A couple of months after I went full time, the late summer of 1969 I tried to join a feminist group in Berkeley and was told I didn’t belong. Even though I was welcome to march with them for feminist causes.
I was told I should join the Gay Liberation Front instead. But I had nothing in common with the gay men of the GLF because I wasn’t a gay man.
But I had family on the radical left. Weather didn’t give a damn that I was a woman now, not as long as I was still willing to join with my red/black comrades when it came to street actions.
Besides Feminism seemed to be big on demanding women withdraw from the anti-war movement and devote themselves 100% to the feminist cause while I never had a problem with supporting several causes.
Also the Feminist movement didn’t seem to have very much in the way of class consciousness.
Then Robin Morgan proceeded to trash not only the left but the hippie movement which probably had a better start on working out many issues of inequality and sexism than the people she didn’t trash.
I sort of said, “Fuck it, who needs this.” I had a deserter boyfriend I was very much in love with. I was happy being a hippie and working for SRS. I liked the left wing movement I was part of.
I watched as Beth Elliott was targeted for trashing by the Bay Area Lesbians.
I was still a feminist. I just wasn’t part of the Feminist Movement.
After I had my sex change surgery and broke up with my boyfriend I came out as a lesbian. I moved to LA, live on Sunset Blvd and became part of the “scene’ hanging out with my camera.
I read Ms. Magazine, had a partner and eventually started hanging out at the Women’s Building.
The left wing movement dwindled after the Vietnam War had ended. Hippies had sort of become invisible, absorbed into less obvious areas such as the arts.
To be a feminist I had to ignore the trashing of transsexuals, the trashing of gay men, when they really weren’t the enemy.
It wasn’t just Robin Morgan. Gloria Steinem wrote a nasty piece about us in Ms. Magazine.
We were being trashed for stuff assigned female at birth women weren’t. AFAB women were excused for buying into stuff like fashion while post-transsexual women were perpetuating negative feminine stereotypes.
Never mind the fact that we grew up subjected to the same sort of gender conditioning that caused AFAB women to buy into that sort of thing.
We were guilty of being transsexuals even when we were indistinguishable from our feminist AFAB sisters.
I started working for the Lesbian Tide as a photographer even though the work I did cost me far more than I ever made.
I read about the trashing of Beth Elliott and the later trashing of sandy Stone. I considered both these women to be among my extended circle of friends and acquaintances.
The price of avoiding being targeted for trashing was keeping my mouth shut, even though the women of the Tide knew about my history.
I listened when excuses were made for Anita Bryant, when people were told that personally attacking her was out of line.
Very few spoke out in defense of either Beth or Sandy. No attack upon them was ever considered too vile.
To this day radical feminists have no compunction about laying forth all sorts of vile lies, distortions and slanders when it come to transsexual or transgender people.
Yet we are not the ones leading the Concerned Women of America. We are not the Phyllis Schlaflys.
We are ghettoized into some sort of third sex category called transgender, called names like gender variants. Even when we have lived our entire adult lives as women. Even when our life concerns have little or nothing to do with those of transsexual or transgender people because our having been transsexual is a matter of ancient history.
It is as though gender feminists can’t tell the difference between an ally and an enemy.
So I find myself back to where I was, back to being a part of the left where people understand the nature of class struggle.
Back to the realization that I have much more in common with a male hourly wage worker on the same concrete floor I’m on than I have with a six figure feminist attorney or a tenured feminist teaching women’s studies.
I also have vastly more in common with both the men and women of the left than I have with any right wing Republican woman.
What I still wonder about is why radical feminist spend so much energy attacking TS/TG folks and so little energy attacking their real enemies, like Phyllis Schlafly.
Statement, November 27, 2011 by Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk, co founder of the Harvey B. Milk Foundation
My uncle Harvey Milk gave us his life 33 years ago, knowing that the first of any civil rights movement, who so clearly and loudly proclaim their right to equality, most often meets a violent and sudden end. George Moscone was a steadfast ally and friend of both my uncle and to the core principles of equality that Harvey represented.
Today the memory of both men stand as beacons of light not just in San Francisco, not just in California and not just in the US, but across the globe to all who are diminished for simply being authentic. I am frequently asked if I am deeply saddened that my uncle Harvey did not get to see all those who eventually would proclaim a right to live openly and thereby come to stand on his shoulders or that he also did not see all the places where the light of equality would burn brighter than the darkness of antiquated prejudice-and I have long replied, he did see all those open and proud people living an authentic life and he did see those cities and states and nations that would etch equality into both their laws and their societal values, for he could not have given his life without his seeing and visualizing the dream of that day and he has left us, all of us, with a compass based on hope, hope born of bullets, not smashing into his brain, but smashing our masks and our fear of authenticity.
We also offer timely reflection today on my uncle’s ground breaking collaborative work and his understanding and explanation that we are not weakened by our differences, in fact that our potential is only reached when the full diversity of all those that make up our communities are celebrated. Today his legacy is not of a people or community or nation being better then another, but communication of teaching of the knowledge that we are so much less when we do not embrace, without qualification, all members of our unique and varied humanity.
My uncle’s legacy has many monuments, not the least of which are the openly LGBT public officials who, through their willingness to serve and live a publicly visible life, continue to offer Harvey Milk style leadership to a world yearning for these examples. And all our strong allies, like President Obama and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi here in the US, and our many new allies across the continents who fight everyday to keep us all embraced. And monuments to Harveys legacy are given light each day with every new young gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered person who comes out and lives an authentic life – these are real tangible living monuments to Harvey’s legacy that have the clear impact to effect change, a real enduring societal change. For as my uncle said, when they know us, when we are visible to all in our lives, hate diminishes.
Today we both mourn our loss and celebrate the legacy we were left with. The memory of Harvey and George burns bright and they have inspired equality minded communities across the country and out onto the global stage to keep alive both Harvey’s dream of a truly inclusive society, without qualification and to follow the example of enduring and selfless collaboration that marked the life of both Harvey Milk and George Moscone.
With Congressional leaders announcing Monday they had failed to reach consensus on how to cut the federal deficit, the Occupy Wall Street protesters traveling from New York to the District are picking up the pace.
For nearly two weeks, dozens of protesters have been walking to the District to raise visibility and prepare to take their frustrations with perceived income equality to the U.S. Capitol.
Although the group was initially expected to arrive early Wednesday, it now plans to arrive Tuesday morning.
Occupy DC protesters plan to meet the marchers, who left Baltimore Monday morning, near the Rhode Island Metro station about 10 a.m. Tuesday. From there, the protesters plan to march to McPherson Square, where a noon press conference is scheduled, organizers said. Later in the day, the will kick off two days of demonstrations aimed at Congress, according to the Occupy DC website.
The arrival of the marchers, who will have traveled 231 miles since Nov. 9, comes as the movement locally is getting a major boost of support from regional labor leaders.
At its 28th biannual convention on Saturday, the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO approved a resolution calling on its members to treat Occupy encampments in the District and Baltimore as they would a formal picket line.
The resolution states the AFL-CIO will support any “unionized or non-unionized worker who refuses to break up, raid or confiscate the belongings of protesters.”
So Obama thinks kissing up to the Catholics and screwing over women is a good thing.
I will reluctantly vote for him. But only because letting the Nazis win is unthinkable.
By E.J. Dionne, Jr.
Posted on Nov 23, 2011
Any time the Obama administration touches issues related to the Roman Catholic Church, it seems to get itself caught in a rhetorical and moral crossfire that leaves all involved wounded and angry. This is what’s happening in the battle over how contraception should be covered under the new health care law.
Partly because it mishandled the issue at the outset, the Obama team seems destined either to leave supporters in the reproductive rights community irate, or to put the president’s Catholic sympathizers in a much weakened position.
When Congress enacted health care reform, it left to the Department of Health and Human Services the job of determining which preventive services for women insurance plans would be required to include. In August, the administration announced interim rules requiring coverage for contraceptive services without co-pays or deductibles. It provided an exemption from this requirement to “religious employers,” but the exemption was so narrow that it largely left out Catholic hospitals, universities and other church-affiliated institutions.
Although this was only an interim rule, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops immediately denounced it, and Catholics who had supported the health care law were taken by surprise. It’s astonishing that the administration acted without closely consulting Sister Carol Keehan, the brave president of the Catholic Health Association who backed the health care bill despite the opposition it drew from the Bishops Conference. Her support—along with help from other social justice Catholics such as Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa.—was crucial to getting the law through.
If HHS had offered a broader religious exemption from the outset, President Obama could still have boasted of having achieved the largest expansion of contraception coverage in the nation’s history. Yet in moving now toward correcting its initial mistake, the administration has set off an uprising among reproductive rights groups who accuse it of caving in to the Catholic bishops. They demand that the original rule stand.
Continue reading at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/obamas_catholic_friends_and_enemies_20111123/
The rally last week at Manhattan’s Riverside church was packed. Several thousand people crammed into the famous hall where Martin Luther King once gave a 1967 speech against the Vietnam war and for a fight against poverty.
The gathering was part of the Living Wage New York campaign, which aims to force companies who receive large grants of public money for private projects to pay workers in the jobs they create a minimum wage of around $10 (£6.47) an hour. It does not sound a controversial plan or one to create major unrest.
But the mood beneath the church’s soaring vault was angry. Most of it was directed at one man, New York’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who wants to veto the proposal.
Council member Jumaane Williams could not contain his fury. “This is about greed,” he fumed to the crowd before turning his ire on Bloomberg and his vast fortune. “Ten dollars is not a lot of money! If Mayor Bloomberg woke up making 10 dollars an hour, he would faint!” he thundered, adding that the mayor ran New York like a “coward dictator”.
Bloomberg, 69, who is now one of the most recognised names in American politics, is not usually the target of such strong emotion. He is often spoken of as a potential third party presidential candidate and ideal person to thread the needle of America’s two-party set-up. He is hailed as a socially liberal moderate who is friendly to big business. He has, after all, been a member of both the Republicans and the Democrats.
But these are no ordinary times for Bloomberg. In the middle of economic hardship and financial crisis, sparked by a reckless banking industry, he has emerged as a staunch defender of Wall Street. While the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread from Manhattan around America, his administration has used the police to brutally crack down on demonstrators in New York – and the media covering them. He has defended the banking industry as patriotic and vital for New York’s finances, despite polls showing deep anger with big finance. And he sees the Living Wage bid for a $10-an-hour pay packet as a reckless “job killer”.
By Linda McQuaig
November 25, 2011
When thousands of Egyptian protesters took over Tahrir Square in events widely celebrated as the Arab Spring, I don’t recall anyone being concerned that they were violating local bylaws.
Of course, Egypt was a dictatorship and the only way to protest the lack of democracy was by breaking laws.
Canada isn’t a dictatorship, and so protesters — like the group now ordered evicted from St. James Park — don’t have the same clear moral licence to ignore bylaws that their Egyptian counterparts had.
Critics argue that the Toronto Occupiers have made their point; if they want to take it further, they should join a political party — attend all-candidates meetings, put up lawn signs, eat hot dogs at summer barbecues, become backroom operatives.
Of course, Occupiers should join political parties and try to change them. But part of the Occupiers’ point is that democracy has become a hollow shell.
In theory, democracy is one of humankind’s noblest creations — a system in which people govern themselves. In practice, the results have been, well, disappointing.