Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Because if we keep doing the same thing over again, it might work this time!

Senate Finance Committee Votes to Fund Comprehensive Sex Education
Failed Title V Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Funding Also Restored

Washington, DC – Late last night, the Senate Finance Committee approved an amendment offered by Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) to fund a comprehensive sex education funding stream, The Personal Responsibility Education for Adulthood Training.The amendment provides $75 million for states; $50 million of which would be geared to evidence-based, medically accurate, age-appropriate programs to educate adolescents about both abstinence and contraception in order to prevent unintended teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The remaining funds would be for innovative programs as well as research and evaluation. The amendment passed 14–9 with Republican Senator Olympia Snowe (ME) joining all the Democrats voting in favor.

“We would like to thank Chairman Baucus and his staff for their strong support of a comprehensive approach to sex education, ensuring that all young people have access to information so that they can make responsible decisions and lead healthy and safe lives,” said William Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). “The Baucus Amendment creates a new comprehensive sex education program for the states and can be easily reconciled with a similar measure, the Healthy Teen Initiative, on the House side. This is a huge step in putting evidence and common sense over hypermorality and will get states the money they need to support good programming.”

There was also a vote on an amendment introduced by Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT) that reinstated funding for the failed Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program which had expired on June 30, 2009. The amendment passed 12–11 with Democratic Senators Blanche Lincoln (AR) and Kent Conrad (ND) joining all the Republicans on the Committee in favor. Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage funding had been refused by nearly half of the states both because of the restrictive nature of the program and the fact that overwhelming evidence has proven these programs to be ineffective and a waste of taxpayer dollars. This amendment would direct $50 million a year through FY 2014 for the extension of the Title V abstinence-only programs.

“This amendment takes a giant step backward by restoring funding for the failed and discredited abstinence-only-until-marriage program for the states,” continued Smith. “However, because this program so clearly doesn’t work and half the states don’t even participate, we are confident it will be stripped from the final bill and ask Congressional leaders and the White House to ensure this happens.”

Both amendments still face several potential hurdles in committee, on the Senate floor, and in conference with the House before they become law.

For more information, please contact Patrick Malone at, or (202)265-2405.

Originally seen on 's LJ but I received this via email just now too. I love that those assholes won't give us a public option for health care but they will throw $50 million at failed programs that will continue to spread lies and misinformation about prevention of disease and unplanned pregnancies. Fuck them all right in their goddamn, useless ears.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Gassy, crazy old white guys...

Emitting hateful noxious gases. That is what Dobbs, Limgbaugh and their ilk are. Or so goes the theory from Nezua of The Unapologetic Mexican. This is the first good chuckle I've had all day.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Press Release from SWOP USA

I am on the SWOP USA mailing list and received this press release just now encouraging me to forward it as widely as possibly so here it goes!

*** Please Forward Widely ***

The Desiree Alliance, Sex Workers Outreach Project (SWOP-USA) and allied organizations such as BAYSWAN and the Best Practices Policy Project are saddened to observe the malicious tactics used by Glen Beck of Fox news in a recent “expose” of ACORN. All of our organizations stand firmly against the exploitation of minors in prostitution and we also oppose trafficking in persons, but we are concerned about the way the provision of services to adult sex workers was portrayed in the recent report.

In Glen Beck’s effort to critique ACORN via a highly edited series of videos, he in fact belittles the efforts of sex workers who seek services to find stable living circumstances and financial help.

“The Fox news report tears down the efforts of grassroots service providers all over the country to reach out to hard to reach communities of sex workers to help them,” said Tara Sawyer of SWOP-USA.

“Sex workers are already very fearful about accessing services that could help them and these low-brow media attacks on service providers increase barriers and harm” she added.

All of our organizations are concerned that the “expose” will cause service providers and non-profit organizations to shy away from providing harm reduction services and helping sex workers “where they are at.”

“Providing sex workers with information about how to live safely, even though what they do is criminalized, is essential,” said Susan Lopez of Desiree Alliance “And we commend all organizations that provide these services to prevent HIV, help sex workers find housing, seek financial support and to take care of their health needs. Don’t turn sex workers away because of unconscionable undercover reports like those carried out by Fox.”

About the Organizations:

The Desiree Alliance is a diverse, volunteer-based, sex worker-led network of organizations, communities and individuals across the US working in harm reduction, direct services, political advocacy and health services for sex workers. We provide leadership and create space for sex workers and supporters to come together to advocate for human, labor and civil rights for all workers in the sex industry.

Sex Workers Outreach Project-USA
is a national social justice network dedicated to the fundamental human rights of sex workers and their communities, focusing on ending violence and stigma through education and advocacy.

.·:*¨¨*:·. .·:*¨¨*:·. .·:*¨¨*:·.
Tara Sawyer
Sex Workers Outreach Project
Board Member
912 Cole St. #202, San Francisco, CA 94117
24/7 support& referral hotline: 877-776-2004x1

The Nature of Love (according to me)

I’ve had a several conversations lately, both online and in real time, with friends about love. I suppose it isn’t surprising given the nature of my life changes recently that I’ve been thinking about such things but I have really been thinking on the topic for a long time. Probably since the day I agreed to marry my ex.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve figured it out and I doubt I ever will. It would be arrogant of me to think that I’ve discovered the secrets of a phenomenon that has had the greatest philosophers , poets, prophets and lovers of the ages baffled since the concept was established. To paraphrase Socrates, a wise Latina sexgeek knows that she doesn’t know. ;-) I can however talk about what it is I have noticed and what my take on those observations are, though I won’t pretend my interpretation is necessarily superior over anyone else’s and these ideas are likely to change over the course of my lifetime because I’m flexible like that.

One thing I’ve noticed is that we are big believers in “types” of love and assign differing amounts of relevance, importance and expectations to each type. Familial love, friendship love, romantic/sexual love…so many different types. Now of course I understand that there are differences in the various relationships. Obviously we don’t want to make it weird by getting them all mixed up, right? The thing I don’t like about this though is that most people seem to assign priority to the love by what “kind” of love it is. More often than not, Romantic love takes precedence over any other to the detriment sometimes of those other relationships. Of course, I’ve also seen it happen with familial love or relationships too. Personally, I dislike the idea that any relationship automatically takes precedence over any other simply because of the “type” of love/relationship it is.

Reading back over that I realize that I am having issues with trying to decide whether I can correctly conflate the words “relationship” and “love”. Are they really the same thing? I’m not so sure but I think we do equate the two quite often. The only thing I do know is that regardless of the type of relationship I have with someone, if I love them, they will hold an important place in my soul and I don’t like to think that any of them is automatically more or less important than any other. I know more than a few people who would disagree with me and that’s fine. Again, this is a highly personal subject and everyone will think/feel/handle it differently.

My other problem with how we see love is the kinds of demands/expectations we place on the people we love and our relationships with them depending on the type it is. Romantic love MUST be an always and forever kind of thing that fulfills all our wildest dreams and fantasies and a good portion of our needs as well. Familal love, especially parental or filial, is also supposed to be an unchanging, self sacrificing thing. In fact, we often demand that our love, beloved and their love for us never change. If it does then great drama and woe follows and relationships are often ended or damaged beyond repair. I dislike this tendency. Humans are innately adaptable creatures, it is our most effective survival mechanism, this ability to change and yet for some reason, in our connection to each other, we fight that natural ability. Lovers refuse to acknowledge that the person they loved 10 years ago may not be the same as the person standing before them now. A parent may not want to face that the baby they gave birth to is not the same helpless child 20 years later. The tug of war between the actual human and the image the lover (I am now using this in the sense of someone who loves, not the romantic sense) has of them is more often than not the cause of the friction between people. It’s very hard to acknowledge those changes and yet if we do not, if we do not allow our love to change the beloved may very well decide they need to look for love elsewhere…from someone who does not have such a stake in them remaining an immutable, unchanging ideal. Of course, even if they move on the chances are that they will experience the same issue all over again and may themselves make the same demands on that new person.

Another issue I have observed is our fear of running out of love. The jealousy and possessiveness that we often feel regarding others love for us. We can see it in sibling rivalry, friend rivalries and, oh yes, most definitely in romantic rivalries. This idea that someone who loves us cannot possibly love anyone else besides us without us somehow losing some amount of that love. Now I am the first to admit that the energy it takes to care for someone is indeed a finite resource. My career has been all about caring for people and there are some days when my ability to care and be compassionate is just flat out gone. Everyone can experience burn out whether it’s in their job or in their relationships but I believe that loving someone, really loving them, can also be a source of energy for us. This is assuming that the relationship is a healthy one of course but if it is, then I do believe it’s capable of replenishing us rather than always taking from us. I don’t believe love is something that has to be divided. I know for instance that my mother loves me and my sister equally and I do not feel that my sister’s existence has diminished my mother’s love for me in anyway. Yes, when she was first born I did experience jealousy, as most kids do but eventually I cam to realize that I also loved her and in time, as she got over that whole Id-fueled selfish stage, she also loved me back. The love I was given did not in fact diminish but was multiplied. The same has often happened with my friends, I have found. When I meet the friend of a friend and we decide that we are also well matched we come to connect with each other as intensely as the original friendship and voila! I have the love of one more friend and so do they. No one has lost any love or a friendship and we have both gained in the process.

Now I cannot speak for how this works in romantic relationships, having not engaged in polyamory (or whatever other name you choose to assign to the idea of having more than one committed relationship at a time) but I do know that I have loved, in a romantic sense, more than one person at a time. Because of the circumstances I highly doubt either person would say that they felt my love for them was equally intense but I know that in my heart, it felt that way to me. From what I have seen of the folks who have made this work, it does seem to be the case. I’m not saying there aren’t issues in it all but when the people involved are able to work it out, they do seem to be capable of loving their partners with equal intensity. This is perhaps one of the trickiest maneuvers, trying to make this work. Human beings seem to be programmed for possessiveness so the idea of sharing something that is so seemingly essential to our wellbeing is an unpleasant one at first but the thing is, are we really “sharing” love? Yes we share time but is love truly something that is divvied up like food amongst people? Or, as the cliché goes, are we simply multiplying it to “feed” everyone who we wish to feed? I think I prefer this idea myself, the idea that it isn’t necessarily a finite resource but something we can continue to love and not run out. We may run out of energy or time but love? I hope not.