ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: reproductive justice

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 »

Environmental Justice and Reproductive Justice: What’s the Connection?

Last Friday, I had the opportunity of attending the One Voice Summit hosted by Advocates for Youth, SIECUS , and the Sierra Club. The panels and the multitude of discussions tied reproductive and environmental justice together in very intricate ways. One of the topics that I believe was especially interesting and relevant was about toxins in the environment panel. It tied products young people use every day and the harmful toxins that may be in them. What made me initially want to write about this is because toxic substances are in everything around us from our chap sticks, to our lotions, our perfumes, and even the receipts we get any time we shop. Seeing the connection with this made me really uncomfortable because I felt overwhelming dread that I really couldn’t escape… Read more »

So… Where Are All the Millennial Feminists?

Last month, Taylor Swift’s “I’m not a feminist, lol it’s not about boys against girls” comment springboarded a lot of Internet feelings and commentary. Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart pulled her hair out and congratulated Swift for missing the point of feminism. Meanwhile, a writer over at XOJane used Swift’s anti-feminism to justify her own tragically limited worldview. Personally, I sat back and patiently waited for Swift-related headlines to stop appearing in my Google Reader. I mean, I didn’t exactly expect a singer-songwriter who once waxed poetically, “So tell my friends that I’m obsessive and crazy/that’s fine/I’ll tell mine that you’re gay” to be a card-toting member of NOW or anything. Just when I thought the “Taylor Swift is not a feminist” horse had been beaten to death, CNN has picked up… Read more »

Transgender Reproductive Injustice: Modern Eugenics

“Little known fact about Sweden, that supposed bastion of liberal idealism: If a Swedish transgender person wants to legally update their gender on official ID papers, a 1972 law requires them to get both divorced and sterilized first.” Nicole Pasulka, Mother Jones. Sweden is considered by much of the world to be extremely liberal and gay-friendly, having one of the highest rates of popular support for same-sex marriage, and more than half of the population supports adoption by gay parents.  Given that Sweden is very liberal, it is no surprise that the law is unpopular and that attempts have been made by Sweden’s moderate and liberal parties to see the law repealed.

My Reflections

The battles have been fought, the words are immortalized in internet memes, and the impact of this election is rippling throughout the country. When the champagne and tears stop flowing in the morning the time comes when we examine the journey we’ve traveled this past year. The time has come to examine what YOU have done to contribute to where we are now. If you feel that last night was a loss, ask yourself what you didn’t do. Did you raise your voice when you felt wronged? Did you stand up for your beliefs in the face of opposition? Did you even take the time to put your beliefs on a ballot? If you feel that these next four years is a great opportunity to further progress, ask yourself if you did… Read more »

Reproductive Justice and the Workplace, is it under attack here too?

Currently we live in a country where many women choose to take on the role of mother and worker, but what is still baffling to me and increasingly alarming is that the United States is still one of the only developed countries that don’t provide universal maternity leave to its citizens. Maternity leave is instead provided by employers, but the qualifications are vast and many women are punished for utilizing this necessary time to bond and care for their new born babies. I think there are a lot of fucked up things going on in this country but this is definitely high up on my list of fucked up bullshit. Women are the creators of life and politicians always seem to want to control women’s bodies and their access to… Read more »

Reproductive Justice Violation: Shackling

I cannot imagine a place where one might stand and have a clearer view of concentrated disadvantage based on racial, gender and class inequality in the country then from inside the walls of a women’s prison. – Beth E. Richie (“Feminist Ethnographies of Women in Prison” Beth E. Richie) Prisons and jails were constructed by and for men. They then became a way of perpetuating the oppression of disadvantaged groups – like people of color, who happen to be disproportionately incarcerated. While the conception of our prison system may not seem pertinent, acknowledging this fact helps to illuminate the disadvantage that exists in these institutions today. Over the past thirty years, the number of women in jails and prisons has grown rapidly. Despite the rise in the incarcerated women population,… Read more »

Domestic Violence, Reproductive Justice & Young People Writing Their Own Narrative

“He refuses to use a condom. I’ve bought them and he throws them out.” –Survivor on the National Domestic Violence Hotline “He threatened me when I asked to use birth control, and always refused to use condoms after we became exclusive. When we decided to continue the pregnancy and marry, the overt abuse started within days of our wedding.” –Jessica’s Story The stories above are an everyday reality for women who are in unhealthy and abusive relationships.  For those who don’t know, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Each October, national and local domestic violence organizations and activists work to mourn those who have died, celebrate those who have survived, and connect those who work to end violence. The statistics around domestic and dating violence are staggering: 1 in 4… Read more »

My Encounter with Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is my hero. She is a journalist, author, political activist, speaker, and philosopher extraordinaire. Her name is revered in the field of Women’s Studies. Steinem is to Feminism what MLK was to the Civil Rights Movement, or Gandhi was to India’s fight for Independence. She’s contributed a lot to the world around us- and has this glow of warmth that encompasses her radiant personality. She’s tall, slender, and has the most beautiful hands. She’s been in this movement for over forty years- and still as cool and hip as could be. I went to see Steinem this past Sunday at UCLA with the Justice and Gender Education Magazine and Choice USA Club from CSULB. The theater was completely packed. Audience members were given the 40th anniversary edition of… Read more »

A History in Images: 4000 Years for Choice

Today I’d like to set aside all the hate and feelings of defeat we may be feeling during this nerve-wracking time and introduce you all to a beautiful campaign I encountered this weekend. Introducing: 4000 Years for Choice, “a visual narrative about the practices of contraception and abortion from around the world for the past 4000 years. The project hopes to celebrate, inspire, and empower women and men in their reproductive lives!” The project is brought to life by Heather Ault a graphic design artist from central Illinois. She takes a different approach from more common media outlets and wants to reframe the conversation from “To-Do” to “Ta-da.” Meaning that instead of motivating people to act she highlights the accomplishments and great moments of history that have allowed us to be where we… Read more »