Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, 1987 (The Washington Post)
California has long been one of the most progressive states in the union, fearlessly blazing a trail where other states dare not tread.
OK, maybe I’m biased because I live here.
But California is about to do something (else) no other state has done: require teaching LGBT history in public schools.
Granted, this isn’t a complete shock. Last year, the state voted to pass a new curriculum for history and social studies where children will learn about LGBT history at various points during K-12 schooling. Topics will range from learning about diverse families in elementary school to historical nuts-and-bolts in high school.
(Side note: A public forum was held in 2015 regarding the new curriculum. While there were disagreements over how some religious groups were portrayed, “no one protested the inclusion of the history of LGBT rights.” Progress!)
This measure comes after the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful Act (FAIR) Education Act was passed in 2012. This act bolstered the inclusion of minority groups (including the LGBT community) in public education on history. The deadline to include this new information in textbooks was this year.
With California leading the way, I hope other states will follow suit in teaching inclusive history to their students.
Last year, the New York City council voted in favor of providing free tampons and pads to women in public schools, shelters and correctional facilities. The measure passed unanimously, and the program will be the first of its kind.
It’s expected that the city will spend $2.4M for menstrual supplies across the public facilities. Within shelters, an estimated “2 million tampons and 3.5 million pads” will be distributed for the 23K women, costing $540K annually.
Dispensers will be installed in the girls’ bathrooms at 800 schools, reaching 300,000 students at an initial cost of $3.7 million and $1.9 million annually thereafter.
The bill was created by New York City Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. Regarding why the bill was important, Ferreras-Copeland said, “Menstrual hygiene products are as necessary as toilet paper and should be treated as basic bathroom supplies.”
There’s also the fact that menstrual products are a necessary expense for women of childbearing age. This expense, which has been dubbed the “tampon tax” (though it refers to all types of menstrual products), takes a chunk (around $100 per year) out of women’s already diminished paychecks. Lately, there’s been some pushback on this price of being female-bodied: Last year, five women sued the state of New York to abolish the tampon tax.
No word on when the bill will become law, and the program can begin.
Much has been made of the college hook-up culture over the last decade. Women (and men) seem to be divided over whether college women should, or shouldn’t, be hooking up as much as they do. Or maybe it’s hooking up more than they do. Either way, everyone has an opinion.
But what actually influences likelihood of college women’s hookups? Luckily, there’s an answer. In 2013, the Miriam Hospital’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown University surveyed 483 college freshmen women and followed up monthly with each one for eight months. The questions encompassed a wide range of behaviors that could be noteworthy:
Specific questions covered the students’ sexual behavior, hookup attitudes and intentions, self-esteem, religious beliefs, parents’ relationship status, alcohol and marijuana use, smoking, impulsivity and sensation-seeking behavior.
The study turned up two important findings. The first was that women who had hooked up prior to college were most likely to continue hooking up during college. This makes sense, as it used previous behavior patterns to predict future behavior patterns.
Another significant finding determined that marijuana usage as an accurate indicator of hookup proclivities. Researcher Robyn L. Fielder believes that this is “the first study to explore marijuana use as a predictor of hooking up.” In context of what the plant is capable of, this makes sense: Marijuana has been linked to “risky sexual behavior, impairing judgment and reducing inhibitions.”
The results were published in the “Archives of Sexual Behavior.”
For those who are thinking (or planning on) making a career in the study of sexuality and would like to go the academic route, there are some schools which offer programs geared towards the subject. Several schools have undergrad courses and certifications, but there are also some graduate programs in which one can get a master’s or a Ph.D. degree.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a general smattering of the options out there.