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¿Qué tan importante es el sexo?

Ayer estábamos discutiendo en clases los diferentes tipos de núcleos familiares y la profesora asignó a cada alumno elegir un modelo familiar y escribir sus causas, consecuencias, ventajas y desventajas.

Los núcleos familiares eran más de los que yo pensaba, habían desde las familias tradicionales hasta las familias con hombres que se dedican a ser amos de casa, pero lo que me llamó poderosamente la atención fue la “coincidencia” de que todos los grupos familiares que eligieron los hombres: solteros, relaciones de fin de semana y familias con ingreso doble; mencionaron entre las desventajas la falta de sexo o falta de tiempo para el sexo o falta de compañera de sexo estable.

Por supuesto que esa “coincidencia” no debería sorprenderme porque desde tiempos inmemorables es bien sabido que el 90% del cerebro del hombre está ocupado con pensamientos de sexo y el otro 10% con pensamientos de cerveza o cosas por el estilo; pero no pude evitar asombrarme de lo impresionante que es que incluso en esos ejercicios estúpidos de clase uno pueda ver la diferencia tan marcada que existe entre la forma de pensar que tienen los hombres y la de las mujeres.

A mí nunca se me hubiese ocurrido poner el sexo como una desventaja; en todo caso hubiese puesto la falta de tiempo en general, tanto para sexo como para otras actividades que es difícil hacer, por ejemplo, cuando ambos padres trabajan y atienden a los niños.

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Posted by on November 10, 2011 in descubriendo el agua tibia

 

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All Hallows Eve in Spain

Traditionally celebrated on the night of October 31, Halloween is the day before All Saints’ Day as its name entails the vigil or “All Hallows Eve” (Hallowe’en) of all saints. As many other Catholic traditions such as Christmas and New Year’s, the festivity of All Saint’s’ starts the evening before, so even though most people only think of candy, costumes, pumpkins and witches on Halloween, and even though it is widely thought to be a pagan tradition, this celebration actually has its origins in the Roman Catholic Church since “the date is simply the eve of the feast of All Saints,” and “many customs of Halloween reflect the Christian belief that on the feast’s vigils.”
In the Celtic tradition, “Samhain” was celebrated on the night before November 1st, and this was the pagan festivity that marked the end of the summer and harvest season and the beginning of the cold and dark-day season. Celtic tribes believed that the Lord of the dead made the souls of deceased come to life, which allowed the druids (priests, soothsayers, judges, poets, etc. in ancient Britain, Ireland, and France) to communicate with ancestors and invoke the dead. They started bonfires and cast spells to scare away the deaths, and people used to leave food at their doorways so that spirits would leave happy and leave them alone unharmed. After the roman invasion, the two cultures began to mix and the sketches of the primitive Halloween celebration began to appear, and it transformed through the years until it became the traditional Halloween celebration that people commemorate these days and that has little or nothing to do with what it primarily intended.

Some controversy still revolves around the origins of Halloween and on whether it is genuinely Catholic or Pagan. Although its origins are Pagan, the holiday seems to have more elements of the Catholic Church. For example, the start of the current “trick-or-treat” custom can be found between the ancient and modern European history, in which “poor people in the community begged for ‘soul cakes,’ and upon receiving these doughnuts, they would agree to pray for departed souls.” In the States Halloween is actually not an evening to cry or remember saints or the departed, but rather a night n which kids wear costumes and go door-to-door asking for candy. In addition, the trick-or-treating tradition remains as such mainly by custom since “the naughty and destructive tricks once associated with Hallowe’en seem mostly to have disappeared.”

In the same manner, people dress in evil costumes and wear frightening masks to mock evil, confuse and scare evil spirits while looking like them “because as Christians, it has no real power over us.” The tradition of the jack-o-lantern also developed originally in Europe as a way of decorating streets during the eve of All Hallows Day, and therein the Witch Night evolved. However, some people believe that the tradition of the pumpkins is uniquely American, but the truth is that it has its origins in an old Irish custom according to which a dead man had to walk every night with hollowed-out turnip lantern as punishment for all his sins, which relates to the “authentic Catholic teaching about Purgatory and the need for every soul’s purification from the effects of sin before entering Heaven.”

Being the traditional Halloween colors, orange and black represent the color of “ripe pumpkins, falling leaves and glowing sunsets and candlelight;” and the “traditional color of mourning in the West” respectively. The latter is believed to represent sins and evil, as it is the liturgical color of All Souls’ Day (the day after All Saints) while the previous one is believed to represent the fall season and the blazing of bonfires and candles.

Nowadays, the “Halloween” tradition is considered a secular festivity, and it is the result of the different customs that European immigrants took with them to the U.S., many of which are just part of the past in Europe since they only make sense in the integration that the American culture has given to this festivity. Although the tradition remains strong in the U.S. and has been widely Americanized while it has disappeared in most parts of the world, some European countries are resorting back to this holiday. In Spain, October represents the month of candy and every year more schools throw costume parties for the children. Spaniards have and are everlastingly adopting their own version of the tradition, which I have found surprising even though the celebration hasn’t extended as much as it has in the States.

Today was the second Halloween that I spend in Spain and both last and this year my family and I got kids on our door asking for “Truco o Golosina” or “Truco o Trato.” It was kind of cute as I had never listened to kids trick-or-treating in Spanish, so I was all excited watching the kids wearing their Halloween costumes and collecting candy around the neighborhood. Even if the tradition remains primarily American and it isn’t officially observed in Spain, people from this and other cultures are embracing it as well, and I think it is a matter of time before the tradition becomes more popular and we start seeing imposing Halloween decorations and customs around the entire European land.

Image by: Mark Miller @ Stock.Xchng

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2007 in días como hoy

 

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All Children Need Love

Do you know what it feels like to be discriminated against? Most of us have experienced that sensation at some point in our lives, and although society has changed over time, some people still are prejudiced towards certain groups. For instance, there are certain taboos regarding homosexuals; especially about their ability to bring up children. How are members of those groups supposed to feel about the biases held against them? Discrimination is discrimination; no matter what word you use in place of “homosexuals.”

Some conditions have been established on gay or lesbian parents as requisites to conceding them the custody of children; many of those start from prejudices and stereotypes regarding the “gay lifestyle” which is often viewed by society as immoral. Instead of speculating, it is important to take into account the interests of children and be aware of the fact that good parenting has nothing to do with sexual orientation, and for this reason, gay couples should not be excluded from adopting infants.

First of all, and as indicated by the American Psychological Association, there is no evidence to suggest that lesbians and gay men are unfit to be parents. Lesbian and gay couples conduct their lives in the same way that heterosexual parents do. Gay couples have to struggle to offer support to their families; they have the same responsibilities as straight parents do, and they also have to work hard to raise and give their children the guidance that they need to be honest citizens. Based on this, the declaration of parental inability and the denial of custody to homosexual parents should require more convincing evidence of immoral acts or emotional instability. Also, the sexual orientation should not be the only basis on which the reliability of adoptive applicants is established.

It should be recognized that sexual orientation and the ability to take care of a child are two different things. I don’t believe that the sexual preference of prospective parents has an impact on whether a person will be a good parent or not; such aptitude is influenced by the parents’ ability to provide a loving home with all the conditions that a child needs to have a normal growth. For this reason, sexual orientation may only be considered when it seems to negatively affect the child’s welfare. The family interests of homosexual couples are basically no different from those of heterosexual couples; consequently, homosexual couples should be viewed as having a relationship capable of legal recognition with simultaneous legal rights and principles.

Second, children of gay parents develop just as well as children of straight couples do. According to the American Psychological Association, “not a single study has found children of gay or lesbian parents to be disadvantaged in any significant respect relative to children of heterosexual parents.” Supported by the evidence, it can be said that there are no significant differences between children with gay parents and those with heterosexual parents. As suggested by the American Psychological Association, home environments with homosexual parents are as apt to effectively support a child’s progress as are home environments with both straight parents. There is also no evidence to indicate that children of homosexual couples are less intelligent, suffer from more problems or lower self-esteem than children of heterosexual parents. Furthermore, there are no facts to prove that the psychological health and emotional welfare of children raised in gay or lesbian families are badly affected in any way.

In fact, available research on the psychological wellbeing of children raised in such families points out that little differences exist in the overall mental health of children raised in homosexual households. It also states that the quality of parenting, not the parents’ sexual orientation, is the most crucial factor for a child’s healthy growth and development. Based on all this, the belief of many people that children of gay and lesbian parents suffer deficits in personal development has no valid foundation. On the other hand, many people believe that children having homosexual parents grow up to be gay, but studies on this field have confirmed that children of gay couples are equally likely than children of straight parents to be gay themselves. In reality, most gay people are born from straight parents; which shows that sexual orientation cannot be something children learn from their parents and is not determined by one’s family.

Finally, the interests of children are crucial. As said by a researcher of lesbian and gay parenting, “things such as a stable home, emotional support and loving parents who will care for the children in an appropriate manner are most important.” The goal of adoption is supposed to make sure that the child has a permanent home, with adults who have the skills to be good parents. This principle seems to be violated every time a child’s custody is denied to couples who can actually provide favorable conditions that include adequate shelter, food, schooling, love, and all the benefits dedicated to the security and welfare of an infant.

Moreover, at the same time that a critical shortage of adoptive parents exists, there are thousands of homeless and orphan children waiting to be adopted. Yet, lots of infants are taken away from their parents just because of their sexual inclination. In those cases, the discriminatory adoption policies apparently go against both the children and adults’ constitutional rights to equal protection, privacy, intimate association and family integrity.

Although nobody really has the right to adopt children, children do have the right to have a family; a family whose definition certainly changes depending on people’s beliefs and education. It’s true that a child’s custody cannot be given to all applicants no matter they are straight or gay; some gay parents are unfit to adopt children in the same way that some heterosexual parents are. Nevertheless, gay couples should not be deprived from adopting children as long as they prove to be fit parents. Being a biological parent doesn’t mean that a person is oriented to the best interest of a child, but still, biological parents have more rights just because they are natural parents.

There is absolutely no reason to deny lesbians and gay men the joy of parenting, as well as to deny the thousands of children who are in need of a good, affectionate, nurturing home, loving parents. It can be proved that this deprivation is seldom founded on lack of ability, but is instead usually based on the majority’s perception of homosexuality as contrary to nature and morality. In order to provide a good home to the thousands of children who are waiting to be adopted and based on their best interests, it is necessary to eliminate the stereotypes, fears, taboos and misconceptions that prevent custody and adoption proceedings involving gay and lesbian parents. People cannot judge others only based on their personal feelings about somebody else; it is necessary to really recognize the merits of the prospective parents regardless their sexual orientation even if we don’t agree with it.

Children need more love in this world and it doesn’t matter who give it.

Image by: David Ellis @ GettyImages

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2007 in claro y raspao

 

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