Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Sex Education in the United States

I've written on this topic numerous times, and likely will continue to do so in the future.  There are several studies out there detailing what is effective and what isn't, and why and I would encourage you to read them, though they are not necessary for this article.

As I found when researching this, sex education is a nebulous topic.  There are some districts that lump it in with HIV/AIDS discussions, and some that don't.  There are some districts that teach both and vary what they do and do not teach within the two, and some that don't.  For the purposes of this article I considered either of them to be a discussion on sex education.  As state laws often change, I encountered numerous discrepancies, generally falling back on this brief when stuck as it is the most recent I could find.  My teen pregnancy rates for each state are based on the 2010 U.S. Census.  The reason I focused on teen pregnancy rates and not abortion rates or STD rates is because I felt it was the best predictor of whether or not sex education works.  Abortion rates are dependent on the number of clinics in a given state (which is why conservative states have low abortion rates), and STD rates are also somewhat dependent on the availability of care facilities.  I believe there have been a few more recent studies on the subject, but they were either not on a state by state basis, or I had trouble verifying their claims.  For any religious information, I used this source.  All age of consent laws were taken from Wikipedia.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tranny, Nigger, and Faggot

It comes as no secret that the term 'tranny' doesn't sit well with me, having a transgender partner and all.  Usually the comparison I make to try and get people to understand is that it's like using 'nigger' to refer to a black person or 'faggot' to refer to a gay person.  Especially since it has been an acceptable part of our vernacular for years, much like the other two terms were at one time (and in places, still are).  For this reason a lot of people don't consider it to be a slur, and considering the history of the other two, that's perfectly understandable.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Poly People Have Friends Too

Ever since I broke up with my longtime girlfriend in 2009, I've used OKCupid as a means for meeting people.  It's primarily a dating site, but includes options for platonic liaisons, friendships, 'activity partners,' and things like that.

In relocating to a new city, I've mainly been using it for the latter with the hope (but not requirement) that perhaps one of those friendships might turn out to be something more.  Unfortunately listing myself as polyamorous and in a relationship has been a major setback.

I can understand the fear with which people might approach someone of that nature, not knowing anything about them, or not fully understanding the terms they've attached to themselves.  That doesn't do much to curb my frustration when the only response I get in a message is something like "sorry, I'm not into couples."  This strikes at me twice, not just because I am poly, but because I am also LGBT.

You see, one of the key methods in which the religious right has used to denigrate LGBT people is to identify them solely by their sexual practices, and not as loving, committed partners, know...actual human beings.  I feel the same way when people visit my profile (and I list that I'm looking for friends at least six times (seriously) in the first paragraph) and only see me in terms of my sexuality.  I can't help but picture the homophobic athlete that's afraid of getting leered at by gays in the locker room.  Get over yourself.

Corkins, the FRC, and Other Things

Yesterday, Holy Bullies founder Alvin McEwen wrote a controversial post entitled Family Research Council is to Blame for Near Massacre at its Headquarters where he compared the FRC, not to a victim, but to a bully that finally got their ass beat by one of the kids they picked on.  And make no mistake, the FRC has done its fair share of anti-gay bullying, bullying that includes financial support for the Ugandan Kill the Gays Bill.