By Marty Klein, September / October 2003 Issue
Jack McGeorge, Hans Blix, & Kofi Annan: U.N. officials
In November 2002, The Washington Post reported that Jack McGeorge, one of the U.N. weapons inspectors in Iraq, was a national leader of America's growing S/M community. "I have been very upfront with people in the past about what I do," he told the Post, "and it has never prevented me from getting a job. I am not ashamed of who I am -- not one bit." Nevertheless, to protect the work of the U.N. weapons inspection program in Iraq, McGeorge offered his resignation to chief inspector Hans Blix, who rejected McGeorge's offer, pointing out that his sexual activities have nothing to do with his competence.
When U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan was asked whether McGeorge's S/M involvement might be offensive to Iraqi Muslims, his office noted that all weapons inspectors are required to be sensitive to local cultures. And that was that.
Jesse McClure: Teen Defendant
Jesse McClure and his girlfriend were both 16 (over the age of consent) when her mother found them having sex in the girlfriend's bedroom at 3 a.m. Charged under Georgia's fornication law -- which criminalized consensual sex between unmarried people -- McClure was ordered to pay a fine and write an essay on why he should not have engaged in sex. In response, he wrote that it wasn't any of the court's business. With the help of the ACLU, he challenged the law, which was overturned. "Invading personal privacy just isn't right," he said after the decision -- which made Georgia the 40th state in which unmarried adults can legally have sex.
Renee Walker: Sex Ed Policy Challenger
Renee Walker is fighting to end CryBabies, an abstinence-only program in her local school district in northern California that features biased information about abortion and maintains abstinence is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy and STDs. During the program, her son learned that one disadvantage of abortion is "killing a baby." And, at the end of the eight sessions, the seventh-graders can volunteer to sign a pledge to remain abstinent until marriage -- as if 12-year-olds are in any position to understand the full implications of making such a decision.
The Mt. Diablo school district has responded by assembling a task force to review the health curriculum, including the CryBabies program.
Velmanette Montgomery and Carl Andrews: New York State Senators
In February, State Senators Montgomery and Andrews introduced SB 1634, requiring all New York hotels to have condoms available for sale on the premises as part of the larger fight against AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.
Amelia and Ashley Massey: Anti-Discrimination Activists
It started when someone in Ashley Massey's gym class revealed that 15-year-old Ashley was a lesbian. It ended with Ashley's mother, Amelia, suing the Banning (California) Unified School District for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Ashley was excluded from gym class for over a week, until Amelia confronted school officials and demanded to know why. The gym teacher and the principal said they were concerned about other girls being uncomfortable -- the definition of discrimination. The Masseys' suit will be the first of its kind since California passed the Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, extending civil rights protection to gays and lesbians in public schools.
Ashley acknowledges that the experience has turned her into a more political person: "There's a lot of gay and lesbian teen suicide because kids are afraid to come out. I hope other kids see me, and maybe they'll take a stand too. Nobody should have to hide who they are."
Esera Tuaolo: Former Football Player
Esera Tuaolo recently became the third former football player to announce that he's gay. The one-time Green Bay Packer and Atlanta Falcon did it in both ESPN Magazine and The Advocate, finally integrating his sports life and gay life into a unified personal world. No active athlete in any professional team sport has ever come out. The locker room culture that Tuaolo describes is so hostile to homosexuality that it seems clear that anyone's career would be over the minute he came out. Ex-teammate Sean Salisbury agrees: "There is a big problem with ignorance in the NFL, and I'm not sure the league has any idea how to deal with it." Maybe now, he says, "at their rookie orientations and symposiums, this might be a topic they'll have to cover."
An honorary award goes to Dave Kopay, the first former NFL player to come out. Tuaolo notes that Kopay's 1975 book changed his life when he read it in 1996: "Dave played in the NFL for nine seasons and hid being gay. This was me! His book helped me quit hating myself."
Increase your erotic intelligence (by three inches!!)
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS)
A national nonprofit organization that answers questions and starts conversations about sex. If you want to start a sex-education program in your school, to talk with your children about sex, or simply to learn more about sexual issues, SIECUS will show you how. www.siecus.org
Teens looking for honest, frank information and advice about anatomy, the basics of reproduction, homosexuality, and safe sex have found their oracle. Founded by the makers of Scarlet Letters (a publisher of sex-positive, original, visionary creative and artistic work of all kinds), Scarleteen gives kids answers to all those questions they were afraid to ask. www.scarleteen.com
Society for Human Sexuality
Want to learn how to flirt? Or talk dirty? Or go Tantric? The Society for Human Sexuality includes exercises to teach you how, as well as a concise guide to safer sex, a comprehensive and fully up-to-date annotated bibliography of books relevant to sexuality and/or sex-positive culture, and a guide to finding local sex-positive community resources. www.sexuality.org