First Canadian Child With Three Legal Parents

The Family Law Act of 2013 in British Columbia allows for more than two parents to be listed on a child’s birth certificate. Now, newborn Della Wolf is believed to be the first child with three legal parents: her two moms, who are in a committed relationship, and the biological father, who is numberswiki.com

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a close family friend. A similar law was recently signed into effect in California, so it’ll be interesting to see whether such laws catch on in other places. I tend to believe that the more loving people in a child’s life, the better, and so I’m definitely keeping an eye on this phenomenon. Continue Reading →

Believing Survivors

Dylan Farrow’s open letter about the sexual assault she endured from her adoptive father, Woody Allen, has provoked a sensational discussion around the issue of who to listen to, and who to believe. I believe that narratives of sexual assault must always be taken seriously, not only because they are most likely true, but also because our response to these narratives reveals something about ourselves. Moreover, our responses then reveal this information to the people around us who make decisions based on it. Ann Friedman’s blog post I Believe Dylan Farrow makes this point based on the network of people in her life. Quite simply, she writes: “While all the caveats about not knowing the family personally apply, I do know several women who have experienced sexual violence that is not dissimilar from what Dylan describes. Continue Reading →

Bystepping Stigma By Easily Locating STI Clinics

It’s important for both potential and current sexual partners to be able to give informed consent to participating in sexual acts, which includes, among other things, knowledge about one’s STI status. STIs like herpes are much more prevalent than they are assumed to be, and due to the stigma surrounding having an STI, it’s often difficult to even initiate a conversation about getting tested. That’s why I was pleased to learn about the website, FindTheBest, which allows you to compare STI testing clinics using a set of filters and factors. Unfortunately, a lot of people tend to assume that the only places to get tested at are a doctor’s office, which is not true at all. I played around with the website’s comparison tool, and I thought it was pretty neat. Continue Reading →

The Question Of Gay Marriage In Different Religions

In following recent gay marriage debates in the U.S., I’ve noticed that a lot of the arguments against legalizing gay marriage are religious. They may or may not be explicitly framed that way – some people quote the Bible in their arguments, while others refer to “traditional marriage,” an implicitly Christian construct – but the religious content remains. My issue with taking a religious stand against gay marriage here in the U.S. is that our government is explicitly founded upon the separation of church and state. In my understanding, the application of this delineation is largely carried out through civil rights. So while one religion may discourage its members from same-sex marriage, that shouldn’t affect believers of another religion (or none at all) from being able to pursue same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →

Domestic Violence Statistics: A Reminder

Marissa Alexander, a mother who was given 20 years in prison for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband, is an example of how fighting back against domestic violence often jeopardizes women’s safety. This fact sheet about domestic violence, assembled by a group advocating for Alexander’s freedom, is a sobering reminder about the many ways that social norms and the legal system fail women. For example:

85-90% of women in prison have a history of being victims of violence prior to their incarceration, including domestic violence, sexual violence, and child abuse. A study of women incarcerated in New York’s Rikers Island found that most of the domestic violence survivors interviewed reported engaging in illegal activity in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by a male partner. Each year, 324,000 pregnant women are physically or sexually assaulted by an intimate partner. Continue Reading →

Assessing Facts About Abortion And Contraception

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates that the national abortion rate has dropped recently. Moreover, this drop is not correlated with a decrease in the number of accessible providers. What does this all mean? Will Saletan at Slate discusses the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, arguing that it proves that pro-lifers have it wrong: limiting access to abortion does not actually cause the number of abortions to go down. This is for a couple of reasons: first, overall birth rates are down nationwide (a 9% decrease by some counts), and second, the decline in abortions occurred nationwide, not just in states with overly restrictive laws. Continue Reading →

Stereotypes About Kink And Alternative Sexualities

Molly Ren’s post at The Frisky about the ridiculous assumptions people make about BDSM/kink got a chuckle out of me. Yes, a lot of folks assume that practitioners of BDSM (short for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism) are sex-crazed deviants… but that’s generally not true. In fact, if anything, practitioners of alternative sexuality lifestyles such as BDSM/kink and polyamory tend to have a heightened sense of consent and boundaries (arguments have been made about BDSM being a sexual orientation, but for now we’ll go with lifestyle). If anything, the insights and communication strategies from queer, poly, and non-normative relationships offer many benefits to straight, monogamous, and vanilla folks. Continue Reading →

What Would You Choose: Making Rent or Having Sex?

I’ve been noticing a nasty strain of classism going around when it comes to discussions of sex, contraception, and reproduction. It goes something like this: if you can’t afford contraception, you shouldn’t be having sex, because you’d be an unfit parent due to your lack of money. Statements like this ignore the fact that money is not the only factor that determines whether you are a good parent (and in fact, there’s not really a good way to chart a correlation; rich people can be bad parents, poor people can be good parents, and vice versa and everything in between). Statements like this totally miss the fact – demonstrated by scientific research – that when given access to free birth control, impoverished women take advantage of it, and drastically reduce their number of unplanned pregnancies. Statements like this also miss the fact that having to pay for birth control can make a significant dent in your budget, especially if you are already working with a low income or you must shop around for a birth control option that works for you. Continue Reading →

Tips For Men With Good Intentions

Actually, this fabulous blog post by my feminist friend Xenologer is less of a collection of tips and more of a comprehensive guide to understanding how male privilege can negatively affect the interactions of well-intentioned men with women. Using simple language and concrete examples, and packing a ton of links for further reading, Xenologer unpacks how guys who don’t perceive themselves as sexist can have happier and healthier interactions with not just women, but everyone around them who’s impacted by patriarchal power structures – which is to say everyone, really. Here are some of my favorite points from her post (though really, you should just go read the whole thing):

Recognizing your privilege is important – and perhaps more importantly, you don’t have to feel bad about being privileged. When feminists point out instances of male privilege, we’re not trying to shame you for having it: “You are definitely not a bad person for having male privilege, and you don’t need to be a sexist male to have it. It’s not ‘misogynist privilege,’ after all. Continue Reading →

Changing Her Name to “Sexy”

I live (and love) Ohio, and have written about some issues that have happened in my beloved state before. On my commute home, I heard a local radio show talking about someone Sexy. Well, she isn’t Sexy yet, but she is hoping to be. There is a woman named Sheila Crabtreewho lives in Licking (of course) county who is petitioning the court to legally change her name from “Sheila” to “Sexy.” Have you ever gone through a point where you disliked your first name? Continue Reading →