Why blaming the rise of HIV on ‘gay sex parties’ is irresponsible and dangerous

#stigma

The Guyliner

Sometimes it’s wonderful to wake up gay and some days, well, not so much. My perfectly Instagrammed breakfast of eggs benedict was seriously spoiled on reading the Guardian and the Independent’s latest overwrought articles about ‘gay sex parties’ being linked to a rise in HIV diagnoses.

This story is trotted out in some form or another every few months or so, usually illustrated with a microscopic selfie of HIV itself or a blurry picture of a heaving Vauxhall club. For the uninitiated, here’s how these pieces usually roll: a ‘study’ is done on HIV rates, a journalist will trawl the sexual health clinics or ask charities for statements until something is said that will make a good headline. Usually a finger points firmly at a supposed increase in gay sex parties, a Roman orgy remixed for the Vauxhall generation.

The piece is printed, society safely compartmentalises HIV as a…

View original post 851 more words

Advertisements

Body Ownership

Carmen Cordis is a rad CHATpdx Sexpert, Activist and Leader in Portland, OR. 

I’ve recently encountered a lot of people, whether they identify inside, outside, or on the fringe of the alphabet soup community (LGBTQQAAPIT-S and any I missed, in no particular order), who have given me an ultimatum, namely that I must make some kind of physical or surgical alteration (of other people’s choosing) to my body or appearance in order to “earn” their acceptance, approval, respect, charity, or support.

I am taking a stand against our culture of non-binary-gender-phobia, body-shaming, photographic alteration, unrealistic body image fixation, cissexism, transphobia, and discrimination based on gender identity, gender presentation, sexual orientation, or bodily appearance.

Carmen Graphic

I am a living, breathing, feeling human being with a heart, a brain, a plethora of dreams, a past, a future, and a story.

I am not someone else’s narrow vision of a quickly-labeled “other” identity that ceases to exist outside of those narrowly imposed boundaries.

I was born with human dignity.  My gender is my own; it does not belong to anyone else.  It cannot be ripped away from me and reshaped by someone else, because no one else owns it.

Likewise, My body is my own. No one the right to make serious, irreversible, potentially harmful or deadly decisions regarding MY BODY but me – and those I designate as my agents in the event that I desire assistance.

Because of the culture of fear, my body has been made into my worst enemy for as long as I can remember.  I also tend to avoid conflict and prefer mediation or compromise in order to diffuse conflict.

Unfortunately, at times I have lost the control of my own body because someone other than myself decided to own my body or change it to suit their desires.

Willingly, or unwillingly, I surrendered my body to someone else, sometimes to avoid external conflict, and found myself waiting for the hell to be over when I began to drown in the internal conflict I created by capitulating.

Carmen Own Post

Too many times, I have tried to destroy my body, in order to satisfy the demands of a fear-hatred culture, and to escape from the hell of conflict by giving up and throwing in the towel, saying, “Okay.  You win.  Are you happy now?”

I no longer wish to propitiate those people who would delight in my destruction.

I deserve to be happy, and one step toward my happiness is to own my own body.

Please consider my words the next time you notice someone (perhaps yourself, even) making serious entitlement claims to someone else’s body, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Please consider my words the next time you notice someone else making serious entitlement claims to your own body, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Do not surrender to anyone who would delight in the destruction or invalidation of your essential self, the self of your definition and determination, the self of your life experience.

No one is infallible, but maybe by educating each other we can make a better world, one step at a time.

Carmen Dignity Post

Enhanced by Zemanta

Do You Understand The Difference Between Sex And Gender?

From Sonakshi Samtani:

Sex is biologically determined, Gender is socially construed. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, attributes and activities that are considered appropriate for men and women.

These gender roles aim at governing everything, from our behaviour to our sexuality. However, it doesn’t come as a surprise that our largely patriarchal society has inherent prejudices constituted in its gender roles. In theory our country has progressed, but the fact is that we are still caught in the shackles of patriarchy. The female population is still facing numerous socio-economic hurdles in gaining access to quality education. It can be clearly attributed to our orthodox mindset which deems fit for women to accept their role as home-makers. Even the educated employed women are under the glass ceiling preventing them for getting higher posts and equal pay as their male counterparts.

So, when a woman gets raped, the society goes ahead to attribute it to her behaving in a brazen manner, for a man is a sexual being and can’t keep it in his pants if a woman provokes him by dressing in a certain way. While one can go on and on about what the repercussions of the gender rigid culture are, it is important to first realize that the society cannot govern our freedom of expression and choice, each of us as an individual has the right to decide what is normal and acceptable for us, a right that shouldn’t be compromised with.

Image

Read the whole story!: http://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2013/06/do-you-understand-the-difference-between-sex-and-gender/

I’m Not Looking … But I’m Looking

Trying to find that special someone?

Welcome to everyone else on the planet.

Not cynical, just true.

Before complaining about not being able to find someone we need to ask ourselves WHY

  1. Am I at a good point in my life to meet that certain someone?
  2. Where am I going to where I could meet that someone?
  3. Does it really matter if I find him/her right now?

Question one pretty simple. Are you even ready for a relationship? A serious relationship. Relationships are like plants, (LOVE FERN!) they really do need to be taken care of. You need space, communication and above all trust for them to grow. And if you’re constantly running around to where you don’t really have time to devote to someone else… you might want to wait it out before jumping into something you’re not ready for.

If we made it past question one, awesome! Question two! Where am I going? A.k.a, are you just going to bars or clubs to make a connection with someone? If so, you should branch out. Like go to a place that works with your personality. For myself it’s book/comic stores, nonprofit fundraisers, arcades or coffee houses. Branch out but go there for you… not to find someone. They’ll come along when you’re ready.

Branched out? Good. Let’s end with Question three!

Does it really matter if I find him/her right now? If your answer is yes… you’re so wrong. If you’re desperately trying to find someone… you won’t. Murphy’s Law. You don’t need someone to make you feel wanted or needed… plus you realized how clingy and needy that sounds? Desperation isn’t attractive, but being happy with yourself and putting yourself out there in a fun/healthy way is.

Prince Charming and Girl-of-your-dreams are both myths. Finding someone who you really make a connection with is a fairytale that takes time and some self-love, but is very possible

Hope everyone enjoyed this little piece! I’m actually submitting this to some blogs/magazine so let me know what you think and hope it helped!

From Drew

Meet Drew Aguilera! He’s a 22-year-old, gay-mer/nerd, an ex model/actor and currently a Pacific NW writer, columnist and blogger. He’s also in the process in becoming a therapist for youth, couples, and the LGBTQ community. He’ll be contributing to CHATPDX as a blogger for the greater NW teens to 20-somethings in LGBTQ community and beyond.

Masturbation Doesn’t Break Hearts!

“90% of people admit to masturbating, the other 10 percent are liars.”
                                                -unknown

May 1st marked the first day of National Masturbation Month. Yes I said it, Masturbation. If you didn’t know about this, well, you’re not alone. I’ll even admit that I didn’t know this national day existed or that it has been around for 25 years. For some reason it isn’t surprising that National Masturbation Month isn’t as high-profile as Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, or Easter, but then again these holidays have cute animals or make belief characters attached to them.

I remember the first time I heard about masturbation on TV was when the cast of Jerry Seinfeld made a bet to see who could keep themselves from doing it the longest. I remember being really curious about this subject, but was afraid someone would catch me watching a TV show about this kind of bet. This really points out how ridiculous the stigma and lack of knowledge that youth (or anyone really) have about masturbation. Up until this point all I had heard about masturbation were all the horrible myths about the effects of masturbation on little bunnies and kittens.

While writing this blog I checked a couple of websites for other masturbation myths and this is what I found:

Only youth masturbate,Cascade AIDS Project Button
Only adults masturbate,
Women don’t masturbate,
People in relationships don’t masturbate,
If you live with your parents you don’t masturbate,
If people sleep in the same room as you, you don’t masturbate,
Masturbation will make you blind,
Masturbation will make hair grow on your palms,
Masturbation will give you acne,
Masturbation causes sexually transmitted diseases,
Masturbation will make you sterile,
Masturbation can give your penis a bend,
Masturbation will make you run out of fluids,
Masturbation will make a male’s penis shrink/stop growing,
Masturbation will make you crazy or cause epilepsy.

All of these myths have been proven wrong by science (although some of them didn’t need to be). It is a reality that BOTH women and men masturbate.. It actually is very healthy for someone to masturbate as it can help relieve headaches, stress, pain and help to aid sleep, to get clearer ideas or focus on an issue and helps reduce risk of prostate cancer in men. In 1995 the US surgeon general was quoted as saying “I think it [Masturbation] is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught.” Even the UK government advocates for “an orgasm a day” and is advocating for youth to masturbate and experiment with their bodies.

The social stigma of masturbation only serves to perpetuate the harmful education that youth are getting from the internet or their peers. Even while writing this I felt uncomfortable and hid my research because of how people might see what I was writing about. I think the fact that as a sex/sexuality educator I should be comfortable with masturbation, but the social stigma I face makes it not so.  I believe in age-relevant sex information, and advocate for youth having as much knowledge about their sexual and reproductive health as they need. Masturbation can be a quite positive (and dare I say pleasant) experience for many people young and old and is only one more way for youth to have safe sexual lives. Maybe if people were more open about their masturbation and did it a little more often, then maybe STD/HIV rates might drop and we would have a safer and healthier (possibly even happier) society.

What do you think? What myths have you heard?

-Ernesto Dominguez