It still is.

This is going to be a brief one.

I don’t care that you just touched and caressed. It still is.

I don’t care that it was just one of you giving and the other receiving. It still is.

I don’t care if neither of you got there, it still is.

I don’t care if you only used your mouth, it still is.

I don’t care if you only used a toy, it still is sex.

I don’t even care if one of you got off without any bodily contact due to some obscure pie-fighting fetish, even then it is still sex. Because it involved intentional manipulation of your partner for pleasure.

And for all of you out there in penis-land wondering how lesbians have sex, maybe I’ve just explained a few things. My god we can be dumb sometimes- this is a thing that even teenagers can learn with their fumbling experiments. That all the bases matter. Because we’re still playing the same ballgame.

So, kindly expand your definition of “sex” beyond penis-in-vagina. Thankyou.

He’s a renegade

This is too cool. Maybe I’m way too geeky about codenames and the like, but I think it shows a great respect for him and understanding of his underlying character by the White House Communications Bureau. 🙂

The end of the global gag rule?

For those depressed by our own election, hopefully this chunk of news over at Shakesville will cheer you up. 🙂

The Right Of Reply

One meme I’ve noticed permeating its way through the more conservative parts of society recently (especially in regards to defending homophobia and inequal rights for GLBTQI people) is that freedom of speech means that backlash against what you’ve said is wrong and somehow circumvents your right to free speech.

It’s fundamentally trivial to debunk this: If you have freedom to say whatever you want, then anyone who disagrees with you must also have the freedom to talk about why they disagree, and what specifically you have done or said that they object to. Freedom of speech means that nobody is allowed to interfere with your peaceful political expression. From that principle it’s fairly clear that trying to prevent backlash against someone who expressed their opinion would actually be restriction of speech, not freedom of speech.

I’m beginning to think of this as a sort of “right of reply”. Every point of view ought to have a “right of reply” to some degree, however extreme that view is. Accepting and even encouraging this dialogue is a very important part of a modern democracy. Asserting that someone else’s right of reply denies you free speech is ridiculous. Now, you can assert that they’re doing so in a way that’s not transparent, (ie. they’re hiding behind a front to avoid responsibility for their actions and words) or that they’re using money to help them in a way that damages our democratic society. (ie. flood advertising for an election or a referendum) But you’ll notice that neither of these actually restrict the flow of political ideas- they restrict actions which change the nature of the political “game”.

Saying you’re “just exercising your right to free speech” does not remove your responsibility for what you’ve said. Free speech is a barrier the people erect against the government, not an excuse to say whatever you like without consequence. If people have a right to say their bigoted piece, then other people have a right to say why they think it is bigoted. That’s not harassment or a personal attack. It’s right and responsibility- the two consequences of personal liberation.

Why are steps forward always accompanied by a step back?

Firstly: For those hiding under a rock, Barack Obama is now president-elect of the United States of America. I have heard so many amazing stories about this that have brought tears to my eyes, let me issue a completely goofy chuckle at the amazing feeling that having someone like you being your leader for the first time must elicit, (I get a small glimpse of it every time I get to talk with our incredibly successful youth candidates and/or GLBT1 candidates in New Zealand) and generally just lift up my faith in democracy ever so much higher. That’s even discounting the incredible, joyous relief I feel at the idea that the world’s most influential democracy has finally decided that smart candidates who can compromise, open government, and equality of opportunity over a folksy right-wing warhappy radical eco-skeptical neoliberal extremist who struggles with complex sentences and can’t behave himself appropriately on the international stage, but who might be kinda cool to share a drink with and could possibly fit in with you in church.

In short, America has reminded us that we can- and should- choose reform in government, equality, and democratic values. Even if the person bringing them isn’t our ideal candidate.

But it’s also been a bittersweet victory for many Democrats in the United States, and has warned us of wedge issues and the influence of social conservatism on the gay rights agenda. Many states just voted through propositions that revoked or banned gay and lesbian marriage, (usually in the form of a “protection of traditional marriage” proposal) including the incredibly liberal state of California2. In Arkansas even got through one that also bans adoptions by gay or lesbian couples. I’ve also read that much of the US$70 million that anti-equality campaigners spent on getting Proposition 8 passed in california was fund-raised out of state. The idea of more conservative or liberal areas flooding money into ad campaigns for their neighbors in order to enforce their moral agenda there seems somewhat chilling to me.

Had these been issues in the candidate elections, a lot of states could have lost some support among traditionally Democratic demographics3– for instance, 60% of black voters in California favoured Proposition 8. Convincing people that this isn’t about attacking “traditional marriage”, but actually upholding equality and the democratic principle of equal citizenship for all doesn’t just benefit GLBTQI New Zealanders- it can actually potentially change how some New Zealanders vote.

I’m seriously hoping that the results of our own election this Saturday won’t leave me with similar worries
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