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Gender & Sexuality

Gender & Sexuality

Playing With Teen Sex Statistics: A Lesson in Lies

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If most high school kids aren’t having sex yet, that means that it’s that much more important to get them good sex education, so when they start having sex---and statistics overwhelmingly show that they will---they know how to make healthy choices.

Amanda Marcotte,  RHRealityCheck.org

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There are many goofy aspects to this Life Site News story arguing that because a slim majority of teenagers don’t have sex, we don’t need to teach them about contraceptive methods. Perhaps the most puzzling is why they came out with the story on July 14th, since the report came out a month and a half ago. (In classic Life Site fashion, they don’t actually link the report, for fear that a stray reader may actually read it an clue into the fact that their spin is dishonest.) Did it take the American Life League (ALL) this long to craft a response? If so, you’d expect them to come up with something less transparently silly than this:

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ALL says that the CDC report, entitled “Teenagers in the United States: Sexual Activity, Contraceptive Use, and Child Bearing, National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG),” debunks Planned Parenthood’s constant mantra that most teens will not abstain. In particular the pro-life organization points to the words of Planned Parenthood Federation of America vice president of medical affairs, Vanessa Cullens, from a YouTube video directed toward teens: “Admit that you are a sexually active individual like most of us, and that you are going to have sex and that you need to take precautions in order to stay healthy.”

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New Data Show Financial and Personal Costs on Military of Don't Ask, Don't Tell


Women bore the brunt of discharges under Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) in 2009, and the policy continues to cost the military the services of mission-critical specialists.
New study has also identifed twelve different costs to the military on DADT, including financial waste and harm to unit cohesion and morale.

Cathy Renna, Renna Communications


Following the release of new data from the Pentagon showing that women bore the brunt of discharges under Don't Ask, Don't Tell in 2009, and that the policy continues to cost the military the services of mission-critical specialists,  a new study has also identifed twelve different costs to the military on DADT, including financial waste and harm to unit cohesion and morale.  Said Aaron Belkin, Director of the Palm Center: "Taken together, this information starkly illustrates the real costs of DADT - financial, human, and to our national security.  As the Senate prepares to vote on the fate of the policy next month and the next steps towards dismantling DADT, we hope that these facts are seriously considered as part of any decision made regarding the next steps towards ending DADT."

The Palm Center is a research institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara, committed to sponsoring state-of-the-art scholarship to enhance the quality of public dialogue about critical and controversial issues of the day. For the past decade, the Palm Center’s research on sexual minorities in the military has been published in leading social scientific journals. The Palm Center seeks to be a resource for university-affiliated as well as independent scholars, students, journalists, opinion leaders, and members of the public. For more information go to The Palm Center.

Read the full report.

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In States Where "Gun Ed" Is Prevalent, Comprehensive Sex Ed Is Nowhere to Be Found

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Genitals, unlike guns, are in 100% of households. Why not use the same approach -- that knowledge is power -- and give our kids straight forward, age appropriate information?
How the Latest Abstinence Findings Could Turn Into a Classic Sex-Ed 'Bait and Switch'

Lisa Russ, AlterNet

Seems to me that simple, clear communication works best, even with young kids. When there is a threat or an opportunity I let my kids know in plain and simple terms.  No running with scissors.  Walk carefully near the edge of a pool.  Put the matches down.  So far this plain-talking strategy has kept ER visits to a minimum and led to a relatively peaceful life with 2 pre-schoolers.

Judging from the turbulence caused by a sex ed curriculum under consideration by the School Board in Helena, MT, there are people who disagree.  According to Fox News, some local parents are in a tizzy about their kindergartners learning the actual words for their body parts, including those covered by their bathing suits.  When we as parents want to communicate important information to our kids (or hear important information from them), why wouldn’t we use the right words?  Their objections to the curriculum go on from there, but it seems grounded in the same basic fear of information.

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How the Latest Abstinence Findings Could Turn Into a Classic Sex-Ed 'Bait and Switch' Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check
The religious right is rallying around a study that supposedly proves their legitimacy. In reality, the findings just demonstrate how important comprehensive sexual education is.

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Beautiful Women Used to Obscure the Horrors of War

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  • Today (August 8), Time hits newsstands with a photo of a beautiful young woman with her nose cut off. Western photography, war, and beautiful "victims" have a long and fraught history.
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  • Time isn't the only with Photoshop and a political agenda.
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Daisy Hernandez, ColorLines

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On Monday (Aug 9) , Time magazine will hit newsstands and Ipads with its full story on the plight of women in Afghanistan<http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2007238,00.html> --- and the disturbing cover image that's already been intensely debated on the Internet.

The photo is of 18-year-old Aisha, a light brown Afghan woman with piercing eyes, a thick mane of dark hair, and her nose cut off. Her husband also sliced off her ears after she ran away from her in-law's home, where she was being beaten so badly she thought she would die.

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It's hard, perhaps impossible, to look at the picture of Aisha and not feel horror, anger, fear. What's to be done? Time's editors have just the solution. The story's headline reads: "What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan." Critics, including Muslim women bloggers, are accusing Time of exploiting Aisha to gather support for Obama's futile war in Afghanistan and boost dwindling sales of the magazine as well.

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Christian Fundamentalists Fight for the Right to Discriminate Against People Whose Sex Lives They Don't Like

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The words "religious freedom," in the mouths of social conservatives, mean protecting the right of fundamentalist Christians to persecute others.

Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check

Conscience clauses. They practically have the term “slippery slope” built right into their definition. Anti-choicers started by pushing the idea that pharmacists shouldn’t have to sell contraception if it somehow violates their heartfelt repulsion to what they believe is unapologetic sluttiness.  But did anyone think it would stop there?  Once the idea got loose that you have a right to not do your job if you disapprove of a client’s sex life, the doors were thrown wide open to all sorts of discrimination against customers, followed by a bout of acting like a martyr if you were pushed to do your actual job.

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Well, the movement towards discrimination based on sexuality took a blow last week, when a federal judge ruled in favor of a counseling program that ejected a student who refused to do her job if her clients are gay. To no one’s great surprise, conservative pundits are telling their followers that this means that students in general are now subject to being expelled for holding bigoted beliefs they excuse through Christianity.  This argument is, of course, nonsense. People are allowed to believe whatever bigoted things they want about their fellow human beings. What they aren’t allowed to do is act in bigoted ways contrary to their profession and expect to keep their jobs, a much different thing. A counselor who privately believes homosexuality is a sin but who manages to treat gay clients with respect and according to science-based guidelines (i.e. doesn’t try to convince clients they can change sexual orientation) would have no problem with these restrictions.

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