Honoring Women’s Equality Day

We interrupt the regularly scheduled coverage of the miscarriage of justice in Texas to wish you a Happy Women’s Equality Day!

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While we are obviously still not fully equal any chance to reflect on the work of those women and men who fought for women’s right to vote, and earned it 93 years ago, is a good thing. The right to vote, like many other rights in the United States, is often one that is unfortunately taken for granted.

I challenge each of you to make your voice heard. Make sure you are registered to vote. Encourage everyone you know to register. Educate yourself on the issues and candidates. And then forget party lines and vote with your conscience.

A travesty took place here in Texas this summer, but I will remember in November. I hope you will remember what your politicians have (and haven’t) done for you as well.

The White House blogged this reminder today:

Over half a century passed between the petition and women actually receiving the vote.  And goodness knows there were numerous setbacks along the way. Many who started the journey handed the baton to others to finish it, but the effort continued, and was ultimately successful.

I share this to remind you—and myself—that in the era of tweets and texting, the fierce urgency of now must also be tempered with patience, grit, determination, persistence, resilience and courage. So change often takes time.

6 Suffragist Picketing(4)

In keeping with that thought I also want to encourage you to go beyond the voting booth to make your voice heard. Sign a petition. Start a petition! Join your local chapter of whatever causes move you. Write letter to the editor. Blog. Speak to loved ones and strangers about those issues. PROTEST.

You are far more powerful than you will ever know. Use your power for good.


Tedious Tastelessness in Texas

© David Thomas Photography

© David Thomas Photography

I’ve had my ear to the ground regarding these pieces of anti-choice legislation since the legislative session started, since this is the biggest attack on my personal human rights and bodily integrity I have ever faced, and the last gem of the previous post (ASC requirements) is one that could put me out of work. The dates and days and nights in orange at the Capitol became a blur, and I am still physically and emotionally trying to recover from these “Special” Sessions. I’ve gotta rest up so I can get back out there again for the THIRD! Thank science for time stamps so I can tell you that my journey into this fray started with a simple sidewalk protest on Monday June 17th, around 5pm, just as I was becoming aware that orange is now the color of Reproductive Justice. I made a sign that read: 

Perry, Perry you’re so scary
You’ve hit an all-time low
You took our voice, we have no choice
And you forgot all about Roe!

Total hours at the Capitol: 2

One of the overflow rooms teeming with Texans for Reproductive Justice

One of the overflow rooms teeming with Texans for Reproductive Justice

Thursday June 20th me and my co-workers from both of my jobs, as well as another 700+ pro-woman Austinites, spent our afternoons and evenings at the Reagan building, testifying against the First Special Session omnibus bills in the House. That night supporters from all over the nation bought pizza and coffee and donuts for us so we could carry on into the wee hours of the morning.  Since anyone in the testimony room had to respect all 175 pages of the rules of “decorum” jazz hands were initiated there. After waiting from 6pm to testify, when the Chair shut the whole thing down sometime after midnight for being “repetitive,” I just walked up and gave them the punchline to my testimony. And shortly after I left some vagilante male allies shone the bat signal for all the world to see. “Let her speak!” became our rallying cry and the #CitizensFilibuster was officially underway.

Total hours at the Capitol: ±6

Come when you can, wear orange, stay 'till the end!

Come when you can, wear orange, stay ’till the end!

Sunday June 23rd I waited in line with many other eager Texans in orange to bear witness to the Texas House of Representatives debate the Senate omnibus bill. I arrived around 1:30pm.  The House recessed for a long while, during which lots of us in orange, the #TangerineVagilantes and #FeministArmy gathered in the rotunda to chant, clap, stomp and hold up our ever-witty signage. 

Orange Line

The line to get in to the Capitol on June 23, 2013

The discussion had started with House Dems debating whether they were dealing with calendar days or legislative days, to which Austin’s own RH Reality Check Reporter Andrea Grimes tweeted, “We can laugh about counting calendar days, but when #txlege outlaws birth control, that’s a skill we’ll all need to bone up on. #hb60.” The House didn’t reconvene until around 6:30pm, I think. So I gathered with the raucous bunch in the auditorium overflow room, which was just as well, since we didn’t have to abide by decorum. 

She understands. She was alive pre-Roe.

She understands. She was alive pre-Roe.

I had to go to work from 4:45 to midnight but my co-workers and I (at a domestic violence non-profit) were watching the Texas Tribune live feed and guffawing at the risk of arrest for jazz hands and the ridiculousness that is ALEC’s newest It Girl pawn, “Representative” Jodie Laubenberg and #OtherThingsRapeKitsDo, and cheering for Representative Thompson hanging a hanger from her mic to punctuate her speech. By that time #TXlege #StandWithTXWomen (and variants) and #HB60 were also trending worldwide on Twitter.

Woo Wu!!!

Woo Wu!!!

I returned to the Capitol just after midnight and was in the gallery to see Representative Wu kicking ass. Kudos to Farrar, Dukes, Wu, Menendez, Lee, Mary Gonzalez, Dutton, Eddie Rodriguez, Howard, Burnam, Naishtat, Turner, Thompson and others for killing it on the floor and battling for women’s reproductive justice. Intersectionality at its finest. And kudos to the thousands of people who donated water, food, coffee and good vibes to keep us all going!

20130623_150911The reason we needed to prolong this process as much as possible, why hundreds of us came to add our voices at the Committee hearing and why our tireless Dems threw question after question around, was that the first special session was scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday. If we could delay the vote on the bill so much that the legislature literally ran out of time, we would win, at least for a little while….

As predicted the bill did get through this second reading around 3:30am, so my activist friends and I from Get Equal Texas encouraged everyone leaving the gallery to stop on the 2nd floor outside where the representatives normally enter/exit so we could shame them to their faces. I led the charge with a classic borrowed from the LGBTQAI movement: I am somebody! And I deserve full equality! From there a huge contingent of people stood chanting pro-choice slogans like My Body, My Choice and We Won’t Go Back! The kicker was everyone getting fired up and chanting “Shame!” until some of the Reps who spoke up for us came out to thank us. That was the night I learned to use Twitter for real. 

Stairwells flooded with hope

Stairwells flooded with hope

Total hours at the Capitol: ±7.5

Stay tuned for the next exciting post on Texas’ woman problem: Wendy Davis’ filibuster.


Terrible Tragedy in Texas

The past month has been a whirlwind here in Texas, with severe, unnecessary and unconstitutional abortion restrictions being shoved down the people’s throat in the SECOND special session of the Texas legislature, to the tune of $800,000, called by our brainless leader Rick Perry. This post is the first in what will be a series describing my personal experiences in fighting for Reproductive Justice in Texas. 

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HB-1 and SB-2 have been signed into law already. They have four parts that combined make abortion almost completely inaccessible for the women who need them most. The first three parts, barring judicial action, will go into effect 90 days after Perry signed them. The fourth will go into effect in September 2014.

The 20-week “fetal pain” ban has been touted as “reasonable” by some but the current science does not show that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, rather it does show that with very few exceptions, a fetus is not viable outside the womb until roughly 24 weeks. And in a disgusting play of politics Texas legislators refused to consider exceptions for victims of rape or incest or women dealing with “severe mental health issues.” The only exceptions legislators conceded were if the woman’s life was in immediate physical danger (and to be clear, the author of AB-1 doesn’t believe a woman threatening to kill herself qualifies as immediate physical danger,) or if the fetus had such a severe abnormality that it would die within hours or days of being born. This language excludes parents from terminating a pregnancy where the baby would die within a week of being born, of course with the guise of the “health and safety of women” as their house-of-mirrors reasoning.  

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This new law also requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion facility where they would be practicing. This portion of the law is a blatant attempt to restrict how doctors practice medicine with regard to abortion. To earn admitting privileges a doctor must perform a requisite number of surgeries every year which result in a patient being admitted to the hospital for care afterwards. For abortion providers this requirement means they must be working outside the abortion spectrum because abortion has one of the lowest complication rates of any surgery. And the decision of whether to grant admitting privileges to a doctor or not lies solely with the hospital. The doctor has no recourse if s/he is being discriminated against for the type of medicine s/he practices.

Additionally, doctors must now follow the outdated FDA protocol for administering the medications Mifeprex and Misoprostol to induce a medical abortion. As it stood many providers followed protocol approved by the National Abortion Federation, which calls for the patient to receive one pill of Mifeprex in the doctor’s office and then be sent home with four pills of Misoprostol which she would insert buccally (between the lip and gums) 24-48 hours after the Mifeprex. FDA protocol requires a patient to take three Mifeprex in the office and return two days later to insert two Misoprostol vaginally (a practice with higher incidences of infection) before going home to pass the pregnancy. Both protocols require the doctor to urge the patient to return for a follow up exam in roughly two weeks. The differences may not sound severe but FDA protocol would make this process nearly three times more expensive, and with Texas’ mandatory 24 hour waiting period after an ultrasound, would make for four separate days a woman would need to find childcare, take time off work, and drive or be driven to the Ambulatory Surgical Center.

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That’s right, the fourth prong of this law would require that even the administration of medications that induce abortions be performed in an Ambulatory Surgical Center. Don’t look for a logical reason behind that one, it absolutely doesn’t exist. In fact, there’s nothing logical or reasonable about anything in this legislation. The physical requirements for an office to be considered an Ambulatory Surgical Center include things like, having both men’s and women’s locker rooms, sterile ventilation systems, back-up generators, painted cement floors and hallways wide enough to spin a gurney. All of which are completely unnecessary to providing safe abortion care. Abortion is already at minimum 10 times safer than childbirth, and women are “allowed” to do that in their own living rooms. This provision alone is likely to cause 37 of the state’s 42 abortion providers to close their doors. And, combined with requiring admitting privileges, has the possibility of shutting down nearly all of Texas’ abortion providers, leaving our vast state with one destination for women who need to terminate, much like Mississippi or North Dakota. The glaring difference, obviously, is the huge size of the state and the overwhelming population of women of reproductive age in Texas.

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Here are some basic facts on abortion in the United States, just in case you were wondering what about this procedure that more than one-third of all American women experience by age 45 is so scary.

  • Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended
  • 42% of women obtaining abortions have incomes below 100% of the federal poverty level
  • 27% have incomes between 100-199% of the federal poverty level
  • 1/3 of all women seeking abortions travel more than 25 miles to access services
  • 54% of women who have abortions were using contraception when they became pregnant
  • 61% of women who have abortions are already mothers with at least one child at home
  • 88% of abortions occur before 12 weeks in the pregnancy
  • Nearly 60% of women who experienced a delay in obtaining an abortion cite the time it took to make arrangements and raise money
  • Fewer than 0.3% of abortions result in the patient being hospitalized for complications  
  • In 2006, publicly funded family planning services helped women avoid 1.94 million unintended pregnancies, which would likely have resulted in about 860,000 unintended births and 810,000 abortions.  

In my next post I’ll get into my experiences at the Capitol. Be good to yourselves, dear readers, and love one another. 

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#OccupyGezi

Waving flag

The Turkish people are rising up to say no more autocracy, no more fear. In case your media has blacked out what’s going on, Al Jazeera has a few good articles, this is an excellent summary and you can also check out these reports of the events earlier in the week and Christiane Amanpour’s 9 minute overview of the initial unrest. What started out as a peaceful sit-in to protect one of Istanbul’s last green spaces has turned into a nation-wide demand for human rights with at least hundreds of thousands of people in cities across Turkey taking part. Police have continuously used excessive force in the form of tear gas, water cannons, pepper spray and beatings to squelch Turks’ rights to protest, and expressly tried to conceal their own identities while doing so. There have also been reports of undercover police acting as agents provocateurs to incite violence between the people and the government. To understand what this direniş, what this kind of protest, demonstration and movement mean to Turks I think this translation will be really helpful.

Turks crossing the Bosphorous Bridge going to Taksim

Turks crossing the Bosphorous Bridge going to Taksim

The graffiti reads For Sale and False News

The graffiti reads For Sale and False News

And if you need to know why you should care, read this article, and this letter to the world. International Support is flowing to Turkey from Germany, the Netherlands, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Scotland, Portugal, France, Africa, all over the US and elsewhere. Signs from all over the world proclaim Her Yer Direniş! Her Yer Gezi! Resistance everywhere! Everywhere is Gezi! Amnesty International and many governments have condemned the AK Partı‘s use of force against protesters. If you’re a more visual learner you have to stop by the #OccupyGezi tumblr, and see these articles. For those who have never experienced the beauty that is Istanbul, this video might help give you a taste of the action.

Syrian refugees

International solidarity

Support from France

Africa is with you

Turkey Resistance Africa is with You

Support from #OccupyBahrain

Support from #OccupyBahrain

These (mostly) nonviolent protests have spurred some amazing creativity with everything from political cartoons to witty graffiti. The sit-in in Taksim Gezi Parkı began with poetry readings and songs and the ensuing state-sponsored brutality has also spurred music. This video is what has moved me most since this all began. Others were moved to donate to Indiegogo’s fastest-ever campaign–to buy a full page ad in The New York Times explaining Diren Gezi Parkı.

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

The Revolution WIll Not Be Televised

Chomsky capulcu

Hashtags like #OccupyGezi #DirenGeziParki #OccupyIstanbul #OccupyTaksim and #HumanRightsforTurkey and calls of “Tayyip Istifa” (resign) and “AKP Istifa” filled the more than 2 million tweets (90% of which came from within Turkey) that caused AK Partı leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to denounce social media as “the worst menace to society.” The expressions “everyday I’m çapuling” (pronounced chap-pull-ing) and “çapulmatik” were in turn spurred by Prime Minister Erdoğan’s insults to the protesters which included terrorists, drunks, fringe radicals and çapulcular or looters. The government’s insistence that this is merely a few angry liberals upset over some trees fueled the international fire against them, with Anonymous making good on their promise to take down government websites. Many are claiming that the PM’s most recent speech is tantamount to calling for civil war, with right-wing supporters chanting “Ergdoğan we will die for you!”

Once the media gag ended 6 newspapers' headlines read "We'd lay down our lives for 'democratic demands'" after AK Partı supporters threatened to "crush them all."

Once the media gag ended 6 newspapers’ headlines read “We’d lay down our lives for ‘democratic demands’” after AK Partı supporters threatened to “crush them all,” referring to the mounting opposition against the government.

A creative take on the AK Parti lightbulb logo

A creative take on the AK Partı lightbulb logo

Here are your drunk looters, helal, of course.

Here are your drunk looters, helal, of course.

For all the reports of deaths and all the police brutality and negativity that has come from this the one constant positive has been the Turkish people’s ability to band together, whether behind Guy Fawkes masks or gas masks, to defend the ideals of a Turkish nation based upon democracy and freedom. They have announced that the streets are for everyone, even as police crack down across the country. There are also some pretty cool pictures and a badass concert. And of course as in any good protest there are companies to boycott and strikes to pursue, and Türkiye also threw in a really creative display of support from Turkish Airlines, the national airline.

Rainbow flag

ResIstanbul 2

A very typical friendship between Turkish women

A very typical friendship between Turkish women

There have been great shows of support and camaraderie between çapulcular regardless of their gender, age, class or political bent. The majority of protesters have vowed to be peaceful, even in the face of gross brutality, and have denounced rock throwing, vandalism and actual looting. But there hasn’t been much need for looting since across the country Turks are supporting each other in ways big and small, with food, water, shelter, medical help, and knowledge.

Turkish survival kit

Tear Gas Solution

The Ascent to Heaven: no alcohol, no battle, no profanity, no provocation, NO VIOLENCE! There will be respect, peace, prayer, action, and tasty treats!

The Ascent to Heaven: no alcohol, no battle, no profanity, no provocation, NO VIOLENCE! There will be respect, peace, prayer, action, and tasty treats!

Women of all ages have played a large part in this uprising. From Ceyda Sungur the now famous Woman in Red, to women in hijab to pregnant women, Türkiye’nin kadınları are showing that their fear of the government is just as real and important to the discussion of freedom as their male counterparts. With the recent restrictions on abortion, public displays of affection and even alcohol, the women of Turkey are fed up with having their morals dictated to them. And not all of them want three children.

Ist Feminist Collective

Woman vs Water Cannon

Woman in Red Dress

Kick the can

Finally I want to leave you with this, a desperate plea from a student who is afraid of his government and who wants the world to understand that this is about freedom, even if it costs him his.

What's happening?

Dutch newspaper


Happy Mothering Day!

21272_372909726152878_1997654646_nHappy Mothering Day to all the people out there doing mothering in one way or another.
Happy Mothering Day to the biological moms in a nuclear family who look just like what Hallmark thinks a mom on Mother’s Day should.
Happy Mothering Day to all the adopted/adoptive moms and step-moms and grandmas-acting-like-moms. 401779_250694935069764_467471400_n
Happy Mothering Day to all the double-mom households.
Happy Mothering Day to all the men out there filling the roles of both dad and mom.
Happy Mothering Day to all the working parents who feel like they don’t spend enough time with their kids.
Happy Mothering Day to the stay-at-home parents who are going crazy spending too much time with their kids.

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Happy Mothering Day to the people who are mothering someone else’s children, in whatever way.
Happy Mothering Day to the women whose children are being mothered by someone else, for whatever reason.

Coretta Scott King leading a march of "Welfare Mothers"  in 1968

Coretta Scott King leading a march of “Welfare Mothers” in 1968

Happy Mothering Day to the parents struggling to get by.
Happy Mothering Day to the teen/young/new moms and pregnant folk.
Happy Mothering Day to the surrogate moms. Both literal and figurative.
Happy Mothering Day to the women who chose not to continue their pregnancies.
Happy Mothering Day to all the people who can’t have children, and all the people who don’t want children.
Happy Mothering Day to those who mother animals, or who part-time mother other humans through volunteering.

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Happy Mothering Day to those moms who are missed and those who are missing children.
Take some time today to reflect on what makes you and your mothering awesome; you deserve it.

945547_10151650260175460_2086480881_nToday is a day to celebrate all the caretakers in our lives and honor the incredible and priceless work caretakers do for our societies. Raising babies and children and teens to be respectful, loving, contributing members of society is one of the most, if not the most important job in society, and yet the people who are tasked with this enormous responsibility are not seen as “earning a living” because their work is unpaid. The people who raise individuals who love others, who fight against injustice, who work for peace, and who shine positivity into this world ought to be praised and commended and recognized regularly, not just one day a year. And this praise and recognition and commendation ought to come in the form of eternal gratitude displayed with regular acts of kindness and love towards them and everyone else, not by buying into the commercialism of Capitalist Mother’s Day.

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Diamonds and many other gems are mined from the poorest countries with slave labor and not only siphon wealth away from that country but deplete its natural resources and fund illegal and terrorist activity. Flowers are raised with pesticides and fertilizers that poison the planet and the farm workers who harvest them. Chocolate too is full of dangerous chemicals and is harvested with child slave labor from some of the poorest countries on earth. Even the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, eventually fought against it because of the commercialization surrounding it.

Motherhood is an option, not an obligation

Motherhood is an option, not an obligation

Truthfully I can’t tell you what your mother or your mother-figure wants, but I can tell you that she and all people who mother would be better off if everyone who wanted to become pregnant or have a child could, and if no one who did not want to become pregnant didn’t. Happy Mothering Day pro-choicers! May every motherhood be a wanted one.

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My Right to Bodily Autonomy

SA Awareness & Prevention Month

*Trigger Warning: Sexual Violence* Take care of yourself. If you need to talk to someone, contact RAINN.

Meet Us On The StreetThis week, April 7-13, is International Anti-Street Harassment Week and April is both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Abortion Wellbeing Month, an overlap that is very personal to me. I have been harassed on the street more times than I can count. I am a survivor of sexual assault, rape and childhood sexual abuse. I am also an abortion provider. Though these might not seem to have anything to do with each other, since my assaults thankfully did not result in pregnancy, they are intrinsically linked. Each assault I have endured and the violence I face as an abortion provider are affronts to my right to bodily autonomy. My tragedies, however, have shaped who I am as an individual: I am a warrior for equality.

Not Public SpaceThe restricting of access to abortion and sexual assault both serve one purpose–to control women by controlling their bodies. For women in the United States and around the world to be well, to be whole, equal and productive citizens women must first have the right to control their own bodies. The right to say no to unwanted physical contact and the right to make informed decisions about what medical procedures we choose to undergo are basic human rights. If I have sex and get pregnant and do not want to continue to be pregnant, I have the right to terminate the pregnancy because my body is mine alone and the responsibility for caring for the pregnancy would be mine alone. If I am a stranger, if I say no, if I stay silent, if I am crying, you have no right to my body. Consent is sexy and only an emphatic YES! means yes.

If rape were audible

While hapless pundits wonder if violence against women is something that women really worry about, from Stubenville, Ohio to Delhi, India rape and sexual assault happen every moment of every day all around the world.

Laugh:Kill- M Atwood

And each attack transforms its victim and its perpetrator. The healing process for survivors can be long and painful but so many initiatives now exist to put an end to sexual violence that the tides may be turning. Women in Kenya have filed a lawsuit against their government for failing to protect them from rape! From tackling street harassment with Meet Us On The Street and Hollaback! to a mom taking on Facebook‘s “controversial humor” pages glorifying sexual violence to Denim Day to the No More, Who Are You? and Where is Your Line? campaigns to comics and cell phone apps, more and more people are realizing that the strength of our numbers will ultimately win.

Not in Kansas

Unfortunately in the US abortion rights are backsliding.

If men could get pregnant

While France has made contraception and abortion free for all women, here in the US we are still fighting for the right to buy prescriptions for birth control at our local pharmacies. North Dakota has banned abortion after 6 weeks, has only one abortion provider AND has a 72 hour waiting period. Ohio is working to make abortion illegal, as is Alabama. Iowa is trying to restrict abortion access for female inmates. Texas is seriously thinking about making it that much harder to get an abortion.  Kansas lawmakers have been granted the right to lie to their patients and disrespect rape victims while making all abortion basically illegal. And Indiana, Virginia and North Carolina are in on this racket too. Sadly, recent news has shown us, as has history time and again, that without access to abortion women die. The United Nations has recently declared that denying abortions is tantamount to torture.

ResponsibilitySome states are defending Reproductive Justice; Oregon is considering a bill that would require Crisis Pregnancy Centers (non-medically licensed religiously affiliated centers that lie to women to prevent them from having abortions) to disclose what services they actually offer and comply with federal medical regulations regarding patient confidentiality. Also, Washington is trying to mandate insurance coverage for abortion care, and New York is attempting to broaden the availability of abortion. One recent victory for women in the US is the ruling that Emergency Contraception, also known as Plan B or The Morning After Pill, must be made available over-the-counter for all women. Health professionals and activists have been fighting for this for years and even though some states still oppose regular daily oral contraceptives, making EC more available will reduce abortion rates, which ultimately is everyone’s goal. And though Christian and Republican arguments against birth control and EC defy logic, it is a reasonable assumption that if everyone had access to comprehensive sex education and contraception that the rates of unintended pregnancy, and by default abortion, would be lower. The voice of reason now, our voices, must be heard if we want to see any change in this War on Women.

Fierce FloresOne courageous lawmaker this week, Assemblymember Lucy Flores (D-Nevada), disclosed to the public that she has had an abortion. Her compelling personal story of abortion being a positive life-changing experience for her comes at a time when most women would never dream of telling anyone they had an abortion. Though more than 1/3 of all American women will have an abortion at least once by age 45, a good 80% of my patients believe they don’t know anyone else who has had an abortion. The trepidation that women feel at disclosing this is both maddening and understandable: Flores has received death threats since admitting she does not regret having an abortion. This stifling of choice, and backlash against women who exercise their legal right to abortion, is one more spark igniting violence against women in the United States.

North Dakota

If we want equality, and I know some people don’t, we must respect women. We must respect women’s right to bodily autonomy. If women’s bodily autonomy were respected the rates of sexual assault would plummet, and women who have abortions would not be demonized for their choices. For Sexual Assault Awareness Month, share resources with your friends, be supportive of those who have been assaulted, speak out against rape jokes, and volunteer with or donate to your local rape crisis center. For Abortion Wellbeing Month, share your stories with your friends, be supportive of women or couples facing unwanted pregnancies, speak out against politicians interfering in medicine, and volunteer as an escort at your local clinic, or donate to your local abortion fund. Below are some tips on respecting bodily autonomy: what constitutes consent and how male allies can get in on the good fight and stop rape and street harassment. As always any comments, links, ideas and critiques are welcome as long as they are respectful and constructive. Carry on, dear reader, the fight for human rights needs you!

Only Yes Means Yes

Teach Men Not to Rape

6 Things Men Can Do To Stop Street Harassment


Fighting Invisibility

Today, March 31st, is both Cesar Chavez Day and International Transgender Day of Visibility. These two fights are not so different, as far as this feminist activist is concerned. Cesar Chavez Day honors a man who fought for labor rights of Chican@ people, a people often made invisible by their labor. Transgender people’s plight is also often invisible. Both are the result of “mainstream” culture willfully turning away from any struggle for equality that is not their own.

Everyone’s freedom is tied up with everyone else’s and until every Latina/o and every transgender person, and every transgender Latina/o, is free, I am not free and neither are you. It is well understood by academics how making people invisible takes away their humanity and that is why the visibility of transgender people and undocumented workers is so vital to the struggle for freedom. Everyone’s story is important for making the quilt of American history. Everyone, including undocuqueers, have the right for their voice to be heard.

Undocuqueer Activist Jesús BarriosWhile discrimination against transgender folks sometimes makes the news, today, all over Facebook and from Canada to Venezuela to Jamaica to Myanmar the world is waking up to positive transgender visibility and images. Transgender history is our history, and without knowing our failures and shortcomings we will be doomed to repeat them. Below is GLAAD‘s brief history of transgender visibility in the United States.


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