And I love it.
While in Seattle, I didn’t have a lot of time to keep up with the news, but I did catch something on airport-CNN about Pope Benedict saying that condoms were okay for male prostitutes to prevent HIV transmission. The assumption was that female sex workers were shit outta luck, since they needed to remain open to the possibility of Life. …Since we all know that sex workers and those who employ their services are always thinking about makin’ babies.
But wait! Further clarification from the press seems to show that Benedict is okay–or, at least less un-okay–with female prostitutes using protection, too, provided it’s for disease prevention. The issue was one of translation and the gendering of the noun “prostitute” in German (the language of the Pope’s newest book, a collection of his interviews) and Italian (the language through which the story was disseminated).
From the story:
he Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, told reporters Tuesday that he asked the pope whether he intended his comments to only apply to male prostitutes. Benedict replied that it really didn’t matter, that the important thing was the person in question took into consideration the life of the other, Lombardi said.
“I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,” Lombardi said. “He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”
“This is if you’re a woman, a man, or a transsexual. We’re at the same point. The point is it’s a first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk onto another,” Lombardi said.
Holy crap, y’all, quite apart from the safer-sex issue, the Vatican just recognized the existence of trans people, without judgment or slurs! Have I been smoking something, or is this really happening?
While I’d love for Benny to take off his fancy shoes and say “just kidding, everyone, let’s work on feeding the hungry and making sure that we have a just society,” I’ll take it. I am slightly concerned that talking about “condoms are okay-er than infecting your partner” will serve to smear prophylactics as only for illicit sex, which might not protect women whose male partners are already infected, but it’s a step in the right direction. I think…
I’m not sure why Catholics who are also sex workers (already a no-no for Papa Ratzi) would think “oh, but I can’t use a rubber! What Would Jesus Say?”, but I’ll take it. And I won’t give it back. Shine on, you crazy diamond.