Monday, March 31, 2008

Gender roles, schmender roles...

Or so would say Thomas Beatie, a transgendered man who is carrying a baby for himself and his female partner, who is unable to conceive children.

The full story was originally published in the LGBT magazine, The Advocate.

Beatie used anonymous frozen sperm, and he and his partner inseminated at home. They are expecting a daughter on July 3, 2008. The couple decided Beatie would carry their child because Beatie's partner had to have a hysterectomy due to severe endometriosis.

This story, I'm sure which has caused huge amounts of outrage and backlash by transphobic people, is full of legal, ethical, medical, and moral issues.

If this story is legit (he is scheduled to make a public announcement tomorrow on April Fool's Day), Beatie will become possibly the first father to ever bear his own child.

The gender-bending at work here is nearly mind-numbing. In other words, can those who oppose two biological women as parents on the basis of "needing a male and female role model" oppose this couple?

Is gender behavior so set in stone by biology that this child will not have a father figure and a mother figure? (as a healthcare professional who works with a large portion of transgendered people, who has been fooled several times, I can assure you that most of you would not even know if you were talking to a transman).

Since the focus of most opposition to same-sex parenting lies in the fact that these children are denied their natural father by two lesbian mothers, are Beatie and his wife an acceptable alternative?

Let's take a gander at some of Britain's right-wingers:

quite outrageous really
pauls patter 26 Mar 2008 09:10

"To quote a well known comedienne, "Ooh, it makes me so angry I could go....... tut!"
It is a poor reflection on our society, that this 'Brave New World' rewards perversion, rather than promoting heterosexual marriage and the nuclear family

Ricks Rants 26 Mar 2008 09:31

"will be like squeezing toothpaste from a tube.

A shocking story and it shows we have gone too far

abelian 26 Mar 2008 10:08

"The fact that she/he/it still has a womb should remind her/him that she/he will always remain woman no matter what she does... it is all in the chromosomes and no amount of tinkering can change that"

This poor child..
The Locksmith 26 Mar 2008 10:45

"..will grow up with a perverted and contorted view of life and the world around it.

If these people want to ruin their own lives then so be it, but to ruin the life of an innocent child should be a criminal act and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves

*end of quotes*

Mkay, so they aren't much different from U.S. conservatives.

Oh wait, I missed one more. A view that I think a lot of transphobic people share:

This is insane
Dr Finlays Casebook 26 Mar 2008 15:45

"My opinion of "transgender" people is that they are nutcases that society, science and the medical profession are pandering too by inventing procedures to allow them to "change sex". They always use the excuse that they feel like a man/woman trapped in the opposite sex's body. How do they know what it feels like to be the opposite sex, are they just going by what is written and shown to be the stereotypical images used by the media. If people are gay or lesbian that is up to them but to have people who I honestly believe are insane given rights and anti discrimination laws is itself insanse and I don't really think that I would feel happy or safe having to work with someone who has mental issues as bad as this. I was reading about the magazine that originally carried this story, it is a magazine for gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. Don't gays and lesbians feel a bit patronised by having all of these groups lumped together in one journal."

I see the same types of arguments coming up against gay people all the time. How do people know they are gay? There is no way to refute this because it is all based on individual perception and experience. There is no way to counter this without saying, "It's just something I've felt my entire life." We hear stories of little boys dressing as girls from the time they were able to choose what they wore.

For gender identity and sexual attraction, it IS often unexplainable. It IS often just a feeling, albeit one that is wrapped around so many other social situations that we can not escape it. The same way heterosexuals are "just attracted to the opposite sex," so are gay people "just attracted to the same sex." I guess without a sense of empathy or compassion, it is impossible for opponents of GLBT persons to get. If science could prove a "gay gene" or what part of the brain makes people heterosexual or gay or bisexual, perhaps some of our opponents would lighten up. Perhaps if science could prove what makes certain individuals transgender, they would feel a little more compassion for them in world that has often treated them THE MOST harshly of any "outcast" group.

Yet, we should not need science to prove that being gay or transgender (because I have no problem "lumping" transgender persons into the GLB category) is not simply a lifestyle choice. People are. They always have been. So the argument goes, why would anyone choose to live a life that society is so strongly against?

And so what if their child has some confusion initially about how she was conceived? I would bank on the fact that millions of children of heterosexuals also have to wonder who their true parents are. If Beatie's daughter has a loving, happy home, who is anyone else to say that her parents do not have the right to conceive her? Heterosexuals consistently bring children into this world that they have no intention of raising or loving, at alarmingly high rates.

Yet, gays and lesbians (and now transgendered people) are held to stricter, arbitrary standards of morality that heterosexuals are not. And, even further than that, they are simulatenously blamed for the problem of unwed mothers and banned from helping to prevent it. Convenenient dichotomy for the mega-churches.

Anyway, if this story is indeed true, then I wish Beatie and his wife the best with their family. If this turns out to be an April Fool's Day hoax, I applaud them for making everyone stop to think about the true meaning of "gender roles" and the "need" for them in society.

(Thanks for sending me this article, John!)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A different Castro champions gay rights in Cuba

As unlikely as it sounds, the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro, Mariela Castro is championing the most liberal gay and transgender rights law in Latin America (in all of America?).

Does anyone else think she is kinda foxy?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vaccines and health care, in general

I recently ventured back to Vox Popoli's blog, where an article/rant on the Evils of vaccines, which I knew would garner much fan-fare from his all-too-eager-to-please-the-master-Vox crowd, caught my attention.

Spoiled trust fund baby, Vox Popoli, rants a predictable conservative, religious diatribe on the evils of vaccinations.

In his typically hateful anti-female rhetoric, Popoli writes a response to Megan McArdle's article "More parents forgoing vaccinations." In her article, McArdle discusses the public health dangers that ride along with parents' refusals to vaccinate their children (which was based on a New York Times article about the same topic.

Popoli states at one point, in typical misinformed, unresearched fashion (in regards to McArdle):

"But your health isn't at risk if you've been vaccinated, right? What a loathsomely liberal fascist little cow! I truly don't know understand why Instapundit likes McArdle so much, she never writes anything even remotely intelligent and regularly coughs up hairballs of asininity like this. If the vaccine industry wasn't hiding so much information about the children being harmed by vaccines, if Congress wasn't indemnifying both the industry and the medical personnel who inject vaccines into non-consenting children, if millions of dollars weren't being paid out by VAERS, if there weren't very good medical reasons to avoid going along with the insane U.S. vaccination schedule, she still wouldn't have a point."

Note to Self #1: Self, if your "argument" isn't strong enough or backed up by any scientific sources, it is acceptable to call your opponent a "liberal fascist little cow" to try to prove your point.

Observe Popoli again doing this in Example #2:

"And there is no more evidence that vaccines are safe than there is that they cause autism, since the vaccine industry has resolutely resisted proper double-blind scientific studies into the safety of its products in favor of population surveys and metastudies of those surveys.

Don't get me wrong, vaccines aren't inherently bad. A limited and voluntary schedule of individual doses at a somewhat older age, spread out over time, is a perfectly reasonable program... in fact, that's how most adults over thirty today were vaccinated. But pumping infants full of toxins that have never been tested in combination with each other, 19 shots in the first six months, isn't just asking for trouble, it's demanding it."

I guess, once again, we should just take this Mensa member's word for it, regardless of the fact that he has no public health, medical, or scientific training or education. Or perhaps the fact that he is a man, and believes himself to be all-knowing, we should just take his word for it.

Bringing us to Note to Self #2: if your argument still isn't strong enough, it's acceptable to fall back on the trusty ole' "she's a woman, I'm a man, hear me roar" argument.

Anyway, the point of my article is not to debate the merits of vaccination programs. But, for the record, I think the benefits of requiring vaccinations for most vaccine-preventable diseases are in the best interests of public health. For libertarian-minded folks (as some of those who frequent Popoli's blog) this breaches their interest for society free from government control. A couple of them had decent points, for example a commenter named Bethyada:

"Beelzebub, I am very pro vaccination (though the US schedule sounds a little excessive). Yes the benefits for many (not necessarily all) vaccines are a group benefit. So what? You can't force law abiding citizens to place into their persons something just because you see the benefit.

Don't you see how draconian your position is? I would rather live with much more risk and less security and have my freedom. How much is life worth living as a slave to the well intentioned?

bethyada, do this because it is in your best interest even though you don't agree with me and it is best for the society.

You don't care for me other than how my cog best fits into your machine

(I agree to disagree based on my own knowledge of public health and vaccines, but I can see his/her point from a libertarian ideology)

I will not, however, engage in the debate with obsessed uber-parents who are extremely misinformed on the topic and convinced that their primary care providers and their vaccines caused the slightest imperfection to their precious, previously perfect little Lambs of God. And luckily, in my job (public health for adults), I never have to.

Observe many of the comments over at Popoli's blog:

"For the children who are affected negatively by vaccines, it is definitely not in their best interest to have been vaccinated.

Obviously, the State is willing to take the risk of sacrificing some individuals. As usual, the risk for the individual is catastophic, while the risk to the State is negligible."

zeno | 03.25.08 - 7:40 am | #

kids need to eat more dirt!
Rory | 03.25.08 - 7:22 am | #

I ate dirt when I was a toddler. I got sick every April and September.

...But it turns out that those months were the blooming seasons for the hedge in our backyard, to which I'm allergic. If my mom had paid a little more attention, I would have been VERY healthy.

Instead, my parents assumed that I was a "sickly child," and I got every shot known to man--which also made me sickly.
Mrs. Pilgrim | Homepage | 03.25.08 - 7:40 am | #

STDs are a real current public health crisis. Perhaps chastity belts for the unlicensed?

Should people who engage in medically risky behavior be in the public venues?

If Abagail Adams saw today in 1776, she wouldn't write about the lack of women's representation as a glaring omission, but as the blessing of God's providence.

Men too can be stupid, but most don't insist on parading it in public.
tz | 03.25.08 - 8:12 am | #

So what's the big deal with a few hundred or a few thousand kids being born autistic in a country of 300 million?

So what's the big deal about a few thousand people getting (fill in disease here) from not getting vaccinated?

So what's the big deal about a few thousand people (out of a country of 300 million) getting killed from being in Iraq?

Something about having to break a few eggs.....

And the "big deal" is that the incidence rate of autism has risen exponentially over the past 10-15 years, indicating a direct cause-effect relationship.
Inquiring Minds | 03.25.08 - 9:23 am | #

Well more droolie kids give them liberal douches more opportunity to show just how compassionate they is by having the police state stick a gun in my face and ask for some more "contributions" for "public health issues".
Michael Maier | 03.25.08 - 9:42 am | #

...At the "two week check-up" (check-up for whom, exactly?) that same doctor informed us that she had a batch of "shots" ready for our two-week-old child and intended to administer a battery of vaccinations. I politely refused. She politely refused to accept my refusal.

I got less polite. And so did she.

I said, "You told us that you would support our decisions on these matters. That's why we chose you as our pediatrician!"

To which she replied, "It is your choice. But I never said I would support your decision. If you refuse these mandatory vaccinations, I can no longer be your pediatrician."

I calmly said, "Please hand me my child." When the child was in my arms, I said, "You can no longer be our pediatrician. It has nothing to do with mandatory anything. It's because you're a liar and a shill."...

*end of comments*

It is sometimes frustrating to talk to people when it comes to their own health, and it is usually futile when it comes to talking to them about their children's health. The best we can do, as medical providers, is to give them current guidelines and practice current standards of care, and be up-to-date on the current research in our fields. But usually, people will follow where their prejudices lead. The mistrust and misunderstanding of the health care system and providers is so great in this country that it makes it difficult to establish a rapport between patients and providers.

I'm going to take a leap here and say that most health-care providers have a genuine interest in helping people be healthier and remain illness-free, or at least enhance quality of lives for their patients. Yet, those in private practices rely on money from insurance companies to turn a profit in their businesses, all while paying malpractice insurance with annual premiums that are sometimes in the six-figure range. In such a litigous society (especially one that makes it so easy to sue doctors and nurses for malpractice), they are bound by fears of losing their licenses, incomes, and means of support for themselves and their families.

Most medical practitioners maintain their practices under the current standards of care for their profession. If those standards (the CDC is the gold standard for immunizations, for example) are not met, then a patient may have a legal case against the provider for not following the currently accepted standard of care. The CDC's immunization schedule is the one that Vox Popoli and other, more adamant vaccine denialists disagree with. For medical providers this is often a no-win situation. Patients like the commenters on Popoli's blog are probably the same ones who would bitch and moan if there were a new epidemic of polio or measles and their children weren't vaccinated for them. They would probably then sue the medical providers for NOT mandating the vaccines.

I think further education is necessary. There are many, many misconceptions on the dangers of vaccines. (the autism/vaccine "link," expect an article on that topic later)

Doctors and nurse practitioners, while often accused of "playing God" in a negative way, are at the same time held up to those God-like expectations by their patients when they are sick. It is a double-standard that we have to accept. Patients expect their medical providers to know immediately what is wrong with them with often vague symptoms and tens of thousands of illnesses to choose from. If we get it wrong, they threaten a lawsuit, and at the very least, they leave the practice as patients.

From my perspective, the one thing I would ask from my patients, is to expect your medical provider to stay up-to-date on the latest professionally-accepted research and standards of care, and to remember that healthcare is a cooperative process. We will usually give you as many options as possible under the current standards of care. Most of us are no more trying to "play God," than we are genuinely concerned for your health, AND trying to avoid any potential lawsuits from an over-litigous society. Don't start your visit with your health-care provider on the defensive before you give them a fair chance. Don't go into the visit with a chip on your shoulder, because you will already alienate yourself from your provider, who would probably like to work WITH you to a better health outcome. While many aspects of health-care in the U.S. suck, don't take it out on your doctors and nurses. We are usually here to help.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Gender Genie says... I am a male

I stumbled upon this tool today. It is based on an article and test from New York Times Magazine written about a team of Israeli scientists who developed an algorothm that predicts with 80% accuracy the author of an article's gender.

For fun, I entered a couple of my recent blog articles (with quotes attributed to other people taken out):

The reason for the HPV vaccine... received a Female Score: 437
and Male Score: 1029

Help Celebrate "Keep the Bigots Home Day!" received Female Score: 303
and Male Score: 558

Even Concerned Woman for America, Jose Solano, discusses bigotry within the homosexualist agenda received a Female Score: 114
Male Score: 256

Now, let's take a look at the scores of some other people, shall we (again, with quotes attributed to other people taken out)?

Fannie is also apparently a male. With a Female Score: 745 and
Male Score: 936 in one of her recent articles.

Marty, the self-ascribed "ruthless, couthless, and toothless" homobigot over at Opine Editorials is our first case study.
I entered this passage written by him. What did the gender genie predict? Yep, female. (Female Score: 73 Male Score: 48)

I was really hoping blogger Vox Day would come up as "female," especially when I entered his latest article in the gender genie. Alas, no such luck. He received a solidly macho Female Score: 870 to am Male Score: 1762.

Anyway, I do think it's interesting, that of all the anti-feminist males I've argued with the past year on my blog, they all accuse me of "female whining" or "grunting" or femi-nazi speak when in fact, I probably sound no more feminine than they do. It's a testament of their own inability to effectively counter my arguments (and other women's arguments) with anything of substance, so they take an easy out and resort to stereotypical criticisms of women.

Makes me wonder that if I were a man, would they accuse me of the same things? I'm sure that answer is no.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Concerned Woman for America, Jose Solano, discusses bigotry within the homosexualist agenda

Yes, folks, she's at it again. Concerned Woman for America, Jose Solano, discusses the bigotry that exists within the homosexual community.

In her short but sweet commentary on the depravity of The Homosexual, Mrs. (or is it Ms.?) discusses how, in fact, it is the homosexualist that is the bigot. Shedding her unique insight on the perversity of anal sex and other "depraved homosexual practices," she discusses how they defame and ad hom attack their opponents. It, according to this Concerned Woman, has been very effective in striking fear "in many an honest civil rights leader who has struggled against real bigotry."

She goes on:

"The ongoing denigration of the supporters of family and marriage has also had the adverse effect of desensitizing a great many in society to the actual perversity of the obscene behaviors of homosexuals, causing people to imagine that anal intercourse and other bizarre homosexual practices could in any way be salutary and normal for human beings. This mentality is being transmitted to our children in our schools and through the media. We must resist by every legally and lovingly possible means."

Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Senora. As we work together tirelessly to end the bigotry that exists within the homosexualists agenda, I can only hope that you continue your dedicated work within the CWA community.

From one Concerned Woman to another, I salute you again, sister.

I'll end with a couple good quotes I found today:

"You could move." ~Abigail Van Buren, "Dear Abby," in response to a reader who complained that a gay couple was moving in across the street and wanted to know what he could do to improve the quality of the neighborhood

"War. Rape. Murder. Poverty. Equal rights for gays. Guess which one the Southern Baptist Convention is protesting?" ~The Value of Families

"The radical right is so homophobic that they're blaming global warming on the AIDS quilt." ~Dennis Miller

"Jesse Helms and Newt Gingrich were shaking hands congratulating themselves on the introduction of an antigay bill in Congress. If it passes, they won't be able to shake hands, because it will then be illegal for a prick to touch an asshole." ~Judy Carter

"People who can't think of anything else but whether the person you love is indented or convex should be doomed not to think of anything else but that, and so miss the other ninety-five percent of life." ~Robert Towne

"Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaks another." ~Homer

"Men weary as much of not doing the things they want to do as of doing the things they do not want to do." ~Eric Hoffer

"The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man: members of his own species, bent on ensuring his salvation, security, and sanity." ~Thomas Szasz

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Chicago Bishop pleads for gay Iranian's life

I would like to take this opportunity to recognize a man of the Catholic Church, who has taken one significant step towards social justice. One step of many that he has taken throughout his career in the Catholic Church, I might add. If you browse his web-page you will see editorials, all directed towards social justice issues. Kudos to this man for taking brave steps in the face of direct opposition from many others within his Church.

Bishop James Alan Wilkowski, Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest, has written a letter to the British Consulate in Chicago, the Honorable James Clark asking that they not deport gay Iranian Mehdi Kazemi. Kazemi faces likely torture and/or execution if he is deported to Iran, based solely on his sexual orientation.

Perhaps this is what the Iranian president meant when he said that Iran doesn't have gay people?

Britain has routinely hid behind the stance that gay Iranians are safe in Iran as long as they are "discrete" when deciding to deport a gay person back to Iran.

For a little background on why Kazemi is in such grave danger, I took this excerpt from the "Save Madhi Kazemi" website:

Seyed Madhi Kazemi was born in Tehran and is not yet 20. On September 15th, 2005 he set off for the United Kingdom after applying for a student visa. At first he lived with his uncle in London and attended an English course. In November 2005 he moved to Brighton where he enrolled at the Embassy CES College of Hove. He renewed his student visa to November 2006, with the intention of returning to his family in Iran once the course was over.

Madhi loved a boy back in Iran called Parham, with whom he had shared a secret relationship since the age of 15. Madhi and Parham regularly wrote to each other via e-mail until December 2005, when Parham suddenly stopped writing. In late March 2006, Madhi’s uncle informed him that his father had found out about his homosexuality and his relationship with Parham: the boy had been arrested by the Iranian authorities after being caught with a peer and accused of “lavat” (sodomy).

During the interrogation he was forced to give the names of all the boys he had had relations with, including Madhi himself. Madhi’s father had then received a visit from the Tehran Police, with an arrest warrant for his son as they wanted to put him on trial. In late April, Madhi’s uncle told him Parham had been put to death.

For more on the Kazemi's story, please read from the website.

Bishop Wilkowski is not only religious, but he is Christian and spiritual. Yes, a rare combination. And he is a man who supports the proper, respectful treatment of everyone. Instead of using his religion to maintain the male power hiearchy that already exists within Catholicism, and instead of using religion to admonish homosexuals or any other out-group, he chooses to live by the motto that God's love (if you believe in it) is unconditional. It is not subject to sexual orientation, to maleness, to femaleness, to race, to anything.

If there exists a God, he does not discriminate based on the (usually) arbitrary whims of privileged (usually) white males. That is something we all could be reminded of more. Thank you, Bishop Wilkowski.

And don't be scared to write to your local British Consulate asking that Kazemi not be deported back to Iran. As one writer put it, telling gays they won't be killed so long as they don't publicly acknowledge their gayness is akin to telling Anne Frank she won't be killed so long as she stays in her attic.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet baby jesus, what's gayer than gay?

Blogger Vox Day's band of followers.

I stumbled upon this gem yesterday, sent to me by a friend. I honestly didn't know if Day is serious in his anti-women articles, or if he is a parody of a woman-hater just trying to get attention or to make money. People can resort to pathetic means when trying to gain fame, or infamy.

The article he writes here, in the ever-neutral, ever-reliable news source World Net Daily "A Free Press for a Free People," Day discusses "The real assault on science."

This self-ascribed "...member of the SFWA, Mensa and IGDA..." (not that anyone knows what those acronyms stand for) writes about how the principle of "female equalitarianism" (ie-the belief that men and women are equal)is the single biggest threat to "Western Civilization" and to science. After the predictable woman-hating rants against Title IX, atheism (because how does one uphold his male-on-top status without the misuse of religion?), and "womyn's" studies (his spelling) he actually gets to the point of his article, which is not at all related to the former topics: that women are good at education, just not the application of it in the real world. And this failure in ability to apply themselves is going to lead to the destruction of science as we know it.

He matter-of-factly states "Of course, this will sound to equalitarians and their sympathizers like nothing more than male whining, but it's nothing of the sort. Because they are the intellectual driving force of humanity, men will be fine..."

Oh, it gets better.

He continues, "It is written that 'women ruin everything'; having destroyed the liberal arts, the classics and the pseudo-sciences, it is now abundantly clear that the more rigorous sciences are next on the equalitarians' destructive agenda."

Of course, we don't know where "it" is written. Or who said that "women ruin everything," but I suppose we should just take this Mensa member's word for it. After all, a wise man once said, "Wherever you go, there you are."

Instead of getting angry (because really, how could one take this article seriously?), I went to his blog to figure out if this was just a parody of a typical woman hater. To see if the guy was actually serious when he wrote this article about applied science that doesn't actually apply any science.

Yep, he was serious.

I left a comment on his blog calling him a tool for this, and the rash of his fellow circle-jerk members were quick to defend him and to tell me to "take it up the ass" with their (obviously) large penises, and to whip out my "womyn's studies" book.


A group of men who hate woman predictably stereotyping someone who opposes their views as a "womyn's studies" major or something. Because how could a woman possibly be offended without having a college degree in feminism? Not any women of theirs, who are surely cutting their pieces of steak for them at the kitchen table as we read this.

One can't blame them. It is true. Okay, kind of. On the way to my graduate degree and then my successful career in the applied sciences, I did take a women and lit class once in undergrad to fulfill gen. ed requirements. Maybe that's what they were referring to?

But I guess my success is due more to some kind of gender affirmative action, than any true ability on my part?

After all, Mr. Day said that "womyn" are bad at science, it must be true. Don't believe him? Ask his fans. They will back up his article with "scientific" facts of their own. I mean... they are coming from men. It must be true.

What is the saddest thing of all, though, is that I think most of these guys really believe what they write. They whine when people stereotype them as having tiny dicks, or being secretly gay, or as hating women. I don't give a rat's ass about any of that. (being a lesbian, I really don't care about penis size, after all).

What I do care about is that he has this many fans who only perpetuate the hatred of women. Don't like his style of "cruel humor?" You must be a radical atheist fascist feminist lesbian. Nothing good ever comes from hate speech. To me, it just looks like a pathetic attempt to gain fans by being completely radical in anti-women speech, and knowing full-well that there are men who will eat it up.

That is fucking pathetic. Enjoy your homo circle-jerk while it lasts, fellas. You are in a minority now that is getting smaller by the day.

The reason for the HPV vaccine...

The CDC announced yesterday at it's annual conference (in Chicago this year!) that 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease (STD).

The most common STD among teenage girls being Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, the disease that can cause cervical cancer in women and can cause penile or anal cancer in men. The second-most common STD in teenage girls is chlamydia.

"The study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan is an analysis of nationally representative data on 838 girls aged 14 to 19 who took part in a 2003-04 government health survey. Teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and genital herpes, 2 percent."

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said the study shows that “the national policy of promoting abstinence-only programs is a $1.5 billion failure, and teenage girls are paying the real price.”

It's sad that in a country led by social conservatives who are trying to teach the world that sex is immoral and wrong, one quarter of our teenaged girls have STDs. The topic is so hush-hush in many circles, that I fear our teens aren't getting accurate information when it comes to safe(r)-sex and STD transmission, including their risk factors.

It's sad that in a country led by, and continuously threatened by, the religious and conservative right, more money is spent on scientifically disproven "abstinence-only" sex education programs, and NONE is allowed be spent on the scientifically proven #1 way to reduce new HIV cases: needle-exchange programs.

All because a greedy "pastor" or "church-leader" and the legislators who are funded by them, realize he or she can make millions off of other's ignorance, or by inciting fear into the "good" God-fearing people of this country, who want nothing more than an authority figure to tell them they are better than someone else.

Sadly, because our country is still very Puritanical, girls and boys alike are being harmed in ways that could be prevented by a simple vaccine, and with a little education.

Instead, corporation-like mega-churches that provide millions in funding to lawmakers and our administration, decide for the rest of us which actions are to be condemned and punished, and which ones--regardless of the cost to public health and health disparities in minority groups--will be rewarded. It is a system that continues to do more harm than good, regardless of the will of the people they supposedly represent. Regardless of the research that proves their harm.

And regardless of the research that shows the benefits to things like sex-education programs, STD education, drug awareness, and--yes--even needle-exchange programs to prevent the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

It's sad that instead of realizing that not everyone is lucky enough to fit a cookie-cutter white, middle-America, Christian, heterosexual image, conservatives are too busy condemning the "morally wrong" instead of offering any real solutions to the very real problems the rest of us face.

Problems they also face, but usually don't want to admit.

My solutions to the STD problem?

-Increase funding for sex-education programs in public schools, which would include a discussion on safer sex, abstinence, and STDs.
-Throw out the ineffective abstinence-only programs in public schools
-Place additional funding for programs and sex ed in schools were there are large percentages of racial minorities, especially black children.
-Require/allow-for confidential STD testing for teens, to ensure their parents can't get their results without written authorization
-Mandate that the children attending public schools (boys and girls) be vaccinated for HPV, the way many other vaccines are mandated.
-Allow exceptions to the vaccine mandate based on religious or personal beliefs the way it is allowed for other vaccines.

I know these are simple solutions. But the game of political football isn't simple. I don't expect much from our government lately.

PS- I am realllly jealous that due to work obligations I didn't get to attend the CDC conference. It's never in Chicago. Humph.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Open Letter to Fitz

having read your latest article at Opine, I have a few comments and questions. Let's start with this:

What is your solution to the problem of the "selfishness" of gay people?

Do you propose that gays not be allowed to have children?

Do you propose that they not be able to legally be in relationships with each other, since they are so selfish?

Do you deny, like others on your blog, that gay people even exist?

Do you think that heterosexuals who get married in "shotgun" types of weddings only to divorce shortly after having children are "selfish" as well?

Or do you hold gay and lesbian relationships to higher standards than heterosexual relationships?

Are you only opposed to marriage equality insofar as "the children" are involved?

Because so far, all I've seen you do is bitch and moan about how selfish they are, and cheer on every anti-gay victory that passes, and vow to only vote for candidates based on their "SS'M'" (as you call it) stance as if that one thing is the basis of every choice you will ever make.

Get a life, man.

Even gay people don't care about marriage equality that much.

Instead, why don't you for once offer real, workable solutions or stop bitching?

Answer this simple question, and we will proceed from there.

What is an acceptable life for gays and lesbians to lead, in your eyes, Fitz?

Simple question. Should be a simple answer. Or what's the matter, haven't thought about that? Well give it a minute or two, and then come up with your answer.

I'm doing this as an exercise in empathy. I want Fitz to answer these questions to see his real views on gay people. You see, the Opiners all claim to not hate gay people, yet all they ever do is complain about the trouble we cause, and our lack of morals, and our excess of selfishness.

We'll see.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Help Celebrate "Keep the Bigots Home Day!"

Imagine a world with no bigots.

A country with no little bigot-spawn spewing forth their biblical curses and rants towards gay people, or people without faith, or people of a different faith.

Imagine a classroom where all children feel loved, regardless of their differences.

Imagine a school that teaches acceptance and love for all. A school without bigot-brigades, self-righteous hypocrites, or "religious" leaders attempt to censor the words of teachers.

Imagine a time when there are no fundamentalist religious congregations and CEOs "pastors" trying to force their beliefs on everyone else.

Sounds nice, right?

Well, that can become reality for just one day if you participate in "Keep the Bigots Home Day" on April 25.

To see what the world would be like without any nut-wing homobigots, encourage all the homobigots you know to keep their children home from school that day.

You see, April 25 is also "Day of Silence," the largest student-led action towards creating safer schools for all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

By the way, this year's Day of Silence is in honor of Lawrence King, the student who was murdered at his California school on February 12 because of his sexual orientation and gender expression.

In response to the mass acceptance that "Day of Silence" has received across the nation, the AFA is honoring "Keep the Bigots Home Day" and encouraging all its members to keep their children home from school.

In an email I received today, Don Wildmon (Founder and Chairman of the AFA) states:

"DOS is sponsored by an activist homosexual group, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). DOS leads the students to believe that every person who identifies as a homosexual, bisexual or cross-dresser is a victim of ongoing, unrelenting harassment and hate. Students are taught that homosexuality is a worthy lifestyle, homosexuality has few or no risks, and individuals are born homosexual and cannot change. Those who oppose such teaching are characterized as ignorant and hateful bigots."

And, on the AFA website, it states:

"...AFA is joining other family-oriented groups in urging parents to keep their children at home that day if their local school is participating in the DOS project. By remaining silent, the intent of the pro-homosexual students is to disrupt the classes while promoting the homosexual lifestyle."


Excuse me?


"By remaining silent, the intent of the pro-homosexual students is to disrupt the classes..." [emphasis added]

Sometimes I don't know whether the AFA is serious in their anti-homosexuality, or if they are a mockery of real fundamentalists. Either way, don't forget to encourage your local homobigots to keep their children at home for a day!

Oh, and in case any of you have any questions about "Keep the Bigots Home Day," you can click on this convenient list of FAQs, created by the AFA.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On Second Thought...What's Better Than Winning a Gold in the Special Olympics?

Not being retarded.

I had written about half an article in response to Fitz' gem, and this other gem that Opine Editorials linked to on their blog.

Instead, I thought, why do I want to reply again and again and again to their boring-ass cut-n-pasted justifications of bigotry?

After all, I could win a gold medal in their game of Special Olympics.

But in the end, it will still be the Special Olympics.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Don't EVEN talk to me until I've had my excellent un-PC blog

I was perusing a friend's blog, and came across this one, entitled "Stuff White People Like."


My favorite article so far is the first one ("#1 Coffee"), because it is SO true.

The best observation?

"White people all need Starbucks, Second Cup or Coffee Bean. They are also fond of saying 'you do NOT want to see me before I get my morning coffee.'"

As a fellow white person, I love a good cup of coffee in the morning. But it has always been a pet peeve of mine when people say that...what is even more annoying is when the speaker at a business meaning or a professor at a lecture messes up or stutters, and then says, "Sorry... haven't had my morning coffee yet," to which the audience all laughs understandingly...making them all part of one giant ball of uber-yuppie-very-important-coffee-drinking-member-of-society-ness. And if you don't laugh, you obviously aren't cool or important enough to NEED your morning coffee like the rest of the civilized world.

I always just want to say, "Hardy-fuckin-har, you're so funny, you can't function without your morning cup o' joe, because you're so important?"

Anyway...I may be a liberal, but I love me some un-political-correctness once in a while.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Payday lenders and Conservative Christians: A Surprising Correlation

In a paper to be published this spring in the Catholic University Law Review, professor Christopher Peterson and Steven Graves find a surprising correlation between the geographic density of payday lenders and the political clout of conservative Christians.

Payday lenders have been gaining notoriety among consumer advocates for being predatory towards desperate, lower-income consumers. They offer small-ish loans to people in need of a quick fix for money. The catch? The exorbitant interest rates that are racked up as a result, which often leaves people in debt for much longer than they bargained for, or with loans that they are never able to repay.

Peterson and Graves essentially mapped out the densities of payday lenders and started to find that the regions with the highest densities were the Bible Belt and the Mormon mountain West. They also created a map indexing the political power of conservative Christian Americans. What they found was a strong correlation between the two.

Of course, the researchers note in a caveat that correlation is NOT the same as causation. They are not blaming the rise in payday/predatory lending on Christian conservatives. They are, however, noting that in regions where politically powerful (rich) conservative Christians exist, there are disproportionate numbers of payday lenders.

AND, given the Biblical condemnation of usury, it seems that there should be aggressive regulation and less demand for payday loans in such states where biblical literalists are rampant. Instead, the opposite is the reality. The state laws in these states are actually more permissive of this type of lending than in more socially liberal states. Throughout the Bible Belt and Mormon mountain West, there is relatively little regulation on this type of lending at all, which is clearly a causal factor.

But the authors must ask, "why?"

They offer their own hypothesis: that starting in the 1980s and 1990s powerful/rich social conservatives began to align themselves with Wall-Street business that were also socially conservative, which has been an effective way for them to push their pet agenda issues (abortion, "some sorts of family questions," and gun rights) in their states. The one roadblock to this political alliance has been consumer protection law and limits on usurious lending. As the alliance between the two factions have grown, the laws limiting predatory lending has fallen to the waste-side.

Another important note is that even compared to other issues that one would think should be stronger in correlation (poverty levels, race, income), the correlation between conservative Christian political power and payday lenders is the strongest.

Reading the comments section was an interesting mix of outraged sheeple and the non-surpised social liberals.

Among other comments: "It seems obvious to me. Evangelicals, Fundamentalists and Mormons oft times refer to their parishioners as their flock, and where their are more sheep, more sheep are slaughtered. Perhaps less time studying the Bible, and more time studying math might move these enclaves forward in time?

When a culture is rooted in financial exploitation by charlatan preachers for generations, is it any wonder these fools can be manipulated by charlatan bankers?"


"Posted By: isaidit @ 02/26/2008 3:54:48 PM
Comment: The Christian faith, as it is practiced today in the U.S., is as harmful to the common man as the pagan societies it saved him from 2000 years ago. The Christian right has aligned itself with the most extreme and harshest of libertarian republicans, and then breaks with them on the issues of drugs and doctor assisted suicide, which one can't be blamed for choosing after a lifetime of being exploited and strangled by big business, only to be faced with staggering healthcare costs in the end. I understand this may not be real Christianity, but it rules the day in this country, and encourages those of us who should fight the plutocrat menace to wait and hope for them take their foot off our cllective[sic] necks instead."

Basically, I am being convinced a bit more every day that the "Christian conservative/social conservative movement" is rooted less in true friendliness, concern, love-they-neighbor, caring, compassion, empathy, and other "Jesus-like" qualities and values, and MUCH more in the power of exploitation for monetary gain.