Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.

My topic is same-sex marriage in the Unites States. Specifically, I want to discuss this topic from the angle that those who oppose same-sex marriage often argue that a same-sex marriage is not an optimum environment for raising children and that homosexuality is condemned in the Bible. So I ask: As a society, are we redefining marriage? If so, what are the consequences and who gets to redefine marriage-the church, the government, etc? Are homosexual parents less adequate than heterosexual parents? What does the Bible say or not say about homosexuality?

I have included: an article that discusses the impacts of same-sex marriage on raising  children, a blog that explains how the Bible has been misinterpreted to say homosexuality is a sin, an anti-gay commercial I found on YouTube that gives the message that a marriage should only be between a man and a woman, and an article/studyexamining the impact of same-sex parents vs. different-sex parents on children with the dependent variables being delinquent behaviors and such.

I have been passionate about advocating the acceptance of homosexuality for awhile now. I am a Christian and it pains me that so many people, especially Christians, think homosexuality is a sin, an abomination, etc. and people are using the Bible to justify their violence against homosexuals. 

Prostitution in Jamaica -children? women? men?

Jamaica's Prostitution Market

Jamaica’s Prostitution Market

I will be examining Jamaica’s prostitution business for the class project. I want to demonstrate that prostitution does not only target women and children but also men. I want to include the country’ social, political, and economic history to gain a better understanding of how the country ever reached this point. I am interested in this topic because tourism from the northern part of the globe largely support this inhumane practice. I think that a feminist transnational analysis can help us understand this problem better by examining the power relations that structure the sex trade business.

So far I have found the following links to be of interest and closely related to my topic:

Jamaica's prostitution market is out of control.

Jamaica’s prostitution market is out of control.

http://www.westernmirror.com/index.php/permalink/6026.html

  • Article highlights a current investigation taking place regarding children trafficking from Jamaica to other countries. So far one United Kingdom male has been taken into custody and is believed to be involved in the business. We see here international entities stepping in and enforcing international laws against sex trade.

Child Sex Slaves

http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/projects/childlabour/news/newspaper_articles/2002/jobserver-21jul02.pdf

  • Article provides results for a 2000 study about Jamaica’s child sex workers. Study found that most of the children were females and that certain sexual acts and behavior are divided on the basis of gender. The piece argues that this business teaches children to sell their bodies as a commodity.
Map of popular destinations

Map of popular destinations

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/general/100421/sex-tourism-jamaica-prostitution

  • Article brings to light the tabooed topic of female sex tourism and how it is actually taking place all over the world today. It also tries to answer the question who is the blame: locals or tourists? Author states that every year close to 80,000 women travel every year to Jamaica in search of “love”. But a certain type of women, European middle-aged wealthy women.
An example of the homes that Jamaican prostitutes reside.

An example of the homes that Jamaican prostitutes reside.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20050904/focus/focus2.html

  • Article brings to discussions the pros and cons of legalizing prostitution in Jamaica. Notes whether such action would make any sense since the country is believed to be based on strong christian values. (Where are these values today?) Topics of importance relating to the issue include health, income, and employment. Has sex evolved to be another commodity in today’s globalized world?
Help stop the tears.

Help stop the tears.

http://endhumantrafficking.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/jamaica-soroptimists-speak-out-about-human-trafficking-for-international-womens-day-2013/

  • Article notes organizations trying to end human trafficking during this year Women’s International Day 2013. The International Women’s Organization has been working close to 50 years trying to end abuse and violence against women and currently have 2 clubs in Jamaica. The Purple Tear Drop campaign seeks to educate communities about cultural practices that perpetuate sex trade and human-trafficking markets.

Some of the questions that I will be researching include: 

How did Jamaica’s colonial history influenced society today? What ties disappeared? Which ties are still present?

Why is prostitution still taking place in 2013? What is the government’s role on the issue and what initiatives have been taken if any? Laws to protect citizens?

Society’s acceptance? Why?

Does religion have a say on the issue? Is it ignored by everyone?

What is the international community doing to help or victimize these sex slave workers? What have been some of the repercussions revolving this issue? Economic drive? Human rights?

& many more…

Same-Sex Marriage in Argentina

On July 15, 2010, Argentina’s Senate passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. Argentina is the first country in South America to recognize same-sex marriage and it is the tenth country worldwide to allow same-sex marriage. Argentina is one of the leading countries in the Americas as far as LGBT tolerance and transgender rights. In this article by the New York Times, Argentina’s Senate debate is described and their decision is analyzed by the author. The author analyzes Argentina’s openness to the rights of the LGBT community, even despite the strong presence of religion in their culture. Whereas in countries like Mexico and Honduras, who also possess a strong religious presence, pro-LGBT communities have approached the government with hopes of allowing same-sex marriage and rights, and were consequently met with intolerance and an “anti-gay atmosphere”.

Compared to the same-sex marriage and rights debate in the United States, it seems as though quite a few Americans are unwilling to stand behind LGBT rights and debates. In this article by CNN, it’s evident that the majority of American states are presenting an anti-gay atmosphere towards the LGBT community, where 38 of the U.S. states have banned same-sex marriage and an estimated 48% of Americans are opposed to same-sex marriage  in 2012.

In this video by CNN, Dr. Ben Carson’s comment on same-sex marriage are discussed in the interview. Dr. Carson compared same-sex marriage to bestiality and pedophilia and claimed that gays “don’t get to change the definition [of marriage as between a man and a woman”.

Lastly, in this article by CNN, it’s revealed that the new Pope, former archbishop of Buenas Aires, has secretly supported the civil unions in Argentina. It’s reported that the Pope displays a certain “willingness behind-the-scenes to accept civil unions as a compromise”.

Despite America’s strong belief that it is ‘the land of the free’, it seems as though it’s fallen behind in the LGBT rights issues. In my research paper, I plan to address Argentina’s open approach to same-sex marriage and its acceptance of the LGBT community, while other countries such as Mexico, Honduras and the United States have reportedly fallen behind in these areas.

Whore’s Glory: A Global Red Light District Overview

In the new globalized world, prostitution and sex slavery has evolved into a billion dollar industry. A recent documentary by Austrian director Michael Glawogger Whore’s Glory attempts to open up a dialogue about the transnational reflections of female sex workers. The film showcases three international locations that have legal red light districts and how the male public sphere cultivates these zones as being essential to their sexual needs. The locations include Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico. After thinking about the section that focused on the work conditions endured by Mexican prostitutes near the U.S.-Mexican border, I realized that most of the women displayed a sense of control over their clients and lives. How can we reconcile instances of sexual freedom through the commodification of sex? Prostitution is universal, highly gendered, and complex. After watching Whore’s Glory, I was intrigued to better understand the working conditions of sex trade workers in red light districts. The director of the film is able to frame both the benefits and dangers of life within the districts without imposing judgements. Each country has its own  social and cultural norms, which dictate the interactions between the service provider and clientele.

Questions

Does legalization of prostitution improve the lives of sex workers?

How do red light districts operate?

Who stands to gain from legalization of prostitution?

What are the socio-economic factors that contribute to the legalization of prostitution? 

Director’s comments on the film.

An article about the dark side of prostitution.

An article about the benefits of legalizing prostitution.

An article about female oppression and prostitution. Image

 

Delhi Gang Rape: A Call to Change a Culture

Ever since I was in the 5th grade and read the fictional book Shiva’s Fire, I became obsessed with Indian culture. The music, the food, the vibrant colors and beautiful people, I couldn’t get enough. Now, at 22 years old, I will finally be traveling there in Fall.

India has only served as a source of amazement and beauty for me, but as I was sitting on my couch with my family watching the PBS NewsHour this past Winter break, I witnessed a dark side of Indian culture.

On December 16th, 2012, a 23-year-old female medical student was brutally gang raped by six men on a moving bus. They beat her with iron rods and each took their turn, forcing themselves upon her, as the driver continued to drive the charter bus. However, the driver of the bus did take a break, to ensure that he, of course, got his own turn in raping the girl. The girl and her male friend who was accompanying her were thrown out of the bus, stripped of all their clothes, and lying on the side of the road. The girl’s stomach was torn open from the beatings with the iron rods and her intestines were coming out of her body. She was in such a critical condition that she could not be treated at any local hospital and was transported to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. The girl could not recover from her severe injuries and died within the week.

After seeing the news coverage, I was horrified. Though I am not a big social media subscriber, I flocked to Tumblr to see if many other Americans knew about this yet. And to my amazement, my home “dashboard” was already covered with pictures of angry protesters and candlelight vigils, and poems and enraged rants written by the people I am ‘following,’ most of whom are living in the U.S. The news story had just aired that night, so I was shocked about how many people were already posting their responses. Here are a few haunting photos that have been heavily circulated on Tumblr surrounding the rape:

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In Delhi alone, there were 572 reported rapes last year, and 635 cases this year so far. The fact that these numbers are so shockingly high in the capital of India, it is scary to imagine what these numbers look like in more remote, rural areas, where there is less policing and, more likely, higher numbers of cases that go unreported.

But obviously, with these appalling statistics, there must be something deeper at the source of all these rapes; some sort of inapt mentality rooted within the culture. There is no way that the 635 Delhi women just happened to all be “at the wrong place, at the wrong time” this year.

In a New York Times article that was released just one day after the attack, the journalist quoted a man named Ram Singh while he was waiting at a bus stop in Delhi. “It’s the girl’s weakness in most cases,” claimed Singh. “They become friends and then they fight. Sudden, unknown attacks are usually a minority of the cases. In most cases, it’s the girl’s fault.” The irony of this article’s quote source, is that this very man (Ram Singh) was later convicted as the ringleader of the gang rape. He was found dead in his jail cell before he could receive his sentence.

New York Times Article

However, Indian men’s mentalities are not the sole culprit here. Shortly after this attack, there were many conferences held (mainly by educators and scholars) to discuss why violence towards women is such a recurring issue in India. One of the women who spoke at a seminar regarding “Women’s Empowerment,” Dr. Anita Shukla, received a lot of flack for her speech. “Had the girl simply surrendered (and not resisted) when surrounded by six men, she would not have lost her intestine. Why was she out with her boyfriend at 10 pm?” Shukla followed up by stating, “When a group of men intend to rape, they will do it. The victim should save herself for bringing the perpetrators to book.”

Dr. Anita Shukla’s Quote Regarding the Attack

By comparing the New York Times’ coverage of this incident to that of The Hindu’s (a very popular and reputable news source in India), it is very clear that even India’s media info is distributed through a tailored lens.

Within the second sentence of the debut article regarding the attack, The Hindu’s authors are careful to mention the male friend that was with the girl. They highlight his injuries as well, making him just as much of a focal point as the girl.

“The girl’s male friend was also assaulted, stripped and then thrown off of the bus along with her near the Mahipalpur flyover in south-west Delhi.”

The Hindu

The article also gave the impression that the passersby were eager to help, “Shocked and numbed, the victims were barely able to raise an alarm when they were spotted by a security guard deployed at a nearby construction site, who immediately called up the police suspecting that something was amiss as the two had sustained injuries and were bleeding.” However, a video was released of an interview with the male friend, and he describes his account in a different light:

VIDEO

With protests still occurring every day in Delhi, women are begging government officials to take a stand. While some ask for the death penalty for the perpetrators, most are calling for education programs, teaching boys to treat women with respect. While these requests have gone unanswered, the government has proposed to conduct nightly police patrols and ban buses from having curtains or window tints. For the country famously referred to as the “Largest Democracy,” in my opinion, this is a sad-excuse for listening to its citizens and “taking action.”

In order for the numbers of rapes to decrease, India’s men will first need to learn humanity. Women’s picket signs ask, “Where’s our India?” And the answer to that question will sadly take a relearning and re-teaching of an entire country’s culture.

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Exploring the Femicide in Ciudad Juarez

I have not exactly pinpointed what exactly I want to do yet. However, I am hoping to explore the femicides that have occurred/occuring in cities like Ciudad Juarez in Mexico. Because Ciudad Juarez is so close to the US border, I would like to explore how the United States views this issue in relation to how Mexico views the issue. Does the United States believe it is solely an issue that is affects Mexico? I would like to explore how this issue transcends the borders. I havent neccesarily committed to all of the sources, but they have gotten me to think of different concepts that I had not considered before.

In Transfronteras Crimes: Representations of the Juarez Femicides in Recent Fictional and Non Fictional Accounts by Marrieta Messmer, they explore how the femicides in Juarez are being represented. By exploring various fiction and non-fiction accounts, they arrive at the conclusion that the Juarez Femicides are in fact a transnational issue that affects that entire region, (US/Mexico) in terms of economic, social and political developments.

Wave of Violence Swallows More Women in Juárez is an article from the New York Times. The article gives acccounts from family members of the missing folks in Juarez. In the article, the author mentions how the international attention has declined even though the killings and dissapearances are still occurring.

The Otherside of the Ciudad Juarez Femicide Story article specifically drew my attention because it mentioned how a “transnational or binational problem” needs a transnation/binational solution. Instead, Mexico and the United States cooperate occassionally. Then the author also talks about how no matter how many international human rights groups advocate and condemn the femicide, they do not have enough power to make any structural changes. This article discusses how many times people default to blaming “machismo” for these acts.

In Serial Sexual Femicide in Cuidad Juarez, the author really breaks down the concept of “Serial Sexual Murder.” This break down goes beyond just positioning women, instead it moves away from that and asks for us to think about this violence inflicted upon women. The author explores the intentions of the killers and explores how these acts really represent the intersection of power and sexuality.

Enron by The Sea

In three short years San Diego became the center of the political corruption. It started in 2002 when Diann Shipione revealed that the city had shortchanged the city’s pension fund by $1 billion dollars. Shipione’s discovery opened the floodgates that would ultimately lead to the discovery in 2005 that Representative Randy “Duke” Cunningham had been bribed by a defense contractor. Money and power caused San Diego to be known as a politicians heaven, they could get whatever they wanted, and nightmare, if they were discovered. It would seem that the only thing that is missing from this mix is sex. But thanks to our corrupt government officials they knew how what it took to be bribed.

Duke Cunningham

1.

Sunny San Diego Finds Itself Being Viewed as a Kind of Enron-by-the-Sea By JOHN M. BRODER (NY Times)

This article explains how Diann Shipione discovered the shortchanging the San Diego City pension fund by $1 billion. It also explains discusses how City Attorney Mike Aguirre accused the relaxed ethics of San Diego culture as the problem that allowed political corruption to flourish. The article tries to explain how a major city could allow $1 billion to go unnoticed.

2.More bad news? What else is new? By Philip J. LaVelle (San Diego Union-Tribune)

LaVelle’s article discusses the corruption of San Diego beginning with Shipione’s discovery in late 2002. One point that LaVelle makes is that San Diego’s persona as a “‘San Diego has had an image across the country as a clean, All-American, Sun Belt city”‘ (LaVelle, SDUT). Whether or not this is true, from 2002 to 2005 San Diego was known throughout the United States as the center of corruption. What is most intriguing is that some of this corruption centered around extortion for a Las Vegas topless mogul.

3.

Prosecutors May Widen Congressional-Bribe Case

I had to access this article using the library’s VPN the link may not work off campus. This article notes that federal prosecutors in 2005 were widening the bribe case against Duke Cunningham  to include having prostitutes, limousines, and hotels paid for him. These charges would be an addition to the already charges that had been brought against him earlier in 2005 of having a defense contractor buy him a home in San Diego. The use of sex as a commodity that can be traded for political favors explains the conception that women and their bodies are objects.

4.

Dancing across Borders: ‘Exotic Dancers,’ Trafficking, and Canadian Immigration Policy by Audrey Macklin

This article does not directly relate to the politcal scandals of San Diego from 2002 to 2005, but it generally relates to the idea of sex as a commodity that can be bought and sold. Macklin’s article analyzes the Canadian and US governement’s immigration policy of allowing exotic dancers a temporary work visa. The article questions the idea whether or not this equates to government sanctioned sex-trafficking.