It’s OK to tell your abortion story. Some women just don’t want to be pregnant

From The Guardian UK:

You don’t owe anyone an explanation for your abortion. But with so many women being shamed, shouldn’t we speak out?

Thursday 20 November 2014

I know a woman in her 30s: she’s married, she has a toddler, and she desperately wants a second child – but a dangerous medical condition means that having another baby would be life-threatening. Despite being careful, she got pregnant. She had an abortion because she wasn’t willing to risk her life and leave her child motherless, but she still feels a deep sadness.

I know another woman, in her 20s, who had a shitty boyfriend (but no kids) when her birth control failed and she found herself with a pregnancy she knew she didn’t want – a pregnancy she wasn’t ready for. She was upset about the situation, but had no doubts about what she wanted to do and, after the abortion, no regrets. She rarely thinks about the pregnancy or the abortion anymore.

If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have much more sympathy for the first woman than the second. Though the majority of people in America and Northern Ireland and so many other places believe abortion should be legal, too many of us still think about reproductive rights as if there’s a hierarchy of good and bad abortions – the kind that women “deserve”, and the kind women should be ashamed of.

But those two women? They’re both me.

On Thursday, the 1 in 3 Campaign (a hat tip to the fact that 1 in 3 American women will have an abortion) launched a live-streamed, national abortion speak-out featuring people like Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, comedian Lizz Winstead and artist Favianna Rodriguez – and me.

I’ve written about ending my wanted pregnancy and the turmoil I faced with the decision, but I’ve never before spoken publicly about my first abortion – not because I was ashamed, but because it truly didn’t have that tremendous of an impact on my life. If anything, being able to have that abortion made my life better: I was able to publish my first book, meet my now-husband, cultivate the life that I’m living and build the family that I love.

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Leslie Feinberg

I am not going to contribute to the creating of a hagiography of Leslie Feinberg.

Leslie wasn’t really a hero to me.  Leslie was an ordinary person who wrote for the Communist Party USA newspaper Worker’s World.

I have always been far too anarchistic and frankly pro-American to embrace the ideals of the CP-USA and its apologists for Stalin and the Soviet Union.

Leslie and I are both Baby Boomers from upstate New York.  Leslie was from Buffalo and I am from the small towns of the Adirondacks.

We shared a working class background along with growing up obviously different from the sort of people we were expected to grow up to be.

The years before Stonewall were a hard time to be an obvious trans-kid.

Leslie turned 18 in 1967 during the height of the Vietnam War and the Year of the Hippies.

The energy was incredible and sides were chosen.

I was down with SDS and the anti-war movement but I was also part of the hippie culture while Leslie was part of the dyke bar scene.

I came out in 1969.

Leslie’s  romanàclef, “Stone Butch Blues” is set in the 1970s, an era that was far less bleak for many TS/TG people than milieu painted by Leslie.

Leslie had an agenda.  One that showed in her non-fiction works as well.

Leslie was many different things to different people, a chameleon reflecting what people wanted to see in hir.

To some Leslie was a stone butch dyke, to others a Communist, to yet others a transgender warrior.

People have a tendency to reduce complex people, especially people they admire into paragons representing an ideal of the quality they admire that person for.

It was damned hard to do that with Leslie, just as it is hard to do that with many people who grew up in that era.  Even those whose lives were not impacted with trans-prefixed words, or other labels from the queer glossary.

People who have complex lives challenge us, at times they infuriate us.  Their contradictions make us think rather than simply admire.

I used to come across Worker’s World and the Weekly Worker on occasion.  I would find them in freebee news racks and in piles near the door of various used book stores.

I thought that Leslie was a good writer who made me think even when I disagreed with her, which I often did.

I also think that “Stone Butch Blues” is an incredible book and that if Leslie is remembered for nothing else then she should be remembered for that book.

(According to Minnie Bruce Pratt Leslie preferred female pronouns .)


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Transgender Pioneer and Stone Butch Blues Author Leslie Feinberg Has Died

From The Advocate:

She was a pioneer in trans and lesbian issues, workers rights, and intersectionality long before anyone could define the phrase. Her partner, Minnie Bruce Pratt, and family offered us this obituary.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall
November 17 2014

Leslie Feinberg, who identified as an anti-racist white, working-class, secular Jewish, transgender, lesbian, female, revolutionary communist, died on November 15. She succumbed to complications from multiple tick-borne co-infections, including Lyme disease, babeisiosis, and protomyxzoa rheumatica, after decades of illness.

She died at home in Syracuse, NY, with her partner and spouse of 22 years, Minnie Bruce Pratt, at her side. Her last words were: “Remember me as a revolutionary communist.”

Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation,” and her work impacted popular culture, academic research, and political organizing.

Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies and also passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, the novel has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with her earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women).

In a statement at the end of her life, she said she had “never been in search of a common umbrella identity, or even an umbrella term, that brings together people of oppressed sexes, gender expressions, and sexualities” and added that she believed in the right of self-determination of oppressed individuals, communities, groups, and nations.

She preferred to use the pronouns she/zie and her/hir for herself, but also said: “I care which pronoun is used, but people have been disrespectful to me with the wrong pronoun and respectful with the right one. It matters whether someone is using the pronoun as a bigot, or if they are trying to demonstrate respect.”

Feinberg was born September 1, 1949, in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in Buffalo, NY, in a working-class Jewish family. At age 14, she began supporting herself by working in the display sign shop of a local department store, and eventually stopped going to her high school classes, though officially she received her diploma. It was during this time that she entered the social life of the Buffalo gay bars. She moved out of a biological family hostile to her sexuality and gender expression, and to the end of her life carried legal documents that made clear they were not her family.

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You’re Here, You’re Queer, You’re Proud… That’s Nice Now Go Help Put the Dinner on the Table…

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and there are certain things I am really thankful for.

One is having good friends including some people I have never met in 3D and only know through this blog and Facebook.

I am especially thankful for those of you who made a donation a few weeks ago and helped us deal with an emergency that threatened to overwhelm us during a year that has literally been one of economic hell coupled with dealing with a house damaged by an internal flood.

I’m thankful that marriage equality is rapidly becoming a reality all across the US.

But more than that I am really, really thankful that being a person of the lavender alphabet has become so ordinary and banal as to become a hoo-hum aspect of people, something akin to being left handed or something like that.  Something shocking only to those bigots who are sustained by hatred.

It has been 50 years since the Berkeley Free Speech Movement.  Fifty years since the Beatles first toured America.

So much has changed, not all to the better as we are still a nation divided.

Now we are divided by our identities, which make us special.  We cling to those identities be they Queer Activist or Tea Party Christer, we live for the thrill of the fight and along the line we forget to live for the simple joys of life.

We forget the love of family and friends.  In some cases our families are chosen and not by birth yet the ties are as strong or stronger than blood.

Among some of my Face Book friends I am seeing  many who have moved to post-trans, post-activist lives.  Folks taking time to plant a garden, take up long neglected loves such as music or art.

Today the Polar Vortex brought a first taste of winter to North Texas, the days are short and soon will bring the turning of the year.

Old age brings aches and pains along with the cold.

Old age also brings the knowledge that often times the most important change you can make is the change you make to yourself. When I was an acid taking hippie we talked about letting go of ego and finding oneness with the universe.  Sometimes lately it seems that the Twitteratti Activists seem to think they are the center of the universe and that all revolves around them and their thoughts/wishes.

I wish them well, they are part of a brave new world order with constant connectedness, selfies and status updates.  They live for their snarky quips and think they are oh so cool and wise as they navigate their dystopian world, where value is measured not by what you actually do but the labels you wear and things you consume.

So the wheel turns and I count another year of sobriety. Another year and I discard that which has grown meaningless, only to embrace those things that once seemed important,  but were lost along the path of life.

I am thankful for the clarity of age and loss of vanity. I can embrace my somberness and silliness with equal joy.

I mourn the loss of friends who died way too long ago and treasure those who remain.  I value new friendships knowing full well that time will never permit them to last as long as some of the friendships of many years.


Parker Molloy Resigns From Advocate, Lashes Out At Former Colleagues

From Queerty:

Oct 31, 2014

After and freelance writer Parker Molloy quietly parted ways this month, it took less than three weeks for her to go on the attack. Molloy’s latest tirade was apparently triggered by a phone call in which a customer service rep mistakenly assumed Molloy was male. Molloy took to Twitter to vent, first trolling SNL comedian Michael Che before trolling editor Lucas Grindley and his staff with a profanity-laced diatribe.

In addition to going after Grindley, Molloy slammed Grand Editorial executives Matthew Breen and Aaron Hicklin, as well as Here Media’s Diane Anderson-Minshall and Tracy Gilchrist, claiming their “transphobia” and coverage of celebrities associated with trans issues are “on par with Breitbart,” the right-wing news site. Molloy also criticized their coverage of Apple CEO Tim Cook’s coming out column:

Hey, gay media throwing a fit because Tim Cook didn’t come out during a product launch (instead, choosing some personal tact), fuck off. Also, fuck all of you (looking at you, @outmagazine) who have outed him without consent for years. Oh, BTW, I’ve chosen to not write at explicitly LGBT outlets like @outmagazine (only 1 piece there) or @TheAdvocateMag anymore bc this shit.

Molloy has a history of lashing out at former colleagues, including editors at HuffPost Gay Voices and Thought Catalog.

Grindley had welcomed Molloy back to in October following Molloy’s one-month suspension. Although the nonprofit Trans Violence Tracking Portal issued an advisory about Molloy following her verbal attacks on a trans woman, Grindley’s team assigned Molloy to cover anti-trans violence anyway.

Other reports of Molloy’s behavior began to surface after her return, including an incident where Molloy was enraged at a nonprofit that honors trans community members. Molloy vowed to punish the nonprofit, saying she’d be “freezing them out of anything I ever write” for not acknowledging her journalistic efforts.

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TEDxJaffa — Daphna Joel — Are brains male or female?

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