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The links list in which I indulge my interest in things sex and gender related that I’ve read around the internet.

First off, from the fabulous Fug Girls comes this PSA: “EVERYONE’S VAGINA IS FINE. WORRY ABOUT THE CLOGS.” Best advice in, like, forever. Although I doubt clogs really need worrying about either. Mostly, I find they’re pretty low-maintenance footwear.

Can someone explain to me why “sexting” somehow more lewd and/or potentially dangerous than writing love letters or having flirty phonecalls? I don’t get it. Emily Bazelon over at Slate suggests there might be some truth under the hysteria while Ani DiBranco over at the Women’s Rights Blog asks whether “sexting” is the biggest problem facing teenage women.


(Personally, I think maybe we should be worrying about that giant octopus off the coast instead. . . but that could be me).

I have a few links related to trans issues this week. First up is Laurie Penny over at the UK-based F-word argues for the death of transphobic feminism in Moving towards solidarity. “Not a single person on this planet is born a woman,” she writes, “Becoming a woman, for those who willingly or unwillingly undertake the process, is torturous, magical, bewildering – and intensely political.”

Next comes Helen G over at Questioning Transphobia has a post up about “psychiatry’s civil war,” or the politics of revising the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual (currently in-process), particularly when it comes to gender identity.

And finally, on a similar — and no less contentious note — The Bilerco Project published an opinion piece this week by Ronald Gold in which he took a stance against the concept of “transgender,” going so far as to question the very existence of trans folks (obviously very hurtful to people for whom this is lived experience). The post has since been removed. These situations are, I think, complicated, emotionally fraught for everyone involved and I don’t know enough about this one to pass my own personal judgment on the rightness or wrongness of pulling the piece. But what I actually want to link to this morning is the original response written by Bil Browning (founder of the Project) about why he decided to publish Gold’s piece in the first place, which I found thought-provoking as an example of how to handle these struggles over what does and does not appear in (online) print.

Liz Kukura @ RhReality Check and Rose @ Feministing wonder about the validity and usefulness of “generational divide” talk around reproductive rights.

Also on the subject of reproductive rights, Michelle Goldberg at The American Prospect reports on a case before the European Court of Human Rights that has the potential to recognize women’s universal human right to reproductive freedom.

On the opposite side of the political spectrum, anti-choice activists increasingly invoke the concept of “choice” to bolster their own political aims. Amanda Marcotte over at RhRealityCheck weighs in on the trend.

Two stories on public breastfeeding this week, one from sexgenderbody about a Target store in Michigan (oh, the shame!) that called the cops when a woman refused to stop feeding her daughter (Woman’s Rights Blog also weighs in) and another from Her Bad Mother at BlogHer about ads in Chicago proclaiming breasfeeding “tacky”. Her Bad Mother writes:

This question should be settled, as settled as not refusing to serve same-sex couples in restaurants, or ensuring that public places are accessible to disabled persons. You have every right to be discomfited by public breastfeeding. You just don’t – or shouldn’t (depending upon what state or province we’re talking about) – have the right to protest or disparage it publicly.

Well . . . um, yeah, actually I believe you do have a right to “protest or disparage” it (although, please, people, get over it already). What you do NOT (or should not) have the right to do is discriminate by such methods as requiring someone to feed their infant in a restroom (ew!) or calling the fucking police when someone engages in a perfectly legal activity. This is why many nursing mothers and advocates have started pressing for legislation specifically protecting their right to feed their children in public. Because apparently it’s something they can’t take for granted.

Essin’ Em at Sexuality Happens muses about whether it’s always important or necessary to come out (and, conversely, why straight, monogamous, “vanilla” folks never feel the pressure to come out about their own sexual proclivities).

Why do we have this default of “you should only come out/express your sexuality if you’re not the norm?” I mean, really, what’s wrong either with no one having come out, or having everyone come out? Why is it so specific?

Also on the subject of language and communication, Hanna mused at …fly over me, evil angel… about the power of words, and what happens when people shift from highly emotive words like “rape” to (possibly technically more accurate but nonetheless distancing) phrases like “sexual- and gender-based violence.”

Lisa at Sociological Images offers a lovely set of real-life portraits of phone sex workers, juxtaposed with images taken from phone sex adverts (nsfw).

And finally, on a mildly celebratory note, congrats this week to the Episcopalian church here in America which just elected its second openly gay Bishop. See the New York Times and The Guardian for more.

*image credit: Ture Ekroos, posted at The Art Department by way of the Tor.com Cthulu art thread.

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