Carol Queen

Photo Credit: Alyssa Creagh | Daily Texan Staff

Humpday

“Sex-positive” is a term that celebrates our sexualities, passions and private parts. Dr. Carol Queen, sociologist, sexologist, pleasure activist, founding director of Center for Sex & Culture and author of life-changing books such as “Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture,” defines the term as follows:

“It’s the cultural philosophy that understands sexuality as a potentially positive force in one’s life, and it can, of course, be contrasted with sex-negativity, which sees sex as problematic, disruptive, dangerous.”

Sex-positivity is the affirmation and understanding that every individual has the right to express his or her sexuality in the way that incorporates his or her personal values and desires. With whom, where, why, how and when an individual chooses to engage in sexual activity does not make one person’s sex more “right” or “moral” than another’s sex as long as all parties involved have consented to the sexual adventures at hand. Whether it’s on the couch, in a plane, with multiple partners or in a bathtub full of Skittles, those are sexual decisions everyone is entitled to make with his or her sexual partners.

When we begin to realize the meaning of sexuality and the impact incorporating sex-positive thinking in our lives can have, we understand how important education and open discussions are to fostering equal rights for all individuals, regardless of their sexual preferences.

Even in conservative Texas, Austin made news last Thursday when the City Council became the first group of city leaders in Texas to support same-sex marriage.

“Texas is not different than the rest of the country in terms of its evolution on the freedom to marry,” Chuck Smith, interim director of Equality Texas, told Raw Story.

Earlier in September, the city of Berkeley, Calif., officially declared Sept. 23 Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day, becoming one of the first cities in the nation to do so.

“Increasing bisexual visibility is a way of saying, yes, they do exist, and they deserve our support and acceptance,” Berkeley councilman Kriss Worthington, who introduced the resolution, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

When it comes to bullying in our education system, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network released a report Sept. 5 that found that eight out of 10 LGBTQ students experience harassment but that support programs in schools are making a difference. As communities become more accepting of gender-variant youth, they can foster an understanding society that celebrates its differences.

Evidence of progress for the acceptance of the LGBTQ community comes from Rutgers University as well. Two years ago, Rutgers University received national criticism after student Tyler Clementi, who was gay, died by suicide days after his roommate secretly broadcasted a sexual encounter Clementi had with another man. Although the incident was tragic, Rutgers now offers specialized housing options and trained faculty support.

In the past few years, the nation has also seen impressive recognition of LGBTQ rights in public policy. For example, last week U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced same-sex relationships will be recognized as family relationships in immigration proceedings.

“No one should have to choose between their spouse and their country, and no family should be left out of the immigration system,” California Congressman Michael Honda told NBC News.

Although we may have pride days for different sexual orientations and we fight for marriage equality, at the end of the day, we do it because we are all humans who deserve equal rights and respect. Through education, open discussions and sex-positive mindsets, we can celebrate, as Queen said, “sexual diversity, differing desires and relationship structures and individual choices based on consent.”

Printed on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 as: Leaders foster sex-positivity