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HIV Law Project: Sex Education in the City

Tuesday, October 13th
6:30-8:30 pm
National Council of Jewish Women offices
830 Second Avenue, between 43rd and 44th in NYC

Please join HIV Law Project's Center for Women and HIV Advocacy and The Sex Ed Alliance of New York City at “Sex Education in the City”, a community forum and panel discussion to address the lack of comprehensive sexuality education in New York City. Presenters will share their experiences as advocates and offer ways that you can take action today!


Myra Batchelder: Director of the Low Income Access Program, National Institute for Reproductive Health
Jodi Kaltner: Social Worker, Performance Conservatory High School in the Bronx
Justin Toro: Youth Speaker, Love Heals Speakers Bureau
Reverend Matthew West Fox: NE Regional Field Organizer, Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice


Hadiyah Charles: Community Organizer, HIV Law Project

Spread the Word

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Instead of a safe haven, fear and rape in Galkayo

NAIROBI, 23 September 2009 (IRIN) - Exhausted by the violence in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, Asha (not real name) fled to Galkayo in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, believing her family would be safer there.

Until a week ago, when she was attacked near the displaced people's camp that is her new home in Galkayo while collecting firewood to sell.

"It was around 11am [local time] when three men with guns raped me," the 35-year-old mother of five said. "They held a gun to my head and they took turns to rape me."

Asha tried to plead with the men but they would not listen. "I wish I never left Mogadishu," she explained. "At least there, I was never raped."

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Call for Applications: Pacific Feminist Legal Theory and Practice (FLTP) Training

November 9-13, 2009 Nadi, Fiji Islands

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) in collaboration with Fiji Women’s Rights Movement (FWRM) is conducting a Pacific Feminist Legal Theory and Practice (FLTP) Training.

The FLTP training has been a significant activity of APWLD and has grown into a dynamic program that offers a unique model in the region in so far as it attempts to bring feminist insights and perspectives into legal practice. The FLTP framework has feminism as its core and human rights as its foundation.

Deadline for applications: October 4, 2009.

The trainings seeks to challenge the traditional notion that law is a neutral, objective and rational set of rules, unaffected by the perspective of those who wield power in societies. It seeks to address the social, cultural and political contexts that shape the legal system. Given that law (as a culture, system and as an institution) is a reality that women face and engage with, it is essential for women’s rights activists to explore how it can be utilised to transform women’s situations.

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Indian Government Defers Decision on 377 to Supreme Court

The government of India decided on September 17, 2009 that it will not oppose the Delhi High Court verdict on Section 377 of the Penal Code, which decriminalizes homosexuality by “reading down” the section pertaining to same-sex relations between consenting adults in private. Indian activists are praising this decision as a symbol of tacit support for decriminalization in this landmark case.

Following the High Court’s ruling on July 2, 2009, a panel composed of Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, and Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad was assembled to consider the advantages and disadvantages of changing the law. After reviewing the findings of the panel, the government has opted not to join the appeal and to let the Supreme Court determine the “correctness” of the High Court’s ruling. Upon announcing the decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni added that the Cabinet would ask Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati to assist the Supreme Court in any way possible, suggesting that the government could still weigh in during the appeal.

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Call for Papers: Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict: Gender, Society, and the State

Call for Papers
Wagadu, Journal of Transnational Women's and Gender Studies
Special Issue 2010
Sexual Violence and Armed Conflict: Gender, Society, and the State
Edited by Tonia St.Germain, J.D.
Coordinator, Assistant Professor
Gender Studies Program
Eastern Oregon University

Wagadu ( invites papers for a special issue on gender and law and have selected sexual violence and armed conflict as the topic.  Sexual violence has been a part of conflict since warfare began but research and scholarship have only recently begun to uncover its extent and complexity. Over the last twenty years, there is growing recognition in international human rights law and international criminal law scholarship of the state’s role in responding to wartime sexual violence. Legal scholarship joined ranks with the humanities and social sciences from around the world to interrogate how sexual violence has been executed, acknowledged, and addressed during armed conflict, genocides, massacres, and complex emergencies.

While studies of sexual violence in conflict have largely focused on women and children as victims, sexual abuse of men and its effects are important, especially their roles as soldiers, prisoners, significant others, and family members of those who have been directly violated. In addition, children born as a result of wartime rape have been overlooked in the research.

We seek submissions addressing wartime sexual violence during and after conflict situation directed toward:

  • women and/or men
  • children, including those born as a result of wartime rape
  • heterosexual relationships/family groups
  • lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered relationships/family groups

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NOW Supports Legislation to Repeal the Defense of Marriage Act


Statement of NOW Executive Vice President Bonnie Grabenhofer

September 15, 2009

The National Organization for Women is proud to stand with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) in support of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) -- a discriminatory law that is deceptive and harmful. Under DOMA, same-sex couples who legally wed are still denied federal marriage benefits, and other states may refuse to recognize their unions. NOW thanks Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) for cosponsoring this important legislation.

Loving couples and their families deserve the same recognition and legal protection as their neighbors. NOW applauds Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine for legalizing same-sex marriages.

Last month, the Obama Administration strongly denounced and defended DOMA, placing itself in a neutral position and forcing Congress to take up the fight.

Rep. Nadler is doing what the Obama administration has failed to do: take a hard line on DOMA and say discrimination and bigotry do not belong in the law. The right to marry has been recognized by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right under the U.S. Constitution. DOMA singles out a group of people and categorizes them as second-class citizens. NOW urges Congress to support this bill and remove one more barrier to fulfilling the promise of equality and justice for all.


For Immediate Release

Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

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"Meet the Rights 5" - LGBTQI Rights PSA!

The Rights 5 is a campaign to educate Coloradans on the state laws that protect and enrich the lives of LGBT people.

It is a public education project of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado.

Colorado now has five laws that protect and enrich the lives of LGBT people. The Rights Five is a league of superheroes banded together to illuminate those laws.


OK, so it's hokey.  But, you know what?  It's better than Ted Haggard's message on LGBTQI.  So, 'Bravo, Colorado' for not only talking about altering the dialogue, but for spending time and money on the task.

Visit the website.  Of course, they're on facebook, too.  Email them at

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SWAZILAND: Gov't in Court Over Women's Property Rights

By Mantoe Phakathi


Visit Inter Press Service (Johannesburg)

MBABANE, Aug 6 (IPS) - In a battle for gender equality, well-known Swazi women’s rights activist Doo Aphane has taken government to court. Aphane is contesting legislation that prohibits her from registering property in her maiden name jointly with her husband.

If the court grants Aphane, who is chairperson of the Swaziland Gender Consortium and previous national coordinator of Women in Law in Southern Africa - Swaziland, her request, it would give Swazi women married in community of property equal rights to their husbands in the administration of property.

The Swazi women’s movement has rallied behind Aphane, with more than 50 supporters attending the hearing at the High Court in late July. Justice Qinisile Mabuza reserved judgment and a date is yet to be set for the verdict.

Currently, Section 16(3) and regulations 7 and 9 of the Deeds Registry Regulation prohibit married women who are married in community of property from registering immovable property in their maiden names. This means that they cannot register properties without assuming their husbands’ surnames. It also implies that married women cannot have sole ownership of property.

Under Swazi common law, men married in community of property are regarded as administrators of the estate. As a result, women cannot sell or buy property without their husband’s consent, while men can sell property without consulting their wives.

Aphane argues these provisions of the Deeds Registry Act disadvantage all women married in community of property and foster gender inequality. "The purpose of this application is to protect my dignity and the right to non-discrimination," she explained.

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China debates sex change rules

From BBC Worldwide:

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

Liu Xiaojing, a transsexual, attends a news conference promoting Miss Plastic Surgery Contest, 2004
Liu Xiaojing is one of just a few well-known transsexuals in China

China is set to formalise the rules covering sex change operations to ensure that all those who want surgery meet certain requirements.

Those who apply for a sex change must be single, over 20 and have wanted the surgery for at least five years.

The proposed new guidelines, posted on the ministry of health's website, have been distributed for public discussion.

There could be hundreds of thousands of Chinese people wanting the surgery, news reports suggest.

Annabelle River's picture

Stormy Daniels for Senate


I have to admit that I've seen relatively little vanilla pornography, so the first I heard of porn star Stormy Daniels is that she may be running for U.S. Senate in 2010. Specifically, as Ms. Daniels is from Louisiana, she would be challenging the incumbent Republican senator David Vitter - one of the cliché right-wing politicians who get caught doing the very things they love to legislate against. In the summer of 2007 news broke that before, during, and after winning a U.S. senate seat by preaching conservative "family values," Vitter was a frequent customer of prostitutes. And he was a fetishist: It's hard now to find a mainstream reputable source from 2007, but some of the prostitutes who had slept with Sen. Vitter disclosed that he liked being forced to wear diapers. Which is how he earned his nickname: Vitter the Shitter.

Now, I firmly believe that Senator Vitter has the right to wear diapers with consenting prostitutes, and that doing so doesn't necessarily compromise his abilities as a senator - any more than my kinks or polyamory compromise my ability to do a desk job during the day, or any more than anybody having vanilla sex with their spouse compromises their ability to do a job. Except that apparently Senator Vitter actually disagrees with me, because after he was caught, he went on the record calling his own behavior, 'a very serious sin.' And he's still voting with the Christian Coalition 100% of the time.

In our culture, it's easy to laugh with disgust at diaper-fetishists. But I'm really disgusted he has claimed that stopping gay marriage is the most important issue in America, and I'm frustrated that the jokes at his expense generally target his fetish and not the hypocrisy of his trademark sexual intolerance.

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