The Sexual Freedom Project: Let’s Talk About Sex

We are taking a second look at this video which asked a lot of basic questions. Many of you contacted us privately with your answers, and often with questions as well. So what do you think?

Who taught you about sex? Were you able to talk with your parents about it? Do parents have realistic expectations about the sexual activities of their children?

How does a person know when they’re mature enough to begin having sex? How can we ensure that young people have the relevant facts they need to make the best decisions about their sexual behaviors?What role does the Internet play in sexual education today?

Does more sexual information equate to more sexual freedom?

Let’s hear your voice. Make a video, write a poem, song, or an essay — or even create an original work of art — and express your thoughts on these topics. If we feature your contribution on the site, we will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt to thank you.

More videos.

A hypocrite the Boy Scouts can love

New Boy Scouts President Robert Gates: ‘I Would Have Supported Having Gay Scoutmasters’

Despite media to the contrary, Robert Gates, the Bush and Obama Administration, Defense Secretary, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans) insiders didn’t view him as a true friend helping to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”. He had no problem accepting any and all kudos that may have come his way, however. By now mention of active duty troops and veterans who had to endure nearly 3 extra years of discrimination under Gates, until he finally relented and put a freeze on dismissals. has been dutifully scrubbed from his biography.

But Gates’s latest demonstration of his underlying hypocrisy is revealed by his first public address as the newly appointed President of the Boy Scouts. He actually said . . .

Robert Gates (WikiCommons)

Robert Gates

A year ago, this meeting saw a respectful and civil debate over membership policy. In a democratic process, a strong majority of the volunteer leadership of this movement from all across the nation voted to welcome gay youth into scouting. In all candor, I would have supported going further, as I did in opening the way for gays to serve in CIA and in the military. […]

[…] Given the strong feelings — the passion — involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to re-open the membership issue or try to take last year’s decision to the next step would irreparably fracture or perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement — with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own. That is just a fact of life, and who would pay the price for destroying the Boy Scouts of America? Millions of scouts today and scouts yet unborn. We must always put the kids and their interests first. Thus, during my time as president, I will oppose any effort to re-open this issue.


This is a classic, really. Few profiles in public cowardice are so flagrant. It is glaringly obvious now: he was hired exactly because he wouldn’t bring needed change. Due to public pressure, the Boy Scouts had to reverse its discriminatory practice of throwing out young boys because they were gay. The next obvious step was to stop discriminating against scout leaders (often former scouts themselves) by throwing them out because they were gay.

A May 2013 ABC poll found that 56 percent of Americans oppose the organization’s “intention to continue to ban gay adults.”

By not taking this step, the Scouts are further discriminating against gay youth by demonstrating, in fact, that being gay is a bad thing, and that these young gay Scouts shouldn’t need positive adult role models, who happen to be gay. Hypocrisy writ large that will endure through Boy Scout President Gates 2-year term unless we ramp up pressure and right this wrong.

If you can, support and work with organizations such as Scouts for Equality, who, along with more than 1.8 million petition signers have called on the Boy Scouts to end its anti-LGBT practices.



Trevor Project Working for a Better Future for All Youth

The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 by the creators of the film “Trevor“: James Lecense, Peggy Rajeskim and Randy Stone. The Academy Award-winning film is about a young boy dealing with being bullied while undergoing self-discovery about his sexual identity. The three creators soon found out that there was little (if any) support for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth facing the same types of crisis as Trevor. In response to this, the filmmakers founded The Trevor Project., now a leader  in providing crises intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT youth.

TREVORSPACE is the largest online network of LGTBQ youth with over 45,000 members in 138 countries. The community continues to grow with  over 1,000 new people joining every month. AskTrevor is a non-emergency Q&A platform which receives about 200 letters per month. Trevor also offers online counseling and the suicide prevention hotline, Trevor Lifeline, which has received 200,000 calls since its’ inception. Lifeline handles on average 100 calls a day, 2,900 calls a month, 35,000 calls per year. Trevorchat is a live chat geared towards depressed or suicidal youth and it serves 6000 youths a year.  If you feel depressed or suicidal (or know a friend or family member who is) please do not hesitate to call the Lifeline at 866-488-7386. Trevor Project’s Senior Education Manager Nathan Belyeu took time recently to talk to VenusPlusX.            

Why do you think there is so little political discourse on LGBTQ youth?

Belyeu: This is a really interesting question. Current research has shown that LGBTQ people are starting to come out younger than they once did. Organizations such as The Trevor Project are working hard along with our partners to increase awareness and understanding regarding the LGBTQ youth community and make sure that our youth’s voices are heard by our elected representatives.

Why is suicide among LGBTQ youth increasing?

Belyeu: Suicide is a very complex issue. Only 60% of all youth in the U.S. who need mental health care actually get it. When we talk specifically about LGBTQ youth, they often face additional stressors which place them at increased risk for suicide including issues related to coming out, bias, and victimization on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and a lack of supportive communities.

When you add the influence of stressors like prejudice, fear, and hate to things that affect all youth, such as lack of access to appropriate mental health care and resources, LGBTQ youth are at an increased risk for suicide attempts. This is why The Trevor Project offers crisis intervention services that are accessible 24/7 (The Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386); instant messaging with a counselor through TrevorChat; a social networking community for LGBTQ youth (; education programs that teach both students and adults how to help recognize warning signs and help a person get the help they need (Trevor Lifeguard and CARE workshops); and, so much more.

How are the public schools systems dealing with LGBTQ youth Are they even equipped to handle the subject?

Belyeu: Many schools across the country are providing support to LGBTQ youth through staff education and training, education for students regarding LGBTQ issues, and by creating supportive spaces and groups for LGBTQ students and their allies. A large percentage of our schools across the country, however, still have a lot of work to do to create spaces that are supportive and safe for all students to learn and reach their educational goals. The Trevor Project provides a variety of resources for school administrators and staff including direct education for staff and students, the Trevor Lifeguard and CARE workshops, as well as resources which can be requested from our website

Have popular shows such as Glee and United States of Tara been effective in bringing LGBTQ issues into the mainstream?

Belyeu: We know from research that having positive role models and positive media representations of LGBTQ people and allies helps create a broader awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people and the community as a whole.

There are so many youths that end up homeless once they come out to their parents. What programs are there for these youths?

Belyeu: Homelessness is most certainly a problem for many LGBTQ young people. Many cities across the country are starting to understand the special needs of LGBTQ youth and are responding by providing resources for shelters that are inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ young people. Organizations like Trevor: Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) and the Family Acceptance Project  are working hard to assist families in the process of being accepting and supportive of their LGBTQ youth, hopefully decreasing the amount of LGBTQ young people who end up homeless nationwide.

What types of support groups would you like to see established in local communities?

Belyeu: The Trevor Project is working hard to provide resources for LGBTQ young people nationwide through our services, but it is very important that resources and support services exist locally, where youth can access them and can feel accepted at home. One form that this often takes is GSAs (Gay Straight Alliances) in schools and universities. In locations where schools are not providing this type of support network, many LGBTQ and allied adults are successfully starting youth support groups to provide safe and affirmative places.

How can our readers support the Trevor Project?

Belyeu: There are a variety of ways, including volunteer opportunities that you can participate in to help LGBTQ youth nationwide and in your local community; events that you can attend to support our mission and goals; as well as various ways to support our work financially. To learn more about how to be engaged visit our website: .

Do you think that campaigns such as “It Gets Better” are effective?

Belyeu: When paired with other resources such as those provided by The Trevor Project and other organizations, programs and campaigns like these can certainly be part of a holistic approach to increase awareness and visibility regarding LGBTQ youth and the unique issues they face. It Gets Better is also an excellent way to showcase the unique strength and resiliency within the LGBTQ community.

What type of future do you hope for in regards to LGBTQ youth? Do you think it is reachable within today’s generation?

Belyeu: I really love The Trevor Project’s Vision Statement, “A future where the possibilities, opportunities, and dreams are the same for all youth, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.” Every day the staff and volunteers at The Trevor Project are working hard to make sure that vision becomes a reality by saving lives, building community, and changing society and culture so that all youth have a bright future.



Carrying Condoms Not Only Makes You A Slut, but also a Prostitute

Initiatives in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., allow the police to search and arrest women carrying three or more condoms late at night under prostitution charges.

So a woman carrying a few condoms can be arrested under the suspicion of being a prostitute? Does this profiling sound familiar? It’s just like the stigmatization that teen girls who carry even one condom receive from their peers whether or not she planned to use it: if a girl carries condoms, she’s automatically a “slut.” This is called “slut shamming,” or as a 13-year-old girl describes it in her video, Slut Shamming and Why it’s Wrong, “the act of degrading or mocking a woman because she dresses in tight or revealing clothing, enjoys sex, has a lot of sex, or is rumored to be sexually active.” Furthermore, slut shaming makes a woman or girl feel guilty or inferior for being sexually active, having multiple sex partners, or acting or dressing in a way that is deemed excessively sexual.

You might recall a popular example of slut shamming in recent media when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute on air for advocating for contraception coverage and women’s health. This type of unwarranted labeling steers teen girls away from carrying condoms to avoid being labeled a “slut.” Likewise, these initiatives will steer women, sex worker or not, away from carrying condoms to avoid being labeled a prostitute and arrested. In the case of actual sex workers, trying to protect themselves from arrest forces them to participate in unprotected sex, increasing the spread of STD/STIs among sex workers, their clients, and the general public at large.

How can we fight gender discrimination and the stigmatization of teen girls carrying condoms when the government is legally allowed to do the same to women carrying condoms? How can we encourage our female youth to protect their sexual health while condemning the sexuality of women sex workers and dooming their sexual health? How can we convince boys that slut shaming is wrong when it is legal? These laws are asinine and need to be stopped. If a 13-year-old knows better, then there is no excuse for the government and the police department to support this type of sexist profiling.

Activists at the SlutWalk NYC in October 2011. SlutWalk is a worldwide movement, originating in Toronto Canada, working to challenge mindsets and stereotypes of American society that blames the victim or survivor in sexual assault cases and slut shaming.


Slutwalks are taking place all over the world for the second year to address these specious attacks on sexual freedom at the grassroots, including tomorrow in D.C.

Creative Commons Image by: David Shankbone



Why Should Men Control Women’s Sexual Health? It’s Time for Women and Girls to “Take Control”

Philadelphia teens, no matter what gender, need to truly understand that condoms are one of the best ways to prevent the spread of STDs and that stereotypes should NOT keep them from protecting their sexual health.

The Philadelphia Health Department launches a safe sex campaign called “She Takes Control” that promotes female empowerment and responsibility by encouraging female youth to carry condoms. Pennsylvania is one of the many states in the U.S. that suffers from high rates of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) among teenagers — they are as much as five times the national average. STDs are increasingly prevalent in Philadelphia and Philadelphia County, with 1 out of 3 youth getting an STD during their teen years. In fact, PA ranked seventh highest among the 50 states in 2008 for AIDS cases. While many states and cities focus on sex education in public schools as solutions to STDs and unwanted teenage pregnancies, the Philadelphia Health Department (PHD) decided to take a separate route: a safe sex campaign targeting young females.

The new campaign, “She Takes Control,” follows an earlier campaign, “Take Control Philly,” launched last April. The later program gives free condoms to teenagers between the ages of 11 and 19 through 160 distributions sites and a mail-order program. However, only 22% of the mail orders came from females. According to Dr. Caroline Johnson, director of the Department of Public Health’s Division of Disease Control, this disparity was because “Adolescent boys were much more interested and accepting of these condoms.”

Why were boys more receptive than girls? Well, that is because of the stereotype of carrying condoms means that someone is loose or sexually promiscuous, especially when it comes to females. Generally, American youth find males who carry condoms to be much more acceptable than females who carry condoms, labeling the males as “studs” and the females as “sluts.”  Unfortunately, society has taught youth that it is okay for males to be sexually promiscuous as a demonstration of their manhood, while women are supposed to fight back the advances of males and remain “pure” and “innocent.” Many describe this attitude as the “sexual double standard.”

This attitude is what “She Takes Control” is trying to counter. It is already bad enough that only 60% of Philadelphia boys are using condoms the first time they have sex, 20% lower than that national average. With the new campaign providing free condoms, and its website listing info because of stereotypes, fear, or stigma. For in the end, the ridicule of having an STD or becoming a teenage mother is far worse than being teased for carrying a condom and being a sexually responsible individual.

With the campaign providing free condoms and its website listing information about STDs (how to use condoms, where to get condoms, and about testing and treatments), and offering resources for parents about how to talk to their kids about sex, hopefully Philadelphia will see an increase in female youth carrying condoms and taking control of their sexual health. Women and girls should NOT depend on their male partners to carry condoms. Nor should they let men or boys decide the fate of their sexual health through unprotected sex by trusting that these guys get tested regularly and are free of any STDs. All teens need to respect their bodies and take care of their sexual health, regardless of what others might think of them, or their sexual health, regardless of what others might think of them, or because of stereotypes, fear, or stigma. For in the end, the ridicule of having an STD or becoming a teenage mother is far worse than being teased for carrying a condom and being a sexually responsible individual.

Collective Commons Image by: Jo Jakeman on Flickr
Image By Superstylo via Wikimedia Commons


The Sexual Freedom Project: SMYAL

(También en Español)

Have you heard of the Sexual Minority Youth Assistance League (SMYAL) in Washington, DC? Issues of homelessness, employment, and access to medical and mental health services inordinately affect LGBT youth, in particular transgender youth, and SMYAL is a model for other programs across the country.

Does your community have something similar? If not, the folks at SMYAL can help you get started.

Leave a comment and let us know what you think, or make your own video or blog to share. We will send you a free VenusPlusX t-shirt or slap bracelet to thank you.

Video edited by Tiye Massey.