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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.


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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TransGriot: Don’t Forget About Our Trans Kids, Vanilla GL Community

Posted: October 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on TransGriot: Don’t Forget About Our Trans Kids, Vanilla GL Community

In another excellent post by Monica Roberts of TransGriot, the erasure of the Transgender storyline in the recent LGBT+ suicide coverage is examined. Or as Monica puts it,

Now that bullying and GLBT teen suicides are in the news, one of the things that has mildly irritated some quarters of the trans community is how trans people have been erased from the discussion.

While one kid taking their life due to suicide is horrific and one too many, it bothers many of us that transteen Chloe Lacey's story is frankly getting overwhelmed vis a vis the overwhelmingly white gay male narrative taking shape on this bullying issue.

She goes on to cite that as many as 50% of Transpeople self-report to have considered taking their own lives.

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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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Apple’s New Anti-Sexting Technology (via Gawker.com)

Posted: October 20th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Apple’s New Anti-Sexting Technology (via Gawker.com)

"The same company that keeps blocking iPhone apps over stuff like illustrations of gay dudes making out can now help overbearing parents control their children's text messages and email," Max Read reports. That company is Apple, who also thinks the Olympic uniforms are too sexy for your iPhone, and they made headlines last week when their 2008 patent for a "way to monitor and control text communications to make them user appropriate" was granted.

The tech itself seems uninspired, not very new at all, and basically a repackaging of existing techniques including word blacklists and pre-defined rating criteria. According to the patent, one embodiment would be a parental control application which, upon detection of the "objectionable" content, could alert a parent to its existence and automatically delete the sexy message.

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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.


Councilors mull virginity as criteria for enrollment | The Jakarta Post

Posted: September 25th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Councilors mull virginity as criteria for enrollment | The Jakarta Post

A seriously misguided Indonesian legislator, Bambang Bayu Suseno, has proposed that access to public education be restricted only to girls who’re virgins. I wish I were exaggerating, but I'm not. According to a report by Jon Afrizal, Suseno asked, "Why are girls who lose their virginity allowed to go to public school?" Clearly, Mr. Suseno is suffering from a poor education in the matters of basic human rights, which guarantees every human being the right to access public education whether they are a virgin or not.

His rationale? "Parents are obviously afraid of their daughters being deflowered before the time comes, so [girls] can undergo the virginity test and automatically protect their dignity." Um. What about boys? And, human rights violations aside, exactly how virginity will be determined is unsurprisingly undefined. This is yet another example of the harm caused by sexist notions of purity.

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The smart Dutch take on teen sex – Broadsheet | Salon.com

Posted: September 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It seems that, as with alcohol, European parents take a much more enlightened view of adolescent relationships and sexuality than American parents – or at least, the Dutch do. Apparently, unlike in the America, 2/3rds of parents there would be willing to allow the significant other of their teenage child to sleep over at the house. In the same room. With a door that closes, and everything! Data minded people can find the original study here, but the data reflects a simple fact: if you treat young people as intelligent individuals capable of making informed decisions based on accurate information, be it about drinking or about sex, then that is what they will be. If you tell them that they'll be in for "a world of hurt" if they disobey you, well – you're probably right. But you could have helped instead of hindered them or harmed them.

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