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

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Is Late Better Than Never? – Libby Post – timesunion.com – Albany NY

"[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.


Why Condoms for Kindergartners Makes Sense – Newsweek

Posted: July 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Condoms for Kindergartners Makes Sense – Newsweek

A new Massachusetts school policy "left intentionally open-ended, allows any student who is considering sexual activity to request condoms from the school nurse. That student would first get counseling—including abstinence education," Kate Dailey writes. Predictably, the policy faced "scorn and derision" after it hit mainstream news thanks to "moral hand-wringing of well-meaning but uninformed parents and pundits," like Kris Mineu, president of the Mass. Family Institute, who called it a "theater of the absurd."

"Theoretically," Kate writes, "yes, a 6-year-old could walk in and request condoms. The chances of that happening, of course, are slim—but if a 6-year-old were asking about sex, wouldn't a little counseling from a medical professional be in order? […C]ondoms don't make kids have sex. Hormones make kids have sex. Peer pressure makes kids have sex." Outright denial isn't going to change the fact that "kids develop on different timelines, and kids date outside their age range."

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The agony of a girl who just wanted to fit in – The Boston Globe

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Jenna Russell tells of a high school freshman's ordeal with bullies. "Lexi would suffer in many ways during her first year," she wrote. "Lexi’s ordeal did not end in death or attract widespread attention. But in many ways, her case illustrates forms of bullying that are far more common, and is more instructive of the difficulties that school administrators across the state are likely to face this fall as they try to comply with Massachusetts’ new antibullying law."

Lexi, her friends, and their parents "described weeks of daily taunting, boys calling [them] 'whore' and 'slut.' Their conduct…amounted, in her view, to sexual harassment" that began after pictures taken by a former friend were posted to Facebook. But school officials were also struggling, saying, "the same students play both roles, acting as bully and victim." Ultimately, Lexi "doesn’t think schools or laws can stop bullying." Myself, I wonder how youth are expected to learn civility while forcibly imprisoned in school.

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The Both/And of the Porn Wars | Charlie Glickman

Posted: June 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on The Both/And of the Porn Wars | Charlie Glickman

Once again, Charlie Glickman offers a well-thought out summation surrounding the current debates over pornography issues, sexuality and the Internet. This time he speaks to the recent arguments between proporn and antiporn contingents, and between different factions of proporn folks. He points out that not all people nor all porn were in fact created equal, and it's true that some porn sometimes has a negative affect on some people—and some peoples' experiences with porn have been exclusively negative and even harmful. Glickman reminds us, however, that that being the case doesn't mean that all porn is always bad for all people, and urges people on both sides to consider that this might be one of those "both/and" issues. He also reminds us, once again, that neither hurling vicious and untrue accusations, fighting amongst yourselves, or attempting to engage with out room in your head for new ideas are helping anything either way. Right. Got it. Thanks!

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IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on IRIN Asia | BANGLADESH: Educating girls lowers maternal death rate | Asia | Bangladesh | Gender Issues Health & Nutrition | News Item

Maternal mortality rates (MMRs) in Bangladesh have more than halved in less than a decade, down from 724 deaths per 100,000 births to only 338, and correlate with higher education levels, according to a study in The Lancet, a British medical journal. "Improving the education of women has been a key factor in bringing down the MMR," an IRIN News article reads. "Increased access to education has had huge ramifications in socioeconomic development and maternal mortality. […] Women who are better informed are also more active in making family planning choices."

The article says lack of female medical professionals is a major cultural obstacle, because women "are not comfortable with male health workers." Associate health director of BRAC, a Dhaka, Bangladesh-based NGO, said, "If we want a long-term and sustained decline in MMR, we have to invest in the education and employment of women."

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Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids | InSecurity Complex – CNet News

Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids | InSecurity Complex – CNet News

"Schools often filter sites or block social networks, believing it is in the best interest of the students," Elinor Mills writes at CNet, but "blocking the sites can have a negative effect on student safety," according to the 148-page "Youth Safety on a Living Internet" report commissioned by the US government. Among others, the report debunks the myth of widespread child sexual predation on the Internet, noting that "use of MySpace and Facebook by adolescents did not appear to increase their risk of being victimized by online predators."

While "'new' issues" like sexting have grabbed headlines, cyberbullying—particularly against GLBT youth—is a far bigger problem. Other under-reported problems are identity theft and loss of reputation. The report says child safety concerns, particularly around sexually explicit material, should be approached by promoting "media-literacy education," not "scare tactics."

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I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor – Learning From Soap Operas – NYTimes.com

Posted: June 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on I.H.T. Op-Ed Contributor – Learning From Soap Operas – NYTimes.com

Some of the most dedicatedly watched television programming world wide, Soap Operas and telenovellas serve an unexpected purpose – education about female empowerment, sexuality, HIV/AIDS and other health issues. They are watched – or listened to – by everyone from stay-at-home-moms to doctors, from America to Ethiopia. Various communities and organizations, getting wise to this fact, are even creating new programs directly aimed at educating about health or breaking down the taboos around HIV/AIDS. Turns out, there's more to "Days of Our Lives" than anyone had guessed!

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Xbox joysticking unlikely for game set inside vagina

Posted: May 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Xbox joysticking unlikely for game set inside vagina

A video game featuring "a teeny-tiny gang of condom-hatted marines as they delve into peoples' vaginas and bottoms and blast away at all manner of oozy, shouty monsters" has raised concerns at Microsoft after its developer, Zombie Cow, expressed desire to release the game, Privates, for the Xbox 360.

Microsoft spokesperson David Dennis told SeattlePI.com, "We have guidelines in place that closely track requirements of content ratings boards worldwide and, among other things, prohibit the publication of strong sexual content. While we haven't seen this game, we can confirm that if it is consistent with the description we have seen on the Internet, this game would not pass peer review and would not be permitted to be distributed on Xbox Live."

Available screenshots are anything but graphic so many wonder if what Microsoft objects to is education, as other games such as Grand Theft Auto are far more explicit. The developers say the game "is intended to indirectly promote safe sex."

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Louisville School Targets Student Over Her Lesbian Parents | Gay Rights | Change.org

Posted: May 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Louisville School Targets Student Over Her Lesbian Parents | Gay Rights | Change.org

Assistant Principal Angela Allen of Crosby Middle School in Kentucky is facing official complaints after telling a 12 year old girl who stood up to homophobic comments about lesbian parents "should simply ignore such comments and grow some thicker skin." The remarks were made by students on her bus, but also from Ronell Mattingly, her bus driver!

The student was then disciplined by being forced to ride in the back of the bus. An open Change.org petition is asking that the bus driver gets reassigned to a new route and that the school apologize. Jordan Palmer of the Kentucky Equality Federation said, "The school certainly is not giving 'an environment that fosters self-discipline and self direction' as stated on their website." Indeed, people have long said that gays shouldn't adopt kids because their kids will be teased. Now they're making sure that happens.

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Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz | Scarleteen

Posted: May 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz | Scarleteen

Scarleteen has put out a fantastic True/False quiz of a dozen Bisexuality Myths, ranging from "bisexuals are just confused about their sexuality" and "bisexuals are just opportunists" to more complicated myths like "sexual identity never changes" and "if you've never had sex, you can't know if you're bisexual or not" to downright insidious social brain-washing like "bisexual people spread HIV/AIDS because they have sex with gay people, then go pass AIDS on to straight people." An absolutely fantastic resource and setting-straight for people of any and every sexual orientation, and another strong step away from bi-invisibility. Thanks again, Scarleteen!

PS: Here's a helpful hint while you're taking the quiz – the answer is always "false."

For more great sexuality information, follow Scarleteen on Twitter.

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