Posted 28th February, 2013
The Launch of the National Youth Policy was 27th February, 2013 at the Bliss, but the approval by cabinet was done on 8th January, 2013. This is important progress that should be credited to the Minister of Education Patrick Faber and his Minister of State Herman Longsworth. Both seen here in speeches.
The policy itself recognises that base on the 2010 census,young people ages 15-24 represented just over 20% of the population with additional data revealing that 20-29 year old individuals had a 13.6% accounted for of HIV/AIDS in 2008. The policy revealed that 50% reported already having had a sexual experience and 18.4% first sexual intercourse as less than 15 years old. In 2009, 15-24 year old individuals accounted for 18.6% of the new infections for HIV/AIDS. Yet the UNGASS report of 2010 pointed out to weak sexual and reproductive health programs resulting from the lack of clear standards in the entitlement of delivery of service. The legal requirement is that persons under 18 require parental consent, thereby, preventing young people from accessing services and forcing individual to self-diagnose sexual transmited infections because they cannot readily access medical care. Pointing out to room for growth and strengthening.
The section under Identity and Equity spoke to the 1st Ministerial Declaration on Health and Education to stop HIV and S.T.I in Latin America and the Caribbean and the joint 2011 UN Statement on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. The statement called on countries to end discrimination, in law and policy, against persons base on sexual orientation and gender identity using human rights principles, but failed to acknowledge all the S.O.G.I.( sexual orientation and gender identity resolutions passed at the OAS General Assembly. The 1st Ministerial Declaration on HIV and S.T.I did acknowledged the need to address discrimination in its non-binding declaration agreed to in Mexico.
Yet the guiding principles in the policy fell short of strong language to address diversity and non-discrimination. In fact, the guiding principle sought to acknowledge " the socializing influences of gender, race and disability" without regard for the existence of L.G.B.T Youth that go to school, that are unemployed, that are discriminated in the church state education system. To give some credit, the principle did reference," based on fundamental human rights, for all is promoted." The concern is the almost non-existing visibility in the document guiding principles while and effort was made to acknowledge diversity that included tradition, spirituality and language and ended at that. It recognised that such plays into the development of young men and women and forgot that transgender youth exists in communities of the north and across the rest of the country. There is no reason the used of the word sexual orientation and gender identity cannot be clearly elaborated in a policy document from the beginning.
The well-being framework of the document in point 3, did speak to Identity and Equity and clarified that the concept refers to both rights-based and developmental concepts related to identity and equity around the general theme that adolescent and youth should be able to enact the identity of their choosing, without persecution, sanctions, social exclusion. The outcome and impact spoke to existence of legal rights, protection and processes related to indigenous culture, spiritual belief and others and spoke to increased recognition of, and social practices promoting equality of individual identity regardless of gender. This may include..."gender identity...or any other." It spoke to "The enactment of legal frameworks and polices for the protection from..violence and abuse, social exclusion discrimination...elimination of barriers to primary and secondary education regardless of gender."The skit below however, brought out all the stereotypical things about transgender and gay persons to the young audience that was funny to the audience, but was painful to watch as a gay person. While it had a theme about pregnancy, it lost an important opportunity to have a message about non-discrimination and it did not help the 15 year old actress who was pretending to be pregnant about her options after pregnancy. She was offered advice and sent on her way. The father said it best," advice no wa full you belly or pay for pampers"
The policy has many good point like socioeconomic issues, which I fully endorse as a young person. It is my hope, that cabinet support does not end up leading to institutional indifference in the way the strategic plan is implemented in complementing the policy. Care, monitoring and evaluation will be needed to see if there is an integrated approach to the outcome and impact outlined. Time will tell! Below is a set of pictures that captures the youths who were involved in the performances in the launch.
Posted 14th February, 2013
Those who claim the biblical model for marriage is one man and one woman for life apparently haven’t been reading the Bible.
By Miguel De La Torre
Many Christians today speak about the traditional biblical marriage, but if truth be known, the traditional marriage is not a biblical concept. In fact, it would be hard to find a modern-day Christian who would actually abide by a truly biblical marriage in practice, as the biblical understanding of marriage meant male ownership of women who existed for sexual pleasure.
Upon marriage, a woman’s property and her body became the possession of her new husband. As the head of the household, men (usually between the ages of 18 and 24) had nearly unlimited rights over wives and children.
A woman became available for men’s possession soon after she reached puberty (usually 11 to 13 years old), that is, when she became physically able to produce children. Today we call such sexual arrangements statutory rape. The biblical model for sexual relationships includes adult males taking girls into their bedchambers, as King David did in 1 Kings 1:1-3.
Throughout the Hebrew text it is taken for granted that women (as well as children) are the possessions of men. The focus of the text does not seriously consider or concentrate upon the women’s status, but their identity is formed by their sexual relationship to the man: virgin daughter, betrothed bride, married woman, mother, barren wife or widow.
Her dignity and worth as one created in the image of God is subordinated to the needs and desires of men. As chattel, women are often equated with a house or livestock (Dt. 20:5-7), as demonstrated in the last commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, wife, slave, ox or donkey” (Ex. 20:17).
Because women are excluded from being the subject of this command, the woman -- like a house, slave, ox or donkey -- is reduced to an object: just another possession, another piece of property that belonged to the man, and thus should not be coveted by another man.
There are many ways in which the Bible cannot be a literal reference point or guidebook to modern-day marriages. Because the biblical understanding of the purpose for marriage has been reproduction, marriage could be dissolved by the man if his wife failed to bear his heirs.
Besides reproduction, marriage within a patriarchal order also served political and economic means. Marriages during antiquity mainly focused on codifying economic responsibilities and obligations.
Little attention was paid to how the couple felt about each other. Wives were chosen from good families not only to secure the legitimacy of a man’s children, but to strengthen political and economic alliances between families, clans, tribes and kingdoms. To ensure that any offspring were the legitimate heirs, the woman was restricted to just one sex partner, her husband.
Biblical marriages were endogamous -- that is, they occurred within the same extended family or clan -- unlike the modern Western concept of exogamous, where unions occur between outsiders.
Men could have as many sexual partners as they could afford. The great patriarchs of the faith, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah, had multiple wives and/or concubines, and delighted themselves with the occasional prostitute (Gen. 38:15). King Solomon alone was recorded to have had over 700 wives of royal birth and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
The book of Leviticus, in giving instructions to men wishing to own a harem, provides only one prohibition, which is not to “own” sisters (Lev. 18:18). The Hebrew Bible is clear that men could have multiple sex partners. Wives ensured legitimate heirs; all other sex partners existed for the pleasures of the flesh.
A woman, on the other hand, was limited to just one sex partner who ruled over her -- unless, of course, she was a prostitute.
Biblical marriage was considered valid only if the bride was a virgin. If she was not, then she needed to be executed (Dt. 22:13-21).
Marriages could only take place if the spouses were believers (Ezra 9:12). And if the husband were to die before having children, then his brother was required to marry the widow. If he refused, he had to forfeit one of his sandals, be spit on by the widow, and change his name to “House of the Unshoed” (Dt. 25:5-10).
As much as we do not want to admit it, marriage is an evolving institution; a social construct that has been changing for the better since biblical times. Those who claim that the biblical model for marriage is one husband and one wife apparently haven’t read the Bible or examined the well-documented sources describing life in antiquity.
The sooner we move away from the myth of the so-called traditional biblical marriage, the better prepared we will be to discuss what constitutes a family in the 21st century.