YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:
May 18, 2013
May 17, 2013
May 17, 2013
Wow! How time flies. I can’t imagine I am year older (again), thought I this morning when I received an SMS from a friend I have long lost sight of. It read thus; “Happy Birthday and many more years” This is a classical birthday message that anyone will send to a friend or even an unknown person, you might be thinking. But this is not the case for me because unlike in the previous years when I will just receive these messages and file, I have this year decided to carefully study these Birthday messages before filing or even deleting and as well carefully look through all the Birthday messages I have been sent at each one of these occasions.
Though written in different styles and strongly influenced by the nature of my relationship with the sender of the birthday message, there is a wish that was omnipresent in all the messages: Wishes of Good Health; which is what my friend’s, “Many More Years” in the above extraction from his birthday wish message to me seeks to express The result of this crazy study revealed to me how much Cameroonians care about their health.
The health of the average Cameroonian, like that of any normal human being in the world, is very important to him/her. What would vary might be the approach to ensuring that they stay healthy and maintain an equilibrium that is necessary for them to live a life worth living. Important as being healthy might be to Cameroonians, they are not unaware of the barriers to staying healthy. Talking about barriers to staying healthy in Cameroon, if you ask any Cameroon what the greatest barrier to staying healthy is, you would likely hear him/her answer ‘ACCESS’.
While it is clear from all indications that access to health is a stumbling block to Cameroonian’s staying healthy, it should be noted that even where these health facilities are available, users complain bitterly of the quality of the services rendered. Thus, it is common place to see a health practitioner sarcastically questioning a teenage girl about the reason for her pregnancy and making fun of her pregnancy by using very insulting and violent language. Worst still, it is common place to get a health practitioner who openly discusses results of the medical test of his/her patients without any sense of guilt or fear. The judgmental nature and lack of confidentiality in Cameroon’s health services is so widespread and across all spheres of society that a government minister recently declared that a journalist who had been tortured to death while in detention had died of HIV/AIDS.
With judgemental attitudes like these from health professionals and lack of confidentiality, no wonder an ever increasing number of pregnant teenagers refuse to go for prenatal checkups. To stay clear of insults and other traumatizing language and behaviours, they thus decide to stay at home with the risks that this carries.
It is high time the quality of health services in existing health facilities be improved so that patients, especially young persons, can have the best possible experience and not be afraid, for instance, to get an HIV test because they are not sure the results will remain between them and the health professionals.
The quality of health services, though often ignored, is an important factor in reinforcing the access of young people in particular and society at large to health facilities and should be considered as such by policy makers and health professionals. The availability of health facilities that have little or no consideration for the quality of the services offered creates more problems than it solves.
As government leaders, policymakers, healthcare professionals, NGO representatives, corporate leaders, and global media outlets gather in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Women Deliver 3rd Global conference to hold from the 28th-31st May 2013, it is my greatest desire that the quality of health services as they are now be carefully studied and appropriate action taken to make them less judgmental, more efficient, and more youth friendly.
May 16, 2013
Melissa Harris-Perry’s Panel looks at Elizabeth Smart’s recent comments on abstinence-only sex education and whether the policy is effective.
WATCH IT HERE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ty_MA_mrow8
May 13, 2013
May 11, 2013
“Sadly, real or perceived controversy keeps schools from providing young people with the information and skills they need to become sexually healthy adults. Just like other topics taught in school, sexuality education should be developmentally appropriate, sequential and complete.
Irrational fear – the cultural belief that teaching young people about sex will cause them to have sex – keeps administrators and educators from doing what they know is best: providing young people with developmentally appropriate, sequential and honest sex education. Never mind that 30 years of public health research clearly demonstrates that when young people receive such education, they are more likely to delay sexual initiation, and to use protection when they do eventually become sexually active, than those who receive no sex education or learn only about abstinence. Withholding information about sex and sexuality will not keep children safe; it will only keep them ignorant.
Ninety-five percent of all Americans have sex before marriage. About half of all young people begin having sex by age 17. Providing a foundation of quality sex education is the only way to ensure that young people will grow into sexually healthy adults. It can augment what children learn at home and combat misinformation learned from peers or found on the Internet. Porn is not the best way for teenagers to learn about sex, but it will fill the vacuum when sex education is politicized and withheld from our classrooms.
Quality sex education should start in kindergarten. Early elementary school students need to learn the proper names for their body parts, the difference between good touch and bad touch, and ways in which they can be a good friend (the foundation for healthy intimate relationships later in life). Fourth- and fifth-graders need information about puberty and their changing bodies, Internet safety, and the harmful impact of bullying. And seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders are ready for information about body image, reproduction, abstinence, contraception, H.I.V. and disease prevention, communication, and the topic they most want to learn about: healthy relationships.”
May 9, 2013
More Fashion from South Carolina State University’s Condom Fashion Show
May 9, 2013
South Carolina State University’s very first Condom Fashion Show. All garments were made by students at SCSU
May 4, 2013
May 3, 2013
I am so happy that I got to experience this wonderful opportunity. Working with Broward County Youth Council during the 2012-2013 year was one highlight of my life. The amazing people I met at Advocates For Youth have left an big impact on my life. The wonderful things I learned at PlannedParenthood, I will never forget. My first plane ride was to D.C for the Urban Retreat. My coordinator, Daily even took me on a tour to visit the school I will be atteding in the fall. The monthly meetings gave me something to look forward to during the school year. Most importantly I enjoyed passing out life saving information. I remeber posting the Broward County HIV Information on all the doors at my job. The network I gained from being a part of the BCYC is going to stay with me. I have also made some life long friends. I will also work with advocates for youth!Once a member of BCYC always a member of BCYC!
Apr 30, 2013
Transgender women are the fastest growing population of the HIV-positive. The National Institutes of Health came out with a report, noting that almost a third of transgender Americans have HIV. Trans women of color specifically are at a greater risk than their white sisters. Through a survey, it was found that 56% of black trans women have HIV. The 2009 study from NIH also noted that many transgender women may not even know their HIV status. With an alarming statistic like this, we have to wonder what’s causing it.
When individuals are thrown into social injustice, it can be difficult to escape from. Trans women are profiled and disproportionately targeted and arrested by the law enforcement. The police will try to use condoms as evidence of sex work, so trans women face the “choice” of keeping themselves and their partners safe or getting arrested. When they’re forced into jail, trans women are often housed with male inmates or they are put into solitary confinement, as if either path is any better. Sex workers are generally more likely to be HIV-positive than those who are not engaged in sex work, but because of the disproportionate targeting of trans women, trans women sex workers’ risk for HIV is four times greater.
While sex work is a valid way of meeting financial needs, some trans women turn to it as an option because of discrimination in employment. In most of the United States, it’s completely legal to turn down or dismiss a person based on gender identity and sexual orientation. People can even be denied housing or become evicted because of their gender identity and orientation. This leaves a dangerously negative and significant impact on their economic well-being and safety. It also makes it difficult for trans women especially to keep up with their hormonal therapy, since it’s often not covered by insurance, if they can even pay for that insurance with what the circumstances are. With lack of access to basic health care, many incompetent doctors, clinics, social stigma, and overall institutions that discriminate against trans women, especially those of color– it’s all a very nasty formula expressing why trans women are hit so hard with HIV.
So, what can we do to help? Trans people are often absent from public campaigns for sexual health and safety. We can start by including them into that, and into many of our discussions and campaigns of social justice as well. We could get trans-specific in our literature in safer sex guides. We could also set up community centers as a safe space for trans people and create some peer groups, which would be strong social networks and a good use of peer outreach for safer sex and HIV testing. And of course we could and should create social support and do our part to de-stigmatize our trans brothers and sisters. Look up a local or national activist organization today.
Apr 25, 2013
(tw: rape, harsh language)
SEE THE VIDEO HERE:
Apr 24, 2013
Transgender Woman Arrested for Exposing Breasts, Jailed With Men
Trigger warning: transphobia
A transgender woman from New York was arrested in Savannah, Ga., last week for allegedly exposing her breasts, reports Savannah’s WSAV. But when deputies booked Ashley Del Valle, 38, she says a nurse examined her genitals, and determined that she was “technically a male.” As a result, Del Valle was placed in a holding cell in the men’s prison ward.
Apr 24, 2013
“I also came to realize that the focus on personhood ignores the fact that a zygote, embryo, or fetus is growing inside of another person’s body.”
|—||Libby Anne, “How I Lost Faith in the ‘Pro-Life’ Movement”|
This is really important to consider. You absolutely can advocate for a zygote, embryo, or fetus. But understand that in doing so, it subsequently infringes on the rights of the person this being resides in.
Giving a fetus personhood is not equality. No one currently has the special right of using another’s person body without constant consent.
Apr 22, 2013
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights have filed a lawsuit to block an Arkansas law banning abortion care after 12 weeks from going into effect.
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe had vetoed the extreme measure in March, citing concerns that it violated Roe v. Wade and that subsequent legal challenges would prove “very costly to the taxpayers of our state” as the “costs and fees [of defending an unconstitutional law] can be significant.” The Legislature overrode Beebe’s veto in March.
The suit seeks a preliminary injunction against the law, which is set to take effect in July.
“This law is one of the most dangerous assaults on women’s health that we’ve seen in decades,” said Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas. “We may not all agree about abortion, but we can all agree that this complex and personal decision should be made by a woman, her family, and her doctor, not politicians.”
And not just women, of course. Everyone is entitled to reproductive/sexual healthcare and rights.
Apr 22, 2013
Apr 20, 2013
Restrictions Will Force 40-
Year-Old Abortion Clinic To
Close This Weekend
Last week, Virginia’s Board of Health voted to finalizeunnecessary regulations that will force many of the state’s abortion clinics to shut down. Those new restrictions — which are known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — are already having their intended effect. Hillcrest Clinic, which opened to the public just nine months after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalized abortion services, will be closing its doors this weekend.
Apr 11, 2013
Apr 10, 2013
While Boston College is against adult students at the college using and having access to condoms my college LOVED when the student government gave out condom flowers on Condom Day.
I am one part of my college’s Undergrad Student Governments Health Programming Board. Our campus has a health clinic like many other college campuses however, a lot of students do not know about it. In an effort to get more of my peers to know about the clinic and to be more mindful of the sexual health I decided to make condom flowers for Valentine’s Day and give them away to students.
Apr 6, 2013
A few weeks back I listened attentively to ‘SOS Doctor’, one of the best health programs that be on Radio in Cameroon. As I listened, I got very happy at the great job that Dr. Dion Grace, a member of the National AIDS Control Committee of Cameroon was doing to educate Cameroonians on anti-retroviral drugs. She eloquently and insightfully answered every one of the questions that were posed to her by listeners who called-in and am sure her intervention in the program was a timely one. Everything was fine until when a listener called-in to ask what is it that could be done to reduce stigma on people who are on anti-retroviral drugs. Dr. Dion as usual gave a very insightful answer to this question going as far as citing the example of Ivory Coast where the drugs are put in anonymous packages so that they can be taken by patients without fear of stigma by the people around them. She went ahead to cite cases where some special containers of various doses is been used in some countries to reduce stigma. This was quiet interesting to know, but when she started advising people on anti-retroviral that they could tell people around them that they are taking vitamins or pills in order to avoid stigmatization I grumbled the following to myself: Do I have to be so ashamed of my status that I have to lie to others?
I have no statistics on this but I can assure you that having to lie on your HIV status is the order of the day in Cameroon especially amongst young people to avoid stigma and discrimination. Well, this to an extend is understandable given that People Living With HIV/AIDS(PLWHA) are considered as being punished by God for either their sisns or those committed by their family. But when telling a lie to avoid stigma is a behaviour that is reinforced health professionals, I have reservations and clearly doubt how efficient this approach could be.
I am utterly convinced that a problem can only be solved if its root cause(s) is/are carefully tackled. As a young person living in a society where most PLWHA are young persons, I compare telling a lie on your HIV/AIDS status to survive to deliberately refusing to tackle the problem from it’s source and launching an attack on its leaves instead.
To reduce stigma in the most sustainable way possible, education rather than lies is required.Young People, their families, and the communities in which People on anti-retroviral drugs have to be educated on the dangers of stigma and on the importance of accepting PLWHA. Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations’ Secretary-General, vividly spelt out society’s responsibility to PLWHA when he declared that, “We can fight stigma. Enlightened laws and policies are key. But it begins with openness, the courage to speak out. Schools should teach respect and understanding. Religious leaders should preach tolerance. The media should condemn prejudice and use its influence to advance social change, from securing legal protections to ensuring access to health care.”
Lies do nothing but contribute in amplifying the myth around HIV/AIDS in the Cameroonian society. People on anti-retroviral drugs do not need to lie on their status to survive stigma, they need to accept themselves as they are and deserve the care and protection that every other human being is due by the society in which they live.They deserve to live a real life and not a life of lies.
Apr 4, 2013
in the jamaican gleaner on april 1 I saw where a lady speak out against domestice abuse as she was a victim herself and it almost cost her, her life.
\”A woman who survived the deadly shooting rampage in Bryant Hill, Clarendon, in which her mother was allegedly killed by her husband is warning women to get out of abusive relationships.
Tamara Fearon-Pryce was speaking yesterday at the funeral of her mother Maxine Fearon.
She said her mother had warned her about entering the abusive relationship, but she did not listen.
The injured woman said she made numerous attempts to get out of the relationship, including migrating to Grenada for a while, but the ex-Jamaica Defense Force soldier, Jason Pryce, would not give up the relationship.
The ex-JDF soldier is in police custody after he was charged with eleven counts of criminal conduct in relation to the February 24, Bryant Hill shooting.\”
its good that the law actually caught him and her story can be use to enlighten girls everywhere. they don\’t have to sit and take the beating. there are ways to get out and listen to person when they see thge sign and are trying to help them mean you no harm just intent to help. no relationship is perfect but he or she does not own you so you don\’t have to take it slavery days are over.
Apr 1, 2013
Mar 29, 2013
It’s time to take action and invest in young people – their health, their education, and their leadership – so we can truly reach an AIDS-free generation!
Join us for the FIRST EVER National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day (NYHAAD) on April 10! Let’s acknowledge young people’s great work fighting this epidemic, and hold our leaders accountable to prioritizing young people in the fight against HIV & AIDS.
Mar 24, 2013
A few weeks ago on a radio programme, I contributed to a discussion surrounding the matter of “the reintegration of pregnant teens into schools”.
I am sure many of my peers and the general public will have different views on the topic……!
I am all for these young mothers to be given the opportunity to finish/continue their studies. But allowing these girls to continue school are we agreeing the their act or even talking about sex to teens really telling them it’s ok to have sex………..well I am sure we can argue our views on that.
One major point that I highlighted in the discussion was that there are many organisations that offers help to teens in Jamaica, but teens don’t really know them. So I went and did a little research and found a few organisations that offer help to both male and female teens in a number of areas, which addresses a number of issues that may be affecting teens (see below).
1. WOMEN’S CENTRE OF JAMAICA FOUNDATION
42 Trafalgar Road
Kingston 10, Jamaica
Ph: (876) 929-7608, 929-0977
Fax: (876) 960-7551
2. KINGSTON YMCA
21 Hope Road, Kingston 10, Jamaica, W.I.
Telephone: Gen. Secretary: (876) 926-0801
Office: (876) 926-8081 Fax: (876) 929-9387
The Y.M.C.A. / Amy Bailey Training Centre
4 Rosedale Avenue, Kingston
Tel: (876) 967-3345, Fax: (876) 967-3345
3. YOUNG WOMEN’S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION OF JAMAICA
2H Camp Road
Telphone / Fax: 929-3267
4. CHILDREN FIRST
9 Monk Street, Spanish Town
Tel: (876) 984-0367; Fax: (876) 984-2839
5. JAMAICA ASSOCIATION FOR THE DEAF
Jamaica Association for the Deaf
9 Marescaux Road, P.O. Box 178
Kingston 5, Jamaica, West Indies
Telephone: 876-968-6781 (Voice/TTY)
6. MEL NATHAN INSTITUTE
ADMINISTRATIVE BUSINESS CENTER
31 Mannings Hill Road, Kingston 8
Tel. (876) 931-4989, Fax. (876) 931-5004
31 Mannings Hill Road, Kingston 19
Tel (876) 969-0000, Fax (876) 905-3779
HANNAH TOWN OPERATION
St. John’s United Church,
19 Upper Rose Lane Kingston Jamaica W.I.,
Tel: (876) 922-0676, (876) 924-9350
7. RURAL FAMILY SUPPORT ORGANISATION
2 Brooks Edge
May Pen, Clarendon
8. SAM SHARPE TEACHER’S COLLEGE
Box 40 Granville PO
Ph: (876) 952-4001-2
9. WESTERN SOCIETY FOR THE UPLIFTMENT OF CHILDREN
Mrs. G. Drummond
The Western Society for the Upliftment of Children
26 Miriam Way
Shop #26, Filandy Center
Montego Bay, Jamaica
10. YOUTH OPPORTUNITIES UNLIMITED
4½ Camp Road, Kingston 5
Ph: (876) 759-2080-1
Mar 23, 2013
If you haven’t heard already, the law makers in North Dakota are pushing for another anti-choice bill. This time it’s an abortion ban on the basis of personhood. If passed, this would effectively give fertilized eggs all the rights of U.S. citizens. And it would cut off abortion care completely. Beyond abortion this bill would also charge doctors who damage embryos in any way with criminal negligence. It also prevents doctors from being able to perform in vitro fertilizations. Now you might be thinking an unconstitutional bill like this couldn’t possibly get passed by Senate or the House, but it did. Shockingly, it passed the House by a vote of 57-35 and it’s currently making its way to the Governor’s desk.
The state’s recent six-week abortion ban is already in direct violation of Roe v. Wade and will bring about several legal costs for taxpayers when challenged. This next measure of a total abortion ban will surely cause North Dakota to face the same results, costing the state more than they bargained for. And how will they pay for these litigations?
During a recent debate between Senator Margaret Sitte and Dr. Kristen Cain about the abortion restrictions and pending abortion ban, Senator Sitte accidentally lets something slip. When asked if these bills will cost taxpayers possibly millions, Senator Sitte unintentionally admits that there are outside interests behind the unconstitutional abortion bans who are willing to spend those millions to make sure people in North Dakota will not have access to reproductive healthcare and rights. Watch as Senator Sitte tries to lie her way out of it.
This abortion ban won’t be a law until Governor Jack Darlymple of North Dakota signs it, and it’s unclear if he will or won’t.
To contact Governor Jack Darlymple:
Office of Governor
State of North Dakota
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58505-0100
Mar 22, 2013
Two personhood bills — Senate Bill 2303 and Senate Concurrent Resolution 4009 — have already passed the Senate, and the GOP-controlled House is expected to take them upsometime this week. But if North Dakota successfully enacts a total abortion ban, there will be serious consequences for the state that extend even beyond women’s reproductive freedom. Here are five ways the state will suffer under personhood:
1. There will be fewer doctors in the state available to provide medical care. In a historic move for the North Dakota Medical Association, the nonpartisan organization has come out againstpersonhood. The group points out that the anti-abortion measures go too far to “interfere with the physician practice,” and they suspect it will be harder to find qualified medical professionals willing to practice in North Dakota if the state imposes so many complicated restrictions on doctors. Some doctors have already testified before state lawmakersto say they will leave North Dakota if the abortion bans pass.
2. Maternal health care will be compromised. Doctors could becharged with criminal negligence if anything happens to an embryo — which could prevent them from making quick decisions that could help save women’s lives. The tragic case of Savita Halappanavar, a woman who died after being denied an abortion in a Catholic hospital because her doctors were reluctant to provide care that could get them in trouble with the law, highlights the serious consequences of state lawmakers coming between a woman and her doctor.
3. Women could be forced to resort to illegal abortion procedures.Under a personhood law, women will end up resorting to dangerous “backroom” abortions, one former pediatrician warned North Dakota lawmakers last week. That Fargo-area doctor did his medical training before Roe v. Wade, when women were dying of bacterial infections after botched abortion procedures — and he warns that the passage of the proposed personhood measures would pull North Dakota back into “the stone age of medicine.” There’s evidence to back up that claim. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the legality of abortion hasabsolutely no correlation to abortion rates around the world, because women will continue to seek to terminate pregnancies regardless of the law.
4. Women won’t be able to use in vitro fertilization to try to have a family. Ironically, in addition to compromising medical procedures for the women seeking to terminate a pregnancy, personhood measures also place restrictions on the women who are trying to get pregnant. “These bills will stop the practice of in vitro fertilization in this state,” Dr. Stephanie Dahl, an obstetrician-gynecologist and reproductive medicine specialist in Fargo, explained to lawmakers. Doctors wouldn’t be able to perform any procedure that carries the risk of damaging some embryos, so women would be forced to travel to South Dakota or Minnesota for in vitro treatment, a six-week process that requires multiple sonograms and up to 12 visits to the doctor.
5. The state will become embroiled in expensive lawsuits. North Dakota’s six-week abortion ban already runs afoul of Roe v. Wade, and will certainly invite several costly legal challenges. A total abortion ban would lead to similar consequences. Two personhood bills were recentlystruck down in Oklahoma, suggesting that the courts won’t take kindly to North Dakota’s push to restrict women’s constitutional rights, either. Nevertheless, even the self-proclaimed “fiscally conservative” Republicans in the state are willing to defend their abortion bans on the state’s dime.
Mar 20, 2013
— Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Kierra Johnson, Beyond Choice: How We Learned to Stop Labeling and Love Reproductive Justice
Mar 19, 2013
Let’s face the facts: We live in a victim blaming society when it comes to sexual assault and rape.
After the guilty verdict was announced following the Steubenville rape case in Ohio, my initial thought was worry.
I worry about the victim who spoke out against her rapists, condemning two boys who were the pride of the town for being star players on the football team. I worry not only for the trauma she faced during the rape act and the humiliating physical evidence via tweets, instagram, and video posts, but also for the aftermath she will face following the trial…
I worry for her safety because people don’t quite understand what rape is and will condemn her for it because she was drunk.
I worry that she will not have a much needed support system from peers or members of the community following the trial.
I worry if she will have a counselor to talk to in the upcoming months she will try to get back to living a “normal life”.
I worry that those two boys will never learn their lesson about what rape actually is. Being that mainstream media has taken their side and glorified them as victims because they were promising football players and students who got good grades. They just got caught up in a regrettable act (not regretting the rape, but the regretting the fact that it was recorded with photos).
The two young men will have to register as sex offenders and spend one to two years in juvenile detention, but that is not what I am concerned about, unlike other mainstream media outlets.
Instead of feeling sympathy that their promising football careers are essentially over, I feel actual sympathy for the victim of being raped without her consent and how she will cope and deal with the consequences living in a town that cares more about their football team than the well being of a 16 year old girl who was taken advantage of.
The rape victim, a 16 year old girl, should be our main concern. Not the future of rapists, but the future of a young girl, who has to deal with being a rape survivor in a patriarchal, misogynistic, sexist, victim-blaming society.
I shouldn’t have to worry about the well-being of a rape victim. She should know that this entire ordeal is not her fault. She should expect counseling and psychological services to help her cope with trauma. She should have support instead of backlash from her community of peers and adults.
That’s how it should be…but we live in a society that blames rape victims instead of sympathizing with them. And that is a shame.
Mar 18, 2013
I recently went through a few of my things from high school. During this time I came across my certificate for completion of drivers education. It seems just like yesterday that I was BEGGING my mother to let my drive her brand new Saab. Her reply was always “Crys, you’ll be in driving school soon enough and they’ll teach you everything you need to know. You’ll be able to drive as much as you want then.” Sure enough when driving school came around I passed the test with flying colors. Of course I had my fair share of near accidents and “oh my gosh did I just do that”, but knowing the basics always kept me safe. This is only because my teacher supplied me with enough information for me to go out and pass the test on my own. It’s interesting how well this can be compared to sex. Knowing the basics can prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs. Too many people, especially teenagers, are oblivious to the amount of danger they put themselves and their partners in when entering into the crazy world of sex uneducated. Knowing is half the battle!
Know the basics, know your body, know your status and get tested today! For more information on where to get tested, text SEXT to 74574.
Mar 17, 2013
Technology has become more integral to our daily lives, so it’s no surprise that millions use online dating websites and social apps in search of friendships, romance, and sex. This reality continues to bring individuals closer while removing personal communication as well as creating controversial news headlines.
For many LGBTQ youth, using their internet devices to interact with others is both convenient and comfortable, especially for those who are in the closet about their sexual or gender identity. While most of these youths are skilled at using electronics and social media networks, they are also unaware of the potential risks that come with meeting strangers and sharing extremely personal information.
Just recently, a 16-year-old Broward County student contracted HIV after having unprotected sex with two older men he met through a social app. Stories like this as well as rapes, abductions, and murders have been in the news, where young teens meet unknown persons through websites as popular as Myspace and Facebook, yet end in tragedy.
More than ever, it’s become a necessity for teens and adults to become informed about bullying, privacy, and sexuality so they can actively defend themselves from cyberbullying, predators, and sexually transmitted diseases.
As a young queer male, I’ve studied the habits of friends and pop culture trends. While South Florida has a rich network of resources for the LGBTQ population, a large portion prefer to join websites like Craigslist, Manhunt, Plenty Of Fish, BGCLive or download apps like Adam4Adam, Grindr, and Jack’d seeking a new friend, love, or a one night stand.
These websites and apps (especially those catering to LGBTQ persons) emphasize shallowness (you can filter users based their physical appearance, age, and ethnicity) and reinforce unrealistic social standards (many profiles will write phrases like “No Fats, No Fems, No Blacks, No Old”).
I don’t suffer from social anxiety or instant gratification and declare myself an online dating skeptic. In the past, I browsed these websites to understand the psychology of online dating and was shocked at how the members had no hesitation in revealing their partially or fully nude bodies and used explicit or unintelligent language in messages.
When I downloaded an app 2 weeks ago, I revisited the same behaviors I encountered on those sites, except it’s more invasive: you can see how many miles each user is from you. I was messaged daily from users aged 18 to 45, of various racial groups, hobbies, and intentions.
Not only did these last 2 weeks teach me that we’re too dependent on technology, but that it’s important to maintain meaningful and personal contact with each other. Online dating has its upside, but with the increasing lack of privacy and dangers associated with chatting to strangers, you never know who is on the other side of that laptop or iPhone.
We may be more connected than ever, but we must be more safe and protected than ever.
Mar 16, 2013
As a former teen mom and human I could not help but address the questions and worries of the discontent toddlers in the New York City’s controversial anti-teenage pregnancy ads.
Just because I had you as a teen does not mean that you are not capable of doing well in school and graduating high school with honors just as I did.
Mar 15, 2013
BREAKING: North Dakota legislature passes nation’s most restrictive abortion law, bans all abortions after 6 weeks
Mar 14, 2013
“Oh my God, what are we going to do?” she asked me.
I just sat there with a blank stare.
“What am I going to tell my Mama?” she exclaimed.
I couldn’t do anything, but put my head in my hands.
My girlfriend and I have just busted the myth of how 2 condoms are a very bad idea and it could not have come at a worse time. We are both high schools students with promising futures, but the task of looking after a child is way beyond us. The next day at school, I realized her gloom mood and so did everyone else.
“Everything is going to be ok”, I whispered into her ear. And everything was ok.
It’s funny how you learn so much in moments of discomfort though. When you have a serious problem coming your way you tend to do a lot of research. For example, we were relieved to discover that a female can only get pregnant during ovulation. Either my Sex Ed class sucked or I was too busy goofing off. Either way I am glad to have went through such a uncomfortable moment that put me in the position I am in today. I know I’m not the only one to have went through this. What is your story?
Mar 9, 2013
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize ever.
In her hometown, the Taliban banned education for women. Malala Yousafzai started writing under a pen name for BBC when she was around 11 or 12 years old, describing the inequities. She appeared on television, has done interviews, has done whatever she could to promote her beliefs, that everyone has a right to an education. Now she’s known as an activist for education and women.
This comic serves as a short summary of what Malala Yousafzai is internationally known for: her courage.
[source: watermarked in image]
From a simple Wikipedia search:
On 9 October 2012, Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen while returning home on a school bus. In the days immediately following the attack, she remained unconscious and in critical condition, but later her condition improved enough for her to be sent to a hospital in the United Kingdom for intensive rehabilitation. On 12 October, a group of 50 Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwā against those who tried to kill her, but the Taliban reiterated its intent to kill Yousafzai and her father, Ziauddin.
Former British Prime Minister and current U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown launched a United Nations petition in Yousafzai’s name, using the slogan “I am Malala” and demanding that all children worldwide be in school by the end of 2015. Brown said he would hand the petition to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari in November. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has announced that 10 November will be celebrated as Malala Day.
Mar 3, 2013
SEE COMPLETE IMAGE:
Mar 3, 2013
By Max Smith
Mar 1, 2013
I have had an abortion. Most people who know me know that. I’m very open about it and fervently pro-choice. I had to start my piece like this, so you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I’m not writing this post out of malice, but for educational purposes. I haven’t been able to find any other pieces on this subject, so maybe I’m wrong. If I am I would appreciate any readers to provide me with some cold hard medical facts. Okay?
Before my abortion I had a transvaginal ultrasound. This was in mid-2011, so before TVUs got famous. When I saw the device I was wary and my reaction was something along the lines of “woah what’s that? Do I have to have that because I don’t want it.” The woman said yes it was necessary for the procedure and she’s sorry. She didn’t say it was required by law or whatever, but that it was necessary. She didn’t show me the ultrasound or talk about it or even offer to. The whole thing was over in about two minutes. I had a surgical abortion at nine weeks and I was assured this was needed for my procedure.
Then eventually the TVU law proposals starting arriving and I was incredibly confused and hurt. Had something wrong been done to me? By that clinic? That clinic that saved my future? That clinic I was eternally grateful to? That clinic that advertises “comprehensive reproductive services in a supportive, nonjudgmental, knowledge-based environment?” That clinic that boasts that it has “the most experienced clinic staff in the region?” That clinic which is part of the National Abortion Federation?
All of these activists were and still are posting images of ultrasound wands with captions like “up mine? Up yours?” and talking about TVUs being a violation and comparing them to rape. This was/is really upsetting to me. I felt weirdly betrayed by my savior clinic. So I called them. I just briefly asked why they do TVUs and the clinic worker said because it was needed for the procedure. I felt pretty satisfied with that answer.
Of course I think this mandatory TVU legislation is terrible and wrong. It’s unethical for legislators with no medical expertise to be putting this into law. Since when are bills about medical procedure? Those are two entirely different fields. Where are the laws going into detail about thermometer or blood drawing procedure? Why is abortion any different? Why would a bill by those with no medical degree be dictating what practitioners do? Also, are states competing for the most ridiculous TVU bill? Now apparently there are bills requiring two TVUs.
Honestly I have not take part in this debate because it made me uncomfortable. The anti-choice side was clearly wrong, but for the first time I also felt the pro-choice side was wrong. They weren’t being outraged about the right things. They weren’t being outraged about why specifically this legislation was terrible instead they were just proclaiming TVUs were terrible. I don’t know why I’m talking in past tense. This is still going on. So, pro-choice activists are proclaiming that what is in some clinics vital to abortion is a violation and basically a desecration of human rights. They’re starting to sound like the anti-choicers to me. I mean what if legislators start listening? What if they start believing TVUs are a violation and try to ban them? What does that mean for the clinics that use them? Will abortion access become more difficult and expensive? Are these pro-choicers hurting the movement?
I’m working on expanding my knowledge. Nowhere on prochoice.org does it say TVUs are “medically unnecessary” like so many pro-choicers are claiming. This week I asked my abortion clinic for more in depth reasoning into their usage of TVUs. This was their response:
“There is no mandated law in TN that requires a vaginal ultrasound although they are trying to pass a law currently to require an ultrasound 24 – 72 hours before an abortion with the sound of a heart beat, verbal description of the u/s picture and a copy of the picture given to the patient. Here at [name removed] we routinely perform a vaginal ultrasound for patients who may be under 12 weeks and an abdominal ultrasound for patient who may be over 12 weeks. Because a patient can have missed a period and not be pregnant or can have a period and be pregnant, (it is possible to have periods all the way up until delivery) until we do an ultrasound we do not know for sure her gestational age. An accurate gestational age supports providing the best possible care for our patients. We do not however show her a picture, hear a heartbeat (which we don’t have the equipment for) or describe the u/s to the patient unless she requests it.”
Basically I’m demanding more education on this issue for everyone. Because honestly I’m offended that my supposed allies are telling me I was violated. It almost feels like they’re belittling rape. Why is it so difficult to find resources on this? Why can’t I find other articles with this viewpoint? Is it the abortion stigma? Are women not talking about it because they don’t feel comfortable talking about their abortion? Are abortion providers not coming forward so that they don’t disclose their profession and put themselves at risk? I’m concerned and I demand more information.
Mar 1, 2013
It passed with votes of 286 to 138.
The NY Times describes the legislation:
The newly passed legislation creates and expands federal programs to assist local communities with law enforcement and aiding victims of domestic and sexual abuse. Most notably, the bill goes further by offering protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, as well as allowing American Indian women who are assaulted on reservations by non-Indians to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land.
And who are the 138 representatives who voted against this?
Here’s the name and shame:
This is a post by a fellow blogger called BrashBlackNonBeliever. These are her words and feelings about how “pro-life” advocates use PoC, specifically Black women and children, to further their agenda. Some of it will be edited for language censorship.
“I am beyond f****** SICK of these so-called “pro-life” advocates using Black women and children to further their agenda.
Those conservative assholes don’t give a F*** about us when we’re walking this earth, but I’m supposed to believe they give a f*** about Black babies? I’m supposed to believe these motherfuckers actually care about pregnant Black women?!
They don’t give a f*** about Black families in the hood, struggling to live.
They don’t give a f*** about the single Black mothers doing everything they can for their kids.
They really don’t give a f*** about the Black parents on welfare.
No, to them, we’re nothing but welfare queens and wh**** who never should have spread their legs.
Our children are nothing but drug dealers, thugs, or future drug addicts and prostitutes who need to be put down like dogs.
That is, until one of us gets pregnant and they need a new face for their “pro-life” campaign.
Then our babies are “precious children.”
Then they pretend to be worried about the future of the Black race.
Only then do we need to protect ourselves against “extinction” by never having abortions.
Only then do they care oh so much about racism and they seek to warn us about how racist Planned Parenthood and abortions are.
Well I, for one, am completely fed up with their BS. I can see right through them. They don’t give a f*** about Black people and they never have.
Stop using Black bodies as props and pawns.”
“When I introduce the concept of reproductive justice to new audiences, at lectures or workshops, I always frame it in the same way. I use a really simple exercise, where I draw a stick figure on a piece of butcher paper, or an easel, or a chalkboard. Then I ask the question: “What things in this person’s life will impact their ability to create the family they want to create?” Usually it takes a few minutes for the audience to get going, but within five or ten minutes the result is a stick figure with many, many issues written in bubbles around them. Things like religion, money, environment, language, race, gender, sexuality, laws, incarceration end up surrounding the person.
This activity is a pretty decent illustration of my definition of reproductive justice—it’s working to build a world where everyone has what they need to create the family they want to create. And that work requires incorporating and taking into account all of those items written in bubbles on the diagram, as well as many we probably leave out. Almost always this exercise results in “ah ha” moments, and it’s had a striking universality—from using it with college students to using it in Latina immigrant communities on the border. Reproductive justice is an easier concept to explain in ten minutes than in a two-word soundbite, like pro-choice, but that additional context also allows for so many more of the issues and challenges or our every day lives to be made visible and explicitly included in our work.”
“I suspect it’s difficult for men to imagine a world in which their bodies have long been inextricably linked to their value as an individual, and that no matter how encouraging your parents were or how many positive female role models you had or how self-confident you feel, there is an ever-present pressure that creeps in from all sides, whispering in your ear that you are your body and your body defines you. A world where, from the time of pubescence on, you can feel the constant and palpable weight of the male gaze, and not just from your male peers but from teachers and sports coaches and the fathers of the children you baby-sit, people you’re supposed to respect and trust and look up to, and that first realization that you are being looked at in that way is the beginning of a self-consciousness that you will be unable to shake for the rest of your life. Even if they are never verbalized, the rules of bodily conduct for females become clear early on: when school administrators reprimand you for the inch of midriff that shows when you lift your hands straight in the air or youth group leaders tell you that the sight of your unintentional cleavage is what causes godly young men to fall, you learn that your body is dangerous and shameful and that it’s your responsibility to cloister it in a way that is acceptable to everyone else. You learn that your body is a topic of public debate that everyone is entitled to weigh in on, from a male classmate telling you that those jeans make your ass look huge to the male-dominated United States Congress dictating the parameters that rape must fall within to be considered legitimate. To be a woman, and to live life in a woman’s body, is to be held to a set of comically paradoxical standards that make you constantly second-guess yourself and jump through a million hoops in pursuit of an impossible perfection.”
As someone who is Vietnamese and also identifies as being queer, these images really struck a chord with me. I rarely really see backgrounds or faces like my own in the LGBTQ or mainstream feminist/reproductive & sexual healthcare and rights movement, due to lack of representation and exclusion.
So, I’m sharing a few images of queer folks in Vietnam.
This couple of one year (Phat & Minh) are grooming their dogs.
This couple of one year (Vy & Bay) are just relaxing at home, watching TV and snacking.
This couple (Thien and Vuong) works at a wedding studio together and are having some lunch.
They’ve been together for more than five years now. Ly is drying her cat after a bath, and Huyen is trying her new blades.
Hung and Ngan are relaxing at home, listening to some music. They’ve been together for six years.
Consider this a lens into another culture. They’re real people who are experiencing love. They’re just ordinary people doing ordinary things.
Beyond aesthetics, I find these images to be great political statements given the social context.
Check out the photographer responsible for these images!
Feb 19, 2013
(See link: http://stfuprolife.tumblr.com/post/42021609348/all-states-except-oregon-now-limit-abortion-access)
The above graph lists all the states and their abortion restrictions. Although, Roe v. Wade gives people the right to abortion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey gave states the right to limit access to abortion without posing an “undue burden.” Even though the World Health Organization has already declared that a restriction or limitation of safe, legal, and accessible abortion leads to a decrease in health for people, specifically women (although we all have the understanding that it’s not just women who are affected by this).
Some states have less than a handful of clinics that can even provide these services and some states simply have unreasonable restrictions that prevent people from getting the healthcare they need. This forces people to travel, sometimes out of their means, to get an abortion. Others seek more dangerous options. Until this changes, there are some things that are helping people right now.
There is a particular page that I have been supporting on my own site (ST*U, Pro-Life) called the Abortion Assistance Blog. This is how it describes itself:
A collection of abortion funds, individuals willing to provide transportation and/or lodging before and after your appointment, and other resources.
This blog is intended to be a resource for people of all genders, races, sexualities, and abilities. If you are offering help, but not willing to help someone based on one of those categories, please say so. Everyone deserves to be safe and supported.
This blog has several links, providing help and information. It lets readers know how they can help or where they can find help. Many people go on the blog leaving contact information or simply letting others know that they could provide transportation, lodging, or monetary support. I recommend to everyone to check it out and share.
It’s just not enough to just say that we support reproductive/sexual health care and rights anymore. It never has been.
Feb 19, 2013
Yet another study that disproves that men and women are fundamentally different.
Everyone, throw out your copy of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. That book is a load of crap anyway. Anyone who has taken a gender studies class has known this. Yet the notion that men and women are inherently different still invades our culture. For some reason, people still look at gender as if it’s on a linear spectrum from point A to point B rather than gradations of several variables.
But lo and behold, yet another study backed up by the American Psychological Association delivers another credible opposition against the idea that men and women are so different from each other from how they act and think.
The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology analyzes 122 different characteristics from over 13,000 individuals in 13 studies. The Journal is divided into three sections. According to the study, these sections are:
Attitudes and Social Cognition addresses those domains of social behavior in which cognition plays a major role, including the interface of cognition with overt behavior, affect, and motivation.
Among topics covered are the formation, change, and utilization of attitudes, attributions, and stereotypes, person memory, self-regulation, and the origins and consequences of moods and emotions insofar as these interact with cognition.
Of interest also is the influence of cognition and its various interfaces on significant social phenomena such as persuasion, communication, prejudice, social development, and cultural trends.
Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes focuses on psychological and structural features of interaction in dyads and groups.
Appropriate to this section are papers on the nature and dynamics of interactions and social relationships, including interpersonal attraction, communication, emotion, and relationship development, and on group and organizational processes such as social influence, group decision making and task performance, intergroup relations and aggression, prosocial behavior and other types of social behavior.
Personality Processes and Individual Differences publishes research on all aspects of personality psychology. It includes studies of individual differences and basic processes in behavior, emotions, coping, health, motivation, and other phenomena that reflect personality.
Articles in areas such as personality structure, personality development, and personality assessment are also appropriate to this section of the journal, as are studies of the interplay of culture and personality and manifestations of personality in everyday behavior.
“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is,” Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester from the study explains, “That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”
Click to see the study here!
Feb 17, 2013
Feb 14, 2013
Youth Action Day will be on March 11th from 8:30-3:30 PM!!!
Join us at the Capitol to discuss with policy makers why increasing access to comprehensive sex education and school-based health centers is critical for Colorado Young people!
The Colorado Youth CREATE council will provide a fun and interactive training on the legislative process and how to talk to our legislators, followed with meetings with our Senators and Representatives.
We’ll also leave room for LOTS OF FUN!!! Highlights include:Raffle prizes, a photo booth complete with props, a ‘Real World’ style confessional to talk about your feelings and experiences, games and networking opportunities!
Register today: www.coloradoyouthmatter.org
The deadline is March 1st
Feb 10, 2013
Feb 10, 2013
(oldie but goody)
Feb 3, 2013
Health is a major part of our lives, something I am currently experiencing since my recent bout of malaria has left me restricted to my bed, unable to walk or even eat without taking multi-vitamins to make me feel hunger and a state of constant headache – literally.
But thankfully, I’m getting better but time is ticking.
Before this onslaught of malaria, I attended the World Bank Youth Forum (WBYF) of which I have the privilege of being a member of. The Forum is an eclectic mix of young Nigerians from entertainment to youth development, from human resource management consultants to Education as a Vaccine (EVA Nigeria) advocates. It’s a quarterly meeting where World Bank representatives and experts have a forum, a think tank if you will, to share their ideas, ensure a better understanding of their work and implement community development projects. We’re presently raising funds and materials for a primary school in desperate need.
The Forum focused on Results based Financing for Service Delivery in the Health Sector.
The Meeting continued with presentation from the Health Sector team of the World Bank on its portfolio of projects in Nigeria.
Dr. Dinesh Nair – Lead Health Specialist the Bank is a finance (HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Polio, Results Based Financing – RBF), and knowledge institution (status of health in Nigeria, nutrition ESW, impact evaluation (result financing Vs normal financing, pharmaceutical work). As at 2011, the Human Development Indicators ranking was 156/187. Needless to say that the Giant of Africa is off-track to achieve the health MDGs and not surprisingly, the nation seems to be taking steps back in their attempt to meet the MDGs, especially where women and children are concerned.
World Bank supports the Health Sector in Nigeria with the aim to strengthen health systems and address MDGs, focus on input and results based programs, and contribute to body of knowledge through analytical work.
Dr Mariam Olaide Jagun shared insights on the World Malaria Projects which aims to strengthen communities (through community directed interventions – CDIs by providing information and services in terms of commodities in 3 LGAs), communities systems strengthening (improve access (Patent Medicine Vendors), health systems strengthening (logistics management information system – Anti malaria drugs, M & E)
WB has a new strategy – work in a few states, introduce innovations & focus on results
A participant raising a question at the meeting
Dr. Wole Odutolu made a presentation on the Bank’s NSHIP. The Bank launched the PBF project in April, 2012 to be implemented in 3 states – Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo States. Pre pilot started in December 2011. Results from the pre-pilot show increased indicators in the three states. A key challenge is child delivery at home.
The project has a 4 pronged approach:
Performance based financing (PBF). This ensures hospital autonomy, community involvement, hospital bank account, quality as against quantity of the facility/service.
DFF – operational costs are given to hospital to run the hospitals. This ensures control
LGA PHC – provides incentives to LG to supervise Health facilities
Disbursement Link Indicators (DLI) for Governance issues
Presentation on World Bank Programmes in the Health Sector in Nigeria The Session was facilitated by Dr. Dinesh Nair – Lead Health Specialist. According to him, the Bank is a finance (HIV/AIDs, Malaria, Polio, Results Based Financing – RBF), and knowledge institution (status of health in Nigeria, nutrition ESW, impact evaluation (result financing Vs normal financing, pharmaceutical work). According to World Bank Research, Nigeria is a potential economic tiger with large HD issues. The population of Nigeria is 167 million . As at 2011, the Human Development Indicators ranking was 156/187. He used indicators to emphasize that Nigeria is off-track to achieve the health MDGs. Such indicators (2003 – 2008) include Modern Contraceptive Prevalence Rates, Antenatal Care Coverage, Delivery in a Health Facility, Skilled Birth Attendance, DPT3 Coverage, and Measles Coverage. Very low service uptake is also an indicator.World Bank supports the Health Sector in Nigeria with the aim to strengthen health systems and address MDGs, focus on input and results based programs, and contribute to body of knowledge through analytical work Dr Mariam Olaide Jagun shared insights on the World Malaria Projects which aims to strengthen communities (through community directed interventions – CDIs by providing information and services in terms of commodities in 3 LGAs), communities systems strengthening (improve access (Patent Medicine Vendors), health systems strengthening (logistics management information system – Anti malaria drugs, M & E)WB has a new strategy – work in a few states, introduce innovations & focus on resultsDr. Wole Odutolu made a presentation on the Bank’s NSHIP. The Bank launched the PBF project in April, 2012 to be implemented in 3 states – Adamawa, Nasarawa and Ondo States. Pre pilot started in December 2011.
Results from the pre-pilot show increased indicators in the three states. A key challenge is child delivery at homeThe project has a 4 pronged approach:Performance based financing (PBF). This ensures hospital autonomy, community involvement, hospital bank account, quality as against quantity of the facility/service. DFF – operational costs are given to hospital to run the hospitals. This ensures control LGA PHC – provides incentives to LG to supervise Health facilitiesDisbursement Link Indicators (DLI) for Governance issues
2 key decisions that contributed to the success of the July meeting are:
* the decision by the forum to open up some of its meetings to non-members which saw the attendance of 15 non -WBYF members at the meeting, especially young people working around health issues as it concerns the theme of the July meeting
* The newly introduced Youth Forum Training Series also added the necessary flavour to the meeting as it provided an opportunity for young people to learn from their peers
-Courtesy of World Bank Youth Forum
Feb 1, 2013
Roe v. Wade guaranteed abortion as a legal right across the country. A separate decision two decades later, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, guaranteed states’ rights to limit access to abortion, so long as it did not pose an “undue burden” on the woman.
States have, over the past four decades, made no short use of that latter right. Only one state, Oregon, has not layered additional restrictions on top of the Roe decision. At the other end of the spectrum is Oklahoma: With 22 abortion restrictions, it has more than any other state. The chart below, courtesy of Remapping the Debate, has the full list. You can also gohere for an interactive version of the graphic, which will let you look at what type of restrictions each state has set.
Feb 1, 2013
I just read an article online by Kenechi Uzochukwu on the online Nigerian magazine called “YNaija” titled “Men Can Do Nothing against Rape.” He was trite and came from the perspective of a bigot parading as an enlightened man.
I’ve been lead to believe that this type of behaviour comes from a society of men who thing that all men who rape are victims of the oppressive and taunting women-folk who parade themselves in too short, too skimpy outfits without understanding the consequences that their actions, and in some cases, inaction, can influence another person’s actions unto another.
I’m sure in his head he tried his hardest to explain that all rape victims were put into that position because men would rather not rape children (most of the time, anyway) and they’d rather not rape themselves. So, women turn out to be the privileged few worthy of their unwelcome advances or violence. And therefore, it’s left to women, that is, every single female on the planet who is, has or may be in danger of being raped. We started the teasing that leads to rape, therefore we have to stop men from raping us, from raping all of us. We attack their sensibilities by our indecent attires, so they attack us to retaliate.
What I have failed to comprehend from this person’s article is whether he even considered another, more viable, less involved in pointing fingers at women as being the predominant causes of rape. He never considered those being victims of sexual violence as a result of war or unrest at the areas, where the opposition make use of rape as a form of psychological warfare. A way of demoralising their enemies into submission.
He wrote that sometimes women are attacked as a result of other women’s indecent dressing so the rapist could assuage his burning desire. Even if that were true, is the victim in that scenario to blame for what someone, a person who she may not have seen or heard of, has done to influence the rapist to attack an innocent bystander?
What about victims attacked due to prejudice and discrimination? Are they to blame also for the colour of their skin, the religion they belong to, the class they were born into because they deserved it and were unworthy to be treated any better?
Jan 31, 2013
Text message conversation:
Friend: What up!
Me: Chillin. You?
Friend: I gotta talk to you but I’ll text you in a bit….
oh man. this might be big.
Me: What’s up ma?
Friend: Nothing what up?
Me: How was school?
Friend: Fo sho! So Umm I gotta talk to ya…
breathe, Rebecca, breathe.
Me: What’s up?
Friend: So umm I kinda need something… From you..
Friend: Lol… Take a guess.. “be protected”
Me: For you?
no, Rebecca, for her cat. of course it’s for her. get it together!
Friend: Mhm.. Lol
Me: Is this something you want?
Friend: Not that I want, I need it. “stay protected” lol you have them…
Me: Yes I know, but have you and _____ talked about this? And have you had time to think about what you want?
Me: Okay, I had to ask. I trust you and I’m glad you asked me. Is there a certain time you need it by?
Friend: I don’t need it soon. Whenever you can (:
Me: Okay, well I want to make sure you have them for protection when and if you need them. I assume you haven’t talked to your mom about this?
why, Rebecca? why are you making assumptions? have you learned nothing from your social work classes??
Friend: We’ve had the “talk.”
Me: Ight lil’ ma. If you have any questions just ask
Friend: Ight I will (:
This was a conversation between a friend and I from a couple of weeks ago. If you can’t tell by the coy wording, we are talking about condoms and sex. Looking back on the conversation I wish I would have just said condoms and sex instead of “it.” What can I say? I was caught off guard. I have known this friend of mine all her life. She is a special person to me, and I consider her to be a little sister, especially since I don’t have any younger siblings. I have always been very open and honest with her, hoping that she would return the favor by trusting me, and I’m glad she did.
Back when I first began my activism with sex education and sexual health, I asked my middle/high school aged cousins and friends about the type of sex ed they were receiving in school. Some were a little embarrassed and tried to laugh my questions off, while others were straight forward and told me that they don’t remember learning anything, but that so and so was pregnant and had to leave school for a bit. No matter which way the conversation went, I always ended it with something like this, “I just want you to know that I will always be here for you, if you ever need anything. I’m in college, and I remember my years in high school; I know sex happens. I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I can tell you this, if you choose to have sex you should respect yourself and your partner by using protection.” I didn’t want to come off as preachy by telling them what to do, but I wanted to get a message across.
When I started having sex I had no formal education and had to research everything online. You can imagine how amazing that process went. I feel that I knew more than some of my peers because I knew that you could get pregnant “even if he pulls out,” and that you can’t get pregnant by having oral sex. However, I didn’t know that oral/anal sex are still sex, so condoms should still be used.
I have always had a great relationship with my parents, but in high school I was scared to talk to them about sex. Growing up in a devout Catholic household might have that effect. I wasn’t scared of them, but I didn’t want them to judge me or get angry. I didn’t know how to approach them. Now, things are much different. My parents are very much aware of the work that I do, and they respect me for it. While there is one particular issue we don’t see eye to eye on (I’m pro-choice, they are pro-life), we still respect each other and love each other. I often joke with my mom and tell her we will probably run into each other at a rally but will be on opposing sides. She rolls her eyes and responds with something like, “estas loca,” and I tell her to pray extra hard for me.
I love my parents, family, and friends. I’m glad that my relationships are always strengthening and growing thanks to the big questions and conversations that allow for both parties to gain trust. These conversations are important, not only for the obvious reasons like preventing pregnancy, STI’s, or HIV, but also to have healthy relationships with the people you love or care about.
Jan 28, 2013
Call me crazy, call me backward and repressed due to my education and culture because I was born and breed in a highly religious yet corrupt nation like Nigeria. Call me stupid and call me unsophisticated…call me what you will.
But whoever called parents irresponsible, unknowledgeable, unconcerned for the welfare and self esteem of their daughters at Abercrombie and Fitch must have a very crappy relationship with their daughters.
Whoever heard of push up bikinis for & year olds? Why would someone think up of a ridiculous thing like that? It’s bad enough that seven and eight year olds are given bikinis to where, but then create one that’s supposed to attract male attention and make them feel insecure because they don’t have anything to push up? Now that’s just terrible!
I know it’s an old story, but it also calls to attention to this day that companies who target sex and sexuality at young kids should be sanctioned. Why would anyone even consider a product like that? Talk about pushing the boundaries of offering your kid to the pedophile who hangs around the beach on a silver platter.
By Kwa Gaston
Jan 26, 2013
‘I am tired of being ill-treated and falsely accused of being mentally ill and being treated with such scorn because of rumours that I am an HIV sero positive patient.’ These are some of the words left behind by Emmanuel Eyo in the early days of the year 2013. A 30 year-old Cameroonian young man, Emmanuel tired of life and committed suicide by throwing himself into the Wouri river- one of Cameroon’s most renowned and dangerous rivers.- in the early days of the year 2013.
Tired of being stigmatized by his family and people in the neighbourhood in which he lived, Emmanuel decided to put an end to his days. Though committing suicide has arguably never being a solution to stigma and discrimination, Emmanuel’s act in a country where many still consider HIV/AIDS to be a mysterious disease and a curse from the gods, is comprehendible and raises questions about the treatment of people Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
This blog might be about Emmanuel, but what may be hard for you to imagine is that, like in Emmanuel’s case, many suicide cases in Douala and other towns are happening because of stigma related to being HIV positive. It is becoming clear from these acts of suicide that stigmatization is rising and having a ravaging effect on the physical and mental health of PLWHA in Cameroon.
The above observation is quite paradoxical because it is largely observed that the level of awareness on HIV/AIDS has increased among Cameroonians in the past decade while at the same time the number of people committing suicide for reasons related to stigma and discrimination because of their serological status is rising. Urgent action needs to be taken if this must be stopped.
In recent years, commendable efforts have been made by Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health, Civil Society Organisations(CSOs),United Nations’ agencies, and other development partners to fight against HIV/AIDS and avoid any new infections. That said, the fact is that the emphases of the different campaigns and programs implemented by these stakeholders has been around raising awareness about the existence of HIV/AIDS and how to avoid or protect oneself against it with little or nothing done around the stigma suffered by young people like Emmanuel because of their serological status . In my opinion, this gap in programming could explain the fact that despite rising levels of awareness about HIV/AIDS, the level of stigma towards PLWHA appears to be increasing instead of decreasing.
It is high time that the clinical approach to the fight against HIV/AIDS, which is dominant in initiatives and programs run by various community stakeholders in Cameroon, be complimented by the community approach to fighting against HIV/AIDS. When given its place in the fight against HIV/AIDS, sufficient attention will be paid to socio- cultural and religious factors that impact perceptions that people have of PLWHA in their communities. In order to truly combat stigma, integrating a community-based approach must be given the place that it deserves in the formulation of policies and implementation of health programs.
Stigma is an important factor in the effective fight against HIV/AIDS and should be considered as such. I am convinced that, unlike Emmanuel’s story which l have shared with you through this blog, untold is the story of millions of PLWHVA, especially the young people among them, who are languishing in stigma and wishing that they had never been born. Let’s act now, all together, to make the fight against stigma become as important as the distribution of condoms. It is only by so doing that we can effectively fight not only against HIV/ AIDS but also against the stigma and discrimination that is killing PLWHA in my country.
By Kwa Gaston
Jan 26, 2013
It’s the New Year and as 2013 begins in most parts of the world, loved ones and people you are in anyway close to express their wishes for you in diverse ways. One popular way of expressing wishes to others for the New Year is through greetings cards and I did receive quite a good number of them this year. Unlike in the past years, I decided to make a careful study of the messages on these greetings cards. ‘This Guy is crazy!’, is the thought that might be lingering in your mind. Just stay with me so that I can share my surprising discovery.
Though written in different styles and strongly influenced by the nature of my relationship with the sender of the greetings card, there is a wish that was omnipresent in all the messages: Wishes of Good Health. The result of this crazy study revealed to me how much Cameroonians care about their health.
The health of the average Cameroonian, like that of any normal human being in the world, is very important to him/her. What would vary might be the approach to ensuring that they stay healthy and maintain an equilibrium that is necessary for them to live a life worth living. Important as being healthy might be to Cameroonians, they are not unaware of the barriers to staying healthy. Talking about barriers to staying healthy in Cameroon, if you ask any Cameroon what the greatest barrier to staying healthy is, you would likely hear him/her answer ‘ACCESS’.
While it is clear from all indications that access to health is a stumbling block to Cameroonian’s staying healthy, it should be noted that even where these health facilities are available, users complain bitterly of the quality of the services rendered. Thus, it is common place to see a health practitioner sarcastically questioning a teenage girl about the reason for her pregnancy and making fun of her pregnancy by using very insulting and violent language. Worst still, it is common place to get a health practitioner who openly discusses results of the medical test of his/her patients without any sense of guilt or fear. The judgemental nature and lack of confidentiality in Cameroon’s health services is so widespread and across all spheres of society that a government minister recently declared that a journalist who had been tortured to death while in detention had died of HIV/AIDS.
With judgemental attitudes like these from health professionals and lack of confidentiality, no wonder an ever increasing number of pregnant teenagers refuse to go for prenatal checkups. To stay clear of insults and other traumatising language and behaviours, they thus decide to stay at home with the risks that this carries.
It is high time the quality of health services in existing health facilities be improved so that patients,especially young persons, can have the best possible experience and not be afraid, for instance, to get an HIV test because they are not sure the results will remain between them and the health professionals.
The quality of health services, though often ignored, is an important factor in reinforcing the access of young people in particular and society at large to health facilities and should be considered as such by policy makers and health professionals. The availability of health facilities that have little or no consideration for the quality of the services offered creates more problems than it solves.
Jan 24, 2013
Tell Them is proud to announce the release of a new report: 25 Years and 250,000 Teen Pregnancies Later.
This report examines the multitude of research surrounding the need for comprehensive sex education programs in South Carolina.
The report highlights 5 major problems with current sex education programs:
The Comprehensive Health Education Act was passed in 1988. Twenty-five years later, we are still facing the same problems. Condom use among teens is down (67% used condoms in 2005, 58% used condoms in 2011); more than 50% of high school students (and nearly 20% of middle school students) report that they have already had sex; and there are an average of 68 newly reported cases of Chlamydia or Gonorrhea in youth every day.
This should enrage every parent in our state. Let’s see this report as the catalyst for change. Visit www.reformsexed.org now and email your legislator. Tell Them that you support sex ed reform and demand that we get comprehensive sex education programs in our schools.
While the report focuses on information released Monday by the New Morning Foundation in their new report A Sterling Opportunity, the Tell Them analysis also examined recent studies by the South Carolina State Alliance for Adolescent Sexual Health, the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the 2010 US census, the CDC’s annual youth risk behavior surveys and a regional report published last year. For a complete list of sources, visit our webpage.
Jan 20, 2013
Jan 18, 2013
“We realize that transitioning isn’t for everyone. However, too many people make “regret” claims that simply aren’t true. Take a look.”
Jan 16, 2013
We need to talk about why we’re not talking about Uganda.
A recent report from progressive watchdog organization Media Matters found that despite the hot-button nature of Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, cable news networks in America have seriously lagged in covering the legislation. In November, for example, the viral music video for “Gangnam Style” by South Korean rapper Psy received more coverage on CNN and Fox News than Uganda’s attempt to kill LGBT people. In fact, Fox didn’t cover the legislation at all. Notably, MSNBC devoted twice as much airtime to covering the “Kill the Gays” bill as it did to discussing “Gangnam Style.”
from The Advocate
Jan 16, 2013
In 2011, youth ages 13 through 14 accounted for 23% of new HIV cases in North Carolina. Alarmingly, the cohort with the highest percentage of new HIV cases in 2011 was among ages 20 through 24 who accounted for 17% of the new HIV cases. The next highest affected cohort was among ages 25 through 29 coming in at 14% of the new HIV cases. Despite the drop in new HIV cases across the different age cohorts between 2010 and 2011, the age range 20 through 24 still accounted for 17% of new HIV case in North Carolina. In fact, the number of new HIV cases from 2010 to 2011 increased for the cohort 20 through 24 year olds.
In 2010, of the 499,846 first time freshmen enrolled in Higher Education, 62.8 % of them were between the ages of 18 through 24. Currently there is no data tracking the number of LGBT identified people between the ages of 18 through 24 year attending higher education in North Carolina. Also, there is no data specifically tracking the number of new HIV cases among those in higher education in North Carolina. These statistics provide a compelling reason to focus on HIV/AIDS awareness that specifically target people between the ages of 18 and 24 in places they gather, such as college campuses.
On possible solution is to require Freshmen and Transfer students to take a course in Comprehensive Health Education that covers in depth HIV and STDs, Contraception and Abstinence, Healthy Relationships and Communication and Rape, being inclusive of both straight and LGBT College students.
Sources: (North Carolina 2011 HIV/STD Surveillance Report, Report Compiled by: N.C. Division of Public Health, N.C. Department of Health & Human Services, http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/cd/stds/figures.html)
(Statistical Abstract of Higher Education in North Carolina, 2010-11, Report Compiled by: Daphne Dow, Social Research Associate Institutional Research and Analysis UNC General Administration, http://www.northcarolina.edu/reports/index.php)
Jan 14, 2013
Demand an apology from The Guardian for publishing hate speech
Julie Burchills piece on Comment is Free (Jan 2013) (In response to Suzanne Moores also disgusting comments on CiF) is nothing more than a transphobic hate speech. We call on The Guardian to apologise for publishing a piece which delegitimises the identity of trans* people and incites hatred towards them. Gender reassignment is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, discrimination against trans* people is unlawful. Lets not let the Guardian get away with publishing pieces of such a disgusting transphobic nature.
AMENDED: The comment is published by the Observer (Guardians sunday paper). It is however on the Guardian Online and therefore they should also be issuing an apology.
Jan 13, 2013
Click on the link to see the images in full!
Jan 11, 2013
Political Info and Laws in Brief
- Governor Rick Snyder (R) is anti-choice.
- The Michigan House is anti-choice.
- The Michigan Senate is anti-choice.
Michigan bans a safe abortion procedure and has unconstitutional and unenforceable criminal bans on abortion.
Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay
Michigan has a partially unconstitutional and unenforceable law that subjects women seeking abortion services to biased-counseling requirements and mandatory delays.
Counseling Ban/Gag Rule
Michigan prohibits certain state employees and organizations receiving state funds from counseling or referring women for abortion services.
Refusal to Provide Medical Services
Michigan allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide women specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals.
Restrictions on Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan restricts low-income women’s access to abortion.
Restrictions on Young Women’s Access to Abortion
Michigan law restricts young women’s access to abortion services by mandating parental consent.
Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)
Michigan subjects abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals.
Michigan law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide the same coverage for contraception.
Low-Income Women’s Access to Family Planning
Michigan provides certain low-income women increased coverage for Medicaid-funded family-planning services.
Protection Against Clinic Violence
Michigan law protects women seeking reproductive-health care and medical personnel from blockades and violence.
OTHER RELEVANT LAWS
Post-Viability Abortion Restriction
Michigan restricts post-viability abortion.
83% of Michigan counties have no abortion provider.
*an issue that does not affect *just* women.
Jan 9, 2013
The Gulabi gang is a group of women vigilantes active across North India. It is named after the pink saris worn by its members. The group was founded as a response to widespread domestic abuse and other violence against women. Gulabis visit abusive husbands and beat them with bamboo sticks. In 2008, they stormed an electricity office and forced officials to restore the power they had cut to extract bribes. The Gulabis have also stopped child marriages and protested dowry and female illiteracy.
Jan 9, 2013
No one is a slut. “Slut” is a made-up word to keep women from having as much fun as men. A person who enjoys sex is just a person and a person who is a virgin is also just a person and everyone should lay off each other’s sex lives. Retire the word “slut” please.
From the article: 20 Things We Need to Stop Talking About in 2013
Jan 7, 2013
I have always found a foreigner’s perspective on the Nigerian society quite interesting and much needed, after all, it often takes one standing on the outside looking in to fully grasp the situation at hand: they are detached and sometimes, not always, tend to have an objective view. Islamist extremists and terrorist cells in the North; Niger Delta militants and independent kidnapping groups in the South; over population, disease, over riding impoverishment of its people everywhere else; and of course, the corruption. We cannot forget about that.
For a nation with boundless human and mineral resources, diverse and fruitful agricultural potential, the nation is sinking into a quick sand of economic and political muck brought about by the rot that corruption has festered for the last 50 years of the country’s existence. As I write, Nigeria is ranked the 143rd most corrupt nation out of 182 in the world. This goes to show, that no matter how a nation is blessed with resources, or anyone has everything they could ever need to succeed on paper, nothing will work unless the people themselves decide to, and follow through to take actions important to succeed.
Growing up in a nation where corruption is the national pastime as the average person’s ambition – and therefore the average politician’s is to take a very sizable chunk of the “national cake”, as it is called, regardless of the consequences on the masses, it is no wonder that that the developed world views Nigeria as a Red Zone. Economic fortunes can be made without a doubt, especially my multinationals, but usually at the price of the people.
How can a nation that claims to be Africa’s Giant boast knowing and participating to spread the rust deep within its core? Status quo or just plain procedure to survive? I do not know. But one thing I have come to understand about human nature and society, is that logic and commonsense are not so common.
But despite the greed, incredible poverty and lack of infrastructure that continues to plague corrupt nations like Nigeria, we should be thankful of those individuals and groups faced with the odds of improving the state of affairs of the people, and the countries in question. These are the idealists, the fighters, those ridiculed and discouraged by even their own leaders who should be examples for young people to look to. They try in the best way, as hard as it is, and trust me, its excruciatingly hard to keep moving when everyone says you can\’t make it, that you are a fool for believing in the good, the development and sustainability of your own nation.
Cultures that thrive on social and economic inequality, gross injustice to the masses and corrupt leaders have a tendency to face uprisings and revolutions and even civil wars. Let\’s hope that the change to a more sustainable society, a more transparent and functioning government shall not involve too much bloodshed.
It is more than obvious that as a nation, Nigeria has a long way to go in terms of sustainability, especially where the sexual and reproductive health of its young people, particularly the women, are involved. Most of it\’s leaders are too busy looting the resources using its people for their own selfish ends and spending it anywhere but where it\’s needed most; the few who care are focused on other areas of national development. Apparently, issues that concern women and young people in general are much to soft for their tastes.
With hope, hard work and determination (I include them because I know success is not achieved by prayers alone), young people will be the ones to realize that their destinies lie in their hands, and they will do with it what they will.
Jan 7, 2013
When I attended the One Voice Summit in Washington D. C. on November 16-19, 2012, I didn’t know how they were going to fill one hour, much less three days with information about how the environment and reproductive health were related.
After attending the conference, I learned how the world is acutely affected by our reproductive choices through population control, sustainability, and resource consumption and how we are affected by the environment we live in. The reproductive system is one of the most easily affected by its environment. In one instance, an umbilical cord was found to contain approximately 287 industrial chemicals. We’re being exposed to more chemicals at an earlier point in our lives and it’s affecting how we reproduce. Phthalates, BPA, and PAH are in the air we breathe and the everyday items we use. These chemicals have been linked to premature births, endometriosis, genital abnormalities in boys, sperm damage, reduced sperm count, and hormone disruption, to name a few.
Needless to say, this is some pretty serious stuff. When I arrived home, I was determined to change my lifestyle and start living more eco-friendly. Although I had recycled before, I became even more rigorous about recycling and making sure nothing recyclable was being thrown away. No receipts, no water bottles, no cans. Though this was a good beginning, I still found myself surrounded by toxic chemicals. I swapped out cleaning supplies for white vinegar, began leaving my shoes at the door, avoided plastic like the plague, and looked up my personal care products using cosmeticsdatabase.com. It’s so easy to change a few simple things in your lifestyle that can cause a world of difference in your toxin intake and your carbon footprint. There’s even an app for that. The free GoodGuide Mobile app allows you to scan the barcode of an item and find out its health, environment, and society scores, combining them to give you an overall rating. It’s so simple, even my mom can do it.
As a result of this conference, I found out more than I ever thought possible about how environmental issues and reproductive issues go hand in hand. It caused me to reevaluate my choices. I don’t reach for bottled water anymore. I make sure that I know what my products have in them. This conference made me want to research the things in my life that I took for granted. Because of that, I’ve become an organic gardener. I’m attempting to change my life, it’s true. But, I’m also attempting to change the world. And it’s the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
Jan 5, 2013
My company Off The Record Apparel is having a charity college tour this spring to promote safe sex, condom use, and HIV/AIDS awareness in schools. We will be teaming up with 15 major colleges in 5 states, over 20 different artists, bands, and speakers, and countless sponsors to bring good music, good food, good fun, and REAL FACTS to students. A portion of all vendor proceeds and all ticket sales will go to local charities also involved in the cause. We are currently looking for more artists, speakers, vendors, sponsors, volunteers, and even promotors to help in any way that they can.
If you or any one you know would be interested in this opportunity, or have any questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also like us at facebook.com/OffTheRecord313 or go to OffTheRecordApparel.com for updates and info.
Jan 5, 2013
The President should also push for more proper scientific terminology to be used regarding pregnancy and fetus. It will help to defeat the propaganda that seemed successfully spread into all communications.
The re-education should emphasis there is NO SUCH THING as “unborn child” or “baby” within the woman’s womb. I.e., if you CANNOT carry a fetus in your hand and nurse it, then it simply CANNOT be called a “baby” nor “unborn child” nor “person”. The latter words should have precisely different meanings so they don’t apply to a “fetus”as well. We need to emphasize training everyone to use only PROPER SCIENTIFIC TERMS when referring to the fetus or pregnancy. This will help to prevent all silly debates from prevailing anywhere.
Dec 26, 2012
‘Tis the season to be jolly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-condoms. For this fall semester of being a GACC safesite, I decided to give out the 500 condoms during the holiday season. Sure, it ended up being the very end of the fall semester, but how can you resist using “wrap it up” as both STD-avoidance advice and gift-giving talk? Answer: you can’t. So, after making festive GACC flyers and equipping each of them with two condoms and an instruction sheet, I distributed them throughout the dorms; just in time for finals and Undie Run, which, yes, is exactly what it sounds like.
Dec 23, 2012
Georgia HB 954, also known as “Women As Livestock,” passed. The bill caught national attention after State Representative Terry England (R) came to the bill’s defense and shared his thoughts a few months ago, “…if farmers have to ‘deliver calves, dead or alive’ then a woman carrying a dead fetus or one not expected to survive should have to carry it to term.”
Because that worked so well with Savita Halappanavar, right? And we thought the GOP couldn’t be any more openly misogynistic.
At first this bill criminalized all abortions after 20 weeks, regardless of health conditions. After weeks of negotiation the bill was revised in a way that an exemption will be made for medically futile pregnancies or if the health of the pregnant person is in danger. The revised bill still neglected to make an exemption for pregnant people with mental illnesses. So, those suffering with mental illnesses will still be forced to continue their pregnancy. The bill still has no exemptions for rape or incest.
According to Ms. Magazine and the bill itself:
In order for a pregnancy to be considered “medically futile,” the fetus must be diagnosed with an irreversible chromosomal or congenital anomaly that is “incompatible with sustaining life after birth.” The Georgia “fetal pain” bill also stipulates that the abortion must be performed in such a way that the fetus emerges alive. If doctors perform the abortion differently, they face felony charges and up to 10 years in prison.
And this “fetal pain” bill is just based on this silly notion that fetuses feel pain at 20 weeks, even though doctors and scientists keep coming up with new studies that the nervous system of a fetus does not register pain until much later in the third trimester–one of many sources being The Journal of the American Medical Association. But whatever point of the pregnancy the fetus feels pain is actually not an issue for me. Pain, sentience, and/or personhood of the fetus, etc, none of that matters to me in this discourse for reproductive health care and rights. Pregnant people continue to be erased from this conversation, and I’m done with that. We need to stop participating in this erasure of people who are actually affected by these restrictions. The focus of the conversation should always be about choice and the people who can make one. Actuality should always come before potentiality. And remember, no one–whether it’s a fetus, a child, or a grown adult–has the right to another person’s body without constant consent.
I post this with the understanding that this issue does not affect only women or all women. I post this with the hopes that we all continue this fight for reproductive health care and rights.
The two sides of the abortion debate in America literally face one another in this documentary from filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. In Fort Pierce, Florida, a women’s heath care center is located at the corner of 12th and Delaware. On the same corner, across the street, is another women’s heath care center. However, the two centers are not in the same business; one provides abortions along with a variety of other health services, while the other primarily offers counseling to women considering abortion, urging them to keep their babies.In 12th and Delaware, Ewing and Grady offer a look inside both offices, as pro-life counselors give women a mixture of concern and disinformation about terminating their pregnancies and the pro-choice medical staff struggles to work under the frequent threat of violence against them. The film also examines the handful of protesters who stand outside the abortion clinic, confronting both patients and staff as they enter and exit.
See the movie: http://stfuprolife.tumblr.com/post/38560890103/because-some-followers-have-asked-about-this-i-am
Congress Passes Amendment to Lift Abortion Ban on Military Rape Survivors
Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, applauded Congress for supporting a provision sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that would lift the ban on women in the military using their health insurance for abortion care in cases of rape or incest. Now, the bill makes its way to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.
The Obama administration already has voiced its support for lifting the ban on sexual-assault survivors using their health insurance for abortion care.
“Sen. Shaheen and retired military leaders advocated tirelessly to end this discriminatory policy,” Keenan said. “Protecting those who serve our country is an American value. There is no better time than now for President Obama and Congress to remind the country of their commitment to protect and support our servicewomen by signing this bill into law.”
The Shaheen amendment has widespread support ranging from retired military officers to former Secretary of State Colin Powell to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
This ban is one of two unfair restrictions on women’s access to safe abortion care. Looking to the future, NARAL Pro-Choice America also urges lawmakers to repeal the ban on military women using their own money for abortion services in situations beyond sexual assault at overseas military hospitals.
NARAL Pro-Choice America is a longtime leader in advocating for servicewomen’s reproductive rights and has been working with lawmakers and other allies for more than 15 years to repeal this unfair abortion-coverage ban. Nearly 89,000 of the organization’s member activists have taken action to support lifting the ban.
H.B. 5711, the Michigan omnibus anti-abortion “super bill” passed last week during the lame duck session of the state legislature, is a hefty 80-odd pages worth of restrictions and regulations on abortions, providers, clinics, and medical practices. It was overwhelmingly passed by both chambers of the legislature, but how many even knew what they were actually voting for?
Emily Magner of Social Work Advocacy Coalition of Michigan, shares a story onEclectablog of her late November meeting with one local legislator, state Senator Howard Walker, who voted in favor of the bill. A bill which as of the end of November he couldn’t even be bothered to read.
e went on to talk specifically about how this bill will harm Michigan women, disproportionately women living in rural areas like ours. After we brought up a few of these points he put up his hands and said that he couldn’t really speak to those topics … he had not read the bill.
In front of him was a one paragraph synopsis I assume was from the Right to Life special interest organization who drafted the bill.
Howard Walker had not even bothered to read it.
We spoke with him for 20 minutes, the whole time he was dismissive, misinformed, and rude. When his handler told him, “5 more minutes,” I told him that I would never ask him to change his beliefs on abortion, I would protect his right to believe whatever he wanted, but I did want him to consider the harmful implications that this legislation would have on women and consider his ethical obligation to his field to leave his personal views at the door.
Before I could finish my sentence, he waved his hand dismissively and interrupted, “THIS ISN’T ABOUT WOMEN! THIS IS ABOUT PROTECTING FETUSES!”
Republican Governor Rick Snyder has less than two weeks to decide whether he is just as dismissive of women as Senator Walker is or whether he will veto the bill.
Dec 20, 2012
What an election season it has been for the Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter at Southern Methodist University!
Our student chapter in Dallas is new. We’re a small, but dedicated group hoping to change the culture at SMU through encouraging students to become activists for comprehensive sex ed, scientifically accurate health textbooks and LGBTQ equality among other issues. Since August we have been going through the process of becoming a chartered student organization at the university. In addition, we were excited to activate young voters around the Dallas area.
Diligent in our work, we began by seeking out local events at which we could table. We planned meetings on campus and used social media to reach out to our friends who would be willing to volunteer.
Our first event was Dallas Pride. It was cold, wet, and not so filled with sunshine, but that made the rainbows stand out even brighter. Nonetheless, we took advantage of this wonderful opportunity to leave the table and soggy pamphlets behind to interact with the huge crowd that was watching the parade. Through this, we were able to build relationships with Dallas locals and let them know that TFN was in town!
On campus, we had to push through several obstacles to have our presence known but we have begun to build a strong base of supporters. Until we have our charter status, we can only host meetings. However, soon we’ll be advertising and hosting events all year long!
We’re well on our way to being an established and sustainable campus organization. In January, we’ll host a “Fired Up for the Legislative Session Celebration” where we’ll celebrate the beginning of our work organizing around supporting birth control access at the state capitol. We’re thinking party favors with a little information about the State Legislature, the State Board of Education, yummy treats and of course “lollipop condoms.”
More to come as we continue to fight for comprehensive sex ed and birth control access in Texas!
Dec 18, 2012
Check out SWARM-er Darian James’s experience at the World AIDS Day march in Orangeburg, SC!
Dec 17, 2012
Talking about young people in the part of the world where I come is already a sensitive issue and adding ‘rights’ which is another very explosive issue to this makes advocacy for the placing of youth rights at the heart of development a very difficult but not an impossible task. Behind these words lies the fears, doubts, and optimism of a participant at the just ended International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)-Beyond 2014 Global youth Forum (GYF) which held from the 4th to the 6th December 2012.They are also the words that come to my mind whenever I think about this forum and the impact its outcomes will have on the future of young people and therefore our world as a whole. The fruits of the optimism raised and the hopes re-enkindled by the ICPD-Beyond 2014 GYF not only in the young persons that attended this event but above all in the lives of the millions of young persons that are marginalized, down trodden, and persecuted because of their gender, age, political choices, and sexual orientation, will no doubt become reality as youths irrespective of their social status, religious beliefs, and gender have been empowered and energized by this forum. With most of the recommendations from the ICPD-Beyond 2014 GYF urging governments, international bodies, and civil societies to recognize the rights of all young persons especially the marginalized, suffering and persecuted(the girl child, sexual minorities, rural dwellers, the uneducated) and establish an enabling environment for the potentials of every young person to be unleashed and his/her dreams fulfilled, the forum is ended but has opened an avenue for youths to claim what is theirs and take their places in decision making cycles in their various countries. Enlightened, empowered, and inspired by the passion and enthusiasm I witnessed in Bali, the following words came to my mind in the evening of the 6th of December as the forum ended: ‘What happens when it comes time to part? Well you know how when you’re listening to music from another room and you’re singing along, because it’s a tune you really love, when the door closes, or a train passes, and you can’t hear the music anymore, but you sing along anyway?’ Just like the song described in this scene from the movie, ‘Music from Another Room’, the journey towards achieving youths rights might have begun long ago, Bali marked a new beginning in this fight for the rights of young people in all their diversity to be recognized and respected in the society where they live.
Dec 12, 2012
WHAT THE MICHIGAN ANTI-ABORTION BILL REALLY DOES
The Republican-controlled Michigan Senate now has before it a draconian anti-abortion clinic bill designed to make the
full range of reproductive health services, including abortion care, inaccessible for Michigan women. The bill passed
the Michigan House in June. The most potentially dangerous, expensive, and degrading provisions in HB 5711 would:
REQUIRE DISPOSAL OF “FETAL REMAINS” LIKE A DEAD BODY
– Michigan will become the ﬁrst state in the nation to
require any woman who seeks an abortion or miscarries to decide how she will dispose of the “fetal remains.”
WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
At 10 weeks: A woman must pay for a funeral home to transport fetal remains and to decide amongst burial,
cremation, or interment. Current law requires the products of conception to be hygienically incinerated.
HB 5711, if passed,
Misleads women into thinking of the fetal issue as a person and abortion as murder.
Traumatizes and shames women at a diﬃcult time and adds unnecessary expense to an abortion.
At 20 weeks: Additionally, either the physician or the coroner must ﬁle a Death Certiﬁcate, a public record which
may be reported in the local newspaper and remains permanently on ﬁle with the State. HB 5711, if passed,
Robs women of their right to privacy and potentially makes miscarriage and abortion public.
STOP DOCTORS FROM PERFORMING ABORTIONS – Doctors who would perform more than ﬁve abortions a month in the oﬃce (or who meet other criteria) must do so only in a licensed freestanding surgical facility and buy $1 million in liability insurance.
WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Makes providing abortion services prohibitively expensive for doctors so that they will give up the practice.
The requirements for surgical facilities won’t make women safer, the insurance is not currently available in
Michigan and, even if it were, it would likely be prohibitively expensive and make the cost of abortion beyond
the reach of most women. Current laws adequately protect women and should be enforced.
RESTRICT FREE SPEECH IN THE GUISE OF PREVENTING “COERCION” – Doctors must verify that patients have been “screened” about whether they were coerced into seeking an abortion.
WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Makes parents, spouses, and others subject to lawsuits for counseling a woman about making informed
choices, while frightening doctors from providing abortions for fear of legal action.
END THE TELE-MEDICINE OPTION
– The new law would prohibit doctors from dispensing safe medication abortions or emergency contraception drugs such as Ella through telemedicine protocols. The bill even requires that medication abortions be performed at a licensed freestanding surgical facility!
WHAT THIS REALLY DOES:
Adds physical and ﬁnancial barriers that discourage women from exercising their legally-protected rights
without making them any safer.
Makes abortion unavailable to women in underserved areas, which includes more than 83% of Michigan
WHAT THESE LAWS ALSO DO IS DISCOURAGE GOOD DOCTORS FROM PRACTICING IN MICHIGAN
- Dr. Michael Allswede of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists tes9ﬁed against the bill, arguing that his organization knows the bill will make it harder to recruit doctors to practice in Michigan. Studies show Michigan could lack as many as 4,500 doctors by 2020, and this legisla9on would make matters worse.
Contact your Senator and Governor Snyder and tell them to reject HB 5711.
See www.michnow.org for contact informa2on.
*this does not affect just women
Dec 12, 2012
**This issue is not just about women’s health, it’s about every single person who could be affected by an attack on reproductive rights and health.**
The latest filings from Karl Rove’s American Crossroads show a last minute contribution of $1 million received just days before the election (10/29/12) from Gary Heavin — the co-founder of Curves International Inc., which calls itself “the world’s leader in women’s fitness.”
Curves, a chain of women-only fitness center franchises, claims nearly 10,000 locations in more than 85 countries. Heavin and his fellow co-founder, his wife Diane, sold Curves International to an private equity firm in October, but they remain prominently featured on the company’s website. The Heavins say they “share a passion for and commitment to women’s health and fitness.” But his massive donation to the right-wing super PAC is only the latest in a long pattern of their efforts
in support of policies that undermine women’s equality in the workplace and restrict women’s access to health care services.
American Crossroads spent $91 million to elect Mitt Romney over President Obama. Romney refused to endorse key pro-women legislation including the bipartisan Violence Against Women Act, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and thePaycheck Fairness Act, but backed reinstating the “global gag rule” on even discussing abortion as a family planning option and supported the infamous Blunt Amendment to allow employers to deny health benefits that go against their personal views. Crossroads also worked to help far-right extremists like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and George Allen. Much of the American Crossroads attack strategy focused on criticizing Obamacare and those who backed the effort to expand health insurance access to all Americans.
In addition to helping fund American Crossroads, the Heavins also combined to give $92,400 to the House and Senate Republican campaign arms, $2,500 to Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), $30,800 to the Republican National Committee, $7,300 to Romney’s campaign, and $2,500 to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) in 2012.
And this past election isn’t the only time that Curves and the Heavins have worked against women’s reproductive rights. Gary Heavin pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars for controversial “pregnancy crisis centers” that try to talk women out of abortions and have been accused to providing false information. They also made large donations to abstinence-only education programs — programs which often misinform and make teens more likely to engage in risky behavior and become pregnant. Curves also pulled its funding for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation over its objection to the charity’s funding for Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening services. In a 2004 editorial, Mr. Heavin attacked Planned Parenthood’s sex education literature, writing “I have a 10-year-old daughter. I would absolutely not allow her to be exposed to this material. I don’t want her being taught masturbation and told that homosexuality is normal.”
That anti-choice and anti-LGBT stance was further demonstrated when Curves partnered with the American Family Association — a group that has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a “hate group.” They joined for a 2009 healthy recipe contest and sold a Curves fitness CD on the AFA’s website. Gary Heavin has also been an outspoken enthusiast for televangelist Pat Robertson, who has blamed natural disasters on same-sex marriage equality and blamed 9/11 on abortion, the separation of church and state, and civil liberties groups.
Dec 10, 2012
Dec 10, 2012
Yellow Face and Orientalism in the Media: Controlling What it Means to be Asian
Yellow Face isn’t just the mere inauthenticity and a failure of aesthetics of white people dressing up, wearing make up, trying to be Asian, and/or playing the roles of Asians. No, it’s definitely more insidious and problematic than that. It is systematic racism and discrimination, refusing to hire Asians or forcing them to play as villains, or when they receive a major role, it is typically a stereotypical one (i.e., martial arts, ‘wise man’, ‘dragon lady’, etc). It simulates a crude idea of what ‘Asians’ look like, all the while perpetuating terrible stereotypes, controlling what it means to be Asian whether it’s in person, on the stage, or on screen.
Orientalism: It’s a dichotomy created by the ‘West,’ it builds a view of the ‘East’ along with many elements of this culture that becomes obscured and exotic. Making a whole group of people seen as something monolithic, creating an erasure of actual identities.
I’m not even going to try to bother with getting too in-depth about the obvious cultural appropriation, ethnocentrism, and orientalism (not too much at least). I’m not going to go into Yellow Face on stage, in whitewashing (too much), in Europe, nor will I take the time to go through political caricatures of Asians throughout history. [Not that it’s less important or there’s a lack of evidence.] These following examples and history checks should do enough for now in getting my point across. (Please find a friend in Google if you really want to educate yourself though! Thank you!)
So, why did Yellowface occur? Was there a shortage of Asian people to play these Asian roles during the times this practice was most rampant (19th and 20th century)?
Meet Sessue Hayakawa (Born 1889-Death 1973), the first Asian American leading actor. He was one of the highest paid actors of his time. His talents were definitely recognized by Paramount Pictures and was even considered a sex icon. But despite all of this, he still met discrimination and racism everywhere he went. He was always forced to either play “the exotic villain” or “the exotic lover.” He waited for his turn to be casted as a hero of color, but it never came.
This is Anna May Wong (1905-1961). During the 1920s-1930s, Anna was given many different roles as a contracted Paramount Pictures actress, but they were always either as a “dragon lady” or a “butterfly lady.” Despite all of that, she was still a household name and was considered a fashion icon.
She was the top contender for the leading role of O-Lan, a Chinese heroine for the movie The Good Earth (1937) by MGM, but that role was later given to Luise Rainer (definitely not Asian). MGM went to her and tried to give her another role for a film called Lotus, but it meant that she had to be the villain again, so she turned it down and left for Europe for more opportunities and eventually went back to Paramount Pictures.
Say hello to Philip Ahn (1905-1973). For the film, Anything Goes, Ahn was initially rejected by the director, Lewis Milestone, because—I shit you not, he said this to Philip Ahn—he thought Philip’s “English was too good for the part.” During World War II, Philip Ahn was often forced to play roles of Japanese villains. He even received death threats because people thought he was actually Japanese.
Other Asian actors/actresses: Barbara Jean Wong, Fely Franquelli, Benson Fong, Chester Gan, Honorable Wu, Kam Tong, Keye Luke, Layne Tom Jr., Maurice Liu, Philip Ahn, Richard Loo, Lotus Long, Rudy Robles, Suzanna Kim, Teru Shimada, Willie Fung, Victor Sen Yung, Toshia Mori and Wing Foo.
Merle Oberon can also be added to the list, although she was part white/part Asian. She had to lie about her origins and applied whitening make up to pass as fully white. Other Asian actors and actresses: Jack Soo, Pat Morita, Mako, Bruce Lee, Lucy Liu, Margaret Cho, B.D. Wong, Amy Hill, Jennie Kwan, Masi Oka, James Lee, Ming Na, Daniel Dae Kim, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Charlyne Yi, Miyoshi Umeki, Shin Koyamada, John Cho, Brenda Song, and George Takei. Click on this link to see a hundred more.
After going through the list, ask yourself why the majority of the actors and actresses here are either in some martial arts movies or some other stereotypical crap?
TL;DR this section: There definitely wasn’t a shortage of Asian American actors and actresses. And there still isn’t.
Very Few Examples (of Very Many) of Yellowface in History:
Nil Ashter as General Yen from The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933)
What Nils Ashter really looked like:
Harold Huber as Ito Takimura in Little Tokyo, USA (1942)
Interestingly enough, everyone who was a “bad guy” in this was portrayed as Japanese. Even more interesting, this was around the same time Japanese Internment Camps were happening.
What Harold Huber really looked like:
Katharine Hepburn as Jade Tan in in Dragon Seed (1944)
Katharine Hepburn just a few years after Dragon Seed:
Jennifer Jones as Dr. Han Suyin in Love is a Many Splendored-Thing (1955)
Another interesting concept found in this movie. “BEING WITH ASIAN WOMEN IS SO HOT AND EXOTIC. LET’S FETISHIZE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM.” Yup.
What Jennifer Jones actually looks like:
John Wayne as Genghis Khan in The Conqueror (1956)
John Wayne, y’all:
Mickey Rooney as Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
Mickey Rooney at that time:
Joel Grey as Chiun (Kung Fu Master, everyone—on the left) in Remo Williams (1985)
What Joel Grey really looked like:
Other cases I haven’t really taken the time to cover: Charlie Chan Series (Actors who played as Charlie Chan from 1931-1981: Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Roland Winters, Peter Ustinov) Fu Manchu, Madame Butterfly, The Teahouse of the August Moon, Shanghai Express, The Manchurian Candidate, Sayonara, Mr. Moto Series, 7 Faces of Dr. Lao, Short Circuit (1986 & 1988), The Party, Gunga Din, Broken Blossoms, The Year of Living Dangerously, etc.
I mean, I guess you could say, “But those movies were decades ago!”
Alex Borstein as Ms. Swan.
Nicholas Cage as Fu Manchu (2007)
(Other actors who played the role of Fu Manchu starting from the 1920s up ‘til now: H. Agar Lyons, Warner Oland, Boris Karloff, Harry Brannon, Christopher Lee, and Peter Sellers)
Christopher Walken as Feng (2007)
Rob Schneider as Asian Minister in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (2007)
M. Night’s The Last Airbender (2010)
Well, the show was based on Asian and Inuit culture. But just look at the casting. The three protagonists are all light skinned while Zuko (played by Dev Patel in the movie) is dark skinned, (but Zuko is actually the lightest skinned in the original series and the good guys were darker skinned) and by default in this movie, the bad guy. Someone please just remake this movie. Please.
British Actor, Jim Sturgess, (rocking bad eye prosthetics) playing as a Korean in Cloud Atlas (2012)
Michigan Lawmakers Are Trying To Sneak Extreme Abortion Restrictions
Women’s health advocates confirm that Michigan lawmakers are likely to revive on Thursday an omnibus anti-abortion bill that sparked widespread protests after it passed the House this summer, in addition to a host of other restrictive abortion legislation they hope to force through the current lame duck session.
As Michigan’s current attempt to pass anti-union legislation dominates the coverage surrounding the state legislature, lawmakers are using the opportunity to revisit anti-abortion measures they hope to slip through before this session ends. Since five anti-choice state legislators lost their seats in last month’s election, this may be the best time for the legislature to advance their far-right agenda — despite the fact that the majority of Michigan residents support legal access to abortion. On Thursday afternoon, the state senate may consider multiple anti-abortion bills that aim to:
1) Regulate abortion clinics out of existence. HB 5711, the massive 45-page legislation that sparked amassive outcry when the House considered it in June, contains additional and unnecessary regulations for abortion providers. HB 5711 would subject any facilities that perform 6 or more abortions per month to burdensome regulations that could be so costly that they force clinics to close their doors, an indirect method of targeting abortion providers.
2) Limit abortion access for women in rural areas. HB 5711 would also place restrictions on telemedical abortions, which provide essential health services to women in rural areas who often lack any access to nearby abortion doctors. Even though telemedical procedures have been proven to be safe and effective, Michigan lawmakers seek to require doctors to be physically present to administer abortion services.
3) Impose further guidelines for the disposal of fetal remains. Michigan already has regulations in place to instruct medical professions about how they must dispose of fetal remains, but HB 5711 wants to go a step further, requiring fetal remains to be treated in the exact same manner as dead bodies. Doctors would be forced to fill out death forms and make arrangements for the fetal remains’ cremation or burial,imposing an emotional burden on the women whose pregnancies end through a medical miscarriage. No other state handles fetal remains at 10 weeks in the same way as it handles dead bodies.
4) Prevent private insurance companies from covering any abortion services. A trio of companion bills — SBs 612, 613, and 614 — would work together to ban the health insurance exchange that Michigan will set up under Obamacare from covering abortion, as well as ban private insurers from covering any abortion services under their general insurance plans. Currently, 87 percent of Michigan’s insurance plans include abortion care in their benefits packages. If private insurers elect to cover abortions, they have to do it as a separate rider, which often ends up being more costly for women.
5) Allow doctors to refuse to perform abortion services because of their personal beliefs. SB 975, which passed the Michigan Senate’s Health Policy committee earlier this week and is now up for a full vote, is a sweeping “license to discriminate” bill that would allow medical professionals to deny health services based on their personal beliefs. It would allow doctors to refuse to provide HIV treatment, vaccinations, or abortions to any of their patients simply based on their “conscience.”
Preliminary reports from women’s health advocates on the ground in Michigan suggest that the Senate has already passed SB 975, and is likely to pass SBs 612, 613, and 614 this afternoon. But Thursday’s push doesn’t represent the only step that Michigan lawmakers have taken during this year’s lame duck session to push through anti-choice legislation. Just a few weeks ago, state legislators also considered establishing a tax credit for fetuses past 12 weeks’ gestation, a dangerous step toward endowing fetuses with the same rights as U.S. citizens.
Sadly, we’ve all grown used to the idea that nothing gets through the U.S. Senate these days without the support of at least 60 senators. Procedural tricks and a misuse of the filibuster rule has ground legislation to a near halt in the years since President Barack Obama took office. But when it came to a vote to ensure that disabled persons have the same rights as anyone else—including the right to avoiding pregnancy or terminating unwanted ones—even 60 votes wasn’t enough.
The Senate voted 61 to 38 to ratify the United Nations Rights of Persons with Disabilities Treaty, which stated “nations should strive to assure that the disabled enjoy the same rights and fundamental freedoms as their fellow citizens,” according to the Associated Press. The treaty was modeled after the Americans with Disabilities Act, but anti-choice activists rallied against it, claiming it “sacrifices the most vulnerable—the disabled and the unborn—all in the name of population control,” according to Bradley Mattes, president of the International Right to Life Federation.
Although anti-choice activists claimed concern that the treaty, if ratified, could expand access to abortion and somehow impede their efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, many of those who voted against the measure, such as Utah Sen. Mike Lee, pointed to fear of losing United States “sovereignty” as their reason for opposing the treaty.
Dec 7, 2012
When engaging in consensual sex, choosing to use condoms can aid in preventing pregnancy, assisting in preventing the of spread sexually transmitted diseases and infections (STDs/STIs), and adding a little bit of flavor to any sexual rendezvous.
In fact, according the Center for Disease Control (CDC, 2012), when worn properly and consistently, male condoms are highly effective in the prevention of pregnancy and spreading of STDs/STIs, for example HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).
Condoms are for one time use only. Trojan Condoms recommends you:
Dispose of a used condom by wrapping it in tissue and throwing it in the trash. Wash your hands, genitals and surrounding areas with soap and water. (Trojan Condoms, 2012)
However, there are sites on the internet that allow people to anonymously sell and purchase used condoms with their contents. Even on some main stream sites, such as Experience Project have forms dedicated to obtaining used condoms and their contents, the best way to store used condoms and their contents, and the best ways to use used condoms and their contents. This is risky behavior and can lead to contracting STDs/STIs. These websites are free to join and use, as long as you are 18 years of age or older.
This fetish of ingesting, reusing, wearing, and using used condoms and their contents when masturbating can have negative health outcomes. There is no way for these sites to regulate and screen used condoms and their contents for STDs and STIs, and there is no way for the purchaser to know if they are purchasing used condoms and their contents from an STD/STI free individual.
This serious sexual health issue can be addressed by Comprehensive Sexual Health Education. That covers the transmission of STDs/STIs, Condom Usage and Disposal Information, and Sexuality and Sexual Behaviors.
Another way to address this sexual health issue is by having open dialogue about how this expression of a condom fetish can have adverse effects on a persons’s health. Discussing the possible alternatives to safely pursing a condom fetish may also be helpful in addressing this sexual health issue.
In the end, a person has the right to make their own decisions about how they live and what they do in their bedrooms or living rooms, as long as it is legal. In the end, this is just something to think critically about and raise awareness about the possible adverse effects of utilizing used condoms and their contents.
Dec 6, 2012
Dec 5, 2012
Another day has come and gone over Bali ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum.But as days come and go, the discussion intensifies and young people are more demanding to their governments, religious and traditional authorities, parents, and society at large.
Universal access to education,inclusive education, relevant education, quality education ,financing and partnerships, as well as ccomprehensive sexuality education were identified by participants at the ICPD beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum participants as being vital for comprehensive education to become a reality in our world and were thus recommended in that other for discussion by the United Nations and possible inclusion in its post-2015 international development agenda.
Transitions to decent work, and famiies,youth Rights and well being are the themes which were on the discussion table today.These being of course issues which are relevant to every young person irrespective of where he/she hails, the debate in the plenary was so intense and continued into the various work groups.
During the plenary on transitions to decent employment, it was revealed by the International Labour Organisation’s representative that we now have the highest number of unemployed youths that the world has ever. Also, during this plenary it was disclosed that 1 in 9 young workers in Africa are in the informal sector, 4 out of 10 young workers are working on a temporary basis, and 5 in 10 low paid persons are youths.
Productivity, fairness, and rewarding are the major characteristics of a decent job as defined by the International Labour Organisation(ILO). If one is to go by this definition, one will have no choice but agree with the above statistics. One other area in which there was total agree is on the fact that stronger families, respect of youth rights, and the well being of youths are the basis for any society and so for a world at peace with itself, there was need for these issues to be tackled with maximum care.
According to Mr.Anatole Makosso, the president to the conference of African youth ministers and youth minister of Congo Brazzaville, there exist three reasons for governments to carefully consider the above mentioned issues and ensure that the needs of youths are met: They are the majority, they are the future, they will not identify with any decisions taken without them.
Another day is come and gone, and the desire for action by youths on the part of their governments has not faultered Youths want to make the Bali declaration not only a declaration but a platform for action. Hear our voices!
Dec 4, 2012
What a long awaited and historic day for mankind has today being. The ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum was officially opened today. In the presence of close to a thousand participants, Indonesian officials, and representatives of governments the world over, Dr Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA’s executive Director , in his speech decried the situation in which so many young people, especially those in the global south, live in before pointing out the importance of this event, and then inviting representatives of governments and those he termed “Seniors” to look at the young people around them and challenge how they relate to them, and then think of how they can release the potentials of these young people.
Further setting the context of the Bali ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum, the Indonesian minister for people’s welfare, declared that: we believe that a meaningful dialogue is necessary on the means and ways of engaging young people to release their potential. He further emphasized that , young people need to understand the values of life that will make them stay healthy, be educated, foster family life, actively participate in building the world they have always dreamed of.
Staying healthy, comprehensive education, transition to decent work for youth, Families, youth rights and well being, leadership and meaningful youth participation, and realizing youth rights are the themes which will be discussed and recommendations made by the over 650 participants for discussion and adoption by the UN member states as one of its post-2015 agenda.
Staying healthy and comprehensive education were tackled today in discussion groups (world Cafés) and recommendations made on the former. Access to data, putting in place of an enabling environment for youths by governments, religious and traditional authorities, access to quality, affordable, and comprehensive health services, and finally the abolition of laws and policies that that hinder youth empowerment are the recommendations that came out from the 15 sort of work groups that brainstormed on this topic. The recommendations on the comprehensive education will be presented tomorrow, Wednesday December 5th 2012.
It should be noted that the above recommendations were arrived at by participants including representatives of governments, UN agencies, and civil society in a very interactive, safe, and open environment after attending the plenary session that addressed the issue of staying healthy for a young person. At this plenary Advocate for Youth’s Meredith Waters acting in her capacity as young person commentator for this theme, declared amid thunderous applause from the audience that: the Global Youth Forum is a great way to start but not enough. Dr Nafsia Mboi, Indonesian minister of health, answering to questions from the participants declared to conclude the plenary that: Every person, I repeat every person including young people has the right to health.
Good as the speeches may be, world leaders should be conscious that young people are tired of speeches and want to see concrete actions being taken solve the pile of problems in which young people from all part of our beloved world are drowning. World leaders! Take action now or be fired! We are ready for the fight and I assure you we will always out power you; for we are the majority.
Dec 3, 2012
Fighting HIV/AIDS and other diseases like malaria is one the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) voted by the United Nation’s in the year 2000. Given that this fight seems to be slowing down and that more than 5% of Cameroonians are living with HIV/AIDS-60% of which are women and 40% falling in the youths category-there is a cause for concern on the strategy to be used for the achievement of MDGs.
Conscious that handicapped persons are also celebrated in December and given that living with HIV/AIDS is more and more considered a handicapped. This article is going to dwell on the inclusion of the handicapped in the achievement of MDGs.
Concerning the non-achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by most countries of the global south, much has been said and so much more left unsaid. But if there is one thing that has so often been ignored by policy makers, politicians and all those in charge of implementing policies that will lead to a timely achievement of MDGs, it the absence of human rights in these goals. The non-inclusion of human rights in the MDGs means the exclusion of handicapped persons, indigenous people, and other minority groups in their achievement.
Given that handicapped persons constitute 10% of Cameroon’s population and are among the poorest people in the country, it is evident that talking of poverty, the fight against hunger, improvement of maternal health care and reduction of infant mortality child is pretentious if nothing is done to the more than 85% of these handicapped persons aged14-64 years who are jobless and the other 15% of them who are confined to shoe mending, shoe shinning and other informal sector activities.
Also, talking about achieving universal access to education without paying particular attention to the fact that less than 5% of handicapped children in Cameroon can afford to
go to school with only 2% of these handicapped children completing secondary school, is wishful thinking. What about the ever increasing number of albino children who because of their sight defect and the inability of their parents to buy them glasses drop out daily from school?
The government of Cameroon recruited 25000 certificate holders in 2011 under a special recruitment scheme. But none of them was an handicapped person and as if this was not enough, a good number of handicapped persons were sent away from public schools because they could not afford to pay the required fees. This despite the fact that they are officially exempt from the payment of school fees in public schools in Cameroon. To protest against the above acts, the handicapped organized a protest march in front of the prime minister’s office in October 2011 but were violently dispersed by the police and military forces.
Can we say of a country whose government carries out such horrible acts against its own very population, even if it achieves all the MDGs, that it is developed? Can MDGs be achieved if the strategy to achieve them is not inclusive? Can the achievement of MDGs, as they are now, lead to sustainable development?
My answer to the above questions is ‘NO’. Because I am intimately convinced that, unless inclusive and people-centered, no development plan can produce any sustainable results. It is high time for our government and civil society to listen to and amplify the voices of the handicapped so that they are heard and acted upon by policy making and implementing structures because like all poor people, “they long to belong to, and participate in their communities on equal footing with others. Most of all, they do not want charity. They want opportunity”, as former world bank President James Wolfehnson once put it. Anything short of this will make the achievement of MDGs in Cameroon, even by 2035, a far-fetched dream.
How can one expect a country like Cameroon to achieve the MDGs related to literacy, health, and economic empowerment when it does not take the handicapped into consideration when designing and constructing public buildings and other infrastructure like roads, hospitals, universities, and schools?
How can one expect Cameroon to be democratic, united, and emerging by 2025,as exposed in its vision 2035,when more 10% of its population(handicapped persons) are disenfranchised due to their non-consideration when designing and producing electoral material(especially ballots) and situating polling stations(Most being inaccessible to the handicapped)?
Realizing that the above is impossible without respect for human rights, we, at the Education 4Development (E4D) have made human rights the 9th MDG and therefore one of the elements of our advocacy and awareness creation campaign on a participative, timely, and inclusive achievement of MDGs in our community. Through our MDGs participative achievement programme, we reached out to more than 1000 pupils and students in 2011 and look forward to reaching out to a greater number in 2012.
Dec 1, 2012
Tomorrow is World AIDS Day (December 1, 2012). It is day of remembrance and spreading awareness.
HIV awareness is important to me because I am a Peer Health Educator and care that others do not have access to information that they can use to make informed decisions about their sexual health. Also, on a personal level, I know people who are HIV positive and are healthy because they have access to treatment, and because they had prior knowledge about HIV and what it means to live positive.
As young people we need to Act Aware by:
Getting informed about how HIV is transmitted, prevented and treated.
Speaking up and have open dialogue with our friends, family, and representatives about the importance about the importance of HIV Awareness and Services. Specifically on how Comprehensive Sexual Health Education can inform young people about HIV and other sexually transmitted infections/diseases.
Practicing safer sex by communicating with your partners about condom usage (or other barrier methods), getting tested regularly, and by having open communications about your HIV status with (or other sexually transmitted infections/diseases) with your partners.
Getting tested regularly to know your status is important step in preventing the spread of HIV.
Getting treatment if you are HIV positive . There is no shame in living with HIV. A person with HIV can live a long, happy and healthy. Being treated for HIV can also help in preventing the spread of HIV.
Act Aware because HIV prevention is possible and it starts with you.
Act Aware by getting involved!
Find Your Representative (How to find out who your representative so you can tell them why HIV Awareness is important)
CDC: HIV/AIDS (CDC information of HIV/AIDS)
MTV HIV Awareness (Mtv provides HIV Awareness)
AIDS (The US Government providing information on HIV/AIDS)
World AIDS Day UK (International HIV Awareness Efforts)
Nov 30, 2012
Nov 29, 2012
This piece was originally published in the Harvard Crimson by Reed McConnell and Kate Sim. Reed and Kate are Advocates for Youth Campus Organizers through the Harvard College International Women’s Rights Collective (IWRC).
Angie Epifano’s recent account of sexual assault at Amherst College brought national attention to the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. In an article, she described reporting her sexual assault to the Amherst administration and the administration’s egregious response to her case—which included institutionalizing her against her will and refusing to allow her to study abroad, all while making no effort at all to punish her rapist.
At about the same time, we joined with other Harvard students to start a campaign on campus called Our Harvard Can Do Better. To encourage Harvard to re-examine its sexual assault policies and practices, the campaign put a referendum on the recent Undergraduate Council ballot calling for reform in sexual assault policy. The overwhelming student support that this referendum generated (it passed with 85 percent of the vote) suggests that undergraduates are alarmed at aspects of Harvard’s policy, including the use of the phrase “mental incapacitation” without an explanation of exactly what this means and Harvard’s lack of a policy of affirmative consent.
However, while the referendum was mainly policy-driven, what lies at the heart of sexual assault issues on campuses everywhere is the ubiquity and persistence of rape culture, a societal attitude that delegitimizes sexual violence and predisposes people to excuse rapists. Furthermore, this culture creates a general understanding of sexual violence that is limited to heterosexual relationships, thereby delegitimizing non-heterosexual violence. Unfortunately, rape culture is an inescapable aspect of American life today.
A central feature of rape culture is that the main burden of rape prevention is put on potential victims rather than on potential perpetrators, and alleged instances of this can be found on our campus. For example, Johany Pilar, who works in the Freshman Mailroom, told students and coworkers last month that she was sexually harassed at work. Pilar says that when she reported this, she was told that it was probably because she gave too many hugs. This is a prime example of victim-blaming, which happens when people suggest that victims are assaulted because they have not “done enough” to prevent assault. This focuses attention away from the fact that the aggressor acted by their own volition. And unfortunately, stories like Johany Pilar’s—stories that demonstrate the ways in which sexual assault is normalized and explained away in our society—are all too common.
Rape culture is real at Harvard, and is perhaps even more pervasive on campus due to Harvard’s history as an all-male institution. We reinforce rape culture through the ways that we conduct ourselves every day, especially through our language. Trivializing rape with phrases such as “that exam raped me” subtly changes our understanding of sexual assault so that we think of it in a lighthearted way, and strips the word “rape” of much of its meaning until it does not reflect the enormity of the violence that so many experience. This trivialization, in turn, contributes to a culture that does not acknowledge the presence of rape in our communities—leading us to question the veracity of victims’ experiences.
Furthermore, saying things that express public or male control of people’s bodies, especially women’s, shifts the way that we understand bodily agency. People subtly reinforce the idea that women’s bodies exist to be commented upon and dominated through everyday speech. For example, they might tell a woman that she should be grateful when a stranger on the street comments on her body, criticize women for wearing either not enough clothing or too much clothing, or suggest to men that the only important outcome of an interaction with a woman is whether they sleep with her. Statements and suggestions like these cause women to feel less autonomy over their bodies, and pressure men to speak about women in a way that implies domination and conquest on their parts. This distortion of our public understanding of who has control over bodies, and to what level they hold that control, is another important way in which rape culture is reinforced.
We all perpetuate rape culture when we fail to speak up against victim-blaming and slut-shaming comments. However, the fact that we all reinforce this culture means that we also can all take part in dismantling it.
Next Tuesday, there will be a rape culture speak-out, a gathering of people dedicated to creating a safe space in which they can share their experience with rape culture and listen to the voices of others. Our hope is that the speak-out will provide an opportunity not only to validate our experiences but also to demonstrate the solidarity and support that we feel for each other. The speak-out will allow us to recognize that our experiences with rape culture are not isolated incidents, but rather a collective struggle. We hope that through hearing these personal narratives of pain, struggle, and resistance that are so often silenced, students at Harvard will begin to rethink some of their behaviors, and that we can all move toward a common discourse and set of behaviors that are conscious, thoughtful, and productive in dismantling rape culture.
Reed E. McConnell ’15 is a social anthropology concentrator in Quincy House. Kate Sim ’14 is a joint social studies and studies of women, gender, and sexuality concentrator in Quincy House.
Nov 28, 2012
World Ball 2012 // Welcome to the North Pole
Join Metro TeenAIDS, RealTalkDC, STIGMA, SMYAL, Sasha Bruce, and the Latin American Youth Center for a night of competition, prizes, and voguing. This is your chance to compete in 15 categories, win a prize, and snatch a trophy!
The event will be hosted at the Eastern Market North Hall
Open to ALL YOUTH aged 13-24 years old.
DJ Tony Playboy
ENTRANCE TO THE BALL IS FREE IF TESTED FOR HIV OR $5
To gain a FREE entrance pass to the Ball, you will need to get tested at the following locations:
651 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Testing Times: 12-8pm (Mon-Fri)
410 7th Street, SE
Testing Times: 3-5pm (Mon-Thurs), 3-6pm (Fri)
701B Maryland Ave NE
Testing Times: 11-8pm (Mon-Fri)
1419 Columbia Road, NW
Testing Times: 3-6pm (Mon – Thurs)
Youth can get tested between now and December 7th or at the actual event. We recommend getting tested prior to the event to skip the lines! Youth who chose to not get tested for HIV can enter the event for just $5.
All youth who are tested for HIV will receive a FREE entrance pass and be entered into a raffle for a $25 gift card (10 winners total!)
DON’T FORGET TO GET TESTED!
WORLD BALL 2012 CATEGORIES
Runway- Green and White effect
Vogues- Red and White effect
2. Realness (OTA)
Bring it in a North Pole effect
European- Jack Frost
All American- Nutcracker
Female Figure- Ice Queen
5. Hand Performance (OTA):
Blue or White gloves
6. Performance (OTA):
Female Figure – All White effect
Butch Queen: Santa’s Elves vs. Realness with a Twist: Reindeers
7. Tag Team:
Runway of 2 (1 Female Figure & 1 All American)
Female Figure- Snow Angels
All American- Snowman
PERFORMANCE (1 female figure & 1 BQ/ RWT)
Female figure- Ms. Claus
Butch Queen or Twister- Mr. Claus
The winner of each category will receive a $25 gift card and a World Ball 2012 trophy!
‘It was the best époque,’ said the driver to the man who occupied the front seat of the car as I boarded. ‘Yes it was,’ ‘Yes it was, ‘ quietly answered the middle aged man in a manner that clearly revealed that he was in a contemplative mood and took the discussion with the driver seriously. I must confess that as long as I have been boarding Taxis, never have I boarded one in which the atmosphere was so contemplative. ‘How I wish that the youths of our time had the opportunity to experience an educational system as effective and efficient as ours, ‘ quickly added the driver, just as I started wondering what these two men were discussing that made them so passionate and engaged. When I had reached my destination, the discussion between the two men, nostalgic of their school days and educational system, had not stopped and as I alighted from the Taxi, I started having a deep thought on all the things I had heard the two men discuss. I asked myself, ‘What will I talk about with so much emotion and passion in two decades from now? ‘. As this question wondered in my mind, I soon became nervous and started blaming the generation of the Taxi driver and his passenger for having done nothing to ensure that people of my generation enjoy the efficient and effective educational system that they had.
As a young person, I am conscious of the fact that there is a great tendency for people of every generation to blame the generation that preceded it as being the cause of its turmoil. According to international bodies like the United Nations, no generation before ours has ever had the tools and means of overcoming all the things we inherently hate and would not like to be associated with like poverty, hunger, abuse of human rights, and all forms of violence. To me, this raises the question of ‘what legacy do I want my generation to leave to future generations? ‘ Such questions should be constantly on the minds of every youth of this generation.
About 43% of the world’s population is under the age of 25. Youths therefore make up close to half of the global population and are logically those most affected by the plagues of our generation (disease poverty, hunger, and abuse of human rights).The above reinforces my belief in the fact that it is in the ultimate interest of youths of this generation to make the eradication of those things plaguing our world a priority. It is only then that governments, policy makers, traditional and religious authorities will clearly see how much we long to live in a world where people’s gender, sexual orientation, and status in society is nothing compared to their right to treatment, safe delivery, and access health facilities.
While we have rights we also have responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is to leave the world better than we had it for the generations to come. If we expect to receive more let’s be prepared to give more than we receive. Come to think of it, we are the generation with the highest chances ever of making access to health care for all a reality, ending gender based violence, and making poverty history. Our time really is now and we must never allow this opportunity to leave a cherished legacy to future generations pass us by. Do something today for this generation’s legacy and the good of future generations so that we could one day proudly say: Our generation made the world a better place.
Education is one of the cornerstones on which any development worth the name is built. The growing acknowledgement of this fact has led to the emergence of many nations in our world today. But the fact that education has become an item at the top of the agenda of major international bodies and policy formulation processes is not enough. The efficiency of the educational system is an important aspect of quality education that is most often neglected by educational authorities and policy makers in Cameroon. In fact, many now believe that our educational system more than any other thing is the cause of our problems.
If the educational system in Cameroon is as inefficient as it is, more inefficient even has been sex education in primary and secondary schools. Sex education in schools in Cameroon has been so inefficient that the government had no choice but to acknowledge this and take necessary measures to correct the failings of sex education in Cameroon.
Introduced by Cameroon’s government through a ministerial decree on the 18th of January 2007, Education on Family life, Population Issues, HIV/AIDs has been implemented in Cameroon’s schools only since September 2012. To build the capacity of teachers and correct the failings of the abandoned approach to sex education, a series of Radio programs have been organized by ministries in charge of education and health in Cameroon alongside UNAIDs. Through active and collective listening of these programs by teachers in the 350 centers selected across the country, teachers of secondary, primary, and teachers training colleges are enlightened and given the opportunity to ask questions to clear their doubts and deepen their understanding on the new approach of imparting knowledge on family life, population issues, and HIV/AIDs to pupils and students.
The new approach to sex education in schools in Cameroon is aimed at developing positive, protective, and safe behaviors among students for their present and future lives as grown-ups and thereby fully understand and take the reproductive health rights agenda at heart. Despite the fact that this new approach has been developed with the support of international bodies like UNAIDs, my greatest fear is that, like the abandoned approach to sex education, this new approach will fail in achieving the laudable goals for which it has been created.
Lack of monitoring and evaluation is one of those things which could easily lead to the failure of the new approach to sex education in Cameroon’s schools. The government and its donors must therefore ensure that there be a constant monitoring and periodic evaluation of the efficiency and effectiveness of this approach.
Coupled with the above, resistance by a cross-section of society of the new, realistic, and down- to-earth manner of the approach to sex education in Cameroon’s schools could further complicate the implementation of this laudable reform in Cameroon’s educational system.
This reform to Cameroon’s educational system in itself is one that should be considered in countries whose approaches to sex education have over the years not produced the desired results. The use of radio will enable a huge number of teachers to improve their knowledge of sex education increased and thereby bring about a revolution in the teaching of Sex, Population Issues, HIV/ AIDs in Cameroon.
This reform is proof of the fact that, Youth and reproductive health rights are slowly but surely taking their place at the heart of the development policy agenda in Cameroon. Though full of obstacles and challenges, the path chosen by the thousands of young Cameroonians who day-in, day-out advocate for the inclusion of youths in the formulation and implementation of youth-focused policies is the right path. We shall overcome!
“For once in my life, I had to make a choice between being a woman and my livelihood,” said an American business woman being interviewed about whom she voted for during the just ended elections in the USA, which saw the re-election of Barack Obama. These words have been ringing in my head since I first heard them on the 6th of November 2012.
For what reason in the world will the utterances of a wealthy American woman have such a deep impression on a guy who lives in a small country in Africa called Cameroon? This is probably the question in your mind at this moment. I understand that this question crosses your mind. The difference in distance and status between me, my community, and this woman, is the reason why her words had such a great impression on me.
Making a choice between who you are and your source of livelihood is so common in the part of the world in which I live that it is no longer a choice to make, but rather a way of life for the more than 20 million souls that live in Cameroon. You constantly have to choose between being a young person who desires to live a life free of all the barriers standing in the way of universal access to health facilities, education for all, secured future through sustainable use of resources, and the right for all to live lives worth living versus dying from preventable diseases, ignorance, complacency, and poverty. The case would even be worst for women in a country where if a man wants another baby the woman’s health conditions and opinion is secondary. What matters to most men this part of the world is their opinion–its all about men. They are comforted in their belief by many cultures which still portray women as being commodities; good only for the kitchen and child bearing and therefore having no right to speak when men are speaking.
Having to choose between your gender and your desires is a violation of human rights which is fast growing and needs to be addressed. No single soul on earth should have to choose between who they are and their happiness. A society which today, either through cultural and traditional practices or policies, creates this dilemma in its sons and daughters has no place in the 21st century. In a world where we daily celebrate the technological and intellectual prowess of women and men of all walks of life, we cannot continue to live in dilemmas like that described above. Irrespective of our gender, status, and conviction, we all have a right to be who we are and live in the world of our dreams.
Conscious of the above, we can all contribute in building a world where people will not have to go through the painful and humiliating process of having to choose between our lives and our livelihoods. This is possible only if we are courageous enough to say no to those things that stand in our way of living in the world we have always dreamed of and if legal and institutional frameworks the world over are designed with the upholding of the dignity of its citizens at heart.
Nov 26, 2012
State legislators in Michigan held a hearing on Tuesday to consider House Bills 5684 and 5685, which would allow taxpayers to receive tax relief for unborn fetuses past 12 weeks’ gestation. The proposed legislation is an odd push for Michigan Republicans, partly because Progress Michigan notesthe state slashed tax credits for children last year — meaning that although parents living in Michigan do not qualify for additional tax breaks to offset the cost of caring for their own children, they could soon be able to claim a tax credit for an unborn fetus.
Progress Michigan’s executive director points outthat the proposed legislation is a dangerous step toward endowing fetuses with the same rights as human beings while disregarding the real economic needs of Michigan’s children, 341,000 of whom currently live in high-poverty areas:
“It’s clear Lansing Republicans have the wrong priorities by wasting time on these extreme bills,” said Zack Pohl, Executive Director of Progress Michigan. “This is really a backdoor way of passing extreme personhood legislation, which has been rejected by voters in states across the country. Even worse, this would create a special new tax credit for unborn fetuses, after Lansing Republicans eliminated the tax credit for living, breathing children last year.It’s time for our elected leaders to get their priorities straight and start working together to create good jobs and improve education.”
The National Conference of State Legislatures believes this type of legislation could represent the first of its kind, although they acknowledged that the issue of states providing tax credits for fetuses has not been widely studied.
The nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency has estimated that allowing Michigan residents to claim a tax credit for unborn fetuses would cost the state between $5 million and $10 million annually in lost tax revenue.
(HT: Alison C)
Nov 25, 2012
Omg. You can’t just ask people why they’re ignorant.