Friday, October 16, 2009

President Shirley Tilghman Opposes Idea of Campus Chastity Center

Threatening to temper the "inspiration and joy" following last weekend's National Equality March in DC, the Anscombe Society scheduled a full week of "diverse and important events" to show Princeton that "yes, indeed, it is time for a University-sponsored Center for Abstinence and Chastity."

I obviously have a few objections, not least of which is the timing coincidence: the events immediately follow both the march and National Coming Out Day and overlap with LGBT Awareness Week. But I was thrilled when I read that President Tilghman firmly shares my position (and gave some great reasons why) in The Daily Princetonian on Thursday:
In an e-mail sent in response to the petition signers, Tilghman wrote, “The question of whether the University would sponsor the establishment of a ‘Center for Abstinence and Chastity’ was raised with several members of the University administration last year, and each of us provided the same response, which was a firm ‘no.’ ”
She acknowledges the difficulties of remaining abstinent but affirms that there is no reason to dedicate a center to this issue:
“I understand that it is sometimes difficult to stand up for what you believe when you are in the minority, but the fact that you are greeted with opposing points of view when you do so is not sufficient grounds for the University to establish a center,” she said.
Though Brandon McGinley of Anscombe points to the existence of the Women's Center and the LGBT Center as reasons for the creation of a chastity center, our president rightfully acknowledges that these centers are not just about sex:
Tilghman, however, said this assessment of the University’s already-established centers was incorrect. “There are a number of problems with this argument,” she said in the e-mail. “First it implies that the Women’s and LGBT Centers are there to support a non-chaste or non-abstinent lifestyle, which is not the case, and would be considered offensive by both centers.”
It's great to know that President Tilghman is emphatically on our side.

Photo from Katie Tegtmeyer's flickr.


At October 18, 2009 at 7:51 PM , Anonymous Giancarlo said...

Fine me one person in the LGBT that agrees with Anscombe's position that homosexuals should never in their life have homosexual sex and I will agree with the president that it is not the case that LGBT supports a non-chaste lifestyle. But I don't think that will happen, so until it does I will keep believing that LGBT Centers support a non-chaste lifestyle.

At October 18, 2009 at 7:51 PM , Blogger Franklinster said...

Giancarlo -

I deleted your comment by accident, and just re-submitted it from the copy in my email. Sorry for the delay, and let me know if something was left out.


At October 19, 2009 at 6:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giancarlo, sorry to burst your logic bubble, but one theoretically cannot find someone in the "GLBT[Q community]" who opposes, on the basis of shame, specifically non-heteronormative sex because then they wouldn't be part of the GLBTQ community, but part of a community that views gay sex as shameful (baptists, conservatives, conservadox, etc).
And, to further defend the president's claim that glbtq and women's centers don't simply endorse sex or even gay sex, you should know that BOTH centers usually widely disperse information about sexual and nonsexual relationships, provide counseling, disseminate info about abstinence alongside safe sex (which consequently deem "abstinence-only" centers unnecessary), and provide a community for socially marginalized groups.
But, fo' shiz, we all know that these abstinence-only centers are about spreading sexist, homophobic, and medically damaging MISINFORMATION to individuals by shaming the subject of sex. No one's fooled.

At October 19, 2009 at 7:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

" ... I will keep believing that LGBT Centers support a non-chaste lifestyle."

Um, what? Yes, I'll suppose the women's center and LGBT center offer more INFORMATION about sex and reproductive health and are more concerned with promoting a HEALTHY sexuality, no matter what your sexual orientation (i.e., not labeling premarital sex inherently evil based on a religious ideal, but rather a natural and positive experience with the right person, nothing warranting guilt). No one at these centers encourages or pressures or insults anyone who is abstinent - and many people are "abstinent" or not sexually active, for many reasons, at many times in their lives. What, do you think women and gays are just constantly fucking, or constantly looking for their next fuck, and think about nothing else in the world?

An "abstinence-only" center, on the other hand, would likely attempt to LIMIT people's views of sex based on religious ideals, since it's a religious view that premarital sex is a sin and sex is inherently shameful. The sexually active person would not belong or feel welcome in this place in the same way an abstinent person could at either a women's or LGBT center. Also, I'm sorry, but the abstinence viewpoint has proven itself a public-health failure time and again. To assume you don't need to learn about birth control just because someday you're going to get married is hilariously out of touch. Marriage is not some magical panacea for the issues of reproduction and disease.

Tilghman is absolutely right. Comparing an abstinence center to the women's center is a laughable fallacy. The women's center is concerned with a multitude of women's issues besides sexuality.

At October 19, 2009 at 11:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Marriage is not some magical panacea for the issues of reproduction and disease."

Shit! best conclusion about abstinence-only miseducation EVER!

At October 21, 2009 at 7:17 PM , Blogger Giancarlo said...

Sigh, you're responses all confirm that none of you know anything about chastity, abstinence or the people who hold these views. Even more evidence that a center is needed. Go learn, your hypocrisy kills me.


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