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Oh, No, It’s a Girl! South Asians Flock to Sex-Selection Clinics in U.S. – New America Media

Posted: September 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Oh, No, It’s a Girl! South Asians Flock to Sex-Selection Clinics in U.S. – New America Media

"Last time I checked," geneticist Dr. Mark Hughes says, "your gender wasn't a disease." But that's not stopping Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg and others like him from using techniques originally developed to cure diseases from running "Family Balancing" clinics in the United States that offer "100% sex-selection program"s. Steinberg says that "for every woman I see regarding the breast cancer gene, I see 400 women who want to choose the sex of their child."

Sex-selection is a very hot issue, and at $18,000 a pop, Steinberg's clinic is an extremely lucrative business. His patients often travel to the US from India, Canada, and other countries where sex-selection is illegal. However, there are significant gender biases in US families, too, especially among Indian, Chinese, and Korean parents. And pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, Steinberg's method, is just one method of sex-selection; another is actually abortion performed after an ultrasound. It all makes me wonder where to draw the line.

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Wikileaks founders arrested for rape (EXPRESSEN)

Posted: August 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Wikileaks founders arrested for rape (EXPRESSEN)

It's no real surprise. When an individual becomes dangerous enough to a group in power, that group will try to discredit the individual in any way possible. That appears to be what happened to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was arrested in absence (not physically detained) in Stockholm, Sweden, for rape allegations put forth by two unnamed women between the ages of 20 and 30, according to a report by the Swedish-language tabloid Expressen. Assange is the most public figure in numerous international scandals, the most recent of which is the largest US military secrets leak in history.

The rape allegations were announced after Assange gave a lecture in Sweden about the "victims of war," including "truth." There were few details released and police have stated only that there is "probable cause" for the arrest, but no evidence yet.

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Update: Sure enough, Expressen’s headline is now spreading to international news outlets, including CNN. Considering that election fever is just starting to infect America, this story, which may very well capture headlines for quite a while, seems well-timed to shift the focus of public debate away from the real issues—you know, that whole war thing—and onto Assange’s personal sexuality. A tried-and-true political tactic: when you can’t win, misdirect!

Update: Just one day after the charges were filed, Swedish police have canceled the arrest on Julian Assange and have withdrawn the charge of rape, according to a report by Charles Hoskinson. However, a second charge, sexual molestation, still stands. Clearly, sensitive issues are at play here so we may never know the truth, and the suspicious timing should raise eyebrows. That said, regardless of whether there was a rape or not, I hope that the Swedish police followed due legal process.

Is sex a human right? (via early to bed)

Posted: August 18th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Early To Bed has a great rundown of a recent controversy:

In England, a 21 year old man with learning disabilities is receiving government funding to take a trip to Amsterdam for the purpose of losing his virginity to a prostitute. … This is just one of the many people receiving sexual services funded through a £520million scheme introduced to empower those with disabilities.

[A social worker] claims, "Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights." Jezebel points out the sobering point that this is similar to language used by misogynists to defend rape. … [D]oes any one else find it odd that a country where prostitution is illegal has no problem sending a young man to see one elsewhere?

So, is sex a human right? No, but sexuality is. … Should taxpayers foot the bill for a 21 year old's sex holiday? Hell no.

This sheds some much-needed light on debates over acceptable sex and, more importantly, personal sexual responsibility.

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Indonesia Botches Porn Blockade, Shuts Down Regular Sites – XBIZ.com

Posted: August 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Indonesia Botches Porn Blockade, Shuts Down Regular Sites – XBIZ.com

Back in 2008, to the cries of "Thank you, God!" Indonesian parliament members passed a draconian anti-pornography law. Last month, they announced their (now legal) intentions of blocking all online pornography during the holy month of Ramadan, when the religious are expected to refrain from any immoral acts, including viewing porn. (Only during that one month, I wonder?)

Unsurprisingly, the country-wide filter ran into a snag as 30 websites, including news portals, were also blocked—unintentionally, according to Indonesian Information Minister's spokesman Gatot Dewa Broto. "The speed of the operation was so huge, we hit the wrong ones," he explained, but touted that the operation had successfully shut down 80% of its intended target. The blockade is being implemented with the cooperation of the country's 300 major Internet service providers.

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Russian dairy to fire women over abortions | World | News | Toronto Sun

Posted: August 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Wonder what the desegregation of Church and State would look like? Actually, you don't need to wonder, just look at Russian company "Russkoye Moloko" (Russian Milk), whose "ecologically safe" dairy products are sold all over supermarkets in the former Soviet Union. President of the company, Vasily Boiko-Veliky, has announced that his company will fire any woman who has an abortion because they "don’t want to work with killers," as well as any employee who refuses to be married in Russian Orthodox Church ceremonies.

Why the strict regulations? Well, "Boiko-Veliky said the record heatwave Russia has endured this summer was punishment for sin and that church weddings could improve things." Obviously. The crackpot Boiko-Veliky seems to think this will go over well: "I expect [my 6,000 employees] to be faithful and to repent," he said, adding he wants "to prevent future sins by employees" with the rules. He is apparently unconcerned his company's rules violate Russian labor law.

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COSTA RICA : Gays Unite Against Referendum on Civil Unions – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on COSTA RICA : Gays Unite Against Referendum on Civil Unions – IPS ipsnews.net

Religious groups in Costa Rica have collected 150,000 signatures (mostly at Christian places of worship) petitioning the government to put a proposed law banning same-sex civil unions to popular vote, rather than have it decided by the legislature. Discussion of passing a same-sex civil union law has been ongoing in the predominantly Catholic nation since 2006.

Alexandra Loría, one of 4 lawyers who began the petition, said the referendum was timed to coincide with municipal elections and would therefore likely get a high voter turnout. She rejects opponents' arguments that the referendum is an attempt to violate human rights. "It is about human rights, which cannot be left in the hands of a group of homophobic Catholics," Ombudswoman Ofelia Taitelbaum said, adding "we are completely against" it. Meanwhile, the Costa Rican Coalition of Sexual Diversity Organisations and Groups (CONODIS) campaigns against it, and says it will take the legal fight to international courts, if it must.

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High court upholds Mexico City same-sex marriage law – LGBTQ Nation

Posted: August 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on High court upholds Mexico City same-sex marriage law – LGBTQ Nation

The tides are turning, and same-sex marriage is a reality. While yours truly are politically opposed to government-sanctioned "marriage" and believe the rights it grants should be legal as opposed to religiously-influenced unions in each and every case, we acknowledge the reality that the world simply doesn't function that way—at least not yet.

And that's why we're thrilled to hear that just one day after the defeat of "Proposition Hate" in California, Mexico's Supreme Court rejected the conservative federal government's challenge to a landmark law legalizing same-sex marriage back in March with a resounding 8-2 ruling. The fact is, that while marriage is largely an outmoded institution, the sentiments, feelings, and yes, the legal rights it grants to the people who want it are necessary, important, and honorable. Denying basic sentimentality of mutual love to anyone—for any reason—is shamefully fear-filled. So we say good for you, Mexico. And therefore, good for us all.

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Angilcare flags withdrawal over gay adoption bill — ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company)

Posted: August 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Angilcare flags withdrawal over gay adoption bill — ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Company)

With the decision handed down that names Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the U.S. has taken a step towards sensibility in how it treats the personal freedoms and rights of its citizens. Australia may be taking another such step; but not if Angilcare adoption agencies has anything to say about it.

Angilcare, one of only 3 non-government, accredited adoption services in the state of New South Wales, has threatened to withdraw its services if the state passes a bill that will allow same sex couples to adopt. Chief executive Peter Kell wrote a letter to state MPs outlining 11 reasons why the bill should be rejected, which apparently includes that "children need the opportunity to have both a mother and a father," and says that adoption is not a gay rights issue, but should concern only the interests of the child. Which I suppose has much more to do with good modeling for gender roles than with skill or ability in parenting.

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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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