Ohio’s Rob Portman made headlines on Friday as the first sitting Republican senator to back marriage equality in the Senate. But like so many other conservative lawmakers before him, the senator didn’t think much about the rights of gays and lesbians until the issue got personal.
For Portman, it was his 21-year-old son coming out as gay that “allowed” him to see the issue as a “dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”
And just like that, Portman joined the ranks of the men and women who only realized that gay rights were important when their absence affected someone they love. Let’s call it the “gay kid convert” club; the Dick Cheneys, the Jon Huntsmans — and yes, even the Barack Obamas — who, after years of silence or fierce opposition, came around to equal rights through a gay child, friend or a close colleague.
Here’s a look at Portman and others who changed their tune when gay rights came home.
Read the rest at Salon here.
Imagine being denied emergency contraception after a sexual assault; to not even be informed about the steps you can take to prevent an unwanted pregnancy; and to later find yourself pregnant as a result of the rape.
For thousands of Native American women this is reality.
That is why the ACLU and NACB have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with Indian Health Services (IHS) seeking information on policies governing access to over-the-counter emergency contraception (sometimes known as “Plan B”) at IHS facilities and demanding to know what steps the government is taking to solve this problem.
Did you know 34.1 percent or more then 1 in 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime? Native American women experience sexual assault at a higher rate than all other U.S. populations, which is one reason why it is essential that they have access to Plan B.
According to FDA guidelines, Plan B is available to women 17 and older OTC. If used within 120 hours, EC can safely prevent pregnancy after contraceptive failure, unprotected sex, or sexual assault. But EC is most effective the sooner it is taken, with effectiveness decreasing every 12 hours.
Although Plan B has been available without a prescription to adult women since 2006, 90 percent of Indian Health Service (IHS) facilities do not provide Plan B OTC to the Native American women they serve. Given the rural locations of many reservation communities, if EC is unavailable at the IHS facility the next closest commercial pharmacy may be hundreds of miles away and transportation costs may be insurmountable, making timely access to EC difficult, if not impossible for too many women.
Read the rest here.
I made a big fashion faux pas today to wear leggings without anything to cover my butt/crotch which resulted in a “cameltoe” (slang for labia majora being outlined through tight clothes). And a guy at school rudely pointed it out to me and implied I must have a lot of sex because that makes the outer lips more fleshy and prominent.
The thing is, I haven’t had any sex, I’m still a virgin, so I was pretty embarrassed and offended. I just thought cameltoe was caused by clingy, tight clothes. Was this guy just ignorant about girls’ bodies or is there some truth to what he is saying? I honestly feel ridiculous asking but I just had to make sure.Heather Corinna replies:
Let’s talk about what’s real when it comes to the size and shape of the labia and mons first, then address harassment. There’s nothing ridiculous about asking this, and nothing ridiculous about looking for comfort and reassurance after you’ve been sexually harassed. Harassment tends to leave us feeling uncomfortable, insecure and upset, after all, so good on you for seeking out what you need to take care of yourself after being harassed.
How much sex someone has or hasn’t had, and whatever their sexual history has or hasn’t entailed won’t likely have any influence at all on the size or shape of the vulva. The mons and outer labia specifically are mostly fatty tissue, so how prominent they are or aren’t has a lot to do with how fat is distributed there. That’s mostly about genetics but can also be influenced by how much a person weighs, how and where they carry their weight and also with water weight. Back to genetics again, how those portions appear is also going to be about bone structure: all our bones aren’t the same, and how our parts look is related to the size and proportions of the bones beneath them.
When you are sexually aroused or actually engaged in any kind of sex, including masturbation, both those areas can also tend to swell and look bigger or more prominent. But once a person isn’t aroused anymore, that swelling goes down pretty quickly and doesn’t last over days, months of years, just like if your face gets flushed from exercise, once you chill out and your heart rate goes back down, it stops being so red.
For sure, clothing can change how things look, too. However, I hope you know that wearing leggings or anything else that may make those parts of your body less hidden doesn’t make harassment warranted or your fault. Jean Seberg and Edie Sedgwick rocked that look like nobody’s business in the mid-1960s: it wasn’t a fashion faux pas, it was totally trendsetting. Mind, if you feel like that’s not a look you like or feel comfortable in, you don’t have to wear it again, but whether or not something you wear is or isn’t fashionable isn’t based on whether or not you got harassed when you were wearing it. Alas, there’s absolutely nothing anyone can or can’t wear to assure they won’t be harassed or attacked in some way. If only!
Sometimes, without intent, a given clothing choice will result in others being able to see parts of our bodies we don’t mean them to, or don’t mean to expose, but that doesn’t mean that wearing whatever that is means we’re giving anyone a green light to harass us. Sexual harassment is an abuse, and like other kinds of abuses, the person at fault is the person who chooses to abuse someone: harassment is that person’s fault and responsibility, not your fault or your leggings’ fault. If and when we earnestly feel someone might be exposing something they don’t want to be, the thing to do is to either just look away or to say something to them kindly, discreetly and and with as much sensitivity as we can muster, rather than say, making sexual comments or taking a picture of their exposed parts and selling it to a magazine.
I don’t know if this guy was ignorant, because I don’t know if he thought what he said to you was true or not. Clearly, he was harassing you, probably because he meant to harass you. When people aim to do that, they usually aren’t after what’s true, they’re after power and getting a reaction; they aim to make you feel powerless and humiliated, not give you bonafide information about your body. So, in my book, once someone is harassing me or someone else, I figure their credibility is shot, and I should figure that whatever they say — even if I might take some of what they say as a compliment in a different context — it’s probably either not true or that even if it is, what it’s motivated by makes it something I should dismiss by default.
Another reader recently asked a different question about harassment, and I think both of you could benefit from each other’s questions and answers.
Read the rest at Scarleteen here.
Unwanted pregnancies are a fact of life. Globally, nearly a fourth of all pregnancies are unplanned and 22 percent of pregnancies end in abortion. Women experience unwanted pregnancies because they have forced sex, (worldwide, one in three women are survivors of sexual violence), they don’t have access to contraceptives, or they simply didn’t plan on becoming pregnant.
Women who have unwanted pregnancies should be respected and their rights to choice upheld. However, in many countries, government policies, and societal practices do not uphold women’s right not to continue a pregnancy and women with unwanted pregnancies are forced into motherhood. Certainly this is evident in the United States; just before the new year, the governor of Virginia quietly signed legislation designed to close abortion clinics in the state. These laws often punitive, restricting women’s reproductive autonomy and freedom and creating categories of who can and can’t obtain abortions.
Fortunately for women, pills have changed the landscape of abortion. Abortion with pills, also known as medical abortion (MA), provides a safe, low-cost and easy to use method to terminate pregnancies. In addition to being safe and effective, medical abortion has changed the dynamics of who can provide abortions, where women get them, and who has control over the process. Evidence shows that those closest to women—community health workers and midwives—and women themselves can be trained to use abortion pills to safely terminate a pregnancy, thus giving women back the control of their own bodies. In fact, it was women in Brazil who first discovered the potential of misoprostol (cytotec) to safely end an unwanted pregnancy and who shared this knowledge through their social networks.
Read the rest at RH Reality Check here!