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Apr 19, 2014
Prom season is in full swing! Students across the country are reserving limos, renting tuxes, and posing for those classically awkward photos for their parents. But while we’re enjoying the glamour, let’s not forget safety! It’s always better to protect ourselves – and our partners – and these images are a reminder to do it in style. #promswag!
Show your love for contraception methods, while getting your prom glam on.
Keep calm, and Prom on.
Mar 13, 2014
Should corporations be given a free pass to discriminate against their employees?
That’s what the Supreme Court will be deciding on March 25 when they will hear cases from two corporations that object to providing insurance which includes coverage for birth control.
Share your thoughts about why affordable and available contraception is important, what you think about the co-opting of religious liberty, and what’s at stake for you. Through your blogs, Instagram pics and video, YouTube clips and tweets we’ll capture an online picket line in solidarity with those protesting at the Supreme Court. All you have to do is use the hashtag #DearSCOTUS. So make a sign, record a video, or write a blog and join the protest.
We all know how important access to birth control is for young people. It’s basic health care, that we have already fought for and won. But this case means more than just birth control pills.
If the Supreme Court decides that corporations have a right to discriminate based on their owner’s religious beliefs, that would mean they have a “free pass” to discriminate against anyone they chose, and any medical treatment they didn’t agree with. Anyone. Anything.
That means: LGBTQ individuals who want partnership benefits. Gone. HIV screening or STI counseling. No. Maternity care. You can’t have that. Immunizations before college. No way.
Show the world that young people won’t stand for our country to roll back the clock on rights and liberties.
Stand in solidarity with protestors and join the online picket line at #DearSCOTUS Digital Soapbox.
You can get started by taking a picture with this sign and tweeting it to @amplifytweets using the #DearSCOTUS hashtag.
Feb 25, 2014
Hey. Have we met? Never mind, you probably wouldn’t know if we had. My name is Trichomoniasis but I go by Trich. I’m a tiny parasite (not that size matters) and a sexually transmitted infection. I can cause some discharge, a burning sensation, and I can also increase your risk for HIV and other STIs! What can I say, I’m a multitasker.
Problem is, most folks have never heard of me – but that’s cool ‘cause Advocates for Youth and the American Sexual Health Association are working to change that.
Wearing a condom can help keep me away. I’m easy to find with a simple test, and a quick dose of antibiotics will send me packing. I wanted to keep all that on the low, but youth activists with the Great American Condom Campaign are working to raise my profile on their campuses and to ensure that their schools offer testing for trich to students. They also got some pretty sweet materials that have my face all over them, and all my stats.
So share my dating profile, and help get my name out there. Visit my new site to learn more. And if you’re interested in promoting trich awareness on your campus, contact my bro email@example.com.
Feb 12, 2014
Show your love for safe access to abortion care with this #1in3Valentine and send a valentine to a friend for just $1!
There are four adorable and affirming designs to choose from. Check out the 1 in 3 facebook album to see and share them all!
Feb 10, 2014
Today in our Champions of Fierceness series, we honor Blessed!
Feb 9, 2014
Feb 9, 2014
Feb 4, 2014
Great news! Thanks to outcry from amazing pro-choice advocates like you, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has rescinded their “emergency” regulations that would have closed all five abortion clinics in the state. This is a fantastic victory, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Louisianans like you standing up and speaking out.
But we’re not out of the woods yet. DHH has stated that they’ll be reissuing new regulations, so we have to keep the pressure on.
Want to celebrate while still keeping DHH’s feet to the fire? Join the rally today in Baton Rouge! Pro-choice advocates will be rallying to celebrate this exciting victory, and organizing for future action. Be sure to wear purple!
701 N. 4th Street (between Spanish Town Rd and North St)
Thank you for all you’ve done to make this possible!
Great news – The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals rescinded regulations that would have closed all of the state’s abortion clinics! We have to keep the pressure on though – like 1 in 3 Campaign (http://on.fb.me/1eQwroJ) and New Orleans Abortion Fund (http://on.fb.me/1ev7P8F) for updates and actions!
Jan 29, 2014
This is urgent! The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is trying to pass regulations that would forcibly shut down ALL 5 abortion clinics in the state. There’s a public hearing next week – and they need to hear from you that this is WRONG for Louisiana women and families.
The “emergency” regulations mandate that a woman must have a blood test at least 30 days(!) prior to accessing abortion care, which would jeopardize patients’ health and dramatically increase the cost of the procedure. These regulations also place targeted restrictions on abortion providers, implementing cumbersome licensing requirements for clinics, and arbitrary square footage requirements dictating the size of clinic.
The Department of Health and Hospitals has stated that it will rescind the blood test requirement but they have yet to release these updated regulations to the public. We must keep the pressure on to make sure they do strike it, along with every other unnecessary regulation that reduces access.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals has opened a public comment period, and they need to hear from you by 7pm on Monday.
If you’re free Tuesday, February 4th you can attend the hearing and share your testimony in person. Join the New Orleans Abortion Fund at 1:00 pm to show that a strong community is fighting back. If you go, be sure to wear purple to show that you’re against the clinic closures.
The location is:
Bienville Building, Room 173
628 North 4th Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
It’s time to stand up for abortion access in your community. Make sure your voice is heard.
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals is trying to pass regulations that would forcibly shut down ALL 5 abortion clinics in Louisiana. There’s a public hearing next week – and they need to hear from all of us that this is WRONG for Louisiana women and families. Sign the petition and make sure our voices are heard: http://bit.ly/1jKOkN4
Jan 27, 2014
While I was in high school, I got into my first serious relationship. Before I even realized what was happening, I found myself in an emotionally abusive situation I sometimes wonder, if maybe my school had actually answered my questions about same sex relationships instead of giving me blank stares and “you’re going to hell” rants, if I could’ve picked out the red flags.
Luckily, a teacher went out of their way and taught me that a healthy relationship has both consent and respect. This information and the support of my teacher is what allowed me to walk away from this cycle of abuse.
All youth, including LGBTQ youth, deserve an inclusive sex ed curriculum that teaches them how to stay safe, form healthy relationships, and protect themselves from STIs. Sign the petition to help me fight for it.
In just 16 hours, I and my youth group the Broward County Youth Council, will advocate in front of the Broward County School Board for the Family Life and Human Sexuality Policy. This new sex education policy will finally bring sex education to Broward County that is honest, accurate, and inclusive of LGBTQ youth. We need your voice to help us make a bigger impact.
Thank you for your help,
Jan 13, 2014
Advocates is committed to securing the sexual health and rights for all young people domestically and abroad. We’ve worked with youth-led organizations in Nigeria, Uganda and Pakistan to support LGBTQ youth activist councils that advocate for programs and policies to improve youth sexual health. The choir of voices in the international LGBTQ movement is growing, but we need help. Your help.
Help us raise the profile of the needs and rights of international LGBTQ youth, and support youth as leaders to improve LGBTQ health and rights policy by voting for us in the Making All Voices Count Global Innovation Competition!
In too many countries around the globe LGBTQ youth face discrimination that threatens their lives and their access to sexual and reproductive health care.
If we win this competition (and we hope we do), we’ll get the funds necessary to provide training, capacity building, and seed grants to youth-led LGBTQ groups to support their advocacy, public outreach, and mobilization efforts towards advancing LGBTQ youth sexual and reproductive health and rights locally and globally.
Take a moment to vote for us. Currently we’re #106 (out of 196), but with your help we can get to the top!
Thank you. Your support makes our work possible and there is no way we could do it without you.
Advocates for Youth
Associate director, International Youth Health and Rights
Help Advocates for Youth empower international LGBTQ young people to advocate for their own sexual and reproductive health and rights in partnership with local youth-led LGBTW groups. VOTE TODAY! http://bit.ly/1gmLysW
Dec 23, 2013
My name is Blessed, and I lead Advocates for Youth’s efforts to help young people fight homophobia and transphobia in Uganda. In too many countries around the globe, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth face discrimination that threatens our lives, dims our spirits and prevents our access to life-saving sexual and reproductive health care and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. Just this past Friday, the Ugandan parliament passed a terrifying anti-homosexuality bill that will cause further harm to the dignity and safety of LGBT people in my country.
Because of my sexuality, I was kicked out of my home when I was 17. I was homeless for two years while I washed people’s clothes and cars to earn money for my studies. Not too long ago, a mentor helped me find Advocates for Youth and now I have the chance to travel to the U.S. to learn organizing skills that are desperately needed here in Uganda. Now I meet with officials at the State Department and on Capitol Hill to advocate on behalf of the young people in my country. Now I have found community- all because of Advocates for Youth.
Donate $10 today to help raise $5,000 to support LGBT youth activists like me who are fighting harassment and life-threatening laws around the globe. Donate today and you can be an ally in places like Nigeria, Jamaica and here in Uganda where LGBT youth activists face intimidation, imprisonment or worse.
Advocates for Youth provides training and funding to organizations overseas who bravely keep their doors open to provide support and encouragement to LGBT youth, because it is not safe to be who they are.
Donate today to support youth activists like me who put our lives on the line all year long. Your gift today supports our work and lets us know we are not alone.
With thanks for your activism and support all year long,
Advocates for Youth
Dec 20, 2013
Wishing you a Happy Holiday and a Wonderful New Year!
From our family to yours.
Your Friends and Colleagues at Advocates for Youth
Dec 19, 2013
When I was a junior in high school, I wrote a paper on abortion for health class. It was a whopping 14 pages long. Some of my classmates were weirded-out that I was so into the topic; I got a few negative comments. But my friends and my mom were really supportive. I got an A on the paper
I believed then, as I believe now, that a woman should have a choice, and that abortion should be one option provided within comprehensive sexual health services. I also believe that no one has the right to take that choice away, which is why I fought so hard to mobilize my community in Albuquerque to vote against the proposed 20-week ban.
Lucky for me, just a few months prior I joined Advocates’ 1 in 3 Campaign as a campus activist. The skills and training I learned from the Campaign prepared me for the hard fight in Albuquerque. Extremists flooded millions of dollars into my community to pass the ban that would deny women access to legal abortion care. They thought they knew what is “best” for Albuquerque women. They thought they were going to win. They were wrong.
I knew Albuquerque couldn’t let this ban pass. The 1 in 3 Campaign gave me a reason to keep going. I jumped in with get out the vote efforts. I spoke to people on my campus, made phone calls, and even wrote a letter to the editor in my school newspaper. With the help of Advocates and other groups on the ground, the ban was defeated! It was an exciting victory.
I know anti-abortion activists will keep coming up with new ways to deny women. Your $10 donation will help train organizers on the ground nationwide, reach new audiences and mobilize our activists to speak out.
Together we can create a culture of compassion, empathy, and support for access to basic health care.
1 in 3 Campus Activist
Advocates for Youth
I know anti-abortion activists will keep coming up with new ways to deny women. Your $10 donation will help train organizers on the ground nationwide, reach new audiences and mobilize our activists to speak out. http://bit.ly/14LfBWg
Dec 11, 2013
Last spring, I got a letter from Boston College administration threatening me and my student group BC Students for Sexual Health with disciplinary action for distributing condoms and safer sex information to help my peers prevent STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancy.
When our story gained media attention and appeared on CNN, the NY Times and more, conservative activists tried to intimidate me into stopping by personally insulting me. I received a handwritten note calling me an outspoken slut. One news outlet even tracked down my father and harassed him with hurtful phone calls.
Because of the advocacy training and the personal support I received from Advocates for Youth, I was able to turn degrading personal attacks into a progressive victory. We didn’t back down, and BC Students for Sexual Health still operates on campus today, providing lifesaving information and resources to our peers. Will you stand by them and make a $25 donation today?
There are many places across the country where young people’s health and rights are being trampled. But there are also many more young activists like me making a difference in our communities and just need the training, materials and support Advocates for Youth provides.
Please make a $25 donation today. Advocates for Youth uniquely combines the crucial need for better sexual health programs with the hope and the power of youth voices.
Thank you for supporting Advocates, just like they supported me.
Boston College Student Activist
Advocates for Youth
Dec 3, 2013
Celebrate #GivingTuesday with Advocates’ Y-FAB team! Join the national day of giving, spare $5 if you can to cover the cost of training and equipping a young activist like YOU at Urban Retreat. Check out below what Y-FAB is thankful for.
Eric – I am thankful to be a sexual health/reproductive rights activist because I have an excuse to give condoms to everyone!
Erin – I am thankful that now I can stay on parent’s health insurance until I’m 26; meaning birth control, STD testing, and services that protect my lady parts are now accessible to me. #relieved #win
Renee - I’m thankful because I have the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding my future
Molly – I’m thankful to be a sexual health/reproductive rights activists because I’m learning how to start real conversations about sexual and reproductive health with my peers.
Thanks for your donation!
Nov 25, 2013
The holidays are upon us, and for many of us that means: lots of family time! And when you’re about that ”activist committed to ensuring young people’s reproductive and sexual health and rights” life, the holidays can be….awkward. But you don’t care, because you’re dedicated and passionate, and that’s what we love about you!
Here are our Top 7 Activist Holiday Moments:
1) Your mom is getting the giblets out of the turkey and you are like “That reminds me! I wanted to talk to everyone about getting regular gyno exams and pap smears!”
Everyone is like, because giblets. We get it:
Try this instead: Scarleteen: What to expect on your first gynecologist visit
2) They send you to the grocery store for green beans. You come back and say, “I checked the shelves in the pharmacy section and yes! They did have Plan B on the shelves! Finally!”*
3) The power of organizing! You come to the dinner table with 1,000 signatures
demanding urging your mom to stop serving brussel sprouts for dinner!
Your mom is like:
You had to try though right
Try this instead: For advice on targeting your efforts for maximum effectiveness, check out Advocates’ Youth Activist’s Toolkit for more organizing tips
4) Somebody asks why turkey makes you sleepy, and somebody else explains about tryptefan. You take this opportunity to educate folks about trichomoniasis, a lesser-known but still gnarly sexually transmitted disease!
Try this instead: Learn more about trichomoniasis and how to prevent it
5) While folks are watching football, you say: “It’s so great that even the NFL is gradually becoming more accepting of LGBT people! Personally I know we as a family would be super accepting of anyone who wanted to come out today! Anyone! Anyone?”
It’s sweet that you’re so excited
Try this instead: Here are some tips for folks who want to come out:
I think I might be Gay / Lesbian / Bisexual / Transgender
…And for those who want to support someone coming out: PFLAG Coming Out Help for Families, Friends, and Allies
6) Your aunt announces that there is pumpkin pie, apple pie, and sweet potato pie for dessert. You say, “OMG! Those would be amazing condom flavors!”
And everyone is like:
Try this instead: Sounds like you should join the Great American Condom Campaign!
7) Everyone ‘round the table says they’re thankful for. You say: I’m thankful for my friends, my family, and my community of amazing youth activists who are working to changing the world!
Shine on, you activist diamonds. Best holiday wishes to you and yours!
Nov 6, 2013
“In other words, the Pacific Justice Institute, international media outlets that carried the story sans fact checking, and antitrans people who have outed her and called for her death are essentially engaging in large-scale bullying.”
Sep 25, 2013
Each year over 120 youth activists gather in Washington, D.C. to share expertise with one another and Advocates for Youth staff; learn about the latest findings and legislation that affect reproductive health; participate in trainings; and make a commitment to be lifelong advocates for young people’s reproductive and sexual health and rights. Then they head to Capitol Hill to educate their representatives on why comprehensive sexual health education is so important for young people.
Thank you to our coalition partners for sponsoring Advocates for Youth’s 14th annual Urban Retreat!
This year, the groups attending the Urban Retreat include:
1 in 3 Organizers. These college students attend a special pre-conference where they will learn how to support abortion rights through sharing women’s stories.
State Youth Activist Councils from Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, and Texas. Working with partner organizations, these groups of young people will motivate for comprehensive sex education and other important youth rights at the state and community level.
Campus Organizers. These students at colleges and universities organize their fellow college students to work for youth reproductive and sexual health and rights.
International Youth Speak Out: This project consists of young people and youth-led NGOs in low and middle income countries, advocating for programs and policies that will improve youth reproductive and sexual health in their countries and internationally.
International GLBT Health and Rights advocates work for the rights of LGBT people in their home countries.
International Youth Leadership Council members are US-based college students who advocate on behalf of young people in low and middle income countries.
Young Men’s Project members are young male leaders and activists who seek to engage and mobilize their peers on issues related to sexual and reproductive health.
Young Women of Color Leadership Council members advocate for HIV prevention and reproductive justice and the inclusion of young women of color in prevention programs.
YouthResource members advocate for LGBT rights in their communities and provide peer education and support to LGBT young people.
It’s a diverse gathering, but these young people all have one thing in common: they are fierce, motivated activists working hard to make youth voices heard!
May 30, 2013
Beatriz is 22. The mother of a 1-year old boy. She has lupus. Kidney malfunction. And her doctors say she will likely die if the pregnancy continues. But, there is still hope for Beatriz.
Apr 9, 2013
Apr 3, 2013
UPDATE: VICTORY! Last week, James and other activists in Texas met with their policy makers to protest the Zedler 1 anti-gay amendment, including delivering your signatures in person to Texas’ legislature. And on Thursday 4/4, the amendment was withdrawn. We got them off our backpacks and funding for the centers is safe. Great job!
This is a featured post from Texas Freedom Network Student Chapter President James Lee!
My name is James Lee and growing up in Rio Grande Valley Texas, I was taught that being gay was wrong. I believed something was wrong with me because I was gay. It wasn’t until I stepped into my college resource center and found other students like me that I finally found peace with myself. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of Houston changed my life.
Now one Texas Representative wants to take that center away, and all of the other LGBT resource centers that help thousands of young people each year at Texas’ universities. Sign a petition to help protect LGBT resource centers in Texas!
Texas Representative Bill Zedler introduced an Amendment to eliminate state funding for LGBT Resource Centers like the one that created a safe space for me and my friends to come out. The Zedler 1 Amendment would not only remove state funding for LGBT Resource Centers but would also eliminate state funding for Women’s Centers and ALL Gender & Sexuality Centers at Texas universities.
In the week leading up to National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, and in an effort to build an AIDS free generation we must continue to support LGBT Center and Women’s Centers that provide critical health services. I am asking all students, youth, alumni, and concerned citizens to contact the state legislators to vote no on the Zedler 1 amendment. Tell Texas legislators to stop harming students and get off our backpacks!
Apr 1, 2013
- Passionate about fighting for young people’s rights to sexual health information and services?
- Interested in connecting with youth leaders from across the country?
- Dedicated to developing skills to make a difference in your community?
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 12, 2013
Mar 12, 2013
Mar 12, 2013
Mar 12, 2013
In honor of National Abortion Provider Appreciation Day, we asked abortion providers to describe their experiences and why they do the work they do. Show a provider your appreciation today.
Thirty percent of women will have an abortion by the time they are 45. Thirty percent. That means that two or three of the nine ob/gyns in my residency class will have obtained an abortion during their reproductive lives. They will be joined by 4,000 undergraduate students at the University of Maryland, my alma mater. Unfortunately, 87 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider. So where are all of my residency and college classmates going to obtain this safe, legal, and clearly very common procedure? They’re coming to me, and the future abortion providers I train.
I decided to become an abortion provider after volunteering at the University of Maryland Women’s Health clinic. A classmate with an unintended pregnancy came in and asked where she could get an abortion, and I had no clue where to send her. I then learned the staggering statistic about the number of U.S. counties with no provider, and vowed not only to become a provider, but to train others to provide as well. This is the only way I can ensure that my residency and college classmates have a compassionate medical professional to turn to during one of the most vulnerable times in their lives, and that their daughters and granddaughters will as well. I am proud to be one of today’s abortion providers, and to train our providers of tomorrow.
Rachel Rapkin, MD – Pittsburgh, PA
Mar 12, 2013
Mar 11, 2013
Natasha from India, on why International Women’s Day is important.
Dec 10, 2012
Since we posted this last week, there has been some good news. Thanks to outcry from around the world, action on the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda’s parliament has been postponed at least until February. And, Uganda’s President Museveni has spoken out against the bill’s call for the death penalty.
There is still much work to be done – Uganda remains very dangerous for LGBT people and for activists working on these issues. But with commitment and effort, we can all help to make it safer. We’ll keep you updated on developments in the new year. Help us continue our work in Uganda and around the world - donate today.
In Uganda, a terrifying “anti-homosexuality” bill has resurfaced within parliament for discussion. At its worst, it would call for putting LGBT people to death.
In addition, it would demand a three-year prison sentence for people who do not turn in “known homosexuals” to the police, and a seven year sentence for “aiding and abating” homosexuality.
When the bill was last introduced, human rights and LGBT rights groups were horrified, and many governments condemned it. Pressure from around the globe led to its never being voted on. We need to put that pressure on again NOW.
- Let Uganda’s parliament and the world know you join with the millions who condemn this bill by tweeting about it today.
- Then sign a petition urging Uganda’s President to veto the bill if it passes.
Activists on the ground recommend we keep it civil so our message is heard – here’s a sample tweet: Prime Minister @AmamaMbabazi will you speak out against Uganda’s dangerous Anti-Homosexuality Bill today? Lives depend on it! #stopthehate
Dec 5, 2012
Half of the world’s population is under 30 years old, and these youth comprise the most well-informed and well-connected generation the world has ever known.
We have the fortune of joining nearly 1,000 of these youth in Bali, Indonesia this week – not sightseeing, but formulating the international development agenda for the future.
Dec 4, 2012
This week, several Advocates staff and youth activists are at the ICPD Global Youth Forum. We had to share this recap that Advocates’ Director of Public Policy Janine Kossen sent to staff!
I just wanted to let you know that International Youth Leadership Council member Meredith was ah-mazing at the Global Youth Forum this morning (last night for you all). If you don’t know, she was chosen among thousands of youth applicants to be the youth respondent for a plenary session, sitting right next to the Indonesian Minister of Health! I mean, you can’t get much fancier than that! And she really did knock it out of the park. Tons of folks on the #icpdyouth twitterverse raved about her speech, hundreds of young people applauded her every word, and she was clearly the star of the plenary.
Meanwhile, we have a strong delegation of 11 Advocates-affiliated folks here, counting Meredith, Kike and Tope from Nigeria, Abongwa and Gaston from Cameroon, Liz (former IYLC, now with USAID), and staff and board. From youth respondents to virtual facilitators to steering committee members to rock star delegates, Advocates is really visible here thanks to all our amazing youth activists. And, it’s just day ONE so there’s lots more visibility to come. Stay tuned and check out live feeds (remember it is +13 hours time difference here).
And just to reiterate what the Global Youth Forum is, it’s a pretty damn big deal. It is sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government of Indonesia and is the first-ever forum asking young people what they recommend to be included in the United Nations next development agenda that will set the stage for international policy for the next 20 years. If you’ve ever heard of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), this would influence the next round of goals that will apply to all 193 UN Member States. And it also sets the stage for all the UN negotiations that will impact international policy for years to come. Kind of a big deal! To learn more, go here and here.
And, check out @amplifytweets for a record of the panel’s remarks!
Dec 3, 2012
Friends, we are once again searching for the most bold and visionary college students from around the United States to receive five hundred Trojan Brand condoms to distribute on their college campuses.
We select one-thousand SafeSites every semester to participate in this nation-wide youth-led grassroots movement to make the United States a sexually healthy nation. Each year, GACC members give out one million Trojan Brand condoms on college campuses across the United States, educate their peers about sexual health, and organize to improve the policies that affect young people’s health and lives.
What kind of ingenious plans will you come up with to distribute them this time? Condom lollipops? Condom scavenger hunt? Condom raffle tickets? Condom demonstration flash mob? Dress up as a giant chicken/duck/goose/platypus laying plastic eggs filled with condoms, candy and fun facts in strategic areas to welcome the spring? THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS!
The application deadline is December 31st and it only takes about 10 minutes to fill out. Apply now!
Do it for your country.
PS – Check out the GACC Facebook page to learn more and see the amazing ways SafeSites are distributing condoms, educating, and organizing.
Dec 1, 2012
About World AIDS Day
Getting to Zero: What will it take to get to an AIDS Free Generation?
Each year, December 1 marks World AIDS Day, when activists around the world come together to raise awareness of the global HIV epidemic, fight stigma and discrimination, and advocate for increased efforts to support comprehensive HIV education and prevention.
The ongoing theme of “Getting to Zero,” supported by UNAIDS’ multi-year HIV/AIDS strategy for Zero New Infections, Zero AIDS Related Deaths, and Zero Discrimination, is an opportunity for young people to speak out about how to get to an AIDS Free Generation. Thirty years into the epidemic, we are seeing notable declines in HIV prevalence among young people, as described in the recent UNAIDS report, Results. This is fabulous news! At the same time, our efforts to prevent HIV must not falter when 40 percent of all new HIV infections are still among youth age 15-24. According to the report: “Young people are a fulcrum. They remain at the centre of the epidemic and they have the power, through their leadership, to definitively change the course of the AIDS epidemic.” It goes on to urge young people to engage in and lead the fight against HIV.
To find out more about World AIDS Day, go to http://www.worldaidscampaign.org/world-aids-day/
To read the new UNAIDS report, go to: http://www.unaids.org/en/media/unaids/contentassets/documents/epidemiology/2012/gr2012/JC2434_WorldAIDSday_results_en.pdf.
Nov 21, 2012
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists today called for hormonal birth control medication to be made available over-the-counter, without a prescription.
It makes sense - hormonal BC does meet the requirements for a switch to OTC status: ”For a medicine to be granted OTC status, it must have a wide safety margin and be effective, and must bear understandable labeling to ensure proper use.” – Check, check, and doable. Birth control is extremely safe. Depending on the method, it is up to 99 percent effective when used consistently and correctly. And like most medications it is or can easily be made to be, clearly labeled.
Over-the-counter status would remove the barrier of a visit to their health care provider for many young people and allow them to purchase it as conveniently as condoms.
The only potential drawback is that with the mandate that insurance cover birth control with no co-pay, it is as yet unclear how insurance will deal with contraception that is available over the counter. But it’s very clear that the more tools young people have to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the better. Let’s keep moving toward eliminating ALL barriers to contraception.
Nov 16, 2012
A woman in Ireland has died because doctors refused to treat her miscarriage.
Savita Halappanavar didn’t come to the hospital for an abortion; she was experiencing a miscarriage. Doctors had told her the baby would not survive.
Then, several times in the three days while she miscarried in extreme pain, they told her they couldn’t take any further steps to end the pregnancy. They had to let the miscarriage happen in its own time, no matter how badly it hurt her.
With her cervix fully dilated for so long, the woman was very susceptible to infection, and she died a week after entering the hospital.
Yet by law in Ireland a woman has the right to an abortion if her life is in danger. How did this happen? From Salon:
…in a chilling climate where religious belief takes precedent over women’s health, where any choice to abort can be challenged and punished, whose interests are doctors going to protect?
When abortion is stigmatized and condemned without context, when anti-abortion activists elevate the needs and rights of the fetus over those of the woman and make their personal religious beliefs into law, we end up with a chain of events where, for no reason any person with a shred of humanity can fathom, a woman is left to die because doctors can still detect a heartbeat in a fetus they already knew wouldn’t survive. A woman’s life was sacrificed so that a pregnancy that everyone knew was doomed could go on for an additional three days.
Perhaps in a less “pro-life” culture globally, women would be trusted to make their own decisions about pregnancy. Then, 21.6 million women around the world wouldn’t face injury and death each year. Doctors wouldn’t face harassment and violence when they attempt to perform legal medical procedures (nor women when they seek them). Women wouldn’t listen in astonishment as each day a new politician weighs in that a pregnancy from rape is a gift from God that also doesn’t actually happen but either way certainly can’t be aborted.
Perhaps in a less “pro-life” culture, Savita Halappanavar would still be alive.
Nov 15, 2012
This summer, during the International AIDS Conference, youth activists from across the country called on the President to establish the first ever National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day.
The road to an AIDS-free generation begins by prioritizing youth. Today’s young people are the first generation that has never known a world without HIV and AIDS. In the United States, almost 40% of new HIV infections are young people ages 13 to 29. Despite this harsh reality, young people and their allies are determined to end this pandemic once and for all.
National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day is a nationwide call to action for our communities, schools and government to invest in young people’s health, education, and leadership in the fight against HIV & AIDS.
To achieve this day, we need you. Sign the petition – as either an individual or an organization – that calls on President Obama, Congress, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the HIV & AIDS community to annually recognize April 10 as National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day.
With your support, we can achieve the dream of an AIDS-free generation.
For young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are passionate about HIV & AIDS work, apply today to become a National Youth HIV & AIDS Awareness Day Ambassador. Help us make sure the day truly represents young people like you! Applications are due November 30. For more information, click here.
Nov 8, 2012
Check out this entry on Huff Post by Advocates for Youth’s own fantastic Youth Activist Network Coordinator, Ian O’Brien (also known as amplify user AFY_Ian)! It features an interview with GACC safesite Jeremiah at St. John’s University in New York!
Nov 7, 2012
by Deb Hauser
President, Advocates for Youth
Advocates for Youth congratulates President Barack Obama on his historic reelection. We also celebrate the amazing role that young people played within his administration and his reelection, and we recognize the growing power of youth to drive social and cultural change for a better world. Young people represented approximately 19 percent of the electorate yesterday—a larger percentage even than in 2008!
In the years ahead, we call on President Obama to stand with us in recognition of every young person’s right to honest sexual health education, safe and affordable sexual health services, and an equity of social, educational, and economic opportunity – the type of opportunity that builds healthy lives and strong communities.
Oct 26, 2012
Advocates for Youth seeks a fluent Spanish speaker and writer to serve in the International Youth Health and Rights Division. The International Youth Health and Rights Division houses the AmbienteJoven web site (www.ambientejoven.org), a site for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (GLBTQ) youth in Spanish-speaking Latin America and the Caribbean that provides sexual health information and resources. Advocates is currently recruiting a writer to develop features for the web site.
Advocates for Youth is dedicated to creating programs and promoting policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. We provide information, training, and advocacy to youth-serving organizations, policy makers, and the media in the U.S. and internationally.
Responsibilities of the AmbienteJoven writer include developing and finalizing four in-depth features that address current youth LGBTQ topics of interest for Latin America and the Caribbean. Each feature should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words, provide citations for any statistics used, and include links to resources and information to further inform the reader about the topic being discussed.
To apply to be the AmbienteJoven writer, you must:
- Be between the ages of 15 and 24
- Identify as a GLBTQ person
- Be fluent in Spanish
- Have excellent writing skills
- Have excellent research skills
- Be familiar with youth GLBTQ issues in Latin America and the Caribbean
- Be able to work independently
Writers will receive a stipend equivalent to US $50 per completed and approved feature.
Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and writing sample in Spanish as well as your resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org by November 12, 2012.
Oct 24, 2012
…for continuing to be such an awesome youth activist!
Oct 19, 2012
Since Amplify launched on January 1, 2009, tens of thousands of you have participated in campaigns, sent letters to legislators and other decision makers, and contributed blogs, pictures, and videos. You made Amplify the diverse, informed, engaged community that it is – and one that has over a million visitors every year. We at Advocates for Youth are awed by your commitment to youth reproductive and sexual health and rights – and honored to be a part of your activism.
That’s why it brings us such great pleasure to unveil the redesign of www.amplifyyourvoice.org.
It’s streamlined, a breeze to navigate, easier to post photos/videos/art works and more connected to social media than ever before. Just type in the “add your voice” box to get started!
This site showcases the work of Advocates for Youth’s youth activist programs, as well as that of youth activists around the United States and around the world.
We’re also thrilled to introduce Amplify’s seven featured youth contributors – Hannah, D’Laney, Nefertiti, Karlee, Emilio, Briana, and Karachi. They are motivated and talented activists who are making sure youth voices are heard online as well as in their communities.
We hope you’ll try out the site – take actions, read blogs, and of course join if you haven’t already! We’re still in the testing phase of some features, so contact us if you have suggestions or experience problems.
Oct 19, 2012
Check out the episode here
Oct 18, 2012
On Monday, October 15th it was the 10th year anniversary of National Latino AIDS Awareness Day. It was founded on Oct. 15th, 2003 to end the Hispanic Heritage Month national celebration.
It is an important day because it gives us the opportunity to be in solidarity with all of those who are infected with AIDS and at at the same time makes us reflect on the fact that there is still much more to do to irradiate AIDS.
Latinos are disproportionally affected by AIDS and this is a serious problem that we have to find a way to address.
We need to do a better job of preventing HIV infections, raise more awareness and make sure there is access of resources for Latinos such as testing.
On Friday, October 12th, the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina (APPCNC) held their annual Hispanic Symposium. And I think that this was a way to address this important issue.
The focus this year was “Hot Topics in Latino Adolescent Health,” addressing some of the pressing needs of the Latino community.
Presenters included an immigration lawyer who talked about deferred action (the change in immigration policy announced June 15th), health issues affecting Latina/o (s) adolescents.
To start off with APPCNC is one of the most awesome organization that I know of. I was a member of the inaugural youth council, initially called the North Carolina Youth Leadership Council my junior year of high school.
APPCNC was the stepping stone to being an effective advocate for reproductive rights.
I think the conference overall was great because often times before we talk about AIDS and HIV we have to first be able to talk about our sexual health, because as is sometimes the case, it is not ok to talk about it. Having these hard conversations is important so that we can move forward.
Oct 10, 2012
A three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court approved South Carolina’s voter ID law, finding it less restrictive than other, similar laws. Fortunately, the court delayed implementation of the law until after the November election, citing uncertainty in how certain provisions would operate. The court also left open the possibility that as applied, the law could have discriminatory implications.
More once I’ve had a chance to read the opinion for myself.
Oct 10, 2012
Marriage is an institution meant for mentally, sexually matured people. It is a gift from God to connect two matured people to positively enhance their capacity, but today, teen girls are forced into marriages at the age of 13 years. This is a quick act of transforming a girl’s childhood into motherhood. They become a housemaid at an early stage with an undeveloped sexual reproductive organ. These wonderful girls begin to have sex at the wrong period of their lives. Child marriage makes a unique person to have low intellectual standards on very important aspects of their lives. Life for these unfortunate girls becomes very difficult very difficult due to the emergence of different complicities for a Teen girl. This has a lot to do with the short contribution of the government to improve the educational strategies and structures in most rural parts of the country.
The government should educate and introduce enlightenment programs and this should be done in collaboration with religion leaders, women, community leaders and others. For those who are married at a young age, Government and Non-government Agencies should create more education opportunities, provide reproductive health and HIV/AIDS Prevention information and services to the girls in the urban and rural areas, parents also needs to be enlightened to educate their girl child as it goes a long way in the prevention of unwanted pregnancies. Also empowerment of girl child skills and educate her on basic human right.
Oct 10, 2012
Family planning is very important, most especially in our communities where there are many unaware people. In the northern part of Nigeria, it has been proved that they are the most populated zone In Nigeria and it’s very easy to find a family with 20 children. In such family you will find out that the head of the family will be unable to take proper care of all the children. For example, there was a man that had 25 children and only 9 out of the 20 that he was able to send to school, he doesn’t have the means of taking care of them and sponsor them to school. Secondly family planning is very important on the other hand because when you have low number of family you can be able to take care of them in terms of education, morally feeding and shelter. Also family planning methods can help young couples (husband and wife) agree on the Number of children they want, and when they want it. Some of the advantage of why family planning Should be supported is that it prevents unwanted pregnancy, avoids abortion, it also helps to optimize population in the country, and it also ensure satisfactory nutrition, care for the children, family planning ensure good health care and qualities and education for the children . it is also important to point Out that family planning reduces maternal mortality rate.
Oct 10, 2012
The thought of people thinking that it is ideal to have their teenage daughters become mothers, really keeps me wondering if they are of same planet as I am. Well this ill thought of theirs is as a result of their becoming mothers as teenage girls! Getting into marriage as a teenage girl is future tarnishing.
Marriage is an institution that is established by two individuals that is knowledgeable in handling a home. It is for two matured people to positively enhance their capacity with their different unique experiences they have seen, heard of, and imagine having as married people. Marriage is a life time institution of two people who are meant and destined to be together. It is very inappropriate for a Teenage girl/boy to go into marriage, because they are very empty with due knowledge and experiences to utilize effectively in their supposed “Married life”
My aunty Mrs. Ada Emeka Ike just turned 32 years old last week. She sells roasted Maize in a very local market in Ikeduru local governments’ area of my state of origin, Imo Nigeria. My aunty is a very beautiful young lady that is now mother of 7. She spends most of her time blaming her parents for pushing her into an early marriage at her Teen age. she approached her puberty stage at the age of 13, and was believed to be Bodily matured when she started menstruating. So her father forced her into marrying a friend of his for 3 plots of land without considering if getting married was what his daughter would be comfortable with. She got married to Mr. Emeka Ike as a forth wife and got an STD from him as he was a very promiscuous man.
If she and her family had had a Good life-orientation she would have been beta than a Corn seller. A beautiful life was destroyed because of a lack of Good orientation. An orientation they would have gotten if they had a good educational platform.
13 years old a Mother. HOW old is the young girl you just saw out side?
Oct 10, 2012
Nillima was only thirteen years old when she started menstruating. Her father then couldn’t cope with the fact that she was fast growing and needed to spend more money to keep up with her needs as an adolescent. It came to the thought of Nillima’s father that giving her away would reduce the financial burden and also bring in some money for him. Abu, Nillima’s to be husband was a herdsman and had more money to take care of her, he thought. On this faithful day Nillima sat in her room and thought “I can’t take care of myself not to talk of taking full responsibility of a family of my own” just then her mother barged in to break the news to her that her husband has come to take her to her away. Nillima went with the man her hoping she would be able to fulfill the life she had always dreamt of by going to school as Abu had promised. As Nillima comply with her father’s wish she never knew that was the beginning of her miserable life.
Nillima’s husband wasn’t faithful to her despite the fact she gave him all he wanted. Three years after marriage Nillima contacted the deadly disease HIV and because of the poor awareness she had it resulted to AIDS. After she found out her husband threw her out of the house claiming she couldn’t keep up as a wife. Nillima didn’t have any other place to go to, her parents were dead. Nillima then retired to the streets were she had to beg to earn a living. In most places so many young girls are being deprived of their future they are never given the best of opportunities to make their own decisions they have always dreamt.
Such is the story of many girls in Nigeria, 17% of girls under the age of 15 are already married while 39% of young girls under age of 18 are married. This further confirms the dilemma of young girls’ limited access to education. When the rights of girls are protected, it will help reduce their risk of violence, early pregnancies, HIV infection and maternal death. When we are able to stay in school and avoid being married early we can build a foundation for a better life for ourselves and our families and contribute to the progress of our nation.
Support a girl child attain a meaningful future, we are counting on you!!!
Oct 10, 2012
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Oct 10, 2012
Child marriage is a gross violation of a girls’ human and sexual rights i.e right to physical and mental health, rights to free expression, right to life.etc. Poverty is believed to be one of the significant risk factor for child marriage in Nigeria. Most of the cases recorded so far are surrounded by issues of financial gains and cultural or religious misconceptions. Take for instance, not too long ago in Nigeria; there was a case of a top politician (law maker) that paid $100,000 to a family just to marry their 13 years old daughter in the name of religion. This tells you us, there are so many people including people in government to be held responsible for the un realised potential that are misplace as a result of this barbaric act. But as we focus and get to the various root causes of these issues, it also pertinent we create solution with by-ins of all stakeholders.
Oct 9, 2012
Just when you think you’ve seen it all, someone comes along and totally blows your mind. By this I mean the now non-functioning "Save the Boobies!" October campaign run by porn-streaming site, "Pornhub". The site promised to donate one cent for every 30 clicks on videos featuring adjectivally specific descriptions of breasts e.g. "big jugs", "small jugs" (Oy vey!). One cent though?
The Komen foundation has ordered the site to stop using its name in the campaign because it doesn’t intend to take any of the money generated. One commenter expressed the opinion that money donated to a breast cancer campaign run by a porn site fels "like a little slap in the face". In this person’s opinion, any videos featuring anyone but women with masectomy scars, reconstructed breasts, and bald heads, is just a painful reminder of what cancer survivors have experienced.
Interesting theory. But what’s the harm in a little "out of the box" thinking? All these people were doing was trying to use their service to a worthy cause.
If you were The Komen Foundation, would you take money from Pornhub’s campaign?
Oct 9, 2012
For many of those long nights where you waited for her period because you were unsure if the condom actually broke or those frustrating moments where you tried to do a mental calculation of to try to figure out her cycle. Well ladies and gents, with great advances in science, male birth control is now becoming a more than just an idea discussed around the watering hole among friends. Researchers recently developed a new pill that essentially makes the male testicles “forget” how to produce sperm. I know many of you may be worrying that this is irreversible, but their findings show that the effect of the halted production of sperm is only temporary. This could be huge for the battle of contraception use and access because it evens the playing field for both men and women. This goes a long way for making sure that both parties are equally responsible for their sexual health. Check out the article below to get find out more about advances in male birth control. Enjoy!!
Oct 9, 2012
the believe of being infidel and cafull is totally absorb.
being faithful to you partner is one very, and only very good way to be safe from contracting HIVAIDS. if you keep more than one sexual partner, you will be uncertain of how stable your status is.
having just a sexual parner is being sur of the status of both of you.
I have heard people give all kind of reasons for why they don’t need to not have more than one sexual parner . I recall one conversation in particular when i’d asked a male associate of mine if he plan to just be with one sexual patner he said "NO". and expalained that he’d already been tested once before and since then allof his partners had been "clean" so he didn’t bother being careful.
Oct 9, 2012
Not even condoms can hundred percent, guaranty your not having an STI.
Not even condoms can undoubtably asure your not having an unwanted pregnancy.
The best way is to abstain. abstainance is one way and the only way you can be realy sure of not being endangerd to nothing.
ABSTAIN. seriously it is very easy to. just decide.
Oct 8, 2012
There is a lot of criticism on marriage age in Islam. Some allege that Muslim marriage law allows marriage of minors. However, Quran indicates at least on one place that there is definite age which can be termed as age of marriage “The Kitab al Nikah (Qur’an) permits marriage by reaching maturity sexually and mentally (baligh)”
By nature man does not live alone. In fact he is destined not to live alone. Adam when created was not left to live alone. The Holy Quran says “O men fear Allah Who has created you out of one soul and out of that he created his spouse and from them both have multiplied man and woman in great numbers”. The Quran indicates that in these ties of love and compassion as are ingrained in both the spouses, lays the Islamic ideal of marriage.
For it provides not only a means of multiplying the human race but it also saves the married couple from wasting their time and energies in rival activities and contributes considerably to their spiritual advancement. From this and also other injunctions we gather that marriage is a sacred duty.
Prophet Muhammad (SWA) said “When child attains maturity let him/her be married. If he/she attains maturity and the father does not get him/her married then he/she commits a sin, the sin will fall upon the father” so this does not limit in on the girls but also to the boys.
When a parent feels that his children are of marriageable age and can bear the responsibilities of a family, they should get them married. The age may vary in different individuals. But the average age for a boy will be approximately 20 and in the girl approximately 17. This is because girls attain the age of puberty earlier than the male.
A lot of people say that the prophet Muhammad (SWA) practiced it and that why all Muslims practice it, however when we look at the instance and example shown by the prophet. The age of attaining puberty stage is falling compare to the 20 years back when a 15year old boy or girl will still have not reach the puberty stage and still not forgetting that the climate is also a affect the growth rate and again I wouldn’t want to forget that the level of literacy is also a factor which make other people to make the these mistakes.
My point here is child marriage is just a misconception or should I say it’s a misunderstanding by people who are not well informed on marriage right.
Oct 8, 2012
Last week, I blogged about how October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. However, October is also another awareness month, and like breast cancer, this is also something that wasn’t directly relevant to me personally until this year (while these issues should be relevant to everyone, I have not been personally affected or at risk of being personally affected until now). This poster explains it all.
Yes, it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and this year, its going to hit a little too close to me…
Over the past year, I have shared an apartment with three strangers (all straight cisgender males) due to my lack of finances (I am on disability). Late June, I had arrived at my place and turned in at around 1:30am after a night hanging out with some close friends. I don’t often reveal that I sleep naked sometimes, but I feel that is relevant to this story. Only a half hour after I went to bed, my roommate, who is also the leaseholder, barges into my room without consent, keep in mind that I am only have a blanket around me, and starts accusing me of stealing $200 out of his room and kept hounding me about it, accusing me of smirking, and then threatened to "beat the sh*t" out of me and kill me. He would not even allow me the dignity of being able to get dressed, as he occupied my personal space, which leads me to believe that he had the intent to sexually assault me. The roommate is a cisgender male who is about my height, but considerably more muscular than I was, and they started to use male pronouns towards me and started denying my identity and accusing me of things I didn’t do (ie: this person can be a huge slob, and while its started to rub off on me after I started to get cleaner, I was the only one who even did the dishes or took out the garbage, and his room was even messier than mine). Fortunately, a roommate was cool-headed about the situation and he seemed to listen to me about how his behavior was triggering, and another, although I misinterpreted his intentions, was trying to stop him, trying to hell him that what he was doing was a hate crime and they lock people up for it.
Four months after this incident, I am still living at the same residence. Though I have gotten support from my other roommates, and he hasn’t tried anything since, there is always the fear that the other shoe will drop. And what makes me sad, angry, and afraid, is the fact that none of what he did that night was clearly illegal, and I fear that if it happens again, I will be caught between a rock and a hard place.
Often times, we hear about domestic violence being perpetrated by intimate partners, and while that is the lion’s share of cases, there is a perception that domestic violence can’t happen between two people whose only connection is that they live in the same house or apartment. In fact, Pennsylvania law does NOT recognize roommate related domestic violence in terms of protection from abuse orders, and thus locks people like myself out of many services, including but not limited to, rehousing, something that would be necessary given the fact I am on permanent disability. Many people who are impoverished have to get what they can take in terms of housing, and this often means having to share a house or apartment with other people who may or may not have many unresolved issues.
And then, there’s the fact that I am a lesbian and a transgender woman, and this testimony from Emily Pitt, the director of Fenway Community Health’s Violence Recovery Program to the Massachusetts State House:
“I once worked with a woman who was transgender, and whose partner had almost killed her. She had finally made the decision to leave the relationship and she went to a shelter in Massachusetts. When she got there, the counselors were confused about her gender even though she had previously explained to them that she was transgender, and what that meant. The shelter staff asked her a set of intensive and grueling questions about her body including, ‘What is between your legs?’ … after this humiliating treatment, they told her that she could not be housed there because they decided that she was really a man. After being denied shelter, this woman went back to her batterer because she had no family, no friends and nowhere else to go.”
Although my city, Philadelphia, does have non-discrimination protections based on gender identity, and the shelter system is better than most other cities in terms of placement of transgender individuals, one has to note that there are still pockets of bigotry, especially when it comes to emergency situations, police have been known to be apathetic and sometimes cruel, and attitudes of social workers can really vary. This creates a situation where if the other shoe dropped, I would be at risk of being forced into a men’s shelter.
However, sexual minorities can experience challenges too, as Michelle Fine, who also testified before the Massachusetts State House has said.
“When I sent out an email to other service providers and other folks in our supportive community about this hearing today, I got back a response that was really strong and shocked me as a service provider. Someone emailed me back to say, ‘How dare you compare a woman being beaten by her husband to f*gs and l*sbos.’”
Those who were abused in same sex relationships or are transgender are often denied services because of their condition, due to lack of anti-discrimination laws or enforcement of such as societal stigmas, such as the belief that because it was two members of the same gender or perceived as such, that they were evenly matched, or that domestic violence services cater mostly to cisgender women, and that there are no shelters for men that can adequately address the issues related to domestic violence, also fear of being outed was mentioned as well.
This year, however, it was addressed on the federal level for the first time. as legislation strengthening the Violence Against Women Act, first enacted in 1994, passed the Senate:
Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) spoke highly of VAWA in his opening statement and said no other statute “has done more to stop domestic and sexual violence in our communities.”
“As a prosecutor in Vermont, I saw firsthand the destruction caused by domestic and sexual violence,” Leahy said. “Those were the days before VAWA, when too often people dismissed these serious crimes with a joke, and there were few, if any, services for victims. We have come a long way since then, but there is much more we must do.”
According to a statement from the committee, among the ways the bill builds on existing law is setting aside grant money for programs addressing sexual assault crime and enhancing training for officials to identify high risk offenders who could commit domestic violence homicide.
But the legislation also has enumerated protections for victims of domestic violence in the LGBT community. The bill would make grants available for programs providing services to LGBT victims of domestic violence. Additionally, the bill has non-discrimination language prohibiting VAWA grantees from discriminating on the basis sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, the Republican-Tea Party controlled House has rejected language that would have taken into consideration the many issues that LGBT survivors of domestic violence face, thus increasing partisan gridlock and putting even more lives on the line. You may think this is a "special rights" issue, however, as similar as LGBT domestic violence is to domestic violence committed among straight, cisgender persons, there are many key differences which we must be cognizant of if we ever want to have a safer society.
As for me, I carry mace and lock the door to my room every night. Until I can figure out alternative arrangements, this will be my life for the time being.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
Oct 7, 2012
In South Carolina, young people are working to make comprehensive sex education a reality in their state. SWARM (Students With A Responsible Message), a project of Advocates for Youth and Tell Them SC leads the work of a statewide youth activist network that advocates for comprehensive sexual health education. Here’s a picture of the youth council members in training in August!
Oct 7, 2012
Check out the links below for more info on sex education, contraceptive access, LGBT rights, and more in Florida.
Oct 7, 2012
Learn more about reproductive and sexual health in Florida, and why Florida’s youth activists do the work they do!
Oct 7, 2012
In Florida, young people are working to make comprehensive sex education a reality in their state. The Broward County Youth Council, a project of Advocates for Youth and Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, leads the work of a statewide youth activist network that advocates for comprehensive sexual health education. Here’s a picture of some of the council members at the 2012 Urban Retreat!
Oct 7, 2012
Learn more about young people’s sexual and reproductive health in Colorado and why Colorado’s youth activists do what they do!
Oct 7, 2012
In Colorado, young people are working to make comprehensive sex education a reality in their state. Colorado Youth Create, a project of Advocates for Youth and Colorado Youth Matter, leads the work of a statewide youth activist network that advocates for comprehensive sexual health education. Here’s a picture of some of the council members on their way to tell their Senators and Representatives about the importance of good sex ed!
Oct 7, 2012
Here are a few more important links for those interested in young people’s health in Alabama.
Oct 7, 2012
Young people at Advocates’ partner organization Forward Together surveyed and interviewed students to get more in-depth information about the sex education young people want to see in their school. Check it out!
Oct 7, 2012
Here are a few important links for those interested in young people’s health in California.
Oct 7, 2012
In California, young people are working to make comprehensive sex education a reality in their state. California’s state sex ed leadership council, a project of Advocates for Youth and Forward Together, leads the work of a statewide youth activist network that advocates for comprehensive sexual health education.
Oct 7, 2012
In Alabama, young people are working to make comprehensive sex education a reality in their state. The Youth Activist Council, a project of Advocates for Youth and Alabama Alliance for Healthy Youth, leads the work of a statewide youth activist network that advocates for comprehensive sexual health education. Here’s a picture of some of the council members on their way to tell their Senators and Representatives about the importance of good sex ed!
Oct 6, 2012
For you, Halloween might mean trick or treating, candy binges, fun parties in costumes, pumpkin-flavored stuff, and scary movie marathons. It also means that somewhere out there, there are people whose "Eureka!" moments are kinda dumb, and consist of trying to make a buck off everything. I’m sure you’ve all been to costume store websites and have seen some of the ridiculous ways in which items and people from popular culture are "sexified". What’s that? You haven’t? Well let me show you what I’m talking about.
That’s one helluva sexy bird. The kind you DON’T want to take home to your mama.
Hide yo husband, hide yo son, hide yo daddy ‘cos there’s a sexy raccoon in town.
What did poor Nemo ever do to you? All he wanted was to find his way back home! How do you get sexy from that?
Folks, there you have it, the latest addition to the growing list of disturbing sexy costumes – The "Jane Doe DOA Bodybag Adult Costume"
"He will will be dead on arrival when you show up in this drop dead sexy Jane Doe DOA bodybag adult women’s costume. The dress hugs your every curve and the zipper..well, how low does it go? You decide! You can zip it all the way up and close the hood, or zip it down when he goes down…"
Oct 6, 2012
You know that iconic black-and-white photograph of the American sailor kissing the woman in the white dress? Of course you do – it’s quintessential dorm room wall fare. You know, this one:
This photo always made me uncomfortable. In spite of all the post-war jubiliation, something just seems off about this scene. Maybe it’s her clenched fist, her stiff arm, and her awkwardly twisted legs. Or maybe it’s his headlock-esque embrace, or the smushed-up intensity of their kiss. Call me unromantic, but something about this photo twists my stomach into knots.
Unfortunately, that reaction might not be so off-base. Last week, a British blogger known as Leopold made waves when she posited that, far from being one of the 50 most romantic photographs of all time, this image depicts a sexual assault in progress. As it turns out, the man and woman in the photo were complete strangers prior to this moment. The sailor was drunk, and the woman in the white dress was completely unaware of his presence until he enveloped her in a back-bending bearhug. Leopold cites some chilling quotes from the woman in question, who has only recently been identified and interviewed:
“It wasn’t my choice to be kissed. The guy just came over and grabbed!”
“I did not see him approaching, and before I knew it, I was in this vice grip. [sic]“
“You don’t forget this guy grabbing you.”
“That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”
Shockingly, none of the articles in which these quotes originally appeared seem to recognize this as problematic. Leopold’s blog post addresses this:
The unwillingness to recognize a problem here is not surprising, considering the rape culture in which we live. It is not easy to assert that a woman’s body is always her own, not to be used at the whim of any man without her consent. It is far easier to turn a blind eye to the feelings of women, to claim that they should empathise with the man, that they should be good sports and just go along with it. And the stronger the power structures behind the man, the more difficult it becomes to act otherwise. But if we are serious about bringing down rape culture and reducing the widespread violence against women, then we need to make it clear that engaging with someone sexually without consent is not ok, even when it is an uncomfortable position to take. Especially when it is an uncomfortable position to take.
While it may be tempting to shrug off the circumstances around the photograph and instead revel in the nostalgia, patriotism, and unbridled joy it’s seen to evoke, there can be no excusing the violation of another person’s autonomy. There are plenty of cutesy vintage posters that don’t feature nonconsensual physical contact, so let’s retire the Kissing Sailor in favor of posters that reflect the kind of culture we’re trying to create. Consent is sexy, people!
Oct 5, 2012
Sex, educational and website seem like a weird combination to be all in one sentence! But that is possible this day in age with the innovative sites created to be fun, interactive, with the times and most importantly – a trusted site to get sexual health information!
From being able to look up the laws on sexuality for your state (sex ed, age of consent, or abortion rights for example) to access to a sex ed dictionary with nearly 400 words, how can you ask for more? There is also a forum to ask questions you are dying to know the answers to as well as a link to check out blogs on a number of sexual health concerns, including your body and relationships! A huge problem today is finding a source to get reliable and accurate sexual health info, so enough of my yanking! Go and check it out by clicking here!
Oct 5, 2012
Disclaimer: This blog is intended only for those persons 21 years and older, and is not intended for young people under the age of 21 years old. This blog does not promote the drinking of alcohol, but rather shares tips on how to be safe.
It is no secret that some people like to drink and have a good time, especially after stressful times or just to unwind and celebrate, and especially often times for their 21st birthday! Most people imagine that night with nothing but the company of friends and loads of alcohol. Throw in that guy or girl you have had your eye on for awhile and it could become a crazy night!
A few reminders when out for a night on the town and drinking are:
1. NEVER drink beverages you didn’t open yourself or see being made.
2. NEVER leave your drink unattended.
3. NEVER drink anything with an unusual taste or appearance.
4. NEVER GO OUT WITHOUT A DESIGNATED DRIVER.
5. ALWAYS HAVE A FRIEND WITH YOU THAT WILL LOOK OUT FOR YOUR INTERESTS AND SAFETY
Always remember that SAFE SEX is the best sex and it may be difficult to do that if you and/or your partner have been drinking.
Oct 5, 2012
Sitting in my Women’s Health Issues class, we talk about a wide range of topics. So of course the dreaded PAP test is a topic of discussion. Pap smears are gynecological procedures in which a sample of the cervix is examined for precancerous cells. It’s not as bad as everyone makes it seem but an interesting point was brought up in the discussion.
To get a birth control prescription, including refills, you DO NOT need to have a pap smear done. Pap smears can be included in a “well woman” exam and can be scheduled accordingly with your doctor (depending on your health history and risks), but it is not mandatory to receive a prescription for birth control pills. Secondly, STD testing is not automatically done when you receive a pap test which is a common misconception about pap tests. You have to request STD tests, which if you are sexually active, you may want to get tested every 6 months or before and/or after every new sexual partner.
These are common errors that females make when thinking of pap smears, so get the truth from your doctor if you have questions. Most importantly your vagina may bring you happy years as long as you take care of it! So remember to protect yourself EACH AND EVERY TIME you have sex.
Oct 5, 2012
In the present days now, we found out that, in most environments, there are some people living with much family or large family, including boys and girls.
Example, in a family of seven(7), you only found two that are schooling or have something practically system of life in other to earn a living, and other ones will be left without doing anything responsible all that they could do is just to keep roaming on the street or found them hawking from place to place and on that process it promote lack of conception, in inability to have a good stability specifically on the girls who are found with that aspect, some of goes out there and sustain an unwanted pregnancy, initiated with some bad atmospherically condition which warrant them to be disrespected in the family and in the face of people so also the boys too are been found in some such conditions like that.
This situation has been growing each day by day most especially, poverty status causes it even in some smaller family due to poverty, and they were also encountering many problems that cannot make them to grow forward. When we look into all this, we will found that it is a very wrong thing for us to be encountering all that, if there is a way that can bring a limitation to it, I think it with be a very good development for the nation.
Oct 5, 2012
It is very important to know about female circumcision, why? Because it is very wrong. In the olden days they did that and in the same part of Nigeria there still doing it. It is wrong because they cut the female clitoris, to reduce their women’s sexuality, not knowing that it is wrong and harmful to them. It affects their marital home and it makes them to have difficulty in labor. It destroys marriage, for example I heard of a friend. I think she is 23 years old. She was circumcised by her parents when she was a baby, she narrated how she felt when having sex with her husband, she did not feel anything emotionally. The man did not know that she was circumcised by her parents when she was a baby. This caused a problem when her husband knew that she was circumcised. He start going out with other girls. She is blaming her parents for what they did to her. My contribution is to educate our parents on that, for them to stop doing it because it is very important to them. And also by telling them the dangers of circumcision, and also telling them that it destroys marriage. My friend was narrating the way she feels when having sex, and let us seen how to educate our parents, sisters and any other women in the world for them to know that circumcision is not good. Also in the holy Quran and bible there is no chapter where God says we should do that.
Oct 3, 2012
If a man be gracious and courteous to strangers, it shows he is a citizen of the world.
Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)
On the 21th of September the world celebrated the International Day of Peace. A day where citizens of the earth are encouraged to lay down their arms, animosities, antagonisms, to come together in peaceful repose for 1 day of 355 days to become what we were meant to be: a planet filled with tolerance, kindness and, yes, even love. The special day of the year provides an opportunity for individuals, organisations, and nations to create practical acts of peace.
Ironically, this new decade witnesses the culmination of man’s greed, evil and transgression against his fellow man, the planet where he finds life and worse yet, even against himself.
As a somewhat negative outcome of the Arab Spring that caught the world, and especially the Middle East by storm, the 18 month long Syrian civil war has proved itself to be an example of one government’s disdain for its people met with defiance not to be broken by authority. The body count is reportedly in the 23,000 count, yet it still pushes on. Violent protests in over 20 countries lead to the destruction of property and lives by angry Muslims, such as the death of the United States Ambassador to Libya over the anti-Muslim film. The protests, deaths and damage is clear evidence of what is to come if religious tolerance, or at least tolerance in itself, is not practised. And on the 23rd of September, 2012 as Christians in Bauchi, Nigeria tried to practice their fundamental right to freedom of religion, the religious sect known as Boko Haram struck again killing at least 2 people and injuring 48 more.
Tolerance, or the lack thereof, has shaped history and how we are as groups and individuals in the world today. From the Nazis to the KKK; from gay bashing to gender inequality in the workplace; from the genocides in Rwanda to Cambodia to Somali and those yet to be documented, we see, in one way or the other, a certain lack of tolerance and acceptance for our fellow man. We fail to realise that we are all connected and influence by each other’s actions and inactions.
The fact is, in case anyone, especially our world leaders missed it, is that we live in a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-social world. Everyone is different and we should stop looking at the word “different” as if it is a bad thing. You don’t have to agree with everything someone who has a different ideology or religion believes in, but that’s the thing about tolerance: it’s about accepting that the other person has a different view on things. You don’t have to agree on their views, but understanding that person and his point of view, in other words, putting yourself in their shoes, may just make you think differently on certain issues.
For instance, the recent protests by the Muslim world over the anti-Islamic film have sparked solidarity between the Muslim and Christians followers in certain countries, especially Egypt where Coptic Christians declared their support and condemned “all sorts of contempt or disdain against any religion, as well as to the sowing of sedition between people who embrace different religions”. Even in Nigeria, a nation notorious for its corrupt leaders, thieving politicians, rising insecurity and depths of social, religious and ethnic suspicious, mistrust and killings, Christians in the northern state of Kano, where the terrorist sect Boko Haram has targeted and bombed churches on numerous occasions, have resolved to walk by their Muslim brothers and sisters in protest against the film.
Gandhi said we have to be the change we want to see in the world. If you want to see peace, be peaceful; if you want to be treated with love and respect, treat others with love and respect. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you: now that is the Golden Rule. We are one body, one people. Act
Oct 3, 2012
Legalising abortion in cases of rape and incest is something i have been saying for years.
These young women have been through enough and i feel it is punishment for them to have to carry a child and raise it.
Many people are saying abortion is a sin but i am sure that if they were placed in many of these young ladies shoes they would without a doubt get an abortion.
I remember speaking to a young lady who was raped and now has a son and she said "I honestly wish it didnt happen and everytime i look at him i remember it". When she says "it" she is talking about that horrible incident which took place one sunday night while walking alone from church.. "where was God" i thought to myself but that’s another blog for a different website (lol). However, its has always been my view that victims of rape and incest should be permitted to have abortions and more recently it has been the views of many more Jamaican’s ever since the rape rate has escalated in the last couple weeks. Below is an article printed in the Jamaica Observer highlighting the views of a few Jamaican’s.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has asked Jamaica to reconsider the criminalisation of abortion in cases where a pregnancy is a result of a rape or incest or in cases where it poses a threat to a mother’s health and life.
Abortion is currently a criminal act under sections 72 and 73 of the Offences Against the Persons Act, but the committee, which met with representatives from Jamaica during its 52nd session in New York recently, said it was concerned about the inadequate access to sexual and reproductive health care services in the island which contributed to high incidences of teenage and unwanted pregnancies.
The committee said it was concerned that abortion is wholly illegal according to the Act, which does not make a distinction in cases of pregnancies resulting from rape, incest and threats to a mother’s health and life. Abortions incur severe penalties, the committee argued, and there is a lack of data on the incidence of unsafe abortions and the link to high infant and maternal mortality rates. It further recommended that Jamaica, "Remove punitive provisions imposed on women who undergo abortions."
The Jamaican delegation which appeared before CEDAW pointed out that the parliamentary committee that was convened to look at the possible amendment to the existing legislation has not yet been able to reach a decision. The committee was developed after a draft bill was formulated by an advisory committee on abortions in 2010, following consultations with the wider public about the decriminalisation of abortion.
Although the committee commended Jamaica for the implementation of strategies to strengthen access to health care, it also expressed concern that there was no data showing women’s access to primary and secondary health care services and that there was slow progress in reducing maternal mortality. The committee said it also noted a growing trend to feminise HIV, and there was a disproportionately higher number of women living with the disease.
However, delegates representing the country pointed to a Declaration of Commitment that was signed by former prime minister Bruce Golding and the current prime minister Portia Simpson Miller in April 2011, to eliminate stigma and discrimination and gender inequality affecting the HIV response in Jamaica. They also pointed to numerous successes over the pass few years in the fight to reduce HIV and AIDS cases.
One of the recommendations from the committee is that Jamaica strengthens the monitoring and data collection on women’s access to health care. The committee also suggested that there be free and adequate access to contraceptives so as to improve the access and quality of sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls.
One area of focus, the committee pointed to in going forward, is to undertake a large scale awareness-raising campaign to promote education on sexual and reproductive health and rights. This, they said, will assist in the reduction of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/magazines/allwoman/Jamaica-urged-to-reconsider-abortion-laws-for-cases-of-rape–incest_12632445#ixzz28GM5tX7g
Oct 3, 2012
Join the National Center for Transgender Equality’s "Voting While Trans" campaign to educate and prepare trans people on how to vote in light of new voter ID laws. This year, over 25,000 trans people could be denied a ballot. Learn more at http://www.votingwhiletrans.org.
Oct 3, 2012
On 27 of sep 2012 we have a campus activities in university of Abuja , The program started at 4pm in the afternoon most of the student are present there Maryam Yusuf was registering the student in face book and also taking attendance After that we all introduce our self to them and Aliyu Abdurrahman introduce our organization EVA Education as a Vaccine our armed is to advocate for the right of the young people , most especially the young people living with HIV/AIDS which right has been valuated or deny admission into Nigeria university, and we are vacating for anti- stigma bill so that young people will also have equal right to the society, examples right to education, right to employment, right to health and right to live, he talks on HIV stigma and how to stop stigma and also people with HIV/AIDS should be giving equal right after that Gloria and narrated the stigma she face in school, home and in the society were going through and how she was deny admit ions into the university after that there is a lot of question from the student and contribution, and pelumi read out the petition letter out she talk about the important of sighing in the petition letter, and the student agree to it, and also there was A lot of question and contribution from the student. Refreshment was giving, dancing competition and we close by 6pm.
Oct 3, 2012
Summer is on the rise and a lot of fashionistas are picking up their favorite leather apparel these days. Shop from leatherfads.com and avail 20 percent flat discount.
Oct 2, 2012
Todays forecast in my part of the state was cloudy with intermittent rain. However, despite the nasty weather, it is a sunny day for many elderly, African-American, Puerto Rican, immigrant, youth, and transgender voters (among other groups that I can’t think of right now), as today, Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson entered a preliminary injunction against implementing Pennsylvania’s voter ID law for the November elections.
Sourced from CNN:
A Pennsylvania judge ruled Tuesday that state officials cannot enforce a new voter identification law in next month’s presidential election.
The ruling by Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson is expected to be appealed, but amounted to good news for Democrats who contend the voter ID law is motivated by Republican efforts to suppress the traditionally Democratic minority vote.
"It’s a huge victory in that the photo ID requirement for the November election has been blocked and people without ID will be able to vote on regular ballots," said Witold "Vic" Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union in Pennsylvania.
I have the privilege of possessing an ID, a valid driver’s license, however, due to PennDOT’s restrictive policy on changing driver’s license photos (the photo on my license was taken over a year ago before hormones started to really work their magic), I could have been denied the vote, just like how I was denied beer by a certain package store in New Jersey last winter.
Other parts of the law, notably those providing for voter education about the new ID law remain in effect, however, the lack of ID will NOT STOP PEOPLE FROM BEING ABLE TO VOTE THIS NOVEMBER!!!!
We do not know whether this will be the law’s death knell, however, it is an important victory and I hope it can be banished to the dustbin of history.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
Oct 2, 2012
Just recieved my 500 condoms!!! Thank you Trojan and GACC! Can’t wait to get out there tomorrow and set up my table in the middle of Iowa State University’s campus!
Oct 2, 2012
On 29th September 2012 marked the first LGBTI music and Dance show in Uganda which was titled “KUCHUS ON STAGE”. The show was organized by Rainbow Events Uganda a foundation that focus on LGBTI visual and performing arts. The show brought over 200 LGBTI together to watch their own artists and dance groups perform live on stage which was massive. The main aim of the show was to bring together different LGBTI musicians on one stage to be supported by LGBTI community and have their own platform and their voices to be heard. Music can be used to advocate for the rights of LGBTI because it’s one of the best ways of communicating to the world. This was a safe space for LGBTI artists and dance groups to come and develop their talents. The LGBTI community in Uganda looks forward to having more of concerts that will empower their own artists. Rainbow Events Uganda founded in 2011 is a foundation that focuses on empowering LGBT community in Uganda through visual and performing arts and a series of social creative activities. It’s created to connect a generation of LGBT artistic passionate minds through celebrating the urban life of style and engage in making a positive change through visual and performing arts that promote provision of spaces of expression. R.E.U organize LGBT music educational programmes, LGBT art galleries, LGBT spoken word poetry which is used to communicate positive messages and affect positive change in LGBT community. This creates an opportunity to make the invisible visible as it’s expected that through visual and performing arts there are many opportunities to speak out the real truth and empowerment with the tools to have voices heard on a global platform. The vision is to empower and promote interests of LGBT community and encourage LGBT organizations to become engaged in visual and performing arts for global justice and social Change. One of the successful activities carried out b R.E.U was the LGBTI music and Arts workshop and Drag queen fashion show that took place early this year.
For more information about the work of Rainbow Events Uganda contact
Rainbow Events Uganda
P.O Box 70107 Clock tower
Oct 1, 2012
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A few weeks ago, I had decided to blog about how certain cancers are so rigidly associated with one sex that the trans*/gender variant community oft gets left out. Breast cancer is one of them, and quite possibly, for the first time in my 27 years, it has become an issue that has become directly relevant for me.
While breast cancer can actually occur in both sexes, it’s a sad fact that cisgender women are the only faces that are associated with this scourge, and while breast cancer does have it’s greatest incidences within that demographic cohort, all sexes and all genders can get breast cancer, and my position as a transsexual woman creates challenges in the world of appropriate healthcare.
Last year around this time, I had barely started taking spironolactone, and due to some BAD medical advice, did not start taking estrogen until January of 2012. Since then, I have developed the desired growth of breasts, so much so, that I can now pull a B cup and walking around my city topfree would likely get me arrested. Those on the transfeminine side who have had at least some breast development with hormones, but have not had gender confirmation surgery, are in that position where they will need both mammograms and testicular screenings. I am one of those ladies!
According to the Abramson Cancer Centre of the University of Pennsylvania:
Even those with health insurance can face difficulties in obtaining appropriate cancer screenings. A transgender woman, listed on her insurance as female, but still having an intact prostate gland, would not be covered for prostate cancer screening. The same is true for a transgender man with an intact cervix.
This has been applied to breast cancer as well. But recently, hope has come at the federal level.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, responding to an inquiry from several LGBT groups, has clarified that the health care reform law’s provision banning sex discrimination covers discrimination against transgender and gender-nonconforming people. In his response, issued in July, HHS civil rights director Leon Rodriquez states, “We agree that [the health care law’s] sex discrimination prohibition extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity and will accept such complaints for investigation.”
While much of the awareness of breast cancer is focused towards the cisgender female side, it is also a concern for pre-top surgery transmasculine people, mid-hormonal transfeminine people, and certain non-binary individuals who may, through birth or hormonal intervention, have higher estrogen levels, and hopefully, even though there are still pockets of bigotry, healthcare equality will be closer than ever, and this is only one major issue in terms of trans* health and gendering diseases.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
Sep 30, 2012
Reflecting back on the great OMG-Planned-Parenthood-Almost-Got-Defunded crisis of 2010, one of the most toxic pieces of rhetorical fallout seems to have been the way that the Hyde Amendment became a sort of reconciliatory football to punt around in public discourse about women’s health. Think about it. Anti-choice legislators justified their decision to strip all federal funding from our nation’s largest women’s health provider by claiming it helped fund abortion services. When women’s health advocates rightly pointed out that, on the contrary, the Hyde Amendment has prohibited public funding of abortion since 1976, therein lurked un unspoken assumption of justness or rightness, like ‘it’s okay guys, Planned Parenthood doesn’t use public money to provide abortion services so they toootally aren’t doing anything wrong.’ The defensive tenor of the debate left no room to treat the Hyde Amendment as anything but a fact-checkable defense shield against the blatantly false claims of the anti-choice right.
Unfortunately, the total absence of any nuanced debate around the merits of the Hyde Amendment as public policy meant that our national conversation around abortion rights was fundamentally reframed. The assumption that Medicaid dollars should never cover abortion care was taken as a given, and Planned Parenthood supporters rested easier knowing that the Hyde Amendment afforded them some immunity against misplaced, factually inaccurate anti-choice vitriol. At the end of the day, though, bad policy is bad policy. On the 36th anniversary of the passage of the Hyde Amendment, we would be remiss not to discuss the decades of harm the Hyde Amendment has inflicted on low-income women around the country.
For 36 years, the Hyde Amendment has restricted low-income women’s abilities to make choices about their reproductive lives by banning federal Medicaid coverage of abortion services except in cases of rape or incest or when the pregnancy poses a threat to the life of the woman. In a powerful article published last year, Jessica Arons exposes the classist access limitations that the Hyde Amendment reinforces and institutionalizes:
Abortion policy in this country does not treat all women equally. Even before Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, affluent women were usually able to access abortion safely through a network of private doctors or by traveling to other states or countries where it was legal. Meanwhile, poor women risked their health, fertility, and often their lives to end a pregnancy. Unfortunately, because of the Hyde Amendment, similar inequalities exist today – nearly 40 years after the Supreme Court declared that all women have a constitutional right to abortion.
Arons then lays out the grim set of “choices” a Medicaid recipient might face when confronted with an unintended pregnancy:
It is poor women, disproportionately women of color, who have to scrape together money for an abortion – foregoing rent or utilities, pawning dear items, taking food out of their children’s mouths, or worse. It is these women who consider suicide or self-harm, risk inducing an abortion on their own, or continue a pregnancy against their will and better judgment because they cannot find the money or get to a clinic in time. And it is these women whom policymakers continually ignore but who must live with the consequences of political fights over which they have little control.
Herein lies the crux of the issue. Denying poor women the full range of reproductive health care options simply because it makes some lawmakers uncomfortable totally undermines the fact that abortion is a right protected under the Constitution. Even had the Supreme Court not made that explicit in 1973, the bottom line is that abortion care is health care, and health care is a right, not a privilege. We need to stop defaulting back to the Hyde Amendment crutch any time anti-choicers trot out the taxpayer-funded-abortion rhetoric. Instead, let’s refocus the national conversation and talk about why the Hyde Amendment just isn’t good policy.
Sep 30, 2012
It is a proud day to live in California. Last night, the Golden State became the first in the nation to pass a law that would make it illegal for parents to send their LGBTQ children to therapy to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. When practiced, the therapy has been proven to lead LGBTQ individuals to depression and even suicide.
California Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB1172 into law, acknowledging that this type of therapy "has no basis in science or medicine and will now be relegated to the dustinbin of quackery."
While SB1172 makes it illegal for parents or guardians to send minors to therapy (and illegal for the providing therapist to practice it), it is still legal for LGBTQ adults to seek the therapy for themselves. In these cases, the law mandates that the therapist must provide the prospective patient with paperwork that states that there is no evidence that the therapy works and that they could essentially be throwing their money away.
I was fortunate in never having to go through this kind of therapy, but there are a number of my peers who did. Further, some of my friends were sent to religious camps where they were told that in order to be "normal" they simply had to "pray the gay away."
This type of therapy is not meant for minors– it is meant to comfort parents who feel they need to attempt to control something that they simply cannot. Whether these parents are morally against same-sex love or just want to prevent their child from being treated differently in a heterosexist society, these parents need to understand that telling their children that who they are attracted to is "wrong" that something about them needs to be "fixed" is not a message of love.
It is a true sign of progress that no minor in California will be forced into this kind of therapy again. Now, which state will be next?
Sep 30, 2012
A large number of teenagers in Nepal engage in pre-marital sex. But what is perturbing is that majority of them engage in “unsafe sex”.
According to a recent research study the trend of unsafe pre-marital sex is also increasing. The reasons for this alarming trend are many, from the influence of globalisation to easy access to information, the study concluded.
The findings of the study were revealed at the inaugural session of a three-day national conference, organised by Society for Local Integrated Development Nepal (SOLID Nepal), titled ‘Young People’s Sexual Health in Nepal: The Way Forward’. Health experts who took part in the conference pointed out that the younger generation is adopting liberal views on sex and sexuality.
The practice of delayed marriage is increasingly giving way to premarital and risky sexual activity. As a result the rate of unplanned pregnancies has been rising, leading to an increase in the rate of teenage suicide and unsafe abortion.
“A growing proportion of young people are engaging in pre-marital sexual intercourse and safe-sex practices are often not adhered to, particularly among young people with multiple sexual partners and those who have contact with commercial sex workers,”
. However, it also points out that “the knowledge of contraception among young people in Nepal is very limited and its use, almost negligible.
” According to estimates, 40,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS in Nepal and one third of the infected numbers are people under 25 years of age. Similarly, 42 percent of the estimated 25,000 commercial sex workers in Nepal are estimated to be between the ages of 15 to 19.
" Advocacy & Awareness program regards Reproductive & Sexual Health is must required in the wide range for the youth Blood in present Scnerio…."
"Let us Together join in hands to enhance the improvement of this issue "
if not today then when???….
if not me , u , us then who??
" Our Joint Effort can bring the great changes in the nation & across the world "
Sep 30, 2012
It was not the fault of Sarmila BK that she became infected with HIV, but because of her HIV positive status she had to leave her home. An inhabitant of Godawari, Kailali, Sarmila was ousted from her home when her husband died of AIDS after four years of marriage. She was infected with HIV by her husband. Once her husband’s family discovered that she was living with HIV, they accused her of committing a number of offences and made her leave the family home. Since then, Sarmila has been living in Dhangadi.
Thirty year-old Devaki Pariyar of Paatal VDC, Achham District, came to Kathmandu after she was forced to leave her home. Devaki and her young child were obliged to seek help from different organisations in Kathmandu after the death of her HIV infected husband. Devaki has stomach problems but she can’t afford treatment. Describing her experience of being displaced, she said, "If my health was sound, I could work as a labourer for a living… but how can I work to sustain myself in such an unhealthy situation? How can I educate my child?" Devaki also revealed that her family had accused her of killing her husband and then forced her to leave her home.
The situation of Dhana Nepali from Doti is similar to Devaki and Sarmila . Dhana and her husband have lost a son and a daughter to AIDS. When they reflect on how their community treated them, they say that they felt like dying. As a displaced person, Dhana said she could not get even afford a spade to dig a grave to bury her son in the bank of the Mohanaa River. Her son died in Seti Zonal Hospital while he was undergoing treatment. "What can be more miserable than this?" she exclaimed.
Sarawati Badi of Kailai; Rangi Saaud of Markudada; Pashupati Pariyar of Achham; Bimala BK of Chandika; and Basanti Pariyar of Marku are five women who were discriminated against and displaced from their communities simply because they were HIV positive. Throughout the country, women like them are being subjected to domestic violence whereas others are living a panicked, displaced life. Hark Singh Kuwar, an HIV activist from Shafebagar, Acham district, said that the number of such displaced people was growing.
Displaced women living with HIV are suffering from two pandemics. Also, they lack money to buy medicines and they live a displaced life with their children after they are forced to leave their own homes. While some of them have left for Kathmandu hoping to get shelter, others live at the District Headquarters and ask for help from different organisations.
Economically destitute, their HIV status delivers two more responsibilities to these women: to take care and educate their children, and to take care of their own health. Some children of women who have publicly expressed their HIV positive status, with the help of various organisations, are educated in Kathmandu as well as in villages near District Headquarters. However, women do not want to reveal their HIV status due to possible social injustices that would prevent their children from being accepted into schools. These women’s worries are made worse by economic insecurity.
One displaced women living with HIV said that she would have found life easier if the government had taken responsibility for the education of her children. After donor agencies including Global Fund expressed reluctance to assist HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, more problems are likely to occur. Mathura Kunwar, vice-president of the Federation of Women Living with HIV said, "It is not the fault of the women that they are infected with HIV. We are infected because of unsafe sex with our husbands whom we worshipped as God. But society finds us guilty and forces us to leave our homes."
Mathura has been involved for the last fifteen years in the treatment and rehabilitation of women living with HIV. She explained that young husbands who go to India or foreign countries for employment leave their wives at home but cannot control their sexual desires. They contract HIV through unsafe sex with sex workers. Gorakh Nepali, the president of Godavari Plus, an organisation working for the rights of HIV positive women and providing services to them in Kailali District, said that it was because of husbands that HIV infection among houseswives is increasing. 90% of youth from the Far-western development Region go to India for employment, Nepali said, but they cannot earn enough money and stay in India only for about two years. They have unsafe sex with sex workers from whom they contract HIV. This has resulted in an increase in risk of HIV infection among their wives.
Most women who contract HIV from their husbands are now living alone. Shanti Pariyar explained that her husband had been an employee in Mumbai, India. He would come home once every four years. Gradually, he started showing signs of illness and falling sick. He was HIV positive but he did not inform her about it. He died of AIDS two years ago. Because of him, Shanti is now living with HIV. Remembering her past, Shanti bitterly expressed, "After his death, my family wanted to expel me from the house. My family knew that I was HIV positive and all the members including my father-in-law, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law joined together to force me to leave the house.”
Sahana Rajhandari, a resident of Maitidevi, Kathmandu, had to leave her house a few years ago simply because she was HIV positive. Her educated family branded her a guilty woman and refused to grant her any share in the family inheritance. Unable to tolerate such mistreatment, she filed a case against them in court. A court decision granted her a share of her family inheritance. Now, she lives in her own house. But she still has to face violence in other ways. Courts do not favour all women who are HIV positive and who fight against violence in the way that Sahana did. Many other women are poor and cannot speak for their own rights. Mira Kuwar, the former Vice-Chairperson of Shakti Milan Society, an organisation working for HIV positive women, said that most HIV positive women are illiterate. She said, "Since we are illiterate and poor, society has dominated us for a long time." The government estimated that 55,626 people are HIV infected in Nepal .
According to the data provided by the National Centre for AIDS and STD control, 18, 396 people were registered as HIV infected by November, 2011. Among total HIV infected women, 27% are housewives and of the 27%, 21% live in rural areas and 6% live in urban areas. Among all HIV positive housewives, most have been displaced from their homes. Some only know about their HIV status when they are on the verge of death and after their husbands have already died.
Sep 30, 2012
As a gender non-conforming English student, I’ve come across a lot of heated debate (or, more accurately, academic cringes) about the use of the singular "they" as someone’s preferred gender pronoun.
There are more than a dozen gender-neutral pronouns in the English language, but most of them are recently invented and clunky on the tongue. The one that has gained the most popularity over time is "ze," as in "Ze went to the bookstore to buy a super-rad feminist magazine."
However, many genderqueer and trans* identified individuals are much more attracted to the pronoun "they" in its singular use. There are still people that use "ze," but "they" is a nice option as well as it is a more familiar word to us. We use it every day, just not necessarily as a singular.
This is where grammar nerds have a problem. "But they is a plural! We can’t use it to describe one person!" Behold, friends: a list of evidence proving how they has been used as both a singular and a plural, and that both forms are correct. How cool is that?
The whole article is an interesting read, but it’s pretty heavy with rhetoric. If you want a summation of the article, look no further:
"Summary: You don’t have to use singular they yourself. You can go ahead and re-work your sentences to avoid it. You can employ he or she, or s/he, or a made-up gender-neutral pronoun of your own devising like xe. You can even just stubbornly plow on, using he as a gender-neutral pronoun until you grow tired of people pointing out that it isn’t really. I don’t care, and you’re not grammatically wrong. But you’re just making a fool of yourself when you go around telling users of singular they that they’re wrong, because they’re not."
Here’s a perfect example that a friend gave me: if you are driving and someone cuts in front of you in traffic, are you going to ask yourself, "what is he or she doing?" Or are you going to ask yourself, "what are they doing?"
So they, they, they away!
Sep 30, 2012
There are few people who enjoy and hangout in your successes, but there are more people who are jealous for your achievement. There are few blessings than more criticism in your path. I know youth is the age for experimentation and age of piloting the ideas; this is actually a time for inventions, innovations and discoveries. Youth trial the things in their own, and when it gets success it’s an innovation; in their term- an entire world to show the world. But, beside the success if it gets failure, youth needs inspiration to initiate life beyond frustration and depression. What happens actually is, sometimes one success may lead to think about superiority about all the things in this nature; youths get embedded in the world of their leadership; youths think themselves in absence of other competitors. Some had made the world of autocracy within this one success, while some still think beyond their world of limitation. What I really afraid at this time is- one success might help to get your purpose, but not sufficient to get a goal. You have thousands of blessings and alone the way you have millions of criticisms. Among this all you must have the coping capacity. Still your future achievements are not predicted. It is not only about continuing inspiration; also something that is related to the reality of your capacities, what needed is the ability to digest them. Inspiration may energize you to keep on going, but for sure this will be without your own reality. I had seen more people those were broken on their way. Your today’s successes not only encourage you to grow up, but also encouraging your rivals to pull you. This is reality that does not predict your future. Being a Youth, you must understand the changing world, and wider your thoughts accordingly.
In childhood I have heard predictions about me. Some astrologers had projected me seeing my hands lines; some had explained me based on few pieces of rice; some through horoscope. I still remember those taboos and traditions that really had explained me. Being youth I am now growing in the same pace. Now I forget the saying, “hune biruwaa ko chillo paat”. Someone now sees me as a fast mover; somehow I am back enough. Critics through minds, what can I do? One success makes my few friends and lots of revivals. Youth like me are living in the society which never going to stop criticizes upon what we do. Among a few positive minds we have a lot of evil minds. This is one factor that had narrowed down the youth’s world. Someone had somewhere told about what actually we have to care about is of those jealous minds, because they always guide us that we are on right path. Being a youth you must have the control in your emotions and desires. After all beyond the world for success, we forget to count what we are losing.
Sep 29, 2012
New Hampshire is not known to be a state that is transgender friendly. Currently, the entire state lacks any form of gender identity non-discrimination protections, and to add insult to injury, the state senate took up a gender identity bill and NOBODY VOTED FOR IT, and compounding that injury is the fact that New Hampshire is one of few states that still require surgery for a driver’s license gender change.
But however, in the absence of such laws, a school district, after some backsliding, has taken the initiative in allowing a transgender girl to be herself in school.
The Nashua school district has agreed to let a transgender third grade student enrolled at a new elementary school to be officially identified as a female and use the girls’ bathrooms.
The child’s family says the student started identifying and dressing as a girl last year, but after she was separated from her classmates and not allowed to use the girls’ bathrooms, her mother removed her from school and she received tutoring for the rest of the year.
School officials say it is their policy to not discriminate against any students.
The district has earned praise for its efforts to accommodate this student.
But, as stated before, this didn’t come easy, for while the school district was initially accepting, there was some backsliding, due to the tyranny of the majority.
What would you do if your son told you he was your daughter?
That happened for this mother over the district’s winter break last year. When the child returned to second grade that January dressed as a girl, using a female name, she was initially accepted by her teacher and classmates and was allowed to use the same restrooms as the other girls in class, her mother said.
Her daughter was happier and better behaved than she ever had been as her son.
But when a classmate’s parent complained about the girl using female restrooms and staff continued addressing her as male, her daughter’s mood darkened and behavioral issues increased, her mother said.
The child was ultimately separated from her classmates, seated in a single desk in a room of shared tables and was no longer allowed to use the girls restroom, her mother said.
Eventually, her mother removed her from school, and she received outside tutorial services from the district for the remainder of the 2011-12 school year.
This is the type of stuff that impedes the progress of human rights. One parent decided to take it on themselves to prevent this little girl from being able to be herself, and while there are always bigots out there advocating for CHILD ABUSE in the form of forced detransition, the grown-ups should always be in charge and they should educate the family about this issue.
According to the superintendent of the Nashua School district, students do not need any extra accommodations due to their transgender status. I agree with this statement, for it is not "extra accommodations" to allow a transgender child to use the facilities and to present as their true gender identity, but about allowing all girls and boys and non-binary individuals to be themselves, and that is what it is all about.
While there is nothing in Nashua’s elementary school curriculum discussing LGBT issues, it often comes up in high school health classes on sexual harassment. I feel that this teachable moment can lead to even greater improvements.
Congratulations to this little girl, you have done something I wanted to do when I was her age, but never was able to do growing up in the 1990s in a backwater.
-Jordan Gwendolyn Davis
Sep 28, 2012
As I sat on my verandah on a beautiful sunny afternoon drinking coffee and contemplating on the beautiful scenery I had in front of me, I realized that someday all this beauty will be gone. I am lucky to live in a place that is not yet over-populated and where the essence of nature can still be breathed in the minute you walk out of your door.
Many of us are gifted to live in such places that are becoming extinct because of our own selfish desires. But how many of us actually take time to walk around and give thanks for the little we have left that is being destroyed day by day. Maybe we havn’t realized it but everything that lives will someday die. Sadly, we human beings are causing the death of many of the beautiful things that give us life.
Nature, our environement and our planet were specifically designed for us human beings to live in it not to destroy it. Some things are ineveitable, but there are many things that we can prevent and that we have control of. Take time to apprectiate your surroundings, give thanks to life and live simple because less is always more (and less is equal to less fuss also). Educate yourself, plan (even if what you plan doesn’t come out like you wanted), save (it doesn’t matter how much you earn), and live life day by day.
Life is amazingly good when it’s simple and amazingly simple when it’s good.
Sep 28, 2012
After a very interesting conversation with some girls from school, I realized that many people still consider emergency contraception or the morning-after pill an abortive pill. Of course, this has a lot to do with the religious backgrounds of many people – “Once the seed has been planted, life has already began”. These are just some of the commonly used phrases that people use to support their argument against the emergency contraception.
The emergency contraception however, is not an abortive pill and like the name says it, it’s only to be used in case of an emergency which preferably is within 72 hours after having sex. This type of contraception is used to prevent a woman from getting pregnant after she has had unprotected sex or if the birth control method she was using failed. It is very important to know that if a woman is already pregnant, the emergency contraception will not work. These are some of the instances when the emergency contraception comes handy.
If you’re a woman you can use emergency contraception if:
-You were forced to have sex and no protection was used
-The condom broke
-Your diaphragm or cervical cap tears or slips out of place
-You missed at least two or three active birth control pills in a row (depending on which pill brand you use)
-You were more than two weeks late getting your birth control shot
-You use the natural family planning method and don’t abstain from sex on the fertile days of your cycle
-You have reason to think your regular birth control might have failed
Emergency contraception should not be used as regular birth control. It is only to be used in cases of emergency to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and possibly the need for an abortion. But it itself does not cause the abortion. Also, does not protect you from HIV and STI’s so the best thing is to always use a condom when having sex.
Educate yourself on the different types of contraceptive methods, talk to your doctor and prevent the unwanted.
Sep 28, 2012
Homosexuality has been linked to AIDS from the beginning when the epidemic was first identified in 1981. In those days, early media referred to it as Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID) meaning it only struck gay men. Today, the connection between AIDS and gay men still exist despite the fact that not only gay men engage in anal sex. Many people consider anal intercourse against the order of nature but truth of the matter is, even heterosexuals partners indulge in such act. Therefore, I believe that the act is not the problem as much as is the fact that people are having unprotected sex. That’s the problem! And for those who did not know, here’s a news flash: both anal and vaginal intercourse may increase one’s likelihood to get infected with HIV if one does not use a condom.
Anti-gay movements condemn homosexuals arguing that these people go against what the Bible preaches, engage in immoral acts and influence other people especially children to become homosexuals. Taking these arguments from a religious perspective, it allows for some justifiability but when one goes to the extent of blaming homosexuals for starting the epidemic and hence for the present HIV/AIDS situation then that is utterly unfair, not to mention ridiculous. People need to realize that AIDS is not a homosexual disease. The reason why HIV/AIDS is so prevalent is because there are people out there who are not protecting themselves when having sex, not to mention those who are victims of rape, and those who get it from sharing contaminated needles.
If you are one of those who believes him/herself to be Superman or Wonder Woman then, I’m sorry but I’ll have to burst your bubble. Being responsible for one’s own sexuality and the sexuality of others is key to preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS, STI’s and even unwanted pregnancies. There is no need to blame homosexuals when everybody is having sex out there. Always remember that HIV/AIDS and STI’s can only be prevented if you use a condom and if you use it properly. Condoms can break and it only needs to break once to change your entire life.
Sep 28, 2012
It’s September, and as my fellow Amplify youth correspondent Hannah pointed out earlier this week, college freshmen around the country are gathering in classrooms and auditoriums for the obligatory sexual violence awareness and prevention programming that has rightfully become a hallmark of college freshmen orientations everywhere. For peer sex educators like me, freshman orientation means perpetually gritted teeth and time spent diplomatically deconstructing cringe-worthy, victim-blamey comments made by hapless freshmen who don’t know any better (see: “Well…she didn’t say ‘no’,” “It’s her own fault for getting so drunk,” and so on and so forth).
Those of us who advocate around sexual violence issues on college campuses are often quick to dismiss these sorts of comments as symptomatic of a culture borne of the type of collective ignorance that can be remedied with an open mind, an effective freshmen orientation and a few gender studies classes. As I facilitated break-out discussion sessions for my fellow students at Northwestern University last week, for instance, I felt genuinely optimistic about my own capacity to effect culture change; it felt like I was watching freshmen connect the dots between sexual violence and the culture that enables it right before my eyes.
These small group discussion delved into grey areas and begged questions without easy answers: How can we as college students realistically navigate hook-up culture safely in light of the competing forces of alcohol and drug use? What can we do to create a campus culture of inclusivity, communication and respect? What qualifies as consent? How do we define rape? It’s easy to repeat platitudes and soundbites (“No means no!”), but things are a lot less black and white when playing out in real life.
Obviously the dark cloud of ambiguity wrought by rape culture on college campuses does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who has followed the news cycle in recent months has probably developed a chronic rage headache as various pundits and politicians have quibbled and qualified what exactly constitutes rape and what does not. When prominent public figures and culture makers are making statements you’d more typically expect to hear from only the densest pre-orientation college freshmen, you start to get a sense of the real ubiquity of our rape culture. It seems that confusion about how to identify and respond to sexual violence is endemic at all levels of our society, a fact that I attribute in large part to the enormously varied and globally ambiguous cultural and legal norms surrounding rape and sexual assault.
A particularly illustrative case in point played out on the international stage last month when Wikileaks founder and accused rapist Julian Assange won diplomatic asylum from Ecuador after Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa publicly stated that Mr. Assange’s alleged sexual misconduct wouldn’t have counted as rape in Latin America. Authorities in Sweden, the country in which Assange faces assault charges, view this development as an insult to Assange’s victims and a blatant obstruction of Swedish rule of law.
The debacle has incited a bitter controversy and bred various widely circulated but as-of-yet baseless theories of a U.S.-led conspiracy to exploit the supposedly phony Swedish rape charges in order to extradite and prosecute Assange for his Wikileaks activism. In the meantime, contentious divisions have erupted on the left between feminists and freedom-of-information activists. It seems that many of Assange’s staunchest defenders have conflated their appreciation for the work he has done on behalf of promoting government transparency and whistleblowing with the insupportable assumption that he is somehow incapable of perpetrating acts of sexual violence against others. The result? Assange’s victims’ stories have been twisted, mocked and delegitimized past the point of recognition in one of the single largest instances of collective victim blaming in recent memory.
Conspiratorial theorizing and rape apologism aside, the Assange controversy has provided a broader illustration of the problematic implications inherent in the lack of any internationally uniform definition of rape. Sweden, a country with a strong human rights record, defines sex with an unconsenting but sleeping woman (regardless of any prior sexual contact) as rape. Unfortunately, this is not true of many Latin American, African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
According to police reports, Assange allegedly had nonconsensual sex with two women within the course of a few days during a trip to Sweden in August of 2010. In the first instance, Assange allegedly held the victim’s arms down physically and spread her legs in what he claims was consensual sex in her apartment. In the second instance, Assange reportedly had unprotected sex with a sleeping woman after having had consensual, protected sex with her earlier that night. Under Swedish law, such conduct unambiguously constitutes rape. In my mind and the minds of many people I know, such conduct unambiguously constitutes rape. Why, then, have Assange’s victims been raked across the proverbial coals for daring to speak out about his criminal behavior?
The answer lies in the messy, ill-defined global standards for sexual conduct. Views and laws about what constitutes rape vary enormously between countries and cultures, and a clear-cut instance of sexual assault in Sweden may not be perceived as such in less progressive corners of the globe. In his 2006 rape trial, South African president Jacob Zuma was quoted as saying that “you cannot just leave a woman if she is ready,” and that denying such a woman sex “would be tantamount to rape.” (He was later acquitted). In China and many Muslim countries, marital rape has not yet been criminalized. In countries like Bangladesh, Somalia and Pakistan, rape victims are often jailed, flogged, or stoned for taking part in illicit sex. These extreme examples stand in stark contrast to the Swedish model, which holds women’s rights in high regard.
Unlike Sweden, the United States has no nationwide definition of rape. Although the federal code refers to “aggravated sexual abuse,” rape definitions vary by state and may or may not stipulate as to whether physical force must be used. The overriding sense of ambiguity that results has stoked the misplaced indignation of Assange’s supporters and inspired confused, victim-blamey comments at college freshman orientations everywhere.
Is this really surprising? How are we supposed to hold our college freshmen to a higher standard when they’re taking cues from a culture that often refuses to validate the legitimacy of survivors’ experiences and a legal system that fails to delineate or define sexual violence in a comprehensive, unambiguous way? It’s not enough to provide comprehensive anti-violence education to college students without a concurrent top-down effort to make our legal systems more accessible to survivors. The question is not whether or not Julian Assange’s purported actions constitute rape – it should be clear that they do. Instead, we need to ask ourselves why there seems to be such widespread unwillingness to call a spade a spade.
I firmly believe that the United States should strive toward a more uniform, comprehensive standard by which to adjudicate cases of sexual violence – one that actually validates the experiences of the vast majority of survivors, most of whom are assaulted by acquaintances, friends, co-workers, or significant others, and not by strangers lurking in dark alleys; one that acknowledges that a survivor’s clothing choices, alcohol or drug consumption, and sexual history hold no bearing on his or her credibility as a victim; one that affirms that the absence of ‘no’ is not consent and that an assault doesn’t have to be “forcible” to be “legitimate.” Ultimately, activists, legal scholars and sex educators alike must collectively advocate for a global shift toward the Swedish model in our treatment of sexual violence if we truly wish to eliminate rape culture.
Sep 28, 2012
Don’t remember? Never heard of it? Okay, well, here’s a quick summary.
A sixteen year old girl named Esperanza from the Dominican Republican desperately needed chemotherapy. She’d die if she didn’t receive medical care, but was denied the treatment because she was 9 weeks pregnant. She was also denied the right to an abortion because in her country, this medical procedure is banned even in the cases of critical health conditions. The Constitution of the Dominican Republic states, "the right to life is inviolable from the moment of conception and until death." Notice how this constitution fails to mention who exactly has the right to life.
It took the people in power about a month to decide that just maybe the teenage girl’s life was worth saving. But by then it was too late. And now we’re left with, "If only her life was made a priority without the month long debate…"
Yes, this story is tragic. Yes, she was only sixteen. And yes, this happens everywhere. It can happen in the United States. While adults in the United States do not need to receive the consent of someone else to receive medical treatment (although certain representatives are trying to change that), young people still require parental consent.
As people who strive for equality and fight for sexual and reproductive health and rights, we don’t presume to know what the lives of others are like. So we don’t assume that a parent is always the best person to talk to, or at least we try not to.
When we talk about reproductive health and rights, who are we really talking about though? Are we even on the same page? There seems to be a large scale of erasure going on in the majority of these discussions. Do we all realize that not only women can get pregnant? And that not all women can get pregnant? Do we all understand that the color of our skin definitely affects our choices in this issue? Do we all get that young people are also entitled to have reproductive health and rights?
What will it take? And how many other stories like Esperanza’s are being neglected?
Sep 28, 2012
This week I was impatiently waiting for the event, which could advocate for LGBT rights, bring finally the issues of gay muslims into the sphere of public discussions. However, unfortunatelly it turned completely other way round.
Chris Belloni, director/producer of the film ‘I AM GAY AND MUSLIM’, a documentary on five gay Moroccan young men who speak about their exploration of the religious and sexual identities, was invited to the Bir Duino Human Rights Film festival in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
However, the movie screening of this documentary was cancelled, because of the decision of the court, which forbade screening, storing and dissemination of the movie in Kyrgyzstan since the movie was considered to be extremist by the expert committee. According to the expert committee’s conclusion the movie contains the signs of incitement to religious hatred, humiliation and inferiority of Muslims by religion.
I expected a resonance of the society, but did not expect such a reaction from the authorities – a ban of the movie. (Chris Belloni)
The well-known theologian Kadyr Malikov, the Director of the Analytical Centre "Religion, law and politics" made a groundless comment about the movie:
The movie "I’m gay and muslim" is a clear provocation. Now many people are wondering whether it is not a sequel to the movie "The innocence of the Muslims"
The film distorts the Quran and legitimize homosexuality in Islam.This is an informational attack onto Islam. Now the whole Muslim world is against the West and these films are aimed at aggravating the situation.
But this movie is not related at all to the film "The innocence of the Muslims" because of the following reasons:
– Different directors, producers
– Different countries of production
– Different quality of films
– Different financial resources and many other reasons
Moreover, the film doesn’t aim at distorting the Quran or legitimizing homosexuality in Islam: it shows the REAL stories of muslim gay men, who live in Morocco and who experience a lot of challenges in finding their sexual and religious identities.
Chris himself said, while giving the interview to KLOOP.KG news agency:
I believe that the problem of homosexuality in the Muslim community should be raised and discussed. I made the film in order to attract public attention to this issue
and it’s not ‘the provocation from the West’ and Pyshkin, the head of the State Committee for Religious Affairs, who said: "The aim of this movie is destabilization in the country" is completely wrong.
I consider this situation as a direct violation of human rights by the state. The state introduces censorship, which violates the freedom of speech. How can the state decide what citizens should see or not? People at the festival were very excited to watch the documentary and many of them were waiting only for this movie. The news agency KLOOP.KG wrote:
The participants and the audience of the festival are against the prohibition
The General Prosecutor’s Office demanded the State Agency of Communications to block access to the movie online.
Tolekan Ismailova, the Human Rights defender, said in the interview to the news agency Kloop.KG that:
Conclusions of the State Committee for Religious Affairs about the film can’t be considered as an expert’s conclusion. In addition, the claim of the General Prosecutor’s Office in the court of Pervomai district in Bishkek was considered without a defendant. At the moment, the actions of the State Committee of National Security, which want to prevent the movie-screening, are illegal.
However, the situation could escalate to the violence:
"Muslims have threatened to burn the cinema down" – said Chris
and in order to avoid violence the movie screening was cancelled.
The violence against LGBT can be stopped only through building awareness among the major public. The movie screening of "I’m gay and muslim" would be an important step to increase the awareness about gay and bisexual men, who are also devoting their lives to Allah and follow the Quran and the Hadith. It would be an effective tool to show how muslim LGBT suffer and how difficult the way is towards understanding of Allah’s world. The prohibition of the movie screening can negatively affect the health and lives of muslim LGBT in Kyrgyzstan. Moreover, in Kyrgyzstan, where religion and the state are officially separate, the freedom of speech is considered one of the important values. Such prohibitions and censorship threaten this fundamental human right.
More information about the festival: http://birduino.kg/en/2012/07/04/bir-duino-one-world-2012/
More about the movie:
Sep 28, 2012
To my amplifyyourvoice.org community, friends and followers, some of you are my Facebook friends (and my dear close friends). Some of you are my Twitter followers (@leovlauzon). You might noticed that my display picture is black and so are some of your Filipino friends and friends from all over the corners of the globe – especially those that are fellow activists, bloggers and online writers…
So why is our DP black?
Today is BLACK FRIDAY in the Philippines for bloggers and it should be for everyone because we believe that OUR INTERNET FREEDOM IS NOW DEAD with the legislation Philippine Cybercrime Law! We believe that some of the provisions of the law is curtailing our freedom to speak and criticize about issues and people especially those who are working in the like the politicians.
I encourage everyone to read more about this issue for everyone to understand our predicament at www.newsaroundus.com/2012/09/cybercrime-prevention-act-of-2012.html
If you love freedom of expression online then have a BLACK DP! We are campaigning that netizens support us in this campaign to repeal the contentious provisions in the law by showing to the authorities our displeasure of what they did to us bloggers and online writers. As of writing, Senators and Representatives have already petitioned the Supreme Court to ify some of the provisions in the said law.
The law is GAGGING US!
Around the world, governments have been trying to curtail freedom of speech in the internet since it has become our main medium of communication and where we can freely express ourselves. We stood by with the Egyptians when Mubarak shut down the internet in Egypt in the wake of the Arab Spring. We resisted the attempts of the American government to impose censorsip on the internet. Together we have won these battles…
JOIN US in solidarity!