December, 2011

My Top 5 Moments that Shaped Sexual & Reproductive Rights in 2011

2011 provided nothing short of amazing moments within the sexual and reproductive rights movement. Though there were plenty of victories and drawbacks in the quest to increase women’s rights to make the best decisions for their health and lives, there were several events this year that stuck me the most. Here are my top 5 moments in 201 that had me jumping for joy…or scratching my head:

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The Invisible War

Hello dear readersI have an exciting update about some new consulting work I am doing in the spirit of The Line Campaign. I have taken a job as the Campaign and Advocacy Director of “The Invisible War” a groundbreaking documentary film that examines the underreported epidemic of sexual assault in our U.S. Military.The statistics are shocking.

It is estimated that up to 30% of  women who serve in the U.S. Military have been raped by a fellow soldier
Only 8% of these rapes are reported (so we can assume that the numbers are much higher)

Only 2% of reported rapes receive convictions

The Invisible War which investigates the causes of this epidemic and exposes it’s systemic cover up, will be premiering in competition at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20th followed by several screenings throughout the festival.

The goals of the film and campaign are to raise awareness of this issue and push for concrete changes that will significantly alter the way in which the military prosecutes and punishes sexual assaults.  We want to better protect our service men and women and reduce the high incidence rates of this crime by (a)  encouraging the military to provide a safer way to report  (b) suggesting that the decision to advance in the prosecution of these crimes no longer be left to the discretion of the command  and (c) encourage greater understanding and awareness of the devastating effects and symptoms of MST (military rape) as well as ways to treat it that do not involve (over) medication.

If you have information about non-profits you think are fantastic, legislative bills we should know about, MST survivor platforms, interesting blogs we should look at, twitter feeds, etc. Please let me know!

We are on twitter @Invisible_War and Facebook.com/InvisibleWarMovie. Let us know if you want to be included in our newsletter and I’ll add your name.

And stay in touch!

“Pariah” director Dee Rees: The Catharsis of Coming Out

The Salon published an interview with director Dee Rees this week. Rees is the director of the movie “Pariah”, the coming-out story of a 17-year-old African American lesbian. In the interview at Salon, Rees talks about her movie, and the power of coming out. Check it out at Salon.com.

Consent 101: Penn State at Abington

What is sexual consent? Where do we draw the line? How do we negotiate consent in our daily lives–in our sexuality, relationships, and the millions of other choices we face in our day to day lives? What is it that makes us say “yes” and what makes us say “no”–and how do we let people know and respect our decisions?

I screened The Line at Penn State at Abington and asked them!

When you stop listening.

When I fucking say NO!

Put a ring on it.

I refuse to cheat even when he is 3,000 miles away.

When I tell you f*** off.

Where she draws it.

Knowing someone inside and out…true love.

“I don’t know what happened” …is not an answer!

 

A Christmas Note, and a Nod to Awesome Activist Salamishah Tillet

We would like to wish all of our readers a wonderful holidays season! We hope you get the chance to relax and spend some time with family and friends.

In the meantime, we would like to direct you toward this wonderful conversation from the TedXWomen conference with Gloria Steinem and Salamishah Tillet. Salamisha will be one of our interview partners in the new year, and we look forward to it greatly!

Salamishah Tillet at TedXWomen.

Gender Matters: B. Manning

 (Originally posted at personal blog here.)

I had no idea about any of this until a friend and colleague of mine wrote this very needed piece on the media’s (non) reaction to the mounting evidence around “Bradley” Manning’s transgendered identity.

In the mainstream media coverage, Private Manning is described as a gay male with a gender identity disorder and an alterego named Breanna. In alternative media–outlets that revere Private Manning as an international hero and whistleblower–she is referenced with male pronouns, as popular figures such as Glenn Greenwald proclaim that “he” deserves a medal and Michael Moore writes a series of blogs about “his” courage and frequently proclaims that “he” is responsible for instigating the global uprising against corruption, the kyriarchy and all subsequent uprisings.

Still, as Emily Manuel wonders in her article, why are we so reluctant to embrace a transgendered hero? Would Breanna Manning deserve a medal as well? Why has the media–in the mainstream, alternative, and even activism-oriented press not embraced or even entertained the idea of “free Breanna Manning”? What does it say about our media that it is easier to keep transsexuality hidden, reverting to the time honored image of the heroic man rather than accept and welcome new images of a hero?

There are plenty of reasons and alleged justifications–as B. Manning is in prison, potentially for life the sad reality of the current political climate is that her gender identity may be held against her. However, let us set aside the legal proceedings and simply look at the media–the beat, the intersections, the surrounding conversation, and who it is holding this conversation. In the realm of national security, the sad truth is that it is largely men.

My theory–which is not intentioned to be sexist, man-blaming, or negative against anything besides the system that privileges men and institutionalizes sexism and gender injustice–is the following. Men–the Michael Moores and Glenn Greenwalds quoted in our media and their predominantly male audiences (who can most closely relate to their male perspectives)–want to see themselves in “Bradley” Manning. In solidarity, admiration, and support many progressive, liberal men embrace Bradley Manning as the hero and are reluctant to sift through issues of gender identity–simply because these do not concern them. This further institutionalizes national security as a “male” issue–unintentionally making modern day national heroes conform to a male mold, and ignoring the political implications of intersectional identities.

Perhaps it is time to change this. Perhaps it is time to make traditionally separate journalistic beats like “national security” and “gender justice” intersect, challenge our media and ultimately work through these ideas to make a more just world–where a hero is defined by an action and isn’t referred to as a man when she asks to be referred to as a woman–and that this request isn’t too much for journalists to handle.

Free Breanna Manning.

The Power of Consent

Part of the appeal of working for the Line Campaign is being able to hear all sorts of interesting and inspiring stories. Because we want our readers to be able to hear some of these stories, as well, today I will share with you all a recent reader submission, from our reader Nuala.

Here goes!

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Call for Bloggers!

The Where is Your Line blog wants you!

Are you passionate about sex and sexuality, as well as sexual health and safety? Are you excited about reaching out to other people, creating a community and fostering a deeper understanding of sexual agency and consent? Are you up-to-date on the political, societal and cultural forces that impact these issues? Are you curious to explore the far-reaching connections of sex, gender, race and class as they shape our understanding of sexuality?

Do you know where your Line is?

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Consent 101: LREI High School

What is sexual consent? Where do we draw the line? How do we negotiate consent in our daily lives–in our sexuality, relationships, and the millions of other choices we face in our day to day lives? What is it that makes us say “yes” and what makes us say “no”–and how do we let people know and respect our decisions?

I screened The Line at LREI High School and asked them!

Undefined, but never changing–unless I decide differently.

I’ll be the judge of that. Not you.

Mutuality. It’s a two way street.

It depends. It tends to bend.

I don’t really know. You should ask and find out.

Ask me and you’ll know. Otherwise, you just don’t care.

Only when there is trust do we draw the line together.

Love, trust, emotion, respect.

 

Mass March by Cairo Women in Protest Over Soldiers’ Abuse

We stand in solidarity with the women who are marching in protest in Egypt.

The NY Times writes,

Thousands of woman marched through downtown Cairo on Tuesday evening to call for the end of military rule in an extraordinary expression of anger over images of soldiers beating, stripping and kicking a female demonstrator on the pavement of Tahrir Square.

Read the article here.

All Posts from December, 2011