Margaret Cho on the stigma associated with HIV and AIDS; Mississippi is in need of some serious comprehensive sex-ed; and Texas still criminalizes homosexuality?
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- According to the American Independent, in response to North Caroline Rep. Larry Brown's immensely homophobic and hateful comments that he'll seek to defund HIV and AIDS treatment programs in his state because those "living perverted lifestyles" shouldn't receive government funding, LGBT groups said the comments were "unacceptable," "hysterical," and "judgemental." But, more than that, Brown's comments could cause people not to get tested or seek treatment.
- Fittingly - and entirely accurately, obviously, considering the remarks above - the most fabulous Margaret Cho speaks to the stigma and homophobia that still surround HIV and AIDS in our society, in an interview on CNN today.
- Jackson, Mississippi desperately needs comprehensive sex education for the young people who live there. According to the Jackson Free Press, school districts there are not required to teach any sex education. If they do, most follow the Mississippi Department of Education framework which teaches only abstinence-until-marriage. But a Department of Health survey showed, "...44.9 percent of Mississippi high-school students say they had sexual intercourse within the three months leading up to the survey." And Jackson Public Schools' educator Nancy Sylvester who originally advocated for abstinence-only programs but yesterday testified as to the dire need for information to be taught to young people about contraception, says that programs must also address the "social, emotional and mental-health issues of teens and families."
- Yikes. Texas continues to keep a law on the books which criminalizes "homosexual activity" despite it being unconstitutional according to the U.S. Supreme Court. State Rep. Jessica Farrar (D) has introduced a bill to "correct the law." However, notes the American Independent, at least one Texas school district incorporates the language found in the Health and Safety Code which deals with the provision, in its official policies:
“Instruction shall not represent homosexuality as a normal or acceptable lifestyle. Homosexuality shall be discussed in conjunction with education about sexually transmitted diseases. Teachers shall provide information of a factual nature only, and shall not explicitly discuss homosexual practices. Students should be informed that homosexual acts are illegal in Texas and highly correlated with the transmission of AIDS. Students shall be directed to seek value-oriented information regarding homosexuality from their parents/ guardians.”