Category archives: Human Sexuality

Update on California’s AB 2943: Therapy Ban Assaulting Freedom of Speech and Religion Passes Senate

by Peter Sprigg

August 17, 2018

Here are some quick facts on the most recent action regarding California’s alarming bill, AB 2943, with links to sources:

  • The California Senate just passed AB 2943 on August 16.
  • AB 2943 is Round Two of California’s attack upon sexual orientation change efforts (SOCE).
  • AB 2943 is so sweeping it could potentially ban the sale of some books—even the Bible.
  • Therapy bans restrict what therapists can say to clients. The Supreme Court has signaled that this violates constitutional rights to free speech.
  • Ironically, AB 2943 was passed even as a new study has debunked claims that SOCE is ineffective and harmful
  • Most clients who seek SOCE just want to live their lives according to the teachings of their faith, so bills like AB 2943 are an attack upon their freedom of religion.
  • The Assembly or Gov. Brown have a last chance to block enactment of AB 2943. Urge them to do so now.

High School Students Enticed into Private Booth for “Queer” Storytelling

by Cathy Ruse

August 8, 2018

LGBT activists are nothing if not creative. Their latest approach involves inviting high school students into, in their words, a “big, gay booth” to talk about sex.

In a recent post on the blog of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the “Beyond Bullying Project” bragged about the success of its latest efforts going into Bay Area public high schools to entice students into private booths to talk about LGBT sexuality.

Our pitch to would-be storytellers was open-ended,” said the project organizers. “Tell a story about yourself, a friend, your family…the story does not even need to be true.”

The project “collects” the stories on audio and videotape, and claims to have spent time in schools in North America, Australia, and New Zealand.

Apparently, participating schools welcome the rainbow-festooned booths, even directing their shop classes to build the “curricular, emotional space” for “queerness.” Schools also invite project organizers to make presentations in class.

Bay Area students assisted in decorating the booths with rainbow paper, lights, boas, and chalk drawings. “Everywhere, it screamed gay,” said the organizers.

Apparently, students “enjoyed the freedom” to leave class to visit the booth.

What an excellent use of education hours and tax dollars!

For some kids, skipping class was not motivation enough to enter the booth.

The team recognized that approaching a big, gay booth might be a social risk for some students and teachers so we offered them alibis to account for their interest,” the blog continued.

Outside the booth…we placed bowls of granola bars or chocolates, flyers announcing pizza lunches…iTunes gift cards and an iPod touch that we would raffle off at the end of our two weeks at the school.”

For every story a student told, they received a raffle ticket for the iPod.”

Together, these incentives provided enough cover to allow storytellers to enter the booth without inviting too many questions about their interest.”

Apparently, not all students were thrilled with the presence of the booth. Organizers admit that some “seemed to deliberately alter their path through the school so as to avoid meeting our invitations to step inside.”

How difficult to be a student today, tossed about in a sea of cultural Marxism. My heart goes out to them. Now more than ever, they need the solid ground of strong families, strong faith, and strong friendship.

The Transgender Movement Just Pushes People Too Far

by Cathy Ruse

August 6, 2018

When I read this column by Rafael Castro, I was reminded of other people who reluctantly supported same-sex marriage in order to “get the issue behind us.” They, like he, must feel betrayed and angry. The T in LGBT is a ticking time bomb that could sabotage the activists’ whole operation:

As a religious conservative living in a liberal city – Berlin – I was torn between loyalty to tradition and respect for individual freedoms on the issue of gay marriages. What eventually swayed me to support gay organizations in this field was the argument that alternative definitions for marriages are a human right.

I thus sided with the LGBT liberation movement with the hope that once such marriages were legal, the issue would be behind us and the energies exhausted in this fractious debate would be channeled to fight far more serious abuses of human rights in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

These expectations have been bitterly disappointed. To the best of my knowledge the LGBT lobby has done next to nothing in order to help gays and lesbians who are whipped and stoned in nations like Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Instead of championing genuine human rights it has promoted the issue of transsexuality, blowing it out of all proportion, and has declared war on our historical and science-based understanding of sex and gender.

In its obsession for blurring all gender differences it is pressuring the academic and culture establishments to erase any awareness of gender differences from the youngest of children and harassing any person who refuses to endorse this gender ideology. In addition, it has even encouraged voices demanding that incest, polygamy and pedophilia be normalized in our societies.

In other words, I supported same-sex marriage rights with the understanding that I was contributing to defend human rights. Instead my support has been exploited by the sexual liberation movement to undermine the values and paradigms that give society its bearings and guidance to minors who are vulnerable in their development.

I feel betrayed and angry. From now on I will fight every progressive social cause, regardless of the language used to market it. It is evident that today’s progressives are more interested in dismantling Western society than in repairing its relatively minor flaws.

Looking back, I see that same-sex civil unions gave homosexuals all the legal and fiscal rights they needed . These civil unions respected the rights of all parties, without encouraging extremists to assault heteronormativity and bi-genderism. That’s how things should remain.

Transgender “Revolution” is Really an Elitist Diktat

by Cathy Ruse

August 1, 2018

I commend Jonathon Van Maren’s recent column, “Why Ordinary People Regard the Transgender Movement as Utterly Insane.”

Van Maren points out that the cultural “revolutions” of today—and especially the transgender revolution—are not revolutions at all. “Revolution” suggests an uprising by the people to overthrow an oppressive government or elite class.

But the transgender “revolutionaries” are, themselves, the elitists. And they push their agenda primarily from the top down. Van Maren writes:

Progressive politicians, select academics, and cowed journalists might accept the ideologies of gender-fluidity, but the average working man and woman still find much of this stuff to be insane when they are confronted with the beliefs and implications of gender fluidity. 

These ideas are being imposed on us, not demanded by us. Trans activists are demanding that the people accept their ideas. Trans activists claim that they are championing a new understanding of gender, but it is as of yet largely confined to the elites. They say that language evolves, and that trans pronouns will be ubiquitous in no time—but not even their political allies know most of these recently invented words. Despite the lighting-fast speed at which their cultural revolution has progressed, trans activists have not actually accomplished much at the grassroots level.

I suspect they know this, which is why they try so hard to force their ideologies into the schools, where they can indoctrinate the children of the working class men and women who have far too much common sense to accept their ridiculous ideas. As always, this battle will boil down to a fight for the hearts and minds of the next generation.

Book Review: When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Movement

by Hannah Borchers

May 22, 2018

The growth of the transgender movement has left many unanswered questions, but the media never seems to accurately represent both sides. In 2015, Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg collaborated with Dale O’Leary to produce a comprehensive 42-page policy paper, “Understanding and Responding to the Transgender Movement.” Now, Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation has provided an even more comprehensive treatment of the topic with a 251-page book. When Harry Became Sally is a fair and informed assessment of the transgender ideology written not to convert the activists, but rather to inform the average American that the implications of gender identity, gender fluidity, and transitioning may go beyond what we have been told by the media. In an engaging walkthrough of every aspect of this growing movement, Anderson makes it clear that we have much more to learn.

The stories of psychologists, biologists, and philosophers give the book more depth than any other response to the transgender movement thus far. In a crusade dominated by emotion and skewed statistics, it is refreshing to readdress the core meaning of male and female and the differences between the sexes. Anderson moves beyond statistics and engages with literature of both sides, seeking to give readers the tools to address this movement in an informed and persuasive way.

Even more moving are the testimonies of men and women who found “transitioning” was not the answer. Often squelched and silenced, the voices of these “detransitioners” are shared with no sense of bias, allowing raw experiences to do the talking and the readers to make their own conclusions.

When one looks at the dangers of gender transition and accompanying reckless treatment plans, it becomes clear that transgenderism is turning medicine into a playground with no rules. Anderson draws from the care plans of physicians and psychologists to give us the data our newspapers would never publish. He tells the stories of doctors ambushed for asking questions and children being given more authority than an average adult. Things are changing, medicine is being politicized, and children are becoming the choosers, even though all the research points in the opposite direction as the path to comprehensive health.

This deviates from the typical brash narratives of transgenderism. As Anderson makes clear, he is not seeking to destroy a movement, but to save lives. Never failing to speak with love, the author has given us one of the most systematic and sensitive approaches to gender identity. As we follow the different waves of feminism and philosophy, it is evident that this ideology had been percolating for years, but our society is only now coming to face the ramifications. His brilliant overview of policy shows that everyone is affected by this movement. While legislative bans and surgical operations seem like the simplest solution to our problem, they only put a Band-Aid on a very large wound and drive a wedge deeper into a cracked foundation.

With grace and humility, Anderson acknowledges that our society is not perfect. In fact, he admits that societal stereotypes greatly contribute to many distortions of gender identity. Anderson is not seeking to validate stereotypes, but to illuminate how complex the issue is. We have rushed to medical and political decisions that have radical implications, without truly understanding what we have done. Anderson asks us to think, not simply with our hearts, but with our heads.

Anderson’s main goal is to inform and encourage, reminding us that taking a position is not enough. There is still much to be done, still much to be explained, still much to be researched. In the meantime, we are doing irreparable damage and silencing voices, rather than empowering them. Anderson proves that we must hold on to the reality of humans being embodied as male or female, even while society diminishes the importance of human nature altogether. Our culture believes that breaking foundations is the only form of progress, but this will only destabilize the moral architecture of society.

Hannah Borchers is an intern at Family Research Council.

Fairfax County School Board to Teach Kids: “Biological Sex Is Meaningless”

by Cathy Ruse

May 15, 2018

The Fairfax County School Board is poised to make some radical changes to their sex ed curriculum.

Already, each public school student must suffer through 80 hours of sex ed. That’s not a typo: 8-0.

They call it “Family Life Education” but everybody knows that’s a joke. You won’t find lessons on building happy marriages and healthy families here. No, instead you’ll find hour after hour of instruction on your evolving “sexual identity,” on the proper handling of contraceptive drugs and devices, and on how to give consent for sex.

(Here is a balanced review of every current sex ed lesson.) 

But even these lessons were too repressive for the kids, in the eyes of this longtime Democrat-controlled School Board.

Last week at the Fairfax County School Board meeting, the committee of hand-picked sex ed advisors pitched an overhaul of the curriculum which will take things from bad to worse.

A summary of the changes drafted by the Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee, or FLECAC, can be found here (but don’t ever trust the School Board’s summaries; click on the Board Docs link for the full report, and skip to the final three pages to read the dissenting opinion). The vast majority of the 24 voting members – including a 9th grade student in braces – voted enthusiastically for all changes. Only three members voted against the changes.

Here is what the Fairfax County officials want to do:

  1. Teach Fairfax kids they weren’t actually born male or female. Advisors scrubbed “biological sex” from all lessons and in its place put the politically-charged “gender-fluid” propaganda term “sex assigned at birth.” As one advisor explained: “Biological sex is meaningless!”
  2. Teach 7th and 8th grade students to embrace transgender identity, but don’t tell them about the risks. Advisors voted against telling children about any of the health risks and side effects from “gender transitioning.”
  3. Teach the daily drug regimen Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, or PrEP, to every high school student every year. PrEP is designed for people “at very high risk” of contracting HIV (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as men who have sex with men without condoms). Leading AIDs experts have said that PrEP will lead to a public health catastrophe for encouraging risky sex, and PrEP has not even been approved by the FDA for use by children under 18.
  4. Stop telling students that “abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method” to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Advisors mocked abstinence education, then voted to take out this phrase.
  5. Teach students how to use every imaginable contraceptive drug, device, and cream, but don’t tell them about health risks or side effects.
  6. Strip parents of their right to opt their kids out of an 8th grade lesson on dating and family. (The Fairfax School Board thrusts all of these lessons on kids unless their parents affirmatively tell them to stop.)
  7. Remove an offensive word: The sex ed advisors have finally identified a word that was too offensive for students to hear. They voted to strip the word “clergy” from the list of trusted adults that students might consult with sexual identity concerns.  

The School Board is accepting public comments until June 8 on the proposed changes.

They will vote on the changes at a school board meeting on June 14.

Fairfax kids deserve better. And the Fairfax School Board members need to find another line of work.

Sponsors of California’s AB 2943 Claim It Wouldn’t Ban the Bible. Maybe. But What About These Books?

by Peter Sprigg

May 10, 2018

It seems that we have gone from the culture wars to the “fact-check” wars. One has been underway in recent weeks over a bill making its way through the California legislature.

Put the words “California Bible ban” in a Google search and you will see what I mean.

The California Family Council and Alliance Defending Freedom were among the first to raise the alarm that Assembly Bill 2943 could be interpreted to ban sales of the Bible. Snopes, FactCheck.org, and PolitiFact all tried to debunk the claim. The FactCheck piece reproduces an April 22 tweet from the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Evan Low, stating, “It does not ban bibles nor does it ban the basic sales of books as some would have you believe.” But a number of careful and thoughtful conservative writers—such as Michael Brown, David French, Rod Dreher, my colleague at Family Research Council Travis Weber, and Robert Gagnon (here and here) have continued to express alarm about the bill (albeit with slightly different emphases). Does Assembly Bill 2943 actually “ban the Bible” in California? In one sense, no—but in another sense, maybe. Sometimes, what is needed is a not a “fact-check” with a simple true or false answer, but a “perspective check,” explaining why some people make a particular argument and what evidence they cite to support it.

What AB 2943 Does Not Do

Let me state a couple things that are definitely not true about AB 2943 and the Bible, which some of the more sensational headlines about “California wants to ban the Bible” might be misinterpreted to imply.

First of all, “banning the Bible” is definitely not the main purpose of AB 2943. Its purpose is to greatly expand an existing restriction (the first in the nation when enacted in 2012) upon the practice of “sexual orientation change efforts” (SOCE), now routinely referred to by critics (but rarely by practitioners) as “conversion therapy.” I have had concerns about some of the “Bible ban” talk, if only because the core issue—a ban on therapy for those with unwanted same-sex attractions—has sometimes been almost forgotten.

It is a fact that some people with same-sex attractions experience those feelings as unwanted; some of those have sought therapy or counseling to overcome those attractions; and some of those have testified to the success of such therapy in helping them overcome those attractions, and now identify as “ex-gay.” LGBT activists are offended that some people with same-sex attractions don’t want to be “gay,” so they are attempting to eliminate that option by claiming that such therapy is ineffective, as well as harmful to those who undertake it. (Family Research Council disputes those claims.) California’s 2012 law prohibited SOCE only for clients who are minors, and only when conducted by licensed mental health providers. AB 2943 would expand the ban to apply to clients of any age (including consenting adults), and any type of counselor (including religious ones), as long as there is an exchange of money for the service.

Secondly, there is no legislative language in AB 2943 that refers specifically to the Bible. As Snopes explained in its article debunking the supposed “Bible ban” claim, “California Assembly Bill 2943 does not mention the Bible, Christianity, or religion at all.” That sentence—with the key word being “mention”—is correct. (That does not mean it would not affect them, however.)

Thirdly, even if AB 2943 could have an effect upon the Bible, it would only be upon the sale of the Bible. The bill is in the form of an amendment to the state’s consumer fraud laws, so there must be some commercial transaction (involving an exchange of money) to trigger its provisions. The bill does not prohibit the possession, reading, publication, teaching, or free distribution of the Bible.

How Could AB 2943 Ban Sales of the Bible?

The concern that AB 2943 could be used to ban sales of the Bible is an inference from, rather than an explicit statement in, the language of the bill. However, the bill is thirteen pages long, most of which is just a recapitulation of the existing consumer fraud law. To understand the change that is being proposed, one has to search and extract the substantive language from the bill. Here are the key segments, with ellipses ( … ) where text has been omitted. First is the bill’s definition of “sexual orientation change efforts” (emphasis mine):

(i) (1) “Sexual orientation change efforts” means any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.

Here is the actual language prohibiting SOCE:

1770. (a) The following unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts or practices undertaken by any person in a transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer are unlawful:

 . . .

(28) Advertising, offering to engage in, or engaging in sexual orientation change efforts with an individual.

Key Words: “Behaviors” and “Goods”

How does this apply to the Bible? Likely through two key words, highlighted in the bill text above.

The first of these is “behaviors.” When most people think of “sexual orientation change efforts,” they probably think of the second part of the bill’s definition: efforts “to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” LGBT activists claim that such “attractions or feelings” are innate and immutable. The same, of course, cannot be said about “behaviors,” which can be changed at will. I suspect, however, that those activists worried that if therapy to help people change their “behaviors” were permitted, it would constitute a loophole that would allow SOCE to continue.

The problem with outlawing “efforts to change behaviors,” however, is that almost all moral and religious teaching about how we should live involves “efforts to change behaviors.” “Don’t lie.” “Don’t steal.” “Treat your father and mother with respect.” There are all sorts of religiously-rooted assertions directing people to modify “behavior.” Let us not forget the age-old admonition: “Behave!” When Leviticus 18:22 cites God telling Moses, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female” (NASB), that clearly seems to be an “effort to change behaviors.”

The second key word is “goods.” As noted above, the main purpose of the bill is to outlaw a certain type (or more accurately, a goal) of therapy, which would generally be considered a “service.” However, the ban on change efforts applies to any “transaction intended to result or that results in the sale or lease of goods or services to any consumer.” Although one bill critic has suggested that the language about “the sale or lease of goods” does not apply to SOCE, the term “any practices” in the definition of SOCE appears to be broad enough to encompass the practice of selling books.

No, the text of AB 2943 does not mention the Bible. But since the “sale … of goods” could include the sale of books (such as the Bible), and since the moral teachings of the Bible include “efforts to change behaviors” (such as homosexual behavior), critics of AB 2943 have warned that it could, at least theoretically, be used to ban the sale of Bibles in California.

Possible vs. Likely

Now, if AB 2943 is enacted, is California likely to leap directly to banning sales of the Bible? Perhaps not, for several reasons. As noted above, banning Bible sales is not the main purpose of the bill,  and while the Bible supports sexual orientation change (see 1 Corinthians 6:9-11), that is hardly its main theme. At least initially, a prosecutor would likely seek an easier target, and one more directly relevant to sexual orientation change efforts. In addition, it is likely that the Supreme Court (at least in 2018, as currently constituted) would strike down any effort to ban sales of the Bible.

Still, the argument that AB 2943 could, even theoretically, be used to ban sales of the Bible is an important one, if only because it demonstrates how sweeping and poorly written the bill is. That should be reason enough for California legislators to oppose it.

While the Bible may be safe in the short run, I have less confidence in the long run. Zack Ford is a homosexual activist and writer with ThinkProgress who wrote a piece claiming it is “nonsense” that AB 2943 would “ban the Bible.” Yet ironically, that same piece links to a 2016 article Ford wrote asserting that “When Gay People Are Told That Homosexuality Is A Sin,” that “message alone is harmful.” The assertion that a piece of moral teaching from the Bible is not merely incorrect, but is tangibly “harmful,” seems like a way of laying the groundwork for legal restrictions upon that very biblical teaching.

Which Books Would Be Banned?

Even if sales of the Bible in California continue unhindered (for now), what about other books? As I have already stated, I think the argument is strong that AB 2943 could be used, generally, to ban the sale of certain books.

Take a look, for instance, at the books in the photo at the beginning of this post. This is just a sample of the books I pulled off my bookshelf, from the library I have accumulated in 17 years at Family Research Council. The books pictured are not just ones that deal generally with Christian moral teaching on sexuality. Unlike the Bible, these eight books are specifically and entirely about sexual orientation change efforts.

There can be no question that the sponsors of AB 2943 would prefer that books like this did not exist. Could the bill be used to ban their sale?

Some supporters of therapy bans (a number of which have been enacted in the wake of California’s action in 2012) have argued that they do not prevent someone from expressing the opinion that homosexuality is undesirable, or expressing the opinion that it can change, or even expressing the opinion that therapy can facilitate such change. All they ban is someone actually undertaking such efforts. So maybe a few of these books would escape California’s new censors.

But what about James E. Phelan’s Practical Exercises for Men in Recovery of Same-Sex Attraction (SSA)? This book appears to have no purpose other than actually bringing about sexual orientation change in the men who read it. Under AB 2943, how could California allow “any practice” that includes the “sale of” this particular “good?”

Banning Books is Totalitarian

In the past few weeks, Christians have been shocked by the possibility of a state banning the sale of the Bible.

But shouldn’t every American be shocked at the thought of a state banning the sale of any books based on their philosophical, religious, or moral viewpoint?

Banning books because one doesn’t like their message?

In the United States of America?

In this country, you can sell all kinds of books.

You can sell Mein Kampf, and The Communist Manifesto. Bookstores sell the celebration of sado-masochism of Fifty Shades of Grey, and the celebration of sodomy in Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.

But now, California might ban the sale of Practical Exercises for Men in Recovery of Same-Sex Attraction? Or ban Coming Out Straight—just because it says that for “those who struggle with their own same-sex attractions,” it will “open the door to a new, happier, and fulfilling heterosexual life”?

The idea of banning books—any books—because the authorities don’t like their message is totalitarian. In the United States of America, it should be unthinkable. California legislators should affirm that it is unthinkable—by voting “No” on AB 2943.

Banning Therapy is Totalitarian, Too

While the prospect of the Bible—or any books—being “banned” from sale has focused attention on AB 2943, I hope it will also bring people’s attention to the central issue:

Banning a client-chosen goal of therapy is just as totalitarian.

By framing their assault upon the freedom of therapists and clients as an exercise of the state’s power to regulate health care or (in the case of AB 2943) to prevent “consumer fraud,” LGBT activists have masked how unprecedented these therapy bans are in the history of American law or counseling.

Note that what these bills seek to outlaw is not a particular therapeutic technique. While advocates will tell stories (some of them far-fetched) about being victims of “aversion therapy” techniques that have not been used in 40 or 50 years, the prohibition is not limited to “aversion therapy.” When pressed, sponsors must admit that they seek to outlaw ordinary talk therapy as well. What these laws and bills target is nothing more or less than a goal: “to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.” This is extraordinary.

Supporters of the bans will also imply that people are “coerced” into undertaking SOCE. That problem (if it exists) could be resolved by requiring “informed consent” before therapy. The prohibitionists reject that, insisting on banning all therapy, even if the client desperately wants it. (Can you imagine the outcry from some of these same activists on the Left if conservatives argued, “Because some women are coerced into having abortions, the only solution is to prohibit any women from obtaining them”?)

Therapy bans violate freedom of speech for therapists, freedom of religion for clients and therapists, and the privacy of the therapist-client relationship.

They should outrage every freedom-loving American, and should be opposed by every legislator.

12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 2

by Peter Sprigg

April 23, 2018

Here is a list of websites that represent the work done by some of the speakers at the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit that I recently attended. I hope this will serve as a reference or resource for those seeking more information about how to combat pornography, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation such as the general objectification of women’s (and sometimes men’s) bodies.

The first six resources can be found here. Here are the final six:

7. World Without Exploitation

In addition to pornography, the other major form of sexual exploitation addressed at the Summit was prostitution. I mentioned that the CESE Summit involves a fascinating coalition of social conservatives and radical feminists. However, there is a sharp divide on the Left over the issue of prostitution. One strain of thought, coming out of feminism, views prostitution as inherently exploitative and favors laws against it (albeit with the focus on punishing pimps and purchasers of sex, rather than the prostitutes who are being exploited and abused). The other strain of thought, coming as best I can tell more out of the labor movement (although also encompassing supposed “human rights” defenders such as Amnesty International) favors decriminalization or legalization of prostitution, referring to it as “sex work” and to prostitutes as “sex workers.” The CESE takes the former, “abolitionist” view—which is well represented by World Without Exploitation’s vision statement:

Getting to a world without exploitation means starting with a clear vision. This is ours.

  • We believe that human trafficking and sexual exploitation are human rights issues, fueled by gender, racial, and income inequalities.
  • We seek to honor the power, purpose, and inherent worth of every person. Human trafficking and sexual exploitation endanger the welfare of the individual, the family, and the community. Accepting such exploitation as inevitable is inconsistent with a human rights vision.
  • We know that listening to survivors of exploitation is critical to developing just and effective social policies. We’re committed to survivor engagement. And we’re driven by survivor leadership.
  • We recognize that adults and children who have been trafficked or sexually exploited should be treated as victims of a crime, not as criminals themselves.
  • We realize that there can be no social justice without social services, so we’re working to ensure that all survivors of labor trafficking and the sex trade have the comprehensive support they need to exit exploitative systems and rebuild their lives.
  • We understand that we won’t end sexual exploitation until we end the demand for prostitution. As long as there is a global sex trade, ours will be an unsafe, unjust world.
  • We commit to eradicating the market for coerced or unpaid labor that drives the multi-billion dollar trade in trafficking.
  • We advocate for laws and policies that hold those who purchase other human beings and those who profit from their sale accountable for the harms they cause.
  • We know that law drives the culture even as culture shapes law. Challenging inaccurate media representations of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, while partnering with artists and writers who seek to tell a more accurate story, is central to our mission.
  • We believe that true freedom means being free from violence, exploitation, and oppression.

World Without Exploitation’s website also includes a 73-page report on What We Know About Sex Trafficking, Prostitution, and Sexual Exploitation in the U.S.

8. Global Centurion

This group’s slogan is “Fighting Modern Slavery by Focusing on Demand.” Their mission statement declares:

Global Centurion Foundation is a non-profit organization fighting human trafficking by focusing on the demand side of the equation – the perpetrators, exploiters, buyers, and end-users of human beings who fuel the market for forced labor and commercial sex. In this way, we seek to prevent modern slavery at its source, since it is the buyers who create and fuel the market for sex and labor trafficking.

Laura Lederer of Global Centurion gave a fascinating historical overview (dating back to 1688) of the “anti-slavery” movement, citing four separate streams:

  • Faith-based (appealing to the Bible and Christianity to oppose slavery)
  • Secular (appealing to U.S. founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution to oppose slavery)
  • Feminist (opposing “sex slavery” beginning in the late 1800’s)
  • Human Rights (the unfortunate term used by Lederer to describe the labor-focused support for “sex work” and “sex workers.” These groups believe that legalization and government regulation of “sex work” are the best ways to prevent “sex workers” from being exploited.)

9. Prostitution Research & Education

This group seeks to “Abolish Prostitution and Provide Real Alternatives.” Their mission statement describes them as an organization that:

conducts research on prostitution, pornography and trafficking and offers education and consultation to researchers, survivors, the public and policymakers. PRE’s goal is to abolish the institution of prostitution while at the same time advocating for alternatives to trafficking and prostitution – including emotional and physical healthcare for women in prostitution. The roots of prostitution are in the assumption that men are entitled to buy women for sex, in racism, and in women’s poverty.

Melissa Farley has been a regular speaker at the CESE events. Her website includes a valuable report on Pornography, Prostitution, & Trafficking: Making the Connections.

10. Organization for Prostitution Survivors

The last three groups I will mention here are ones which provide direct services to “survivors” of the sex trade. This Seattle-based group:

provides psychosocial accompaniment to survivors of prostitution, co-creating and sustaining efforts to heal from and end this practice of gender-based violence.

It:

facilitates healing from the harm of prostitution by providing the opportunity for survivors to share their experience of prostitution with others and assisting them with resources and referrals to meet identified needs, goals and aspirations.

Peter Qualliotine of OPS spoke on a panel about the #MeToo movement and the “Movement to End Sexual Assault & Rape Culture.” He offered an interesting perspective on “consent” as the only prerequisite to sexual activity, warning that “‘consent’ just becomes one more thing that men have to get,” and suggesting that “mutuality” would be a better standard.

11. Treasures

Monique Calderon of Treasures spoke at the CESE. According to its website:

Treasures is a unique, faith-based outreach and support group for women in the sex industry.

Our mission is to reach, restore, and equip women in the sex industry and victims of sex trafficking to live healthy, flourishing lives, and train others to do the same across the globe.

One unique aspect of this organization is that it is:

Located in the heart of the Adult Industry Capital of the World, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. 90% of all legal porn worldwide is filmed, distributed, and or manufactured here.

12. Sun Gate Foundation

Shamere McKenzie was another speaker who gave a first-person account of having been exploited. Here is how her organization is described:

Sun Gate Foundation, a (501)(c)(3) non-profit, survivor led organization based in Alexandria, Virginia, is an independent organization addressing a critical gap in the human trafficking aftercare community by making a substantial commitment to survivors. Sun Gate Foundation funds educational opportunities provided to survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking in the United States. The ultimate goal is to equip these young girls, boys, women, and men with a solid foundation to confidently go after their dreams.

12 Resources to Fight Sexual Exploitation, Part 1

by Peter Sprigg

April 20, 2018

I recently attended the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation (CESE) Global Summit, but it’s hard to know how to summarize it. The CESE, an annual event organized primarily by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), was held in early April in Herndon, Virginia, near Washington, D.C.

Rather than try to summarize the speakers’ messages from the sessions I was able to attend, I decided to post a list of websites that represent the work done by some of those speakers. I hope this will serve as a reference or resource for those seeking more information about how to combat pornography, prostitution, and other forms of sexual exploitation such as the general objectification of women’s (and sometimes men’s) bodies.

Note that the CESE is a broad-based coalition, cutting across political, religious, and ideological lines. Not all of the groups or speakers who participate are social conservatives or Christians—some for example, are liberal feminists. (Therefore, Family Research Council does not necessarily endorse everything on these websites.) All these groups, however, have found common ground in the cause of ending all forms of sexual exploitation.

Here are the first six websites (a subsequent post will present the final six resources):

1. National Center on Sexual Exploitation

The first website to highlight is that of NCOSE itself. NCOSE explains its purpose and focus this way:

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health crisis of pornography. As the thread of pornography in the web of sexual exploitation is systemically overlooked by society, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has prominently advanced this issue as a central pillar of its projects in order to promote more holistic solutions.

A separate website for the CESE Summit itself includes videos of some of the presentations (note: there are audio problems at some points in the video).

2. Culture Reframed

Dr. Gail Dines, an activist and scholar who founded Culture Reframed, was a pioneer in the effort to define pornography as a public health crisis—a declaration that has now been made in resolutions adopted by several state legislatures. Here’s part of the description of their work:

Culture Reframed is the first health promotion effort to recognize and address pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age. … Our research-driven programs teach parents and those in the helping and healthcare professions how to recognize and respond to the role pornography can play in sexual violence, unhealthy relationships, internet and sex addictions, negative self-image, sexual dysfunction, depression, sexually transmitted infections, injuries, and other health problems.

NCOSE presented Dines with its highest honor, the Founders Award, at the Summit.

3. Fight the New Drug

This website is particularly effective in reaching the younger generation with a message about the harms of pornography. For example, they offer t-shirts with messages like “Porn Kills Love.”

Here’s how they describe their work:

Fight the New Drug is a non-religious and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography by raising awareness on its harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

Clay Olsen, President and Co-Founder of Fight the New Drug, spoke at the CESE Summit.

4. Your Brain on Porn

Your Brain on Porn (YBOP) is an exhaustive clearinghouse of scientific research on the effects of pornography.

YBOP created a few lists of studies:

  1. This page lists 39 neuroscience-based studies (MRI, fMRI, EEG, neuropsychological, hormonal) providing strong support for the addiction model.
  2. This list contains 14 recent literature reviews & commentaries by some of the top neuroscientists in the world, supporting the porn addiction model. (This dated paper was not a literature review and misrepresented most the papers it did cite.)
  3. 24 studies linking porn use/sex addiction to sexual problems and lower arousal to sexual stimuli. The first 5 studies in the list demonstrate causation, as participants eliminated porn use and healed chronic sexual dysfunctions.
  4. Almost 60 studies link porn use to less sexual and relationship satisfaction.
  5. Over 20 studies reporting findings consistent with escalation of porn use (tolerance), habituation to porn, and even withdrawal symptoms
  6. Over 45 studies link porn use to poorer mental-emotional health & poorer cognitive outcomes.
  7. Over 25 studies linking porn use to “un-egalitarian attitudes” toward women.

YBOP founder Gary Wilson spoke at the CESE Summit, and said there about five studies that are relied upon by pornography defenders to try to debunk the overwhelming evidence in the studies listed above. He thoroughly debunked the debunkers, taking on five myths about pornography. The myths are:

  1. Pornography is not addictive.”
  2. Sex addicts simply have high sexual desire.”
  3. Using pornography is good for your relationship.”
  4. Using pornography makes you more egalitarian.”
  5. Pornography has many benefits and few drawbacks.”

Oh, and do you think that only religious conservatives have concerns about pornography? Gary Wilson is an atheist.

5. Collective Shout

While the CESE Summit featured heart-wrenching stories about victims of sexual exploitation, it also featured inspiring stories of grassroots activism making a difference, especially when directed at corporations. Among the speakers at the Summit was Australian writer Melinda Tankard Reist, whose organization is described this way:

Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls.

Collective Shout is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas about women and girls, sexuality and relationships.

One of the best stories was about a protest against Mossimo, a clothing store that ran an online competition it called “Peepshow,” inviting ordinary women to send in pictures of themselves in their underwear. A prize was offered for the person whose photo got the most votes. Instead of a picture in her underwear, one woman submitted a picture of herself holding a sign that said, “Mossimo Peepshow = Sexist Rubbish.” Collective Shout got enough people to vote for this entry that it actually won the competition!

Reist also has a personal website, and the book she edited, Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls, is available on Amazon.

6. U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking

According to their website:

The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking intends to eliminate Human Trafficking in the United States.

We will end Human Trafficking in the United States through prevention, combating demand, the rescue of victims, and providing safe refuge for the restoration of survivors.

USIAHT is one of a number of organizations that bluntly describe sex trafficking as slavery:

Sex Trafficking is modern day slavery, happening everywhere in the United States.  The victims can be U.S. citizens or of any nationality, age, socioeconomic status, or gender. Sex Trafficking is a highly profitable crime that exploits an adult through force, fraud, or coercion, or that engages a child in any form of commercial sexual exploitation.

Geoff Rogers of USIAHT was a speaker at the CESE Summit, and one of only a few who explained that men and boys can be victims of sexual exploitation, too.

I would note that USIAHT’s name and a glance at their home page may give the impression that it is a federal government agency, but this is not the case. USIAHT is “a nonprofit, faith-based organization anointed by God to fight against human trafficking in America with truth and integrity, showing the love of Jesus Christ to all involved.”

FRC Resources to Combat the Extreme Sex Ed Agenda in Schools

by Family Research Council

April 9, 2018

On April 23, 2018, students across America and in other countries will participate in the Sex Ed Sit Out. Here are some resources from FRC that illustrate the reality of what is being taught regarding sexuality in schools and what parents and students can do to combat the extreme and perverted sexual ideology that is being pushed on children in the classroom.

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