The Westminster Village is alive with the sound of resignation calls – as usual. This time it is the resignation of Lord Rennard, who allegedly sexually harassed women Liberal Democrats.
I have a simple view on this:
- All forms of sexual activity should be between two adults on the basis of informed consent
- Informed consent should be seen to not exist where one of the parties has a superior relationship to the others, or otherwise where one of the parties see the other in a position of authority or trust.
I was sexually assaulted at school, and it has had lasting effect. In one instance a teenage man touched me in a way he shouldn’t have, but with my ‘consent.’ He volunteered for St John’s Ambulance, and I had been convinced he was trying to “help me.” When I had a problem I trusted him more than one of my school’s staff. As I was not at the age of consent then it is clear I could not give informed consent under the current law. And this person was in a position of authority which he used to take advantage of me.
I will now list some examples of where I draw the line in terms how I would expect to behave in certain circumstances:
- As a parliamentarian. I would not seek sexual relations with any of my staff – unless they were already a partner. Like what is alleged of Lord Rennard this would be an abuse of a position of trust and authority. However I would see no problem in seeking relations with any member of the public that is not connected with my parliamentary work. Many women go for men with power, and the parliamentarian-pleb ‘fantasy’ is no different to the ‘doctors and nurses’ one used by many from my point of view. One’s private life is separate from one’s public life, and so long as the other person has given informed consent and does not feel pressurised (e.g. if they initiate the relations) then it is no one else’s business.
- As a lecturer. I would never seek sexual relations with one of my students, however seductive they are. It would be totally unfair to put a student in a position where they might feel compelled to act a certain way, such as with coursework. It does not mean I wouldn’t have relations with them after the completed their studies.
- Sixth form teacher. As with being a lecturer I wouldn’t have relations with a 16-19 year old sixth form student because of the pressure this would put on them and me (like depicted in Top Gun). I would not even have relations with them following them finishing the school as this could be considered grooming. Whether I would have relations decades later I don’t know.
Would the public really want their elected representatives to have no sex life? I think not, and suspect many would get a kick from having a “million dollar lay” as Robbie Williams put it!:
I can remember the 2007 Welsh Assembly election where at the Pontypridd hustings where the candidates were being asked their opinions one of the audience asked about sex education. Everyone on the panel thought it was a good idea, but not of them knew who was “going to do it“!
I always try these days to be amoral – that is; to not base my opinions on things people should ideally be, but working from the way things are. As a species we haven’t changed in 200,000 years and it is unlikely we will change. Expecting other people to be good – somehow not applying the same rules to ourselves – we are doing one another a huge disservice.
Anyone with children, or nieces and nephews as I have, know that these children think ‘being bad’ is cool. Most humans never grow out of this. So that is why morality, the teaching of good and bad, shouldn’t make it into sex education. Anything that is bad, to children, will become good and desirable.
So, instead, we need to collectively, through redesigning our environment, promote the behaviours we think help support our rights, whilst discouraging the behaviours that inhibit our rights. This needs to be done through incentives and disincentives, rather than through punishment and making people feel like outcasts.
So in terms of sex education this would mean not teaching whether some sexual behaviours are good and others are bad, but the risks, benefits and consequences. Many people might think that it is ‘wrong’ for women to be allowed to pose for magazines. But men will never change, whether it is cave paintings or dirty stories around the camp fire, or even magazines like those above! Men who are interested in women will always be interested in the sexual side of women and all modern media is doing is satisfying the market for those wants.
Equally, anyone who knows anything about children will tell you that are are always rebelling against their past. Even when they are two, they will get upset if they are called a baby, and they take pride in being better than they were a year ago. This is how sex education needs to change – to be based on helping the individual be better than people a year young than them and better than their parents were.
Ideally, from an socio-economic point of view, it would probably be best if people were not put in a position of having sex until they are mature enough to raise a child, which would be the ability to give ‘sexual consent’, which may not be based on an arbitrary age. That is not a moral statement, as it is not saying people shouldn’t have sex at a certain age, but that their human right to found a family carries with it the responsibility to support and provide guidance to the child that may be brought into that family.
So sex education might work as follows:
- Foundation education: Told how men and women can come together to have children, and how others can have them through IVF, surrogacy and adoption. The happy family factor.
- Primary education: Told about some of the unwanted problems that can come from sex: AIDS and other STDs, etc. Speaking about times of disease, and deaths at birth, like in the Middle Ages. Explaining they should shout, “STRANGER! STRANGER!” if someone tries to touch them “down below”. The ‘urghh’ factor.
- Early Secondary: Told about seduction and deception, such as how people can be open to rape, sex abuse, how boys can try to force girls to have sex for their own gratification only, and how girls can trick boys into having sex so they can have a baby and a house. The fear factor.
- Mid Secondary: Told about the economics of founding a family. Such as the costs of raising a child, paying bills, childcare, organising parties, and importantly, everything they have to give up in terms of time being with friends, going to parties and having fun. The Me Me Me first factor.
- Late Secondary: Asking them to reflect on the sexual experiences they had during school and what they think they have learned from it to take forward into the future, such as at university where there will be more opportunities for sexual relations. The ‘been there and done that’ factor.
Some of the things in the above list people mind find offensive. But if you drop your morality, you will see that what I am saying is the reality. Young people are going to have sex and they are going to want to even more if they think it is part of a counter-culture to their parents’ and teachers’ generations. If were honest, one of the best ways to put young people off sex is for older people to say how much they enjoy it, so that is grosses them out to they extent they don’t want it. The trouble with this approach, of making sex seem disgusting in all cases, is that it might lead to greater sexual health problems than it would prevent, leaving young people with a psychopathy that would not be uncommon among serial killers who go after prostitutes as their victims.
I read an article on the Good Men Project website about protests in Paris over equal marriage for same-sex couples.
I can’t understand why there should not be same-sex marriage. Surely it’s not the state’s businesses to tell any two people capable of giving informed consent what should and should not happen between them in any case?
If the state is going to have a system of marriage it should not discriminate against anyone. One citizen’s lifestyle choice should not have priority over another’s. If a church wants to recognise a marriage as ‘Holy’ it is down to them to apply these labels. But there should not be any legal basis for recognising their religious views on marriage above any other membership organisation that has customs and traditions that the state should not interfere with.
Whilst under EU law churches are not allowed to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation in terms of who can be a member of the church and the goods and services provided to them, it is possible for them to not recognise a state marriage as a marriage in the eyes of their ‘god.’
The right of members of a church to form a group that consists solely of people that are heterosexual is protected by Section 10 of the Equality Act 2006.
On this basis a church could give a group of heterosexuals the power to recognise a state marriage as one that exists in the eyes of their ‘god,’ as per Section 10 of the Equality Act 2006.
So essentially I agree with my best friend Mark, which is that the church should be separate from the state, and there should be a single state marriage which religions could recognise if they chose to. As he put it; when one gets married in a church that recognises one’s lifestyle choices in terms of a civil union, it should simply involve signing two forms – one for the state, and the second for the church.
As someone who did a joint honours degree, of which 50% was media studies, it offends me the way people will not accept that the word ‘gay’ does not always mean homosexual. Those people are bigots for thinking that homosexuals are the only gays in the village!
To demonstrate the many definitions of the word ‘gay,’ I will analyse some of Kylie Minogue’s videos.
At 0:52 Kylie and Robbie walking up the steps is gay (in a glamourous way). At 1:06 Robbie shaking himself behind Kylie is gay (in the homosexual way). At 1:14 all the partially dressed women imprisoned is gay (in an S&M kind of way). At 1:40 Kylie says, “The purpose of a woman’s to love her man,” which is gay (in a out-date gender role way). At 2:46 Robbie says, “You can’t just up an leave me, I’m a singer in a band,” which is gay (a pathetic reason). At 3:50 Robbie does a gesture when he says “Do I care for sodomy, yeah probably,” which is gay (in a andro-phillic kind of way!) Around 4:10 Kylie and Robbie appear naked in the pool, which is gay (in a showy way). At 4.32 the cork of the wine pops, which is gay (also in an andro-phillic way).
Can’t get you out of my head
At 0:00 Kylie in a very masculine car is gay (in a gender bending way). At 0:05 Kylie using a gear-stick like a phallus is gay (in a andro-phillic way). 0:35 Kylie saying, “Boy, you are all I think about” is gay (when homosexuals are listening). At 0:57 a man is behind kylie in a suggestive way, which is gay (in a typically homosexual way). At 1:25 Kylie shows her near perfect body, which is gay (in a showy and exotic way). At 1:45 and on are people with a plastic head shield, which is gay (in an uncool kind of way). At 2:35 Kylie is in a silver outfit which is gay (silver/metal being andro-phillic) and a rainbow appears, which is gay (a LGBT symbol).
At 0:10 a man with his arms up in shorts protruding his assets is gay (in a showy way). At 0:37 there is the one almost bare man walking over another and Kylie surround by bare men, which is gay (in a andro-phillic way). Through-out the video the men are touching and moving in a suggestive way, which is gay )in a homosexual kind of way).
I think I’ve covered most of the different ways in which the word ‘gay’ can be used. Knowing them, it should be possible to look at Kylie’s and other musicians videos to see the way they can be gay beyond, and sometimes including, the homosexual definition, which is overused. If a young person calls something ‘gay’ when older generations might say ‘lame,’ are they any more homophobic than the older generations are disablist?
The UK Government has announced that it is going to ban same sex marriage in Church in Wales and Church of England Churches according to the BBC.
The fact is equality law is at European level, though the European Convention on Human Rights and Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
I am an Anglican by confirmation, and if I wanted to marry a same-sex partner in an Anglican Church, having a Masters of Law in EU Law, I know the judges in the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union would side with me.
Article 12 of the ECHR says:
Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right.
The government might think this gives it a de facto opt-out of the ECHR, but they can think again.
Article 11 of the ECHR says:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. this article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.
On this basis forcing a sex-sex couple to assemble somewhere other than where they want to formally declare their association with someone as a marriage is unlawful. So if the government make same-sex marriage legal, it will be illegal for them to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in a Church that is willing to allow them to.
Article 8 of the EU Treaty says:
In all its activities, the Union shall aim to eliminate inequalities, and to promote equality, between men
As administering the law through the Court of Justice of the EU is part of the EU’s activities, then ensuring that a EU Citizen of one sex is able to assemble and associate with someone of the same sex as them on the same basis as someone of a different sex is a requirement of EU law.
Article 10 of the EU Treaty says:
In defining and implementing its policies and activities, the Union shall aim to combat discrimination
based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
Therefore if the United Kingdom tried to stop EU Citizens, including those from the UK, from getting married through an undertaking established in the European Union, such as a Church, then those citizens would have recourse to the European Union.
Article 19 of the EU Treaty gives government ministers across the EU the right to ban the less favourable treatment of same-sex couples by religious groups providing all the governments agree and the European Parliament has given its option and that opinion has been received and considered by the EU Council/
Without prejudice to the other provisions of the Treaties and within the limits of the powers
conferred by them upon the Union, the Council, acting unanimously in accordance with a special
legislative procedure and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, may take appropriate
action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or
Therefore, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the government to discriminate against same-sex couples. 100,000 years ago same-sex relationships and marriage-like unions were legal. Why should it not be now like it was then; where it was ‘each to his or her own?‘
It is commonly acceptable today to segregate those who identify with someone of the opposite sex to them 100% of the time from those who identify with the same sex or are undergoing a change of sex.
I would prefer the term ‘LGBT’ to change to Rainbow like it is becoming is Australasia. I think the terms LGBT goes against the ethos of the post-modernist era we’re in as we should all have our own personal labels for ourselves without having them imposed on us. I currently call myself a bi-curious gynasexual, because I’m mainly into women but my mind is still open to possibilities! The other night I was in a bar in Cardiff and experienced the fruits of 3 or 4 women – I can’t remember exactly! It was watching this video that convinced me I wanted want I needed, and I got more than was in the video!
The fact is sexuality and sexual orientation are different things. One’s sexuality could consist of all the different sexual orientations, which become active depending on the situation one finds oneself in and the impact of stimuli around one on oneself.
I find it cruel how many people whose sex/gender/sexual-orientation do not fit what they have been culturally conditioned to think is normal feel they have to have a ‘sex change’ in order to be happy. Watch the following video by Lady Gaga if you will.
I have a view that it is so wrong that someone who has a man’s mind in a woman’s body for instance feels they have to have invasive surgery just to please everyone else’s gender stereotypes when they should be able to be happy to be themselves in the sense described by Lady Gaga in this video.
This includes the ‘T’ for “Transsexual” in LGBT enforces that and even when “transgender” is used, it does not mean people whose sex is different from their gender, which should be acceptable, but people undergoing a transition. A labelling of organisation promoting equality in diversity of sexuality could be based on the ‘Raindow’ idea as it would accept that there are a spectrum of people who don’t neatly fit into one box or another, as I find LGBT too dated for today’s globally aware generations.
I was supposed to be at a conference this week presenting a paper on a piece of technology I created that can unblock pathways in the prefrontal cortex so improve people’s emotion recognition abilities. Instead I went to a strip joint to put it into practice and pilot my new ‘people continuum’.
It was interesting – it is like speed dating but where women have to go to the man’s table and try to bargain with him to see more of their body than the men bargaining with the women to go on a second date.
After I spent my budget, this Masters student came on to me, saying that she is funded for a PhD at Swansea University in developing robust face recognition algorithms which reduce the margin of error. She was coming on too strong and wouldn’t even accept £10 for a dance she wanted with me! Another person much better looking than her did a very revealing dance for that price!
I then told her my doctorate is looking at marketing (of software projects) and as soon as I said that she moved backwards. Thanks to my invention having worked on me I was able to read that as her not being interested and thinking less of me. Using my People Continuum she immediately moved me from either feeling important or needed, which would make me interested in her, and made me feel criticised and rejected which made me uninterested.
Yet she persisted even after I told her “how do you expect me to be interested when you did that body language?” She said she thought I was one of “those media types“, which was so funny, I told her I did a multimedia degree and worked as a multimedia analyst for five years!
She gave me my business card back that I gave her earlier and said she didn’t want anything to do with me. I don’t think she realised she was talking to one of the most accomplished human computer interaction researchers under the age of 36!
All in all I think such clubs are what single men addicted to their work like me need to feel desired and that so many women want them. Such clubs if used in moderation should mean that we don’t get bitter and will ‘know’ (i.e. feel is true) there will always be someone out there for us. On this basis such clubs improve single men’s respect for women and not seeing them as objects as others claim, because the people working there lawfully show that women exist who can make us feel important and needed, and the fact that there are so many women available this makes them feel important and needed when they win our cash off us and others – like the one on the PhD – don’t win our time and attention!
This article is amazing, something I agree with Owen Jones about! At the moment I describe myself as a bi-curious gynasexual. I am not interested in ‘the opposite sex’ as a sex preference but interested in women per se and also open minded.
When I told my sister I was dating a male school friend who I shared many of life’s challenges with, she said the family and i needed sit down and speak. I said to her “coming out is so gay”, as like Owen Jones says it shouldn’t be an issue and also like he says one should not have to self-describe as “gay” to accept one’s sexual identity, which might not want to involve spandex and g-strings!
I fear the scenario he presented where I’ll be asked, “How did you come out?” – I never have as no one knew what was going on inside my head until the Equality Act 2010 came into force and gave me the confidence to start to come to terms with what my psyche wanted to do, even if it was ego-dystonic and once made me attempt suicide because of this.
I am happier for accepting it as I no longer have to worry about “becoming gay” and losing my life long interest in women!
Even as the founder of The Trolling Academy, which promotes safety online, I found it hard to identify with the plight of Rhys and Ether Curnow who were targeted by flame trollers (‘Internet trolls target newlyweds‘, June 23).
The couple, part of the Campaign for Marriage (C4M) group, were attacked by trollers for trying to deny same-sex couples the same right to marriage that they have. One troller said they should “go and die in hell”. If Christianity is true, then based on the Romans 2 chapter of the Bible they will rot in hell as it says those who condemn homosexuals will be condemned themselves.
Flame trollers can currently be prosecuted under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003. This makes it unlawful to send messages which are “grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character.”
From my point of view the comments made by Mrs and Mr Curnow’s campaign that, “children do best with a married mother and a father” is grossly offensive. It is as offensive as saying children brought up in Black families are less intelligent than in White ones because one academic once said so, after using a culturally biased IQ test.
Their website says that equal rights to marriage would mean ‘people’s careers could be harmed’ is also grossly offensive, and I have reported their website to the police. That is like saying that if a business employs Black people that it will affect the careers of White people and is grossly offensive also.
From my point of view as a trolling expert, Mrs and Mr Curnow should not have expected anything less than ‘flame being fought with flame’ for these bigoted views they posted online.
As a scientist and egalitarian who is confirmed into the Anglican Church, I share its values of self-determination and self-help. But, I feel I must express my complete disgust at the “prepared response” of the unelected Bishops in that Church. They criticise the consultation on same-sex marriage and opposite-sex civil partnerships and wrongly claim the Bible teaches against homosexuality.
If you read the Bible through the eyes of the Equality Act 2010 it in fact instead teaches against sexism. Leviticus 18:22 says that one must not lay with a man as a woman. This does not condemn same-sex relations, in fact it says if one has a relationship with a woman, it would be discrimination if one expected her to have sexual relations with one the same way one might expect with a man.
Equally, in Romans 1 Saul, under the direction of Christ, using the pseudonym ‘Paul’, condemns men having relations with women the way they had begun to with men. But, in Romans 2 Christ changed his mind and told Saul that those who condemn others for sexual acts he did not want to identify with would be condemned themselves.
On this basis, any lawful sex act between people able to consent, regardless of the sex of those in that partnership that is condemned by the Church, equally means any lawful sexual act they perform is also condemned by Christ. If as some in the Church say that sexual relations and marriage are about raising children (Genesis 1:28), then why don’t they stop giving in to their sexual urges outside of “increasing in number”, like that condemned in Christ’s dictation to Saul (Romans 1:24-25)?