Em-URGE-ing Voices

Posts Tagged: LGBTQ

Queer Rights Are Reproductive Right Because Queer Folks Have Reproductive Systems

While interviewing for an internship at an LGBT non-profit last summer, I was asked, “I can tell that you’re very active in your community but you’ve mostly been working on abortion and women’s issues. So why do you want to work here?” I gave my interviewer the benefit of the doubt, but underwritten in his question was the idea that LGBT issues and reproductive justice issues are mutually exclusive, and that working on one set of issues would not qualify me to work on the other. I am fortunate in that I now work for an LGBT organization that understands the value of reproductive justice and my activism within that community. That interview was not the first or the last time I would be asked why LGBT folks should care… Read more »

On Being Queer and Pregnant: How the LGBT Community Failed Me

Earlier this year, I shared my abortion story for the first time. Opening up about it felt hard because I had waited ten years — and also, because I’m queer. When I came out to my mom 12 years ago, queer wasn’t a word that we used. The language we use to describe sexual orientation has shifted so much since then, but at the time I identified as bisexual. Similar to now, bisexuality wasn’t perceived to be something that really existed. From a heterosexist perspective, bisexuality meant you were confused or going through a phase that would have a finite end. From a monosexist perspective, being bisexual ostracized you from the gay and lesbian community unless you could somehow prove that you were equally attracted to both sexes, an impossible… Read more »

How Being Queer Impacts my Reproductive Justice Work

People have always told me that I’m a bit weird, silly, or odd. When I was young and before I was out (even to myself), I remember feeling isolated and disconnected from other people. At the time, I couldn’t figure out how or why I was so different. Now, as an out, queer woman, I wear these words as a badge, because, I AM odd. And I know that this self acceptance has a lot to do with me being queer, and vice versa — I’m queird! (thank you Hartbeat for introducing me to that word). To me, being queer is so much more than a sexual identity. I personally identify most with the term queer because it best represents who I am attracted to–men, women, femmes, dykes, genderqueer folks,… Read more »

We Make the Road By Walking: Trans-inclusive Language and Reproductive Justice

When I think about the ways that queer & trans issues intersect with reproductive justice, I don’t even know where to start. To me, one seems an intricate part of the other; the entire time I’ve been doing reproductive justice work, sexual orientation and gender identity issues have been central components. How can we possibly be liberated as LGBTQ folks without reproductive justice? And how can we meaningfully say as a reproductive justice movement that we center the voices of the most marginalized members of our communities if we aren’t taking sexual orientation and gender identity into account? The beauty of the reproductive justice framework is that it makes room for this kind of intersectional advocacy, and now more than ever I’ve seen LGBTQ issues become a part of the… Read more »

What’s So Gay About RJ?

I have a photo of my grandmother on the bulletin board next to my desk. It’s a picture of her, taking a picture of Eleanor Roosevelt. The First Lady is riding in an open-air car, and my grandmother is leaning in, over the hood, for a close up. While we don’t know the story first-hand (because we only found the photo after she had died), we assume she was snapping the picture for the University of Idaho newspaper, where she worked as a reporter while in school. Both of my grandmothers went to college. Neither of my grandfathers did. Feminism, it seems, runs in the family. It’s June and it’s pride month and at Choice USA we are celebrating – highlighting some of the amazing work that our chapters and… Read more »

Queer Representation in Sex Education

“We’re not supposed to do it until marriage, okay?” I repeated. “But what if we’re not allowed to get married? Like me. How long am I supposed to wait?” Chad muttered, “Until the cows come home. Mooo.” I spun around and flipped him the bird. Chad held up his hands defensively. Errasco ignored us and erased the board. “I’m serious, Mrs. Errasco. How does this abstinence theory apply to us? Are we never supposed to have sex? Ever?” She set the eraser in the chalk tray and faced front. The atmosphere in the room shifted. Desks creaked. A pencil broke. Minds? Did they shake loose? Doubtful. “Well, Aimee.” Errasco’s eyes lit on me. “I guess that’s between you and your god”’ (from Julie Anne Peters’ “Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow… Read more »

Why Are We Queering Reproductive Justice Anyway?

This is my first Pride Month as an out, bisexual woman of color. I am a year and change into a journey that started as a conversation with my boss about feminism and racial identity and claiming space and movement building and somehow circled around to me…possibly…liking…girls. And while I had confessed to occasional crushes or attractions to a few close friends over the years, it wasn’t until March of 2012 that I actually said these words out loud to someone in the context of who I am and not a temporary feeling or state of mind. The last year has been as exhilarating and terrifying and gratifying and painful as you’d expect. But as I told my friend Sarah over this past weekend, I don’t think I would have… Read more »

The South And Marriage Equality, Part III: The Intersecti​onal Blueprint Of A Movement

From abolition to the civil rights, the American South has been the battleground for many social justice movements. When a place’s past is an intricate mural depicting so many hard-won struggles against various oppressions, it’s impossible to approach any ongoing conflict with anything but an intersectional perspective, acknowledging that all resistance to social change has originated from a common ancestor: Patriarchy. Working against patriarchy means not only working toward LGBTQ rights, but also those of women, the poor, and people of color. “Working on other issues that aren’t necessarily ‘gay issues’ may actually help to bridge whatever perceived divides there are between people of color and white gay folks. I say ‘white gay folks’ because they are “the members of the queer community most likely to be unaware of and… Read more »

The South And Marriage Equality, Part II: Are States’ Rights A Wrong?

While racial, reproductive, and economic equality are the apples and oranges of modern social justice and should not be compared too intensely, one thing remains certain: They have all taken–and continue to take–a long time to make their way to the American South. The projected trajectory of marriage equality will likely follow that of abolition, integration, and abortion accessibility. Much of the opposition within the South appears to be tied up in states’ rights, or the pervasive ideology that a state’s government–not that of the United States–should wield the most control over the legislation which affects its citizens. When asked his thoughts on marriage equality last December, South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham responded, “The question for us is who should decide these things? Should it be a handful of judges… Read more »

The South And Marriage Equality, Part I: Between A Rock And A Hard Place

Days after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court hearings for Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act, Sue Everhart, a chief figure in Georgia’s Republican Party, voiced disdain over the proceedings. “Lord, I’m going to get in trouble over this, but it is not natural for two women or two men to be married,” Everhart told The Marietta Daily Journal. “If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship.” Juxtaposed with the masses of celebratory, often high-profile, marriage equality ralliers on the marble steps of America’s highest court, Everhart’s sentiments are a sobering reminder that the posterchildren of the anti-gay opposition are changing. The National Organization for Marriage–the leading anti-marriage equality organization in the States–has suffered critical drops in funding in the past year. The… Read more »