Do I Have to Give Up Lesbian History to Participate in Queer Culture?

This is a weird one…  I was part of the Second Wave. I was moved and shaped by some of what went on, bewildered and dumbfounded by the embrace of things like homeopathy and the Wicca.

The thing that confounds me most is how big a role people seem to think trans-folks played in the Second Wave either as participants or the trashing of us.  Granted many of the books that were of major import during the Second Wave are long out of print.

One thing often ignored regarding the Second Wave is that it had a number of nasty internal wars that harmed the Movement as well as destroying women like Shulamith Firestone.

Shortly after the trashing of Sandy Stone, women’s bookstores and the feminist press were torn by the battles between the S/M/Samois /Sex Positive lesbians and the anti-sex factions.

Lately it has become popular to once again attack trans-women.  Some of the attackers were around in the stone age of the Second Wave, others are millenials.

Back in the late 1980s the TERFs used trans-women as an element of movement disruption and destruction, diverting attention from the real struggle which should have been focused on Reagan and the rise of the right wing.

Once again TERFs are using trans-women as an element of disruption and distraction, diverting attention from the real struggle which should be focused on Trump and the religious/fascist right wing.

Cui Bono?

BTW note the weird shift from Bruce LaBruce to trans-women as though there is some sort of connection.

Further:  Many trans-folks do not embrace “queer” as an identity.

From Salon:  https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/08/lesbian-history-terfs-and-queer-culture-do-queer-women-have-to-reject-all-second-wave-feminism-to-be-inclusive.html

Millennial lesbianism can sometimes feel like a balancing act between two worlds.

By

A few weeks ago, a copy of Judy Chicago’s 1979 book The Dinner Party: A Story of Our Heritage arrived on my doorstep. The tome explains Chicago’s iconic artwork of the same name, a sprawling, triangular tribute to hundreds of female figures throughout human history and mythology. The exhibit, which starts with a place for the “Primordial Goddess” and ends at one for Georgia O’Keeffe, revels in vaginal imagery, domestic arts, and the role of women in Earth’s creation. The book had been shipped to me by my mother, who had never seen the work before and adored it, listening with awe as I explained who Artemisia Gentileschi and Hildegard of Bingen were on a dreary Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum.

The day after we saw The Dinner Party, I took my mother to a screening of Bruce LaBruce’s The Misandrist, a scathing “satire” of second-wave feminist ideals whose subjects believe in female separatism, political lesbianism, adding “wo-” to any word containing “man” (e.g., Ger-wo-many, wo-manual), and forced gender reassignment surgery. Leaving The Misandrists, my mother and I both felt as though LaBruce, a seminal contributor to New Queer Cinema, had never spoken to a woman—lesbian, feminist, cis, trans, or otherwise—in his life. It was a jarring experience in contrast to our date with The Dinner Party, to say the least. That weekend’s journey from a seminal ’70s feminist artwork to a ruthless ribbing of all things second-wave made me realize just how alienating the disconnect between feminist history and modern queer culture can be, especially for young lesbians.

If you’re an LGBTQ millennial like me, many of the things I’ve mentioned thus far—vaginal artwork, lesbian separatism, goddess spiritualism—may have your mouse hovering over the X on this tab. In these supposedly halcyon post-gender days, it can be easy to believe that we have grown out of such pursuits as destigmatizing the vagina, reconnecting with other women, and learning from our elders. However, these practices need not be embarrassing or old-fashioned—in fact, I’d argue that they allow us to more fully understand where we’ve come from and what is at stake in queer feminist activism.

The main hindrance to that understanding right now, as I see it, is that anything that explicitly celebrates motherhood, cis female biology, or older lesbian generations is written off as a “dog whistle” indicative of trans-exclusionary radical feminist, or TERF, beliefs. TERF, as an insult, has become so far removed from its original activist intentions (rightly criticizing trans exclusion in feminism) that, at this point, it’s also a word for anything that queer millennials deem uncool. Things I’ve seen called “TERFy” on Twitter and Tumblr include tampon ads, the word “female,” the non-word “womxn,” Janelle Monae’s “Pynk,” the Venus symbol, bangs, Jill Stein, Cardi B, and … trans women.

This blanket TERF-ing, which weakens necessary criticisms of transphobia, is today disproportionately applied to anything even remotely second-wave-y. (“Womxn” likely reminded its accuser of terms like “herstory” and “womyn,” popularized in the 1970s.) This isn’t without reason, since calls for sex-segregated activism and spaces during second-wave feminism often explicitly excluded trans women—perhaps most notoriously at the Michigan Womyn’s Festival. But writing off any practices even associated with that era or those people is not only a disservice to older feminists as a whole, but also a disservice to the larger queer community. Such embarrassment keeps us from learning from our own history and growing as activists. It also means we are ashamed of anyone in our own community who might be invested in the healing aspects of that history.

It’s important to point out that many of these second-wave practices come from lesbian feminists, women who were determined to separate themselves from men romantically, historically, and politically. To many of them, that meant (and still means) defying medical and social abuse against those with vaginas, fighting against male violence, and re-centering women in all narratives. You might have an eye-rolling gut reaction to words like “herstory” and “womyn,” or to vaginal art or goddess worship. You might write off all the women who participated in the Women’s March with pussy hats as clueless. But is there anything inherently wrong with re-centering women in language and history? Is there anything wrong with certain women being proud of their bodies, when they’re constantly encouraged to remain ignorant and ashamed of them? Is there anything wrong with a woman connecting to herself and her presence on Earth on a spiritual level, especially when popular religion privileges men and subjugates women? Is there anything wrong with middle-aged women, who have lived through the evolution of sexism in ways we have not, pushing back against a president who admits to grabbing women by the pussy?

Continue reading at:  https://slate.com/human-interest/2018/08/lesbian-history-terfs-and-queer-culture-do-queer-women-have-to-reject-all-second-wave-feminism-to-be-inclusive.html

The SCOTUS Event Horizon for the LGBT Movement

With Permission:

From Brynn Tannehill:  http://www.brynntannehill.com/the-scotus-event-horizon-for-the-lgbt-movement/

By Brynn Tannehill
September 3, 2018

Stop for a moment. Imagine how bad it will be with a conservative Supreme Court ruling on a host of issues related to LGBT people in America.

The reality is that what’s coming is way worse than anything you just imagined. In fact, the moment Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed, we pass through an event horizon, which is a physics term for a point of no return where not even light can escape the gravity well of a black hole. Once he’s seated, there is literally nothing we can legally do to stop the torrent of decisions that will relegate LGBT people to permanent, codified, second class status.  It will be even worse for transgender people, who may not even be able to function in public after these decisions.

There’s three things that people need to realize about what will make this court different from previous courts.

The first is that anti-LGBT religious groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Liberty Counsel are already pushing through numerous cases designed to do all of the horrible things enumerate below. They will be taking these cases to a SCOTUS that wants to take their cases, and wants to find for them.

And they will find for them, even if their arguments are incoherent or seemingly irreconcilable with other decisions made by SCOTUS. The death of the need for intellectual consistency by the court was demonstrated in the 2018 rulings in Masterpiece Cakeshop and Trump v. Hawaii. In these, the court essentially simultaneously found that even a whiff of religious bias by governmental officials was completely impermissible, unless it’s the President and he does it before he gets elected.

Finally, readers need to understand that the court will not care what the effects of their rulings are. This was clearly demonstrated in the Hobby Lobby oral arguments. When the lawyer for Hobby Lobby was confronted with the absolute chaos that would surely follow (and did) if corporations could ignore laws based on the religious beliefs of the owners, he replied, “Look, you’ve got to trust the courts; just because free exercise claims are being brought doesn’t mean that the courts can’t separate the sheep from the goats.”

The Roberts Court accepted this argument that it was acceptable for rulings to cause massive problems down the road. This means that even if a SCOTUS ruling were to make it impossible for transgender people to hold a job, or function in society at all, as a downstream effect of their decision, it is not their problem. They would leave it to other courts to sort out what to do. Those courts would in turn shrug their shoulders and say, it doesn’t matter how awful this ruling is for transgender people, we have to follow it.

You know how I told you the consequences were worse than you could imagine? They get even worse than that if Trump gets to nominate another justice to replace Ginsburg or Breyer. It gets even worse than that if he gets a second term, and has the opportunity to issue a bunch of anti-LGBT executive orders that SCOTUS will uphold as constitutional.

You also have to remember that while it will take 5-10 years for all of these rulings to happen, reversing them will take another 20 to 75 years based on how long it took to reverse horrible cases such as Plessy v. Ferguson (75 years), Lochner v. New York (32 years), Korematsu v. United States (74 years), and Bowers v. Hardwick (18 years). The odds are, if you’re reading this, you will not live to see all the damage that’s coming in the courts undone. Most of these things will happen regardless of how the 2018 or 2020 elections go, because that 5-4 conservative majority will be in place for years.

Continue reading at:  http://www.brynntannehill.com/the-scotus-event-horizon-for-the-lgbt-movement/

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A Corrupt Hearing to Corrupt Our Democracy

From People For The American Way:  http://www.pfaw.org/blog-posts/a-corrupt-hearing-to-corrupt-our-democracy/

Paul Gordon
September 4, 2018

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy noted this morning that:

only four percent of [Brett Kavanaugh’s] White House record has been shared with the public, and only seven percent has been made available to this Committee.  The rest remains hidden from scrutiny.

This raises some interesting questions, such as:

  • If a job applicant only gave you 4% of his record, would you take him on anyway?
  • If you needed a heart surgeon and she only disclosed her prior success rates for a select 4% of her patients, would you trust her?
  • Would you start a business with a stranger who refused to let you see 96 percent of the data relating to their prior businesses?
  • Would the IRS accept someone’s tax returns if only 4% of the required documentation was submitted?
  • Would you feel confident about your car if the mechanic had only checked 4% of what you had taken it in for?
  • Would you marry someone who insisted on hiding 96% of their past from you?

For most people, the answer to all these questions is no, or perhaps more colorfully, “Do you think I’m a lunatic?  Of course not!”

Yet Senate Republicans, working in coordination with the White House, are pushing through Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing for a lifetime position on the nation’s most powerful court.

To say this is crazy gives too much credit to Republicans.  It isn’t crazy at all.  It’s corruption, designed specifically to corrupt our democratic system of government.

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She could be the first trans woman in the U.S. Congress. So we talked to her.

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/09/first-trans-woman-u-s-congress-talked/

By
Monday, September 3, 2018

Alexandra Chandler is seeking to replace Massachusetts’ Representative Niki Tsongas, who is setting down – and a win for her would make her the only known trans woman to be elected for Congress.

With her primary coming up this Tuesday, we got a moment to sit down with Alexandra Chandler and find out how being an out trans woman running for high office has played a part in her campaign, and what she brings to the table if elected.

Thank you for taking some time to visit with us today. First and foremost, we’d like to find out a bit more about you, and what motivated you to run at this time?

For me it’s a critical moment for our country and for the world, when our home districts member of Congress Niki Tsongas announced her retirement, I came to the realization that I had the professional experience, the subject matter expertise, and the lived experience that would make me be best candidate to get things done in Congress for ordinary people and to protect our democracy.

The reason I believe that is that on a professional level I served 13 years in the intelligence community. I joined after 9/11 and I worked under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administration on problems like Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and stopping weapons going to terrorist groups in a conflict zone problems that require you to work across divisions work with Republicans, Democrats, with people across government, with other governments to get things done. That sort of skill set is what we desperately need in Congress. That’s the professional experience.

Subject matter experience, I am the only candidate in our race with career national security expertise, and I believe that a Russian speaking Law School graduate and intelligence community leader is something that we could very much use in Congress today.

Then finally lived experience, I am a middle class Mom of two, with one sone in day care, and the day care costs to show for it, and the other son in public school. I am someone who dealt with a dad who struggled with addiction. I lost him when I was 17 and it makes my intention to bring a progressive agenda that really helps ordinary people and is informed by the experience of an ordinary person like me in congress.

Unlike some recent trans candidates like Danica Roem and Christine Hallquist, you’ve opted to put trans issues in the forefront, such as in your “Alexandra Chandler: running for Congress for you, #WhoeverYouAre” advertisement. How do you feel this has affected your campaign – or has it affected it at all?

What I’ll say is a the reason why I highlighted trans kids and the issues of trans people in a recent ad is that in Massachusetts we have the unique issue of anti-discrimination protections for trans people being on the ballot, and the outcome is in doubt according to the polling, and much as people would say, “Oh my goodness as a trans person who is running for office, you can’t talk about trans issues.”

Well my responses is, I’m gonna speak out to the vulnerable whoever they are when they need someone to speak for them. The rights of a vulnerable population on the ballot in my state. If I don’t speak out to them as a first openly trans candidate for Congress in Massachusetts then who will. I’m not going to create space for others not to speak.

Continue reading at:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/09/first-trans-woman-u-s-congress-talked/

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Trump’s Marijuana Task Force Ordered to Ignore Data That Show Positive Impacts

From Truth Out:  https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-marijuana-task-force-ordered-to-ignore-data-that-shows-positive-impacts/

By Matthew Rozsa
August 30, 2018

New documents reveal that, despite President Donald Trump saying in June that he would support a bipartisan bill which would allow states that have legalized marijuana to continue doing so without the US government getting in the way, the Trump administration very much plans on waging a campaign against the popular drug.

The White House has created a Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee, which consists of various committees in the federal government that are meant to come up with ways to turn public opinion against marijuana consumption and disparage state laws that have legalized the drug, according to a report by BuzzFeed News. The committee ordered the Drug Enforcement Administration and 14 other federal agencies to submit “data demonstrating the most significant negative trends” so that the administration can underscore the “threats” that the plant poses to the United States, as BuzzFeed News reported:

“The prevailing marijuana narrative in the U.S. is partial, one-sided, and inaccurate,” says a summary of a July 27 meeting of the White House and nine departments. In a follow-up memo, which provided guidance for responses from federal agencies, White House officials told department officials, “Departments should provide … the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.”

The report also found that, in a summary of the meeting, an administration official wrote that “staff believe that if the administration is to turn the tide on increasing marijuana use there is an urgent need to message the facts about the negative impacts of marijuana use, production, and trafficking on national health, safety, and security.”

Lindsay Walters, Deputy White House Press Secretary, told BuzzFeed News that “the Trump Administration’s policy coordination process is an internal, deliberative process to craft the President’s policies on a number of important issues facing the American people, and ensure consistency with the President’s agenda.”

But Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said “The directives given to this committee are biased, unscientific, and fly in the face of statements made by the President during his campaign and up to the present that he supports allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference.”

One of the biggest opponents of marijuana legalization in the Trump administration has long been Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who during a Senate drug hearing in April 2016 said that “we need grown-ups in charge in Washington to say marijuana is not the kind of thing that ought to be legalized, it ought not to be minimized, that it’s in fact a very real danger,” according to The Washington Post. Sessions also argued at the time that government officials needed to spread “knowledge that this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about … and to send that message with clarity that good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

Continue reading at:  https://truthout.org/articles/trumps-marijuana-task-force-ordered-to-ignore-data-that-shows-positive-impacts/

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The Religion of Whiteness Becomes a Suicide Cult

From The New York Times:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/opinion/race-politics-whiteness.html

A wounded and swaggering identity geopolitics puts the world in grave danger.

By Pankaj Mishra
Aug. 30, 2018

“White men,” an obscure Australian academic named Charles Henry Pearson predicted in his 1893 book “National Life and Character: A Forecast,” would be “elbowed and hustled, and perhaps even thrust aside” by people they had long regarded as their inferiors — “black and yellow races.” China, in particular, would be a major threat. Pearson, prone to terrors of racial extinction while living in a settler colony in an Asian neighborhood, thought it was imperative to defend “the last part of the world, in which the higher races can live and increase freely, for the higher civilization.”

His prescriptions for racial self-defense thunderously echoed around the white Anglosphere, the community of men with shared historical ties to Britain. Theodore Roosevelt, who held a complacent 19th-century faith, buttressed by racist pseudoscience, that nonwhite peoples were hopelessly inferior, reported to Pearson the “great effect” of his book among “all our men here in Washington.”

In the years that followed, politicians and pundits in Britain and its settler colonies of Australia, Canada and the United States would jointly forge an identity geopolitics of the “higher races.” Today it has reached its final and most desperate phase, with existential fears about endangered white power feverishly circulating once again between the core and periphery of the greatest modern empire. “The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive,” President Trump said last year in a speech hailed by the British journalist Douglas Murray, the Canadian columnist Mark Steyn and the American editor Rich Lowry. More recently, Mr. Trump tweeted (falsely) about “large-scale killing” of white farmers in South Africa — a preoccupation, deepened by Rupert Murdoch’s media, of white supremacists around the world.

To understand the rapid mainstreaming of white supremacism in English-speaking liberal democracies today, we must examine the experience of unprecedented global migration and racial mixing in the Anglosphere in the late 19th century: countries such as the United States and Australia where, as Roosevelt wrote admiringly in 1897, “democracy, with the clear instinct of race selfishness, saw the race foe, and kept out the dangerous alien.” It is in the motherlands of democracy rather than in fascist Europe that racial hierarchies first defined the modern world. It is also where a last-ditch and potentially calamitous battle to preserve them is being fought today.

This “race selfishness” was sharpened in the late 19th century, as the elites of the “higher races” struggled to contain mass disaffection generated by the traumatic change of globalization: loss of jobs and livelihoods amid rapid economic growth and intensified movements of capital, goods and labor. For fearful ruling classes, political order depended on their ability to forge an alliance between, as Hannah Arendt wrote, “capital and mob,” between rich and powerful whites and those rendered superfluous by industrial capitalism. Exclusion or degradation of nonwhite peoples seemed one way of securing dignity for those marginalized by economic and technological shifts.

The political climate was prepared by intellectuals with clear-cut racial theories, such as Brooks Adams, a Boston Brahmin friend of Roosevelt, and Charles B. Davenport, the leading American exponent of eugenics. In Australia, Pearson’s social Darwinism was amplified by media barons like Keith Murdoch (father of Rupert and a stalwart of the eugenics movement) and institutionalized in a “White Australia” policy that restricted “colored” migration for most of the 20th century. Anti-minority passions in the United States peaked with the 1924 immigration law (much admired by Hitler and, more recently, by Jeff Sessions), which impeded Jewish immigrants and barred Asians entirely. By the early 20th century, violence against indigenous peoples, immigrants and African-Americans reached a new ferocity, and nativist and racist demagogues entrenched a politics of dispossession, segregation and disenfranchisement.

continue reading at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/opinion/race-politics-whiteness.html

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A black transgender woman was found dead in Louisiana

From LGBTQ Nation:  https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2018/09/black-transgender-woman-found-dead-louisiana/

By
Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A transgender woman was shot to death last Thursday in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Police responded to a call when witnesses heard gunshots at around 4:30 a.m. They found Vontashia Bell, 18, who had been shot in the chest and wrist. She was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

It took time for the transgender community to hear about this murder because Bell was deadnamed and misgendered in local media reports of her death.

Louisiana Trans Advocates said in a statement, “Dehumanizing language and actions lower the barriers to this kind of senseless violence.”

“Shreveport and Louisiana leaders must speak out against these killings, against the ongoing, systemic devaluation of trans people that pervades our media and politics, and against the institutional racism that places almost all of this burden on trans women of color,” the statement continued.

She is the 17th transgender person killed this past year.

Investigators want anyone who has any information to call the Shreveport police department at 318-673-6955 or their anonymous number, 318-673-7373. There is a $1000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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