Over the weekend, the Ames Library Board voted 6 -1 to allow the continued display and distribution of the magazine Sex, Etc. in the teen section of the public library. Sex Etc. is a free periodical written “by teens, for teens,” and published by Answer, a sex education advocacy group based at
Local parent Joyce Bannantine noticed the magazine display, which encourages teens to take a free copy, in the teen section of the library. After flipping through it, Bannantine started a petition to have the library remove the display and to treat Sex, Etc. like any other periodical. Library Director Art Weeks, and ultimately the Library Board, disagreed.
So what had Bannantine and more than 100 petition signers so upset? After all
A look around the magazine's Web site  proves that Bannantine is just a busybody prude. Why shouldn't your pubescent son benefit from vast wisdom accumulated by the 17-year-old who penned “Telling Your Parents … 'I'm Transgender'”? Why shouldn't your 12-year-old daughter enjoy “I Am Horny
The Sex, Etc. site also includes a blog and forums, so that after baseball practice, little Billy can read threads about herpes, or masturbation or what qualifies a girl to be a slut.
As disturbing as the actual content of the magazine might be
In the “Sex in the States” section
Sex, Etc.'s site has a section called “Your Voice Your Rights!” It tells kids, “You have the right to know all the facts when it comes to topics, like your body and birth control. You deserve a comprehensive sexual health education that gives you honest, factual information so that you can make choices that are right for you!” Teens can share their stories and the truly motivated can “become a Sex, Etc. Teen Ambassador.” Which will no doubt look great on a resume.
Answer and Sex, Etc. are clever. They frame their advocacy for sex education – and, in effect, for sexualizing children and (added bonus!) normalizing all manner of sexual proclivity – in language of “rights.” But they're not just exercising the liberal talent for finding hitherto-unsuspected “rights,” they are playing to the average self-absorbed adolescent's fantasies of repression.
Answer and Sex, Etc. are bypassing parents to directly target teens and the more ideologically accommodating adults in education and libraries. In
“It's a window of opportunity to have important discussions with both my son and daughter,” Weeks said to KCCI. When a door closes, a window opens. Too bad the door closed on the parents of