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    In my book of dreams

    Planned Parenthood is not an organization toward which I feel any loyalty. I can understand why religiously devout people would object to a good deal of what it represents. But Nathan quotes a Suzanne Vega-lookalike rock critic who provides an object lesson on why so many gay and lesbian people regard even well-meaning conservative Christians as nut cases. Here’s how Dawn Eden summarizes the Planned Parenthood GLBTXYZPDQ page she links:

    “Find “lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender” sex partners online.

    “Let me repeat that.

    “If you or someone you know is sending money to Planned Parenthood, that money is going to some adult sitting at a computer, who writes detailed instructions for underage teenagers on how to pick up lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender sex partners online.

    “I would be offended if they were inviting 14-year-olds to meet heterosexual sex partners online. But the thought of this organization, which claims to be protecting teenagers, instead inviting them to meet sexual predators who may steer them into homosexuality at a time when they are most impressionable, is truly disgusting.”

    Being a trusting sort–I really have to cut that out–I was expecting a page full of lascivious detail about safe sex techniques and how to get around having your parents find out you’re a dyke or poofter. Such a thing wouldn’t surprise me, when there are educators who seem to think that elementary school students need to be taught fisting.

    But, um, unless I missed something, the linked page assumes you’ll be working overtime to screen out lecherous 45-year-olds and having a chaste first date with another high school sophomore over Cokes at Chick-fil-A. Half the page is devoted to obsessing over the inability to verify that on-line correspondents are who they say they are–with good reason, of course.

    There is a line that gives instructions “in case things don’t go as you hope and you want to make an early exit,” and while I wouldn’t exactly be floored if Planned Parenthood types just used that as the most explicit reference to potential sex they dared include, it could refer to nothing more than not banking on a ride home from a blind date. In any case, neither it nor anything else I could see qualifies as “detailed instructions for underage teenagers on how to pick up lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender sex partners online” as any thinking person understands the phrasing.

    I don’t believe, needless to say, in encouraging teenagers to disobey their parents. Where I grew up, “You can do what you want when you’re eighteen, but while you’re living under my roof, you’ll do what I say” was the rule, and unless the household is abusive, I think it’s a good one. But teenage is when children are, if anything, most susceptible to the idea that they should fit in with their friends at any cost. The idea that being “impressionable” is the only reason a sixteen-year-old would be looking for a same-sex date simply doesn’t pass the smell test, however comforting it may be to people who cherish the belief that we’re all fixable.

    5 Responses to “In my book of dreams”

    1. Nathan says:

      We are all nutcases…didn’t you know?
      Nah, in all seriousness, we come down on different sides of the line on this one. What you probably see as an understandable admission that “kids are going to do what kids are going to do, so you may as well try to make a website that teaches them how to do it safely cool enough to attract attention”, to me and Dawn and people like us, it seems like an assumption that human nature is not subject to restriction, or admonition, or alteration.
      The point is, a website for teens really shouldn’t be doing anything to encourage/entice them into increasing their sexual activity. As Dawn points out, the site also has articles on how to overcome performance anxiety…
      You can focus on the gay teenager aspect. I’m looking at the thing as a whole and feeling like they clearly crossed the line from “making sure they have safe sex” to “making sure they have sex”. I don’t like it much.

    2. Sean says:

      Actually, Nathan, I think the it’s-going-to-happen-anyway argument is ridiculous. It may be a fact that teen sex can’t be eliminated, but that isn’t an argument for facilitating it or portraying it as consequence-free.
      My point was not that Ms. Dawn shouldn’t be complaining about Planned Parenthood’s approach to teen sex; it was only that reflexively painting gay sex as pedophilic predation, in the process of linking to a site that says about 100 times that you need to make sure you’re in contact with someone who really is your own age, may suit her view of the world but stands in direct conflict with what she links to.

    3. Nathan says:

      Okay, that’s fair.
      I don’t think that’s all she was saying…but I can see that there’s room for you to call her on overreacting to that aspect. Probably a perspectual difference.

    4. Dawn Eden says:

      Who dares interrupt me from crooning a second encore of “Luka” to a rain-soaked crowd at the Nantucket Folk Festival?
      I agree with Nathan that it is a difference of perspective. Sean, I understand your ire, but to me, no matter how many qualifications Teenwire puts onto their site, they’re still encouraging teens to meet people in extremely risky ways. More to the point, I believe that there is never, ever any excuse to encourage young teens of any sexual preference to seek out sex partners–nor is there any excuse to advise them on ways to do so, on the assumption that they’ll do it anyway. It’s just not right.
      I didn’t see any age limit on that site–it’s just Teenwire. A child as young as 13 may assume Teenwire’s hookup advice is meant for them. That’s wrong.

    5. Sean says:

      I’d keep my trap shut and listen in rapture if you just sang “Men in a War”….
      Anyway, yeah, on the topic of the push of the site overall, perhaps I’m drawing too easy a distinction between “Here’s how to date” and “Here’s how to get some.” I grew up in a super-conservative Christian sect in which it was simply assumed that Planned Parenthood et al, was pushing sexual liberation through birth control, so I just see a page on performance anxiety for ninth-graders and figure, Well, *duh*. Not that it isn’t wrong, only that I can’t imagine mustering surprise over it. But my upbringing was weird, I’ve spent my adult life abroad (in a city that’s a teen-sex basket case, BTW), and I’m not a parent. Maybe most people really don’t know what it means when their thirteen-year-old is reading a website sponsored by Planned Parenthood.