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Abortion makes you gay?

So, I'm just going to start this one because I'm running off to a session for the CLPP conference on masculinities, but I just HAD to write this somewhere.  

My blog post as part of the Abortion Gang  was picked up by Jill Stanek.  The exact links are to come, as her site is currently down.  My favorite comment here though is the idea that if I am queer and I had an abortion, it means that I am a "lesbian" BECAUSE I had an abortion. Now, there's some logic for you.  I don't know how useful it is to engage with folks, but this kind of rhetoric is what the movement for justice of all kinds is up against.  

A few post ideas come to mind including:
- don't judge a book by its blog post
- Why I am a lesbian?
- what abortion really means to me

I've been thinking for a while now that I would like to start an intersectionality blog, if there is not already one out there.  I think that idea has become even more powerful for me as I think about this conference and about the Audre Lourde quotation, "there are no single-issue struggles because we do not lead single-issue lives."

CLPP Conference

I will be blogging from the CLPP Conference this weekend.  I'm excited for a full weekend devoted to activism and reproductive justice and intersectionality and awesome people! I have not been back to the east coast in too long, and I'm so excited!  

 clpp.hampshire.edu/projects/conference/2010/overview

Bus Stop Politics

I ride public transportation in a city that is struggling to get the predominantly car-driving city to care about public transportation.  This issue is compounded by the Tea Party influences who spread misinformation about public transportation (while also building fake gulags to highlight the Obama administration's "socialism" and actively sabotaging rallies for gay rights--but that's for a different post).  

However,

Proposition A passed in St. Louis yesterday! We have the funding for Metrolink and Metrobus!  Thank you St. Louis! 

So, this is not the only political issue that involves public transportation in St. Louis. I have noticed a huge push by religious fundamentals and conservative groups like the Tea Party to directly target people waiting for the bus. Now, I am skeptical as to whether any of these people ever ride the bus themselves, but lately I have had two experiences that reminded me of how we don't have any privacy as bus rider in this city.  
The first has to do with who I affectionately call "drive-by evangelizers."  I've received literature from several different religious traditions, but they always drive up quickly to the bus stops, passing out their literature and saying that we should read it as soon as they leave.  It is always something about accepting salvation and usually includes something about "making a donation." Hmm.
The second example is that Tea Party members have urged bus commuters to vote "no" on Prop A by having anti-Prop A signs making false claims at bus stops.

Lastly, and I believe most ridiculous, an anti-choice group and crisis pregnancy center in St. Louis teamed up to put up anti-choice billboards on the side of every bus stop kiosk.  So, every day while I wait for the bus I feel like I am in 1984.  The billboard highlights the availability of "other options" and displays a large picture of a big-eyed baby and the number of a crisis pregnancy center.  
While conservative groups simultaneously try to reduce funding for public transportation and limit mobility options for individuals who either cannot afford to have a car or believe that public transportation is a better option (I fall into both camps), they are trying to indoctrinate those same people and to provide them with misinformation.  I am proud that St. Louisans fought back in this election and voted "Yes" on Prop A, and I hope we will continue to fight back against conservative manipulation and control of (mis)information.
So, I am a woman.  I am also a woman who gets around without a car.  I bike. I take the bus. I take the metro. I walk.  That's how I get around. I'm fine with this and find it preferable to driving. Active living is important to me, and I can honestly say that I feel better spending some time outside, not having to pay for a car, reducing my carbon footprint, and really being conscience of where I'm going. 

Others though, take real issue with this approach to commuting.  I am usually the only woman on the bus at night, and when I bike around at night people say things to me or yell things from their car windows.  It is as if men are saying to me "this is our time, why are you here?" when they say "It's sure not a good place to be alone in at night" or "it's not a safe time of day for a woman to be out."  Men and women who I tell I don't have a car in passing are shocked. I have had many long conversations that result from the question "so, when ARE you going to get a car?"

As we start Sexual Assault Awareness Month,  I think it's important to remember what Take Back the Night rallies are supposed to do.  Women should have the right to walk, bike, or commute at night without being policed or questioned. A world without violence against women is one in which we all have the right to space in this world--even after 6pm.  
This article presents an intersection of two issues about which I care deeply and talk about constantly -- gender identity and violence against women.  The ladies room is socially constructed for women as a safe haven, a place to get away, a place that is only women, where you go behind closed doors and away from others to use the bathroom.  Women's genitalia are not on display and this is a very private act, whereas the men's bathroom is about efficiency and privacy is often not the priority. Despite some products that have aided women in the debatably empowering act of peeing standing up, there is some biological difference for cisgender women versus cisgender men.

I think that we should remember our facts here: violence against women is not most often happening in bathrooms. It usually happens in the victim's home. Second, violence happens to all people and particularly and disproportionately happens to people who are transgender, genderqueer, or otherwise gender variant.  Genderfree bathrooms make people nervous, but let's unpack why they make people nervous.  Think about it.  

What is the big deal about having gender free restrooms? I have some of my own, but what are yours?

Job

I have a job!

I am so excited, and I will be able to work on issues of domestic violence while also getting to continue teaching.  It's going to be a crazy couple of months, but after that it will be smooth sailing! Yay! I start Monday, and I can't wait to get to work!

Oct. 14th, 2009

transphobic mac ad

This video is just transphobic.  I wish we could get over this as a culture, seriously.

Katha Pollitt on Roman Polanski

Katha Pollitt wrote a great piece for The Nation about this Roman Polanski business. Drugging and intoxicating a 13 year old is not a youthful indiscretion, especially when you're 43.  

I think that part of this has to do with Lolita Syndrome in our culture---the idea that sex with underaged people is kind of hot, the idea that girls really do want to have a lot of sex, especially with older men and that our laws are just antiquated, free-love restricting moralistic ones.  In reality, however, rape is sex without consent. Even if she was 'consenting,' which she wasn't there are many reasons why it was not consensual sex.  She was underaged. He had a power relationship over her while she was underaged. She was drugged. She was drunk after he gave alcohol to a minor. She was trapped where she was.  The list goes on.  

I think it's pathetic that so many are supporting Polanski, even those who acknowledge what he did.  

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