Elizabeth's blog

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Focus on the ... Super Bowl?

super bowl logoIt seems to me that Super Bowl Controversy is a sport unto itself. This year the controversy centers on an anti-abortion ad by Focus On The Family. The ad features football star Tim Tebow and his mother discussing her choice not to abort, despite medical advice that it might be best for her health, when she was pregnant with him.

Focus on the Family is an exrtraordinarily regressive organization when it comes to women's rights and sexual freedom and I would not expect to like any ad of theirs. But this one in particular is galling because the only reason it tugs at our hearts is that Pam Tebow HAD a choice, one that she exercised after private discussions with her family and her doctors. Yet her very exercising of this choice is being used to swing public opinion in a direction that would take choice away from other women.

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The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health Wins!

Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health LogoFrom Megan Andelloux, founder of the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, now officially open in Pawtucket Rhode Island:

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health (CSPH), the first non-profit sexuality resource and information center on the East Coast, has won the right to open its door and provide sex education for adults.

The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health will provide one on one coaching services, group classes, drop-in hours, teaching resources, access to sexuality journals and in the fall, start an internship program and conduct sexual health studies. Megan Andelloux, a board certified Sexologist and Sexuality Educator is the founder and director of the non-profit Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health.

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The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health Applies for Special Use Permit

Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health logoMegan Andelloux and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health have not given up in their efforts to provide medically accurate information about sexuality to the residents of Pawtucket, RI and surrounding communities.

The CSPH, if allowed to open, will make an invaluable contribution to improve the quality of life in Pawtucket and surrounding areas. Specifically, its mission is to educate adults about sexuality so that they can enjoy sexual pleasure in ways that also protect (and even improve) their own health and the health of their partners. By extension such an organization protects the health of families and communities.

I sincerely hope that the zoning board will approve CSPH's application for a special-use permit that will allow it to do educational work in a space zoned for commercial use. The fact that CSPH is not going to be a commercial enterprise should not be held against it!

What follows below is the press release that Megan sent a few days ago. Please read it, retweet or repost it, and if you can show her your support please do!

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Re-posted: Sex Positive Journalism Award Winners Announced!

From info@sexies.org:

The board and judges of the Sex-Positive Journalism Awards are proud to announce the winners of the 2009 Sexies. Selected from about 100 entries (not counting multiple nominations of the same piece!) submitted by both writers and readers, the winning entries cover subjects from teen pregnancy to conjugal visits, vaginal plastic surgery to prudish responses to public art. The winning articles come from all across the United States and Canada, and represent a range of genres, from news to advice columns.

What they all have in common, however, is that they succeed in embodying the Sexies criteria for sex-positive journalism far better than the vast majority of their counterparts, helping to improve the quality of dialogue around sex and create a more well-informed reading public. "Without clear-eyed, informed journalism about sexuality, the public runs the risk of seeing sex-related issues through a murky scrim of ignorance and biased attitudes. The Sexies help show the media—and the citizenry—how it can and should be done," says Carol Queen of the Center for Sex and Culture.

The first-place winners are:

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Come See Carol Queen, Nina Hartley and Dennis Sobin While Supporting Sexual Freedom and Haitian Relief Efforts

This weekend I'm traveling to Washington DC for a Woodhull Freedom Foundation meeting (I joined their advisory council last summer) and I'm thrilled that I'll be in town there for this benefit event featuring Carol Queen, Nina Hartley and Dennis Sobin. If you're in the neighborhood (or can get to the neighborhood) don't miss it! Here are the details, as posted on Tied Up Events

WFF

Join The Woodhull Freedom Foundation SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, for a celebration of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right, hosted by Carol Queen, Nina Hartley & Dennis Sobin.

You won’t want to miss this fabulous evening – including famous Kennedy Center classical guitar artist Dennis Sobin, who will perform at the champagne reception that begins at 6:30pm (donation, $100)

After the reception, doors open at 7:30 for the 8:00 performance of scenes from PEEP SHOW, performed by Carol Queen – her solo spoken word piece about working at San Francisco’s famed Lusty Lady theater as a professional Real Life Nude Girl.

Then hold onto your seats for Nina Hartley – currently in rehearsals for The Vagina Monologues – sharing a private performance from the show!

Cost: $100 for the private champagne reception where you will be able to enjoy some one-on-one time with the performers and other Woodhull board and staff members, as well as some local candidates and elected officials.

or

$20 suggested donation for the performance that begins at 8 (doors open at 7:30) – but give as you’re able for this fun event!

Your donation is completely tax-deductible and will be used to help advance our movement for the affimration of sexual freedom as a fundamental human right.

Tickets are limited.  Click here to purchase yours.

LOCATION WILL BE EMAILED UPON RECEIPT OF RSVP OR DONATION.

 

CAN’T ATTEND: YOU CAN STILL SUPPORT US BY DONATING HERE

PS:  Please note that a portion of donations received for this event will be donated to Partners for Health to benefit the Haitian Relief Effort

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Discrimination is not a legitimate strategy for protecting troops

Barack Obama speaks to US troops at Camp Victory 4-7-09It's been a long time since I was last sitting at breakfast, reading the Times and came across something that drove me to my blog. When I began my blog during a sabbatical a few years ago that's how it used to happen: Breakfast, newspaper, outrage, blog. Lately, though, I've been lucky to be able to even skim the headlines at breakfast, and as for time to sit down and blog, well, that's been nearly nonexistent. So it was refreshing to have the time this morning to casually read the paper and then stumble upon an outrageous statement, and then to have some time to blog about it.

Which makes it sound like I am happy to be outraged, which is not the case of course. I'm simply happy that given the outrage there was time to read, think and blog instead of just feeling frustrated and angry.

This morning's reaction was to an article with the headline "Pentagon Steps Up Talks On Don't Ask Don't Tell", written by Elisabeth Bumiller. It is a relatively short article with several sources of irritation.

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Looking backward, looking forward

photo of sculpture near burlington vt, photo by will van dorp

Cold and dark is the end of 2009 and I am looking forward to the new year. This has been a tough year personally, and Sex In The Public Square has suffered a bit as a result. Looking toward 2010 I am guardedly optimisitc that we can improve things.

Looking back for a moment, a few very good things did occur this year.

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Share Your Thoughts On The State of Sexual Freedom In The US Today

 

Several months ago I tweeted about things being very busy and very exciting and about some new projects in the works. Now I can tell you about some of that, and, even better, ask you to participate!

The first exciting bit of news is that I joined the Woodhull Freedom Foundation's advisory council over the summer. Woodhull Freedom Foundation is perhaps the only organization I can think of whose mission involves recognizing sexual freedom in its entirety as a fundamental human right. There are lots of amazing organizations that focus on expanding sexual civil rights in one or another direction, or for one or another population. Woodhull's approach is to move beyond identity politics and establish sexual freedom itself as a right. I'm tremendously excited to be working with them!

The second exciting bit of news relates to the first project I was asked to work on. That project is a the first annual report on the state of sexual freedom in the United States. The idea, in the words of Ricci Levy, Woodhull's Executive Director, is to:

publish regular reports on the sexual freedom movement, designed to help identify the social changes taking place, or that must take place for progress to be made, on the diverse issues on which we work. We are particularly interested in recognizing opportunities for already-established sexual freedom issue groups to work together.

It's very important work for reasons that go beyond the annual report, as well. Gloria Brame took the survey in an early stage, provided feedback, and encouraged her readers to take it by explaining:

The survey was very interesting because it made me re-think and prioritize freedoms -- relatively speaking, how important is sex ed? how important is birth control? what about censorship and sexual freedom of speech? or should we all be focused on equality rights for now?

That's really the point. We need to be thinking in creative ways about what are the most important issues and about how they fit together. Please help us do that. We want to know what are the most important changes you think need to occur in order to make sure that sexual freedom is established as a fundamental human right? What are your priorities? What paths toward change do you think are most effective? And what intersections do you see between your priorities and all the other sexual freedom issues that need to be addressed?

Click here to access a relatively short questionnaire and tell us what you think. If you include an email address we will forward you a copy of the report just before it is publicly released.

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Thinking Local on World AIDS Day

Bill 3856Condoms should not be introducable as evidence in cases about prostitution. Period. People should be able to carry condoms without fear of prosecution. Protecting public health requires the encouragement, not the inhibiting, of condom use.

From the Gender And Sexuality Law Blog at Columbia Law School:

New York’s police and prosecutors should not be permitted to introduce condoms as evidence of prostitution and prostitution-related offenses, according to the students who work in Columbia’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.  The Clinic held a tabling day yesterday at Columbia Law School in support of a New York State bill that would enact this prohibition into law.  Over 50 Columbia Law students signed postcards to legislators to support the bill, sending a strong message to legislators that sound public health policy militates against the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution.

Under current law, police and prosecutors can and do use condoms to prove prostitution and related offenses, such as patronizing a prostitute, promoting prostitution, and maintaining a premises for prostitution.

Click here to read the full blog post.

Click here to sign an online petition supporting this bill.

Beyond that, especially since today is World Aids Day it is important to acknowledge the tremendously important role sex workers have played in peer education around HIV prevention and condom use

h/t to Laura Agustin's Border Thinking

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