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arvan's picture

[FCKH8.com] Straight Talk About Gay Marriage

There may never be a video or PSA that is better suited for this website.

Prop 8 is H8. F-bomb the forces of H8 and help fund the fight for equal marriage rights. Get your T-shirt - do good and look good doing it. $5 from each shirt goes to groups working to make sure everybody has the right marry who they love.

(h/t The Ultimates)

arvan's picture

Sarah Graham: A Letter to my Body

'A Letter to my Body' is a series of essays - broadcast on BBC Radio 3 - in which five thinkers, artists and writers ask themselves how they relate to their own bodies.

Sarah Graham, a successful therapist and addictions counsellor, explores her at times turbulent relationship with her body.  From the age of eight Sarah was given ongoing medical treatment but she only learned the real nature of her diagnosis at the age of twenty-five when a gynaecologist finally revealed the truth: that she has XY chromosomes and is an intersex woman.

Doctors had even shielded her parents from the truth about her "disorder of sexual development".

The shock of the revelation led Sarah on a path of depression and addiction which nearly killed her. However she has gradually rebuilt her health and her self esteem. In this essay she makes peace with her body and challenges homophobia in religion and our society's polarised expectations of gender.

AIS Support Group: http://www.aissg.org/

Buck Angel's picture

Buck Angel: It Gets Better

A video I made for Dan Savage's "It Gets Better" Project on YouTube.  Reaching out to GBLTQ kids on how life will get better.  I had a pretty messed up time as a kid.  But I made it to become the man I am today.  I wanted to share with you a part of my life that is sad but I made it!  You can too.

Please if you have the time contribute to this cause!  We should all be apart of helping out youth grow up to be happy individuals!  We all deserve that much.

Thank You Dan Savage!

More on the project here.

Help is here:
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
http://www.scarleteen.com/
http://wearetheyouth.org/

Please email me here buckangel@buckangelentertainment.com

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.

arvan's picture

Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She

(h/t Decidedly Obscure Human Complaints)

This documentary by filmmaker Antony Thomas (HBO's Celibacy), Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She sensitively explores the controversial subject of the blurring of gender as well as the serious social and family problems - even dangers - often faced by those whose gender may fall somewhere in between male and female.

Narrated by noted author Gore Vidal and filmed in the United States, Europe, Asia, and South America, Middle Sexes examines the ways different societies and cultures handle the blurring of gender, sexual identity and sexual orientation.

Through interviews with transgender, intersexual and bisexual men and women, as well as experts from the scientific and academic communities, the film considers the entire spectrum of sexual behavior, personal identity and lifestyles among people of different backgrounds and cultures.  From this, a theme of tolerance and appreciation of diversity emerges in the film.

Middle Sexes: Redefining He and She

(Part 1)

arvan's picture

Sex Worker Rights - A Public Service Announcement from FIRST

Celebrating the strength and diversity of sex workers.  A Public Service Announcement from FIRST

Sex workers face extreme levels of stigma and social exclusion, often fearful of the social consequences of speaking openly about their work.  When they do, they risk being stereotyped, with few people looking beyond the label of "sex worker" to see the unique lives each person leads.  This video is an attempt by this experiential community to highlight the strength and diversity of those who are currently or have been engaged in sex work.  We would like to thank those who participated in this video, as well as acknowledge that there were a far greater number of people who could not due to the social consequences they could face in their relationships, careers, and day to day lives.  For more info check out the FIRST Advocates Website at firstadvocates.org.  This video was created by Rachel Malek for the FIRST Coalition.  Inspired by the I Am a Sex Worker video produced by the Sex Work Awareness Project.

FIRST is a coalition of feminists advocating for rights and equality for sex workers, and the decriminalization of the consensual adult sex trade.  For more information visit firstadvocates.org.

arvan's picture

Call for Submissions: The Soffa Anthology*

The editors of a new anthology call for submissions on the experiences of significant others, family members, friends and allies (SOFFAs) of transgender and/or gender variant individuals. The feelings, emotional processes and experiences of those in relationships with transgender and/or gender variant individuals are seldom acknowledged. That’s why this anthology is so important as a resource and an educational book. This particular call seeks quality “think-alouds” that are reflections on the experience of being in a relationship with a transgender and/or gender variant loved one.

Our vision for the anthology is not solely focused on partners, but the transitional experiences of those in relationships with transgender persons.

We are interested in personal narratives, stories and reflections from significant others, family members, friends, allies, co-workers, teachers, medical professionals and clergy who are in relationships with transgender and/or gender variant individuals. Give us your inner dialogues, theories, practices, joys, coming-out stories, challenging moments and transformative events. We are seeking a multiplicity of voices tackling the intersections of relationships and transgender and/or gender variant identities with sexuality, race, religion, spiritual affiliation, socio-economic status, ability, etc.

We are looking for thoughtful and authentic responses of 1,500-6,000 words. Only respectful submissions will be considered; however, we expect pieces to document a range of experiences and emotions including confusion, joy, frustration, pain, happiness, identity struggles, fear, anger, anxiety and love.

Submissions must be sent as Word files with text in 12 point Times New Roman font and should be previously unpublished, 1,500-6,000 words in length and typed double-spaced. You may submit multiple pieces. All submissions must include a 55-65 word biography to appear in the contributors’ notes section if your work is accepted. No previously published or simultaneously submitted material without prior approval.

arvan's picture

"Humans Null and Void" Exposes Abuse of Adults with Intellectual Disabilities

Humans, null and void

by Yana Buhrer Tavanier in Skopje, Demir Hisar, Demir Kapija, Negorci and Negotino

Time stands still in residential institutions for adults with intellectual disabilities and mental health problems in Macedonia where the lack of care, abuse, filth and neglect are all miserably present.

This is the outcome of a months long journalistic investigation, conducted mostly undercover in all institutions for adults with intellectual disabilities or mental illnesses in Macedonia.

It’s not just the striking lack of care, the human rights abuses, the inhuman and degrading treatment, the stench, the filth.  One of the fundamental things an institution does to you is to rob you of your identity, to erase who you are, to deprive you of substance, to crush you and leave you a hollow shell, to take away your face and replace it with a mask, the same one worn by everyone around you.  Even worse, institutions also make the concept of time cease to exist.  A permanent hell. Humans, null and void.  

(From Humans Null and Void)

Read the investigation.

See the photo galleries here and here.

See the similar investigation, conducted by the same author a year ago, covering Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia here.

Fatma Emam's picture

Questioning my identity

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.

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