Departments, research and courses in sexuality and gender studies are under attack--and what we stand to lose is the important contributions that research and scientific inquiry make to sexuality related policies, programs and interventions. Lawmakers in Georgia and Florida are using 'budget cuts' as an excuse for a witchhunt--targeting sexuality, queer and women's studies courses and cloaking a moral agenda as a fiscal decision. At Florida Atlantic University, the administration is trying to suspend the Women's Studies degree and Master's program. In Georgia, legislators Charlice Byrd and Calvin Hill inaccurately implied that "disgusting" courses were being taught on oral sex and male prostitution at Georgia State University. In fact, these were faculty research topics, contributing critical science-based data to shape health promotion and intervention--including reducing child prostitution. Any researcher, program or class across the country could be next. We need to act now to protect the integrity of scientific research and the importance of sexuality and gender studies--including those who do sexuality work in complementary programs like anthropology, gerontology, sociology and ethnic studies.The work of these researchers and academics contributes greatly to a healthier sexuality for all of us, preventing disease, addressing stigma and promoting lifelong sexual literacy with accurate, science-based evidence. Science and research must trump opinion. We must defend the pursuit of knowledge and scholarly inquiry--the purpose of which is to have a better understanding of humanity and our world in order to work for change for the betterment of humankind. Controversial and innovative research topics are at the very heart of academic and philosophical debate that drive the classrooms and laboratories of faculty, staff, and students to finding solutions to society's biggest problems. We, the National Sexuality Resource Center, and the partners and signers to this petition, demand the continued support of sexuality and gender-related courses and research across the country--starting with Georgia State University and Florida Atlantic University. We insist that lawmakers, legislators and administrators do not use the current economic crisis as an excuse to attack intellectual and academic freedom, or to de-emphasize the role of accurate, rigorous and scientific studies in shaping sexuality policy, health promotion and intervention. Have you ever taken a class on sexuality, queer studies, women's studies or gender issues Taught a class or done research in these areas We invite you to post a comment about how your work has contributed to healthy sexuality, the body of academic research or personal growth. (Include your title and academic/affiliation in the comments if you can.) Sincerely, the National Sexuality Resource Center http://nsrc.sfsu.edu firstname.lastname@example.org
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