[UPDATED] Debating on Ultra-Conservative Radio

So…I’m apparently debating Laura Ingraham and Isabel Marin (from Yale’s “Choose Life” and “Undergraduates for a Better Yale College“) on the place of Sex Weeks on college campuses. This will be happening FRIDAY (April 20th) at 11:15 AM EST on The Laura Ingraham Show.

You can listen to it by clicking here.

Long story short, Harvard’s Sex Week got profiled in the New York Times and I was quoted in the article. I’m assuming this is what caught folks’ attention and led them to email me this morning asking if a representative from SHEEC wanted to go on air to speak about Sex Week. They were asking if we could do it “today” (read: within less than 30 minutes of the show having sent that email, which is horrible protocol) or tomorrow. Talk about short notice! But still, I said yes. It’s an interesting opportunity and I feel I can hold my own on the air (or at least I hope I can!). (NOTE: the appearance was originally scheduled for April 18th, but they decided to reschedule for the 20th to give us more on-air time. The first paragraph of this post has been changed to reflect that update).

Wish me luck!

For a bit of background on Laura and her show, let’s look at some of the topics she addresses and the stances she takes (via Wikipedia):

  • Illegal immigration: Ingraham frequently advocates “securing the borders” by putting more resources into stopping illegal immigration. She has a segment called “The Illegal Immigration Sob Story” alert, in which she highlights media articles that she believes are gathering emotional sympathy for illegal immigrants who, she states, are simply breaking the law.
  • Pro-life issues: Ingraham is opposed to abortion on demand, and often talks about human cloning, embryonic stem-cell research and abortion, taking a pro-life stance against all three. She was an outspoken advocate against Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 (2006), a ballot measure that she felt was deceptive and that legalized human cloning. Every January 22, Ingraham promotes and lauds the marchers participating in the March for Life, which calls for outlawing abortion, and takes place on the same day as the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States.
  • “Pornification” of the culture: Ingraham frequently highlights sex and pornography on her show. She has criticized people such as Howard Stern, Hugh Hefner, and others who she claims have pervaded the culture with what she describes as “filth” at the expense of “traditional American values.”

I think we can safely say Laura and I are not going to end up BFFs. As for Isabel (who’s part of an organization that recommends fake clinics or “crisis pregnancy centers” to pregnant women), the same applies.

Privilege, Blackface, and the Burden of Education

(This post is coming as a result of a debate on a listserv of which I’m a member)
The first reaction to a claim of “that’s racist” or “that’s fucked up” or anything in that vein should not be kneejerk defensiveness + “I AM NOT RACIST” + “LOOK AT ALL MY MINORITY FRIENDS.” In instances where someone is calling us out, we need to listen before trying to defend ourselves
No, blackface is not an homage, even if the wearer intended it as such. Blackface and any other cultural appropriation can be deeply offensive, even under the guise or art and political commentary. Have any of you heard the “We’re a culture, not a costume” poster campaign? If not, you should check it out. A poster on Autostraddle summed it up pretty well:  “The problem with racially insensitive Halloween costumes: While people who dress up as racial stereotypes might be able to take the disguise off the day after Halloween, people who are minorities can’t. And the resonance of everything from a geisha to a terrorist stereotype persists long after the end of October.”
Another interesting discussion? This video from The View. It’s interesting because two folks “of the group being discussed” don’t agree on the matter.
My takeaway points?
  • Just because some folks in a minority group are not offended does not mean that the action is suddenly okay or shouldn’t be construed as offensive to other members of that community. In this case, just because Whoopi was fine with it doesn’t discount (and shouldn’t minimize) the point that the other person was making.
  • People can be very aware and sensitive around some issues, but entirely clueless about others. Also, let’s remember that just because someone makes fucked up OR super intelligent statements doesn’t mean they are fucked up OR super intelligent across the board. For example, in the Halloween video I was totally on board with the speaker opposing Whoopi, but in this video, I’m totally on board with Whoopi and her defense of Sasha Grey.
  • Being ignorant about an action’s cultural baggage and the stereotypes that come along with it is UNDERSTANDABLE when folks come from a position of privilege where they have never had to think about that baggage. HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean the ignorance is OKAY or that it should be allowed to continue and be perpetuated. *This is an important distinction.*
  • At the same time, people with privileges shouldn’t just expect that people from oppressed groups educate them one-on-one and on-demand. This is what happens a lot, though, and it’s exhausting as fuck. For a person who’s asking to be informed about privilege, it’s just one question; for the person getting asked, it’s sometimes a constant stream of “please educate me.” And EVEN if the people come with great intentions, they need to understand that minority groups don’t have all the time/energy to educate every single person. There needs to be empathy on both sides, of course, but we need to understand how these things work so we can see where the anger comes from. There are many resources out there at our disposal. Let’s use them. Let’s also not be *afraid* to ask our friends who are part of minority groups to help us learn, but let’s understand their potential reluctance/rejection and not take it “personally.”
  • Aside from the issues around education, folks in minority communities DAILY have to deal with the systems that fuck them over. Not trying to paint this as “woe is me I’m so oppressed,” but honestly–we need to think about all the daily stressors people face around their social positions and identities so we can be more compassionate and try to understand where they’re coming from. 
Finally, here are some more resources:

Response to Ridiculous TFP Article

Want to read the article I’ll be dissecting? Click here.

What we faced today at Brown University, an Ivy League university, had the flavor of a religious persecution. As we peacefully campaigned, about 250 frenzied pro-homosexual students gathered to scream, spit, taunt, insult, assault, and even attempt to destroy our traditional marriage banner. Only with supernatural protection, and a strong police presence, did TFP volunteers manage to complete the campaign without serious injury.

  • I’d say religious persecution indeed, but the persecutors were TFP volunteers–those who came to our campus waving banners proclaiming their views on “traditional marriage,” upsetting, frightening, and alienating members of our LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly population, handing out pamphlets saying we were going to hell, listing all the reasons why we were “wrong” and “sick.”
  • I’d amend their paragraph to say “pro-LGBTQ rights” students. What primarily rallied us together were our feelings about civil rights–a desire for equality, especially in relation to same-sex marriage.
  • We didn’t gather to “scream, spit, taunt, insult, assault” — we gathered to counter-protest. There is a difference between “screaming” and “chanting,” by the way. In any massive crowd of people incensed by a political/personal issue such as this, you will ALWAYS get people who get rowdy or don’t behave in the most tactful manner. However, to pretend like most (or even MANY) Brown individuals were “out of line” is a flat-out falsehood. Similarly, implying that without the Brown police and “supernatural protection,” there would’ve been a threat to the TFP volunteers’ bodily integrity and that only thanks to police were they not seriously injured is ludicrous. Finally, comparing the behavior and “united front” of a TINY contingent (12-15 people at most) of people who are TRAINED in protesting and are doing this as part of a national tour to hundreds of passersby, students, staff, and others who impromptu gathered on Brown’s campus due to the presence of TFP is A TERRIBLE, INACCURATE, UNFAIR comparison.
  • I also need to mention that our central quad is NOT public property and that TFP’s campaign/protest/hatefest invaded our campus without permission.
  • I’m pretty sure no one spit ON protestors. What I witnessed and got captured on film was that some people received pamphlets from TFP, tore them up, then spit on THE PAMPHLETS.

Suddenly, a loud thud-rip noise was heard. I looked up and saw a pro-homosexual student literally crashing through our traditional marriage banner, attempting to destroy it. Running at top speed, he flung himself into it and ripped one side loose. Some students watching from a distance approvingly cheered the act of violence. 

  • That’s true, and I think that student was extremely misguided in what they did. It was inappropriate on many levels and should never happen again.

“Why are you here?” many students asked. We politely told them how the TFP was on a state-wide tour defending traditional marriage. They would just stand there in a sort of daze, and repeat the question again: “But why are you here?” Some of them just couldn’t believe it.

  • Of course they couldn’t believe it. For some people, it’s hard to think that at a generally liberal, tolerant location such as Brown University, there would be such a protest. Being at Brown sometimes shields people from the cruel realities of the world, such as rampant homophobia, so it’s jarring to see that homophobia and hatred right in the center of our campus grounds. Furthermore, it must’ve been a case of confusion due to the fact that TFP is not a student group and did not request to be on Brown’s campus, so they had no permission to be there and people were wondering why/how they were there.

TFP volunteer Mr. Danniel Pribble debated with one pro-homosexual student, illustrating how the acceptance of homosexual vice leads to the acceptance of pedophilia. In fact, during a recent session in Canadian parliament, experts claimed that pedophilia is a “sexual orientation.” / “What moral grounds do you stand on to oppose pedophilia, once you’ve accepted homosexual behavior?” asked Mr. Pribble. “You’re right,” answered the student. “I don’t have any substantive objection with pedophilia.”

  • The conversation about pedophilia is a very complex one that usually gets many parties riled up. It’s also completely irrelevant to this event and its purpose, and the comparison of accepting homosexuality and accepting pedophilia is a stupid one. I’ll point out the biggest hole: pedophilia involves minors, people who are unable to legally consent to sexual activity, while homosexuality, as long as it’s between CONSENTING adults, is exactly that–consensual. Anyway, the opinion of ONE student on pedophilia is by no means representative of the LGBTQ community at Brown or any group, for that matter. 

As Mr. James Bascom distributed pro-family literature, a woman with a rainbow ribbon on her lapel said: “You’re being so intolerant!”/ “Why don’t you tolerate us?” inquired Mr. Bascom. “So tolerance is a one-way street, then?” / “Yes, yes. It is,” said the woman. It became amply clear that free speech at Brown University is not free and that the opposition would do everything they could to silence our message of truth: that marriage is between one man, and one woman.

  • This argument keeps coming up, and it’s still ridiculous every time. Being “tolerant of intolerance” DOES NOT MAKE SENSE. Long story short: tolerance doesn’t have to be awarded to groups that advocate hatred and keeping sections of our population as second-class citizens. Finally, the TFP message isn’t “a message of truth”–it’s a message of OPINION that disguises itself as a “message of truth.”

By now, the number of pro-homosexual students increased to about 250. The pitch of their screaming intensified too, and in the chaos, one of our youngest volunteers, Zachariah Long, 17, was spat upon in the face. 

  • I am SO very doubtful that this happened, so very doubtful.

Approaching Zachariah, one student said: “Can I shake your hand? Because it takes a lot of courage to be out here.” Another added: “This is great! But, I’m going to go right now before something happens. Keep up the good fight. Thanks for being here. It takes a lot of guts. It’s really brave.”

  • If ONE more person says “Oh wow, it’s really brave to be conservative at Brown,” I swear I’m going to have a conniption. Since when is it oh-so-brave to spout hatred and claim opinions as facts? It’s about as brave and informed as going into a room full of women and saying “YOU SHOULD ALL BE IN THE KITCHEN MAKING ME DINNER.” Oy. Bravery is in the eye of the beholder, I guess, though, so what might be “brave” to some, others might just call “stupid” (e.g. facing off against a ravenous tiger just for fun, or protesting like this at Brown). Anyway, even if what TFP did was “brave” by some definitions, it’s by no means positive, right, or something we should be admiring. I’d also like to point out the courage/bravery of all the COUNTER-protestors, as well as LGBTQ people in general.

On the other side of the intersection, Mr. Leo Fitzsimmons, a TFP supporter, explained why marriage is important: “marriage produces children. And there’s no future without marriage. Same-sex ‘marriage’ does not produce children.” This simple reality befuddled the student who responded with profanities. “God bless America,” responded Mr. Fitszimmons. The young student, who looked like an American, was so upset that she yelled, “I’m not American!”

  • Marriage is important because it produces children? So should infertile couples not be allowed to marry? There’s no future without marriage? Oh right, because adoption doesn’t exist, no one is ever born outside of wedlock, people in same-sex marriages can’t bear children if not biologically with their partner, and people have to be married and in love to propagate the human race…
  • Also, what is the need to talk about someone “looking like an American”? What does it mean to “look American”? THIS IS SO PROBLEMATIC. Do they men she looked Caucasian? And who CARES? This entire sentence is so riddled with problems, I don’t even know where to begin. It’s freaking me out.

Seeing the violent attitude of the pro-homosexual students, the police chief wanted to escort us to our van and ensure our safe departure. After completing the 1 hour and 30 minute rally in its entirety, we prayed three Hail Marys, shouted our motto “Tradition Family Property – America” and left. Policemen surrounded us on all sides and were assisted by a patrol vehicle on the street. A rowdy group of approximately 250 pro-homosexual advocates attempted to break through the perimeter to harass us. Without ceasing, they screamed obscenities and yelled in chorus over and over again: “God loves gays!”

  • The Brown police was there to make sure people protested peacefully and nothing got out of hand. MOSTLY, though, they were trying to make sure traffic kept flowing, no one got hit by a car (since the protest and counter-protest were getting huge and, towards the end, it all turned into a march), and that sidewalks remained clear at certain areas. It’s not like they “wanted to escort” TFP to their van, but that it was part of their job to do so as part of the BROWN DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY because they are there at all big events, especially protests.

Thank God, the police protected us as we packed our vans. But when we pulled away from the curb, many pro-homosexual students closed in to hit the sides of our vehicles with their fists or palms. A hard object, maybe a rock, was thrown against one of the vans.

  • I highly doubt something was thrown, but whatever. 

Rhode Island Hate-Crime Legislation: Gender ID/Expression Bill

My apologies for being late in putting up more Stop Porn Culture! Conference posts, but they’re coming, I promise. Right now, though, I have to talk about some even MORE local news (well, local if you’re in Rhode Island): the recent vetoing by RI Governor Carcieri* of an important bill (House Bill 7044/Senate Bill 2055) that would add “gender identity and expression**” to RI’s hate crimes statute.

“Gender identity and expression” was part of the Matthew Sheppard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which President Obama signed into law on October 28, 2009. However, without local legislation to support it, there isn’t much actual change effected.

Carcieri vetoed the measure (even though it has been passed in the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities) because he said the law already addresses actions “motivated by racial, religious, sexual orientation, gender or disability prejudice.” He obviously doesn’t understand the issue (uh, hello, having “gender” and “sexual orientation” doesn’t cover it!) and the importance of this bill, even though many have personally reached out to him and his associates to educate him, so I hope that this blog post educates you. Furthermore, I hope it inspires you to action.

What does this bill do?

  1. Includes information about gender ID/expression in the free, mandatory training for police officers so they can better identify, respond to, and report all incidents of hate crimes
  2. Expands the definition of a hate-crime (adds gender identity and expression)
  3. Requires statistics on crimes motivated by gender identity/expression-related bias to be kept by the RI police

This bill does NOT enhance penalties (read: it does not mean a longer jail sentence for someone who commits this type of crime).

Whom does this bill help?

This bill would help protect EVERYONE in Rhode Island who could possibly be attacked due to a perception about their appearance as it relates to their gender. The people who are usually most at risk of being targeted/attacked due to their gender identity and/or expression are transgender and non-conformingly-gendered individuals, but this bill helps ALL of us. So, honestly, if you don’t care about queer rights, at least care about yourself and the folks in your life.

Why is this bill important?

As it stands, we CANNOT GATHER INFORMATION about these types of crimes, and that data is crucial in helping us tackle the issue. It would, in the long-run, help us create a safer, more just place for all people. Furthermore, many “gay-bashings” are actually committed due to a person’s gender performance or perceived identity; it’s more likely someone will be harassed for not conforming to gender norms (e.g. effeminate man in dress) than for actually BEING queer in their sexual orientation (these don’t have clear visible markers). Thus, we need to address this as an important part of hate-crime legislation.

What is the opposition doing?

Rallying around this veto as a success. The Family Research Council’s president, Tony Perkins said:

“Given the challenges facing America, it’s troubling that any legislature would invest time and taxpayer monies to consider such a superfluous agenda-driven maneuver, much less pass it through both Houses. In vetoing the measures, Gov. Carcieri rightly chose to tend to the serious business of governing Rhode Island and rejected those who seek to use government resources against anyone who would oppose their radical agenda.”

Oh, right. Harassment and violence against people due to their gender presentation and/or identity is not SERIOUS ENOUGH.

Another thing the opposition is doing? Making it all an issue about gay marriage. For some reason, ANYTHING that people to do further LGBTQ rights and protect the dignity of all citizens gets chalked up to “The Gay Agenda.” Also, somehow, it’s ALL about marriage (and/or making everyone gay, “corrupting the youth,” “devaluing the family,” or some other ridiculous thing).

More examples of such idiocy? Focus on the Family Action’s CitizenLink.com quotes Christopher Plante as saying:

“From NOM’s perspective, we were deeply concerned about this bill, because we have seen similar (hate crime) legislation – in places like Connecticut and Vermont – lead directly to the imposition of same-sex marriage. Laws like this are stepping stones to homosexual marriage. They are an erosion of traditional family values.”

So what can you do now?

  • Tell your friends about it. EDUCATE PEOPLE. Spread the word.
  • Attend a press conference that will happen next week at the RI State-House. It’ll be either July 8th or 9th (Thursday or Friday) in the 1:00-2:00pm  range. I’ll update this post as soon as I have more information.
  • Get in touch with people/groups that are working on this (and related stuff) and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
    • Victor Ellingsen: Lifelines Rhode Island (victor@lifelinesri.org)
    • Jodi Glass: Hate Crimes RI (contact@hatecrimeri.org; jglass53@aol.com)
    • Susan Heroux: Queer Action Rhode Island (susanheroux@me.com)
    • Jaye Watts: Youth Pride Inc. (jaye@youthprideri.org)
    • Providence Equality Action Committee (info@peac.us.com)
    • Marriage Equality Rhode Island (marriageequality.rhodeisland@gmail.com)

*Who is Governor Carcieri (as it relates to LGBTQ rights)? Carcieri, whose term ends in January, has a controversial history with LGBT voters. He gave a speech at an antigay group’s fund-raiser saying he did not believe marriage was a civil right. In 2009 he vetoed a bill giving domestic partners the right to make funeral arrangements for one another, though the general assembly overrode the veto. He has also pledged to turn down any marriage equality bills, despite several of Rhode Island’s neighboring states passing such legislation in recent years (source: The Advocate).

**Gender Identity or Expression, as defined already in RI General Law 11-24-2.1, “includes a person’s actual or perceived gender, as well as a person’s gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression; whether or not that gender identity, gender-related self image, gender-related appearance, or gender-related expression is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s sex at birth.”

Conceptualizations of Sex

The sex itself? It’s sweatier and it’s sweeter, all at once. When it’s tender, it’s not tender like a Hallmark card, but like a cookie fresh out of the oven: steaming, moist, delectable and melt-in-your-mouth. When it’s forceful, it’s not so because one partner is being assaulted or dominated, but because the energy and strong unity of a shared desire feels so urgent and deeply wanted that both partners leap upon it like someone who has been on a hunger strike for a week might approach an all-you-can-eat buffet. Her expectations and the experience of her sexual initiation seem less like a country-western serenade and more an 80’s power ballad.

And another quotation, because it’s what I want out of my sex-life (and so far, what I have):

This sex doesn’t just feel okay, nor is it good simply because it is painless. This sex feels freaking magnificent. Sure, sometimes it’s magnificent like riding a rollercoaster or having a near-death experience, and at other times it’s magnificent like soaking your feet after a long day, but it’s always so much more than just okay.

Via Scarleteen: An Immodest Proposal (which, is in turn: Reprinted from Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, Seal Press, 2008)


Open Response to Brown Alum: More Sex Week Madness!

I love how people who have negative things to say about me, SHEEC, and Sex Week rarely come to me directly, and instead contact other conservative folks and start spreading rumors. I can’t decide if this is ignorant, cowardly, or what. Maybe a combination of both. Sigh.

Regardless, here is my response to the questions a Brown alum apparently sent FID here. I’ll try to be concise, but also informative, so while some answers only deserve a one-word response (or even no response at all because they’re so absurd), I will try to expound upon them a bit if I feel there is a need to do so. I think most of these questions are pretty cute (in that “wow, it’s cute how you’re trying to find ANY possible way to get us in trouble, even when it sounds and IS totally ridiculous” way).


—————-


1. Did the Wet Spots’ spanking of audience members cause injury to someone? – No.  

2. Student organizers plan to post the best “erotic” story on Brown SHEEC web site. Does Brown allow obscene material on its web site? – The website is not hosted by Brown. We’re posting it on our blog: http://brownsheec.wordpress.com/  

3. Sarah Sloane taught a workshop for sex assault survivors. She is not a psychologist. She is a sadist, etc. Her statements could be harmful to anyone who is attending this session looking for help http://www.sarahsloane.net/?page_id=208. – Since when does being a sadist in BDSM contexts invalidate one’s advice about actual sexual assault? Whatever. Feel free to email me and I can give you a copy of the handouts for the event; I’m sure you’ll find them quite positive and informative. FYI, we also discussed and made available Health Services pamphlets and information about official counseling at the event. During the week, we also had another event about sexual assault led by Trish Glover, Brown’s Sexual Assault and Prevention Coordinator. Furthermore, Sarah Sloane made her experience/educational background/interest in speaking about sexual assault quite transparent at the event and never claimed to be a psychologist (and we never billed her as such). Finally, I attended the workshop and can vouch for everything she said.

4. Sarah Sloane taught a class on safe sex. Is she qualified? She teaches BDSM. How safe is that? – To answer the first question, yes, she is qualified. For our intents and purposes, someone who is qualified to talk about safer sex is someone who has the knowledge necessary to provide an accurate, educational, and informational workshop or discussion. As someone who knows a lot about safer sex and as the person who booked her for attendance (and thus made sure that she had the knowledge to back up her event), I can stand by all the information she gave during her presentation. To answer the second question, BDSM is as safe as you make it, just like walking down the street is as safe as you make it. Heck, BDSM can be even safer than walking down the street. 

5. Megan Andelloux’s class is asking for audience participation, both mind and body. Are there could be sexual harassment issues with what took place? – Nope.  

6. Raffles were held. Were appropriate licenses obtained? Can dildos, etc legally be raffled? What about minors who may have been present or who may buy a ticket? – No minors purchased tickets or were present. And as far as we know, yes, all proceedings were legal. Finally, the sale and use of sex toys is legal in Rhode Island. What do you think they sell at Mister Sister on Wickenden? Pastries?  

7. Did Brown check IDS of all people attending Sex Week events, given the content? – Nope. Most events were workshop-sized and thus either I or the other coordinators in attendance knew the people who were there (either personally, or they at least knew their grade year, age, and/or affiliation with SHEEC and Brown/RISD).  

8. Were these events be open to the community, and will their IDs be checked? – They were open to the community, yes, and no, their IDs were not checked for the aforementioned reasons. The community-members that were in attendance were either visibly college-aged or older.

9. What is the policy about photographing students who attend any Sex Week workshops? Do attendees have a right to privacy, including the possible taking of their names for raffles? – No names were taken for raffles. If you want more information about how the raffles worked, you can check here. Also, the raffles were completely voluntary, so while names were not necessary, even if they HAD been, people would have been GIVING us their names voluntarily. In regards to the pictures, at events, pictures were taken of presenters (if they consented to it), volunteers/coordinators (again, if they said it was okay), and the venue (beforehand). The other instances of pictures being taken were by BDH reporters taking pictures from the back of the room for one event, and thus no one’s identifying features were visible.  

10. The Raunchy Bake Sale was held on the Main Green. Passersby including children could have seen these items. It’s not only offensive but could violate RI Laws. – Mm, and what laws would those be, exactly? As far as I know, Spencer’s at the mall doesn’t have signs saying “WARNING: PENIS-SHAPED LOLLIPOPS AHEAD.” We didn’t either.  

11. Is SHEEC ever going to identify all the Brown Sex Week sponsors (including sex toy companies who donated products for the raffles?) Will this raffle funding be made public? See Aida Manduley’s twitter for mentions of companies that made donations: http://twitter.com/pledgemistress (scroll back by hitting “more” at the bottom of the page) – I’m amused by the phrasing–“is SHEEC ever going to identify all the Brown Sex Week sponsors” because it implies that we’ve taken forever and a day to say who the sponsors are or something. In fact, they have been identified/promoted multiple times through multiple media, before the raffle even happened. We have been quite transparent about this. Check our Facebook event, blog (https://brownsheec.wordpress.com/), and posters for more information.

Re: “Brown Teaches Students How to Have Kinky Sex”

Just in case my comment doesn’t get approved, and also because I just want to publicize it for further discussion, here’s my response to this article, whose main beef with Sex Week seems to be the university support and financial backing.
On a related note, I’m proud of SHEEC for being the first entry under their Gender Issues tag and for having its OWN tag, “Sex Week.” Heck, I’m proud that now the FID website has the phrase “kinky sex” in it! 🙂
—————————-
Hey there! I’m the current Sex Week coordinator, so I can definitely speak to this topic. :)
“forums on condom use and relationship counseling—but not at Brown” – In fact, we do have those events. Bringing (Safe) Sexy Back [happening Friday night] is all about safer sex, and our Monday night workshop focused on communication and negotiation in relationships, especially when people get involved in any sort of “non-traditional” relationship because there are way less people talking about how to make it work in those settings (still, the techniques and lessons are applicable to all sorts of relationships, romantic or otherwise).
The issue of feminist and sex-positive pornography is one hotly debated in the fields of queer/feminist/women/gender/sexuality studies and theory, and thus highly relevant, especially in light of the rise of sex-positivism and the backlash of certain communities.
Our documentary (“Kinky”) and student panel centered around issues of power dynamics and their intersection with race/ethnicity, and we used the film as a springboard to start conversation, since in BDSM the power dynamics are EXPLICIT, whereas in daily life, we operate under many assumptions and systems of oppression but don’t talk about them or actively negotiate them. This was not a forum to teach students how to have kinky sex, but instead explore hierarchies, power dynamics, and their intersections with identity.
Re: sex toys and how to use them, SHEEC wants Brown students to be informed consumers, as well as sexually-aware individuals, so of course we’ll have events about these things. Because sex toys aren’t regulated in the way that other products are, standards and materials can vary widely, and we wish to inform the Brown population about what items are body-safe and instruct them in the proper care of themselves AND their toys. Which leads me to the topic of the raffles! We are holding these because, not only are prizes fun, but when we talk about body-safe sex toys, some of those are expensive and we wanted to make items available to those who perhaps didn’t have the means to purchase them.
The workshop on sexual fantasies is humorous and educational, hoping to take away the shame from healthy, sex-positive practices and bringing in scientific/medical facts to exposing myths that people believe due to lack of knowledge. Furthermore, it is run by a certified sexual educator. It’s interactive because we expect the audience to bring in questions and comments, not because we plan to have, say, an orgy.
Our other events cover a wide range of topics, such as ability/disability, sexual assault (2 events about this, actually), sexuality and the media, and immigration/trans politics, all by experts in their respective fields (be it as activists, medical professionals, certified educators, etc.), so I’m surprised you didn’t give any of these much attention. I mean, I’m NOT surprised, since they wouldn’t cause a ruckus/headlines, but still.
It is SHEEC’s mission to bring in presentations and lectures that focus on EDUCATION, first and foremost, and the promotion of sexual health, pleasure, and wellness. While we do cover kink and feel it’s an important part of this year’s content, I think this article is a misrepresentation of what Brown’s Sex Week IS and strives to do.
RE: university backing? They are backing our right as an organization to host events and, incidentally, promote a diversity of thought on campus. As far as I’m concerned, as far as events adhere to certain university policies and guidelines, they are all given the same consideration, so just like our event got funded, an event by another group could find funding as well. If this is in any way a commentary on how Brown should NOT have funded this week, I find it ridiculous. Furthermore, we gave all contributors the option to tell us what they wanted the money used for, and we respected those wishes (e.g. Late Night Fund money is only for funding our March 20th evening event), so money isn’t being funneled away in secret ways or anything. So, hypothetically (because I do not find this the appropriate forum to go into a detailed and itemized list of our SHEEC budget), something like Strap-On 101 was fully funded by student groups and not the university.
Also, not all of the offices listed supported us through a monetary contribution, I think it is important to note, since that seems to be your focus. And just because the university is funding something some people might not agree with doesn’t mean they shouldn’t fund it. Again, diversity of thought, no?
Finally, it is BECAUSE there are parties and fraternities and dorm-room debaucheries and things going on “behind closed doors” that we need to bring this dialogue to the fore and educate our campus about what they’re doing and how to engage with their respective sexualities in positive, healthy ways. As long as we determine that sexuality is a topic that must be kept hidden, or that certain topics are “too taboo to talk about,” we will breed legions of misinformed youth that will then turn into misinformed adults if they don’t get an education at SOME point, and then it all turns into a vicious cycle of shame, fear, and ignorance.
Also, the cabaret act is The Wet Spots, not The Wet Spot. ;)

Advocates for Youth: Criminal Miscarriage (repost)

New Utah law defines miscarriage as “criminal homicide”
Utah is poised to become the first state in the U.S. to criminalize miscarriage and punish women for having or seeking an illegal abortion. Utah’s “Criminal Miscarriage” law:
  • expands the definition of illegal abortion to include some miscarriages
  • removes immunity protections for women who have or seek illegal abortions
This law doesn’t punish individuals who perform illegal procedures; it punishes women. As someone who grew up in Salt Lake City, it takes a lot for Utah to surprise me anymore. This time there aren’t even words for my outrage.
Advocates for Youth has been working with activists in Salt Lake City to see how we can help. Their request was simple: Tell everyone you know about this law.

So far, the national media has been silent on this issue. If each of us does these three simple things, we can break that silence.
Will you take 60 seconds to spread the word?
STEP ONE

Send this link to three people right now: http://bit.ly/CriminalMiscarriage

STEP TWO

If you’re on Facebook, click here to post this story to your profile.

STEP THREE

Simply click here to share this story on Twitter.

Activists in Utah asked for our help. Let’s make sure we deliver.


Sincerely,
Will Neville Associate Director, E-Campaign Strategies
Advocates for Youth


P.S. For more background about why Utah’s “Criminal Miscarriage” law is so dangerous for women and girls, click here.

Spreading the Intolerance





Some things I hate:
  • Outdated job listings
  • Programs freezing and then losing all my information
  • Surinam toads
  • Organizations that misrepresent the issues.
Organizations that HIDE their true motives and cloud people’s judgment with ambiguous wording.

Why, yes, I’m in favor of life and marriage and families. So am I in favor of the Family Research Council’s New England Family, Life and Marriage Summit on Saturday? Absolutely not. Because these events are not actually in favor of simply “family, life, and marriage,” they are in favor of a heteronormative, heterosexual, anti-choice style of family, life, and marriage. They do NOT represent me, and what they do represent is an oppressive regime that doesn’t allow for diversity, flexibility, and love; they represent and create a society where we hate rather that tolerate. Hosted by the National Organization for Marriage, discussion topics at this summit include gems like “Homosexuality In Your Child’s Public Schools” and “Engaging Students In Pro-Family Activism.” 


Mike Airhart of Truth Wins Out put it nicely:


“These groups claim to support the family, but not before they fire gay workers, drive gay spouses into hiding, eliminate the constitutional rights of gay Americans, deny sex education to teenagers who then become pregnant, injure people through discredited and involuntary ‘ex-gay’ therapy, and leave thousands of ruined marriages, separated couples, and unadopted children in their wake.”


So get involved and join the peaceful protest against this summit and its mission!


  1. Check out the article on Providence Daily Dose and the flyer for the event, as well as another article.
  2. Check out the Facebook event created by QPAC, the Queer Political Action Committee at Brown University.
  3. Go to the protest! Feel free to bring homemade signs and other stuff, as long as it’s all respectful and non-violent.

Now, to repost Queer Action RI’s message

Please join us:
Date: Saturday, February 27, 2010
Time: 3:00pm – 5:00 pm
Location: Behind Ocean State Baptist Church, 600 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, RI

Please carpool if possible – there isn’t much parking. Park at the public school behind the church and join your fellow Rhode Islanders in saying no to discrimination! 


Queer Action urges other groups to join our rally by advertising it to your members and attending. If you’d like to co-sponsor with Queer Action, please contact Susan Heroux, Public Relations Coordinator, at queeractionri@gmail.com

The Family Research Council is currently working to keep “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” alive in our military with this web site headline: “Prevent the Sexualization of our Armed Forces.” They have a pamphlet on “myths and facts” about abortion which says: “Myth: The more people have access to contraception, the fewer abortions there will be,” followed by: “Fact: More contraception leads to more sexual behavior, more unintended pregnancies, and more abortion.”

See here for information on the conferenceThis will be a very difficult conference to attend so please don’t unless you feel you can be respectful. Queer Action has no intention or plan to interrupt this conference. In keeping with our values, we will protest non-violently outside the event and be seen by participants leaving the event. We will alert the local media to our rally.

See here for more information on the Family Research Council, the Alliance Defense Fund, and the Massachusetts Family Institute (MFI).

Speaking at the event will be the head of the MFI – the group that Gov. Carcieri spoke to even though they have very anti-gay policies. Below is the list of speakers found online:

Cynthia Hill, Senior Director, State and Local Affairs, Family Research Council




  • Kris Mineau, Executive Director, Massachusetts Family Institute
  • Peter Wolfgang, Executive Director, Family Institute of Connecticut
  • Kevin Smith, Executive Director, Cornerstone Action of New Hampshire
  • Christopher Plante, Executive Director, National Organization for Marriage, Rhode Island
  • Shannon McGinley, Board Chairman, Cornerstone Action of New Hampshire
  • Connecticut Youth Wing, Students, Family Institute of Connecticut
  • Austin R. Nimocks, Senior Legal Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
  • Dr. Pat Fagan, Family Research Council
  • Peter Sprigg, Senior Fellow for Policy Studies, Family Research Council

SPG Continues to Make Headlines

Click here for it.

“Young men with barely a hair below their chins lured into corners by older Brown “bears,” androgene Asians writhing and squealing on sweaty couches, coins exchanged for boy gropings, girls without bras squeezing each others’ young breasts and showing off pert nipples, WASPs barely out of prep school showing off their hard lacrosse bodies, skinny Euros smelling of hand-rolled cigarettes leering at each and every American body part, jocks spitting into the mouths of effeminate boys, girls urinating standing up…” –From An Anonymous Email Regarding Brown’s Sex Event

Ah, Christwire. This website cannot be anything but a parody. So good. They actually contacted me a week or two before SPG asking if the QA/SPG website was updated with the 2009 info or not. 🙂 For those of you unfamiliar with SPG, a disclaimer: most of what’s in this article is NOT TRUE. Some of it is, but…most of it isn’t. With that said, time for some excellent excerpts from the article:
  • Originally conceived as a gay activist meeting, “Sex Power God” has grown over the years to become, in essence, a drug-fueled condemnation of Christianity laced with unsafe group sexual encounters and radically anti-American ideologies.
  • I had requested a press pass on numerous occasions and information on the time and place of this event. I received a polite reply from a woman named Aida (last name withheld out of respect for her family) that my email would be handled promptly and expected my credentials would be in the mail shortly.
  • But I never heard back from the homosexuals at Brown. Shockingly, I only found out after the fact that the party was held at all.
  • Whereas other universities are known for their fraternity life– where indoctrination can include a little beer drinking and some light-hearted male-oriented fun– Brown has an underground reputation for its uniquely elite brand of extreme perversity.
  • Sadly enough, if you had met these children on the street or in your local coffee shop, you might find them bothersome, dirty, unapproachably foreign, frighteningly unpredictable and plain old unnecessary. They have no promise or beauty about them. The greatest impact a Brown grad may have on the cultural scene of this country is likely to be deciding how low some trailer trash music sensation’s low cut jeans should go. Otherwise, you’ll find them fetching coffee for their better-prepared Ivy League brothers at Goldman Sachs or Merrill Lynch. Or maybe they join “Teach For America” long enough to convince their rich parents to buy them a BMW and a summerhouse.