Thursday, July 16, 2009

Sexwar!

A couple pieces of good news, at least for godless pinkos like myself:

-Some church ministers are refusing to sign marriage certificates and/or perform wedding ceremonies until gay marriage is legalized. Says United Church of Christ minister Art Cribbs: "I cannot with good conscience perform weddings for heterosexuals knowing people who are gay and lesbian are being denied that opportunity."

-Also, I can't seem to find a solid link for it, but this showed up on a friend's blog (I'd link to it, but it's friend-locked so not much point...) and, assuming it's true, which for the moment I am assuming, it's another mark in the win column:

This morning [actually yesterday, July 10], the House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education (Labor HHS) eliminated traditional sources of funding for abstinence-only programs by passing the appropriations bill for FY 2010.

The Labor HHS subcommittee and the Obama Administration has recognized what we already knew: abstinence-only sex education programs do not work. The evidence is irrefutable that spending for abstinence-only education is not only wasteful, but also the programs put young women’s health at risk. A 2004 study by the House Committee on Government Reform, conducted at the request of Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) found that over 80% of the curricula used in the largest federally funded abstinence-only programs contained “false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.”

In addition to pulling the plug on funding for failed abstinence-only sex education programs, the bill eliminates a ban on syringe exchange programs, which have been proven to be a highly effective strategy for preventing HIV.


That's obviously specific to the US. I should really check into what the situation is here in Canada. Over the next few years, my nieces and nephews are going to enter the age bracket where they stop being entertainingly androgynous moppets and start dealing with these sorts of issues. It'd be nice to know they weren't being fed ill-conceived (if you'll pardon the pun) propaganda from the religious wrong when it happens.

***

An anecdote to give this post a personal touch:

Students could talk about almost anything in Mr. Esau's grade 12 Social Studies class, or at least that's how I remember it. One of the reasons I remember it that way is because at some point, condoms were mentioned. I can't remember the context, but it seems to me they were a part of some discussion that lasted a few minutes at least.

At some point, one girl's hand goes up. Everyone looks at her and she hesitantly asks, "What's a condom?"

Titters and guffaws from the students. Mr. Esau coolly shuts them down, "It's not funny, it's a serious question." But he doesn't elaborate on what a condom actually is, probably because if he did he'd end up having some nitwit parent complaining that their precious flower's being exposed to perversion in his classroom. Instead, he offers the girl a dictionary. She gets up, goes to the front of the class, flips through the dictionary to the C Section.

I never saw a group of high school kids as quiet as Mr. Esau's class watching this girl reading the dictionary. Dead silence for a minute or two as she gets the Official Definition of condom.

After an agonizingly long time, she says, "Huh." Slams the dictionary shut, returns to her seat, and spends the rest of the year being an object of ridicule.

When I was in high school, I wasn't a popular kid, for a variety of reasons (in retrospect, at least some of them were entirely my own damn fault). My size saved me from a lot of the hassles
smaller kids had to put up with, but I think I also had at least some minimal instinct for social self-preservation.

Without it, I would've been the one standing in front of Mr. Esau's class reading the dictionary.

A

1 comment:

jayny said...

Hey Andrew,

I enjoyed reading your entry - especially the anecdote!
It's unbelievable that some parents do not want their children know what a condom is or how to use it.
I'm from Germany and for me it was normal that we discuss it in our biology lessons. So I'm really bemazed every time I hear about "Abstinence only Education" or people which support that.

At the moment I'm completing an Internship at NCAC (National Coalition Against Censorship) so I've read a lot about it - certainly.

If you are interested in reading more about it you could just join our blog:

ncacblog.wordpress.com

On our blog there is shown a infographic about Abstinence-only Education. It's very interesting!

We are glad about a lot comments as well as a lively discussion!

Greetings
Jana