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Virginia school district ponders banning cross-gender dress | Reuters

Posted: February 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Virginia school district ponders banning cross-gender dress | Reuters

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.


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

Posted: May 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on SaferProducts.gov U.S. Consumer Web Site Aims to Enhance Sex Toy Safety: Scientific American

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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CSULB students protest censorship of lesbian terminology – Daily 49er – News

Posted: November 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on CSULB students protest censorship of lesbian terminology – Daily 49er – News

What do you do if you're a college theater group whose hard work on an upcoming play gets silenced by the administration's refusal to let you advertise it? You find out exactly what the administrators had a problem with and then you shove it in their faces as loud as you can. At least, that's what about 24 students at California State University at Long Beach did the other day. Their play, "The Night of the Tribades, is about playwright August Strindberg's relationship with women," Stephanie Rivera writes. And despite the production being part of the graduate acting program, administrators refused to advertise it on a marquee because "tribade" is an archaic greek term for "lesbian," and when ignorant administrators punched tribade into Google, they got a bunch of references to "tribadism," the lesbian sex act more commonly known as scissoring.

So the protest very appropriately consisted of a flash mob of (clothed) scissoring grad students. So you see, the cover up always hurts more.

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Male, female or neither? Gender identity debated at same-sex colleges – CNN.com

Posted: November 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Male, female or neither? Gender identity debated at same-sex colleges – CNN.com

"[Same-sex] colleges are in a very unique position," said Susan Marine, assistant dean of student life at Harvard College in Massachusetts. "How do they preserve their identity when student identities are being called into question?" The identities Marine is talking about is the College's identity of a same-sex institution and the increasingly diverse gender identities expressed by its students. She interviewed college administrators who are worried alumni won't donate to the schools if students are allowed to change genders.

Many colleges' policies are vague. Some colleges enact policies—like strict dress codes—that try to limit students' gender expression. Others skirt the issue. "We admit women," said Patricia VandenBerg, communications director at Mount Holyoke College. "We graduate students. They develop as they develop." And develop they do; when Kevin Murphy entered as a freshman there "he was female," Stephanie Chen writes. "By the time he received his diploma, he was male."

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Study: What the Risky Sex Lives of NYC Teens Reveal – TIME Healthland

Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Study: What the Risky Sex Lives of NYC Teens Reveal – TIME Healthland

Data from New York City's health departments from 2005 to 2007 "suggests that the focus of public-health messages about sex may be outdated: it needs to shift from kids' self-identities ('I am homosexual,' e.g.) to their behavior ('I have homosexual sex')," Meredith Melnick reports. One strong reason for this is because, according to the data released as part of a study on Monday, 39% of teens who identified as heterosexual or straight had sex both male and female partners, yet very few sex-ed classes deal with bisexuality.

Additionally, "36% of girls with both male and female partners were assaulted by a date in the previous year and 35% of boys with partners of both sexes reported the same thing." Although this article's headline implies the problem is "risky sex," the real problem is intimate partner violence, exacerbated by a stigma of homosexual acts, especially for men.

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CDC finds stark regional disparities in teen-pregnancy rates – The Hill’s Healthwatch

Posted: October 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released yet another report yesterday finding grave differences in pregnancy rates of teens educated in States pushing abstinence-only sex education versus States offering comprehensive, evidence-based sex education. As Mike Lillis reports, "In Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, for instance, 2008 birth rates were less than 25 per 1,000 teens aged 15 to 19, CDC found. In the same year, Arkansas, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas all had rates topping 60 per 1,000 teens."

Meanwhile, another report from the Guttmacher Institute shows "All five states with the highest teen birth rates have adopted policies requiring that abstinence be stressed." This isn't new news, yet anti-sex ed, abstinence-only hypocrites remain willfully ignorant.

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ThinkProgress » GOP Legislator Who Crusaded Against College Sex Ed Classes Owns Company That Sells Kinky Sex Gadgets

Posted: October 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on ThinkProgress » GOP Legislator Who Crusaded Against College Sex Ed Classes Owns Company That Sells Kinky Sex Gadgets

Rep. Calvin Hill, Republican legislator from Georgia, is in the news after it was reported that he owns a business selling, among other items, "stress relievers" shaped like breasts and penises, gay pride pins, and "safe sex" kits that include a condom, an anti-bacterial wipe, and 2 breath-mints. Sadly, it's not that his company's safe sex kit is pathetically sub-par (no dental dams or glycerin-free lubricants!?) that makes this newsworthy. No, it's the fact that Rep. Hill led an anti-sex campaign to fire sexuality educators in Georgia colleges, saying, "Our public colleges are not the place for our young adults [to] experience these types of sexually explicit behavior."

Although the airtime he garnered for his sex-negativity is disgusting, equally disgusting is how he treated college students—legal adults—as though they're unfit to learn about the very things they would pay his company to use.

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Pretzel nation: Many combinations of sex – Health – Sexual health – Sexploration – msnbc.com

Posted: October 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Pretzel nation: Many combinations of sex – Health – Sexual health – Sexploration – msnbc.com

Researchers today released The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, the largest such study since 1994, which asked 5,865 Americans ranging in age from 14 to 94 about their sexual lives. Among the findings, which filled 130 pages of a special issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine, are a consistent theme that American's sexual mores are far from a monolithic set of heteronormativity: 15% of men in their fifties received oral sex from another man, despite only 8% of men overall identifying as gay.

The study was funded in large part by manufacturers of Trojan Condoms, prompting Brian Alexander to note "the crying need for government and academic bodies to fund such studies." He recalls in 1988 "a skittish Congress passed a law expressly forbidding funding" for similar studies. Public funds are still frustratingly hard to find.

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Gay teen dies after 10 days on life support, following suicide attempt over anti-gay bullying – LGBTQ Nation

Posted: September 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Gay teen dies after 10 days on life support, following suicide attempt over anti-gay bullying – LGBTQ Nation

This September, not one, not two, but three (3!) gay teenagers have committed suicide after being viciously bullied over their sexual orientation in their schools and communities. Seth Walsh, 13 years old, spent 10 days on life support in California after he apparently tried to hang himself from a tree branch. He had faced years of bullying at Jacobsen Middle School, despite claims by school officials at Tehachapi Union School District that there was no such bullying. Officials also say they can't prosecute Seth's classmates because the teasing was not criminal.

On September 9th, Billy Lucas, 15, hanged himself at his grandmother's house in Greensburg, Indiana, after facing years of torment from classmates who threatened to beat him up every day. And on September 23, 13-year-old Asher Brown came home from school early and shot himself in the head while his parents were at work. Asher had also faced constant harassment and bullying at school.

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Update: The bad news: there were actually 5 gay teen suicides this month, not 3. Cody Barker, aged 17, also committed suicide in Washington State. And just today, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi is presumed dead after jumping off the George Washington Bridge one day after he was outed by his college roommate. Thanks to Sinclair Sexsmith for the heads up. The good news: Sinclair has also blogged about some resources to help combat anti-gay bullying, including Dan Savage’s latest project, It Gets Better.


Dr. Logan Levkoff: Sex Educators Unite to Support University Sex Weeks

Posted: September 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Dr. Logan Levkoff: Sex Educators Unite to Support University Sex Weeks

Sex-negative propagandists spread the lie that those who support sex education are a well-funded industrial complex while its opponents are just people leading local, grassroots campaigns. But it is in fact the opposite that's true.

This was evidenced once again today as sexologist Dr. Logan Levkoff self-published a Letter to the Editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education supporting college sex education initiatives called Sex Weeks in response to a "think of the children!" style outcry by economics professor at Bridgewater State College, Margaret Brooks. While Brooks' piece was published, Levkoff's letter was ignored. Levkoff's colleagues were unanimously "frustrated by Brooks' mischaracterization of their events and their work," strongly calling out The Chronicle for its bias in ignoring their letter, and Brooks for her sex-negativity.

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