I’ve been at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexology the past four days. It was held this year in San Juan, Puerto Rico (and yes, it was beautiful and warm!)
The theme of the conference this year was about cultural influences on our sexuality. I learned more about such issues as gay and lesbian youth, how the internet is changing sexual attitudes and behaviors, how to adopt harm reduction for university policy, and how HIV was reduced in Uganda. I enjoyed seeing friends and colleagues, and took the last afternoon to visit the rainforest with friends.
I deliberately didn’t watch the news for a few days. I needed to get away from the election news cycle for a few days, but I’m ready to get back. I did hear that President elect Obama is willing to overturn as many as 200 of President Bush’s executive orders, and I’m hoping he starts with repealing bans on stem cells, the gag rule and don’t ask, don’t tell.
The pictures of Obama and Bush at the White House on Monday thrilled me – but I am still heart sick over the anti-gay votes. I can’t help but wonder if it might not have gone differently if those progressive religious leaders whose mantra was “moral values don’t mean abortion or gay marriage” hadn’t worked so hard to obtain white evangelical votes. (And the last data I saw showed that didn’t work – 73% of white evangelicals voted Republican.)
I keep thinking about that scene in the Book of Exodus that is told during the Seder. God reprimands the Israelites for celebrating as the Egyptians perish in the Red Sea: “How can you celebrate when some of my creatures are suffering?” Indeed. It's past time for my colleagues who call themselves progressive to stop talking about the "wedge issues of abortion and gay marriage" and stand up for the rights of women and LGBT people.