Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Abortion

No, I didn't have one or anything like that. I was just reading this article about the possibility of it being banned in South Dakota.

I know that abortion is not the ideal situation. It's never an easy thing to do. The ideal is that people will use birth control to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But due to the dismal state of sex ed in our country, which I have written a couple of papers on, women, especially young women, are getting pregnant when they don't want to. They are bearing the burden of "morality." Old, "Christian" men make laws that lead to ignorance. Nothing good ever came of ignorance and I don't know why anyone thinks that it will help anything in this case. Until sex education reaches the level that it should be at, I cannot blame women for having unwanted pregnancies and condemn them to bear the consequences for someone else's crazy idea that they are helping or saving someone by not telling them about their options. People who make those laws are not the ones who grew up in ignorance and had no idea where to go for information.

Hell, even I grew up in a relatively privileged home and I had unprotected sex. I wasn't ignorant, but I did spend 9 out of my 12 years (through high school) in Christian schools that didn't teach me the facts that I needed. I didn't have the relationship skills to bring up the subject of birth control and I didn't have the confidence to look for information on my own. For some reason I trusted the idea that withdrawal and timing sex well would protect me (though the good timing was just luck - I didn't really plan it that way). In my case it did, but I was lucky. I should have known better. I'm reasonably intelligent and I have a future that I wouldn't want to mess up by having a kid. But no one ever taught me to know better on that subject.

I can understand people being against abortion, but really don't understand how anyone that is against abortion can think that it's a good idea to not teach people about birth control. It's just crazy. If I ever do start an illegal abortion ring, whatever woman I help, I will also give a lot of information about birth control. Lately, I've been considering volunteering at Planned Parenthood. They seem to be the ones working the hardest to prevent unwanted pregnancies in the first place. The only thing that's been holding me back is that I have almost no time on my hands. I'm taking 16 credits and I'm working 20 hours a week. The only time I could volunteer is Saturdays and Friday afternoons and I'm usually making up for lost sleep those times. But I really think that it's something I want to do and that I need to make time for it. They are about the only group in my county that helps educate young people about sex in a complete way.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Need to blog

I always have things to post about here, but I get caught up in life and I forget what they are before I get a chance to write about them. I've been considering carrying a notebook around with me to write those things down in. I have a book that is supposed to be a journal or a diary or something that a friend of mine gave me last year at Christmas. It's really pretty and it's a shame not to be using it, but I've never had the discipline to sit down and keep a journal regularly. That never happened until I began blogging. I have a different blog for talking with my friends that I have been keeping for over two years. I love it, but I don't feel free to say everything that I want. I also think that a lot of my friends wouldn't be interested in some of the things that I have to say regarding politics and stuff.

Today in a class, we were discussing John Locke and I had some profound thought about his views on life and property that I thought I might post here, but I don't remember it now. So I may start trying to write all the stuff down. The journal that my friend gave me almost seems too pretty to write in though...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Cartoon Outrage

This week there have been violent protest in Muslim nations against countries in which newspapers printed cartoons that were offensive to Islam. The cartoons were most certainly offensive and they are not something that I would ever print. I wouldn't ever imply that Mohammed was a terrorist just like I wouldn't ever say that about Jesus. Most Muslims aren't terrorists and if I were Muslim I would probably be offended by the cartoons, too. But the only thing that burning buildings and throwing rocks in protest does is make the cartoon right. The Muslim world would do better to sit back and think about how they can change the stereotypes that the Western world holds than try to kill people. All that they're doing now is reinforcing those stereotypes and making everyone even more afraid of Islam.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Love in Action

Last summer I happened to come across something online that really bothered me. Actually, bothered is an understatement; I think I was close to crying. I was just randomly reading blogs and one of them had linked to this story about a kid who had been sent to reparative therapy for being gay. I you want to read more about it, Terrence wrote all about it here. I told my boyfriend about reading it. He thought it was bad and all, but he wasn't as disturbed about it as I was. I mentioned it to a couple of other people and they were mildly interested, but they didn't seem to be as interested as I was, so I didn't bring it up anymore. I wanted to blog about it, but I didn't have this blog then. All I had was my xanga, which is read by my friends at my conservative Christian college. They're good friends, but I don't think they would have understood why I was talking about it. I even mentioned it to my mom (another conservative Christian, though she's one who I think is more grounded in reality than most) and all she heard was GAY, GAY, GAY. That's all she could focus on and then she started talking about how glad she was that my siblings and I all seem to be attracted to the opposite sex. I set up a MySpace account and joined the Free Zach group. I eventually deleted my MySpace account when one of my friends came across it and wanted to add me as a friend. I really wanted that account to just be for the group, not to communicate with my friends - that's what my xanga is for. I also went to a PFLAG meeting, which I enjoyed, but I haven't gone back. I keep meaning to, but I get really busy and stuff.

Anyway, now another child is speaking out about this. After Zach came back from Love in Action he just wanted to be left alone, which he posted about here. I guess it's understandable. I think in this new case, more might be able to be accomplished because the young man is willing to put himself out there in order to stop this. The news article is here. I really hope that he is able to bring more attention to this and prevent other parents from sending their kids to a place that will only mess them up.

I've been trying to figure out why I feel so strongly about this when my friends and many others just shrug their shoulders and say, "oh, that's too bad." I've realized that maybe that's not the question I should be asking. I should be asking why they don't seem to care more when there is a human rights abuse like that. Last summer, I really wanted to go to the protest on the day that Zach was being release, but I had to be at work and I would have had to drive all night. Looking back, though, I wish that I had at least tried. I might have been able to get someone to sub for me at the store and I could have driven all night to be there. I bet I would have met some really cool people and finally have had someone to talk to about it.

I've been trying to figure out why I feel so strongly about all of this. It's not just because I know gay people and have seen how they've been hurt by discrimination. I think it's because I have at least some semblance of faith in the way that we do things here in the U.S. Sure, people do horrible things. People can molest kids, but they go to jail for it. Even if they don't go to jail, it's at least illegal and the police and court system try to prevent it and prosecute it. But this is completely legal. A parent can pay someone to lock up their kid and have those people tell the kid that there is something wrong with them over and over and over. And it's not illegal at all. No one can stop it from happening. No one is there to protect the child who has to go through that. It really creeps me out.

I am a Sociology major and I really tried to look into the research on the subject. There really wasn't anything, though. There is research on gay parenting, which is largely positive and other aspects of homosexuality, but there really isn't anything on reparative therapy. Admittedly, it would be hard to do research like that on kids. It's always hard to do research with people under 18, but it could be done on adults. Maybe I'll just have to do it myself when I go to graduate school, if I ever go to grad school. I'll compare the rate of suicide among reparative therapy participants to the gay population in general. I'll be the new Durkheim.

As I wrote this post I realized how much I've been talking about me and how all of this relates to me. I hope that no one who's reading about this thinks that's selfish. I really feel for those who have gone through reparative therapy, especially those who did it involuntarily.