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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: , , , | Comments Off on On our difficult language, and the calling-out of same. « Two Whole Cakes

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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What Happened When I Yelled Back at the “Christians” Calling My Wife a Murderer | Reproductive Justice | AlterNet

Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

"Consider this my plea: stop terrorizing women. Stop adding trauma to their trauma," Aaron Gouveia, who, along with his wife, was devastated to learn their baby had Sirenomelia ("mermaid syndrome," where the legs are fused together), no bladder, no kidneys, and no chance for survival. But on the worst day of this couples' life—the day they decided to abort the pregnancy—so-called "Christians" professing "love" using "signs and pictures of torn-up fetuses" made their day worse. That's when Aaron decided to confront them:

Running on pure adrenaline, and without even a hint of a plan, I grabbed my cell phone and crossed the street. I didn’t know what to say or how to say it, I just knew I wanted to make public the cowardice of these protesters. The video's [here]—they didn’t disappoint.

"If you're able," Aaron says, "stand up to these bullies in nonviolent ways. Speak out. And if you have a camera, use it."

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Official: vb.ly Link Shortener Seized by Libyan Government | techyum ::

Posted: October 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Violet Blue's link shortening service, vb.ly, was officially seized by the Libyan government recently for violation of Islamic Sharia law. "The photograph of me with my bare arms, holding a bottle, and the words 'sex-positive' were cited as obscene, offensive and illegal," Violet writes. She correctly states that "all .ly domains, and the businesses built on them internationally, should be on high alert."

This is yet another blatant attack on sexual freedom that undermines not only free speech but the fabric of the supposedly World Wide Web. However, it also highlights the well-known fragility of the Internet, and the social media landscape, with regards to sexuality. While I made use of vb.ly, I've long had doubts about the usefulness of ghettoizing sexuality with specially-branded services. Rather than build easily censorable hubs, sex-positive activists should be using non-sexuality-specific services to spread information.

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Closeted Discoverers: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Scientists – Science Careers

Posted: October 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Closeted Discoverers: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Scientists – Science Careers

"Closeted LGBT scientists employ multiple strategies to avoid workplace harassment and bigotry, including covering, passing/compartmentalizing, and overachieving," Jacqueline Ruttimann Oberst writes, exploring "three dimensions in the professional lives of young LGBT scientists—mentoring, being a minority within a minority, and playing the role of leader versus activist…." Oberst spotlights several GLBT researchers who have coped with discrimination in sometimes very subtle ways.

"We’re at the same place with sexual orientation and gender that we were with race/ethnic diversity 25 years ago. It’s the same fight but with different people," says Amy A. Ross, Ph.D., an associate biologist at the California Institute of Technology. "[D]istinctions within the LGBT community…are even more granular," Oberst writes. However, merely stepping out of the closet is often the strongest stance anyone can take, whether you say you're an activist or not.

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Anderson Cooper 360: Blog Archive – Michigan attorney general defends employee’s right to blog – CNN.com blogs

Posted: October 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

A painfully hypocritical double-standard is on display in Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox's office as he refuses to discipline assistant AG Andrew Shirvell for waging a bigoted campaign against the first openly gay president of the University of Michigan's student council. Mr. Shirvell has called the student "Satan's representative" and runs a blog where he posts pictures of the student with nazi insignia scrawled across his face.

A State Attorney General has legal grounds disciplining employees for engaging in "conduct unbecoming" of public officials. But while Cox rightfully defended Shirvell's actions under the First Amendment, he also called "conduct unbecoming" an "empty vessel," with no meaning. This would certainly shock Melissa Petro, a tenured teacher who may face the loss of her job for "conduct unbecoming" of her role after blogging about being a former sex worker.

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"It’s a good day," sex workers say in wake of Ontario court decision – Latest News Roundup

Posted: September 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Candian sex workers won a victory against anti-prostitution laws in Ontario today as provincial court struck down a number of key provisions in "Section 213(1)(c), which makes it illegal to communicate for the purposes of prostitution; Section 210, which makes it illegal to run a common bawdy house; and Section 212(1)(j), which makes it illegal to live off the avails of prostitution," according to a report at Xtra.ca.

Sex worker rights activists said they were pleased because the laws made it illegal for them to work indoors where they are safer. "While prostitution in itself is not illegal, just about everything related to it is illegal," Stacey Ashley notes in a report at CTV Winnipeg. While the government is "seriously considering" an appeal, Sex Professionals of Canada, plaintiffs in the case, said they would fight the appeal, and would start raising funds.

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5 Things You Need to Know About The Craigslist Adult Services Censor

Posted: September 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on 5 Things You Need to Know About The Craigslist Adult Services Censor

"This weekend, Craigslist censored the Adult Services section of their site," Lori Adelman writes of the much-publicized controversy in which Melissa Farley and other anti-prostitution activists have hypocritially accused the company of facilitating child sex trafficking. Using wildly inflated numbers, misguided or just plain ignorant activists along with 17 "criminally shortsighted" attorneys general eager to jump on the panic-wagon put enough public pressure on Craigslist to make them self-censor part of the website.

If this all sounds familiar, it should. And what ideologically-motivated anti-trafficking groups ought to know is what they most don't want to hear: censoring Craigslist helps traffickers, hurting women, children, and cops.

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Sex and Censorship: What Recent Attacks on Online Sex Discussions Have to Do With Your Blog | BlogHer

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Sex and Censorship: What Recent Attacks on Online Sex Discussions Have to Do With Your Blog | BlogHer

With 3 stories of anti-porn's inherent pro-censorship stance, Anaiis Flox illustrates what's at stake: "This isn't an issue of us vs. them, morality versus indecency, conservatives versus liberals, [but] a matter of freedom to speak, freedom to congregate, freedom to learn about ourselves and to share that knowledge."

Anaiis discusses Facebook's rash of censorship, attacks on Jason Goldman's column and Donna M. Hughes' sex-fear-mageddon by way of attacking KinkForAll. Then she turns the "think of the children" argument on its head:

Yes, think of the children—that is, think about what you do when a child disagrees with someone. Do we tell them to make their points by attacking the dissenting opinion or by crafting an argument that is valid and useful?

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Denying Sex Workers HIV Funds | Mother Jones

Posted: August 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Denying Sex Workers HIV Funds | Mother Jones

After years of discrimination, sex workers and NGOs staged the largest protest against the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) ever at this year's International AIDS Conference. Back in 2003, mandated by the Republican-controlled Congress and former President Bush, PEPFAR was heralded by many conservatives and liberals as a big step forward for HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa. What many don't know is that an anti-prostitution clause embedded in the bill severed US funding to one of the highest at-risk populations: sex workers.

PEPFAR mandates that any organization receiving US funds enforce "a policy explicitly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking." But, Titania Kumeh notes, "it's not clear whether [PEPFAR's proponents] recognized the difference between sex trafficking and prostitution, spoke to any sex worker-run organizations that combat exploitation, or spoke to groups that seek HIV preventative care and battle sex trafficking," thus harming PEPFAR's own goal.

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Anti-gay protesters: Sick perverts – get out of Jerusalem – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News

Posted: July 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Gay rights issues in Israel are often dwarfed by coverage of religious wars, but GLBT people face harsh treatment under the Jewish State's theocracy, just as they do in Arab and Muslim countries.

This Thursday, as "several hundred gay activists preparing to march in the eighth annual Jerusalem Gay Pride parade," they were met with anti-gay orthodox Jews who hoisted banners saying "sick perverts—get out of Jerusalem" and compared them to animals such as donkeys, Liel Kyzer reports. Similar activists from the United Torah Judaism party were expected outside the Knesset Building holding signs above the gay marchers reading "the marchers who do what beasts do." "It is a disease of choice, and a man can change his taste and his ways," said Baruch Marzel, an extreme rightist activist.

Openly gay MK Nitzan Horowitz criticized Jerusalem's mayor for his support of the extremists, saying: "calling the marchers names such as beasts and donkeys, are incitement which leads to heavy violence."

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