggestions few others have the ovaries to do.

"One of the most obvious things we need to offer to girls is early, age-appropriate, and comprehensive sexuality education. Regardless of when they hit puberty, children should know about their bodies and their rights. … Further, early puberty illuminates the crucial need to fight child marriage on a global scale." Amen at that! "[We can't] afford to simply stick our heads in the ground."

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Porn Star Aurora Snow Goes from Barely Legal to MILF – The Daily Beast

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

There are some massive, gaping, dirty fucking assholes in the porn industry—and no, I'm not talking about the models' bodies. I'm talking about the greedy scumbags who routinely display unwarranted sexism, ageism, and any number of other "isms" you can shake a stick at (and they do). That's why Aurora Snow's story, retold in her own words, is such a worthwhile read.

"Ten years ago, I was one of adult film’s hottest stars. Now I’m 28—and dismissed by directors as over the hill. How did I go from 'barely legal' to 'older woman' so fast?" she asks. The answer? She says "producers would read my age on paper and pigeon-hole me without even bothering to see what I looked like." But rather than cry foul, Snow is embracing new opportunities: "I have been pleased to discover that thanks to the Internet, what might be bad for the industry is good for me." Now she's studying business, being approached for mainstream roles, and wants to become a lawyer. She says porn helped her find her goals.

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‘I was scared to sleep': LGBT Youth Face Violence Behind Bars | The Nation

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

"Many judges in rural Louisiana still conflate sex offenses with sexual orientation and gender identity," says Wesley Ware of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana in an article by Daniel Redman. "50 percent of the gay youth picked up for nonviolent offenses in Louisiana in 2009 were sent to jail to await trial, while less than 10 percent of straight kids were." This heart-wrenching piece is just painful to even read.

"Sending LGBT victims of violence into isolation, instead of punishing their attackers, is common practice across the country, even though a federal court has held the practice to be unconstitutional and the American Psychological Association opposes it," and "In an East Coast state that's the subject of an ongoing investigation, prison authorities permit religious volunteers to enter a youth facility to lead explicitly antigay Bible classes. Lesbian youths who refuse to attend the programs have had their sentences extended from nine to upwards of thirteen months."

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Pushing ahead with sex education (via NewStraitsTimes)

Posted: July 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

A pilot program for a new sex education curriculum in Malaysia is moving forward with hopes that it will prevent unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions, and lower STI rates. The program, called "I'm In Control," is a big step forward in the country, as its "public is ultra-sensitive about this subject, and some would rather sweep it under the carpet," according to Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, a government official and a proponent of the new program. "Once upon a time it was a taboo subject," Shahrizat said, "but today it's on the Net. So, we really have no choice—it's either our module or the pornographic materials available online."

"Through the pilot programme, Shahrizat hoped the teaching of sexual reproductive health would gain general acceptance," Aniza Damis reports, insisting that the programme, funded by the UN's Population Fund, isn't intended to promote promiscuity or even experimentation, both common fears in his country.

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Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

Won't somebody please think of the children? That's the reasoning behind a hastily-drafted, newly passed Massachusetts law at the center of a lawsuit filed by the "ACLU, The Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and other groups," according to the Associated Press. After a "ruling in a case in February…found that the state's obscenity law didn't apply to instant messages," this new law "added instant messages, text messages, e-mail and other electronic communications to the old law," criminalizing any such communiqué that may be "harmful to minors."

The lawsuit "argues that the changes amount to 'a broad censorship law that imposes severe content-based restrictions' on the dissemination of constitutionally protected speech," including "information about contraception, pregnancy, sexual health, literature and art." Haven't we seen this before?

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End of gay teen Web site sparks privacy concerns | Privacy Inc. – CNET News

Posted: July 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

User profiles from the now-defunct XY magazine, which catered to gay teens, are at the center of a serious privacy controversy. Declan McCullagh reports, "In February 2010, XY founding editor Peter Ian Cummings filed a personal bankruptcy petition in federal court[…]. The only significant asset Cummings listed is the 'customer list, personal data, and editorial and back issue files of XY Mag and XY.com.' Cummings says he believes that giving the information to his creditors violates California privacy law and the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive business practices."

Nevertheless, creditors want this information collected, potentially violating the privacy of up to 1 million gay or questioning teens who subscribed to XY.com. Revealing their information could out them to parents or others. While the question of what to do with a bankrupt Internet company is not new, this is the first time data as sensitive as identifiable details of GLBTQ youth is up for grabs to the highest bidder.

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Is Late Better Than Never? – Libby Post – timesunion.com – Albany NY

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

"[T]wo bills of great importance to the [LGBT] community have passed," Libby Post, founder of Empire State Pride Agenda writes. One grants same-sex couples bereavement leave, while the other is the Dignity for All Students Act, New York's anti-bullying legislation that includes prohibitions against harassing students based on characteristics such as sex, gender identity or expression, and sexual orientation for the first time in the State's history. It passed with a 58-3 vote.

"While we waited for the Senate Republicans to join their Democratic colleagues, our kids suffered. LGBT students or those who are perceived to be are the ones hardest hit by severe and widespread discrimination and harassment," Libby said. According to a 2005 survey, 72% of students hear homophobic slurs during school. While school bullies are concerning, some don't think laws are a solution.

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Editor’s note: As noted by the Feminist Wire Daily Newsbriefs, a similar bill, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) died on the Senate floor on June 10th. The Bilerico Project has an interesting analysis of why the anti-bullying law might have passed with relative ease, while GENDA remains a political piñata.