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Archive for December, 2009

Happy New Year!

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

I hope that all of you have some great New Years Eve celebrations and ring in 2010 doing just want you want to do!

I’ll begin posting again on Jan. 4th. Have a safe and happy New Years!

Categories: general

I am a woman, and I am a damn good parker

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

I am not surprised that the Daily Mail has an article about how men are better parkers than women. Sure, there was a study done (by “feminist” scientists – the Mail really wanted to point that one out), but of course the Daily Mail would just eat this up, since it’s pretty much a misogynistic publication.

Here’s the rundown of the study:

Psychologists asked 65 volunteers to park a £23,000 Audi repeatedly in a sealed-off university car park.

Ok, all is good and well with that, I suppose. Of course, I don’t think 65 people really represent the 6,692,030,277 people in the world (fine, some aren’t legal to drive yet…but eventually!), but I’ll let that slide. However, this is the Mail’s first statement in the article:

Male drivers have long boasted they are superior to women, particularly when it comes to parking.

That is correct. Congratulations to the Daily Mail for getting something right. Men have always thought they are better drivers and we often here a disgruntled person (usually a man) saying “those women drivers”, or something along those lines. Growing up, we see more men driving than women. In my own family, my dad always drove if we were all going somewhere, and my mom only drove when she was going to work or if my dad couldn’t drive me somewhere. This kind of things gets normalized as we are socialized into it. If we see men driving more often, is it ridiculous to start thinking that men are the better drivers? It’s not that it’s necessarily true, but I think it’s easy to think that as you grow up and even wherever you are in your present age, because most likely, you’re still seeing more men than women driving.

So, you’ve turned 16 (or whatever the age is in your region) and it’s time to get your license. For me, it was never something that I was concerned about; however, I was a “natural” driver and learned to have confidence in my driving. But really, it was hard for me to not think in the back of my head that I’m just a “second rate driver”, just because I have a vagina. Because the socialization of “men are better drivers”, my driving and my driving confidence has not always been the greatest.

Ultimately, if women are constantly told that they are bad drivers, they will begin to believe it and not want to drive as much. They will want to pass it off to men if they can. This is something that is so normalized in our society that I’m honestly not surprised that the study came up with this. Of course, the study says that men are better parkers because of their “spatial awareness”, and that may be a valid thing. However, I do think that if there wasn’t a stereotype of women being “bad drivers”, than there probably wouldn’t be too much difference. It’s amazing how socialization can effect these things.

Finally, I would just like to say, that I for one, am one damn good parker. I mean it.

Categories: gender, stereotypes

Big Think’s interview with Feministing’s Jessica Valenti

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

As I hopped over to Feministing last night, Jessica Valenti had put up a post about her interview with Big Think, and I’m just wanting to share that here. You can either watch the whole interview, or several little clips. It’s great! She talks about everything from Lady Gaga to her marriage and gives some great insights (as always) about feminism, what’s going on right now in terms of feminism and defends feminism as well.

Click here to see her interview.

Categories: general Tags:

Music Hit: thecocknbullkid

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

I stumbled across thecocknbullkid (real name Anita Blay) the other day, and she has impressed me! She is a 23-year-old artist and musician from London, and focuses on an electronic sound. This sets people off, because of the colour of her skin. Her heritage is from Ghana, so people expect her to be “more urban”, but “she doesn’t want to be seen as a performer of grime or R&B.” This is simply because she “hates being prejudged”, even though she clearly doesn’t have a grime or R&B sound. She puts it nicely herself:

“I’m into the new and futuristic. People put me in the MIA category, but I’m not grime and I’m not some ‘ghetto princess’. I want to make pop music. The media put black people in boxes. It really irks me.

She’s also had some trouble in the music industry as far as her look goes. She’s a real woman’s size right now (as in, not size 0-2), and those women generally have a harder time making it in the music business.

She has also been told that she’s not thin enough to make it in pop. In fact, she used to look more conventionally pretty, but she shaved her head at the side and put on weight in a deliberate ploy to make the struggle to be successful even harder and to make similarly “unattractive” fans feel less alone.

She says that when she was more “conventionally” pretty, she was miserable. She now feels better and she wants people to just be able to accept her and her music at the weight that she is.

Ultimately, her music is some great electro-pop. But it’s not just the beat that makes this music. Her lyrics are very honest and very real. She’s not about to hide anything in her music. Watch her video for “I’m Not Sorry” below. Also, check out her MySpace here!


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Categories: fun, music Tags:

Search engine query suggestions: Looking at what’s allowed, and what’s not

December 29, 2009 2 comments

Warning: This is long and picture heavy!

Yesterday, I decided to do a little experiment, because I found Google to be very limited in searching apparent “mature” words and especially noticed that “abortion” was considered one of those “mature” words. So, I decided to look at several search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL) that offer query suggestions in the search box. Before I go further, I need to say that I made sure that all the filters were off. The whole point of this was really to see if “abortion” was limited in other search engines as well, but I discovered some other things along the way!

The main words that I looked up were abortion, vagina, penis, sex, sexi (it’s not a work, but I just put that in and lots came up!), fuck and maybe a few others. I’m going to go through this word by word, so that you can see the comparison immediately.

First, since I was most interested in the lack of “abortion” on Google, I’ll go over that first. Here are the findings:

So, before I actually got into the word “abortion”, I decided to just type in “abor”, and you can see that there are many results for that. Even in the non-Google search engines, abortion comes up when you just type in “abor”, but in Google, it’s all about Aboriginals. And then, all of a sudden…when I type in “abort” or “abortion”, Google doesn’t like that and doesn’t give any suggestions that have to do with abortions!

As it can be seen, Google is the only search engine that is crazy and thinks that “abortion” is a dirty word. Now, I moved onto other “mature” words, and I for one felt as though I lost a little bit of my dignity while doing so…all in the name of science! Next up, is “sex”, “sexi” and “sexy”.

What I thought was interesting about the MSN search for “sex” was that the word sex wasn’t allowed to be searched at all, even in the case where I put in “sexism”. Weird. Next up, AOL.

So, I’ve kind of determined that AOL will almost let you search anything. And finally, Google and Yahoo!

What I found interesting here was that in Google, you can’t search “sexy”, but you can search “sexi” or “sexiest”…which really makes no sense. Yahoo! of course lets you search what you want. Next up, the words “vagina” and “penis”.

So with Google and MSN, you can type “vag” and get some suggestions. However, type in “vagina” and that’s a big no-no! Remember, vagina’s are bad and scary, kids! However, Yahoo! and AOL aren’t as scared of vagina’s as Google and MSN.

Now, we move onto “penis”. I didn’t really know what to expect, after the results that “vagina” had.

Turns out, even more people are scared of penises. You can see in the first Google search box that I just put in “peni” to see what would come up, and then BAM! I put in “penis” and everything goes away! MSN and AOL gave some different suggestions when “penis” is in the search box, but they fully stay away from an actual penis.

This next one, well…I really lost all my dignity doing this search. However, I will say it again, it’s all in the name of science! I typed in “boobs” in AOL, because I had found that AOL had been the most unlimited search engine. Guess what I found? A lot of suggestions for “boobs”.

It kind of makes me sad and a little pissed, to be honest, because you can’t even type in “penis” and get valid penis suggestions for that, but you can type in “boobs” and get that sick shit? Not fair. Not cool.

Finally, I wanted to find a word that would virtually be off-limits for every search engine. In the end, this word was “fuck”.

So, what can we get from all of this? Ultimately, I want to focus on the “abortion” not being something that is “valid” in Google’s search box. What the hell? Why is “abortion” a dirty word? Google will let “sex”, “sexi” (which turns into sexiest, etc). And considering that Google is the biggest and most well-known search engine, I personally don’t believe that “abortion” should be off-limits and ignored in terms of query suggestions. It really, honestly, doesn’t make sense. Every other search engine offers query suggestions for the word “abortion”. No one crying about it. I just wish people would understand that abortion is not a dirty word and that it’s not a bad thing.

Some may disagree with me, and that’s fine. However, I respectfully disagree with you as well. Ultimately, I can see some reasoning for every other word that doesn’t have query suggestions (however, since the filters were completely off, I still find it kind of weird). However, I don’t really see the problem with the word “vagina” or “penis”, because those words are generally not used for pornography. In the case that they were, I would understand more.

What are your thoughts? Do you agree or disagree with search engines and what they offer in their query suggestions?


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Jon Gosselin feels like he was “raped”?

December 28, 2009 1 comment

I really don’t want to give the Gosselin’s anymore publicity than they already have, but I can’t help but comment on this fucking ridiculous statement that Jon Gosselin’s lawyer, Mark Heller, said.

So, the story goes that Jon Gosselin’s apartment was ransacked and vandalized while he was gone for the holidays. There’s tons of rumours going around that it’s his ex-girlfriends doing, but I don’t really care about that shit. What I care about is the fact that Jon’s lawyer is going around saying that this incident is fucking comparable to rape. He states, “Jon feels like he was raped.

Really? Fuck you. Also, FUCK OFF. Jon Gosselin was not raped and the fact that someone broke into his apartment does not mean that it’s even fucking comparable to rape. Yes, it’s a crime, but it’s not rape. In fact, both of them most likely doesn’t know what the fuck their talking about because they have most likely never been raped. This kind of stuff pisses the fuck out of me. (Can you tell, by all the “fuck’s”?)

I’m giving a big FUCK YOU to both Mark Heller and Jon Gosselin.

Categories: rant, rape

A positive personal testimony of having an abortion

December 28, 2009 6 comments

It’s always nice to come across these, not just because I’m pro-choice or think it’s just fine for women to have abortions, but because we’re constantly bombarded with horror stories of abortions and how it ruins women’s lives. Maria Elizabeth Rubio, of InTheFray, shares her story of having an abortion and how she knew it was the right decision.

I found out I was pregnant and knew immediately that I wasn’t yet ready to become a mom. I didn’t have to think very long or hard about it; I knew that, given who I was at the time, I simply did not want to give birth to a child.

Look at that, a women who knows herself and knows what decision she needs to make, despite our society not being trustful of the capabilities that women have in decision-making when it comes to their bodies and their lives.

I thought a lot about my decision, about the morality behind taking the potential life of a human being…I wanted so much out of life, and I didn’t want the complications of pregnancy or motherhood to deter any of my aspirations from becoming realities…I thought about becoming a mom, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew that it just wasn’t for me.

She then talks of her experience going through with the abortion and how everyone at the clinic was great. She was completely put under for her abortion, and she tells of her feelings after:

The moment I opened my eyes, a wave of serenity washed over me. I felt giddy, euphoric, completely at ease. I knew I was no longer pregnant, and I was certain in that moment of tranquility that I had made the right decision.

Now, she doesn’t make it all sunshine and roses, even though her personal experience was good. She talks about another woman who had an abortion the same day and was weeping after her procedure. Obviously, abortion is something that can affect everyone differently. She doesn’t shy away from that aspect. But as for her, she didn’t feel upset.

Later on in life, she did decide to become a mother. Throughout having a child, she tells of “dreams permeated by thoughts of my aborted would-be child.” However, she states that her “What if’s” about her unborn baby are short-lived and superficial.

Thanks, Maria. It’s so refreshing to hear a positive abortion experience!


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How’s your husband’s disposition?

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Hear that? It’s all your fault!

via Jezebel


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Categories: ads, gender roles, ridiculous Tags:

Holidays

December 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Hey Being Feminists readers! I just wanted to let you know that I’m going to be taking a small, holiday break from posting, probably until the 28th, unless something that totally must be blogged happens.

I hope everyone has great holidays, whatever those holidays may be!

Categories: general

The Broadsheet gives their top 5 sexist iPhone apps!

December 21, 2009 1 comment

The Broadsheet has graciously taken a gander at all the sexist iPhone apps and have got it down to the top 5! Here’s the list:

PMSTracker:

It “allows you to quickly track the approximate time each woman in your life has PMS” using a color-coded method that functions much like the U.S. government’s terror alert system.

Shake That Booty:

This app allows you to manipulate an image of a woman’s butt — or, as the official app description calls it, “BOOTY!” — by physically shaking your phone.

Pole Dancing

“Get these hot girls to spin around a stripper pole by shaking your iPhone/iPod touch from side to side! Even better, clap, yell, make some noise and they will spin around at your command.”

Michelle:

She’s your brand “new virtual girlfriend” and “can be who you want her to be.” You can take Michelle “to the beach or pool and choose which bikini or bathing suit she should wear.”

iControl Her:

iControl Her is an actual remote that appears on the iPhone screen, with such clever buttons as “Stop Whining,” “Clean” and “Give Me Beer.”

Do you agree with these? Are there even more sexist iPhone apps?


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Sarah Haskins on lessons for women in 2009

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Another great Target Women!


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Categories: media, pop culture Tags:

An abortion compromise made for health care reform

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

I have neglected to post anything about the abortion debates/Stupak-Pitts/health care reform before this, because I just felt that others could explain things much better than myself, as I’m Canadian and don’t completely understand all the ins and outs of the American political system. However, I can’t neglect this anymore. As most of you may know by now, there is now an abortion compromise being proposed for the hopeful passing of the health care reform, just for that one damn vote from Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.. Pretty much, most women are still getting screwed out of abortion coverage. Shit. Here’s how it goes:

No health plan would be required to offer coverage for the procedure. In plans that do cover abortion, beneficiaries would have to pay for it separately, and those funds would have to be kept in a separate account from taxpayer money.

Moreover, individual states would be able to prohibit abortion coverage in plans offered through the exchange, after but passing specific legislation to that effect. The only exceptions would be those allowed under current federal law.

So, what I’m hearing from this is that women are still getting screwed. Women should not have to pay a separate check for abortion coverage. That’s the most ridiculous thing ever. Seriously. Abortions should be considered a medically necessary procedure for those who need or want them (similar to how they are labeled in Canada), and there should be equal access across the board, for all women. The access thing is absolutely more difficult, but the first step is to allow abortions into the health care reform without any separation. This seriously just boils my blood. It’s ridiculous.

So how are other people responding to this? NARAL gives their take and states,

“At every turn, our standard has been consistent and clear: Women should not lose ground in the new health-care system…the language regarding abortion coverage comes at too high a price for reproductive health. Thus, we must oppose this new Nelson language.”

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Calif., says that she’s “disappointed that women’s access to full reproductive health care is again paying the price.

Planned Parenthood gives their thoughts:

There is no sound policy reason to require women to pay separately for their abortion coverage other than to try to shame them and draw attention to the abortion coverage. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that insurance companies will be willing to follow such an administratively cumbersome system, leaving tens of millions of women without abortion coverage.

No doubt, there will be more news about this and more to say about it in the coming days and weeks. Right now, I have to say that this is not good enough, and some fighting still needs to be done, especially since people who support Stupak-Pitts aren’t going to go down without a fight.

Update: After I wrote this post, we now have found out that the Senate has voted yes (60-40) on the first health care reform vote.


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Douchebag quote of the day!

December 17, 2009 1 comment

This is taken from an article about the new possibility of the male birth control pill.

“It is time for men to have some control. I think it would empower men and deter some women out there from their nefarious plans,” says Brown. “Some women are out there to use men to get pregnant. This could deter women from doing this. An athlete or a singer is someone who could be a target and they could put a stop to that.”

Wow. Thanks for that Quentin Brown.


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Categories: contraception, men, ridiculous, sex

Small rant about the Tiger Woods thing

December 17, 2009 Leave a comment

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (which I wouldn’t necessarily blame you for), you know about Tiger Woods and his million affairs (fine, at least 14) that he’s had over the past few years. But really, he’s just getting such gracious treatment from most media outlets and people. Sure, his popularity has taken a plunge and he’s lost some sponsors, but everytime I hear something about Tiger, it’s never nasty or callous. In fact, Rudy Guliani has just come out and said that Tiger needs to “hang in there” and that he’s a “very, very fine man” and that “we know he’s going to get through it.” Um, sorry, I didn’t realize that he was the one that was going through all the pain and suffering when he really should have understood the consequences of having affairs with at least 14 women!

I mean, that’s just one example. I know a lot of people have seen the SNL skit that portrayed Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordengren. I mean, the domestic violence thing just wasn’t funny at all – even if it was from Elin to Tiger, but what I noticed was that they made Tiger such a sympathetic character. While watching, you were supposed to feel sorry for Tiger because Elin was some crazy bitch who obviously made him have the affairs. It was bad and I was personally not impressed.

So here’s the kicker. Would a woman in the public eye be portrayed in this way in the media if she had 14 affairs on her husband? She absolutely would not! She would not be the sympathetic character, but her husband definitely would be. She would be called a whore, slut, ho and bitch. She might have to fight harder to keep her career, depending on what that was (because we all know that Tiger is going to walk back into golf and people will be soooooo happy). I mean, I just think it’s obvious that a woman would have a harder time. No would would give her the time of day and no one would be gracious to her, or allow her to graciously explain what happened. Yet, Tiger, with his at least 14 affairs, has been able to.

Now, I’m not saying that it’s all good stuff about him in the media, but it’s not nearly as bad as it necessarily should be. But, he’s a man. Since he’s a man, he has the freedom to do more wrongs and will be graciously forgiven. Women on the other hand…no chance in hell.


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Being male in the writing realm equates to more success

December 16, 2009 Leave a comment

James Chartrand, of Copyblogger and Mens with Pens, is coming out. As the true woman that she is. James Chartrand, which is a pen name, explains the struggle she was having before she got into the online writing biz. She tells of how she is a single mother, who was on the brink of having to go on welfare and not being able to feed her two daughters. She decided to look online for writing jobs, as she knew she could write well and do it from home. She did this for a good while, under her real name, but it just wasn’t cutting it. She explains that before she took up a male’s pen name, that she would be struggling to get jobs, as well as not receiving the pay she knew some other people were getting. She then decided that she was going to make a pen name for herself, something that would “command respect”. She chose James Chartrand.

Once she did this, she got more jobs. She got more pay. She got compliments. She didn’t have to do many revisions. She states,

Understand, I hadn’t advertised more effectively or used social media — I hadn’t figured that part out yet. I was applying in the same places. I was using the same methods. Even the work was the same.

The exact same work. It was equal by all means, yet, because she now had James as a pen name, everything was better and easier. She explains the positives here:

Taking a man’s name opened up a new world. It helped me earn double and triple the income of my true name, with the same work and service.

No hassles. Higher acceptance. And gratifying respect for my talents and round-the-clock work ethic.

Business opportunities fell into my lap. People asked for my advice, and they thanked me for it, too.

Astounding. If that’s not a slap in the face for women writers, and women in general, I don’t know what is. Most professional women just want to work. They want respect for what they do, because they love what they do and they work hard at it. But still, just because we have vagina’s, we apparently aren’t as good as men. We aren’t as respected. We’re ignored. We’re sexually harassed. We’re discriminated against. Just because we have vagina’s. Really? Does a difference in genitals really make a difference? The clear answer is no, but still today, it is an issue. James talks about this, as she mentions that women writers have been doing this for ages, however, she states that,

Since then, we’ve had feminism. We have the right to vote, to own property, to be members of Parliament and Congress, to get a job, and to be the main breadwinner of the family. And yet apparently we haven’t gotten past those 19th century stigmas.

No, we haven’t gotten past the 19th century stigmas. That’s why feminism still exists today. We need it, and James Chartrand has once again proved that.

Click here to read her post called Why James Chartrand Wears Women’s Underpants, which tells her whole story.


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Toyota Yaris commercial pulled in Australia

December 15, 2009 1 comment

This Toyota Yaris commercial has been pulled off the air in Australia, because of complaints about sexism and possible slight incest.

Yeah, it’s a little much. And kind of gross and verbally objectifying. Also, everything was being said as if he was going to do it to her, not necessarily with her. Glad it’s off the air!

Thoughts?


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Categories: ads, media, sex Tags: ,

Sexism in America: Too normal?

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

So, yes, of course…sexism in America/North America is definitely normal, and feminists see this and that’s why feminism remains as a movement. However, according to Barbara Berg, a historian and new author of Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining our Future, says that it’s becoming too normal and that the condition that America is in right now in terms of women’s rights could very well be worse than ever before. Berg surveyed over 200 women, and interviewed 200 more for her recent findings.

The Toronto Star was able to have an interview with her, and I just wanted to point out a few excerpts:

Many of the ways that women go about their lives and men go about their lives are based on premises such as we had seen in the 1950s. A sense of difference over who had power.

Numerous women told me that would not challenge the authority of a male boss, that they were happy to have their jobs, that they felt that they had to accept – and this is very disturbing – a certain amount of sexual harassment, that they did not expect the same kind of promotions, that they were accepting the 70 cents to the dollar gender wage gap. (emphasis mine)

This information is quite disturbing, but not necessarily surprising to someone who really knows what’s happening within the realm of gender relations and gender inequality. Berg goes onto state that this has happened because “there has been a tremendous sense of acceptance of a hierarchical and patriarchal society again” (emphasis mine). And of course, this is utterly disappointing. Because we live in an apparent “post-feminist” society, people are so damn blinded to what is really going on.

Berg ends off the interview with some positivity, by saying that there are so many things that women can do to change this kind of attitude. She states,

Women also have tremendous power as consumers. Don’t buy Bratz Dolls. Don’t buy hypersexualized Halloween costumes. Don’t go to movies that brutalize or demean women. Choose women authors. Make sure that women’s history in the curriculum of your daughter’s school. Lobby your government. Run for office.

It’s a great, great interview. I didn’t even really cover even just a bit of it, so please head on over to the Toronto Star and read this amazing interview! She talks about everything from pop culture, to reproductive rights. Berg really has some great insights on what’s going on in our culture today and why it’s going on.


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Houston, TX elects an open lesbian mayor!

December 14, 2009 Leave a comment

Go, Houston! Annise Parker is going to be the new mayor of Houston as of January 1st, and is an out lesbian.

Parker has never made her sexuality to be a secret, and “it became the focus of the election race after anti-gay activists and conservative religious groups endorsed Locke and sent out mailers condemning Parker’s “homosexual behavior.” Ick. Luckily, these efforts didn’t change the ultimate support that Parker had.

This is one great win for the LGBTQ community in Houston, but also the rest of the country. Awesome!


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Categories: lgbtq Tags: ,

Apology!

December 12, 2009 Leave a comment

Hey Being Feminist readers! I just want to give a big apology for not updating as much as usually do! This past week I was sick and had two exams…so you can imagine the lack of time I had!

I’m now done all my school for the holidays, so I will get back to normal posting on Monday!

Categories: general

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I cannot even express in words how much shock and anger came upon me when I heard about this extremely disgusting, homophobic bill proposal. RH Reality Check explains,

The bill proposes a seven-year jail term for anyone who “attempts to commit the offence” or who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality.” Under the proposed law, “promotion of homosexuality,” including publishing information or providing funds, premises for activities, or other resources, is also punishable by a seven-year sentence or a fine of US$50,000. The bill seeks to apply the death penalty handed down for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as a sexual assault committed against a member of the same sex who is under 18 or disabled. An HIV test would be forced upon anyone found guilt of the offense of “homosexuality.”

No one in their right mind would think this would pass, correct? Well, many gay rights activists in Uganda are saying that this is something that most likely will pass. David Cato, a gay rights activist in Uganda, says that there has been more of a gay rights movement in Uganda lately, which means that these laws are being put into place.

“It’s a question of visibility,” said David Cato, who became an activist after he was beaten up four times, arrested twice, fired from his teaching job and outed in the press because he is gay. “When we come out and ask for our rights, they pass laws against us.”

I for one sincerely hope that this bill does not get passed. There is a lot of international pressure on Uganda right now because of this bill, but only time will tell if this pressure will influence Uganda in any way.