Send in the Clowns…..Literally

Jodi Jacobson

In Ohio, an "abstinence-only clown" puts your federal tax dollars to work.

Send in the clowns….

It is the title of a famous Judy Collins song, but in Ohio they apparently took the phrase "there ought to be clowns" a bit too seriously.  An abstinence-only-until marriage program supported by $800,000 of your tax dollars is funding a clown with dubious credentials to teach adolescents about "saving sex for marriage." 

As Pam Spaulding, quoting AFY Joe on Amplify, reports on Pandagon:

I sh*t you not. My jaw dropped when blogger Joe Sonka sent me this one. The AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland alerted him to the work of one Derek Dye, who is employed by the Elizabeth New Life Center. The organization landed an $800K grant to promote abstinence-only education.

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The Elizabeth New Life Center is one of those organizations funded by the Bush Administration out of the slush fund for far-right groups whose direct connections with God apparently excuse them from having to create any relationship with evidence or reality.  Their site for youth is replete with gender stereotypes:

A guy has control over his own attitudes. He decides for himself, "Do I
want to be a predator who uses people for my own pleasure, or a
protector who knows that being a man means using my strength to make
the women in my life safe?"

But what most people don’t think about is that a girl has a lot of
control over guys’ attitudes, too. What can a girl do to gain a guy’s
respect? Modesty is your number one weapon.

[A] woman who is truly feminine knows she can dress sexy and
get stares from guys. But, she also has the confidence to know that she
doesn’t have to dress sexy to be sexy. She dresses to leave a little
mystery, which is much more attractive. Guys, let the women in your
life know that.

Instead of dressing in a way that invites guys to lust, the way she
dresses will say, "I’m worth waiting for my the man of my dreams!”


Me Tarzan, You Jane.  Stuff like this really helps equip people for negotiating healthy relationships. 

Add to this the clown.  Spaulding reports:

Dye goes around to schools dressed like a clown to juggle and tell middle schoolers with statements like ”Having sex before you are married is just like juggling machetes!

His qualifications? A “Bachelor of Fun Arts” from Barnum Bailey Clown College, and an abstinence educator certification that can be purchased for $50.

Your tax dollars at work…..isn’t it rich?  Isn’t it queer?

So what can you do?  AFY Joe, writing on Advocates for Youth‘s great new site, Amplify, suggests the following actions:

First of all, contact the Obama transition team
to make sure that they ZERO OUT these programs in their first budget.
Also, ending abstinence-only funding is currently 3rd place on’s user rankings, so you can go there and vote for it, too.

Secondly, we must contact all of our representatives to let them know
that we do not want this waste of money being snuck back into the
budget through the appropriations process. Send them that message here.

For those of you living in Ohio, call or email your Ohio State Senator
today and urge them to co-sponsor the Act For Our Children’s Future, a
bill to establish standards for comprehensive sexual health education
in Ohio’s public schools.


Don’t clown around.  Taking these actions will save lives.


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