Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: LGBTQ

The First Same-Sex Wedding at West Point Chapel is a Watershed Moment

Recently, the first same sex wedding was held at West Point Chapel for the seventeen year sweethearts, Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Gnesin. The media responded surprisingly positively. Same-sex marriage and military opposition to open homosexuality are both hot topics for the gay rights movement and media outlets alike. Thusly, the marriage of Fulton and Gnesin being taken so well shows an advance for the world around us in more than one area of concern. For lesbian culture visibility in 2012 America this is undoubtedly a monumental event. An Army chaplain married Brenda Sue Fulton and Penelope Gnesin on December 1, 2012. Fulton had graduated from West Point in 1980 in the very first female class. She rose to the rank of captain by 1986.  Soon after she left the… Read more »

How to be an Ally: Notes on Lending a Hand to a Movement which Isn’t Yours

Back in October, my university’s Gay-Straight Alliance hosted a National Coming Out Day panel. Instead of the usual format–which generally entails queer folks sharing their coming out stories– this panel included an equal amount of queer and straight “ally” participants, all from varied backgrounds. After having our interests piqued, several of my Choice USA chapter’s members and I attended the panel. For us, allyship comes with the reproductive justice territory. We understand that there is overlap between LGBT discrimination and reproductive inequality. That said, we only stand to benefit from exposing ourselves to these conversations about the queer experience, right? So the four of us Choice USAers journeyed to the student union theater. We took our seats, shut off our phones; my co-president offered me her usual reminders to stop… Read more »

California’s Ban on Reparative Therapy aka No More Pray the Gay Away for Kids

This past October, California outlawed a practice that Governor Brown noted as, “A dustbin of quackery”.  I’m a pretty big fan of both California and Governor Brown; I knew this story must be juicy. The more I researched into this topic the more I was in awe. Was this seriously going on in the 21st century? How unscientific, biased, and messed up can an institution get? This saddening and historic strain of therapy is known as, “Reparative Therapy”. The goal of Reparative Therapy is to change the sexuality of the patient. The idea is that if a patient wishes to change sexual orientation- through certain types of talk therapy they can be “cured”. The problem is that there is no medical or scientific backing for these practices (which is because there isn’t… Read more »

Lesbians in Primetime Television: Coming Out Is Not The Only Issue

This post is part of a series about reproductive justice and the media done in partnership with Women, Action, & the Media. Given that television’s primetime line-up consists of Glee, The New Normal, and Modern Family, it’s surreal to think that same-sex moments on television were once considered scandalous. But not too long ago, the mere rumor of homosexual content in a program was justification enough for a station to pull its broadcast. Even in the late 90s and early 00s, homosexuality was still very much a Wildean “love that dare not speak its name” in the television world. When “The Puppy Episode” of Ellen aired in 1997, numerous sponsors–from JC Penny to Wendy’s–dropped their support. A Birmingham affiliate of ABC refused to show the episode. In 2005, the US Department… Read more »

Why Does No One Talk About Sexual Assault in the LGTBQ Community?

For the most part, I exist within two realms: That of American women and that of LGBT Americans. When a friend makes the playful joke that my life is “sooo gay,” I can only agree. But it’s also “sooo feminist,” too. These communities aren’t mutually exclusive, though. There’s a lot of overlap between that which is feminist and that which is queer. There is no need to choose sides. If anything, this sort of dual existence has a lot of perks. I have a heightened awareness of the ways gender, sexuality, and privilege all play out in my “gay-to-day” existence. Because I care about reproductive justice, I also care about sexual freedom. And because I care about sexual freedom, I also care about consent, and the things that compromise it…. Read more »

Review – The Education of Shelby Knox

If you’re fortunate enough have a free evening this busy fall semester, I recommend grabbing a box of Swedish Fish and watching The Education of Shelby Knox on Netflix Instant. Centering around one 15 year-old girl’s fight to bring comprehensive sex education to her abstinence-only high school, the film really gets to the heart of what it takes to inspire progress in communities where few things ever change. Setting is everything for a movie, and documentaries are no exception. Shelby Knox is a student in Lubbock, Texas, a town that—while overwhelmingly conservative and religious—has given birth to several rebellious progressive voices, including Natalie Maines and Buddy Holly. Over the course of The Education, you’ll witness Knox begin to follow in their footsteps of independent thought.

The Queer Factor: Why Comprehensive Sex Education Matters

When I began questioning my sexuality in my teens, I didn’t know how sex between two women “worked.” I felt a lump rise in my throat when I tried to talk to a pretty girl. My face flushed. The hairs on my arms stood on end. But aside from these physical indicators, I was clueless. As far as I knew, lesbians had sex via osmosis or hand holding. My sex ed class wasn’t of much assistance. The small Georgia school system in which I was enrolled followed an abstinence-plus curriculum. Any acts of intimacy referenced in our thin textbooks were of the standard (some might even say boring) penis-in-vagina variety. I eventually learned what constituted queer sex through an awkward independent study course. With the assistance of t.A.T.u.’s infamous “All… Read more »

Bully

I recently attended a screening of the documentary Bully— a film that tells the story of five young people and families who have been impacted by bullying. I decided to see “Bully” because of the abuse I experienced growing up, which eventually led me to work within the reproductive justice movement. I’ve seen for most of my life how violence, whether it is physical, emotional, or verbal, can have a profound impact on quality of life. Due to the nature of bullying and the power dynamics involved, victims are often limited in the decisions they can make regarding their own bodies. “Bully” does a great job illustrating these points and lends itself to a larger conversation about how bodies that are “different” are policed and controlled in society today.

My Rights are Everyone’s Rights: Five Reasons Why Queers Should Give a Damn About Reproductive Justice

It’s a common question in LGBTQIA groups: Why hop on the reproductive justice bandwagon when I don’t need birth control? Homosexuals cannot even have kids. Remind me what this has to do with us again? Why is this our responsibility? As gender and sexual minorities (GSMs), we’re skeptical. I know I was. As humans, we are highly connected to one another’s oppression. We all have mothers, sisters, and female-identified friends whose rights to healthcare and liberty are constantly being challenged. Additionally, as LGBTQIA individuals, we have unique experiences with the way systems of oppression work. Knowing what we know alone is a call to action. To quote the feminist poet Emma Lazarus, “Until we are all free, we are none of us free.” We at Choice USA believe that reproductive justice… Read more »