Sex & Culture

Time for Non-Gays to Come Out of the Closet

Same-gender marriage is not a “gay issue.” “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not a “gay issue.” Parity in child custody decisions is not a “gay issue.” These aren’t “gay issues” because compromising the civil equality of any group in America compromises everyone’s civil rights. A government that can discriminate against a parent just because he’s gay can (and of course does) discriminate against a parent just because she’s a stripper or she’s into bondage. A government that criminalizes the consensual sex acts of gays can (and of course does) criminalize other private consenting sex acts, such as the use of…

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It’s Women’s History Month—But Which Women?

March is Women’s History Month. Americans don’t know much about history in general; why were Kellogg’s Corn Flakes invented? Why was J. Edgar Hoover so feared? How did contraception become criminalized in the U.S.? Why did the American Psychiatric Association remove homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses? And if we Remember the Alamo, shouldn’t we also Remember Stonewall, the Hays Code, and the Comstock Laws? Anything that better acquaints us with our history—or herstory, if you will—is almost certainly a good thing. But which women’s history? Which women? Should we study ardent supporters of church-state separation like Supreme Court…

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Sexual Intelligence Awards, 2008

Each year, Sexual Intelligence Awards honor individuals and organizations which challenge the sexual fear, unrealistic expectations, and government hypocrisy that undermine love, sex, and relationships—and political freedom—today. One of this year’s recipients is Sherri Williams, Sex Toy Activist. Here’s why: For nine years the state of Alabama has insisted that Sherri Williams is a criminal. And so she has taken the state to court over and over during those nine years. She has won a handful of times, only to have the state appeal and win a subsequent round in court. As we have documented (SI #s 9, 33, 39,…

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Cops and Morality Police—World’s Best PR Agents

The long dark night for Abercrombie & Fitch is over. The obscenity charges have been dropped. Shoppers across America can resume fighting the war on terror. Last week, new A/F photos went up in 363 U.S. stores. One showed three buff guys from behind, a little butt crack showing for your dining and dancing pleasure. The other showed some partial side-breast—no nipple, thank you. You’ll note that the pics show less skin than you see at the beach—or at most supermarkets. When some mall customers in Virginia Beach, VA complained, police confiscated the photos and cited the manager for “obscenity.”…

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American Family Association Mistrusts the Truth

Last week, I reported that the FCC fined 54 ABC TV stations $1.43 million for a five-year-old episode of NYPD Blue. What would you think was being punished if you read this description on the website of the American Family Association? “The episode, shown Feb. 25, 2003, included a scene featuring a woman and a young boy. In the scene, the woman disrobes in a bathroom.” Wouldn’t you assume that the woman and boy were in the bathroom together, and for some degenerate, ratings-driven reason she stripped right in front of him? Now read this (more accurate) description: “It’s a…

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MySpace + Phony Categories = Fearmongering

We have to stop traffic problems like double-parking and drunk driving, wouldn’t you agree? And resolve America’s financial issues, like unpaid fines for overdue library books and corporate embezzlement. Something wrong here? Of course. While everyone’s in favor of reducing traffic accidents and financial problems, most us don’t see double-parking and drunk driving as comparable risks. Similarly, no one worries about library fines and embezzlement quite the same way. It’s a common strategy in public policy discussions—creating a category that lumps two dissimilar things together, and decrying the more serious of the two. We’re all in favor of preventing hangnails…

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