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Human Rights Day--How About Sex?

From Sexual Intelligence
Dec. 7, 2005

December 12 is International Human Rights Day, and organizations and governments around the world are issuing statements and resolutions. I'm in favor of just about all of them.

What we won't hear much about that week is sexual rights. I don't just mean freedom from rape and an end to clitoridectomies, although those goals are laudable.

Marty Klein, Ph.D.I mean the concept that the expression of consensual sexuality is a fundamental human right -- and that every one of us deserves that right without government interference or social hysteria.

So let it be resolved in honor of International Human Rights Day:

Whereas between 2002-2005, the Bush Administration urged that:
  • China allow people to pursue any religious belief they want;
  • Russia allow people to read what they want;
  • Iran stop executing gay people;
  • North Korea let people access the internet;
  • Afghanistan let women and men mingle socially;
  • Pakistan and Nigeria prevent the torture and execution of women who engage in non-approved sexual conduct.

In this same spirit, all Americans should call on our governments, from the White House down to the smallest locale, to repeal laws and reject tactics restricting our human sexual rights. We should:

  • Call on the federal government to stop all discrimination against gay people in the military and national security matters, including job clearances;
  • Call on county and state courts to adjudicate custody and other parenting cases fairly and rationally, seeking out expertise and scientific evidence rather than relying on prejudice;
  • Call on local jurisdictions to accept the legitimacy of a broad range of consensual sexual behavior, ending inflammatory rhetoric about not being "the kind of community that tolerates such things;"
  • Call on zoning boards to stop using their power discriminatorily to eliminate venues for consensual sexual expression;
  • Call on alcohol control boards to stop their threats to close down venues hosting law-abiding sexually-oriented events;
  • Call on police departments to stop sending undercover officers to observe consenting sexual behavior.

Like Western Civilization, Sexual Rights is an idea worth trying. Let's start in America.

Marty Klein, Ph.D. (

Marty Klein, Ph.D is the author and publisher of Sexual Intelligence, a monthly electronic newsletter. This column is reprinted from Issue #70, December 2005. For information about republishing this column, contact the author.

Appignani Bioethics Center