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April 04, 2016

Commentary: Tenn. 'Sex Week' Starts; 'Porn Hazard' Bill Looms

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Wow! Has it been a year already since the University of Tennessee-Knoxville had its last Sex Week? Must be, because Sex Week 2016 started today, with kick-off events including such seminars as "Tinder Lovin' Care,"  "Drag Theory," "Famous Feminists," "Sexual Selections: Gender and Sexuality in Nature," "Sex Trivia and Pizza" (held at dinnertime, natch!) and for the later evening, "Let's Talk About Sex, UT." Of course, if there's one thing many Tennessee politicians don't want, it's anyone talking about sex at UT! "The content is horrifically disturbing," State Rep. Kevin Brooks told reactionary right-wing activist Todd Starnes. "The fact that we are using state dollars and state classrooms on state campuses to promote UT Sex Week is unforgiveable." And since "Sex Trivia and Pizza," among several other events, is "funded in part through the Student Programming Allocation Committee," State Rep. Micah Van Huss has figured out a way to fuck them (not literally, of course): cut off those funds! "These are taxpayer dollars, taxpayer funds," Van Huss told Starnes. "Frankly, [Sex Week] doesn’t represent the values of my constituents and the majority of Tennesseans." Yeah, education has never been a big draw among some segments of Tennessee's population—but the students themselves are jazzed (again, not literally) about it. Concepts being dealt with during Sex Week include openmindedness, inclusivity, interdisplinarity, sex positivity, growth and development and transparency. Some of the seminars offered during the week which reflect these concepts include "On My Own Terms: Abstinence and Virginity," "Religion and Sexuality," "FTM: Scouting the Unknown," "I Woke Up Like This: Body Image Workshop," "How To Drive a Vulva," "Butt Stuff" and "Straight Edge: Power and Pleasure." "These events are critically important and were chosen based on an overwhelming number of requests from the UT student body, whose feedback we rely heavily upon in selecting our events," said one of Sex Week's organizers. And although two of the seminars will be led by Sophia St. James, a former porn star who worked mostly for Trouble Films, there's a conspicuous lack of discussion of porn films, the lone exception perhaps being "Netflix and Chill: College Relationships Workshop." Of course, that might be because, thanks to the tireless effort of our friends at Morality in Media the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, the Tennessee legislature may soon copy Utah in passing Tennessee Senate Joint Resolution 705, headed, "A RESOLUTION to recognize pornography as a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms." Although the proposed Tennessee bill tracks almost exactly the language of the bill signed by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert late last month, there's a curious thing about the Tennessee bill: It apparently doesn't exist, even though MiM NCOSE touted it in its most recent email. But have no fear; Tennessee's legislative website may simply be a few days behind the times in noting the existence of the Resolution—and if we know MiM NCOSE, it won't be long before the Resolution is introduced, if it hasn't been already... because after all, this is TENNESSEE we're talking about!

 
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