Posts from June 2002

Take Action! Reproductive Rights Issue on Vote.com

We need your help to raise a voice for women’s reproductive rights!

Vote.com recently put a vote online on whether Congress should pass a federal ban on partial-birth abortion, a key component of the Right’s strategy to chip away at and destroy women’s reproductive freedom and doctor’s ability to provide abortions. Similar bills at the state level have already been struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (you can read more here on phoney "partial-birth abortion" bans).

The vote is online at Vote.com. To defend reproductive choice, vote NO! Such medical decisions should be left in the hands of women.

Right-wingers typically dominate the issues at Vote.com, and the results go directly to the President and Congress. We need to mobilize as many people as we can to tell Congress NOT to pass another bad partial-birth abortion bill. Please vote today, and forward this alert to everyone you know who cares about protecting reproductive choice!

Remembering Stonewall

photo: Gay liberationists storm the streets

Andrew Sullivan‘s worst nightmare: the GLF on the march, New York City

Today is the 33rd anniversary of the Stonewall uprising (well, perhaps: some date Stonewall on June 28, since much of what occurred was after midnight) in New York City, the foundational event of the modern gay liberation movement. But it seems to have slipped many gay rights organizations’ minds.

Stonewall marked the first spectacular uprising of a radical, agitating gay movement which would no longer settle for the daily denigration and terrorism inflicted against LGBT people, and would not accept compromise, appeasement, or a ghettoized underground gay community as the solution.

Although the Stonewall Inn remains a powerful marker to gay liberation activists outside of the US, many in America have forgotten it, or wish we would. Today, there is a feel-good liberal gay rights movement which (sometimes) pays lip service to Stonewall, but rarely remembers the power of that moment. And there is a gay Right movement which loathes Stoneall and everything it stands for. They both work, with only slightly different priorities, for appeasement, tolerance, and assimilation into the mainstream of American culture. But at Stonewall they were not pleading for justice in return for assimilation. Butch dykes, fairies, drag queens, street kids, and every other spectre haunting homophobic American culture stormed through the streets, fighting back against the police who had victimized them for so long. Stonewall’s lasting legacy rests in groups such as the Gay Liberation Front, Radicalesbians, ACT-UP, and others, which confronted our culture with an uncompromising demand for justice, an end to oppression rather than an end to difference. This is what has marked the past three decades with unparalleled success, compared to the relative stagnation of the era of reformist groups such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis and ghettoized underground bars.

The feel-good liberals and the conservatives play into each other’s hands to write the radicals out of history. I looked for a good story on the anniversary, and found nothing at all on:

  1. The Advocate magazine and news updates
  2. Out
  3. Gay.com News
  4. Human Rights Campaign
  5. PFLAG

But in spite of the blackout, the radicals have been here all along. They were instrumental to the triumphs of the past thirty years, as gay liberation has made stellar progress on every front. They were here to suffer the horrors, with the Reagan backlash, the AIDS holocaust, and the rise in anti-gay murders. And all significant progress toward gay liberation depends on the ability of radical views and solutions to remain within the LGBT community and LGBT activism.

I hope that everyone will take some time today to remember and thank those who have gone before us in the struggle for justice. Happy anniversary, everyone.

On the road again…

As of this morning I will be on the road to visit the family in Texas (partially because I haven’t seen them in ages, partially as a maneuver to get the car back in time to pick up a guest from Atlanta), so GT and The Daily Linkroll may be sporadic for a little while. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In the meantime, have a ball reading T. Phoebe Reilly’s review and critique of Ghost World from Bitch. I recently saw the film and enjoyed it a great deal; the review does a pretty good job of summing up both what I liked and what worried me throughout.

An Important Update from the War Information Council

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the United States

Hello, I’m here to defend your freedoms!

John Ashcroft, Attorney General of the United States

It vill not be difficult, mein Führer… excuse me… Mr. President.

Today, Mr. Padilla was being held in a high security jail at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station in South Carolina. Bush administration officials said Mr. Padilla had been declared an enemy combatant, a status that makes it easier for the government to detain him without having to bring a criminal charge that would force it disclose sensitive intelligence sources.

There was also some question as to whether there was enough evidence, absent information gathered from intelligence sources, to bring a traditional criminal prosecution that could be won in court. That meant, officials said, that the best and perhaps only realistic alternative was to turn him over to military custody in which he could be held indefinitely.

When I heard the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense cooperated effectively to place an American citizen under indefinite detention without charges in complete violation of the Constitution, I felt much safer from those who hate our freedom. God Bless America.

For further reading:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers Move Online

The anti-choice movement has been working for years to spread disinformation and harassing counseling on abortion through deceptive Crisis Pregnancy Centers, which pose as women’s health clinics. In reality, CPCs generally offer only pregnancy tests and use the results to harass and intimidate women with unplanned pregnancies. Some even serve as commercial adoption brokers, directly profiteering from the anti-choice propaganda that they peddle.

In their latest move, CPCs have begun to move online. A Google search for "abortion" returns paid AdWords for online websites which either are directly connected with CPCs, such as ChooseBirth.com, and front projects for CPCs, such as StandUpGirl.com (where you can hear carefully selected and edited testimonials, get phone numbers for national CPC hotlines, and Take a glimpse into the cool world within the womb via 3-D ultrasound and color e-scopy video.

Google’s AdWords and other new web publicity tools are something that we in the pro-choice movement have to be aware of. The antis are already exploiting them to get their agitprop out to women and girls looking for help. We had better start talking about what we can do to better provide and disseminate pro-choice information against the tide of CPCs and their anti-choice supporters.