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Saturday, August 20, 2005

 

Mpowerment?

Some of y'all are going to focus on "Robert" Cohen in this FOTF piece, but I post it to follow up on some of the comments from the Anonymous posters regarding "the gay community." I just don't think this would fly if this were a program or club for underage straight kids. Where am I going wrong?

Comments:
Just read the article, and just a couple of points:

1)The so-called 'gay community' does not speak with one voice - it is a group of people, with wide ranging and varying view points, some are extremely left wing and socialist, whilst others are extremely libertarian, with a large bunch sitting smack bang, right in the middle.

2) NZ age of conscent is 16, for both male and female, gay and straight - I've yet to hear any mainstream, high profile, gay advocate come out and claim that we need to lower the age - everyone is happy with 16 as it is - why stuff up something that actually works.

3) That is "focus on the Family" - thus making your reference, completely and utterly invalid - its like asking a right wing nutcase what they think of Islam - there is a predicted out come, and I would have thought, a person who has a doctrate, would have atleast tried to look for resource from a group with some integrity.

Sorry, Focus on the Family's integrity is as solid as Microsofts security policies for Windows - either none existant or spotty at best.

4) The local gay groups in Canberra were youth groups where guys and girls can hang out, play pool, cards, talk to an 'on site' counsellor and ask advice about sexually transmitted diseases - in other words, properly trained people.

There was, once a month, IIRC, where the local gay night club would have a 6:30 to 8:30 disco evening, allowing kids to go along, dance to the typical base thumping music and provided with cheap, non-alcoholic breverages and snacks (chippies etc. etc.) - call it a church youth social, minus the religion.

5) Teens need to be given the cold hard facts, and I'm sorry, the 'keep them ignorant' that the religious right teaches is only shifting the problem to something else - instead of kids having virginal intercourse, they're taking 'virginity pledges' but choosing to have unprotected anal and oral sex, because they don't think it counts.

Kids need to be told that they can die from STDs, not just AIDS or HIV, but hepetitus, and many common STDs, that if left untreated can either cause infertility or worse, in the most extreme cases, death.
 
Kids need to be told that they can die from STDs, not just AIDS or HIV, but hepetitus, and many common STDs, that if left untreated can either cause infertility or worse, in the most extreme cases, death.

Agree completely, I wish this were happening.

RE: FOTF breaking the story. If this is happening as they suggest and I now have two people who confirm it outside of FOTF, then it should call for more outrage from gay groups.
 
Warren, have you checked if ANY of this is true? Has anyone contacted ROSMY itself? Who are these people?

More the point -- DL Foster was asked many times to contact the Richmond area police with any information that he had (We asked that he do that, for one, to which he replied foreigners should "butt out"). Someone even gave him the police phone number.

Did Foster contact the Richmond police, or a media outlet? I think that alone answers more than enough.

And a program or club for underage straight kids -- you mean, like a church youth group?

Underage straight kids are thoroughly guided, advised, facilitated and encouraged into the sexual lives. Not all of those outlets, I'd suggest, seem as open or as answerable as ROSMY.

Perhaps where you're going wrong is to rely on gossip, and then pretend this says something about "the gay community".

If there are any facts behind this beat-up, then please contact the Richmond Police. They probably don't read your blog.
 
The only actual quote in the story from an underage kid was "I use [sic] to attend ROSMY when I was 19."

He goes on to say, "They do allow teens to hang around gay bars and clubs to pass out HIV kits. I know because I use[sic] to do it!"

So, by "teen" does he mean >=18? Some jurisdictions allow 18+ in bars at the owner's discretion, as long as there is some method to make sure they're not served alcohol.

Straight dance clubs that cater to the college crowd do this, and put wrist bands on the underaged.

The story is very cleverly written and never directly reports the age of any "teens" in the bars besides this 19 year old. Could these same guys go to some "straight" clubs no questions asked?

I'm sorry, Warren, but if that is the truth behind this, I'm not going to get upset that teenagers are passing out safe sex literature in bars, if teenagers of the same age are those the government is paying millions of dollars to recruit, arm, and send as an invading army into foreign lands.
 
I have an email from a guy who says he was involved in the ROSMY Mpowerment program at 16. However, it was first name only and I am going to need to get him to reveal his identity at least to me. I would call the Richmond police if I heard something credible. Wouldn't be the first time.

I am puzzled by your church youth group comment. I don't know of any church youth group that takes underage kids into bars to pass out safe sex information. If I learned of one I would be against it as well.
 
Bars in Victoria are all 18yo. So "kids" cannot be involved in such peer-education programs. However, several times a year a gay youth group does get a dance club donated to them for the evening and they organise a very well run (and chaperoned) evening. The clubs even remove the alcohol and cover the adverts etc for the night.

Maybe we're a bit wild and crazy out here, but many church youth groups do run sexuality education nights. I can't say I'd be stunned to know they did not discuss anything other than married heterosexuality. And we all do realise that most church youth groups operate as dating agencies... no?

That was the point about (church) youth groups and sexuality. It's not as if it doesn't occur. Merely that young gay people have always had few opportunities to develop openly and gradually -- that is, mature into their sexuality -- at the same time as their straight peers.

Neither of us are at all happy with the reality that for many young gay people their first opportunities only arise in bars and when they are legally adult. Over the years we've had many a long chat with "kids" in bars and clubs on this very subject, and most would prefer the situation was otherwise.

So, without any evidence to the contrary, a group such as ROSMY is a good start: dealing with sexuality education without the influence of beer.

Hmm, before I post, let me check something.... yep, thought so. I guess from DL Foster's own testimony we should launch an investigation into church groups? (the info is a bit more than half way down that page...)
 
RE: Grantdale

That was the point about (church) youth groups and sexuality. It's not as if it doesn't occur. Merely that young gay people have always had few opportunities to develop openly and gradually -- that is, mature into their sexuality -- at the same time as their straight peers.

True - life would have been alot easier had I been able to come out at College, when I was 15, and actually date people and go to parties knowing I wasn't going to get the crap beaten out of me.

For those who do come out when they're 15, its a mixed experience, they either regrete it or they wish it were easier - little wonder that gay people experience the problems they do, and at times have warped perspectives on how a relationship works.

But with that being said, for all the PC crowd screams on about - a gay relationship IS different to a heterosexual one and thus, if there are going to be sex and relationship classes at school - the differences must be recognised, but one thing that isn't different is the need to communicate - so if we're going to turn this paragraph into the grand-unified-covers everything - the reason why marriage is breaking down, isn't because of same sex marriage, but peoples inability to communicate and realise that marriage is partnership of equals, where both sides must be willing to compromise, and both sides first prority should be the other person - as soon as it becomes 'me me me', the whole point of the marriage falls to pieces.

Neither of us are at all happy with the reality that for many young gay people their first opportunities only arise in bars and when they are legally adult. Over the years we've had many a long chat with "kids" in bars and clubs on this very subject, and most would prefer the situation was otherwise.

True; I went out to a club; I was lucky in that I met a good group of people - some go to clubs to look for sex, whilst others look for a boyfriend/girlfriend (just as a side note, it has to be the worst place to look for a potential partner), then there were people like the little group I was in, who simply went along for a drink, socialise and dance.
 
I won't judge ROSMY without knowing the facts. However, my point is that if the same website was on a church youth group website, I would have the same reaction. Youth groups of any sort that mix youth with adults in a bar setting is asking for trouble. Things happen in all groups but I am concerned about programs that intentionally blend age boundaries.

At some point I want to post an article I wrote about Kevin Jennings and his response to a young man who was sexually involved as a minor. I would be interested in reaction and opinion about his methods of handling the situation.
 
I would think all the abuse and cover-up scandals from the past years would have convinced you that one need not be in a bar for problems to occur. Predators seek out kids where ever kids are. Regardless of the setting, or the public reputation of people or organisation involved; it's knowing that your organisation could attract a molester at some point, and how you respond, that makes the environment as safe as possible.

On that, here is your article on Jennings since I am going to talk about it.

Massachusetts law, in 1988, required a teacher to alert authorities if there was a suspicion of abuse. Separate to the, Massachusetts law also made male homosexuality -- for anyone -- a crime liable for up to 20 years in prison. The age of consent (for heterosexuals) was 16.

I do note the first time "blow-up" of this was not when Jennings wrote his book, but when Diane Lenning attacked Jennings -- something that even her colleagues on the NEA Republican Educators Caucus later pounded her over. Our good friend Mr George Archibald (oh, him again) wrote up her perspective in the Washington Times (oh, them again). Jennings replied to that.

Having read what Jennings originally wrote in his book... he was an openly gay teacher and was approached by a 16 year old male student (his, or from the school more generally is not too clear) who wanted to talk about his relationship (his first serious one). There is absolutely no indication that the relationship was abusive -- despite you calling it that several times -- and no teacher would be obliged to report what they had been told.

Beyond that, both the student and his boyfriend would have faced criminal charges. He was not a minor as far as that law was concerned. And, of course, had he been a 16 year old heterosexual the law was very different.

Having established that there was no abuse, and knowing the other consequences, I also would not report the conversation.

The first law about reporting abuse would have been baseless and gone nowhere. The criminal law however would have put that young man through hell.

Knowing this, would you have reported the conversation. Really?

I'd file this under "Gay enemy: remember to mention child sexual abuse".
 
Youth groups don't advertise to take their charges into a bar. There may be youth leaders who do it on the sly but this would be roundly condemned by all. What I want to learn is what the Mpowerment program actually advertises to kids. However, we seem to agree that if any group, gay or straight puts minors in bars for any reason then this is not good.

I will post the Jennings article and invite anyone to read it. There is more to the story than what Lenning and the Times reported and reacted to. It is still rather a work in progress and may not ever go beyond the blog.
 
Urgh, no I don't agree that it's not good that underage people attend bars or clubs. If they are part of an outreach team, and on the job (and not drinking), I don't see a particular problem with someone, say 17, doing that.

(I've met plently of 16/17 year olds who are more mature at that age than many will be even if they lived to be 100.)

What I don't like is the first and only opportunity for young gay men and women to mix freely and openly is at age 18 and in licensed venues. I'd wish to see them start socialising earlier and away from alcohol.

Apart from that, I'm not even sure that this occurs with the MPowerment project. It is clearly targetted at 18-29 year olds. The info. workshops or whatever may have a more open age range.

BTW my father refers to himself "and the boys". Least you start speculating about that statement... he and those "boys" have an average age of about 68. The grandmother also does "outreach work" with "the girls" in bars... she's 89 (and a Salvo).
 
Actually, there appears to be two aligned projects running:

> the MPowerment 18-29 and
> an "MPowerment based" for 13-19

see YouthPride MY LIFE as example.

Makes sense, but wouldn't that p. you off...

Here you are, 17yo and thinking you'll fnally get to see inside these mysterious bars and clubs when you answer the advert -- only to find yourself going to boring old community centres for the next year or two...
 
Is there a gay youth site that even mentions the word or concept abstinence?
 
Quotes from the Washinton post on Abstinence, from December 2, 2004:

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.

Those and other assertions are examples of the "false, misleading, or distorted information" in the programs' teaching materials, said the analysis, released yesterday, which reviewed the curricula of more than a dozen projects aimed at preventing teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.


The complete article can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26623-2004Dec1.html
 
touching a person's genitals CAN lead to pregnancy.
1. touch genitals
2. person is sexually aroused
3. sex ensues
4. sex results in pregnancy

What planet is this "congressional staff" living on? How else do they think kids get pregnant, by eating oreos?
 
Warren,

Is there an abstinence site that doesn't promote "abstinent until marriage"?

(Sounds great! Oh, I CANNOT get married ever -- so you are actually telling me to never have sex).

Actually, is there one that even addresses gay youth (except to say, "You can change")?
 
Sure they do DL.

1. Eats Oreos
2. touch genitals
3. person is sexually aroused
4. sex ensues
5. sex results in pregnancy

Let's not impose our own on-going issues with self-control into the expected behaviour of others, OK?

Not everyone sees a slippery slope and feels a need to go and plummet to the bottom.
 
Warren, perhaps this is agreeable?

Society should encourage adolescents to delay sexual behaviors until they are ready physically, cognitively, and emotionally for mature sexual relationships and their consequences. This support should include education about:

> Intimacy,
> Sexual limit setting,
> Resisting social, media, peer, and partner pressure,
> Benefits of abstinence from intercourse, and
> Pregnancy and STD prevention.


That's PFLAG official policy BTW, since 1995.
 
Is there an abstinence site that doesn't promote "abstinent until marriage"?

(Sounds great! Oh, I CANNOT get married ever -- so you are actually telling me to never have sex).

Actually, is there one that even addresses gay youth (except to say, "You can change")?


So you saying: "No, there isn't such a site."? See you like questions as much as I do, right?
 
grantdale - Actually that is pretty agreeable. I am not sure why religious people who believe in divine enablement think people who do not believe in such divinity would go along with abstinence until marriage. As a matter of public policy, I think schools and medical community should encourage delaying sexual debut, reducing partners to those who have been tested (which would require some level of commitment) and the elimination of risky sexual behavior. But then you already know that since you have read everything I have written cover to cover :)
 
/ Lifting head weakly off floor. rubbing back of same (head, not floor, that is)

I shall let PFLAG know. I know seeking your concurrence was one of their main gaols in 1995, and it looks like a long hard slog has finally come to an end.

We both also have some fairly firm views about pre-emptive sexual behaviour, high numbers of partners and reducing risk. Just don't think one can be prescriptive, and don't think fear or ostracism have a place in the public conversation (let alone "you're going to hell if...")

And, no, I don't claim to have read all your work cover to cover. To the best of my knowledge, the complete "blood in the water" exchange is yet to be published. Or, perhaps the post is just slow this week.

(if I knew a quizzical face icon, I'd use it here)
 
I'm sorry, Warren, but if that is the truth behind this, I'm not going to get upset that teenagers are passing out safe sex literature in bars, if teenagers of the same age are those the government is paying millions of dollars to recruit, arm, and send as an invading army into foreign lands.

Kids under 18 aren't going off to fight. I am personally bothered by 18 years going into these settings for reasons unrelated to sex. The temptation to underage drinking and drug use is pretty great and can have long lasting negative consequences. I would advise against it but it may not be illegal in some states.
 
touching a person's genitals CAN lead to pregnancy.

Sorry to disapoint you Mr. dl, but your analysis of the situation is simplistic and rethorically incorrect. Saying that touching someone else's genitals leads to pregnancy is misinformed or plin ignorant. Explaining that there should be an unprotected sexual act between a fertile man and a fertile woman is how the possibility of pregnancy should be explained. Remember, our kids are not ignorants (thank God) and we should be proud to say that many youngsters can differenciate between the different ways in which living beings can reproduce. Humans do not produce polen, like flowers do! flowers can reproduce by touching directly or indirectly trough a insect, but no mamals! Come on! one thing is moralizing about human reproduction and a different one is promoting lies, that confuse our kids!
 
grantdale - Actually that is pretty agreeable. I am not sure why religious people who believe in divine enablement think people who do not believe in such divinity would go along with abstinence until marriage. As a matter of public policy, I think schools and medical community should encourage delaying sexual debut, reducing partners to those who have been tested (which would require some level of commitment) and the elimination of risky sexual behavior. But then you already know that since you have read everything I have written cover to cover :)

I might actually give you a horrifying little report; I've worked with gay and straight youth;

1) Most guys bullcrap about the number of sexual experiences they've had - I can assure you, in the class my brother was in (17 years old - last year at college) - the overwhelming majority of guys were single and virgins; want to know why? they were interested in playing rugby, hanging out with their mates and having a few beers.

2) I've worked with gay youth - apart from those with MAJOR self esteme problems and issues at home, in relation to the relationship between themselves and their parents, most want to hold off until they're in a relationship, and actually give their virginity to someone they actually love, rather than it being a one-off bonking experience.

3) Those who do get AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis only make up a small percentage of the gay community; I've already number crunched the number of AIDS/HIV cases in NZ, and made the grand assumption that everyone of them is gay - even with that statistic (which would be incredibly wrong), the percentage infected would be no more than 2% of the total gay population, not taking into account bisexuals.

4) The miss use of CDC is at a chronic epidemic - if a statistic says, "men who have sex with men", it can cover a whole RANGE of people, from the flaming queer with helium heels to the bisexual alway through to the so-called 'straight male, married, but cruises the public toilets for action'.

Equating ones sexual activities to ones sexual orientation is blantently inaccurate to say the least - someone you screw (or screws you) can have *VERY* little to do with the persons sexual orientation.
 
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