Posts tagged ‘sex and sexuality’

The bench is sensitive

Not much has been happening for us in the first week of the new year but signs are pointing to a busy year ahead. So here I am, wondering what to chat about when this pops up.

The Judiciary, like all government (and large corporates) agencies, undergo sensitivity and diversity training on a regular basis. Don’t pooh-pooh it till you’ve tried it – even I learn stuff at these workshops.

Titled Equality Before The Law Bench Book (PDF), it’s from and for the Western Australia bench.  It borrows from similar books in other states and uses surveys conducted by NGOs.  See chapter 12 for dealing with LGBTI folks, including interesting bits like this:

Half the men and two thirds of the women who had same-sex sexual experiences regarded themselves as heterosexual rather than homosexual. This illustrates that same-sex attraction and experience are more common in Australia than is indicated by the relatively few people reporting a homosexual, lesbian or bisexual identity.

and this:

The experience of being gay, lesbian or bisexual differs from the experiences of other groups who may be the subject of discrimination; people who are gay, lesbian or bisexual usually have a choice about publicly identifying themselves as such, unlike, for example, women or people with a mobility impairment. It appears that the harassment and discrimination gay, lesbian and bisexual people experience is directly proportional to their openness about their sexuality.

… GLBTI people sometimes adopt a practice of self-censorship, not being completely open or “out” about their sexuality. They may, for example, limit discussion of weekend activities and change the pronoun when referring to a partner, or never hold hands in public.

When a lesbian, gay man or bisexual person is giving evidence, particularly if that person has not “come out” as gay, lesbian or bisexual, it may appear that the witness is being evasive or selective when answering questions which deal with their personal lives and activities. The Supreme Court of Queensland’s Equal Treatment Benchbook comments that

Judges should be alert to questioning of witnesses with regard to their sexuality and be ready to restrict such questioning when unnecessary or irrelevant.


• The majority (87.6%) of the GLBTI sample had at some time avoided disclosure of their diverse sexuality, sex and gender.
• Fear of prejudice or discrimination caused gay, lesbian and bisexual people, at least sometimes, to modify their daily activities (65.9% of males and 68.8% of females).
• Of those participants who modified their daily activities in any way at all, the most common situations where this occurred was at work, in social settings, with family and in public. Behaviour modification in public was overwhelmingly the most common, with 73.6% of males and 71.2% of females reporting this.

The reasons why people choose their living arrangements can be complex and varied in any relationship, but some lesbians, gay men or bisexuals choose not to live with their partner through fear of public exposure, and some live together but do not identify as living in a same-sex relationship. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not as common as it once was.

Same-sex relationships do not have the same significance as heterosexual relationships — Each partner within a relationship (and any children associated with them), individually or together, determine the significance of the relationship. The significance of any relationship should not be judged by the sexual orientation of its members but how people in a
relationship treat each other.

And the simple glossary for transgendered, transsexual and intersexed terminology.  Ah, it’s great to see a judiciary dealing with real stuff.

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January 7, 2010 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Sexing the blog

If you’ve read my stories, you’ll know what some of them are about. That’s right, full on lesbian smut. Erotica with a capital E, baby!

Where did I learn all that good stuff, you might ask? Well, I was a HIV/AIDS awareness educator in my Uni years. Part of learning to talk about HIV is to be well versed about sex, sexual identity, reproductive health, sociology, medicines and the law. You can’t talk about HIV without referring to sex, and you can’t talk about sex without being sensitive to cultural context.

Training to be a sex educator didn’t faze me at all as I was very well read on female sexuality by then. It is a topic I never get tired of discussing. I’ve since expanded my reading beyond female sexuality as anatomy based only. Sexuality, in the wider range of practice, is a feminist issue in the sense that every person has a fundamental right to express theirs in an informed, consensual way. As a lesbian (hah!), I am intensely interested in women’s bodies and I enjoy waxing on about them.

But time and again, I am reminded just how little women understand their sexuality and their ownership over it. This is a chronic grievance that cannot be overcome until men and women are educated about their bodies, by facts and not mumbo jumbo.

-This post was inspired by these articles:

The Joy of Sex revised and updated by its first female editor, Susan Quilliam, will be released in January 2009. The bit about sex on a motorcycle is still there.

Oral sex is on the rise. I mean, Hello, gays and lesbians were there first. We know it’s good.

More women than men have sex in Australian prisons, a surprise finding by Dr Juliet Richters of the University of New South Wales.

“We found that 36 per cent of women are having sex or sexual contact in prison, which really is quite a lot of sex,” said lead researcher Juliet Richters, a public health specialist at the University of NSW.

She said this was probably because there were fewer taboos around sex among women, and also because almost a third of female prisoners identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual.

Does this shade of orange look good on me?

And finally, a lengthy review of Dishonourable Passions by William Eskridge. Margot Canaday writes about Eskridge’s historical analysis of sodomy law in America. The responses behind legal reforms can be entertaining as well as illuminating.

September 19, 2008 at 8:30 am 3 comments


Evecho’s newsy bits

News, updates and links from the lesbian and publishing ‘verse that interest me, my current projects, keeping up with authors and sharing musings on middle-class life, gourmet adventures and comparisons between East/West perspectives. My opinions will likely be linearly logical and gayly bent, as they tend to be.