7/1/15 – Washington, D.C. — The Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. The court’s decision, which narrowly came in with five justices in favor and four dissenting, was the result of lower court appeals in several cases that have been piece-mealing same-gender marriage laws one state at a time.
Writing the opinion for the majority, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that same-sex partners have the same fundamental right to marriage as opposite-sex couples do. In his summary, Kennedy said, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”
A May 22nd referendum resulted in an historic, resounding approval of same-sex marriage in a country long thought to be highly conservative and traditionally captivated by Catholicism: Ireland. By a popular vote of 62% to 38%, a significant majority of Irish citizens confounded expectations and approved the measure as a means of demonstrating that all are valued equally.
For more on the story, we recommend this coverage by the Irish Times.
(2/1/16) Larry Flynt is a genius. Having taken a $2,000 investment in an Ohio bar and turned it into a publishing empire valued in the hundreds of millions would be reason enough to hang the G-label on him, but the more valuable accomplishments of Mr. Flynt’s career are found in the social and legal battles he initiated to protect expressive and sexual freedoms in America. It wasn’t always pretty–and there were certainly tragic casualties along the way–but his inspired efforts helped an entire generation (and hopefully, many more to come) define a clear line between personal rights and government interference. He could have just let his bar go bankrupt, but no, he had a different idea instead. Genius.
Ironically, while a lot of progress has been made in defining sexual freedoms, Americans still cannot agree on what “sex” itself is. Images of a U.S. President wagging his finger and fiercely proclaiming, “Ah did nawt have sex-shul relations with that woman” might be a semi-humorous example of this dilemma in practice (even if just a self-serving one), but apparently it’s just the tip of something bigger.
Among a wide range of adult males and females, a recent study by the Kinsey Institute found that there was a significant lack of consensus on what kind of behaviors are actually being defined as sex. While the basic peg-A-into-slot-B notion (penile-vaginal contact) seems safely inside the bin, all bets are off when it comes to just about anything else.
For example, fewer people concurred that it constituted having sex even in penile-vaginal scenarios if the male didn’t orgasm. Additionally, the study found that 20% didn’t agree that anal intercourse constituted sex and 30% felt that oral activities shouldn’t be included in the definition. Perhaps not so surprisingly, about 50% of those surveyed stated that masturbatory behaviors did not qualify as sex, even if the contact was performed by someone else. The bottom line: What seems to be a fairly simple concept in principle is apparently anything but. The question is: Is that a “good” or a “bad” thing? While there are certainly medical and educational ramifications in these findings, the social and legal aspects merit attention and serious discussion as well.
Diversity is a productive ingredient in any evolved society, but divisiveness tends to create a vacuum that is often filled with reactive shortsightedness–and sometimes worse. Just ask Larry Flynt.
(12/2/13) We’ve come a long way in bringing about more candid and open conversations regarding sexuality, but the unintended irony is that we might actually have too much of a good thing in some cases. While the quantity and quality of available resources is significantly better today than it was just a few years ago, we’re now facing a period of information overload. This is to say that there are so many resources that it’s difficult at times to distinguish between what might be useful or not. When you don’t really know where to start, fear being judged or are concerned about misinformation, where should you turn?
One place to start is Kink Aware Professionals (KAP), a non-profit directory of medical, legal, therapeutic and administrative professionals who understand and support various sexuality concerns and lifestyle choices. Conceptualized by psychotherapist Guy Baldwin in the mid-80s and further developed by sex educator-activist Race Bannon, KAP has been managed by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) since about 2005 and focuses on professional service providers in the U.S. and Canada with limited listings for other areas. Additionally, some providers offer their services either electronically or by telephone. Professionals appearing in KAP listings volunteer to be listed and are not routinely vetted by the NSCF, however, most are verifiably credentialed in their particular field of expertise and are usually classified by experience level.
Although the name implies that the services covered are limited to professionals with an understanding of kink-oriented lifestyles only, KAP is actually much more diverse in scope, offering a wide array of resources to help regardless of particular interest. The basic categories offered include:
Accounting and finance professionals
Counselors and therapists
Health and wellness practitioners
Businesses that provide service primarily by internet
The bottom line is to be of service to people wanting to find professionals who are sensitive to their specific needs regardless of their sexuality–and to not have their sexuality factor in prejudicially. KAP has been meeting that goal head on for over 25 years and, thanks to the growing crop of professionals adding their voices, is getting even better. It’s certainly one solid method for cutting through the cacophony these days when a professional ally is needed.
If you have had experience with a service provider listed in KAP, we’d like to hear from you. Additionally, if you know someone who might be able to benefit from this program, please pass this article along to them (a ‘share’ button is below for your convenience).