Mexico City Legalizes Gay Marriage!

December 22nd, 2009

First of All I Want To Say That I Miss This Class So Much 🙁 All Of You Are So Wonderful!

Secondly, Great News! Yesterday December 21, 2009 Mexico City Legalized Same Sex Marriage.  The Bill Passed 39-20.  This Change Will Give Homesexuals Couples More Rights Including: The Right To Adopt 🙂  The Bill Now Defines Marriage as The ‘Free United of Two People’.  Yay!

I Miss You All, Hope You Have a Wonderful Xmas! 🙂 xico-gays22-2009dec22,0,250742.story?track=rss

Sexual Harassment in the Arab World

December 15th, 2009

I found this article about violence against women, specifically in Cairo. After focusing on issues on a more international level in our resource packs I thought this article was relevant to the class. The article made me more aware of the severity of harassment and violence against women internationally.  While this is something that we think we may know about, it is something we often forget because it does not affect us directly.  Reading about the struggles women are facing daily can help us to understand no matter how far we’ve come in the US in regards to women’s rights, other countries still have so far to go.

Adultery still illegal in New Hampshire

December 14th, 2009

Lawmakers are trying to repeal the ancient law against adultery in New Hampshire. Adulterers now would get a $1,200 fine, but some of the previous punishments show hold old it is: standing in the gallows or up to 39 lashes! Interestingly, people are comparing this to gay marriage and sodomy laws: trying to regulate consenting adults’ behavior in the bedroom.

They have tried to repeal this bill before, and have failed! Some conservatives feel repealing this law would weaken marriage. (Even though this law is very rarely enforced).

Facebook Rape: the popular craze

December 13th, 2009

Alex Corwin reports on the insensitive and potentially triggering use of the word “rape” on Facebook and explains how to report it. I think many people in our class would agree that we should not allow rape jokes to be commonplace, so I think many people would be horrified at the use of “rape” on Facebook. I suggest reading over Corwin’s short article and even doing your own search for “rape” groups. I quickly did a search myself and found the following group. The description of the group Facebook Rape!:

To all who spy a computer terminal with a facebook proflie still logged on, and use the opportunity to deface said profile. And of course, all who have suffered.

The noble art of facebook rape (known in the trade as fraping) is almost second nature to users, and people who leave their computers unattended should expect the consequences to be dire.

This seamingly popular use of the word rape diminishes the horror of rape and impact on its victims. I was not aware that there is such a craze on the term “Facebook rape”. There was also a group related to Facebook Rape! called Facebook Rape Support Group, which seemed like a good thing at a first glance, but then I realized it just reinforces the use of the term “Facebook rape.”

I urge people, like Corwin does in his article, to find these groups–that diminish the horror of actual rape by using the word for less serious matters–and report the groups on racist/hate speech.

New Research on a Genetic Basis to Sex/Gender

December 11th, 2009

Scientists have identified the gene that keeps females female. An international team found that the action of a single gene is all that stops females from developing male physical traits, including testes and facial hair.

When this gene was artificially “switched off” in adult female mice their ovaries began to turn into testes and they started to produce a level of testosterone found in healthy male mice.

Read the rest here:

Family Inequality

December 11th, 2009

This is an interesting blog by a man who has made publicizing the inequalities behind the existence of the family unit a goal in his blog.  He often references news stories that show how inequalities exist between the “haves” (families) and the “have nots” (everyone else).  By looking at the privilege that comes along from being in the “norm” of a family unit, we can see the pressure that one feels to conform to the societal institution of marriage.

Ultimately, Sex Education Belongs at Home

December 11th, 2009

I appreciate all of the comments and discussions brought up by my previous post.  I would first like to clarify.

The ideal would be for sex education to occur only at home, starting young.  We would not then need sex education in the schools taught by parents.  I realize to get to the ideal will take work.  I am not proposing that tomorrow we stop all sex education in the schools and leave it to parents – that would be a mess.  But I do propose that parents begin to step up to their duty, so that someday, sex education would no longer need to be in the schools.

The schools do well in educating students about some aspects of sex – human reproductive anatomy, puberty, sexually transmitted diseases, etc… For me at least, my sex education was a weeklong unit during my health class in high school.  It was not a focus, the teacher could have cared less to teach it and to answer questions; and I remembered leaving the class with tons of questions!  Learning about sex should not be limited to a 50 minute class for five class periods; it is a lifelong learning process.  So while I may have learned some basics about sex; my options became 1) go home to watch MTV, read Cosmo and Google something like “how to use a condom” or “how to talk to your parents about sex” or 2) actually talk to my parents about sex and the questions I had; which would have been much easier to do if my sex education began when I was young, not in school that day.  Obviously, the present teenage pregnancy and STI rates reveal that something is not working with the current sex education system.  A key part of this is that students aren’t learning what they need to know in the schools, and are resorting to Google, Cosmo and MTV.  This can be solved with open sex education at home, with parents as sex educators.

Sex education is something that most parents hope to never have to deal with.  Most don’t ever want to think of their children having sex.  This is again where the taboo of sex comes in.  We have to realize that our children will have sex someday; and when they do, it should be safe and healthy for them.  It is a parent’s duty to educate their child, to prepare them for the big scary world, to talk to them.  Yes, I realize some parents are busy, but that doesn’t mean at all that they can’t take some time to educate and talk to their children.  Actually, the way that sex education at home would work isn’t that difficult or time consuming.  It is not one big sit down talk, but instead answering questions accurately as they arise, making your children comfortable with their bodies, relationships and intimacy.

Sex education is something that needs to begin early.  Opportunities arise all the times with young children to teach them about sex.  The Mayo Clinic is an excellent resource for parents on educating young children about sex.  Young children have questions; and it is your duty, as their parent, to answer them.   During bath time, teach your children the proper names for their sex organs, discuss with them unwanted touching and privacy.  Also, young children are very curious about self stimulation; here is an opportunity to not discourage them about their bodies, but to tell them it is completely normal, but private (   As children grow continue discussing love, relationships and respect over ice cream.  Talk about dating, consequences and reasons to wait, healthy choices, birth control, etc… These are life lessons that parents have an obligation to teach to their children.  Why should parents wait for schools to get on top of things and begin sex education in the teen years!?  Sex education is a learning process; and beginning it in the teenage years may be too late.

Karen does make some good points on abstinence only education.  At one point, though, she questions: “Besides some religious organizations, there is virtually no institution anymore that promotes the idea of abstinence.  And with this constant bombardment of sex (from the media, their peers and even their role models) what are kids to think in this world?  How are they to even know that abstinence exists as an alternative option to sex?”  I am almost positive that most parents (these same parents who cringe at the idea of their babies having sex) hope to teach their children to abstain from sex, at least until a serious commitment like marriage.  Children and teens who are able to sit down with their parents and discuss sex on a regular basis will know that abstinence is an alternative to sex.  In a survey conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, “nearly 9 out of 10 (88%) teens say it would be easier for them to avoid sexual activity if they were able to have more, and more open conversations with their parents” (Albert).  It is important for teens to learn morals and values relating to sex from their parents; not from a textbook. 

I would also like to bring up that a key division on the debate over abstinence only vs. comprehensive sex education in the schools has a lot to do with whose morals are going to be instilled in these children.  It is important to realize that no one’s morals are ever going to match up!  People have different beliefs and values; we cannot expect the schools to cater to everyone’s belief system.  The beauty of sex education at home is that beliefs consistent with the family’s are what will be instilled into the child.

To sum up; we cannot rely on the schools to teach everything.  It is a parent’s obligation and duty to teach their child some of life’s more difficult things; sex included.  This may seem like a daunting task; but really sex education at home is embedded in children’s questions, casual conversations, Friday night movie night!  Parent’s just need to take these opportunities.  Again, the BBC News: Health Survey showed that “just 9% of parents believed schools should be the main source of advice about sex and relationships … [and] while 90% of parents believed sex education was best done by them, many are embarrassed and uncomfortable to tell their children the facts of life” (BBC News).  Perhaps, then, all that is needed is the realization that sex isn’t scary, and that talking about sex isn’t hard to do within your family and home (or at the ice cream place if you wish).


Albert, Bill. America’s Adults and Teens Sound Off About Teen Pregnancy: An Annual Survey. Washington, DC: National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 2007.

Comprehensive Sex Education in the schools

December 9th, 2009

Both Karen and Leah presented strong arguments for their approach to sex education, but there are some important pieces of information that were left out.

Referring back to Karen’s first post, she questioned why the Obama Administration would end the grant for abstinence-only sex education, but it is clear that it did not fulfill one primary purpose of sex education—educating students how to prevent STIs and pregnancy. As the ten state study showed, the implementation of abstinence-only sex education resulted with none of the states demonstrating evidence of long-term success in delaying sexual initiation, and even resulted in some negative impacts on teen’s willingness to use contraception (Advocates for Youth: Five Years… 4). What other evidence is necessary to prove that this approach is not worth funding?

While one concern about comprehensive sex education is that teens will have more sex or become sexually active, it is FALSE.  Studies have proved that providing teens with the necessary tools in preparation (not encouraging sex) for if they have sex has had the opposite effect. Some sex and HIV education programs have been shown to delay the onset of sex, reduce the frequency of sex, or reduce the number of sexual partners (Abstinence Only v. Comprehensive Sex Education, 9), so why wouldn’t we implement comprehensive sex education?

But what exactly would this approach look like? It would be an abstinence-plus program, including information about sexual anatomy, abstinence, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and contraception to reduce STIs and/or pregnancy rates, including condoms, dental dams, and birth control. Information about Plan B and abortion would also be included. To address Kaitie’s statement that pregnancy information would be irrelevant for gay and lesbian students, I would have to argue that all the topics covered would not pertain to every student, for example those choosing abstinence or pro-life students. But simply because some topics are not relevant to every student, the broad range of discussed topics would relate to a variety of students.

Although some parents would not agree with the program, there would not be an opt-out option because it is important information for every youth to learn and it would be nearly impossible to regulate what parents are teaching their children. Sex education does not ban parents from talking about sex with their children. Parents can discuss their beliefs, opinions, and expectations of their children regarding sex if they are concerned that they will forget their morals. The primary goal of sex education is to educate them about safe sexual behavior if they do become sexually active, not about encouraging youth to have sex.

One interesting idea Karen proposed was that schools are essentially encouraging youth to break the law by educating them about something that is currently illegal for them. But don’t youth learn about things all the time that they aren’t legally old enough to engage in these activities? While Keisha stated that the DARE program is not a logical comparison to sex education, the topics of alcohol and driving are similar to this issue. Even though teenagers may not be legal driving age, they take courses that educate them about the ways to safely drive a car. Can you imagine teenagers driving without any prior knowledge? Or look at drinking on our campus. There is a specific program—the Peer Assistants—that creates alcohol workshops primarily for underage students to learn about safe drinking behaviors if they decide to drink. Programs educate students how to engage in safe drinking behavior and how to prevent dangerous situations that alcohol could lead to, but the workshops do not encourage or state that they should drink. If the school eliminated educational programs for underage students about safe drinking behaviors, how well do you think students’ drinking behavior would be? More high-risk drinking behavior would most likely occur. Similarly, not educating teens about safe sexual behavior will lower contraception use, as the ten-state study found (Advocates for Youth: Five Years… 4).

One aspect of this debate that deserves more attention is why sex education should remain in the schools. Several commenters proposed moving it out of the classroom and did not believe it was the best place for youth to receive sex education. If you consider one of the primary goals of sex education in schools to reduce the number of HIV and STIs, we must meet the needs of the youth at the highest risk. The Collins article explained that the youth at an increased risk for these infections are the sexually experienced, sexually abused, homeless and runaway, and gay and lesbian young people (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 11), but removing sex education from school would be harmful.

If sex education is taken out of the schools, can we cannot ensure that teens are learning accurate information. By leaving sex education up to the parents, as Leah proposes, many students would be excluded. What are working-class families where the parent(s) work long hours or work shifts when their children are home after school supposed to do? Assuming parents have the time to teach their children, how would they attain the necessary information? If they were expected to search the internet, only those with a computer and internet access would benefit. Not only are the minority groups listed above at elevated risk, but young lesbians, gays and bisexuals are more likely to have left or been abandoned by their families (Collins, Alagiri, Summers, 11), so how would they be taught? By taking sex education out of the schools, we would only be perpetuating the problem of not guiding the high-risk youth. Why only accommodate those who are already privileged when they are not the youth at highest risk?

Yes, abstinence works 100% of the time to prevent STIs and pregnancy. And yes, condoms do break and The Pill doesn’t work every time. But those facts do not eliminate the reality that teenagers are having sex and that condoms and The Pill work the majority of the time when used appropriately. The argument that we should not educate teens about contraception because it is not 100% effective is like telling students to not wear their seatbelt because seatbelt use does not save lives 100% of the time.

We cannot ignore the numbers supporting comprehensive sex education nor can we remove sex education from the classroom due to the amount of students that would be lacking access to adequate information about sex.

Advocates for Youth, “Five Years of Abstinence-Only-Until-Education: Assessing the Impact”

Chris Collins, Priya Alagiri, Todd Summers, “Abstinence Only vs Comprehensive Sex Education”

Domestic Violence – Is it really that funny?

December 8th, 2009

So I was watching snl last weekend when Blake Lively was hosting. They did a little skit regarding the whole Tiger fiasco that is taking place. In this skit they break several times for Tiger, played by Kenan Thompson,  to be abused by his wife, played by Lively. Now I know that Tiger had a few transgressions that were found out in these past few weeks but I do not think approaching the situation in a satire regarding domestic violence is the correct way to make fun of the situation. Another question could be should this even be made fun of? Domestic violence is not funny, nor should it be made into a skit for all to see. No matter if it is a husband that cheated or a revengeful wife violence is never the solution and it should not be marketed as one.

Take a look at the video and tell me what you think? Am I overreacting and is it just a funny skit? Or should we take a look at what we are laughing at and if it is a laughing matter.

A New Look at Abstinence

December 8th, 2009

I’m certainly glad that at the very least, my argument could make Megan giggle. Coincidentally Megan is quite correct; like some of you who have commented on my debate I also am skeptical of the effectiveness of abstinence-only sexual education and I realize that my argument is the “underdog” here. In spite of this, Keisha very objectively and wisely points out that “We cannot ignore the variety of effective abstinence-only sex education programs simply because we personally support comprehensive sex education. We must actively search for supportive data from both sides to be truly informed about the effectiveness of different sex education programs”.

Thus I am continuing the fight for abstinence-only sex-ed, and defending the legitimacy of this argument.  In doing so, I am speaking on behalf of the worried mother, who sees how her middle-school-aged son is starting to get “serious” with his girlfriend; on behalf of the confused teen in a broken family with no role-models to tell her about the dangers of pregnancy, and how by abstaining from sex she has a better likelihood of graduating from high school; on behalf of the boy on the football team who feels daily pressure from his friends to have sex when truthfully he wants to wait until marriage; and finally on behalf of our society in general and what type of people we ideally want our impressionable youth to grow up into.

Like I said in my initial argument, many abstinence-only advocates worry that comprehensive sex-ed could be putting such a strong emphasis on the likelihood of becoming sexually active that it might actually pressure teens in that direction. As I found in an article from the Heritage Foundation entitled “The Case for Maintaining Abstinence Education Funding”, the comprehensive theory “presume[s] teen sexual activity and convey[s] that protected sex is a safe and acceptable alternative to abstinence” (Bradley, Kim).  Abstinence-only education, on the other hand, not only ensures that youth know they can choose abstinence over sex but also teaches “life and relationship skills and help[s] lay the foundation for personal responsibility”.

What’s more is that it teaches them invaluable decision-making skills.  If a young teen has the education, practice and training to say “no” to sex, they will be more likely to have the courage and confidence to turn down other harmful things like drugs and alcohol.  The moral fiber it takes to avoid becoming sexually active in such high levels of peer pressure and amidst such a heavy influence from the media would inevitably help these teens in any difficult situation as they grow up (even into their adult life).

Multiple people who commented on my debate implied that abstinence-only education doesn’t fit the current trends of teen behavior, and therefore we should just succumb to this change in attitudes and convert to comprehensive sex-ed.  But this is basically sending young teens the message that they should just “go with the flow” and not stand up for their morals.  It is saying that the majority (yet again) wins and that since “everybody’s doing it” even school programs should promote the ideology of the masses.  How is it beneficial to society’s future as a whole if we don’t encourage kids to stand up for themselves and to have personal integrity?  What kind of people are we raising?

Education is supposed to shape our young individuals into productive and respectful adults.  So when we look at the “effectiveness” of the various types of sexual education (comprehensive vs. abstinence-only), we shouldn’t ONLY be looking at statistics and numbers, but also at the behavior and values of our youth.  Not only does abstinence prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs, but it also imbues a strong sense of dedication, loyalty and commitment in people.  I realize that one could argue that condoms essentially have the same results regarding the prevention pregnancy and STDs as abstinence, but does the act of putting on a condom require the same internal resolution and fortitude as vocalizing one’s values?  Beside that, condoms break.  The Pill doesn’t work every time.  As stated in the Collins, Alagiri and Summers article, many abstinence-only groups point out that “condoms are not fool-proof in preventing pregnancy or STIs”.  Like I said previously, abstinence is the only way to be 100% fetus/STD-free.

I will admit that the strength in Colleen’s argument for comprehensive sex-ed comes from the numbers and the fact that there have been many studies showing that comprehensive education results in fewer teens getting pregnant and getting STIs.  However, I would like to point out that not enough time has elapsed to truly evaluate the long-term success of abstinence-only sexual education, because it is not all about the numbers.  Of course they are critical, but these studies don’t take into account the fact that abstinence is about more than just decreasing STIs and pregnancy, but also about instilling in individuals a sense of self.  Thus in this response, my argument has focused less on the numbers and more on the ideals and goals of our society.

Alagiri, Collins, Summers.  “Abstinence Only vs. Comprehensive Sex Education: What are the arguments?  What is the evidence?”  Progressive Health Partners, 2002.

Bradley, Kim.  “The Case for Maintaining Abstinence Education Funding.”  The Heritage Foundation.  (July 2009)  <>