Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: LGBTQ

Building a More Inclusive Boy Scouts

Joining the Boy Scouts of America can be a tricky thing for someone who identifies as anything other than cisgender and heterosexual, and despite recent changes to their membership requirements, the BSA is still wrangling with conflicting factions within its own organization. Now, some scouts are trying to build a more inclusive organization at the ground level. In 2013, the BSA made national headlines when they openly debated changing membership requirements to allow scouts to join regardless of their sexual orientation. As a compromise measure, the BSA still excluded hiring lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer leaders until last July, when the executive council passed a new guideline stating that scout troops may hire whomever they wish to fill leadership roles. However, troops chartered by a religious organization may still… Read more »

Understanding Obergefell v. Hodges

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will be hearing oral arguments for Obergefell v. Hodges, a pivotal case addressing same-sex marriage. In preparation for tomorrow’s oral arguments. I wanted to share some facts surrounding the case.  The case relates to the states of Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, and Tennessee where same-sex couples have sued the state for refusing to recognize legal marriages in other states. Facts: Obergefell v. Hodges involves James Obergefell and John Arthur James from Ohio. John James Arthur was diagnosed with ALS in 2011 They were married in the state of Maryland on July 11, 2013. Same-sex marriage is illegal in Ohio, They wanted Obergefell to be named as James’ surviving spouse on his death certificate. The couple was issued a temporary  order to recognize their marriage on Arthur’s death… Read more »

The problem with Franco’s conversation between his “two sexualities”

Earlier this week I stumbled across an interesting interview with James Franco entitled “The straight James Franco talks to the gay James Franco.”  The title alone was enough to get me to click on the article and after reading the piece I was left with a lot of frustration to say the least. Franco was asked to do the interview by a relatively new magazine called FourTwoNine which according to the Kickstarter campaign that helped fund it in 2013, is magazine that covers “the latest news and innovations in technology, entertainment, design, media and politics, and showcases how LGBT people are living in the context of the larger world.” Sounds promising enough, but being that Franco’s article was the first I’d ever heard of the publication and considering how dissatisfied it left me I’m not feeling too… Read more »

Podcasts for Reproductive Justice Activists

Radio is one of my favorite ways of hearing peoples stories. Sound can be a beautiful and intimate medium, allowing you to free up your other senses to do work, make art, or just chill while you are listening. RH Reality Check Possibly the most relevant podcast to this blog, Reality Cast, released by RH Reality Check covers everything related to reproductive health. From politics to media, RH Reality Check’s podcast discusses reproductive justice and also features links to other podcasts like this episode of Making Contact that talks about abortion stigma and the ways in which pop culture is shaped by discussions of abortion. The Heart The Heart is a podcast about all different types of amazing love stories. Released in partnership with sound story consortium, Radiotopia, The Heart… Read more »

Feminist Hacktivism on Wikipedia

Last Saturday morning, many Oberlin students gathered at a local art venue with their laptops, chargers, and desires to tell the world about more women artists through Wikipedia. Students of all types of gender expression woke-up early on Saturday morning to drink coffee and eat breakfast together while communally editing Wikipedia’s art pages. Oberlin’s edit-a-thon was part of an international event hosted by Art + Feminism to revamp Wikipedia’s pages to close the huge gender gap that is visible in it’s content. This was the second annual Art+Feminism edit-a-thon. The gender trouble with Wikipedia’s coverage has been well-documented. Wall Street Journal’s coverage of Saturday’s event noted that, “In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of contributors on Wikipedia identified as female.” It is difficult to… Read more »

Let’s Fix the Binary Problem with Dating Apps

Recently, I’ve noticed a rising trend in the use of dating apps on my campus. The most popular of these is Tinder, which seems to have many problems associated with its binary-only friendly structure. Although Tinder allows for its users to open their sexual preferences to both “men and women,” there are no ways for queer or non-binary people to identify as anything other than a man or woman. In the spirit of sex-positivity and gender equity, I’ve compiled a list of dating apps that are non-binary or have been created by women. Although these apps don’t seem to have nearly as many users as Tinder, they written about are far less and hopefully by spreading the word about their existence they will grow! Thurst is a brand new dating… Read more »

Texas’ First Same-Sex Marriage: What Will Come Next?

Yesterday was a milestone day for Texans as the first same-sex marriage was performed in the Lone-Star State. It caused a lot of commotion (and rightfully so), however this does not mean that same-sex marriage is now legal in Texas. Seems a bit confusing right? Well it is, but let me break it down for you. Last February a U.S. district judge Orlando Garcia, ruled that the Texas ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. However, that was all that was ruled. Knowing his ruling would be appealed,  Garcia imposed a hold that prevented gays from immediately getting married until the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals would hear oral arguments. The 5th Circuit met on January 5, 2015 and heard from a 3-judge panel, but a decision is still yet to be… Read more »

Creating Change 2015 Reflections

Creating Change, the national conference on LGBTQ equality, had its 27th annual session last weekend in Denver, Colorado which I attended. It was the first time I had attended a conference of that magnitude and to say it was a little overwhelming would be an understatement. In three short days I was pushed in ways that I didn’t think were possible and I walked away with a new and refreshed outlook on not just the state of LGBTQ equality but also on the state of racial and reproductive justice in the United States. Hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force the conference featured over 4000 activists, organizers, leaders, and students from all across the U.S. joined together for a four-day weekend of intense learning, growing, and networking. In addition to… Read more »

Kansas Regressing on LGBT Workplace Protections

This past Tuesday, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback issued an executive order that removed workplace protections from being harassed, discriminated against, or fired based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The original order that extended those protections was signed in 2007 by former Governor Kathleen Sebelius. The protections included in the original order were fairly narrow in scope, and rarely enforced. As with any executive order, there are limits to what can be done. This particular order applied only to government agencies under direct control of the governor, affecting roughly 25,000 people. These people are important, and removing workplace protections may affect the job status of some. But, in a time when states are expanding protections for people, this move flies in the face of progress. There are few examples of… Read more »

Creating Change: Affirming, Empowering, Inspiring

This weekend, I attended the Creating Change conference in Denver, hosted by the National LGBTQ Task Force. There, along with 4,000 other individuals, I spent four days discussing the issues that face queer people in our everyday lives. Prior to this weekend, I had never attended such a large conference, much less one on LGBTQ+ issues. I was constantly surprised, and overjoyed, to see how many people attended the events and how diverse these people were. To me, this was the best part of Creating Change. As a young person, I often feel like I, and my effort in the fight for LGBTQ+ equality, don’t matter. As a queer person, I feel like my identity is not real and recognized by the majority of people. All of that was different… Read more »