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Bi-Weekly Sexual Freedom Newsletter
Wednesday, April 17th, 2019


Top Stories This Week

*Ohio’s new strategy to defund Planned Parenthood;
*Violence against trans communities and the merits of the Equality Act;
*The inequality in U.S. public school funding and the privileging of the privileged;
*Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 51st anniversary of his death;
*Florida’s proposed “anti-trafficking” registry and the harm it poses to sex workers;
*Purity culture and sexual violence on Evangelical Christian campuses;
*A statement by the ACLU about the danger of adopting surveillance technologies in schools.

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(Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

Ohio Has a New Strategy to Defund Planned Parenthood—and Other States May Follow Its Lead (Mother Jones)

The right to a safe, legal, and accessible abortion has been under constant attack by the state and anti-choice advocates alike. Olivia Exstrum explores a recent threat to reproductive justice in the state of Ohio: “The state has restricted abortion in a number of ways, including with a ban on a common abortion method and a law that requires women seeking abortions receive ultrasounds first; currently, legislators are considering a bill that would effectively prohibit abortions as early as six weeks from conception—one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. And this year, Ohio lawmakers have found a new strategy to chip away at abortion access: blocking state funding for Planned Parenthood.” Read more.


(Original Image from Ashanti Carmon’s Facebook/Illustration by Rommy Torrico)

The Crisis of Violence Against Transgender People Is Not a ‘Myth’ (Rewire.News)

The Equality Act—a piece of legislation that iintends to extend federal nondiscrimination laws to LGBTQ people nationwide—was met with bigoted criticism throughout a recent Congressional hearing, including comments that trans women are “tricksters and frauds intent on supplanting ‘real’ women throughout public life.” In response to this horrific rhetoric, Gillian Branstetter writes, “No single piece of legislation can hope to correct these shortcomings of our society, and the Equality Act itself leaves much work to do. [...] But to argue against the basic protections the Act does entail by calling the pervasive violence trans people face a ‘myth,’ and to frame the victims of this violence as villains and bogeymen, is a particularly cruel and dangerous form of recklessness with the truth.” Read more.


(Lynn Koenig/Getty Images)

From Pre-K On, US Schools Privilege the Already Privileged (Truthout)

As Eisa Nefertari Ulen contends, the recent conversation on the college bribery admissions scandal— “Operation Varsity Blues”—must include “the public policies that disadvantage children in low-income communities starting as early as pre-K.” Ulen writes, “Wealthier families able to afford the private cost of making their children’s college applications sing—with money spent on tutors, travel and enrichment like music lessons and technology camps—are often already ahead in their public dollars, too, as they receive more spending per student in the neighborhood schools their children attend. Lower-income families are marginalized years before their children take the PSATs because of inequities in school funding that reduce government per-child investment in their learning.” Read more.


(Joseph Louw/Getty Images)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Died Because of Hatred. That Should Not Be Whitewashed (Teen Vogue)

On April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered. 51 years later, Jenn M. Jackson, a queer Black feminist, reflects on the hatred that killed King and urges against the whitewashing of his memory: “What is fundamental to remember this half-century since King was killed is not that he was shot in the spine, nor that he died after the state surveilled his family and comrades, nor that he faced a daily reminder that believing one’s self to matter while black is both a moral imperative and a constant physical risk. When black people are killed (whether slowly or quickly) in this country, it is part and parcel of larger systemic frameworks of anti-blackness and hatred. And King, like so many of us, knew that, too.” Read more.


(Erik McGregor/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Florida Is Poised to Create an Anti-“Trafficking” Registry That Will Inevitably Hurt Sex Workers (The Intercept)

The fight to decriminalize sex work has become the focus of many legislative agendas, but as Natasha Lennard notes, “this often-isolated progress is being met with regressive and harmful anti-sex worker bills,” including a bill making its way through Florida’s House and Senate that proposes the creation of a “a database that would list the names of people found guilty of the loosely defined crimes.” Lennard writes, “Supporters of the proposal claim that the registry would only include buyers of sex and pimps. But the sex work community, advocates, and experts know bad legislation when they see it. The registry risks ensnaring sex workers, they point out. And, just like all criminalization of the industry, bills like this consistently end up making sex work more dangerous and trafficking more—not less—likely.”
Read more.



(Image from article)

I Kissed Consent Goodbye: Purity Culture and Sexual Violence on Evangelical Christian Campuses (Bitch Media)

Extreme adherents to fundamentalist, evangelical Christianity have leveraged what Melissa Mayer calls “an obsession with virginity” into a purity movement. This movement, as Mayer further argues, has profound consequences, from abetting rape culture and rape apologism to bolstering toxic masculinity. Mayer writes, “The same tenets that underpin purity culture—namely, rigid beliefs about gender and sexuality—are also the features that sustain rape culture. And the negative outcomes are as multifaceted as my purity ring: sexual shame, self-loathing, fear-based morality, and marked ignorance about sexual concepts.” Read more.



New Student 'Safety' Principles Place Students At Risk (ACLU)

A recently released document entitled “Principles for School Safety, Privacy, & Equity” bears the signatures of 40 organizations supporting new student “safety” principles that paradoxically place some students in danger. Chad Marlow writes, “While the document sets forth some valuable standards, it also inadvertently provides cover for lawmakers and school officials to adopt student surveillance and policing measures that—contrary to the title of the document—undermine student safety, privacy, and equity. Study after study confirms that deploying surveillance and police in schools hurts kids, especially students of color and with disabilities. And likewise, these organizations’ well-intentioned document will hurt kids, especially students of color and with disabilities.” Read more.

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