A women’s health conference at Penn State University featured an outspoken advocate of pedophilia and sadomasochism as a keynote speaker.
The event held last weekend is the latest on controversial sexual themes that has drawn the ire of some state lawmakers. Last year, campus groups held a “Sex Faire” that included “orgasm bingo” and a “tent of consent.” The previous November they hosted a “C—fest,” which intended to reclaim a derogatory word for a woman’s body part. It was promoted with large banners around the campus.
State Rep. John A. Lawless, D-Montgomery, told WorldNetDaily he has “tried everything,” including blocking funding, to stop events of this kind, but has been unsuccessful.
“You can’t touch Penn State,” said Lawless, who crossed over from the Republican to the House Democratic caucus last November. “The legislature cares about their football team. Football is more important than education or morals.”
Lawless said lawmakers tried to hold the school accountable with a “paper straw” type of policy that barred anyone under 18 from attending.
“But the events shouldn’t be occurring,” he said. “If you want to do this kind of activity, hey, I’m a big boy, I can handle it. But go do it on your own money, your own time; don’t use taxpayer facilities for this kind of stuff.”
At the three-day Conference on Women’s Health and Wellness, Patrick Califia-Rice, a self-described “transgendered bisexual person,” spoke of a journey from “female to male sexuality.”
Califia-Rice is the author of books such as “Macho Sluts” and “Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex.”
The North American Man-Boy Love Association, or NAMBLA, includes this quote from Califia-Rice on its website: “Boy-lovers and the lesbians who have young lovers are the only people offering a hand to help young women and men cross the difficult terrain between straight society and the gay community. They are not child molesters. The child abusers are priests, teachers, therapists, cops and parents who force their stale morality onto the young people in their custody. Instead of condemning pedophiles for their involvement with lesbian and gay youth, we should be supporting them.”
A story this week by the Newhouse News Service noted that a handful of academics at mainstream universities are arguing in academic journals, books and online that at least some sex between adults and children should be acceptable, especially when children consent to it.
In February 2001, the Penn State campus group Womyn’s Concerns hosted a “Sex Faire” to discuss “issues of sexual health, consensual activities and liberation.” It included games such as “pin the clitoris on the vulva” and “orgasm bingo.” A book table featured “Smut and Other Great Literature” and attendees were invited to a “Tent of Consent,” intended to provide two students with two minutes of “consensual activity” behind a curtain after learning the criteria for legally consensual sex. School administrators shut down the tent, however, arguing that it was a matter of conduct rather than free speech.
In November 2000, Womyn’s Concerns and the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance held an event featuring performance art, music and a reading from Inga Muscio, author of the book “C—: A Declaration of Independence.”
According to the campus newspaper, the Daily Collegian, Womyn’s Concerns president Michelle Yates accused opponents of trying to limit free speech and insisted that anyone who attended the event would realize it was an educational program that covered topics such as sexual assault and domestic violence.
“This was based on a piece of literature,” Yates told the Collegian.
After the “Sex Faire” in February, the state’s House Appropriations Committee held a hearing in which Lawless, a member, played a five-minute video excerpted from one made at the event.
Lawless said at the hearing that Penn State should be punished for failing to be “moral” leaders. Penn State President Graham Spanier, who was questioned by lawmakers in a four-hour session, apologized for certain components of the event but maintained that the university was committed to free speech.
When asked directly if the programs were wrong or immoral, Spanier gave a “Clinton-esque” answer, according to Lawless.
“His answer,” said Lawless, “was ‘It depends on what your definition of immoral is.'”
Last November, Lawless criticized Penn State for hosting Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who in a speech called President Bush an “idiot” and said followers of Rev. Jerry Falwell were members of a “cult.”
Lawless said that although only about 30 of 203 legislators have backed his stance on the Penn State events, he’s received thousands of e-mails and other correspondence from supportive Pennsylvanians.
“The problem is the legislature doesn’t want to come down on Penn State, the biggest school; they’re worried about all of the alumni voting them out,” he said. “Meantime, a significant number of alumni are contacting me, congratulating me for straightening that place up, or attempting to.”