New Title IX Rules Offer ‘Comprehensive Coverage’ for LGBTQ+ Students and Sexual Violence Survivors

Advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and sexual violence survivors are largely applauding the Department of Education’s newly released federal regulations to protect the rights of these groups in schools, though they also expressed reservations about the lack of clear protections for transgender athletes. Unveiled on Friday, the final rule under Title IX includes provisions that strengthen the rights of sexual violence survivors during investigations and of LGBTQ+ individuals to experience school in a way that aligns with their gender identity. Title IX is a historic civil rights law preventing federally funded academic institutions from practicing sex discrimination. 

“We are glad that the Biden administration finally fulfilled its promise to student survivors to return Title IX to its original intent of protecting their civil rights in the aftermath of sexual violence.”

Political Abuse Stifles Diversity, Report Shows

In 2022, voters elected the most diverse Congress in history—but that’s not saying much. Congress remains overwhelmingly male and white: Legislators of color make up just 25 percent of the government body, while the overall U.S. electorate is 41 percent people of color. That gap is as wide as it was 40 years ago.

One barrier to fair representation is abuse and intimidation—according to a new report from the Brennan Center. Officeholders at all levels of government face this abuse, but the amount of abuse is disproportionately high for women and people of color. ; It’s interfering with their ability to govern effectively—and it’s making them think twice about staying in politics.

If It Can Happen to Taylor Swift, It Can Happen to Any of Us

A few days ago, TIME’s Person of the Year was the victim of a deepfake pornographic attack.

Swift likely experienced the same nauseating feeling that many other women did when she saw her face plastered on nude bodies and virtually defiled by the public. And Swift’s lawyers will struggle to find satisfactory legal recourse. Taylor Swift was the victim of our lawless internet, where platforms can entirely evade a duty of care to their users. So were countless women before her.

Restricting Access to Information Online Won’t Keep Teens Safe. It Will Only Erode Democratic Rights

Well-meaning legislative proposals to protect young people undermine a key factor in teens’ development: independence. Proposed legislation at the federal and state levels increasingly mandates parental monitoring of all kids, including even older teenagers, which undermines teenagers’ independence—something that healthcare experts say is critical for young people’s development and mental health and parents want too.

Providing teenagers with tools to protect themselves, along with options to get parental help when needed, can go much further in creating a safe environment online.

Not Helpless, Not Silenced: What to Do if You Are Experiencing or Witnessing Online Abuse

Online abuse can feel like an enormous, insurmountable problem, but we are not helpless, and we refuse to be silent. Together we can fight back to make the internet safer, more equitable and more free.

Here’s what to do if you are facing online abuse; if you are witnessing online abuse; if you manage people who face online abuse; or you want to push the tech industry to do better.

Rape Threats, Misogynist Slurs, Sexual Harassment and Doxing: How Online Abuse Is Used to Intimidate, Discredit and Silence

Eighty-five percent of women globally have witnessed online harassment and nearly 40 percent have experienced it directly.

Online abuse is made to feel targeted, personal, individual and organic—when in fact it’s often systemic, strategic and coordinated. Online abuse is one part of a broader spectrum of attacks—digital, physical, legal and psychological—intended to push women and nonbinary individuals offline, out of public discourse and out of their fields of expertise. Regardless of where they live and what they do, the goal is universal: to stop them from doing their jobs and shut them up.

(This article originally appears in the Winter 2024 issue of Ms. Join the Ms. community today and you’ll get issues delivered straight to your mailbox!)

It’s Time to Recognize Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare Providers as Human Rights Defenders

“You need to stop this work. We know where your children go to school.”

Around the world, frontline reproductive healthcare workers are facing physical and verbal abuse, public shaming and humiliation, both in-person and online, harassment, legal threats, death threats, sexual assault and rapes—simply for doing their jobs. Yet, many of those who commit acts of violence against SRHR workers, or those who publicly incite antagonism, largely escape accountability for the consequences of their actions. Enough is enough.

We Have to Stop Calling it ‘Revenge Porn’

Susanna Gibson’s losing bid for the Virginia House of Delegates has largely retreated from headlines, as newly elected legislators are sworn in at statehouses around the country. What most people will likely remember about her candidacy, if they remember it at all, is that Gibson was involved in a “sex tape” scandal. The reality is that Gibson was a victim of what is colloquially (and inaccurately) referred to as “revenge porn”—a term that is negatively influencing how this destructive criminal behavior against women is perceived and punished by society.

The term “revenge porn” gives the mistaken impression that the crime should be defined based on whether the perpetrator intended harm. No matter what a perpetrator’s reason for distributing the images, the person depicted is profoundly harmed by their release.

Creating Careers Based on Uplifting Women’s Voices

Both Elisa Lees Muñoz and Cindi Leive have built their decades-long careers creating and uplifting reporting by and for women. In this back-and-forth conversation, the two journalists discuss the risks women in the news face, the importance of women-centered and feminist reporting, and how we can best protect press freedom.

(This essay is part of the “Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy” project—Ms. magazine’s latest installment of Women & Democracy, presented in partnership with the International Women’s Media Foundation.)