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Pushing ahead with sex education (via NewStraitsTimes)

Posted: July 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Pushing ahead with sex education (via NewStraitsTimes)

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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The Work of SANGRAM: Sex Workers Claiming Their Rights | RHRealityCheck.org

Posted: July 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Work of SANGRAM: Sex Workers Claiming Their Rights | RHRealityCheck.org

We don't always know much about the people we want to help; that's why it's important that we listen to them just as much, if not more, than we talk to them. Meena Seshu, co-founder of SANGRAM, a rights-based organization that helps vulnerable groups in India to mobilize and protect themselves against HIV/AIDS, discovered this when she first spent time with sex workers. She found that when she cleared her vision from the clouding of her background, she saw a community of women who knew how to manage themselves, their families, and their clients. They didn't need to be taught anything – all they needed were the proper tools, and they could manage the epidemic as well. This experience lead to the creation of SANGRAM's bill of rights – which includes "People have the right to say YES or NO to things that concern them," and "People have the right to reject harmful social norms." A bill of rights exceptional not only for HIV/AIDS vulnerable populations, but for everyone, everywhere.

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Federal judge blocks elimination of domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian Arizona state employees | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News

Posted: July 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Federal judge blocks elimination of domestic partner benefits for gay and lesbian Arizona state employees | San Diego Gay & Lesbian News

Arizona, in its shining, enlightened governance, has been temporarily blocked from enacting "a provision eliminating domestic partner health benefits for gay state employees…while retaining spousal health benefits for heterosexual workers" introduced in September "as part of a last-minute budget deal." In his ruling, Judge John W. Sedwick wrote, "there is 'an inherent inequality' in allowing some employees to participate fully in the State's health plan, while expecting other employees to rely on other sources, such as private insurance or Medicaid."

State attorney Charles Grube argued "maintaining the same benefits for gay employees that their heterosexual co-workers will continue to receive would endanger other state services." Y'know, just like how the Catholic Church can't offer benefits for anybody if gays can marry.

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Protect your body from airport perverts (travel.msn.co.nz)

Posted: July 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Protect your body from airport perverts (travel.msn.co.nz)

Terrorism: it's a threat to more than just national security. It's also a threat to your dignity. Or at least that's what Michael Luongo, spokesperson for a new company called FlyingPasties.com would have you believe. His company sells stripper-style genital covers that cost anywhere from $9.99 for a "generic male bottom" pastie to $29.99 for an "only my husband/wife sees me naked" set in order to obscure the image of a passenger's naked body when going through the newest "virtual strip search" airport security scanners.

"I believe in protecting our rights, in protecting our country," Luongo says in a promo video, "but I also believe in maintaining our dignity." Dignity that could be lost, he says, if you're seen naked. With Flying Pasties, he insists "you don't have to worry about somebody seeing your wife, your girlfriend, your family, or even yourself in naked imagery." That's right: People might know that you're naked under your clothes! But don't worry, capitalism will save us.

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Lying to get sex: Is it rape? – Violence Against Women – Salon.com

Posted: July 23rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | 9 Comments »

An Arab man in Jerusalem who pretended to be Jewish for the duration of wooing a woman into a quick shag now faces 18 months in prison for rape. It's rape, Jerusalem District Court Judge Tzvi Segal said, because, "If she hadn't thought the accused was a Jewish bachelor interested in a serious romantic relationship, she would not have cooperated." Therefore, the precedent in Israel is set: lying to get sex is officially rape. Israeli public defender Elkana Laist said the ruling opens "the door to a rape conviction every time a person lies regarding details of his identity." Don't you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside now?

As Tracy Clark-Flory reports, "U.S. law has expanded to allow for rape by fraud, but interpretations are fairly strict." In other words, only certain lies about one's identity—such as pretending to be someone's spouse—can be considered rape in the US. But in a theocracy like (so many countries in) the Middle East, I guess you're just as married to your religion.

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