Sex Ed(itorials) in the New York Times!

Elizabeth's picture

Two important sex-related editorials this morning:

First, the NYT comments on the need to pass the Safe Harbor For Exploited Youth act in New York. When NY passed its anti-trafficking legislation recently, it neglected to also pass this piece of very important legislation which would offer at least some protection to US citizens under the age of 18 who are being exploited for sex. As I've commented before, while I support most of the intentions of this legislation, there are problems, and these problems are pointed out by the editorial staff at the Times: The Assembly's version of the bill "permits the courts to take into custody children who reject treatment and refuse to meet the conditions of the new law." In other words, these kids are treated as victims as long as they agree to stop doing sex work at all, and if they refuse then they are treated as criminals. The Senate version is worse as a result of "an 11th-hour change in the wording" letting "individual judges decide whether a sexually exploited child should be given shelter or be treated as a criminal."

Then, the editorial page chastens the superintendent of Newark's public schools for censoring one high school's yearbooks . They contained a photo of a gay student kissing his boyfriend, and she ordered those photos to be blacked out though she allowed photos of opposite-sex couples kissing to remain. She claims that, had she been told of the other photos of couples kissing she'd have had those blacked out, too, but that the people who brought the issue to her attention didn't mention those, and so she was unaware of them. The editorial points out that "the fact taht school officials employed two different standards when judging the yearbook pictures suggests a deep-seated prejudice that needs to be rooted out." I would say that there are two different deep-seaded prejudices here. One that is heterosexist and homophobic, and one that is just plain sex-phobic.