On July 17 at 2:00 p.m., I'm appearing on a teleseminar produced by Evolver.net and realitysandwich.com. It’s called an Evolver Intensive, and is titled "The Sexual Evolution: How to use advanced techniques of ecstasy to improve your love life and reach higher states of health and happiness." I'll be interviewed by the fabulous Jamye Waxman, who Wired.com dubbed "the nexxxt generation of sex educator," and I'll be talking about what else? the clitoris. Go to this link to get details about the seminar and the other stellar participants, Candida Royale, Barbara Carrellas, and Patricia Taylor.
Here's the link for full information on the entire series: http://www.evolverintensives.com/Evolver5. There's a discount available to my friends. Discount Coupon code: ECSTASY (20% off : $50 - $10 == $40).
Some good news from the US Supreme Court this week: Schools do not have to tolerate discrimination. Sound like a radical decision? If you believe the dissenters you'd think that free speech as we know it is about to fall to pieces. Don't be fooled.
The question was whether or not a student organization that intended to exclude gay and lesbian students was entitled to official recognition as a student club, a status which would entitle them to use of school resources (funding, computers, facilities), and use of the school's name and logo. The school is Hastings College of the Law and the student organization is the Christian Legal Society.
Lawyers for Hastings argued that it was simply enforcing a policy that required all official student organizations to be open to all Hastings students. (Actually, as the editorial page of the New York Times points out, first they asserted that the club violated their nondiscrimination policy, then later shifted strategies to focus on the narrower "all comers" policy which says that student clubs must be open to all interested students.) Lawyers for the CLS students argued that the policy in question violated students' rights to freedom of assembly and freedom of religion.
The tank top is a lovely apple green. I tried it on with a long matching over shirt, did my usual pantomime of chalk board writing to see if it was comfortable, scrutinized it to see if the over shirt hung in such a way as to avoid showing the contours of my nipples, visible through the tank top, was satisfied, and left the store.
I put it on one morning, paired with some new light grey jeans, and wore it to work. I got several compliments on the color and also a few glances that made me self-conscious. I ignored them as best I could. I did not try to wear the shirt again for a while. Some weeks later I put it on again. I stepped into the living room to ask my sweetheart Will what he thought. I turned this way and that, put my hands on my hips, brushing the overshirt aside as I do in class sometimes, took a few turns, and waited for his reaction: "It's a bit nipply." I took it off. I have not worn it to work since.
I don't want to wear my nipples to work. I don't want to deal with people looking, looking away, and looking back. I don't want to worry about whether they think I am a hippie or a slut. I wouldn't care if they thought the former but I would be afraid that if they thought the latter they would think it in the erotophobic, judgmental, shaming kind of way that I do so much to resist.
Several years ago I gave up on wearing bras. This was not a political move, at least not initially. It was about my own physical comfort. I have never found a bra that fits well, looks good under clothes, and feels comfortable for more than a couple hours. Since I have never been physically uncomfortable without a bra, I decided to forego them. At first I only went without on the weekends. It seemed too risky to go without at work. Then eventually I decided to go without there, as well. It was then that I encountered my nipple dilemma. I had always worn bras that had a bit of padding, and even my apparently steely nipples never showed underneath them. Without a bra, every top presents a challenge. Dark colors and patterns are the easiest. I often wear vests, jackets, or over shirts for extra coverage. Sometimes, as with my apple green combination, even an over shirt doesn't seem like enough. (I have a similar conflict with a light tan t-shirt and matching vest combination.)
I'm sure you recall the 2009 and 2010 Sex Blogger Calendars. While I'm not posing in the 2011, I'm very happy that next year's Sex Blogger Calendar is supporting an organization I care deeply about: Woodhull Freedom Foundation. Woodhull is an organization dedicated to advancing sexual freedom as a basic human right and I am honored to serve on its advisory council. Straight from the Sex Blogger Calendar site, here is Tess's post explaining how the calendar will work this year and how you can participate. I hope you will!
A bit of satire for you by Susie Day
WITH HELP, HETEROSEXUALS CAN BECOME GAY
(PU) A recently released study has found that heterosexuals can, with effort, become gay. Eighty-six percent of a survey group of straight women and men were able, through various forms of reparative therapy, to transform their sexual orientation and achieve “good homosexual functioning.”
Dr. Marvin Flabcock, of the American Psychiatric and Floral Design Association, conducted interviews with 200 former heterosexuals who expressed satisfaction at finally becoming “full human beings.” Dr. Flabcock said that he cannot yet estimate what percentage of the larger heterosexual population can become gay, but that if heterosexuals are “highly motivated,” there is hope. “The secret is self-hatred,” stated Dr. Flabcock. “You’ve really got to loathe yourself if you want to lead a normal life.”
Most of the study’s participants said that, in order to effect their sexual transformation, they used more than one form of reparative therapy, including support groups, individual counseling, or dressing up in monks’ robes and flagellating themselves in deserted grade school restrooms. Many of their sexual conversions were religious in nature.
“Praise Jesus!” cried a recently self-avowed lesbian, one of several study participants who agreed to be interviewed for this article. “For years, I was boy-crazy,sin-soaked, and born-to-breed. But my encounters with the opposite sex were quick, empty, and loveless, and I hated the decadent heterosexual culture. Then, through intensive therapy and daily prayer, I was able to uncover a childhood trauma in which I was once yelled at and made to clean the erasers by a heterosexual math teacher. It really screwed up my sexuality, and gave me terrible math anxiety. But with the help of our Lord Jesus Christ, I saw that girl-on-girl action is part of God’s plan for us. I still can’t do long division, though.”
I've been thinking a lot about the term "allies" as it is used in social movements these days. I particularly think about it as used in the sex worker rights movement, in the LGBT rights movement because of the way that "ally" has become an identity term instead of a political description. Then I came across this statement about allies in an entirely different context and wanted to share it here. It says almost everything I've wanted to say and been unable to find the words for:
Allies in the culture wars aren’t appreciably different than military or political allies, but somehow, the meaning of the word has changed online. We’ve gone from “In everyday English usage, allies are people, groups, or nations that have joined together in an association for mutual benefit or to achieve some common purpose, whether or not explicit agreement has been worked out between them” to the assumption that the act of alliance comes with specific obligations and that people are “bad allies” or not allies at all if particular things are done or left undone.
This isn’t true, of course. There is nothing about an alliance that requires that one of the parties give up its sovereignty, or there would be many fewer alliances. Alliance is not allegiance. We do not set aside our own concerns and our own marginalization because we care about someone else’s. We don’t let someone else set the terms of our participation in the public sphere, simply because they call us allies, without going through the tricky act of negotiation. We don’t give up our autonomy as allies any more than we would, by giving aid that isn’t wanted or needed, usurp the autonomy of those we aim to help.
Student groups and others who are working to recruit allies understand this. They talk about the behavior of “ideal allies,” presenting aspirational goals and actions that can be adopted by allies. They recognize that learning will need to occur, and continue to occur, throughout the experience of being an ally, saying, “Ask lots of questions and talk honestly about what you do know, what you don’t know, and what you’d like to learn.” They don’t expect perfection, and they demand expect monolithic behavior.
It's about time! From the the Change.org petition site:
On June 15, 2010 the New York State senate passed a bill that, effective as soon as Governor Paterson signs it, enables survivors of human trafficking to vacate their convictions for prostitution-related offenses. This amendment to New York State Criminal Procedure Law grants those who were trafficked into commercial sex the opportunity to start over with a clean slate.
The Sex Workers Project (SWP) worked closely with Assembly Member Richard Gottfried to draft and introduce the bill in April 2009, which is also sponsored by Senator Thomas Duane. Supporters include the New York City Bar Association, the New York Anti-Trafficking Network, and Sex Workers Action New York.
The new legislation empowers survivors of trafficking by allowing them to move on with their lives, and function in society without the stigma of past exploitation. Survivors have a better chance of escaping re-victimization or further coercion when they do not have criminal records that often prevent them from obtaining work, getting stable housing, and adjusting their immigration status.
Donna Rice Hughes, Gail Dines, the Concerned Women for America, and the like, believe that pornography leads to addiction, it destroys families, and it leads to the abuse of women and children. It ought to be outlawed and existing laws ought to be enforced in such a way that it is eradicated altogether. Call it porn panic and witness the way it fuels their self-declared War on Illegal Pornography.
This sounds awfully reminiscent of the War On Drugs, to me, and I predict that if such a war were waged it would be about as successful.
At a press event today calling for Congress to use existing obscenity laws to eradicate mainstream porn there were apparently so few good arguments for the eradication of porn that they had to resort to misinformation and illogical statements. For example, as reported by AOL News:
The message below was sent by PJ Starr and I'm sharing it exactly as it was sent. I hope you can help Desiree Alliance with a donation.
Are you interested in supporting sex worker rights through performance art? Go to http://kck.st/96VUMQ. We are seeking supporters to pledge to donate as little as $5 to support the July 2010 Desiree Alliance conference scholarship program and performance art event "If it happens in Vegas... it's still illegal." The performance “IF IT HAPPENS IN VEGAS… IT'S STILL ILLEGAL" will be our most visible event during the conference and will reveal that not only is sex work unjustifiably subject to law enforcement across the United States that the same applies in the “wild” “party” town of Las Vegas.
Donors will not only get the pleasure of supporting sex workers in a cool way but also get exclusive access to a bunch of photos and video about the conference/performance and event via a passcoded website. People donating $25 or more will be able to access a special blog where we spill the beans about how we organize and strategize. Other supporter premiums include the Soixante-Neuf package (for donors of $69, we send you our underwear!) and the Art Lovers Special ($100 or more, we send you movies made by sex worker advocates and a CD from Mariko Passion).
We have to raise $2500 in total by Friday June 18. Donations are also tax deductible.
Ron Weitzer sent me this collaborative video in which a group of women thoughtfully argue in favor of sex worker rights. It's a bit more than nine minutes long but take a look at it and check out some of the related videos. Let me know what you think!
PS: I looked around on YouTube for a link to info about the collaborators and couldn't find anything. If you were involved in the making of this video and you want the project credited more completely or would like to share more information about it please let me know how to do that by using the contact form to send me an email.