Monthly Archives: May 2007

A stroll around the square

My partner and I are unplugging ourselves from the grid for 10 days!

Well, perhaps we’ll check email now and then, but probably we wont, and if we do, we probably won’t answer. We’ve spent altogether too much time at our desks in the same room studiously ignoring each other while we’ve been working feverishly on assorted projects, and now we need to spend some time being more than “co-present.”

We’ll be in a pine grove in New Hampshire, in a cabin without a telephone, on bit of land that separates a lake from the river that it feeds. It is a beautiful spot, and after the electronic withdrawal wears off I intend to enjoy the chirping of crickets and the calls of the red wing blackbirds, instead of the chirping of my email and the calls of my IM (though I very much love the conversations that those beckoning sounds elicit).

You, in the meantime, should feel free to wander the public square looking at the artifacts left here over the past 11 months. It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since I started this blog, but indeed it has.
In that time, we’ve talked about sex workers, sexually oriented businesses, abortion and contraception, the pink ghetto, the complications of sexual orientation and gender categories, age of consent, sex offender legislation, and, of course, we’ve talked about the way people talk about all of these things.

If this were a public square in real physical space, I imagine it would be populated with interesting coffee shops and book stores and lamp posts where flyers for parties and discussions and workshops and demonstrations would flutter, ragged bottoms where all the “call for more information” tabs have been torn off. There would be groups of people standing around, hanging out, chatting, gossiping or engrossed in serious conversations about local or national or international issues. There would be kids playing and arguing and sorting things out for themselves. There would be music and their would be art.

If this were a public square in physical space I would take you on a tour and point out all the spots where groups of people gathered to discuss this issue or that bit of news. So imagine for a moment that it is. Stroll for a little while through the less well-lit, less popular but very interesting spots in our public square.

There are, of course, the spots that everybody stops by: the place where we talked about the perils of posting naked pictures on the Internet, or the place where we argued about whether teen girls had gone wild differently from teen boys, or the place where a Tom Joaquin informed us that vibrators were more dangerous than guns if you lived in Alabama.

But there are other spots that people forget and I want to take you for a walk past some of my favorites.

Here, back in July, I stood on my soapbox and argued that we really must reconceptualize sexual orientation categories, and that “heterosexual” people need to come out about all their orientations to sex. I was on this particular soapbox in part because of a ridiculous policy decision about condoms for prisoners (namely, not to distribute condoms because the prisoners weren’t “gay”.) Frank discussion of sexual practices is going to be a big focus of the forums in the expanded Public Square.

And here, back in August, just a few months before the Mark Foley scandal broke, I raised questions about an article in the New York Times that profiled teenage interns of 30-something employers who seemed to blur the lines between employer and friend.

Earlier, near the opening of the Public Square, we argued about whether conservative Christian kink-friendly web sites and stores were a positive development or an exploitive maneuver.

And more recently do you remember when we stood around and talked about whether or not sex offender residency restrictions made sense and about the absurd outcomes of certain sex-offense prosecutions? Remember Genarlow Wilson and Jule Amero?

There’s been a lot going on around here, and there’s a lot more to come. When I return in 10 days we should be just about ready to cut the ribbon on the new space.

I think we need to plan a block party!

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Filed under culture, Genarlow Wilson, public discourse, sex

Quickies

Here are a couple of “sex-in-the-news” quickies that I’ve been meaning to blog about and haven’t. I’m headed out tomorrow for a week and a half and since I’m not going to get around to detailed posts on these items any time soon, I figured I’d just toss them out for you to read on your own.

  • The New York Times blows an editorial about anti-trafficking legislation being considered in Albany by completely separating sex and work. They talk about how people are trafficked for “forced sex or labor,” as if forced sex isn’t labor. In fact, by using a term like “forced sex” instead of “forced sex work” they are conflating prostitution with rape in a way that is entirely unhelpful to prostitutes or to rape victims. They accurately report that the penalties for sex trafficking would be higher than the penalties for labor trafficking (this is without regard to the age of the trafficked victims), again seeming to say that it is more acceptable to be trafficked for purposes of forced labor in a factory or field or private home than it is to be trafficked for the purpose of strip club, massage parlor or brothel work. It seems to me that all forced labor is appallingly wrong and that to separate out some forced labor as sex, and thus not work, is to reinforce the stigma attached to sexual labor and thus injure again the people who have been forced into it.
  • On the other hand, the New York Times also ran a good article on homeless shelters for gay teens and a few weeks earlier they’d run an article on a shelter in Queens, New York, that takes in transgender teens. Estimates by shelter workers and surveys of homeless youths indicate that about 1 in 5 homeless teens and kids is gay. (For perspective, fewer than 1 in 10 adults identifies as gay.) The kids interviewed for the article reported appalling abuses by family, friends of family, and by shelter workers at other homeless shelters. Earlier in the month I blogged about the Safe Harbor legislation also being considered in New York State and argued it was especially important, but the Times editorial on trafficking, mentioned above, makes it sound as if that legislation has been left out of the larger trafficking bill. Perhaps we need a phone/letter campaign to make sure it is considered separately!

Isn’t it amazing that the issues we discuss here seem to be always in the news. Yet another reason to expand the space for sex in the public square!

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Filed under Circumcision, News and politics, public discourse, sex work, sexual orientation

Expanding the Public Square…

More to do and more space to do it in!

I started this blog as a way to write about ideas that didn’t easily fit into a different project I’ve been working on. That was nearly a year ago now, and Sex in the Public Square has quickly become much more than what I’d intended. Rather than remaining a container for distractions from my work, it has become an integral part of my work.

Sex in the Public Square is one piece of a large and beautifully decentralized attempt at building more rational and productive spaces for talking about sex. As the wise and perceptive bloggers at the newly-born Sex Calumny point out, “It’s not that people aren’t talking about sex. It’s just that sex is so often discussed in unproductive ways: euphemisms, commandments, myths, norms.” So I was happy, a year ago, to join other writers who use their blogs to expand the space available for productive discussions of sex, whether at the personal, community or cultural level. (My side bar is full of links to these amazing people so I’m not going to name them all here!)

And as I wrote yesterday, expanding the space for productive and honest discussion of sex and sexuality is essential to the health of our society and our communities — reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections — just as it is essential to our own individual sexual fulfillment or happiness. After all, it’s hard to get what you want if you can’t communicate about it!

For those reasons, but just as importantly because I have been so encouraged by some of the conversations that have taken place here, I’ve decided it is time to expand my corner of the public square. I’m teaming up with Chris Hall of Literate Perversions, Tom Joaquin of The Free Lance, and others to create SexInThePublicSquare.org. (If you want to join in keep reading then drop me a note! And don’t try the URL just yet; it’ll just point you back here. We’re nearly ready to take down the scaffolding and put away the drop clothes, but not quite! Soon, though. I’ll tell you when.)

We’ve laid out our mission like this:

We believe that sexuality is a key component of human life, and that it cannot be excluded from “polite conversation” without losing an important element of democratic participation. We seek to expand the space available for discussions of all aspects of sexuality, and to build communities where respect and inclusion are the norm. We also believe that talk about sex needn’t always be “serious” in order to be “appropriate” and we welcome playful conversations that focus on the fun of sex as well as serious conversations that focus on things like policy, safety, and identity.

The new site will be collaborative, with varying levels of access depending on the interest level of the member. There will be many different ways to participate. And just as here, unregistered visitors will be able to read and comment on everything.)

A public square is a place of intersections, of interactions, of communication and recreation, of political and expressive space, and mostly, of community building. SexInThePublicSquare.org will be basically blog-like in format, thus easy to navigate and easy to keep up with, but will have features and capabilities that a typical blog doesn’t have, and that begin to add more of that “public square” feel. In addition to the kinds of blog entries you’re used to reading here (which will still be here, by the way, but will also be there), it will have:

  • Forums where readers and members can talk about all kinds of sex-related stuff regardless of what I’m blogging about at the moment.
  • “Take Action” space that makes it easy to contact the media or your elected officials when an issue motivates you to act. (Let’s put sex back into politics — in a helpful way!)
  • Reviews of sex-related books, films, music or web sites. It will have links to blogs, agencies, foundations and other resources.
  • Listings of interesting sex-related events — lectures, demonstrations, rallies, readings — that we know about or that are contributed by readers.
  • Links to sex-related research, advocacy groups and blogs.

My question to you, the readers of Sex in the Public Square on WordPress, is this:

What else should it have?

It was you, after all, who inspired me to think about expanding this space. It was the conversations in the comments of this blog, most of which were carried on by people who do not usually blog about sex in their own spaces, that made me think it would be wonderful to have an expanded space for people of all sorts to come and participate in discussions about sex.

Think about it, and then email me using the contact form above or leave your comments here. And if you’re really curious and think you want to contribute to the shaping of the site, send a note saying so and I’ll see about showing it to you at its temporary “in development” address.

It’s true that there isn’t any space on the Internet that’s truly public, but we’re about to open up a space that is as close to public as we can without buying a phone company.

Stay tuned!

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Filed under activism, community-building, culture, Education, public discourse, sex

“Do it ourselves” Abortion Reduction Policy

Atul Gawande had a very clear, concise, mostly very smart and only partially problematic op-ed in yesterday’s New York Times about how to reduce the number of abortions in the US (TimesSelect registration required). He started out by dispelling some of the myths we have about who has abortions and why. For example, on the upsetting side, roughly half of pregnancies are unintended, and four in 10 unintended pregnancies end in abortion. On the optimistic side, teens are getting the message about contraception:

“Pregnancies at age 15 to 17 are down 35 percent since 1995, according to federal data; one-fourth of the drop is from delaying sex, and three-fourths is from increased use of contraceptives. Today, just 7 percent of abortions occur in minors.”

and

“Forty-five percent of abortions occur in adults ages 18 to 24; 48 percent occur after age 25. Most are in women who have already had a child. The kids are all right. We are the issue.”

Consistent and correct use of contraception appears to be the biggest problem:

“92 percent of abortions occur in women who said they used birth control. Six in 10 used contraception the month they got pregnant. The others reported that they had used birth control previously but, for one reason or another, not that month. (Many, for example, say they didn’t expect to have sex.)

Gawande then asserts that the “trouble appears to be blindness to how easy it is to get pregnant and what it takes to make birth control really work.” I would disagree: the trouble is not blindness to how easy it is to get pregnant. It is wishful thinking of the “it won’t happen to me” variety, and a difficulty accepting one’s own likelihood of having sex. It is also fear of the stigma attached to being willing to have sex without a committed relationship. Another problem is the difficulty women have with requiring their male partners to use condoms, and the difficulty some men have using them. Then there is the forgetting of the many ways to have sex that can’t result in pregnancy in the first place! Lets get more creative with our hands and our mouths and the rest of our bodies! Lets buy sex toys. (Wow, did I actually just recommend a consumer-based solution to a problem? Yikes!)

Gawande is right, though, that the number of unwanted pregnancies in the United States — and thus the number of abortions — could be dramatically reduced if we were a more sexually honest and open society. If we — men and women — were honest with ourselves and with each other about the situations in which we are willing to have sex, and about the degree to which we do not want to be responsible for a child, I think we would have an easier time consistently and correctly using contraception. Imagine….

…if we were more honest with ourselves about how the contraception we do use makes us feel, and more willing to talk to each other about our contraceptive methods, we would be better able to find the methods that would work best for us.

…if we were more willing to admit that we simply won’t stop having sex just because we aren’t ready, able or interested in raising children.

…if we could acknowledge sexual pleasure as a basic human right and not a privilege for the middle and upper classes.

Then perhaps we would — as a society — realize our moral imperative to improve access to contraception and safer sex education and supplies for those who need them.

Gawande believes that politics precludes government from helping to create that society and that ultimately we need a “do it yourself” approach. I’m not willing to let government or the politicians who control it off the hook quite so quickly, but I agree that there is much we can change about this society if we “do it ourselves.” And among the things we can change through grassroots community-based activism is, in fact, the government.

Among the things the government could do better, or do at all:

  • Offer incentives for research and development of long-lasting contraceptives that have fewer risks and side effects.
  • Provide contraceptives free, and without any burdensome monitoring, to women and men who want them.
  • Require that sex education programs offer clear, accurate information about the effectiveness of contraceptives and about their correct use.
  • Support programs that help parents learn how to talk to their kids about sex.

But Gawande is right that, absent some sea change in what we as individuals and communities demand of our government, these things are not going to happen quickly. We need to take up the lead of organizations like Planned Parenthood which already offer workshops on how to talk about sex, and start branching out in our communities and among our friends to “do it ourselves.” Imagine if we each had at least one conversation a week with someone about the right to sexual pleasure, or he right to sex without fear of pregnancy or disease.

Try it out. Start with yourself and make a list that honestly accounts for the ways you like to have sex, the people you like to have it with, and your own risks of pregnancy. (Yes, this applies to men too. Women don’t get pregnant on their own!) Any unpleasant surprises on your list? If so, acknowledge them and make a plan to reduce your risks. Then, be courageous: share your list with someone. And share this post. Next week try a conversation with someone else. Ask someone how they feel about the right to have sex because it feels good. Discuss whether we should take a punitive attitude toward sex for pleasure.

And stay tuned here. This blog has been part of my attempt to create more open space for reasonable and productive conversations about sex. But you’ve inspired me to do more, and I’ve decided to expand the public square:

Coming soon to a computer near you: SexInThePublicSquare.org!

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Filed under abortion, activism, culture, EC, emergency contraception, Family, feminism, Health, inequality, pro-choice, public discourse, reproductive freedom, sex, sex and health, sexuality

The New Anti-Abortion Law — Bad News For Women’s Health and Doctor’s Ethics

In an earlier post I discussed the Supreme Court’s analysis of the so-called Partial Birth Abortion Act, concluding that the Court’s decision to uphold the Act was intellectually dishonest and inequitable. This post is about the purposes of the Act, as described by Congress, and the Act’s probable consequences for the practice of medicine and the health of women.

Understanding the Act requires some minimal understanding about abortion procedures. (This explanation is more or less lifted directly from my earlier post on the Carhart decision.) The Act targets the procedure used in essentially all abortions taking place after first trimester and before viability. (Viability is the point in pregnancy when, given the current state of medicine, a premature infant has a fifty percent chance of survival. At present, viability occurs around the 23rd week.) The procedure is referred to as “dilation and evacuation” or “D&E”. A D&E is performed by first dilating the patient’s cervix for a period from a few hours to a few days. The physician then removes the fetus, placenta and related material from the uterus through the cervix, and out of the body. Often, the fetus must be removed from the uterus in pieces. Sometimes, though, the fetus can be removed from the cervix intact (called an “intact D&E” by the Court). Because the fetus is not destroyed during the intact D&E process, the physician must ‘kill’ (the word used in the Act), the non-viable fetus. The loaded term “partial-birth abortion” is thus an obvious mischaracterization of this procedure. The nonviable fetus cannot be “born,” either partially (whatever that might mean), or otherwise.

The Act makes it a crime for a physician to knowingly perform an abortion using the following procedure:

1. The physician removes the intact fetus from the woman’s body to a particular point:

In a head-first position, to the point where the entire head is outside the woman’s body;

in a breech (foot-first) position, where any portion of the fetus past the navel is outside the woman’s body; and,

2. The physician then takes an overt act that kills the fetus.

(This is my summary of the Act. The full Act can be found here.)

The Act provides no exception to preserve the health of the woman undergoing the procedure.

The Act won’t stop a single abortion from taking place. Justice Ginsburg noted during oral argument, “[W]e’re not talking about whether any fetus will be preserved by this legislation… It doesn’t preserve any fetus because you just [terminate fetal life] inside the womb instead of outside.” The US attorney defending the Act agreed with Justice Ginsburg. In other words, in order to be compliant with the Act, a physician must terminate the fetus’ life prior to delivery, even in cases where the physician believes it is safer for the mother to do otherwise.

Whether an intact D&E’ is considered medically necessary depends on a number of factors, including the age and health of the woman, especially if the woman has an underlying medical problem; the condition of the fetus; and the sophistication of the medical facilities available. Under the Act, a doctor is no longer allowed to make this decision. With the Act, Congress has overruled the the physician’s medical judgment, as well as her ethical obligation to provide the best possible medical care. Is appears the Hippocratic Oath has joined the Geneva Conventions as “quaint” obligations our government has decided can be ignored.

The trade-off Congress made in the Act and the Supreme Court appears hardly rational: Physicians must choose between following the law, on one hand, or providing the best possible care to preserve the health of the mother. What exactly has Congress achieved in return? Nothing, it seems. Abortions will not be reduced. But the Act will make abortions more dangerous and more difficult to obtain. Some physicians will likely withdraw from the practice of performing intact D&E’s rather than risk criminal charges. The health of some women will be harmed as a result, because they will not be able to obtain the best possible care. And, perhaps most troubling, those seeking to limit reproductive rights have established that their political agenda can override concerns about privacy, personal autonomy, and women’s health.

Tom Joaquin

TheFreeLance Continue reading

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Filed under abortion, Advocacy, Info, and Activism, feminism, Gonzales v. Carhart, Health, News and politics, News..., pro-choice, public discourse, reproductive freedom

My not-collaborative, daughter-only, very late Mother’s Day post

I wanted to write this post with my mother, who was visiting this weekend for, you guessed it, Mother’s Day. But every time we’d start talking about the post we’d end up in a debate about whether the ideas were feasible or whether they were too idealistic. I think my mother likes to debate with me, even when she agrees with my positions, because she doesn’t get a chance to have a lot of intellectual debates and because we can argue with each other without it becoming personal. Believe it or not, I think that arguing was part of my mother’s day gift to my mom!

So, instead of a collaborative mother-daughter post, you’re getting my list of things I want to see achieved so that mothers — and hence the rest of us really — can have better lives and lives where working for sexual freedom doesn’t seem like such a luxury.

My list, the items on which my mother largely generally thought important but too idealistic, includes the following:

– Sexual openness so that women can enjoy their sexuality and share it fearlessly with their partners. Through sex we express desires, we communicate, we connect, and we feel pleasure. We should continue to work so that women are free to experience the fullness of their sexualities without shame or danger.

– Access to contraception and safeguarding the right to abortion when needed so that all motherhood is by choice. This is a place we need to redouble our efforts, as access to good information about contraception, and access to abortion when needed, is being eroded in this country, and being eroded or prevented in other countries this country’s policies.

– High quality, affordable — dare we even say government subsidized — child care so that all parents who work outside the home — including those for whom work is a necessity and not a choice — can do so without economic penalty or fear for the safety of their children.

– Realistic part-time and flexible work options so that parents have more choices about how to divide the labor of wage-earning and child-care. I don’t mean part time with no stability and low pay. I mean part time with reasonable wages that would exceed the child care costs incurred while working those more flexible hours.

– Universal health care — not just health insurance — so that employers are no longer the ones who provide our access to health care. This isn’t just a matter of concern for the poor, either. Plenty of middle income people end up financially devestated even if they do have health insurance because the part of the medical bills that the health insurance doesn’t cover is still more than they can afford. (This is especially awful for people who have fallen prey to the “two income trap” where two parents are both working to pay for meeting the basic needs of the family and then one gets sick and the other can’t make up the difference.) Oh, and of course this health care has to cover treatment for addictions and mental illness just as it covers physical illness.

– Fair wages for all workers. This means eliminating the wage gap, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work, and providing living wages to all workers. Living wages mean that parents can work reasonable hours and spend time with their kids. And we also need reasonable paid leave policies so that people don’t lose out when they need to take care of a child.

– Peace. The costs of wars, in dollars and in lives, is too great to justify, and the paying of that cost is keeping us from doing the kinds of things suggested above — things that would make economic security a reality for many more people.

Julia Ward Howe is often credited with initiating Mother’s Day in the United States as a protest against war, ironic since she also penned the Battle Hymn of the Republic. But she herself was inspired by the work of Anna Jarvis who organized around workplace health and safety issues and then organized women to tend to the wounded in the Civil War. In fact, the Mother’s Day we now celebrate is on or about the anniversary of a memorial that Jarvis’s daughter held in her honor after she died. The holiday, which originally honored women who worked for social justice and peace has become, in the US, a mostly-consumer, mostly-private holiday where we thank our own mothers for the sacrifices they have made and the work they have done. I think it’s time, again, to turn the day around and make it a day when mothers — and the rest of us — call for justice and peace.

Mothers have sex, and they need sexual freedom and economic security. Without economic security it is difficult for people to make sexual freedom a high priority. When people don’t have economic security their first priority must always be gathering what resources they can to meet their basic needs. All people, regardless of economic status, must be entitled to sexual freedom but sexual freedom feels like a luxury when you are too exhausted from working your second job and making sure the kids got to school to even think about having sex with your partner. When we work for sexual freedom we must take into account the needs of the poor and working class as well as the needs of the middle class and the wealthy.

Health care, child care, contraception, fair wages, peace, and sexual freedom. They’re all connected.

Happy Mother’s Day.

~~~~~
Links:

Click here for Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation as posted on the CodePink web site.

Click here to watch the Mom’s Rising! Mothers’ Day E-Card
featuring the Infant Aerial Stunt Team and a simple laying-out of the Moms Rising policy goals (several of which are reflected in my post, above).

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Filed under activism, culture, Family, feminism, inequality, mothers day, public discourse, reproductive freedom, sex

Will New York Stop Treating Teen Prostitutes as Criminals?

Keep tabs on these two bills making their way through the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly. Assembly bill A.5258, the Safe Harbor For Exploited Youth Act passed last year but didn’t make it to a vote in the Senate. It’s up again this year (its bill number in the Senate is S.3175), and I hope the Senate takes it up and passes it.

If it were to pass it would mean, as the New York Times pointed out in an editorial this morning, that we would treat American born teen prostitutes much the way we treat internationally trafficked teens caught working as prostitutes: that is, we would treat them as people in need of protection and services rather than as criminals. Here’s the lead paragraph from this morning’s New York Times editorial:

Sexually exploited children can be helped by the law or victimized by it, depending on where they are from. An Eastern European child smuggled into this country as a sex slave is offered protection under the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act. An American child who flees abusive parents and ends up selling her body on the streets is labeled a criminal and sent to the juvenile equivalent of prison.

That statement is important because it points out one reality of young prostitutes: they are sometimes engaged in prostitution because, as runaways, there are few options open to them that will allow them to remain free of the homes they are trying to escape. The National Runaway Switchboard sites a 1998 study published in the journal Child Abuse and Neglect, indicating that 34% of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported sexual abuse before leaving home and forty-three percent of runaway youth (girls and boys) reported physical abuse before leaving home.

In addition to offering treatment and care to teen prostitutes (instead of detention and punishment) the law recognizes that the needs of sexually exploited “boys, girls and transgendered youth,” may be different from each other, and should be treated as distinct where necessary. The inclusion of transgendered youth is important because transgendered youth are at high risk of family conflicts that are often behind running away in the first place, and the needs of transgendered youth certainly are distinct from those of other youth in important ways, and need to be met in appropriate ways.

Services mandated by the bill are to be provided in safe houses specifically for sexually exploited youth and will include: “housing, diagnostic assessment, individual case management, medical services including substance abuse services, counseling and therapeutic services, educational services including life skills services and planning services to successfully transition residents back to the community.”

The law is not without its problems. For one thing, the youth in question would not have a choice about participating in the state’s protection. Services would be “made available” to them whether they are “accessed voluntarily, as a condition of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal issued in criminal court,” or through other court proceedings. In other words, if picked up for prostitution, protective services will be mandatory if not chosen voluntarily. This is likely to be a good thing for many youth engaged in prostitution, but not all teen prostitutes are operating in the same conditions nor do they all have the same needs. In addition, state care is not always effective, and until we know more about the quality of the services to be provided, and the culture of the safe houses, it is hard to have an unrestrained enthusiasm for the program. If the treatment options pathologize teens and their developing sexualities, they will not be helpful, and they may do more harm than good. Not only that, the law still separates sexual exploitation from other kinds of exploitation, and quite possibly will result in the release of youth “back into the community” where they are forced to choose some other kind of exploitation as a way to earn an independent living. Until we solve the fundamental economic problems of our society, exploitation would seem to be a necessary condition of many lives. We should not be concerned only with exploitation of a sexual nature.

Lastly, the comprehensive needs of abused or neglected youth will not be met by this bill alone. This bill makes an important step in the direction of humane treatment for young people in desperate circumstances, but we need to continue to work to solve the problems that lead teens to run away in the first place. Those reasons sometimes, themselves, have to do with sexuality. Teens are thrown out of their homes or run away from home because their sexual orientation or gender expression is rejected by their families. They are abused (whether sexually or otherwise) and run away to escape their abuse. They sometimes run away to be with boyfriends or girlfriends or lovers they have been barred from seeing. In other words, the denial of teens self-hood and sexuality is, itself, sometimes what leads to the sexual exploitation this bill is trying to address. If it does nothing more than offer treatment instead of punishment, this bill will have helped. I hope, though, that it will do more than that: I hope that the discussions generated by this bill will encourage us to move further down the road toward recognizing and affirming teens’ developing sexualities, and toward treating young people in our society with greater dignity.

~~~~~

Links:

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Filed under Gender, Health, inequality, News and politics, public discourse, sex, sex and health, sex and the law, sex work, sexuality and age