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Carnival of Sex and Sexuality #1 – Silence

May 5, 2008

The Day of Silence was this past month, with students at over 7,500 American middle and high schools, and more internationally, taking a vow of silence for a day to protest the systematic silencing of gay and lesbian voices in their communities. Participants assert that homophobic name-calling, threats and violence impose a terrified silence on lgbt youth, and bring attention to this through a purposive, communal, silence punctuated with speaking cards declaring their mission.

I was thinking about this while I was organizing the carnival this month. In part, my motivation for starting a carnival of sex and sexuality was to draw attention to the blog voices whose messages were important but not being heard loudly enough. A predictable challenge to this sort of topic, however, is the liminal nature of much blogging about sex. While I wanted to avoid anything that was outright pornographic, and indeed, many submissions were of that nature, the lines are not always clear. And as soon as I had to make personal decisions on the worthiness of a particular post, I was engaged in choices about promoting or silencing certain voices.

This is a decision a blog carnival must make early on in the process: will everything submitted be posted, or only the articles chosen by the host? What criteria will the host use to make these selections? I have decided, at least for the issues published by myself, that I will use my discriminatory faculties to chose among articles. I want this carnival to have a level of professionalism and integrity that I think would be undermined by posts written in prurient or salacious ways. Prurient and salacious topics are always welcome of course (this is a carnival about sex, after all!), but I want to be careful about how such topics are presented. If you submitted an article to this carnival and I chose not to include you, please send me an email and we can talk about it.

With that said, many (but not all) of the posts highlighted in this carnival take on the topic of silencing in one way or another. I hope you enjoy the selection of writing presented, and I encourage you to submit posts on any aspect of sex and sexuality for the next issue of the carnival.

Why the Day of Silence Exists on The Day of Silence Blog

The following is an unedited transcript of a series of phone messages we received in the days following Lawrence King’s murder. It tells you all you need to know about what students endure every day and why we need the Day of Silence. This will be very disturbing for some, so we advise caution in reading on.

Domestic Violence: Call for Primary Care Screening and Gender Issues – Part I on Brain Blogger

In this article, and some to follow, I will provide a glimpse into controversies and progress in the field of domestic violence (DV). Issues of mental illness, cognitive disabilities, personality disorders, unemployment, poverty, gender, politics, the legal system, and education loom large in DV, calling for a biopsychosocial perspective.

“Nearly half of women killed by their partners are seen in primary care settings prior to their deaths, but only 4% of them were in shelters.”

Memphis Principal Outs Gay Students on Feministing

Less than a week after the annual Day of Silence action, a principal in Memphis displayed a list of couples in the high school — including gay couples, outing some of the students. The ACLU is suing the school on behalf of two of the students.

Truth Wins Out Trumps Love Won Out on The Gaytheist Agenda

Rev. Sky stated that he is often contacted by churches that are supportive of the LGBT community and need advice on how to deal with the animosity they face from others for their support. Sadly doing the right thing often comes with a price tag attached. […] He further stated that “seeing an Ex-Gay movement here opens old wounds”. He feels that it is “only the beginning of something that is going to be much bigger”.

WTF is Feminist Porn? on Violet Blue:: Open Source Sex, with the rest at the SF Chronicle

Still confused, I asked Alison Lee, Manager of Good For Her exactly WTF is a “feminist porn film” anyway? She tells me:

“A porn film can be classified as feminist, I think, as soon as women are taken into account as viewers, and that as actors within the film, their own desires are taken into account. This means basically showing that women have just as much right to erotic entertainment as men do, and their desires and pleasure is important, too. I don’t think that feminist porn has to show women at all though, and there is a growing body of excellent smut out there starring trans people (mostly trans men so far) that is looking to show genuine pleasure, consent, and loving relationships outside of the gender binary.

Born or Learned? Sexuality, Science, and Party Lines on Greta Christina’s Blog

But I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: We should not be thinking about this question on the basis of which answer we would like to be true. We should not be thinking about this question on the basis of which answer we find most politically useful. We should be thinking about this question on the basis of which answer is true. We should be thinking about this question on the basis of which answer is best supported by the evidence.

Sask MP Apologizes for Anti-Gay Slur on Slap Upside the Head

The videotape, which was made during a Saskatchewan election campaign, showed a younger Lukiswki boasting about how he stands out as a nominee:

Let me put it to you this way: There’s As and there’s Bs. The As are guys like me; the Bs are homosexual faggots with dirt on their fingernails that transmit disease.

Finally, my own post: Pick Your Battles on Homo Academicus

It’s for this reason that I get a little frustrated with well-meaning majority group members, but it is also for this reason that us minority members need them so much. I wish they could understand my hesitancy to act, after all, if someone loses their job over this it’s going to be me, not them. If someone gets in the newspaper and starts getting threats, if shit goes down, they can walk away from the situation. I can’t walk away from being gay, my classmate can’t just stop being black.

That concludes this month’s Carnival of Sex and Sexuality. I hope you enjoyed the articles and the blogs who posted them, and I hope you’re now brimming with ideas for your own blogs and conversations. When you get something written, or find something great, make sure to submit it for next month’s carnival. Submission details are here.

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