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The content of this blog is unabashedly lesbian feminist in perspective. If that offends you, leave now.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Join the fight! Stop Alito!

Deal breaker Alito's record speaks loudly regarding women's rights

My visit tonight to bluenecks and the gadzillion news alerts I have received today regarding the Alito nomination gave me reason to research this guy a bit. I had already heard that he has rendered decisions that virtually send women hurtling back to Victorian times by allowing a husband rights to the domain otherwise known as his wife's uterus. When men take on the risks of pregnancy and childbirth, then and only then will they be entitled to equal say over any conceptus they may have accidentally or purposely donated their DNA to create. Unbelievable!

Tennessee's Guerilla Women describe Alito as nothing more than a Scalia clone.

I'm revving up the old pro-choice engines because it really does look like we're in for a fight on this one. With 15 years experience on the bench and the blessings of the holy fathers - Robertson, Falwell, and Dobson - we're in for a wild ride that will test the mettle of many a politico. The nuclear option placed on the front burner the last time the Dems threated a filibuster is moving to the front of the stove once again.

We'll have to see how the partisans actually line up on this, but I have received alerts and calls to action all day today from women's groups, progressives, and LGBT organizations decrying the nomination and declaring Alito to be a far right darling.

It's time to go to work, y'all.

Friday, October 28, 2005

VOX-UT Knoxville raises voice against GAP

Pro-choice students defend reproductive freedom

by Beth Maples-Bays

KNOXVILLE – Recent VOX action on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville shouted out their defense of women’s right to physical integrity and against the misleading and shocking pictures displayed with UT’s approval.

In speaking of the October 25th action, Vox supporter Andrew Ciscel observes, “The main action today was very successful with 30-40 pro-choice activists holding signs and flyers, lining up as a blockade to the highly inappropriate display that GAP imposed on UT campus,” states Andres Ciscel, VOX supporter. “It was a very peaceful protest of their
display with lots of support from passing students and staff.”

GAP (Genocide Awareness Project) goes from campus to campus with their large detailed photographic displays of bloody fetal remains comparing abortion to Jewish Holocaust victims, African-American lynchings, and the genocide visited upon Native Americans by the United States government.

“In my opinion, if this sector of the anti-choice movement really wants to have intelligent conversation, they can come out and demonstrate without photos of bloody fetuses next to images from real human genocides,” asserts Ciscel.

Periodically throughout the two-day display, members of VOX were individually handing out fliers next to the GAP display. Several English classes, studying debate, took flyers from both sides and sometimes engaged the anti-choice participants.

What is Vox®? Vox is the Latin word for "voice" and Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood is a nationwide program to energize and mobilize the new generation of pro-choice Americans. Vox aims to educate and inspire a new generation of young adults to advocate reproductive freedom.
The newly organized Vox is working quickly on UT-Knoxville campus to work on behalf of women’s reproductive freedom. In this case, they protest the misuse of the word “genocide” and other attempts to shock the public and slant the public conversation in their favor.

In Knoxville, women may seek a full array of reproductive health services at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health. The Center’s director, Corrine Rovetti, RN, MSA, is a graduate of the University of Tennessee – Knoxville’s College of Nursing and has been an outspoken support of women’s reproductive freedom.

From their Web site:

“Medical care at the Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health is supervised by Morris D. Campbell, M.D. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and also a Fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He lives in Knoxville and has privileges at local hospitals.

Routine gynecological and family planning care is provided by Corinne Rovetti, RNC / MSN. She is a certified family nurse practitioner specializing in women's health care. Her perspective is to empower women to empower themselves.”

Contact information for Knoxville Center for Reproductive Health. Location: 1547 West Clinch Avenue, Knoxville, Tennessee 37916. Phone: (local) 865-637-3861 or (toll-free) 800-325-5357. Fax: 865-637-0222. Email: krepro@aol.com. Visit their Web site at www.kcrh.com.

“PPMET believes that the self-determined pursuit of sexual health is important for everyone's well-being and quality of life. We are a recognized and respected leader in providing reproductive, sexual and complementary healthcare and comprehensive sexuality education to women, men and teens regardless of race, age, income status, religion or sexual orientation.” – PPMET Web site

Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee has two offices: Nashville and Knoxville. They offer comprehensive reproductive health care in Nashville including both medical and surgical first trimester abortion services. You can reach the Nashville office at 615-321-7216. The Knoxville office does not offer abortion services. You can receive other reproductive health services including birth control and gynecological care. You can reach the Knoxville office at 865-694-7155. Or simply call toll-free 1-800-230-PLAN (7526.) The phone will ring in the clinic nearest you. Visit their Web site at www.plannedparenthood.org/pp2/tennessee..

For further information about VOX on UT-K campus, email Stacia at utvox@hotmail.com.

Beth can be reached at Beth@gyrlgroove.com.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Playing with the boys

Confronting misogyny in the LGBT leadership

It is with a heavy heart that I sit down to write this article. I am feeling as if I have come full circle and, in the process, went absolutely nowhere. I am an old school radical lesbian feminist separatist who was fool enough to try to reach out across the abyss that separates us to some kind and gentle men in my local gay community.

At first I was completely reassured that there were men in this world who are unfettered by the legacy handed down from both the insitutional and familial patriarchs that control our daily lives. I found brilliance and beauty in the creative spark that I share with many gay men. Their generalized love of the arts gave me hope for common ground in areas other than the oppression we share. As I have said, I am a lesbian. I have been “out” for 27 years.

For many of those years, I was unable to fully participate in community political activities due to educational endeavors, family responsibilities, and, more recently, heath problems. I have managed to a few things on the way to my mid-fifties including writing for a couple of lesbian publications and, now, LGBT publications. I have also been known to sit on a board or two, organize a group here and there, and produce some events for the community. It has been a labor of love.

I have bonded with my community more in the last four or five years than ever before, given the lack of obstacles to freedom of expression as in prior years with family, housing, and job considerations. It is a welcome relief to be “out” in every arena of my life. Too many times, we dismiss the stress brought on by a life in the closet. It is very real.

So I looked forward to my senior years when I could write with abandon without regard for anyone who might be looking over my shoulder intent on imposing their homophobic values on everyone around them. There are lots of those folks here where I live, but if the truth were to be told, there are lots of them everywhere, especially in the current American political climate. The entire country seems to have taken on the values that I fled in my youth when I moved West to escape my Southern Baptist roots. But in the end, I had to go home to fight these battles. Sometimes it takes a native’s insight to war against the particular factions that oppress our community in a given geographic region.

We like to say that we are on the front lines of the culture war. I am proud to stand beside my brothers in this fight. At least I was proud. Lately some troulblesome attitudes have reared their ugly little heads, and I am once again confronting misogyny. That deadly foe was front and center in my life for many years. After my Mother’s husband killed her in cold blood and O.J.’d his way out of it, I knew that this opponent would be first in my battles against injustice.

We were separatists in the 70s because we knew that all men are basically misogynist, and relationships between men and women are inherently unequal. Why in the hell did I forget that? How stupid have I been to delude myself into believing that there are kind and gentle men? They may treat each other with respect and dignity, but don’t hold your breath if you don’t have a penis.

All I can say is this: I am not laying down my sword, but my shield will be a little higher from this day forward as the battles become more fierce here on the front lines. Unfortunately my shield is needed not just for the Jerry Falwell’s and Dick Cheney’s, but also to fend off the barbs of my comrades as they seek to position themselves in the community.

It’s a shame. It’s a waste of time, energy, and resources that could be used much more productively against the onslaught from the religious reich.

But, I guess boys will be boys.