Founding Feminists is FMF’s daily herstory column.
Though today’s parade of 20 witnesses before a Senate subcommittee was far fewer than the 6,000 to 8,000 suffragists who fought their way down Washington, D.C.’s Pennsylvania Avenue on March 3rd, the respect and courtesy this smaller group received was infinitely greater.
Their eyewitness accounts of the suffrage parade and pageant three days ago were such a scathing indictment of police inefficiency, indifference, hostility and even abuse that Senator Wesley Jones, Republican of Washington, who is in charge of the hearings, indicated that no more testimony on the events of the day is needed, and the job of the subcommittee will now be to fix responsibility for the disgraceful performance of the police.
Major Richard Sylvester, Chief of the District Police, spent the day in the back of the hearing room taking notes in preparation for the grilling he’s certain to receive when it’s his turn to testify. Though the parade participants had expected some heckling from the crowd, and a certain degree of pushing and shoving is inevitable when thousands of marchers and a half million spectators compete for space, what the suffrage advocates encountered went far beyond that.
Police under-deployment and outright hostility were illustrated by examples. For instance, when the crowds became so dense at Ninth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue that one of the parade floats was unable to move, one of only three nearby officers inexplicably arrested one of the float’s drivers instead of clearing a path.
Indifference was the only alternative to hostility among police, with Julia Lathrop describing them as acting like “spectators.” Helena Hill Weed testified that though the jeers made by the crowd went well beyond the usual ribald jests and into the vilest obscenities, the police chatted in a friendly manner with those in the mob’s front ranks, and even contributed a few insults of their own, thus encouraging the remarks to escalate. Even attempts by some in the crowd to pull women off floats were ignored by the officers, with women such as 17-year-old Verna Hatfield having to fight off the attacks on their own.
Outrage over the mishandling of parade security is not confined to the halls of Congress or suffrage groups. Even the staunchly anti-suffrage New York Times denounced the behavior of both spectators and police in an editorial yesterday, calling the number of officers “pitifully inadequate” and that the few who were there were “in sympathy with the rioters rather than with the paraders.”
If the goal of the police and hecklers was to heap disrespect upon the marchers and their cause, they not only failed when the marchers showed great dignity, perseverance and restraint, but brought disgrace upon themselves and the entire anti-suffrage movement. The parade’s successful completion was therefore a double triumph, and two steps forward toward the day when nationwide woman suffrage is an accomplished fact, and “Votes for Women” marches will no longer be necessary.
As pro-choice protesters gathered outside the West Virginia Senate chamber on Tuesday, the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee amended and voted to advance a controversial bill to ban abortion after 20 weeks’ gestation in the state.
The committee’s amendment softened the bill somewhat by reducing the penalty against doctors from a felony with possible jail time to a misdemeanor and allowing for an abortion or induction if a fetus is not medically viable. But a provision requiring doctors to file detailed reports on every abortion remains intact.
Responding to the news, a Nebraska resident wrote an emotional plea to West Virginia legislators in the Charleston Gazette not to pass the new bill, which resembles a 20-week ban in her state that does not have an exception for nonviable fetuses or lesser penalties for doctors. Deaver said she suffered with an infection for ten days after her water broke prematurely at 22 weeks because her doctor said he could go to jail if he induced labor on her.
“We have been told women’s and doctor’s concerns are being heard. But the fact is, it is impossible to make palatable a bill that is this heinous,” Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of the reproductive justice organization WV Free, told RH Reality Check. ”While penalties were lessened, this legislation takes away medical decision making and criminalizes doctors.”
“Frankly, I don’t want to be on call wondering if I’m going to be prosecuted for terminating a pregnancy,” said Dr. David Jude, an OB-GYN at the Marshall University School of Medicine, during the committee meeting.
An amendment to move the ban to 24 weeks by Senate Judiciary Chairman Corey Palumbo (D-Kanawha) failed resoundingly. “It’s frustrating we’re apparently willing to pass a bill that, based on all the evidence out there, would be rejected by the courts as unconstitutional,” Palumbo said.
Twenty-week bans are unconstitutional under Roe v. Wade in that they ban abortion before a fetus can survive outside the womb, which could mean a long and expensive legal battle for the state if the bill were to pass. Three states have passed 20-week bans and seen them blocked by courts for being unconstitutional, while nine have them still in effect.
A poll commissioned by Planned Parenthood Health Systems over the weekend showed that 62 percent of registered West Virginia voters in three key districts support access to abortion at 20 weeks once they are reminded that such abortions are very rare (about 1 percent of all procedures) and that fetal abnormalities are often involved.
The bill now moves to the state senate’s judiciary committee.
“Hundreds of calls and thousands of emails are pouring into Senate offices, yet the bill keeps traction,” said Chapman Pomponio. “I don’t know how we are to maintain confidence in the democratic system when the voice of the majority is ignored.”
Correction: A version of this article incorrectly noted that a provision of the 20-week ban that would allow family members of a woman who has had an abortion to seek an injunction against a doctor performing a later abortion was still in the bill; it is not. We regret the error.
The post 20-Week Abortion Ban Advances in West Virginia Senate appeared first on RH Reality Check.
The US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigating Michigan State University (MSU) for its potential mishandling of sexual assault cases.
A student who was allegedly sexually assaulted in an MSU dorm room in August 2010 by two student athletes filed charges against the university under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination in education on the basis of sex. Campus police investigated the alleged rape and brought information to the county police department, which declined to prosecute. MSU has not provided any information to the press concerning whether or how the student’s charges were addressed through any on-campus disciplinary process.
Occidental College professors Caroline Heldman and Danielle Dirks report in the Winter/Spring 2014 issue of Ms. magazine, that 1 in 5 women in the US will experience a rape or an attempted rape at some point during her years in college. Unfortunately, many universities have mishandled sexual assault cases and now face investigations, most recently the University of California at Berkeley. To improve this situation, President Obama recently created an inter-agency task force to develop recommendations for universities to prevent campus rape and for federal agencies to hold accountable schools that do not adequately address sexual violence.
Media Resources: Lansing State Journal 2/25/14; Detroit Free Press 3/3/14; Feminist Majority Foundation Education Equality Toolkit; Ms. magazine Winter/Spring 2014 issue; Feminist Newswire 1/22/14, 3/4/14
Dr. Nasrin Oryakhil, president of the Afghan Family Health Association, was among 10 women honored this week by the US State Department with an International Women of Courage award.
Dr. Nasrin, a doctor of obstetrics and gynecology, operated an underground women’s health clinic in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime, providing urgently needed maternal health services, including emergency obstetric care. “Sometimes in the evening, Taliban members would barge into her clinic and beat her, demanding her to stop working and start praying,” relayed Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom, presenting the award. “But she continued working, praying only that God would bring change to her country. One night, after the Taliban assaulted her, Dr. Nasrin went on to perform 17 surgeries.”
Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Nasrin, directs the Malalai Maternity Hospital in Kabul and founded the first clinic for obstetric fistula repair in Afghanistan there. Dr. Nasrin is a member of the Afghan Women’s Network and also leads the Afghan Family Health Association, which provides a variety of services to women and girls, including reproductive health programs, a youth hotline, and shelters for women.
Accepting the award, Dr. Nasrin expressed that “the hope of women around the world one day will be materialized when they find themselves in an environment that truly recognizes and appreciates the real essence of being a woman and a mother.”
Since 2007, the US State Department has honored 70 women from 49 countries with the International Women of Courage award in recognition of their work advocating for women’s rights, human rights, and peace.
Media Resources: US Department of State 3/3/14; Voice of America 3/4/14
Though there is a great deal of scientific evidence to prove that vaccines are safe and effective, many parents in recent years have become skeptical of the childhood immunizations designed to prevent illness like measles, mumps, chickenpox, and even the flu. Efforts to encourage these parents to change their minds have most often focused on correcting the misinformation on which these beliefs are thought to be based. A new study by social science researchers, however, suggests that this approach may backfire.
Much of the distrust of vaccines can be traced back to a 1998 study in which British researcher Andrew Wakefield looked at the records of just one dozen autistic children and determined that the MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) shot was the cause of their condition. The medical community was shocked by this assertion and many did not believe the findings (especially because the study was so small). It the coming years, a number of researchers attempted to recreate the study and no one could confirm his conclusion. Moreover, numerous other studies found no link between vaccines and autism, yet the popular press had already seized on the data, parents had been sufficiently whipped into a frenzy, and anti-vaccine groups and websites began sprouting up everywhere.
By the time the news hit in 2011 that Wakefield had a financial motive for coming to the conclusion that he did and that there was evidence that he had deliberately falsified information, the damage to the reputation of not just the MMR but all vaccines had been done. While public health experts scrambled to clarify the misinformation of the previous decade, anti-vaccine groups and celebrity spokespeople like Jenny McCarthy continued to suggest, despite evidence to the contrary, that vaccines were unsafe and led to autism. The results were frightening as the percentage of children who got vaccinated plummeted, and cases of long forgotten illnesses like mumps surged.
Those of us working in the sexual health field were also affected by the growing distrust as the vaccines to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV) were released during this time. The HPV vaccine would have been a bit of a tough sell even without the doubt surrounding other inoculations, because parents sometimes fear that prevention efforts against sexually transmitted diseases—whether in the form of shots or condoms—will increase sexual behavior. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that the shot be given starting at age 11 to ensure that all three required doses have been received before a young person becomes sexually active. Traditionally, parents don’t like to think about their children as even potential sexual beings, especially at such a young age. For these reasons and others, just 33.1 percent of girls ages 13 to 17 had received all recommended doses of the vaccine by 2012. (Though the CDC does now also recommend that boys be vaccinated, the early push was limited to girls).
So while other public health experts have spent the last decade trying to correct the misinformation about vaccine safety and the link to autism, sexual health experts have been providing similar information designed to reassure parents about the HPV vaccine specifically; it is safe and effective, it does not cause sexual activity, and it does prevent cancer. If this new study is correct, however, we may all be doing it wrong.
Researchers at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire surveyed over 1,700 parents to determine their beliefs about vaccines. Specifically, they wanted to know if the parents believed the idea that the MMR vaccine caused or could cause autism. After identifying the parents who believed this myth, the researchers tried one of four methods commonly used to correct such misbeliefs. Parents were either given information by a health authority that explained there was no connection, given information about the three diseases that the MMR vaccine protects against, shown pictures of kids suffering from these diseases, or told a story about a baby who almost died from the measles.
After being given this positive information about the vaccine, parents were less likely to believe that the MMR caused autism. Don’t get too excited, however, because the good news ends there. Despite their new-found faith in vaccines, these parents were less likely to say they would vaccinate their own child than they had been at the start of the study. When the study began, those parents who were strongly opposed to vaccines said that at best there was a 70 percent chance they’d vaccinate their children in the future. After being given the pro-vaccine information, this went down to 45 percent. (The study just measured intent to vaccinate, it did not follow the parents or children to see what actually happened.)
The researchers say further studies are needed to pin point the cause of this reaction but they think it is linked to self-esteem and self-image. If you are somebody who believes strongly in the link between autism and vaccines and you are presented with information that suggests your beliefs are wrong, your self-esteem and self-image may be shattered. One natural reaction to this is to dig in your heels, stick to your beliefs, and start looking for proof that you were right all along.
Lead researcher Brendan Nyhan explained to LiveScience, “We suggest that people are motivated to defend their more skeptical or less favorable attitudes towards vaccines.” Nyhan noted that as of yet we don’t really know what works to change their minds and said that as we search for new methods, “We shouldn’t put too much weight on the idea that there’s some magic message out there that will change people minds.”
I had my own experience trying to craft a persuasive argument to a skeptical parent just last week. We were sitting in the waiting room of my pediatrician’s office noting how different it was to bring a 3-year-old who was dancing around the waiting room loudly (me) and a 14-year-old who was curled in a chair eyes planted on her phone (her). The office assistant came up and gave her a brief written description of the vaccines her daughter was scheduled to get but said that it was obviously her choice. She held up the papers one after the other and said, “We’ll do this one but let’s hold off on this.” The nosy sex educator in me went on alert. I knew it had to be the HPV vaccine. I looked at her inquisitively and hoped that since we’d already been chatting, she would tell me what had just transpired. She picked up the cue and explained that she’d been intending for her daughter to get the HPV shot at this visit but just before she’d left the house she had checked email and a headline came through claiming a new study found that very vaccine unsafe. I asked her for details but she had none because she hadn’t read the article yet, just the headline. Still, she said, it seemed like a sign from the universe.
Despite the fact that it was really none of my business, I feel strongly about the benefits of the HPV vaccine (see this article for more) and could not let the chance to change even this one parent’s mind slip away. I scrambled for the right messages, facts, and tone. I tried to explain my “credentials” on the subject. Then said from all the research I’d done it was a really safe vaccine and added that it had been shown to be working, which was great because pretty much everyone our age has HPV. I tried to stay away from too much detail lest I sound like I was launching into a prepared diatribe. Ultimately, after making just a few points in the vaccine’s favor, I agreed that it was weird she should see that email at that very moment and said I could understand her seeing it as a “sign.” I ended by telling her she should talk to the regular doctor (who was out that day) because I know he is very pro-vaccines and she undoubtedly trusts him more than some random stranger in the waiting room who claims to be an expert.
She did not get her daughter vaccinated that day, and I will never know whether she does in the future. Still, I wonder whether my words had any impact. And after this study, I wonder if any words could have.
Though I find the results of this study—and the human nature that they spotlight—fascinating, I hope they are not too discouraging to those dedicated public health professional who have spent the last decade trying to convince parents that vaccinating their kids, whether against a host of childhood illness or HPV and cervical cancer, is the right thing to do. Yes, we just found out that it may be even harder to change somebody’s mind than we thought, but we have to keep on trying.
Image: Vaccines via Shutterstock
The post Parents’ Distrust of Vaccines May Be Even Harder to Counter Than We Thought appeared first on RH Reality Check.
Women all over the world will celebrate International Women’s Day on Saturday, March 8, by taking action for their social, political, and economic equality. The United Nations’ official IWD theme for this year is “equality for women is progress for all,” and we couldn’t agree more! This International Women’s Day, celebrate with us by speaking out for women’s rights – eight times.
CEDAW has been ratified by 187 of the 193 member states of the UN, the United States is one of only seven nations that has not yet approved it, putting us in the company of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Iran and two small Pacific islands. As a leading advocate for human rights, the US has a compelling interest to improve conditions for women. Yet, the United Sates has compromised its credibility as a world leader in both human rights and women’s rights in its failure to ratify CEDAW.
For many victims of war, resources provided by US humanitarian aid eases their suffering; but for victims of war rape care is limited. Survivors of war rape are denied access to comprehensive medical care that includes the option of abortion, largely because of US policy that is wrongly interpreted to place anti-abortion restrictions on humanitarian aid in conflict zones - in direct violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions. Girls and women systematically raped during conflict face increased rates of maternal mortality, permanent reproductive damage, and obstetric fistula, in addition to isolation and trauma. Without access to the option of abortion care, victims are forced to risk their health – either by carrying unwanted pregnancies to term, seeking dangerous methods of abortion or, in many tragic cases, taking their own lives.
Take action with Feminist Majority and the Global Justice Center to urge President Obama to issue an executive order lifting the ban on abortion restrictions in conflict zones, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
The Affordable Care Act guarantees that all new health insurance plans cover FDA approved contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles. But over 40 profit-making companies have filed lawsuits against this ACA requirement saying that they have a right to deny this coverage to their employees because of the companies’ so-called religious beliefs.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments March 25 regarding whether companies can take away this important birth control benefit from women. Send a clear message to the Supreme Court that companies should not be able to use religion as cover to discriminate against women.
Folks will be meeting on Tuesday, March 25 outside of the Supreme Court building to make their voices heard in this important debate – and you should be there! Come around 8:30 AM and bring your own signs!
Take a pledge with us to support Afghan women and Afghan women’s organizations. Let them know that we are proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with them in the fight for women’s and girls’ equality. We will do all we can to ensure that the US continue to support Afghan women’s organizations and empowerment. In this crucial transition period, you can count on our strong support.
The BSA provides that the U.S. will continue to offer assistance to strengthen security, provide humanitarian aid, and support economic and civic development. But Afghan President Hamid Karzai has indicated that he will not sign the BSA until after the April 2014 elections – a decision that could potentially disrupt the relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan and place Afghan women at grave risk.
Urge President Karzai to sign this agreement. Without this agreement, the tremendous gains made by Afghan women since the fall of the Taliban will be in jeopardy.
Every minute, a young woman becomes newly infected with HIV, and the vast majority of HIV infections are sexually transmitted. Women need reproductive health programs to be integrated with HIV/AIDS services, and vice-versa, for improved efficiency and effectiveness in preventing AIDS infection and unplanned pregnancy and improving maternal and child health.
You can make a difference. Take action to urge decision makers to integrate comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services with HIV/AIDS treatment for women globally.
The Military Justice Improvement Act (MJIA) S.1752, introduced by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), will take the decision of whether to prosecute sexual assault cases out of the chain of command and give it to independent, objective, trained military prosecutors. Reports of sexual assault in the military increased by a whopping 36% in fiscal year 2012. The vast majority of victims – 89 percent according to the Pentagon itself – do not report sex crimes at all. And one-half of female victims indicate not reporting sexual assault because they do not believe anything will be done by their commanders.
We must act now. Email your Senators to tell them that we must change the current system of handling sexual assault cases. It is simply not working.
New Month! New books! March is upon us and so are a slew of new and noteworthy LGBT books.
Historian Martin Duberman’s new book, Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS, is being released this month by The New Press. The book serves as both a biography of two vital and beloved gay cultural figures, Michael Callen and Essex Hemphill, and as an astute snapshot of the early years of the AIDS epidemic.
From The New Press:
In December 1995, the FDA approved the release of protease inhibitors, the first effective treatment for AIDS. For countless people, the drug offered a reprieve from what had been a death sentence; for others, it was too late. In the United States alone, over 318,000 people had already died from AIDS-related complications–among them the singer Michael Callen and the poet Essex Hemphill.
Meticulously researched and evocatively told, Hold Tight Gently is the celebrated historian Martin Duberman’s poignant memorial to those lost to AIDS and to two of the great unsung heroes of the early years of the epidemic. Callen, a white gay Midwesterner who had moved to New York, became a leading figure in the movement to increase awareness of AIDS in the face of willful and homophobic denial under the Reagan administration; Hemphill, an African American gay man, contributed to the black gay and lesbian scene in Washington, D.C., with poetry of searing intensity and introspection.
The personal becomes political in a new memoir by writer Kelly Cogswell. In Eating Fire My Life as a Lesbian Avenger (University of Minnesota Press), Cosgwell recounts her years with the seminal queer activist group the Lesbian Avengers.
From the publisher:
At once streetwise and wistful, Eating Fire is a witty and urgent coming-of-age memoir as well as the first in-depth account of the influential Lesbian Avengers. A rare insider’s look at the process and perils of street activism, Kelly Cogswell’s story is an engaging blend of picaresque adventure, how-to activist handbook, and rigorous inquiry into questions of identity, resistance, and citizenship.
Artist A.K. Summers unpacks her “unique” first pregnancy in the new graphic memoir Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag (Soft Skull Press).
From the publisher:
First pregnancy can be a fraught, uncomfortable experience for any woman, but for resolutely butch lesbian Teek Thomasson, it is exceptionally challenging: Teek identifies as a masculine woman in a world bent on associating pregnancy with a cult of über-femininity. Teek wonders, “Can butches even get pregnant?”
Of course, as she and her pragmatic femme girlfriend Vee discover, they can. But what happens when they do? Written and illustrated by A.K. Summers, and based on her own pregnancy, Pregnant Butch strives to depict the increasingly common but still underrepresented experience of queer pregnancy with humor and complexity—from the question of whether suspenders count as legitimate maternity wear to the strains created by different views of pregnancy within a couple, and finally to a culturally critical and compassionate interrogation of gender in pregnancy.
Five fascinating tales linked by the sea. An aging architect must decide to give up his grief, even if it means losing the vestiges of a lover’s memory. An object of erotic fixation galvanizes men against the isolation of exile on a cruise liner. As he watches the disintegration of his picket-fence fantasy, an ex-soldier looks to the sea for absolution.
By turns urban and remote, the emotional landscapes navigated in this stunning debut collection offer a bold new meditation on love, loss, and isolation in our precarious present, and make visceral for us the duality of risk and salvation that attend our most passionate attachments.
This month, publisher and writer Christopher Stoddard is releasing three new titles through his new publishing outfit ITNA Press. “Founded in August 2013, ITNA PRESS is a Brooklyn-based company dedicated to publishing honest works of American literature deemed too provocative for the mainstream.”
As always, if we missed an author or book, or if you have a book coming out next month, please email us.
- Everything Must Go by La JohnJoseph, ITNA Press
- Kill Marguerite and Other Stories by Megan Milks, Emergency Press
- Limiters by Christopher Stoddard, ITNA Press
- Next to Nothing by Keith Banner, Lethe Press
- Part the Hawser, Limn the Sea by Dan Lopez, Chelsea Station Editions
- Waiting for the Violins by Justine Saracen, Bold Strokes Books
- 50 Shades of Kink: An Introduction to Kink by Tristan Taormino, Cleis Press
- The Homoerotics of Orientalism by Joseph Allen Boone, Columbia University Press
- Nobody Is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low by C. Riley Snorton, University of Minnesota Press
- You Fell So Mortal: Essay on the Body by Peggy Shiner, University of Chicago Press
- Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives edited by Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowsk, Routledge
- Gender Protest and Same-Sex Desire in Antebellum American Literature by David Greven, Ashgate Press
- Gendering the Recession: Media and Culture in an Age of Austerity edited by Diane Negra and Yvonne Tasker, Duke University Press
- Outlaw Fathers in Victorian and Modern British Literature: Queering Patriarchy by Helena Gurfinkel, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press
- Rebecca Brown: Literary Subversions of Homonormalization by Lies Xhonneux, Cambria Press
- Reality Gendervision: Sexuality and Gender on Transatlantic Reality Television by Brenda R. Weber, Duke University Press
- Sexual Discretion: Black Masculinity and the Politics of Passing by Jeffrey Q. McCune, University of Chicago Press
- Because of Her by KE Payne, Bold Strokes Books
- Family Man by Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton, Samhain Publishing
- Fortune Teller’s Daughter by Diane Wood, Bella Books
- Finding the Grain by Wynn Malone, Bywater Books
- Free Falling by SE Jakes, Riptide Publishing
- Trapped by Bella Donnis Faraday, CreateSpace
- Every Inch of the Way by Heidi Belleau and Amelia C. Gormley, Riptide Press
- Love Between Men: Seductive Stories of Afternoon Pleasure edited by Shane Allison, Cleis Press
- The Rise of Alec Caldwell: Erotic Adventures of a Young Businessman by Casey K. Cox, Bruno Gmunder Verlag Gmbh
- If It Drives by Aleksandr Voinov and LA Witt, Riptide Publishing
- Future Dyke by Lea Daley, Bella Books
- The Magic Hunt: A Midnight Hunters Novel by L.L. Raand, Bold Strokes Books
- The Unwanted by Jeffrey Ricker, Bold Strokes Books
- Acquainted with the Night by Erica Abbott, Bella Books
- Ball & Chain by Abigail Roux, Riptide Press
- Desperate Measures by PJ Trebelhorn, Bold Strokes Books
- Family Issue by Nat Burns, Bella Books
- The Heat of Angels by Lisa Girolami, Bold Strokes Books
- Season of the Wolf by Robin Summers, Bold Strokes Books
- When All the World Sleeps by Lisa Henry and JA Rock, Riptide Press
- Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage (Women in American History) by Trisha Franzen, University of Illinois Press
- Eating Fire: My Life as a Lesbian Avenger by Kelly J. Cogswell, University of Minnesota Press
- The End of Eve by Ariel Gore, Hawthorne Books
- Hold Tight Gently: Michael Callen, Essex Hemphill, and the Battlefield of AIDS by Martin Duberman, The New Press
- The Maggie and Me by Damien Barr, Bloomsbury
- Sweet Tooth by Tim Anderson, Lake Union Publishing
- Food Chain by Slava Mougtin, Inta Press
- Mysterious Acts by My People by Valerie Wetlaufer, Sibling Rivalry Press
- I Don’t Know You by Robert Montes, Ampersand Books
- This Life Now by Michael Broder, Midsummer Night’s Press
- This Way to the Sugar by Hieu Nguyen, Write Bloody Publishing
- When I Was Straight by Julie Marie Wade, Midsummer Night’s Press
Pregnant Butch: Nine Long Months Spent in Drag by A.K. Summers, Soft Skull Press
26th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced
2014 Marks the Debut of the New Graphic Novel Category
Awards Ceremony: Monday, June 2, 2014 in New York City
The 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards – or the “Lammys,” as they are affectionately known–mark another record-breaking year and usher in the debut of the new category of Graphic Novel. Finalists for the Lammys were announced today by the Lambda Literary Foundation (LLF) in Los Angeles after reviewing a record 746 submissions (up from 687 last year) from 352 publishers (up from 332 last year). Submissions came from major mainstream publishers and from academic presses, from both long-established and new LGBT publishers, as well as from emerging publish-on-demand technologies.
“Today is a day to celebrate the richness of our literature and to give hearty congratulations to our outstanding shortlisted authors and their publishers,” said LLF Executive Director, Tony Valenzuela. “The deep commitment to advance our community’s literature by our highly qualified volunteer judges who read and deliberate on the submitted books – and often anguish over the selection of finalists – make the Lammys possible.”
Now in their twenty-sixth year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) writing for books published in 2013. Winners will be announced during a ceremony on Monday evening, June 2, 2014, at The Great Hall at Cooper Union (7 East 7th Street, New York City 10003). Details on the annual after-party location are forthcoming. For more information and to buy tickets, please visit: http://www.lambdaliterary.org/awards/
More than 90 literary professionals, including booksellers, book reviewers, librarians, authors, and previous Lammy winners and finalists volunteered countless hours of reading, critical thinking, and invigorating discussion to select the finalists in 24 categories.
“This is our fifth straight year of record-breaking Lambda Literary Award submissions,” said LLF Board President, S. Chris Shirley. “We’re especially excited to add an LGBT Graphic Novel category to accommodate their explosive growth over the past few years and to recognize the extraordinary talent behind them.”
Tickets for the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony and after-party go on sale today. For information, visit LLF’s website and join the conversation by following the hashtag #Lammys on Twitter. For the month of March only, early bird tickets are $100 for the ceremony only and $200 for the ceremony plus after-party. Prices will increase by $25 beginning April 1st.
Pioneer and Trustee Award honorees, the master of ceremonies, and presenters will be announced the third week of April.
Tickets for the Lambda Literary Awards ceremony go on sale today. For information visit here.
2014 Lambda Literary Awards Host Committee
Co-Chairs: Melanie La Rosa, David McConnell, Don Weise
- Nevada, a novel, Imogen Binnie, Topside Press
- Tiresias, Devon Llywelyn Jones, Devon Llywelyn Jones
- Wanting in Arabic, Trish Salah, TSAR Publications
- Corona, Bushra Rehman, Sibling Rivalry Press
- Hild: A Novel, Nicola Griffith, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- In His Secret Life, Mel Bossa, Bold Strokes Books
- My Education, Susan Choi, Penguin Group/Viking
- The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel, David Leavitt, Bloomsbury
GAY GENERAL FICTION
- A Visit to Priapus and Other Stories, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
- An Honest Ghost, Rick Whitaker, Jaded Ibis Press
- The City of Devi, Manil Suri, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Damn Love, Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Ig Publishing
- The Desperates, Greg Kearney, Cormorant Books
- Fire Year, Jason K Friedman, Sarabande Books
- Local Souls, Allan Gurganus, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Mundo Cruel: Stories, Luis Negron; translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, Seven Stories Press
- Necessary Errors, Caleb Crain, Penguin Books
- The Red Shoes, John Stewart Wynne, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
LESBIAN GENERAL FICTION
- The Albino Album, Chavisa Woods, Seven Stories Press
- Bodies of Water, T. Greenwood, Kensington
- Cha-Ching!, Ali Liebegott, City Lights
- Cream, Christiana Harrell, Createspace
- The Daylight Gate, Jeanette Winterson, Grove/Atlantic Inc./Grove Press
- Fat Angie, e.E. Charlton-Trujillo, Candlewick Press
- Happiness, Like Water, Chinelo Okparanta, Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- She Rises: A Novel, Kate Worsley, Bloomsbury
- Survival Skills, Jean Ryan, Ashland Creek Press
- We Are Water, Wally Lamb, HarperCollins/Harper
LGBT DEBUT FICTION
- The Affairs of Others: A Novel, Amy Grace Loyd, Picador
- Descendants of Hagar, Nik Nicholson, AuthorHouse
- Golden Boy, Abigail Tarttelin, Simon & Schuster/Atria Books
- How to Shake the Other Man, Derek Palacio, Nouvella
- In Between, Jane Hoppen, Bold Strokes Books
- Inside, Charles L. Ross, Ink Inc.
- Jane and the Whales, Andrea Routley, Caitlin Press
- My Brother’s Name: A Novel, Laura Krughoff, Scarletta / Scarletta Press
- Prick Queasy, Ronald Palmer, Publication Studio
- The Rest of Us: Stories, Guy Mark Foster, Tincture/Lethe Press
- Blood, Marriage, Wine & Glitter, S. Bear Bergman, Arsenal Pulp Press
- The End of San Francisco, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, City Lights Publishers
- Testo Junkie, Beatriz Preciado, Feminist Press
- The B Word: Bisexuality in Contemporary Film and Television, Maria San Filippo, Indiana University Press
- Bi: Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Shiri Eisner, Seal Press
- The Soundtrack of My Life, Clive Davis, Simon & Schuster
- Among the Bloodpeople, Thomas Glave, Akashic Books
- Does Jesus Really Love Me?, Jeff Chu, Harper Collins
- The End of the Homosexual?, Dennis Altman, University of Queensland Press
- Living Out Islam: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Muslims, Scott Siraj al-Haqq Kugle, NYU Press
- Meet Grindr: How One App Changed The Way We Connect, Jamie Woo, Self-Published
- Plane Queer: Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants, Phil Tiemeyer, University of California Press
- The Queer Limit of Black Memory Black Lesbian Literature and Irresolution, Matt Richardson, The Ohio State University Press
- Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and Their Children in the United States since World War II, Daniel Winunwe Rivers, University of North Carolina Press
- Tom Bianchi: Fire Island Pines. Polaroids 1975-1983, Ben Smales, Tom Bianchi, Edmund White, Damiani
- White Girls, Hilton Als, McSweeney’s Publishing
- You Can Tell Just By Looking: And 20 Other Myths about LGBT Life and People, Michael Bronski, Ann Pellegrini and Michael Amico, Beacon Press
- Alternative Medicine, Rafael Campo, Duke University Press
- The Apartment of Tragic Appliances, Michael D. Snediker, Peanut Books (an imprint of punctum books)
- Clay, David Groff, Trio House Press
- Companion Grasses, Brian Teare, Omnidawn Publishing
- Metaphysical Dog, Frank Bidart, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Obscenely Yours, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Alice James Books
- Silverchest, Carl Phillips, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Straight Razor, Randall Mann, Persea Books
- The Talking Day, Michael Klein, Sibling Rivalry Press
- Unpeopled Eden, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Four Way Books
- A Wild Surmise: New & Selected Poems & Recordings, Eloise Klein Healy, Red Hen Press
- Chopper! Chopper! Poetry From Bordered Lives, Veronica Reyes, Red Hen Press/Arktoi Books
- Chord Box, Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers, The University of Arkansas Press
- The Collected Poems of Ai, Ai, W.W. Norton & Company
- The Exchange, Sophie Cabot Black, Graywolf Press
- Proxy, R. Erica Doyle, Belladonna Collaborative
- Rise in the Fall, Ana Bozicevic, Birds, LLC
- She Has a Name, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Four Way Books
- Viral, Suzanne Parker, Alice James Books
- We Come Elemental, Tamiko Beyer, Alice James Books
- Baton Rouge Bingo, Greg Herren, Bold Strokes Books
- Boystown 5: Murder Book, Marshall Thornton, MLR Press
- Fierce, David Lennon, Blue Spike Publishing
- Foxed, Garry Ryan, NeWest Press
- The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari, Sarah Black, Dreamspinner Press
- How to Greet Strangers: A Mystery, Joyce Thompson, Lethe Press
- In Real Life, The 3rd Gemini & Flowers Mystery, Jonathan Gregory, Amazon Digital Services Inc
- Pawn of Satan, Mark Zubro, MLR Press
- Pretty Boy Dead, Jon Michaelsen, Wilde City Press
- The Prisoner of the Riviera: A Francis Bacon Mystery, Janice Law, MysteriousPress.com/Open Road Media
- Cross and Burn, Val McDermid, Grove/Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press
- Death of the Demon, Anne Holt, Scribner
- High Desert, Katherine V. Forrest, Spinsters Ink
- The Killer Wore Leather: A Mystery, Laura Antoniou, Cleis Press
- Point of Betrayal, Ann Roberts, Bella Books
- The Rainey Season, R.E. Bradshaw, R.E. Bradshaw Books
- She Overheard Murder, Jean Sheldon, Wellworth Publishing/Bast Press
- Taken by the Wind, Ellen Hart, St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books
- Turning on the Tide, Jenna Rae, Bella Books
- Web of Obsessions, Diane Wood, Bella Books
- The Wild Beasts of Wuhan: An Ava Lee Novel, Ian Hamilton, Picador
- A Heaven of Words: Last Journals, by Glenway Wescott, Ed. Jerry Rosco, University of Wisconsin Press
- The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience, Perry N. Halkitis, Oxford University Press
- American Hipster: A Life of Herbert Huncke, The Times Square Hustler Who Inspired the Beat Movement, Hilary Holladay, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
- Darling: A Spiritual Autobiography, Richard Rodriguez, Penguin Group/Viking
- Dreadful: The Short Life and Gay Times of John Horne Burns, David Margolick, Other Press
- Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father, Alysia Abbott, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
- Farther and Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson, Blake Bailey, Alfred A. Knopf
- Henry Darger, Throwaway Boy: The Tragic Life of an Outsider Artist, Jim Elledge, Overlook Duckworth
- In Bed With Gore Vidal, Tim Teeman, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
- Returning to Reims, Didier Eribon, Semiotext(e)
- Body Geographic, Barrie Jean Borich, University of Nebraska Press
- Growing up Golem, Donna Minkowitz, Riverdale Ave Books/Magnus
- How Poetry Saved My Life, Amber Dawn, Arsenal Pulp Press
- L Is for Lion: An Italian Bronx Butch Freedom Memoir, Annie Rachel Lanzillotto, SUNY Press, Excelsior Editions
- Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, Caroline Paul and Wendy MacNaughton, Bloomsbury
- Covet Thy Neighbor, L. A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
- Glitterland, Alexis Hall, Riptide Publishing
- Into This River I Drown, TJ Klune, Dreamspinner Press
- King Mai, Edmond Manning, Pickwick Ink Publishing
- My Dear Watson, L.A. Fields, Lethe Press
- Pickup Men, L.C. Chase, Riptide Publishing
- Play Me, I’m Yours, Madison Parker, Harmony Ink Press
- Rocky’s Road, Lynley Wayne, MLR Press
- Unbroken, Larry Benjamin, Beaten Track Publishing
- Where You Are, J.H. Trumble, Kensington
- All That Lies Within, Lynn Ames, Phoenix Rising Press
- At Seventeen, Gerri Hill, Bella Books
- Broken Trails, D Jordan Redhawk, Bella Books
- Clean Slate, Andrea Bramhall, Bold Strokes Books
- Date with Destiny, Mason Dixon, Bold Strokes Books
- Hold Me Forever, D. Jackson Leigh, Bold Strokes Books
- Hoosier Daddy, Ann McMan, Salem West, Bedazzled Ink Publishing Company/Nuance
- Last Salute, Tracey Richardson, Bella Books
- Love by the Numbers, Karin Kallmaker, Bella Books
- The Princess Affair, Nell Stark, Bold Strokes Books
- Capture & Surrender, Aleksandr Voinov & L.A. Witt, Riptide Publishing
- The Padisah’s Son and the Fox: an erotic novella, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
- Sensual Travels: Gay Erotic Stories, Michael Luongo (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender
- Show-Offs: Gay Erotic Stories, Ed. Richard Labonte, Cleis Press
- Team Players: Gay Erotic Stories, Winston Gieseke (Ed.), Bruno Gmuender
- At Her Feet, Rebekah Weatherspoon, Bold Strokes Books
- Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, Kathleen Warnock, Ed., Cleis Press
- Wild Girls Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories, Ed. Sacchi Green, Cleis Press
- An Archive of Hope: Harvey Milk’s Speeches and Writings, Harvey Milk, Jason Edward Black, Charles E. Morris, University of California Press
- The Feminist Porn Book, Tristan Taormino, Constance Penley, Celine Parrenas Shimizu & Mireille Miller-Young, Feminist Press
- Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology of Spoken Word and Poetry, Editors: Brittany Fonte and Regie Cabico, Lowbrow Press
- Ghosts in Gaslight. Monsters in Steam. Gay City: Volume 5, Evan J Peterson & Vincent Kovar, Gay City Anthologies
- Queer Africa: New and Collected Fiction, Karen Martin and Makhosazana Xaba, MaThoko’s Books
- Queer in Aztlan: Chicano Male Recollentions of Consciousness and Coming Out, Ed. Adelaida R. Del Castillo and Gibran Guido, Cognella Academic Publishing
- This Assignment Is So Gay: LGBTIQ Poets on the Art of Teaching, Megan Volpert, Sibling Rivalry Press
- Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, T.C. Tolbert and Tim Trace Peterson, Nightboat Books
- What I LOVE about being QUEER, Vivek Shraya, George Brown College
- Who’s Yer Daddy?: Gay Writers Celebrate Their Mentors and Forerunners, Eds. Jim Elledge and David Groff, The University of Wisconsin Press
LGBT CHILDREN’S/YOUNG ADULT
- Better Nate Than Ever, Tim Federle, Simon & Schuster, Inc./ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
- Boy In Box, Christopher R. Michael, Hubbub Publishing
- Girls I’ve Run Away With, Rhiannon Argo, Moonshine Press
- If You Could Be Mine, Sara Farizan, Algonquin Books
- Openly Straight, Bill Konigsberg, Arthur A. Levine Books
- Rapture Practice, Aaron Hartzler, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Secret City, Julia Watts, Bella Books
- The Secret Ingredient, Stewart Lewis- Author, Rebecca Short-Editor, Delacorte Press (Penguin/Random House)
- The Summer Prince, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Arthur A. Levine Books
- Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
- What Makes a Baby, Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, Seven Stories Press/Triangle Square
- Las Hociconas: Three Locas with Big Mouths and Even Bigger Brains, Adelina Anthony, Korima Press
- sash & trim and other plays, Djola Branner, RedBone Press
- Tom at the Farm, Michel Marc Bouchard, Talonbooks
LGBT GRAPHIC NOVEL
- Artifice, Alex Woolfson (author), Winona Nelson (Illustrator), AMW Comics
- Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, Nicole J. Georges, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Duck! Second Chances, Tana Ford, Bang A Left
- The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker, Steve Dutro, M Press
- Collaborators, Deborah Wheeler, Dragon Moon Press
- Death by Silver, Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold, Lethe Press
- Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
- Dragon Slayer, Isabella Carter, Less Than Three Press
- Dust Devil on a Quiet Street, Richard Bowes, Lethe Press
- Hell’s Belle, Marie Castle, Bella Books
- Invisible Soft Return :\, Roberta Degnore, Digital Fabulists
- Light, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Bold Strokes Books
- Like Light for Flies, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
- The Stars Change, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press, Inc.
- Butch Queens Up in Pumps Gender, Performance, and Ballroom Culture in Detroit, Marlon M. Bailey, University of Michigan Press
- Feeling Women’s Liberation, Victoria Hesford, Duke University Press
- Just Queer Folks: Gender and Sexuality in Rural America, Colin R. Johnson, Temple University Press
- Love and Money: Queers, Class, and Cultural Production, Lisa Henderson, NYU Press
- Oye Loca: From the Mariel Boatlift to Gay Cuban Miami, Susana Pena, University of Minnesota Press
- Professing Selves: Transsexuality and Same-Sex Desire in Contemporary Iran, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Duke University Press
- Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence, Christina B. Hanhardt, Duke University Press
- Shanghai Lalas, Lucetta Yip Lo Kam, Hong Kong University Press
- Tomorrow’s Parties: Sex and the Untimely, Peter M. Coviello, NYU Press
- Transforming Citizenships: Transgender Articulations of the Law, Isaac West, NYU Press
Lambda Literary Foundation
5482 Wilshire Blvd, #1595
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Also: finalists for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction announced; testing the Hemingway App; warfare and rocket cats.
In Kenneth Calhoun's debut novel, no one can sleep — and the insomnia's driving people crazy. Reviewer Jason Heller says Black Moon isn't just another spin of the post-apocalypse plot wheel.
"The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are as much every U.S. citizen's wars as they are the veterans' wars," says Phil Klay, who served in Iraq. His debut story collection is called Redeployment.
In the early 1960s, a young couple in Boston set out to make audio recordings of relatively young, up-and-coming writers — like James Baldwin, Philip Roth and John Updike — reading their own works.
Two more reproductive health clinics—one an abortion provider—in underserved areas of Texas closed their doors this week, as the effects of the omnibus anti-abortion access bill passed last summer with the support of conservative lawmakers continue to unfold across the state.
Both now-shuttered clinics, in McAllen and Beaumont, are part of the Whole Woman’s Health group, which once had five facilities in Texas: in Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, McAllen, and Beaumont. As of this week, the organization will be down to three locations. And come September, when abortion providers are required to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers, there will be just one Whole Woman’s left, in San Antonio. At that time, it will be one of six abortion providers left in a state that, according to data from Texas Department of State Health Services, sees about 70,000 legal abortion procedures performed each year.
“It’s hard for me to feel like I’m giving up, letting people down,” Whole Woman’s Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller told RH Reality Check. But when her doctors can’t get admitting privileges in socially conservative communities, and she can’t afford the million-dollar retrofitting required to turn her small clinics into hospital-like surgical centers, she said, “there’s no miracle way to pay the bills.”
The two shuttered clinics were both located in communities where poverty rates are high and many residents are un- or under-insured. The Beaumont facility, in southeast Texas, was the only provider between Houston and Louisiana, while the McAllen facility, in the Rio Grande Valley, served clients in the poorest city in the United States.
“Both of those communities have had safe, legal abortion since Roe v. Wade,” said Hagstrom Miller, until the passage of HB 2 last summer started a wave of clinic closures across the state. The four-fold law puts heavy restrictions on the prescription of medication abortion, bans abortion after 20 weeks, requires abortion-providing doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles and mandates that abortion facilities meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers.
While the McAllen clinic stopped providing abortion care last November when the admitting privileges provision of HB 2 went into place, abortion care at the Beaumont Whole Woman’s clinic continued until the end of February, when Hagstrom Miller ultimately decided she couldn’t sustain the facility in the wake of HB 2. The Beaumont clinic’s OB-GYN, who has provided legal abortion care since Roe and who Hagstrom Miller jokes has “delivered half the town,” had admitting privileges, but Hagstrom Miller says there’s no way she could turn the clinic into an ambulatory surgical center come September. It became time, she said, to “rip the Band-Aid off” and close both the McAllen and Beaumont clinics.
The conservative lawmakers who pitched HB 2 with the help of Gov. Rick Perry, who called two special sessions to pass the bill, claimed that it would improve the standard of care for Texans seeking abortions. Instead, a Whole Woman’s employee who worked in Beaumont for two-and-a-half years told RH Reality Check that women in the area will now have a harder time than ever accessing not only abortion, but the affordable contraception and cancer screenings that Whole Woman’s helped them find.
“We’ve been well aware that Texas has been against us and on us for many, many years,” said Marva Sadler, a regional director at Whole Woman’s. “But I did not think I would see a day where they would have put up such barriers that now that we’re actually closing clinics, and they’re essentially taking away the right to fair and safe comprehensive health care that all women, not only in the state of Texas, deserve to have.”
Sadler describes experiencing the clinic closures as a “grieving process,” fraught with anger and frustration at onerous laws that do little to prevent the need for abortion in the first place, or increase access to quality reproductive health care.
“It’s not just a plan on a piece of paper anymore,” said Sadler. “It just seems like breathing gets a little harder every day.”
Patients seeking legal abortion in Beaumont now face a 90-minute drive to Houston or a three-hour drive to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for their procedures, while Valley residents face a three-and-a-half hour drive to San Antonio or a two-and-a-half hour drive to Corpus Christi, where the city’s sole abortion provider will close in September after the surgical center regulations go into place.
The lengthy drive is just one barrier to accessing legal abortion care; an estimated 61 percent of patients seeking abortions are already parents, which means they must find child care in addition to taking time off work, and in many cases, finding a place to stay overnight.
Amy Hagstrom Miller told RH Reality Check that she’s now turned most of her attention toward trying to find ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) in Austin and Fort Worth where her doctors might be able to provide legal abortion care, perhaps through leasing the facilities on nights and weekends. But her luck, so far, has not been good.
“I’ve cold-called every ASC in the book,” she said. But even when she finds sympathetic landlords who don’t fear anti-choice protesters turning their sidewalks into soap boxes or harassing their patients, she also finds that there are barriers that keep her from operating, such as land “covenants” in formerly Catholic hospital-owned ASCs that prevent doctors in those locations from performing vasectomies or tubal ligations or providing abortion care.
“It’d be a miracle if I could pull it off in those two communities,” said Hagstrom Miller, of finding ASCs in Austin or Fort Worth. But, she said, “if anyone’s going to figure it out, I’m going to figure it out.”
Marva Sadler said she thinks often of the patients who have come to the Beaumont clinic over the past decade, and those who will soon find the clinic’s doors shut.
“I’m grieving for the women,” said Sadler. “I know the day after we close our clinic, they’ll call and that line is not going to have anyone on the other end to answer their questions. Where are they going to go? What are they going to do?”
To mark the closure of the McAllen clinic, the Whole Woman’s Health staff has invited the community to come to a candlelight vigil outside the downtown facility on the evening of Thursday, March 6, while a private event will be held for staff in Beaumont.
The post Two Texas Reproductive Health Clinics Close, a Harbinger of a Coming Access Crisis appeared first on RH Reality Check.
It was not lost on some that, 75 years after Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, the beautiful, poised and talented Lupita Nyong’o would become the sixth black woman to win that same Oscar—and for playing the same type of role, a slave.
If we count Halle Berry’s Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role, that brings the full count of African American women Oscar winners to seven. And when we look at the types of portrayals that won these awards—McDaniel as “Mammy,” Whoopi Goldberg as a con-artist spiritual adviser, Halle Berry as an oversexed and imbalanced grieving widow and mother, Jennifer Hudson as a sassy yet rejected lover singing with much attitude, Monique as a deranged abusive welfare mother, Octavia Spencer as a sassy yet abused maid, and now Lupita Nyong’o as a raped, whipped and victimized slave—it’s very easy to imagine that our subservience as black women (or even our hysteria as women in general; just look at the roles that white actresses often win for) is what is recognizable and later celebrated. In short, such recognition might convince us that nothing has changed.
However, I want to challenge that particular narrative: that nothing has changed. If we juxtapose McDaniel’s Mammy alongside Nyong’o's Patsey, we might realize that, apart from being slaves, their characters are nothing alike. Indeed, from a historical and cinematic context, something significant has changed. Mammy is the mask that pro-slavery apologists used to erase the existence of the Patseys in slavery. It is remarkable that it took 75 years to remove that mask from depictions of cinematic slavery.
There are other changes that we cannot overlook: The fact that McDaniel was forced to sit in the back row the night of the Oscars ceremony, segregated from the rest of her white cast members in the movie Gone with the Wind, contrasts with Nyong’o sitting up front with all the other A-list stars. There is also the fact that McDaniel and other black actors in the Negro Actors Guild fought to remove the n-word from the script of Gone with the Wind, as well as other offensive scenes of racial degradation (shoe-shining her master’s shoes on her knees, or having Butterfly McQueen’s Prissy eating watermelon or being slapped onscreen by Vivien Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara). I sometimes wonder: Had the Negro Actors Guild not intervened and those elements remained in the film, would we be able to celebrate this classic without embarrassment? Thanks to the efforts of McDaniel, she infused a long-standing stereotype of Mammy with some complicated humor, and she also helped make Gone with the Wind respectable for later generations.
But this is 2014, and we no longer play to respectability politics. The Civil Rights generation exposed the harsh realities of slavery’s history, with its legacy of racism and white supremacy, through our own felt experiences; the hip-hop generation embraced and poked holes in the n-word with a vengeance; and the millennial generation rightly condemns the nostalgic lies that movies like Birth of a Nation and Gone with the Wind have fostered about slavery. Those lies are hard to erase, since the big, expansive movie screen, with its elaborate montage in Birth and dreamy technicolor Wind, solidified these myths. Against these grand narratives, the marginal and enslaved black woman’s story is often silenced.
It took a no-holds-barred black filmmaker like Steve McQueen to not only face the harshness of slavery—as told in Solomon Northup’s 1853 narrative, Twelve Years a Slave—but to paint its cruelty in sharp colors, to sparingly use sound to build up dread or emotional release and especially to cast a dark-skinned actress such as Nyong’o who could interject sexuality and emotional depth to a character who might otherwise have been reduced to symbolic black woman victimhood. Instead, she emerged as the emotional center in one of the few slave movies that fully humanizes the slave story.
Which is why the journey from Mammy to Patsey is a historic big deal. The image of Mammy was deliberately designed by pro-slavery advocates to deny the existence of slave rapes. Her dark skin (now celebrated thanks to Nyong’o's natural beauty) was loudly negated as an aesthetic ideal. Her big and shapeless body created in the white imagination an image of safety, in which racial mixing did not occur except in the realm of loyal servitude and fierce protectionism. Moreover, her unfeminine, aggressive style made it difficult to view her as victimized by the slave system (imagine how Mammy would look in a scene with Michael Fassbender’s terrifying Edwin Epps).
Mammy was literally the visual opposition to Scarlett O’Hara, someone confined to slavery and sidekick status to the white heroine. Contrast such a pairing with Patsey and Mistress Epps (portrayed icily by Sarah Paulson), two women confined to the same man while one is given the privilege of her class position as wife and the power of whiteness to subjugate Patsey to cruelty and violence—an added insult to the injury of sexual violence that Patsey must endure from her master.
12 Years a Slave removes the masks from Gone with the Wind, and we recognize this through the very different depictions of Mammy and Patsey. As we bask in the afterglow of Lupita Nyong’o's win—the climax to a whirlwind awards season in which we witnessed Nyongo’s transformation “up from slavery” to red-carpet fashion icon and role model for darker-skinned women everywhere—her Oscar acceptance speech said it best:
It does not escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is thanks to so much pain in someone else’s, and so I salute the spirit of Patsey.
How can we, like Nyong’o, salute the spirit of Patsey? It only took 75 years for us to even catch a glimpse into the truth of her life. I would call that cinematic progress, and it’s merely the tip of the iceberg of painful history that technicolor tried to distort and which we can now watch with a bit more realism.
Janell Hobson is an associate professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the author of Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender (SUNY Press, 2012) and Venus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2005), and a frequent contributor to Ms.
12-2pm Poster Making for Prioria Robotics Drone Protest on 3/22
2-3pm Potluck and Panel discussion with local activists Carol Thomas (Internationalist and Social Justice activist), Sherry Dupree (Director of UNESCO) and Faye Williams (Porters Community Organizer)
3-5pm Musical Guests
6pm "Remembering the Goddess" film & subsequent discussion
For more information, please contact Faye Williams, email@example.com (352) 792-6020
The Madison, Wisconsin city council unanimously passed a buffer zone ordinance last week to protect people entering or exiting healthcare clinics, including women’s reproductive healthcare clinics, in the city. The new ordinance will require a 160-foot buffer zone around all healthcare clinics and a floating 8-foot buffer zone around people entering the clinics, with fines up to $750 for those who violate the boundaries.
“No one attempting to access any type of health care should be greeted with physical confrontation, protesters in their face, or forcing leaflets into their hands,” said Janet Dye, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin. “Madison’s newly passed buffer zone will protect patient privacy and dignity while accessing health care.”
Just after the ordinance passed, anti-abortion group, Madison Vigil for Life, filed a legal challenge to the law, claiming that it violates the First Amendment, and asked a federal judge to issue an immediate injunction. The court rejected that request, leaving the law in place pending the resolution of the case.
Clinic safety buffer zones are also a focus of the US Supreme Court this term. In the coming months, the Court will decide the fate of a Massachusetts law that creates a 35-foot safety buffer zone around women’s reproductive health clinics. The Court heard arguments in McCullen v Coakley in January. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) joined other women’s and civil rights organizations to file an amicus brief in support of the Massachusetts law. FMF brought the first lawsuit in the nation on buffer zones to the US Supreme Court in 1994. That case, Madsen v. Women’s Health Center, established the constitutionality of an injunction creating a clinic safety buffer zone in Florida.
Media Resources: RH Reality Check 2/27/14, 3/3/14; Feminist Majority Foundation 1/15/14
Ten Saudi women are petitioning the Saudi Arabia consultative Shura Council to demand an end to absolute male authority over women.
Activist Aziza Yousef told AFP news agency over the weekend that the activists are demanding “measures to protect women’s rights,” as well as the right for women to drive, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8. They argue that the restrictions women face in Saudi Arabia, which imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are not based in religious teachings.
Saudi women received the right to vote in 2011, but they are prohibited from driving and from working, travelling, and even performing certain medical procedures without a male guardian. In October, over 60 women drove in an ongoing campaign to obtain the right to drive, the lack of which limits their mobility and economic opportunities.
The Shura Council, appointed by the King, advises the monarch but cannot legislate on its own.
Media Resources: Al Jazeera 3/2/14; AFP 3/2/14; Huffington Post 3/5/14; Feminist Newswire 9/26/11, 10/28/13
The first time I held a professional camera in my hands was three years ago, at age 19. Since then, my passion for photography has grown each day.