Archive for the ‘sex’ Tag

Sex Worker Open University

Sex Worker Open University

Sex workers are routinely portrayed in the media as victims.

At London’s first ever Sex Worker Open University, over two hundred sex workers and allies from the UK and abroad took part in workshops, discussions and actions.

This film presents an alternative and empowered image of the sex worker.

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Polish politician fumes over “gay” elephant in zoo

Polish politician fumes over “gay” elephant in zoo

A Polish politician has criticised his local zoo for acquiring a “gay” elephant named Ninio who prefers male companions and will probably not procreate, local media reported on Friday.

“We didn’t pay 37 million zlotys (7.6 million pounds) for the largest elephant house in Europe to have a gay elephant live there,” Michal Grzes, a conservative councillor in the city of Poznan in western Poland, was quoted as saying.

“We were supposed to have a herd, but as Ninio prefers male friends over females how will he produce offspring?” said Grzes, who is from the right-wing opposition Law and Justice party.

The head of the Poznan zoo said 10-year-old Ninio may be too young to decide whether he prefers males or females as elephants only reach sexual maturity at 14.

UK ‘bad’ pics ban may stretch beyond possessing to looking

UK ‘bad’ pics ban may stretch beyond possessing to looking

The government could be planning to up the ante when it comes to material it doesn’t approve of – it may become illegal to even look at images, not merely possess them.

Some odd, ambiguous remarks by Keir Starmer, Director of Public Prosecutions, raise this gruesome possibility. Evidence for it emerged from an elliptical exchange between Starmer and Jenny Willott, Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central during the committee stage of the Coroners and Justice Bill.

Miss Willott has clearly done her homework. She noted that whilst the Internet Watch Foundation focuses on images that can be downloaded – the traditional web route – images accessed through other means, such as streaming, are not within its remit. She asked Mr Starmer: “If someone is watching streaming images online, there would be no actual copy on their computer, so they would not technically be in possession.”

He replied: “It would be for the courts to interpret the meaning of possession. We would proceed on the basis that there should be no such loophole.”

Mr Starmer’s reply can be interpreted in two ways: streaming is not a loophole, either because the government is not interested in going after it; or because they intend – or hope – that in time the courts will extend the definition of “possession” to the simple act of watching something unfold on a screen.

Deviants, perverts, ‘weirdos’ – who’s going down?

Deviants, perverts, ‘weirdos’ – who’s going down?

The die is cast. From today, it is illegal to possess “extreme porn” – though exactly what that means, despite two years of debate, is still unclear.

Depending on who you believe, this will criminalise 2m individuals or a mere handful. The Register guide to surviving this law can be found here.

Meanwhile, what has become of the principal players in this drama?

On Sunday, around 100 demonstrators braved the cold and damp to attend a last-minute demo, organised by CAAN and supported by Backlash and Spanner. Peter Tatchell was out, as were fashion photographer Ben Westwood and Mr Leather UK, Paul Stag.
peter tatchell at caan demo at parliament

CAAN’s porn collection, with which they have been teasing police and authorities in advance of the law, has now passed into exile in Scotland, where no such law is yet in place. If the Scots pass their own version, no doubt it will be travelling even further afield.

The Ministry of Justice has done itself few favours.

For more information please visit caan.org.uk.

Government finally names the day for porn ban

Government finally names the day for porn ban

Sixty-one days and counting: if your stash contains any material that is or may fall foul of the Government’s new laws on extreme porn, then that is how long you have left to destroy it or otherwise get rid of it. Because, courtesy of Consenting Adult Action Network (CAAN), The Register can reveal today that the law is going live on 26 January 2009.

Sections 62 to 67 of the Criminal Justice Act 2008, passed in May of this year, make it a criminal offence punishable by up to three years in prison to possess material that is both pornographic and extreme.

“Pornographic” is defined as being produced for the purposes of sexual arousal. “Extreme” includes acts which threaten a person’s life, results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals, involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or sex with an animal (dead or alive).

In addition, the picture must be grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character and “a reasonable person” would consider the action depicted to be real.

Protect us from those who would protect us from ourselves.

Lapdancing ‘not sexually stimulating’, MPs hear

Lapdancing ‘not sexually stimulating’, MPs hear

The Commons culture committee yesterday heard claims that lapdancing is “not sexually stimulating” during a hearing into the Licensing Act which is pondering reclassifying lapdancing clubs as “sex encounter establishments” – something which would make it easier for local councils to refuse them licences.

According to the Guardian, the statement by chairman of the Lap Dancing Association, Simon Warr, was “greeted with scepticism” by MPs. Warr insisted the clubs were providing hospitality, rather than sex, and “astonished” the committee by explaining: “One of the biggest problems we face is that not enough people understand the business blueprint of our clubs. Actually, our premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan if they were.”

A suitably astonished Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley, interjected: “You are saying that the purpose of a lap dancing club is not to be sexually stimulating? Most people would find that a rather incredible claim.”

Warr defended: “Then you need to go to a club, because the purpose of a club is to provide entertainment. It’s to provide alcohol, it’s a place of leisure. All right, the entertainment may be in the form of nude or semi-nude performers, but it’s not sexually stimulating.”

mmm….hmm.

American politics

On the one hand, I honestly have little hope that Obama will be “better” than McCain.

He should, however, be better than theocrat nutbag Palin.

More importantly, I find right-wingers, conservatives and Republicans generally irritating.

So with that in mind:

On the other hand, Proposition Eight – a measure to ban gay marriage in California – seems to have passed. I plan to write in this in the future but suffice to say, it makes me sad to see so many “Christians” being so evidently threatened by the idea of two people loving each other. 😦

Mice Frozen 16 Years Ago “Resurrected” by Cloning

Mice Frozen 16 Years Ago “Resurrected” by Cloning

Using cells from dead mice frozen for 16 years, a team of Japanese geneticists has successfully created healthy clones of the dead animals.

The breakthrough, pave the way for resurrecting extinct animals, such as the woolly mammoth, from frozen remains, experts say.

“We have demonstrated that even frozen animal tissue can be used to produce clones,” said Teruhiko Wakayama, a geneticist at the Riken Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan.

For their cloning process, Wakayama and his colleagues drew dead brain and blood cells from the frozen mice. The researchers injected the nuclei from the dead cells directly into unfertilized mice eggs, creating embryos.

It’s not known, however, whether nuclei from cells frozen for extended periods of time can be reprogrammed to develop into cloned animals.

Government tied in knots by bondage protest

Government tied in knots by bondage protest

“Forget the whips and chains: it’s actually a lot more serious than that”. This was the view of Consenting Adult Action Network Spokesperson and disability activist Clair Lewis, as she joined fashion photographer Ben Westwood and a bevy of bound and gagged models in a demonstration against what they believe to be the latest government witch-hunt.

“It is easy to trivialise this as being about a bunch of people worried about their porn stash when the extreme porn law goes live in January,” said Clair. “But the issues run far wider.

“Back in 2006 government were still openly claiming that they had no evidence that porn did any harm. Despite that, they changed the Safeguarding Vulnerable Persons Act at the last minute to make it possible to bar individuals from ‘regulated jobs’ just for possessing porn of any degree of violence. In that one act, they effectively ruled our community out of almost half the jobs on offer.

“The result of these two measures taken together is that individuals are feeling scared, angry and under pressure. We do not believe government reassurances about our sexuality. We think they are as bigoted about kinkiness as previous governments were about homosexuality.”

See also:

“Extreme pornography”

“As I grow older and older
And totter toward the tomb
I find that I care less and less
Who goes to bed with whom.” (attributed to Dorothy Sayers.)

Today, members of CAAN, the Consenting Adult Action Network, will be taking part in a protest against section five of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. The act states:

(1) It is an offence for a person to be in possession of an extreme pornographic image.

(2) An “extreme pornographic image” is an image which is both—

(a) pornographic, and

(b) an extreme image.

Well, that seems fairly straghtforward, right?

Oh…

(3) An image is “pornographic” if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

Here we run into our first stumbling block. With this clause, the Act criminalises acts which would otherwise be legal, purely as a consequence of the intent of the person in question. While intent is often taken into account in the law, this is primarily as a means of determining sentencing for acts which are already crimes. In this case, however, the legality or illegality of material is defined largely by the intent of the producer – making the law vague and difficult to enforce from the beginning.

This lack of clarity pervades the document. It continues:

(4) Where (as found in the person’s possession) an image forms part of a series of images, the question whether the image is of such a nature as is mentioned in subsection (3) is to be determined by reference to—

(a) the image itself, and

(b) (if the series of images is such as to be capable of providing a context for the image) the context in which it occurs in the series of images.

(5) So, for example, where—

(a) an image forms an integral part of a narrative constituted by a series of images, and

(b) having regard to those images as a whole, they are not of such a nature that they must reasonably be assumed to have been produced solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal,

the image may, by virtue of being part of that narrative, be found not to be pornographic, even though it might have been found to be pornographic if taken by itself.

This, again, leaves an enormous grey area such that any trial would be down almost entirely to the subjective analysis of those involved (the judge and/or jury). It also leaves open the possibility of a double role – an “extreme pornography” scene within a wider, non-pornographic narrative, for example.

Continuing:

An “extreme image” is an image which—

(a) falls within subsection (7), and

(b) is grossly offensive, disgusting or otherwise of an obscene character.

“Grossly offensive,” “disgusting,” and “obscene” all being objectively quantifiable, measureable terms, of course…

(7) An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, any of the following—

(a) an act which threatens a person’s life,

(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in serious injury to a person’s anus, breasts or genitals,

(c) an act which involves sexual interference with a human corpse, or

(d) a person performing an act of intercourse or oral sex with an animal (whether dead or alive),

and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that any such person or animal was real.

Supposing we take the sexual element out of this for a moment. How many films are there which portray one or more of the following:

– Murder
– Rape
– Torture
– Drug abuse
– Animal cruelty

The answer, of course, is too many to count. Special effects being what they are, many such films are able to portray these acts in a way which, if seen alone, would lead the viewer to believe they were genuine. The only difference legally comes back to the issue of “intent.”

Whatever one man think of these activities, making them illegal is both wrong and unenforceable. It is unenforceable because of its explicit subjectivity and bias towards the majority view, making the law so vague as to be meaningless; and it is wrong because it represents an unacceptable intrusion into the activities of consenting adults.

In short, the term “victimless crime” is an oxymoron.