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arvan's picture

The Long, Dark Night of My Sex-Positive Soul

So first, a little background on sex-positive.  

There is no organized sex-positive movement.  It is a discussion that has grown over the recent years, starting in the 1930's.  It can mean a great many things to just about everybody and that is kind of the point, really.  The basic idea is that sex is a natural part of human, mammalian existence and that we can embrace it in its variety as a part of normal life. 

People in many groups organized around specific aspects of sex and identity often participate in sex-positive conversations and find the ideals and values of their individual and group identities overlapping sex-positive thoughts and goals.  Some of the more frequent of such groups and individuals identify in terms of Sex work, BDSM & Kink, LGBTQI "Pink" , disability, feminism, genderqueer, transhuman and many, many more.

If you want to read some good primers on sex-positivity, try this post by Clarisse Thorn, The Center for Sex-Positive Culture or any of the links on our blogroll listed under 'sex-positive'.

Note: I spend a good portion of this post, talking about my own experience.  This is not because I'm particularly enamored with myself, but rather to offer my recent thoughts as one person's reactions to something that may echo in your life someplace.  It may not.  I won't pretend to know how anyone else should feel or react and I won't dictate to others the terms of their identity.

I have been having a crisis of faith lately.  This is of course funny because I am not religious and the faith in crisis is more about my own identity than how I feel about invisible beings.  In the larger sense it is about what it means to be 'sex-positive' but it really is about how to deal with privilege.

In the span of a week or so, I attended several Sex-Positive events.  One was the showing of a documentary film with discussion afterward, the second was a discussion on sex-positive at a BDSM social club and the last was an invitation to join a group of sex-positive activists.  I suddenly realized how very privileged the conversations and these groups were.  At one event, there were some people of color but at the others, it was all white, professional, educated, middle to upper class and english speaking US citizens.  I like everyone in these groups and this post is not about them but about my experiences and thoughts about privilege.

Buck Angel's picture

Buck Angel: Bucking The System (Episode 7)

It's time for another episode in Buck Angel's series sharing his perspective on gender and sexuality, with the accompaniment of a sign language interpreter.

In this week's show, Buck talks about Intolerance and the effect that his work has on society. .

Buck answers questions from readers every week.  If you have any questions that you would like to hear Buck talk about, please email show@buckangel.com.

arvan's picture

Announcing! LOVED BODIES, BIG IDEAS Contest

Tired of talktalktalking about how toxic our culture is for girls and women, particularly in relation to their bodies?  Craving to take action?  Brimming with good ideas but suffering from a lack of support?  Then this is your moment.

The Women’s Therapy Centre Institute is thrilled to announce the LOVED BODIES, BIG IDEAS Contest.

We need your BIG IDEA in response to the following question:

What is one bold action that could make the world truly value

the diversity of women and girls’ bodies?

All of the BIG IDEAS will be considered by a team of expert judges and the three most thrilling and original ones will be chosen as winners. These winners will be invited to present their ideas in 10-minute presentations at the Endangered Species Summit in March of 2011 in New York City in front of a power-packed audience of media representatives, philanthropists, public intellectuals, activists, therapists, and more. It is our hope that the energy in the room will propel these ideas into real, bonafide action!

All travel and accommodations for the three BIG IDEAS winners will be covered by the Women’s Therapy Centre Institute.

Note: if you don’t win, your idea will not go to waste! All of the BIG IDEAS submitted will be included in our online idea gallery as a resource for body image advocates across the world.

To submit to the contest, please email a 500 word (maximum) BIG IDEA essay to Contest Manager, Shirley Kailas: shirley.kailas@gmail.com by December 1, 2010, 6:00 pm.  Please include your name, age, email, phone #, and any organizational affiliation you have on the top of the page.

A few examples of the kinds of BIG IDEAS we’re hoping for include: A nationally-recognized curriculum on body image, disordered eating and exercise, and the limits of the BMI measurement for medical schools, legislation on body toxic advertising during television targeted at children and teens, or a campaign to end diet commercials on a show primarily targeting women.

arvan's picture

Men's Group Champions "Diverse Masculinities"

By Dalia Acosta

HAVANA, Sep 22, 2010 (IPS) - Men representing an array of sexual identifications have organised in Cuba to defend sexual rights and promote respect for "other masculinities," with the belief that greater visibility is needed to achieve true social change and acceptance.

Hombres por la Diversidad (HxD, Men for Diversity), a group "for the right to free sexual identity," promotes social transformation and "works along the lines of education and advocacy for sexual and reproductive rights," coordinator Alberto Roque told IPS.

HxD stands out in this socialist-run Caribbean nation for spreading the human rights focus to other associations and groups dealing with related issues.

The group tries to maintain a balance between the institutional world and autonomy, which can be a challenge for citizen initiatives in Cuba.

Although it has offices at the government's National Centre for Sex Education (CENESEX), making the most of "organisational support and space provided by the institution," HxD maintains its own objectives, said Roque.

The immediate goals, he went on, are to consolidate as an organisation, become a presence on Internet-based social networks, participate in the annual events of International Day Against Homophobia (May 17), and organise a national symposium on sexual rights, which would involve individuals and groups with similar aims.

arvan's picture

Spark Summit - Challenging the Sexualization of Girls

Friday, October 22 · 12:00am - 11:30pm

New York, NY- Hunter College

On the heels of APA’s task force report that found the sexualization of girls so pervasive that “virtually every media form studied provides ample evidence,” a coalition of organizations is taking action.

SPARK stands for Sexualization Protest: Action, Rebellion, Knowledge

Current SPARK partners include:

Women's Media Center
Hardy Girls Healthy Women
TrueChild
Ms. Foundation
ASAP Initiative at Hunter College/CUNY

The SPARK Summit will bring together girls and media professionals, thought leaders and funders, researchers and activists – and will serve as a national call to action and campaign for change.  As a first step towards building a broader coalition, a convening was held in May, thanks to generous funding from the NoVo Foundation. Participants included the Ford Foundation, Girls Inc, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and the APA, which will be a part of the summit’s policy/research committee.

Who: girls, girl-serving organizations, activists, media professionals, researchers, funders, thought leaders and allies

The SPARK summit is an exciting day-long event with the purpose of igniting a movement for girls' rights. Participants will have the opportunity to speak out, push back on the sexualization of girls, learn, and have fun with one another!

An interactive website is being developed for participants to take action in the months leading up to the summit.

If you are interested in partnering with us, supporting our work, or promoting the summit, please email SPARKsummit@gmail.com

For updates, follow the summit on Twitter: @SPARKsummit.

arvan's picture

Call for Abstracts and Presentations on Body Image and Body Politics

Breaking Boundaries:
Body Politics and the Dynamics of Difference


a Women's History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, New York
March 4-5, 2011
Free and Open to the Public

Keynote Speaker:

Marilyn Wann
Fat Activist and Author of Fat!So?

When it comes to “the body,” the definition of normal is fluid and changes across cultures and time. In each context, there are those who have been exploited and oppressed because they do not fit prevailing notions of beauty. This conference will explore the body politics around those with “deviant” bodies.

This conference will address these and other questions:

What are the dominant narratives and perceptions about beauty and bodies?

How do these perceptions affect public policy around issues of health, civil rights, education, and accessibility?

How do those whose bodies do not fit into the “proper” cultural norms challenge attitudes, laws and perceptions? 

How have they negotiated for and found power in unwelcoming environments, both now and in the past?

How do the categories of race, class, gender, sexuality, age and disability complicate prevailing ideas about embodiment? 

Are there and have there been communities and cultures that have welcomed those whose bodies are currently perceived as deviant in dominant popular discourse?

And, what is the relationship between promoting and continuing the dominant discourse and capitalist consumer culture?

We invite activists, scholars and artists in all fields to propose papers, panels, workshops, performances, and exhibits. Proposals for panels are especially welcomed, but individual papers will also be considered.

Specific topics may include, but are not limited to:

Representations of deviant bodies in popular culture
Social justice and fat and disability activism
Intersectionality:  race, gender, class, sexuality and the body
HAES: Health at Every Size
Stigma
Feminism and the body
Social construction of disability
Objectification and commodification of the deviant body
Fiction and the deviant body
Language and the body
Deviant bodies across cultures and time

Please email a brief abstract and c.v./resume to:

Tara James
Women’s History Graduate Program
Sarah Lawrence College
Bronxville, NY 10708
Email: tjames@sarahlawrence.edu
Phone: 914-395-2405

Deadline December, 3 2010

maxattitude's picture

Passing Lies

 While trans theorists such as Jack Halberstam

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  • arvan's picture

    Transgender & Personal Identity: Call for Participants

    Transgender & Personal Identity

    A research project sponsored by the
    Canada Social Sciences And Humanities Research Council

    Prof. M. A. Gilbert, PhD.
    Principal Investigator
    Department of philosophy
    York University
    Toronto, Canada

    This is the site for the research project Transgender & Personal Identity.

    This investigation is concerned with the relationship between the movement from one gender and/or sex to another. What sort of experiences does an individual who begins life birth-designated as a female, but becomes a male have? If a natal male (someone born a boy) becomes a cross-dresser, what psychological, if any, changes occur when he “crosses over”? What can trans folks, those people born into one sex but who sometimes or all the time live in the other, tell us about life on the other side?

    These are just a few of the questions this project will address. The project will seek out trans people who have changed gender at some point in their lives after reaching maturity. If you think you are one of those people and are interested in being interviewed, please click on our Interview Me! page. (It has not been activated yet.) If you think you are not the right person for an interview or it is not convenient, you can still fill out our Tell a Story page. There you can share one or more experiences you have had in your current gender.

    The web site has number of distinct parts. Here is a brief guide to them

        * Brief Overview describes, in lay terms, the goals and outline of the project. If you are interested in our work, might be a good candidate for an interview, or are just curious, this page will help you.
        * Full Overview is, as the name implies, a thorough presentation of the project, complete with background, motivation, goals, and bibliography.
        * Interview Me! This page is the preamble to the questionnaire, and will help you decide if you can, ought, or want to be interviewed.
        * Questionnaire is the instrument created for this project. It is through the questionnaire that we ultimately decide who will be most useful for our purposes.
        * Tell a Story allows all trans persons and those connected to them to tell a tale about a cross-gender experience they have had. These are anecdotes that show how one can experience life from the other side, thereby gaining insight and understanding. All stories, serious and funny, are invited.
        * Links contains just a few web sites that are relevant to the project.

    We need to find interview candidates for this project. The results will shed light on what it means to be trans, and how some people have experienced it. So, if you’re transsexual or a crossdresser, fill out our questionnaire and send it along. If we find you’re right for us and we can connect, then you get to talk about yourself for as long as you like! (OK. more like an hour.)

    The questionnaire is short, and you might be right for TPI. If you click here you’ll open or download it. Then just fill it out and email it to us as an attachment at, tpi@yorku.ca.

    If that doesn’t work, copy it into an email and send that along. if that doesn’t work, print it out and send it to,

    TPI Project c/o Miqqi Alicia Gilbert
    South 428 Ross
    York University
    4700 Keele St.
    Toronto, ON M4K 1C9
    CANADA

    We want it anyway you can give it.

    Problems? Questions? Send them to us at tpi@yorku.ca.

    (h/t Jack Molay)

    Jaded's picture

    Re-Making While Break-ing Bodies And Meanings

    The past few days have been emotionally as well as physically taxing, as I prepared for a seminar, re-wrote, re-edited and then wrote again my paper. Then deleted it and started all over again. A few years ago I had the nasty habit of never saving any of my writing, so I went along and got me an auto-saving program. Now all I need is a program that will swat my hand away every time I try to delete my writing. So you can understand, dear reader why I didn't want to open or even read any of my TrollMail. Turns out, had I opened it earlier I wouldn't be comatose in front of the computer screen, losing the battle against writer's block. Some days, the universe just provides you fodder, while on other days it spews slander all over you and your virtual space.

    Questions like, "Must you use such harsh language, when you talk of your body or anyone else's body?" or another states "It's not proper for Indian women to talk of the body in such terms. You sound Western when you do write like this. Indian women don't and shouldn't talk of their private organs so blatantly. This isn't our culture". And I edited this one, because I distinctly remember my LadyBrain slammed itself shut after these lines. Forgive me for not reading any of her remaining eight e-mails for my eyes blurred over as soon as she started defining what "Indian women" should do or rather shouldn't do. And just as I start to write this, another e-mail scurries forward bearing the words, "What is the point of breaking up your body to show what you mean? Aren't you mutilating yourself, under the name of using poetic devices? Also, isn't this an extremely Western method of articulating ? Doesn't this stand against everything you supposedly believe in?". As I mentioned before, the Interwebes can smack any semblance of the Writer's Block right out of you, on a day like this.

    arvan's picture

    Meeting my Dad as his Daughter (trans woman) - Personal Vlog by ladyVixion

    ladyVixion is one of the most touching, open and honest people I've come across.  In this personal vlog entry, she describes her experience in meeting her father for the first time in person, since she came out as trans to him. 

    With all the crap going on in this world, the beauty of human relatedness and the example of how we can profoundly impact each other - is cause for hope, strength and courage.

    -arvan

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