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Law.com – Atlanta Lawyer Takes on Botched Circumcision Claims Nationwide

Posted: July 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

"I didn't set out to be a circumcision lawyer; it just sort of happened," said David J. Llewellyn of his legal practice suing doctors, hospitals, and medical supply makers around the United States. Llewellyn recently won a $10.7 million default judgment "against Mogen Circumcision Instruments, claiming one of its devices severed the head of the boy's penis during a bris, a Jewish ceremony for a male infant," Katheryn Hayes Tucker reports.

"The circumcision of infants is the American sickness, and unfortunately, we're spreading it around the world because of a small group that's pushing it," Llewellyn said. He recalls his early days fighting the practice, being routinely confronted with jokes and questions like "what does it matter?" The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) remains neutral on the matter, claiming "most of the complications that do occur are minor," and advising parents to "determine what is in the best interest of the child." But how, I wonder, are parents to know?

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2010 World Cup: Jemele Hil on HIV-Positive, Co-Ed Soccer Leagues – ESPN Soccernet

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on 2010 World Cup: Jemele Hil on HIV-Positive, Co-Ed Soccer Leagues – ESPN Soccernet

South Africa has garnered much praise, internationally, for its hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. But in a suburb of Johannesburg, other soccer games are taking place, where the players are all female and all wear jerseys with bold lettering "HIV Positive." It's a game played by HIV patients from around the city and surrounding area, with doctors and activists in attendance, organized to help return some visibility to the issue of HIV in Africa generally and South Africa in specific. If everyone is looking at soccer, then HIV activists will play soccer. South Africa has the third highest rate of HIV among adult populations of any nation in the world – some 18% of adult South Africans are HIV positive. And while the current administration has generally had proactive and forward moving policies on this, activists and doctors fear that the World Cup has taken both attention and funds away from the struggle with HIV.

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Log Cabin Condoms Promote Offshore Drilling | News | Advocate.com

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

In Minnesota, members of the Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), a GLBT advocacy group loyal to the American political right, "distributed condoms in wrappers emblazoned with the phrase 'Drill, baby, drill!'," Julie Bolcer reports. Spokesman Alan Shilepsky said his group "tries to present something unique every year at Pride," and that this was a "no brainer." The text on the wrappers added "…just don't spill" to the Republican slogan. LCR national spokesman Charles Moran said he wasn't aware of the local chapter's initiative. "[W]e leave it to each chapter to design and produce their own tchotchke," he said, "Sometimes they are a hit, sometimes not so much, but it gets people talking and having the conversation about what it means to be a conservative in the LGBT movement."

Although I don't understand how some gay people are loyal to a party that literally wants to criminalize their sex life, I do admire their willingness to inspire conversation.

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NY Bill Allows Sex Trafficking Victims to Clear Prostitution Convictions — The Curvature

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Bill Allows Sex Trafficking Victims to Clear Prostitution Convictions — The Curvature

A bill amending NY State Criminal Procedure Law could let victims of sex trafficking clear their prostitution convictions. If signed into law by Gov. Paterson, the bill would be the first of its kind in the US. Although she admits it's a huge victory, Cara says, "I find the need for such legislation in the first place to be very sad. […T]he thought of women being tried in a court of law and convicted for the 'crime' of having been repeatedly raped, since that’s what non-consensual sex work is…an utterly appalling system." That's why I call it the legal system, not the justice system.

Advocates from the Sex Workers Project helped draft the bill. "[H]elping to write a piece of important and passed legislation is a major success, and one that deserves to be celebrated and applauded," Cara says. But "the Feminist Majority Foundation didn’t seem to think so." Cara outlines how a major FMF publication, Ms. Magazine, "didn’t see fit as to so much mention the Sex Workers Project’s name."

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On Being Anti Anti-Porn | Sex In The Public Square

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on On Being Anti Anti-Porn | Sex In The Public Square

At a press event on Tuesday, anti-porn activists Dr. Gail Dines and others called on Congress to use obscenity laws to curb the proliferation and prevalence of porn. "We are now in the midst of a massive social experiment, as no other generation has been so bombarded with so much pornography," Dines said, but assistant professor of sociology Elizabeth Wood says the anti-porn movement's drum-banging is nothing other than an "overblown metaphor."

Wood challenges Dines' statement with simple logic, and urges activists to counter moral panic with real information. "Rates of HPV and of Herpes are high across the US and are rampant even among those with no connection to the porn industry. And we are not in the midst of a great social experiment. Porn is not new. Access to porn is not new. […] If this were really akin to an experiment we'd have to hold everything constant except the porn, and that's obviously impossible." She says a War on Porn will be as (in)effective as the War on Drugs.

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Feminisnt » An argument for more sex workers to be out?

Posted: June 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Feminisnt » An argument for more sex workers to be out?

Citing Andrew Sullivans' analysis of "Why The Gay Movement is Winning," highlighting that 77% of people say they know a gay or lesbian person today compared with 42% in 1992, independent pornographer Furry Girl urges sex workers to come out of the closet. She says that "Being out [does] loads of good by humanizing a stigmatized part of our society, of which almost no one openly admits they're either a creator/provider or consumer. You can help dispel stereotypes simply by showing people that sex workers are not a monolithic caricature of abused, drug-addled illiterates covered in open sores. […] When your opposition depends on secrecy and shame to influence public opinion, openness is a powerful weapon."

As more gay people come out of the closet, discriminating against them is made harder. Would the same hold true for sex workers? We think so.

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D.C. LGBT Activists Push to Legalize Prostitution – The Sexist – Washington City Paper

Posted: June 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on D.C. LGBT Activists Push to Legalize Prostitution – The Sexist – Washington City Paper

Among The Gay & Lesbian Activist Alliance (GLAA) 2010 priorities such as "keeping same-sex marriage legal, fighting HIV in D.C., and addressing the city’s response to hate crimes," is the controversial goal of legalizing prostitution. GLAA political director Rick Rosendall calls the group's position "essentially conservative", noting that criminalizing "survival sex" does little to help people in need of services like job programs, substance abuse treatment and housing. DC reporter Mike DeBonis paraphrased the argument by saying, "get rid of the street trade, and you get rid of the accompanying trash, loitering, and noise problems." Rosendall adds, "Most of the public officials we talk to agree with us privately," although to date none have said so publicly.

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Just How Bad Is Porn, Anyway? : The Thoughtful Animal

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Citing numerous studies, developmental psychology post-grad Jason G. Goldman writes, "in general both males and females report overall positive effects of pornography UNLESS they are not sexually fulfilled […] in which case they report negative effects." His research was sparked by claims to the contrary made by religiously-backed Stop Porn Culture, whose upcoming conference features Women's Studies Professor and character assassin Donna M. Hughes.

Goldman notes it's "impossible to infer causality" from current literature but "this data suggests very strongly that pornography is not a direct cause of aggression against women; rather, pornography moderates the relationship between sexual promiscuity/hostile masculinity and sexual aggression." According to him, "people who are meeting…to denounce pornography might redirect their efforts at improving the quality of sex education in our schools."

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Update: A key figure in the pro-porn argument, Violet Blue, says Goldman’s research “is a huge change for the entire discussion.”