Click the image to expand to a legible size.
May 2013 M T W T F S S « Dec 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
What Was I Thinking?
Click the image to expand to a legible size.
Julie at Schooling Inequality posts recent news and some commentary on homophobic violence in schools, including the Alliance Defense Fund’s “Day of Truth” response to GLSEN’s Day of Silence to honor the memory of a 14-year-old lesbian murdered by her classmates; and the beating of an outspoken lesbian advocate by three girls, one of whom videotaped the incident. It’s a very informative post, so go read the whole thing.
But, wow, does it make a feller see red. The so-called “Day of Truth” violates even the basic respect we afford the dead, which apparently the ADF does not feel extends to queer folk.
Using your mouse, hover the cursor arrow over the image until it turns into a hand, then depress the left button. This will take you to a larger, more legible image, allowing you to enjoy the cartoon without squinting.
Based on a study of 1,461 adolescent virgins age 12 to 17 who shared similar characteristics of religiosity, parenting and friendship, the RAND Corporation finds that teens who made a virginity pledge were significantly less likely to have sex before marriage within a three year period after making the pledge. According to Scientific Blogging:
Forty-two percent of those who did not make virginity pledges but were otherwise similar to those who did started sexual intercourse within three years, while just 34 percent of those who made virginity pledges reported having sexual intercourse within the same period.
“Making a pledge to remain a virgin until married may provide extra motivation to adolescents who want to delay becoming sexually active,” [study author Steven] Martino said. “The act of pledging may create some social pressure or social support that helps them to follow through with their clearly stated public intention.”
Some researchers have speculated that abstaining from intercourse might increase participation in other sexual activities, like oral sex. But the RAND study found that those who pledged were no more likely to engage in non-intercourse behaviors than comparable youth who did not take a pledge.
The abstract of the study concludes, “Making a virginity pledge appears to be an effective means of delaying sexual intercourse initiation among those inclined to pledge without influencing other sexual behavior; pledging does not appear to affect sexual safety among pledgers who fail to remain abstinent.” As reported at Scientific Blogging, Martino puts forward some important caveats:
Martino said virginity pledges are unlikely to be a viable means to encouraging all adolescents to delay the initiation of sexual intercourse.
“These findings do not suggest that virginity pledges should be a substitute for comprehensive sexual education programs, or that they will work for all kinds of kids … But virginity pledges may be appropriate as one component of an overall sex education effort.”
“Virginity pledges must be made freely for them to work,” Martino said. “If young people are coerced or are unduly influenced by peer pressure, virginity pledges are not likely to have a positive effect.”
I’m glad Martino is so careful. But I have doubts that, say, the Bush Administration, culture war conservo-pundits, and parents obsessed with their children’s virginity (usually the daughter’s) will cut such fine distinctions. Four years ago, some of the BushAdmin’s favored abstinence-only programs were found to be promoting disinformation about HIV/AIDS and the causes of pregnancy. Today ABC News reports that J. K. Flores, the administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, funneled $500,000 toward a golfing youth program –passing over more deserving sex education programs for at-risk youth– because, according to his former assistant, he “favors programs that promote sexual abstinence.” Paul Peete at the Huffington Post adds that Flores “refused to consider any grant application that dealt with gay/lesbian teens — presumably trashing their applications.”
And lastly, I think the headline for this Bloomberg article says it all:
Teen Sex Didn’t Decline as Abstinence Spending Rose
Mind you, I’m not criticizing the RAND report. I just have doubts that something as creepy as a “virginity pledge” will be truly effective –or, for that matter, desirable– when filtered through the politics of the real world.
Most of y’all have already heard about this, but it’s such good news, I wanna put in my two cents.
Such a nice headline.
Here’s Gavin Newsome celebrating:
What are the chances of something similar happening in Oregon where I live? Right now, not good. In 2004 the fundies and the homophobes pushed through ballot measure 36 to ban same-sex marriage via the Oregon State Constitution. It will take a repeal movement strong enough to override the amendment, not likely on a good day, but hopefully the California ruling will give it a boost.
Or generate a backlash. Adam Nagourney reports that the National Organization for Marriage in California is already taking steps to introduce a ballot measure to overturn the court’s ruling; yet he also notes that the issue may not resonate with homophobic voters the way it may have in 2004:
There is considerable debate whether the marriage issue helped Republican candidates in 2004. And it seems questionable if voters are going to find it compelling this year, at a time when the country is facing a prolonged war, an ailing economy and skyrocketing gasoline prices, the issues that Mr. McCain and the two Democratic candidates are confronting on the campaign trail every day.
“At best, it doesn’t move voters, and at worst for Republicans, it moves them against them,” said Matthew Dowd, who was chief strategist for Mr. Bush’s campaign in 2004. “Not so much on the issue, but it becomes, ‘Why are we having a discussion on this issue when we should talking about things that matter, like the economy, or health care, or the war?’ ”
Even more interesting: the support of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for gay marriage makes it more difficult for Senator John McCain to exploit the issue, something he has shown little inclination to do anyway.
What if – and this is a BIG IF – what if people are slowly, very slowly starting to grow up?
Senator Hillary Clinton scores a point in the LGBT column for her public appearance (albeit via satellite transmission) with openly lesbian icon Ellen Degeneres on the campaign trail. As Scott Shrake reports, the crowd was pretty openly gay, too.
Good for Clinton. Some may scoff that Ellen is the most mainstream-friendly gay icon, not exactly a challenge to hetero-normative ideology, but I think Clinton runs two big risks here. First, Democrats have been pretty quiet about queer issues since conventional wisdom blamed “gay marriage” for motivating Christian Conservatives and other homophobes to tip the balance for George Bush over John Kerry in 2004. So for once Clinton is defying conventional wisdom by bringing Ellen, who made pop culture history by coming out of the closet on her show and attempted to address queer issues in its last season, into her campaign. This is very different from appearing on Ellen’s talk show, where Barack Obama showed up last Fall to show off his dance moves (Ellen and dance are also closely linked concepts these days, for better or worse.) Ellen’s campaign appearance is Clinton’s answer to Oprah’s Obama advocacy.
The second risk is for Clinton, personally. The Right has made no qualms in making lesbian jokes about her, and even contending that she is in fact a closeted lesbian herself. In a sane world, questions about a candidate’s sexuality would be dismissed as irrelevant or idle gossip – or even better, we would happily have an out-and-proud lesbian President. But in this world, photos of Clinton palling with an openly gay public figure run risks of inflaming irrational fears and biases among voters similar to those provoked by, say, a photo of Obama in a turban. (FTR – no, I don’t think the Clinton campaign spread it around, but it’s not like they are above that sort of thing.) In other words, Ellen’s appearance on Clinton’s campaign trail offers the Right wing attack machine plenty of fodder.
Like I said, good for Clinton. She didn’t let that scare her. Perhaps she and her staffers ran a cost-benefit analysis (Shrake thinks Ellen appeals to a youth vote.) But I like to think that maybe, just this once, Clinton threw caution to the wind and said, “Fuck ‘em.”
Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for Obama to crawl out of the deficit column where he landed thanks to that whole McClurkin thing.